Cheated in a relationship, what to do next?
June 22, 2010 5:56 AM Subscribe
Looking for a way to deal with the bad feelings, both within me and coming from the ex, after a relationship ended. Problem: I am a massive tool and it was all my fault for cheating on her. How do I say sorry?
My 18 month relationship has completely gone up in smoke and I am trying to work out what to do now. While on a trip away, I got involved with someone else sexually. It lasted a few days, essentially a mini affair. I came clean a few weeks after coming back, also admitting that earlier in our relationship I had kissed someone. The ex, understandably, thinks I am an enormous shit. I have cheated on her, and it was a terrible thing to do. We’re apart now, and although neither of us wants to get back with the other, I do want to do something about the following:
a) How awful I feel. What do I say to myself to work through the guilt and become a better person?
b) Although any efforts now will be very little, way too late, I want to know whether anyone in a similar situation has ever been able to rebuild bridges or at least say sorry in a way that the wronged person will listen to.
I ran into her recently and when I tried to say sorry she wouldn’t accept it. It’s like she has swept up our whole history and thrown it into the box marked “crap”. But then, why shouldn’t she? Wasn’t I doing something similar when I chose to sleep with someone else? She handled herself with such terrifying confidence, claiming not to be hurt in any way, batting away everything I said. She doesn’t want to hear any explanations. It’s like she has resolved that I am nothing but a bad person and the relationship was a big lie.
The conundrum is that I thought there were a lot of good things in our relationship. And yet I slept with someone else. Why? I am trying to understand but am getting nowhere. She seems to believe our relationship was nothing all along and that's why I found it so easy to do. I wish I could offer an alternative explanation that reconciles how I could genuinely care about her and still do something like this – explanations, not excuses (that old chestnut...) . Is that possible, or am I just fooling myself?
I don’t have an explanation yet, and even if I did I don’t think she wants to hear it. But is there anything I can do to help me understand?
I have gone back over what I have written and I think it sounds a bit self pitying. I know what I did and am not trying to escape the guilt. But I can’t stop thinking about what I did to her and I would be really grateful to read any constructive insight into what the cheating shitbag can or should do next. Throwaway is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.