He Cheated…Now What? The Dos and Don'ts of Dealing with Betrayal

Nothing will right the wrong of your boyfriend cheating on you. Not a stack of classic chick flicks. Not a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Not even a best friend stroking your hair saying, “He didn’t deserve you.” We can’t begin to answer the burning question of whether you should take him back or dump his sorry butt. But, with the help of Dr. Carole Lieberman, author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them, Her Campus brings you the dos and don’ts of dealing with betrayal. Read on to find them out!

DO take time for yourself
Whether he fesses up or not, your guy is likely to hound you with hundreds of flowery comments, seeking your forgiveness. Chances are, if he’s begging for you to take him back, he means them despite his infidelity. That doesn’t mean you need to accept them right then and there, though. Take a day, a week, a month to think about what’s gone down, what you want out of the situation, and how you’re going to make that happen. “You will feel much better if you make yourself take a 'time out' away from him, to do something fun with friends like going camping for the weekend, or to do something soothing for yourself, like having a spa day,” adds Dr. Lieberman. Plus, once you’ve given a little time for the wound to heal, we’re betting you’ll be able to look at the situation a bit more objectively rather than as the spurned and bitter girlfriend.
…but DON’T overthink things.
We fully advocate you taking as much time as you need for yourself. That being said, the longer you draw out that process, the more prone you are to unnecessarily escalating the situation. “The sad trap that women fall into when they find out that their guy cheated on them is to start obsessing about what they did wrong or what they could have done to make their guy not want to cheat. This becomes a never-ending downward spiral of self-doubt. When you do confront him it has to be from a position of strength not desperation,” says Dr. Lieberman. In order to come away stronger from your time apart, be sure to use it productively. Critically assess your relationship, rather than falsifying every detail of the tumultuous affair you assume your guy was having.
Live by it: “I broke up with my boyfriend a few months ago because of cheating. I found out right after winter break, and my first reaction was to tell him to burn in hell and never speak to me again. After a couple of days and I had cooled off, we talked and he convinced me to work things out.Taking some time apart definitely helped. I usually am very rash about things like this, but for once I actually took the time to think. The fact that I only took a few days helped, too. If I had waited longer, I would most likely have over-thought everything to the max.” –Krista, Simmons College

DO get mad…
News flash: he cheated on you and for that you’re allowed to be angry. Instead of bottling up your feelings and frustrations, let him into how you are feeling. “The one thing you don't want to do is to be so scared of losing him that you pretend you're not mad that he cheated,” says Dr. Lieberman. “He may escalate his cheating to greater heights in order to get a rise out of you so that he can prove to himself that you do really care.” We can bet that’s exactly what you don’t want to have happen. Your guy needs to be privy to your feelings, whatever they are.