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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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He cheated, but im not angry?

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Sorry this is so long and detailed...

I'm a college student, and last semester I became really close friends with my next-door neighbor. We have a similar sense of humor and we could talk for hours and hours. I developed a huge crush on him, but I knew he had recently gotten out of a bad relationship in which his ex cheated on him and broke his heart. After a couple months of us being good friends he admitted to me that he had feelings for me, and I admitted the same to him. But he also said that he knew he wasn't ready for a relationship because even though he hated her, he wasn't completely over his ex. I completely understood, and we decided to just keep hanging out as friends. We soon came to consider each other best friends, but we couldn't help the attraction we both knew we felt to each other. We never defined our relationship and I was always confused about whether or not I could call him my boyfriend, but it didn’t really bother me that much. We would cuddle and kiss, and we spent a lot of time together, but I would constantly remind myself of the fact that he wasn't completely over her and that what he and I had wasn't a serious relationship. All I knew was that we were happy together. This ambiguous relationship went on for about 3 ½ months. Then one night, he experienced a trigger that reminded him of her. And he went home and read a letter she gave him when they were together and lost control. He was so angry and sad at the same time, and he was a mess. I stayed up with him all night comforting him. The next night I was in my room and my friends told me that his ex was next door with him. Since I knew about the letter, I decided to leave him alone that night. The next morning I could tell something was really troubling him. All he said was that he knew he wasn’t being fair to me. I sort of knew what he was hinting at but I didn’t push him to say anything. That night we went on a date, and we had a really great time. After we got back he finally told me what was on his mind. He told me that when she came over to talk to him and try to seduce him (according to him), he felt exactly the way he felt when they were together and he felt like he still loved her. They kissed, but when she kept trying to go further, he realized his mistake and asked her to leave. And two days later he would tell her that he never wanted to see her again. He told me all this, and said he knew he wasn't being fair to me, so we agreed to break up. I was really an emotional wreck for the first two days, but at no point did I feel any anger towards him. I just felt really empty. To complicate things a little more, there was also the fact that I kind of wanted to break up with him too (even before he cheated), because I felt like I didn’t really have my life under control, due to other issues. For some reason, I didn't feel that hurt or shocked to hear what had happened. I wasn't necessarily devastated at the thought of losing my "boyfriend" but I was so completely devastated at the thought of losing one of my best friends. When our friends found out what happened, they were all so angry with him. And he was angry with himself and just so completely lost. He was literally at his lowest point. And it killed me to see my best friend in that state. So despite the fact that he had cheated on me, I just felt so much compassion and a desire to be there for him, so I was. We discussed how we both agreed that we valued the friendship more than our so-called "relationship" or "fling." He was so in awe of the fact that I was able to forgive him almost immediately and he was really confused. He kept telling me that he didn't deserve such kindness from me. But I knew that my forgiveness and kindness was 100% genuine. I just care about him way too much. And I know deep down that he really cares about me too.

So now we are on summer break, and we won't see each other for about 3 months. The way we left things, we are still really good friends. I know I can handle being his friend, but there's still the fact that I'm crazy about him. I just love everything about who he is—flaws and all. And I know he still has feelings for me (which I know might change). I know that we both need a little time before we get into a relationship, whether or not it's with each other. We both have a lot of issues we need to deal with first. But when I am ready for a serious relationship, I just know that I want it to be with him (if and when he's ready too). So I guess my question is, is there any hope for us in the future? Is it crazy of me to want to one day get back together with someone who cheated on me? And is it crazy that I’m not angry that he did?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 3 years ago.

I am so sorry what happened and I do understand where you are coming from. I do not think that you are at all crazy for forgiving him or wanting to be with him one day. Based on what you explained it sounds like you both had a very good friendship, but never defined what you were in terms of boyfriend and girlfriend. He had said he wasn't ready for a relationship, so technically you both were not in a relationship even though it did feel like it. This does not make it hurt less or be less confusing. It actually makes it more confusing and what happened may even make it feel a little "messy". However, I think you handled it very well. You managed to understand and put your feelings to the side in order to be a friend to a friend in need since you valued the friendship so much. This is not crazy at all. I would not say he cheated on you. I think he was as honest and open as he could be. He told you he was not ready for a relationship and you both enjoyed the friendship even though you both had feelings for one another, which was hard to control. When his ex came into the picture that happened because he was not completely over her and this is something he was honest about in the beginning, so could have happened anytime. I think he made a mistake even for his own healing by being with her, but he immediately realized and felt bad because he does care and have feelings for you and he knows his ex is bad for him. This is why he feels so bad and was honest with you, which are all good things.

I think you were able to handle this situation in a mature fashion with a lot of understanding. You sound like a special person and have much insight. You are even wise enough to know that you are not ready for a relationship right now and understand that he is not at well.

I believe once you both handle the issues in each of your lives there will be lots of potential for a future relationship. The best and lasting relationships are based on a friendship first. I do not think because of this act he is more likely to cheat on you. He seems honest and genuine. I would also not consider that cheating, but everyone may have different opinions on that. Either way based on your individual situation it seems like he will be honest in a relationship with you once you are both ready and he does seem to value you. I think you handled everything perfectly and with right timing.

I wish you both handle the things in your lives that are keeping you both apart in order to be able to have the relationship you both dream of. Please let me know if I can help any further.
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience: I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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