I am having quite a bit of trouble figuring out what to do. I have been dating my serious boyfriend for six years now. About a year ago, he left for an internship at Disney where he would be gone for nearly eight months working and living in Florida (we live in Illinois). I went to visit him during his program and when I left, he only had about a month and a half left of his internship.
Within that month he got close to a girl he met at the beginning of his program and cheated on me with her. They had sex, decided it was a mistake, then had sex again. After their second time, he finally said no more to having sex, however, the two continued to hang out, cuddle, kiss, and say I love you.
When he came home, they officially ended things between each other. I found out a few weeks after he came home, or so I thought. When he finally “came clean,” he actually told me that his cheating only involved one drunken make-out session. Even though I was hurt, I decided to believe him and stay with him. Five months later, I find out the whole truth because I remembered a small detail that I had brushed off before, not thinking my boyfriend, of five years at the time, would cheat on me. He finally came completely clean.
I truly do believe that he is telling me the entire truth now and that he truly regrets what he did while in Florida; however, I am still finding it really hard to trust him. No matter how much I want to still be with him and think that we can work through things, I am constantly picturing him with the girl and picturing him cheating on me. I just don’t know if our past, our love, and our good times can truly overcome the constant thought of what he did.
Thanks for writing to me. I’m sorry to hear about the situation you’re facing. It never feels good to be betrayed by someone you love. For many people that have felt such betrayal, they often find themselves emotionally stuck. On one hand, their angry and ready to ditch the person that wounded them. On the other hand, they can’t just write the offender off because they have a sense of loyalty and love for the person. So the fact that you find yourself holding a mixed bag of emotions is completely normal.
Now I have a pretty firm policy that I never tell anyone when to leave a relationship. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse involved, I don’t believe it’s my place to tell someone when they’ve had enough. Heck, every person has their own unique breaking point. For some, that breaking point may come with “funny” finances. For others, it may come with unbearably bad personal habits. And for a number of people, the breaking point comes with lying and infidelity. Which brings me back to you. What’s your breaking point? That’s something you have to answer for yourself.
What I will say, is if you decide to try and work things out with your boyfriend, you’ve got to make an effort to truly forgive him. Forgiveness will require time and perhaps some couple’s counseling, and won’t be something you can go without if you want this relationship to work. And for your information, and others who may be reading this, true forgiveness means you don’t throw his indiscretions in his face every time you two have a disagreement.
Suggestions going forward
- Take some time to yourself to sort out your feelings and emotions. Don’t allow your boyfriend, or anyone, to pressure you into making a decision you’re not ready to make.
- Also, have a conversation with your boyfriend to make sure you have all the facts. I’d hate for you to think about recommitting to your boyfriend for another shoe to drop.
- As important as love is, so is respect and trust. Keep that in mind as you make your decision.
- Lastly, don’t allow comfort to keep you in a situation that’s no longer healthy for you.
As always nothing but love,