Ask FHM is a corner of the Internet where we fan the flames of your burning questions. Here, we dish out some tough love and an honest take on whatever potentially life-changing situation you find yourself in (while silently thanking God we aren’t you right now). Ask us anything. Except for money, and if open-minded ba kami.
Vol. 1: My girlfriend is cheating on me. What now?
Hey, FHM. I caught my (at least I thought was) serious girlfriend of a couple of years cheating on me. Her well-meaning (I guess?) friends told me she’d been chatting with some dude she met at a work event for a while now, and things got pretty racy—I saw screenshots. They took things further IRL and from what I’ve deduced, they’ve slept together once or twice while I was out of town. She doesn’t know I know yet. How do I confront her? This relationship is pretty much screwed, right?
First off, yes—your relationship has officially crashed and burned. There’s really no saving a relationship tainted by infidelity (and any friend who’s been in the same situation who tells you otherwise is lying—probably to help him sleep better at night). It sucks, super. There you are, pulling your weight, keeping up your end of the bargain in this whole committed-relationship thing, and she goes and what? Screws some other guy!
You’re probably thinking, why? Why would she do that? Short answer would be, who the hell knows? People are complex, and they constantly do shit that surprise even themselves. You think you have someone all figured out, especially someone you know so intimately, and they can still pull a fast one and act completely out of character (at least, the character you’ve invested so much time and energy getting to know).
Of course you’re obsessing over this, because it helps you avoid the deeper, more emotional question—How? How could she do this to me, to us?—because you’d rather dabble in flabbergasted confusion bordering on anger than pure, unadulterated pain. But we’ll get to that in a moment. First order of business?
Forget the motive. Why she cheated is irrelevant. Because any maddening answer she gives you, your bruised ego will simply translate to you not having enough time, money, sexual prowess, ambition, discipline, or any combination thereof. And before you know it, you think it’s your fault. Her cheating becomes a consequence of something you did wrong. And how fucked up is that?
Reality check: her cheating is her fault, her problem, and the consequence of her own issues—and don’t let her tell you otherwise. Now listen carefully, because how well you internalize this will determine your next move. Her cheating on you is not about you. You can be damn well sure she wasn’t thinking of you when she was flirting with that random dude. And you were the last thing on her mind when she was bumping uglies with him, too. If her cheating on you is indeed a reaction to something you said or did, it’s still her fault—she’s a grown-ass woman who made her own bed (and decided to let some other guy into it).
So if her cheating wasn’t about you, and isn’t your fault, why should you grovel and cry and snivel at her feet? Why would you rail at her, shaking your indignant fist at how she wronged you and ruined what would have been a perfect relationship? And why would you have to go after that other dude, in a display of anger-fueled machismo, when he technically has no fault and owes you nothing?
You will be tempted to do one, or all, of these things. Especially after drowning in drink. Three buckets in, your friends will have to wrestle your phone away from you, because you’re going to drunk-dial her and either beg for forgiveness or call her names that will make your mother slap you right into the middle of next week.
But don’t. We appeal to your higher self not to give in to these base instincts, because again—she’s the reprehensible human being, and soon, you’ll realize you’re better off without her. But yes, you’re quite a way from that light bulb moment, and you have to work at getting to that point. Right now, you’re stuck firmly on wounded-animal mode, and you have to focus on getting out of shit show of a relationship.
Our suspicion? A cheating girlfriend is secretly enamored by two things: drama, and getting what she wants. The best thing to do, then, is deprive her of both. Don’t draw out the breakup. Compose yourself, and end it as swiftly as a well-sharpened guillotine dropping on some disgraced royal’s head. If she gives you crap about doing it to get your attention (a-ha! Our suspicion, confirmed!), or does the whole I-made-a-mistake-let’s-work-through-this shtick, don’t give in! That’s giving her what she wants, and she doesn’t deserve it.
Remember: This is the woman who said she loved you but she turned around and did the ONE thing you don’t do to people you love. Her integrity is basically as nonexistent as Xander Ford’s talent. And her kapal ng mukha, even more than his.
Turn your back and walk away. Lick your wounds and regroup in private—trust a small circle of friends to get you through that sticky, beer-soaked period of mourning. Do NOT use social media as a weapon to show her how well you’re doing—it’s cheap, and you’re a better man than that. The question here isn’t about what you do to or about a cheating girlfriend. She should be dead to you the moment you confirm her actions. She’s the problem, so you can be sure she holds no solutions for you.
The proper question here, then, is not about confronting her, but about confronting yourself. You’re staring down a potential abyss of self-doubt, anger, even a lifetime of heart-hardening pain. And while it’s completely human to dip a toe in and wallow for a tiny bit, have enough stock in yourself as a man to straighten up and recover with aplomb. Do whatever it takes—hit the gym, learn a hobby, hang out with friends, all clichés apply here—as long as you do it for yourself.
Forget (and eventually forgive) her cheating ass. She can kiss yours.
Illustration Borg Sinaban