Another "should we get back together" question
November 9, 2012 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Did your flawed relationship work out?

This was me:

I DTMFA about 2.5 months ago and I still miss him and our life together. He was the only serious boyfriend I've ever had and honestly the person I was most comfortable with, including friends and family. I broke up with him because I felt like I "should" - he had crossed the line and therefore he had to go.

He owned up to everything and was heartbroken. He was (and has been) nothing but kind and accommodating during and after the break up. He has continued to pay me back for the money he borrowed.

I love him and am my most honest self when I'm with him. I don't want to lose the best thing that ever happened to me because I'm too stubborn to give it a chance.

My question is, did I make a mistake? I know this relationship is flawed, but if we love each other can it be worked out? I know he is open to working things out and he suggested counseling. Should I give it a shot? Are you in a relationship that was flawed by logical standards but worked out?
posted by sunshine37 to Human Relations (27 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite Sorry, here with the live link.
posted by sunshine37 at 2:46 PM on November 9, 2012

All relationships are flawed.

If I hadn't read your previous question, my answer would have been something of the sort: sometimes relationships are worth a second shot. Not a third shot, but a second time around can either be great or confirm that it isn't right.

But man, from your previous question, he just doesn't sound the greatest, and given his behavior with others, I would be leery of his recent kindness.

And as far as counseling - I mean, a break-up after a one-year relationship+trying to maybe give it another shot is probably not exactly a couples therapy type situation, imho.

At the end of the day, you just have to do what is best for you, and I think that might be moving on. Sorry.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love him and am my most honest self when I'm with him.

From what you've written in your previous question, he was not his most honest self with you. Or, if he was, his honest self is kind of sketch.

Yours isn't a flawed relationship anymore. He's your ex and I think it's probably best for both of you to keep it that way. You'll find someone else, really, you will.
posted by too bad you're not me at 2:47 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

No, you haven't made a mistake. Maybe you don't realize it because he's the only serious boyfriend you've had, but this guy is super bad news.

Go back and read the comments you favorited in that thread, and stay away from him.
posted by Specklet at 2:51 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

It seems like you made a mistake now because he was your first serious boyfriend and having a boyfriend is nice and now you don't have that anymore. That doesn't mean it was a mistake. He was only the best thing to happen to you so far.

Also, deciding that someone crossed a line and had to go is really good experience for standing up for yourself in the future. Don't undo that.
posted by bleep at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm going to echo the others and say this one is not worth the effort. Over the long haul, relationships take on different challenges but if less than one year in, he's lying to you about other women (not to mention treating the other women pretty shittily too by "leading them on") he's not worth the effort. Your break up is still fairly new. Give it time but don't, as my grandmother would say, step in the same shit twice.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

He was the only serious boyfriend I've ever had and honestly the person I was most comfortable with

These are terrible reasons to stay with someone. This is settling for crap because at least it's crap you know.

There will be another boyfriend. Probably more than one. Some of them may also suck, but that's not a reason to stop trying. There are good ones out there, and you deserve one. Deserving one doesn't mean it's going to be delivered to you without any effort or participation on your part, but it does mean you shouldn't waste too much time on the ones who aren't good.

If you can't believe that you deserve someone good and kind and who is in a place in their lives where they are willing to be those things with you, you should spend some time - boyfriendless - with yourself until you can accept that possibility.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:59 PM on November 9, 2012 [11 favorites]

Bad news. He's only being nice now because he wants you back and he knows that being nice is the best way to get you back. I agree with everyone above.
posted by whitelily at 3:21 PM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

My question is, did I make a mistake?

No, it's just that it's only been a couple of months and you're still hurting and miss him and don't have anything else great on the radar yet. Concentrate on feeling better, living your life, gaining some confidence from having gone through and confronted a painful experience and you'll feel much better a year from now than you would if you took him back tomorrow.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:27 PM on November 9, 2012

Right now there is some other girl out there who is dumping a guy who behaved like your ex. That guy who is getting dumped right now is equally as hot and fun as your ex was. That girl is equally as regretful as you are. Still, that guy is being tossed back into the sea with all the other fish. When that guy dates the next girl (who may be you!), he will have learned his lesson and he won't do that crap again. He will be just as hot and fun, but he will (hopefully) be a changed person who is now capable of a relationship.

However, if that girl takes him back, he will not have learned the lesson. He will stay douchey. And if you take yours back, he will also not have learned the lesson. You just have to find a new one. That's how these things work. There are other guys out there who are sexy and fun. This one behaved badly, so he got dumped. It's game over for him. It's move on time. You don't take people back in these situations. If you do, they don't have any learning pain and typically keep being that same asshole. Sweet words do not change that. (Exception: you have 10+ years of marriage and children, then maybe it's worth a try to keep the relationship together, but often that doesn't work and it totally sucks. After 1 year and no marriage? Not a chance.)

What you're feeling is normal. Still, dear God no, you shouldn't take him back. A lot of women go through this process and date someone who is still sort of douchey and hasn't learned. Take him back, and you will lose. Don't be Britney Spears who stuck around too long with that jerk KFed and had kids with him and is now tethered to someone scummy for life. You did your part in dating this guy while you did, then you did your part by dumping him when he messed up. Now you are (happily) open to finding someone who is uber hot and fun, who you are totally yourself around, and who is not going to do horrible crap to you. He exists!

I read your old question and what this guy did crosses a major line, and he kept it up after you caught him the first time. Definite no go. No way to recover from that. But don't be down about it. Better people are out there. Every woman I know who's left a crappy guy has ended up with a better one if she got out there again (and kept her standards high).
posted by kellybird at 3:33 PM on November 9, 2012 [13 favorites]

Tbh it kind of sounds like you are asking permission. Metafilter gave you a pretty clear answer last time, you are going to have to either accept that, or go make your own mistakes and learn the hard way.

Maybe he will change, maybe things will get better, the odds are awfully long and are much more likely he is just messing with you like he did those other ladies
posted by edgeways at 3:34 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

He was the only serious boyfriend I've ever had and honestly the person I was most comfortable with, including friends and family.

You should feel this way about all the boyfriends you'll have. That doesn't mean there will not be very good reasons to break up with every single one of them at some point, until there is one who makes you feel all these things and never gives you a good reason to dump him.

Also, I think you should know that breaking up from the first time you fall in love is, IMHO, the hardest. It's breathtakingly painful and awful and because you've never been through this before, it's hard to imagine how you'll survive. You will, and there will be someone better later down the road you're walking now.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:34 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's not that the relationship was flawed, but HE sounds very flawed. Sounds like he was leading other women on with sexual conversations, just for the fun of it, then keeping it secret from you? What kind of person does that?! He may be charming to you or whatever, but I have to wonder why you'd keep pining for this guy instead of making a fresh start with someone new.

Every married couple that I know started out with an easy, loving relationship that didn't involve this kind of crap. Over time, there will be plenty of opportunity for any relationship to be tested. But why start out that way?
posted by see_change at 3:42 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Chances are he will cheat on you if you go back to him, probably as much as the opportunity allows him. You can either say no today, move on and make your life a lot easier, or go through that whole negative experience, have your trust broken again and deal with it for the next few years.

Seems like a pretty easy choice to me. I'd also recommend some therapy. Wouldn't your life be better if you didn't have this question at all? It certainly can be, but you have to make that happen, and therapy can help you figure out how if you don't already know.
posted by cnc at 3:42 PM on November 9, 2012

No, you did not make a mistake. Your ex sounds a sleazy douche, no matter what his plus points are. You're only feeling this way right now because (1) It was your first serious relationship (2) You're still mourning for the relationship (3) You're comparing your last relationship (through rose-tinted glasses) with being a lonely single person, instead of comparing it to being fulfilled single person, or a good relationship. You will become a fulfilled single person and/or will be in a good relationship when you move on, and your friends and/or your new boyfriend will be like "What, your ex sounds insane. I can't believe you put him with him." And you'll feel the same way. Trust me. Soon enough, he'll be nothing more than a funny anecdote.

Source: experience
posted by Hawk V at 3:43 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

You say here that he was the person you were most comfortable with, but in your last question you said that you felt you had to constantly be checking his phone and Facebook out of fear that he was sending messages to other women again. Is that really a comfortable state of mind to be in? Is that who you really want to be when you're your most honest self?

I suspect you're remembering more of the good than the bad right now, and that's not at all uncommon, but you would do well to stop and really remember what it felt like to be with someone who gave you reasons not to trust him several times over.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:47 PM on November 9, 2012 [9 favorites]

Make you sure you follow the No Contact Rule, and while you're still reeling from the breakup, try to make sense of it through self-reflection and by reading helpful blogs like Baggage Reclaim. I wish I've read that blog sooner! I would have made less stupid mistakes and moved on a lot quicker.
posted by Hawk V at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

This guy is not worth a second chance. I'd wager that most relationships end for very good reasons and that second chances rarely work out. I could be very wrong, but my experience with second chances (my own, that of my friends/siblings and even for my mom and dad) is that they don't work out even under the best circumstances where both parties commit to changing or adjusting in the name of saving the relationship.

Sometimes it's one party making all the promises and the other ultimately being conned. It's impossible to tell if the person who is promising to change really will. The thing is, even when a person really, sincerely wants to change, change requires time and effort and therapy. It's unlikely anyone can change as much as your ex needs to (according to your post/s) without a serious, years long commitment to change (and that should be just for himself, with or without you: would he be doing any of this without potentially getting you back? If the answer is no, then there is your answer).

You could ask him what steps he intends to take toward change and go from there. But I think it would be a waste of your time. Meanwhile, there are happier, healthier, more decent guys out there who will appreciate and love you without all the drama (and you won't ever meet them if you're worrying about this–sorry!).
posted by marimeko at 4:10 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the short term, yes, it would probably make you feel better to get back together.

But in the long term it's a horrible idea, and you know why.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 4:25 PM on November 9, 2012

"I broke up with him because I felt like I "should""

"I love him and am my most honest self when I'm with him."

This is the guy you broke up with because he was a crook, right? Are you a crook, too? I am in no way being sarcastic. Sometimes onlookers are distraught when a woman gets enmeshed with a bad guy, and they think it's because she can't see him for what he is, but sometimes it's because she has the same values as him and can live those values out through him and still be ladylike.

So if all his past behaviour fits with your value system, and you think that supporting him in that behaviour into the future would be the best thing you could do to be true to yourself, do so.

"He was (and has been) nothing but kind and accommodating during and after the break up."

So it appears that breaking up with him is a reliable way to elicit the behaviour you want from him. Since that's the case, why would you risk undoing all this progress by un-breaking up with him?

"He has continued to pay me back for the money he borrowed."

Do you think that's because we had him all wrong?

Well, do you?

"I don't want to lose the best thing that ever happened to me"

What was your life like before you met him? You had few or no good experiences with anyone in your life before that? Have you always been working to support your family from a very young age? Is it normal for family members to keep large, damaging, toxic secrets from you? Is this a case of your previous life being so bad that this guy is an improvement and the rest of us, not having had similar experiences, just can't see it?
posted by tel3path at 5:11 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Tel3path -- would the answers change if the answers to the questions in the last paragraph were "yes"? Some people are actually in that situation.
posted by 3491again at 5:20 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are hurting, A lot of us have been there. It sucks and it's anguish. Realize that we all knew that when we recommended breaking up in the first place. But he was the cause of the pain not the solution to it.

Pulling a knife out hurts like hell, but that is not a good reason to put it back in.
posted by French Fry at 6:00 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think something that's important to remember -- especially for people who haven't been in too many relationships -- is that all breakups suck.

Even when you're 110% sure that the breakup is the right thing to do, breaking up with some is a shitty experience. And since we're all just monkeys with stupid monkey brains we start to think "hey! breaking up sucks! maybe if i un-break up i won't feel crappy anymore!".

You have to recognize that this is coming from your monkey brain. You made a rational decision to break up with him, and rationally you know that there's plenty of guys out there just waiting for a chance to get to know you.

You just need to ride out this part of the breakup without giving in to it. Future You will thank you.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 6:15 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Here's the chronology as I understand it:
- About 10 months ago, you stumbled upon him sending explicit facebook messages to 5-6 other women. You were devastated and confronted him. He said they meant nothing to him and he was just leading them on. You forgave him and moved in with him.
- Then you found another conversation, he explained it away, and you forgave him.
- Then, seven and a half months ago, you AGAIN found something, and then forgave him.
- Then, for five months after that, you were with him but hurt badly and couldn't trust him. You were constantly vigilant. Even though he was sweet, became more loving, attentive, better with money, etc., you couldn't relax and knew in your heart that he had crossed a line.
- Two and half months ago, you broke up with him. He's been paying you back, and you're sad and worry you've made a mistake.

I am sympathetic to the idea that people can change, so I give serious consideration to the idea that you should get back together. Here are the two reasons that ultimately, I would recommend that you not get back together with him:
- He has a pattern of doing what it takes to have you forgive him, and then betraying you again. If he had only betrayed you once, I'd say maybe he just made one stupid mistake. But no, he did it again and again. So, I view his nice behavior now as leading toward another "and again."
- He admitted that he was leading on 5-6 women, and then did it twice more. To me, that says a lot about his character. He could have said "each one has a special place in my heart and I just haven't been able to say goodbye yet, but I will." Then at least you'd know that when he says he cares about someone, he's being honest about it. Instead, he was deliberately lying to them and not caring if it hurt them or you. This makes me think he's not a very nice person, and that he might be lying to you too.

Good luck moving on. DarlingBri is right that the first breakup is the worst.
posted by salvia at 7:00 PM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

Your ex is addicted to keeping secrets and carrying on multiple secret lives. He is a deceiver of the first class. He will not change. He will not stop.

Doubtless, he is deceiving you right now.

How much money have you gotten back? Just enough to keep you two in contact, but not enough that his debt is even halfway paid off - am I right?

Even if not, you might do best to write off the money and cut this guy out of your life entirely.

You don't sound grounded enough to keep in contact with him.
posted by jbenben at 12:14 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

A lot of what we see in our culture makes us think that someone in your situation should have already stopped thinking about him, and that the only thought that should occasionally be crossing your mind is "Woohoo! I dodged a bullet! I ditched that bitch and I lost that loser!"

Well, it's not that way.

I for one feel very sad for a very long time if I fall out even with a friend, even if they weren't a very good friend and needed to be removed from my life. I actually think that maintaining good relationships with others should be an absolute priority in our lives and that people are very persistent in this because it's a basic human need. But only with romantic relationships does this ever seem to be acknowledged at all, and little enough even then.

It's awful that he disappointed you the way he did, and it's awful that he did a bunch of stuff so bad that the case for your breaking up with him was irrefutable, because then, you actually had to do the breaking up, and now you get to feel terrible about it.

Your head really has to keep your heart on a tight leash for the foreseeable future. You have to ride out your emotions and focus on reason with all your might and main. If you don't, as bad as you feel now, you're gonna feel even worse in the end. Yes, astonishingly enough that's possible.
posted by tel3path at 2:20 AM on November 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thank you all so much! I know you are right, it is just so hard sometimes. I need to bookmark this and read all your wonderful responses when I'm doubting myself.
posted by sunshine37 at 2:04 PM on November 12, 2012

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