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how do you know when to forgive and when to move on


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I've been seeing someone long distance for about 4 months now- we met once and started emailing after that, then have been visiting each other and dating exclusively since the end of November. Because we haven't known each other long, we both think of it as the start of a relationship/boyfriend/girlfriend but things aren't set in stone- we don't make plans that far in advance, that kind of thing.


The problems basically center around his last girlfriend- he was with her on and off for 4 1/2 years and cheated on her 5 or 6 times over the last 2 years they were together. He says he knew he didn't want to be with her long term so they were dating but not exclusive and he would sleep with other people when he thought he was interested in something more with them. I don't really date people unless it's exclusive and I don't get that at all. I guess it isn't really cheating if you don't agree to be exclusive but in my mind, he has a history of cheating. We've talked about it a lot and he knows I have major problems with it and he knows that things between us are defined.


We've argued about this before, me not feeling he is trustable because of his past behavior and because he has a very close relationship with this ex still- basically the only reason they don't sleep together now is because of me. He's not always honest about seeing her- tells me he was seeing "friends"- she lives in another city but he goes there for work and they talk frequently. He says physically she is basically his ideal woman but intellectually they don't match and they don't get along and fight all the time, etc. We've almost broken up before because I didn't know if I wanted to pursue something long distance with someone who has a bad history, and because he has this kind of unholy relationship with someone he openly describes as super hot.


Last night he was here and went to take a shower and left his email open. I shouldn't have looked at it but I did and I read an email from his ex-girlfriend that she was coming to visit him in a month, to stay with him, for 10 days. He didn't say anything about her coming to visit him and had lied about the whole situation and told me he was going to be out of town during those ten days- he had even tried to get me to visit and leave the day before she arrived but I hadn't bought a ticket yet. I confronted him about it and we talked about it all night. He said that they had planned the trip in the fall and she had bought the tickets in the beginning of March and he hadn't wanted to tell her to not come if we were going to break up, etc., but he didn't want to tell me she was coming because he knew it would look bad and I would be upset.


I feel terrible about the whole thing. I don't think he would have slept with her but the lying and the idea that I would have left one day, her arrived the next, and he would have lied to me the whole time she was there- that makes me sick to my stomach. He's sorry and wants things between us to continue but I don't see any way to regain trust in this situation- he lives so far away and this shows that he knows he can get away with things because of it, and it bothers me that he could lie to me like this and not feel guilty at all. He said that if we don't break up he will come up here during the time his ex-girlfriend will be in his city and not see her.


It turns out he lied to me too about the time we met- he had told me he was on a trip with his friend but through his email it came out that he and the ex-girlfriend were on a trip together- so he basically slept with her friday, met me on saturday and decided to pursue me (we met through work and just talked the first time we met). He's upset about me invading his privacy and I don't know why I read his email like that- I've never done that before with a boyfriend, and I've dated guys who've given me their username and passwords to check things for them, etc.- the only thing I can think is that I had some gut feeling that I couldn't trust him.


So how do you know when to forgive and when to move on? I feel like I struggle so much with this in my relationships- everyone makes mistakes but then you also have to protect yourself, and I tend towards too much forgiveness and not enough protection.

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thanks- I guess I'm just struggling with the reality of another breakup and wishing things were different. It's sad too- I think he really does like me and care about me, but he was so prepared for things to not work out that he made them not work out.

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Reality isn't easy to face. I hear you on that, but sometimes you need to hear it. The reality is that you cannot trust him due to his past (cheating on his ex), his present (lying to you multiple times), and his mindset (physical intimacy with others while in a relationship is ok). There is no logical reason to continue in such an early relationship without trust. Best.

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