Q: My girlfriend and I had been dating for about five years when I found out that she had cheated on me. Needless to say, the news came as a huge shock, but at the end of the day I decided to stick out with her. She promises it only happened one time, and after more than half a decade together, I wasn't ready to throw in the towel.
It's been a few months now, and things have been pretty great. We're communicating better than ever, and while we still have some issues to work out, I generally don't have any major complaints about the relationship.
Except one. The person she was unfaithful with was a close friend of hers. She has not been in contact with him as far as I know, but the other day we got into an argument when she told me she planned on wishing him a happy birthday on Facebook.
She says it's hard to imagine not ever being friends with him again. For my part, the thought of them hanging out or communicating, even if only on Facebook, brings back some pretty unpleasant memories. I don't think it's unreasonable to not want her to have any sort of relationship with him.
We've gone back and forth on this a lot, but neither of us seems to understand where the other person is coming from. Is there a right answer here?
– Confused, Somerville
A: I have a hard time believing that she doesn't understand where you're coming from, Confused. I mean, she betrayed you with this man. If she didn't think that the Facebook post would hurt you, she probably wouldn't have brought it up for discussion.
This is what happens when you cheat. You almost always wind up losing something. In her case, it's a friendship -- or the love and trust of her boyfriend of five years. She put herself in this position.
Technically, there's no right answer here. This is just about what feels right to you. You've decided (I think) that in order to keep this relationship going, you need her to cut ties with her friend, at least for right now. She's attempting to negotiate different terms, but you're not willing to budge.
If that's the case, all you can do is explain your needs and see if she can meet them. Remind her that the cheat is recent news, at least to you. Your needs might change in another six months. Hers might too.
For now, during this vulnerable time, you just can't deal with her communicating with this guy, not even on Facebook. Seems fair to me. She can't have it all.
Readers? Is there a right and wrong here? Should he compromise? Is a Facebook message so bad? Will his feelings about this change in time? What's her side of the story? 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.