2/3/14
Your Call: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section.

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Dear Em and Lo,

I’ve been in a loving 18-month relationship, about half of which is long distance. My boyfriend was unfaithful a prior girlfriend, a few years before me. His infidelity resulted in the birth of a child, who lives in another country with the child’s mother. I found this out about about his son five months into our long distance relationship.

When I confronted him, he immediately confessed and explained that he was scared to tell me when we first met –and the omission spiraled out of control. This revelation was very distressing, but he throughly explained the reasons for his lie and infidelity to his past girlfriend. I made the choice to forgive him. I also confessed to him that my prior serious relationship ended in a rampage of cheating, leaving me feeling foolish and deeply hurt. I don’t think I have fully recovered. I know that I have trouble trusting and opening up.

Since then, our relationship has been much stronger and I feel he is someone I want to continue loving… possibly for a long time. He makes me feel like I can have a healthy relationship again. We challenge and compliment each other well.

Unfortunately, during my last visit I came across some old flirtatious text messages (yeah I was snooping, old habits die hard) on his phone. From what I gather nothing physical happened, but his flirting really hurt me. We throughly discussed it and I forgave him. I thought we moved past it, and we started to heal again.

I went to live with him for four months, met his parents, friends and relatives. But every couple of months I bring it up and I rage at him; he has not betrayed my trust since the texts. My gut is screaming at me that history is about to repeat itself. But I know my past issues make my gut rather faulty.

— Gutless or gullible?

What should Gutless-or-Gullible do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.

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9 Comments on "Your Call: Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?"

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Johnny
Johnny
2 years 6 months ago
I get that there may be circumstances beyond this guy’s control. I get that it’s easy for a woman to take kids away from their father, particularly if she’s a foreign national and she takes the kid home. I also get that every deadbeat dad on the planet has a litany of excuses, from accusing the mom to denying paternity. No one comes out and says, “what can I say, I just don’t give a shit about my kid!” Either way, caring for your kids is your primary directive, once you have them. If you have a kid out there… Read more »
Nikki
Nikki
2 years 6 months ago

Johnny is spot on. It really says something about how society has held monogamy up as the holy grail of relationship success when the big issue is past infidelity (and not even unfaithfulness to the current girlfriend) and flirtatious text messages, rather than the abandonment of a child.

Tony
Tony
2 years 6 months ago

I will add – if he really is a deadbeat dad, find someone else.

Tony
Tony
2 years 6 months ago
“my prior serious relationship ended in a rampage of cheating, leaving me feeling foolish and deeply hurt. I don’t think I have fully recovered. I know that I have trouble trusting and opening up.” “My boyfriend was unfaithful a prior girlfriend, a few years before me. His infidelity resulted in the birth of a child, who lives in another country with the child’s mother. I found this out about about his son five months into our long distance relationship. ” “during my last visit I came across some old flirtatious text messages (yeah I was snooping, old habits die hard)… Read more »
Michael
Michael
2 years 6 months ago
I went through this most of high school and college and I completely understand how betrayal and deceit can make someone very bitter and intrusting. Having said that, I will cut to the chase. There is NOTHING you can do to ensure you don’t get hurt. NOTHING. Not if you intend on dating and being with someone. There are no guarantees, period. It doesn’t matter if you completely submit, or try and control every aspect of this situation, it has little to no effect on the situation. All you can control, is you, and your reactions. That’s all. You need… Read more »
Janine @ How You Can Find Love
2 years 6 months ago

Always trust your gut!! It is almost never wrong. The best predictor of future actions is past actions. I’d say if someone cheated in an old relationship and hopefully they’ve learned some things and matured, then I’d trust they wouldn’t. For me it is too much of a wild card though. Trust is so important, and once an ounce is gone it ruins the relationship, to me. No matter what you choose, best of luck and what’s meant to happen will happen!

Johnny
Johnny
2 years 6 months ago

If my girl cheated on me, I might or might not dump her. It would depend on a lot of things.

If I found out she had a child somewhere who she never saw, I would immediately tell her to get out of my life and go take care of her child.

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