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The worst heartache

I was with my boyfriend for about 18 months. It’s had it’s rough patches but I just found out he cheated 6 months ago. He’s lied before and never did the things he said he was going to do. So of course I deserve more and better. I know my worth. But I am devastated. He was it. I was going to marry him. He’s a Godly man, weak, and addressing mental health issues and childhood trauma.
He wants me to let him prove himself this final time while we are living apart. I’m so torn. I do not want to move on. But I’ve always said cheating is something I can’t forgive.

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One thing I learned from 17 years of marriage that ended up in divorce is that I have to set boundaries for ME. I have to love ME first. I have to set boundaries for ME. Having mental illness and living in our trauma does not make a person cheat. A person that lacks respect and integrity makes a person cheat. However, keep in mind forgiving someone is for you and not the other person. It is a great starting point to healing. I commend you for reaching out to share your story and know you’re not alone! Heart break is hard because we often see it as a self reflection of ourselves and what we could have done better. I know I would make excuses for my ex; however, I was really preventing my own happiness because of his actions. That wasn’t fair to me at all. People do make mistakes. Ultimately, you have to be at peace with any decision you make but do it for you, not for anyone else. If you decide to go back to give it another try, maybe implement some hard boundaries. Counseling, starting wth date nights again, practicing be friends before intimate partners. Seek guidance from a church friend if thats your thing. There are so many things you can do to help rebuild that trust, but it will be hard work. If you have tried absolutely everything and its still not enough then you have done your part plus some. If all fails, your free and clear of any regrets and guilt. Close that door and chapter and wait for your future blessing to come.

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I’m sorry you went through this. I’ve been cheated on in the past, and each time it made me feel like my gut had been sliced open.

Now you’re in a difficult place. Do you move on, or do you forgive and rebuild? Not wanting to move on is normal. You’d be disrupting your stable life with a steady partner you care for.

Forgiveness is hard, especially now. You’re hurt because he damaged your relationship and betrayed your trust, and you want him to hurt for it too. It’s natural. The one question I have is, when you wrote “I’ve always said cheating is something I can’t forgive,” is that how you really feel, or are you sticking to principles you set out before you were put in this situation? If this is a behavioral pattern of his, or just another one of many problems, it may be time to move on. If this was a one-time thing but you don’t believe you’ll ever get past it, then leave and save yourself the heartache of trying to save something that’s too far gone. But if you really believe he’s the one, don’t rush to do something you’ll regret in the future.

Something that’s gotten lost in our culture today is the difference between saying “I forgive you” and “It’s okay.” The unspoken rest of the statement “it’s okay” is “It’s okay that you hurt me.” It is NOT okay, under any circumstances, that someone hurt you. Forgiving someone does not make it okay that they hurt you in the first place. This week I came across a list of misunderstandings about forgiveness, and the things forgiveness isn’t.

–Forgiveness IS NOT forgetting. The passage of time doesn’t nullify the hurt they inflicted.
–Forgiveness IS NOT trust. They have to earn that back.
–Forgiveness IS NOT reconciliation. You can release the hurts against you, but you don’t have to have a relationship–or even a dialogue–with the people who have hurt you. They also don’t owe it to you to own up to their wrongdoing.
–Forgiveness IS NOT excusing what was done. It’s still important to acknowledge the hurt that was inflicted.
–Forgiveness IS NOT absolving them of the consequences of their actions. For example, forgiving a criminal who harmed you doesn’t negate his punishment.

@jennymariec nailed it with “forgiving someone is for you and not the other person.” Forgiveness is surrendering your judgment and letting go of your anger against the other person. That takes time, and can take guidance. You can choose to forgive him and not reconcile with him, or you can choose to slowly rebuild the trust. It won’t happen overnight, and if he asks things like “When will you just let it go?”, then he’s not willing to put in the work.

The toughest part is that no one has a crystal ball to tell you if he really is the one or if moving on could be the best decision you ever make. I thought my ex was “the one.” I fought so hard to trust her again, but every time we got close she pulled away. I wish I hadn’t gone through the prolonged heartbreak, but it made me better able to appreciate what a good woman my wife is. That said, God forbid, if my wife cheated on me, I wouldn’t consider leaving her. I would be devastated, I would be angry, I would say hurtful things and probably mean them; but I know that in time, when the pain toned down some, I’d be able to forgive her and start building our trust again.

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Thank you both for these responses. I cannot appreciate them enough. They really have helped me open my eyes a little more. I know my response is a little vague but trust me, I cherish those words!

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Another tool that was shared with me was when someone has a heart ache it’s usually because there’s an empty memory that needs to be replaced. I was told that if I found purpose in my life with something that I absolutely loved to do; that sooner or later, that hole would be healed with little pieces of joy from my past. Often times when we enter into a relationship we lose something that we previously loved to do. Try to find whatever your favorite memory or past-time was and start doing that again to clear your mind of the heartache. It could be something as simple as coloring, sewing, cooking, gardening, pottery, painting, hanging out with friends, volunteering, going to different restaurants and writing reviews, something that you absolutely loved to do. Hope this helps.