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Dear Sahaj: I have been dating a man for a year now and we agreed to be exclusive in our relationship very early on. Recently, I found out that he had been dating another woman, along with me, for three months. Even though he seems genuinely sorry for hurting me, and he immediately broke it off with the other woman, I’m having a hard time trusting him and getting over what seems like a terrible violation. No matter what I say, it still happened, and I am angry and humiliated. Should I give it another chance?
Upset: Of course you feel betrayed—you made an agreement, which included a mutual expectation not to date other people, and he broke it. Just because he wants a second chance doesn’t mean he’s entitled to it. It is your prerogative to end the relationship and decide that you are not ready to forgive him.
Think about why you want to be with someone who cheated on you and how you can realistically move forward, if at all. Giving it another chance takes trust, and trust is a leap of faith. You’re unlikely to be as vulnerable if you don’t feel emotionally secure with your partner.
keep going Sahaj Kaur Kohlikeep going
Does your partner take responsibility for what they did and the pain they caused you? A true apology is more than just being sorry. It’s about repairing. How are you working to repair what you broke in the relationship? Are there other ways he cheated on you? If so, this could be a sign of a larger problem that may be beyond repair.
How you found out about the other woman is also important. You say he seems sorry for hurting you, but is he really sorry he got caught? If he is defensive or reluctant to accept responsibility for his behavior, it may indicate a lack of care or consideration for how he hurt you. This does not bode well for things to be different.
How has this betrayal changed how you behave with your partner? For example, are you doing things that are rooted in a lack of trust, like trying to catch him in a lie or wanting to go through his phone? Like broken glass, broken trust in a relationship can be mended or it can slowly spread and eventually unravel.
If you feel like your conversations with him are going in circles and are deepening the wound, it may indicate the need for couple’s counseling or that you should break up. You have to be honest with yourself because you deserve to feel confident in your relationship.
Dear Sahaj: How can I reconcile that my ambition for my career means giving up my personal life? In pursuit of my career goals, I am currently taking temporary jobs that will in the long run benefit my ultimate career goals. This means, however, not staying in one place for too long, which makes a stable relationship almost impossible.
Climbing the ladder: There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but you wouldn’t be asking this question if you didn’t feel internally conflicted about your choice. When we want to reconcile two things, it often means that they are not currently living in harmony.
Focusing on your values is even more important than having goals. What is important to you and how do your choices, behaviors and life reflect that? If you are not sure, think about when you are most satisfied. You may realize that your career is more important than friendship or love right now, and that’s okay. Values can evolve, but by gaining clarity, you also gain a better understanding of what’s important to you and what you’re not willing to sacrifice.
However, if you find that you feel like something is missing, be creative about how to nurture what is important to you. This might look like finding time to talk or see friends, taking care of yourself, or even going on a date. I think you can prioritize your career while having a personal life; you just have to decide to make time for it.
The illusion that when we reach a goal we will finally achieve happiness is called the fallacy of arrival. If I’ve learned anything in my work, it’s that most of us expect that if we just do one thing, the next thing will fall into place. For some goals, like climbing the corporate ladder or dating before marriage, this makes sense. However, life does not always run like a train on a track. Sometimes life experiences happen in tandem.
Have a question for Sahaj? Ask him here.
I’m not suggesting you stop working towards your goals, I just don’t want you to wake up one day and wish you had spent more time on other things earlier. I worry that your goals are distracting you from other parts of your life that are also important, like relationships, community, and balance.
Ask yourself: How long am I willing to do this? What is the ultimate goal? It’s up to you to determine what you’re willing to compromise on and for how long. We make time for the things we really want. If you’re not taking advantage of this time, ask yourself if you’re making excuses and if you need to change.
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