Dear Readers…this letter is long, but a good one. The BSG recommends hanging with it.
Dear Bitter Single Guy: I cheated. I started a relationship with my now-ex-fiance when I was rebounding off of some serious issues during my senior year of high school. We had always loved each other, and he was my rock in my greatest time of need. Not only that, though… I loved everything about him and we were inseparable and just plain happy. I went off to college 6 months into our relationship without knowing a soul on campus and I made the mistake of falling into someone else’s bed more than once when I was completely obliterated. Looking back on it, I’m able to see that I felt undeserving of such an amazing relationship after the mistakes I had made in the past, and hence began to act that way.
After a few incidents over the next couple of months in that first semester of partying and self-loathing, I finally began to see myself for what I was. A kind, empathetic, loving person, and I was finally able to understand that I WAS deserving of a wonderful man who treated me the way he did. It didn’t take any worries about him finding out or any type of major event for me to stop… I just looked at him one night after a great date and realized how lucky (and grateful) I was to have him in my life.
His best friend had heard about what I was doing because we went to school together and it’s a small campus. I didn’t really say much when he asked me about it and he basically told me that he wasn’t going to say anything because he knew it would kill… let’s call my ex Bob. Both he and my close friends all agreed that it would be best to just forget about it since I had quit already and had turned things around.
Well… after 1 1/2 years of being together and 8 months after my last encounter with someone else, he asked me to marry him. I said yes, life was great, and he attended school with me that year. Things were going really well but I had a falling-out with one of my best friends and she decided to e-mail him every gruesome detail about what I had done to betray him. And by every detail… I mean EVERY detail, including some pretty disgusting lies.
When he got these messages from her, it had been 1 1/2 years since my last encounter. It tore our world apart for that day but he decided to forgive me and try to put it out of his mind since we were so in love and he trusted that I was being honest about when I stopped. Unfortunately, we both made the mistake of thinking that it would be possible for him to forgive me so easily and so quickly.
I like to communicate, and I like to communicate a lot. I would always talk to him about what I was needing from him to feel loved and what we could do to make the relationship even better and I would always ask him, “I know I’m not perfect, babe. What can I do to make you happier or to make things even better with us?” He always responded that he was happy and I was great and that he loved how things were going.
Well… apparently not. Just recently, I was bedridden with a bad migraine and he went to hang out with his friend in the common area of our dorm building. He met a girl there, and they were texting eachother nonstop for two days. After we slept together one night, I asked him if he liked her as we were cuddling.
He said this, almost exactly. “If I weren’t dating anyone, then yes I would probably think of her that way. But I love you and I’m committed to this relationship and you can trust me, babe.” Not 36 hours later, he dumped me. He broke off his engagement because he said he didn’t feel that same spark as he had when we first started dating. He said he just wanted space to work through things and to figure out what he wanted. I came to find out that he immediately started spending time with her and right after we had a tearful (but good) talk later that week… I saw him walking from her room the next morning after he had spent the night there.
I’ll avoid talking about how much this girl makes me nauseous to pursue a guy who is engaged in the first place, no matter how much I want to scratch her eyes out. I just feel like if he had been honest with me from the beginning about how what I did was affecting him, we could have taken a break THEN or at least started to see a counselor… ANYTHING to keep things together in some way. He also mentioned that he was under a lot of pressure with getting married so soon and I’m just thinking… “But you asked me!”
I would have much rather given up planning a wedding than to go through what I’m feeling now. It would have been harder for us to talk about what I did openly and for him to be honest about what I could have done to improve things, but at least I wouldn’t have been going through the past year thinking everything was all rainbows and butterflies. This breakup came completely out of nowhere, for me.
I know we’re in college, but I’m so sick of hearing from EVERYONE that this is the time to date a lot of people and party and have a great time. I feel like you can still party and have fun and make new friends and have all of the great experiences that college has to offer while still having someone you love by your side. Neither of us are the “notch-in-the-belt” type of people to begin with.
I just want to know… what do you think happens now? Are we hopeless? He refuses to sell my engagement ring back just yet (he doesn’t even know why) and he still keeps all of my pictures up on his bulletin board so I feel like he still might have some shred of love for me somewhere.
I’ve forgiven myself for my mistakes by now. All that I felt I could do to show my love for him after I betrayed him was to love him with every cell in my body and to never lie to him again (which came easily to me). I feel like I should have came clean to him myself, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. ~Repentant Cheater~
Dear RC: The Bitter Single Guy should tell you that he normally doesn’t respond to letters as long as yours but after reading your letter he decided to weigh in.
First the BSG wants to say that he feels your pain. You’ve obviously learned well from your debaucheries in the first few months you were college. The BSG also agrees with you…it would have been better if your fiancé had heard about those debaucheries from you rather than from a pissed-off friend. While he absolutely understands not wanting to rock a peacefully floating boat with stories of past infidelities, the BSG is pretty sure that your happy marriage would eventually have been rocked by the fact that you cheated on your boyfriend early in your relationship.
OK so then the BSG will attempt to describe why he doesn’t really blame your fiancé here. He wants you to think about Cinderella (stay with the BSG here, he promises this is relevant). Imagine (in a slightly re-done version of the story) that Cinderella heard about the ball, but thought “nope, my stepsisters and I have all these chores, so no balls for us.” [pun intended] Later, Cinder hears from a nosy neighbor that while she was home scrubbing floors, doing dishes and peeling turnips that her stepsisters were out at the ball! When the stepsisters came home they genuinely told Cinder that they now realize how stupid it was to be out having fun while their sister was at home working. So Cruella grabs the turnip peeler while Ursula grabs the mop. Everyone wins, right? Well not really. Hell, Cinderella LOVES balls, what kind of chump was she to spend hours doing chores while those girls were whirling around a dance floor? So even though the stepsisters learned an important lesson about family cohesion, they still frankly REEKED of the buffet at the ball, while Cinderella reeked of turnip peels and Mop-N-Glo.
The short version here RC is that cheating has an insidious impact on relationships. As much as your ex probably wanted to be OK with how everything went down, the BSG is pretty sure that there was a voice in his head calling him a chump for being home peeling turnips (so to speak) while you were at the ball.
He may, after spending some time “at the ball” himself, decide that what he had with you was worth trying to re-capture but the BSG wouldn’t hold your breath. Sometimes the cost of enlightenment is high. ~BSG~