I had an on-and-off romantic relationship for three years with someone who'd been a close friend for more than a decade. During those three years, I put in a lot of effort with "J," but he didn't reciprocate. It ended when he started seeing his co-worker. I was devastated.
Almost a year later, after he ended the relationship with his co-worker, he came back and said he realized he'd made mistakes and that he wanted us to be together. I was aggressively against that idea, as I had no trust and he had hurt me deeply. Eventually, though, I started to come around to having civil conversations via text, and then we started to hang out. We progressed to being intimate again. Things had been going really well (I thought) for a few weeks. There was no big title or anything, but we were dating and heading in a good direction.
During the time that J and I were apart, I only dated one person, and it was for about two months. It fizzled out on its own. I did not share this with J because it happened when we were apart and he was with his co-worker. I didn't think that it was relevant (or his business). Anyway, this past weekend, I stayed at J’s house, and, while I was sleeping, he went through my phone and found old texts/sexts to the one guy I dated. Our last night together was at the beginning of the month that J and I started talking again.
Mind you, J and I were not sleeping together at that time. We were barely talking. So I did not tell J about my one night with this other person. Anyway, J found the texts from that night and is now upset at me, saying I'm not loyal and that I betrayed him. He says he's disgusted that I would send sexts to someone after such a short relationship (mind you, I had also known this other person as friends before we started dating, so he wasn't exactly a stranger).
J said he thought we had something special with our own sexts, and now feels as if he was never special or different (mind you, I have listened to many stories about his sexual escapades over the years and never judged), and he wants to call everything off. J was married before and has kids, but I never feel "less special" because of that. I'm sure he's done things with other women that he's done with me, but I don't see that as making our connection any less special. I know for a fact that he told his co-worker that he loved her.
Should I feel guilty for the sexts? Should I have told J about this other man from the start? How do I gain back his trust? Am I right to feel guilty?
"How do I gain back his trust?"
He should be asking that question. He went through your phone and looked at your private messages. That's the only betrayal I see in this letter.
I do understand why he was upset when he saw the sexts. I'm sure it hurt to see that you got close with someone else. He needs to understand, though, that he is responsible for his own pain.
Instead of groveling to win back his trust, tell him what you said in this letter. Your main points: 1. Sex (and sexting) is always different with someone you love. 2. You didn't owe him a recap of everything you did after he left you for someone else. 3. You've never feel less special or threatened by his past experiences. 4. Your phone is private property. The end.
Explain that it's time for him to think about all of that, and that he can contact you when he's ready to accept those truths. If he can't, let him go.
Readers? Should she feel guilty?