He kissed a co-worker

Chat at 1 p.m.

Hi Meredith,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years. We have had a fantastic relationship; it's fun and playful and more loving than I could have ever imagined. We never had any issues with trust – until recently. He (soberly) told me that he kissed a girl the previous night while he was intoxicated at the bar. This girl is his co-worker. He was immediately very regretful and embarrassed and says he is not interested in this person at all. He told me that he got attention from her (on top of being hammered) and took advantage of a situation, immediately regretting it.

I then pressed with questions: Do you love me? Do you want me? Are you ready to commit to this? And as the questioning went on (and believe me, it went on for hours and hours), he mentally spiraled. He said he knows he loves me and wants me and wants to fix this, but is scared because he does not know why he would allow himself to do what he did in the first place. He said he needed time to think about the situation and figure out if he was able to commit to us, regardless of the fact that we have been together for so long and never once faced "commitment issues."

Fast forward one week and he comes back around saying that the distance has been miserable, he misses/loves me, and knows I am the love of his life. He cried and I cried, and he claims that he now knows he is all in and ready to commit to us, and wishes this never happened in the first place. He knows that I do not trust him, but he wants to work to build that trust back. My question here is: He is a nurse and recently went to a different unit of the hospital – where he now works with this co-worker. I am not sure I can handle knowing he works with this person every day, regardless of his claim that he has absolutely no interest in her. Do I tell him to move back to his old position? He has vocalized all of these feelings, but I feel that actions speak louder than words. Do I appreciate that he told me he did it in the first place? Or distrust the fact that he got scared and went MIA for a week?

– Help

"He said he knows he loves me and wants me and wants to fix this, but is scared because he does not know why he would allow himself to do what he did in the first place."

I thought he did it because he was "hammered." Isn't that the reason? I mean, it's not a great reason, but it's one that makes a lot of sense.

Really, it sounds like you've conflated two issues here. The first is the co-worker kiss, which was a drunken mistake your boyfriend regretted almost immediately. The second is the state of the relationship and all of those massive questions you asked him about commitment. The thing is, I'm not sure the kiss had anything to do with where you are in your partnership. It sounds like your boyfriend took a break to try to make sense of the many things swirling in his brain. Once he returned, he made it clear that the kiss had nothing to do with his feelings for you. Again, it was just a mistake – and one he's learned from.

My advice is to separate that kiss from those big questions. (Really, the more relevant question is about how much he drinks, when, and with whom.) I'd also refrain from making rules about where he can work. If he's telling you he can be professional with this woman without it affecting your relationship, please believe him. Limiting his experience won't help build trust. That has to happen over time.

– Meredith

Readers? Should there be rules about the boyfriend's new job?