If She Cheats, SHOULD YOU Let Her Go

The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch – or several.
The Question
Hi Dating Nerd,
I had a tough conversation recently. My girlfriend admitted she cheated on me one time with an old friend of hers a few months ago. I broke things off immediately, but we kept on discussing it and the complete time she’s been asking me to take her back and present things another shot. She’s adamant she’ll never repeat, but I have no idea what things to believe. What do I really do?
– Cheat Confused
The Answer
Hi CC,
No. Usually do not take her back.
I know that is hard to listen to. Because she should be amazing – or must seem amazing, anyway – if you are considering this question at all. If she was a reasonably attractive, moderately interesting person, this wouldn’t be an issue whatsoever. You’d just tell her to eff off, feel a very mild pain, make some regrettable sexual decisions , and continue living your life.
But this girl is different, for whatever reason. You just don’t want to let her go, even though you feel terrifically humiliated, and your mind is filled with images of how, exactly, you would murder the dude in question (I’d go with suffocation by Silly String). Probably, there’s a peculiar way she smiles at you that makes you forget that being alive was ever difficult. She probably knows the method that you like your coffee and she brings it to you every morning. You have so many little in-jokes and routines you don’t know how you would communicate with anyone else.
And she assures you that she’s still that person – that this was just a one-time thing, a mistake. She swears, sincerely, that she didn’t really want to cheat on you. The deception is temporary. It’s not who she is, deep down. Maybe she used the classic phrase so often deployed in discussions of cheating, which is, “it just happened.”
Unfortunately, that’s not a real thing. That’s not how cheating works In fact, it’s exactly backwards.
The truth about cheating is that we all want to do it, on some level, almost all the time, and we don’t cheat by deciding not to, every single day.
Think about it. How many times, per day, do you mentally sort people into the categories of ‘would touch naked’ and ‘would not touch naked’? It’s probably a high number, unless you’re an asexual living on an iceberg. (Respect to my arctic asexual readership.) Although you may know it’s stupid, you can’t help but wonder whether your neighbor is secretly your dream girl, despite the fact that you’ve never spoken – something concerning the way she styles her hair helps it be look like she’d really, like, understand you, right? Our minds have an extremely annoying method of constantly wondering whether there could be a better deal on the market.
And there are a lot more serious manifestations of the tendency that I’m sure you understand all about, aswell. Like, chances are, you can find between one and three ladies in your life who you merely Don’t GO OUT With. That pretty person you obtain along with slightly too well. Your attractive co-worker who always complains about how exactly there aren’t any interesting single men, immediately after lavishly complimenting your brand-new haircut. Or your ex partner from far back enough that you can’t remember why you ever split up, whose new profile picture enables you to breathe heavily.
Every day, you look into the mirror and you also say, “Today I’m not likely to hook up with some of those individuals.” Congratulations! You’re an excellent guy. Someone should provide you with a prize. You’re really behaving tremendously well. Remember when that co-worker invited you out for beers, and you also hesitated – she just appears like a complete freak in the simplest way – nevertheless, you said no? That has been great! So when that ex started sending you funny Facebook messages late during the night, nevertheless, you shut it down? Bravo.
You avoided danger. You saw that which was coming, and you also said no. Despite the fact that there are days whenever your girlfriend is irritating the hell out of you, you retain it together. You understand that the short-term gratification of random female attention is less rewarding than sharing your world with somebody.
Enjoy it or not, your girlfriend faces exactly the same dilemma. She has exactly the same temptations. That Junior VP in her office with a closet filled with sharp bespoke suits and a beguiling sarcasm? She’s considered that, for certain. She sees hot guys coming and going, and briefly questions her commitment to monogamy But, unlike you, she said “yes” compared to that very tempting train of thought. Regardless of the circumstance was where she met he, she knew she was tempting fate, and she achieved it anyway.
Again, I understand it’s hard to listen to, but it’s simply realistic to state that there have been a million tiny moments of decision between your moment when she kissed you goodbye and she kissed that guy hello. At every step, she knew she was getting closer and nearer to cheating you. And, at each step, she was like, “Yeah, OK, that appears like a reasonable decision.” She was like, “I’m going to wear this sexy outfit when I meet up with this random male friend, just because I like wearing sexy outfits, because that’s totally normal.” She was like, “I thought we were just getting coffee, but, really, what’s the harm in a drink or two.”
Maybe she never thought, “Oh boy, time to cheat on my perfect boyfriend.” She just found this dude’s attention flattering, and she found the whole thing exciting. So she ignored the voice of reason in her head – which was almost certainly there – telling her that this was a bad idea.
You may want to believe that this was her one moment of infidelity. And that’s vaguely possible. But thrill-seeking, unconscientious people tend to remain that way. She’ll see other guys, and feel the intoxication of flattery, and she’ll probably be at least strongly tempted to screw you over again. She’s just a human, unfortunately, and humans tend to change their behavior only when it’s absolutely, totally necessary.
And, by the way, if you don’t let her go, you won’t tell her that it’s absolutely necessary to change her behavior. You’re telling her that if she cries, and says she regrets it, and reminds you of what you shared back when the relationship wasn’t a 30-car pileup, you’ll forgive her. That probably won’t make her change. She might change someday, but unfortunately you can’t control the circumstances that will bring that about.
This is going to be a hard talk. She’ll probably tell you that she still loves you, over and over again, that she loves you more than ever. That may be true. But do you really need that kind of love?

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