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How do I forgive someone who cheated on me and trust them again?


XMeow
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When I went to visit my long distance boyfriend for two weeks (this is not the first visit) I found messages on his phone between him and another girl indicating they had slept together. I also found flirty messages with other girls but nothing that was extreme, he seemed to be disinterested but he never outright rejected them. There was also his friend A who I saw messages from and realized he had slept with her 6 months to a year before we met and she ended up having feelings for him. Throughout our entire relationship she was always asking to sleep over (platonically) but he always denied. It shocked me I didn't know this.

 

I confronted him and he admitted he slept with one girl from his work (he told me in the past he wasn't interested in and rejected her advances) and the rest were old girls from before we met that he just felt too guilty to cut off but never did anything or cheated with them.

 

I was devastated. I asked him why and he said this was before we had ever met in person and he had never felt this way for someone online and didn't know if we would actually ever become an in person couple but now that we have he knows I'm the one and wants to have a future with me and can't see his life without me. He told me he was going to tell me but was waiting for the right time.

 

It was obviously a one time thing, any time she asked about sex again in the texts and flirted with him again he made some sort of excuse (bed too noisy, uncomfortable etc.) and I looked through the rest of his phone and he didn't sleep with anyone else and all the girls who were interested in him he had stopped talking to for a while. He also explained his friend A wasn't a threat and I shouldn't worry as I can see from the texts he never wanted to be more than friends after they hooked up. (The texts do show that) We both love each other and it was obvious how guilty and sorry he was. I decided to stay with him.

 

This was all 1-2 weeks ago. However, now that I'm home every time he goes out I'm wondering if it's happening again. I'm always wondering if he's texting another girl or if A is coming over and I don't know (She never has before). He is in a fraternity and tonight is bid night and he says theres no girls there tonight because of covid but I can't stop worrying since I won't hear from him until tomorrow. I know I need to trust him and stop thinking of all the possibilities or I'll drive myself crazy especially since I know there's no way for me to know and he would most likely be open with me if something did happen. I just can't stop driving myself crazy over this and I'm close to crying. Any advice on how to let this go and trust him? How do I keep calm when he isn't here?

 

Also, please don't just tell me to break up with him. I really want to give this a shot.

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Ok see how it goes. How often can you visit each other? Are you in collage also? How far are your home towns from each other?

We've been dating six months and met through a video game we both liked. I know it doesn't seem like a long time but besides this incident he honestly seemed like the one, we're like best friends.
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We have a lot in common, most of our favorite TV shows we watch together, and like a lot of the same movies and movie genres, also were both into a lot of things like DnD, pokemon etc.

We've both talked about how connected we feel and he says he wants to marry me if we stay together throughout college. We were planning on moving in together in 6 months before this happened.

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My ex used to work long hours and come home late. If you've made a decision to trust this person, that's what you'll have to do until your trust is abused a second time. You should know where your limits lie and make sure you keep in touch with your friends and family members, others outside of this relationship, make sure you stay grounded and don't put all your eggs in one basket if you're still dating someone who hasn't completely earned your trust.

 

I know you warned other members from telling you break up with him but you're also hemming yourself in and every choice we make - whether conscious or subconscious - eventually makes or breaks us. I think you're very hurt and confused and want reasons and encouragement or help or a how-to on how to bridge trust again. The only answer I have for you is that it takes time. Both of you are only six months dating and LDR. You aren't engaged, married or living together. You haven't graduated yet or finished your studies or found your first jobs out of college. Think with a bigger perspective and it will stem that pain and hurt a little bit, enough for you to see that what's going on now is a very, very small part of your life in the entire range and length of your lifetime.

 

One day you will look back at this relationship and ask yourself why you did certain things or why you spent your time here or there, with this person or that person. We all make mistakes. Don't think of this as the be all and end all and absolutely don't move in with anyone or start a future with anyone you don't completely trust or with whom puts you on the verge of tears for ANYTHING. Give it time and be careful with those choices.

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Sounds like you're drinking the player's Kool aid.

 

I'm sorry. I can't grant your request to tell you not to break up. As that would be bad advice.

 

You're making a big mistake. long distant relationships are hard even when the guy isn't a dirty cheat.

 

Don't waste your college years being faithful to someone who is ObViOuSly not faithful to you.

 

Meet a local guy you can trust. its not on us to make ourselves trust others. others must be trustworthy. That has to come from him.

Edited by Lambert
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Your constant feelings of worry and fear that the cheating behavior may be repeated are understandable: he has broken your trust in him and, from what I can tell, has made no attempts to restore your trust in him.

 

Besides the cheating incident, your boyfriend has very poor boundaries set in place when it comes to other women who clearly are crossing the line. He feels too "guilty" to cut contact with girls messaging him trying to sleep with him? What the what? So he's essentially telling you that he will continue to maintain contact with women who are sexually interested to him, because to do otherwise would make him feel too "guilty".

 

Ask yourself this: would you continue interacting with other men who sent you flirty messages and asked if they could come over and sleep with you?

 

The only way to realistically restore your trust in your boyfriend is for him to begin making major efforts to help restore that trust. This would entail respecting you, and the relationship, by setting and maintaining a strong set of boundaries. Unfortunately, you cannot control your boyfriend nor the decisions that he makes. You can absolutely voice your concerns regarding his present behavior, and explain how it hurts your relationship and your trust in him, but if it all falls on deaf ears there is very little chance he will do anything to change his current behavior.

 

Without trust, I do not see this relationship lasting. If you are determined to stick with this relationship and if your boyfriend is not willing to make any effort to help rebuild your trust in him, then the only advice I can give you at that point is to accept that this is who your boyfriend is. He has poor boundaries and he behaves inappropriately with other women.

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I know it's not what you want to hear, but the answer is you don't. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

 

Cheating is not an accident or a mistake - it's a calculated act.

 

Anyway, it seems you are determined to learn some really harsh lessons about this, so all I can do is wish you well and hope you don't waste too much more time before you find out that cheaters cheat, aka it's a character problem and a serious selfishness problem and a zero respect or regard for you problem. You simply don't stay with a person like that. When someone cheats, you dump them with extreme prejudice and walk away head held high. I know I know.....you won't do that....gotta stick that hand in the fire and get it fried good and well first.

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Thank you for your insight. This may sound like a stupid question but what changes do you think would be the most effective I was going to make this relationship work (I'm not sure now if I want to). How do I know he's making the effort besides verbal reassurance?

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Your constant feelings of worry and fear that the cheating behavior may be repeated are understandable: he has broken your trust in him and, from what I can tell, has made no attempts to restore your trust in him.

 

Besides the cheating incident, your boyfriend has very poor boundaries set in place when it comes to other women who clearly are crossing the line. He feels too "guilty" to cut contact with girls messaging him trying to sleep with him? What the what? So he's essentially telling you that he will continue to maintain contact with women who are sexually interested to him, because to do otherwise would make him feel too "guilty".

 

Ask yourself this: would you continue interacting with other men who sent you flirty messages and asked if they could come over and sleep with you?

 

The only way to realistically restore your trust in your boyfriend is for him to begin making major efforts to help restore that trust. This would entail respecting you, and the relationship, by setting and maintaining a strong set of boundaries. Unfortunately, you cannot control your boyfriend nor the decisions that he makes. You can absolutely voice your concerns regarding his present behavior, and explain how it hurts your relationship and your trust in him, but if it all falls on deaf ears there is very little chance he will do anything to change his current behavior.

 

Without trust, I do not see this relationship lasting. If you are determined to stick with this relationship and if your boyfriend is not willing to make any effort to help rebuild your trust in him, then the only advice I can give you at that point is to accept that this is who your boyfriend is. He has poor boundaries and he behaves inappropriately with other women.

 

Thank you for your insight. This may sound like a stupid question but what changes do you think would be the most effective if I was going to make this relationship work (I'm not sure now if I want to). How do I know he's making the effort besides verbal reassurance?

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My ex used to work long hours and come home late. If you've made a decision to trust this person, that's what you'll have to do until your trust is abused a second time. You should know where your limits lie and make sure you keep in touch with your friends and family members, others outside of this relationship, make sure you stay grounded and don't put all your eggs in one basket if you're still dating someone who hasn't completely earned your trust.

 

I know you warned other members from telling you break up with him but you're also hemming yourself in and every choice we make - whether conscious or subconscious - eventually makes or breaks us. I think you're very hurt and confused and want reasons and encouragement or help or a how-to on how to bridge trust again. The only answer I have for you is that it takes time. Both of you are only six months dating and LDR. You aren't engaged, married or living together. You haven't graduated yet or finished your studies or found your first jobs out of college. Think with a bigger perspective and it will stem that pain and hurt a little bit, enough for you to see that what's going on now is a very, very small part of your life in the entire range and length of your lifetime.

 

One day you will look back at this relationship and ask yourself why you did certain things or why you spent your time here or there, with this person or that person. We all make mistakes. Don't think of this as the be all and end all and absolutely don't move in with anyone or start a future with anyone you don't completely trust or with whom puts you on the verge of tears for ANYTHING. Give it time and be careful with those choices.

 

Thank you for your perspective, I think I do need to look long term as this hasnt really been a long relationship and he already cheated. I might consider ending it, it was just so good until now I dont want to but it might be for the best.

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The dude has been cheating on you all along (emotionally and physically). I can't imagine having a relationship where I was fearful everytime my bf went out. That's nuts!

 

Drop this creep and find someone you can have a trusting/local relationship with. He has already shown you who he is, and if you continue, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

 

Get tested.

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It's 100% up to him to rebuild your trust in him, and that's something you really need to have a conversation with him about. He would need to go above and beyond to reassure you as much as you need until such a time that you can trust him again. Which may never happen. Personally, because I've been in a similar situation, I'd seriously put a time frame on this. You can't stay in a relationship with someone if you are constantly wondering. That is relationship hell.... for you. It sucks, and I'm sorry you find yourself in this position. He needs to know how you feel and what he needs to do to rebuild trust. If he truly loves you and wants to be with you, he'll do whatever it takes. Anything less and you really need to cut that cord. Have the conversation, have regular check-ins. Put a time frame on this, for your own sake. Unfortunately, once a cheater, always a cheater, is true most of the time. Very rarely do such people change (if ever??).

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Thank you for your insight. This may sound like a stupid question but what changes do you think would be the most effective if I was going to make this relationship work (I'm not sure now if I want to). How do I know he's making the effort besides verbal reassurance?

 

Immediately cutting off any and all contact with anyone who crosses the line would be a great start (this includes friend A, women texting him for sex, sending inappropriate messages, etc.) If he tells you he has done this, all you can do is take him at his word. Time will tell if he is serious about you and the relationship and is no longer indulging in inappropriate interactions with others.

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Thank you for your perspective, I think I do need to look long term as this hasnt really been a long relationship and he already cheated. I might consider ending it, it was just so good until now I dont want to but it might be for the best.

 

Thing is that every relationship is really good until.....you discover some major deal breaker and cheating should always be a deal breaker for you. Of course, it's disheartening to discover something like that about a person you really like and are into, but walk away you must. You've only invested 6 months, which is nothing compared to those who invest 20 years, children, a house and then find out that .....yup....married a cheater who has been cheating for years. Many many in that situation will admit that yes, at some point while they were dating there were issues with fidelity, but they forgave, clung on and for what? It all blows up in a mess and a divorce. Don't ever tolerate cheating.

 

One critical thing to understand about cheating is that it's never about you or your worth. It is quite literally about selfishness and deceit and a complete lack of character.

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Forgive means to move on. Forgive doesn't mean condone nor give free passes to transgressors. Forgive means not to hold grudges and move forward with your life and quit mulling over wrongs by the perpetrator. However, forgive does NOT mean forget nor trust again. Make that crystal clear.

 

LDR (long distance relationships) tend to fail for obvious reasons: Inconvenience for traveling back 'n forth, infrequent getting together due to inconvenience, time consuming expense to travel back 'n forth and the hassle of it all logistically. Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. To the contrary, extended and frequent absences causes two people to eventually drift apart.

 

You can't let it go because you'll never fully trust him 100%. That seed of doubt and distrust had already been implanted within the deep recesses of your brain. Your distrust in him is here to stay.

 

I won't tell you to break up with him. That's ultimately YOUR decision and how you wish to navigate your life with or without him. If you want to give it another shot, you're setting yourself up for more disappointment, distrust, nervousness and don't be surprised if he cheats on you again which will cause you even more pain and unnecessary anguish. Just know what's in store for you. It's your gamble.

 

Since he has cheated on your before, he has a tendency to fall into temptation easily. Keep in mind, this is what you know. You'll never fully know what he's doing behind your back, his deception and what you will never find out. This is his human weakness and weak character. Continue seeing him at your own risk.

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You know, infidelity can come in many forms. A partner doesn't tell you one thing or there are half truths or something wasn't important enough to mention or maybe he/she was waiting for the right time. There's always something in the way that prevented that person from giving you that information, vital information for you to make a decision about the relationship on your own terms. It can involve other people (sexual/romantic infidelity) or it may involve other types of infidelity where someone doesn't tell you where he/she is spending money in a bank account, where that person is going, what people they're associating with or what business deals he or she is entering on the side. You need to be more careful around people who are able to conduct business without you being aware or who don't have the integrity to work with you on equal terms or as a team, especially as a relationship.

 

Here's another perspective and one having to do with control. Not everyone is built with the same levels of self-confidence or ability to do the right thing no matter how hard that thing is. I think when information is withheld even for a short period of time from another person (who ought to know right away) there's a very real possibility of control being an issue. That person wants to control that situation to their own benefit. Robbing someone of knowing that information in a timely manner chips away the other partner's ability to make their own decisions in real time and undermines trust totally in a relationship. I think he's robbed you of that and then shocked you with the information at a time that was best for him at a time that YOU invested in more. You were the one who traveled out to meet him and only to discover this?

 

I think you should pay more attention to what his relationships with his family are like - does he get along with his parents? What else do you know about what kind of friends he has aside from those suspect female friends? Why do women feel like they can get an in with him or speak to him that way? How does his father behave or his siblings? Do they all have the same behaviours or traits? What are his friends like and do they also behave the same way? Your boyfriend doesn't operate in a world of his own. He is connected to associations around him and I think being in a LDR prevents you from seeing all of this as a whole. Take your time with this and start observing a bit more. You care a lot about him but does he deserve it? He may care about you too but do you really know who he is or what he is as a person?

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