One of the worst feelings to have in a relationship is the betrayal when you’ve found out you’ve been cheated on. Then comes the paranoia: Why did she cheat? Should I leave him? Who is that calling up her phone? Why is he late getting home? Who is that liking her picture on Facebook? Why did he dress up to go to the gym? Where did she get that bracelet? You can seriously send yourself bat-crap-crazy!!
So what do you do when you’ve been cheated on?
Once the cat is out the bag, the first things you NEED to do is forgive the cheater. Jesus commanded us to forgive and purely with the desire to obey we should forgive… despite anger, bitterness, hurt, resentment and sadness.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
Failure to forgive will make you bitter (Hebrews 12:14-15) and worse, cuts off God’s forgiveness of your own sins.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
Decide if to continue the relationship or call it quits
Ask yourself these questions about the situation:
Has he/she cheated on you (or someone else) before?
If your answer is yes, I wouldn’t stick around. Serial cheating is a clear indication that your significant other neither respects nor loves you as he/she should and has a problem.
Was it intentional cheating?
Someone who sets out to cheat on you is just asking to be dumped… and have their windscreen bashed; Although, as decent Christian folk we should let God deal with them and not go around setting fire to their belongings a la Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale!
Both the serial cheater and the intentional cheater consciously make the decision to cheat. They are self-centred and not Christ-centred and you have no reason to stay with them unless they intend to change. As Maya Angelou once said “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option”.
What if your boyfriend/girlfriend made a genuine mistake?
This is what I like to call opportunistic cheating. The opportunistic cheater displays uncharacteristic selfishness, which is usually a sympton of a deeper problem in the relationship. It’s harder to make a decision in this case. Definitely you should pray about the situation. Do not make any decisions while angry (Psalm 37:8). Listen to God and NOT to your wavering feelings or emotions. Remember feelings change day by day, while the Word of God stays the same.
If you decide to stay, diagnose the cheating behaviour and prevent it
Sometimes it is as easy as talking to your significant other. When I was cheated on, I simply asked him what happened. He said all he wanted to do was talk to someone. In this situation, the diagnosis was communication problems. We had an argument and instead of talking to each other, we talked to other people. He talked to his female friend and unfortunately she fed him emotionally, she gave him what he needed … and more. There were no ill intentions but the opportunity produced itself. Since then I have vowed not to talk to another guy about my man problems unless he is a relative. And I asked my boyfriend to promise me the same.
Finally you have to move on
Moving on is easier said than done. Trust has been broken and has to be repaired. This will take time. Don’t bring up his/her past indiscretions when you have a fight, or constantly hold it over their head to manipulate them. People like to say “forgive and forget”. The truth is you will never erase the event from your mind but you can definitely treat your boyfriend/girlfriend like you did. The Lord promised us that he will forgive us and “remember our sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). And as our best model of behaviour we must try as well to forgive and move on.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)