Advice needed: Which path should I take?

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    I’ve been a long time reader of the site but have never used the forums before. The articles posted on the blog typically help me reflect, but the situation I’m in now has me in a bit of a pickle.

    I’m a 22 year old male that is graduating college soon. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over 3.5 years and we were planning on moving in together once I graduated (he’s a year ahead of me). I knew I wanted to live with him after I graduated. I finally found a job that pays well in the same city as him. I was feeling confident. Everything was finally falling into place. But then, about a month ago, he told me that he cheated. He explained the scenario: it was a random guy that he met that night at a bar. He was drunk, the guy didn’t sleep over, and he didn’t get his cell phone number/keep in contact. He felt horrible about it, and I was heartbroken.

    We decided to try and work through this and stay together. My bf also suffers from anxiety/depression which has gotten worse since the incident. He feels incredibly guilty about letting it happen. I feel so lost and unsure about what to do about our relationship at this point. It’s difficult to try and support him through his anxiety/depression when I too still feel hurt. I guess I understand it was a mistake and I’m not planning to try and get revenge, but I feel like I can’t focus on helping him right now.

    Last night he went out for the first time in a while (he stopped drinking until recently because of the incident). Today I found out he thought he lost his wallet, but later found it in the pantry. He left it there last night in his state of drunkenness. I don’t know how to trust him again. I feel like as long as he drinks I will always be unsure. And I don’t think I can ask him to stop, we are young and enjoy having a good time and going out. I know nothing happened last night, but in a few months from now everything will be back to how they were. How can I be sure he won’t cheat on me again? I don’t know what to do. I’m not even entirely sure what I’m unsure about! Up until the incident, we had a great relationship and love each other very much.

    I’m just not sure at what point it’s worth breaking up and focusing on ourselves. Or when it’s time to take a leap of faith and move in together.

    • This topic was modified 11 years ago by Nick.
    Jo Casey

    Hi Nick.
    I know how hurt you are and how it might feel like the rug has been pulled from under you. It also sounds pretty confusing – to still love and want to support your BF but be conflicted because you’ve been hurt by his actions.

    The bottom line is – you can’t be sure he won’t cheat again. None of us can ever be sure that our partners won’t do something stupid, or hurtful – or in fact that we ourselves won’t either. Love means opening yourself up to being hurt – and to hurting someone else too.

    I think right now you are both struggling. I’m not sure you’re feeling resourceful enough to be able to provide the support your BF needs for his depression, or that he’s in the right place (or the right person) to support you through your pain. And that’s totally understandable.

    That’s not to say you won’t both get past this – it could be something that you can both grow together and can deepen your relationship and trust. The danger is that moving in together before this is worked through is papering over the cracks – and that they’ll just deepen over time. Wounds left untreated have a tendency to fester.

    Believe me, I know the temptation to ‘wish everything would go back to how it was before.’ The fact is, it will never be the same. Even if you grow together, get past this (and it’s perfectly possible to do) wherever you end up will be different to how it was before. You’ve grown, changed and experienced new things. In some ways, it’s the end of the fairy tale – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It might be the chance to begin building something real– does that make sense?

    So I think the first step is accepting it is what it is – acknowledging that this is tough – that you’re both hurting. You need to be honest with yourselves and deal with how it is – not how you wish is was. Only then can you begin to properly heal. Whether you both end up together or not, you will have dealt with it honestly and had the chance to grow as people.

    Getting a bit of extra support might be a good idea – whether it’s a therapist of just friends. You need other people to give a bit of the extra support that you and your BF aren’t in the best place to give to one another right now.

    I really hope this helps. Take care
    Jo x

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