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Is it possible to forgive ?


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My boyfriend and I have lived together for 3 years. We plan for the future and generally have a wonderful time together.

The other night, I wanted to play him a song - he gave me his phone to play it from and as I went in - a dating app popped up.

He told me he doesn’t use it and then gave me his phone to check. He told me I could look through anything. I then went to the App Store, re-downloaded it and logged on. Sure enough, he was lying. He had been chatting with different girls for about a year. None of the conversations turned into anything and we’re mostly ‘hi, how are yous?’

I left immediately and spent the night away from him. I told him I needed space and he went and stayed somewhere else for a few nights.

He came back to our apartment yesterday and we talked about a lot of things. Why he felt the need to do this, how long it was going on etc.

He has made an appointment with a counsellor and wants to work on things. At the moment, he is sleeping on the couch and we are taking some space.

I don’t know what to do. Do I try and work on this with him? Or just let it go? I’m not sure I’m ready to flush three years away but I’m pissed he did this and lied? Do all guys do this ??

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I don't think it's salvageable. Your question "do all guys do this" is also very worrying. You're in shock and questioning your reality and anything you've known about men in general. This would be too big a gap to bridge. 

The problem with lies or acceptable lies is that they grow like a fungus or disease under the surface with a network of old and new lies. A lie is not just a lie or a singular incident. It's a way of thinking and living and existing that has gone on probably for a lot longer than you have known him. In the two instances where I chose to forgive lies in two different individuals, lying continued to come up in the years afterwards. I think you should leave this to the professionals. I wish someone would have been more stern with me and informed me better that a lie is rarely a one time occurrence and it is usually a symptom of other things going very wrong, long before you ever showed up. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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If he gave you his phone, I think he wanted you to find out. Why he lied and hurt you like this is so wrong. Why not just be forthright instead if deceiving you, knowing there was a probability you would learn the truth. Was he just looking for a social outlet and thought it would be ok to explore if he kept the conversations platonic? I just don't like the fact he outright lied to you, Without honest and trust which are the building blocks and foundation of a relationship, it can be hard to forgive but not impossible. Ask him why he did it first of all, and then why he lied knowing you would find out if he gave you his phone. I am sorry you are going through this. 

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1 hour ago, Aquarius2001 said:

Sure enough, he was lying. He had been chatting with different girls for about a year. None of the conversations turned into anything and we’re mostly ‘hi, how are yous?’

Unfortunately what you happened upon may be the tip of the iceberg. Don't play house with a cheater/liar. It will lead to even more headaches and heartaches, than you already have.

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I agree with what Mel11 said... ask him why he went there. And for that long.

Is something maybe missing in  your relationship?  Is he seeking female attention for a reason?  Ego boost?

Either way, is a little concerning.

I have an ex who just hangs out on the sites, even with a gf, but does not actually interact with them.. is almost like a little addiction, he's been around the site for so long....

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I was wondering about if there is an element of addiction too. 

It's odd also that he gave you his phone to 'prove' he wasn't lying, when he was. 

There's something psychological going on there, and as has already been said, it's probably just the tip of the iceberg. 

Some people might not be fussed about a partner fantasising about a single life on a dating site, but I would hope that those who are unfussed would be given a choice about the matter, and would know about it. Your reaction tells you that this activity is NOT ok with you, and so you don't need to talk yourself round to it or try to see if it's a normal thing to do. And more importantly, he kept it from you. 

The question of forgiveness is much more tricky.

Therapy will definitely help him. But what will help you? Asking questions and trying to understand what has happened may help you, and you may want to forgive him, you may not. If you do, establish some very clear boundaries, and stick to them. Think about what things like trust, respect and honesty mean to you (these things can have different layers for different people!) and try and measure up his behaviour and his words with these values. And take the time you need, don't feel pressured to forgive him if you aren't in that space. Good luck 🙂

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I'm not you.  However, once anyone lies to me, I say,  "One and done, two if you're lucky."  I'm done after once.  Yes, I can forgive and move on as long as I call the shots from now on and I'm in control meaning it's MY choice to change dynamics.  With people whom I must interact with, I'm peaceful, rather passive aggressive, distant, aloof yet well mannered and polite. 

With your relationship, your former trust in your boyfriend had been irrevocably broken.  Trust is impossible to regain because there will always be a suspicious seed permanently implanted within the deep recesses of your brain forever.  Sure, people can change but trust doesn't exist anymore.  I'm sorry.

Once a liar, always a liar.  The only difference is liars become smarter and learn NOT to get caught lying in the future.  Once caught in a lie, liars learn to cover their tracks better and play you for a fool.  This question is really on YOU.  It's YOUR choice whether you ultimately wish to remain with a liar or not. 

Btw, forgive doesn't mean condone nor forget.  Forgive means not to hold onto grudges, not wish ill will upon perpetrators and to move on including moving on with or  without the perpetrator in your life.  Forgive never gives free passes nor excuses to those who've wronged you.  You can forgive someone by carrying on whether with or without them and in other instances, changing the dynamics entirely.  Often times, people don't know the real definition of "forgive." 

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Personally I wouldn't give him another chance. You'd already been living together for two years when he began doing this. So it's not like you weren't official or something. It wasn't just a "mistake" because he didn't message only one girl once. He messaged a large number of women over the course of a YEAR. He lied to you that he wasn't using the dating app. Even if he never met up with these girls, why was he talking to them? When someone acts like a cheater it's most likely because they actually want to cheat. And one day they very well might do it.

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I agree with what others have pointed out...

he encouraged you to look through the phone, knowing he had been in the app. That was a lie and a bluff to manipulate you. 

No. not all men do this. People, men and women, know what they do.  They know what is right and wrong. 

To say he has an addiction or somehow can't help talking to random women? You know that is BS. Don't do that to yourself.  

It's an action to download an app, create a profile, search and talk to singles.

It's also creepy to use unsuspecting single women trying to meet single guys for his ego boosts. Thanks for the reminder that the internet is full of undesirables. Yes. Thus guy is a proven undesirable. Selfish, creepy, liar... who knows what else. 

Three years is a long time. but I see it the other way... three years is enough of this.  Stop playing house and being a placeholder for this guy.

This is not love or mutual respect. I'd get tested for STDs. Don't be naive.  There's probably more to this story that you don't know. 

I'm sorry. 

 

Edited by Lambert
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I agree with Cherylyn, she gives great insight. This thing with lying by omission is to me even more deceptive than a bold faced lie. I think the fact he lied to you is just so disrespectful. Then wanted you to call his bluff only to find out he was lying. Kind of calculating and crappy. You deserve better than that. It's hard when you love someone and have lived together for 3 years to have to deal with this type of thing. Who knows why people sabotage their relationships instead of investing in them. It stinks. I wasted 9 years waiting for the big moment for trust to be rebuilt after lies of omission. It doesn't get better. Once a deceiver and liar, always that way as it's ingrained. 

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I imagine he gave you his phone and encouraged you to check, fully believing that by appearing so open you'd turn around and say, "No, it's OK, I believe you."  It's just as well you called his bluff, because now you know he can't be trusted and you don't need to waste more of your time with him.  A man (or woman) in a happy, committed relationship does not make the conscious choice to download a dating app and engage in conversation with singles.

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My heart goes out to you. I can only speak for myself, and no matter how much I can love a person, I know myself well enough to know that I'd be sentencing myself to a future of misery if I tried to stay with someone who has broken my trust with such disloyalty.

I wouldn't regard it as ME tossing 3 years. He did that when he reached for the app. As sad as I'd be for having found him out so late, I'd at least be relieved that I did not find out after marriage and children.

I'm sorry, and I can only imagine how devastating this must be for you. 

Write more if it helps.

 

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