I recently caught my girlfriend cheating on me with our neighbor, in our bed. When I walked in on them, I had a slew of mixed emotions: shock, revulsion, anger, sadness, fear of losing her, and—strangely enough—some sort of sick sexual arousal. When they saw me, my neighbor’s face got beet red and he promptly got dressed and bolted out. My girlfriend, on the other hand, looked at me in a bold, defiant, and sexual way. We started arguing and ended up having amazing makeup sex, with her blowing me until I came. Several months later, I am still struggling with mixed emotions—part of me wants to forgive her and move on, and another part of me loathes her for what she did. What should I do? She says that since I had sex with her right after I caught her, I accepted what she did and should forgive her.
Forgiveness is like Rollerblading—it is much harder than it looks. Your heart may genuinely grant her absolution for her transgression, but will your mind forget her writhing in sexual ecstasy? Will you be able to trust her explanations when she returns a few hours later than usual from her job? Will your anger at her betrayal slowly poison whatever desire you have left for her, with resentment seeping into every aspect of your interactions? From the way you describe her reaction to your feelings, I perceive little guilt or remorse. And your having sex with her afterwards is no affirmation of your intention to forgive her. In fact, research shows that the most common male reaction upon discovery of their woman’s infidelity is to have sex with her. So your wanting to reclaim the body someone was stealing from you is quite common. Decide whether you want to be with her because you care deeply for her and because she adds happiness and value to your life. That should be the basis of your decision. Furthermore, before you embark on the long route of forgiveness, warn her that she has to earn back your trust. Do not set yourself up to get hurt again.