My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 9 months now. I am 25 and he is 32. It is not long. However, in those 9 months, we have had countless trust issues on both my end and his. I believe (never confirmed) that he cheated on me in the first two weeks when I went to Chicago. After that, I cheated on him too within the first month. I regretted it deeply and never did it again. However, after he found out, he has lied to me many, many times and continues to blame it on me cheating 8 months ago. We pretty much live together and have been living together since we had been dating for like 3 months. We created a website together and the company that we did it for wanted to hire us both. It was a great opportunity for both of us so now we work together too. We spent every single hour together. The couple of times that he has asked me to go out and have a drink with a good friend, it has ended up that he has lied to me both times. The last time, he ended up very drunk and at a strip club (which I would have had no issues with if he would have been honest). I feel like every time he wants to have a drink with a friend, he is lying and wants to snoop around. I do not trust him at ALL. I wish I did. My question is: What do I do to learn to trust him? Is it common for this behavior to continue and never stop? But if we break up, we still work together and live together at this moment. What would be likely to produce the best outcome?? Please help!! 

A: To be very direct, I think your relationship is doomed. Trust forms the foundation of intimate relationships and you and your boyfriend have never established it in the first place. You can’t get something back that you have never had. I would suggest that you cut your losses, learn from your mistakes and move on. 

It is complicated by the fact that you live and work together, but not nearly as complicated as it would be if you were married, had children, owned a home together, etc. In my opinion it will be much easier to find alternative living arrangements and navigate boundaries of a professional relationship than it will be to heal from the damage that has already been done to your personal relationship. You may even discover that you no longer wish to work together and that may be a necessary sacrifice for your freedom. 

If you can’t bring yourself to just break it off, I’d say finding a couple’s therapist is a must.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts