Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Forgive His Cheating?”

Up until two weeks ago, my relationship was as close to perfect as possible. My boyfriend, “Pete,” and I had been dating for three years and were extremely happy and in love. I usually have trouble trusting guys, mostly because my parents divorced due to my father’s infidelity, but with Pete I always felt like he could never hurt me. Then one night, we were having dinner and talking about lying and how bad it is for a relationship (can’t remember how this came up) and, all of a sudden, he broke down in tears and confessed to me that one time, about two months after we started dating, he had cheated on me. We had dated for a month and then were apart for four weeks during the summer. During that time, we spoke almost every night on the phone for about an hour and were definitely still together. At some point towards the end of that time apart, he was visiting a high school friend in another city for the weekend and hooked up with one of that friend’s female friends (no sex but close). He hasn’t seen or spoken to that girl since. He says that he felt very conflicted and guilty after and asked his high school friend what he should do about it. His friend advised him not to tell me and said that it wasn’t that big of a deal anyways since we “weren’t that serious.”

He says that his insecurity, combined with the time apart, and the drunkenness, allowed him to convince himself, in that moment, that it wasn’t totally wrong for him to hook up with someone else because we hadn’t been dating that long and he didn’t know how serious it was. According to him, he’s never done anything wrong since and he knows that he could never do anything like that to me again. To be honest, he has always been an incredibly attentive boyfriend so it would be hard to imagine when he would even have time to cheat on me, but then again, I didn’t know about this event for the past two years and 10 months either.

In your opinion, is this the kind of cheating that one could “get over?” He has said that he’ll do anything to make me see how trustworthy and committed to this he is but neither of us can come up with something that he can actually do that might make me feel like we’re on level playing fields again. Any ideas? I feel like if I were to give him a chance, I would need some kind of gesture from him that would bring some of his words (“I’ll do anything…”) into action. On the other hand, I’m still not sure if the relationship is worth saving because the idea of getting married to someone who has already cheated on me seems absurd. Please let me know what you think I should do! I realize that it’s ultimately up to me, but I’d really appreciate hearing what you think you would do in this situation. — No Longer Perfect

Everyone who has ever cheated on a significant other one time years ago and is wondering whether he or she should come clean, I want you to read this letter again very carefully and then ask yourself whether the clear conscience is worth the hurt feelings, ruined trust, and perhaps even the loss of what may well be a “perfect relationship”? Because rest assured, the LW’s reaction here is normal. It is more than likely what your significant other’s reaction would be. And, I’m sorry, but if the cheating was one time, years ago, at the beginning of a relationship, maybe even before exclusivity/monogamy was established, then WHAT IS THE POINT in coming clean now?! The only benefit I can think of is to clear your conscience and, wow, the act of confessing just so you don’t feel guilty anymore seems almost as selfish and thoughtless as the actual act of cheating. So if you’re thinking about confessing, take my advice and DON’T. No good truly comes from it. Just suck it up as a lesson learned, don’t ever cheat again, and devote yourself to being a good partner.

Now, to you, LW: I know you’re hurt now and you feel like you can’t trust your boyfriend, but to throw away what you call a “perfect relationship” of almost three years because of a mistake that was made so, so long ago, before you and your boyfriend really knew and trusted each other like you do now, before you’d established the relationship that you have, and perhaps even before you’d discussed whether you were exclusive and monogamous — I say that because if your boyfriend truly didn’t know how “serious” you were, that would indicate that you two hadn’t yet discussed it — then that’s kind of ridiculous. I know it doesn’t seem ridiculous to you now; it seems like the biggest thing to rock your world — and maybe it is — but in the big scheme of a great relationship, this is a pretty minor bump. Honestly. It’s not like he was carrying on a months-long affair. It’s not like he even slept with someone else, or emotionally cheated, or fell in love with someone other than you. He hooked up with some chick weeks after beginning a relationship with you.

And since that time — over two and a half years later — you have gone on to establish a strong, wonderful, loving relationship. Do you know how hard that is to come by? Wonderful, loving relationships don’t just fall in people’s laps every day. They take work to find and work to keep. And right now you’re being asked to work a little bit — it’s an unfair position that your boyfriend’s thoughtless behavior put you in, but hey, life isn’t fair. If you aren’t willing to put in a little work to keep this relationship, I have some unsettling news for you: your chance at having a successful long-term relationship in the future is pretty slim. Why? Because no relationship is without bumps. No relationship is, in fact, “perfect.” Perfection is a fantasy. If a perfect relationship is what you’re seeking, you’ll spend your whole life looking for it and never being satisfied.

So what do you do from here? Forgive your boyfriend. Quit thinking about actions he can take to even the playing field or any of that bullshit, and move on from this. Love isn’t an even playing field. Sometimes things work in your favor and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you’re in the dog house and sometimes your partner is. Start keeping score now, and you’re just setting yourself up for a crappy time. Decide, instead, to forgive and move on. And as you move on, remember that more mistakes will be made. Sometimes you’ll be the one to do or say something stupid because, hey, you — like your boyfriend and like your relationship — aren’t perfect either.

Of course, if you try and just can’t seem to find it in your heart to forgive, or if you can forgive but simply cannot learn to trust again, then maybe this relationship IS over. And that’s OK, too. Relationships end all the time. With luck, you and your boyfriend will move on to find partners who are a better match for you. (If you read that sentence and can’t wrap your head around either of you being with someone else, then I highly suggest you give forgiveness an honest effort before moving on). Good luck.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

115 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Desiree July 10, 2012, 9:08 am

    I feel like the strength of her reaction is largely a factor of her family history and her father’s infidelity. That baggage is making this incident seem more significant to her than it would be to (for instance) me. LW, if this really is the “perfect relationship” for you, please try to let this go. I can imagine that your family’s past makes this more painful, but try not to hold that history against your boyfriend. You don’t want to let this revelation end the relationship only to realize years later that you wished you had forgiven him. Forgiveness seems so hard in the moment, but it can be infinitely rewarding.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary July 10, 2012, 9:23 am

    I feel like Wendy’s response is the most well-written and level-headed response to cheating that I’ve ever read. I know not everyone agrees with it, but it sums up my feelings of cheating. I’ve experienced, and had many friends experience, their SO being with someone else early on in a relationship during that gray area. But you realize once you are years into a relationship that has been otherwise wonderful that none of it really matters. I can’t add anything but way to go Wendy!

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    • avatar

      Desiree July 10, 2012, 9:25 am

      I also feel like the “grey area” is more pronounced for guys. I think the girl might *think* the relationship is monogamous while the guy hasn’t fully committed in his mind. This is of course why explicit communication on such issues is SO important.

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      • avatar

        camorzilla July 10, 2012, 9:51 am

        I agree!!! I’ve been burned in the past by not being clear enough about my expectations, etc. so when I started dating my now fiance I made sure to ask him if he was seeing or sleeping with anyone else. Neither of us were at the time but we didn’t establish we were officially together and monogamous until a few weeks after that. If I found out now he HAD seen or been involved with someone else, it would hurt my feelings but ultimately he chose me.

        LW- however you feel, he chose YOU, not the random other girl. Don’t throw away your relationship because of your own issues. Maybe some couples therapy and some individual therapy might be beneficial if you can’t live without your BF and want to save the relationship. Regardless, a little counseling on your own would probably be a good idea.

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  • avatar

    Violet July 10, 2012, 9:25 am

    As someone who also has been cheated on and is very sensitive to the topic, LW, I agree with Wendy that you should let this one go. It might help to see a therapist for awhile to work through the shock you’re feeling, but you want to be able to do so in a constructive manner. I agree that this would be so incredibly painful, but you say that otherwise your relationship was close to perfect. It is so difficult to find this, LW. You can certainly move on, but the next person you date could have any number of issues that are very serious. You just never know. I would recommend working through this one, even though it will take time. And try to resist the urge to punish your SO.

    You can MOA, but it will be a better decision for you if you try to heal your relationship first. Then you’ll know you arrived there after a thoughtful decision. Best to you, LW.

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  • avatar

    tbrucemom July 10, 2012, 9:32 am

    I so agree with Wendy’s advice and the other commenters. It sounds like the relationship is worth keeping, but she needs to get some help dealing with her trust issues whether this relationship lasts or not.

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  • Budj

    Budj July 10, 2012, 9:33 am

    It would be hard for me to get over it…and I don’t think I could depending on if they were official or she just thought it was going there…see next paragraph.

    As far as gray area is concerned….it’s only gray area if they weren’t official. If they were talking and it was heading there, but it wasn’t there yet then I think he should have just kept this to himself because he didn’t technically do anything wrong… If they had had the “what are we” conversation and he did it that is a different ball of wax. Just because I wouldn’t be able to get over it doesn’t mean I don’t think the LW shouldn’t try. It sounds like a situation where if you can work through it that the relationship can still be great in either circumstance.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B July 10, 2012, 10:37 am

      Yeah, me too. In general, I have a no-tolerance policy towards cheating. Even if this had happened early on, I might not be able to forgive him. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize what a struggle it would be. I’d probably MOA, but that’s me.

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      • Budj

        Budj July 10, 2012, 10:40 am

        Yep – the objective me wants to say get over it…but then I put myself in the situation and realize how much resentment I’d have and then that would fuck the relationship anyways.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 10, 2012, 10:44 am

        But you don’t really know until you are actually in the situation. It’s easy for the what ifs, but once you’re there, can you say with 100% certainty you would MOA? I think it’s easy to draw that black and white line until you’ve been there.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary July 10, 2012, 10:59 am

        I agree with you that you never know until you are in the situation. As I get older I find more people say they have a no-tolerance policy of cheating, but once it happens to them and they are head over heels for their boyfriend they change their tune.

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      • Budj

        Budj July 10, 2012, 11:07 am

        no – I’m pretty unforgiving with that shit…I would absolutely be an ass hole about it and that’s not fair to me or my hypothetical partner. It’s not about a hard line of “oh that’s wrong the trust is gone” it’s a hard line of my bittnerness about it would sabotage the relationship even if I tried to work through it.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 10, 2012, 12:03 pm

        Ok, I get where you’re going with that. If it happened, I think you would really have to try to work through it and, as GG said, make your relationship better. If you hold onto that anger than yes, your relationship would have no hope.

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      • Budj

        Budj July 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

        haha – not saying it’s the right way to go about it by any means.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 10, 2012, 11:22 am

        I completely agree. I had said I had a no cheating policy and thought it was a black and white line…until it happened to me. My fiance and I have an incredibly happy and healthy relationship now, and I am so thankful I didn’t throw it away because he made one bad choice.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. July 10, 2012, 12:52 pm

        I understand what you’re saying, but at this point in my life I know myself very well. I know what I want and what I will and will not tolerate. I would not only be upset about the cheating, but also the fact that he hid it from me. What else is he hiding? Wendy’s right when she says that if you decide the only reason you want to tell someone something is to clear your conscience, DON’T TELL – EVER. Sounds a little sneaky to me, but I can see it. If he told me right away, the end result would still be the same (MOA) but at least I would know that he cared enough to be straight with me. Not enough to be faithful, but…If If found out years later, I would feel like I had wasted my time with a person who wasn’t who I thought he was. It would ruin everything for me. So, yes, sometimes things do happen and my previously held opinions can change, but in this situation I can say that I would MOA with 99.99% certainty. It’s just how I am.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 10, 2012, 1:03 pm

        That’s great that you’re so sure now. My fiance did tell me right after the fact and I seriously considered ending our relationship. But we made the commitment together to fix our relationship and I am thankful for that. I probably took a solid year before I really trusted him again, but it is so worth it to me.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 10, 2012, 3:02 pm

        It’s so good to hear success stories like yours!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 10, 2012, 4:08 pm

        hehe “success story”

        And thanks!

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  • avatar

    a_different_Wendy July 10, 2012, 9:39 am

    WWS
    That’s all I have to say. If it’s really a wonderful relationship, then give your very best effort to let it go. It was a long time ago, you hadn’t been together for very long. It sucks, but it’s not the worst thing anyone’s ever done.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG July 10, 2012, 9:47 am

    Great response, Wendy!

    I do feel that every relationship is vastly different. It is hard for me to know what level the LW and her boyfriend were at when this incident happened. If I think back to people I’ve dated, it is a mixed bag. There would be a few guys I’ve dated that this would really be no big deal. It would be like “So, what? We weren’t very established”. However, in my current relationship, we were very close and serious right from the start. It was like “Hey, I have a thing for you”… “Yeah, me too” and we were joined at the hip from day one (although we were friends for nearly a decade prior to that). Cheating would very much be a big deal, even that early on.

    But, in this situation… it seems that maybe you were on different pages? Which I think is normal for that stage of the game. It was two months in (and one of them was long distance!). It doesn’t seem like there would be much of a solid establishment of trust and exclusivity. But, I wasn’t there. I don’t know how you close you were emotionally.

    LW, what I do know is that your boyfriend seems very remorseful. In my opinion, that goes a long way. He is not calling you crazy or say you’re overreacting. There are a million guys out there who would tell you that it was no big deal and try to tell you that you shouldn’t be upset. This guy isn’t. He is letting you feel what you need to feel. He said he wants to regain your trust. Why not give him a shot? If in the end you can’t get past it, that’s fine. But, this seems like a situation where it is worth a little effort.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG July 10, 2012, 4:30 pm

      So, on second assessment of this, anyone else think that the LW is probably feeding a little bit off of her boyfriend’s tearful confession? Presentation can have a lot to do with people’s reactions. I know some people have commented that she is too dramatic and mentally unstable (and “deranged”! wow.). But, really… when someone is crying while they tell you about some transgression, it will just FEEL like a big deal. How can you blame the girl?

      I know some of you would be able to brush this off. I commend you for that. It would feel like a slap in the face to me (although something I think I’d try to work through, all things considered). But, I know my reaction might be amplified if the guy acted like it was a big deal.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 10, 2012, 10:00 am

    Here! Here! To Wendy’s response.

    I’m trying to add, but anything I write comes off as super snarky. So, to echo others WWS!

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  • Le Pinch

    Le Pinch July 10, 2012, 10:13 am

    Another person here who agrees with what Wendy said.

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  • avatar

    bethany July 10, 2012, 10:25 am

    WWS.

    If he had done this 1 year into their relationship I might feel differently… I know it’s hard to let it go, but LW, you really should try to forgive him.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow July 10, 2012, 10:32 am

    WWS!

    Also, I’m glad Wendy called out the “even the playing field” thing as bullshit.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle July 10, 2012, 10:38 am

    Two months into a relationship versus 3 years is a very different level of attachment, committment, and emotional depth. I’d let this go– & as much as it might bother you right now, try not to let it bleed into your interactions with your boyfriend.

    I’d actually be more concerned about the way his confession/your reaction is going to mar your good (there’s no such thing as perfect!) relationship. His early slip-up really sounds like something he’d never dream of repeating, so don’t let his confession become heavier than the deed itself.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle July 10, 2012, 10:50 am

      And in case my 2nd paragraph wasn’t clear, I’m basically saying it’s in YOUR control whether or not this relationship is ruined. If you don’t want it to be, then move past the cheating by not asking questions, bringing it up, making him feel guilty. I mean– look at your timeline. You seem to be thinking of it like, “our entire relationship has been a lie” but really, your trust in each other has been building & you’ve become more serious. I don’t honestly think he should’ve told you, but he probably feels more guilty now that things between you have developed. Don’t punish him more by asking for “gesture from him that would bring some of his words (‘I’ll do anything…’) into action.” Approaching it THAT way is the thing that’ll crumble your relationship– not one act of stupidity only 2 months in.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife July 10, 2012, 10:41 am

    It would be a hard pill for me to swallow, LW, I’ll grant you that much. Honestly, your boyfriend should have kept his pie-hole shut on this one, but he didn’t and now you are sort of left holding the bag.

    Should you get over it? Yea, you should. Act like it happened before you were exclusive because in reality, maybe it really did!

    The trust that you guys have isn’t broken because everything that happened after that was totally building the relationship. Your reaction of shock is justified. But to be perfectly honest, if my husband came out and told me he had done something similar, I would say to him that coming out to say it now was a little bit selfish and that I never want to discuss it again.

    Perhaps you are afraid that if you act like that it will send a message to him that “it’s no big deal.” But don’t worry about that… it is a big deal and he sees that now and now you should take that knowledge, put it on a high shelf of your brain and enjoy your boyfriend. He seems like an otherwise awesome guy.

    Enjoy your relationship.

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  • avatar

    Jessibel5 July 10, 2012, 10:45 am

    I know I should be serious in my response to this, but all I can think of is the Modern Family episode where Claire finds out that in the beginning of their relationship almost 20 years ago that Phil overlapped her and his ex girlfriend, and Phil, trying to make her feel better goes: ” I know the pain is fresh, but the lie is really old!”

    And now I’m cracking up inappropriately. Sorry :/

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl July 10, 2012, 10:50 am

    While I do agree that you should let it go; take time to fully process your feelings. Be mad for a little, or sad…what ever range of emotions you need to go through to process this. If you have questions about it- ask your BF. If you need to have a conversation about changing some of the “ground rules” for your relationship- such as going out alone with opposite genders or something like that- have that conversation. Don’t brush off your feelings of betrayal, use this as a learning experience for you and you BF to strengthen your relationship.

    FWIW, my fiance and I had a similar “event” happen about 2 years into our relationship and we are infinitely stronger now because of it. While I know he would take back that stupid decision in heartbeat, we have learned a ton from it and have made very positive changes in our relationship and communication.

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  • avatar

    Sasa July 10, 2012, 10:51 am

    While I agree that his confession caused you unnecessary pain in the short term, it could help foster a conversation between the two of you about the importance of honesty in your relationship that is important for the long term. By talking about it you’re probably now clearer about how much openness and honesty matter to you. I would suggest that you talk some more about monogamy and honesty, in order to be sure you’re on the same page. Personally, I think that if you want honesty from him in the future too, it would not be smart to punish him too much for his confession. Yes, for now he’ll take away from this that it’s important to you that he doesn’t cheat, but he might also get the message that if he does cheat again some time in the future, he can’t tell you. That’s not good if you value honesty and openness highly. By punishing him you’d be setting an incentive against cheating, but also one against telling you if he does cheat again at some point.
    You know, his cheating does not mean he doesn’t love you. It’s not an insult against you. It’s something that happened in the past when your relationship was at a different stage. He has shown that he wants to be honest with you, that’s not a bad thing. Judge the relationship by what it is like now.

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  • avatar

    Jessibel5 July 10, 2012, 10:53 am

    I don’t think the boyfriend has to do anything to “level the playing field.” I think we should look back on the past 2.5 years of attentive, wonderful, respectful behavior and judge him on that. Unless she’s leaving something out, he sounds like a great guy who made a mistake one time, before the relationship was even defined. I think it would be absolutely pointless to throw away an amazing relationship and possible amazing future for something that inconsequential that happened that long ago. LW, he chose YOU and has spent the past few years making YOU happy! I think that should count for something…and he’s not your dad, keep reminding yourself of that.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo July 10, 2012, 11:16 am

    I agree with everything Wendy said except the part about not keeping score. If you don’t keep score, how are you going to know who’s WINNING!? After years of keeping score, I now judge that I am far enough ahead on points that i could get away with cheating at least once, which I could never have done early on before I built up all that equity. It feels good knowing I have a free pass in the bag! Come on, people, you know you all have your own private scorecards, and someday, you’re gonna use ’em!Play to win, or don’t even bother playing!(Note: People who don’t understand sarcasm need not comment.)

    In all seriousness, LW, think about it. Your SO is a dolt for confessing this to you, but it was basically a non-event (no sex) from long ago, and he told you because he is consumed by guilt (and self-importance) over this non-event ONLY because he LOVES you, so much that he is willing to eff it up this badly to be honest to you now. Anyone should be so lucky as to have a dolt like your guy.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 10, 2012, 11:59 am

      Love this!

      It took about one sentence to realize you were being completely snarky and it made me smile. Thanks for that.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo July 10, 2012, 12:07 pm

        Cheers, Frannie! True story: I wrote it because of your comment above re not being able to think of anything that wasn’t snarky. I thought, why resist?

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 10, 2012, 12:17 pm

        That’s awesome. You just made my day.

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    • avatar

      GTR July 10, 2012, 11:50 pm

      “I agree with everything Wendy said except the part about not keeping score. If you don’t keep score, how are you going to know who’s WINNING!?”

      Exactly what I was thinking! There’s a mean spoilt little princess-y part of you, LW, that resents this admission of imperfect love and is grabbing it as an opportunity to gain some extra power in the relationship and wrest some advantage out of the whole affair. “He has to work EXTRA hard now to prove his love for me! YAY!”

      Her majesty needs to be put down, and quickly.

      Wendy is right that to throw away a 3 year relationship with a devoted man because of one drunken makeout session in the first two months is ridiculous. But it’s always important to consider the alternatives. Perhaps you two should take a break. Then you can put yourself back in the dating market. Meet a few guys. You know, the ones who say they’ll call but never do. The ones who are charming and hot but turn cold within minutes of getting you into bed. The ones who seem normal at first but have creepy fetishes, or the ones who flirt with other girls while they’re out with you, or the ones who just keep you hanging on while they keep an eye out for someone better…

      Got some persepective yet?

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  • avatar

    amy July 10, 2012, 11:21 am

    I absolutely agree with Wendy on this one. It is nice that he came clean, 2 years and ten months later, but now the pain is on you. He has gotten rid of his guilt, he no longer hurts, and you are the one hurting.

    You were dating for one month, and then were apart for four weeks when he had an (almost) one night stand with another girl.

    I know you are shocked and hurt right now and that will take time to work through it. I don’t think this is a reason to throw in the towel because it happened so long ago. You could try couples counseling to work through your pain because I can see why your trust has been shaken, but it was so long ago, in the very beginning stages of a relationship.

    Also, I don’t believe in the once a cheater always a cheater. Her bf was brand new, long distance after one month, drunk, and not sure how serious the two were. Also, I cheated on a highschool boyfriend and I have never cheated since. It was the wrong relationship which is why I ended up cheating.

    I don’t think the guy is at risk for cheating again, I think it’s a mistake that is in the past, and now it’s time for you to work through your pain.

    I’m sorry LW, I can’t imagine how hard that is for you, but I say work through your hurt and possible trust issues and maintain what has been a good relationship.

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  • avatar

    Jubietta July 10, 2012, 11:45 am

    I think the hardest thing for me in a trust situation like this is the niggling little voice in the back of my head that just doesn’t want to let it go. A stranger accused my husband of infidelity years ago (phone call out of the blue) and even though I trust him and have years of SOLID evidence that he’s a great human being who has my best interests at heart…that possibility now exists where it didn’t before. But only because I was naive, not because it couldn’t have happened — it was my issue, my change of understanding, that I had to learn to live with.

    My advice is to see if you two can come to a place where you can talk about it when the thought of his infidelity gets in your head and you’re not able to shake it. And these talks aren’t about dredging up the past and whacking him over the head with it (that’s strictly forbidden if your aim is to move forward) but to talk about why you think the issue is popping-up right then and what is happening at the moment that causes you to feel uneasy. Ask him to put away his shame and fear and just talk to you like he’s your best friend who wants to help you better understand yourself and this “new world” you’re both in. My experience is this process disempowers that nasty little voice and allows you the head space to return to being appreciative of BF’s actions. Because like folks say around here…people will always SHOW you who they are…and it sounds like BF has been bringing it pretty solid for quite some time.

    And one more thought…your relationship gets stronger from working through things like this. You build new types of trust that can’t grow when “everything’s perfect.” I would rather have a “strong” relationship, and a “resilient” relationship, and an “intimate” relationship because those so-called perfect ones are so damn brittle…one little hit and they shatter like crystal into a bazillion little pieces that take so much work to rebuild.

    As far as the Grand Gesture you’re asking about? That’s a no-win situation in my book…or at least a tough-to-get-it-right one. If you tell him what gesture to make, it takes the magic and significance out of it. If he takes the initiative and comes up with something huge/amazing-to-him/expensive that doesn’t strike a chord with you then it hurts more than it helps. If he manages, by some miracle, to get it right…then you’ve set a destructive precedent that fucking-up means bigger-and-better apology gifts with an implied permission-slip built in to misbehave as long as you’re willing to pay the price — and that goes for BOTH of you. I suggest rather than expecting him to throw up one big firework to fix things…watch and see if he doesn’t just light a bunch of little candles to guide you both back to a place of trust.

    Good luck LW.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG July 10, 2012, 1:12 pm

      This should have more likes! The whole thing was very well put!

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    • theattack

      theattack July 10, 2012, 3:07 pm

      I love the way you explained the grand gesture! That’s so so true!

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    • SweetsAndBeats

      SweetsAndBeats July 10, 2012, 4:43 pm

      “…then you’ve set a destructive precedent that fucking-up means bigger-and-better apology gifts with an implied permission-slip built in to misbehave as long as you’re willing to pay the price — and that goes for BOTH of you.”

      So, so, so true. I’ve made this mistake before, LW, and it really does set a precedent – one that could make your relationship quite unhealthy. Beware.

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    • avatar

      Mechie July 11, 2012, 4:24 am

      Such great advice, and so well put!

      “Ask him to put away his shame and fear and just talk to you like he’s your best friend who wants to help you better understand yourself and this “new world” you’re both in. ”

      This, I think, is challenging, and requires a great deal of patience and understanding from the partner that has messed up, and now has to reassure the other. Although I agree with your advice a 100%, I can see how the boyfriend could get defensive/angry/impatient if the LW were to bring this up every time she can’t shake the thought of his infidelity off (which could be a lot of times initially). Even if just wanted to talk it through with him about what was making her upset, I think its very likely the BF would perceive it as “whacking him on the head with it”, and maybe get defensive and lash out at her, which could intensify her hurt.

      She would have to bring these conversations up calmly, and BF would have to be extremely patient to be able to set aside his anger and fear, in order to say or do whatever it takes to reassure her.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 10, 2012, 12:14 pm

    LW –

    Ok, so a lot of people are telling you that maybe his indiscretion only a couple months into the relationship wasn’t so bad. And I agree. It really wasn’t and isn’t worth throwing away three almost perfect years. But you need to know how to move past this. How to let it go. I’m better at giving advice as it relates to me, so here I go . .

    A few months ago, actually right around Memorial Day, I started getting a little depressed about life in general. Where I was at, my job, friends, boyfriends, or lack thereof, the whole nine yards. I was losing sleep over these bazillion nagging thoughts I had in my head that I couldn’t shake. It was so bad, I was afraid to even go to sleep because when I was alone, that was when they overpowered me. But to an outsider, I looked like I have a pretty great, happy life. Anyway. I was sharing this with my therapist. What she told me is that those thoughts I’m having aren’t really real. Much like a dream, I myself am shaping those thoughts and letting them seep into every pore. So, when something negative pops up, choose to reshape your thinking. I did. I pushed them aside because I know they were silly. And I do have a pretty good life. I had to stop letting them overtake me. Now, I’m sleeping again. And I’m happy.

    So, LW, actively try to reshape your thoughts. Don’t let them overtake you. Because honestly, other than one minor blip, this guy sounds pretty great.

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    • avatar

      HmC July 10, 2012, 1:34 pm

      That is good life advice, for anyone. I was just reading this Buddhist book about life and relationships yesterday, and the author talked about how the majority of what we perceive to be reality isn’t even real- it’s stories in our head that we create to feel like we understand what is happening around us. I think it’s amazing how powerful re-shaping your thoughts and exuding a positive energy are, and what an impact doing those things has on the actual positive things that happen to you.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 10, 2012, 2:17 pm

        Yes! That’s pretty much what my therapist was getting at, but I couldn’t remember how she was phrasing it. She takes a very zen approach to life and it has helped me tremendously. What’s the name of the book?

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      • avatar

        HmC July 10, 2012, 2:58 pm

        Here it is! http://www.amazon.com/Love-Freedom-Aloneness-Osho/dp/0312291620/?&tag=dearwecom-20&linkCode=wsw&

        I can’t vouch for the whole book yet because I’ve only perused it, but if you’re familiar at all with Eckhart Tolle (Power of Now) it basically takes those concepts and explores them in the context of love and loneliness. I’m a big fan of Power of Now, so what I’ve read so far of this book really spoke to me. I like how it addresses finding happiness with one’s own self, and the absolute importance of loving oneself despite a lot of external factors brainwashing us not to do so.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 10, 2012, 5:26 pm

        Thanks. I think the therapist has mentioned that book actually, Power of Now. Or someone has. I might have to check it out. Or the other one. We’ll see. Thanks HmC!

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 5:33 pm

        Ekhart Tolle. He is a wise wise man.

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 11, 2012, 9:15 am

        I’m totally getting that book now.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow July 10, 2012, 2:51 pm

        That’s so true, HmC. And I think at least part of the reason the LW is so upset right now is because he shattered the image of their “perfect” relationship. NO relationship is “perfect” – but the ones who learn to work on their imperfections are the healthy ones.

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  • avatar

    Savannah July 10, 2012, 12:19 pm

    It was super selfish of her boyfriend to do this. Keep that shit to yourself and live with the guilt!

    Reply Link
  • mandalee

    mandalee July 10, 2012, 12:23 pm

    LW, Wendy is right, your boyfriend shouldn’t have unloaded this on you, because now it’s your burden to bear. However, he did, so now you have to deal with it. The fact that he was forthcoming with the information without any kind of questioning from you, says a lot. He probably feels awful and really regrets hurting you.

    The cheating did take place at the beginning of the relationship, which can be really foggy time for some people. You can be committed, but you don’t if you’re really “all in”, or in the case of a sudden long distance, if you’re even going to stick it out and have the relationship turn into something bigger. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but I can see where something like this can occur, and not have it be a relationship ending discretion. My husband and I had a time period of 3-4 weeks in the beginning where we were definitely together but weren’t officially a thing. After 5 years together, all that were amazing, I don’t think I would throw a relationship on something like this.

    You can feel however you want to feel, and take your time to work through them, but if he’s really a great guy and you’re happy together, I wouldn’t walk away right now. Be kind to yourself and him during this process (maybe not so kind to the bad influence friend though- does every guy have one of these? ugh) . Good luck!

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Oh, seriously. GET OVER IT. Nobody has the right to expect monogamy and fidelity after a mere two months of dating… No, seriously. This whole thing is absurd.

    PS: Oh yeah. And your boyfriend was an idiot to tell you the truth here. What a pussy. What a fool. What a mess…

    Reply Link
    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 12:40 pm

      WAIT! What? The whole even was actually SEXLESS? Oh, God. Get the fuck OVER yourself, LW. What a fucking drama queen. What a deranged and deluded soul you must be…

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 10, 2012, 1:16 pm

        Okay, I agree with you that she just needs to just move past this, but calling her deranged and deluded? A bit harsh man.

        I mean, she’s finding this out at the three year mark, when a lot of love and effort has been poured into this relationship. If she had found out at the time it had happened, at two months when not much had been invested yet, she may not have been so bothered. But she can’t go back and time and view this with the amount of detachment she had at the time, its understandable that emotionally she’s going to conflate the long ago incident with the feelings she has for the guy now.

        The good news is that human beings don’t have to let their emotional responses drive everything. After the initial reaction, the rational part of her brain should kick in and say “Wait, this happened in the infancy of our relationship, when we didn’t feel the way we feel now, and what we’ve built since then has been all good.”

        But cut her a little slack man, she’s entitled to be bothered a bit at first.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 1:21 pm

        Agree to disagree here. Anybody who makes THIS big an overreaction simply is NOT exactly what I would call mentally sound… They just aren’t. Frankly, if a MAN were doing this you’d all (rightfully!) say he was psycho with madonna/whore issues. Seriously. Think about it.

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      • avatar

        amy July 10, 2012, 1:28 pm

        I don’t know. I don’t know how I would feel if my fiance’ came home one night in tears and told me that he cheated on me three years ago. The thought of the person you love with someone else is awful, even if it was in the beginning stages.

        I think the guy was selfish and wanted to get rid of his guilt, so he told his girlfriend just to make himself feel better. But really, why would she want to know? Now the pain and doubts are hers.

        I think I would rather not know, but if he did tell me something like that, I wouldn’t be like… oh, ok honey, that’s cool. Just never again. I think I’d be upset too.

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      • avatar

        amy July 10, 2012, 1:29 pm

        Now, if he cheated three weeks ago, or months ago… THAT’S an entirely different issue

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 10, 2012, 1:37 pm

        I guess this is an agree to disagree.

        And I don’t mean this as an attack on you, but you are very hard on people. I know that’s your thing and all, but people aren’t automatons, or perfect, particularly in regards to their emotions. I think when people ALLOW their emotions to control them and do unreasonable or irrational things they deserve the label of deranged or pyscho, but its one thing to experience a certain feeling and another to allow your emotions to guide your behavior.

        And yes, if it was a guy in this position, I could understand if his feelings were the same. If he started screaming at her and calling her a dirty whore, well that’s a different matter.

        But if your first response is to be hurt, well, you feel what you feel. We can’t control our immediate emotions, because again, we are human. After calming down and getting outside perspectives, I hope she sees this isn’t a as big of a deal as she initially felt, and I hope she can do the reasonable thing and let it go, but I don’t think she should be called deranged based on her emotions alone.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 1:51 pm

        You can be hurt. Sure. Be upset for a day or two. But grow up. Move on. Instead, all too often people want permission to overreact and blame somebody for something so trivial that happened years ago? It’s foolish. It’s stupid. And it’s not going to make anybody happy. For ages rational people have been able to rise above their feelings. There just that, feelings. More often than not, they aren’t even justified, either.

        In fact, in my opinion, people constantly letting themselves be ruled by their own petty emotions remains actually mankind’s greatest flaw. Indeed, that is the true root of almost every problem, great and small. Every conflict, every war is do to people being ruled and governed by their deluded idea that it’s ONLY their feelings that matter. I WANT this land. I WANT you to believe in MY GOD… I hate faggots and god must too, because they make me feel icky…

        Enough is enough. Grow the fuck up, people. Just grow the fuck up. Or LW, dump the guy and see how happy you are alone.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 2:02 pm

        Damn! When did we use the ability to edit? My apologies, everybody, I got so used to doing that the past few days, I didn’t even proof the above and it’s a disaster as I was going to edit it after I posted… Oh, well. I shall now be more careful…

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 10, 2012, 2:35 pm

        And I don’t disagree that human emotions, and more specifically, people just acting on their emotions with no pause, is probably humanity’s greatest flaw.

        But I think its a bit naive to just assume rational thinking can just make that go away. Your rational brain can be acutely aware of how unreasonable your emotions are, but just acknowledging that fact doesn’t make those emotions go away. Emotions are powerful little buggers, and yes, people need to do a better job managing them. The key here is “managing” them. You can’t just recognize when they are unreasonable and wave them away. It’s nice and all to say “Just get the hell over it” but sometimes that’s easier said then done. They need to be processed, parsed apart, and allowed to diminish. And that can take more than a day or two sometimes.

        It would be great if all we had to do was say “Ah, this feeling isn’t justified. I will stop having it.” The world would be a much better place if we could, but the human brain just doesn’t work that way for the vast majority of people.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 10, 2012, 2:04 pm

        So, short of the human brain evolving past emotions, what do you suggest to help people overcome their feelings immediately? I mean, we’re hard wired to have them.

        I think you and I are in agreement on the meat of this: People should not allow their emotions to control their behavior. Whether this means letting go of a transgression your partner made in the early days of your relationship, or whether it means on not declaring war, don’t allow your first response to be your only response.

        But, emotions are going to happen. And people should be allowed some leeway to have them, and some leeway to process them. That means some time to allow the rational brain to kick in and sort through things objectively, and maybe that means getting some outside perspectives to help you do that. Sounds like this LW is trying to do both those things. If after some time and outside input she continues to hold this against him, yeah LW, you need to grow the fuck up.

        Sometimes, I feel like you expect people to react rationally and perfectly instantaneously, and then you rag on them when they don’t. And biologically, its just not going to happen that way. So, yes, cut some people a little bit of slack, at first.

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      • avatar

        Jubietta July 10, 2012, 1:28 pm

        Drama Queen: Pot meet kettle.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 1:34 pm

        Actually, I’m jaded an opinionated, sure. And beyond flippant, and often bitchy. But dramaqueen? Eh, whatever. I don’t think you pay enough attention to my posts.

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      • avatar

        Desiree July 10, 2012, 1:38 pm

        I think it is important to remember that she is probably seeing this event through the lens of her father’s infidelity. I suspect that if she wants to move past this with her boyfriend, she’ll need some counseling for her past.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl July 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I don’t agree with Wendy. Ok, I do but I just wanted to be different.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 12:44 pm

      I actually don’t agree at all with Wendy’s statement that the LW’s reaction is normal… Honestly, I don’t know ANYONE who would make such a mountain out of a molehill and demand a grand gesture to shore up her already bloated ego… But then, I no longer freely traffic with idiots, either.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl July 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

        Yes, but people with dingles think differently than people with godspots. I’m actually surprised that it bothered him enough to even say anything. While I don’t think all women are drama queens, I think the LW may be. She’s also seems fairly young and has some baggage regarding cheating.

        Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted to know something that insignificant, especially since he confessed so long after the fact. In fact, sometimes I think the less silly little details I know the better off I am.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 1:15 pm

        Wait, Godspots = Vagina? Hmmmmm, so THIS why all the christian nutjobs keep insisting gays are godless…

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      • avatar

        amy July 10, 2012, 1:32 pm

        bitter… the name suits you lol. I didn’t see anything about grand gestures in her letter. I see someone who is confused and upset and doesn’t know what to do. All emotions that I think anyone would feel after a revelation (no matter how long ago) like that.

        My advice is NOT to MOA, because it was so long ago and their relationship is good, but to work through her feelings of hurt. I think anyone would be hurt.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 10, 2012, 1:42 pm

        You must have missed it. Scroll through some other comments, actually, I wasn’t even the first one to label it grand gesture… Here is the quote we are all talking about…

        ” Any ideas? I feel like if I were to give him a chance, I would need some kind of gesture from him that would bring some of his words (“I’ll do anything…”) “

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      • landygirl

        landygirl July 10, 2012, 2:12 pm

        Rather than dingle we can call it The Staff of Life if you please.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina July 10, 2012, 1:00 pm

    I’ve been in this situation with my current boyfriend–except we were definitely monogamous at the point he cheated, but it still was very early on in our relationship, and I had no idea until he decided to tell me. It is hard to move on from that, and yes, it is selfish to tell an SO that you cheated in these circumstances, but I know for me, I’m very glad I found out. I think honesty is the best policy for most things, and I know it made our relationship so much stronger. Occasionally I still get the feeling, “But I don’t wanna marry someone who has already cheated on me”–but I think that’s really normal. And life isn’t perfect. We all make mistakes. And I think it’s good in a way that your boyfriend did come clean (even if it is for selfish reasons) because having those open discussions about trust, communication, and monogamy can only help your relationship in the long run. His guilt is the reason it came up, but releasing that guilt will help strengthen everything in my opinion. It just takes time.

    And I just thought I would add that the situation with my boyfriend also made me very wary at first because of my father. My parents are still married technically, but my dad used to cheat on my mom all the time, and I think it’s really tough to see that, especially for daughters seeing their fathers cheat, because it’s so easy to expect that any man you will be with will do the same. LW, it sounds like you have a great boyfriend, and all the thoughts you are having now are those temporary, racing thoughts; they will disappear over time as you see that it’s likely not the biggest deal, and that it will help both of you to continue to develop your relationship more.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh July 10, 2012, 1:20 pm

    i agree with the friend here, he should never have told you. i think the idea of him doing something to even the playing field is kind of silly. that’s not how you rebuild trust. i mean do you want him to wear a sign around for a day that says he cheated or let you kiss someone else so you feel better? that’s definitely not going to fix anything.

    giving up on a 3 year old relationship is a big deal. you need to also decide how much fight you’re willing to put in your relationships. like wendy said, this isn’t the only time you’re going to have to choose to forgive your boyfriend for something and move on. it might not be something like cheating, but still. you will face hard times again in your future. talk to him let him know how you feel and then decide what ways he can show you that you can trust him. or better yet focus on the things he already does to prove that trust.

    i would also add if you’re someone who doesn’t forgive easily, moa. not only for you but for him. you both deserve to move forward with someone who is going to give the other person their all. and if you haven’t already i would suggest talking to someone about your trust issues, because even if you leave your current boyfriend you will date again in the future and it would be better for all involved if you found healthy ways to deal with those.

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  • avatar

    HmC July 10, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Wendy’s advice is great! My only question for the LW would be, had you even had an exclusivity talk at the point your boyfriend “cheated”? I know that not everyone feels this way, but in my opinion, if you haven’t clarified that you are monogamous, it’s generally smart to assume that you’re not.

    The fact that this guy felt the need for a dramatic, teary confession leads me to believe that you guys had discussed monogamy? I don’t know… I think the amount of betrayal I would feel in this situation would depend greatly on whether a monogamy discussion was had.

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  • Lili

    Lili July 10, 2012, 1:29 pm

    I agree with pretty much everyone else on here, it happened early, no sex etc. So its best to work through it and maybe find ways to talk about needs and temptations, because life is long, love comes in phases and temptations are all around us.

    With that said I also have to add how much I HATE the cheating confessions after the fact. Like its over, why bother telling me. I think I have such strong feelings about it since a large number of my friends have been told by exes–when they were in fact broken up–sometimes YEARS later that he had cheated on her. I don’t see WHY men do this. I mean, the relationship was dunzo. What–you want her to go get checked for STDS? We go annually ya know. IDK, I find it so selfish and it brings up feelings of mistrust all over again, even if she’s moved on. GAH. cheaters–when its OVER and not relevant. DON”T EFFIN TELL. that is all.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 10, 2012, 1:52 pm

      Ugh, yeah, if the relationship is long since dead and buried, the ONLY reason to tell someone you’ve cheated is to clear your conscience. Its not like there’s a relationship to potentially salvage, or that you have any sort of emotional obligation to your ex anymore. You just want to stop carrying around your guilt. Selfish, in my opinion.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee July 10, 2012, 2:00 pm

      My ex-boyfriend did that to me months after our relationship was over. I suspected me cheated with many girls, but I was never able to confirm anything. He wrote me a long, detailed letter on all the whos, wheres, and whys. He even had one of the girls write me I’m an “I’m sorry I slept with your boyfriend” note. I mean WTF? I wasn’t even mad, I was just at a lost for words. What in the world are you trying to accomplish at this point?

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG July 10, 2012, 4:21 pm

        I feel like at that point, it’s bragging. Plain and simple. Yuck!

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph July 10, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Story time!
    A few weeks after I had begun dating my now-fiancé, he went away to a family wedding. I got a call on Friday afternoon from a friend who wanted to set me up with one of her husband’s friends who was in town for the weekend. (She’s rather religious Jew where set-ups like this are normal and generally the preferred way of dating. In fact there’s an old wives tale of sorts that if you help 7 couples find their soul mates, you get a free pass into heaven)
    I wavered a little bit before calling her back because I did have this new “boyfriend” but who knew where that was going to go, who knew if he was the one for me… what if this other guy was the one for me? So I went on the date and it was awful.
    I didn’t tell my boyfriend about it when he got back, because it hadn’t really meant anything. Years later I did tell him, and he was surprised but not really mad. He thinks of it like I picked him, over this other guy.
    Which is true, in a way. And your boyfriend picked you too. So early on in the relationship, before you were really committed and knew each other, he had a choice to be with you or with someone else or with nobody else to live the bachelor lifestyle… and he chose you. Think of it that way.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet July 10, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I have to assume the LW is still a teenager (or very, very early 20’s), because queue the fucking violins if not! I’m with BitterGayMark on this one. Get OVER yourself if you really think this is an issue that could ruin an otherwise “perfect” relationship. If a boyfriend of 3 years broke down in TEARS because he kissed another girl 2 years and 10 months ago, I would nervously laugh and back away slowly.

    Can we all just stop labeling relationships so early on? It’s a mess! You should date for at least 3 months before slapping the boyfriend/girlfriend tag on your SO. Unless, of course, you both know how serious you are and therefore would never be tempted to make out with someone else. And like Wendy said, think long and hard before you selfishly confess to cheating.

    LW, just put this into perspective. If you’re making such a BIG DEAL about THIS, what happens when shit gets real? You’ll never maintain a successful relationship if you can’t forgive the small stuff.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle July 10, 2012, 2:22 pm

      Yeah, the tears thing threw me off as well– & also made me think they must be somewhat young. Guys cry, of course, but I think it’s a reaction younger guys in their first relationship have. With more experience/age, they learn to manage their emotions.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 10, 2012, 2:53 pm

        My fiance cried his eyes out when he told me he had cheated. We were not “young” or in our first relationship. I beleive he cried because he was truly remorseful and felt guilty and ashamed of his actions. (this all happened almost 3 years ago btw)

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  • katie

    katie July 10, 2012, 2:27 pm

    this part: “I feel like if I were to give him a chance, I would need some kind of gesture from him that would bring some of his words (“I’ll do anything…”) into action” irks me a lot…. that is not real life. your life is not a movie. there is not going to be a “grand gesture”. and if you expect one, if you expect him to somehow pay you back for this, you are in for a world of unhappiness, and i feel bad for any guy you end up with.

    other then that, WWS… although i’m town about keeping something like that to yourself. i have always wanted to know- i would rather know and be able to process what happened and adjust myself then to just go around blissfully unaware… but i do agree that something that is honestly very trivial, like cheating in the very beginning before trust and everything had been established, is a dumb thing to bring up 3 years after the fact.. im torn. i dunno.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl July 10, 2012, 3:18 pm

      I guess this means that John Cusak won’t be showing up at my doorstep with a boom box. Sigh.

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie July 10, 2012, 4:02 pm

        every movie i have ever seen has lied to me in some capacity. it makes me mad.

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      • avatar

        Caris July 11, 2012, 12:33 am

        John Cusak <3

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 3:55 pm

    I’m sooo late to this letter. As I was reading the letter though – before I got to Wendy’s reply – I kept thinking “this is a perfect example of someone coming clean simply to feel less quilty at another’s expense” – like we’ve talked about here before. I am always so proud of myself when I guess correctly where Wendy will go in her response – what is *that* about? Like, if Wendy didn’t say that, would I have felt I got it “wrong” or would I have had more confidance in my response? We’ll never know … because I got it right, haha. That’s all.

    How’s everybody? What am I missing? What’s new? Any lovers out there that need to connect? (Did everybody see the love connection I facilitated over the weekend?) Has anyone heard from RR? Is Wendy back from Germany? Is it ok to pretend I’m dating my mortgage lender when he does things like call (to talk about my mortgage) and buy me drinks and dinner (some sort of business development on his part I’m sure)? He’s cute. Haven’t done yoga in 3+ weeks. I am feeling so very blue about that. Does anyone care?

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    • katie

      katie July 10, 2012, 4:01 pm

      i need you to wish my cookies good luck next week. they are going to be tasted by a huge company to potentially be made by my company.. so wish them luck!

      haha.

      you need to get with your mortgage guy… but not about mortages, if you feel me…

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

        Can I taste your cookies? I didn’t get my daily cookie(s) today on account of the World’s Best Cafeteria Ever being closed. Though I really should NOT be eating cookies daily, but they’re so damn good. And they’re there. So I eat them. The mortgage guy is really fit. There’s no possible way he would be into my cookie-stuffed yoga-deprived body. I mean, there’s just no way. But let me ask you this: last night we were talking about time management and being busy at work and blah blah blah and about how he likes to get to work ridiculously early so he can get work done before the phones start ringing and I said something about how I would try to do the same this morning. (That’s the background story for you.) Well, this morning he sent me an email at 6 am to tell me he made it to work early (kudos to him – I was still sleeping) and asking if I made it into the office yet. So my question to you is: Mr. Mortgage Balls definitely wants to marry me and have babies with me, right? Right. It’s sooo obvious. Don’t worry, I’m playing it cool.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 4:36 pm

        He’s just testing to waters to see if you got up early. And wondering if you’d be willing to get up a little earlier for a ‘workout’ ahem ahem with him. Besides, you’re super cool if I were a dude, I’d want to marry you and have babies with you. If he’s cool, i’m sure he’s thinking the same as ManLili would.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 5:02 pm

        Oh I like where you’re going.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 5:05 pm

        I’m a wise old yenta. Seriously. I was called a yenta last night and have been beaming because of it ever since. And bragging about how I’m wise of course.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 10, 2012, 5:18 pm

        Yay, yenta Lili! You need to come and help me out, I need it as you know.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 5:31 pm

        Guy I recognize, but don’t remember hasn’t written me back 🙁 its making me sad…maybe he’s off doing something really cool. but I doubt it. I think he’s disabling his account and disappearing like bus stop guy did. I wonder where Escape from Lili Island is?

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 11, 2012, 12:01 am

        Darrrrn! Don’t feel sad!

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      • katie

        katie July 10, 2012, 4:46 pm

        hehe… i honestly think that he likes you. marriage and babies are a stretch, which i know you know, but really? what mortgage guy emails you at 6 am wanting to know if you got to work early just like you were talking about doing the day before? a mortgage guy who likes you, thats who.

        i say that after the mortgage part is over, you tell mr mortgage guy you would like to continue happy hour meetings and 6 am emails….

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 5:05 pm

        I’ve already planned my next move: Mortgage Guy rides a scooter – so cute, right? I told him I’ve been wanting to get a scooter for awhile now and he said that he’d love to help me b/c after owning 3 years over the last 10 years or so he definitely has a lot of opinions and advice that he’d be happy to share. SOOOOOOO, I think I’ll follow up about scooters. That’s a good next step, right? Or do I wait until I close on my condo, which, by the way, it looks like I might not do on account of an inspector’s report that was a total buzz kill. So, ask him if he wants to advise re: scooters?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Do you think if guys knew all the ridiculous things I think outloud like “oh he’s nice and cute, I think we’ll have babies together soon, for sure” that they’d stick around and laugh it off or RUN FAR AWAY? I think if I were a guy I’d run.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 5:12 pm

        But they make me love you more.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 10, 2012, 5:20 pm

        Well, I think the same sort of thing, so in my mind this is totally beyond normal and a really quite reasonable thing to do!

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      • katie

        Katie July 10, 2012, 5:57 pm

        judging from the looks my boyfriend gives me when i think out loud… the run far away option. definitely.

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      • Brad

        Brad July 10, 2012, 6:11 pm

        In some cases they might make me run but dear God would it make things friggin easier! Assuming I could learn to tune it out to prevent going insane, I’d love the ‘what women want’ thing to happen to me.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 10, 2012, 6:22 pm

        Ok here goes: 3:17 PM PST: mind of Lili:

        Ugh, I have 43 more min left til I can leave. But why am I so excited to ‘leave’ I have to hit the gym and make my ridic expensive bootcamp count for something, even though I feel SO FAT today. Oo but I wonder if Bus stop crush will FINALLY be at the gym the same time as me? Th at would be AMAZING. More amazing if he asks me out in front of my ex. Who I hope has gotten fat/too thin and bald. Aww text from Dee saying she’s having a stressful day. Gotta send her some nice texts today. Hmm, what should I eat for dinner-and do I need to do dinner before or after the work out. I kinda skipped lunch today so I DO need to eat something. But I’m feeling so coffee full. ugh, I hate being fat. I wish I could just do 1000 sit ups and lose my stomach. why does the damn trainer make me work out my arms and legs. They’re fine. ok maybe the arms. Occasionally. But I mean I work those out lugging my laptop everywhere. And the legs I walk on. So its tummy only….

        This goes on of course. But I’m sure that was a decent glimpse. From 3:17-3:21 PM PST Mind of Lili.

        You’re welcome.

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      • Brad

        Brad July 10, 2012, 6:53 pm

        Don’t forget to refill your A.D.D medication on your way home. 😛

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      • katie

        Katie July 10, 2012, 7:42 pm

        brad, honestly, my mind works that way too. like, one thing leads me to another thing leads me to another thing… ect. there have been times when i will ask my boyfriend a question and about 12 seconds later i will bring up something else, seemingly completely unrelated, and my boyfriend has actually asked me how i got from A to B.. he calls it going from A to G, through F and L, then turning in around O, finding Q, and then I get to B. it makes no sense to him either….

        maybe its a girl thing? i dunno.

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      • katie

        Katie July 10, 2012, 5:59 pm

        re: scooters…

        definitely go that route. what a perfect excuse to get together! and honestly, its not like he is even your co worker or anything. hang out with him. do it!

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    • avatar

      bethany July 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

      I care!
      I’m going back to Bikram tonight after 3 weeks off… My poison ivy finally cleared up and I no longer look like a leper, so I feel like it’s safe to go back. I’m scared.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 4:33 pm

        Oh I’d be scared too! I haven’t been in 3 weeks and 2 days. Maybe I’ll try to go to the 6 am class tomorrow but I’m really scared myself. I don’t know how I let 3 weeks and 2 days go by without Bikram. It’s been a bit hectic, emotional, and stressful in my life the last 3 weeks, but that’s when I need Bikram more than ever. I should know better. But instead I’ve been actively avoiding it b/c I’m afraid to see how unflexible my back and legs are and how gutsy my gut has become. “Gutsy” meaning gut-like, meaning fat. Not brave. … Anyway, good luck to you!

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      • avatar

        bethany July 10, 2012, 4:43 pm

        Thanks! I’m hoping to survive 🙂

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 11, 2012, 12:00 am

    Wait, the cheating involved no sex?!? Well shit! I’ve been cheating on everyone for months.

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  • karotz

    karotz July 11, 2012, 9:29 am

    People cheat because they seldom have to face consequences for their behavior. They are told that they can get away with it, as long as it’s one time, as long as they’re a good bf/gf afterwards, just go ahead, indulge, scratch that itch and don’t ever say a word. It’s selfish to do so. Why would you hurt the other person? Have fun and shut up. The victims are told to “get over it”, it’s only one time, don’t stir the pot, it’s not worth it. A one time pass. One time per what? Lifetime? Relationship? Year? Where do you draw the line?

    Being away from each other for a month at the beginning of a relationship is hard. Both partners have to be committed to make it work, at a time when things are still fresh and there may still be doubts about the relationship. But your relationship passed that hurdle, grew stronger and better over time. Because you were led to believe that you BOTH were committed to each other during that time away. He led you to believe that he was worthy of your trust and love. He talked to you daily, right? While he was having fun on the side with the other girl.

    LW, you have every right to feel deceived and betrayed. Because he deceived you. He purposely concealed what happened and led you to believe that he can be a worthy partner. Now you found out the truth. Don’t let his tears, strangers on the internet or advice columnists tell you that it’s not a big deal, that you feel like this because of your parents failed marriage and that you should get over it so you can continue having the blissful relationship you had so far.

    Because it’s not up to you to make this relationship good again. IT’S UP TO HIM. You have every right to expect that he does whatever he needs to do (grand gestures, consistent behavior over time – whatever it is YOU need) to make you trust him again, to make this relationship whole again. Communicate that clearly to him. Give yourself time and see if you can rebuild things. If you feel you can’t forgive him and trust him in the future, then it may be time to move on. He’s not the guy you thought he was all these years. He is someone who can look you in the eyes and lie. Don’t fear being alone. It’s better than being with the wrong man and always wonder if he’s honest. Only you can decide what your dealbreakers are in your relationship and what you can’t get over. Don’t let anyone else define that for you.

    And if you decide to forgive him, forgive him completely. Don’t harbor resentment and let it eat at the relationship over time. Don’t punish him for this for the rest of his life. Just forgive freely from your own heart and make peace with it. Let this be something that makes you stronger and better together.

    I feel for you letter writer. I’ve been there and know how much it hurts and how confusing it is. Do what’s right for you.

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