Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm nearly 30 and have been living with my boyfriend for several years. Last year we encountered a rough patch and I felt neglected and unloved, as if all the respect had gone from our relationship. Unfortunately this time I got very drunk and kissed another man. I confessed and times were very difficult for a while but eventually my boyfriend decided to forgive me. The problem is that over a year later, he has not actually forgiven me. Most days he will refer to what I did and how much I hurt him. I have apologized over and over again and tried to modify my behavior to show him that I am truly sorry and to try and regain his trust. I don't want to lose him but it is so hard knowing how much he is still hurting and also it is not easy living with constant reminders that I am the bad guy. I just don't know what to do for the best.
I'm sorry you're having a tough time, but it's a good lesson that actions, especially drunken actions, have consequences. Modifying your behavior is a great idea. I'll give you some suggestions on how to apologize, too.
You made the mistake of giving your boyfriend a great excuse for not dealing with his own behavior, because he can focus on yours. Don't defend yourself. Admit you were wrong, but stop begging him to forgive you. Instead, gather yourself together and say:
"That was my mistake, but I apologized and have changed my behavior, and you said you forgave me. So, was that true or not? If you want to leave, go ahead, but if you want this relationship, we have to change how we deal with each other."
If he says he won't change, then you have to let him go, because as it stands now, your relationship doesn't work. If he says he's willing to discuss doing things differently, then counseling would be a very good idea. "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find a good counselor.
"Couples Can Cooperate for Success" will give you help in re-balancing your relationship. How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free will show you, in detail, how to negotiate and solve problems together so you can create a good partnership. Share the articles with your boyfriend, and hold your ground.
For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com
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