“I met my boyfriend a little over a year and a half ago, and we have been dating for about a year. About a month after we first met, at which point I found out he was currently facing a large court case and was facing jail time, but in the end was able to participate in an intensive 2-month program. Exactly 2 months after we met, he had to leave. During this time we were not “officially dating” but it was clear that we were a “thing. We wrote each other letters while he was gone, and I told him how one of his good friends kept texting me. My boyfriend did not seem to mind this too much, and me and his friend ended up having relations with one another while my boyfriend was away. That was the one and only time I was involved with another boy while he was gone. I felt instantly guilty. After a total of 4 months, my boyfriend returned and I told him about the incident as soon as we met up. He was very upset, but obviously got over it because here we are, a year later and dating. The present issue is that he continues to bring up that incident and hold it over my head. I understand why he is upset; I am not invalidating his feelings whatsoever. But, at this point, I feel he either needs to get over it completely and not use it as ammo against me, or he needs to decide he’s not over it–in which case we cannot be together. It’s clear that bringing up the incident does not do anything good. It causes us to fight, makes me upset, etc. Is he actually mad at me about this? (If so, I get scared he’s going to break up with me.) Is he just taking out his anger about something else on me? (If so, that isn’t fair). This cycle is exhausting, and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
I understand your frustration. Not knowing the true reason for your boyfriend’s anger can be very upsetting. Maybe I can give you a little food for thought. It is obvious you care deeply about him and that you did care deeply about him at the time of the incident because you felt remorseful as soon as it happened. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it happened. I’m sure even if your boyfriend has forgiven you for it, it still bothers him somewhat even if he isn’t ready to fully admit that. So when he is already angry about something else it is easy to go to something like that, that is already playing in the back of him mind. Is it fair to constantly throw it up to you … perhaps not. In a sense you are right. He should forgive and forget or move on. But it doesn’t sound like you are ready for him to make that decision either. Are you prepared for what the outcome of that could be. Because it doesn’t sound like he is completely over it. Maybe it is something you both need to set down and talk about again and work thru together. Revisit the incident so to speak and talk about why it is still bothering him. Maybe it is something he just can’t get over. Maybe he needs more reassurance from you that he just hasn’t been willing to ask for or isn’t quite sure how to ask for. The old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds” but it does take time, LOTS of time. My ex-husband cheated on me and it just wasn’t something I could live with anymore. So I left. We went thru a very hostile divorce. It took me many years to get over it and for many years we couldn’t even carry on a single conversation without yelling at each other (which is a big problem because we have a young child together). It’s been 6 yrs now and we are finally getting along. After about 4 ½ yrs I had finally started healing and dealing with my feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, fear and anxiety. Once I dealt with my feelings it was a lot easier to deal with him and his feelings. Because he was feeling a lot of the same things I was. We began to talk and work thru our problems and became good co-parents for our daughter instead of constantly fighting against each other. Communication is a key element in any relationship, whether it is friendship, partnership, co-parenting or marriage.
If something else is bothering him and he is just using this as ammo to vent his frustration then again communication is key. You need to talk to him and find out what is really bothering him in order to figure out how to solve the problem. When he is angry it is important to talk thru the problem at hand instead of letting it fester and grow into something more serious. And when its all said and done you have to make the final decision. If this isn’t something he can get over and move past, if this is something he is going to keep continuously throwing at you every time he is angry then you have to decide whether you really want to live that way. It is a hard decision I know. But you have to make a decision based on what is best for you. Just remember when and if you do talk to him, it isn’t something he can just easily forget. It did happen and wounds must heal. You cant just put a band-aid over them and forget about them. You have to let them heal and even then they still leave a scar.