Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for 10 years. We’ve had a lot of trials but always managed to hold onto each other and weather the storms. The last major trial was that I cheated on him with one of our best friends. I feel terrible about it; in fact, I think I may have managed to break my heart more than my boyfriend’s. Anyway, he says that he still loves me, and we’re still together. But we no longer share a bed; we no longer share much of anything, honestly, except a roof and a rare romantic night now and then. Should I let him go or just give him more time to truly forgive me? I love this man beyond measure, but if I’m destined to be hurt, I’d like to just get it over with now. —Guilt-Ridden Boyfriend
Dear Guilt-Ridden: Betrayal hurts. Sometimes it inflicts wounds too deep for either partner to adequately treat on his or her own, no matter how badly they want to make it better. A couples therapist can help you begin the real healing. Make an appointment today.
Dear Annie: Long story short, my husband has one sister who just thinks that she can do no wrong. “Kathy” and her husband are very strict with their kids and think we are not strict enough with ours. I hear through the grapevine that Kathy says nasty things about my parenting style. My daughter had a boyfriend when she was 14, and Kathy didn’t approve of that. But as long as her parents (us) know, then what does it matter to her? In my view, Kathy needs to tend to her own family, who are far from perfect — believe me. I just want her to mind her own business and keep her thoughts to herself because what we do at our house is under our roof. No one pays the bills here but my husband, and I couldn’t care less about what others think. Why does she think it’s her place to constantly criticize our family? — Big Sigh
Dear Big Sigh: It’s interesting that you say you couldn’t care less what anyone thinks, when your entire letter says otherwise. Quit letting Kathy live rent-free in your head. Ask the messenger to stop relaying her supposed opinions to you. For all you know, this person could be mischaracterizing her statements just to gin up drama. In any case, you know that you’re taking care of your own, and that’s what matters.
Dear Annie: I am a licensed professional counselor who has a private practice in Oklahoma. I read the letter from “Twice Bitten,” who was terrified to kiss women after his last girlfriend intentionally bit his tongue just to be abusive. You recommended that he go to therapy to help process the abusive relationship, and I appreciated that, as I feel that it’s always good to seek professional help when needed. But I wanted to add that sometimes when a person rethinks what happened, they can look at it from a different perspective, and it helps control their reactive emotions connected to the issue. “Twice Bitten” might want to consider this aspect. As long as you allow your ex’s actions to affect your thought process and reactions, they are controlling you. I absolutely do not allow this in my life by simply thinking about them controlling me and telling myself no one has the right to do that. This doesn’t always work, but you’d be surprised how often it does. — Kathi H.
Dear Kathi: Sometimes, little adjustments to our thought patterns really can make a big impact. Thanks for sharing your professional insights.