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Can a relationship work if one person betrays the other?
October 26, 2007 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Betrayal - I've betrayed my girlfriend, yet we are still together, trying to heal, and work through the mess I created. Should we even bother? Is this relationship salvageable?

What I did was incredibly wrong. I did not cheat on her in the physical sense, but I was in contact via email with an ex-girlfriend from years ago, who I told some mean and untrue things about my current girlfriend. I lied to my girlfriend’s face about being in any sort of contact with the ex, even when she specifically asked about her. One day, she found out that I was emailing my ex, was able to read these emails and the shite hit the fan. Naturally, my girlfriend feels extremely betrayed and stabbed in the back because I lied to her and because of the mean/untrue things I told the ex about her/us.

Before you recommend counseling, we are already seeing someone together and I am seeing another therapist individually to figure out WTF my problem is…I think it’s helping me. We had started counseling a little before my girlfriend found this out for other reasons (stress, living together in a new town, etc)...so I was lying to our counselor as well. We’re still seeing her, though to me, it seems that my presence at our sessions is more for support, which is ok. But since being caught, I've changed my ways quite a bit, but I still have a long way to go.

Being caught in this horrible lie has been quite an eye-opener for me. Looking back, I realize what a complete bastard and arsehole I've been over the years and how selfish, immature, hasty and terrible I've been. It's like I can clearly see that person that I was and I don't want anything to do with ‘him’ anymore. I know I am capable of being a normal, good person and that is what my number one goal has been since this bad, bad, BAD thing happened. It's been a little bit of a struggle to change after many years of being that way, and I've regressed and stumbled a few times since then. But I do feel that I AM changing for the better.

My girlfriend is still struggling with letting go of this. We'll be getting along fine, talking about our issues and problems and generally still being civil and loving towards each other. But she has a hard time trusting me now, and probably will for a long, long time. She has minor outbursts every now and then that seem to drag her and us down into the mire...which brings back the whole slew of negative feelings for both of us and seems to counteract any progress or healing that may have occurred. We have let it eat away at us too much. I have no idea if she will ever be able to forgive me. She says that she's lost her best friend (me). She says that the world is against her, because she is so forthright and real and honest, and everyone in the world is out to betray each other like I did to her. She is still very much in love with me too. I think she may be conflicted by all these love/distrust feelings. We are still living together.

My better half is still here with her, trying to heal the wounds, be a man, do the right thing – not lying anymore, being transparent, trying to be a better communicator and let people ‘in’ and let them know me (I’ve put up a few too many walls in my life). The bastard half is screaming at me inside my head to end the relationship, not only for me, but for her – I don’t want to put her through any more pain just by being here, reminding her of my betrayal or making her constantly thinking she cannot trust me or looking for any possible lies I might still be telling. That bastard half of me really gets loud when she is either angry with me or sobbing hysterically at me – because this is not what I want for her. She does not deserve what I did to her. And I do not deserve a truly good person like her who is still in love with me…it doesn’t make sense for her to stay with me because of what I have done to her. What I did was unforgivable.

But now, I feel that I’ve gotten over most of it, which seems to bother her a lot, because she is still living it from time to time. I tell her that we’re just different in that respect. Maybe I can process and get through things faster than her. Maybe I am still a callous, immature or selfish person that won’t let himself get to invested or broken up about it. Drama is something I’ve always avoided, or ran away from. That’s what my instincts are telling me – run away. But to me, that is not growing, being a man, a new and better person – what I’d like to change about myself. But can our relationship really survive all this turmoil?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, you seem to have a habit of pouring your guts out on the internet, first the ex, now here on metafilter. How about tuning in to your current girlfriend and pouring out your guts? This is a lot of intellectualizing and drama for emailing an ex. You cheat, she spies...it sounds like 7th grade. Heal the wounds, be a man, blah blah blah, more intellectualizing and game playing. You grow up when you decide to grow up until then you are hooked on the drama and maybe she is, too.
posted by 45moore45 at 2:49 PM on October 26, 2007 [9 favorites]


If it was your girlfriend posting, and she said that you'd lied to her face, and about her to your ex, I'd be inclined to tell her leave and find someone who is going to treat her right.

So I'm going to say that to you. Let her go (assuming that that's what she wants) until you're man enough for her.
posted by Rabulah at 2:53 PM on October 26, 2007


I think.. you guys need to take a break just to.. breathe. There are WAY too many emotions going on here and neither of you can just cover it up, try to get over it, change and move on. If she feels like the world's against her, then clearly she needs to develop other meaningful relationships that give her support and safety. You guys sound way too dependent on one another and it doesn't help that you are still living together! Move out so both of you can breathe and figure out what it is that you guys want. During that time, reach out to other people, do other things, develop yourselves into better people. There are too many feelings and there is too much drama here for either of you to know what to do. It will only keep getting worse otherwise.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 2:54 PM on October 26, 2007


It's over. You screwed up. Pull the ripcord before you both get hurt more.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:58 PM on October 26, 2007


This whole post is about you. How you feel about you, how she feels about you, what you want out of life, you, you, you. I say this honestly: get over yourself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2007 [16 favorites]


Well, since you asked . . . My first thought was, there's a lot of grief here, so what's the upside? Is the relationship worth rescuing, given its encumbrances? Then I noticed that you really don't talk about what she means to you, other than as someone who deserves to be protected from you, and who loves you notwithstanding. That. combined with your discussion of your instincts to flee, leads me to guess that you're just going through the motions -- trying to redeem yourself, without much invested in the relationship itself.

This may be a complete misunderstanding of the situation; on the other hand, maybe you have unconsciously revealed something.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:03 PM on October 26, 2007


I would tell her to leave you. I think it's totally possible to get over unplanned cheating. (Not that it's ever ideal, mind you.) But being screwed over in an emotional sense by someone you trust is different. If I were her, I would have left you.

I want to tell you something about "getting over it":

Of course it's easier for you to get over this! You're the one who gets to have the dramatic epiphany and apologize and beg for forgiveness and feel guilty and then feel resentful that she's making you feel guilty, and why can't she just get the hell over it already, you apologized and were given absolution!

But she's the one who has to do the actual work of forgiveness here. True forgiveness, the kind where you're not just faking saintly martyrdom, but where you really, in your heart, forgive someone, and don't hold this bad thing they did against them anymore-- that's hard work. Her schedule for getting over this is whatever it is, and maybe she'll never trust you as simply as she used to.

That's kind of one of the repercussions of doing something bad to someone, you know? Even if you end up splitting up, stop making her feel bad for not magically being over something awful you did. That's just lousy.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:06 PM on October 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


You seem really self-centered. She's the injured party here. FOCUS ON HER.
posted by sid at 3:09 PM on October 26, 2007


Should we even bother? Is this relationship salvageable?

No one can answer that but you two. Why would the hive mind know?
posted by agregoli at 3:13 PM on October 26, 2007


im not sure you can be 'in it' and 'fix it' at the same time.
posted by browolf at 3:16 PM on October 26, 2007


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that since you are living together in a new town, you probably both don't have a lot of friends there yet. And one of the reasons you did what you did is because you are so discombobulated right now, and venting, whether it's lies or the truth, to an ex allowed you a sense of false intimacy and put you in the position of being a victim and needing some emotional coddling of some kind. This would fit in perfectly with your role as the callous boyfriend, sorry to say.

Lots of people in relationships who either suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder or, at the very least, feel trapped in a relationship with not a lot of choices will sabotage it. It may be conscious sabotage or unconscious; but if you really did what you're saying here, and not posting this so that later on you can show it to your girlfriend and say, 'Look! I am making an effort to change!', (but of course posting anonymously in case people rag you out too bad about it and you'd be embarrassed for her to see it), then I would consider that relationship sabotage.

Even if she hadn't read your emails, you would have eventually said or done something else that would have brought your relationship to a head.

What you may not realize is that this kind of behavior, in a long-term relationship, can become cyclic. One of you pushes the other away, only to beg them to come back when you realize what you've done. Some people get addicted to the ups and downs of drama and forgiveness. Some people are sexually turned on by it.

None of these activities are part of a healthy relationship, and once you've majorly blown someone's trust in you, it might never fully come back. Only time would be able to tell. But to be honest, if you are doing this kind of crap and both of you are in therapy and you're in therapy on your own, you probably are a far cry from being able to move on easily from something like this.

If you did this because you secretly don't want to live in the new town and only moved there because of her, break up and move home.

If you did this because you were accepting of your girlfriend back home where you had a gang of friends and cohorts who distracted you from the fact that you are not a healthy, happy couple, break up with her. Nicely.

If you did this because you are emotionally and mentally immature and unstable and not a fully-formed adult yet, then admit that to her, break up, and try to focus on becoming a better person.

Really, I can't tell you to stay together, because once your relationship turns into a game of 'what can I put this person through while still making them stay with me?', then the love is gone and it becomes nothing but resentment. She resents you now; you'll resent her for every little time she freaks out over time. Don't wait until there's nothing but bitterness left; get out now.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:18 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The bastard half is screaming at me inside my head to end the relationship, not only for me, but for her

If the "bastard half" of you is SCREAMING to end the relationship, why don't you just end it, let her get on with her life, and do whatever soul-searching bullshit it is that you feel you need to do on your own time without dragging someone else down with you.

I don't even know wtf you have to even get over. Your saying you're over it. You're over what? Lying to her face? Lying about her? Emotionally cheating on her? Well that's just peachy. Guess what? You're not the victim here! It's not all about you!
posted by dumbledore69 at 3:18 PM on October 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


Query whether beating up on the OP -- who is, at least in part, trying to do what he perceives to be the right thing -- is constructive.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:27 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


You need to stop this half-switching-thinking, because it doesn't explain anything. You should figure out what your motive was for telling these untruthful things about your girlfriend to your ex in concrete terms. Then you should accept that these were your motives and also try to understand what in the situation that gave you this motives.

Once you’ve taken this step you need to figure out how the situation or your way of dealing with the situation have changed so that it won’t happen again. If you can’t figure this out in concrete terms, there probably hasn’t been enough change and you need to start thinking about changing things.

You could sketch the logic of the situations were you acted in a way you wish you hadn't. This could be done in terms of "this situation lead to this thought, that lead to this emotion, that lead to this behavior, that lead to this situation" or something similar. When you've done this, try to identify were in the chain you could've done something different, and try to act in this different way the next time you're in a similar situation. You could actively seek out similar situations to test yourself.

During this process you probably need to tell your girlfriend what you’re thinking and doing. She either needs an convincing, rational, honest explanation of what happened and why it won’t happen again (that doesn’t involve halfs), or she needs to know that you’re actively working on figuring these things out.

If you do your best with this and really try hard and talk to her honestly, you should not take in anymore guilt. Just don’t listen to her when you feel that she’s inducing guilt in you. If you’re already doing your best, more guilt won’t help.

It’s very important that you as a couple accept your past and has a continous and rational story that leads to the current situation and that makes it believable that you love and respect each other.
posted by okokok at 3:36 PM on October 26, 2007


You screwed up, but it also appears that your GF has trust and anger issues.
posted by rhizome at 3:40 PM on October 26, 2007


[if you can't answer this question without insulting the OP please either go to metatalk or email, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:43 PM on October 26, 2007


your GF has trust and anger issues.

Yes, if by "trust and anger issues" you mean "As you might expect, she's angry and suspicious because she was betrayed by her partner".
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:46 PM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


dumbledore69, I don't want to argue with you, because it won't help anyone. But it's easier not to mince words when you're responding at a physical remove, as we all are, and the OP hasn't had much of a chance to indicate his assent or disagreement with the sentiments.

The bias of this forum when faced with relationship questions is to form quick moral judgments of the perceived (here, admitted) wrongdoer, pile on to earn the agreement of others, and to urge that the relationship is over; similarly, people with job issues are told to quit and move on with their lives at a rate vastly higher than we'd see in the real world. Maybe that's because we can avoid mincing words, or maybe it's something else.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:49 PM on October 26, 2007


This isn't a relationship problem so much as it's a you problem. I think you already know that, and you have the good sense to try and get to the bottom of things and improve.

You've got to fix what's wrong with yourself if you ever want an unbroken relationship - mature relationships require mature people. Be honest with your girlfriend, with your therapists, and especially with yourself. Let her go if that's what's necessary (and it very well might be). What's done is done; you need to make every effort to ensure it will never happen again - with anyone, not just her.

Go. If someone "deserves better" than you, let them go find that someone better. If you can't handle being in an honest, respectful relationship, don't be in one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:53 PM on October 26, 2007


I would ask you, what's in it for her to stay with you? Why is she still with you? You say she loves you. Why? Do you meet all her needs otherwise and she is willing to forgive your indiscretions? What does SHE need in a relationship to be happy? Do you fit into that picture? Frankly, it doesn't sound so to me...
posted by icanbreathe at 3:57 PM on October 26, 2007


In a word: absolutely. A lie is only one of many different potentially fatal mistakes that can be made in a relationship, and here is your chance to learn from it and grow.
posted by iguanapolitico at 4:00 PM on October 26, 2007


Naturally, my girlfriend feels extremely betrayed and stabbed in the back because I lied to her and because of the mean/untrue things I told the ex about her/us.

This doesn't ring true. Why would lie to an old girlfriend? What could you get out of telling nasty, untrue things? I can understand wanting to confide in someone about nasty TRUE things, but why would you just make up random shit and spread it around?

Regardless whether you're being honest, that's how it looks to your girlfriend. It's not so much "How can I tell if he's being honest anymore?", it's more of "Why would anyone lie about stuff like that? I bet he still thinks those things."

What exactly did you lie about?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2007


You will hurt her a hell of a lot if you dump her or maker her dump you. If you really came be true to her, and you really do want to stay with her, than do.
posted by Amizu at 5:01 PM on October 26, 2007


23skiddo, In true juvenile fashion, if you pretend that you are discontent or say mean things about your current relationship to an ex, you forge a relationship with this ex. It's nostalgia that drives you to this. coupled with how unsure one is about this perceived 'risky' relationship with this ex. I think they both have some growing up to do tho. No woman I 've ever been with cried over anything to me.
posted by Student of Man at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2007


The "be fair to her and move on" people mean well, I know, but I think they're being unintentionally condescending. She's a grownup. Let her make up her own mind whether or not she wants to stay in the relationship. Meanwhile, figure out it you want to stay in the relationship. If you do, stay in it and do it right this time.

Also, if you choose to stay in it, expect that she WILL forgive you, but also expect this to take longer than you think. It may take her a year. Forgiveness isn't binary. She may be able to forgive you -- for the most part -- in a few months. But she'll probably still have twinges of anger and mistrust for some time after that. If you want to stay in the relationship and help bring the relationship to a better place, be prepared to work through some stormy weather for a while.

I'm not telling you to stay. If you do stay, it WILL be rough. Think about whether the relationship means enough to you to work through the roughness. If the future holds a year of roughness, is it worth it to you?

But people -- not all people, but SOME people -- DO make it through things like this. And sometimes they and their relationships come out stronger and the other end. IF you and your girlfriend weather the bad times and make it through this, you'll have a much stronger bond in the end.

One VERY important thing: figure out how you're going to deal with whatever urges lead your to (emotionally) cheat. DON'T just say to yourself, "I will NOT let myself do that again." DO say that, but don't JUST say that. Repression doesn't work. You'll be able to gag your demons for a while, but eventually they'll burst out. Try to get to a place where you can be honest with yourself and your girlfriend when you have "perverse" urges.

You and she both need to agree that you're (a) going to have these feelings again (and that it's okay to talk about them) and (b) that you're not going to act on them.
posted by grumblebee at 5:37 PM on October 26, 2007


But now, I feel that I’ve gotten over most of it

Oh good, glad to hear it. It must be a load off your shoulders finally to be over all the wrong that was done to you. I'm only being half-sarcastic here; I think you are a wronged party. I think you've wronged yourself.

Honestly, it sounds to me like you're covering up some serious inner conflicts with rationalizing and projection. If this relationship was absolutely the 100% right thing for you, now, in your life, and you were ready to commit to it fully, you would not have been behaving as you did. If there is a voice in your head telling you to end the relationship, stop calling that voice a "bastard" or trying to moralize it away by claiming that it's considering what your girlfriend deserves.

I think you don't want this relationship maybe as much as you think you do want it. Furthermore, I think it's fear and guilt that are keeping you in this relationship as much as doing what's "right" or what your girlfriend "deserves." And I think your girlfriend can smell that. Because frankly, it stinks.

But your girlfriend's side of the story really matters here and we're not hearing it. Better start spilling your guts in couples counseling; a good counselor can poke holes in these balloons you're inflating.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:42 PM on October 26, 2007


My BF "cheated" on me and I found out by reading his email. It sucked, but I got over it, especially because I understood why it happened. That was four years ago and while sometimes those uncertain feelings raise their ugly heads, I always tell him when it happens, we talk about it, and move on. It helped that, after I found out and confronted him about it, he promised me that nothing like that would ever happen again, and that if he was unhappy in our relationship, he would tell me directly and if we couldn't work it out/improve, he would break up with me.

I had a minor... incident... myself, at roughly the same time, and we figured out that we were just acting out in response to some inadequacies in our relationship that neither of us wanted to admit to the other person -- because we didn't want to "hurt" each other. I laugh about that now, I mean, what were we thinking?! In any case, we discussed what had happened, why it had happened, and, as I said, promised each other that we would break up if things really weren't working out in the future. It may sound odd, but I do believe that I can trust him to break up with me, and that is very liberating.

Anyway, bottom line: as with any actions in life, there are ripples. Some stay, some stay but fade, some fade away altogether. Your GF is the one who has to decide what kind of ripples these are going to be for her. Please don't try to take that power away from her, especially under the guise of nobility and self-sacrifice, i.e., "but it's in her best interest." She's the only one who can decide that.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:10 PM on October 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Iin the end, despite all the other bullshit, it comes down to this: Do ya think she's amazing and therefore makes your life amazing? Does she feel the same way about you? If you can both say yes, then ya got a shot. So sit down and talk to her and see where you guys feel about each other.

But if even one of you doesn't have that feeling, then the relationship is over.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on October 26, 2007


Just one small comment...

But now, I feel that I’ve gotten over most of it, which seems to bother her a lot, because she is still living it from time to time. I tell her that we’re just different in that respect.

Part of what's wrong right now, I think, is that you think this is over for you. Your problem is that your girlfriend feels betrayed, that she is angry at you, and yet you think it is the sort of thing that you can have gotten over without her.

You can't be over this until she is over it. You two are a couple. You two are a team. And the state of the team is the state of its least satisfied member. You can't expect her to just get over it--the two of you need to get over it together.

Stop thinking of this as two separate hurdles, one for your about maturity and one for her about trusting you. Instead, think of it as a single hurdle, closely related to your maturity and her trust, that both of you have to manage to get over together. That, at least, would be the first step.
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:01 PM on October 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


The bastard half is screaming at me inside my head to end the relationship, not only for me

Look. If you don't want to be there, then you're not doing her any favors by sticking it out and prolonging things; nobody likes that. I don't see anything in your post about how much you love her or the good things in your relationship that you want to hold onto-- and no, "a truly good person who is still in love with me" does not count. It sounds to me like you recognize how much you've hurt her (good!), you want to try to change your ways (good!), and you think the best way to do that is to stick around and try to turn a messed-up relationship into a good one for her sake (good if you really want it too, but not-so-good if you're playing the martyr because you think you should, and calling that a sign of your growth.) If you're not in it because of how much you love her and you value the relationship, don't do it.

but for her

As grumblebee said, that's her decision, not yours. Don't make her choices for her.

In other words-- yes, you can probably heal and move forward, regardless of the turmoil, if you both really want it. But whether she really wants it is up to her, and the part that's yours is to figure out if you really want it. Maybe you do and your writing style just doesn't show it. Or maybe you need to do some soul-searching or admit some things to yourself.

But good luck with your self-improvement, seriously. It's hard work but you sound like you want to do it. Just remember, the things that feel the most self-sacrificing, the most like progress, are not always the most important ones for your growth. Don't get sucked into making yourself a martyr; it's kind of addicting because it makes you feel better about yourself, but if you're in it just to feel better about yourself, you're not making progress. (I've been there, I know!) Just work slowly, surely, and routinely at being more mature and less selfish in each of the small decisions in front of you, until it becomes habit. And do remember that this project is much broader than your relationship with your girlfriend, and you can find your personally growth opportunities elsewhere if this relationship really isn't the right thing for you.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 7:26 PM on October 26, 2007


Humptey Dumptey sat on a wall,
Humptey Dumptey had a great fall;
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humptey together again.


A broken thing, fixed, isn't unbroken. It's just fixed. Dew, dried from the petals of a rose, leaves water spots, that new rain doesn't dissolve. You can never step twice in the same river. Etc.

Any idiot knows to bet a full house, and fold an unfilled strait. It takes a certain hard won wisdom, and an active, healthy pessimism, to know when to fold fair poker hands. Part of growing up, for many of us, is gently packing away the past, with apologies, and carrying the lessons learned into the future with our smarter selves.
posted by paulsc at 7:39 PM on October 26, 2007


Bail out, dude!
posted by JamesMessick at 8:44 PM on October 26, 2007


3rding Grumblebee - you get to decide if the relationship is working for you, she gets to decide if it is working for her. If you want to break up - do it but take responsiblity for your decision, don't claim you are doing for her. Use your therapist to help figure out what you want and why. You are working hard to become a better person. Better people don't run away from pain that they caused. However, better people are also honest with themselves about their choices and that once you understand yourself you will know whether the right, honest thing to do is to stay or to go.

The reason it is taking her longer to get over it is because she was who was betrayed, not you. It takes a long time to rebuild trust and even then it won't be the same, although eventually (years) you may end up with a stronger relationship - not beccause you cheated but because of all the work you are doing personally and as couple to deal with it.
posted by metahawk at 9:11 PM on October 26, 2007


"Do ya think she's amazing and therefore makes your life amazing? Does she feel the same way about you? If you can both say yes, then ya got a shot. So sit down and talk to her and see where you guys feel about each other. But if even one of you doesn't have that feeling, then the relationship is over."

What Brandon said. And as someone once wrote, even more concisely: "When you can imagine it being over, it's over."
posted by Tubes at 10:22 PM on October 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


But she has a hard time trusting me now, and probably will for a long, long time.

Correct.

She does not deserve what I did to her.

Correct.

And I do not deserve a truly good person like her who is still in love with me…


If you're making a serious effort to learn how not to be a prick, then yes you do.

it doesn’t make sense for her to stay with me because of what I have done to her.

Love doesn't have to make sense.

What I did was unforgivable.

Her call, not yours.

But can our relationship really survive all this turmoil?

Quite probably, though the turmoil may well last longer than you think is reasonable.
posted by flabdablet at 10:48 PM on October 26, 2007


She says that the world is against her, because she is so forthright and real and honest, and everyone in the world is out to betray each other like I did to her.

Wha...? I would never be able to stay in a relationship with this person. If she doesn't know that this isn't true, she's not really working at 100% sanity. Really. This sounds quite paranoid.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:52 AM on October 27, 2007


My own experience with a partner's dishonesty taught me something. His dishonesty was like yours, I think, in that it was not malicious, it was like he couldn't help it. I think in retrospect, he lied because he didn't trust me. (Maybe that will seem true in your case as well, since you are after all posting your problems to the hive mind instead of talking to your partner).


The striking thing I learned was this: Distrust is an actual feeling. There is a feeling in the pit of your stomach, of dread and shock and denial, when you realize the extent you've been wronged and how your life is no longer the same, and the person you know is not what he seems. When I got that feeling months later, from the smallest of circumstances, I understood -- the reliving part, that's distrust. It's an emotional understanding that someone is capable of doing it again.

I don't know how to navigate it, sorry. But I hope you can at understand that "letting go" doesn't just happen, and that trust isn't a conscious decision.

If I had to guess, though, I would say you will have to keep apolgizing for your past mistake. She'll have to forgive you many times. Each time you reaffirm that you will never ever hurt her like this again, she will regain some trust. Eventually, I think the trust can be rebuilt. However, if you think you've gotten over it already and she hasn't, then you're being selfish -- You've forgiven yourself, but you haven't helped her. And that's just further evidence that you still aren't trustworthy.
posted by cotterpin at 6:43 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ok...here's my take:

First off talking to an ex is not a problem. Lying about it and lying about your current gf to your ex is a no no. It WAS betrayal in a bad way, almost as bad as physically cheating. Some women consider betrayal of the heart and mind even worse than physical cheating.

First off I'm not here to criticize or judge. You ask if this relationship "is even worth salvaging." That is something YOU have to answer. Do YOU love your girlfriend? Do you want to be with her forever? If YOU want this to work and SHE wants it to work then you will both have to work at it. After any kind of betrayal it's very hard to earn that trust and respect back-it's a long road.

She hasn't left you...that's a big first step. If you feel like a bastard for putting her through this make a choice right here and now to spend every day of your life making it up to her and showing her what a good man you can be. Apologize once more, but mean it, and make her know that you mean it and you are ready to put it behind you and move on forward with your lives.

And don't ever do anything like this again. Your ex is your ex for a reason. Leave her in the past and get your fulfillment from your partner, not online debauchery.
posted by PetiePal at 8:25 AM on October 27, 2007


I guess I'm trying to figure out what you're trying to accomplish. If you were really "over it," would you be posting here?

You've gotten a bit beaten up in this forum. Frankly I am fighting the urge. If you know you're such a "bastard," what else were you expecting? You did something heinous.

In my book, either you expected/wanted this treatment from us (and maybe her) for some strange reason, or you were expecting the other end of the spectrum, absolution from the hive mind.

Feel free to follow up and answer us, though!
posted by RobotHeart at 3:13 PM on October 27, 2007


To add to my original thought: if you do decide you wanted us to agree with you about your being a "bastard," I think ikkyu2's reply is a good place for follow-up.
posted by RobotHeart at 3:16 PM on October 27, 2007


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