March 11, 2020 at 9:29 am #342722
I guess I’m writing to seek some kind of advice. I’m not asking for validation, just an outside perspective.
I have been with my boyfriend for 9 months now. Our relationship had been nothing but perfect. We click very well, he is everything I ever hoped for in a man and he always says the same about me. We have a very rare connection that we are both aware of, and one that is very hard to come by.
He works two jobs. His side job is personal training. Every morning, he conducts a few classes with people who sign up. Anyway, one day he asked me if a new someone who had just joined, he had looked him up on Instagram and saw I had liked some of his posts a while ago. FYI: I did know him. We had a thing a few years back. I told him the story.
A few weeks later, my boyfriend confessed to me that this guy (let’s call him Steve), followed him into a bathroom post-training session and started choking him in a sexual manner. My boyfriend told him to let go, and that that was uncomfortable. He had heard that my boyfriend was in a relationship, but didn’t take it seriously. Eventually, Steve apologized and did not realize that my boyfriend had a partner.
After that, my boyfriend and Steve started to develop a personal friendship within the gym. Steve owns his own business, and my boyfriend is aspiring to start his own, so it was Steve giving him business advice at first. Everything was fine here, I was uncomfortable but my boyfriend assured me I had nothing to worry about and that Steve had backed off. I trusted him to know that he wouldn’t do anything unfaithful.
Weeks later, my boyfriend confessed to me, crying, that he had developed slight feelings for Steve, and that he had confessed this to Steve after Steve confessed first that he had feelings for my boyfriend. My boyfriend told him that he admires his motivation and drive, and would like it I had a similar trait. He told Steve that it sucked this was how he felt, but he told him that in the end, he loves me and nothing would become of this mutual attraction. He has never thought of him in a sexual way, more so just personal attraction to a personality trait.
When my boyfriend told me this, I was devastated. I felt emotionally betrayed, and I didn’t know how to react. I took it okay at first, but it’s been two months since he told me and I cannot get it out of my head. I can’t think of how someone who claims they are loyal can develop an attraction for someone else, and confess the way they feel. When I asked him why he confessed, he said that it just came out. He didn’t really think about it, and that it was a mistake. He also said it was a way of venting. (He told me he told Steve on the same day, a few hours later). He was remorseful and acknowledges that he caused me grief, and has been putting in effort to fix this.
I still feel worthless, insecure, and most of all, betrayed. I have forgiven him, and our sense of trust has redeveloped. Steve has been completely cut off and no longer comes to the gym. However, it is difficult for me to move past it; and I am almost sabotaging our relationship (picking fights, refusing to let go) because I am still hurt. We love each other endlessly and are very serious about having a future together. We have built a life together although we have been together for such a short period of time.
Help. I need advice. To anyone who has been through something similar, or to anyone who can offer me anything. Please.March 11, 2020 at 11:34 am #342812
Your partner didn’t do anything wrong for having felt attraction to Steve. It would have been wrong if he acted on that attraction. His attraction by itself was not a betrayal of you.
The fact that he told you about his attraction to Steve was a mistake that he made, a mistake that harmed you, not a betrayal. He told you himself that “it was a mistake“, that “he didn’t think about it”, that is, he didn’t consider the consequences of telling you. Instead he was impulsive and told you without thinking.
Having admitted his mistake, “He was remorseful and acknowledges that he caused (you) grief, and has been putting in effort to fix this”- excellent on his part. Better, of course, that he kept that feeling of attraction at the time to himself, instead of telling you about it. But the fact that he apologized to you, that he acknowledged the hurt that he caused you, and most importantly, that he has been trying to fix this, including not having Steve in the gym/in his life anymore is commendable!
About you feeling worthless, insecure and betrayed, it may help you to think that in the future, you will likely feel attraction to another man yourself, even though you are with your partner. And your partner is likely to feel attraction again, to another person. It happens in the life of every couple. Hopefully, none of you will act on it, or tell the other about it, and instead, let it pass.
We don’t own our partner’s feelings, or have exclusive rights to their feelings. We have exclusive rights to their behavior, not to their feelings. In other words, your partner owes you his fidelity- it is possible for him to give you that. He doesn’t owe you to never feel attracted to anyone else- it is not any more possible for him anymore than it is for you.
Do I make sense to you?
anitaMarch 11, 2020 at 7:34 pm #342888
That does make sense to me. Thank-you. Getting a second perspective really shed new light on everything.
kiwiboy0897March 11, 2020 at 11:09 pm #342904
I think there was some confusion. My boyfriend told Steve that he had an attraction to him.March 12, 2020 at 9:01 am #342940ValoraParticipant
I agree with everything Anita said. Attraction isn’t cheating or betrayal, acting on it is. He may have told Steve that he had an attraction to him, but he also then told Steve that he loves you and that nothing was going to happen between them.
I can’t think of how someone who claims they are loyal can develop an attraction for someone else, and confess the way they feel.
Attraction is a feeling and we cannot help our feelings. We can only help our actions. Like Anita said, there are going to be times that you find other people attractive, maybe even strongly. It happens a lot with people when they work closely together. This is where trust and loyalty come into play. Your boyfriend seems like he is very loyal. He may have confessed his feelings for this other man after the other man confessed his first (and I believe your boyfriend when he says he may have gotten caught up in the moment. It happens to all of us sometimes), but following that, he then told the guy that he loves you and wants to be with you, so the important part of that event was that he didn’t actually act on those feelings, even when he knew the other guy felt the same (which is a huge temptation). He remained loyal to you.
If I were you, I would try not to get caught up in the fact that he developed feelings for another person. It really is a normal thing, whether you love someone or not, and even when you’ve been happily married for 30 years. I can remember my best friend’s parents talking to us about their marriage when we were younger. They got married when they were around age 18, and they had both admitted to being attracted to other people on and off throughout their lives, but they remained loyal to each other, never acted on any attractions with other people. They also made it a point to not continue to put themselves into situations of temptation whenever they could avoid doing so (it’s hard to do when you work with the person), so hopefully that’s a lesson your boyfriend learned as well. And it’s one for you to remember in the future, too, should you ever find someone else that you feel attracted to.March 12, 2020 at 9:09 am #342948ValoraParticipant
Also, the hurt you’re feeling from this is likely a reaction from your ego. You want to be the ONLY one your partner finds attractive forever. It’s a blow to the ego to think he might find someone else attractive, so that’s why that hurts, but that attraction doesn’t say anything about his attraction to you. He clearly finds you more attractive than anyone else.March 12, 2020 at 9:23 am #342952
Thank you for the insight and advice, Valora. It is my first serious relationship, and I am learning a lot. I do see your point with the ego, that was my mentality (I guess I did want to be the only person who he is attracted to). When I do think about it objectively and try to decrease my personal bias, it does make sense. I think we have both learned a lot from this, too. He does say that loyalty and honesty are the things he values the most, and his actions clearly show that.
Thank you both sincerely for your wisdom and guidance. I would love to continue chatting if you’d like to, as this is granting me lots of insight. If there’s anything else you would like to ask or add, please don’t hesitate to do so 🙂
kiwiboy0897March 12, 2020 at 9:48 am #342962
You are welcome. Regarding the note/ question you posted for me earlier, Valora answered it very well in her excellent posts to you.
In your recent post you wrote: “When I do think about it objectively and try to decrease my personal bias, it does make sense”- every time your personal bias takes over, return to objective thinking and you will feel better.
You are welcome to post again anytime you want to, and I will be glad to reply to you.
anitaMarch 12, 2020 at 10:29 am #342972
One thing that really bothers me is that people at the gym would ask if they were together. He would always deny it though. He said it’s because they basically did everything there together (this was before they confessed how they felt). It just bothers me and I don’t know how to cope with that. Sometimes my imagination runs wild and wonders what made people think that, as in how was my boyfriend acting? Do you get what I mean?
kiwiboy0897March 12, 2020 at 11:45 am #342978
“people at the gym would ask if they were together”-if Steve and your partner are both physically attractive young people, the two have been acting friendly toward each other, that is enough to make most people wonder if the two have a sexual relationship in addition to the friendly one.
So your partner assertion that “it’s because they basically did everything there together” makes sense.
“Sometimes my imagination runs wild and wonders”- this is the downside of having an imagination, we can imagine painful scenarios anytime, anywhere.
The key sentence in what you shared, for me, is: “Steve has been completely cut off and no longer comes to the gym”. Also, your partner’s apology to you made a good impression on me.
Notice this: because you are not present with your partner 24/7, there is always the possibility that he is cheating on you with another person. That’s a possibility for every couple who doesn’t spend 24/7 with each other. There is a story that comes to my mind at the moment, I heard that my grandfather locked his wife, my grandmother, inside their home while he was out and about because he was so jealous and was afraid that she will cheat on him. That was a long time ago. I am not recommending it, of course. But my point is, unless you are always with your partner, making sure that he is with you even when you sleep, or that he is locked and isolated, you cannot make sure that he is not cheating on you. Same for him: he cannot make sure you will not cheat on him.
There is a concept in U.S court of law when it comes to a jury convicting people of crimes. The concept came about because people doubt a whole lot. So we are looking for a reasonable doubt, not just any doubt. If your partner did cut any and all contact with Steve, if he tells new people in the gym who come in for training (like Steve did), that he is in a monogamous relationship with you (so to prevent the newcomers from developing a crush on their trainer/ your partner), and if he is not gone for hours at night, let’s say, going out to clubs without you, etc., then you don’t have a case of reasonable doubt.
There is no way for you to feel a permanent peace of mind on the issue any time soon. Once the idea got into your head and the imagination made it feel so real, it will probably keep distressing you once in a while, like an itch that won’t stop itching. You have to accept that occasional itch, feel it, repeat reality to yourself (the points brought up here) and go about your day.
March 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm #342996
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
That makes sense, thanks again for your time and advice Anita. I highly appreciate it! You truly have helped me gain a greater insight.
kiwiboy0897March 12, 2020 at 1:57 pm #343004
You are welcome, kiwiboy0897. Post again when you need to.
anitaMarch 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm #343028
I was on the phone with my boyfriend this morning and Steve has come back to the gym. My boyfriend is not initiating conversation with him, but after their workout session, my boyfriend sits and socialises with a group of people from the class afterwards. Steve is usually in this circle.
He does not talk to Steve, but sometimes Steve may ask him questions. My boyfriend is very dry in his responses. We discussed that even if this were to happen, my boyfriend would not talk to him at the gym. My boyfriend is the type of person who respects other people’s feelings, though. So he doesn’t want to raise any flags with others at the gym by not replying to him (which are minimal). It’s mostly a group conversation.
He has cut Steve off everywhere else though (outside the gym, social media, etc.) so the only way they interact directly is maybe for about a few minutes a day after the session.
Am I asking for too much if I ask my boyfriend to completely cut all form of conversation with him? All form of interaction? That is, to not even answer some questions and just ignore his presence?
I just want him completely gone because it triggers me.
kiwiboy0897March 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm #343048
I will read your recent post and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.
anitaMarch 12, 2020 at 8:35 pm #343060
Thanks Anita, much appreciated.
Also, do you think this classifies as emotional cheating?