Carries asks: “I was devastated recently to discover that my boyfriend has been cheating on me with a woman from his work for the past 8 months. He was my world and I would do and have done anything for him and to find that he had been sleeping around has brought me to my lowest point.

She gave him an ultimatum that he had to finish it and when he didn’t she called me up. She even had the barefaced cheek to tell me that he wanted to leave he just didn’t know how. Of course I confronted him and at first he denied it, then he admitted it, then he said it was just sex, and then he said that for a while he thought he had been falling for her but that it’s me he wants.

I don’t even know what to think but we have been together for over three years and I don’t want to throw away everything I have invested into this relationship. He says he loves me and he will do what I want, and maybe this is the time for me to lay down my terms because I want to get married and have kids. But then I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him! But I don’t want to start again. He swears that it won’t happen again but he doesn’t know that I called his ex and she claims he cheated on her with some girl at his local bar. I don’t know what to think. I’m thinking of telling him to leave his job…. What should I do?”

I’ll start this by saying that only you know your relationship so what I say to you is on the basis of what you have told me, and what I don’t understand is why you want to hold on to someone who can’t be trusted?

I don’t think it’s fair to say that if you cheat once, you’ll cheat again, but he already has cheated before, and he has cheated again.

Have you considered the fact that you wouldn’t even know about this unless his OW had forced his hand? So you have to wonder how much longer he would have continued to cheat without your knowledge?

Relationships must be built on a foundation of trust, respect, and care, and you have none of these things. I know that three years is a long time, but if you buckle in for the long haul, you’ll have a hell of a lot more pain ahead of you.

I would also take note of the fact that even though she came and told you, he didn’t admit to it properly and instead wanted to continue with the lie and drip feed you the truth.

You have to ask yourself what you want here: is it him or just the security of having someone there and not having to be single again?

If it’s him then you need to work out whether you can continue with him and if so, on what terms. You need to communicate these terms to him and get what you want, and if he over promises and under-delivers, walk away. If you stick with him, It means that you’ll have to forgive him and that you can’t keep throwing it back in his face every time you have an argument. It means you have to be comfortable with him returning back to that work and that woman? Or be pretty certain that he can find another job.

But remember, you can take the job and the cheating environment away from the man…but you can’t take the cheat out of him if it’s what he is predisposed to do…

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9 Responses to Relationship advice: Should I take my cheating boyfriend back?

  1. Honey says:

    A girlfriend of mine once asked me if I thought people could change–I knew she was asking about her ex who had cheated on her. “Can people change–yes,” I said. “Can they change for you?–No, I don’t think so.” What I mean is that, while this guy may be perfectly capable of learning from his mistake and applying it to his NEXT relationship, if you stay with him he is just going to do it again. The dynamic of your relationship is far too established, and that is absolutely one of the hardest things to change. It is tough to know that you have spent three years with someone who didn’t deserve that time, but listing your terms (which will inevitably be stifling due to your recent hurt) and forgiving him doesn’t make him deserve that time any more.

    My BF confessed to me at the beginning of our relationship that he’d cheated in every other major relationship we’d been in. While strategically this was a poor admission to make 2 months in, he did it on purpose because if we were to go forward, he didn’t want me to have any false impressions. I have no doubt that he’s devoted to me and has changed, if it had been me he had cheated on then I’d never be able to trust him again, no matter how much I wanted to. The commenter above talks about the fellow not having any respect for you and the potential for that to affect any children you might have with this guy–but staying also indicates a lack of respect for yourself–and is that an attitude you want your future kids to pick up on?

    Best of luck. What a horrible situation.

  2. Brad K. says:

    Good words, NML.

    Carrie, there are a couple of other thoughts that come to my mind. One is, how many sex partners do you really want, that you don’t pick? Partners with varying hormone effects on your guy, exposure to diseases, capacity to get pregnant (by mistake or that old ploy to ‘get’ the guy to settle down)? Remember, he isn’t getting your advice when picking an ‘extra’ partner, and may not be screening their health. One approach might be to invite the OW to move into your home with you and the guy, to share and share alike. Maybe the two of you could keep tabs on Casanova (but I doubt it). Most people, though, aren’t thrilled with three in a bed as a lifestyle.

    The other thought is – his cheating is a lifestyle. He is experienced, this is a life skill he will never forget. He was successful keeping this other lady secret for a long time, which takes planning, skill, and a devious (or fragmented) mind. You did find out about this one lady. It is possible there is only one, but I wonder if there is another one or two other women out there that he continues to ‘entertain.’ That might have been part of his reluctance to admit anything – he wasn’t sure which one you had discovered.

    Think about having kids, now. If you want kids to grow up bullies and abusive, pick a bully or abuser for a mate – this is well known. If you want kids that respect themselves and others, you have to have respect for your mate, and he must be respectful, too. There are few things that show *disrespect* more clearly that deceiving someone.

    There is a line that has been used, “I need some space.” And that is my recommendation. Get some space and time between you and him. Take a few months or longer to review your goals, to figure out if you want a guy that needs other women and cannot be honest with you or himself. Get a change of scenery – hang out with responsible, disciplined, respectful people. Maybe in a half year you can decide – try again, or seal it off, grieve his loss, and get on with living.

    Living with a cheater for three years, and not wanting to lose that time is not the issue. Frankly, if you are still working toward getting married after three years, you have to realize that you are on a long detour to somewhere scary. You might want to consider whether marriage is really what you want, if you have put it off (or accepted delays) this long.

    A lot of question around this topic. Cheating, like domestic violence, is often an echo of the past. Many people have learned better, than a devoted mate is priceless – and sufficient for any one life. Yet there are decadent images of earlier times, and examples of friends and families that seem to make it OK, so bozo’s still play the games on themselves and others.

    Please don’t help pass examples of cheaters onto the next generation.

  3. Honey says:

    I meant to type, “every other relationship HE’D been in.” Sorry.

  4. Astelle says:

    Brad, you areright on with your comment. This is the first time that I agree with you :)

  5. nysharon says:

    Eight months is a long time. I would say you need to take a break to see what happens from there. (Marriage–oh please honey–don’t go there.) I bet the OW is telling the truth AND Do you want to be with someone who dosen’t want to be with you?

  6. Sindh says:

    Well said Brad. I totally agree with you.

    Being with someone you can’t trust is like walking on eggshells and you know what else, what about its spillover effects – on YOU. I am that woman, been there and done that. Its not a good healthy happy place to be in, let alone build a marriage on. People who love and care about you – do not hurt you, lie to you or cheat on you, let alone let you find out the ugly truth from someone else.
    Its really hard but you need to envision yourself 1 year, 2 years from now and what does your gut tell you. You could still be this guy and maybe expect another call or you can spend that time living and loving someone who truly deserves you.
    Nothing changes until WE change.

  7. Kim says:

    After my breakup I posed the question to men is it possible to love the one your with & cheat & they all said yes. A lot of these men were married some were not . I guess it comes down to respect or maybe the type of I guy I was asking. I just found it odd that every guy I asked said the same thing. I’m sure not all men feel that way but many of them will cheat yet still want to be with the partner they are with. I’m am not condoning the behavior & I personally would not want to be with someone that disrespected me like that but I found it discouraging.

  8. Lea says:

    I too have experience with a cheating mate. I have to warn you, that despite my feeling his love most of the time during our marriage, he every so often would have an affair. People who have affairs on their love partners are selfish. They’re only thinking of themselves when they have the affairs. As difficult as it is to end a relationship after three years, think how hard it will be after five or ten years, etc, when he has another affair. Just because we love someone, it doesn’t mean our relationship with them is healthy.

  9. Lance says:

    Why should he leave his job? Because the OW is there? That’s not a good idea because then he’s unemployed.

    This one seems way too far gone to be saved. I hear the three year investment thing and I think it’s a bitch to lose that, but it’s not nearly as bad as a 10 year marriage or a family getting torn apart. Cut your losses and walk away. There are just too many things wrong for the relationship to succeed as described. Go get yourself a nice bf who won’t screw around on you.

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