Deciding if you should trust your boyfriend after he cheated is one of the most difficult decisions you can make in a relationship. These five ways to tell are based on a reader’s question about her cheating boyfriend:
“My boyfriend and I have been together for three years,” says Liz on my article on emotional affairs. “I just found out he has been talking to three other girls on the internet. He says he won’t do it again but I am still not sure. I don’t know what to do anymore. What do I do?”
One of the first steps is to find out why he cheated. Books like The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It are helpful because they give an objective perspective (which you and your boyfriend don’t necessarily have). It’s not your fault that your boyfriend cheated – it was either a really bad choice on his part, or a lack of moral character. If it was a bad choice, then you might be able to trust him again after he cheated. If he’s just a bad guy, then you shouldn’t trust him. He’ll cheat again. The best and most important sign that will tell you if your boyfriend will cheat again is your own gut feeling. I know what you WANT to believe…but you have to trust your gut.
Here are five tips for trusting your boyfriend after an affair – or even “just” online chatting with other women! After all, cheating often begins with the five stages of flirting.
Can You Trust Your Boyfriend After He Cheated? 5 Signs…
Learn why he cheated on you. If he cheated because he wasn’t getting something from you or your relationship, then it may be easier to rebuild trust because you can change your relationship! It isn’t easy, but you can work together to rebuild trust after cheating. But, if he cheated because he was bored or it’s in his nature to roam, then you might not want to trust him again. The reason he cheated may help you decide if you can trust him again. But remember: you can’t do all the work in figuring out why he cheated, how he can overcome the problem, and how to get your relationship back on track. He has to step up and be a man — which means admitting he cheated and working to make your relationship better.
Figure out what you need from your boyfriend and relationship. If your boyfriend travels for work or spends a lot of time with his friends, you may need him to put you first more often. If your boyfriend isn’t willing to talk about his feelings, reasons for cheating, or your relationship, then you may need him to open up more. Before you can decide if you can trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you, you need to figure out what you need from him.
Ask your boyfriend what he’s willing to do to save your relationship. After you figure out what you need from him, ask him clearly if he’s willing to give you what you need. Will he spend more time with you? Go to couples counseling with you — or get help from a marriage or relationship coach? Start individual counseling for himself, if he needs to work through his emotional issues? Read books about rebuilding trust after an affair (even if that affair was “just” talking to other girls online)? If your boyfriend isn’t willing to work towards saving your relationship, then you shouldn’t trust him again!
Learn how to tell when a man is lying about cheating. Gary Neuman is the author of Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship; he was recently on the Dr Oz show. He and Janine Driver of the Body Language Institute discussed several ways to discern if someone is lying about cheating – and I describe their tips in 4 Ways to Tell if Your Husband is Lying About Cheating. It’s worth a read, even if you don’t think your boyfriend is lying.
Don’t let fear or insecurity trap you in a bad relationship. Both men and women stay in bad relationships because they’re scared they’ll never be loved again. If your self-esteem or self-confidence is low, find ways to boost it without relying on your boyfriend or a love relationship. Getting as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as possible is more important that deciding if you should trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you! The healthier you are, the easier all your decisions in life will be — including your most important decisions about love and relationships.
And remember – trusting your boyfriend after he cheated doesn’t happen overnight. Rebuilding trust is a process that involves good and bad days – and good and bad discussions with your boyfriend! But, if you’re both willing to work on your relationship, you can rebuild trust and strengthen your love and commitment to one another.
For more tips, read How Long Do You Wait for Your Husband to Get Over His Affair?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.