Recently, I’ve found myself trying to work things out with an ex that at one point cheated on me. It’s a highly sensitive topic for us, and one that’s taking a lot of effort to work through. So to my ex, and all other remorseful cheaters out there trying to ﬁx their mistakes, I beg of you — eliminate these phrases from your vocabulary:
1. “Stop being so insecure.”
This phrase gets me the most irritated. I won’t deny that I am now insecure. I am! But I wasn’t always this way. Remember when we first met? I was a college senior, with a larger-than-life ego who was ready to take on the world. Then with one stupid night, you successfully made me more insecure than I was in middle school when I had neon purple glasses, acne, and no friends. I won’t be insecure forever, I know I’m better than that. But please, you need to be a little more sympathetic to the fact that my raging insecurities are a direct result of your own actions.
2. “I don’t do titles.”
Well if you want us to work out, you’re going to have to start doing them. Piggybacking off the insecurity issue, it’s something that would help move on from it. Yeah sure, I know — how good do “titles” really help? Not much, by today’s standards. But if it’s one small thing that would help me, you should be willing to meet me halfway and give me the security blanket that a title would be.
3. “You have nothing to worry about!”
You’re right. I probably don’t have anything to worry about anymore. I showed you before I’m not afraid to drop everything and leave you, and I think you know I will do it again if any more issues like this arise. But after you lie to someone, you lose credibility. You lose all of it. Simply saying this means virtually nothing. Earning back my trust is a process. I need to see that I have nothing to worry about, before I can start to believe your word again.
4. “Leave the past in the past.”
I have a hard time with this. In a way, I understand where you’re coming from. It would be a great help to our relationship if I could just stop bringing up every transgression you’ve done when I drink too much. But to leave the past behind would also be forgetting all of the GOOD things in our past — all the reasons why we’re trying so hard to pick the pieces of a broken relationship up and mend them. Both the good and the bad things in our past led us to where we are now. Compromises are a huge part of successful relationship, and in order to have that we need to agree to not forget the past entirely, but to instead move on and learn from it.
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog.