It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “iPad Snooper” who found incriminating messages from a female friend of her boyfriend’s. “My boyfriend says that she merely misconstrued one-on-one dinners as romantic encounters,” she wrote. “I’m not sure if I believe him. I should mention that I do have some anxiety issues, so sometimes worry excessively. I don’t know what to do.” Keep reading for an update.
I know it’s been an incredibly long time, but the situation’s finally played itself out so I thought I’d let you know what happened.
First, I wanted to address some misunderstandings from my original letter. It seems “less committed” was taken to mean “not committed.” I ought to have been more clear: at the time of the incident in question, we’d been seeing each other for two years, and officially exclusive (by his request, actually) for over one year. Additionally, he met the girl in question AFTER the beginning of the point of exclusivity so there was never any way he could have hooked up with her without breaking the monogamy agreement HE had initiated. I wrote the letter so quickly after the incident that I didn’t think to make it clearer.
As it turns out, he had cheated on me for a year, emotionally and physically. He began heavily gaslighting me after I wrote the letter, which I didn’t realize till forum readers pointed it out to me. He called me crazy and paranoid, he said she had mental problems, he claimed his cancer had caused him to forget, which is the worst of all because it might have been true (it wasn’t). When I doubted him at all, he shouted me down and told me I was a terrible person for lacking sympathy for him, that I was paranoid, and that I needed psychological help. I believed it all.
In the months after that, he engaged in some serious next level deception. He actually photoshopped facebook messages and emails between the two of them so he could send me the fake screengrab of conversations they supposedly had laughing about the idea of getting together. Eventually, I found out that they had had a relationship over the course of an entire year, that he had told her we were broken up, and that it only all ended when she got a new boyfriend.
Even after all of this, I decided to continue our relationship, under the conditions that he break off their (still inappropriately close) friendship, in which she left him many, many messages about how much she valued their friendship, how adorable she thought he was, how much she missed him. He said he would stop hanging with her outside of work. And, it turns out, (surprise surprise) this was a complete lie. He lied about staying overnight in the same places as her (in a band group, but still), he lied about talking to her, and many pictures of them were posted online. He didn’t cheat on me again, but only because she was taken. I feel so ashamed that I allowed myself to be taken for a ride in this way.
Basically, I wasted seven months trying to work with a guy who would rather fuck with my mind than admit to his wrongdoings. At this point, I don’t know how I can sort out lies from reality anymore with him. I’ve just broken up with him but he keeps contacting me saying he has explanations that will somehow make it all better. I feel like shit, I feel stupid for having bought into this.
Worst of all, I now realize that the gaslighting was part of our ENTIRE relationship, even when I’d thought it was amazing. He’d deny making plans that I had proof of (in texts, etc), blame it on his brain, and shame me for my lack of empathy so that I would never complain about it to others (including you, in my letter, Wendy!). He’s now admitted he never experienced any memory loss at all! He told me he “thought I would see how far I could push you.” And now wants to get back with me? Ugh. How can I free myself from this? I feel completely destroyed. I blocked him on facebook and deleted his number but he’s still calling me, and I keep doubting myself. What if I’m wrong and he loves me? If this was a problem, why did I never notice it before? I know I can’t see him again but I have these thoughts anyway.
I’m sorry, I know these updates are meant to be short. Argh. Thanks for your advice, it was good. It didn’t work for me, but only because I’d painted an overly rosy portrait of the situation (probably because I didn’t want the real truth, tbh).
Ok, what IF he loves you? Does that erase all his crappy behavior? Does it justify it? Is it somehow ok for someone to treat you like shit if he loves you but not ok if he doesn’t? Who cares what his feelings are when his behavior is so disgusting? What’s the point in being with someone who “loves” you when he or she doesn’t love you well? I know it’s hard, but you need to MOA from this lying sack, heal your heart, and never settle for someone who doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.