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Annie’s Mailbox: Betrayed trust may never heal

Mon., Sept. 21, 2009

Dear Annie: I am 26 years old, and earlier this year I met the man of my dreams. “Stu” is wonderful and caring. However, I made a big mistake.

Recently, I was drinking heavily and ended up messing around with Stu’s best friend. I didn’t sleep with the guy, but Stu caught us kissing and broke up with me. I apologized to Stu numerous times, and he agreed to take me back but said that was my “one screw-up” and I’m not entitled to another.

We went out the next night for dinner, but by the end of the evening, he was acting strange. It turns out he had gotten a message on Facebook saying I had cheated on him every time he was out of town and that I was a slut. I have never done anything other than what I already confessed to.

Unfortunately, Stu believes it. What else can I do? – Not That Guilty

Dear Not: You have undermined Stu’s trust to the point where he isn’t likely to believe you. And quite frankly, even if he takes you back, he will never be entirely sure you are telling him the truth and it will always be an issue. You can try couples counseling, but Stu must be willing. We know it’s a tough lesson to learn, but if Stu cannot get past this, you are better off starting fresh with someone else.

Dear Annie: I am a divorced schoolteacher with a 5-year-old daughter. John is a Protestant minister who has never married. Although John has not yet formally proposed, our relationship seems to be on a fast track to marriage. The only problem is, I have never been a religious person and cannot envision myself as a minister’s wife. What do you suggest? – Troubled in Ohio

Dear Troubled: While it makes things easier, one doesn’t need to be deeply religious to be organize a youth program, be a good listener and lend a helping hand where needed. Ask John specifically what religious responsibilities you would have, and then decide whether you can handle the situation. If you truly believe you cannot be the partner he needs, please don’t marry him.

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