Q: I have lived with my boyfriend for three years. Recently I discovered that he is cheating on me (again). I found a picture of another woman in his phone, and all the signs of infidelity are there.
Every time I try to talk to him about this issue he becomes very defensive and says very hurtful things to me. I almost left once before, but he persuaded me to stay and convinced me that he was faithful. I am prepared to leave him once again even though I love him deeply. I think it’s important to say that I did experience a severe medical crisis this year, and he was very supportive and loving as I recuperated.
In light of all this, should I forgive him and try to stay in the relationship? Please help.
A: It sounds like your partner was there for you when your health was suffering, and that’s very compassionate and considerate. However, it also sounds like he is routinely unfaithful to you, and the pain and the betrayal of infidelity cannot be wiped away simply because of his previous kindness. It also sounds like he lashes out at you when you try to confront him about his infidelity, and that’s often a sign of an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship. Instead of owning up to his behavior, he goes on the offensive and tries to put the onus on you, and that’s both manipulative and counterproductive.
While it is possible to repair after an affair, it’s only possible if both partners are 100 percent committed to working on the relationship and rebuilding trust. It’s also crucial that your partner completely cuts off contact with his past flings and begins being completely honest and open with you. I’m not sure if this is something he is prepared to do, but if he is, I suggest you both consider going to therapy to help you rebuild your relationship. If you each are willing and ready to work on your relationship, you can move on from this betrayal. However, it will take time, effort, and honesty, but if you both commit to making it work, you can make your relationship even stronger than before.