Dear Abby: My boyfriend of four years recently admitted that he cheated on me six months ago. I was blindsided. Until the day he told me, I thought we shared everything. The hollowness and betrayal I feel is sometimes overwhelming.
He explained that at the time, he was dealing with substance issues and depression, which I was also unaware of. Both have worsened in recent months. How could I have been so blind?
To complicate things further, I have a 6-year-old son who has grown to love this man as a father because my ex-husband walked out on us when he was born. He has been an amazing role model for my son, and overall, a wonderful partner — or so I thought.
He says he’s heartbroken over the pain he’s caused me. He recently started receiving treatment for his depression through medication and therapy, and he has begged me to go to couples therapy to rebuild the trust that’s been lost.
I was taught to believe that cheating is the end of a relationship, no ifs, ands or buts. I don’t want to end the relationship, but I’m struggling with the decision because of what I was taught, especially when I confide in friends and they tell me to dump him.
I wish I knew what to do. I need an objective opinion. Can a relationship survive such a betrayal? Can we be happy again?
Hollow in New York
Dear Hollow: The answers to your questions are yes and yes — especially if both partners are fully committed and prepared to get couples therapy from a licensed professional. If you love this man and want to give this relationship a chance, quit confiding in your friends and start talking with the therapist. Your boyfriend is remorseful, he is also in treatment, and he is trying his best to get better and work things out. Please give him the opportunity to do that because, if you do, your story may have a happy ending.
Dear Abby: I am a 26-year-old single woman living alone during quarantine. I have no family who live in-state.
Admittedly, I’ve struggled with loneliness during quarantine, and my family knows this. For weeks, I have been fending off my dad’s attempts to fly cross-country and visit. I don’t think it’s safe and have told him no.
Today, he told me that he is making plane reservations, it doesn’t matter what I say or want. I know this comes from a place of love, but he is completely disregarding my feelings, especially since I have been extremely careful in quarantine and he hasn’t been. Is there a way I can keep this visit from happening?
Home Alone in Rhode Island
Dear Home Alone: Yes, there is. Tell your father plainly you are afraid of being exposed to the virus because he hasn’t been as careful about exposure as you have been. If he still insists, tell him he must bring with him proof that he has tested negative, and even then you won’t see him unless you are both masked, gloved and practicing social distancing. He should also not plan on staying with you.
If that doesn’t discourage him, when he arrives, see him outside and remain 6 feet apart in case he has been exposed at the airport or on the plane.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.