Remember to buy your tickets for the Love Letters/Movies event. Film critic Wesley Morris and I will be posting our favorite romantic movies soon. You'll vote on them bracket-style, and we'll screen the winning film Dec. 10.
We have a special guest on Love Letters today -- Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins. Milan, 22, is the second athlete in my "Sports People Trying to Give Love Advice" series, which featured Manny Delcarmen earlier this year.
Milan answered some letters on Friday, the day after he earned a hat trick against Florida. (I hope I said that right.) Turns out, Milan is not only great at hockey -- he's also a natural at giving love advice. He oozed empathy. He was a natural. I hope he joins us again (and I hope his teammates don't make fun of him too much).
Q: So my boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. Last year, we went through a little a rough patch. (OK, "little" might not be the best way to describe it.) He cheated on me twice, and the only reason why I found out is because I saw a text he sent to his friend about making out with two girls at a bar (so that's four different women). I confronted him about the text and he apologized and said it would never happen again. We had many discussions about it, and eventually we ended up getting back together (at this point I only knew about him kissing the two girls).
A month or two later, it came up in a conversation that he had slept with two separate women during that time as well. I wasn't really sure what to make of it. We had already worked through the first issue and were trying to put it in the past, yet, here it was again, cropping up worse than before. I was devastated. But I truly believed that he was sorry (not just sorry for getting caught), and that he was/is trying to be a better person.
But it's a year later and I still find it hard to trust him when he goes out with his friends. When we are together, everything feels great. But as soon as we are apart, I just get this gut feeling that we aren't right for each other -- that there isn't a future for us. He's my best friend, and when its good, its great, but when its bad, it's heartbreaking and painful. I'm obviously not over what happened last year.
I know the obvious answer is to break up. If I read this, that would totally be my advice. It's harder when you are in the situation. I'm not worried about being alone or not finding someone else because I am confident that I could find someone (and he's my first boyfriend, so I was alone for 21 years before meeting him, so I'm not worried about that either). But it has been three years and we are starting to talk about marriage, and I just can't figure out if I want that or not. I can picture our life together, and in a perfect world, we could have something great. But if I feel this way now about trusting him, won't it only get worse over time? Is there a way to fix this? Is there a tangible way to work on my trust issues?
– Jaded by Love, Boston
A: JBL, your boyfriend has been a pretty terrible best friend. He lied to you. He only told the truth after getting caught. Then, after telling the truth, he lied to you again. He cheated with four women. You can't undo that, certainly not within a year.
You don't want to start a marriage with big doubts, and at this point, I don't even know why marriage is on the table. Yes, breaking up with your closest companion is easier said than done, but that's why they say that breaking up is hard to do. Because it is. Because yes, you lose the bad, but you also have to say goodbye to the good.
Is there a way to fix the relationship? Not right now. Right now, you have to focus on you -- doing all that you can to experience what's out there so that you know what you deserve. Maybe you'll find that trust isn't so hard to come by when you're with someone who doesn't make out with girls at bars. Maybe you'll find that your boyfriend makes a better acquaintance than romantic partner. Or maybe, after some big learning experiences, the two of you will grow up and be together again. Maybe.
But for now, you're just a young woman who's dating a man who hasn't proved his worth. You don't have "trust issues." You just don't trust him. This isn't your problem to work on. If your gut is telling you that you have reason to worry, please listen to it.
Readers? Should the letter writer stay with her boyfriend? She says that she would advise someone in her shoes to bail, so why doesn't she? Can cheaters change? Can trust be restored? Thoughts on my advice? Milan's? Milan vs. Manny? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.