When I first met my boyfriend, I told him about my many escapades with couples and other woman. At the time I had no problem with having sex with multiple partners and we even discussed having an open relationship. At the time, he said no to an open relationship and that he didn't want me having sex with other people without him and especially not other men. I was ok with that and kept having sex with other woman on the table.
fast forward a couple of years. He started actively looking for a woman for us to have sex with. At first, he was doing this secretively, but when I called him out on it, he started really getting into it and having me involved. At this point I realized that the trauma i had with my ex husband created a situation where I didn't want to have sex with him and another woman. At least not the woman he was finding. It just felt odd. We ended up having a big blow out with a woman he was trying to get us to hook up with and the subject was closed. At this point I will admit I wasn't handling the situation very well, I was holding back how I felt more than having an open dialogue with him.
fast forward about 6 months...I caught him cheating on me. He said it was only "kinky talk" and nothing more. He said that he felt bamboozled by me because at the beginning of our relationship I had indicated I would invite couples. He said he understood that people change but he got caught up with this woman and it went farther than he realized. he made a mistake and he was sorry. At this point he blocked her phone calls (but he remained facebook friends with her).
fast forward a year...she starts Facebook messaging him. Now I know this because I no longer trust him and I check his phone from time to time. He doesn't change his passwords and he leaves everything open with the knowledge that I do this. so she starts messaging him, he's responding...not rude, but not overly friendly either. I admit, he's not really engaging her. During these texts it's reveled that they did indeed have physical sex and that it wasn't just "kinky talk". I confronted him with this information and told him he needed to end things with her. I also said I wanted to go to couples therapy (which he agreed to). then covid happened and the session was cancelled and we kinda moved on. well...maybe he moved on. lately, i have been feeling bad about it all again and i told him, he didn't really say anything except he was sorry for making me feel bad. I checked his IM and she's back talking to him AND now she's inviting him to her house to get laid by him. again, he isn't responding to encourage this kind of talk, but he's also not telling her to go F off.
Here's my dilemma - I understand people make mistakes, I've never cheated on him, but I have cheated before with other partners. It happens. I'm trying to regain trust with him, I love him so much and I know he loves me. But if he's not willing to remove her from his life how can I possibly begin to regain trust in him. He says he wants to officially end it with her in a kind way but at this point I feel like it's her or me. I pretty much said that. I don't want to end it with him, our lives are so entangled and I do love him but I can't keep doing this. I have to figure out how to trust him again OR accept he's a cheater and move on from the anger, or leave the relationship. I wish we could have gone to therapy, that would have helped a lot.
Regardless of the past, you're more than correct in stating that you need to regain the trust that you had for your relationship to survive. Your man needs to understand that although he's only 'talking' to this woman, it's this action that keeps the door open to further cheating and generates further angst and doubt for you. Rather than be kind to her, he needs to be true to himself and once he does this, then you will have an idea as to where your relationship is headed. He needs to understand that respect in any relationship is a two way street and that it's earned rather than expected. Sure, you can accept that he's a cheater, but you'll never have the predictability of a loving and secure relationship that you now need.
Surely there's a therapist who can connect with you guys 'face to face' online?
The thing is, I can't accept that he is a cheater. It wouldn't happen, so he either has to make ammends and completely end it with her or I have to move on. Starting therapy online is very unconfortable with me. But honestly, it might be the only option at this point if we are going to save our relationship.