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Thread: Surviving Infidelity - Thoughts?

  1. #1
    TurtleDove12
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    Surviving Infidelity - Thoughts?

    I've been with someone for over 2.5 years now. We have been and are very much in love, we were even engaged at one point, but that was called off due to>>We had several months of complete no contact a few months ago because she cheated on me.

    So we separated for several months. I took care of some things in my life, felt good about myself, and was (still am) generally TCB.

    I've come to the conclusion that my girlfriend can only hurt me as much as I let her. So I am finding it difficult to be really close to her. Intimacy is difficult, and I certainly am jealous/dismayed/disgusted when thoughts of her and others, and of the cheating pop into my head.

    I don't know if she'll cheat again...not really worried about that, as if she does, it will say so much more about her than it would ever say about me.

    I do get troubled by the thoughts/images I mentioned though. I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker...and it doesn't happen all the time, but it can be tough to tolerate sometimes, and I become emotionally distant and upset.

    Anyone have any advice on the subject matter? I will be seeing a therapist, and I informed my girlfriend of some of these things so the communication is open.

    Just not sure what to do. I mean, this was all fairly recent...so would those thoughts images get better over time? Or? Can a relationship survive infidelity?

    What can I do?

  2. #2
    Matt_P
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    Well, i was the one who cheated in my relationship. We tried to repair it for several months but it ended because of a lot of trust issues and she couldn't get over how much I'd hurt her. As a cheater, i can say the guilt and upset from it will never make me cheat again. I just can't bear the thought of going through it again. I don't know if your ex feels like this, if you've not spoken for that long then she'll have had a lot of time to think about what she's done. The thing is, you have to think about this: if she cheated, was she truly happy in your relationship? If she wasn't, do you want to be with someone who wasn't happy.

    Because of my situation, I'd love the idea of you getting back with her. But I've accepted that my ex will never come back because she didn't deserve what i did to her. She deserves someone who hasn't done that so she can be comfortable and happy. Maybe you do too?

  3. Thanks western, youareworthy thanked for this post
  4. #3
    Matt_P
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    Well, i was the one who cheated in my relationship. We tried to repair it for several months but it ended because of a lot of trust issues and she couldn't get over how much I'd hurt her. As a cheater, i can say the guilt and upset from it will never make me cheat again. I just can't bear the thought of going through it again. I don't know if your ex feels like this, if you've not spoken for that long then she'll have had a lot of time to think about what she's done. The thing is, you have to think about this: if she cheated, was she truly happy in your relationship? If she wasn't, do you want to be with someone who wasn't happy.

    Because of my situation, I'd love the idea of you getting back with her. But I've accepted that my ex will never come back because she didn't deserve what i did to her. She deserves someone who hasn't done that so she can be comfortable and happy. Maybe you do too?

  5. #4
    Cheetarah
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    Hi Turtle! Glad to see you around(barring the circumstances, anyway)

    I've been in the position where I've been the cheater and been cheater on, and both times we attempted a reconciliation.

    As far as how I personally dealt with it - I really didn't. While the anger faded and I felt I forgave him, the trust was something I had an incredibly difficult time regaining. He did go above and beyond to try to prove to me that nothing was up, but since that's how he was before when he cheated, I could never really believe it. It's take monstrous efforts on both ends.

    And the man I cheated on, it pretty much went the same way.

    Trust as you know it, will never be the same. Can it be rebuilt, yes. But it will always be different from what you had prior to the infidelity. Those what ifs, the images, they will be there. They're here for awhile. So strive not to get back what you had, it won't happen, but to find a peace with things as they are, currently...Living in the moment...(so hard).

    Unfortunately I don't have a success story for you.

    I was talking to my therapist yesterday, she brought up this marital theory...I can't remember the specifics, but basically it was about how partners stonewall and it throws the other partner into a tizzy. But that they monitored the stonewalling partner, and even though it appears on the surface that they are feeling next to nothing, indeed physiologically there was a LOT going on. It's a comforting thing for me to know having dealt with that kind of thing. Anyways, if you are closing yourself off in those moments, it might do more damage to your relationship and the trust. So it's good that you've been open about these things as stonewalling can be terribly misread.

    I think your therapist can help you guys with communication techniques(she should really be seeing someone, as well, ideally together - This is something you guys have to work on TOGETHER - It is not just your problem, the feelings you're left with).

  6. #5
    OptomisticGirl
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    I had those thoughts when my ex cheated. honestly, it was the thing that kept me from trusting him again 100%. I stayed with him 3 years after he cheated on me (twice) and those thoughts never left me. I think as long as you don't trust someone, you will continue to have them. It's natural for you to have them. But at the same time if you want things to work with her you have to work on getting past those thoughts.

  7. #6
    Eire1
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    I'm sorry you're having to go through this. My wife and I have been through it ourselves. She cheated on me when we were dating (after about three years together). It was the most devastating thing I'd experienced at the time, because along with the discovery came sort of an awakening -- a feeling that my love for her which I believed was shared, was more one-sided than I had ever imagined.

    The affair had lasted about a year. Like you, we separated, and she swore she loved me and was determined to win my trust back. We stayed separated for about 6-9 months. I think the separation really helped. She vowed she would not see anyone, and I could take as long as I needed -- that she'd wait. She called me a lot, and she cried a lot, and I knew she was suffering herself for what she did.

    We began to date again as friends, and took things really slowly. Eventually, that evolved back into a relationship. We moved in together, got married, and have been together now many many years. Yes, I was paranoid for a long stretch afterwards -- anytime she worked late, or when I suspected she was hiding something.

    You do get past those feelings eventually. In some ways the experience made us stronger, and in some ways I unfortunately allowed it to kill my confidence at the time -- sexually speaking. That shattering of my confidence probably would have occurred whether we'd gotten back together or not, because it resulted from the affair itself and things I'd read in a letter she wrote to him way back then.

    She and I are definitely soul mates, and I know she loves me as much as I love her. Relationships are complicated, and we all make mistakes. No one you ever meet will be perfect. I don't like to pigeonhole people based on having made a mistake -- as huge as it is -- if they deeply regret it.

    I think the key for whether a relationship can survive infidelity is mostly about the cheating partner's behavior after the fact.

    Do you feel she's truly sorry for what she did, or just sorry she got caught? Do you feel like she truly loves you, or do you just represent the best option she has at the moment? Do you feel like she is, generally speaking, a trust-worthy person who royally messed up, or is she more often than not a dishonest person, and likely to repeat this kind of behavior? Did she cheat on any of her past boyfriends? Does she lie a lot? Is she deeply concerned about your emotional state from her affair, or is she mostly dwelling in her own misery for having been caught and embarrassed that others now know about it? Is she willing to open up and discuss exactly what happened, why she did what she did, and why it would be any different in the future?

    Just some questions to kick around. But, again, you CAN get over this if your relationship is worth saving. Many married couples choose to work through infidelities these days as opposed to just splitting and starting over. But only you know whether your relationship is worth the long haul effort it will take to save it. Perhaps couples therapy might be a good idea if you decide to go that route.

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  9. #7
    Heather Evans
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    I am going through a similar situation and I have a lot of the same thoughts! He was cheating on me while I was pregnant with numerous women. This wasn't the first time he was dishonest either. He disappeard for 6 months after my daughter was born then came back begging. Swearing that he would prove his commitment to me in any way possible. He really seems like he has changed but I cannot bring myself to be intimate, have the same feelings or even been comfortable. It is so difficult to get those thoughts out of my head and feel relaxed again. Good Luck to you, I know how hard it is.

  10. #8
    t1lersm0m1
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    I think couples can overcome cheating, but it is very difficult. The cheater must acknowledge what it was that caused them to cheat and be willing to work on that and make every attempt to never cheat again. But the person cheated on, if they want to work at it, must be truly able to forgive the cheater. It's great that you want to forgive, but wanting to forgive and forget is completely different from actually accomplishing that goal.

    You say that your girlfriend can only hurt you as much as you let her, and you are finding it hard to become close. That's because you are putting a wall between you in an attempt to protect yourself. It's natural, but will not help the relationship.

    Any relationship we enter, whether it's romantic, friendship, etc, opens us up to the possibility of being hurt. We have to be open to the possibility of love and hurt. I find that most people are generally good. If I tell myself that men are slime, then I will find slime. I believe in the goodness of people. I also know that I can be hurt by people, but I don't let that fear of being hurt dictate my actions. I know that I am strong enough to survive that hurt if/when it happens.

    If you are having a hard time forgiving, then it could be that you WANT to believe cheating is not necessarily a deal breaker, but for you, your heart may be telling you it is.

  11. #9
    western
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    Do not get married. Not yet, stretch it out.
    NC with the other guy
    She does the heavy lifting
    Keep tabs for a while
    find out if she was being good during the seperation
    Rely on friends advice if need be

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