It’s been three weeks since I found out about my boyfriend’s cheating. He’s not just a boyfriend to me; we live together, have two children. We’re a family and we’ve built this shared life. I’m devastated. There’s no other word for it. I have my moments where I function and am okay. I can even smile at times. Then out of the blue, I’ll see an image in my head of him having sex with someone else, and I am filled with sadness and anger. I just cannot wrap my mind around how he could have done that to me, given that he supposedly loved me so much at the time.
He has tried to explain where he was in his head years ago when the cheating happened. He fell in love with me, but it was a relationship/commitment he was not ready for. Rich is or was the wildest person with whom I had ever had a relationship. His life was about running after pleasure, and I was coming from an ended marriage, motherhood, and the desire to have a close and monogamous relationship with him. I loved him so deeply it literally hurt. I could tell him anything; make myself completely vulnerable to him in a way I never had with any other man. It was new and beautiful territory and I was captivated and afraid at the same time. Rich and I worked together, but outside of work we saw each other sometimes every couple of weeks, sometimes more often, but never as often as I wanted. I thought at the time that when he wasn’t with me, he was with his friends. Now I know that some of the time, he was with other women. Yes, plural. He cheated on me throughout a two-year period, and he did so with a handful of women. No, we weren’t living together then and the relationship certainly was not what I wanted, but he maintained at the time that he was being monogamous. He told me “If I have those feelings for someone and am considering being with them, I’ll tell you because you deserve to know that.” At first, I truly believed that he was being faithful. Then when I was newly pregnant and he was now living with me, I discovered sexual emails with other (Craigslist) women. He swore that it was an escape; that he had never met them in person. I had my doubts, but believed him. Still…in my gut I knew that at some point in our relationship, he had cheated. It ate at me for years. I looked at his email whenever I got the chance, searching desperately for clues.
A few weeks ago, I decided to charge an old cell phone of his. I had known where it was for months, but did nothing. I prayed to God, asking him to please let me see the truth once and for all. Ask and ye shall receive. I charged the phone and saw texts with a women that were sexual. I used my phone to text her, and she told me he had been to her house over two years ago (right before he moved in with me). I confronted him, and he told me that he had been with others. We had a huge fight, and the next day, he was remorseful. We emailed back and forth (we communicate better that way, as he’s a writer) and he tried to explain himself. He pleaded for forgiveness and asked me to see how much he has changed since we’ve lived together. R swore it would never happen again, that given the person he has become and the nature of our relationship now, he never could do that again. These emails and in-person talks have continued over the weeks. We even spent the weekend with his folks, and his dad tried to help us hash it out.
The reality of the fact that we could lose each other has made us reach out to each other sexually over these few weeks, oddly enough. Funny how infidelity reignited our passion. So here we are, living in the same house, reaching out to each other and alternately I move away from him in my sad moments. I believe he is different now; I’ve seen his growth over the nearly three years we’ve lived together. He is the best father I could hope for to our children. I love him in a way I’ve never loved any man, and I hope we can move past this and share a life. I just don’t know how I’m going to forgive. Can I? That’s the question, I suppose. Will I ever be able to look at him and not see images of him sleeping with another (many others)? Will or should I ever trust him again? What reason has he given me to trust him? And does the fact that he’s matured and is faithful now mean that I should forgive the fact that he was immature and unfaithful then?