Reformed Cheater

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TigerGirl86 Posts : 3 Registered: 5/21/10
Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 9:59 AM

Hi all, I'm new here so I'll start from the beginning.

I have been dating my current boyfriend for almost 3 years. We are both still fairly young (23) and we met in college. Awhile back I found out that he spent 6 months cheating on me with another woman. The affair was mostly emotional and it came at a time when I was very sick and couldn't give him the things he needed to have a happy healthy relationship. I was pretty much bedridden and not very pleasant for a long time and there was doubt that I would ever get better.

Once I got better, he broke it off with her because according to him he realized that "things could get better". A few days later, I found his break-up email to her on his computer along with a record of pretty much everything.

He claimed that he still loved me and spent weeks begging for me to take him back. I was in complete and utter shock for a long time because this guy is really not the type. He claims that the relationship was the result of his not knowing if I would ever get better and just giving up on me.

I realize that this means he didn't respect me, probably didn't love me at the time, and is probably a slimeball but I stayed with him because I love him and, like I said, he's really not the type. He got himself into therapy, gave me ALL of his digital passwords and compiles frequent computer history reports. He was tested for STDs and is still willing to pay for couples therapy.

My parents still love him and they chalk it up to him being young, stupid, and inexperienced. I'm pretty sure that with a little more time and a lot of honesty, I can forgive him.

Now he's started talking about marriage. Not much time has passed since I found out about the affair but our relationship has been steady since I decided to get back together with him. He claims that his time with the other woman made him 100% sure about me and that he doesn't want anyone else. He also says that despite wanting to really badly, he won't propose until I tell him I'm ready. I don't really want more surprises.

I'm desperately in love with the guy. I really am. But can I ever trust him again? I know marriage isn't a solution but is it even possible between us? At what point can you forgive a cheater? I feel like he did a lot wrong but since I found out about his affair, he's done everything right: the therapy, digital openness (I regularly check his texts, too), he even let me go on a few dates after I found out.

I don't need to be told to kick him to the curb...my friends are telling me that enough. I just want to know your opinions on when or if it is stupid to ever forgive him and whether marriage is possible now or 10 years from now or never.

It's good to be here!

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agd1017 Posts : 464 Registered: 9/14/09
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 10:50 AM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

I don't have much advice for you, except this, which I know from personal experience and my therapist of 2+ years telling me:

You are not ready to move on/get married until you trust him completely. And you don't trust him completely if you are still looking at his email and texts. So my advice is, until you feel that you trust him enough to not "have" to do that anymore, don't get engaged. Just be together (if that is what you want) and work on the relationship. You may also need individual therapy to deal with it.

Good luck!

Amanda and Eric
10/10/10

Amanda and Eric

 

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 11:03 AM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

Here's my absolutely, honest opinion: He's young, stupid and inexperienced.

Okay, I don't really know the guy, so it's not like I can really say that, but this is what it sounds like on paper, so I'm going with your parents on this. I don't know many men who didn't spend some time goofing off in their early 20s (including my husband), and then they settle down when they are ready to settle down with someone. I think it's really about whether he's really and truly ready to settle down, and you (and he) probably won't know that until some more time has passed.

By the way, I also think you're young and inexperienced as well (and I'm not saying that as a bad thing.) People make mistakes, they do it all the time, and especially when they are young, and the older you get, the more you realize that these mistakes aren't necessarilly fatal character flaws. If he had shown a repeated pattern of insecure, irresponsible behavior, that's one thing. But you say this is out of character for him, and he was dealing with your illness, so I'm chalking it up to mistake due to immaturity, not a life long character flaw.

But really, the only thing that matters is how secure you feel. It seems to me that this has all been fairly recent, so I say give yourself time. There's no need to rush -- plenty of people put off marriage till 25, 26 (and I did until 30). If you know you want to be with him, be with him. You don't have to be married to him in order to be with him. So give yourself, and him, the time you need to know for certain that this is the man you want to build your life with, always.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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CheetahAngel Posts : 2,017 Registered: 11/29/08
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 12:07 PM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

I believe that people change and it does sound like he wants to change, from what you wrote here. I think the main issue here is trust. If you're reading his emails and text then that means you don't trust him. I don't think you should get married to him until you complety stop yourself from checking his stuff. If you find that you can't stop then that means you can't trust him and that it's time to move on.

 

                           
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wdubin Posts : 49 Registered: 4/27/08
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 7:02 PM Go to message in response to: CheetahAngel

I'm surprised no one else has expressed the same concern as I have. It seems so obvious to me. It's not that hard to stick by someone's side during the good times. What really shows character and love is how they treat you during the bad. What if God forbid you ever become sick again sometime in the future. Will you know for sure that he won't handle it the same way?

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 21, 2010 10:53 PM Go to message in response to: wdubin

wdubin... I'm much in agreement with you on this. He had a RELATIONSHIP (not a one time in and out deal) with another woman while the OP was going through a bad patch from which she didn't know if she'd recover. And now that she has, he's back and being a sweetie.

I also distinguish between a one time wham bam thank you ma'am and an another relationship. I'm FAR more likely to forgive a non-emotional attachment than I am to forgive him for having an emotionally vested affair.

This is not a case of "we were in a fight" or had hit a lull in our relationship. Most vows include 'in sickness AND in health'... not 'in sickness I can go out with another person and when you're healthy, it's just you and me babe.'

This is a cheater who does not deserve a second chance...no matter how much the parents love him. And what the hell is wrong with the parents who still love the BOY who did that to their daughter while she was ill!?! Not impressed with parenting there.

OP... you deserve better. Don't settle for this loser!

Misty

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JessicaLong Posts : 29 Registered: 8/31/09
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 22, 2010 11:16 AM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

I had the same response as Wdubin and Cat as I was reading your post.
Marriages are not flawless, such is life. You WILL have ups and downs- you WILL face additional health problems as you age. If past behavior is any indication of future behavior.... he doesn't sound like good husband material.
Sure he is still young- I know very few 23 year old guys who I would consider mature and responsible enough to marry.... but the circumstances suggest to me that he's just very selfish and needy- and those traits aren't always "outgrown". If this had been just a 1 time fling when you were well, I could chalk that up to the poor judgment that comes from a 23 year old testosterone fueled mind. But considering you were in a committed relationship, you were bedridden, his affair was a seperate relationship, and he didn't come forward with the infidelity... huge red flag

He may be completely open with his actions now, but but what about 10 years from now? More importantly, how much anger and hurt do you have from his actions? For some, time does heal the wound. But for others, it only only leads to resentment.

Until you are not tempted to check his phone/emails.... you're not ready. And even if you are able to give him your full trust, doesn't mean he's deserving of it.





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jojolina Posts : 897 Registered: 2/28/07
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 23, 2010 5:51 AM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

You are both pretty young. It sounds like you were sick for a long time. Boyfriend doesn't equal husband as far a commitment is concerned. Why did he go into therapy? That seems pretty extreme for talking to another woman as a single, even though exclusively dating, man. Don't get me wrong, if my husband (then bf) had of been talking to someone else while we were dating exclusively, i would have been extremely upset. However, I don't know if that would constitute him as a serial cheater.

It seems like you both love each other. However how you describe your relationship right now tells me it's not the time to get engaged or married. The other ladies are right. Don't plan to marry anyone that you don't trust 100 percent. Give it time. See how things go. You have lots of time to make this decision.

 

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Marryingmytruel... Posts : 135 Registered: 2/11/10
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 23, 2010 12:28 PM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

Your BF spent 6 months cheating on you with another woman. He didn't go out and have a one night fling (I'm not saying that would be better) with someone he began a relationship with someone else and continued that relationship for half a year. On top of that you were sick and I'm sure scared and needed him at that time and he was cheating on you. Relationships/marriages are full of ups and downs. I would worry about the next bump in the road. What will he do? Will he be able to "handle" it?

I agree with the other ladies that you are not ready to get married to him until you can trust him 200% again.

Cat- I agree with you on the parenting thing. I'm not trying to be mean but if my daughter was bed ridden and ill and her BF was cheating on her during that time I don't think that I would still "love" him.

My parents still love him and they chalk it up to him being young, stupid, and inexperienced.
Your parents are excusing his behavior?

 

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HamzicBride Posts : 178 Registered: 12/28/09
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 23, 2010 5:31 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

I absolutely loved your response and agree 100%. A year ago to this month, I went through a major surgery which was quite unexpected. I was on all sorts of pain killers and spent the entire summer, on my back relying on people. I had a terrible temper and really took what my boyfriend did for me through that hard time.
I absolutely love what you posted about the wedding vows "in sickness AND in health". You couldnt be any more right with your post. Boyfriend just finished going through a rough patch in which we had opposite roles. I was there for him the same way he was there for me a few months ago.

I couldnt imagine going through with the relationship if I found out he has been seeing someone else while I was ill.

Leave, leave while you can. He will not change his ways.

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BlueBoxBlueShoes Posts : 49 Registered: 2/15/10
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 23, 2010 8:50 PM Go to message in response to: HamzicBride

I would see if he shows reformed behavior, but I would not talk about marriage at this point.

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Starqueg Posts : 17 Registered: 10/30/09
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 25, 2010 2:47 PM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

I know it's been said before, but I'm really worried about what would happen if you get sick again. I have chronic medical problems, and my boyfriend is able to deal with it, even when I turn into a major bitch for days on end. Would your boyfriend start cheating again if you get sick again? Was part of the problem that the two of you didn't talk about your emotions, concerns, fears, worries, et cetera while you were sick?

Open communication is key to a relationship. He's doing everything he can to prove to you that he can change. You just need to take your time and make sure the changes stick, and that the trust can be rebuilt. Don't jump into marriage now. Make sure he understands that trust can't be broken and then immediately rebuilt.

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rebeccab20 Posts : 2 Registered: 5/11/10
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: May 30, 2010 1:48 PM Go to message in response to: Starqueg

Sorry, I am with the rest of the girls here. You had a serious illness where you didn't know if you'd even survive. Instead of spending every minute he could with you (the woman who he says he loves), he immediately took off to someone else because you couldn't give him what he needed during that time. Now that you're healthy and can pay attention to him, he's back and everything is peachy.

Is this post for real?

Bet you dollars to donuts that, if you get sick again, he'll take off again. It really is the rough times that tell you the most about someone's true character. This man has none. If he did, he would have been there. Love is love, whether the times are good or bad. He made sure his own needs were met... and only his own. How many times during your recovery did you need him there, or want him there, and he was with HER? For me, once would have been one time too many.

I wouldn't have given him a second chance. Wouldn't have considered it. He's shown you who he really is. Believe him.

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TigerGirl86 Posts : 3 Registered: 5/21/10
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: Jun 1, 2010 11:41 AM Go to message in response to: rebeccab20

This post is absolutely for real. PM me for my email if you want to talk more.

I was actually sick with mental illness which is why the line is blurry. If it was cancer or something I could comiserate with everyone and just dump him but the illness actually came between us. I was actually somewhat of a monster and no medication was helping. Finally, my doctors put me on the strongest thing they could find and I slowly regained some sense of normalcy.

I know feeling guilty for mental illness is not ideal but I was actually really terrible to him. I would wake up in the middle of the night to start fights with him, have panic attacks wherever we went, refuse to leave the house, and I spent pretty much every day telling him how horrible he was. He stayed with me only because it was SO OBVIOUSLY a sickness and not me and he held out hope that I would get better.

Now that I'm better and he realizes that the "real me" underneath the illness never actually left, he thinks he can get on with the rest of our lives because he knows that if I have a relapse there's always hope that I'll come back to him. In a way it's kind of romantic but in another way it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.

You all gave such good advice, thank you so much. I don't think we're going to get engaged any time soon.

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Reformed Cheater
Posted: Jun 1, 2010 4:06 PM Go to message in response to: TigerGirl86

Good luck, TigerGirl. Dealing with mental illness is no joke. Stay on your meds, please -- treatment doesn't work if it's not regular.

I have many people close to me who have had to deal with mental illness (bipolar and schizophrenia, mostly). It was the failure to deal with the illness that makes it hell. Sounds like you're dealing with it, and good for you.

Good luck.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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