-- Question for John --
My fiancee cheated on me twice. I’ve been dating her for seven years. A few years ago we were engaged and three weeks before the wedding I found out she was cheating. Needless to say we didn’t get married. We split up for a few months until she came running back to me. We are completely compatible, and have lived together most of the seven years. We rarely argue and enjoy the same things.
About a year ago I relocated for my job and she agreed it was a good thing for us to do. Once we were moved into our new place about 3hrs away from our previous place I started noticing us becoming distant. She never quit her job in our previous state and continued working part time there and staying with a friend.
To make a long story short I once again found that she was cheating on me. I haven’t seen her in a couple months, however her stuff is still in my house. She calls frequently to tell me that she misses me and that she knows things will work out. I feel as if I may be wasting important time. I really want to be married and have kids some day but I don’t want to make a wrong decision or mistake.
To complicate matters I have numerous friends that tell me not to go back to her again, yet deep inside I know I belong with her… Would I be making a mistake if I go back?? Why do you think she is doing this?
-- Answer from John --
I do not know why she is doing this. The reasons may be different and largely depend upon the details of her specific personality and past history profile, and possibly yours as well. Such a profile I could only develop through counseling type of contact and information gathering. And ultimately, knowing that information — about her and about yourself — would be a critical part of the path of moving through this betrayal and getting to the next level of your relationship — if that is the path you and she should choose to pursue.
Which brings up the other question. Would you make a mistake to go back to the relationship? I would give you this general piece of advice on that. It would be a mistake to renew the relationship unless you had a specific plan and methodology to MAKE SURE that this pattern would not just repeat again. Think of it this way. It happened once. Then you got back together because of the magnitude of the love, obviously. But I would be willing to wager that at that point in time — in getting back together — neither one of you proposed a specific plan and methodology to MAKE SURE the conditions that created this pattern would not return and repeat again. Instead, I would again be placing my bet that you probably just got back together and HOPED it wouldn’t happen again. But it did. So I would not make that mistake again.
What kind of plan and methodology might break the pattern and take the relationship to a level of authentic and lasting intimacy? Probably it’s going to involve alot of self-reflection, courageous exploration and laser-like penetration of whatever forces and factors have been pretty unconscious in the relationship up until now. Your best shot at doing that is counseling — getting some expert third party help from someone who really knows the ropes, who has achieved a great relationship themselves, and who can mentor the two of you through the challenging path of taking your relationship in that direction.
You, yourself, need to reflect for awhile and ask yourself the question of whether you are personally ready to do that kind of work — and whether there may just be too much baggage here for either of you to work with at this point in your lives — or whether it would be simpler to start out with someone else on that journey. Whatever your choice, make no mistake that sooner or later, to make it longterm in a committed relationship, you will very likely need to face and work with whatever your part of the pattern was. In other words, what you don’t learn now will only come up again with someone else. And unless you want to believe that this is just about her screwing up an otherwise ideal relationship — you more than likely also have a piece of responsibility in this to look at within your own self. And to make this work, you would have to be willing to do that, too.
Cheating is not necessarily the end of the line for a relationship. But how to turn that corner and end up where you truly want to be is not easy work. It is much better facilitated by an experienced third party than trying to do it on your own or from reading a self-help book. So bottom line, for me, if I were you, I would not even consider getting back together unless: (1) I was sure I wanted to commit to at least half a year of counseling, and then, if I was sure of that, I would also need to know that (2) she was also ready to fully commit to doing that, too. Those would be my personal minimal terms for going back.
I hope from this you can draw your own conclusions that this is a serious decision and should be accompanied by some rather clear terms and conditions on your part. Let me know if I can help you further….