Dear Dr. Archer,
I have been in a relationship for more than four years. Our families knew and approved, and we planned to get married. I am 22 and he is 25, and we both lived in the same town until he had to go out of town for grad school. He often came to meet me in my town, so we survived the long distance relationship for a year, without issues. In fact, everything was perfect.
Somehow I found out he was in a physical relationship with another girl. I had no idea what was going on, and could never have imagined that. I blindly trusted him, and he never made me feel unwanted. In fact, with each day he showed me his love for me was growing more intense. We did not have sex, because I told him I would not be do that before marriage, and he never pressured me.
We did everything else, though, he said he wanted to keep the excitement going. This meant everything to me, and we loved each other like hell. He did everything for me -- he talked to me, even if he was with the other girl, and never lost interest in me. He had no attachment to that girl.
Now since I know everything, he has left her. He left school and came back home, changed his numbers, begged me not to leave him and has apologized in front of both my family and friends. He says he would pay any price to get me back and is ready to make any sacrifice.
I, on the other hand, abuse him. I insult him, because I was so shattered and broken because of this. He has listened to all my abuse very calmly, and promises that he will never let me down again. He says getting physical with that girl was his MISTAKE, and that he couldn't resist.
He said that the girl fell for him, flirted and was easily accessible, and says he just flowed with the situation. They were never close, never talked too much, never spoke romantically to each other, shared no future promises; all they shared was sex.
The girl knew about me and our relationship, and while this was going on she fell for him. Now she says he played with her and that she readily accepted his offer. She wants him now, and asked me to leave him. He doesn't want her, though; he wants me.
It has been about six months, and he is still begging me to come back to him, but sleeping with another girl is not a small thing for me to forgive. Please, tell me what I should do?
I know without a doubt he loves me, but is it possible that men lose control so easily and sex is not a big deal for them? Should I give him another chance? Is there a possibility he is addicted to sex?
Also, will I be able to forget him? My feelings for him had been so intense and pure, I had never thought of anyone before. I wanted him to be the one and forever man. Will I be able to forget the relationship -- both physically and emotionally?
And finally, if I think of forgiving him, will it be possible to let go all the dirty things and the lies? Will I be happy again? I need the guidance. Everyone says they can't help me, that it's my life and I have to decide. But I can't! It's ruining my health and career.
Please, some psychological advice and point me in one direction. Thank you so much.
It's true, this is a decision you must make on your own. However, let's discuss.
Your boyfriend flowed with the situation with this girl who most likely had an infatuation. It's good that he didn't promise her anything, but it's bad that you thought you had a committed relationship. He didn't want to be "used" by you, but didn't have a problem being used by someone else. Hmmmm. Sounds like he was just agreeing to whatever rules you laid out there.
Some men lose themselves very easily when it comes to sex, while others are happily monogamous. It is possible for someone to realize a huge mistake and try to correct it, while others just try not to get caught the next time. Which one is this guy? I have no idea, but he did say/do the right things.
He apologized for his actions, not only to you but to your family and friends. He changed his numbers -- these things tell me has regrets over what happened. I'd like you to read Why Men Cheat: A Biological Perspective to learn more. Now, do I think he has an addiction to sex? No; I think he's a normal 25 year old man with normal desires.
If you cease all communication, will you be able to forget him? Well, you'll get over him, but I don't think you'll forget your first love, which will always be special. What bothers me most is that you are 22 years old, and have only been in one serious relationship. Much can be learned from first loves, as you can see from this.
Second loves teach us more, and third loves reveal even more. In other words, Alisha, dating is a learning experience, where both people learn from the other, learn what they like and don't like, learn what is acceptable and what is not.
My advice: Take a break from thinking about him and date other men. Once you do this, it will become obvious whether what you had with him was the real deal for the long term.
In the end, Alisha, if you do forgive him, you MUST let the past stay in the past. If you want to ruin any attempt at a second chance, then hang on to those memories and throw it in his face any time the two of you argue. That will certainly end this relationship forever. If he has learned his lesson, then so be it.
So, date a few guys and see how you feel. If you do get back together with this guy one day, be sure he knows that if he ever does anything like this again, you are gone forever. No second chances. Good luck.