Dear Love Guru,
I’ve been with my fiancé for 4 years, engaged for a year, and we have a son together. Last month I found out he had been cheating for 6 months. He says he’s terribly sorry and I can see it in his eyes but I’m afraid to trust him. I really love him and I don’t want to lose him but I don’t want it to happen again, what should I do?
When two people have agreed on a commitment to be faithful to one another and one does not uphold that agreement, it will most certainly lead to the other person, who has been loyal and exercised self-control, to feel hurt and betrayed. Your trust has been broken.
However, let’s not go into the futile exercise of labelling your partner a cheater. Life is not black and white, as we all know, and everyone makes all kinds of mistakes – choices or decisions taken that we may come to regret when we realise how the consequences of our actions have hurt the ones we love.
The question is whether your partner is genuinely sorry that he hurt you, and whether he has come to terms with the reasons why he went outside of the relationship seeking sexual, emotional or psychological fulfillment.
Being sorry only is not enough to earn your trust. Has he stopped his affair? Earning your trust again is not bound to happen if he is still entangled with someone else. Have you spoken about whether there was a specific issue in your relationship (without making excuses) that led to the affair? Some people will stay in a relationship with a partner they love but find it hard to confront certain issues which trouble them, and go outside of the relationship to fulfill what they perceive is lacking.
Becoming self-aware and taking responsibility for one’s own actions will go a long way towards emotional maturity. Relationship counselling might be helpful to deal with these issues if you are both willing to work it through.
Your partner needs to realise that it will take time and effort on his part to earn your trust as you are understandably hurt and mistrustful. However, if you are willing to work it out with him, be aware that bringing up the affair every time you have an argument will not help you put it in the past and move on to enjoying and enriching the relationship.