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My boyfriend cheated. We broke up. We got back together. How do I get over it?
By Cait Robinson
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Dear Miss Information,
I've been in a relationship with my childhood best friend for a little over a year now. Since we were little kids, we've always been honest and open with each other about everything, until a couple months ago. I found out that he had cheated on me with a girl I truly can't stand. She's someone who's known to "get around," and when I found this out, I was humiliated. I couldn't bring myself to understand why he would choose a (excuse my language) filthy whore over me, his forever-faithful girlfriend and best friend. I would constantly ask myself, does she have something to offer that I don't? Am I not good enough? These were questions I've never asked myself before, because I've never really had an issue with self-confidence until now.
Anyway, I ended up leaving him. After about three weeks of him begging and pleading for another chance, I finally decided I didn't like being without him, and I took him back. He explained to me that he didn't completely go through with it (meaning he didn't have sex with her, but they messed around) because he couldn't stop thinking about me, and he's never regretted anything more in his life. But nothing he can says can justify what he did to me. I love him, and I really want to make this work, but how do I get the trust back? I know it will never be the same, but could it at least be close? I miss what we had, and I'm willing to do anything to get back to that. Please let me know there's some way I can fix this.
— Woefully Wounded
Dear Woefully Wounded,
Not to brag, but I've been watching a fair bit of daytime TV lately. (Did you know The Price is Right is still on?) And at some point I realized that medication ads are so ubiquitous that I don't even notice them anymore. They all have the same basic message: "Pain. Make it stop. Now. (*May cause blindness and face-sweating.)" We are all accustomed to this idea that we can avoid pain in the first place, and magic-bullet it away if we can't avoid it. But it so rarely works that way. If you drop a hammer on your toe and take a handful of aspirin, are you magically healed? No. The medicine helps take the edge off, but you just have to live through the healing in real-time.
This is the emotional equivalent of a big ol' hammer to the foot. Your boyfriend shattered the trust you two had built over a year, and it will take time to build that back. It won't be easy and it will likely suck, but the healing can actually be done. You have every right to be angry, and you will need to work through your own sense of betrayal. At a certain point, though, you will have to stop holding this event at the forefront of your imagination. Give him a chance to earn your trust back. The rest just takes time.
This is corollary to the point, but I've got a soapbox, damnit: while you are the wronged party here, this "virgin-whore" complex certainly isn't helping anything. A woman's sexual dance card is not a reflection on her character; her "getting around" doesn't somehow make her worse and you better. It wouldn't sting any differently if your boyfriend slept with a stripper named Tawni or the reigning Miss Purity Ball. Cheating is cheating. There are many painful things about this situation, but her history shouldn't be one.