Thinking about getting back together

I recently found out from my three best friends that my girlfriend of two years cheated on me for about a month and a half with an older man at her University. We were in a long distance relationship, but I would make the effort to see her at least once every two months and over the two years, half of it was spent in closer proximity but not continuously.

Last Fall 2015, from October to December, we were having issues with communication when we were away at college, which led to tension. During these fights, she met a very attractive man who fit her "type" physically who charmed her and led her to tell her friends that she was on "break" with me without my knowledge, but we never decided to go on a break. She started partying more during that time and would drink and end up having sex with him. She did also have sex with him while sober though. I was suspicious of her because she’d very often be at his apartment, but she’d assure me that she was studying with friends there. She told me everything was fine and I had nothing to worry about when she was cheating. After her "affair" started, she was a victim of a pretty scarring experience and was very affected by it. She continued her affair despite me showing her I cared and coming home to support her. The affair ended in December before I came home to see her, but he became emotionally attached and wouldn’t leave her alone. She visited my apartment at school during Christmas break for 2 weeks and our love and "chemistry" was still apparent. After she left, my friends informed me of the affair after confirming it.

When I confronted her about it, she immediately admitted to it and was very regretful and sorry. She swore that she was going to inform me soon, and that she’d gotten counseling on how to bring it up, but I’m not sure if that is 100% true as she’s afraid of confrontation. She told me she hid it for so long because she was afraid she’d lose me, and that it started at a time where she was vulnerable initially because we were arguing over a lack of communication on her part, and then due to her experience. She felt trapped, and it wasn’t fulfilling as our relationship according to her and she never developed an emotional connection. She is insecure about her appearance and may have wanted the attention of another man, which I know, is unacceptable but is it changeable?

I have broken up with her, but we ended actually on slightly good terms. She wants to gain my trust back and promised that she will work on her emotional issues and mature to understand the meaning of true commitment. We agreed to not talk for a few months, and with time, if I see that she has changed, I might accept her as a friend. I do love her still and I can see that she loves me and regrets everything she has done. What I want to know is if she can change for the better? Is that a false hope? This is the first time she has lied to me and may have been driven by fear so I’m not sure what to make of it. She accepted full responsibility and I see potential that she can possibly win my trust back. I know I have the strength to move on and for now will focus on myself, but I still want to be with her because I see her as my future wife, and she sees me as her future husband... Please let me know if you think this is realistic and any other thoughts you have.

Response:

To start with, it helps that your girlfriend didn’t lie to you when you confronted her with the truth. It’s also helpful that she acted remorseful and wants to gain your trust back. And the fact that you understand why she cheated and the circumstances in which it occurred (a long-distance relationship), also works in your favor.

People make mistakes. In strong relationships, people are able to work through problems. This requires that both parties want the same thing, understand the problem and are willing to work together to make it happen.

A good first step might be to focus on making sure that the two of you are able to talk about your feelings and problems as they emerge. So start small. Perhaps start dating again, not with the goal of getting married some day… but to see if you can talk about problems with each other as they come up. If you can manage this task, which should be clear to both of you fairly quickly, then make greater commitments as you go. In short, test the waters and work on problems. Constantly assess how you are doing as a couple and take it from there.

It’s hard to test the waters from the shallow end of the pool, but don’t jump into the deep end either.

 cheating girlfriend

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