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When things are less than stellar in your relationship, you may feel tempted to cut things off immediately, or worse, to cheat on your girlfriend. Do you cut your losses and go, give in to the temptation of another, or do you hang in there and hope it gets better? Many of us have been there, says relationship expert and professional matchmaker Susan Trombetti. So, what to do?
First: Drop everything and read this list. We’ve outlined 10 things to consider if you’re tempted to cheat or break up with her. The bottom line is pretty clear and should be to you too: Cheating is never worth it. You know, so you don’t destroy your relationship, ruin your reputation, or become a version of yourself you’re really not fond of. But the good news is that there’s another option outside of these three most obvious ones: Cheat, leave, or deal with it. Trombetti has outlined her tips for saving and repairing your relationship in the slides that follow.
Did You Just Have a Big Fight?
“Too many people walk away when they start to feel like the grass is greener on the other side,” Trombetti says. This speaks volumes about the person who wants to leave. Every couple has their hang ups; but if you constantly think about leaving or threaten to do so every time you have an argument that’s not over a deal-breaking issue, that’s speaking to an insecurity on your part. “Learn to communicate your needs,” Trombetti recommends. Stop running and definitely don’t think getting in bed with another woman is going to solve your issues.
Has Someone Already Cheated?
If she’s cheated before, you might feel the urge to retaliate and hurt her back. It’s so hard to heal the rift cheating creates in a relationship—especially if you’ve aired the dirty laundry to all your friends. They’re more apt to point out this misgiving and have a difficult time supporting your relationship. But if you’re both committed to healing the relationship and you agree that was a onetime offense, she broke off the other relationship entirely, and asked for forgiveness, don’t make a repeat offense, Trombetti advises. Otherwise there may be no turning back.
Why Do You Want to Cheat or Break it Off?
Every relationship is going to feel like it’s a never-ending uphill battle at some point. Figure out if you’re going through a rough patch. “If you’re confident that, deep down, this person is a good person who loves you and makes you feel loved, stick it out for a while,” Trombetti says. So long as the relationship doesn’t have any fatal flaws, be willing to put in the work, she adds.
How Is Your Sex Life?
Have you lost the spark that once drew you to her? “If the partner you used to go crazy for feels more like a friend to you now, look for ways to put the passion back into your relationship,” Trombetti suggests. (Read The Simple Way to Keep Your Sex Life Hot for Life.) “I see too many people leave because their relationship starts to feel like a friendship; you need to shake up the monotony,” she adds. That’s not to say you should date someone even if you never felt an attraction thinking it’ll grow with time. (It might, but it might not.) “I’m saying that if your relationship had passion to start with, it’s still there; you just need to find ways to get more of it in your life,” she explains. Try that before you break it off.
Think of How She’ll Feel and React
Being the girl who got cheated on is miserable. A woman can feel like she’s not good enough or put the blame on herself, which isn’t fair. “Think of how she’ll feel,” Trombetti says. “Can you cope with hurting her; and is it worth your relationship if she finds out and dumps you?”
Do You Have Children?
“If you have children with your girlfriend or wife, you owe it to your family to try to deal with what you might consider a flaw,” Trombetti says. If you’re just feeling flirtatious or tempted by what’s out there, think of the damage this could cause. You might disrupt or destroy the relationship you have with your children. Only when there are serious problems with the foundation of your relationship should you consider leaving (never cheating!).
Is It Worth Your Character and Reputation?
If you cheat and it gets out, you could be labeled as such—even by your close friends. It could just be a one-off mistake. But infidelity can really taint your reputation and color how people perceive your character. You really need to do some self-reflection. “Is this who you really are? Do you want to be known as that guy?” Trombetti says.
Will It Affect Your Job?
Is she a coworker or client? “This type of office behavior is really frowned upon,” Trombetti says—for multiple reasons. It’s a risky decision to begin with because the potential for a breakup is always a possibility, which is bad enough on its own. But the breakup also has the power to destroy relationship dynamics in your office and interfere with your work. Do yourself a favor and make the scenario far less messy: Don’t cheat—especially if your job is at risk.
Can You Take the Heat?
Someone always finds out if a relationship ends because of foul play. She’s obviously going to tell her family and closest friends what happened. So think, Trombetti says: “Can you take the whispering behind your back?”
Should You Just Man Up and End Things?
Cheating takes balls; but it’s not courageous. If you even consider cheating because you’re not happy, “admit your current relationship isn’t what you’re looking for and break up,” says Trombetti. Be known as a stand-up guy, not a coward. She’ll respect your honesty.