Is it too late to bring up lies from the past?

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I’d been dating this guy for eight months. He got out of a 10-year relationship and I met him in the first three months after his breakup. We agreed for it to be casual, but that if he slept with someone else I wanted to know. I ended things in March because I started to feel more seriously about him – and then quarantine hit. We started hooking up and hanging out again.

Fast forward to June and he calls me to tell me that this woman, an ex-coworker I already didn’t like because I could tell she had feelings for him, had spent the weekend there and was making advances on him. He wanted me to know that before staying the night over his place again. I asked if they’ve slept together and he said they had, in December. I asked if they slept together during this more recent weekend, and he said no.

Fast forward to July. I told him I felt he still wasn’t telling me the truth, so I asked (again) if they slept together since December and he said no. He asked, “Don’t you trust me?” The following weekend he got a call from a past partner who told him she has chlamydia and that he needs to get tested. We both got tested and the results came out negative. During that experience, he finally admitted that he slept with that ex-co-worker – recently.

I feel so betrayed because I wanted a relationship and compromised what I wanted to have him around – and he still lied! I ended it then. My problem is that now I keep thinking about things he told me, moments I’m now angry about, and I want to confront him. But is it worth it if the relationship is already over? Is it too late to reach out and bring up things from our past? It seems that after a few months, I’m finally angry and have questions.

- Delayed reaction

If you believe in those Kübler-Ross five stages of grief – and I do – you know that one of them is anger. It’s the one that comes up a lot, and sometimes late in the game, after a breakup.

From my experience, these stages of grief – which can apply to any kind of loss – can happen out of order and over a very long period of time. They can pause and restart. Anger can show up long after acceptance.

You had one rule for this man – disclosure – and it seems he broke that one in December, right? (That’s the first time he slept with someone else without telling you … as far as you know.) You’re angry with him, and maybe you’re angry with yourself for not demanding more. I understand why your instinct is to pick up the phone and say, “How dare you!” But it won’t help.

Communication with him means opening wounds and having to decide whether he’s lying to you yet again. It connects him to your life in the present when he belongs in the past, left behind in the summer of 2020.

Whenever you find yourself angry, needing answers, or wishing you could reach out to share your frustrations, remember what you know: he didn’t tell the truth, and he didn’t want more. He was not offering a partnership. You did the right thing by moving on.

You already confronted him – several times.

- Meredith

Readers? Too late to reach out?