Cheating is the ultimate betrayal in a relationship, and it's one of the most common reasons couples break up. However, if you're in love or have been together for a long time, you may feel inclined to forgive your boyfriend for their infidelity, especially if it was a one time incident. But, before you forgive your boyfriend for cheating, you should ask yourself these nine questions.

1. His cheating — a one-off or an emerging pattern?

If your boyfriend cheated on you only one time, and it was honestly a mistake, then you might feel inclined to forgive him. But if he has cheated on you more than once, then it's a pattern, and your boyfriend will most likely continue to cheat in the future. You should consider walking away from the relationship.

If your boyfriend promises to change his ways, then he'll most likely need professional help to get to the root of his infidelities. Even if your boyfriend is willing to seek out professional help, you should still consider ending the relationship. This is because trust has already been broken, and that is the most essential element in a relationship.

2. Did he 'fess up, or did you bust him?

If your boyfriend admitted to cheating, then this may indicate he feels guilt and remorse. This might also indicate that the relationship is salvageable, depending on the circumstances. Another thing to think about is the reason why your boyfriend chose to confess to cheating. Perhaps he was afraid of getting caught, or maybe the girl he was cheating with threatened to reveal everything. Ideally, your boyfriend should admit to cheating because he is genuinely sorry, and he wants to repair the relationship.

However, if you discovered he was cheating, and confronted him, then this is a bad sign. It signals that your boyfriend doesn't feel guilty about the cheating, and he would've continued it behind your back. If this is the case, you should end the relationship immediately.

3. What made him stray?

Ask your boyfriend the reasons behind why he cheated on you. This will be a good marker of whether or not your relationship can be saved. Did your boyfriend cheat on you because he feels dissatisfied in the relationship? Did he cheat on you because he fell in love with someone else? Did he cheat on you because he was under the influence one night and made a mistake? Discussing the reasons why your boyfriend cheated on you can shed light on the situation. If your boyfriend states he cheated on you because he feels dissatisfied in the relationship or has fallen in love with someone else, you should end it. But if he was drunk one night and kissed a girl, then there is a chance the relationship can be saved.

4. Did he just kiss her, or did he do more?

This is a huge question to ask yourself when deciding to forgive your cheating boyfriend. Did your boyfriend kiss another girl? Or did he have sex with someone else? If your boyfriend simply kissed another woman one night, this isn't as bad as having sex with someone else, especially if it was a one-time incident. You might have your own definitions of cheating, too -- kissing may not be a huge deal to you. Before deciding to end the relationship, discuss what kind of cheating happened.

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5. Will he cheat again?

Since trust has already been broken within the relationship, you should ask yourself what you'd do if you discovered your boyfriend cheated on you again. How will your boyfriend assure you that he won't cheat again? How will you be able to trust him? You should have a frank discussion with your boyfriend on measures he plans to take to rebuild trust. Is he willing to go to couples counseling, for instance? Is your boyfriend willing to be more open and communicative? How will you handle the relationship is you find out he has cheated again on you?

6. How's our relationship otherwise?

Oftentimes difficulties within a relationship can prompt cheating. How was your relationship when the cheating happened? Were you fighting a lot with your boyfriend at the time? How was the sex? Did you notice physical distance between the two of you? If your relationship was rocky at the time your boyfriend cheated on you, then you might need to reevaluate the relationship altogether. If your relationship was already rocky, then discovering someone has cheated on you will make it even worse. However, if your relationship was solid at the time the cheating happened, and it was genuinely a simple mistake on your boyfriend's end, then the relationship might be salvageable. You can either take your boyfriend's cheating as a signal to try to make your relationship better or stronger, or it might indicate you need to end it for good.

7. Can I forgive him completely?

One of the biggest questions to ask yourself is, if you choose to forgive your partner for cheating on you, can things go back to as they were? How will you be able to trust him again? How will you work through your own insecurities? If you feel as though you'll always be mistrustful of your boyfriend from now on, and hold a grudge or bring the cheating up in fights, then you should probably end the relationship for good. Relationships are built on trust, and if you feel as though that can't be reestablished, then it's a waste of time.

8. What were the circumstances of his cheating?

There are so many incidences in which cheating can occur -- it can be something as simple as a drunken kiss in a bar or something more complex, such as an affair that lasts several months. If your cheating boyfriend was emotionally involved with someone else, i.e. an affair, then you should probably throw in the towel on your relationship. You should find out if your boyfriend is emotionally invested with the girl he cheated on you with -- this means your relationship is completely over.

9. Who's to blame — you or him?

Discovering your boyfriend has cheated on you can completely destroy your self-esteem. You might ask yourself if you're attractive enough to be with your boyfriend. Or you might question your skills in the bedroom. You might be inclined to analyze all the negatives in your relationship and beat yourself up about it. Is your boyfriend also blaming you for his actions? If your boyfriend tries to blame you for his cheating, then you know your relationship is over. This signals your boyfriend lacks guilt and accountability for his actions. It also signals he doesn't care about your emotional well-being. But, if your boyfriend tries to comfort you, and insists you shouldn't blame yourself, then there is a possibility the relationship can be saved.

His cheatin' heart

Although none of the above questions can give you the answer of what to do regarding your relationship, if you reflect on each answer carefully, then you might be able to decide if your relationship is worth saving. Ultimately, though, it's incredibly difficult for couples to bounce back after cheating has happened. This is because trust has been destroyed. Additionally, if your boyfriend has cheated on other past girlfriends, this indicates he has personal issues, and isn't ideal for a monogamous relationship.

References

  1. "9 Non-Negotiables You’ll Need to Forgive an Affair," HuffPost, October 3, 2014.
  2. "18 Things To Ask Yourself Before Getting Back Together with Your Ex," Bolde, July 27, 2017.
  3. "The Five Questions That Tell You if It's Worth Forgiving a Cheating Partner (and a Five Step Recovery Plan if the Answer Is Yes!)," The Daily Mail, February 26, 2014.
  4. "The Secret Shame of Infidelity: What Happens When You Stay," Glamour, November 13, 2015.

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