A year and a half into the relationship I found out that he had slept with a friend in his inner circle — a girl I ended up befriending and spent a lot of time with — a girl that at the time was his roommate’s ex. He slept with this girl as soon as she and the roommate broke up (the roommate had no idea). I was devastated by his lies and the fact that this girl had her birthday parties at my apartment, she ate dinner with my mother, and my boyfriend even suggested that we move into a communal home with her and her live-in boyfriend!!!!
I stayed with my boyfriend and a month later I discovered that he had slept with the girl’s older sister just 2-3 months before he slept with her. I would never ever have dated him if I knew any of this stuff. I think the fact that he slept with two sisters one right after the other is disgusting, wrong, gross and really slutty. But I’m especially angry because he lied and led me on for a year and half with this chick in my life. I made him cut off all contact with her, which he did. He told me he regretted what happened with her, which is why he hid it and moved on, but his initial reaction to my freaking out about all this was to claim that I had lied about being more liberal than I really am. He did apologize but I feel like he apologized because I basically made him, and he cut off contact with this girl because I made him. If I hadn’t, she’d still be over my house today.
My boyfriend and I are still living together and I love him, but I feel like I’ve been duped. I only had one partner before him and he took advantage of me, so this boyfriend was supposed to be special and not a liar. Even though he is loyal, has never cheated on anyone, and I don’t have any fear of him cheating on me, I still feel cheated. If I could go back in time, I would never have chosen a guy that did the disgusting things he did. Is that judgmental? Of course, but I was entitled to be with a person who was honest with me. I went through therapy (I have a tendency towards depression) and have fought to keep him, but I feel traumatized and overwhelmed and sometimes I just hate him so much. It’s very conflicting. I know I could leave him but I am attached and in love. What should I do? — Conflicted in Love/Hate
I understand that you’re upset that your boyfriend lied to you. You feel duped, led on, and like you’ve now invested so much of your time and emotions into a relationship that quite possibly has no future. But I’m sorry to tell you, if what you’re looking for is someone who has no past, a person who will never ever let you down, and a relationship that comes with guarantees, this won’t be the last time you’ll be severely disappointed. You’re asking for the impossible. There is no one out there who’s perfect. There’s nobody for you who will be everything you want him to be all the time. There is no guy who has lived at all who hasn’t done something in his past he isn’t at least a little ashamed of. Most importantly, there is no one in the whole world who, upon you meeting him, can promise he’ll never hurt you or let you down and not be proven a liar eventually.
I say all this because I suspect what really bothers you is that your boyfriend has failed to be your version of perfect, and the conflict you feel now is whether to stay with an imperfect man whom you love, or move on from him and continue searching for your version of perfect. It’s my job here to caution you that your version of perfect doesn’t exist. People are flawed. People disappoint those they care about. People make mistakes. If you want a happy, successful relationship, you need to work towards more compassionate acceptance of those mistakes and flaws. You need to learn to forgive and move on.
Does that mean you should move on as your boyfriend’s girlfriend? Not necessarily. It may be that your boyfriend’s past is a true dealbreaker for you. Maybe you can forgive him for lying but be unable to continue a relationship with someone whose past actions you think mar his character. That’s a decision only you can make. You have to decide whether to judge his character on how he lives presently — as a loyal boyfriend whom you trust — or on his past — as a man who slept with two sisters back-to-back and wasn’t forthcoming about it. If you can’t get past his personal history and forgive him for not being completely honest with you, you need to MOA.
Loving him won’t change his past. Hating him won’t make him more apologetic or more committed to being your idea of perfect. There really, truly is nothing you can do to change who he is or what he’s done. You can only move forward and if you know in your heart you can’t move forward with someone whose actions don’t jive with your personal moral compass, it’s unfair for you to stay with him. Just beware that the expectations you seem to have are going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to find in someone else. Even someone with a flawless past is going to screw up some time.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.