Cheating Boyfriend: How do I know it won’t happen again?

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Dear Guys,

Okay, so my boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We work at the same place just different sides of the building. We used to have all the same friends but sadly they were not supportive of us and got weird.

So anyway we started dating. Three months after I moved in his younger brother died. My boyfriend became distant and I understood. Things seemed to progress with time but I guess I always felt something was wrong. We kept separate rooms as I am the first woman he has lived with. He is very reserved and not so great with communication.

The last few months have been really bad. We hardly ever have sex and it was like everything else came first. I picked everything apart trying to find answers. Then he just got even more private and started locking his computer and never left his phone alone. I have never wanted to look at either up until this point. Last Saturday he forgot to lock his phone because he got sick from drinking too much. I went to plug our phones in because they were almost dead and that’s when I saw it was not locked. I had to look. I found emails between him and another woman. It sounded like pics had been exchanged, and they planned to meet up but didn’t.

When I confronted him he first tried to say these were spam messages, but finally admitted to what they were. He said it was over with her and nothing happened outside the emails. He said he couldn’t continue with her because he wanted to work on things with me. But he also said he just couldn’t love me the way he should. I tried to ask him if he wanted to work on things and he couldn’t say yes or no. So I moved out.

He was so crushed the whole time I was getting my stuff out. He kept saying to stay and lay with him, and how much he loved me. I told him he obviously cares more than he thinks, otherwise my leaving wouldn’t hurt this bad. I told him to figure out what he wants and I left. That Monday he decides he was wrong and that it took me leaving for him to see what I meant to him. He got rid of all email addresses and phone numbers from ex-girlfriends. And he now leaves everything unlocked besides his phone because he has to keep it password protected because of work emails. He seems to be trying overall. I have moved back in and things seem better.

How do I know it’s for real? How do I know he won’t cheat and that he really woke up and it’s not just him feeling bad and not wanting to be alone? I don’t want to have to surprise check his emails or phone. I want to trust him. I want things to continue the way they seem to be going since I moved back in.

What do you think?



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Dear Amanda,

Thanks for your question. First of all, our condolences to your boyfriend. We are very sorry for his loss.

Unfortunately this is less about what we think and more about what you think. Sure, people can change, and do change, but we can’t give you a general rule about guys which would then apply to your boyfriend. You’re going to have to make that call based on what you see: his actions, his words, a gut feeling you might have. (Listen to some of our videos on these topics.)

You’re right to question what’s going on. A lot of people don’t like to be alone, so they’ll do anything, or say anything to prevent that from happening. Obviously your boyfriend cares about you, but we can’t guarantee he won’t dip his toe back into the perennial pool of available nymphs, especially since up until recently he had his ex’s email addresses and phone numbers tucked away in his “little black book.”

You can see how important trust is within a relationship. Once trust is breached, even ever so slightly, it’s very difficult to get it back. Both of you have stepped over the boundaries of trust: He cheated. You snooped. We do think what he did is more serious, but both fall in the realm of the unacceptable.

Women in general seem better at forgiving. This could be due to societal pressures, or possibly societal expectations—men are often labeled as potential cheaters based on their biological makeup—so women often feel forced to forgive even if they don’t want to. Of course this varies from individual to individual. Where do you fall in this spectrum Amanda? That would be an important question to ask yourself.

The best advice we can give you is: Keep close tabs on how you feel day-to-day. What is your gut telling you? Do you feel close to your boyfriend in the ways you need to feel? Besides the trust issue, are you getting what you need out of the relationship? Think about why you love him, and why you want to be with him, and then align that with your feelings. Does everything match up?

Have faith in yourself; you’ll figure it out Amanda. We also think you should consult your friends. What do they think? They’ll give you an honest answer, and it will be up to you to listen. (Once again, we have a video on that very topic.)

Good luck, and please keep us posted. Leave us a follow up comment. And feel free to ask another question anytime.


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