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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to decide what to do and outside feedback would be appreciated.

I won't bore anyone with too many details, but when in a long distance relationship, my boyfriend cheated on me quite long term. He lied to me every day, he minimised me to the other woman (and to friends locally), he let me continue believing we were both completely committed and I only found out about it once the other woman called me to tell me.

She did this because he would not leave me for her and she thought if she got rid of me that this would clear her path. He reacted instead by dumping her, telling her he loved me and didn't want her and begging me to take him back.

I was willing to give him a second chance because (a) he underplayed the cheating initially and I really didn't know what I was agreeing to (b) we had not seen each other for a year when it happened (pandemic related) (c) I was probably in too much shock to even think straight and just wanted the pain to go away.

This didn't happen because he was lacking something with me or because we had problems or because he met someone he just felt compelled to kiss. It happened just because she was there and I wasn't.

After she told me, he quit his job, moved to be with me and six months later, I am just not sure how I feel or what I want.

One the one hand, commitment that was lacking before is now there. He is obviously committed for the long haul and fully invested (he admits he was not before and it took nearly losing me to see it). He is now open and emotionally intimate in ways he never was before. He is now committed in practical ways (wants to buy a home together, makes decisions jointly). He is loving to me, caring, supportive, kind and we are in love still. If this had not happened I've got no doubt we would be incredibly happy together. He did all the stuff he's meant to do (cutting all contact with other woman, told me the whole truth, going to get therapy, reading books on this stuff, apologising constantly, tending my emotional needs)

On the other hand, I don't really know how to put it behind me or if I even want to. Whatever "the work" is that needs to be done has definitely not been done. I still don't get HOW he did it. I get WHY, but I am blown away anyone could treat me as if I was so disposable. I am such a loyal person, I can't have any empathy for the mindset where he took getting his kicks as important enough to risk harming me like this. I don't really trust him. I don't think he'd cheat again and think he only did because we were apart for so long, but he showed he's capable of having zero integrity so how do I trust him?

What seems to be my choice now is to accept, I was in love with this man and wanted a full commitment, he wasn't willing or ready so he went off, had an affair behind my back and now this has led him to realise what he almost lost and he's offering me everything I ever wanted. Or to just leave and be with someone who didn't cheat on me or treat me with so much disrespect. It would be a no brainer, except the **** part is that I believe we really love each other and it would be pretty hard, if not impossible, to find that again.

I get most people who cope with "infidelity" do so because they have a marriage or kids or a life together, but for us none of those things are holding me here. What advice to those who dealt with cheating have to offer me? I never thought this was something I could accept or live with, but here I am.

I had an uncle who cheated on his wife when they were young. She stayed and he adored her for the rest of his life. They had the most beautiful marriage and when she passed away he sat in his chair, depressed, talking of nothing but her and how his life meant nothing without her before dying himself. So I know there are sometimes happy endings. But I am not sure how to get that for myself.

This whole situation sucks, and I really wish he'd never done this to us. Is the solution as simple as putting it behind us?
 

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Only you know if you can trust him again or not. You aren't married nor engaged so there is no need for you to go through the whole divorce process. Nor do you have children so no complications there.

Personally I think he treated you both very badly, but only you can make that choice.
 

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The reason you aren’t sure is because you know what you need to do and you don’t want to start over.

He cheated. If you stick around, you’ve signaled that he can cheat and you will be fine with it. Next time, after you’ve wasted more years on him, he will give you the same song and dance.

No one approves of saying this, because on some level our society seems to accept men cheating. Once a cheater, always a cheater. You are worth so much more than this.

You only think you won’t find love again because he has you convinced this is the best you can hope for. It’s not. Walk away. You will find someone who recognizes your value and treasures you. As you deserve.
 

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I just don't know how to verbalise easily what it is I feel I need but there's definitely something beyond "hey I made a huge mistake but here I am for a fresh start".
Yes, of course.

If you can find a good couple counsellor, that might help. There's also quite a good book by John Gottman called What Makes Love Last that covers recovery from infidelity, if you decide that's what you want to do.
 

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I am not such a fan of individual therapy for either person in this situation. The problem is with him, but you need to hear what he's saying in therapy, and it's the relationship that needs repairing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's definitely not that I think he would cheat again, I don't think he would. It's more that I feel that he tainted us, and we can't go back to the innocence we had before. I have lost a lot and nothing he says or does will bring that back.

I have also given him merry hell, so I don't think I've sent the signal that it's fine. It's not fine. He has had to walk through fire to still be here. He definitely knows that.

He also doesn't convince me I won't find love again. He says the opposite really.

It's not the classic "oh he treated me badly but I will tolerate it because I can't do better". It's more about figuring out if leaving cuts my nose off to spite my face. We still love each other, leaving solves one problem and creates another. It's a bad choice to make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am not such a fan of individual therapy for either person in this situation. The problem is with him, but you need to hear what he's saying in therapy, and it's the relationship that needs repairing.
In this situation I felt it was best for him to go alone initially. It's between him and the therapist what he says. I trust his intentions are to genuinely figure out how a person who once had complete integrity lost that so spectacularly. The whole thing uncovered some childhood trauma and why he was in a position to make these decisions and it's a complicated mess of dysfunction that he needs to sort through to be a healthy long term partner to me.

Relationship counselling, yes, down the road. But we really didn't have relationship problems. We loved each other, we fought fair, we ticked all the right boxes. He was just away from me for a long time and got into a mess.
 

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I believe you want your pound of flesh before you take him back to heart.

Whatever it takes, it is your need, not his.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I believe you want your pound of flesh before you take him back to heart.
I really don't think that's it either :( He has been "punished" enough. Not by me (intentionally), but by the consequences of all this. Public embarrassment, having to give up his job, dealing with the affair partner who was out for revenge big time and deployed all manner of behavior on him that was pretty horrible. I never sought to punish him. I love him. Whatever he did, seeing him punished wouldn't make me feel better.

I realise I am being unhelpful by not being able to verbalise what I need specifically, but after six months it's still raw and I suppose most people wouldn't be "over it". I am really just trying to figure out what the picture looks like 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now. Will I always look at this person and remember how badly he treated me once upon a time, or will I think how great it is that we made it through something so hard?

I remember when we were first dating how cute we were. He was so smitten by me, I remember him nervously asking me out and then asking for a second date when we were five minutes into the first. I remember him cancelling all his plans for the week just in case I'd have time to see him. He dated me seriously old school, and it was a cute story.

But as things got to a point of being together for about six months when I felt he was holding something back. He always wanted to be with me, but he didn't say "I love you". He didn't make decisions as a couple. He didn't invite me to family stuff. He didn't talk about the future. He wasn't fully invested and I knew that. I tried to leave a couple of times in that first year together, but he kept telling me he was sorry, he knew he was holding back but he was afraid and if I could just be a bit more patient...

Then he took that darn job, and he persuaded me to wait. I knew it wasn't quite right to commit to an LDR with someone I knew wasn't fully invested but I thought time alone might help him get over his fear of commitment. I even gave him books on it to take with him when he went! The last thing I ever thought he would do was cheat. He just isn't that kind of person.

Then he went off and became a cliche. Some old lady (and I mean OLD) at work giving him lots of attention and flattery. He was alone in a new city. She wanted to be friends. Several months of being friends and then a lot of alcohol and BOOM, he is the worst person. It was all just so selfish and so destructive.

Now he's all in. Talk of marriage. House-hunting. His family coming for Christmas. "In a relationship" on his Facebook. No secrets. No compartments. Wholehearted love and vulnerability. I have what I wanted, and that makes me happy, but it makes me so sad that I had to go through what I went through to get it.
 

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I wish you the best, I really do. But you have to decide how much you are willing to tolerate. If you’re fine not being “enough,” but knowing that he will return, that’s your call. It’s important to see the man for who he is, not who you hope he is.
 

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I am trying to decide what to do and outside feedback would be appreciated.

I won't bore anyone with too many details, but when in a long distance relationship, my boyfriend cheated on me quite long term. He lied to me every day, he minimised me to the other woman (and to friends locally), he let me continue believing we were both completely committed and I only found out about it once the other woman called me to tell me.

She did this because he would not leave me for her and she thought if she got rid of me that this would clear her path. He reacted instead by dumping her, telling her he loved me and didn't want her and begging me to take him back.

I was willing to give him a second chance because (a) he underplayed the cheating initially and I really didn't know what I was agreeing to (b) we had not seen each other for a year when it happened (pandemic related) (c) I was probably in too much shock to even think straight and just wanted the pain to go away.

This didn't happen because he was lacking something with me or because we had problems or because he met someone he just felt compelled to kiss. It happened just because she was there and I wasn't.

After she told me, he quit his job, moved to be with me and six months later, I am just not sure how I feel or what I want.

One the one hand, commitment that was lacking before is now there. He is obviously committed for the long haul and fully invested (he admits he was not before and it took nearly losing me to see it). He is now open and emotionally intimate in ways he never was before. He is now committed in practical ways (wants to buy a home together, makes decisions jointly). He is loving to me, caring, supportive, kind and we are in love still. If this had not happened I've got no doubt we would be incredibly happy together. He did all the stuff he's meant to do (cutting all contact with other woman, told me the whole truth, going to get therapy, reading books on this stuff, apologising constantly, tending my emotional needs)

On the other hand, I don't really know how to put it behind me or if I even want to. Whatever "the work" is that needs to be done has definitely not been done. I still don't get HOW he did it. I get WHY, but I am blown away anyone could treat me as if I was so disposable. I am such a loyal person, I can't have any empathy for the mindset where he took getting his kicks as important enough to risk harming me like this. I don't really trust him. I don't think he'd cheat again and think he only did because we were apart for so long, but he showed he's capable of having zero integrity so how do I trust him?

What seems to be my choice now is to accept, I was in love with this man and wanted a full commitment, he wasn't willing or ready so he went off, had an affair behind my back and now this has led him to realise what he almost lost and he's offering me everything I ever wanted. Or to just leave and be with someone who didn't cheat on me or treat me with so much disrespect. It would be a no brainer, except the **** part is that I believe we really love each other and it would be pretty hard, if not impossible, to find that again.

I get most people who cope with "infidelity" do so because they have a marriage or kids or a life together, but for us none of those things are holding me here. What advice to those who dealt with cheating have to offer me? I never thought this was something I could accept or live with, but here I am.

I had an uncle who cheated on his wife when they were young. She stayed and he adored her for the rest of his life. They had the most beautiful marriage and when she passed away he sat in his chair, depressed, talking of nothing but her and how his life meant nothing without her before dying himself. So I know there are sometimes happy endings. But I am not sure how to get that for myself.

This whole situation sucks, and I really wish he'd never done this to us. Is the solution as simple as putting it behind us?
I'd say it's time to book. If it's this rocky now, marriage will put even more pressure on this relationship. I wouldn't bother, I'd say find someone else. This person can't be trusted, long distance or by your side. When the cat's away, the mouse will play...do you really want to worry about what he's doing for the rest of your life? I don't think so.
 

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Is this a situation of immaturity? The lies that begot lies, with you apart, and an aggressive woman wanting your guy? Was alcohol involved and boundaries down when they first got together? It's not an excurse but understanding circumstances and knowing his level of maturity can help you look at him in that time as a different person. Maybe, hopefully, he grew up a lot when the mirror came up and he had to face his duplicity. This can be transformative. It sounds like he is owning this, that is encouraging. Because you were so hurt, you would do well to spend a lot of time without him, let him date you, give yourself space to be able to define the words and feelings of what YOU want now. You have him back. Relax into that, but also step out of it to get perspective. Even in his presence, put a lens on that expects a man of maturity and then decide if you feel safe.
 

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I am trying to decide what to do and outside feedback would be appreciated.

I won't bore anyone with too many details, but when in a long distance relationship, my boyfriend cheated on me quite long term. He lied to me every day, he minimised me to the other woman (and to friends locally), he let me continue believing we were both completely committed and I only found out about it once the other woman called me to tell me.

She did this because he would not leave me for her and she thought if she got rid of me that this would clear her path. He reacted instead by dumping her, telling her he loved me and didn't want her and begging me to take him back.

I was willing to give him a second chance because (a) he underplayed the cheating initially and I really didn't know what I was agreeing to (b) we had not seen each other for a year when it happened (pandemic related) (c) I was probably in too much shock to even think straight and just wanted the pain to go away.

This didn't happen because he was lacking something with me or because we had problems or because he met someone he just felt compelled to kiss. It happened just because she was there and I wasn't.

After she told me, he quit his job, moved to be with me and six months later, I am just not sure how I feel or what I want.

One the one hand, commitment that was lacking before is now there. He is obviously committed for the long haul and fully invested (he admits he was not before and it took nearly losing me to see it). He is now open and emotionally intimate in ways he never was before. He is now committed in practical ways (wants to buy a home together, makes decisions jointly). He is loving to me, caring, supportive, kind and we are in love still. If this had not happened I've got no doubt we would be incredibly happy together. He did all the stuff he's meant to do (cutting all contact with other woman, told me the whole truth, going to get therapy, reading books on this stuff, apologising constantly, tending my emotional needs)

On the other hand, I don't really know how to put it behind me or if I even want to. Whatever "the work" is that needs to be done has definitely not been done. I still don't get HOW he did it. I get WHY, but I am blown away anyone could treat me as if I was so disposable. I am such a loyal person, I can't have any empathy for the mindset where he took getting his kicks as important enough to risk harming me like this. I don't really trust him. I don't think he'd cheat again and think he only did because we were apart for so long, but he showed he's capable of having zero integrity so how do I trust him?

What seems to be my choice now is to accept, I was in love with this man and wanted a full commitment, he wasn't willing or ready so he went off, had an affair behind my back and now this has led him to realise what he almost lost and he's offering me everything I ever wanted. Or to just leave and be with someone who didn't cheat on me or treat me with so much disrespect. It would be a no brainer, except the **** part is that I believe we really love each other and it would be pretty hard, if not impossible, to find that again.

I get most people who cope with "infidelity" do so because they have a marriage or kids or a life together, but for us none of those things are holding me here. What advice to those who dealt with cheating have to offer me? I never thought this was something I could accept or live with, but here I am.

I had an uncle who cheated on his wife when they were young. She stayed and he adored her for the rest of his life. They had the most beautiful marriage and when she passed away he sat in his chair, depressed, talking of nothing but her and how his life meant nothing without her before dying himself. So I know there are sometimes happy endings. But I am not sure how to get that for myself.

This whole situation sucks, and I really wish he'd never done this to us. Is the solution as simple as putting it behind us?
Just “putting it behind you” will only result in him cheating again. Hell, he probably already is.

The solution is as simple as dumping him.
 
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He lied to you everyday. That means he's a chronic liar. That means you can't trust his remorse now. He may be very very sorry he got caught. He hid your relationship from people so that he could remain available.

It's true what Texas mom said about he now knows that if you stay with him after this horrible breach of trust and ongoing lying, that that will be new information he has about you that he can just get away with it. Next time he won't even be as careful.

If you weren't able to see each other during covid then I just wonder why he was able to see other people during covid. So that just adds careless to the list.

But if you were going to see other people for whatever the reason, he should have been honest with you about it instead of lying to you everyday. People who can keep up the lie that long are pathologic. That is a part of his character and ethics and that is not going to go away. He's just going to conceal it from you as long as he can.
 
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