First time posting here. Before we start, I know that what Im about to describe was completely wrong, I know I was selfish, I was stupid, and every other bad thing you want to call me. That being said I would appreciate for honest opinions and advices. You may feel the need to insult me, but believe me I have told myself every insult in the planet, I know I did wrong.
This is my story. I have been a cheater and a situational liar. My last long relationship (before the one I want to discuss) was with someone whom I didn't love, and instead of leaving the relationship like a good person should do I stayed because I thought that the person with whom I was with deserved happiness and since she was good to me and was there for me in hard times of my life I convinced myself that I should stayed with her even though I didn't love her. But then I met someone and fell in love.
I met this new woman who completely changed me, I fell in love like Ive never felt before. I did what people always say people like me don't do: I confronted my actual partner, told her what had happened broke it off with her and then after some time I pursued this thing with the new person. I felt alive again, I felt like I had gotten a second chance at life and for the first time in a long time I was genuinely happy.
My new partner (lets call her Maria), knew about my past and was skeptical of starting a serious relationship with me. But I stood there and showed her that there was no reason to doubt me, that even though I made those mistakes in the past, I knew that this time was different because I loved her. I wasn't/aren't proud of what I had done but I knew I had to move on and try to be the best person. After some time, Maria gave me a chance and we started a serious relationship and every day I worked towards being better, but I have to admit that I felt very afraid of losing Maria, to the point that even though I wouldn't lie when she asked me about my past, I would try to put the truth in a nicer way because it affected me too much what she thought of me. But she always told me that she was sort of obsessed with the truth, that no matter what happened, to always tell her the truth, and I agreed.
After 2 years of being with Maria and 1 year living together we started to have some relationship issues, things outside of us were affecting us (work, family, money) and sadly during that time Maria had to leave for work and would stayed abroad for a few months. When she left things were rocky, but we promised to make things work. Before Maria had left I started a new job in which my co-workers were younger (I am 40 and my coworkers are usually 22-23). So every now and then I would go out with my coworkers (Marie knew this) and I have to say I felt old. I was never an outcast growing up, and for some reason being with this group of young people made me feel out of place and with Maria not being here with me this started to affect me more than it should have. So i fell for the stupid and childish crap of wanting to impress this people (stupid stupid stupid) and did things I a ashamed of.
I wasn't intimate with anyone, but I flirted with females, exchange numbers and I knew I never had the intention of doing anything with them I wanted to "prove" that I wasn't old and out of "the game". YES, I AM AWARE AT HOW STUPID THIS WAS. Apart from that I visited a few strip clubs, to show how "cool" I was but thats about it At one point I almost took it to a next level but i decided against it. After a month, Maria came home for the weekend and she saw in my phone a conversation with a woman, where I was flirting she obviously questioned me and I lied and lied and lied, after some time Maria sort of found out about some things from a 3rd party, and begged me for the truth and knowing that I had lost her already, I sat down and came clean about everything. She left me and ask me to not pursue her anymore, I complied.
After another month, she called me, cause we had to settle some things, and we talked and I apologized and told her how stupid everything I did was, and her response was that she would have understood most of what had happened but the fact that I lied, and she had to learn everything from a 3party was reason enough for her to not trust me anymore. And that ever though she love me, and felt like I was perfect for her, she wasn't gonna put herself in a situation where she will doubt everything I tell her.
This is my dilemma; I love Maria. (I know ppl thing that after doing what I did, i couldn't say I love her but I do). I know she loves me and we were perfect together. I know how big I messed up and I know that I made it almost impossible for her to trust me, but I now see things differently, I now understand that if maybe I would have talked how I felt with her and leaned on her for support and put honesty as my top priority everything would still be great. After causing so much hurt, should I let her go or should I try to win her back?
And if the answer is try to win her back, how should I? What can I do to fix my issues and fix the relationship?
[i want to clarify (not justifying myself) that this wasn't the first time Maria left the country for work and lasted a few months, I don't want you guys to think that at the first time she was out I started doing bad things because that wasn't the case. 2 months before this all happened she had left the country for 3 months and everything was fine.]