Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “I Can’t Forgive Myself for Cheating”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have a boyfriend of five months who loves me so much. I feel guilty about the couple of times I cheated on him and can’t forgive myself. This past week, we took a break because I couldn’t bear the guilt anymore, knowing that he’s faithful while I was being such a horrible girlfriend. Last week, I told him that I don’t deserve him and that he’s too attached. He didn’t want to leave my house and it was hurting him so bad knowing I was breaking up with him, so I told him that it’s his fault and that he needs to fix some stuff about him.

But he’s honestly perfect. He constantly communicated with me while we were on a break. He was simply asking me to give him one last chance and if it doesn’t work, he says, he was going to leave me. I took the offer and we’re back together. I didn’t want him to suffer anymore because of my mistake. I am such a horrible person and I didn’t realize that he was such a good person. Now, I am contemplating whether I should tell him or not. If I tell him, he’ll be hurt and we’re done for forever. If I don’t tell him, the guilt will kill me. I promised myself I wouldn’t cheat on him anymore because he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. What should I do? — Done Cheating

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

129 comments… add one
  • avatar

    artsygirl July 31, 2013, 9:06 am

    Ok I don’t think I am caffeinated enough for this letter but will take a shot at it. LW a) you have been dating less than 6 months and you have already cheated on your partner MULTIPLE times b) when you broke up with him you refused to acknowledge your guilt and instead said it was HIS fault and finally c) you decided to take him back in your life because he is perfect and you were hurting his feelings. So you have two choices. The first is that you commit to your BF and keep you pants zipped. The second is that you break it off cleanly (no calls, emails, or texts). Maybe tell him you are not ready to be in a monogamous relationship since obviously you have a wandering eye. I would also suggest you try to be introspective and figure out why you felt the need to cheat on your boyfriend before you establish a very unhealthy pattern.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 31, 2013, 9:11 am

      My vote is for choice number two.

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki July 31, 2013, 9:24 am

      I don’t think her wandering eye is the problem. It’s when her hot pocket wanders that there’s an issue. Oh boy, too early for me to try to be humorous.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. July 31, 2013, 10:15 am

        Hot pocket. 🙂

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 31, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Is it weird that I now want to eat a hot pocket?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 12:46 pm

        I bet you do Tara 😉

        I love hot pockets, the food.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 31, 2013, 12:59 pm

        I’m just saying…. it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a hot pocket. 😉

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  • rainbow

    rainbow July 31, 2013, 9:07 am

    If you break up with someone and they refuse to leave your house and when they finally do they keep on calling and begging you to take them back they’re NOT GOOD PEOPLE.
    This guy sounds like a grade A Nice Guy TM manipulative douchelord.
    But don’t cheat on people anyway. Negotiate an open relationship if you can’t be faithful.

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    • Copa

      Copa July 31, 2013, 9:34 am

      His reaction to the break-up is what stood out to me amongst all the other details. “He’s so perfect! He refused to leave my house, then practically stalked me to plead for another chance even after I lied and told him he’s the issue!”

      Seriously, though. If you can’t go 5 months without cheating on someone (multiple times!?!), you shouldn’t be in that relationship. I also think it’s really, REALLY shitty that you didn’t come clean in light of your cheating being a repeated (& therefore I’ll assume) conscious choice.

      That said, you’re not a horrible person; you just made some mistakes. Break up with the guy (cleanly! and permanently!) and work on yourself.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC July 31, 2013, 11:16 am

        I really think the LW is being overly dramatic in her writing and that this guy did nothing wrong. I doubt he refused to leave in the way you are reading it – more like he knew she was being weird about this and was trying to wait until she calmed down and acted more rationally. All I could see while reading this were giant neon letters saying: immature, drama queen, self-centered. Instead of being mature about cheating, she’s making it into a self-obsessed mantra: “I’m so horrible, I don’t deserve him” – so that she gets gentle pats on the back and reassurance that she’s a good person instead of actually facing the problem head on. I have no patience for this today!

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    • avatar

      muffy July 31, 2013, 9:46 am

      I think she gave him a very mixed message – she told him he had to change A-B-C about himself so he thought he would change/explain his piece. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or creepy about calling someone to ask for a second chance when they leave the door open like that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 9:52 am

        I agree.
        Plus, we have next to no info on how that exactly went down, so its weird to come out of the gate swinging at HIM, when she sounds like one of the crappiest gfs ever.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 10:12 am

        Yeah I kinda see him as the victim here – he wants to fix things but doesn’t even know why they’re broken because she flat-out lied to him about what was wrong. From the guy’s point of view, this attempted breakup probably came out of nowhere, and he was just trying to avoid it by doing what scared boyfriends do. I didn’t see his refusal to leave and begging to be taken back as manipulative. Desperate maybe, but not deliberately manipulative. LW is being much more cavalier and manipulative than he is.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 10:13 am

        Totally agree.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow July 31, 2013, 10:30 am

        “he was just trying to avoid it by doing what scared boyfriends do”
        Refusing to leave your house when you ask them to and calling repeatedly when you tell them that you don’t want them anymore? Boyfriends are scary in your world.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 10:51 am

        Well, the language she uses is a little extreme and paints the picture of someone who’s being forceful in some way. I guess I read between the lines and see it more like this…

        LW, crying and somewhat hysterical: We need to break up, I can’t be with you anymore.
        BF: What? Why? What’s wrong?
        LW: I don’t want to talk about it, just go, this is for the best, I’ve already made my decision.
        BF: That’s not fair, please tell me what’s going on, I’m confused.
        LW: No, we’re breaking up, I need you to leave.
        BF: Can’t we just talk about this?
        LW: Ok, um, well, X, Y and Z are wrong with you, that’s why I want to break up with you. Now go.
        BF: Wait! I want to talk about this. What can I do to make it better? (AND/OR) You can’t just drop this on me and tell me to go, let’s work this out.
        And then in the ensuing days, he keeps trying to talk to her about this because she has not given him adequate explanation. (Seriously, that’s probably what *I* would do in this guy’s shoes.)

        So I guess in my head it plays out more like she made an emotional scene over the breakup (just judging by the emotionally dramatic language in the letter) and he, blindsided, tried to respond. I did not see it like “You need to leave my house.” / “No.”

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      • rainbow

        rainbow July 31, 2013, 11:47 am

        Now I want your version in video =)

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      • avatar

        painted_lady July 31, 2013, 11:58 am

        I don’t know – I still think everything in context, it’s still pretty shady. I know it’s a gray area, because most people do want reasons…but there’s a fine line between asking why and trying to logic someone out of a breakup. And then with the constant contact and bargaining – give me one more chance! I’ll leave myself if it doesn’t work (you mean like you did this time?) – it feels weird. Not that she’s innocent in all this – I feel like she needs to have a good long period of being single to figure out why she cheated and how to trust her own instincts – but he doesn’t sound especially respectful to me.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 12:16 pm

        No I get you, there is gray area. There’s a possibility he’s being manipulative, there’s a possibility he’s being sincere (albeit clumsy or inappropriate in his handling of it). And hell, it might even be a little bit of both. I just didn’t feel right going straight to “He’s a Nice Guy (TM) who is just trying to control you and talk you out of breaking up for his own benefit” but that’s probably because I feel bad for the BF more than the LW in this situation.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow July 31, 2013, 12:39 pm

        I think I’m less weirded out by the fact that he acted that way and more by the fact that she sees this and calls it perfect and good. They’re both dysfunctional.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Yeah, I mean, based on her letter, I doubt she was calmly and assertively telling him they need to break up. She clearly doesn’t actually want to break up, and I think that probably showed. And while I wouldn’t want to be the sort of person who convinces someone to stay with me, I think when someone sees uncertainty, it gives them hope.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow July 31, 2013, 10:28 am

        She does sound like of the crappiest gfs ever. I just didn’t mention it because she seems to know that part already. I think they probably deserve each other.

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    • avatar

      CG July 31, 2013, 10:25 am

      Yeah, that whole “he wants another chance and if it doesn’t work he’ll leave me” line stood out to me. So, he wants her to take him back so he can be the one to do the dumping? Shady! But either way they should just break up.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna July 31, 2013, 9:12 am

    Instead of calling yourself a “horrible person”, do some thinking about the reasons why you cheated. Try to actually get to the root of the problem so that you can start improving your behavior. You won’t be able to do that if you don’t first understand it. It’s possible that you weren’t happy in your relationship, or that you’re just not ready to make the commitment to be exclusive with someone at this point, in which case you should own that. It’s really easy: Get clear on your needs, communicate them, and don’t lie to your boyfriend. Applied to this case this means: Yes, tell him, and then live with the consequences.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle July 31, 2013, 9:21 am

    Okay, first of all, I don’t think your boyfriend is ~that~ good of a person. He’s definitely not perfect; no one is. Your guilt is making you put him on a pedestal. Take him off the pedestal, & stop vilifying yourself—everything about this situation will be infinitely easier once you do those two things.

    Then, break up with him. This may involve coming clean about the cheating (after only 5 months? Honestly, I’d advice you to just tell.) If you still don’t want to tell him, just be FIRM. Say it’s ~not~ working, it never will, & good-bye. Don’t do the whole “I don’t deserve you” thing. That is extremely confusing for a person to hear (especially since you’re leaving out the follow-up information that you cheated…)

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 9:54 am

      Perfect! wFs

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    • KKZ

      KKZ July 31, 2013, 10:20 am

      It sounds to me like, in order to avoid being punished by her boyfriend for her infidelity, she’s choosing instead to punish herself, by acting out her guilt without spelling it out. I do get that she doesn’t want to hurt him and don’t doubt that, but she’s avoiding taking full responsibility, as if she can finally feel relief if she just self-flagellates and kisses his feet enough. It’s a dramatic response to guilt best left to the movies.

      Internalizing guilt like this is a really bad path to go down, LW. It may seem like a good band-aid over a painful situation but it’s the kind of thing that will rot your self-esteem when you’re not looking. In my opinion, you should (a) break up and (b) come clean. I think you owe him the truth. And yes it is really, really, really going to suck, but avoiding that pain by swallowing it yourself is not a solution. These are the consequences of your choices. Go through them, learn from them, and apply that learning to future relationships.

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  • avatar

    oldie July 31, 2013, 9:21 am

    Just MOA and get your shit together. If you can’t have a bf for 6 months without cheating on him multiple times, then you aren’t ready for anything more committed than hookups and general dating without any spoken commitment such as official bf/gf status that implies a level of monogamous fidelity that you just aren’t ready for. You don’t say how old you are, which would certainly help in interpreting your letter.

    And yes, when you break up with a guy and tell him to leave, he ought to leave. I forgive him if you had just told him you were breaking up with him and he needed to fix X, Y, and Z — now get out this instant. You can’t say stuff like that and not allow him the opportunity to non-aggressively speak his piece. If you gave him a reasonable chance to say what he wanted to say and he refused to leave after that or was becoming repetitive and overly emotional and would not leave when you asked him to, then that is on him. It does sound like you gave him a very mixed signals breakup message, however. It’s better and more honest, direct to just tell him that you want to end things, because you’re just not feeling it anymore. I’m at a complete loss as to how you imagined you could ease the pain of the breakup for him by telling him that it was all his fault, especially if you broke up totally over guilt about your own cheating. That is hardly fair or honest communication.

    Not knowing you, I don’t know if the cheating was a result of relationship problems or if you are just a cheater. You should think about that for the sake of yourself and future bfs.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 9:21 am

    5 months and you’ve already cheated on him multiple times and are taking a break? You need to walk away honey. Either the relationship isn’t as awesome as you say and/or you’ve got some personal issues you need to work on to figure out why you’re cheating multiple times.

    If you decide you’re not going to walk away you ABSOLUTELY have to tell him you’ve cheated. 110% tell him. If you don’t you’re withholding the truth and taking away his right to make decisions about his relationship. He deserves to know what you’ve done, so he can make a decision to forgive you or walk away. Hiding the truth and having it come out later will be way worse than owning up now.

    And, you’re not a horrible person. You made some pretty shitty choices, but that doesn’t mean you are, or will forever be, a horrible person. Man up to your shitty choices, learn from them, and stop fucking cheating.

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    • avatar

      bethany July 31, 2013, 9:35 am

      DRINK.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass July 31, 2013, 10:55 am

        You guys are making me want a drinking game rule about me!

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      • avatar

        bethany July 31, 2013, 11:27 am

        Drink when you post an adorable picture of E on FB!
        Seriously though, he is so cute. I love all the pics you put up.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 11:43 am

        I was totally going to suggest the same rule 🙂

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 11:52 am

        I’ll get alcohol poisoning.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass July 31, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Glad you like them!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 4:02 pm

        My new favorite is Mango.

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  • avatar

    bethany July 31, 2013, 9:29 am

    What you should do is break up with your boyfriend. You don’t need to tell him you cheated. Just make a clean break and save this guy any more drama. You simply say, “Listen, we need to break up. I have some things to work on personally, and I can’t be in a relationship while I’m working on that. I’m sorry to have hurt you, but it’s not fair to either of us to continue this relationship”, then you walk away, and delete his number, FB act, whatever.

    If you’re cheating on and taking a break from your bf of only 5 months, something is wrong in the relationship. The thing that is wrong is that you’re not ready to have a committed relationship. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just stop disrespecting your poor boyfriend. Break up with him and let him be with someone who is ready for and wants a committed relationship.

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  • avatar

    iseeshiny July 31, 2013, 9:42 am

    Wow, you sound like a pair of winners.

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  • avatar

    TheOtherOtherMe July 31, 2013, 9:44 am

    You sound very young and immature. Just break up with the guy – you obviously aren’t ready for a normal relationship with a decent guy. And don’t tell him you cheated. That would be kicking him while he’s down.

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  • avatar

    ChemE July 31, 2013, 9:52 am

    Your question – What should I do? Easy answer is STOP CHEATING!!! Have some damn self control.

    Second thing is you should probably stay broken up with your boyfriend. It’s not fair to him that you’re being a jerk and making him feel like he is the one doing wrong.

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  • avatar

    Nadine July 31, 2013, 10:02 am

    If you cant forgive yourself for cheating, you cant stay in this relationship, however great he is. If he was that great you wouldn’t have cheated on him MULTIPLE times (I can understand one transgression but thats it.)
    Oh and second the people here who are saying he’s not that great. Do you think maybe you are confused about how you feel because he’s pushing himself and this this relationship on you?Maybe he likes the idea of having a GF who doesnt feel good enough for him, or has to prove herself constantly, even if he doesnt really know exactly why.
    Dump him, look at yourself, and remember how bad the guilt feels so you dont cheat ever again.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay July 31, 2013, 10:17 am

    I think you just need to break up with him. Like the others said, it’s only been five months and you’ve already cheated on him, been on a break, tried to dump him and had him beg you to take him back. Not to mention that the guilt is clearly eating you up.

    The point is not to go crazy with guilt and think you’re a horrible person. You may think that’s your penance, but it’s not a healthy way to deal with it. People who think they’re horrible just do more horrible things, so you need to find a way to forgive yourself. And I don’t think you can do that while you’re with this guy because you’re never going to forget about the cheating, and you’ve already put him in a pedestal that he doesn’t belong on (nobody is perfect).

    So, break up with him (confess or not, doesn’t really matter, in my mind) and then take some time to figure out why you’d cheat on “the best thing that ever happened to you” and also figure out how to BE the best thing that ever happened to you, because dating some dude for five months should not be it.

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana July 31, 2013, 10:19 am

    Break-up; regardless of anything else that is going on (a lot) in my opinion the guilt alone is not worth putting yourself through. Its shitty you did it you lied, yeah all bad but its over and done with. Getting back with this guy will make it worse on all fronts especially once you tell him the truth. The faster you break-up and get over it, the more time you have to figure out why you cheated and if you are even ready for a committed relationship.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. July 31, 2013, 10:26 am

    This relationship needs to be over. You owe your boyfriend a huge apology not only for the cheating, but for misleading him into thinking that his actions somehow caused your breakup. That is unfair and dishonest. He may not be the best boyfriend in the world (I do agree with those who say you are putting him on a pedestal), but you made a choice to cheat. That is on you and you need to own up to it. Then, figure out why you did it. Being faithful to someone takes a level of maturity and commitment that I’m not sure you are capable of right now. Work on it, but until then, don’t enter into any relationships where you will be expected to be monogamous.

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  • avatar

    Sophronisba July 31, 2013, 10:35 am

    First of all, calm down. Are you 13? Cause you sound like a middle-schooler with your drama, idealization and self-recrimination, all expressed in superlatives. He’s SOOOO perfect, I”m SOOOO horrible. C’mon! Let’s get real.
    You cheated mutliple times = bad
    You broke up with a boyfriend you don’t really care about = good
    You couldn’t be honest and made him think it was his fault = bad
    You know you did some crummy things = good
    It’s not enough to drown yourself in guilt and indulge in histrionics – own what you did and learn from it. If you can’t stay faithful, don’t be in a relationship. If you screw up, admit it. Don’t lie to save face, take responsibility. Set some standards for yourself. I believe that’s called growing up.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady July 31, 2013, 10:35 am

    First off, a guy who refuses to be dumped is not such a wonderful person. Even if you’re sending mixed messages, if he’s practically stalking you to beg for another chance, he’s not showing extra devotion; he’s showing you that he doesn’t think your decisions hold any weight. So there’s that creepy tidbit.

    Secondly, if you have any issues beyond just a little spat in the first six months that you’re dating, the relationship is a bad fit and you need to go your separate ways. You cheated on him twice. Also, all this “he’s so amazing, so good” shit? Stalker tendencies aside, you don’t know him that well – five months is not very long. There’s so much drama here and so much not-okay-ness that you two should probably run in opposite directions and not look back. You need to figure out why you cheated. Maybe you self-sabotage. Maybe you don’t actually want a relationship. Maybe you just don’t want a relationship with this guy. And maybe you’re just not meant for monogamy. But don’t subject other people to this craziness till you figure that mess out, k?

    Lastly, knock it off with the “I’m a horrible person” shit. What you’re doing when you say that to other people is putting it off on them to reassure you. When you write yourself off like that, you’re actually dodging ownership of it. You cheated because you’re a horrible person. Like it’s out of control. Your horribleness was the cause, not your tendency to seek affirmation through sex, or your use of sex to dodge problems. You’re ducking our of addressing the issue and you’re also giving it to other people to manage for you. Own it – look at the issue, see where you’re going wrong. You’re a regular person who did a shitty thing, and you better figure out why so you can stop it from happening again.

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    • avatar

      HmC July 31, 2013, 11:08 am

      This last paragraph gave me chills pl! And it would apply to so many situations in addition to cheating.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady July 31, 2013, 11:41 am

        Both my parents actually used to do that anytime I’d ask them to change some behavior. Which of course was so conducive to speaking up, knowing how whatever I asked was going to result in tears and “I had no idea I was so awful!” Finally I responded with, “Well, you were, but here’s how you can fix it.” My mom got PISSED, and I got it: it wasn’t about actually believing she was horrible, but rather being reassured and being able to duck out of owning it. I find that whole self-flagellation act exhausting.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 12:56 pm

        My friend’s mom does that. Any time my friend or her sister will try to ask their mother to do anything, like stop yelling or criticizing their choices, or butting into things that aren’t her business, she’ll be like, “You think I’m the most horrible mother ever. I should just leave you alone from now on.” And then waits for them to come running back and say, “Oh, no, you’re not. I’m sorry.” Which they always do.

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      • avatar

        Eagle Eye July 31, 2013, 1:56 pm

        I admit that this is something I used to do – until my boyfriend, about a year or so into our relationship, basically said your last paragraph (far less eloquently, but you get the idea).

        So, now, when I screw up I don’t punish myself and I don’t make excuses, I own up to it and apologize.

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    • avatar

      LSMITH82 July 31, 2013, 11:49 am

      I need to memorize and rephrase part of that last paragraph and use it to reason with my crazy bridesmaid. She wants constant reassurance that everyone loves her, (aka not a horrible person), but doesn’t want to truly own up to her own part of the problem.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady July 31, 2013, 12:07 pm

        My favorite way of putting a stop to that shit is agreeing, and then offering a solution, like it’s no big deal. Aside from trying it on my parents, my best friend says the time I did it to her cured her of that tactic (she’d bailed on a commitment and tearily suggested we shouldn’t be friends anymore because she wasn’t dependable, and I told her that wasn’t what I ever implied by being upset with her, but if she’d rather end the friendship than work on only making commitments she would follow through with, then that was her decision).

        It’s either a wake-up call for them or a revelation for you on the nature of your friendship. Either way, it puts an end to having to deal with it.

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    • avatar

      rachel July 31, 2013, 11:55 am

      SO MUCH YES to your last paragraph. My ex used to do that shit all the time. We couldn’t have a normal conversation about anything wrong in our relationship because it would just turn into me reassuring him that no, I do love him and he does deserve me.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ July 31, 2013, 10:40 am

    Break up with your BF, you obviously aren’t ready to be in a monogamous relationship – or at least not with him. Then, go work on yourself and figure out why you’re either clinging to a relationship that you clearly don’t want or blatantly sabotaging the kind of relationship you do want. And finally, in the future, it is absolutely unacceptable to tear down someone else and make them feel like your relationship ending is due to his flaws because you feel like shit about something that you did (and he doesn’t even know about!). Way uncool.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs July 31, 2013, 10:42 am

    LW please give yourself a break….everyone makes mistakes…..you admit you were wrong and judging by your letter you feel terrible about it….i wouldn’t tell your boyfriend…..think of this as a new start, be the person you want to be, treat your boyfriend well and don’t cheat anymore….forgive yourself and be happy in your relationship

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  • avatar

    lemongrass July 31, 2013, 10:49 am

    Wait. He was upset because you were breaking up with him and so to make him feel better you made up false issues he has and told him to fix them? What a mindfuck. You should feel guilty! Guess what? He may be upset now but he’ll get over it. Let him. It doesn’t matter whether you tell him or not, you need to leave this poor guy and let him get on with his life. Even if he cries or gets upset, remember: he’ll get over it.

    Then block his number/FB and HYATC. Don’t date for a while. Figure yourself out, give yourself some space. Don’t treat anyone like this again.

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  • avatar

    HmC July 31, 2013, 10:59 am

    Seriously?

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones July 31, 2013, 11:19 am

    I just hope that you are still in high school….. that would excuse this letter. Otherwise, go see a therapist and don’t become exclusive until you are ready!

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    • avatar

      Morgan July 31, 2013, 12:04 pm

      I was hoping middle school. This sounded just like 8th grade when people cheated on each other by making out with someone else in the back of a movie theater.

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  • avatar

    Iris July 31, 2013, 11:21 am

    I’m on the opposite end of this situation (kind of) my bf confessed to cheating on me, though we’ve been together 6 years, and it seems to be a one time thing. I’ve been rolling around in my head whether is was good that he told me or not, and the truth is, yeah, it was better in the long run. You can’t make your BF stay without him having all the facts. You’re cheating on him is selfish and you need to stop. And relationships, for them to last, require transparency and honesty. If it means you guys break up, that’s the punishment you get for cheating. But if he decides to forgive you, that can move you to another and stronger place in your relationship. And it’s gonna require alot of work, and it won’t be easy. I’m still processing and deciding if I should forgive my BF, but we also have alot more time invested that you guys. Don’t stay with him because you want to feel better, or because you think that’s better for him. Once he knows everything he can make the best decision for himself, and you guys can move on – together or apart – from there.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 11:49 am

      Just out of curiosity…you said “seems to be a one time thing”…what does that mean? You haven’t explicitly asked? You’re not sure he won’t again? (Just wondering because I’ve been the one cheated on too and the fact that it was a one time deal made a huge difference in my decision to stay.)

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      • avatar

        Iris July 31, 2013, 3:04 pm

        Well, we’re still working through the trust of it all….I believe from his remorse and guilt it was a stupid drunken mistake but the truth is I would have never expected him to cheat on me in the first place, especially because he was cheated on in the past and it really damaged him and affected his trust issues. So I want to believe in my heart that it was a one time thing, but I’m also trying to be realistic that it could happen again. This happened a couple months ago and that’s why it feels a little wishy-washy still.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 31, 2013, 3:17 pm

        A lot of times people with trust issues are more prone to cheating, in my experience. They become paranoid, so assume cheating is something that just happens to everyone, & so why should they bother *not* cheating if the situation comes up? (I’m not excusing him, just hoping to add another layer of insight while you’re figuring shit out)

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        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:31 pm

        You pretty much described my now husband and I (he was cheated on and it hurt him a lot, he got drunk and hooked up with a girl, he was incredibly remorse full/full of guilt). Take the time you need to be wishy-washy. Healing is a long process, but it can be worth it. (But there is also no shame in walking if it’s not worth it to you.)

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  • avatar

    sarita_f July 31, 2013, 10:40 am

    D-R-A-M-A!!!!!!!!!

    You guys bring out the worst in each other. Or you’re both just drama-loving jerks who found each other, I dunno. Either way, you’re in for immature BS if you two continue on the way you are.

    LW – next time you find someone you like, how about you don’t propose/agree to monogamy until you realize you’re being monogamous effortlessly anyway? It is the year twenty-freakin’-thirteen. You don’t have to yoke yourself to whatever bloke comes your way and then figure out if he does or doesn’t give you strong enough pants-feels to want to commit. What a pain in the ass.

    And I don’t mean to be condescending but you sound young and/or inexperienced. As such, you should know that you’re allowed to negotiate an open or casual relationship if you’d like. Get thee to some Dan Savage and do some reading.

    Lastly – please don’t EVER put a guy on a pedestal. This will come with experience to you, but allow me to plant the seed – all those guys out there? They’re imperfect, normal people too. *ALL* of us are imperfect. Get to know people on a basis of equality and try to keep your head in check when your heart and your hot pocket are at 500F. For instance, the qualities this guy is displaying (picked apart above by other commenters) are a problem, not some kind of sign of true devotion and angel-ness.

    Good luck to you.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 10:49 am

      “you’re being monogamous effortlessly anyway?”

      I think this is probably why I’ve never really had a monogamous conversation until we’ve been monogamous for so long that it’s not even really a conversation. It shouldn’t be a conversation. You shouldn’t have to talk someone into not dating other people. You should just get to a point with them where you’re don’t want to waste a date night on anyone when you could be hanging out with your S/O.

      I love love. I am the new Addie Pray.

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      • avatar

        TECH July 31, 2013, 10:55 am

        Speaking of AP, she has been missing from the comments/forums the past few days. We need her back. Her comments make me laugh and I need a laugh today.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 31, 2013, 6:56 pm

        Here I am, Tech, my new favorite commenter! I’m gone for like 1 hot minute and (a) we get new font and new pics (I love it! maybe my pic of a grumpy lil’ girl will look like one); and (b) ugh, that’s all. What have I missed? Any big fights? Interesting discussions? New DW love matches?

        p.s. Chicago meetup, people, at Toro Sushi. Coming soon.

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  • avatar

    MMcG July 31, 2013, 11:50 am

    LW please stop dating. You suck as a human being and sound like a grade A narcissist.

    Your bf doesnt sound that great either… but you REALLY REALLY suck. If you cant go 5 minutes without hooking up just be single, play the field, and stop with all the melodrama.

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  • avatar

    Lucy July 31, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Stop being a drama queen. As an example, guilt for cheating on a boyfriend of five months will not “kill you.” Your overdramatization of everything suggests you’re either too immature or too self-absorbed (or both) to even be in a serious relationship.

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  • theattack

    theattack July 31, 2013, 12:50 pm

    End this once and for all. The bigger problem isn’t your relationship. You’re just not mature enough for a dating relationship. End this relationship and take a LOOONG break. I’m talking not dating for a couple of years kind of break. Grow up a little bit before you do this to anyone else.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow July 31, 2013, 1:28 pm

    I’m already getting excited about the defensive update on this one.

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    • call-me-hobo

      call-me-hobo July 31, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Their love is special, CatsMeow. We’ll never understand it.

      Reply Link
    • Lindsay

      Lindsay July 31, 2013, 1:49 pm

      OMG, I so hope she updates. Or busts in on the comments.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster July 31, 2013, 12:37 pm

    I haven’t read the other comments yet. I honestly don’t know how to start because I was rolling my eyes and thinking J** EFFING CHR*** while reading this.

    And the truth is, I should be a lot more patient with you because at one point, I was you. Or sort of like you (I never let my dude think HE was the problem, though, that’s just… wtf). I was 17-18. I really hope you are too.

    So now that I’ve got you totally warmed up to me and absolutely DYING to take my advice…
    Let’s start with some truths that you don’t want to admit to yourself:
    1. You don’t actually want to be with your boyfriend.
    People cheat for a lot of different reasons. But you needed a reason to break up with him. You needed to be the bad guy. Girl, this is not healthy. I think you already know this, and when you get there in your mind you probably say “I KNOW! I’M SO TERRIBLE! WAW!” Cut that shit out. That is a cop out and you know it. You fucked up. Own it and move on.

    2. Your boyfriend isn’t perfect.
    No one is. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but there’s something about him that doesn’t make him perfect for you. And instead of just being honest with yourself you did mental gymnastics with the reasons why you SHOULD want to be with him despite your intuition telling you that he’s not right for you. My theory is that you don’t think you’re worthy of love, so this guy must be perfect because he loves you! There’s something about him that you don’t think you’re worthy of so you sabotaged the shit out of the relationship. It is not healthy or realistic to idolize someone in such a way because when you discover that they have flaws like everyone else it will be seriously disappointing. People are not all bad (you) or all good (your boyfriend). This way of thinking is not fair to him bc it’s what caused you to stir up this shitstorm in the first place.

    This is what I think you should do. And this is the opposite of what I usually advise when it comes to cheating:
    Admit you cheated and break up with him. Do not try to work it out with him even if he asks you to. STOP. REREAD THAT LAST LINE. It’s not fair to either of you to stay together (remember that reason you cheated in the first place at this moment). Tell him you have serious personal issues you need to work on and that you need to be alone to do it. Because you really do need to be alone. Then GO TO THERAPY.

    Whatever happened in your life that has made you set this dynamic up for yourself has to be identified so that you stop doing it. I have a question. How much of your time and energy is spent thinking you are the WORST PERSON EVER- not just with your boyfriend but in other areas of your life like work, school, friendships, and family relationships? Do you like living in a shame spiral? I didn’t think so. You are responsible for your own happiness. No one else. Happiness does not fall into your lap; it is something that you work for until it comes more easily. And eventually it will come more easily if you put the work in.

    I have one last thing to say about WHY I think you should admit you cheated. It’s because letting him think this is his fault lets you off the hook, and is so fucked up to him. You do not get to add “making him think it’s his fault” to your list of “REASONS WHY I SUCK AS A PERSON”. You don’t get to add more things to that list. Put that list away for awhile.

    To sum up: Stop lying to yourself. Break up with your boyfriend. GET THEE TO THERAPY PRONTO.

    Now go watch this Ted Talk on vulnerability:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

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  • landygirl

    landygirl July 31, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Good, you should feel guilty. You should also come clean to your boyfriend so he can dump your cheating ass and move on.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ July 31, 2013, 3:03 pm

    I really hope BGM comes by and notices all the crap we’re giving this female LW…

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 3:28 pm

      I can guarantee you he will only read/see the ones that bash the boyfriend.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 3:30 pm

        In his defense I’ve been super confused by the people bashing the boyfriend. They think he’s a scary stalker because he cried when she broke up with him out of the blue? What an ASS.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:33 pm

        You don’t think refusing to leave is weird/creepy?

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 3:38 pm

        Depends on if you read it as “refusing to leave” as him deliberately ignoring her boundaries OR trying to stay and work things out because he cares about her and was blindsided by the breakup. There is POTENTIAL for creepy here, but not automatically. Or maybe I’m just feeling beneficial of the doubt.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 3:40 pm

        Well she sounds kinda crazy/dramatic so I’m imagining her explaining it in this really romantic way about how great he is. Like he loves me soooooo much he just wouldn’t take no for an answer. When really she was probably being wishy washy and vague and just beggggggging him to make her reconsider – so we would then validate her into staying with him and not telling. There’s my analogy.

        And overall, no I don’t think it’s weird when someone tries to talk someone out of breaking up with them. Breaking up is pretty much never mutual. So there is always someone that wants to talk it through. She mentions absolutely NOTHING about him being physical or manipulative so I think people are reading their own histories into this trainwreck of a story. And don’t get me wrong it’s a mess – but as I see it it’s all her crazy messyness.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:47 pm

        I totally agree this is HER mess/craziness, I just think it’s weird to hang around after someone dumps you and tells you a bunch of things wrong with you. He’s definitely not the bad guy here (based on what’s in the letter) but I do think that behavior is a little off? Pathetic?

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      • avatar

        rachel July 31, 2013, 3:49 pm

        Well pathetic I might agree with, because I think both of them are way too invested after 5 months.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 3:53 pm

        A little off? Really? If someone broke up with you and you had no idea it was coming, and you stuck around to get answers – that’s considered acting a little off? Color me confused.

        Even pathetic I don’t get. How is it pathetic to want to know what went wrong in a relationship if you weren’t expecting it? Isn’t that extremely normal? That’s like getting fired from a job and having no clue why and just accepting it and leaving. You would want to know what you did.

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      • avatar

        rachel July 31, 2013, 3:58 pm

        To me, it’s not off or pathetic that he stuck around to figure out why she wanted to break up. But the fact that he kept contacting her after she was so mean to him seems a bit desperate to me.

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      • Copa

        Copa July 31, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Agreed! Especially after she dumped him “it’s not me, it’s YOU” style.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:58 pm

        Well, she says she made up a bunch of reasons why the break up was his fault. So yeah, I would think it was weird for a person to hang around after a big list of reasons why they sucked at the relationship where given.

        IDK, people break up differently. And I haven’t done it in YEARS and the last time I did I was the person ending the relationship, so I guess I’m siding with that side. When I was broken up with, I had no interest in hearing what they had to say. In my mind it was like “you don’t want me? I’ll go find someone who does…BYE.” Not “what went wrong, how could it have been fixed, etc.”

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      • avatar

        rachel July 31, 2013, 4:01 pm

        She made up the list of reasons after he didn’t want to leave, though, from what I could tell.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:05 pm

        Yeah, and then he kept calling asking for another chance…I think. It’s a little hard to follow what exactly went down. We’re all making assumptions to a degree. There just seems to be a sort of ridiculous amount of attachment going on here, and coupled with her cheating, they need to just move on. IMO of course.

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      • avatar

        rachel July 31, 2013, 4:07 pm

        Yeah, the “kept calling” part, along with the “he loves me SO much” and “he is perfect for me” are the reasons I agreed with you on pathetic.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I imagine the problem lies in the fact that she made up a bunch of things about him that may have sounded silly or even fixable, which implied to him that if he fixed those things, they could stay together. And unless she’s a good actress, she may not have even seemed believable.

        I think it’s probably not a healthy response for someone after five months, but I think it’s definitely different than if she simply said “we’re not right for each other” or “I no longer have feelings for you” or any number of things that can’t really be measured.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 4:29 pm

        So wait – are we now changing from the usual on DW and saying you don’t get a break up conversation after 5 months? Shit I’ve made fun of people that think a conversation is warranted after two dates off a dating site. And now we’re saying a conversation after 5 months is pathetic?

        Again, color me confused. I’m pretty sure if you’re exclusive for 5 months you can have a real adult conversation about why you’re no longer going to be dating that person. After two weeks and no exclusivity – pull the fade out.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:35 pm

        I don’t think anyone is saying a conversation is “wrong” just that drawing it out and to “keep calling” and asking to get back together is what’s weird. THAT is what’s pathetic in my mind. Someone saying “You are the problem with this relationship” and then they keep calling trying to reconcile.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 4:37 pm

        The convo is changing. It started with someone saying he was creepy, stalkerish and refused to leave.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:51 pm

        I used refused in my first post, and after re-reading the letter said it was too strong. I did say his behavior was a little weird/creepy and that was referring to the whole package (the initial conversation and the follow up phone calls). I would find the behavior a little unsettling if it happened to me. But we don’t HAVE to agree.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 4:53 pm

        That must just be a personality difference, I think – when someone tells me something’s wrong with me, my immediate reaction is usually to try to fix it and make it up to them. And it would seem there are others out there like me. But then there are others like you and Copa, who would be like “Well, that sucks, moving on.” Interesting.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 4:55 pm

        It wasn’t you… rainbow I think. It went from he’s the devil, to convo about it, then everyone kinda agreeing its not that weird. The usual flow here, haha.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 8:30 pm

        @KKZ, I think for me if a complaint comes in the form of a breakup, then I take it as just a reason, instead of a request. Otherwise, I assume they would just be talking with me about it instead of breaking up, I guess.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 4:41 pm

        No, I wasn’t saying that at all. I’m not even sure what I saw would have conveyed that.

        I was trying to say that I don’t think his response is that weird because you invite that sort of “convincing” when you give a laundry list of flaws to explain why you’re breaking up. And then I was saying that it’s probably unhealthy to beg someone not to dump you when you’ve only been together for five months.

        That’s all. Nothing about having a breakup talk being pathetic. Though, I think that the things she said in the talk were probably a poor choice.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland July 31, 2013, 4:11 pm

        I’ve kinda-sorta been the BF in this situation. When Benjamin dumped me completely out of the blue I did stay, and cry, and ask wtf about 5 times. His reasons made absolutely no sense in the context of what was happening. I eventually left, but did go and talk to him 2 more times and called him out on my suspicions of what was actually going on with him. Then I called it quits and went my own way, and 2 weeks later he called and said, “Yeah, Alice. I was BSing you, and everything you called me out on was right. I really effed up.”

        And now we are a year later doing really well and communicating 1000x better. If I had just shrugged my shoulders over 2 good years and left right away and never dug a little deeper into what was actually going on in his head neither of us might have learned the lessons that we did.

        But… to each their own.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 4:13 pm

        Has it been a year? Wow. Time flies.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland July 31, 2013, 5:01 pm

        Right?! I’ve been here too long….

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 4:14 pm

        Yeah, see? I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down for these two, and while it might not be the Dear Wendy Textbook Way to Break Up, I think it’s pretty common and normal, if not condoneable.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 5:08 pm

        See I’ve never begged for someone back but that’s because I’m headstrong and am always in the “yeah well then you go fuck yourself” crowd when I’ve gotten broken up with (followed quickly by the “watch me make out with your best friend” crowd – but that’s a whole other discussion for therapy) but I think it’s pretty hypocritical of the DW crowd to call it pathetic since the forums are full of hand holding when people get broken up with. God forbid you’re a guy and are GASP sad about getting dumped. He’s not allowed to question what went wrong? He’s not allowed to call her days later and tell her all the ways he’s changed (after that’s what she said went wrong)? I just don’t get it.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson July 31, 2013, 5:08 pm

        In summary: It makes me sad to think everyone’s all like, “wow what a pathetic LOSER for being sad about a break up”. That’s not really very nice. And if that is true – well we’re in the company of a lot of pathetic losers I guess then.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland July 31, 2013, 4:12 pm

        PS 2 years is very different than 5 months, so I agree it’s not the same. I’m just saying that sometimes being creepy pays off… 😉

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      • Copa

        Copa July 31, 2013, 4:27 pm

        Yes! Part of the “creepy” factor also stems from the fact that their relationship is only 5 months old. MY relationship is 5 months old excluding the time we were casually dating, and if Esteban dumped me out of the blue, yes, I’d be quite sad — probably moreso than I think I’d be. I’m positive I’d be all, ‘WTF? We were doing so well! What happened!?’ And, yes, I’d come to DW and blubber in the forums about it and lament that nobody will ever like me again, haha. But I wouldn’t repeatedly contact him and ask for another chance, ESPECIALLY if he broke up with me by telling me all the things that were wrong with me.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:32 pm

        Yes Copa, I agree with everything you say.

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      • Classic

        Classic July 31, 2013, 10:36 pm

        Everybody else let me know if you need me to name your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife for you! I am good at it! They will probably change their name to that. (PS love you AliceIn.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 3:47 pm

        Yes to people obviously putting their own experiences into this one.

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      • avatar

        rachel July 31, 2013, 3:44 pm

        The LW never said refusing, I don’t know where anyone was getting that. She just said he didn’t want to leave. If someone broke up with me out of the blue, I might be confused and want to know what’s up before leaving too.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 31, 2013, 3:46 pm

        Yeah, I’m not seeing it as him “refusing” to leave after she explicitly stated he needed to go…because I highly, highly doubt she explicitly stated anything.

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        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:50 pm

        Sorry, refusing is a bit of a strong word. I just would sort of run for the hills if a partner of 5 months randomly dumped me and rambled off a list of reasons I’m not right for her.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle July 31, 2013, 3:53 pm

        Yeah, I mean, that’s true. It sounds like both of them are wayyy too invested (that there’s this much drama, & they both feel the need to hold on) at 5 months.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 3:46 pm

        I don’t think its refusing to leave. There’s a big space between outright refusing to leave to the point that someone is crazy and saying let’s talk about this/work it out.

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones July 31, 2013, 10:57 pm

        Not if he’s in middle school. He wouldn’t know any better.

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        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 3:45 pm

        I have been confused too. It doesn’t make a whole lotta sense.

        Question: if someone you were dating for a while said they were breaking up with you, would you really just immediately get up and walk out the door, no questions asked?! I’ve been a runner in the past, and even I would at least want to talk for a second or ask why.

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        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 3:51 pm

        After 5 months? I think I would cut my losses and leave. Especially if they gave me a laundry list of what my problems where.

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        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 3:59 pm

        I guess it sounds like you guys are saying he really was refusing to ever leave/acting like a crazy stalker. He wasn’t, imo. He asked questions about why they were splitting, asked her to give him another chance or whatever, and when that failed, then he (presumably) left. [LW, he’s not still sitting on your bed crying, right?] That’s pretty normal to me.

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        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:02 pm

        I guess the “constantly communicating” after the break up asking for another chance is what’s off.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest July 31, 2013, 4:04 pm

        Yea, that’s a bit pathetic, but I feel like the majority of people do that nowadays. Breakups so rarely ever sound cut and dry to me.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 4:11 pm

        And that’s another vague thing in this letter, we don’t know what that actually means, calling or texting or FBing, or what the frequency actually was. With the high-drama language this LW uses, I could see one phone call a day be construed as “communicating constantly.”

        I will agree that his actions, as far as we can interpret them, DO say desperate or immature or overly invested. But getting back to the point above, I don’t think he deserves bashing or accusations of manipulation. His actions in the context of hers are yellow-greenish flags, not red ones.

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        GatorGirl July 31, 2013, 4:30 pm

        Yes, I agree. He shouldn’t be bashed. She is the butthead here.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay July 31, 2013, 4:50 pm

        Not to mention that she WANTED him to want her back, since she was only dumping him for something she did wrong. I think that definitely colored her description of his actions.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 31, 2013, 4:55 pm

        Good point Lindsay. Tying this into the whole “I’m a horrible person” thing, and the behavior that usually goes with that cop-out, she probably DID want him to continue wanting to be in a relationship with her. She didn’t see his continued efforts to mend things as harassment, but evidence that he’s such a Good Guy and loves her So Much and that makes her even more Horrible for dumping him… etc.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ July 31, 2013, 5:19 pm

        And, she took him back. They’re together right now and she says she wants to be with him, so it’s not like she kicked him out, told him never talk to me again and he is stalking her. I feel pretty sorry for this guy who’s been cheated on multiple times in 5 months, has no idea, and thinks that his relationship problems are all his fault and that if he fixed himself, he can be with someone he’s obviously invested in. That’s such a shitty, no-win, self-esteem crushing situation to be in.

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  • avatar

    Datdamwuf August 1, 2013, 11:41 am

    Tell him the truth, if he can deal with that then fine, otherwise your lies are taking a choice from him. You are stealing from him with the lies, stealing his ability to make good decisions based on honesty and truth. It also sounds like you need to work on yourself, it’s seems more about a fear of being alone than that you love him.

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  • Jess

    Jess August 1, 2013, 11:44 am

    A day late but why not?

    Forgetting any of the specifics for a minute, this letter smacks of black and white thinking. No one is perfect. And few people are horrible. Yes, cheating is awful. But it sounds like you already saw yourself as awful and you chose activities to confirm that.

    Love yourself. The triumphs and the failures. Forgive yourself. If you can accept the good AND bad in yourself, you’ll be a step closer to being able to offer that to someone else. Learn to recognize nuance. Look for the grey areas. Enjoy the beautiful contradictions (including flaws) in those around you –especially your boyfriend –who is not perfect.

    Doesn’t matter if you tell him. Work on figuring out why you did it. Work on identifying the good and bad in yourself –then accepting those things. Then follow the same course for your boyfriend. Cheating was just a symptom. Try to diagnose the cause.

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