I regret cheating on my girlfriend – how do I make up for breaking her heart?

This is my first serious relationship, and I know I’ve really messed it up. We’ve been together for nearly a year and she’s caught me messaging other girls on 6 occasions. I don’t know why I’ve kept doing it. Part of me is afraid of it getting so serious and her breaking my heart, but I guess I’ve already gone and done that myself already. I know I’ve really hurt her. She’s cried and shouted and left me, but she’s kept coming back to try and fix things. I really regret what I did and how much I upset her and I want to fix our relationship, but this time she’s saying she doesn’t believe I can change. How do I convince her that it won’t happen again? Please help, I’m really scared of losing someone I love.

Hi there,

It sounds to me like you have done some soul searching and started to realize the brevity of your actions. From the weight of your words, I can see that you genuinely care for your partner and regret the pain that your actions have caused.

That being said, regret doesn’t mend hearts nor heal wounds. The fact that this has been such a repeated occurrence does indicate to me that there are likely deeper issues that require a great deal of introspection.

You mention that fear of getting vulnerable and being hurt has caused you to act in ways that do the very same to your partner. This isn’t uncommon – self-sabotaging healthy relationships in a bid to wrap our own hearts in thorns and prevent getting hurt is something many people struggle with. Reasons aside, this does not justify such behavior. I’m not surprised that she has cried and shouted and left. By the sounds of it, you two have entered into a cycle of this toxic behavior, and for whatever reason has enabled you to repeat the process over and over again.

Rebuilding trust is incredibly difficult, but it isn’t impossible. However, ask yourself first whether you truly think yourself capable of currently engaging in a relationship in which you refrain from cheating. Consider the damage you have and will continue to do to your partner if you’re unable to curb your impulses. I’m personally a big believer in healing and growing together, but there also comes a point at which we must recognize when we are not in control of our own behaviors and doing more damage to someone we love in the process.

Equally, if you believe that your wake up call has come and you are ready to make that change, you will also have to understand that your girlfriend may not be willing to trust you again after so many incidences of infidelity. 

If she is willing to work with you to rebuild trust, this will be a long healing process which will require a great deal of patience on both parts. You will have to prove your commitment to change through consistent actions which align with your words and avoid any defensiveness at all costs.

Change is possible, but it requires immense dedication and effort.

If you think yourself capable of staying faithful, take accountability for your actions, express that you truly love her, and assure her that you’ll do what’s needed to make amends. If you’re lucky, she might be willing to give it another chance.

All the best,

Evie

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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