How to win trust back from someone you cheated on

Kg69 asks: How do I get my ex-boyfriend back? He is the first true love I’ve had in my life, and the only reason we broke up was because he had to focus on his duties at school (he’s at job corps), but I lied to him again (I cheated on him and then lied to him about talking to that person that I cheated on him with), and now he says he doesn’t know if he wants to get back together or not. I’ve apologized but each time I say that I’m not going to do something again, he asks, “How am I supposed to believe you when you’ve lied to me before?”

Hi Kg69 –


You are in a very tough position, because your ex-boyfriend is asking exactly the right question.


I get lots of letters from people in his position, who really want to trust someone who’s hurt them.  So I’m glad you wrote me this, because it’s important to show the other side of it.


The fact, of course, is that no one can ever prove to someone else that they won’t cheat on them in the future.  Or won’t do anything else, for that matter: I can’t prove to my neighbors that I’ll never bite them!  Trust is a hard thing to build, and way too easy to destroy.  So, again… you’re in a very tough position.


The first thing I’d recommend is for you to ask yourself his question: How do you know you won’t cheat or lie again?  If you can’t answer that question well enough for yourself, then there’s no way for you to convince him of it.


But maybe you are sure.  Maybe you felt so awful about having cheated that you never want to feel that way again.  Maybe you have adopted a new moral view where you never want to lie to anyone about anything.


But even if you are sure, that won’t necessarily make him feel comfortable about it.  So here’s my next idea: give him time, and work to make him believe in you again.  Don’t ask him to give you his heart again just yet; just be his friend.  And be the most trustworthy friend he’s ever known.  Be super-open about everything, and help him out in every way you can.  And with that, after some time, he should begin to trust you again.


But understand – always – that it’ll be tough for him.


Now, I do have a story for you about trust.  When I was a puppy, I thought Handsome was perfect.  It was clear that he was kind and loving, and would never hurt me.  And one day, he was taking me out on a drive, and put me into the back seat, and slammed the door – right onto my tail!  OWWWWWW that hurt!  I yelped out in pain and shock, and stared at him, “What was that for?!?!”


Well, you can guess, Handsome was horrified!  He checked my tail out to make sure it hadn’t been injured, covered me with kisses and hugs, and told me over and over how sorry he was.  And I began to realize something: He actually isn’t perfect!  He can make mistakes!


And my realizing that taught me two things.  First, that I could still trust him, that he would always do his best for me.  But second, that I also had to be a bit careful.  And realize that he might slam a door on my tail, or step on my foot, or roll over in his sleep and push me right off the bed!


And this wasn’t wrong.  It allowed me to still love and trust him, but also to take care of myself.  And he loved that I was more careful, because it kept him from accidentally hurting me like that again.


So if you can get this boy to let you back into his world, this whole thing that happened might be for the best.  Maybe now he’ll know not to let his job corps work make him break up with you, because he knows you might meet someone else then.  And maybe you’ll be more attentive to what he needs in a relationship, to feel safe and loved and cared for.


But first, before any of that can happen, you have to take the risk, and do everything you can to earn his trust back.  And to understand that it’s possible he might simply not ever be able to trust you fully again.  But if he can…  Oh life can be so good when we’re able to forgive and move on!


Good Luck!


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