He caught his longtime girlfriend making out with another girl, who was a good friend. More than once. Now what?
Today’s Reddit, Answered it is a long one, but can be summed up fairly simply: Man and woman have been a serious couple for 5 years, in what seems to be a fantastic relationship all around. Until he catches her surreptitiously making out with another woman, who happens to be the wife of her best friend (also a woman.) This happened several times, and now he’s confused as to what he should do about the relationship. I mean, he loves her, they’re happy, it’s been 5 years and she swears it’s not happening again. Uh huh.
Danielle says: It’s important to remember that there is never one solution for cheating. It always depends on the couple. In some situations the partner who has been cheated on wants to know everything that happened and in some situations he or she does not want to know. The relationship expert Shirley Glass, when speaking about infidelity, would say that for many couple’s the partner stepping out wasn’t that unhappy with a relationship–they were just attracted to someone or they wanted more sex. I bring this up because your girlfriend cheating doesn’t mean you relationship isn’t as perfect as you say.
That’s about as much as I can tell you because I don’t know if you should stay with your girlfriend. I know that personally I am very against the idea that cheating always means you have to end a relationship. I do know people who have cheated, and then worked to fix their relationship after. Do you love her and want to stay with her? The common advice for these situations is that the trust is gone. That part is true–but you can rebuild trust. More significant than the sex is the fact that she lied to you. If you decide to stay together you should definitely pursue couple’s counseling. Take some time and make the best decision for yourself. I’m glad this came up before you bought a house because if you decide to leave now things will be easier for you.
Alyssa says: Danielle has said some spot-on things here, that I’ll repeat before getting to my own thoughts. First, just because someone lied doesn’t mean a relationship HAS to be over. Show me someone who has never lied in a relationship and I’ll show you someone who is lying about lying in relationships. In a perfect world it would never happen, but we don’t live in a perfect world.
I like to think of lies as bad things that happen because they’re trying to show you something else. In my work as a CrossFit trainer, when something hurts, we like to say that “the victim hurts, not the criminal.” Which is to say that although my plantar fasciitis hurts my foot, the problem – and therefore solution – is actually that I have really tight hamstrings that are pulling on my leg and so on…. I fixed my hamstrings, my foot got better.
Lying in relationships usually works the same way. Yes, lying hurts and causes problems, but it’s not usually the “criminal,” it’s usually the result of something else. And this is your opportunity to go in and find out what that is.
As Danielle pointed out, it could be something sexual. Is she honest with you about her sexual needs? Is she generally attracted to women as well as men? Is that something that she needs to be able to have in her life? Is it something you could share together? Or trust her enough to let her explore it on her own in an open-relationship? Or are you someone who is strictly monogamous, and if so, does that mean that what you each need in order to be happy is not something that you can give each other?
It’s not right or wrong. You each get to be who you are and have your needs met, but you need to honestly figure out if you can do that together.
And, of course, they lying does have to stop. That means having a game plan for what to do when and if she’s tempted to “cheat” again. You need to trust that she won’t do it, because together you have agreed on a plan, and on boundaries.
If this relationship can’t make you both happy, you may have to let it go. But that doesn’t mean it has to end badly, you can love and respect each other enough to let go and support each other in finding relationships that fulfill you. And you can take the good stuff into your next relationship, while the “bad” stuff is used to clarify your own boundaries and what you need to communicate about next time.