Should I Give Boyfriend Another Chance?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I discovered recently that my boyfriend of 1 and a half years had been talking to a girl online. I have since seen their conversations, and he told her he had a girlfriend, but made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal. They flirted and talked about a few sexual topics, and he implied that I was pretty much his roommate.

What I was also troubled by is the fact that they also exchanged numbers and texted each other a few times. This took place back in mid October over the course of maybe 2 weeks, and he realized on his own that what he was doing was wrong and he ended all communications with her.

I only discovered all of this yesterday and was unbelievably hurt and betrayed. He has since told me that he had no intention of ever doing anything physical with this girl, or actually meeting up with her, he just has issues and feels ashamed that he needed personal gratification from someone he didn’t even know. Today he started therapy and hopes to understand why he needs gratification and attention, and told me that he was selfish and only wanted the ego boost to make him feel good about himself.

My issue now is, what on earth do I do? I appreciate that he’s already taking steps to understand himself so he’ll never do this again, but I feel like all the trust in him is gone. How do I move forward from this?

A; The good news is that your boyfriend understands that he has “issues” and that he needs some help getting over them if he is to be a good partner for anyone. The hard decision for you to make is whether there is enough good in this relationship to be patient and see what comes of it. His therapy isn’t going to be a quick fix. It is going to take some time. If he talks to you about what he is learning and makes some observable changes, he may be serious. If you do stay in this, I suggest that you be included in the therapy sessions now and then. If he is part of a couple, his problems affect you as well as him.

Then it’s a matter of forgiveness. Forgiving someone and trying again is a gift. Once he makes changes, there is nothing else he can do to reassure you or to further earn a second chance. You need to decide if you can genuinely do it. If not, it’s better to wish him well on his personal journey and let go. You don’t want to live your life always suspicious and distrustful of the man you are with. He can’t live his life always under a microscope. It’s not fair to either of you.

But if he’s truly a fine person in every other way and you can forgive and move on, then it’s worth a try.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Should I Give Boyfriend Another Chance?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/14/should-i-give-boyfriend-another-chance/