'He has cheated on me before, can I trust him?'

The Star
Aug 13, 2017

"Dear Thelma" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Star, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.

Dear Thelma,

I am in a relationship with a guy who is three years younger. We have been together for nearly five years now.

A few months ago I found out that he cheated on me.

At that time our relationship was very toxic as we used to fight a lot.

He admitted his mistake and pleaded for another chance. Initially I refused to accept him back but he never gave up on me. As I still loved him, I decided to give him another chance.

Things have changed a lot between us and despite the small arguments, our relationship is filled with love.

He has given me access to his Facebook and his phone when previously he was private about it. However, at times the thought of what he did to me comes back and I wonder if I made the right decision. I'm afraid he will do it again.

I was there for him despite our fights and yet he cheated on me.

Also, he has cheated on his previous girlfriends. I questioned him about it and asked what kind of guarantee he could give me.

To which he replied that when his ex-girlfriends walked away in the past, he never felt this much pain, and he has never put in this much effort or begged anyone in his life, as he had with me.

What if he does it again after a few years? Would it be a wise decision for me to continue with this relationship or even to marry him? - Confused Girl

Dear Confused Girl,

The fact that you are asking this question now is already a sign as to what you should do.

You do not trust him. Do you think you ever will?

Cheating in a relationship is a choice a person makes. The fact that they do not cheat is not a sign of the strength of their love. It is a choice they are making based on how much they respect their partner, and value the relationship.

You love him. And, you always will. Even when you are angry with him, you will still love him. However, love and commitment are two very different things. Is he committed to this relationship? Is he willing to accept the responsibility of monogamy that comes with a marriage?

Fighting is normal in a relationship. It is actually very normal. Just because there is fighting it does not mean the relationship is toxic. A toxic relationship is something quite different. You having access to his phone and Facebook account, and that you feel like you need to check these - this is potentially toxic. Do you want to spend the rest of your life together checking on him?

So, the questions comes back to this - do you think you will ever trust him? Here is a likely scenario of what will happen if your relationship proceeds. You will always be suspicious about his whereabouts. You will want to know where he is and who he is with. Unsatisfied with his answers, you may request for a photograph of the people whom he is with. He will have to report to you all his movements. You will be the one who will be labelled "controlling". The thoughts will become obsession and it will consume you. And, your relationship.

If you are going to continue with this relationship you need to be one hundred per cent sure you trust him to not cheat on you again. You will not feel the need to check on him. You won't have to check his phone or his Facebook. Ask yourself if you are prepared to do this.

Things are nice now. It is the honeymoon phase where he is trying his best to patch things up and make you happy. This will change. It is not an indication of you or him or the relationship. But, that is just how relationships work. When the tension starts to rise, when the arguments and disagreements begin, do you think you will still feel about him the way you do now?

He has cheated before because he said that those relationships did not mean much to him. It is rather chilling that he thinks it acceptable to hurt other people and then to place the blame on them for it.

Why did he cheat on you? If you did mean as much as he says you do, why did he cheat in the first place? Has he ever provided you with an answer to this? You should know this because this will be the better sign of whether he will do it again.

You need to know whether or not he is taking responsibility for his actions. It is not what others do or don't do. It shouldn't matter if someone else tried to seduce him. They can try. The decision about what he does ultimately falls on him. If he says it is because he was drunk, then he has to take responsibility for that and stop drinking.

Basically, the onus is on him to change his ways. It is not about how much he says he loves you or what you mean to him. It is whether or not he will take responsibility. That should tell you whether or not you should proceed with the relationship. - Thelma