Cheated On, But Staying

I just discovered that my girlfriend and love of my life for the last year cheated on me several months ago, back when we were already in love but hadn't made our relationship "official" as it were.  The person she was with was a convoluted emotional entanglement of two years, and through the whole encounter she was barely finding the strength to push him away and he kept coming onto her.  By her account, she didn't enjoy it at all.  She has since removed him entirely from her life.

She apologized through tears and tells me she'll never do it again.  I was angry, I felt like I'd been stabbed through the chest, but I want to stay with her.  I know everyone in the history of the world who has ever cheated has said "I'll never do it again," but I believe her.  Or at least I think I do - it's all still too raw for me to know for certain.

I want to stay with her, the problem is I just don't know if I'm capable, and I don't know how to handle all this hurt and betrayal and work on rebuilding our relationship that I thought had been so solid these many months.  She'd been trying to forget that the event had ever happened, hence why she waited so long in telling me, but for whatever reason that burden has recently become unbearable for her, driving her into depression.

I just don't know what to do.  Help is welcome.
Blair Blair
22-25, M
14 Responses May 29, 2007

Blair, Thank you for sharing.

This literally JUST HAPPENED TO ME TODAY MORNING! And the circumstances were almost identical --

a) back when we were already in love but hadn't made our relationship "official" as it were (but were indeed in an exclusive relationship)

b) The person she was with was a convoluted emotional entanglement of two years, and through the whole encounter she was barely finding the strength to push him away and he kept coming onto her.

I haven't confronted about it yet (she doesn't know I know). What advice do you (and other people on this blog) have? How did it turn out? I have no idea how I'm going to proceed.

All I know is I love her with all my heart and have never loved anyone like this. I feel so horrible.

Grow up! You are got your feelings hurt and now want revenge on this woman with your games. If you really feel for her, than put the history books away and move on with today. After all today is all you really have.

I stayed with my bf. Its all about communication. I stayed cuz it made my heart feel better. I followed my heart and I stayed because I love him. Working on things just makes you closer to eachother, and eventually deeper in love. Be happy and enjoy the relationship as much as possible.<br />
Talk to eachother, tell her how u feel.

I always believe in second chances. No one is perfect and we all mess up in our life. If you believe her then you need to give her the chance to at least prove it to you. Everyone deserves a chance.

From reading your story, you have every right to feel the way you do. One thing that I would suggest is to give yourself time to truly get over the feelings that you have. I recently was cheated on after 6 years. We are working on things but we are still separated. I really had to let him know how he made me feel. Every person has a different grieving period so just focus on you during that time. I love my ex with all my heart and still do. I had to truly forgive him and never bring up that situation again. (which is the hardest thing you will do)! Some days are great I feel like everything will be okay, the next day I feel like I losing him all over again. You two just need to revisit those feeling that brought you together. Trust is something that she will have to earn and you have to let her earn it. I am not saying my advice is right but I hope you will find what you are looking for! Good luck to you guys!

I really want to not bring up the situation. How do u do that? I will be fine for so long and then it just comes out. Help please!

I know what it's like to want to stay but you know, trust is the most important thing in relationships because without it they don't stand a chance. I'd start there rebuilding your trust in her. And trust and forgiveness have nothing to do with each other so I hope by staying it means you've forgiven her. If you have, "don't bring it up again". I hate when people say they've forgiven you for something but they still keep bringing it up. Instead of bringing it back up try saying this is a step to building your trust, even if that means checking up on her or questioning her at every turn for a while. But I hope you realize it can't be forever. At some point, even if its just an inch, you gotta give a little or accept its not going to work out.

Hi Blair, From what you wrote in your initial story, it sounds like she might just be telling the truth and will not stray again. The fact that it was with some guy that she had a history with makes it more understandable, although I know understanding that's not something we really want to do. I was cheated on after 7 years of marriage, and I'll tell you the hardest thing to get back was the trust. You'll spend lots of time checking, and rechecking. And you'll find innocent things that you can't trust are innocent. The best person to help you get the trust back is your girlfriend. She'll have to be radically open and honest with you, and never (NEVER) have any type of contact with this person again. She'll have to sharel any and all passwords, etc., with you, and understand that having you "check up" on her and find nothing suspicious is the best way to let you learn to trust her again. Interestingly, the images and gut wrenching thoughts will actually subside, to the point where they will be cognitions with very little to no emotional impact. I can now visualize my wife doing everything and anything with the guy she cheated with, and it elicits no more anger, emotion, etc. than if I were visualizing the back of this mornings cereal box. This took about 2.5 years, of course. We now live in a different state, and that event seemes like history. So it can be overcome. One thing the cheaters don't factor in is just how devastating, emotionally, the experience really is. The more committed, and more you took the other's fidelity for granted, the greater the impact of the discovery. My wife said, "I knew you'd be hurt, but I didn't know you'd react like THIS!" (I got roughly 1.5 hours of sleep per night for 2 full weeks. Bizarre, but true.) Eventually, she came to understand what she'd done, and that was very helpful. Good luck.

From what you say things look bleak to me. I don't see much in the way of forgiveness, and if you don't forgive her you will always throw it back at her when times get tough in the future. I am not sure how much of this cheating went on when you were in the same country together, as you state now you are in different countries. Maybe you are both too young to expect trust and long term commitment based on your circumstances? And as for the excuses you are allowing her to make (he came on to her, she didn't enjoy it etc) try and notice the difference between words and deeds, it might help.

Well, I'm not a counselor but I would like to say you are respected and admired. My advice is to always work forward never back. Always keep yourself positive as you are know. Don't go back and forth. What is in the past needs to be left in the past. Set goals, communicate and be open with each other. We all make mistakes - were all human. Just let the past be the past forgive and try to forget. Never use it as a punishment in anger. Remember it no longer exists. Think positive and look for the positives not the negatives. Build trust and communication. Wishing you the best.

Betrayal smacking you in the face is right; some days are really good, and some days my insides are just roiling with horrible thoughts and images of what went on. She told me how she didn't enjoy it, how she felt completely used and taken advantage of, that it'll never happen again and that she'll be spending the rest of her life trying to deserve me. I'm just trying to find a balance in helping her feel like she is on equal footing with me (since I believe in relationships of equals), and also trying to overcome my own inner demons over this - the betrayal and doubt that you mentioned. I know I would not be able to handle a second occurrence, but I have complete faith in her and our relationship, as difficult as certain days can be. Thanks for your comment, it's good to hear from someone who stuck it out and is doing well. :) Best of luck to you too!

The hurt and anger does not make you weak, it makes you a normal human being. I was cheated on by my fiance of 3+ years and we stayed together. It was almost a year ago that he cheated on me (over last summer) and about 9 months ago when I found out and I still have moments of doubt and days when all the betrayal smacks me in the face and I wonder if I made the right decision. Trust is a VERY difficult thing to rebuild, but you sound as if you are willing to work to do so, so have faith in yourself and your relationship. HOWEVER, I do believe that, as far as cheating goes, a person should only get one second chance. If she slips again and pulls out the tears and "I'm so sorry, I'll never do it again," you may want to reconsider. Not saying she will, just saying that you have to protect yourself as well. I hope everything works out for you (and for me too!). Best of luck!

This comment confuses me. I am not doubting that we can work through this, not doubting that it is possible. I am simply saying that I don't really know where to start; this is one of those things that I've always inherently assumed happens to "other people." There is nothing in my limited pool of experience that I can draw on for a hint as to where to go.<br />
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I have already spoken about this with a few mentors of mine, and they have recognized my unwavering desire to remain with her and work things through; I just need direction. Interestingly enough, this incident has opened the floodgates of communication between us, and we are getting everything out in the open that was once between us, stagnant in the air. I am finding our relationship already more rewarding than it has been in the last few weeks.<br />
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However, I also know to be wary of such "improvement," as even though I have no experience to draw on here, I am not naive enough to believe recovery will be a bed of roses. Already I am finding myself physically and emotionally exhausted with everything that has been happening, not limited to this event.<br />
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I should probably mention that I am actually studying abroad in Europe right now, so this whole event was revealed to me in an overnight Skype conversation, which made hugging and talking face to face somewhat impossible.<br />
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It is true that I am not interested in her past, I am interested solely in her future, our future. Forgiveness was never an issue either. And it's not that I want to punish her; she's been punished enough these many months, carrying this burden and from having experienced that night. I am simply afraid that, in the ups and downs of recovering from this, I will inadvertently punish her again, and truly I do not want to do this. But again, I'm not sure how to handle this situation.<br />
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To be blunt, I am not deceiving her about how I feel. I love her with all my heart; I have been in a relationship when I lied about how I felt for the sake of preserving the relationship. I will never do that again. It is simply my human faults that I seek to try and overcome here, or learn to deal with in the process of growing past this hurdle.

You pretty much said everything I feel...I too want to find a way to move is so incredibly of luck to you both and God Bless..

My gut has gotten me out of more harmful situations than I care to admit being involved in. That's just it - my gut says she's being honest, that she never will cheat again, and that we can work through this (we're both still in college, so marriage would be at least three years away).<br />
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I just don't know the HOW of all this. How to work through this, how to let go of the poisoning thoughts, how not to punish her again and again (she's been punished enough these last eight months), how to truly re-establish the partnership of equals.

If you're having all these doubts, I wouldn't take the relationship to any new levels. (such as engagement or marriage). If you don't work on the prob. at hand, it'll never be settled in your future. And don't let her depression put you on a guilt trip, and make hasty decissions or unwanted decissions. This could be the TEST to see if your relationship is strong or not. Listen to your GUT!