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You Asked: We Both Cheated

Dear Sugar,

I've been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. When we first started dating, we were both beginning graduate school at different universities, though they were only a few minutes away from each other. As a result, even though we were dating, we spent a lot of time socializing apart from each other. During the first five months, I cheated on him repeatedly. I made out with a bunch of different guys until I finally woke up to how shameful and inconsiderate of a person I was, and I broke up with him. I spent some time on my own, examined myself long and hard, and got my act together. Eventually we got back together and I haven't cheated on him since. We're stronger than ever now, but I know it's only because he has no idea what I did to him.

So, keeping my history in mind, can you advise me on a situation that has just come up between us? Last night he got drunk at a party and kissed a random girl. He called and left me a message about it right away. He was extremely remorseful and begged me for forgiveness. My friends who were at the party as well told me that the girl was all over him, he was being egged on by some of his friends, and when it happened, he pulled away quickly and was mortified. I forgive him, of course — how can I not considering all the times when I behaved just like that girl? — but I don't know what to say to him about it. If I tell him it's not a big deal, that these things happen, I know he'll question my morals because he believes I don't stand for cheating. But if I say to him that that sort of situation can't happen again, I'll be a hypocrite. I know in my heart that I could never claim to be above that kind of behavior, so what do I do? Tell him the truth? I feel that I've changed, but does that give me the right to expect better from him? — Double Standard Debbie

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Dear Double Standard Debbie,

While I'm not an advocate of lying, I think you're better off staying mum about what you did in the past — what he doesn't know won't hurt him, as long as it's no longer playing a part in your relationship or weighing heavily on your conscience. Now, I can completely understand why you're leaning toward letting him off the hook here, but instead of doing so because of what you've done in the past, forgive him because he has been forthcoming and honest.

I don't stand for cheating either, Debbie, so perhaps this is a good time to talk about your relationship and make sure you're on the same page. Since you've both had slip-ups, be sure this relationship is in fact what you both want. Of course people make mistakes, but when you love someone, I don't think mistakes like these should happen. Good luck.


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