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How many times do I forgive ?

Community Member

Long story short I have posted here before - my partner and I have been together 10yrs we are both 28.
My partner was caught I guess you could say cyber cheating (didn’t physically cheat) and we split for a bit but since then we have worked really hard to get to a better place . I finallu after a year felt I could start trusting him again . Then last Saturday night happened . We were both out on the town together when I got a headache so said I was going home but he was fine to stay out just be home before 5am. Which he was .... I was then the next day so happy that I felt I could trust him to be out with out me and nothing happen . Only to find out (from him Monday night) that after I left they went to the strippers - I said when I left him Saturday night no drugs, no strippers - he says he told the group he didn’t want to go and when he went there he didn’t get a dance or watch the strippers but I don’t know if I can trust that. He has really broken my trust again!! I want to forgive him but am afraid that it is stupid of me to do so. How many “chances” do you give a person? . What are the right questions to ask? I’m feeling really confused and lost and hurt . I belive going to a place where you get a woman who is not your partner to rub on you dance for you and take their clothes off for you is a form of cheating . I’m heart broken all over again .

10 Replies 10

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

This is a very good question. Thankyou for posting it.

What essentially you are asking is- is cyber cheating and attending strip shows actually “cheating”.

I would suggest to you it isn’t but am I right? In my world I am correct- that it isn’t cheating. Does my view matter- NO! But it is worth considering

What matters is your standards and whether he abides by them. Do his standards matter? Yes. So if for example you had a habit of drinking alcohol to excess and he asked you to introduce a limit on numbers of drinks, you should abide by his request yes? Of course.

Let’s make this clear and fair- the only opinion that matters is yours UNLESS your opinion/judgement is harsh, unfair or too restrictive.

Did he cheat? No. But he did break some ground rules of your relationship. Being precise with your accusation is important as you might otherwise been seen as over the top.

I do not believe 1/ that he didn’t attend the strip show and 2/ that he could have gone home and not caved in to peer pressure for the sake of not causing you harm.

This situation could benefit from relationship counseling.

A question- If 50 young men were given free passes to a strip show how many would go and how many wouldn’t?

I suggest roughly 2-5 won’t go on religious/cultural grounds and 2-5 wouldn’t go on relationship dedication grounds. Who is normal out of that group?.

What I’m suggesting is that the “nature” of young men is inground and usually some behaviour is out of bounds. That is common.

That doesn’t make them a bad person , only a person that partners like yourself get disappointed in.

Lots to digest. Others might have different opinions.


beyondblue the frog and the scorpion


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Peppa,

As Tony mentioned it may or may not be classified as cheating depending on who you talk to and what their boundaries are. The problem here is not specifically whether he cheated or not, it's of him breaking your trust. It sounds like you 2 have discussed boundaries and him going to strippers was crossing a boundary of yours that you have already made clear. Regardless of his reasons for going were, be it peer pressure or poor judgement, he knew it would not be ok with you and did it anyway. The thing with boundary setting is that there needs to be consequences for actions, he's crossed your boundary, now what?

Trust isn't an easy thing to get back especially when this isn't the first time. A relationship is supposed to enhance our lives, not make us feel like we're out of control or going crazy. Is it worth sticking with someone who doesn't respect your boundaries? I know it sucks to be the one having to make hard decisions when you weren't the one doing the hurtful thing.

Do you think your communication is good, that you understand each other and this was done knowing how it would make you feel? Or do you think you could communicate boundaries better and maybe he didn't realise what he was doing was a problem? Counseling could potentially help. You know your relationship better than I do. Have you talked to friends who know him? Maybe they have helpful insights for you?

All the best xo

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Peppa62

Internal conflict can be a torturous thing, for sure.

I'll give you my take on cheating in the hope it helps a little:

It's perhaps helps provide more clarity to ask 'What do I feel I have been cheated out of?' as opposed to dealing with the statement 'I believe my partner cheated on me'. 'What do I feel I have been cheated out of?' is what leads us to assess or reassess the roles, standards and direction we set in a relationship. There are a number of reasons people will leave a relationship based on feeling cheated. Some will leave because they feel they've been cheated out of the experience of freely feeling trust in their partner, the experience of feeling deeply and thoughtfully considered and the chance to feel they are in a mature and grounded relationship where standards are kept when they're agreed upon. Some will leave because they've been cheated out of the monogamous relationship they both agreed on in the beginning (their partner has a physical affair). Some will leave because they feel they're being cheated out of a relationship which they thought would be adventurous and exciting, something they could grow through. They leave because their partner now prefers a life of lounging around watching TV, smoking dope.

It would be interesting to hear your partner's response if you were to ask him 'By you going to the strippers, what do you think you've cheated me out of, from my perspective?'

If your partner agreed to the appointed role of 'He who will not go to the strippers' and then he goes, dealing with the disappointment of that role can definitely be tough in a number of ways. I suppose the question is 'Is your partner able to commit to appointments in your relationship, the roles you need him to fill?' He needs to be perfectly honest with himself and with you. If he honestly finds it impossible to commit to some of the roles then the options become about thoughtful compromise (from both parties) or the decision to move on beyond the relationship.

My heart goes out to you Peppa. Take care 🙂

I appreciate so much everyone’s response and feel like it has very much “calmed me down” . No he has not physically cheated on me however yes he has broken my trust. We spoke about it again and he understands that he has hurt me and this takes the trust I have in him back a couple of steps . From his point of view he said he understands that I’m upset but maybe not the level of how upset I am because essentially other than walking through the door of the strip club he “didn’t do anything “ . I don’t know really how to take that ...

however once we spoke about it again I’ve basically said this is it, I’ve forgiven twice now of what I would say are my deal breakers, don’t make me out to be a fool, next time it’s over . He seems to under stand this and I’m going to have to work on trusting him again and not worrying about the next thing that might happen.
I currently have 2 states of mind - one that is like it will be fine and work out . The other is saying run now he’s broken your trust again and each time he’s super apologetic but then it doesn’t change .
It’s hard but a part of me doesn’t want to give up yet however I am feeling very conflicted .

Community Member
I am also aware that people might think cyber cheating and going to the strippers are not “deal breakers” and that’s ok. I suppose there are only so many details that can be laid out on a message

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Peppe62

Some of the deals we make with our partner are going to be big deals because they reflect our integrity. Pepper, we seem to be living in a world where personal integrity appears to be going out the window to some degree. Questionable choices and actions are often excused whilst the challenge remains to be more conscious of those choices and actions.

There is a great book (in my opinion) called 'The Six Pillars of Self-esteem', by Nathaniel Branden. The 6 pillars:

  • The practice of living consciously
  • The practice of self-acceptance
  • The practice of self-responsibility
  • The practice of self-assertiveness
  • The practice of living purposefully and...
  • you guessed it, The practice of personal integrity

As the author says 'These all take practice'.

I believe, 'deal breakers' come about because we expect from others what we ourselves are willing to bring to the deal or relationship.

I believe you to be a very conscious person of great integrity.


It sounds like a good book therising. I feel it would really make someone look at themselves. Not many people enjoy or find it easy to look at themselves. My experience is people find it easier to outwardly blame and find fault in another then look at themselves. That's where the self responsibility comes in. Many just can't practice self responsibility.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thanks for the book recommendation therising, I'm going to check that one out myself 🙂

Peppa, something that flags for me in your response is this "he understands that I’m upset but maybe not the level of how upset I am". Please don't let him invalidate your feelings, he is not allowed to tell you what your response should or should not be, it's a form of gaslighting. What you are feeling is valid.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Peppa62,

I’m the same as you, although he did not physically cheat the first time, he emotionally cheated at best and it could have ultimately led to physical cheating. Whatever it was, there was no good intention for your relationship there. Same with the strippers, it’s not cheating, but it’s also not great behaviour for someone who is supposedly in a committed relationship. That being said, he was honest and upfront about going there, so that shows some element of truthfulness on his part. But I would also be feeling like you, how can you trust that nothing went on. He seems to be putting him self in harm’s way, which is causing friction. That being said, I don’t think they are insurmountable breaches that you can’t move on from together. He still likely has some maturing to do, but if this type of behaviour continues, you can always choose to end it down the track.