Early this year my girlfriend did an internship in another city. I was too busy to visit and she didn’t have much time either, so she only travelled back here a couple of times. I missed her and was looking forward to her getting back. Then she admitted she had got drunk and slept with a guy she was hanging out with. She had said he was just a friend. I was devastated and I considered breaking up, but I couldn’t do it. I love her and we’ve spent 4 years together and I don’t want to throw them away. She’s been home since April and things have been good. At my request she deleted the chat app they used to talk. But recently she reinstalled it to talk to colleagues. Then she admitted to me that she’d been talking to him again. I made her show me her phone to prove she doesn’t have his number, and then changed her password on the app and deleted it, so she can’t be tempted to reinstall it. She said she’s sorry but she just kept thinking about him and worrying and wanted closure and to know if he’d moved on, but instead he told her he loves her. She told me way back in the beginning that he doesn’t use Facebook so I hope we’ve heard the last from him, but I don’t know if I believe it. Things feel almost back to normal now and we’re talking more and spending more time together but it’s always niggling in the back of my mind that she must not be 100% happy with me. I don’t understand why. Her dad has been very ill all year so I wonder if maybe she wanted an escape, but she hurt me and I don’t know how she was able to do that. She apologised back in April and discussed it all with me and said she wouldn’t talk to him again, but then still went back looking for closure with him. How do we draw a line under this for good? I’m sick of this man being a ghost in our relationship.
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A male reader, WiseOwlE + ♥, writes (9 November 2018):
Regaining trust after someone has cheated on you is really tough. It can be a lengthy undertaking; and moreover, a very strenuous process in a relationship. it might take years!Trust me, I know. I’ve been through it. Only, the person who cheated on me went out of his way to regain my trust; because he wasn’t caught-up in a love-triangle. It was just a fling, and strictly sexual. We survived it. He died of cancer years ago; but I love him to this day. He regained my trust, and then some. I never doubted how much he loved me.His good nature and solid character redeemed him.He got the one and only chance for forgiveness, and to still remain in my life. Something I will never offer another cheater. He made good on it. No cheater hereafter gets another pass. I will forgive them; but they will have to go.I’ve earned my battle scars for love; so I don’t have to put-up with the unnecessary bullsh*t! Reality-check and full-disclosure! I’m not being self-righteous. I have been tempted. I’ve struggled with all that is within me to preserve my loyalty to the person I love and have committed myself to. Oh, temptation has come my way more times than I care to admit; and I’ve almost failed! I am human! I also value trust; so I can’t demand what I can’t deliver! It’s hard, very hard!At some point in your relationship, there was a period of separation. Long-distance and time apart places undue stress and strain on relationships. Especially those that may not be well-established; or if they aren’t sufficiently nurtured and maintained. By this, I mean they were not intermittently filled with intimacy, affection, and in-person contact between the couple. Necessary to renew/refresh their feelings when they begin to stray or wander. There is the risk that emotional-deficiencies and deprivation might set-in. When I know I have to go on a business-trip that will last longer than two weeks; my current partner will travel to see me, and vice versa. We can afford to, and our work situations allow for it. I am a Regional Director for my company, and he owns his!Sometimes your economic situation or job schedules may not allow for you to travel and spend adequate time together.Maybe the remoteness of location will not allow for visits. Maybe we’ll do the noble thing, by trying to prove our trust and devotion by keeping our distance. Attempting to help the other person deal with separation-anxiety; because goodbyes only add more stress or distraction. There are exceptions to the rules; in the case of religious missionaries, traveling medical personnel, or soldiers. People doing rescue-work,foreign or domestic. We owe them the utmost in loyalty and patience, as their committed-partners. They are called to duty and service.Straying from faithfulness can happen when people get lonely; feeling abandoned, forgotten, or rejected. In this case, she didn’t hold-out in an effort to retain your trust; she reached out to somebody else. This was a test of the durability and strength of your bond and connection. She has failed the test. She became emotionally-attached to someone else, and let-go of what she already had. Now she’s stuck!Your trust has been fractured; and her credibility has been compromised. When your partner can’t let go of someone else who has intruded on your relationship; you have to let him or her go. You don’t, or you shouldn’t, try to muscle or control their behavior. You can only tie their hands, you cannot bind their hearts.Love is proven by what people do for you of their own free will. She went through the necessary motions to appease you, and to get you off her back. I speculate that her feelings for him might be too strong to concentrate her energies on regaining your trust, and salvaging your relationship. It almost would seem that his feelings supersede yours. Why should it matter so much, if she can see how much it harms your relationship?Your forgiveness will always be incomplete for two reasons.One, it’s possible she is only pretending that there wasn’t more to their affair. Two, you really can’t bring yourself to trust her anymore; probably no matter what she does. From what you’ve described of her behavior, she’s not really trying without being forced to. She’s simply yielding to the pressure you’re exerting on her.
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A male reader, N91 + ♥, writes (9 November 2018):
You don’t trust her and for good reason, so why stay?She has betrayed the relationship in the most serious way, it doesn’t matter WHY she cheated, whether you didn’t have enough time for her or whatever is not important, the key point is here is that she DID cheat. Not only did she sleep with someone else, she said she needed closure? For what reason would she need closure? That doesn’t sound like a ‘just friends’ situation. If she truly regretted her actions then why would she need to know whether this guy moved on? Surely she wouldn’t give a fuck and would of blocked him on everything?Then you caught her speaking to him again? You sound like a pushover. You forgave her for cheating and YOU are the one doing the chasing, are you a doormat? You are enabling cheating behaviour, why would she stop what she’s doing if you’re allowing it?4 years really isn’t a long time when you think about things seriously. You don’t want to waste that time? So instead you’d stay with someone that goes behind your back? Then lies to you and continues to contact the person she cheated with? Get real here man, don’t you think you can find someone who wouldn’t be tempted to cheat? You think that’s all you’re worth? I find it pretty embarrassing when people stay with cheats, how can you let someone disrespect you to that level and then stay with them? It’s mind boggling. You say you love her? But does she love you? Doesn’t sound like it. Where’s your self respect? Let this woman chase after this other guy if she wants, find someone who can either deal with the long distance without straying or find someone who lives closer to you that you can actually spend more time with. If you stay with this woman you’ll have nothing but drama as you can’t trust her. Do you think if you married this woman one day that all this would go away? Or would your worries amplify tenfold at the thought of having to divorce a cheat? Get your head out the clouds.
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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious + ♥, writes (9 November 2018):
You loved and missed her so much, you did not have time to visit her even once during her internship? She somehow found the time to visit you twice during that period. Perhaps instead of making demands on her (which are obviously not working and have now caused you to doubt her), it might be better to focus your attention on making your relationship as sound as possible so that she is not tempted to contact this ex friend/one night stand? Whatever “controls” you put in place, she will find a way to contact him if she wants to. Focus on the two of you.
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