relationship advice

[Two Pronged] I cheated. Should I work on my relationship or let it go?

Margarita Holmes

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Two Pronged] I cheated. Should I work on my relationship or let it go?
She's now unsure if she wants to marry her boyfriend. What should our letter-sender do?

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Hi Dr. Holmes and Mr Baer,

I have a foreigner boyfriend of five years. We met in college during his last semester so we’ve only been really together for a few months. We have been in a long distance relationship ever since. I would travel to see him 3/4 times a year.

We were okay with that until a few years ago when I cheated with someone from work. I was a very committed person before all this happened. I thought I was incapable of cheating, but what happened already happened.

The affair only lasted a few months and has ended. I am still in a relationship with my foreigner boyfriend. We talk about getting married after the pandemic, but I am not sure anymore.

I don’t know if it’s because of the distance or because I cannot be honest with him anymore after I cheated. I don’t know if I still love him genuinely or if I really want to marry him. He can feel this change in my feelings and has brought up the topic a few times. I dismissed it, pretending to be okay.

I am not breaking up with him is because I want to get married someday. Personality wise, he is good husband material.

If I let him go, I might regret it. But if I marry him, I might also regret it. I no longer feel spark or love like before. I do not want to admit to him that I cheated regardless if we do end up getting married or breaking up.

One, I find it shameful.

Second, it would really end our relationship.

If I am honest with myself, I think I want to enjoy being single and meeting new people for a few more years before getting married, but I’m worried I wouldn’t find a guy as good as my current boyfriend. What should I do?

Should I come out to my boyfriend and be honest, let him decide what will happen to our relationship?

Should I work on reviving the love I had for him? Is that even possible?

Thank you, Sara.

Dear Sara,

Thank you for your email.

What is striking at first instance is the almost total lack of detail regarding your cheating. You clearly have a great deal of angst over having cheated and its effect on your primary relationship but the reasons why you cheated would probably help you cast valuable light on whether your relationship with your boyfriend (let’s call him Dan) has a future.

Let’s look at your questions:

Should I come out to my boyfriend and be honest, let him decide what will happen to our relationship? Let’s face it, coming out to Dan and being honest is not necessarily the same thing as letting him decide the fate of your relationship by himself, unless of course you know that any admission of guilt on your part will trigger an immediate rupture in which case you have effectively ended matters yourself.

If, however, Dan will be amenable at least to a civilized discussion, then honesty and a joint decision as to the fate of your relationship would be a sensible goal.

Should I work on reviving the love I had for him? Is that even possible? From what you have told us, that boat seems to have sailed since you say there is no spark or love. The world is full of men who are good husband material but you need a man who ignites that spark if you want a chance of a fulfilling marriage.

“Until death do us part” is likely to be a long time and it will seem a lot longer if you don’t love him.

Best of luck,

JAF Baer

Dear Sara,

Thank you very much for your unrelentingly honest letter. Not very many women would admit that they too believe that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

You are brave enough to admit a major reason for staying with him is your fear you may not find anyone else to marry. I am sure, however, that this courage, honesty (and hence humility) within you is attractive enough to other men who will fall in love. And/or your strength of character will bring about sufficient realization that you are happy/content, even if you remain single.

You are ashamed about your affair, and yet it may have crystallized your dilemma.

Your boyfriend wants you to get married, but you want more time to enjoy your single life. You fear you do not love your boyfriend the way a future wife “should” and while you feel that maybe you should try and bring that sort of love back again, part of you doesn’t really see to want this revival.

I daresay, you needed this affair to happen.

It was almost as if a subconscious part of yourself saw that something “drastic” enough needed to happen to help you face the truth. Forgive my delving into psychoanalytic territory, as opposed to evidence-based research.

Many times in my clinical experience, I find what psychoanalysis sets great store by – your unconscious past, family dynamics, transference issues – are sometimes the best explanation for something a person has done.

You were a faithful person before this, but what caused the change? This was not something you got into willy nilly. I say this because this was the first time you had been unfaithful and second, there were pretty heavy repercussions.

If you listened to yourself in this letter, I think you might agree that marriage is not an option at this time in your life.

Once you accept that, I think you might find the serenity/calm/space to decide other aspects of your life in a more meaningful manner.

The very best of luck to you, dearest Sara,

MG Holmes


Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!