Dear Debbie Does Dating,
I’ll make my question short and sweet: Do you think that a guy who has a pattern of cheating can actually settle down now with one girl? Or, am I wasting my time believing this same guy can actually fall in love and stay faithful and not continue to breach my trust?
Thanks for your good question.
This is a very difficult one to answer. We can’t read your guy’s mind or see the state of his heart so it’s hard to say what’s really going on with him.
But here’s what we do know: Trust and respect are the bookends that hold together a healthy relationship. If you already have a sliver of doubt and some insecurity about his character, your bookshelf of love is bound to come crashing down – and usually right down on your fragile heart and smash it to little pieces. Ouch.
Are people able to change? Yes they can. Can your guy change his cheating ways? It’s possible, but it certainly doesn’t happen often. The problem isn’t the various women in his life, or “inadequacies” on the part of the women he’s cheated on. It’s 100% him!!! If he’s not willing to take a hard look at why he’s doing what he’s doing, and then start taking steps to change, he’ll continue his ways, even if he’s on hiatus right now.
People cheat for a lot of different reasons: they feel entitled to cheat, they’re asshats, they can cheat, they feel empty inside, they don’t have a clear sense of what’s in front of them, and/or they simply don’t care about what is at stake if they do cheat. We can’t say where your guy falls in the “why” spectrum, but if he’s been a serial cheater he falls under one of those headings.
The thing is Lisa, much of what happens here on out is up to you. We’d say the majority of couples don’t survive a breach of trust like you’ve experienced. Cheating on someone you purportedly love is akin to taking a butter knife to their heart and stabbing them –and then expecting them to go on as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, they’re still trying to catch their breath whilst duct taping their mutilated heart back together. It’s literally heart-breaking.
So, what should you do about a cheating boyfriend? You have two choices: leave or stay. If you decide to stay with your cheating boyfriend, accept that is who he is. A cheater. Nothing you can say or do will change that. Don’t live your life in denial that he will stop cheating. If you have accepted him with his cheating ways, then he has accepted that you have accepted him, so therefore he will continue cheating on you. It’s your choice if you want to live like that. If you decide to leave, then do that, just leave his sorry a$#. If you have accepted that he cheats and you do not want to be with someone like that, get out of the relationship. This person can’t give you what you want and when it comes to your life, it’s all about you. You have the right to not accept a boyfriend cheating on you. In essence, you have a right to choose self-love and value your beautiful life and soul over a loser who would cheat on you.
A woman with a cheating boyfriend has decided that that is what she wants in her life. Personally, I believe life is too short and if I have to try and stick around and “convince” a man that I am worthy of his love, than he’s not a man I want to be sticking around. Period.
Whatever you decide, good luck. Just remember that you weren’t the one to breach the trust. Don’t start blaming yourself and feeling guilty. In fact, blame needs to be taken out of the equation if you’re really serious about trying to put the pieces back together. With a lot of work on both sides you can repair the crack in the bookshelf, but at the same time listen carefully to your gut. What’s it telling you as you process the relationship? Sometimes even with love, two people aren’t meant to be together. They push the wrong buttons in each other and often become toxically co-dependent. GROSS! Who wants to live like that? The answer should be not you!!
Best of luck to you,
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