Question: Should I get back together with an ex who cheated? I’m trying to forgive my ex but I keep thinking “once a cheater always a cheater”. I found out he had cheated, he apologized but I was so hurt that I broke up with him. He kept in touch and doing all he can do to get me back. He says he understands how much he hurt me and will do anything to make it up to me. My friends say if he really did love me he would never have cheated in the first place. But he is the first and only guy I’ve truly loved and he says the same about me. We talked about marriage and kids and he says he still wants that.
I believe that it is possible to save this relationship but it’s still in my mind that he may cheat again. I love him so much that it hurts every day that we’re not together. Do relationships where an ex cheated ever work? Should I give him a chance?
Yangki’s Answer: I’ll respond to your question in bullet form for clarity and will start with the easier question.
1. Should you get back together with an ex who cheated?
Some couples can get past the betrayal and stay together, and others can’t. Each relationship is different, and different people deal with situations differently. Some relationships can even improve if the two people can use the opportunity to grow and for the relationship to mature.
You obviously are still hurting, and that’s quite normal. This is where you need to start. Be emotionally honest with yourself. It doesn’t help you if you’re in denial about how you truly feel. The denial here is not about whether he cheated or not, or whether the relationship can be saved or not, I think you are very realistic about all these two. The denial is in have you truly forgiven him? Can you bring yourself to trust him again? Can you trust your own judgement in the future? What exactly are the lessons both of you have learned through this and how might you do things differently in the future?
Without clear answers to these questions you’ll always feel terribly insecure and even suspicious of his motives and actions. This alone will make it impossible to save the relationship.
2. Do relationships where an ex cheated ever work?
Some relationships work after one person cheated and others don’t. The ones that work are where both people accept that once someone cheats that relationship is forever altered.
Bringing yourself to accept that things will never be the same between the two of you will make it easier to move past the cheating. Yes, you’ll still love and care for each other as before — may be even more — but you will not and can not have the old relationship back. The fact that “your ex cheated on you” will linger indefinitely, in some form or another.
My advice to people trying to get back together with an ex who cheated is not to work on saving the old relationship; but creating a new and better relationship with the same person.
3. Is there any guarantee your ex won’t do it again?
Nothing in life except may be death is 100% guaranteed. But you can reduce the risk by openly and honestly dealing with why the cheating happened in the first place. Even if you get over his cheating and get back together, if you don’t deal with the root cause it’ll show up again in some other form of “relationship problem”.
4. Should you give your cheating ex another chance?
Almost every relationship is savable if both parties are willing to work on it. If you can get past your pain and hurt and want to make it work, I say definitely give your ex another chance.
But don’t be in a rush to get back together. It’s NOT your fault your ex cheated but it’s your responsibility to make sure he does not take your love and trust for granted. Let him earn your trust slowly by doing the “right” things, consistently.