Once a cheater always a cheater? Update to "Am I overreacting?"

posted 2 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
3195 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010


Take your time. Every woman has her own tolerance level; you don’t need to do what your mother did or look down on her for staying with your father. If my husband cheated on me, my father would probably break his jaw so I admire your father for calmly offering guidance. 

I feel for you as I was rocked by my father’s infidelity. In fact, today is the 20th anniversary of the day my family found out. I am still haunted by the sound of my father’s voice while he was speaking to his ugly side chick. I was the one who told my mother about that before the affair came out. 

Whether or not you forgive your ex is completely up to you. Take your time and think about what you want to do. I have no tolerance for cheating as I grew up seeing so much of it but that is my point of view.

Post # 3
2428 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Thanks for updating us. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. The only advice I can offer is to follow your heart. Only you know the ins and outs of your relationship. Be gentle with yourself.

Post # 4
2551 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I could see how such a story about your parents could affect you so much.  I would say just to give it more time.  Live apart if you have to, but make him work for your attention.  Do what YOU think is best.  And if you do decide to get back together, suggest couples counseling as well as complete transparency with EVERYTHING (passwords, etc.).

Post # 5
716 posts
Busy bee

It’s very hard to say what you should do from reading your posts. You really need to look at the relationship in its entirety, a perspective that we don’t have from just hearing about confusion over the gift of a family engagement ring and your FI allowing a female coworker to draw him in a little too close. You FI does sound remorseful and maybe he did learn his lesson…oh and things never went beyond a very short, emotional affair, if you can even call it that. I think taking your time is good advice, although you don’t need to hang on forever. Maybe give yourself until the end of the year. Put space between the two of you for the next 8 weeks and just relax and reflection on how you feel.

Post # 6
535 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

“he said there was nothing missing, that he just liked the extra attention.”<br /><br />

This is the problem right there.  He wasn’t missing anything, there was nothing wrong, he just wanted more. 

There are two kinds of cheaters in this world.  The “circumstantial cheater” feels starved or deprived, usually because their partner is distant or withholds affection, so they go looking for the attention/ affection elsewhere.  This is a human need, so it is somewhat forgiveable.

The other kind is the “habitual cheater”.  Nothing is wrong or missing from his current relationship.  He is just bored.  He wants the excitement and thrill of the attention, or gets off on the idea of doing something secretive or “bad”.  This cheater will never stop because it’s like an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  (I even have serious doubts that therapy could rehabilitate this type of cheater).

You will do what you will, but I wasted 17 YEARS with a habitual cheater and if you stay with this guy…you will too.


Good luck to you!

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  msfreemis.
Post # 7
1893 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Dallas, TX

Thanks for updating us. It sounds crazy, because we are all a bunch of strangers, but I was really invested in your story and had been thinking about you. This was not an update I was expecting to hear. I can only imagine how what your dad shared with you would rock you. I think it’s very interesting to hear his perspective after going through something similar. What a difficult position to be in for you. Definitely take your time. There is no reason to rush into making a decision. I think you did the right thing to break it off at least for now. He needs to earn your trust back. I strongly suggest you request couples counseling for both of you and individual counseling for him. Maybe he can figure out why he needed the extra attention that Cindy provided. Good luck! I am rooting for your happiness whether you permanently break it off or try to make it work.

Post # 8
7147 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

It’s never good when a loved one forces you to choose between your self respect and them. It sounds like your ex is sincere, but who knows if that means he can be faithful. More importantly, how do you feel about yourself should you stay or leave? 

If you honor your true feelings you honor your self respect. If you choose to take him back and he cheats, that’s on him. good luck and I am so sorry. Hugs. 

Post # 9
1185 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I was hoping for an update!


I cannot even begin to imagine what you’re going through. Have you talked to B about going to counseling? To try and find out if there’s a hidden reason for this that neither of you really understand?


I relate with the PP when he says he just wanted more attention… Who is to say he won’t get comfortable again? That’s really tricky. I definitely don’t think once a cheater always a cheater. I think getting over someone cheating takes a lot of strength and courage. It boils down to being able to build trust again. That requires a fresh start… You don’t want to build trust by snooping, so you’re going to have to build trust by him earning it and him giving you no reason to doubt you.


My fiance did some disrespectful things behind my back. He was seeking out attention online from women. Claiming to be single… reaching out to ad’s on CL… I left with our 6 month old son. I went and stayed with mom. He got help… He saw a counselor and figured out he was suffering from depression again. In my adjustment to becoming a mom, in our adjustment to becoming parents and a family of 3 struggling financially, we forgot about each other. He got help. He apologized over and over and over. 


When I caught him doing this stuff, I had a bad feeling in my gut. I typed in gmail . com to go to my email and his opened up. I normally would sign and out and go on about my business, though I’ve always known his passwords. I actually made his email account because his old one was full of spam and it annoyed me but he didn’t really care lol. ANYWAYS, something screamed at me to snoop. And I did. And I found bad things… Since he sought out help, and apologized and everything has been hashed out and resolved.. I never get those feelings… Those urges if his email is open on the computer or his facebook or whatever. I’m happy to say we have completely rebuily trust.


It’s not easy. And not everyone can do it. I wish you the best, and I hope you keep us updated!

Post # 10
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Good for you girl for sticking to your ground. I know everyone says follow your heart but I say go with your gut. it always knows. good luck honey.

Post # 11
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Sorry, between this story (where he kissed another woman, lied to you, and got angry with you when confronted) and the other story (where he physically removed your engagement ring from your finger and shut down all discussion)….I think you’re better off finding someone else who doesn’t need a wake-up call to finally treat you with respect.  

Life is just too short to deal with all this malarkey.  

Post # 12
2207 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

SunnierDaysAhead:  thanks for the update, i’m still really sorry you’re going through this. i’m so glad you came back and posted because i was also really worried about you and am invested in your situation!

i personally would not take him back, but that’s just from my previous experience. i was in a relationship with my ex for about 3 years. he had proposed, everything was great. i then found out through social media that he had hung out with his ex a few times without telling me. when i confronted him, he also shamed be a bit and then said nothing happened, that they were just friends, etc. we took a “break”. it lasted for a few weeks before we got back together because i decided i had overreacted. we were together for another year before he called me drunk one night and admitted that he had slept with the ex and with several other girls, while we were together, and also with 5 or 6 in the few weeks that we had taken a break. it was probably one of the worst times of my life because i felt so violated. he admitted several other lies before of course saying he still wanted to marry me because the other girls weren’t the type of girls you marry but i was (whatever that means). i kept my phone number the same until he had called me back sober, at which point he claimed that he had been exaggerating. either way, i was done. he tried for 6 months to get me back. at one point towards the end, he slipped up and admitted that he had tried dating other people while trying to get me back and all it did was confirm that he wanted me. 

about 3 months after i ended things, i started dating my DH. what a total change- i still had serious trust issues. he said he understood and everything would be completely transparent, even though we both knew it wasn’t his fault i had the trust issues. everything was just SO EASY with him. i look back at my relationship with my ex and realize that the drama was part of the appeal of the relationship- it made it feel exciting. but the comfort that i find in my DH and have from the start is exactly what i needed. i have always been an anxious person, but my DH knows this and helps with it instead of blaming me for it. i never have to wonder where he is, i trust him completely and that isn’t just blind trust and i didn’t have to convince myself to trust him- it happened because we are completely open with each other and have been from the start. 

i don’t know if this will help you at all… but i don’t think you should get back together with him. i really think that this will happen again at some level, and if it doesn’t you will probably never trust him again. i guess i admire your parents for working through their issues, but that also isn’t saying that your ex will be the same as your dad. you guys already had so many issues about your engagement ring. it shouldn’t be this hard! you can and will find someone who treats you like you deserve.

Post # 13
876 posts
Busy bee

I think the most difficult thing you will need to overcome is that there was absolutely no sign whatsoever – for several months mind you – that this was going on with him. I think that will drive you nuts in the future. Because even when he seems happy and in love with you and treating you well, he has the capacity to hide this other side so thoroughly that you really have no idea what is going on with him. Ever. 


Post # 14
769 posts
Busy bee

msfreemis: I agree with you. This would really, really bother me. What if another female co-worker comes along and starts giving him extra attention? It angers me when everything is fine in your relationship, and he did this just for the extra attention. It reminds me of my favorite quote in the movie “Closer”:

“Oh, as if you had no choice? There’s a moment, there’s always a moment, “I can do this, I can give into this, or I can resist it”, and I don’t know when your moment was, but I bet you there was one.”

OP, I am very sorry that you are going through this. If I were you, I would really take my time. But to be honest, I would likely wind up breaking up for good. It’s exausthing to be with someone you cannot trust. I have been there, although under different circumstances with my ex-DH. 

However, I am just a stranger off the internet who is telling you what I would do. Ultimately its’ your decision, but definitely follow your guts. If you decide to break it off, stay firm on your ground when he tries to persuade you into getting back together. If you decide to stay with him, he needs to prove to you he is trustworthy.

Best of luck, OP. Take this time to take care o yourself. *hugs*

Post # 15
1491 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

SunnierDaysAhead:  Your dad is only one story. And while you highly respect your father, do NOT let that cloud your judgment or apply it to your own situation. Every person is different. In *general*, people who cheat, will cheat again, there is something inherently broken in them that has to be fixed before the cheating can stop. There are plenty, PLENTY of people in the world who are in committed relationships who don’t ever cheat. I just don’t see the need to put 40+ years of your life into a person who messes up so much like that, when there are so many who would never mess up like that. 

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