My X girlfriend screwed me over…
September 18, 2009 8:19 AM   Subscribe

My X girlfriend screwed me over… Can we be friends again?

I don’t want to go into details and this is probably as one sided as it says in the headline, but my X girlfriend did things to me which I think most people would find unforgivable. She was my best friend and I care for her a great deal still. It’s been a few months now and I’m pretty sure we have both moved on to other things, but in all honesty, I just miss her as part of my life. We were together for a very long time and she became the person who knows me the most in the world.
I have been trying for the last months to rationalize what happened and to try to understand what would motivate someone to do some of the things she did. Imagine the worst, and you will have an idea. In the end I have come up with ‘it’s complicated’ and because she stuck it out so long when things were bad, the intent was probably not malicious… I think it’s best to leave it there.
My question is about remaining friends or keeping someone in your life that did great damage to your life, after having had a very intense, deep, loving relationship. Is it realistic to think that somehow out of the ashes, and let me point out that they are very deep ashes…. That you can somehow build something again, at the very least, a friendship? For me it’s crazy to go from best friends and in love - to nothing. I have kept most of the details from my friends but those closest to me tell me that I should never speak to this person again.
Any ideas or shared similar experiences would be greatly appreciated.
posted by sav to Human Relations (68 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Find someone else to be friends with until you really don't care about your ef-GF and if you happen to run into her, and you still get along, fine. Otherwise, whatever.
posted by jedrek at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2009

Could you honestly forgive and forget? Would you ever really trust her again? What is the long term benefit to keping this person in your life. I tend to feel that once the damage has been done it is just best to move on.
posted by mokeydraws at 8:23 AM on September 18, 2009

Anything's possible, but my guess is no.
posted by jmmpangaea at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cut all ties. Someone that fucks you over in the worst way possible (paraphrasing you here) doesn't actually care about you.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2009 [9 favorites]

Oh, sav. What a rough time. No, you can't be friends with her, just for the seething resentment alone. Of course you want her back in your life - she was your girlfriend, and your best friend, and now there's a sizable best-friend-shaped chunk taken away from your daily life that aches.

But, she doesn't (and will not) belong in your life anymore. Listen to your friends, at least for now. Hang out with them more often. Do not contact your ex. Do not go places where you are likely to see her just to rekindle the flame. It's been a few months, which is good.

Recovering after a breakup hurts a lot less when there are more people and distractions in your life. For her to have done something this terrible, you cannot possibly even entertain the thoughts of becoming friends again for now. It wouldn't be healthy or productive for you and it would keep you from moving on.
posted by amicamentis at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2009

Sorry that sounds really really hard. But you need space - and it sounds like big, long, total space for a great amount of time. Its gets easier, give it time.
posted by RajahKing at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2009

You deserve to be loved and understood by someone who won't turn around and do the worst things imaginable to you. Don't compromise yourself.
posted by milarepa at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2009

Cut ties. Leave it for a while. Look after yourself. Move on. Then see what happens.

Anything else I could say will just boil down to this, really. I've been there and sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, and by that time you'll realise whether that is indeed what you want.
posted by mippy at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2009

What you're experiencing is the ordinary grief anybody feels after a loss. Especially a major loss like a long-term love relationship. You can read up in Dr. Kubler-Ross' excellent book on grieving, but your description of wanting to have a friendship with your ex suggests to me that perhaps you might be in the "bargaining" stage of grief.

My use of the word ordinary to describe what you're going through should not be mistaken as an attempt to minimize the pain and anguish you must be feeling. It won't be easy, but in my opinion, you'd do very well to allow yourself a period of grieving and then move on without establishing a friendship with your ex.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think you might find that you have a lot of anger about whatever your ex did. Maybe you're not aware of it yet? If so, you might find that later, once your anger is more apparent, you really don't want to be friends with this person at all.

Ask for support from your friends. It can take time to learn how to live without a person who has been in your life for a long time.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:38 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

....It's a little hard to get into this without knowing the details. You've asked me to "imagine the worst" about what she did -- but what I'm imagining is bad enough that there there is NO WAY this woman is ANY kind of friend to you if it IS actually what she did.

To be honest, it sounds like you're still in that chaotic mess of feelings that happens after any breakup -- one minute you miss them terribly, the next you're angry at them. One minute you're thinking of the good stuff she did, the next you're confronting all the shitty stuff she did that you tried to overlook when you were with her. Before you can think of any kind of friendship with her in any real sense, you need to sort through all of that -- take a good hard look at how she treated you, and whether you would forgive that kind of treatment if a FRIEND did it to you -- and then decide whether you even WANT her friendship in the first place.

For my money, friends don't do bad things to each other. If she did bad things to you, she wasn't being your friend.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

I tried to remain friends with an ex (the breakup was cordial, not "fucked me over") that I had been best friends with for a couple years before we started dating. It...worked rather poorly. Find yourself a new best friend.
posted by notsnot at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2009

Was this one of those deals where a dead relationship dragged on and on and on until somebody had an affair? Or did she burn your house down with your kittens inside?

If it was merely the former, yes, free of the romantic entanglements and given a little time to heal, sure, you can be friends again.
posted by kmennie at 8:41 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Be careful, some times people can be great friends, but once your in a relationship and you have been mistreated, you can set yourself up for failure and future pain
posted by luckycharmz336 at 8:42 AM on September 18, 2009

What steps has she taken to restore your trust in her? How can you be fairly sure that the same motivation that caused her to act out this way towards you is now taken care of, so that it won't happen again? Has she done these things of her own volition, in an effort to treat people she cares about better, and to be a better person in the world? What would you get out of a friendship that would be well beyond what it's worth to open up the world of hurt you've protected yourself from thus far? Could there be another person in this world that could offer that, without the baggage and history? I think there might be.

Also, my favorite quote for this type of situation (from a book whose title I don't remember): You are ready to be friends with an ex when it no longer matters or means anything to either of you whether or not you're friends with each other.

Even if you both are ready, you have to start over as new people with a fresh start. You can't go back and step down from there, you have to come around from a new place. I don't think either of you are at that new place yet. And if you're actively trying to get there, so that you may start fresh, the motivation is suspect.

I wish you the best of luck, but you'll fare better if you put your energy towards new experiences and new people who aren't using you as testing ground for how to behave kindly and non-destructively.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:43 AM on September 18, 2009

It is hard to go from having someone who knows you so intimately to being on your own again. But you are on your own now. Instead of seeking intimacy with the same person who has shown you she doesn't care for you in the way you need, heal yourself and know that you can find intimacy with someone new. Your time and energy are precious commodities - spend them on yourself now, and on making new connections to people.

Also, trust your friends. Your emotions are playing games with your head, and will continue to do so with respect to this person for a long time, possibly forever. Give yourself way more time than you feel you need.

I just want to reiterate - your time and energy are PRECIOUS. Do not spend them on this person. You have a need for intimacy, you're used to it being filled in a particular way, by a particular person. But that need can be satisfied elsewhere. Don't seek instant gratification by contacting this person. Seek the greater benefit to yourself by focusing your time and energy on things that, objectively, are more likely to give you a happy life in the long run. Remember that true insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results - don't expect that this person will treat you well down the road, and don't seek intimacy with them.

Also, talk to anyone you know who has been through a terrible breakup. They've seen the other side of much of what you are going through now and will be invaluable resources. You're gaining a big "life experience" here. So much as it hurts and you're confused, etc., try to really experience the whole thing, dig through your emotions, find out more about yourself. Explore the pain and get through it - and not with the ex's supposed support, either.
posted by lorrer at 8:45 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Nope, move on.
posted by zeoslap at 8:46 AM on September 18, 2009

It really, really depends on what she did, and whether it makes her a bad girlfriend, or a bad friend. Either way, a bit of space for a month or 3 is important, but the litmus test will be whether you can honestly state the following:

"____ was a shitty girlfriend, but is a great friend."

If that's the case, you still need to be over the notion of dating her. Remind yourself of that, move on, and don't worry, because you will find someone else. Someone who's a great girlfriend. Someone who doesn't worry that you're friends with your ex, because you can say, "Oh, ____ is my friend, but she was a shitty girlfriend." Your new girlfriend will believe you, because you're being honest.

Of course, if the ex did something that is inexcusable as a friend, then it should just be over.
posted by explosion at 8:49 AM on September 18, 2009

Is it realistic to think that somehow out of the ashes, and let me point out that they are very deep ashes…

Simple answer...No.
posted by snowjoe at 8:49 AM on September 18, 2009

Since you are still mulling over why she did what she did, then no. Do not be her friend. Heartbreak is horrible, but losing a friend is no picnic either.
But being friends with someone whom you still resent is just painful and unhealthy.
Your previous relationship with her dragged on unnecessarily, no need to make that mistake again.
HOWEVER, if after you no longer care one way or another why she did whatever it is she did, nor what happened - then that's fine. You can be friends.
posted by Neekee at 8:50 AM on September 18, 2009

Well, you could try to have her in your life and see how many more times she hurts or screws you over before you decide her friendship isn't worth it. Why put yourself in harm's way?

Any girl who would fall in love with you that comes along in the future will see you're still emotionally attached to an abusive girl that you used to date. Is that really the best option for you, regardless of how much you think you'd like to have an ongoing relationship with your ex?

I tried to stay friendly with an ex who was horrible to me. Violent, deceptive, he stole from me, etc. I did it because I pitied him.

About 3 months later, we were in court and I was being awarded a restraining order because staying friendly was a huge, huge mistake.

Because I tried to rationalize what he did and why the things that happened, happened ("it wasn't about you, I'm a drug addict, I can't help it, etc."-type statements eventually undermined my resolve). I was worried about him because of the behavior leading up to our split and encouraging him to get medical and psychiatric help.

I guess I should've seen it coming, but like you, I was also grieving because I had genuinely loved him both as a friend and a boyfriend. Caring about someone doesn't make it ok to be around that person if it harms you, though. You will eventually develop feelings for a healthy person; the only way to do that is to grieve and heal from this unhealthy relationship.

You asked for shared or similar experiences; mine didn't work out so good, so I don't recommend staying friends with her. Good luck in moving on and healing. It's going to take time and distance.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:50 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

My question is about remaining friends or keeping someone in your life that did great damage to your life...


miss the naive relationship back when you were happy because you didn't yet know she was going to screw you over.

The thing you want back is no longer available. You can't get it back without time travel.
posted by rokusan at 8:51 AM on September 18, 2009 [6 favorites]

My question is about remaining friends or keeping someone in your life that did great damage to your life, after having had a very intense, deep, loving relationship.

Wow, can I relate to that! I had six years with someone - intense and deep, loving and sexy. He then did enormous harm to me. I was shattered. Hospitalized. Lost job and friends. I'm not over it.

Is it realistic to think that somehow out of the ashes, and let me point out that they are very deep ashes…. That you can somehow build something again, at the very least, a friendship?

No. It is realistic to think that, in time, if you run in to them, you could be cordial and shake hands. However, for me, it's not realistic. I would not expect to even make eye contact.

This really depends on the severity of what they did.

For me it’s crazy to go from best friends and in love - to nothing.

Oh, man, I hear you! I don't understand that to this day -- 5 years later! Clearly, all those years, I was just his booty call; he lied about his love.

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. The very best of luck to you!
posted by jgirl at 8:51 AM on September 18, 2009

Then again, I should add that of the 2 ex-girlfriends who I ever tried to be friends with afterward, it did not work out with either. One was an OK friend, but a terrible (read: slovenly) apartment-mate, and that strained the friendship. The other, the sexual tension kind of made it hard to be friends-without-benefits.

Good luck to you.
posted by explosion at 8:52 AM on September 18, 2009

It sounds like you're not truly recovered from this yet. Don't seek her out and try to rekindle a friendship. It will result in you constantly trying to get closure & resolution from her ("Why did you do this? I still don't understand..."), and that ain't gonna happen. She can't give you an answer that will make this somehow okay. You'll just be torturing yourself by being around her. Put another way, you've only just begun the rehab program, don't start hanging around Heroin right now.

I tried to be the "nice ex-girlfriend," and stay friends with my ex after we broke up. It did not go well. He kept hounding me with questions about our relationship and it was obvious he was seething in this mix of rage and longing. I cut off contact with him because it was hurting both of us.

General rule of thumb: You cannot be friends with your exes, often especially if you were best friends and deeply in love while dating. Maybe in several years, but certainly not in the forseeable future. And you might find that once you're over this, you won't even feel the need to be friends with her anymore. The wound is still fresh--give it time.
posted by castlebravo at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2009

As many others have said, your energy is better spent meeting and becoming close to people that don't treat you like that.

I basically went through what you went through, and I can tell you that trying to forge a friendship with this person is not really a good idea.

I actually disagree with people who say she must not have cared about you--that's not it at all. My guess is she cared very much for you, even though she blew it badly. But your relationship fell apart, and while you also had a deep friendship to go along with the physical side, they are inexorably linked in your subconscious. You don't (seriously man, you DON'T) want the physical again, so the friendship part isn't really possible.

Find the inner strength to cut ties completely.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2009

I have two boxes. One sits by my bedside and has pictures of me in high school and college, running xc, rowing, sailing, and hanging out with friends and girlfriends. It has tons of pictures. I can look at all of them and I know that I cared about the girls in some of them, but I can talk about the relationships in the pictures with no problem.

I had a box with pictures of my anorexic ex-fiance. I had kept that in storage. When I got married the first time, it upset my ex-wife. I threw out those pictures - and threw out about 5 years of my life. Now, I could probably include her with that box upstairs - its just pictures and yeah... I'm a similarly-different person now. I don't have any of them. Not one. Its a five year hole in my history and my life.

I have a box in the back corner of my storage unit in the basement. It has pictures in it, including the negatives from my first wedding. I can say honestly, I will never look at the wedding pictures again; but there are some other pictures in there that I will some day look at with my son. I say them because I may someday have something not-negative to say about the person that I am pictured with in them.

All of them I keep them in a box though for a reason. While they have helped me grow into who I am and made up a significant portion of my life - they are no longer helping me grow into the person I want to be. They have moved on, I have moved on. There's a lot to be said about remembering the past. It's good... its nostalgia... but - there's also a lot of good to enjoying what comes next.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Based on your last question, which detailed the relationship, I'd advise you to move on and seek therapy to help you process what you've been through. You've had a rough time of things lately and some outside help would do you really good.

Not to rub things in your face, but your last question touched on this issue and a month later you're struggling still obviously hurt and struggling with it. Seek counseling to help you get over this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2009

If you want to try, by all means try. Remember to put yourself and your well-being first though by giving yourself permission to extricate yourself from the friendship if things don't work out. Keep track of how things are progressing and if at some point you notice that the friendship is not productive and isn't making you happy, bite the bullet and cut things off entirely.
posted by Kimberly at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2009

In my experience, you can be friends again if:

1) You two take a long break from contact (6 mos or a year, maybe)
2) You deal with your anger, and she admits the full extent of her guilt
3) You are both rational people who can talk through it all (though, the long break can minimize the need to rehash everything endlessly)
4) She also wants to salvage the friendship

Some are all or nothing about this sort of thing -- their partner betrays them, so their partner is dead to them. However, people are more complicated than that. She screwed you over, but that doesn't make her an evil person. Everyone is fallible, so it's up to you to decide whether her friendship is worth the trouble.

For what it's worth, I've got a lifelong loyal friendship out of a situation like this -- we're now 10 years beyond the betrayal, the hurt feelings are long gone, and we truly enjoy our time together as friends.
posted by jenmakes at 9:02 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

I think that the naysayers are jumping a bit -- I think it's important that you said "because she stuck it out so long when things were bad, the intent was probably not malicious…" I read this as an admission that you don't think you are entirely blameless in what happened, and that, like you said, "it's complicated."

so let me be anecdotal. I was in your situation once: a really great relationship with a girl who was my best friend that went really, really bad for reasons that I don't think either of us were to blame for. and now we're really good friends again.

but we didn't speak to each other at all for the two years after we broke up. and we started talking again because we bumped into each other on the street during my lunch break and said hello.

so my advice, I guess, is that there is hope but not yet. you sound like you still need her, and you cannot talk to her again until that you can honestly say that that is no longer true.
posted by spindle at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You must go out and begin making new memories with many people. It doesn't matter that she knows you best. She doesn't respect you. Be your own best friend and cut ties totally. Look her up in 2039. Until
posted by naplesyellow at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

There's almost no disagreement among the answers you received. You know how rare that is in an open ended kind of question such as yours? That's how clear the answer is.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:12 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

I am siding with the people who say "no way."

Beyond that, my question would be "why would you want to??"

It sounds like what you need right now is friends who will help you get past this horrible breakup, and take your mind off it. She can't do that. Another question I used to ask myself about my ex-, when I was tempted to take her up on her "friends" offer was, "well if we're compatible as friends, then why aren't we dating?" In a very simplistic formulation, "friends + sex" is what a relationship is. All the things that ended our relationship were failures on her part in the "friendship" arena. She was completely unqualified to be my friend.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:22 AM on September 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

In my personal opinion, your ex is a lying, cheating bastard.

Your ex doesn't deserve your friendship, and you don't deserve his or hers.

posted by General Tonic at 9:30 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Forgive inwardly, say goodbye.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2009

Possible, but not recommended.
posted by electroboy at 10:06 AM on September 18, 2009

Sit and be quiet. Close your eyes, and ask yourself what you really want.

Having been in this EXACT situation, I know exactly what your feeling. The hardest thing right now isn't that you want to be friends with her, it's that you need to start being very *Very* truthful with yourself.

What you had, you can never have again. It is gone.

Ask yourself -> how are you going to grow from this? How are you going to be better, and what do you really want.

Sometimes just focusing on questions like this will bring you to tears, but it is crucial in your personal growth.

I am so sorry for what happened to you.
posted by burhan at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

you marked the one answer that validates your desire to maintain some relationship with your lying, cheating ex who you admit has done "great damage" to your life. why in the world would you still want that person in your life??

get rid of her and get some therapy.
posted by violetk at 10:17 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Beat to it by violetk.
posted by torquemaniac at 10:25 AM on September 18, 2009

I think you can be friends. In some ways, life is a processing of learning to forgive. Here's more practice for you. But don't be blind -- don't expect her to be someone she's not. Trust her to be exactly who she has revealed herself to be. If you can and want to be in a friendship with her with that basis, accepting her for who she is -- the things you like and don't -- then give it a shot.
posted by mmw at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2009

This woman lied to you on an hourly basis FOR FOUR YEARS. She had ANOTHER PARTNER the entire time you were together, without you knowing it. She actually carried on a FULL RELATIONSHIP with someone else while you thought you were her only lover.

SHE WAS NEVER YOUR FRIEND. She PRETENDED to be your friend. For four years.

This is not a friend, this is not a lover, this is a PSYCHOTIC person you need to RUN, not walk, away from - end of story.

You need some perspective, dude. Seriously, please, please get some counseling.
posted by tristeza at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2009 [13 favorites]

This is really hard, and the loss you feel will probably continue for a while, and occasionally flare up when you least expect it. I have long maintained that exes are exes for a reason, and therefore, never tried to transition to/revert to friends after a breakup.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm currently in another go-around with an ex, and there are issues on both sides because of rather large past transgressions. Still, we're enjoying ourselves, and even if this goes nowhere, I'm glad we're having this time together. Sometimes it's hard, and I don't know where it's going to lead, if anywhere, but this one person and our connection was worth another shot. At some point, we will have to make a decision about whether this is a "sitting together on a back porch when we're 80" thing or that there is no long-term future, and then I will have to say goodbye. Completely, entirely, no contact, no friendship, and that will be difficult. Though we have tried, we are incapable of being "just friends," and when we are in touch makes moving on seems impossible.

My final answer: she sounds like she is an ex for a reason, and I think you will find being "just friends" isn't a possibility for the two of you. Make your peace with the crap she pulled, and move on. It's incredibly hard, and I feel for you, but it sounds like your happiness is not anywhere in the vicinity of this ex. Best of luck!
posted by katemcd at 10:48 AM on September 18, 2009

There are enough wonderful people out there - maybe not thousands, but enough - who will understand you and support you and not fucking fuck with your head that there's really no sense in wasting your time on anyone who's just going to manipulate you or break your heart. I promise you that you will find the good people. I promise. It will take time, and it will take wading through this heartache, and it will absolutely take giving up on your emotional-loan-shark ex, and I won't lie, it is going to be really hard for a while and you might feel like giving up, but I swear you will find people who are good to you and good for you.

(Just to be 100% clear, your ex is not one of the good people.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

The people closest to you - the people who know you the best and care about you the most and presumably know the most about the specifics of this situation - have told you flatly to close this individual permanently out of your life - but you decided it would be best to give a bunch of strangers a vague overview of the situation and see what they had to say. It's "crazy to go from best friends and in love - to nothing"? Do you want to know what I think sounds crazy?

In your prior question on (I have to assume) the same topic, you wrote "I am still partly in the game, at least in my heart as this person was the love of my life." That's still what's going on here. It is even betrayed in your wording of this question: "Is it realistic to think that... you can somehow build something again, at the very least, a friendship?" You still want to see the possibility of a working romantic relationship coming out of this, don't you? Isn't that what this is really about?

Wake up. This person was neither your best friend nor the love of your life because being these things is incompatible with fucking you over and lying to you for years. You don't go from loving someone and thinking they are your best friend to nothing, you go to a long, sad period of unwinding the impact of deceit and betrayal from your mind and dealing with them, and you won't be able to even start this work until you give up on a hope that is nakedly absurd to anyone with the slightest objectivity.
posted by nanojath at 10:50 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

I don't understand why you would want to be friends with someone who screwed you over. Friends or lovers don't screw you over. Jackasses do. There are enough people in this world where you can find another friend (or more). Let her move on to screw someone else over. You've been hurt enough.
posted by stormpooper at 10:54 AM on September 18, 2009

I was in what sounds like a very similar situation a few years back, and though I tried through waves and waves of bullshit to maintain some kind of 'relationship' with this person, mostly out of respect for the long and preternaturally close relationship we'd had before, in the end it was a losing battle. If this person has done something so horrible to you that you don't even want to mention it, and your friends are telling you to never speak to this person again, I'd imagine she probably has a lot of emotional turmoil about the whole thing as well. What you need to be concerned about now, though, is not her or her feelings or 'what she was thinking' or whatever. You need to get over this whole thing. Get distance however you need to, but try to focus on they idea that you will never, ever see her again. Until you sever yourself absolutely from the ghosts of the relationship you had, you'll never be objective enough about what happened to make an unbiased decision, and that will mean that you will always be grasping at a relationship that is no longer there. To really move on, to truly move on, you need to accept that what is over is well and truly so.

Good luck.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:25 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Anyone who is going to even try to answer this question properly to your situation needs to read your last question. It would have been smart to link to it. When you say "imagine the worst," I bet a lot of people wouldn't imagine your girlfriend of four years having another boyfriend the entire time you were together. Not trying to rub in what happened, just emphasize that you do not need to be her friend. She is a bad person or else has a serious mental disorder of some sort (sounds like probably the former). Get far away from the hell she has created.
posted by ishotjr at 12:18 PM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Also, rereading that last question, it is very clear that your ex is about as manipulative as a person can be. She tried to make you think that outing her double life made YOU the bad guy, and that she didn't have any control over what she did. Friends don't make friends miserable and then blame them for it.
posted by ishotjr at 12:20 PM on September 18, 2009 [5 favorites]

I didn't link to the last question purposely (I'm sorry i forgot to make this anonymous) and well its part of me coming to terms with what has happened. Like i said above it is complicated, and my question is more generic than to the specifics of what has happened. I will say this not to her credit but to maybe provide a piece of how i have begun to come to terms with this. She did what she did, i believe, because she made a mistake which got out of control and i like to believe ended up in a situation where she was in love with two people and couldn't hurt either. Her actions cost her nearly as much as it cost the other people involved. there was no dark motive, just an unfortunate situation that arose from bad decisions and was escalated by good emotions. Ultimately she hurt everyone but I don't believe this was her intention. The situation is much more complicated than this and i would need pages to describe and even then...

To her credit I will say that I think she maybe a person who possibly cares too much, however poor her judgement has been or how weak she is. In the end I have forgiven her and decided that she is not a bad person. A weak person, sometimes a dumb person, a person who made bad choices and got in over her head, occasionally selfish, but not a bad person. And we have all been in similar situations, maybe or probably for sure not to this degree, but its difficult to judge until you walk in someones shoes....Like i said, it is complicated.

In response to why i have taken this to a basically anonymous public forum.. Yes my friends have their opinions but an opinion without experience is worth much less than one with experience. Like i said before, my question is a generic one, and I am looking for advice on hurt, forgiveness, and friendships or what comes out of relationships.
posted by sav at 12:35 PM on September 18, 2009

Actually, I'm starting to think you and your ex are just right for each other.

posted by General Tonic at 12:46 PM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you don't want advice, don't ask for it. It appears you've already made your mind on this.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:00 PM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Sav, face facts.

You say "she became the person who knows me the most in the world", which may sound like a positive to you but sounds to me like she knows which strings to pull to make you dance. Ask yourself: what do you know about HER? After all, you were with her for four years and you had no idea for at least half that time that she kept another SO on the side. After being blindsided by that, do you honestly still feel like you know her well enough to have any kind of relationship with her?

You need lots of time away from your ex-gal so you can get your head on straight. And by lots of time, I mean at least a year of no phone/no text/no email/no Twitter/no Facebook contact. You need a therapist to help you come to terms with your heartbreak and help you understand why you still long for a woman who treated you so poorly.

Most of all, you need to get some perspective. You need to clear your head and understand that this woman was never your best friend and never loved you they way you loved her.

Shoot, I'm just going to go ahead and be blunt. Given the way you write your posts, my gut says that your ex-gal is keeping you on the hook so she can use you to feel better about herself when she takes action that gets her in trouble/destroys her relationships/engages in other behaviors that hurt people. She's got you to where you're inclined to forgive her anything; she knows most men won't be so generous, so she doesn't want to turn you loose. You'll be a shoulder to cry on or a pity-fuck until she's ready to move on to the someone else.

Tell you what. Call her up and ask her one question: will you come to couple's therapy with me to see if we can still be friends? (A good therapist can get to the bottom of both your issues and hers). If she hems and haws, hang up, face the fact that she is not as invested in you as you are in her, and cut her out of your life with no regrets.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:03 PM on September 18, 2009 [8 favorites]

I am looking for advice on hurt, forgiveness, and friendships or what comes out of relationships.

When everyone who knows you and everyone who doesn't know you gives you the same advice and you highlight the one piece of advice that goes contrary to what everyone else is telling you, it's pretty clear what you are looking for.
posted by nanojath at 1:06 PM on September 18, 2009 [6 favorites]

You seem to be unable to cope with the idea that you got screwed by someone, and that you should be upset with that person. Someone doesn't care "too much" about other people and allow themselves to hurt them so much.

In fact, you're starting to sound like someone who gets abused and makes excuses for the abuser, using the excuses an abuser makes for themselves. "Oh, I couldn't tell you the truth because I couldn't hurt your feeeee-lings!" What about the basic honesty and respect one is due in a relationship? Get away from this person. Listen to your friends. Your emotional state is very clearly warped right now and you really need to lean on others' outside perspectives for strength.

Oh, and "sounds to me like she knows which strings to pull to make you dance" is so true. No one, no one, should make you feel like they are your ONLY resource for comfort, advice, and love. No one should make you feel so distant from your friends that you'd not listen to their advice and would rather be that person's friend after they lie to you and show such basic indecency for years.

I'm agreeing with other posters more strongly than before. Stay away. Give yourself at least a year, better, two years, of no contact. She didn't have the most basic of respect for you. Maybe she thought she did, but she didn't. Which is honestly just as dangerous, because she'll keep treating you poorly without knowing it. Keep her away, talk to your friends, sort out your head.

Given time, you will see things very differently from how they appear now.
posted by lorrer at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

"occasionally selfish"?? are you kidding me?? how about selfish for at least four years, and most likely, her whole life.

"she maybe a person who possibly cares too much"?? yeah, cares too much about herself. see above.

jesus, are you for real? stop fucking making excuses for her so that you can have an excuse yourself for hanging onto this mindfuck of a situation. you don't make a "mistake" for four years that involves stringing along two people who believe that they were in an exclusive relationship with you.

torquemaniac and General Tonic have it right (and i've already said it above): you didn't come here for advice, you came here for validation that your decision to stick with this person is something you should/could do.

until you can look at what your ex did to you (and her other ex) and the entire situation in a more objective light rather than one coming out of your desire to still be in her life and to still justify all the shit she put you through, you won't be able to move on in any sort of way.
posted by violetk at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

My advice - Stay far, far away from her.

It's only been a few months since you split up after a long relationship. From the words you used, it seems you still have strong feelings for her. Be honest with yourself, are you really over her romantically? It doesn't sound like you have moved on to other things.

In my experience people aren't going to change. It's strange to go from loving someone to nothing. Seeing her now might temporarily relieve some of the pain, but in the end, it drags the pain out to the point where it seems unending. I have had friends who betrayed me and I forgave them. It was always a mistake. After a few months of being friends again, I would be shocked when they did mean things even though it followed a distinct pattern.

Do you think you can really be around her without touching her or hugging her?

Also, it's OK to hate her for awhile. It might be healthy to talk to your friends about how much of a jerk she was. You can forgive her, but don't forget her actions.

I don't think a friendship with her will ever work. She will never treat you the way you want to be treated. If you get the point in your life, when you think of her and feel only apathy, maybe you can try being friends again. Of course, if you feel apathy, you won't want to be friends with her anyway.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Well, however you choose to frame this question, I think the answer should always include some element of self-care. You need to take care of yourself, and not continue to let this person run all over you. You deserve good friends. You deserve good relationships. You deserve to spend time with people who care about you. If you don't believe these things, they'll never happen.
posted by runningwithscissors at 2:21 PM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You ex is a deceptive liar and you should have no contact with her pathetic being.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:42 PM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ultimately she hurt everyone but I don't believe this was her intention.

It doesn't matter what her intention was. It doesn't change the fact that she hurt people. And if she doesn't learn from this and make an effort to change, she's going to hurt everyone again and again. If the neighbor's dog keeps biting you, if your toaster keeps shorting out and setting the house on fire, if Lucy keeps pulling the football out at the last moment - it doesn't matter that one's poorly trained, one's an inanimate object, and one's a jerk. What matters is that these are all actions that hurt, and that keep happening, and the only surefire way to stop that hurt is to stay away.

People don't have to have malicious intent to seriously fuck up your life and your feelings. Sometimes the people who hurt you the most are the ones who have no clue that they're hurting anyone.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:06 PM on September 18, 2009 [4 favorites]





I'm not really yelling at you, btw. I'm just hoping if I write/yell loudly enough, my 12 year's younger self might hear future me yelling at her and cut it the fuck out.



ps - memail if you need further details or assistance. I get it.
posted by jbenben at 3:52 PM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

she did what she did, i believe, because she made a mistake which got out of control and i like to believe ended up in a situation where she was in love with two people and couldn't hurt either.

No, that didn't happen like that. I don't know her, and I know it didn't happen like that.

Cheating on a partner is not a mistake--it's a choice. Every time. It's never a mistake. It's an error in judgment, but that's not the same as a "mistake."

When you're in love with two people, and each person expects that you are having a monogamous relationship with them, you have to take responsibility for your own actions and accept that you are going to hurt at least two of the three people involved, and almost certainly all three.

If you want to have a friend who doesn't take responsibility for her own actions, and who offloads responsibility for her choices in endless bullshit whines about how "she couldn't help it," go for it. At my age (45) I find that life is too fucking short to deal with that kind of dysfunction and dishonesty, but your mileage may vary.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:41 PM on September 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

Dear Sav,

Are you still here? I would like to apologize to you for my outburst earlier. Please forgive my rudeness. I meant well, but it probably wasn't very productive for you.

You wrote that you were keen to hear other folks' experiences with similar situations. Sadly, I think if you search "cheater" or "narcissist" or "emotional vampire" on Ask.Me -- you'll find tons of personal anecdotes about identical situations, including some of mine.

Based on your responses and previous ask, I would say 98% of you really really wants to believe the rational your ex has been feeding you. Goddess, I know how tempting that is! You are a good person and you care for this being, and you want the very best for her and for yourself. You feel your connection to this person very keenly, even in your bones and all that.

Ah! So then what prompted you to post this Ask to MetaFilter??

I think it was that last little bit inside you that is sane and solely concerned with your personal well-being. It's nagging at you, isn't? That little part inside of you calls "BULLSHIT!" each and every time you start to fall under your ex's spell.

Look. We can't give you the will power to walk away, although some of us wish we could. A lot of us offered real insights into your ex's true inner motivations. Perhaps if you meditate on these you might get some clarity on your situation?

Otherwise - get thee to a therapist asap. No shame there. And I really think you require professional real-time guidance. By accident or design, your ex is very adept in the art of the "mind fuck," and you are out of your depth. (see everyone's comments above - she's just not a nice person and you are unable to recognize the distinction.)

You are not the only person to go through something like this, no need to feel foolish. Search Metafilter and see!


posted by jbenben at 7:30 PM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

if it's even possible for you and her to become friends again, the first thing you have to do is to get over her. once you are over her, 100%, then it the possibility of friendship exists, that is if she's over you too, and assuming that the both of you even want to be friends...
posted by Locochona at 8:10 PM on September 18, 2009

My last relationship ended because my partner decided to have another relationship parallel to our own. It was a long, drawn out break up and I'm damaged by it. We have children together though, and I have always been of the opinion that children should never, ever be dragged into the mess that their parents may have made of their relationship. My ex is now re-married and apparently still considers me a friend. I don't consider him to be a friend but I also don't consider him an enemy. I'll never forgive him for what he did to me though.

It took many years for me to decide that the best thing I could do was to distance myself from him, because he was my best friend for a long time. We still talk, we still laugh, but we can never bring things up from the time that we were together because my wound still has a scab on it; it's not a scar, not yet. It's almost a scar. The scar will remain forever, but it won't be so prominent one day, I hope. I knew from the time I found out about what was happening that I never wanted him back though. I'm very happy he's remarried.

If you can bring yourself to do it, you really should try and distance yourself from this person. You'll never have what you thought you had, because apparently you never had it to begin with. That hurts, I know.

It's very possible that with time you'll be able to be friends, but not now. Not yet. You have to wait until that scab has fallen off and you've found yourself not needing her friendship. Once you don't need it, you might be able to have it.

I know how hard it is to let go, believe me.
posted by h00py at 7:33 AM on September 19, 2009

sav: To her credit I will say that I think she maybe a person who possibly cares too much, however poor her judgement has been or how weak she is. In the end I have forgiven her and decided that she is not a bad person. A weak person, sometimes a dumb person, a person who made bad choices and got in over her head, occasionally selfish, but not a bad person. And we have all been in similar situations, maybe or probably for sure not to this degree, but its difficult to judge until you walk in someones shoes....Like i said, it is complicated.

A gal I know told me and all of her other friends almost the exact same thing about her ex-boyfriend. She was positive that they could remain friends despite how heartbroken she was over his cheating.

She finally cut him off after she discovered that money he'd borrowed from her "for school" while they were friends had all been spent on other women.

It's amazing how she quickly she went from "It was just a mistake, he's not a bad person, it's very, very complicated" to "it's very, very simple--he's a manipulative, using asshole".

She learned, and is now with someone who really cares about her.

Don't get burned again, sav.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:01 PM on September 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

My X girlfriend screwed me over… Can we be friends again?
  • Not before that raw hurt you're carrying has had sufficient time and care to scab over and completely heal. Consider: the longer you burn your arm, the longer it takes to heal. You have a 4-year-long burn to deal with.
  • Not before she has had time without you to reassess her life and figure out how she managed to get in such a situation and how to never ever do that again.
I know it hurts and I know you want to honour the parts of the relationship and this person that you love(d). I know you don't want to feel that you were stupid or gullible or that you wasted your time. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that the only way to learn to survive without someone you love is to live without them.

Take care of that burn. She's still fire, so keep your distance.
posted by heatherann at 2:16 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

On first reading, I thought this was an interesting question, and was queueing up some thoughts on the tragic sense of life, what love means, and so on.

But when I peeked at your prior question and realized the extent of the betrayal . . . well, this isn't an interesting question, it's an easy one: just stay away. Meet some new people.
posted by grobstein at 10:12 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

My ex slept around and messed around with other people behind my back, occasionally using my own money and computer to do so. There are only two people in my life - my whole existence - for whom I have thought 'I want nothing to do with that person ever again' and meant it. He is one of them.

Maybe this won't be you, and time will make things feel differently, but the thing that hurt with my ex wasn't the deeds but the lack of respect and the lying that surrounded these.
posted by mippy at 1:43 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

« Older I need an adjustment   |   What songs do you know about St. Louis? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.