Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Ask Natalie: Dumped boyfriend but now want him back? Husband cheated on you during Covid-19 and you just want to be alone…but your family has other plans?

DEAR NATALIE: Is there any way to win my boyfriend back? I broke up with him at the beginning of the pandemic thinking I needed some space after four years together. I realize looking back at it now, I just needed a mental break from all of the stress related to Covid-19. I really miss him and feel like I made a huge mistake. I don’t think he is dating anyone new and we’ve been texting a little back and forth. Do you think there is a chance I could get him back? —MISTAKES MADE

DEAR MISTAKES MADE: The fact that he is still willing to text with you after you dumped him may indicate that there are still feelings there. I don’t know that for sure, of course, but usually if you are over someone you don’t engage with them after they’ve broken up with you. Then again, he could be a masochist. Let’s assume, though, that he is interested. What does that mean for you and your relationship? You have a big mountain to climb to win back his trust. But you won’t know where you stand until you talk to him. Now you just have to get up the nerve to admit that you made a mistake and want him back. You should also share with him how things will be different this time around. Apologize for the mistake of letting him go, but it was in that absence that you recognized how much he meant to you. Who knows? Maybe this time apart was something you both needed to realize your true feelings. We know what yours are. Now… you have to find out if he still feels the same.  

DEAR NATALIE: I am a newly divorced mom of two young boys. My ex-husband cheated on me over the last year and is now about to marry the woman that he had an affair with. I am devastated. I just want to be alone. But, my family and friends are pushing me to get back into the dating game, saying that if I wait too long, I won’t be able to find love again. Are they right? I honestly have no desire to date right now—especially because of Covid-19—and want to focus on getting my life back together. My children are my number one priority. I don’t even know if I ever want a relationship again. Is that wrong? Is it okay to be alone? —TABLE FOR ONE

DEAR TABLE FOR ONE: Having a romantic relationship can be a beautiful thing—if that’s what you want. In your case, you are reeling from heartbreak. It’s still very raw. You are entitled to give yourself as much space and time as you need to both process what happened and to heal from it. I know your friends and family mean well, but people have this idea in their minds that we aren’t complete without a significant other. It leads to so many people staying in unhealthy relationships or feeling depressed if they are single. We have to let go of these archaic and harmful societal pressures and build a world where people can find personal fulfillment and acceptance in a variety of ways. There is nothing wrong with you wanting to explore a deeper relationship with yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to prioritize your children during this difficult time. If you need more support right now, see a therapist to help navigate all of the emotions that might arise due to your husband’s infidelity. You are allowed to be alone. You are complete just as you are. You do not need a partner to be worthy of love. Please take this time to care for yourself and prioritize your mental and physical health. This pandemic is the perfect excuse not to date, anyway. When and if you feel ready to explore a potential new relationship, that is your decision. But in this moment, allow yourself space to heal, to reconnect with what matters, and to make new memories with your boys.

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