Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years.
I found out he cheated on me with a so-called mutual friend.
I’ve decided to try and forgive and forget, but it has been a year and I still can’t seem to trust him.
I wish I could trust him again, but I’m still paranoid about who he’s texting and where he’s going. I don’t know what to do.
Dear Paranoid: You seem to be working hard to regain the sense of trust in your relationship.
What is your boyfriend doing to earn this trust?
He should be completely transparent about all of his activities that give you anxiety. This means volunteering to show you his phone if you want to see it, and reassuring you about where he is and who he is with. He needs to be extremely gentle and patient with you as you both pick at this wound. He should agree to accompany you to see a couples counselor.
Yes, in order to move forward in your relationship, you should work toward forgiveness, but it is not necessary for you to forget that this happened. (c) Ask Amy
I feel sad for this letter writer. She wants to force her own mind into a state of blind, unmerited trust, because she thinks she’s supposed to. She’s essentially blaming herself for not being able to trust someone who’s untrustworthy. True virtue, in this instance, wouldn’t involve blindly trusting her boyfriend. Rather, it would involve trusting her own inner knowing and protecting her own best interests.
She seems to be arguing with her own ability to discriminate and discern. Instead of paying attention to the evidence of his previous cheating ways, she’s expecting herself to block it from her mind as if it never happened. If she were to honor her ability to use judgment and discernment, she’d dump this guy or, like Ask Amy suggested, more or less force him to accommodate her with this issue. (Personally, I hope she dumps him.)
Yeah, I had a boyfriend once who was a complete cad. Actually all of my exes were complete cads. I met this guy via online dating, and we dated for a long while, and then we declared each other boyfriend and girlfriend. Then I noticed that he was still logging into his online dating profile. I created a fake profile as one “Sexy Lexy”. Sexy Lexy contacted him, and he took the bait. She and asked him if he had a girlfriend, and he said no. [Massive eyeroll.] At that point, I said, “Hey! This is your girlfriend, buddy! Remember Meg, the woman you’re dating? That’s me!” He panicked and disappeared from the internet. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall.
Our relationship crumbled and fell apart within a few months, for that reason and a few others. But to this day, some ten years later, whenever I create a fake profile account and contact him with it, he doesn’t answer. [Sinister laughter.] Between you and me, I think I scared him straight. At this rate, since he’s forever afraid to reply to a woman online, he’ll be single forever. [More sinister laughter.]
Ever so often, his mother will call my dad on her son’s behalf and ask my dad if there’s any chance of reconciliation between us. My dad will cover the receiver with his mouth and whisper, “Any chance of you getting back together with Billy?” And I’ll just stare at him blankly and shake my head. You can’t make this stuff up.
Trust is a fragile thing. Once lost, the burden of recovering it shouldn’t be on the victim, but on the untrustworthy person him- or herself. Trying to override your own discernment is never wise. It’s tempting, because it avoids the issue of messy breakups and heartache, but it’s not wise.