Q: I feel like my life has come to an end. I just can’t believe that this has happened to me. “David” – my partner for seven years, the love of my life, my soul mate, my prince charming – is cheating on me. I found out about this from some friends that saw him with another man, Charles, on more than several occasions, when I was out of town due to my work.
This is my worst nightmare, and was so unexpected. We’ve been called the “perfect couple” and “an example of how gay men can make it work.” To make things even worse, we got married last year in Canada. It was the highlight of my life and I was on cloud nine. I thought David was, too. For me, it was the real beginning of our lives; for him, I’ve found out, it was the beginning of his cheating ways.
My first inclination was to confront Charles, so I went to his house. (I found out what time he got off work and was waiting for him.) At first, Charles said he wasn’t involved with David, acted all innocent, like he didn’t know what I was talking about. When I told Charles who had seen them and where they were, he finally confessed that he and David were, indeed, involved. I told Charles he needed to stay away from David, and I didn’t want to hear anymore reports of his being around David. Then Charles said something that – I have to admit – made a lot of sense; he said that I was talking to the wrong person. If I didn’t want David involved with him, I needed to talk to David, not him.
So, that is what I did. I confronted David. Of course, he denied it all and tried to pass off his time with Charles as just “friendship” time, and that he and Charles had been friends for years. (Funny, it took him seven years to tell me that Charles was his friend, and that he just now decided to hang out with him when I was out of town.)
Well, it must have been that all David’s rambling to try and deny his involvement with Charles even started sounding bogus to David, because he finally stopped and admitted what he had done.
Later that night, we talked again, after we had cooled down. David says he never cheated on me before our commitment ceremony, and doesn’t know why he started up with Charles. He says that he loves me and is sorry for what he has done and promises it will never happen again. I believe he is sorry and that he didn’t do it before our ceremony last year. But I don’t understand why he made a formal commitment and then dishonored it, when he had been faithful the six years before. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and because of that, makes it hard for me to forgive David.
Do you have any ideas about this?
A: I can throw out some ideas, but not knowing that much about David, I can only give you some general statements and a lot of guessing. Maybe David has been cheating all along and has been good at being deceptive about it. And now, getting caught red-handed, he’s had to admit it.
However, from the little I can glean from your e-mail, I’m more inclined to lean toward believing that David never cheated before the commitment ceremony and only started after, making me think he has some commitment issues. I know that you two had been together in a relationship six years before, but signing on the dotted line could have instigated and stirred up his commitment issues. Before the ceremony, he might have been telling himself that he could leave the relationship at any time, and therefore didn’t internally “feel committed.”
Regardless, it is important for both you and David to understand what was going on with him in order to heal David and your relationship. I suggest you seek couple’s counseling.