Advice: Can we get past his cheating?

Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012

He cheated on her twice when she was pregnant. Now he's back - and he's sorry - but she doesn't know if she can forgive him.

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My partner and I have just had our first child. I found out after the baby was born that he cheated on me with an ex-girlfriend while I was seven months pregnant, and again when I was eight months pregnant. He only admitted to the affair after I confronted him with evidence. Some members of his family knew about the affair and helped him cover it up.

He then ended our relationship as he thought he would be happier with his ex-partner. He realised he had made a mistake and came home just before the baby was born.

I believe him that he is truly sorry and he never intends to do anything like that again - I mean I believe that he means it right now at this time. But I am not convinced that in six months time or a year's time he won't start feeling unhappy and trapped with a new baby and the lack of social life and freedom that that brings.

I am also having a very hard time forgiving him for what he has done to me. I never thought I would stay with a guy if he did something like this to me, as I view it as the worst kind of betrayal. I don't know if it is possible to ever get over this kind of thing, and if it is - how do I do it?  The idea of sleeping with him again also hurts, when I think of it all I see is him with her and it makes me sick.

If this had never happened I know we could have been a happy little family, but now I find it difficult to see a future without hurt and pain in it, or where I could fully trust him again not to break my heart. I am also having trouble facing those members of his family who knew about the affair and helped him hide it. It is humiliating to know that they knew the whole time,

Is forgiveness possible? Should I even attempt to forgive him for this betrayal? Is it true that once a cheater always a cheater? If I stay with him am I just setting myself up to be hurt again? Is it possible to start afresh and have a happy life together?

Susan

The answer to so many of your questions depends on the energy and time you and your partner are willing to give.  Yes it is definitely possible to move on from this and some couples have found it deepens their connection with each other once it has been worked through and new ways of communicating and being together have been formed. 

Right now you are hurting, feeling humiliated and betrayed. If you don't address this it will poison the relationship, as you are beginning to discover.

What has happened needs to be processed before healing and forgiveness can occur. I would recommend that you do some work together so that he can hear how his behaviour has hurt you and you can hear from him what led to this happening.

It is human nature to just want to move on and not look back at difficult times, so your partner may need reassurance you are wanting to use this as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and parenting, and not as an opportunity to have a go at him. Once you have had a chance to process and share together you will be clearer whether or not there is a future in this relationship.

This kind of  of issue is very hard to address on your own so I would strongly urge you to seek a couples' counsellor who can guide you through this process. You have a lifetime of being parents even if you don't stay as a couple and you are right to want to gain some more assurance about how you will be together in the months and years ahead.

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

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.


- © Fairfax NZ News

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