How To Fix Your Relationship If You Cheat

Hey Heather,

My boyfriend recently found out that I cheated on him. After discussing it, he has decided that he wants to work things out with us instead of breaking up. I was happy, but then he gave me a list of conditions that would be in place if I truly wanted to be with him. I’ve been reading articles lately and I feel like a lot of the things he has been doing can technically be considered emotional abuse. Since I cheated, does this give him the right to control me? Is that the only way to fix our relationship?


If your gut instinct is telling you that what your boyfriend is doing isn’t right… well, then it probably isn’t right. I don’t know what kind of “conditions” he discussed, but just the fact that he gave you a list of them to stay in place if you “truly wanted to be with him” is alarming on its own.

It’s very possible that he’s being controlling, which isn’t okay, even if you did do something wrong. Of course you shouldn’t have cheated on him, but that doesn’t justify emotional abuse. If your boyfriend wants to forgive you, that’s great – but then he needs to forgive you and learn to trust you while trying to move on. It’s understandable for him to be a little extra jealous, maybe a little more cautious, and probably a lot more un-trusting. But it’s not okay for him to tell you what to do, monitor your every move, or act like he owns you. And, again, I don’t know what he’s doing exactly, but if he’s doing stuff like that? Definitely not okay.

Your boyfriend might think that the only way he can fix things is if he gets to have more control over you, which is a common response people have when they’ve been cheated on or betrayed in a certain way. But after a while, it becomes clear to both people that that won’t work. So, your best bet is to speak up. If you want the relationship to work, let him know that it can’t be all on his terms – you have to learn how to be a team again. If he’s unwilling to do that, you might want to step away. You don’t deserve to be treated with emotional abuse, even if you did mess up.

And, honestly? It sounds like you might need a break. Cheating doesn’t usually happen out of nowhere. Think about why you cheated and what you really want, because usually doing so is a sign that you might want out. Think about it, okay? And don’t let anyone control you, especially the person you’re dating.

Good luck!

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Posted in: Dating, Love Advice
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