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Any point rebuilding trust after an affair?

By April 21, 2011 - 4:44am
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Hi I've been with my boyfriend for 2 years (living together for most of it) but about a year ago he had a 2 month long affair during which he lied constantly and was really mean to me. when i found out he wanted to change/fix things so we hav tried to work thru it (though he kept in touch with her once or twice over the next month - 'incase we did split up'). About a month later (over a year into the relationship) was the first time he said he loved me. A few months later I found out there had been another more casual affair about 6 months into the relationship. he also cheated on his ex girlfriend with a previous girlfriend - he told me much later.

Sometimes it is good between us (every1 says what a perfect gorgeous couple we were/are but often i feel empty inside fm loving someone i dont know if i can trust) but whenever he gets distant or moody or doesn't want to have much sex (like once every few weeks) i feel bad and think it might be cos someone else is on his mind - even if he's not necesarily cheatin. Sometimes for months he will be very affectionate and positive about the future, kids etc and then suddenly switch to a distant mean grumpy man who doesn't know what he wants - with just the excuse that 'he's messed up and i'm unlucky to have met him'.

he has a scarily large porn collection, which i didnt mind at first (figure all men like porn) but think it affects the way he sees me/women and maybe affecting our sex life so chatted and he agreed to delete the piccies and links tho he left a few vids.

he works away A LOT so this is more difficult. i do love him - would never have bothered to try and work thru all this if i didnt.. and i believe him when he says he loves me now. i don't know if he respects me or relationships in general enough to just stay normal, relax and be honest.

i want children (and am at an age where i want/need to have them in the next 5 years) but won't give them a dad who'd freak out and run off fm the extra stresses they bring. We seem to hav very open communication but it's like there's 2 different sides to him.. There are 10 years between us.

Do you think it's possible to rebuild, really rebuild trust when it's been so damaged?
Do you know how?

He obv had no respect for our relationship in the early stages (first year) - is this likely to be a deep rooted psychological thing of how he sees/always will see the world or are some men just idiots who don't know what they've got till they're about to lose it...

Maybe i am jst blind with love or unreasonably optimistic. but I don't want to spend the next 6 years bailing out a slowly sinking ship. but i also don't want to waste something that could be (and often is) a brilliant amazing thing.

Any opinions? ;-)

Add a Comment9 Comments

thanks for sharing your experience. it really helps. x

May 9, 2011 - 1:34am


well update is this. when he is here i feel happy and loved but when he goes away for work (which at the moment is a LOT) i run things over in my head, feel sad, paranoid, unmotivated and so frustrated that my relationship has this hold over how i feel! It has been a year almost since he cheated, and 7 months since he stopped lying about it (the little details) so i wonder will i ever feel better.

When he came back a few days ago he told me he loved me and wanted to be together forever and have children and that he thinks all the pain and problems we've been through have made us so much stronger and closer. and i felt so bad cos i want that but i don't know if this sadness in my heart can go away cos if not then i will have to leave him. but i couldn't tell his happy shining eyes that.. not then anyway.

our relationship was really amazing before this happened, so i don't think i'm just hanging onto something toxic.

I can't afford counselling (the idea seems quite dramatic to me (where i live it's mostly for violence/addicts) but maybe there are some good books/authors that can help couples rebuild trust?

what do u think? is there something wrong with me that i tolerated this in the first place? or can a relationship heal and get better and stronger than it was?

May 3, 2011 - 5:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to GemmaBlack)

I'm a guy and am now in my 50's, when I was in my 20's I had a shot fling with someone that I still know and care for very much we have always stayed close and I still have feeling for her but I Love my Wife of 35 years and we have 7 children I Love all of then Very Much! Kids can be glue to a relationship but it is always a risk! Both of you need to get into some counsiling and if He won't do that then I would move on with my life. Men are alot like kids that in some respects never grow up. I see it in myself as well as others. Some of us are 17 and revert back into children and others of us just stay children seem to have to have there cake and eat it too. I'm so thankful that my wife let me have a second chance and have such a great life and family, sometime/most of the times guys just don't know what they want/need. Lay down some ground rules in your relationship (things that will keep him inline so you can regain that trust again and if he won't play/live by those agreed upon rules, then...."Find someone else")! Life is too short and there are some nice guys in the world, it's just very hard to find them. I work with a lot of men and have a lot of friends but I would only recommend a few for dating. Most of them are just Dogs with not a whole lot of anything to work with! I Hope and Pray that You can work this out, but remember the clock is clicking and you can not turn back the hands of time! For a man, Looking is Human, Touching when your Dating or Married is "Shop Lifting "Theft"! You Don't Need to be Married to a Thief of Hearts!"
Signed "K"

May 6, 2011 - 6:13am
(reply to GemmaBlack)

Yeah, a self-book may help. I'm sensing you definitely need to heal those feelings so you can move forward. I just think that a person who can talk with you personally and help you to understand who you are and what you need to be happy will solve volumes here. Counseling doesn't need to be expensive. A marriage and family counselor is what you'd be looking for. Your doctor's office may be able to help locate some resources. Depending on where you work, your benefits may include wellness help. You also could check it out online with a Google search on relationship counseling, or personal counseling. Or search Amazon.com for "surviving an affair" to find self-help books on the topic (or whatever other topic you want to search out).
Good luck!

May 3, 2011 - 9:36am

I definitely don't claim to be any kind of authority on relationships. Just one woman to another, hope the insight is helpful. If you disagree with any of it, then just don't listen to me or any of the other Guides here. We are only here to support, inspire and help you advocate for yourself. Good luck, and let us know how you're doing.

April 22, 2011 - 1:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

Karma's a bitch ain't it.

April 21, 2011 - 3:21pm
(reply to Anonymous)


April 22, 2011 - 6:20am

Thank you for your question and for joining EmpowHER. I'm so sorry you are in this position. We cannot tell you what to do, we can only give you insight.
My opinion is this, be glad you are not married, and children and assets are involved. In Dating, you are trying on someone to see if they fit you for the long haul. Is his behavior loving you? Check yourself and notice how you are feeling. There is a reason for that. Is this what you want long term? It will not change. Marriage doesn't change people this way, or make them more responsible. You both have to be responsible and want the same things first, and act like it too. What can you live with? Accepting his behavior sets you up for potentially needing to deal with this on an ongoing basis. Is that what you want? I totally understand the "not wanting to make a career out of dating" thing. I myself got married for the second time at 35, and immediately starting having children.
Perhaps marital counseling will help resolve some of this. And if he resists, you may want to visit with a therapist to get straight with yourself. Being cheated on is no picnic, and it may help to talk it out, and learn about why you would accept this type of behavior, and if/how to trust him or any man in the future.
I know this is a tough road for you, but as you said, time is of the essence. Think about it, and if you need further support, let us know.
Take care,

April 21, 2011 - 7:36am
(reply to Christine Jeffries)

Thankyou so much for your advice. Guess I have to spend some time thinking.. but not too much time ;-)

will post how things work out here later incase it's useful to anyone in a similar situation..

April 22, 2011 - 6:25am
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