I want to know: why? Why would he leave me for that after all these years? I am a good, attractive, fun-loving, educated, and employed woman who just wanted the best for us so we could start planning a family. I wanted us to build a life together. Instead he took the easy way out and implanted himself in a ready-made situation. Why would a man do this and why would a woman willingly be a side piece until it was convenient for her to be his main woman?
On top of all of this, the woman he left me for is telling mutual associates that he is portraying himself as if he played my role in the relationship and I played his. How calculated and manipulative is that? He has people believing that he tried so hard, but in reality his priorities in life were cheating, hanging with the boys, alcohol, and drugs. I know I’m better off without him, but I still just can’t wrap my head around why he would do this. I don’t understand what I did wrong besides staying too long. — 12 Years to Broken=Hearted
You’re asking the wrong questions here. Instead of asking why your boyfriend would leave you after all these years when you are a good, attractive, fun-loving, educated, employed woman, who tried so hard to make the relationship work, you should be asking yourself why you would stay for twelve years with a man who prioritized cheating, hanging with his friends, and alcohol and drugs over you and who still lived at home (with seemingly no ambition to move out?) and who who shut down every time you tried to have a serious discussion with him about your relationship and your future. Why would you spend two years with a man like this, let alone twelve?
We know why your boyfriend treated you the way he did: He didn’t care about you. He stayed with you because he was too lazy to break up with you. He lied to you and cheated on you and avoided anything real with you because he simply didn’t care. His “side piece,” as you call her, has her own reasons for being involved with him, which very likely have as much to do with the lies he told her. (Probably along the lines of: “Baby, I’m gonna break up with her just as soon as I can. You gotta believe me. I don’t love her, but she’s making it real hard for me to break up with her. I have to play this the right way so she doesn’t give me too much drama, and then I’m all yours.”) The other woman heard this and waited. Why? Probably the same damn reason you stayed with this man for twelve years: Neither one of you believed/believes you can do better or deserve better and you’re afraid of being alone.
It really doesn’t matter why your boyfriend was so fast to move in with this other woman or why he didn’t break up with you sooner or why he never truly committed to a relationship with you when you tried so hard to make yours work. What matters is why you put up with his bullshit so long. What matters is making sure you don’t ever let that happen again. The first step is acknowledging that you should have moved on a long, long time ago. The next step is soul-searching and self-reflecting on why you didn’t. The third step is cultivating enough self-love and self-confidence that you believe you deserve better. The fourth step is believing that you can find better and making a commitment to yourself that you won’t settle for less than good and decent and loving ever again.
You can have the relationship and family you’ve been dreaming of. But it’s not going to be with your high school sweetheart. That’s good news, because he’s a tool. The better news is that you are free now and all that effort you’d been putting into a dead-end, soul-sucking relationship can be funneled into things that actually provide return on your investment: your friendships, your career, your hobbies, and, best of all, yourself. Love yourself the way you wished your boyfriend could love you. Be for yourself what he never was. A good relationship with yourself is the first and best step toward a great relationship with someone else.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.