Your whole world just shattered when you found out your boyfriend committed the ultimate betrayal — he cheated on you. It’s a lot to take in, that’s for sure, but after the initial shock, now what are you supposed to do?

Remove yourself from the situation.

You need some time away from your partner. You’re feeling hurt and betrayed, and the last thing you need is to hear him piling on apologies. What you do need is time to think and to cope with what happened.

Demand an explanation.

There was a reason he did what he did, so hear him out. You’ll always regret it if you don’t ask. No matter what he says, remember that it’s not your fault. It was a decision he made and he’s solely responsible for that mistake. Of course, you can’t always rely on him to tell you the truth, so you may need to take what he says with a grain of salt.

Ask about her.

Who was it? You need to put a name to the culprit. Once you do, ask your boyfriend if he can remove her from his life. You don’t need her memory present and forever laying doom over your relationship. Of course, you’ll also need to be prepared for the answer being something you really don’t want to hear. What if it’s someone you know?

Decide what to do.

Can you forgive him? Can you forget what he did? Do you still want to be with him? These are important questions that you can’t let linger on or your relationship will be at a standstill.

Don’t tell everyone.

The second he’s labeled as a cheater, that’s all your friends and family will see. You don’t have to go through this alone, but you don’t need to scream your pain from the rooftops either (unless you want to, which you have every right to do). If you’re strill trying to figure out what you want to do and how you feel, keeping it to yourself for a while might be the best course of action.

Lean on your other loved ones.

Since the trust is broken with your boyfriend, you need someone else to have your back. Confide in a friend or a close family member, someone you’re comfortable enough with to discuss your inner pain. You don’t need them to tell you what to do. You just need someone who’ll be there while you think through it.

Forgive the other woman.

Remember that in the end, she’s not the one that deserves the blame, your boyfriend does. Hating her might feel good for a little while, but it takes two to tango. She didn’t trick your man into bed. He’s responsible for his own actions, and in the end, he should have respected you enough to say no.

Move on.

If you’re staying together, then you’ll never be able to move forward in the relationship if you can’t forgive him. If you choose to end the relationship, then forgiveness keeps you from brewing hatred and growing bitter. It’s time to move on from the incident, so take the necessary steps to get there. It may take a while, but you’ll get there.

What to remember when he cheated on you

When your partner is unfaithful, it can leave you feeling worthless and rejected. However, here’s what you need to keep in mind when this happens to you.

It’s really not your fault.

It’s so common in situations like this to blame ourselves for our partner’s actions. The truth is that he cheated on you. How on earth could that ever be your fault? You didn’t undress him and push him into bed with another woman. Don’t take responsiblity or blame for his actions and let him off the hook so easily.

It’s probably not even about you.

Chances are, he cheated on you for a variety of reasons that literally had nothing to do with you. He was horny, he was drunk, he wasn’t thinking straight, he was upset about something and she was there to comfort him, the list goes on and on. The sad truth is that he likely wasn’t even thinking of you when it happened. That’s not comforting, I know, but it should be because it proves yet again that it had nothing to do with you.

There’s no excuse for what he did.

No matter how he tries to justify it, there’s no excuse for the fact that he cheated on you. There’s no explanation he could possibly have for betraying you in that way that makes it okay or understandable. You’re not wrong for finding his behavior unacceptable.

You’re worthy of someone who’s faithful.

In a good relationship, you can feel confident in the trust you have for your partner. You don’t have to worry that they’re going to cheat on you because you know they care too much about you to ever hurt you in that way. That’s not what you have in this relationship, clearly, but it is what you deserve.

You don’t have to forgive him.

After he cheated on you, it’s up to you how you react to that. Even if he gets down on his knees and begs you to forgive him and swears he’ll never do it again, you don’t have to accept his apology and you don’t have to forgive him. There’s no requirement for you to do that, so allow yourself to feel however it is you feel.

You don’t have to stay.

If you find that you can’t forgive him for cheating and you don’t believe you’ll ever be able to trust him again, you don’t have to stay. You’re well within your rights to end the relationship and walk away. You owe that much to yourself.

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