The Cheater's Way Back

Dear Dategirl,

In the wake of an affair I had a year ago, my wife's friends advised her to cut me loose and not look back. I completely understand their point of view: They want their friend to be happy. We are separated now and working with a therapist. My wife is trying to move past this and forgive me. I hope to someday reconcile. I realize that this will be difficult no matter what, but more so with her friends advising her to drop me like a hot potato. Any thoughts or advice?

—Discouraged, but Not Ready for Divorce

Of course your wife's friends hate your guts. How would you feel about some schmendrick who fucked around on your sister? They wouldn't be good friends if they didn't think you were a piece of shit. These pals were on the front line; they're the people who bought her beers and passed her tissues as she read your illicit e-mails aloud. They talked her out of keying your fuck-buddy's car and held her hand through the STD screening your wandering willy necessitated. You should be thanking them, not whining about them.

How is it that you dipped your wick in the strange, yet you're sounding like the victim? For a guy who admittedly screwed up, I don't see a lot of remorse in your letter. It's not your wife's friends' collective fault that you're not together. You guys split up because you lied to her, banged some other broad, and then lied some more. If you want your wife—and by extension, her friends—to forgive you, you have some serious work to do.

First, quit being such a whiner. Second, take responsibility for your actions. You guys had an arrangement to forsake all other genitalia, and you decided to alter that contract without telling her. Third, apologize. And not a lame "I'm sorry that you were offended that I fucked our neighbor/your bff/my third cousin." Genuine remorse must be evident.

Fourth, make sure you're not going to "accidentally" fall back into this other chick's vagina. If you work with your affair partner, get a new job. Cut off all lines of communication with her. Fifth—and this is the one you'll balk at—be transparent. Volunteer to tell her where you're going and whom you're seeing. Give her your e-mail and Facebook passwords. Don't lock up your cell phone or password-protect your computer. Give her keys to where you're living.

When it comes to dealing with her friends, be polite. Don't be a suck-up and don't be combative. Tell them you're sorry for putting their friend through the wringer and thank them for taking such good care of her.

It'd be nice if all transgressions could be neatly packed away in the don't-go-there room, but you didn't break her favorite coffee mug—you broke her heart. That's going to take some time to heal, bub.

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