During that time, unbeknownst to me, he was also sporadically seeing a much younger woman, who had been his student and with whom he had had a secret on-off relationship for ten years. He always told me they were friends, she needed advice/work help all the time, and she saw him as an older mentor and a father figure, etc. The other woman disappeared, but this younger one did not. I was always suspicious, and after two years I started to check his messages – he kept changing from WhatsApp to IM to Facebook messenger. Over time I caught him. He wasn’t sleeping with her, but they always exchanged the odd cheeky message.
After dealing with this for so long, and after so many rows, he left me a couple of weeks ago when I accused him again of cheating. He has immediately gone back to her. So, I feel that all that time he was just lying and that he probably always planned to go back to her. Should I tell her? I have so much proof – all the messages he sent to me, telling me he didn’t want to be with her, that she was just a friend. I have messages where he asked me to marry him, all the love messages, etc. I want to show her to prove what he is. She is much more gullible than I am – I have witnessed that in her messages to him. Is it the right thing to do? Why should he just get away with endlessly cheating on women? If you met him, you would never guess he is like that – he is charming and comes across so stable and lovely – none of my friends believed it. I want to expose him because I don’t think he should be able to do this and get off scot-free. Please tell me what you think. — Left By a Cheater
I understand your anger and your frustration and your wanting to get even or keep him, but it’s honestly not worth your trouble and you need to move on and leave this guy in your past. Here’s what happens if you reach out to the woman he’s now seeing, even with all the evidence you say you have: Your charming, lovely, stable-seeming ex tells his gullible, naive girlfriend that you’re a crazy, bitter bitch and that he only said all those things to you because he knew you were so crazy and might hurt yourself or him if he told you what he really thought, if he told you he was in love with someone else. He had to wait for the perfect time to get out and he had to lie to you about his feelings because he knew how fragile you were and he was so concerned about your well-being and so worried about how you might react. And now that you are harassing his new girlfriend, here’s proof that you really are crazy and bitter, see? And his new girlfriend will see what he means and she’ll feel even more attached to him because he’s going to defend her against you and save her from you, and all you will do is serve to bring them closer together. I’m telling you, this is how it will play out, and there’s seriously no point at all in your going down this road.
I say this with only kind intentions: You should have moved on ages ago, and it’s long, long past reclaiming your time. Two years you let this continue?! You were suspicious the whole time you were together? You didn’t leave him after the first time he cheated? Two years you worried he was cheating on you with yet another woman? WHY?! Why would you do that to yourself?
Whatever, it’s over now — and only because he left you! You should have been the one leaving his cheating ass!!! — and you really, really need to move on now. Quit worrying about what he’s up to or how he’s getting away with his behavior “scot-free.” You were only worried about that after he left you, anyway. You aren’t really concerned about other women he might hurt; you just want revenge. Your moving on, forgetting about him, and living well is the best revenge you can get.
I think you need to put some eggs in other baskets. You are WAY more invested in this relationship than he is and it’s created an imbalanced dynamic you will have a hard time ever equalizing as long as you are solely focused on this guy. He obviously is not feeling the same way you are. If he were, he’d have locked in monogamy before he left, if for no other reason than to better ensure you’d wait for him and not date around while he was gone and maybe meet someone you like better. He’d be in touch with you a lot more than he is, instead of declaring this a time to “disconnect.” He’d have reassured you before he left that his heart was with you. But he didn’t. And, you know, I can’t blame him really. You’ve been together three months. He’s behaving in a way that sounds pretty appropriate for the amount of time you’ve been dating and the level of commitment you have toward each other. You are not.
You’ve got laser focus on this one guy, and because of that — because you are so invested in someone who hasn’t invested as fully in you — the thought that he might be seeing anyone else is eating away at you. That’s not healthy. Loosen your focus on this guy. Go on a date with someone else. Take a weekend trip with some friends. Fill your time with people and activities that bring you joy and distract you. Don’t always be so available when the guy wants to Skype. Have a life outside him, and let him know it.
When he gets back to town, don’t be so fast and eager to see him. Let him work for you a little bit. Let him wonder if YOU have been seeing someone else. Let him work toward equalizing the dynamic a bit. And if he doesn’t? Well, he simply was never yours to lose anyway, and it’s probably best to see your relationship for what it was: a nice three-month fling.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
JD March 12, 2018, 9:38 am
LW1: you are in fact as gullible as this young girl. You knew he cheated and stayed with him. Every man ever who cheats (or woman for that matter) will tell their partner they don’t want to be with the person they are cheating with. Do you think he would say the opposite if he was tying to calm you? Come on now. Your mistake was buying it. If he didn’t want to be with her he wouldn’t have been. Move on and stop staying with men who cheat and lie.
brise March 12, 2018, 9:41 am
Totally agree with Wendy. LW1: your problem is that you should have left him, not the opposite. That is your resent. Forget this guy, don’t get so low as to target his girlfriend with your revenge mission (by the way, I wasn’t sure which one you were speaking of, the “other woman” or the “student”).
LW2: you guys are not exclusive. That is as simple as that. Meaning: you have the right to date, to see and sleep with other men, and so on. Take it for what it is and act accordingly.
brise March 12, 2018, 10:04 am
LW2: PS, I can understand his decision. If I were to have a month long trip to achieve a personal project and find myself, I wouldn’t lock myself in a new relationship. I would do like him, let it open. It doesn’t mean he will date other women. It means he wants to be free, at least now while he is away, and you should take it like this for yourself as well. You don’t know the future. Live your life.
JD March 12, 2018, 10:21 am
Exactly. Also, you aren’t so in love after 3 months, you are infatuated. You also are in a new relationship he is clear is not committed yet. That is not abnormal at this stage. I agree LW needs to focus on her own stuff and not put all her hopes on this relationship so soon in. I also think there is a lot to be said for allowing people in relationships to do their own thing. My ex and I had plenty of apart time for work trips and such. It allowed us to grow separately and come back with renewed enthusiasm. It also allowed us to grow in ourselves in a relationship when we were very young and it can be difficult due to how much change happens in a person during those years. As long as you have trust it can work very well.
LisforLeslie March 12, 2018, 11:31 am
LW1 – you don’t give a flying fig about the woman. You want to hurt him. Because he hurt you, by cheating on you and then dumping you. Wendy’s narrative is right. I suppose you could wait around, facebook stalking them until you see one of them has moved on. Then you can come out of the wood work saying “Ha! Told you!” but then you’ve put your life on hold until you’re proven right. Or what if it doesn’t happen? What if he doesn’t cheat on her? I’m not saying it’s probable, but you never know what happens behind closed doors.
Just. Move. On.
LW 2 – It’s been 3 months. If he wants to sleep his way around Portugal, no amount of relationship definition is going to stop that. If this is what you want, say it, but be prepared to walk away. Or be prepared to accept a nebulous relationship for the next month. You can only determine if you think you can handle it or not (tbh, I probably could not).
Vathena March 12, 2018, 12:17 pm
LW1, if you think he shouldn’t be able to “get away…scot-free” with cheating, then maybe you shouldn’t have let him get away with it? Clearly there was no consequence for cheating on you; you didn’t trust him and had clear evidence he was a cheater, yet you stayed with him for TWO YEARS. You’d still be with him, knowing he was cheating on you, if he hadn’t dumped you. Be glad he’s out of your life and aim higher next time.
dinoceros March 12, 2018, 1:52 pm
LW1: You’re framing this as her potentially not being able to figure it out and you giving her info she wouldn’t have otherwise, but this guy isn’t that stealthy. You knew for well over a year, it sounds like, that he was being shady. You being with him for two years is because you chose to put up with it — not because he’s super sneaky and no one could figure out that he’s dishonest. I’m sure she has all the evidence necessarily to determine that he’s a bad guy, but like you, she’s ignoring it.
LW2: You shouldn’t agree to float along without a relationship with someone if you want a relationship. The time to do something was earlier when you found that you two potentially were not on the same page. You wanting a relationship and him not. But if he wants the option of sing him take on a definition isn’t going to stop him. (And I don’t know how you’re exclusive, but you say it’s OK if he sees other women — the definition of exclusive is that you don’t see other people). But yeah, generally, a person doesn’t want a definition if they don’t want to be bound to that person.