- Gender and Relationships
Can You Truly Forgive A Cheater?
This Is Never Easy
You start thinking about this since you have your first date and you happen to see your boyfriend or girlfriend holding someone's else hand one day, or you hear about a friend who caught their half kissing someone else. Then, you realize this is something than happens from time to time, and it can happen to you, and you ask yourself if you can continue the relationship or that is where everything ends.
A friend asked me that once, if I could ever forgive a boyfriend if he would ever cheat on me. I jumped and said very convincing that no way in hell I would ever take him back in my life. Then, I grew up and realized how complicate life gets and how not everything is just black and white anymore.
You realize that you are not a child anymore considering your boyfriend or girlfriend the person that you hold hands with, or who carries home your books, or the one you share a kiss with. You are now living with someone, or you're even married to that person, maybe have a child or two and things change.
Suspicion is born
And that is the first step towards destruction. You have a feeling that something is not just right, so you start asking yourself a million questions, get a little paranoid and end up checking everything around. You check your partner's phone, social pages, look at the friends he or she has listed and the conversations they carry, get suspicious of every opposite sex person that they start a conversation with, examine every gesture and word they have as well as interpreting every word your partner tells you.
At some point you get so confused that you don't know anymore what is real and what not, what is just the product of your imagination and what should really raise concerns, and you end up seeing a lot of things where there really isn't anything.
I have always believed that once you start looking for something you will definitely find it at some point. No matter if what you find is real or all in your mind, you will find something. The real question is: "are you ready for what you are going to find?", "are you ready for maybe facing your biggest fear"? Because if you are not, the best thing will be to don't begin searching in the first place.
When The Prospect Of Being Cheated Hits
There is one thing to believe you want to know, and another thing to actually know. A friend of mine had a suspicion that her husband was cheating on her. They were recently married, she was pregnant and at some point she went all crazy thinking that he is having an affair because she found a few text messages in his phone in which he was fixing up a meeting with a woman.
His job consists in repairing home appliances, visiting clients at their home. Considering that that was his place of work, the customer's house, of course he was bound to also visit women.
But this little chat messages seemed a little off to her. She was telling me about this saying how this was supposed to be the best time of their life, as newlyweds, and how he ruined everything, and now she is forced to think if she will have to raise this baby alone or if she will still have a family when the baby comes.
I didn't know what to tell her, except to advise her to go talk to him. I thought this was the best thing. She needed to know, better earlier than later. Of course she wanted to, she got up convinced to go and ask him, but then dropped down on the couch thinking what if he will admit to having an affair? The perspective wasn't a sure answer. Him admitting it meant they can never go back, she can never un-ask him and he can never un-answer, so she started thinking if she really wants to know this.
I've asked if she had any proof that he might cheat on her or if all she had were those messages that didn't really say anything specific. She didn't, the messages were all the proof and that wasn't something to rely on.
It just happened that we did talk about this, us and a few other friends, a while back, before they got married, and she said back then that she would never accept to be cheated on and she would live him right away. I've reminded her the discussion and she said that now the situation changed, given that is one thing to talk about it and another to actually go through this, and things don't look that simple anymore.
The only suggestion was still to talk to him if she was really ready to find the truth or accept the lie, whichever he decided to give to her.
She called me days later and said she eventually found the courage and asked him. He said she was an older client with whom he flirted at some point, but it was never anything between them, and now she contacted him to fix up something for her. Of course the message sounded a bit shady because they used to flirt, but once he got there he told her about the new wife and baby on the way and she took distance congratulating him.
She was relieved and told me she hops she will never have to go through this again and that asking him was a good idea, but only because she got the answer she was hoping for.
He didn't cheat on her, but for a few days she lived with the possibility that he did do it and the idea of making a decision in this case was killing her. Just married, pregnant and facing the possibility of being cheated ... not a place you ever might want to be in.
Can The Cheater Really Be Forgiven?
I've asked her what she would have done if the answer were different and she told me she honestly doesn't know, but it wouldn't have been so easy to let go of their life together.
I don't know if we can truly forgive a cheater. I guess it matters a lot on why they did it and maybe if we had some part of blame in all this. An old high school colleague tried to break up with her boyfriends for two years. He would always come to her crying and begging her to take him back because she was the love of his life, and she did, but she ended up cheating on him because she really did want something else.
A childhood friend ended up marrying the girl he tried so hard to get rid of, only because she was threatening to kill herself if he ever left her. He cheated on her one month from the wedding. So, I am asking myself, was the cheater really the villain in these cases, or where they just some fed up people who got caught in situations they've desperately tried to get rid of.
Things are not always just black and white, and often it is best not to answer to hypothetical situations with such conviction because you have no idea where life takes you and what things you might end up accepting and forgiving.
I am not saying I would forgive a cheater or not, I am just hoping I'll never have to make a decision like that. But if you do decide to forgive the partner, then you should really forgive them. No reproaches, no mentioning this in future fights, no nothing like that. Just forgiveness and move on from there, like nothing happened, unless of course it happens again which I think it means that the person next to you will always do this so maybe you should change your decision.