Ask Dr Louise
I’m 24 and have been with my boyfriend since 2013. We got engaged in December. But I did something I seriously regret – I cheated on him a month before our engagement. I wish I could turn back time and change what I did.
What I did broke him and I feel as if I’ve broken myself too. He’s giving me a chance to see if he’ll be able to move on from it. But he took back my ring and no longer tells me he loves me or calls me cute names.
It’s been two months since he found out and he still hasn’t given the ring back. He says I should give him time but how much time am I supposed to give? Is the way he’s handling it even fair? Tyla, email
Your boyfriend (fiancé) is using the engagement ring to punish you in the same way that a parent would take away a teen’s cellphone for a while as punishment for disobedience. It’s not really an adult way of dealing with things – it’s simply how he’s venting his anger about what happened.
He needs time to work through your betrayal, his fear that you might cheat on him again and his disappointment in you. He needs to figure out if he’s willing to trust you again. He might not be able to do it on his own and if he’s really struggling with it he might need to consult with a psychologist to help him figure it out.
Perhaps you should take a step back. Suggest that the two of you start dating all over again and forget about the engagement for a while. Stop obsessing about getting the engagement ring back and thinking that will solve the problem.
Such wounds can’t heal in two months – it’s likely to take a year or two. The rift between you must be healed before you can move on. He has to come to a point where he can forgive without wanting to punish you all the time. Your betrayal cut deep and you’ll have to work hard to win his trust again. If you really love him, you’ll be willing to do that.