Can I Forgive My Cheating Boyfriend And Still Respect Myself? Dear Betch…

Dear Betches,

My current boyfriend and I were hooking up for a few months before we became official and during that time we both hooked up with other people, which caused some tension when we were trying to figure out how committed we wanted to be. But since becoming official we have not been in any fights and our relationship had been going great. We are really open with each other and are comfortable talking about anything. There are a lot of intense feelings and we both love each other very much. However, last week I found out that he brought a girl back to his room where she blew him. They didn't have sex and he didn't even come, but he broke our promise to each other. Another thing that hurts really badly is that he brought her back to his single (I have a double), where I sleep over around three times a week. His room is a private space we share together that he tarnished by his moment of infidelity.

This was the only instance of cheating during our relationship and it only happened one time. I don't want to make excuses for him, but I am still in love and can't imagine breaking off something that we've had for over half a year. He has apologized profusely and promises that nothing like that will ever happen again. An issue I have, though, is that I don't completely trust him again. Is it worth it to try to rebuild that trust if we both still have such strong feelings for each other? I am confused by why it happened because there are no major issues in our relationship. Again, not as an excuse, but just for some background information, he had a rough break with his ex girlfriend, high pressure parents, and feelings of insecurity and lack of self-worth. I definitely think that the issues are his and not necessarily about us as a couple, but I am so hurt and don't know how to proceed from here. I want to stay together because we get along so well and we still love each other, but I can't seem to forgive him yet and I am also afraid of how invested I've become since it hurt so badly when I found out about his indiscretion.

Obviously if I were hearing this from a third person party, I would tell myself to drop this shit immediately. But it's not so easy when you're actually going through it all. I want to respect myself and make sure that I do not get pushed around, but I also want to be with the person I love. Being angry at someone is exhausting and I don't want to waste my time being upset and sad. Where should I move from here? We had a long discussion and he knows that if anything like that ever happened again, I we will be done for good. Is it worth having the possibility of being so hurt again? I know I'm lame but I can't let go of him right now and I need to know if there's any instance where cheating can be forgiven. I'm not about playing games. This isn't about winning. It's about my life and how I need to deal with the situation.

Punctured Pride

Dear Spurned and Sad,

You’re right, my first instinct was to tell you to cut this dude out of your life immediately but that’s pretty much my advice for everything. But I think your situation calls for slightly more nuanced advice, so I guess there really is a first time for everything.

If you truly believe you can trust your bf again and this was a one-time deal, then by all means stay with him and work on that trust (more on that in a bit). But let’s get one thing straight: you don’t have to act like your bf did you a favor by “only” getting a bj from this girl and “not even coming”…like if I were in your situation I wouldn’t be like “Oh, well it kind of sucks that you invited a girl back to your room and let her put your dick in her mouth [pun not intended] but gee, am I glad you didn’t actually go all the way!” Nah, as far as I’m concerned sexual contact is sexual contact (some would even argue oral sex is actually more intimate than the P-in-V kind, but I’m not here to debate that right now). 

Also, not to be a bitch but I think you’re giving him too much slack re: his “problems”. A rough break with an ex, parents that put pressure on him, and feelings of insecurity? Welcome to regular life, these are things almost everyone experiences at some point. If he’s using these things as a way to try to justify being shitty in your relationship you should give him a swift kick to the curb.

It’s obviously not unheard of to stay with a partner after infidelity (just ask our next potential President about that), but as for rebuilding trust that’s something I can’t tell you exactly how to do. Namely, because your bf should be the one working his ass off to prove you can trust him again. He could start by not putting his dick in other girls’ mouths, for one.  You also need to talk to each other about your feelings and shit more, like discussing what drove him to cheat and see if there is anything you two can do to remedy that together (i.e., he wasn’t feeling wanted and you can try to show him more attention, he was blackout drunk and he has to stop getting blackout drunk, etc.). All this should foster more openness between you two—if he starts acting shady about who he’s hanging out with and where he’s going, that’s a sign you need to gtfo of there. I also think staying away from his room for a while would be a good idea, your roommate can handle being sexiled a couple times, I’m sure. I can also ask my therapist if she has room to take on any new clients.

Hope that helped,

The Betches

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