“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” – Chinese proverb
The proverb can strike us as surprising and even embarrassing if this has happened before – or is happening. Our emotions can be easily swayed and blinded by our lying and cheating partners because our hearts are so susceptible to the love we feel for them and the guilt for not believing in them that we end up forgiving them. We may even make amends because we think we know them well enough to consider their first mistake as an accident or a moment of weakness, and that they would never do it again. Or perhaps, we give in because we don’t want our relations with them to change because of the unexpected turn of events. We may also not let them go because we value the sense of security they initially instilled within us, the fuzzy feeling of love that made us feel good about ourselves and living, or because we think no one will love us like they did.
How important are those factors compared to your emotional security that you won’t be hurt again?
Even if you do give the relationship another go despite being deceived and learning the truth, no matter what, you can’t be certain that he didn’t lie about not doing it again. Since he was dishonest about the betrayal initially, how is your partner worthy of your belief again?
If you reaccept him, there is a good chance that your relationship will still feel strained, regardless of the effort he makes to resume from where you both left off. Your behaviour around your partner may even be awkward. You might not trust your partner as easily as you used to. Why? Doubt may linger on the mind for a long time, even if it’s at the back, making you wonder along the lines of: Will he keep his word that he’ll never lie and cheat again or will he betray me once more? How can I be so sure that it won’t happen again?
You can’t. The facial expressions, speech and gestures that he presents could be a façade or seem somewhat genuine to you after that unsettling experience.
If you haven’t already, you might start blaming yourself for what happened – don’t. Depending on the series of events that led up to the affair, you might have been a slight influence in your partner’s actions or not. For example, he blamed you for his dissatisfaction and desire to seek contentment with another. But ultimately, it was your partner who decided to commit infidelity; you did not force him so it was not your fault.
Make sure that your partner doesn’t cunningly manipulate you to stay, as that could strengthen his feelings of superiority, causing him to be either more aggressive or demeaning towards you. Surely you don’t view yourself as a pushover and neither should your partner. However, if he thinks that he has a great power and authority over you, he may start to frequently exert that influence over you. He may come to recognize that he can dominate not only the relationship, but also you, leaving you to feel as if you lost your independence.
For these reasons, you should be careful and think thoroughly before making the decision of whether to give him another chance.
Despite all the arguments above, you may still choose to stay with him due to various reasons. You can never know quite what to expect from dating a certain person but you can always optimistically hope for delightful things as love is magical. Good luck and hopefully you don’t regret giving that second chance.
If at any time you feel uncertain about your feelings, insecure about his or are apprehensive about the relationship, have a calm discussion with him to work out these struggles.