I was going through our phone records when I saw a number that I did not recognize. My girlfriend text messaged this number over 350 times in 2 days. When I asked her who it was she said it was a co-workers. I checked the number and found out it was her ex's. We broke up for a bit, but still communicated because she was still getting stuff out of my house. We had been in a relationship for almost 4 1/2 years.
When we decided to work things out I asked her about her hanging out with her ex. She has been caught in several lies about what happened. We have been back together for a little over a month and I am having a hard time trusting her. I know that everyone deserves a second chance, but this really sucks. A lot of her friends are friends with her ex (one just called me by her ex's name yesterday by accident).
How do we or should we move on with this relationship?
She's lyin' and cheatin'
When a partner is unfaithful it is a strong indication that something is broken in the relationship. The challenge, and the opportunity, with infidelity is to uncover the issues that are in need of attention. While infidelity is not the path I would recommend for healing a relationship, it can do just that, depending on the quality of your relationship before the affair.
Often, one partner (or both) has stopped taking care of herself. Instead of taking responsibility for her pain and identifying ways to take better care (such as reconnecting with friends or finding a hobby or something that engages her creative self or exercising and eating right) some partners are tempted to take a short cut to feeling better. When someone (often it is anyone, and an ex is particularly convenient if the ex never got over her!) pays attention to her, giving her the feeling of being special, desired, loved, and cared for, she is drawn toward the quick fix.
This swift moving current of attraction gains speed with the addition of the naturally produced chemicals that flood our bodies when we first become attracted to someone. Thanks to PEA, oxytocin, serotonin, adrenalin, and many other chemicals our bodies produce when we are infatuated, we can easily mistake this attention for love, or for something more than it often is.
What starts as an innocent effort to feel better ignites into a full-blown affair and then shame and guilt take a front seat and convince the unfaithful partner to be silent about these actions. One of the easiest ways out is to get caught. Having 350 text messages in two days show up on your phone record is a pretty big indication that she wasn't afraid to get caught!
Whatever your partner's motivation has been to be unfaithful, there are some key things to look for if you want to heal the relationship:
1) Remorse. Is she able to take responsibility for her actions and own that she has been deceptive, apologize for her actions and work toward regaining your trust? Or is she defensive, accusatory (blaming you for her choices), and maintaining a lot of secrecy and still deceiving you?
2) Corrective actions. Infidelity is driven by a desire to satisfy one's own needs with little concern for those they hurt. Is she willing to talk about what has happened? Will she engage you in discussions about your feelings, what you need, and how you feel, and take interest in responding to your (probably frequent) requests for comfort and reassurance? Is she willing to be entirely honest? Can you rely on her to be where she says she will be, and do what she says she will do? Her actions must align with her words.
3) Cut ties. Is she willing to cease all contact with the woman with whom she was unfaithful? Will she be transparent about who sh is talking to, where she is, what she's doing? Is she willing to suffer the loss of friends who are affiliated with the person with whom she was unfaithful to rebuild your relationship?
The work involved in repairing a relationship after an affair is greatly affected by many variables. Three key variables are:
1. The state of your relationship prior to the infidelity. If you have had a typically strong relationship with a meaningful attachment, and life circumstances took you into a different direction (job loss, death of a loved one, recent moves or life changes), the relationship has a great chance of being repaired. If, however, you had a lifeless relationship that was hanging on by a thread as it was, your chances for repair are greatly reduced.
2. The ability for both partners to look at their contributions to their disconnection. While one partner must be willing to lie in order for an affair to occur, both partners contribute to infidelity when they stop noticing what is going on in their relationship, and they cease to talk about and deal with the issues as they arise.
3. The number of affairs. If your partner has a history of infidelity the mountain before you is significantly higher and more treacherous than if this is her first offense. One affair is all it takes to learn what you need to learn. More than one affair suggests the issues run much deeper than the relationship at hand.
So I suggest that you request your partner has no contact with the person with whom she had an affair, or friends that are close to her. Request that she be completely transparent about her phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook and other vehicles for communication - not so you can "check-up" on her, rather just to create an environment of honesty and accountability to regain your trust in her.
For example, when she is on the computer, it's not okay that she downsized or closes the window when she hears you coming, or that she take phone calls outside, or that she not check her email because you are standing there, etc. The goal is not to give you permission to stalk her communication; the goal is that she be more transparent about what she's doing and with whom it is she is connecting.
Lastly, I suggest you have conversations about your relationship, discussing what you have learned about where things went wrong, with both of you taking responsibility and learning more about how the other has been feeling.
If she is unwilling to do these simple steps, then I say tell her to "Hit the road, Jack, and don't cha come back no more no more no more."