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Q: To cut a long story short, my boyfriend has a history of cheating but he has turned over a new leaf, and I do see he is making huge efforts to change his ways by how he goes out of his way to do things for me and the various lifestyle changes he has made. However, I find that more than a year later it is still incredibly easy for me to be reminded of the hurt and betrayal – just by hearing songs or movies with a similar theme. I know it’s not fair to him but at the same time how do I get over it?—L.P, PJ
First, accept and understand that you will never be able to forget; the memory of betrayal will stay with you. So it’s a matter of remembering the past, without it affecting your emotions negatively in the present. Your partner has a major role in your reactions to triggers e.g. songs, movies. What I mean is, the better your boyfriend has proven that he has kicked his old habit and turned over a new leaf, the less intense your hurtful memory will be. The more loved, respected, cherished, and appreciated he makes you feel now, the more secure you will feel. He needs to do whatever it takes (since he’s the screwer-upper) to help you get back to that level of trust. It can be difficult at first, while the sense of betrayal is still ‘fresh’ and there is doubt, mistrust, anger, paranoia even. You will never forget, but over time the intensity of the negative emotions will lessen.
Since you’ve made the decision to stay in the relationship despite the betrayal, you’re saying, “I forgive you and I’m willing for us to move on from this together”. So you owe it to yourself, and yes to him too, to honour your decision and live and trust in the present moment. L.P., cheating…or not cheating…is a choice we consciously make. The first time can be forgiven as a irresponsible, stupid mistake; lesson learned. The second time is taking the piss. Choose wisely whom you embrace into your inner circle.