Working Through Doubts & Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship
Is a cheater always a cheater? I’m in the relationship rn It took me awhile to forgive him but I’m afraid he will do it again. Can a relationship go back to normal it’s been about several months since he’s done it. And has been trying to change what should I do? Is it normal to always have doubts in a relationship? I’ve been in a healthy relationship with this guy for a year now, but there’s not a day where I don’t doubt us and our future. He’s an amazing person, but we don’t seem to have the same values and goals in life. I would never see myself getting serious with a guy like him. He doesn’t have a stable job, no education but overall a really good guy. I just wonder if I’m wasting my time and HIS… How do I know if I continue or breakup? What do I tell him? (He’s also really obsessed/in love with me in every way I feel bad)”
These are all great questions and it seems like your relationship has many layers. So, let’s break it down.
1 ) Cheating.
Cheating in relationships isn’t so “black and white” or clear cut. There are many couples that are able to work through cheating and rebuild trust but it requires time, patience and A LOT OF WORK. Some things to consider if there has been cheating or infidelity of any kind of a relationship is 1) if you are able to trust your partner again and 2) if your partner has actively made changes and proved their commitment to you and the relationship through actions and follow through. It is very hard for a relationship to go back to “normal” or what it was but it is not completely impossible. A lot of the time cheating takes place because of a more deep-rooted issue which needs to be addressed (low self-esteem, feeling disconnected from one’s partner, pre-existing trust or commitment related issue) and it is important to work through these issues in addition to the infidelity and physical act itself.
2) Doubts versus Red Flags.
It is completely normal to have doubts about your partner and the relationship. I don’t think I have met a single person in both my work and personal life that has not questioned their relationship or experienced some form of anxiety or fear. We are human and it is in our very nature to think critically and question things. When things become more serious within a relationship it is SO IMPORTANT to reflect on certain issues (differences in values or preferences, conflicting beliefs or personal goals, etc…) because if this person is potentially your life partner, it is so important to consider these things and address concerns or doubts before you make a lifetime commitment or move forward in the relationship altogether.
BUT if there are some more serious concerns and you either feel like you aren’t 100% happy with your partner OR feel like you don’t share similar values or goals OR feel like you could be settling—then this is worth exploring further and potentially taking action. For example, if you want children and your partner doesn’t then you would want to ask yourself if this relationship could compromise what is most important to you and if it is TRULY meeting your needs. Even if your partner is the “greatest” and has many qualities that you like and appreciate, some things may not be non-negotiable for you. You mentioned that your partner doesn’t have a stable job—how does that impact you and the relationship as a whole? You also mentioned conflicting values and goals—how would this impact your life together later down the line? These are FAIR questions to ask yourself because you deserve a relationship that you feel confident in and allows you to THRIVE.
3) Breakup or Work Through it?
The thing is that there are going to be a lot of amazing, “nice” guys out there that are good people with good hearts. And sometimes, these guys are “the ones” and sometimes they are not. Unfortunately today, the dating scene can be extremely painful and full of not so good people so when women meet a “nice” guy it is often hard to justify breaking up or ending a relationship. This might not be the case for you, but I do know it can be hard to end a relationship with someone that is kind and treats you well. I have had a lot of women ask me, “Will I ever find/meet someone that loves me this much?” And the answer is yes, BUT I always reflect back that if this very fear of finding someone else who will love them back is what is keeping them from ending the relationship, then that is indicative of how they are feeling about the relationship.
So I think it’s going to come down to you. I encourage you to step back and look at yourself, your life and values outside of this relationship. I encourage you to think about or write down
- Your personal values and goals
- What you value most in a relationship / what your ideal relationship would look like (things that you are not willing to negotiate or settle on)
- What qualities and traits do you want/look for in a partner? Once you have done this, reflect on your relationship and think about how much it reflects or mirrors these values and traits and how much it contradicts or is at odds with these values and traits.
I know this wasn’t a direct “yes (or no) you should do this or that” but It sounds like you know yourself very well and what is most important to you. I am completely confident that you can make a decision that feels good and is in your best interest in regards to your future happiness and wellbeing!
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About the Author
Leah Aguirre is a licensed clinical social worker & psychotherapist in San Diego, CA. Leah prioritizes mental health issues because she’s experienced issues with anxiety herself and believes every woman will face their own struggles with mental health at some point in their life. She specializes in helping individuals who experience challenges with relationships, dating, and self-esteem through both individual and group sessions. Visit Leah online at https://leahaguirrelcsw.com/