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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spring Break

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I was with my first (and only) boyfriend for three years, but after an argument, he broke up with me. I was heartbroken, but then a week later he announced he wanted to get back together. Before I leapt back into the relationship, I wanted to be sure I wasn’t setting myself up for another disaster, so we decided to go on a “break” and see how we felt. During our few weeks apart, he was really bugging me, asking me nearly every day if I had made up my mind, because he only had eyes for me.

Eventually, I told him that I’d like to start over and take things slowly. He agreed and was ecstatic. However, shortly afterwards, I found out that he had slept with a mutual friend during our short “break.” I don’t know what to think; technically, we weren’t dating at the time. He has cheated before, but I gave him a second chance. Should I reconsider my decision?

Lonely and Confused

Dear L&C,

You made the right decision by taking a break from him — but was it really a break? When a relationship enters troubled waters, it’s often smart to take a breather, clear your head and search your heart, but how could you do that with him pressuring you for answers?

Taking a break can create gray area and requires some strategic planning. Couples will often limit communication during their time apart, and they generally set ground rules for seeing other people. If you failed to do that, I would ordinarily say that he has a leg to stand on. But in his case, he should have told you about his sexual encounter before he allowed you to rekindle your relationship.

Some people say, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I don’t know if that’s always true, but with his cheating past and current dishonesty, you need to take a real break from this relationship. Tell him you want a month apart with limited contact. You say this is your first and only relationship — perhaps you should agree to see other people and go out on some dates yourself. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and not all of them cheat and lie.


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