I am in dire need of advice from others that have experienced infidelity. My situation is different than most of yours, we are not married, and had only been together 6 months when the cheating happened, which was nearly a year ago now. We were both 29 at the time, I'm 30 now, she is younger, 25 or 26 I think.
In summary, neither of us were really looking for a relationship but after spending a short amount of time together were so surprised by how much we liked eachother and enjoyed eachothers company that we decided to dive in. He is a wildland firefighter and after a few months into the relationship he was suddenly gone for weeks at a time at fires. Much to my surprise this really affected me, brought out a lot of insecurities I didn't know were there. Combined with me seeing signs that he may not be as into the relationship as I was, I started picking a lot of fights, mainly to see where he was at in the relationship to see if it was worth me waiting around while he was gone all summer. During this time he developed feelings for a coworker and thought she might be a better fit since she has a similar lifestyle. He started getting to know her better outside of work platonically. But lied to me about hanging out with her, always saying he was with a male coworker.
Meanwhile fire season came to an end and everything seemed great from my perspective. We started talking about the future, met eachothers families, etc. discussed possibly getting married the next fall. He never mentioned his conflicted feelings or his coworker "friend". While I thought everything was great, he arranged an evening with her last November and hooked up with her "just to see what was there" from his account. I'll never know for sure what he was thinking, but apparently the evening wasn't quite what he was hoping because he decided to end things with her after that.
I found out about a month later after seeing a text message where he was telling his friend what happened with the other girl. I broke it off immediately. I received many apology emails and phone calls asking for a second chance but I basically told him to F off. He started sleeping with the girl during this time by the way which I did not know about until very recently. After a few months he said he had been going to therapy and wanted me to join, I decided to hear him out, but was too hurt to take him back. There were months of back and forth and lies about the girl and drama that I won't bore you with. But after finally getting the truth out and a few couples conciling sessions I have decided to give it another try, nearly 10 months after DD. The problem is that the hurt is still there, and the lingering fear that I am making a huge mistake and will get hurt again, when there's more at stake. Does anyone have advice on how to navigate this time and reach peace on a decision in either direction? We are continuing couples conciling which should help, but sometimes I feel like I need a reality check that the therapist won't give me. I know good people make mistakes, but will he do it again? Is him reconciling with me really just redemption for his mistake or is it really because he wants to be with me, Any insight, opinions, and advice would be much appreciated.