I guess it's fall. Throw on a blanket this weekend and tell me about your dating and relationship life. Send your own dating/single/relationship/marriage questions to [email protected] or fill out this form, please.
My boyfriend and I are 26 and 23. We've been together for more than a year. I broke up with him a little over two months ago. We were having too many fights. After those fights, he started lying about other girls. We still talked most days, so it felt more like a break than a breakup. We were supposed to stay exclusive during that time for clarity and said we'd get back together. We needed to work on our stuff separately and detach for a while to stop the fighting. About a week and a half ago, we had a very honest heart-to-heart conversation where we both cried, said we were still in love, and wanted to start over. He admitted his mistakes and said he had "already cleaned up his mess.” Things were feeling back to normal.
During the break, however, I knew that he had been texting with this other girl who he’s knows for a long time as friends; she lives in another country. I knew he had a crush on her before becoming my boyfriend, but they hadn't seen each other in person for over three years. Knowing that, and that they were texting during our break, I had weird feelings about her. Before having that heart-to-heart conversation with him, I felt like I needed to know more. I decided to reach out to her and she was super honest. She said that during our break, she was in town for a few days and that they saw each other briefly one day as friends, and nothing happened. She said he did sort of drop the hint he was interested in her, but said he was still trying to figure things out with me. She said she made it clear she had no interest in him. She said they kept texting casually after that, and that she even spoke to him about other guys. The thing is … this past week (AFTER my heart-to-heart conversation with him, and AFTER I had already talked to her, she reached out to me to say that she, on purpose (to let me know), asked him how he'd been doing with me. And that he responded, "No, it's over we are not getting back together." He asked her if she still saw him only as a friend. As soon as I found out, I confronted him immediately. He was shocked because he didn't even know I had ever communicated with her.
He said, "I have nothing to say, as there's no explanation for such a stupid thing I did. I know you must be heartbroken so I respect your decision if you don't ever want to talk to me again." Then in person he told me, "I really don't want to talk about what I did (I could sense he was ashamed) but I will do anything you need so you know I do not care about her and that what I did was simply a mistake." He showed me he had texted her saying he had screwed up by denying his relationship with me and that he had disrespected me by doing so. He said he was going to completely cut off communication with her forever as he didn't want to lose me. She replied she agreed with him.
He's been reaching out to me asking if I need anything, saying he loves me, he wants to see me, etc. I feel like he likes her more than me and didn't want to blow his chances with her. My question: I barely expressed my feelings when we talked about all of this. I never really had a chance to express my feelings. I still have a lot of anger and resentment and if I don't let that out, I know it will come back and bite us both by making me insecure about moving forward. But how can I approach this topic without seeming insecure? He already knows I'm sad about it. I don’t want to lecture, ”Never do that again, blah blah.”
– Disappointed, Angry & Confused
You're right, lecturing doesn't feel good. I'm not sure it's helpful either. But you can tell him what you told us – that you'd barely processed what happened when you first talked about it. You have many residual feelings that you want to discuss, mainly to see if you can get them out of your system.
If he's an empathetic, understanding person who understands his accountability, he'll listen. Tell him that's what you desire – not to hear his excuses, but to be heard. Your feelings about being a second choice are understandable. You're not randomly insecure; his actions made you feel this way. Talk it out.
You didn't ask us if getting back together with this man is a good idea. All I'll say is that if you're determined to stay in this relationship, you can forgive without forgetting. Your original breakup had something to do with a "mess" involving him "lying about other girls." You were so suspicious of his behavior that you called a stranger to get facts (clearly, you didn't trust him enough as a source).
This very cooperative woman confirmed your fears. He still makes messes, especially if he believes he won't get caught. What makes now different? What has he learned? How has he changed?
If you find that you're not just sad and angry, but still questioning what he does when he's on his phone and in person when you're not watching, think about how much energy you can give to this relationship. A good partnership shouldn't require periodic investigations.
Readers? Talk more? Stay together?