Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘Can A Cheater Become a Trustworthy Boyfriend?’

A reader having trouble trusting the man who cheated on her before asks Dr. Sherry if could really be a changed man.

You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...

Dr. Sherry,

My boyfriend and I have been together now for a year and two months. During the first six months he made mistakes. He did not sleep with anyone else, but he kissed another girl and had some text messages that were meaningful from another woman. He confessed to me at this point, but I had suspicions for a while. He failed to tell me about it at the time that it happened, and he did not tell me the 100-percent truth of it all until February of this year.

We spent every day together for the first 13 months. However, now he has been gone for a month after receiving a college football scholarship to an out of state school, leaving us six hours apart. While he hasn't done any wrong doings to me in the past five months, I'm just finding it hard to believe that he won't do something similar to me again now that he's in a place where I will not know if anything happens. I do my best to trust him and I tell him that I do because all he wants is my trust back. I'm just still concerned and I am not dealing with the long distance relationship very well. I have always been one to believe once a cheater always a cheater. In this case I want to take his word because I am so in love with this man and I know he loves me; I think we are meant for each other. I've always just been one to not be able to fully trust someone once they mess up. Am I being too hard on him?

Do you think people can go from being a liar and a cheater to a loyal reliable boyfriend? How can you trust someone once you've been betrayed by them?



Dear Sis,

You are giving a great deal of energy and way too much of your time to your greatest fear—that your boyfriend is cheating on you. If you expect him to cheat and you are waiting on him to cheat, it is likely that he will cheat. You stated that he made "mistakes" in the first six months of your relationship. In the first six months, most people are just getting to know one another and are not fully committed to the relationship. Your obsession with what your boyfriend may or may not be doing will eventually push him away. This guy is your boyfriend, not your husband. He has made no vows and is not legally or morally obligated to you. You are spending a whole lot of time worrying about something that you cannot control.

Your insecurity and previous beliefs about relationships are controlling you emotionally. Why are you allowing your life to be consumed by your boyfriend? It is time for you to get a life of your own. While your boyfriend is in college, what are you doing for you? I also recommend that you seek individual therapy with a licensed therapist to address old emotional wounds that continue to interfere with your current relationship. Once you are able to let go of old emotional baggage, you can leave room for someone to commit and love you the way they should.

You cannot build a relationship on fear. You must allow yourself to trust and love without fear. Learn to live and love life with or without your boyfriend. You deserve a life without fear, but it is up to you to create it!  -- Dr. Sherry

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Filed under: Love & Sex