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Not sure if I’m comfortable with this


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Hi all,

I’ve been with my partner for over four years but recently found out that she cheated on me while overseas last year. In short, we’ve agreed to work on our relationship and move on.

 

I found out this week that she’s been talking to one of her ex’s about our relationship problems and it make me very uneasy. She says it’s “not like that” but after everything I just don't know that I’m comfortable with it but I can’t exactly push the issue with her because I don’t want her to feel like I’m controlling her or telling her she can’t speak to people. I feel like it would be different if I knew the guy or if she’d been in touch with him the whole time we were dating but she’s only just got back in touch with him.

 

In my head all I can think is “How does she think this is an appropriate person to speak to about this and how can I trust that when she’s having a bad day, he won’t try to take advantage of it?”

 

I’m curious about other people’s similar experiences and how you might raise the issue with a long term partner.

 

Thanks.

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Rose,

Yes, a lot. Which isn’t really surprising after a trusted partner cheating then lying about it for months.

Unfortunately where we live is in hard lockdown due to covid and online counciling sessions seem to be booked out till October with most places.

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In spite of what some say, my thoughts are you can never fully recover from infidelity. When the trust is no longer there, there's always a dark cloud hanging over your head which never goes away. JMO...

 

Since she clearly demonstrated for a second time what she's made of, therefore maybe it's time to lay your cards on the table and look at the road ahead.

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Have you explained your feelings to her in the same way you've explained them here? In short, have you expressed that, while you have no interest in being in a relationship where you tell your partner what she can and can't do, you also cannot be in one, particularly in light of recent history and wounds that remain fresh, in which your partner needs to reach out and confide in an ex for comfort?

 

In your shoes, I would make that clear—once, calmly—and then listen to how she reacts and take note of how she handles herself knowing your feelings. Her response would guide my next steps, though I'd already be prepared to step away if I didn't get the response I needed to continue to be vulnerable. I'd likely have a private timeline of how long I was willing to observe the state of the union, so to speak. Whether you've reached that point internally—well, only you know that.

 

All that said, I suspect you may already know that you are working with some cards stacked against you. She has been unfaithful, which is to say that she made a choice to handle conflict (internal, with you, whatever) in a way that was corrosive to your bond. A year later, it is very, very hard to not see that pattern repeating itself. Can't help but ask: Do you believe, in your core, that she sincerely wants to be in this relationship? Do you believe, in your core, that you do?

 

October is not far away. Get a session booked now. Wherever this all goes, you will find peace in knowing you did everything to understand it.

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That’s a real fear of mine. I love her but I don’t want to just let her walk all over me. At the same time, I don’t want to end it if there’s a chance that we can repair most of the damage and get back to a state of normality.

It feels like a constant uphill battle and I feel a bit like a .

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state of normality.

 

I think both of you have to establish what this is - that new state of normality. What's done can't be undone. The only thing that can happen now is to evolve together but you're not evolving together.

 

What were the first three years of the relationship like?

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Rule of thumb for cheaters:

 

If you've had sex with someone, they cannot be your confidante about your marriage problems.

Rule of thumb for the betrayed partner:

 

Any contact with the affair partner is a continuation of betrayal.

Decision time for you!

 

Do you really want this in your life?

She has not changed.

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In my head all I can think is “How does she think this is an appropriate person to speak to about this and how can I trust that when she’s having a bad day, he won’t try to take advantage of it?”

 

 

It's her place to make sure "he won't try to take advantage" when she's having a bad day. Blaming him would simply be an easy out for her.

 

Then again, as an adult she knows very well that it's inappropriate to discuss your relationship with her ex. No offense intended, but maybe she thinks you fell off the turnip truck yesterday.

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I can speak from first hand experience and I will tell you that I once thought like you and it's a BIG mistake. DON'T excuse their behavior. I know that's a hard pill to swallow because you are having to admit you are in a relationship with someone other than you thought. Here's what I suggest... I would simply say it's not acceptable. Then wait... THEY need to then go about winning back your trust. Do NOT do the work for them. If they don't, then this relationship is not going to work. They must understand it's wrong and then work to make it right without being told to.

Think about it --- she knows you know she is doing this and it's no big deal to her. That means she doesn't respect you. SET YOUR BOUNDARIES AND TELL HER NO.

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The problem is that things will never quite go back to the way they were, OP.

 

And the issue here is that she still isn't demonstrating that she has reasonable boundaries. You need to not be afraid to assert yourself, especially in light of a grave betrayal on her part. I know you don't want to rock the boat, but she is the one creating rough waters. She knows it, too.

 

I think it's time you see this woman for who she really is - someone that's just not invested you the same way anymore.

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I gotta agree with Smackie here, once a cheater, always a cheater.

 

Most cheaters will never be satisfied with just one person. If it's a woman, she will want more attention from men. If it's a man, he will want more attention from women.

 

There could be a lot of factors as to why a person cheats, but ego is a huge one. They enjoy the attention, feed on it, need it.

They might 'behave' for a short time in order to get the upset or fights to resolve, but the cheating will begin again at some point.

 

It all comes down to opportunity.

 

If and when another man shows up in her life, whether it's at work, online, while she's out with friends, and she runs into someone she finds attractive, her goals will be to get his attention and the cycle will continue.

 

Can cheaters ever fully recover and stop the behavior altogether? It depends on how badly they want to change, how important it is to them and how much remorse they have.

 

To be honest with you, the way you describe this woman, my guess would be that it's only a matter of time before she gets inappropriately involved with another man again.

Talking to her ex is a good example. She doesn't need to be, it is wrong and inappropriate, but she enjoys the attention.

 

Going back to what I was saying about fully recovering and what needs to occur for that to happen. She is showing barely any remorse, which is why she is continuing on with the ex.

It doesn't sound like she wants to change at all and it doesn't sound as though you not being comfortable with it or your feelings matter to her much at all.

If you and she's relationship was at the top of her priorities, she would be staying away from men and trying to show you that you're the only one she wants.

It's also about reassuring you.

 

She's doing the opposite of what needs to be done and she's showing you who she really is, believe it.

 

Does she have to be Mother Teresa and locked in a cage, well no, but her ex? Come on...that's just a bad show especially after already full on cheating on you.

Edited by SherrySher
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Also, how messed up is that logic that she's talking to her 'ex' about you and hers relationship?

 

What kind of light can he shine on the situation being as she and him had a failed relationship? It doesn't even make sense and yes, you should be concerned about it.

 

To even divulge personal information to this man at all about you and hers relationship, is a betrayal to you.

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Op it takes a lot of compassion to take a cheater back, I commend you on that. With that being said though, you either set boundaries and know there will always be that chance of her cheating again. Or you walk away and don’t look back. I would take the latter.

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Hi all,

I feel like it would be different if I knew the guy or if she’d been in touch with him the whole time we were dating but she’s only just got back in touch with him.

 

Why, when she's been with you for 4 years, would your girlfriend get back in touch with an ex? She initiated contact with him rather than the other way around? It's beyond inappropriate for her to be discussing your relationship with her ex; it's not like the conversation is going to be balanced and unbiased, is it. Your girlfriend demonstrated that she is a cheater and she is abusing your trust a second time, but doing it in plain sight. This would be a deal-breaker for me.

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Sorry to hear that. Do you live together? How old is she? What were the circumstances of her going overseas?

 

Unfortunately you are more invested in the relationship than she is. How do you know she is confiding in exes?

 

You glossed over "relationship problems" what exactly are they?

 

Couples counseling is not appropriate in this case. You should have cut your losses when you "found out" she cheated.

 

There's a lot missing from the story. It's unclear why you are still together.

Edited by Wiseman2
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Have you both actually done the ground work to get past this infidelity?

Or was it simply a case of you found out (how?) and you have decided to stay in the relationship without figuring out why the infidelity occurred and what can be done to prevent it?

 

Also how did you find out she was confiding in an ex about your problems within your relationship?

What problems? And why is she not discussing them with you?

Is she able to discuss them with you? Are you open to discussing and finding resolution? Without bickering or resentment?

Because if there is no proper communication between you, she will look elsewhere for answers.

 

If you tell her she can’t communicate with an ex , that is controlling.

If you tell her how you feel about her communicating with an ex and how that makes you feel , like you have told us , that’s not controlling. You can tell her that you feel it undermines your relationship with her etc. And tell her it’s not something that sits well with you and would rather she openly communicated with you instead.

 

If she continues to communicate with him , then you need to either accept it and be ok with it, never discuss again ,or end the relationship because you are not on board with each other morally.

 

If you can’t set your own boundaries for a relationship , why then do you expect her to stick to any?

But you need to be prepared that the boundaries you set are not ones she is willing to adhere to. And if she isn’t , then you know the relationship is doomed.

 

It’s not about control, it’s about compatibility.

 

You will only be controlling if you stay in a relationship where the other doesn’t respect your boundaries and you keep trying to enforce them.

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Not sure of all of your dynamics in this... I dont usually keep in contact with my ex's.

Some people feel okay to at least have a 'friendship' with an ex- especially if all the 'negatives' are gone. As they don't 'look at them that way anymore'.

 

I feel you are now more insecure since you know she has cheated in the past :/. Nope, doesn't help.

 

Lines of communication need to be there, as does trust. You two need this- in order for a successful relationship.

 

Either get it all out in the open - or expect more issue's... yes?

 

Has been 4 years. I hope she is not leading you on- if things for her have changed.. ( let me add, most times, getting involved with an ex again- still fails, so is chance she be taking, if she is willing to risk things with you)...

 

I do hope trust is strong enough in this... but I also feel in order to feel 'okay', you do need your reassurance.

So, not to feel you cannot approach her on your end.

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I too feel there's a lot of missing information. It's why I was asking a bit more about what your relationship was like in the few years prior to all this. Cheating (emotional or physical) is not okay and neither is walking on eggshells or being afraid to speak up or voice what you think or feel around your partner. It also crossed my mind if you may be needing this person's financial support or are tied or trapped in some way in the relationship.

 

Find your way out if this isn't working for you - speak with family members, work on a plan, see what you can do in the immediate or near future. All that sadness and anxiety isn't good.

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It's not about an attempt to control someone. It's best to look at it from the mindset of: Do my relationship boundaries match with my partner's? That's actually a discussion that should be had upon becoming exclusive with someone, because you don't want to waste years investing in someone and then find out they have totally different views than you.

 

Not that I would ever give a cheater a second chance, which I always made clear when becoming exclusive with a man, but I have heard of cheaters who had an epiphany after the incident and vowed never to let that happen again.

 

In her case, I don't see that this epiphany has happened. Her actions, reconnecting with an ex, shows that she doesn't care if she loses you, or knows you don't have dealbreakers, because she did her worst to you and you still stuck around.

 

When you get some distance from someone who doesn't care like you do, you'll probably shake your head at why you stayed after the betrayal. When you meet someone who shares your boundaries, and she's crazy about you besides, you will appreciate your new love that much more after seeing the flip side. I'm sorry this has happened to you. Take care.

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