My girlfriend and I met on Facebook and began our relationship about a year ago…. Three months in… her teacher… asked her to have sex with him, and she did. I forgave her, but it hasn’t been the same. Ever since then, all we do is argue.

A week ago she told my family all about it. They… told me she is not good for me, and that I should be wise. I love her as I have never loved before, and I have been crying about it…. I’d like your advice: should I forgive her and pick up where we left off, or is it better to break up with her for good?

Dear Friend,

It is good that you have asked for advice. Your family is giving you their opinions, but many times young people distrust the counsel of their family because it seems that the family doesn’t have all the facts. You may feel that your family isn’t giving your girlfriend a fair chance, and that they don’t understand her. And you may feel protective of her, and want to defend her to others. This would be normal, because you love her.

You ask if you should forgive her and keep going out with her, or if you should break up with her for good. Your question implies that if you forgive her, you will also keep going out with her, and that if you don’t forgive her, you will break up with her. But there is another option.

It is good to understand that forgiveness is always good. Jesus Christ said that we should not just forgive someone seven times, but in multiples of seven, implying that we should be willing to forgive an unlimited number of times.(1) Forgiving is good for you, for it removes the bitterness and resentment from your heart. Refusing to forgive, on the other hand, can cause physical and mental illness. So, yes, you should forgive her.

However, forgiving does not mean that you should ignore what your girlfriend did and act as if it never happened. The opposite is quite true: you should use past behavior as a predictor of probable future behavior. Of course, there are exceptions. People can change, especially with God’s help and forgiveness. But you have given no indication that your girlfriend has truly changed. Only time will tell.

The most important aspect of what she did is what it reveals about her character. Did she have sex with her teacher in order to get a better grade? That would show that she is dishonest. Was it because she is attracted to older men? That would mean that she has something in her past that is unresolved regarding the men in her life. Did she do it because she thinks that having sex is no big deal? In that case, there is a low probability that she will be faithful in the future.

Your family wants the same thing for you that we wish for you: a girl who has the character to be honest and faithful, who has high moral values and follows God’s laws, and who has resolved to abstain from sex until her wedding night. Does your girlfriend fit that description?

We wish you the best,

1 Mt 18:22