Dear Shan Tell’em,
My boyfriend of 2+ years ended up sleeping with someone else after a fight that we got into. He thought that I was cheating b/c of some texts & when I was a sleep (after drinking) I said I love you Peter* (his name isn’t Peter). Peter* is a friend from college, we had a fling years ago, but I only keep him around if I need something like a job hook up or something. But if you saw our texts it would look like there was something going on.When he confronted me about who Peter* was, I told him that it was nothing. He asked me not to contact Peter anymore & I refused. That night of course he was angry & slept with someone else.He feels like I’ve put him through a lot in the past & he’s forgiven me, this is true. But I feel like he slept with someone intentionally to hurt me & that’s what my problem is. I’ve done some pretty dumb shit to him in the past b/c of internal issues that I’ve been working through & I even went the extra mile to go to counseling for myself & for our relationship as well. In 2+ yrs I can’t think of a promise he’s ever broken except this one.To go out and hurt me in the #1 way that I’ve told you from the very beginning I can not handle is just like….Kanye shrug. Infidelity is a deal breaker for me & what makes me most upset is the fact that he thinks he was justified in sleeping with someone else. I am having a hard time letting him go, but I feel like I deserve better. I guess the questions is, should I really be feeling like I am partly responsible for him cheating? Is this something I should be willing to work through?
*names have been changed to protect identity of advice-seeker.
Lost in Love
Dear Lost in Love,
WHOA! Okay first of all, you two appear to have very “interesting” ways of dealing with anger and your issues as a whole in terms of your relationship. And they don’t seem to be 1. very effective and 2. a productive way to strengthen your union. Two years isn’t a life-long commitment, but it is enough time to invest in someone. Your partner’s way of handling a very sensitive, yet understandable situation speaks volumes in terms of how much he respects the relationship. To answer your question, NO it isn’t your fault that he cheated on you. NO it isn’t your fault that he slept with someone else and violated the terms of your agreement. With that being said, you’re not off the hook here either. Calling your man another man’s name, even without the “I love you” part will send anyone into an emotional frenzy. A drunk mind speaks a sober heart so perhaps there’s another reason other than needing a job hook up for you keeping Peter* around. Are you keeping him around because he gives you what your boyfriend doesn’t? Are you one of those “spare tire” people who believes that you should always have a second guy lined up just in case your star player doesn’t make the cut? That’s for you to discover. It sounds to me like the underlying issue in your relationship is trust (or lack thereof).
The fact that your boyfriend so easily slept with someone because he THOUGHT that you were being unfaithful shows a lack of maturity and spitefulness that is VERY unhealthy for a relationship. The fact that he was able to look at text messages between you and Peter* that you describe as appearing to look “like there was something going on” is unacceptable. We all know the common phrase “you don’t hurt the one you love” isn’t true. We’re human and will hurt those closest to us THEE MOST. The difference is that when you truly love someone, you do not INTENTIONALLY hurt them. Is he remorseful for what he did? The fact that he thinks he was justified doesn’t seem like it. How boning someone because you THINK your girlfriend might be cheating is beyond me.So here’s a bit of homework for you. I think you both need to really think about why you’re together and determine whether or not the relationship is worth continuing. Because relationships, successful relationships at least, only last if both parties are honest and vulnerable with one another. It should not be a power struggle. It should not be spitefulness. There should not be ANY spare tires. Unless you two make the decision to fully commit to one another and commit to working through every single issue, problems like this will continue to fuel the cycle of pain.
Good luck and I wish you the best.
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