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Posted by: Lost | 2004/01/27

He cheated - now how do I handle my feelings?

My boyfriend cheated on me one night while I was away on conference. It was pretty much a one-night-stand with a woman we both know. After a night of drinking they went back to our house...and it happened there. He told me about it 2 months later. I never ever suspected a thing, he is a loyal man and has been hurt by an ex of his this way. He is so against cheating. Anyway, he told me because he felt he had to be honest and deal with the consequences of what he had done.

I made him tell me everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Right down to every movement. It was hard, and against his better judgment at times, but he felt I deserved his honesty after what happened. Now it's time to move on. I'm not leaving him, I know that he made a stupid mistake. In the end, it emphasised the value of our relationship to him, and to me I suppose.
But I can't seem to get past it. In my minds eye I see them that night. Everytime I look at him it reminds me... when I see him wearing a shirt he may have worn that night I want to rip it to shreds. I'm angry and I'm hurt, and because of that I have distanced myself from him. When we talk, I throw in a barbed comment about what he did. In turn he remains as honest as possible, loving and supportive. He regrets terribly what he did, it's eaten him up inside. And at the moment, knowing he has caused me this pain, is ripping him apart too.

In the past I've walked out of longer relationships for less reason than this. I WILL NOT STAND FOR BEING TREATED LIKE THIS! But there's a part of me that knows he didn't go out with these intentions. The moment got away with them.
And if I can't see through a problem like this, especially when he's trying very hard to see it through with me - it doesn't bode well for a future together. It's one of the hardest things that I'll have to deal with in our life together, and our relationship is worth seeing it through. But how do I stop these torturous thoughts and the terrible mistrust I have now? The way I handle things now is important, and I'm not handling it well....

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Our expert says:
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Dear Lost,
It sounds like you're both trying to handle this sensibly. Maybe making him describe every single detail, though understandable, gave you far too many details to try to forget ; and while your head recognizes that he didnt intend to be unfaithful or hurtful, your heart still feel hurt and cries FOul!
he does sound like a decent guy who got into a situation which got out of control, and has been honest and tried to make amends ; and it sounds as if you are bothered by finding yourself responding ungracefully to his having been frank about it.
Sounds like you both could benefit from getting involved in god marriage counselling, especially to deal with your excess of anger, with him and with yourself. You had and have good reasons for loving him ; yo had good reasons to trust him --- and for him, until late on that occasion, even to trust himself.
I disagree with Amy. So far as we know, he has not been "screwing around", but there was one episode of terribly bad judgement. And it is not true that "if a person was weak once... they're bound to do it again", or none of us would ever do anything except repeat all of our mistakes. it is possible to learn from experience, even if some of us don't do so very easily.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Sad | 2004/01/30

Good luck! I willl be thinking of you every day, as I am going through the same thing. I cannot believe how much I have already learnt from my experience and how much stronger I have become. I hope that you will find happiness in your life. No-one deserves this pain.

Reply to Sad
Posted by: Lost | 2004/01/29

Thank you all so much for your messages.

I've never been on any internet discussion or 'chat' at all. This was a first for me, I guess out of desperation and anger I needed to get some advice. I never expected anyone to be interested enough to reply to my message... so again, thank you.

You are strangers to me, but somehow friends. Unknown friends who took the time out to see my unhappiness, think about it and reply to it.

My man is a bastard...but he's my bastard. This was a big mistake, but I guess I couldn't leave this relationship with confidence in myself and my strength as a woman, if I don't try and work through it. If it doesn't work - and only time will tell - at least I gave it all I've got.

And all you guys out there, just remember...somehow, somewhere, sometime....it WILL come out. Somewhere along the line this secret has a way of surfacing.
And then pray to God you have a woman like me. 'Cause some women truly do get angry enough to chop your willy off, get custody of your house and accidentally crash your car while ripping your car seats to shreds with eyebrow tweezers. And if this happens to me again, I'll be one of them!

Reply to Lost
Posted by: Gentle | 2004/01/28

You have all the rights to be angry as much as you want but can't you think of a scapegoat? like alcohol of course, this person wasn't sober when he was doing this. People behave differently when they are drunk some swears, and some do this and that if you can just talk him out of alcohol you may just be sure that he'll never do it again.

And maybe he was seduced by this woman provided he was drunk that's why it happened. Think rationaly and get over it. We do feel your pain 'cause we also don't have saints as husbands it's a matter of forgiving as no one is perfect in this planet.

Reply to Gentle
Posted by: Kernel | 2004/01/28

He only told you about it because he was ridden by guilt. He did not have to tell you - but then it would have been a burden on him for the rest of his life! Now he has freed himself from this guilt and you are the one to deal with it!

You must decide whether you actually want to spend the rest of your life with him and have children with him or not. One thing for sure - you will never forget about his cheating - you may be able to forgive him - but you will NEVER FORGET. This is a fact of life.

The best way to deal with this is to come to terms with yourself, be the best you can, be an example to others - in other words focus on your own life - not his life. You cannot determine his life but you can do a lot about your own. If you are happy with yourself then you will think less about his cheating on you and will definately be able to forgive him, which will make you an even stronger person. See this as an experience on the path of your life - it depends on you what you take from it and how you deal with it.

Good luck.

Reply to Kernel
Posted by: Sad | 2004/01/27

I am so sorry that this happened to you. I actually wish that I was in your shoes, because my husband of 7 years had an affair for four months. He slept with her after 3 weeks, after thinking about it for 3 weeks. They chose a hotelroom together - so this was a concious decision. Not a mistake as with your boyfriend. I really believe that every situation is different and that if your boyfriend is really sorry (which I believe he is), you should go for counselling together. It really does help - we've been going for 4 months.
All the best - I really do hope that you manage to sort it out.

Reply to Sad
Posted by: Amy | 2004/01/27

Dear Lost

Maybe the doc is right, seeing a marriage counsellor might help. All I am saying is be very careful in future, sleeping with someone else is not just a 'bad judgement', it is breaking the trust of people that loves and trusts you completely. I do feel very strongly about infedelity and do not believe that there is any excuse for it. But that is just my opinion, I do hope that counselling helps you and your boyfriend come to terms with what has happened.

Good luck

Reply to Amy
Posted by: Amy | 2004/01/27

Dear lost

I admire you so much for not leaving him when he came clean with you, and I understand how it must be eating you up inside. But, lets look at another point of view, many of us get drunk, maybe have the urge to lose control, even think of sleeping with someone else, what makes us worthy of trust from someone else is that we don't go ahead with these urges. Your boyfriend could do it once, what stops him from doing it again. Yes, he told you the truth, because his conscience was eating him up...does he just expect you to forgive and forget.

I believe that if a person is weak just once, he/she is bound to do it again, telling the truth does not take away the problem. Your boyfriend is not worthy of someone as compassionate as you are. You say he is a 'good' man, but good men don't go screwing around when their girlfriends are away.

Think seriously about whether you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering when he will cheat on you again. Good luck, I hope you come to a decision that will bring you peace.

Reply to Amy
Posted by: Lost | 2004/01/27

Thank you 'Gentle'.
He IS a good man. He's also the same man who got moderately drunk (performance and alcohol don't go too well with men!), took off another womans clothes, took off his own...and had sex with her. In my house, on my couch, with photo's of me around him. He managed to push me far enough out of his mind and actually follow through with the whole thing. In fact, he told me that there were moments he even had to push thoughts of me OUT of his mind! Then why do it ???!!!!

I am so angry that this has happened. So ANGRY that he did this to us in exchange for a 15min F#@&k. ANGRY that I have nothing more to say to him on the subject, we've pretty much said all their is to say by now. ANGRY that I was so trusting. ANGRY that I love him. ANGRY that he is also in pain. ANGRY at myself for letting myself get hurt like this.

I'm angry enough to lose sight of our relationship and end it. Not because I don't love him enough, or because he may do it again, or because he doesn't love me enough...no.
End it, just because I'm too bloody ANGRY to get over it.

Reply to Lost
Posted by: Gentle | 2004/01/27

What a good man you have!

First you must appreciate the good things he does to you like being loyal and honest to you. But don't let a gap of immoral behaviour caused by alcohol destroy a beautiful relationship you have with your Hubby. Yes he might have done a mistake but appreciate the fact that he came clean! What if he kept quiet about it? You will be doing just fine isn't it?

Try to think about it and go easy on him.

Good Luck

Reply to Gentle

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