Advice: Can I ever trust him again?

She has caught her partner sending erotic texts to a colleague - again. He's apologetic, but should she trust him this time?

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A few months ago I discovered a text on my partner's phone (when he was in the shower and his phone was left on the bed). It was from a number I didn't recognise and at a glance it read a little dodgy.

At first I thought it may have been some random dodgy text sent by accident, as there were no other obvious texts in his inbox. But by instinct I checked the history and found a series of deleted texts to the same number. The texts had been deleted but in history it shows the message header. It was enough for me to work out the texts were some rather erotic sexting.

I confronted my partner about it and found out it was between him and another work colleague from another regional office. He thought it was a bit of a laugh replying back to a drunken Friday night text she had sent but lead onto a series of 15-20 texts that night and emails exchanged.

To cut a long story short - similar things have happened over the years. Inappropriate emails to an old girlfriend and funny enough previous emails to another work colleague (and I have found a few dodgy websites on our computer).

Every time he has promised he wouldn't do it again. He even went to couselling a few years ago to talk about his 'problem'.

He knows I sometimes check his phone after previously being burnt, so the privacy issue some people may see regarding "You shouldn't read his personal stuff" doesn't really come into this.

I had always told him that next time (after catching him out two or three times) that enough would be enough and our relationship would be over. But after this episode we have since got back together after a few weeks apart and it is a work in progress.

He has been like a dog with his tail between his legs, very apologetic and wants to put everything behind and start (yet) again. .

But the big thing is - I don't think he can promise me anything and without this trust I am finding it hard to kind of move on from it.

I feel I am always looking out for something now, suspicious, and i really hate it. Like I am waiting for the 'next time'. I know I find it hard to say "I love you" back to him much at the moment, even though I do.

It is not as punishment to him - as things have beeing going pretty good lately - we have just celebrated nine years together - but i am still wary of things. I would never do this to him so can't get over why he would do it to me.

A good friend of mine says I am way too forgiving and thinks I should have left this time. She keeps bringing up into conversation that she knows this fantastic guy that is really keen on me and would jump at the chance of asking me out if I was single again.

So this is confusing matters too.... would the grass be greener on the other side?

Confused Maria

In the midst of difficulty it is tempting to look at new green pastures.  New pastures do offer new opportunities, but you are also saying your heart is still in this relationship. 

The history of broken promises and trust has left a kind of emotional wound in your relationship which you are both struggling to deal with. You feeling hurt and untrusting and him feeling bad and guilty is a hard position to build intimacy and trust from.  

Even with this kind of history together, there is the possibility the two of you can repair and deepen your connection.  But it is highly likely that if you don't address this in a different way this issue will continue to play out.  Do you think you  have the energy and interest to see this as an opportunity for both of you to grow in your relationship together?  

It is always tempting in these kinds of situations to think that only he needs to change - yes he does need to take responsibility for his actions and decisions, but moving on will require you both to make changes, and learn some new ways of getting your needs met within the relationship.  If you think you are both up for this I would suggest you seek the support of a couples counsellor to help you understand what is going on and how to make those changes needed as a couple.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

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