After the question of, is he using me for sex, the second most common relationship advice question we cat is, “how do I get my boyfriend back after cheating?” This is a tough one, and sadly, a question that we all have asked our self at some point in our dating lives. The answer is easy to this, but the actual process of making all of the steps and stars align perfectly for you, is a little bit complicated. So again, today we are not going to talk about how to make him miss you, as much as we are going to talk about rebuilding trust after cheating created some cracks in your relationship.
For some relationships, cheating is a deal breaker. A lot of women have zero tolerance on this, and a lot of men do too. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Again, this is one of those times when having standards in relationships matter. I generally advise women not to stay with a guy that has cheated on them, just because it makes things so complicated. But life is not always as black-and-white as that. And today we have a letter from a reader that illustrates this point exactly, that love is much more complicated than the phrase “once a cheater always a cheater.” When love is involved, things got a little tricky.
So before we look at this letter, the one thing I do want to say is that relationships after cheating can survive. But the most important component required to make sure that happens is that both parties need to be willing to put in the effort. There is no one-size-fits-all answer and how to get your boyfriend back after cheating, when it comes to rebuilding trust. The only way to rebuild trust, is for that party to act in a way that is trustworthy. And if you’re not getting that, then it’s not worth trying to get back together with someone after cheating, or you’re just destined for more heartbreak. But let’s look at this story from our friend Amanda.
This one is pretty long, but I’m in desperate need for advice. So my ex boyfriend and I dated for a year and a half. We started dating in high school (my junior year, his senior year), and then once he went to college, things got complicated. My ex had a scholarship to play football at a college in a different state, and I fully supported him. I was a year behind him so I was still a senior in high school while he was a freshman in college. His first year of college was a rollercoaster for us. We weren’t used to the long distance, so we were on and off.
Well once he came back for that summer, we worked on our relationship to make it stronger so we wouldn’t have the same problems we did his first year of college. However, last October, I found out that he had been cheating on me with some girl from his school. So we broke it off. It was hard, especially because I was so loyal to him and was certain that we would have a future one day. After we broke it off, I made the mistake of texting, calling, mailing, literally anything to get in touch with him to make myself feel better. I forgot to mention, that he was still with the other girl after we broke it off.
Anyways, around November, I decided to cut contact completely with him because I was making myself look foolish. So we had No Contact at all for 5 months. After 5 months, I received a message from him on social media saying he was sorry. It completely caught me off guard because I thought we would never speak again. I messaged him back, not really saying too much. And then as time went by, we started talking more and more. and it felt like I was catching up with my best friend after so long. Anyways, he told me he broke it off with the other girl because of several reasons and that she was nothing but a rebound, and he continued to tell me how much better I am for him and how he would never hurt me again and stuff like that.
Well he came home in May for the summer, and we decided to meet up and talk. It didn’t really go too well because there were so many emotions and so much has happened. But after talking to him for a while, things were finally becoming better. And I realized that I’m still in love with this guy. Even though he’s done me so wrong, I believe that we can make it through this. However, there’s still something that isn’t right between us. I can’t pinpoint it. But I can feel it. So I told him that we should talk, and he said “what I did was wrong, and I know it is. I just need time to think because I don’t know what to do. Things aren’t the same between us. You don’t trust me. I just need time so I can figure this out” and I sort of feel the same way, but I’m willing to put in the effort to make things better, but I don’t know what to do next.
Anyone can see that we’re in love with each other, but how do we get that same spark we used to have? How do we overcome all of this? I don’t know what to do, and I’m afraid to lose him again. Amanda
This is one of those situations where there is clearly hope for this couple. The man in this equation has acknowledged his role in the break up, has acknowledged that he misses the girlfriend, and acknowledges that he is the one that needs to take the steps to rebuilding trust. There is clearly a lot of love in this relationship, or we wouldn’t even be having this conversation today. And if you have been reading this column for a while, then you know what I always say when love is in the picture. If both parties have a lot of love involved, and both parties are willing to do the work necessary to make it work, you can get your boyfriend back. Have a look at how to achieve greater intimacy with your partner.
This one is going to take a little bit more work from both of them.
Here’s what you did right
For starters, I think you know what you did right. You did all the right things by staying in touch with him, but also keeping your distance at the same time. You gave him some additional chances by meeting up with him and talking with him. It appears that you two both have very good communication skills when it comes to your relationship. So you’ve done everything right.
You taught him how to treat you by not putting up with cheating, you kept your distance when he was with somebody else. This showed him your worth, and that you believe you are worth better than this kind of behavior. And then you gave them a second chance to at least hear him out and listen to his apology and his remorse. Without an apology and without remorse, you cannot survive a relationship where there was cheating. So everything is going very well for you, and you have done nothing wrong.
But there is something wrong.
Another thing that gives me hope for this relationship is that you both acknowledge that there is no easy fix to this relationship. You both acknowledge that something is a little “off”, and you both acknowledge that something needs to change. The thing that is off here, is that you have trust issues with him. And those feelings are warranted.
So if you want to know how to get your boyfriend back, the first thing you need to do is to accept the fact that things will never be completely the same way that they were before. Both of you need to acknowledge and accept this. I have a feeling that you guys are good on the communication front, and will be able to have this conversation. Trying to go back to where you were before the cheating, is going to be counterproductive, and will cause a lot of pain for both of you. So if you really want to make it work, have the conversation and make the decision together to acknowledge that you’ll never go back to that place from before.
Starting from square one.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be head over heels in love with each other again. You basically need to start from scratch as if you are dating him for the first time again. And if I were you, that is the approach that I would take with him. Just start dating again, and give yourselves both the opportunity to rebuild that trust slowly but surely. It won’t take as long as it would if you just met him, and we’re actually starting from scratch. You guys have a bit of a history here, and you both seem to want to make it work. Those are all really awesome pluses in your favor. But starting from scratch is the only way you’re going to feel fully confident in your trust of him ever again.
Acknowledge that you are willing to put in the effort to make things better, but you also need to find out if he is. I have a feeling that he is. But again, you need to have that conversation about how it’s not going to be exactly the way it was before, at least not for a little while. You need to see some actionable steps from him that show you he’s willing to make the effort to gain your trust back.
As for getting that spark back again, you will find that again after this period of starting from scratch. When you start dating again like you just met, you will slowly fall into that zone again. If you really want to take this up a notch, I would also recommend therapy for you two. If anybody can see that you two are in love with each other, then your relationship would definitely benefit from some relationship advice from a professional that deals with repairing fractured trust. But again, that will take both of you to make that effort.
If you aren’t quite at that stage yet where you could see yourself on a therapist couch with him, then I would just start from scratch and take it slowly. This is one of those situations where Rome was not built in a day. But you’ve got a solid foundation to build on with this love.
Building trust again after cheating takes effort on both of your parts. If you both are willing to do it, then there is hope for you. I have a lot of hope for you and I’m interested in seeing where this one goes. So make sure you drop us a note, or leave a comment below to let us know what happened with this situation. Dear readers, have you ever been in the situation? How did you rebuild trust when you were hurt by someone that you loved?