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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Love After Cheating

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  • #1100201 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    My girlfriend cheated on me with her ex a while back. It broke me, but we tried to stay together because of all the history we have. We remind each other internally about what we love about each other, we spend more time together. She tells me that what happened with her ex was just a one-time thing. Any relationship is emotionally charged, so when she ran into them, her love came back and she fell back in love with them. But now they’re gone, and she fell back in love with me.

    I want to believe her. I get in theory that love can be fluid, and I hear that relationships can survive infidelity. But it’s hard to know for sure if she actually loves me, or if I’m her second choice. Something about it being her EX makes it hard to push away that fear.

    I know nobody here can speak for her. I guess I am wondering–is what she describes possible? Falling out of love with your partner, then falling back in love with your partner? I need to know if that’s even a thing, so I can begin to decide whether I think that’s what’s actually how she feels.

    #1100202 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    “is what she describes possible? Falling out of love with your partner, then falling back in love with your partner?”

    I don’t think so, no. I don’t think that’s what happened. I think there was *attraction* and spark. That’s super common when you see your ex. Exes hook up all the time for sex because it’s exciting and fun without the commitment of a relationship. As soon as exes decide to try to date again though, they usually go right back to experiencing the same issues they did before the breakup.

    She didn’t fall out of love, then in, then out. She got caught up in feeling sexual attraction, or maybe just nostalgia. Where that became a problem, was that she wasn’t single when this happened, so she cheated on you. The way she described this, it sounds like it could happen again under the same circumstances. It doesn’t seem like you really feel assured she won’t cheat again. Do you fully trust her?

    #1100203 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    I mean, I think I trust them, but of course how can anyone truly be reassured an affair won’t happen?

    I guess I want to know that they love me, when all the evidence OTHER than this points towards them loving me. It sounds like you’re saying that might still be true, and that this could just have been a nostalgic sex tour?

    #1100204 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    Also BTW when I asked the “fall out of love, then fall back in love” I meant that with regard to how they feel about ME, not about how they feel about their ex. Like, is it possible to fall back in love with your current partner after you’ve cheated on them

    #1100205 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Why do you believe she fell out of love with you?

    #1100207 Reply
    Helen
    Guest

    A relationship can survive infidelity, if both people put in the hard work & trust is reestablished. But she isn’t taking any responsibility and her explanation (she fell in & out of love and couldn’t control herself) makes it seem like she’ll do it again. It does seem like you’re the fall back or 2nd choice. The ex is gone so she’s back in love with you. What if the ex comes back? Or messages her? I’m assuming you’re young. Is this one of your first relationships? Those are hard to let go of, but being together a long time isn’t enough reason to stay together. In less you’d be interested in an open relationship with her (sounds like you’re already in one) I don’t think this is going to work

    #1100208 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    @Kate I guess once you see your partner take an interest in being with their EX, I assumed they had fallen out of love with me


    @Helen
    Yeah, it is hard to know for sure if I am their second choice, or if she just loves two people equally? I can’t know for sure, I guess.

    #1100209 Reply
    Kate
    Guest

    People do cheat on partners that they love. They’re able to compartmentalize, or justify it, or just know they can get away with it, have their cake and eat it too.

    #1100211 Reply
    Copa
    Participant

    I think some cheating is just because the opportunity is there. I don’t think it’s always premeditated or because they’re not in love with their SO anymore or because they have feelings for the person they’re cheating with.

    Anyway, I think some couples can move past infidelity. I’d wager many who do move past it work with a couples therapist to get past the betrayal, hurt, and trust issues (don’t know this for sure, though).

    Staying with someone “because of all the history” is a bad reason to get back together, though. You don’t say how long you’ve been together, but just because you’ve invested a chunk of time into a relationship does not mean you need to keep holding on to it if it’s no longer serving you. You don’t even feel confident that your partner really wants to be with you.

    #1100212 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    @Kate

    You mean like how sometimes people cheat not because they think the mistress/mister (?) is better and not because they’re not in love, but simply because their life has been one way for a long time and it is human nature to seek out something new (or something old that due to the passage of time is new again?)

    #1100213 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Or just like Copa said, the opportunity is there.

    It’s not a great sign that she is not like, “I love you so much and this was a huge mistake, what can I do to rebuild trust?” Even if that was her stance, there’s no guarantee that you two could find your way back.

    #1100214 Reply
    Ani
    Guest

    But doesn’t there have to be a reason to act on that opportunity? As in, like wanting difference from a routine for difference’s sake?

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