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Karin Samms
Karin Samms, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  with over 15 years experience offering support with relationship, mental health & addiction issues
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Ive just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years, and Im having

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I've just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years, and I'm having doubts about the break up. Our relationship had been rather tumultuous, and he was experiencing some deep emotional problems when we first started dating. His ex-girlfriend had been bi-polar, and attempted suicide many occasions and blamed him for it. His mum also left him and his 3 brothers when he was young, to be brought up by his Dad who turned into an alcoholic. I think he was coming to grips with all off this when I met him. In the first year and a half he was very emotionally unavailable, and broke up with me twice because he didn't feel like he could offer all he could in the relationship, and we got back together each time. He then told me after a year and a half that he had been cheating on me the entire time, by making out with girls when he went out to clubs and got drunk. I was so shocked, and had never thought he was capable of this, it felt like he was someone I didn't know. We broke up for 8 months. During this time he was committed to showing me that he had changed, and that this was a turning point for him. He has always been my best friend first, and our friendship quickly developed again. We have always loved each other, from the very beginning, which is why we have tried so hard to make it work. I decided to forgive him, and we decided that we need to be completely honest with each other.

The past year has been by far the best year of my life. We have never been so close, and I truly don't think I will ever meet anyone like him. I knew this from the beginning, but I became sure, that if there was such a thing as soul mates, I had found it. We have been talking about having a future together, and getting married and having children one day. The break-up occurred 3 days ago. He has been with his family for New Years, and he called me on the 2nd to tell me that he's f*cked up and that he had slept with someone on NY eve. I broke up with him immediately, because I told myself that I would never let him hurt me again. He has later told me what happened - he had been drinking since midday, and was completely off his face. His brothers left him with a group that they'd just met, and suddenly the group left and he was left with this much older woman in her mid 30s (he is 23). All of a sudden she was on him. He says that he stopped it halfway through.

I don't know what to do. I love him so much, but I don't know if I can look any of my friends in the eye if I tell them I have forgiven him. I feel like I have already forgiven him. I feel the first half of our relationship had been really bad timing, but it has cast this shadow over everything that happens in our new relationship. Please help me, I'm so ashamed to ask my friends and let them know I already want to forgive him.
Hi there, welcome to Just Answer. I will try and help you with your question.

Please give me a moment while I read through your question carefully and prepare an excellent answer for you. I shall respond very soon. Regards, Karin
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry, I don't know if I need to rate the service before I can receive my answer.


No, you don't need to rate yet. I'm about to send you my response very soon (few minutes), then you can accept the answer if you feel it's been helpful.
Please bear with me :)
Thanks, Karin
I'm sorry that he has done this again. You're right in stopping things straight away and getting him to understand that no matter whether he is drunk or not, it can't be an excuse to be unfaithful.
He's had a very tough upbringing and this hasn't helped the way he responds to situations.
You're clearly very much in love with him, been there for him throughout all of his difficult stages of getting to grips with his past and so you have played a huge part in hoping him move forward.

Your reservations about telling your friends is completely normal, as you know what their responses would be and you don't want to hear it nor feel judged by them. You will need to think this through carefully, he may well do this again (being drunk is no excuse nor a ticket to sleep with someone), you have to feel trust in him when he says he won't do this again. This is entirely your decision, however it's important to not let your self esteem suffer a blow within this whole process - I hope this makes sense?

I'm not here either to judge you, you can tell it just like it is to me and I won't tell you this is wrong or that is wrong and make you feel bad/guilty, however, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point out all that I see and share it with you and give you options or strategies to think about.

You say he's your soul mate; this is a very special relationship and bond, which I'm wondering might be stronger for you and not so for him? You say that you have already forgiven him, so perhaps it's about letting him know that this really is his last chance to get it together. There are various books on infidelity at amazon if you were interested in getting him to understand how it impacts on you, so may be worth looking at a selection and seeing which might be relevant, here's a couple I've come across:

Infidelity: A Survival Guide by Don-David Lusterman.

Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli.

Finally, I just wanted to say that I believe that you deserve to be treated well and with dignity and respect - don't let that thought go too far from whatever you choose to do. If he is the one for you, he will need to change his ways and demonstrate just that. Your friends will feel more reassured if you are more confident about the decisions you make so, they will eventually come around.

Please accept my answer if my response has been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further.

Kind regards, Karin

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thank you for your response. It means a lot to hear that I wouldn't be making the worst decision of my life for getting back together with him. I'd just like a bit more of your opinion on strategies I could take.


At the moment, I'm going away to Europe for a month, and figure that this might be a good time to think about everything. I have told him I want him out of my life, and have blocked him on Facebook and deleted his phone number. Do you think it would be a good decision to completely avoid him, and not let him know my reservations about the break up at least until after I get back?


Despite feeling like I can understand what might have happened, and that he never meant to hurt me, I am still so angry at him and I want to punish him. I feel like the worst thing I can do is make him feel like he's truly lost me forever, and in that space determine how I feel as a single person, and with the prospect of never being with him ever again.


I also want to know what kind of things I might want from him to make the relationship better if we ever had this conversation to get back together. We already had such an open and honest relationship, which I think is shown by the fact that he told me almost straight away what happened. He has even offered to stop drinking (which part of me feels like is not totally realistic, but offers something to think about). What else could we do to make things better? I'm worried that I'll never be able to trust him again, and wouldn't want him ever going out without me.

Hi again,

I'm more than happy to provide you with further assistance - so long as you get what you need, some clarity.

I don't think it'd be the worst thing to get back with him but you would need to set some VERY firm boundaries.

The fact that you're going away means yes, you could have some time to think about your relationship and perhaps that's the way to express it to him, i.e. you could say to him "if you feel that our relationship is worth it, lets see how we get on without each other over this month that I'm away. If your feelings are still as strong as ever for me and me towards you, let's move forward and start talking about us again VERY slowly." How does that sound? These are obviously my frame of words but you could adapt them as you wish or even change it totally.

You will need to let this go, once and if, you decide to give your relationship a go and not become distrustful of him. This might be hard for the both of you but there is professional help out there for couples (you don't have to be married to apply for couple counseling). So there's always other resources.

So what I'm saying is, you could say you're both on a break, it's time for you both to assess whether you want to try and make a go of it - if you still feel this way when you get back (and neither of you have found anyone else) then you could perhaps pursue your relationship further. If you do decide to get back together - it'd be about assessing and monitoring how you're both getting along every so often, talking honestly and openly again. Trying to encourage all of his fears of commitment to be brought out into the open with you so that you can deal with them together.

Good luck and best wishes.

Please accept my answer if my responses have been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further.

Kind regards, Karin

Karin Samms and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Hi C,
Just touching base with you and wondering how you got on with my response. Did you make any decisions about your (ex)boyfriend or are you reflecting on things?
I hope all is well with you; you know where I am if you need further assistance or support, just put "Hi Karin.." at the start of any new questions and I will do my best to help you and have a wonderful time in Europe! :)
Take care, Karin
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Karen,

That was good timing, I actually spoke to him last night for the first time,and I didn't realise I could have any follow up questions with you.


I was out at a party and was a little bit drunk and starting to feel a bit emotional. I messaged him and asked him to pick me up. I had told him that I wanted to see him before I went away, and then had changed my mind. At that point I thought that I wanted him to see what he had done to me, because I felt that I tend to hide my emotions and pretend to him that everything is fine, and he needs to know the consequences of his actions.


He said that he still loved me, but it seemed like he wasn't sure if getting back together was the best decision for me. He said that he is always thinking about sex (which I think is an over-reaction to what is normal for any guy), and that even though he has always felt that our relationship is enough, he can't help but think about other women. He said that he can't guarantee that he won't do this again.


It sounds like he's trying to make out that he's some sex addict, but I think he's just got a weak character, and can't hold himself up in these kinds of moments. I don't know if maybe it's just our age, I know I've always been able to hold myself up, but maybe he's just not as mature.


I told him that I wanted to try to fall in love with someone else, and see if anything changes about my feelings towards him. I always said that in a year from now in moving away, and that maybe we can think about getting back together around then.


Do you think this was a good thing to say, by raising his expectations like this? I always am kind of annoyed with myself for letting him off the hook so soon, I'm still not over punishing him for this. And do you think someone can 'outgrow' infidelity?

Hi there C,

You've allowed yourself to have further conversation with him and perhaps you have raised his expectation somewhat however is it likely that he will stay faithful over the course of a year? You may well find someone else in that time too and then what happens?
It seems you may have let him off the hook but he has also left it pretty non committal and given himself a get out clause by admitting (and I guess being honest and open with you) that he can't promise to be faithful.

You're going to have to play this carefully, he doesn't come across as desperately wanting to resolve things and by things moving forward. I am a little hesitant to say whether one can grow out of infidelity, I believe any one can change within reason - the conditions need to be right for this to happen: he needs to WANT to change, he needs to WORK towards that change and take action to try and make a change in this behavior and finally he needs to understand WHY those behaviors have occurred in the first instance. I have 8 years experience as an addiction counselor and people can make these said changes but only if they want something bad enough and get appropriate help and support.

Please do come back to me if you need further assistance and support, and also do come back to me if you have any new questions. Just put "Hi Karin" at the start of any new questions and I'll pick it up.

Take care and do be careful with whatever you decide -I don't know if you believe this but I believe that life is too short - you may want to search for that happiness elsewhere, but this decision is one only you can make and needs you to let go of past relationships.

My very best to you, Karin :)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Karin,



I think that you're right, if we were ever going to get back together again, something would have to change. I just don't know what. I don't know if I should ask him to go to counselling or not, I don't think he would go. I just don't understand why this happened. You say you're an addiction counseller, so perhaps you could provide some insight. When we were first going out, apparently he was regularly cheating on me, and it never occurred to him that he was doing something bad. He would get drunk and really depressed, and go out to some club and make out with some girl. He said that one day he got an email from this girl's boyfriend, and when he realised that he felt pity for this guy, he realised what he was doing to me.


Since we got back together there has been nothing like that, and he seems to have gotten much better in terms of his mental health. There had been two fights - the first was when he went out to a club with his friends and the button was torn off by some girl he had been dancing with. I was angry that he was dancing with girls, given his history. The second was when one night his ex had appeared at his place in the middle of the night having some mental breakdown (she's bi-polar), and he let her sleep in his bed. Both of these seem like 'normal' fights that young couples would have to me.


My point is that he has really been trying, and I appreciate that, and I can tell that he has come such a long way. I really just don't understand why this has happened. From what I can tell this was not the same as the other times, and he has said that what happened was totally different from his past patterns of behaviour. And yet he says these things about always thinking about women, and sex. I honestly think he's trying to make out he has some addiction that he doesn't really have, in order to find an excuse for his behaviour. Do you think that his latest infidelity is reflective of something he needs to talk to someone professional about?


I just don't know what I need to see to feel safe in getting back together with him. I still love him so much, and I feel like I'm trying to find a reason to forgive him, to find some excuse for him. Or maybe I should just treat it like some random act of his, and treat it completely independently of all his previous indiscretions. In which case, is this forgivable?

Hi C,

If you really feel that this is a person you really want to try and make things work with, something has to change. He continues to make excuses for his behaviour and doesn't seem to do much about them. Him seeking professional support will help him understand his behaviour whether it is addiction or whether its a mere form of coping - that has gotten out of hand. People often have different opinions of addictions too, so you need to bear this in mind.

He doesn't need to see an addiction counsellor, perhaps a regular counsellor who has experience of such things would suffice for now.
Here's a link to look at: The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a National association of counsellors and psychotherapists with over 3000 individual members:

Furthermore, the fact that he cheated on you for so long, this is a way of coping with his own stresses and not dealing with things that are bothering him. He needs to find better and more appropriate ways to deal with such things which also may be about commitment.

If you don't feel safe about getting back with him just yet, listen to yourself and to what your intuition is telling you. Try and encourage him to reconsider counselling - there's always room for change. If you continue to perceive his infidelity as random acts - he has no reason to change, do you see what I mean? Only you can decide if you wish to forgive him, I'm unable to make that decision for you, however I hope I have helped you to think things through in a different way.
Please accept my answer if my response has been helpful, however please don't hesitate to come back to me if you need any further clarification. If I have answered your question, kindly rate my service so I may be credited for my time. If you choose to rate me anything less than positive, please do come back to me and I will clarify further or support your query further.