Written by Sasha

I'm 25 and have been with my current boyfriend for nearly 5 years. After more than a year with my boyfriend, I found out he cheated on me for the first 10 months with an older woman who was my complete opposite. After a three month period of starvation, alienation from a lot of friends and family, and temporarily quitting school, my friend set up an intervention. I feel like a huge cliche because I realize now that hindsight is 20/20. I look back and clearly, clearly see that this guy did not love me as much as I loved him. I was crazy in love. I mean, I turned into Martha Stewart baking cakes and making crafty little gifts. That's just not me. A major issue I always had with his cheating is that he wasn't the one who told me the truth. I obsessed about them and fell into a huge depression. The irony is that the only person I spoke to during those few months was my boyfriend. He begged, pleaded, and claimed that he didn't tell me because it had ended and he didn't want to hurt me when he knew he would never do it again. As stupid as it makes me look, It seemed like he was hurting and it was something I could share with him.I never saw it coming, but looking back I have realized that the tables have turned. I'm now the one who loves less. I really want to love him more. I took a "break" from him for a few months and went on dates with other guys to see if it was resentment for the fact that he'd seen other people but I hadn't. Going out with other guys just made me realize that he's a really, really good man now. He treats me well, handles the fact that I can be a total bitch to him quite often, and does anything so that I'll stay with him. Sometimes I convince myself that he's just feeling guilty for what he did to me, but would that really make him stay with me through the more difficult times, which are often my fault?I'm really worried because he's asked me to marry him. I said yes and meant it, but time makes me question my decisions. I'm completely torn. I really love him and he has proven over and over again how much he loves me now...but sometimes I find myself thinking that I deserve a relationship that has no trust issues or infidelity in the past. I don't want to stay when I know I don't treat him as well as I should. I also don't like being the one who loves less because I am aware of it and feel tremendously guilty. Any thoughts?

I think by now you all know how I feel about cheating. It’s lame as f-ck. Let’s face it, when you’re cheated on it rocks the core of your relationship and makes you question everything about yourself and your partner. It takes a really strong relationship with a mega load of counseling to really get that trust back and even then, I’m still not convinced that the person doesn’t harbor major resentment.

I also think that forgiveness depends on how bad the cheating was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all one big sh-t smear, but if we’re talking a one time deal then I can sorta see how someone could move on from that but girl, in your case it was 10 months. And let’s get real, it was probably a bit longer than that and in my opinion that kind of wreckage is hard to forgive. Of course your dude is going to apologize and be regretful - he knows he royally f-cked up. But just because he says ‘sorry’ and for arguments sake never cheats again, that doesn’t change the fact that his cheating CHANGED YOU. You know what I mean?

While reading your email I couldn’t help but feel like you need time to form your own identity. It seems like you forgave him just because he wanted you to, not because YOU wanted to. Another red flag is that you majorly withdrew from life and became some weird Susie homemaker. But the scariest thing of all - you fell deeper into his world. These are all signs to me that you don’t know who you are without him and sh-t girl, you’re only 25 so trust me when I tell you that you’ve got a lot more to experience. And I know you took ‘a break’ already but I’m not buying it was a real one. The break shouldn’t be about bagging new dudes it should be about searching for some independence.

I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t be with him, although I’m sure you can sense my bias, but at the very least you need some space to figure some things out. Ie. Can you ever truly trust him again? Are you willing to go to counseling? Will you ever be able to stop punishing him for his behavior? I can’t answer these questions for you but what I can tell you is that no matter how much time goes by, you will never heal if you don’t reconcile these feelings.

Bottom line: your gut is trying to tell you something, so listen up. I know it’s scary leaving someone that you ‘love’ and share a bond with but the scarier reality is being in an unhealthy relationship that you just settle for.

Keep me posted on how this all unfolds!

My live-in boyfriend and I have a wonderful relationship. I love him so much. He's the first person I've felt I could stay with indefinitely and be truly happy. So here's the problem: Since we moved in together five months ago, he's put on quite a bit of weight. And really rapidly. At first I encouraged him to exercise--with and without me--and tried to cook us healthier foods. I encouraged him to eat healthier. Nothing happened. He put on about 15 lbs. in four weeks. So we had a relaxed, open talk about his eating habits and he made an effort to stop eating the nastiest junk food from the bodega. Another 10 lbs. later we talked again, because he kept going on about how the washing machine shrunk his jeans. I tried to be as delicate as possible, because I can't imagine how these conversations could go well, but I explained to him that the jeans weren't shrinking and he needed to be aware of what was actually happening with his body. He said he was aware. He said he felt self-conscious and wanted to try to lose weight. He talked about running and yoga and goals. Nothing ever happened. I don't want to nag him about any of this--I don't want to talk about it at all! But now when I look at his body I see someone who's too lazy or indifferent to take care of himself. I try to keep him attracted to me--I wear nice lingerie, take care of my figure, dress nicely... I still want him to find me attractive. But it feels like he doesn't even think about looking attractive to me. Is this part of a double standard? I'm supposed to stay on top of my looks but he lets himself go one year into a relationship? Anyway, last night something bad happened. We were about to get in bed and for the first time in a couple weeks (because it's been so cold, I guess) I saw him with his shirt off in full light. I was really, really turned off. He's just become so bloated and unattractive to me and I feel like the most horrible, shallow bitch in the world for having had that reaction! We started to have sex, but I just couldn't get into it. I don't want to be a shallow person for not being as attracted to him because of the way he looks now. I love him so much, but it's warping into something platonic because my lust is really dying hard. We stopped having sex. I told him I didn't know what was wrong. We tried to talk about it. But since I don't think people can recover from hearing, "I'm less attractive to you because you've really let yourself go" I told him I was having a difficult time getting turned on recently. He pressed for details, but all I could say was "I don't know what's wrong." But I do know--I just have no idea how to deal with this. I want to tell him that I miss grabbing the muscles in his arms and feeling his strong chest. But I don't want to hurt him and I don't want to keep harping on this issue. Am I an awful, shallow person? If I loved him 'enough' would this not be an issue? I thought this was something we'd face when we're 40...we're still in our mid-20s! --Through Thick and Thin

TTT, I don’t think you’re being a shallow bitch at all. I don’t know why it’s bad to admit that part of the reason why we fall for someone is because of how they look. Of course your love goes beyond appearance, but I don’t think it makes you shallow to want your partner to take care of himself. And I mean, there’s a TOTAL double standard when dudes pack on the pounds, oh you know…’there’s more to love’, ‘they’re teddy bears’, ‘they’re burly’ etc. Sorry but the last time I checked gaining 25lbs means your dude is getting chunky. The end. And listen, I’m not a fat-ist, 10lbs here and there isn’t a big deal but 25lbs - in what sounds like a very short period of time - is a pretty considerable weight gain.

Now of course some people could care less if their partner gains weight and I think that’s totally cool but TTT if you’re not that type of person, then I think you’re entitled to your feelings. I’m sure some people want me to rag you out for being superficial but what’s the point – people like what they like, ya know? Having said all that, you seem to be freaking out more than you need to be. I get why at the moment you might not be super turned on but I don’t think you need to start thinking that your relationship is going down the sh-t hole. I think you just need to give him some more time to not only figure out how he’s gaining the weight, but why.

There could be a few reasons behind this sudden weight gain. Yes, maybe he’s just lazy but what’s more probable is that he’s just sunk into the comfort of the relationship. A lot of people stop putting effort in to their looks as time goes by, because why bother? You’ve got the person already. And if we’re being honest here, I’ve got to admit that I’ve fallen into that trap. I’m not joking when I tell you that my husband barely sees me in clothes. As far as he’s concerned I live in my pyjamas and trust me when I tell you they ain’t cute. So when it gets to the point where I actually start turning myself off, I’ll make an effort to keep my work clothes on for an extra hour just so he can see what I look like in the real world. Okay, moving on from that embarrassing admission…. One other reason for weight gain could be because he might be a bit depressed - do you think that’s a possibility? Has anything recently changed in his life?

Now TTT on to what you should do or say. I give you props for being gentle up to this point - you’ve done everything I would have suggested. And I know it’s going to kill you, but I think you have to have one more of your ‘relaxed’ conversations with him to reinforce that he needs to cut out the junk and start hitting the gym. Continue with your supportive tactics for another month or so. (Cooking better, going for walks after dinner, asking him to go to the gym with you… etc.) If after that buddy still thinks his jeans are shrinking, then I think it’s time to get a bit more tough love. So that means telling him that you love him and that you want to be as supportive as possible, but the fact remains he’s not looking healthy anymore. And yes, tell him it’s unfortunately affecting how you feel about him in the sack.

Listen, he’s not a dummy; he knows he’s gained the weight but if you admit that you don't dig it, that might give him the extra motivation he needs. A good example of this is our cameraman Dylan. If you read Lainey’s Sundance posts you’ll know that Dylan has gained some pounds in the last year or so. Dude packs down beer and pop (he thinks lime San Pellegrino is good for him) like it’s going out of style. We’re all like nagging sisters to Dylan, but no one gets on his case more than Lainey. While they were away Lainey straight up told Dylan he’s getting fat and that he needed to lose his spare tire. She even put money down on it. (Can anyone say Tiger Mother?) Now some of you might think that’s really mean but seriously, Dylan needs that kind of tough love. And cut to one month later –Dylan’s eating way better and has lost a sh-t tonne of weight. (Lainey: Dylan also messages me updates on his fitness goals. He’s OBSESSED now. “Legumes” has become a part of his vocabulary.)

So there you have it TTT – your name says it all - through thick and thin. Just be there to support him -- I have a good feeling that he’ll bounce back.

In 3 months I'm getting married - I could not be happier right now, except for one thing: I've excluded my father from participating in customary father-of-the-bride traditions (walking me down the aisle, father-daughter dance...that sort of thing) and asked my older brother (who I'm extremely close with) to step up instead. This decision stems mainly from the fact that my father has never played any sort of significant role in my life; growing up he never actively participated in any of my extra-curriculars; never took an interest in my schooling; missed my highschool, undergraduate and masters graduations; never offered to help me out financially with undergraduate or current graduate school fees; never bothered to get to know my fiance and has not offered to help in any way with this wedding. Honestly, I don't even remember the last time we actually said anything to each other that involved more than just pleasantries in the last 7 years. Now I don't believe that parents are at all obligated to pay their child's way after about age 18, so I don't begrudge him for that. I've invited him, and I thought that would be the end of a nonissue. Unfortunately, he and his extended family are extremely offended and have made a hugely obvious display of it. My father has also told me that if this is how I feel, he likely won't be attending, which would not be a problem, however my mother (who I'm fairly close with) will probably not attend unless he does. To me the wedding is not the important part, but the marriage that follows, and honestly, I just wanted to go down to city hall and sign some papers instead of having this huge affair. Originally, I had planned to just involve our closest friends, but my fiance is extremely family-oriented, so that's just not going to be possible. I understand that weddings are about sharing and celebrating love with your family and friends, but I don't want my marriage to start out this way, and I just can't bring myself to share this day with someone who I no longer consider my father in the traditional sense of the word. Should I just stop being so uncompromising and make more of an effort with this guy for the rest of my family's sake? As her only daughter, I know my mom has been looking forward to this wedding since I told her I was getting married. I love my mother and my siblings to death and I don't want to make them uncomfortable in any way, and I don't think I'm generally a selfish person, but I'm really having a hard time making concessions right now.
This whole situation is just adding a ton of unnecessary stress to my life. Please help, this is almost ruining what should probably be a fairly exciting time for me.- S

Ugh, I’m so sad that you have to be put in this situation. Like why the f-ck is it so hard for people to keep their crazy on the DL for one freaking day? I also don’t understand why someone who hasn’t been a big part of your life feels entitled to be included on one of the most important days of your life. It makes no sense and I think it’s totally unfair that you’ve been put in a position to compromise your feelings.

Although I wish you could just go ahead with your original plan, it’s no longer in your best interest to do that now. I want you to have the best day, one without regret or stress, and in order to have that I think it means you’re going to have to be the bigger person. And I’m sure for most of your life you’ve always had to play that role when it comes to your dad and while it’s not fair, sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you gotta do. So if that means you have to be the mature one, AGAIN, then so be it.

As I’m sure you’re getting to know by now people LOVEEEE to make every f-cking tiny detail about a wedding as meaningful as humanely possible. I mean, cutting a cake?!
Why is that a thing that means something?! But S, for real, it’s all about how much emotional weight you want to put on certain parts of the day. And while walking down the aisle or a dance can be meaningful for some, it doesn’t have to be for everyone. F-ck, when I was walking down the aisle the last thing I was thinking about was the bond between my dad and me (sorry, dad). All I was thinking about was trying not to ugly cry. So if you can look at it like all your dad is doing is walking you from point A to point B, then that’s all it has to be. It honestly doesn’t have to be some holy moment. Do you get what I mean?

So here’s what I think you should do. I think the best option is if you ask your brother AND your father to walk you down the aisle. Your dad can have his moment and you can be happy to have your bro right by your side. What do you think about that? And when it comes to the dance, will your fiancé be cool if you just cut that out of the program? If not, then you’ll just have to suck it up and do it. Honest to gawd, both those events will eat up like 8 minutes of your entire day. Again, it sucks that you’ve been put in this situation but if you don’t want the drama then let your dad walk you down the stupid aisle. You also don’t want something like this to ruin the relationship with your mom and other family members down the line. Although I think they’re being super selfish, it’s really not worth it. And sh-t, dare I suggest that this could be an opportunity to bring you and your dad closer – maybe not but you never know.

I hope this helps S! I really want you to have a perfect day! Let me know what ends up happening xx

File photo from Tasos Katopodis/Gettyimages.com