I am writing this because I am truly interested and in need of advice from all angles.
This is a very complex situation. Its a bit of a read. I'll try to make it brief, but if your truly interested in helping, I ask you please bear with me.
My wife of two years recently cheated on me. Here is some background She is 21, I am 24. I knew her as a neighbor friend since she was 15. Eventually we started dating 4 years after meeting her when she was 15. We dated for 6 months (yes it was rushed). We both got married young despite some of our family's slight disaproval and desire to move out of our conservative homes. We were both raised pretty sheltered. We were each others first love, I was her first everything. Our bond was strong, mostly due to the fact that we have gone through so much shit together through our marriage. She came from a pretty dysfunctional home which resulted in a lot of insecurities, as I began to discover when we were married.
Things were (seemingly) OK until a few months ago. We are both college students and had a pretty solid goal together. However, during this time we both grew distant. I would get so focused on my school that we stopped making date nights, or spending quality time together. Sex became just sex, rather than intamacy. We both stopped communicating like we used to. It seems we lost the focus of our marriage and felt almost like room mates. Asides from this, I was not insecure about our love for each other at the time.
Anyways... My wife was a very shy person, mostly due to the lack of socializing with other people (I used to suffer the same thing). I recommended that she hang out at school and make friends by opening up and by small-talk. Well, she met a friend in one of her classes, we will call this guy "Dave". My wife and "Dave" were class partners for a lot of stuff and I noticed they began to hang out a lot more, and as you probably can already tell. "Dave" and her became friends.
My wife asked me if it was OK if she became friends with a "guy friend". I was not insecure about our relationship, so I said yes. I began noticing they would hang out more frequently. My wife, who used to hang out with me during our school breaks would be found talking to "Dave" or hanging with him. These breaks would turn into going downtown to get coffee with friends, or "Dave" buying her food or coffee. I began to get jealous and began to resent saying it was OK to hang out with him. I got angry at her one time for not letting me know she was going out to get coffee with "Dave" and his friends because I got worried when she wasn't at school when I was done with my classes. Normally my wife and I stay in constant communication, so this unusual behavior made me uncomfortable.
Now, at this point I told her I was not ok with her doing that. She said she was sorry and would stay in communication with me and that I needed to "Trust her". So after that I realized I really did need to trust her and did so.
To make a long story short, a few weeks later my wife asked if it was OK to go to his house to help him with homework. This is where it happened. She told me she would be home at 9pm, yet didnt come home until 4 am in the morning. I want to believe my wife went over there with pure intentions, and her texts to me (before 9pm) assured me she did and she was coming home.
Anyways, she cheated on me there and I suspected she did when she came home. She didnt admit it to me, but I knew something was up. I later found out through online messages by reading conversations between them. At this point I lost it and became very angry and told her she needed to come home and pack her stuff, and leave. She left to go stay with her family and eventually with her friends (not live with "Dave")
I don't want to go into irrevalent details but between this time of me telling her to leave and to the point of this writing, we had very little to no contact. I didn't want to see her, I felt extremely betrayed and her cheating and lying destroyed the very core of my being that made me strong. I filed divorce papers and felt like this was the end. I wanted nothing to do with her. As time progressed, I began to look at our marriage and what mistakes were made. After nearly 2 months of no contact and me really trying to move on, she reached out to me. She wanted to talk to me and I wanted to talk to her. We tried talking over social media sites. I wanted her to know the pain I was going through, so I would bring up her cheating and tried to understand why she did it. It mostly ended up where we both argued or played the blame game. We both decided it would be best to meet up in person.
We just recently met up in person and decided it was best to meet in a public place to have a civil discussion. We decided to be honest with each other and talk about what happened. We talked about things, we actually had a good time. We walked around the park, railroad tracks, and just enjoyed ourselves like we used to. It was like we were dating again.
As angry as I am about my wife cheating on me, and how deep of a scar it left, I still Love her. I never stopped loving her and she admitted she never stopped loving me. She saw how much pain she put me through and the reason she cheated on me was because of a drunken mistake and naive decisions. But at the same time she admitted she developed feelings for this guy. She says this guy does not mean as much to her as I do, especially now that she realizes he isnt the person she thought he was. I think she feels kind of used. I am not defending her actions for cheating on me, or justifying them, but I failed as a husband in many ways. Most of them were due to BOTH of us losing focus on each other and not respecting each other. We are both young and didnt treat our marriage like should have been treated. We didn't nurture it like it should have been. I asked her "How can you love me if you were willing to do that to me?". She said she has no words, but that she is very sorry and she wants to make things right. I told her that there are going to be conditions if she wants to come back and restore things with me. (1) Cut "Dave" out of our lives. He cannot be in it AT ALL. Even on her social media. She said she is willing to do what it takes to fix this. She told me she fucked up really bad and she hates her self.
These past few days, she keeps wanting to meet up with me and spend time with me. They have been bittersweet. I love it, but it also brings me great pain as it reminds me of what we had and what we lost due to one selfish event.
My friends tell me "Once a cheater, always a cheater". But I'm not so sure. I want to believe that instead of destroying our marriage, it could give us a chance to start over and do things the right way and to realize the mistakes we both made. Our divorce papers are signed, they are not finalized yet, but will default soon. She told me she wants to let it go through, so we can start over. A part of me believes her. I want to believe her and give her another chance. I would be willing to start over with her. My heart tells me to do this.
I just need some opinions of this matter. Am I thinking rationally? Do you think that she show signs of someone truly sorry? Should I give her another chance? Is there hope?
If your still reading this, I applaud you. I will try to respond and keep you posted if you want to know how it turns out.