how do you heal and move on from betrayal? How do you forgive those who have betrayed you?

I recently discovered my fiancé was sexting other females while I was pregnant with his child. He has had incidents in the past over the years of this happening and I “forgave” him. Meaning I just tried to avoid it and burry my feelings. I now have trust issues and it has consumed me I will admit. In our recent fight when I bought up what I saw he admitted to having sex addiction stemming from childhood trauma. Knowing this doesn’t make what he did okay but I can understand where it comes from and that he struggles in his own ways. Knowing that he was sexting these women while I carried his child has shaken me in ways I can’t quite put into words. It’s changed me... I truly don’t feel like the same person. I’m struggling with acceptance, moving on, forgiveness, trust issues and everything else negative that comes with the whole cheating territory. I’m at a cross roads and I don’t know what to do. Leave the person I’ve been in love with for the last 5 years and have a child with, the person I wanted to marry.. or stay and have my mind torment and haunt me, always feel on edge/ lack of trust, because I love him and he’s the father of my child.. I’m just so sad and confused. I could really use some advice, anything really...
Asked by sad&confused
Answered
11/29/2021

Hello, 

Thanks for reaching out and inquiring about your situation.  I will do my best to provide some options and things for you to think about and consider in this situation.  Let me begin by offering empathy to you in this situation as it sounds to be an extremely difficult position to be in.  Have you considered both of you all attending counseling, both individually and as a couple? 

He reportedly has experienced sexual trauma which sounds like he has not addressed it and how it has effected his life.  You have also experienced a traumatic event that attending counseling to address maybe beneficial for you in addressing some of your concerns regarding how to trust again.  The importance of you all attending couples counseling would be to address together the feelings and address them head on as you're experiencing them.  

You mentioned he has done this in the past and you "forgave" him.  I noticed you put forgave in quotes and went on to explain that you just buried it.  It sounds like it's safe to say you did not truly forgive him and since it has happened again all the feelings you had from the first situation have now resurfaced which seems to have assisted in your feelings of anxiety, depression, uncertainty, etc. 

The dilemma you are currently in is a difficult one especially with a child being involved.  It seems as if you have some major decisions to make regarding your future.  There are couples that survive infidelity and there are couple that do not. The couples that do survive also put in a lot of work, emotionally and mentally to get themselves to a place of forgiveness and understanding.  Do you have that type of energy within you to put in the necessary work as it will not be easy.  I will reiterate the importance of attending both individual and couples counseling for both of you as it will be beneficial to be able to get out all of your vulnerable thoughts and feelings. 

The thoughts and feelings you mentioned that will be going on in your mind if you stay, are not healthy ones at this time. The time within the relationship most likely would not be healthy and the resentment could start to set in and that would not be helpful or beneficial for either of you or your child.  

I would suggest doing some soul searching and deciding what you actually want for yourself.  Do you want to be in a healthy relationship, can you trust, can you forgive, do you want the father of your child involved in your lives, if so what does that look like and how can you make it happen.  If you decide to leave, be secure in your decision as you should not feel guilty.

Also do your best to keep close friends and family out of the decision making process, they should know very minimal about what is going on between the two of you as they may attempt to sway your decision.  

Hopefully this was helpful to some degree.  Again my best advice is you both attend counseling to address the various traumas you all have experienced.  Then address the trauma as a couple if you decide to stay in the relationship in order to make a sound decision about your futures.

(MEd, LPC)