Can we start over?

Here are some pictures from last week’s Love Letters party. I'm just throwing them up without IDs – so you can get a sense of the scene. I wish we had pics of the food. It was quite good. (Thank you to Orleans and Kickass Cupcakes).

About nine years ago, I met a great guy -- let's call him JD -- and we dated for seven years before becoming engaged. But the engagement only lasted two months before I called it off. JD is Indian and Hindu and I'm white and Christian, and his mother, who feared that marrying a non-Indian would cause her son to lose his cultural identity and be unhappy, started to get involved in our relationship and start fights between us. JD never stood up for himself -- or me -- when it came to dealing with his mom and, after two months, I couldn't deal with it anymore.

After the engagement, we fumbled along with on on-again, off-again relationship for the next year and a half. During a difficult time, but still "on-again," I had a one night stand. It was wrong and inexcusable. But, when JD found out, he cut off all communication. This was over a year ago.
Fast forward to this past summer when JD and I randomly ran into each other in a store and reconnected, talking and eventually meeting up, going on a few dates, and enjoying some grilled cheese sandwiches. Our relationship is so much different now -- I've matured and his relationship with his mom is improving. We have talked openly about our past issues, especially his mom's disapproval, and he seems understanding and ready to move forward. But he also knows that it's going to take a lot for him to let go of his anger and trust me again. He's spent the last few months trying to decide if he can get past them, but hasn't figured it out yet.

We both agree that this is our last go at an "us." He is 32 (and ready to start a family) and I am 29. I have told JD that I want to be with him and am committed to the relationship and the ball is in his court now. He tells me that he doesn’t want to hurt me, but can’t seem to figure out what to do. (I've suggested talking to close friends or a therapist, both of which he has tried.) I know trust has to be earned, but how can I make up for the past? Do you think he can get over it?

– Waiting for the Sacred Cow to Come Home, Boston

Can he get over it? I don't know. Should he be able to get over it? Yes.

You got over the fact that he let his mother's beliefs ruin your relationship. It's apples to oranges, for sure, but he should be able to accept that your slip-up was a symptom of a greater problem. I'm not so sure that you trusted the relationship after you got back together.

You both messed up. But this "last go" shouldn't be about groveling. It should be about two people who want to start over without guilt. It should be about two people who just can't stay away from each other because they like each other so much. If he can't let go of the anger, there's just no reason to try again.

My advice is to be good to yourself by walking away if he continues to obsess about the cheat. You feel horrible. You're ashamed. But you both made terrible mistakes throughout your relationship. He's either willing to drop it or he's not. And if he can't, fine, but you don't have to sit around being punished while you wait for a big answer. It either starts now -- without resentment -- or it doesn't start at all.

Readers? Is there any hope here? Is her cheat forgivable? Should the cheat be compared to his issues with his mom? Happy Friday.

– Meredith