Dear Miss Emily:

I have been living with my boyfriend for 3 1/2 years. I caught him Internet cheating with another woman. She thinks he is her boyfriend but lives in another country. We have been separated for 2 months. We are trying to work things out, but I am afraid that it cannot be fixed. I am not sure what to think because he hasn't broken it off with her yet. He is figuring it out in his head what he wants to do with his life, and if he wants to come home, he knows that it will take a while for me to trust him again. He has been trying to give me what I have always asked for from him emotionally. And I can tell that he is hurt because he hurt me. I am just trying to figure out if it is worth trying if he hasn't gotten rid of the other woman yet. To me it shouldn't be a hard decision since he doesn't know her very well.  I don't know what to do, should he get a second chance?

-------------------------------Miss Emily's advice-------------------------

There is a reason why he contacted this woman, in the first place, and I'm not sure you have addressed those reasons with him. That, to me, is the root of the problem. Giving her up should be a black-and-white issue, because it is exceeding cruel to lead this woman on . . .unless he still has feelings for her. If he can't man-up and he honest with her (and you) there's little chance you will ever be able to trust him, or respect him, again. Second chance? Maybe somewhere down the line, but you would be foolish to allow it, now, only to find out you'd be back at square one. You are not his mother, or a sister -- you are, or were his girlfriend. The terms of the relationship are not "unconditional." Trust is key to any successful relationship. If you don't have that, you have nothing more than a few things in common and shared responsibility for the rent and utilities. I think this time away from each other is important. It is clarity you need and, so far, the water is still murky.