It started with a cheat

Giveaway alert: We're giving away two tickets to Pop-Up Magazine, which is like a magazine – but live. Performers coming to Boston for the May 19 tour stop at the Cutler Majestic Theatre include actor Joy Bryant (Good Girls Revolt, Parenthood), New Yorker writer Helen Rosner, Jenée Desmond-Harris of the New York Times, and me. :) Sign up to get the free tickets here. It will be quite a night.

Also, chat at a 1 p.m.

Some backstory first: My boyfriend's last relationship ended after he cheated on his longtime girlfriend with me (although he had made out with several people before me, it was our affair that ended their relationship). Trust me, I still feel extremely guilty about this. She had wanted to make it work, but he didn't.

They share a dog together. She has the keys to his new apartment (I do not) so that she can come see their dog – with the condition that she texts him to check if it's OK before coming over. Generally, this would be fine for me except they are constantly texting, and I've seen some of their messages where he'll ask her to go to breakfast (and get upset when she refuses), and they'll make plans together just to go and buy dog food with one another. He says it's strictly for the dog but I feel iffy at times, as their texts get a little flirtatious. I always try to justify it by reminding myself that they were together for many years, and that connection doesn't just go away.

But it bothers me a lot. I confronted him about everything, and he seemed to have such a nonchalant explanation for every text, and told me I was taking things out of context. Then he told me he loves me, and that if he were still interested in being with her, he wouldn't have ended things and moved out. Am I just being paranoid because of how we started?

– Paranoid?


I do not believe that cheaters always cheat, or that relationships born from infidelity are forever doomed. That said, it can be difficult to make peace with a relationship that started with a cheat. In your case, it makes sense to wonder how much his ex knew about his feelings (or lack thereof) before he walked away. It's understandable that you're questioning how he communicates with you – and others.

You should have a conversation with him about why he didn't leave his girlfriend sooner. Find out what he learned from the experience.

After that, stop reading his texts. It does you no good to attempt to decode these messages, some of which probably involve inside jokes that you're not supposed to know.

If you can't stop yourself from reading his messages – if you feel like you must see them to confirm that everything is OK — you should to think about whether this relationship can (and should) last. You shouldn't feel like you're always on the hunt for evidence.

– Meredith

Readers? Should she trust what she has?