My Girlfriend Had an Affair. How Should I Move Forward?

Question

I am in a 10 year relationship with my childhood friend. This includes the last 5 years of long-distance, where we could meet only 1 month in a year. We were extremely loyal, honest, and loving together. Over the past 2 months, she suffered through severe anxiety, depression and in my absence ended up liking a colleague and confessed she cheated and had a secret relationship with him for the last 2 months. I forgave and want to restart, but she confused and can’t make choice. Should I move on?

—Suhas Raju, United States

Answer

Dear Suhas,

I am sorry for both of you. It sounds like she needs some time, and it would probably be best not to pressure her. Who can know what the volatile mix of emotions she must have, but likely she feels guilty on all counts. You didn’t mention it, but the circumstances that prevent you from being together except for, what, “one month in a year:” is that still the case for you both? Perhaps she feels guilty but on the other hand is reluctant to have a long-term, long-distance relationship like that! So while she may need some more time, you perhaps should consider the viability or importance of re-establishing your relationship — if, in fact, that happens.

If she is far away at the present moment, you may be underestimating your own feeling about her having had an affair with another person. Were she with you now, you might be surprised how much of an impact this has on your own ability to “forgive and forget.” At a distance, the thought of forgiveness is just that: a thought. But upfront and close, it may be very different.

So if you are sincere about getting back together, I would offer to you to ask yourself just how sincere are you? Are you willing to move wherever she is? Is she willing to move where you are? I suspect she’s reassessing the relationship on the basis of what has happened. It perhaps has opened her eyes to what she is really seeking even if it isn’t that other man. Thus I suspect you should be doing the same. It may not be just confusion, doubt, or upset that is keeping her from coming back to you.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to deepen your daily sadhana with meditation, devotion, and service. The most wonderful human relationship can never measure up to the love of God. No matter what happens in your relationship, it will only be a passing milestone. Like sleep at night, sooner or later you have to return to your Self, no matter how much drama swirls around you at the present. None of us can change another person. We can only change ourselves. So in your heart, your prayers, your meditations give this issue — your relationship, attachment, your love for her — to God and guru. Divine Mother knows what is best for each of you.

Blessings on you both!
Nayaswami Hriman