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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years now, and recently I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was going on. I don’t know if it’s women’s intuition, or what, but I snooped. After 6 weeks of asking him if something was bothering him at work, if something was bothering him between the two of us, etc., I finally gave in as I knew something was just off.

I found pictures that he and a girl had been exchanging for the past 6 weeks, who is someone that he works with. I feel like I have been cheated on, and I unleashed hell on him last night. He told me that it all started with meaningless flirting, when he didn’t feel like either of us were happy. I could barely collect myself last night.

Though I definitely didn’t handle myself well, he’s now at the point where he feels that he’s done too much damage for us to recover. He thinks that he’s hurt me far too much, and doesn’t know if he can put in the effort to fix this.

I’ve suggested couples counseling, trying to move forward and overcome our issues, all of that. Is there a way forward for us? He was receptive at first, but now I think he’s had a chance to reflect on how much effort it’s going to take to repair this.

Danielle

You’re asking two different questions disguised as one.

Question #1: Can my relationship recover from this betrayal?

Question #2: Should my relationship recover from this betrayal?

Let’s dispense with the first one first.

Relationships can — and do — recover from infidelity.

It’s easy to say that all unfaithful behaviors are cause for a breakup.

But such blanket proclamations don’t reflect a more complex reality.

Forgiving infidelity is not the same as condoning infidelity or forgetting infidelity.

If a couple chooses to stay together because of years of a deep, emotional connection that neither of them want to sever, it’s not my place to judge their good-faith efforts to repair things.

There are plenty of couples that break-up and make-up — overlooking all forms of bad behavior — verbal abuse, emotional neglect, addiction, and yes, even cheating.

Forgiving infidelity is not the same as condoning infidelity or forgetting infidelity.

To me, the more important question is the second one:

Do you want to repair this relationship?

Do you want to continue to date a man who went behind your back for six weeks?

Do you want to put your faith in a man who systematically lied to your face?

Do you want to marry a man who deals with mixed emotions and uncertainty by sending photos to another woman instead of addressing his issues with you like an adult?

Do you want to give it the old college try with a man who is already backpedaling from the relationship?

If I screwed up with my wife, I would fight like hell to prove her wrong.

Certain relationships can — and should — overcome infidelity.

Your guy is saying, “Yeah, you’re pretty mad. Maybe we should just give this up.”

If it sounds like I’m coming down on one side of the fence, it’s because I am.

Certain relationships can — and should — overcome infidelity.

It doesn’t sound to me like your relationship is one of them.