Your noticed that your boyfriend has been liking another girl’s page on Instagram. You confront him and he denies it and tells you that nothing is going on. Then you see pictures of the two of them on that girl’s Facebook page. Sound familiar? Whether you initially suspected that your boyfriend has cheated or stumbled upon the evidence, you now know that he has been unfaithful. You are devastated.
The confrontation was undoubtedly painful and likely spawned a whole host of unexpected behaviors and reactions. As you begin to get in touch with your anger about the lies, humiliation that your others know, feelings of insecurity and rejection, you also decide that you don’t want this relationship to end. As a result, you may need some advice on how to get through this betrayal as a couple and rebuild trust again.
According to Relationup, here are five guidelines to give your relationship the best chance of survival and help you both heal:
1. Your boyfriend needs to come clean. It all starts with communication, so he needs to ‘fess up, and give you the facts and answer any questions you have — all of them. It’s time for him to stop the lies and minimizations and be rigorously honest — with you and himself. Worried that the truth will hurt too much and you will find out things that are too painful? There’s a strong possibility. However, the greatest chance you have to save this relationship is if it gets rebuilt on a foundation of trust. The truth and details will be hard for you to hear but getting it all out on the table is the healthiest thing for you both. Ask him to respect you enough to let you decide what and how much you want to hear.
2. Ask him to cut off all ties with any other people, social media or services. He needs to delete secret e-mails and social media accounts related to his deceitful behavior. If there were other women, he needs to e-mail or text them goodbye. Tell them that he is recommitting himself to your relationship and is ending all others. It is reasonable for you to see the texts or emails or for him to show you that he has blocked numbers and unfollowed users on social media. As hard as it is, he may also need to terminate some friendships with people who either lied to you or helped him engage in or cover up his deceitful behavior.
3. You both need to get yourself tested for all STDs. It may be hard to accept, but it’s possible that he unknowingly contracted a sexually transmitted disease. He has lied to you before, so don’t believe his reassurance that was safe. You need to know that you are physically healthy and free from diseases.
4. He needs to give you time to recover from your pain. Betrayal is painful and he needs to be open to hearing about your pain.You may need to vent often and revisit questions over and over again and he needs to be patient and supportive and not try and rush you to “get over it already.”
5. Get support for yourself. It’s difficult to share this often embarrassing and humiliating information with even your best friends and family. You worry that they won’t like him ever again and that they will judge you for wanting to stay in the relationship. Find some good friends clergy, support groups, professionals that can help you manage your feelings and offer support. You’ll experience a range of emotions and will have a lot of questions about how to move forward. So reach out to others for their advice and guidance, as you and your boyfriend try to rebuild your future together.
Written by Rhonda Milrad, LCSW
Founder and Chief Relationship Advisor