Living with yourself after doing a horrible and selfish thing
January 22, 2012 6:49 PM Subscribe
I need help in moving on with my life after telling a lie. Many lies. That hurt someone very badly.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I did a very bad thing. Please don't berate me for doing this thing, I already know it was an awful thing to do, and I'm aware that I hurt people in the process of doing this.
I did this horrible thing because I am suffering from depression, social anxiety and low self esteem. Those are the reasons why I did it, but not excuses, I know. This whole situation really woke me up to the fact that I have some psychological and mental issues that I need to get help for. I am seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist ongoing, and I am on meds.
This question also involves talk of a chat site. I am aware that I need to get out "in the real world"... I am trying to do this to the best of my ability. I am exercising and trying to be more active and attend meetups. I don't mean to sound flippant or casual about any of this. I really do understand that I did an appalling and dishonest thing.
The bad thing I did is this: I put up fake pictures and assumed a fake name and age on a chat site. I made some casual friends by doing this, and I made one extremely close friend. I fell for him completely, and he fell for me, but he fell for my fake pictures and fake persona. We talked for hours every day online and on the phone, for around 5 months. His personality clicked so well with mine, and mine with his. He told me secrets and things he has only told a few people. I made promises to him and we talked about the future. He invited me to go see him, and I said yes and even booked airline tickets to visit his home town. (He had air miles, so we used them to book the tickets.) I did this in full knowledge that I would not be getting on that plane, but I wanted to carry out this "fantasy" as long as I could. I waited until the very last second to tell him what I did, he even went to the airport to pick me up as I was sending him messages that I would not be on the plane.
I finally told him the truth that night, and he was understandably freaked out and hurt. He was in state of shock, and fluctuated between not wanting to talk to me ever again, and sending me texts and calling me every 20 minutes because he was confused and saddened by the whole thing. I think he was still in a state of denial about the whole situation, and he still wanted to meet me (we live about 2.5 hours apart). So we did meet, and hung out for a few days. The meeting went ok, and we remain in touch. Though he was hurt by what I did, he empathized with why I did it, and his forgiveness helped me realize that I need to just be honest about myself and I will find that I am an ok person, and that honesty really is the best policy no matter what.
I want to live honestly now. I am trying so hard to face my problems instead of running away from them and hiding from them under fake pictures and lies. I have a few questions about how to do this...
- Do I have to tell this to people in the future? Close friends? Future boyfriends? Family? What is my responsibility about being honest about my past to them?
- I am chatting with someone on the same website, under my REAL person. I am not pretending and I am being uber-honest. We click well as friends. The problem is, I talked to him under my fake persona once or twice previously. Do I have an obligation to come clean to him about what I did?
- How do I go on living with the knowledge of what I did? I really hurt the person I was involved with, I mean really hurt him. I also disappointed a lot of people who found out about what I did. I had low self esteem before I did this, it was the reason I did it... and now the knowledge that many people look down upon me for this is breaking my heart. It's like I dug myself deeper into this depressed self-hatred hole by doing this dishonest thing. I know I can take this situation and learn from it, and grow from it, and not repeat the same things I did. Can anyone give me hints to do this?
- What obligation do I have to this person I had the fake relationship with? He obviously would never view me in the same light that he did before, yet he still claims he wants to be friends. I however still have romantic feelings for him, and it is hard for me to talk to him. I am still half-living in that fantasy I had before, and him treating me like a friend versus him treating me like a person he cares deeply for romantically is killing me. Do I need to still talk to him? Part of me would feel better if I cut off contact with him all together. But the last thing I want to do is cause more drama in his life. Also I think it might be healthier if we stopped talking. Friendships that start off on lies are not the best thing. Is there a way to salvage this? Do I just put the ball in his court and let him make the decisions?
- I really feel like a bad person now. I feel unlovable and unloved. I know this is partially depression talking and partially guilt over what I did. How can I come to terms with the fact that I did this bad thing, but that I as a person can still have a good heart and still be an honest and caring individual? I want to change who I am, but I am stuck in this cycle of self hatred. Again I am in therapy and on meds, so please don't suggest that. I just want to hear what you all have to tell me right here, right now, from your life experiences.
throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org