When you ask if our relationship is better off than it was four years ago, one has to wonder what you mean, exactly, by “four years ago?”

If we’re talking about a strictly 365-day, calendar-year basis, then the answer is clearly “no,” because if you’ll recall, this moment exactly one year ago was prior to what you refer to as “the nearly unforgiveable betrayal,” but which we prefer to call “the horrible, but honest mistake.”

Prior to that time, we think you’d agree that we were well above par in terms of just about every major relationship metric: affection, consideration, trust, sympathetic listening, support, openness, frequency and quality of sexual relations, and making sure to run the garbage disposal after rinsing everything down the drain.

In fact, exactly one year ago, listening and making sure to run the garbage disposal after rinsing everything down the drain were at all-time highs, something that seems not so coincidental when viewed in hindsight.

That affection and frequency and quality of sexual relations dropped precipitously and quite nearly to zero following the “nearly unforgiveable betrayal/horrible, but honest mistake” is to be expected, the normal course following a relationship’s near collapse, as is the increase in negative measurements like amount of shouting, and overall alcohol intake. Rather than looking at these as separate factors, each performing poorly, we think it makes more sense to examine the root causes.

Therefore, if we’re considering the continuation of this partnership, the real question should be: Is our relationship better off than when we were at our lowest point?

Certainly, there may be some dispute about the exact timing of our nadir, as there are actually several moments where one might say, it just doesn’t get any worse than that.

There is an argument to be made that the bottom point is indeed the evening of the “nearly unforgiveable betrayal/horrible, but honest mistake,” given that this was indeed the moment that trust, the metric on which all solid relationships must rest, was—though once again, inadvertently and only briefly—breached. We admit that finding out that we were entangled on the floor with “that whorebag” (as you call her), and said “whorebag’s” dress being well above her head is a negative snapshot of our relationship’s health. In isolation, it suggests there is no relationship, which is ridiculous, because if we weren’t in a relationship, why are we spending so much time talking about it?

Though to be perfectly honest, given that this incident was not actually uncovered and known to all parties until an entire month later (thanks to an actual snapshot posted to Facebook by ex-friend) demonstrates how difficult it is to set an exact bottom for our relationship from which to measure forward positive progress.

Personally, we believe the true bottom to be the night of standing outside your window while screaming, “I have nothing else to give, you bloodsucking harpy,” though again this is easily linked to increased overall alcohol intake, which had, sadly, not yet peaked at that time.

As you’ll remember, this was immediately followed by the night of pathetic, sorrowful apologies, which time and additional healing tells us was the start of the upswing, given that at one point you—and you must remember this—dropped a fleece blanket down from your balcony to the street after we declared we were happy to freeze to death, as long as we were in your presence. That small act of kindness provided the first stimulus, pointing the way to ultimate relationship health.

As judged against this obvious low point, we have indeed made great progress. We note that sympathetic listening and consideration, frequently leading indicators on the way to affection and ultimately frequency and quality of sexual intercourse, have never been more robust or sincere. When you say you need a partner, and not a rival, we hear you, loud and clear.

We should also acknowledge that the recovery has been bumpy at times. We absolutely should’ve called the “night the boys were in town and we went out for a drink and it turned into a whole thing, including dinner.” While that incident in no way approached the previous lows, it for sure put the relationship into a brief stall and if we had it to do over again, we would’ve left after the appetizers.

We feel an honest appraisal shows that while the relationship has not achieved the kind of dynamic growth and progress it is so clearly capable of, it is indeed on an upward trajectory and we are the ones who can make it happen. We have great hope for a better future.

What’s that? How long will it take?

Four more years.