Relationship Connection: Why do I still want to date my ex-fiancé?

Getty Image 107429862 by Tom Merton, St. George News

Question

I’m having a serious struggle with my now ex-fiancé. I broke up with him because of a long series of trust issues and eventually learning that he was unfaithful to me throughout our relationship. He claims that these relationships never progressed beyond flirting, including one of his previous ex-girlfriends. He kept secret accounts and even a phone to hide his exploits.

This has destroyed the world I built with him and I’m the one left picking up the pieces. It’s been over a month since I broke things off with him and I’m still trying to figure out where I stand in life, even with him. I know that it’s stupid, but I still love him. I know I shouldn’t be dating him and I know I can’t trust him, but even with time away and focusing on other things and people, he’s the only person I want to be with.

I feel he’s already moved on. He talks to other women and has admitted to liking them, though he claims to just be friends. However he keeps assuring me he wants to work things out with me. I agreed to waiting six months and then see how we feel about each other.

Am I stupid for holding out any hope for him or us? I feel like I must be. I know most people would have dropped him like a rock for that betrayal of trust, but I love him so much and am very forgiving. I’ve asked him to seek counseling (for himself) and I don’t know if he’ll do it or not. I’ve also suggested couple’s therapy, but he didn’t seem to care for the idea. I’ve seen little things he’s putting effort into to be a better person, but I don’t want to kid myself into thinking he’ll change for me.

Is it worth my time to wait for him?  Should I even bother giving him a chance to be in my life?

Answer

Anytime someone we trusted dupes us, we feel stupid. It’s an awful feeling to realize that he could hide his unfaithful behavior in plain sight. Just because you didn’t see it at the time doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Some people are that good at hiding their behavior.

However, now that you see it, you have to do something about it. Please don’t spend all of your time beating yourself up for not seeing the truth. If you continue to blame yourself, you’ll be placing the accountability on the wrong person. He is the one who needs to be accountable for not only being unfaithful to you, but also manipulating you with his lies.

This is not a safe relationship. He’s not someone who made one mistake and is working to repair it. He is living a pattern of infidelity and secrecy that makes him a terrible option for a lifetime of security and safety. Be grateful that you are seeing this pattern now. Your future with this guy in his current state would leave you feeling physically unsafe and emotionally insecure.

That brings up the question of whether or not he can change. Yes, he can change. However, there are some conditions that make lasting change possible. He needs to live a life that shows you consistently that you are the only girl he’ll invest in. The only thing your ex-fiancé is consistently doing is making excuses for his behavior. He’s not willing to go to individual or couples counseling. He’s not stopping his behavior. He’s telling you things you want to hear, but continuing to act in ways that betray your confidence.

He isn’t doing anything to actually repair the damage he’s caused. He’s left you with no comfort or reassurance that he wants to be with you. His puny efforts don’t even begin to offer healing to the gaping wounds he’s created. It’s as he’s trying to put a small bandaid on a wound that needs serious attention. If he’s going to be a safe partner for you, he has to make dramatic efforts to heal this relationship. It sounds like he’s moved on and left you to heal on your own.

Your love for him is real because you were real in your love. He was not real with you. He had secrets and didn’t give you everything. When you give all of yourself to someone, you experience true love. You are not married to him. You don’t have children with him. The only thing you owe him is an authentic reaction to his infidelity. You are better off finding someone who wants to reciprocate your willingness to give all to this relationship.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer    

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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14 Comments

  • ladybugavenger September 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    You broke up with him and you still want to date him? You’re an idiot with deep issues that cause you to love in all the wrong places! Let him go, dig deep my friend and fix yourself.

    • homer498 September 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      You sound like someone who has a 4th grade understanding of relationships, and a 3rd grade education in life!” She’s not an idiot with deep issues; and she doesn’t need fixing. He does …. and probably you too!

      • ladybugavenger September 15, 2016 at 8:33 am

        Ohhhhhhhh you must be the 6th grade bully. I’ll eat you for lunch. 😉

        • ladybugavenger September 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

          (Not in a Jeffrey Dahmer kind of way) meet me after school and we will settle this.

          • .... September 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

            ♡♡♡♡♡♡ my money is on Ladybug !

        • .... September 15, 2016 at 10:12 am

          Hey Ladybug he’s really tough hiding behind his keyboard ain’t he ? LOL !

          • ladybugavenger September 15, 2016 at 11:29 am

            Gotta love Mormons lol

          • .... September 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm

            Love ya Ladybug …you go girl !

      • .... September 15, 2016 at 9:49 am

        Whatever you say Dr Phil ! Lmao

      • RealMcCoy September 15, 2016 at 2:12 pm

        You’re right. She is obviously a well-grounded, healthy individual.

        Still in love with an unfaithful ex-fiance? Perfectly healthy.

        Waiting around for six months while he runs around with other women? Perfectly sane.

        Believing he will change even after his habitual lying and cheating? Perfectly rational.

        Willing to forgive the monumental rifts of trust? Perfectly normal.

        By the way, if you think it’s ‘normal’ for your spouse to lie, cheat, run around on you, flirt with others, have secret accounts and a secret cell phone to call them, it would be perfectly normal for you to write the next letter to Relationship Connection.

  • .... September 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Yeah. Slam Dunk this one ladybug ! You Rock Ladybug ! you are AWESOME girl ! ♡♡♡♡♡

    • homer498 September 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Please stop, you girls are going make me cry.

  • .... September 16, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Tell somebody we who cares !

  • 42214 September 16, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Sounds like her ex is a reincarnation of Joseph Smith. Womanizer, philanderer immoral. That’s why she is smitten with him and won’t let go.

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