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Should You Forgive Your Partner for Cheating with Your Friend? A Debate

Khloé's not the only one who's been in this situation.

After Tristan Thompson allegedly cheated with Jordyn Woods, Kylie Jenner's best friend and a close member of the Kardashian circle, fans were waiting to see if Khloé would break it off with Tristan for good.

She apparently did, according to reports, but the incident conjured up mixed feelings among people who found themselves in similar situations. Many were left asking:

There are reasons to break up (loss of trust and boundary violation), but there are also rationales for continuing the relationship (working through the reason why someone was unfaithful, for example). Here, two women whose significant others cheated with their BFFs sound off on their very different decisions and what led them to their outcomes.

"I Didn't Forgive Either of Them"

Anne*, 25, from Westchester, New York

The Situation: She found out her boyfriend was cheating with her mentor and broke up with him immediately—then said buh-bye to her "friend.

In college, I was a member of the fashion club. One of our big events was putting on a runway show where we were cast as models. I had a mentor in the group, Rachel*, who was an upperclassman and in the sorority I wanted to join. We also happened to live in the same hall so we were basically hanging out daily, eating at the food court together, and working on the fashion show.

At the same time, I was dating this guy, Andrew*. He and I had been together for two and a half years. When we started seeing each other, people told me he was a frat boy womanizer. But I didn't think anything of it. I thought he had changed.

A year into my friendship with Rachel, Andrew went to Florida for a beach weekend with his cousins. He left early in the morning to go the airport, and when I woke up in his apartment, I realized my phone died. I looked in his dresser for a charger and found his old iPhone.

It was dead. But I had started having suspicions that he may be cheating on me. On a few occasions, messages had popped up on his phone from girls asking if he was going out and stuff like that. So yeah, I charged it so I could look at his texts. My hands were shaking because I knew if I saw something confirming my suspicions, our relationship would be over.

As I scrolled through, there were no female contacts in his phone. Zero. Not his sister or his female cousin or a female friend. It made me feel like something was up.

While I was attending her events, trying to be a potential sorority sister, and hanging out with her nearly every day, she was also sleeping with my boyfriend. But! There were old texts with his frat brothers. And, of course, who do you tell your secrets to? Your best friends! So I looked in one group chat and found out he had been hooking up with Rachel on and off for a year and a half. It was nuts. I felt like I got hit by a truck.

While I was attending her events, trying to be a potential sorority sister, and hanging out with her nearly every day, she was also sleeping with my boyfriend. The messages confirmed exact dates they had hooked up—along with names of other girls he was messing around with.

I let him enjoy one day of his trip. Then I called him and asked, “Hey, have you ever cheated on me?” He said, "No never!" So I started name dropping girls and he stuck to his story insisting that people were starting rumors because they wanted us to break up.

I told him when he got back to town, I would tell him who told me. I waited 15 minutes before his plane landed. Then I texted him and said, “You told me because you left your phone with your texts with your bros and every nasty thing you did while we were in a relationship. Have a nice life, asshole."

After two weeks, he came to visit me in my hometown to say he was sorry and that he wanted to be with me. He was like, "You can have the passwords to my phone, my Facebook, my Instagram. The other girls don't mean anything to me.

I texted him and said...Have a nice life asshole.

But it was just too much—ridiculous, actually. I was really sad but my logic was if I took him back, he was going to do it again. I never confronted or called Rachel, though, because my mom always told me to go after the guy, not the woman. Safe to say, she and I aren't friends anymore.

 

"I Forgave Him—But Not Her"


Alexandra*, 23, from Berkeley, California

The Situation: After her boyfriend and best friend were caught sleeping together, she decided to forgive her man and would have done the same for her friend—if she had asked.

My boyfriend Sam* and I had been together for nearly two years, when I found out he cheated. With my friend.

Let me rewind: Three months after I started dating Sam, I met Sarah* in a cafe near campus. When we realized we were in the same major, we became study partners, and I brought her into my friend group. We quickly became super-close and hung out all the time. We were even roommates for one summer. I was there for her through relationship drama and once even went to be with her in the hospital when she had a health scare.

About a year later, I decided to spend a semester in Texas for an internship. Sam and I were focused on making our relationship work long-distance and made an effort to try to see each other as much as we could. But while I was gone, my friend Tori* called me and said that she had walked in on Sam and Sarah having sex on the couch—her boyfriend was Sam's roommate. She was so surprised that she ran into her boyfriend's room to try and figure out what to do. Should she confront them? Call me right away? Pretend she saw nothing? Meanwhile, they kept at it in the other room.

That happened on a Friday and Tori decided to wait and see if Sam or Sarah would fess up on their own. When it became clear they wouldn't, she called to tell me. That was about two weeks after the incident took place.

I then confronted Sam and he told me everything. I told her that if she had come to me and admitted the mistake, I would have been much more forgiving.

To say I was upset would be an understatement. I felt betrayed because not only had my boyfriend been unfaithful, but it was also with someone I considered a friend! I tried to explain how hurt and humiliated I felt. I wanted him to know that it was a very personal betrayal.

I called Sarah on the phone and didn't give her a chance to say anything. I immediately told her I knew what happened and was disgusted she hadn't had the courage to tell me herself. I'm sure there was some harsh language involved. The first thing she said wasn't an apology but an explanation: She told me how alcohol had been involved and that she had always found Sam attractive. Then she admitted that she knew what had happened was wrong but was scared to tell me because she didn't want to lose our friendship.

I told her that if she had come to me and admitted the mistake, I would have been much more forgiving.

After about four months we got to a better place. He cut back on his drinking and started doing really nice things.

Sam continued to beg me to take him back—literally on his hands and knees. He blamed the cheating on drinking too much and the pressure of being in a long-distance relationship. He was just lonely and missing his girlfriend and had done something dumb. I was still really in love with him, so decided to give him another chance.

It was hard to trust him. I was constantly checking his location on the app Find My Friends, and if he was going out, I would always want to know where he was going, who he was going with, and when he would be home. I felt like I was going crazy. But after about four months, we got to a better place. He cut back on his drinking and started doing really nice things, like planning picnics and date nights and spending time with my family.

About a year after The Incident, Sam and I broke up for good. We've spoken a little since, but nothing more than pleasantries. I don't regret trying to make it work. I wanted to give the relationship the best chance that I could.

*Names have been changed to protect the subjects' identities.

Jessica Goodman Senior Editor Jessica Goodman is a senior editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers personal finance, politics, career advancement, lifestyle, and dating.