relationships

My Long-Distance Partner Cheated… Should I Forgive Him?

T,

My long distance boyfriend cheated on me. We have liked each other for about three years but never made anything official because of the distance. We spend our summers together in the same small town every year since we were kids but last summer we decided to make it official. We’ve been together for about seven months. We are absolutely in love with each other but I found out that he did cheat on me.

No sex. He fingered a girl and she gave him a blowjob they made out and he stopped it there but he might as well have done it all. It hurts so badly. I found out  just a couple days ago but this happened about three months ago and he says he feels horrible and has felt  horrible ever since.  I want to forgive him but I just don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again. He promises me he’s changed but I’m pretty sure that’s what all cheaters say. I need some advice that isn’t biased by my friends or his friends. Please help!

-Payton

Dear Payton,

Thanks for writing to me.  I’m sorry to hear you are currently experiencing heartache. It sucks to entrust your heart to another person and to have that person damage it.  To have that individual essentially betray your sense of trust and taint a romance you probably thought was pretty perfect up until the moment of infidelity.  And as much as you may want to hate this guy that’s managed to hurt you, you can’t fully commit to that emotion because love still exists.   So again, sorry you’re going through this.

Listen, long-distance relationships are hard to navigate, and not everyone is able to navigate them successfully.  That’s just a fact, and it has nothing to do with maturity. Some people in life are just wired to crave consistent everyday intimacy.  They need to be able to see, hear, and feel their bae on a regular basis without having to make in-depth travel arrangements.  For these people, they don’t want to have to go on a long trip just to have dinner with their mate or get a kiss. Let me repeat, this isn’t a maturity thing, but rather an understandable characteristic that some (well many) people have.

It’s possible that your boyfriend may be one of these individuals not able to handle a long-distance relationship.  He wouldn’t be the first, and won’t be the last. He may not have known this about himself until being with you.  Or, he could have known that long-distance relationships don’t really fulfill his needs emotionally or physically, but he’s just so into you he was willing to try.  Either way, I would venture to guess that the infidelity stems from the difficulty of being away from you for three out of four seasons of the year.

I also need to point out that not all men that cheat are bad guys.  This is a point I’ve said before and I’ll continue to believe.  We as humans are imperfect and are flawed. Since that’s the case, we are all bound to make mistakes here and there.  So even though your boyfriend cheated on you, it’s possible that you can chalk this up to a one-time mistake he made.  His infidelity may not be a reflection of the love he has for you, but a reflection of his ability to make bad choices. If he’s apologetic and willing to put in the work to make this relationship work, you could have your Lemonade moment.

Yes I said Lemonade moment, and yes I’m referring to the masterpiece released by the Queen herself.  Despite many folks assuming Beyoncé wrote the album as a screw you to cheaters and infidelity, it actually documents the journey of two people trying to overcome life circumstances to preserve what they both deem to be true love.  At the heart of this journey is forgiveness.  Queen Bey was able to go through her stages of emotions to forgive being hurt, all in the name of love.

I use this as an example because like Beyoncé, you have to figure out if you have the capacity to forgive and stay with your boyfriend.  Neither I nor your friends can make that decision for you.  You have to make that choice on your own.  However, you need to know that forgiveness means once you decide to move forward with him, you genuinely move forward.  You  have to work on trusting your boyfriend again and have to be able to look past his cheating.   You can’t let his actions constantly be a cloud over your relationship, and keep rehashing his mistake over and over again.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. If you two decide to give him another shot, be sure you can really forgive him.  Also, make sure he has what it takes to be in a long-distance relationship.  Force him to take a look at himself and see if he has needs that can’t possibly be met given the distance.

 

  1. When determining if you want to stay with your boyfriend, it’s a good idea to ask him why he cheated. While it may have been a one-time thing, there was a reason he did it. Oh and “I don’t know”, “it just happened”, and “I was drunk” are not valid answers to the question why.

 

  1. If you need a break from your boyfriend to gain perspective and clarity, take it. There’s nothing wrong with needing space and time to think.

As always nothing but love,
Tavion Scott

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