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Forgiveness and trust

I have done an awful thing and don't know if it can be repaired.

I have been living with boyfriend for over a year.  I knew him for a year and a half, and when something finally happened between us, I moved to Australia to be with him. We had 4 months apart until I moved. I have no doubt in his love for me, and we've talked about the future several times, and both know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together.

 

He had to fly abroad for work last Saturday morning. When I woke up and went to the computer, his gmail was open. I don't know why, but  I decided to browse around. I saw some chats that made me believe that he was with another girl the first month when we were apart. I was devastated. 

 

I tried not to say anything to him while he was abroad because I knew he was under a lot of stress. it was killing me inside because i couldn't wrap my head around what he had done - he has been devoted to me from day one and i know he loves me, so how could he do that to me?

 

i finally confronted him on tuesday. he said that it wasn't true. that he had been seeing a girl before he came to see me, and then when we finally happened and he returned to australia, he broke it off with her, but still saw her a few times with other people. i believe him.

 

the problem is that he is so so mad and so so hurt. i invaded his privacy, the "only thing that was left private" as he said, i accused him of adultery which hurt him extremely, and he was also mad that i told a few friends of mine (who are people that he knows well, some he works with sometimes and some are gf of his friends). he's pissed because he thinks this will change their perception  of him and hurt his reputation - i know it sounds egotistical, but i understand. if someone accused me of something i didn't do, I would feel awkward to see people that knew about the accusation even though the truth was told (and i called all my friends and rectified the situation - they all know that he didnt cheat on me).

 

to make matters worse, he told me that he was planning to ask my parents for my hand in marriage today. he bought a ring and told his parents already, and he kept saying, what am i going to tell them now? he's devastated. he's still going to see my parents today even though i told him that it it's easy to cancel, all he has to say is that something came up with his schedule. but he said that he won't do that.

 

i spoke to him twice since i confronted him. he was so mad and so hurt and it's killing me inside. i told him that i would do anything to gain his trust again, that our relationship is worth fighting for and that this is not a reflection of me or our relationship. i never did this in the past and will never do it again, i did it out of curiosity and not suspicion. he kept saying i don't know if we can get past this.

 

that was yesterday, today he said that he's committed to make things work and it will take time to build trust again. i know that it was a huge and difficult thing for him to say.

 

i just want to know that he will be able to forgive me, and i will give everything and do anything to earn his trust again. it's killing me inside that i have hurt the most important person in my life... the love of my life.

 

do you think he can forgive me? i know it's going to take time, but how can i earn his trust again? 

Re: Forgiveness and trust

  • Firstly- I can't say whether he will forgive you or trust you again.  It sounds like this all went down just a day or two ago, and you're both still reeling from what he's discovered about you and that you might lose this relationship.  Take time in the sense that you wait until you're both more used to the idea of who this other person is, and then decide if you still want to be together.   Don't start right away setting your sights on continuing a life-long relationship and Trusting and Forgiving each other.  Up until a few days ago, you thought he was a cheater, enough so to tell his friends you thought this.  And he's been burned by your curiousity and your mouth- enough so to be unsure he wants to marry you.  It sucks when a relationship ends, but don't push past negative feelings before you explore them.  Maybe this isn't the right relationship after all.  Decide whether it is before going headlong into the how-do-we-move-forward bit.

    image shanini406:

     this is not a reflection of me or our relationship. i never did this in the past and will never do it again, i did it out of curiosity and not suspicion. he kept saying i don't know if we can get past this.

     

    Second, I disagree that "this is not a reflection of you or your relationship".  You did it, of your own free will, and it does reflect on you- it says that you were more curious than respectful of his privacy.  And it also reflects on you that you then called and told his friends what you found and what you suspected, (and yes, you did call them all back and tell them he's not a cheater after all, but you did do it in the first place)- and that says you don't mind speaking ill of him, to people he cares about, without even knowing yet if it's true.  He may or may not forgive you, and your relationship may or may not get past this, but you do need to own your actions.  All of them.  Don't defend yourself by saying you're not the type to do something like that because you did.  You can say you recognize what you did and you're sorry for it and you wouldn't do it again, but you need to own that you did what you did and that it hurt him.  And you do that at some other points in the post, but be careful that you don't fall into defending yourself by failing to own your actions.  

    Thirdly- you sound a bit overdramatic here.  There's a lot of people being killed inside in this post, accusations of adultery when you suspected that it sounded like your boyfriend had another relationship going during the first month you were dating.  That's reflecting on this situation too- another thing he might be wondering, as you all decide whether to move this relationship forward, is whether he wants to spend his life with someone who makes overdramatic accusations on little evidence.  That should be discussed as well.  

     

  • I too think you are being a bit dramatic.  I think it was overkill for you to be discussing this with several friends before you even discussed it with him. You're talking about the first month you were dating (when people are often not "exclusive") and you didn't even have all the facts.

    I think you need to give him some time, assure him you want to rebuild the trust in your relationship, then back off. 

  • I have to agree with the previous posters. It sounds like you kind of lost your mind a bit. You need to be really careful with what you tell other people about your relationship, especially friends of both of you. Especially when it is something such as an accusation of cheating, not that he is messier than you would like or something else rather innocuous. 

    What did the chat sessions say? At this point I feel that you went temporarily crazy based on very little information, and jumped to the worst conclusion. If the chat sessions were very damaging though I could understand and would change my perspective.

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  • Yes, you should not have read his emails or chats, and you should not have discussed this with your friends before you addressed it with him. Those things show that you already were debating if you should trust him or not, and obviously you're not sure you can/do.

    That said, if my H read my emails I would be a little ticked. I would wonder why he felt like he had to do it. I would probably even change my password because I would feel like he wrongfully invaded my privacy. I would not, though, flip out, tell him he destroyed our trust, wonder whether we should be married or not, etc etc etc. It sounds to me like your BF overreacted here as well. 

    Have you seen the ring? Do you know he actually has one? Because I think it is pretty convenient that you made him mad and now he is all, "I was going to propose, I talked to my family, I'm about to talk to your family." To me this sounds like a story crafted to make you feel guilty. 

    And finally, all this aside, are you sure this is the type of relationship you want to be in forever? Yes, checking his email is an indication of you and your relationship. My gmail password is stored in my computer but my H doesn't ever log in. I know my H's password, but I never log in to check what's in there. The fact that he left it open and you decided to go through is actually speaks volumes about your relationship. 

  • image MKESweetie:

    Have you seen the ring? Do you know he actually has one? Because I think it is pretty convenient that you made him mad and now he is all, "I was going to propose, I talked to my family, I'm about to talk to your family." To me this sounds like a story crafted to make you feel guilty. 

    The cynic in me actually takes this one step further.  Is he SO mad and SO hurt because he wants the OP to feel SO bad that she doesn't push any further and discover that yes, actually, he was cheating...???
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  • imoanimoan member
    10000 Comments Eighth Anniversary

    1.  His "I'm so hurt" dramatics is an act to throw you off the scent that he actually did cheat on you.  Don't be so quick to buy what he's selling.

    2.  You were COMPLETELY wrong for discussing it with everyone and their mother before actually talking to your BF.  Especially when it sounds like the majority of the people you told are moreso his friends than yours. 

    3.  I also agree that unless you've SEEN a ring... I'm not buying that he was about to propose to you.  Once again, he's trying to use that as a way to a) throw you off the fact that he did cheat and b) make you feel awful about yourself so you NEVER question his fidelity again... even if you have good reason.

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  • - Never ever ever talk about your relationship problems with friends!  It's one thing to talk it over with ONE close girlfriend (that doesn't know him uber closely) but multiple friends is extreme and into 'gossip' territory.  You wouldn't want him to do this so don't do it to him.

    - Who cares if he was dating another girl the month you started seeing each other? Does it change your relationship now? He probably figured it wasn't exclusive, or he wasn't sure where the relationship was going, he ended things though when it got serious.

    -  Give him time and use this as a wake up call.  Try to talk things out, don't go to crazy about little things, if something bothers you talk about it but try not to attack, and solve the problem between the two of you, involving outsiders is not healthy and can end up ruining friendships. I'm sure you're relationship will be fine, just calm down and take it slow again.

  • All I can say is, if you have this feeling that you need to check up on him, then the two of you aren't ready to be married.

    But I agree with EastCoast.  I'm definitely getting a guilty vibe here (and if they weren't supposedly exclusive, then she wouldn't consider it to be cheating).

    image
  • image EastCoastBride:
    image MKESweetie:

    Have you seen the ring? Do you know he actually has one? Because I think it is pretty convenient that you made him mad and now he is all, "I was going to propose, I talked to my family, I'm about to talk to your family." To me this sounds like a story crafted to make you feel guilty. 

    The cynic in me actually takes this one step further.  Is he SO mad and SO hurt because he wants the OP to feel SO bad that she doesn't push any further and discover that yes, actually, he was cheating...???

    I was thinking this too, or at bare minimum he was trying to deflect from the issue that the chat he was having with the ex-gf was inappropriate.  What did the chats say?  What about the chats alarmed you?  This should not be ignored. 

    This is now a messy situation because you went to many many others about your relationship issues before speaking with him.  Yes he was far away and you didn't want to stress him out, but that's no reason to air your dirty laundry to others.  He does have a right to be upset about this part.

    But I don't think he should be so over-reacting that you looked at his email.  He left it open, and you glanced at some stuff.  If he is living an honest life he shouldn't have anything to hide.  I don't actively check my H's email, but he's asked me to go in his email a few times to retrieve information regarding bills or whatnot.  Maybe your guy is not an open book and this should be explored. 

    And the chats should not be totally ignored if what they said made you sick.  Yes you snooped, but if you were snooping in his closet and found some crazy stuff you'd address it right?  ("Yeah I was snooping in your closet I'm sorry for that, but I found x and I'm totally freaked out.")  You both have trust issues to work out. 

  • I was thinking what imoan said.

    Look - you have so many strikes against the relationship that you absolutely should not get engaged. Each of you needs to spend some time alone and grow up a bit.

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • image EastCoastBride:
    image MKESweetie:

    Have you seen the ring? Do you know he actually has one? Because I think it is pretty convenient that you made him mad and now he is all, "I was going to propose, I talked to my family, I'm about to talk to your family." To me this sounds like a story crafted to make you feel guilty. 

    The cynic in me actually takes this one step further.  Is he SO mad and SO hurt because he wants the OP to feel SO bad that she doesn't push any further and discover that yes, actually, he was cheating...???

    THIS is exactly what I was thinking! 

  • You are both hurt and maybe have been getting along very well before. Is this the first big fight? He should have maybe come clear with the details of his relationship he had before you. I'm unclear if you two were on a break while he moved to Australia and then you followed. That would be different than if he first started dating you in Australia. He needs to come out with all the details, so you are comfortable with him again and just clear the air.

    I think a lot of us have seen our husband's email up and looked to see who he's talking to. I did that once with his on-again off-again daughter who only seems to want presents. I apologized and he gave me permission to look at his email anytime, but I'm a bit of a nervous person and he doesn't have anything to hide.

    It also seems like both of you may be wanting a "perfect" relationship with a storybook proposal. It's not going to happen. Don't worry, I read that the stories we tell people are edited to allude that. My husband gave me my ring right after we picked it out. One could say that he didn't want to do anything special to propose or I say that he didn't want to wait one more minute to ask me.

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  • Unless you're actually married, it isn't adultery.  It's just cheating.  Adultery is when a married person cheats on his/her spouse.

    In his shoes, my big red flag would be the fact that you took a private relationship issue and publicized it to friends without first discussing it with him AND without having all the details.  If my DH had done something like that when we were still dating, he wouldn't be my DH.  Seriously.  Until you have the maturity to know what to keep private and how to keep your mouth shut, you haven't any business getting engaged or married.  Loose lips sink more than ships!

    I also think that the level of his reaction may be designed to throw you into a tailspin of guilt and begging for forgiveness so you won't dig any deeper into this.

    Also...you're living with him in a foreign country and you're dependent on him, is that how this works out?  You can't evaluate this relationship honestly or objectively while you're his dependent.  If you can, you may need to move out and live on your own for a while as the two of you work to restore things.  A little space could be the best thing for you both.

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  • I was also thinking that his over the top drama sounds like he's hiding something as well.  And yes, his reaction is over the top. 

    As was yours.  He was seeing someone else the first month that you two were dating? So what...it's obvious he dumped her to be with you.

    I would give it some time before you're engaged and figure out what kind of a relationship you two want.

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  • I feel like there's an awful lot of advice floating around, but mostly finger-pointing. Listen, I'm not going to tell you how bad of a person you are for looking through his emails or that you've made such a huge mistake dealing with it. You obviously feel very remorseful, so much so that people are accusing you of being over-dramatic. So, there's no need to point out that you did wrong. In fact, I don't think you were out of your "jurisdiction" to read his emails. If you two are/were on track to be together for life (aka marriage), then both of you should be a completely open book. At least that's what my version of a successful marriage would imply. With all that being said, I understand his being upset about you telling your friends. That was a mistake on your part, and I can't help but think you've learned your lesson about this. Personally, it only took me a couple of times ranting to one of my girlfriends about some argument or tiff my boyfriend and I would have before I realized how much damage I was causing. You're hurting your relationship just as much, if not, more than he is by putting him in such a bad light. Solve the problem internally FIRST and foremost; if it can't be solved between the two of you, look for help as a COUPLE (if you want to work things out, that is. I think the key here is communication. No relationship can succeed unless you're both open and honest with each other while still respecting them... I won't go into the issue of whether or not he actually cheated because that's neither here nor there for all of us outsiders. That's something you and your boyfriend will have to discuss and work through.
  • Yeah, reading someone's email is messed up, but his reaction sounds ridiculous. When I told FI that I went through his email he said, "Babe, that's fine. I have nothing to hide from you."  I had to deal with my own trust issues for even wanting to go through his stuff, but his response made it so much easier for me to stop my crazy snooping.

     I understand that your bf is upset, but if he was thinking about marriage he should be able to withstand something like this. This isn't that big of a deal, relatively speaking.

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