Did She Cheat On Me?

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

Silhouette of man and woman with their backs to each other

Does Having Sex During A Break Count As Cheating?

Dear Cay,

My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 years except for a 6-month separation during our first year. We plan to get married. Last weekend, we went out with friends and had a lot to drink. Our separation came up and she told our friends and me that she slept with someone else while we were separated. This was the first time I had heard of this. I knew she went out with someone else but I did not know that they had sex. This has made me rethink our entire relationship. If she lied about this, I wonder what else she is lying about. What should I do?


Is Not Telling Something The Same As Lying?

Dear Alan,

I think you and your girlfriend may need the help of a therapist for this. Without knowing more about your situation, it is difficult for me to comment. I don’t know what circumstances under which you separated or reunited. So what I have to say are things to consider at best. First of all, it sounds like you see this as a betrayal even though you technically had no claim on your girlfriend’s fidelity while you were separated. I have to wonder if you have an idealized story in your head about this relationship; one that involves concepts like soul mates, destiny, and happily ever after. Does this liaison your girlfriend had introduce a record skip in the fairy tale? In your mind, what is the difference between privacy and secrecy? What your girlfriend did during the separation was about her private life which you were not part of at the time. You may see it as a secret that she did not tell you. I imagine that she sees it differently. Finally, and I think most importantly, all the experiences your girlfriend has had including the liaison during the separation made this woman into the person you love. Think about that. Did it occur to you that this liaison encouraged her to be with you? Perhaps you need to hear the whole story if your girlfriend is willing to tell you. This is going to be a rough ride, all the more reason to have the support of a good therapist. In order for them to last, relationships ask things of us that we don’t think we possess; strength, transparency, humility, and a lot of grace.


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