Should I give someone who cheated in the past on an ex, a chance?

emoticon742July 1, 2012


I am not married and this is not a marriage question... but I found this forum and hopefully someone can help.

I've been on 3 dates with a girl and on the last date she told me that her 4 year relationship that ended (2 years ago) ended because she cheated on him.

This makes me really nervous... Is this a huge red flag? Should I walk away now? Or can someone who did this in the past change? If it had been ten years ago I think I could let it go, but because it only happened 2 years ago, I'm not sure what to do.

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I don't know the answer to your question, but if you do find the perfect, blameless person, be sure to let the rest of us know, ok?

If you have dated her only 3 times, I would say her past is not your business. If you were at the point of asking her to marry you, then that might become something to consider.

How was her demeanor when she told you? Was she proud of the cheating, bragging about it, or honestly confessing that she did wrong and knows it? The main way people learn is through making painful mistakes. Maybe you have made one or two yourself?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:42AM
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of course I've made mistakes. And yes it was only our third date, but that's why I'm asking the question. I know it's none of my business, but she told me, she cheated and that was what ended the relationship. I don't want to wait until I'm thinking of marriage to decide if I should give this person a chance. I'd rather figure it out now and get out early if that is the case.

but to answer your question, she did seem remorsefull

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 3:23AM
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I don't know, at first I thought the fact that she told you was a plus, that she had probably come to terms with what she did and had learned from it and didn't want to enter into a relationship with anyone else with any secrets. But after thinking about it, I'm not so sure....seems like something she may be throwing out there as a early warning signal, so later on if she does something like this she could say "hey I warned you..."

I certainly would not run away at this point in time based on something like that, I'd just proceed with a little more caution that if she had not told you this. Only time will tell. It might be a plus actually, since you will now never look at this person with 100% blind faith, thinking there is "no way they would ever do that to me".

I had that blind faith in my ex wife, honestly thought she was too good a person to ever do that. Boy was I wrong, she completely burned me. Twice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Well that's what I'm getting at. Do I walk away now, or give her a chance. I'm not sure it's fair to hold people accountable for something they did in a past relationship, so it may be messed up to walk away because of it, but you are right in that at least now I can keep my eyes open. She's also seeming to get attached really fast. Which flatters me, but not sure how I feel about it. I don't trust women... I've been burned too many times. She seem stable when I met her, and still does, but I don't know, she just seems to like me A LOT in a very little amount of time. Maybe I should just accept that and be happy about it, or maybe it's another red flag.

I read somewhere online a post by a woman who said she had cheated in a past relationship, but was now married and could NEVER imaging doing that to her husband. So I guess there is hope for those who have cheated in the past...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:24PM
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BTW MKroopy, she did not voluntarily just offer up the info. We were just talking about exes and how and why the relationships ended.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:28PM
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But if you have no trust, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I say all men are dogs, then all the men I meet will be dogs, because that's what I am psychologically set to see.

So if you have aready decided you don't trust women, then you meet one who is trustworthy, she messes up your preconception, so you will not have a relationship with her. Your stereotype will only allow you to meet the ones who fit your prejudice.

Recipe for unhappiness?

BTW, EVERYBODY has picked a few lemons in the garden of love. I mean everybody

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:14AM
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Thanks Scarlett, you made a very good point.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I've been thinking about this one. My gut used to be "once a cheater always a cheater", but that's fading as I get older. I also think that her age may have a lot to do with her ability to stay true now. I think that, if she was a lot younger when she had her slip up, but now knows better, I'd give her a lot of leeway. If she wasn't all that young, well, not as much. I think the older I get the more certain behaviors are more ingrained. I can change, but it's a lot harder. And the younger I was when I changed, the better it sticks. For me. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

Regardless of anything else, she didn't have to tell you. That should count for something. She need not be at the top of the trust funnel, but why throw out the baby with the bathwater? Why not chance it? All love is taking a chance!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Rob, the 'slip up' was only 2 years ago... That's when she cheated, and that's when that relationship ended. That said, you make a good point. Love involves risk and if I'm not willing to take the risk, I'll never find it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Let's remember the fact that although she was in a relationship, she was not MARRIED.
Maybe in a future conversation you can explore why she cheated instead of ending the relationship first?
Listen to your gut. If you are uncomfortable with this now, then walk away. If for some reason you are drawn to her, then give her a chance.
All of this said, you might want to talk to her about your feelings on cheating and see what she says.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Rob, the 'slip up' was only 2 years ago... That's when she cheated, and that's when that relationship ended. That said, you make a good point. Love involves risk and if I'm not willing to take the risk, I'll never find it.

That is a scary prospect on a rather slippery slope in your case because her admission is not the only problem. The admission alone is the red flag that brought you here to ask for advice. But, you're flattered by the second red flag, which is her quick attachment. The two are enough for me to think you should move on. I wondered her reason(s) for cheating and felt that might hold some bearing, but after reading more from you and learning that she seems to like you "A LOT" so quickly tells me she is flighty and capricious. Don't be flattered so easily. You are being cautious and discerning. Everyone should when entering into a relationship, but she is not. One thing for certain if you proceed with her, no matter how open you think your eyes are, you will still be surprised and hurt if she proves unworthy of your trust. But you can't say you didn't expect whatever happens. Personally, I don't believe in ignoring the red flags. That would make me as flighty and capricious and she is proving herself to be. I would deserve whatever happens to me if I don't have sense enough to protect myself by heeding the warning signs.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I saw that too River :(

emoticon, I commented to be cautious but not necessarily fully untrusting; this is a spectrum. Put her back at the bottom of the trust funnel, where the larger amount of trust is farther at the top. See below, but remove "buy/repeat/refer" You'll note know is at the top. Don't give her all the goods (whatever your goods are) yet. She does have to keep proving herself. I realize not everyone is perfect and makes mistakes, so it is possible she learned. But keep in mind it is possible she's just like this all the time. Watch and learn. And really really trust your gut. When something seems off, it's likely to be truly off.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Thanks guys. It's hard to say really. I think I'll bring these questions up when she wants to talk about exclusivity. AT this point I'm keeping my distance and putting space between us. I still see her, but we don't talk all the time, I don't call her too often, and we don't see each other every day. I'll keep it like that as long as I can, and when she brings up being exclusive, I'll bring these questions up.

We had a discussion on Tuesday night. She senses my hesitation and lack of trust. I told her I just don't trust women in general. She tried to assure me that she's a good person and has good intentions toward me. I did not bring up the cheating at that point, but I will when she wants to be exclusive.

It's just hard because every time you ask messed up questions like that, it puts people on the defensive, and makes them feel like crap for their past mistakes. How can I hope to build something good with this girl if we start the relationship on a note like that?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:29PM
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One more thing in response to Rob. I tend to always ignore red flags, but the reason I do is that I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Like Scarlet said, everyone has made mistakes, and probably EVERYONE has red flags. Would it really be possible to find someone without any? How many is too many? In the past I've ignored red flags and it definitely got me burned. Sometimes I ignored them more than others. This one gal and I were completely incompatible, but I went through with it anyway. The relationship lasted years before it ended. There were things early, early on that I was very, very uncomfortable with, so in that case, I really should have known. This is something I'm not comfortable with, but I also want to believe that people can change. You're right, it could just be her personality, but based on what I've learned about her, I don't think that is the case. She had told me that he moved out here for her and that she felt 'trapped' because she wanted out, but didn't want to leave him because he had moved for her. Messed up yeah, but she sees it now and knows it's messed up, so hopefully in the future she won't let it happen like that again. We learn from our mistakes.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 12:08AM
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I'm a cut of the same cloth a you emoticon. (smile)

I have learned the very hard way, life is too short to settle. Why not have fun and enjoy yourself. Love is love! You have to learn from your mistakes when it comes to red flags. You're not a bad person for stepping back when they happen. Really you're not. You deserve to be treated nicely. You shouldn't put your feelings on the back burner any more than you should put her's on the back burner. Both of you should get what you need. And when you don't, step back. I'm not telling you to get out. Just talk to her about it. If you feel a boundary has been crossed, say so, the moment it happens. Then talk it out. But don't stuff it down thinking, it's my problem for being so untrusting, impatient, overly demanding, whatever the problem is that is going on. I wish I could help you. All I know is, I finally know what healthy boundaries are when I feel them. These can show up in physical ways. Listen to your entire self. I've been in more than one lengthy relationship and don't feel any regret that they ended. They're with who they belong with now and I am not spending my life wishing for more.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Rob, what do you mean you know what healthy boundaries are when you feel them? How do you 'feel them'. What does that mean? Can you elaborate?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Sorry I haven't answered sooner, I've been out.

When someone hurts my feelings and they're wrong, but I feel guilty about it, that's unhealthy. When someone hurts my feelings and they're right, that's a healthy place. My ex would try to tell me that I was a bad person for not waking him every day, but I knew it was healthy to say no to that. A grown man should wake up on his on a daily basis, as I'm not his mommy. Unless I wanted to do it just because that's his quirk and I love him so much I want to do it! It's healthy to say no and it's healthy to say yes, but's not healthy to feel like he's right and I am a bad person for not wanting to do it.

Make sense? Probably not a good example, but I was going for grey area that isn't controversial.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:34AM
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I think it makes sense. I'll have to mull it over. I'm sure I can get the meaning in there. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Undoubtedly, someone else can make more sense than I can. In person would help! heh

wrong/inappropriate hurt feelings = UNhealthy

You just have to ask yourself each time your feelings are hurt, "why did that bother me?" The core feeling.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Hey guys, need your help again. So I've been seeing this same girl since I first posted this. Things are great, awesome actually. The sex is amazing, we don't fight, we seem to be on the same page about everything.

We just took a trip to Hawaii, her first time ever, my second. I had a ton of points so I took care of the room, flights and most of the rental car. We had an awesome time, everything went great, all was well. She even jumped off of black rock, a 25 foot jump, awesome that a girl will do that. Most wouldn't.

Going into this trip (before we left) everything was puppy dogs and rainbows, because we had something to look forward to. I wasn't really thinking too hard about whether she was right for me long term, because for the trip I didn't care. I just wanted to have fun and go with a girl I could be romantic with.

Anyways, we're back now and I find myself questioning things again. I find myself wondering about the cheating. I need a little perspective. We discussed the cheating before and I made my peace with it. I told her I was good with it, and would not bring it up again. But for the past couple of days I've been wondering how it went down. Was it a simple kiss? Or did she sleep with the guy? I think that distinction makes a huge difference because if she simply slipped up and kissed the guy, then it's like "oh crap, what am I doing???" it's less of a big deal to me. But if she slept with the guy, it tells me she had many opportunities to stop and continued all the way.

I hope I'm making myself clear. Basically, I want to know if she's the type of person that immediately realized what she was doing was wrong, and stopped, or if she knew it was wrong and kept going, all the way to sex. It's the same distinction as a person who slips up and kisses someone or has an ongoing affair. A person who has the ongoing affair knows what they are doing is wrong and continues to do it. Sometimes a kiss happens fast, you realize it's wrong, and you stop.

To make a decision on whether or not to continue this relationship, is it important for me to know what happened and how it all went down? I know I don't have a "right" to know, but she has said she'll tell me. I'm just not sure I want to know and if it matters. Things are great, she's said she would never cheat on me, she seems like a super nice girl and I want to believe her, but I am a really bad judge of character. Do I ask her this?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I guess if it is important to you you should ask otherwise you will always be wondering.

But - in reality she could tell you a fictitious tale because she knows what you want to hear. So where does that leave you ? Does it make you think that what happened in the past should stay there and you should just work on letting it go ?

Do you think it is important that your girlfriend be a person who is 100% honest and perfect and has never made any mistakes in her life, that she regrets ? Is there anybody like that around ?

As we age we build character and take on attributes that make us good people, compassion, honesty, loyalty, humour, empathy, wisdom. In my mind, these are the character traits that would make a perfect mate.

In my opinion perhaps you should think about counting your blessings with this lovely person, look for all the positives in her character. Reflect on what you can offer her and how you appear to her, with your problems with her past relationships.

Perhaps you need to find out what happened in her past is more to do with you and your inadequacies than her being an honest person. Perhaps you would feel insecure with anybody to team up with ?

Oh dear lots of questions for you to ponder and it aint easy.

For me - I have been married for 30 years. I didn't really care what my husband did before he met me - I preferred to think of the moment we were in and our future. But maybe I was naive.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:54PM
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I think you need counselling to help you get over this obsession with your GF's past. Either that, or quit with her now. Whatever she tells you, are you going to keep revisiting that every so often forever? That's not healthy for a relationship. You need to let go or let her go.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:16PM
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OP - I remember thinking your initial post that you had a lot of the same thought processes that I did when my ex cheated on me the first time. For some reason I had to know everything...I badgered her about it a lot...needed to understand how and why she could do this. Looking back on it, it was the worse thing I could have done, considering the fact that I had decided I was willing to accept it and move forward with things.....I didn't want to break up the family.

Your situation is different in that it didn't happen to you, but to some anonymous "other guy"....but I understand, the questions remain. What type of person does this?

I understand what you are going thru....but I can almost guarantee you that if you keep pressing the matter with her, it won't matter what you feel about her past, she will look at you as someone who can't get past things and she will bail out. I understand this now, having moved to the point of being in a good relationship with my ex....that my reaction to her infidelities, while it didn't technically cause the end of my marriage, virtually guaranteed that we would never work through our issues.

If you can't get this burning desire to know the details out of your both of you a favor and move on now, before you waste anymore time. She may be a saint in every other aspect of her life, but if you can't get past the fact that she made this "mistake" in a prior relationship, you will carry this albatross around your neck as long as you two are together.

Live and let live dude! No one is perfect, like I said earlier, the fact that she admitted this to you speaks volumes for her character I think....either accept her for who she is NOW....or move on.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:15PM
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All, very good points. Popi, you are right, no one is perfect, and this is more of an issue with me. I have trust issues and would probably find fault with anyone. I tend to do this in every relationship, I try to find the red flags. In my last relationship I ignored them, and that blew up in my face. So i think I must be overcompensating a bit on this one.

Mkroopy, thanks that helps a lot. I DO need to let this go, and it's true, she could have lied about it. The fact that she told me says something. I almost wish she hadn't though, because then there would not be these questions, but the fact is she did, and I'm glad she is an honest person. Thanks all. Will send another update in 2 months!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 1:37PM
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I hope you never buy a used car.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 5:10PM
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