Cheating takes its toll

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.

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. Whoever did this put in details that sounded as if they knew me, but the entire message was a lie. I have never done anything other than what I already confessed to.

Based on the details given, I think it was posted by someone in Stu’s family who doesn’t want us to be together. Unfortunately, Stu believes it. I am heartbroken and desperate for his forgiveness. I want him back in my life. 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 counselling, 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: Last year at my 10-year high-school reunion, I saw “John” for the first time since graduation. We began dating shortly after and now see each other several times a week, even though we live 150 miles apart.

I am a divorced schoolteacher with a five-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. John seems to think I’ll come around in time, but I’m not sure. What do you suggest? — Troubled in Ohio

Dear Troubled: You may have an unrealistic idea of what it means to be a minister’s wife. While it makes things easier, one doesn’t need to be deeply religious to 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.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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