It wasn’t until I’d had my man have sex with my roommate in my bed that I really understand how trust can be broken in a relationship. That was the first moment in my life that I’d ever had a total out-of-body experience. Along with it came the realization that I had no idea what had been happening practically right in front of me. The strangest part of the whole thing, surprisingly, wasn’t feeling that my heart had been ripped out, but rather that it was my stomach that was being ripped out, taking my heart, my throat, my head and everything else with it. Though I handled the situation the only way I knew how—a cathartic gut reaction of some crying (but mostly lots and lots of screaming), when I was done with that, the only thing I was left with was: What the hell happens now?Depending on the couple, anything from flirting with waitresses to getting way too snuggly with a stripper to having sex with your sister can test the mettle of the bond you have. For me, T. and I spent way too long—years!—trying to piece things back together to form some semblance of something, but as hard as he worked to put things right and to be open and honest, I just couldn’t get past the fact that there was really no way for me to know if he actually was being honest with me. Because I couldn’t regain that security for myself, it affected everything, and in the end, it wasn’t fair for me to constantly make him feel guilty for his (messed up, ridiculous, jerk-ass) indiscretion over and over again.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to move past broken trust, but stronger relationships than the one I had have fallen apart because of it. If you’ve been able to repair the damage, that’s awesome, and I’d love to hear about how on earth you managed it (whether you were the cheater or the cheatee). My concern, since I wasn’t able to do that, is how to make sure that the issues of my past don’t affect my current relationship. I know — yeah right!
I’ve had a few years to ruminate on this—that is, a few years to immolate any relationship that had even an ounce of potential—and I’ve come to the conclusion that you just have to trust him. I know it sounds simplistic and stupid, but there’s no way to get around it. Through his actions, my boyfriend shows me every day that he’s an upstanding man who can be trusted, so I trust. It’s been a great, liberating experience to get back to a relationship that has a sense of equilibrium. I’ve seen so many couples struggle with this and jealousy often rules the relationship—all strip clubs are off-limits or she can’t have any male friends or he calls 50 times a day while she’s out for a girls’ night out “just to check in.” That’s no way to live or build anything that worth lasting.
For me, I’m finally in a place where I’m secure. That doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing could happen in the future, but if I spent all my time worrying about that, well, that would be a waste of time an energy and I couldn’t focus on anything else interesting or fun. It’s really great getting to this place in life. And it doesn’t hurt that he he knows I’ll cut his balls off with a pair of rusty scissors if he ever cheats on me. Just kidding, honey!