Five months into our relationship, he texted his ex

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and a half, though we took a two-month break eight months into our relationship. Now we live together and have been the happiest to date.

But I discovered recently that about five months into our relationship, he reached out to an ex over email and expressed sentiments I consider to be emotional cheating – that he was dreaming about her every night, he couldn't stop thinking about her, that she was the only woman who would ever understand him.

I was, and still am, heartbroken because by that time we were already in what I considered a happy and healthy relationship. He swears that was a different time for him and that our time apart changed him. Since getting back together six months ago, our relationship has grown exponentially, and he felt he had to close that chapter before he and I could really begin the relationship that we have today.

Still, I can't help but feel like the first "installment" of our relationship was a sham if he was thinking about her all the time. Though the two haven't seen each other since before he and I met, and all communication is over between them, I feel betrayed. How do I get past this? How do I trust him again?

– Betrayed

Your boyfriend had a bad moment and did a not-so-great thing. People make mistakes. It happens. Sometimes, when they're in a mood, they make believe that a former partner was the one that got away. Maybe they send them an email or a text that says, "u up?" Maybe they make promises they don't intend to keep. It doesn't mean your relationship is or was a sham.

Let me be clear: I understand why this is hurtful, and in no way do I condone his behavior. He was committed to you and sent a pretty significant email to his ex. But ... whatever caused him to write that note was probably the thing that led to your big break. And your break led him back to you. Now you're happier than you were before, and it's kind of a new relationship.

Maybe that's the best way to think of this; you’ve known this man for a year and a half, but you've been together — in this form — for six months. Call it another start, the one that counts. If you frame it that way, you might be able to let go of the past.

Also, in the future, do not snoop. You don't say you broke into his messages, but this "discovery" sounds like it was part of a quest. If you want to know how he feels, just ask him. A good relationship requires privacy. If you can't give that to him, you should move on.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you let go of a past mistake?