I am a thirty‑four‑year‑old man with a girlfriend. Things have not gone well for her. She was married to her first husband for only one year because he was unfaithful to her. Then she met another guy she fell in love with, but he was unfaithful to her as well.

She has been very hurt by all this, and the problem is that she takes out on me the resentment she feels toward men in general. At times I despair because she can’t decide whether to get married and she’s constantly in a bad mood. At times I think I want to leave her and end everything. I don’t know what to do.

Dear Friend,

The betrayal of those two men has hurt not only your girlfriend, but now you as well. Some men (and even some women) think that being unfaithful is an inevitable and even justified part of life. But you have learned that infidelity causes long‑lasting pain and emotional repercussions that do not easily go away. This is why we hear from people every week who are suffering as the result of betrayal by someone they loved.

Although it was not those two men’s intention, they taught your girlfriend a lesson. The lesson is, “Men cannot be trusted.” We don’t know how long you have been in this relationship, but it has obviously not been long enough for her to reexamine and question the lesson that she learned. If you love her enough, you will give her more time before thinking of marriage. She needs time to get to know you well enough to see that you can be trusted. Once she trusts you, it will teach her a new lesson, which is, “There are some men who can be trusted.”

We believe that your girlfriend could benefit greatly from seeing a professional counselor, or from joining a therapy group of people who have been the victims of infidelity. Counseling is all about identifying false assumptions (based on experiences and the lessons learned) and formulating new assumptions based on reality. The counseling process would help your girlfriend challenge the incorrect assumption that no man can be trusted.

God knew how much infidelity hurts and scars its victims, which is why He gave the commandment forbidding adultery. Some people would like to think that God gave this commandment (along with the others) to take away our freedom and our ability to have fun. Those people think of God as a harsh judge who takes pleasure in demanding a boring lifestyle and giving out punishments for every infraction of His rules. But the truth is that God’s laws are all designed to protect us from harm and pain. God knew that infidelity would hurt His children, and He wanted to help us avoid that pain.

We cannot advise you whether or not you should eventually marry your girlfriend. Nor can we advise you now regarding whether it is worth the wait. Those are questions you yourself will have to answer. However, in either case we encourage you to be the kind of man who can be trusted.

Ask God for wisdom, and He will help you,

Linda and Charles