Dear Barb – Dealing with Infidelity

Dear Barb:

I have been dating my boyfriend for one year. We get along great and share many similar interests. I thought everything was going fantastic until last week when I caught him with my girlfriend. I was devastated. However he was much more casual and told me it was nothing and that he really cares about me. I still care deeply for him, but I don’t feel I can trust him. Is it possible for me to get over this and learn to trust him again?

Carrie in Ontario

Hi Carrie, your devastation is completely understandable. Betrayal in a relationship is one of the most hurtful behaviors and also the most difficult to get over. Unfortunately, you received a double whammy. You were not only betrayed by your boyfriend, but also by your girlfriend. I assume that you have resolved the situation with your friend, as you don’t mention this in your question.

Trust is a fundamental component of any relationship. Consequently it is very important that you regain this trust or your relationship is doomed to failure. Obviously you care deeply for your boyfriend and feel this relationship is worth saving. Subsequently, because of this deep devotion, I believe with time and a little help, it will be possible for you to rebuild your relationship. Therefore I will try my best to offer you suggestions that will assist you in resolving this issue.

First, it is important to accept your feelings of anger and betrayal. You are justified in feeling this way, don’t blame yourself. Likewise your boyfriend has to accept responsibility for his behavior which has caused you to feel this way. Discussing your boyfriend’s actions with him may help you understand why he acted in this manner.

Second, if you believe this was a one time thing, you must let it go. Letting go means not questioning his every move. When he is away from you, don’t constantly wonder what he’s doing, or with whom. These kinds of thoughts will only keep your feelings of betrayal alive and have a negative effect on your relationship. An exercise that may help you cope with these emotions is to try to step back and look at the situation from a more objective view. For example, if this happened to a friend what advice would you give them? Now try to apply this advice to your situation.

Finally, the best advice I can give you, Carrie, is to take your time, don’t rush things. Consider whether this is something you will be able to put out of your mind. Ask yourself if you value this relationship enough to be able to put this betrayal behind you. Most importantly Carrie, my advice to you is to follow your heart.

E-mail your questions to advice.voice@ausu.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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