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So My Girlfriend Cheated on Me. What do I do Now?

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Every now and then, I get an email saying – “Joel – my girlfriend cheated on me, what should I do?”

As a relationship coach, I will do my best to generically answer this for any of you guys experiencing extremely painful event.

Traditionally, men are the ones who are almost, always peddled as cheaters and liars. Thankfully many women know that’s a blanket statement and not true–in most cases. And in the cases that it proves true, you can bet that there is an equal share of gals who have succumbed to the same temptations.

The research on cheating spouses and extramarital relations is a vast and, honestly, contradictory group of numbers. However, one thing is certain– if you’ve experienced a cheating spouse, you are not alone. The cadre of broken hearts has grown as the marital dynamics change with modernity and life longevity.

Although you shouldn’t feel alone, it’s no less devastating to find out your lover has loved another, regardless of your current level of machismo. It can also bring up worries and frustrations that can end a marriage if those feelings are not dealt with. Most couples find that objective, professional counseling is key in regaining a healthy relationship but for those who have been cheated on, there are initial aspects that worry you most.


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Here are a few of those worries and how to, initially, deal with them. Then we’ll talk about what to do next.

1. Your Reputation

After the shock of finding out or hearing that your wife or girlfriend has cheated, it’s normal for men to feel a loss of pride. This feeling trickles into your worries about others’ perceptions of you–if they were to find out. Unfortunately, this prevents a lot of couples from talking to loved ones and getting the help they need.

How to get over it:

Let’s shoot straight here. You know what? You didn’t marry her for what she brought to your reputation; you married her because you loved her. It was enough in the good times; it should be enough in the bad times. It’s a hard thing to overcome but at the end of the day, your spouse MUST be more important than your reputation (and vice versa). Try to hang onto that notion and focus on the golden rule—would you want her to be forever embarrassed over your indiscretions? Or would you hope she’d love you enough to strongly attempt to overcome them?

2. You’re not good enough

When your significant other cheats, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve somehow lost this contest to another person. You may begin to see yourself with less worth and resort to having a down-and-out attitude.

How to get over it:

First off, cheating is rarely, RARELY about them being more attractive or more successful. So get that OUT of your head. You have an abundance of worth and perhaps this is the time to have a conversation with your significant other about ways you each can improve yourselves in your relationship. Allay the fear of losing at a competition you’ve created in your head and put that energy into working towards a better future for yourself, whether she is in it or not.

3. You’ll never be able to trust her again

In the modern age, trust is extremely rare and valuable, and most often, our spouses are the ones whom we trust implicitly above most others. When you lose trust in this person, it creates a domino effect in your life. Memories become tainted, your sex life can suffer and you generally feel as if you may not have really known her to begin with.

How to get over it:

Make sure your spouse knows that she has lost your trust and that it will take some time for her to gain that trust back. Ask her to be respectful of that and to make you feel secure in your relationship during this time. Additionally, TRY, TRY HARD, to trust again. Sometimes you may not want to, but you must. Not trusting someone you love is harder on you than it is on her. Not trusting can make you sick.

For many men a cheating spouse is the worst fear; now that you have encountered your biggest fear and didn’t keel over, take strength in that. Regardless of what happens in the relationship, your inability to trust due to the actions of someone else will inadvertently rear its head in your other relationships. Don’t give in.

4. Your marriage is tainted

For all the jokes that television and comedians make about marriage, the truth is that many of us have happy marriages. We start to think they might actually be perfect (in a relative sense). When something comes along and pops that perfect bubble, you feel dismayed and alone.

How to get over it:

Truthfully, all marriages suck and no one is perfect. Realizing that is the FIRST step in having a great marriage. The metaphor “no one wants to see how the hot dog is made” is perfect in dating but will never get you anywhere in marriage. Marriage is all about seeing the making of a hotdog (bad metaphor, I agree).

You’re going to see your wife lose her temper, she’s going to see you take a shit on your honeymoon and you’re each going to see each other act like a total loser at an event. Get used to it and let this encourage you to start seeing your marriage in a realistic light; an imperfect light—just like everyone else’s.

5. Your image of her is shattered

Your wife was a foundation for you. She was constant, loveable, funny, honest, etc., the list goes on. Now that you know she has been intimate with someone else and has crossed boundaries you thought she’d never cross, it’s hard to look at her and feel the same feelings you did before. Sometimes this can lead to discussions of divorce, which is incredibly scary for both involved.

How to get over it:

This is a good time to suggest taking a break. Stay at a friend’s in order to clear your mind so you can think clearly about the circumstance and refrain from saying things you’ll regret. Talk to a professional therapist alone and if that goes well, perhaps your wife can join you. Be honest about how your perception of her has changed, but don’t be callous. Explain that the separation is not a punishment for her, but a release for you both at this time. It would be unfair for you to suffer in silence and it would be unfair for her to live under a roof where she can have no chance of redeeming herself in your eyes. The distance can give a great perspective.

6. You’re worried she will see him again

Depending on where she met this individual i.e. work, socially, mutual friends, the threat of it happening again can be debilitating. You’re consumed with what ifs—what if you run into him in public, what if she runs into him alone, what if you have an argument and she runs back to him. It prevents you from living life as yourself.

How to get over it:

If this is someone who was a co-worker, it’s worth it to have her leave the job or find another one (if you can afford that situation). If that’s not an option, figure out a way that both of you can enjoy more time together during the workday. You can drive to work together, meet each other for lunch a couple of times a week, or have specific times to call and ask each other about your day.

Work is sometimes an escape from the stresses of home, which can result in workplace romances, especially when the office is where one spends most of their time. The trick is to try to readjust your marriage into being the escape, not the office.

If it’s someone you might see socially, it might be worth it to have a few date nights in (unless you’re positive you won’t risk running into him). If you’re not comfortable yet, the worst thing you can do is force yourself to deal with a situation with which you are not ready. Another option is to take a cheap weekend trip together; check out a new environment and give yourself time to remember why you fell in love with her.

Additionally, lay ground rules about what you expect from her. You have a right to have a few reasonable demands after infidelity, but live by those rules yourself (it’s not fair I know, especially when you’re angry) but marriage isn’t a game of fairness. It’s all giving.

7. She wants to be with him and not you

If this is happening, then my heart breaks for you. It’s a tough thing to hear. It’s happened to many people and most of them would say that it was the hardest season of their life. But you WILL survive it.

How to get over it:

First, you owe it to yourself to take some time for you. Then, talk to her and ask her if she’s sure this is the right decision (try to be objective). Tell her you love her (if you still do) and that you want to work things out. If she doesn’t, then you really don’t have much of a choice. Try to move on and focus on what can make you happy from here on out. Don’t get into a serious relationship right away, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t try and have some responsible fun.

Rediscover who you are, what you like, and where you want to be. Make the gym a priority, eating well and pumping endorphins will be key in keeping a great chemical balance and feeling positive about your body and mind. When she most likely comes back to you, you’ll need to be emotionally, and cautiously, diligent about knowing what you want and if that includes her any longer.


Sadly, even with diligence, patience, and a fervent desire to, in reference–‘get over it’, many marriages end. If you’ve done what you are capable of doing and the relationship is still faltering, you can’t blame yourself for needing to let go. Marriages sometimes survive in the wake of infidelity and sometimes they don’t.

The bottom line:

Whether you stay together or decide to end things, you can become a stronger couple and a stronger man by going through this harrowing circumstance. And the actions of another person in NO WAY determine the future that you can make for yourself; remember that in ANY circumstance, not just marriage.

It’s not the end-all solution to a happy relationship, but it helps.

If you need more advice on getting over a cheating wife or gf, check out these additional resources:

1: How to Apologize to a Woman Without Appearing Weak (If You Cheated)

2: How to Get Over Someone Cheating

3: Check out this podcast we did on this subject:

If you are ready to move on and meet someone new, we can help you do that.

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We’ll then teach you how to talk to women anywhere anytime.

By the time you’re done, she’ll be begging you to take her back.

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Our evaluations are conducted by a group of specialists based on actual experiences before they are penned down. To learn more read our Editorial Methodology.

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