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Parallax - Advice

December 2, 2002

Together in body

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have been dating my boyfriend for two years. Recently we took a three-week break from each other. He wrote me a letter during the break and told me how much he loved me and needed me. He said he realized how much I mean to him and how he is not the same person without me. But he also said he slept with someone else during break. I took him back, and now I love him more than ever. I know he loves me and I know he wants to be with me for the rest of my life. But I feel so betrayed and I don't know how to get over this. I want to move on and focus on the present, but my mind won't let it go. How can I trust him again? How can I let this girl out of my head? I really need to change before I ruin this relationship. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Monday-morning,

Said vision is never a good one. And, no matter how hard you try, you will always think about it and be upset. The one thing you do have going for you is time. Once enough time passes, you'll finally let it go. But there is no replacement for that.

The most you can do is try to be constructive about letting it go. What works here is different for everyone. You might need to know all the details and ask all sorts of questions about it, so that you aren't continuing to wonder. Or you might prefer to just shut it down.

My guess is—given that you recognize how upset you are—it is better to have it out completely. Have an all-out conversation about every aspect of the cheating. Figure out in your mind why it will not happen again. Then start to be comfortable with yourself and your beau. Beyond that, the rest will just take time.

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His view:

Dear Monday-morning,

Think about it this way: would you rather be the girl he slept with or the one to whom he wrote the letter?

Or think about this: lots of people go through this, except they find out about the little incident by accident or by spying. They don't have the benefit of their partner coming out and telling them that they slept with someone else (while they were officially on break, one might add.) The fact that he felt guilty enough to tell you (when it wasn't even officially cheating) is a very convincing sign that he is being honest.

Finally, realize this: there's no use trying to 'focus on the present' when you haven't figured out the past. You need to revisit the whole episode with him. Ask him for more details on the how and the why, the where and the when. Ask him if it was better with her than it is with you. Ask him all the questions that you haven't dared to ask yet, and make sure he looks you in the eye when he answers.

If you are honest with yourself...if you ask all the questions and listen carefully to all the answers, then maybe—maybe—you'll start to get over it.

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