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is an Advice Column for Humans by One Human. We want to hear what you’re struggling with these days. Relationships? Breakups? Family? Friends? Jobs? Mental health? Anything.
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I have been in a relationship for over 5 years now. But I recently found out that my partner has been cheating. It hurts. But I would like to know if he’s in love with someone else and I’m just wasting my time with him?
When we have an argument, he’ll bring up old things and the relationship later comes back. Please advise if I’m wasting my time with him.
Dear Human with a Cheating Partner,
Sorry to hear that you’ve been cheated on. The weeks that follow such a betrayal are always upsetting and confusing at best.
I was in a relationship with a guy who routinely broke my trust. Yet, I kept forgiving him. Before he’d even fully apologize, he’d be doing something else to severely damage the relationship. The connection felt impossible to break at times. After a couple of rounds of this though, I couldn’t take the distrust and uncertainty. Since my emotions were too deep into it, I tried to use logic instead. And it said that trust takes time to build. But it takes even more time to rebuild. Was I willing to put in that time when I thought change was unlikely? I wasn’t. I had wasted enough time and heart. He had enough chances to prove me wrong.
When someone cheats on you, sometimes we assume the bond will be immediately severed. It rarely is though. Whether we decide to stay or leave, the pain stays with us for some time.
Choosing to stay after someone cheats on you is a difficult decision. It’s one that implies you’re open to building trust again. Even though this wasn’t your fault, you’re the one who will be dealing with the aftermath of rebuilding the relationship. This is a process. It’s also a gamble (will the person cheat again?). Is your partner worth this effort?
You mention that you’re not sure if he’s in love with someone else. This is a conversation you can only have with him. Ask him honestly and try to gauge whether he’s giving you an honest response. You also say that he brings up old things. Be sure he isn’t gaslighting you for his own behavior. In a toxic relationship, an end is inedible unless the person changes.
The truth is your partner could cheat again. Or he may not. But are you comfortable making the decision to stay knowing that it’s a possibility? Do you have enough faith that the relationship can be restored? Is it a mountain you’re willing to climb?
Let’s take cheating out of the equation for a second. How does your partner treat you? Would you say the relationship is healthy?
Ask yourself if he deserves you. Cheating is a sign that he doesn’t, so has his efforts since that changed? Has he apologized? Does he understand why it’s wrong and why it hurt you? Has he done anything to redeem himself? Do you think he’s genuinely changed his behavior? If your feelings make you see logic differently, try to point to hard evidence of change.
Does it feel like an uphill battle with no prize at the top? Or are you making progress and value the top of the mountain?
Many times, it takes too much time to repair a relationship than it does to find someone who will treat you better. Ultimately, this is your decision, but I hope these questions gave you points to consider 🙂
A Human ❤️
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