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I said that I needed some time to think about everything, so we’re currently taking some time apart. I’m so torn because I can’t decide if I can fully trust him after this. What if we have another fight in the future, which, like all couples, we inevitably will, and, instead of discussing his feelings about our relationship with me, he again reaches out to another woman? He swears he won’t and that he’s learned from this one mistake, but how do you know when to believe someone?
It’s also only been six months, so I’m not sure if I should just break up with him and cut my losses. But I do love him and I’m inclined to give him another chance to prove himself and regain my trust. I just don’t want to be one of “those girls” who’s like, “he apologized, so everything is OK now.”
If you or your readers have any advice for me, I would be so, so grateful. — Undecided
I think what you’re asking, essentially, is if giving your boyfriend another chance is worth the risk of a broken heart, and whether a broken heart is more probable now that you know that your boyfriend is flawed and has betrayed your trust once already. I can’t answer that for you, but I can say that every time we let ourselves fall in love with someone, or even let ourselves be open to the possibility of loving someone, we risk a broken heart. I can say that love is worth great risk (not all risk, but great risk). And I can also say that you are already invested. You already love. And you will already be hurt if you end things now. Will the hurt be greater if you give your boyfriend another chance and he betrays you again? Yes, probably. But what if he learned from his mistake — a mistake that maybe wasn’t as damaging as it could have been? What if he learned from it and is genuinely remorseful and the thought of losing you has reminded him how much is at stake? What if, from now on, the mistakes he makes — because he will make mistakes and so will you — are more easily digestible than acts of betrayal? What if trust is restored and you go on to have an amazing, loving relationship in which this incident is a hiccup — one that tested your commitment and brought you closer together and reminded you that you can overcome challenges?
Of course, the opposite could happen, too. You could wind up with a terribly broken heart. It’s a risk. One that only you can decide is worth taking.
If you do decide to take the risk, know that long-lasting love, as wonderful as that would be, isn’t the only possible positive outcome. You could also learn a lot — about life, about yourself, about the power of forgiveness — because each relationship and each broken heart and each disappointment and each person we dare to let into our hearts has the potential to teach us an enormous amount. There’s no guarantee this relationship is going to work out or that you will make the “right” decision, but, if your investments don’t lead to the rewards you desire, that doesn’t mean they’re without value. Some of life’s best lessons come from our biggest disappointments.
That said, if you do decide to continue your relationship, I would enlist a “two-strikes and you’re out” rule. If he betrays your trust on this scale again, you give him the boot and MOA.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].