Do I need him in my life?

I've let a traumatic experience with an intruder haunt me for many years. I've allowed myself to live in utter chaos; my apartment is a mess, I have entirely way too many possessions, and I don't have people over. I've denied it for years, and it's raised questions from friends and ruined relationships.

But four months ago, I meet a man. He has been the first man to truly encourage me to confront my past and get the help I desperately need. I have begun the process, have a psychologist, and am working to get my life in order. I even allowed him in to assist in the process.

Then, the other night, he tells me he ran into his ex. She cried and told him how much she missed him. He cried, as well … and then he went home with her. He was honest with me and admitted that they had sex. I'm beyond devastated. Feelings of betrayal and despair are warranted, but I don't want this to hinder my progress. Should I forgive my boyfriend? Not because he deserves it, but because I deserve to continue my path to letting go of my past?

– Making progress


"I don't want this to hinder my progress."

Read that line because it's important. You don't say that you can't make progress without this man. You don't say that he's the only reason you'd continue your self-improvement. This person was a catalyst for change, but you're on the road to a better life no matter what. There's no need to forgive him to maintain the status quo.

Letting go of your past means doing what's best for yourself right now. If what he's offering in the moment is drama and questions, it's OK to walk away. Forcing forgiveness doesn't sound healthy – or helpful.

You'll want to talk to your psychologist about this – please continue to get that help – but it seems that there are other people in your life who might want to support you during this process. Maybe it's time to let some people back in, and to turn some past relationships into a positive part of your present.

– Meredith

Readers? Does she have to forgive?