My boyfriend of 5 years has been cheating on me for 6 months with another “woman”. She claimed she didn’t know about me, and that he told her we had broken up, moved out of our home etc. I’ve been fed so many lies now, I don’t even know what’s true or who is being honest with me.
To be completely honest with myself and with you, I think I knew deep down but was drowning in what I thought was love and was repeatedly told I was loved, I was wrong and that he would never betray me. I saw images on social media, public chats on Twitter and every time I confronted him with this unusual behaviour, he behaved so shocked and insulted that I would ever think that of him. Looking back, I feel so foolish.
Since it came out, he’s tried to say an array of typical things ‘cheaters says’. He told me that he never meant to hurt me, that he hadn’t been happy for a while, so WHY did he tell me he loved me when he didn’t, why did he say he missed me when we were apart and why did he say he would do anything to make me happy?
In November of last year (before any of the cheating came out) we did indeed go through a bumpy phase, but looking back I’m so confused by it. He pulled away, spent more time going out, not coming home after being out with friends. We spoke about whether to end it or fix things. We amicably (or so I thought) decided to stay together, spend more time together, and make more of an effort together. I felt consumed by the guilt that we were failing because of me. Because I wasn’t good enough, skinny enough or interesting enough. But he chose to stay. He chose to tell me he still loved me. Is this my fault? Was this him trying to end it and I clung on too much? Have I caused this myself for not accepting we should have ended? Since this he told his mum (who is very ashamed and distraught by it all) that he “thought we were breaking up” and that’s why he engaged in this relationship with someone else. Tell me I’m not going mad and I couldn’t have changed this?
It’s been three weeks since the revelation. I’m stronger than I was at the beginning. But I feel like he’s taken a piece of me, that I won’t get back.
None of this is your fault. Your ex-boyfriend has AGENCY. He was gaslighting you. Let’s jump right to the questions.
I felt consumed by the guilt that we were failing because of me.
Really? Were you pulling away? Not coming home at night? Acting shady?
No. You were in the relationship trying to figure out what was happening, and the biggest data point was missing. (His cheating.)
Your options at that point were to ask for clarity, you did that. State your needs, however scary that is. Like hey, as someone who lives with you, I think I deserve to know where you are and when you’re coming home. A roommate needs that basic level of consideration, let alone a partner who’s invested five years.
Missing data point is what he’s hiding. So, do you become the relationship police? That never feels good. You could break up over his inconsideration — but that seems flimsy. There’s so many ways to beat yourself up here for not choosing Sucky Door #1 or Sucky Door #6. Recognize the game was rigged — you didn’t have all the information.
That’s not your fault.
Because I wasn’t good enough, skinny enough or interesting enough.
Is HE good enough? He seems like a shady sonofabitch to me. Is HE racking himself with self-doubt and loathing for being a two-timing jerk?
Have you considered his shittiness has NOTHING to do with you? He would VERY MUCH like you to think that it is. That’s what his behavior says, (more on that in a moment). But you can choose NOT to internalize his rejection. YOU set the value on you. NOT him.
Did the girlfriend job come with strict parameters about the width of your thighs? No? You didn’t fail at the job. Jobs need to be defined. You didn’t have all the information.
WHY did he tell me he loved me when he didn’t…
POWER. Impression management. Cake.
By letting you twist in the wind and wonder if the problem was you — HE gets an ego high. HE gets all the benefits of Mel loving him AND his bit on the side. He let that situation go on for months. Your letter isn’t clear what ended it, but I’m guessing from your clues, that you contacted the other woman and compared notes.
He created this crisis by DENYING you information, and ENCOURAGING you to invest further in him. So, when he devalues you and is suddenly gone? — Now your distress comes off to others as Poor Chump Who Can’t Get Over Him.
Behind the scenes was all this mindfuckery of I love you, I miss you, can’t wait to see you again INVESTMENT.
Now that the Missing Data Point is revealed, he can pull of the impression management of I Have a New Girlfriend and My Old Girlfriend Can’t Get Over Me.
Cheaters do this to chumps and they do it to affair partners.
Why is she calling? Oh, that’s an old girlfriend Who Can’t Get Over Me.
Behind the scenes: love you, I miss you, can’t wait to see you again…
He’s keeping everyone off balance, investing in HIM, and the power dynamic makes his dick hard.
So Mel, this asshole was NEVER worthy of you. I know he took five years of your life. But he can’t have YOU. You get you back. There is nothing here to beat yourself up about. He LIED.
Big (((Mel))) Hugs.