20-Somethings Want to Know…Can You Forgive Infidelity?

Q: I’d like to know, should a woman stay with a man after he has cheated on her since people do make mistakes and he is begging for forgiveness and another chance? – 20-something submission

A: This one is a tough one as every situation is different. It is a question I have asked…and it’s a mixed bag of answers. Some women say “once a cheater always a cheater”. A few say  it was a wake up call that got them to address the issue and overcome it. In the latter case the cheating is usually a symptom of something else in the relationship …an issue that can possibly be addressed. In the former case, it is usually symptomatic of the cheaters character.

Some questions to start asking yourself are:  1) How remorseful is he? 2) How willing you are to live with distrust?  3) Does he have a history of this kind of behavior? 4) Is he willing to discuss what lies at the root of the behavior with  your and / or with a therapist?

I will put this out to the network to see what other perspective 40-something women offer to help you make your own decision. I do caution that you have to find your own answer. The purpose of this blog is to provide other women’s experiences as food for thought — a way to help you make your own decisions.

You see stories every day in the news about famous couples cheating and sometimes staying together. It’s often the woman who bears the brunt of the criticism for staying with a man who cheated on them. This year also saw several famous women walk away with their head held high. In the end,  it really all comes down to is how you feel about yourself. You need to feel respect for yourself and feel respected by your partner. Let’s hear from some 40-something who have experienced infidelity, especially when you were  in  your 20s. Can it be overcome or is it a deal breaker? In the meantime here are a few 40-something perspectives:

It’s hard to overcome the fear of who this person really is after infidelity. We tried  to make it work. But the trust issue was such a big deal for me. I tried for two years. I wasn’t ready to throw away our relationship. But I couldn’t get past it. Every time you see the person walk out the door you wonder, is that really what he is doing? Because I didn’t see it coming.  So if you’re not looking for that.  If I think that you’re the most wonderful, honest, sweet caring person, why would I look to you as being anything but that? What didn’t I see? Not a nice place to be… to live in doubt.  After 2 years I just realized that I wasn’t going to be able to trust him and that I didn’t want to live with that. Because that would make me into a different person. But I don’t regret trying to make I work.”

When you are young, you have so many opportunities ahead of you, why waste your time with someone who cheated. Don’t even think about it. Move on. If he truly says he can change…then let him change on his own and just maybe you will be around to see if he has.”

“Don’t listen to others regarding your relationship. Each relationship is different. If he is committed to therapy and keeping the lines of communication open, then you have to stay optimistic, cautiously optimistic.”

“Love is not enough. You need trust and respect for a relationship to work in the long run.”

“I had a boyfriend in my 20s who cheated on me once. There were so many good things about him and us. I was in love with him, but it always hung over our relationship. In the end I decided to break it off because I was always wondering. The next guy I dated I totally trusted. I thought, wow, is this what it can be like? That was such a good feeling. I ended up marrying him. At one point before that I wondered if  the other guy was my soulmate…maybe the timing was just wrong. We even talked about it and I knew that wasn’t the case.  I don’t regret a thing. I love where I am and I love our trust.”

“Bottom line; once a liar always a liar. Or once a cheater always a cheater. Blah, blah, blah. I decided enough was enough and I must reclaim my dignity. I have never felt more at peace:)  I will be fine, no I will be better!”

“Once a guy strays, it’s very easy to stray again. Don’t think you can fix him.”

“I supported my friend through an incident of infidelity. She was devastated….and as it turns out so was he. I am the only one who knows and I can truly say I have seen them repair their relationship and they seem better for it. They definitely saw a counselor. And she had her doubts. But it was really obvious how much he regretted what he did. It was a one time incident …it happened but they survived it.”

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