I messed up my confession

I'm dealing with a messy breakup after dating someone for a few months.

The problem started when she was on an international business trip. While she was gone, my friend asked me to go out with him. That night, he was chatting up women and trying to get me to join him. I told him that was not what I was there for. To make a long story short, he managed to get some women to sit with us and I acted as his wing man. At the end of the night, we went back to my place had some drinks. There were no real signs that any of the women liked me. I did not even have that on my mind until everyone started to leave and one woman said wanted to stay. I offered her the sofa; I did not want to kick her out. She said she'd rather I drive her home, so I did. Nothing happened but I felt guilty because part of me wanted it to.

I was worried about my now-ex finding out and decided to tell her everything that happened (and didn't happen) when she got home. But before she returned, we spoke on the phone and she asked me about my night. I told her that I went out and had an early night after the bar. My plan was to tell her the truth face-to-face. But soon after this, when I told her about something else I did that night, she started accusing me of lying. Things got worse between us and I sensed I had lost her trust. Before she returned, we had another argument where she said she no longer wanted to be exclusive. I hoped to talk her out of that when she returned.

We had arranged to meet the next week. Things seemed to go back to normal. But then the frequency of her replies to my messages started to drop until they stopped. She came back to the country and said she was too busy to see me. I finally saw her at a work event and she was friendly but distant. But around this time I freaked out.

I started to wonder if she was seeing someone else. She used to like a lot of messages from me – she once told me I didn’t message her enough – so I started spamming her with messages, trying to explain what had happened. She told me to stop messaging her. But when I told her I wanted to make a confession, she said she wanted to hear it. I told her the truth about that night and did not hear back from her all day. I decided to call her to get closure, and she was upset by the call. She said it did not matter if I cheated or not. She said she wasn't upset about the night, only that I'd lied to her about it.

My plan had always been to fill in the gaps in person. But I was wrong. Or was I? Do you have any advice on what I can do to about this to feel better? I know I have made lots of mistakes and I want to learn. I just can't believe this happened because I was trying to do the right thing.

– Broken Up

Your relationship with this woman was going to end no matter what, I think. She wasn't interested in hearing you out and making things work.

Also, your instinct was to lie when you didn't need to. You could have been like, "Ugh, I went out with Steve and it took me forever to get everybody out of the house." It wouldn't have been a difficult truth to tell. Instead you thought the whole thing might upset her. That tells me there wasn't much trust and friendship to begin with.

I do think there's a lesson here about what it means to do the right thing. Having people over is fine. Having sexual thoughts about a woman who is not your significant other is also fine (and inevitable). Your romantic partners are not entitled to every hour of your life and stray thought in your brain. Sometimes you'll interact with people without thinking to tell a girlfriend. That's OK.

You approached this update about a simple night like it was a confession, and I think it was confusing for everybody. I appreciate that you were being thoughtful, but not everything is a big deal.

Of course, she'd know that if she wanted to listen, and she's made it clear she doesn’t. Maybe she's dating someone else. Maybe she had her own distracting experiences while on that trip. For whatever reason, she decided this exchange was a deal-breaker. The lesson you learned about her is that she's not capable of more. Take some deep breaths and, when you're ready, go find someone who is.

– Meredith

Readers? Was it a mistake to want to deliver this news in person? Also, why was this a deal-breaker?