We broke up. I found out he cheated. Should I tell the "other" woman?
May 21, 2014 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Broke up with my boyfriend of several years a couple days ago for unrelated reasons. I thought something was kind of fishy while we were still together, and confirmed suspicions soon after we broke up. He doesn't know that I know about it. It's clear the other woman he has been talking to does not know he wasn't single and that she is interested in him on more than a sexual level. Now she's planning on visiting him from out of state. He claims to still want to get back with me, says he still loves me, thinks it is a mistake to break up. I'm not getting back with him, but obviously he's not telling the truth to at least one of us girls. Should I tell her? What may very well be too many snowflakes inside.

Long story short, he's been carrying out an online relationship with a woman I do not know but who attended the same small college (same class, different departments) with over Skype... using my computer/cam, while we were living together (at my parents' house, no less)... Idiot.
Our relationship had been in decline for several months - emotionally rough after a cross-country move and lots of other changes and no sex - so he looked elsewhere. I get the why, even though it sucks. I'm not sure how long the relationship between them has been going on -- at least since late winter, but they had to have at least met before then. She and I went to school in a small city about 2000 miles from where my ex and I currently live. She no longer lives in that city; I believe she also went home after graduation to live with her parents. I have processed a lot of the feelings related to the other reasons for the end of the relationship, but to the best of my knowledge I have never been cheated on before, so this is uncharted territory for me both emotionally and "what-do-I-do-now"-wise.

I want to be clear in that I'm not angry at her. I have no reason to be -- I'm just upset at him. I feel that if I were in her shoes, with a guy asking me to come visit for a week, asking if our relationship was exclusive, yadda yadda, I'd want to know that he was a liar before wasting my time and money. I feel like she's either going to tell me to go fuck myself or thank me. Either one is OK by me -- I don't know her, it's not like there's some relationship there to lose. If she still wants to come, bully for her... Like I said, I would just want to be able to make an informed decision rather than find out who-knows-how-long later.

My other concern is if/how to bring up the fact that I know about this relationship to my ex. We're meeting up tomorrow afternoon to do some closure sort of things (luckily, he hasn't been living with me for a few months) over coffee. Should I just say "I know about you and [her name]"? I've pointedly told him a few times on the phone and via text/chat that if he wants to continue any kind of relationship with me he needs to be honest... this isn't the first thing he's lied about, but usually it is more trivial. I've asked him if he has anything interesting going on the rest of the month (like, say, your e-girlfriend coming from a few states away to visit you), and he's said no. I've given him every opportunity I can think of to say SOMETHING, and he just won't. Guess I shouldn't be surprised.

I would like to tell the woman he cheated on me with about what's going on (if I go that route) BEFORE I tell him I know, so he can't preempt me with some "this chick's going to contact you but she's totally nuts and a liar" BS. I don't really care if my ex gets mad at me as I have no interest in trying to continue a romantic relationship with him (and wouldn't be destroyed if we weren't friends, either), but I don't want to bring harassment or harm upon myself either. I have no reason to believe he'd physically harm me, but then again, I've never really pissed him off, either. My own self-preservation comes above doing a solid for a fellow lady/alumna.

I'm also close with a lot of his family - his dad and one of his brothers and his partner, in particular. Should I say anything to them? What if they ask?

Help me, hivemind!
posted by jorlyfish to Human Relations (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Step out of this, sister. She and he should no longer be in your scope. You dodged a lemon, cut off all ties to said lemon, let go of your anger, wish him happiness with his future victims and move on with your life. If you want people to believe that you can do better than him then you have to act like someone who can do better than him. Rise above this.
posted by myselfasme at 7:52 PM on May 21, 2014 [17 favorites]

A lot of drama here.

I'd say just tell her, prepare to explain yourself to her (i.e. who you are and how you know these things) and then fucking drop it and move on. Don't talk to her or him about it, it's none of your business.

If you want to warn a fellow human being about a perilous situation, be all means do so. Just avoid drama while doing it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 PM on May 21, 2014 [13 favorites]

I wouldn't say jack to him. You have no future with him, so don't stir up drama.

I would however email the other woman because HELL YES I would want to know.

"Hi Jane --

I am Joe's ex-girlfriend. We dated for X years and broke up DATE. After we broke up, I discovered that he'd been nurturing a relationship with you while we were still together. I assume he is continuing to do so while attempting to reconcile with me. There is no chance of that, but I thought you'd want to know in case, as I suspect, he's been as dishonest with you as he has been with me.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck in the future."

...is the kind of unemotional, non-dramatic email I would send, but maybe others will also have suggestions.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:00 PM on May 21, 2014 [96 favorites]

People will undoubtedly tell you that there are elaborate reasons for not getting involved, it's none of your business, etc. The fact of the matter, though, is that there are few rationalizations that trump truth-telling. If you feel compelled for her well-being because you think she is going to be hurt by a lie, by all means tell her. Even if you have some selfish reasons lurking in the background, it is possible to have mixed motives and still not have it trump truth-telling. However, if the only reason you really want to do this is because you would like to hurt your ex and you don't care about an innocent, I might rethink it. However, don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't say anything because it isn't your business. That's a total nonstarter, really.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:02 PM on May 21, 2014 [12 favorites]

If you want to warn a fellow human being about a perilous situation, be all means do so. Just avoid drama while doing it.

This is good advice. I would add, too, that you're really, really close to this situation, and avoiding drama is going to be essentially impossible. You just broke up with this guy, you went to college with her and have, I assume, mutual contacts outside of your ex. I think you should still be in get-your-own-gas-mask-on mode at this point--you need to get more distance this guy's shit.

If I were in her shoes, I would feel really weirded out that you read through a bunch of conversations that I had thought were private (I'm not saying you're necessarily in the wrong for doing so, given that they were on your computer, just that it would be extremely uncomfortable.) I would also wonder about your own motives for telling me this, especially in the wake of an extremely recent breakup, whether or not the third party in the relationship mentioned you to me. While I would do my best to give you the benefit of the doubt, assume good faith on your part, and treat you civilly, in the end this kind of situation would probably not wind up being a pivotal factor in a decision to break up with someone.

Your ex sounds like a loser. I would trust that this girl will be smart enough to figure out that he is a loser, independent of this information.

I don't see any reason why you need to tell your ex that you know about this, either. Disengage, disengage, disengage.
posted by kagredon at 8:02 PM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Tell her and quit talking to/hanging out with him.

Any evidence you can provide is good. I've (totally unknowingly) been the other woman and it was devastating, so I commend your generosity here.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:03 PM on May 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

Thanks for all the answers so far, it's been helpful. AskMe is awesome.

Followup question: should I even meet up with him tomorrow?

He doesn't have anything of mine, I don't have anything of his -- he says he wants to see me for closure. I don't really have anything to gain from this except to tell him I have this information.
posted by jorlyfish at 8:04 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

He doesn't have anything of mine, I don't have anything of his -- he says he wants to see me for closure.


He's trying to convince you to get back together with him. Tell him you have nothing left to discuss with him.
posted by kagredon at 8:06 PM on May 21, 2014 [49 favorites]

so he can't preempt me with some "this chick's going to contact you but she's totally nuts and a liar" BS.

Odds are very, very good that if he ever mentions you in any context to the other woman, he will frame you as Crazy Lying Bitch Ex, no matter what you do. She will believe him at first, because she already likes him and trusts him (to some extent). Later on, she'll realize he's the crazy liar, but unfortunately it's a discovery she'll have to make for herself. You can't speed that along.

If you do feel compelled to warn the other woman, go with something as simple, dispassionate, and non-judgmental as possible; DarlingBri's example is a good one. Otherwise, stay out of it.

And about your followup: no, don't bother. Never do anything for "closure" because the concept of closure is bullshit. Most of the time, people who claim to seek closure are really just dragging out the drama.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:09 PM on May 21, 2014 [15 favorites]

No, if you're having second thoughts, don't meet up with him tomorrow. You will not get closure from seeing him. You will get pulled back into drama. Move on.
posted by Gray Skies at 8:15 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

Followup question: should I even meet up with him tomorrow?

posted by John Cohen at 8:25 PM on May 21, 2014 [13 favorites]

Followup question: should I even meet up with him tomorrow?

Oh dear gods, no. There is no way that will end well for you.

He doesn't have anything of mine, I don't have anything of his -- he says he wants to see me for closure. I don't really have anything to gain from this except to tell him I have this information.

You don't owe him closure. You don't owe him notice of any warning that you may give to his other girlfriend. And, by your own admission, you have nothing to gain. So absolutely don't meet with him.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

When I first started going out with my asshole ex-boyfriend, a mutual friend (who had known him much longer than I had) sent me an email that basically said "Don't do it gurl!" not for cheating reasons, but for other general assholey reasons. But alas, I was smitten and didn't give her warning much credence. Eventually, of course, all of the things she said in her email ended up being true.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I am beyond grateful about what she tried to do, but at the time I was too dumb to take it to heart. So please do send that email to the other woman, but don't be too shocked if she still takes up with him after reading it. She'll be grateful someday (or maybe he'll learn the error of his ways and be a total gentleman to her from now going forward and they will live happily ever after... you're still doing the right thing).

And if you don't have anything that you want to get out of one last meeting with him, don't meet up. You don't owe him closure.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2014 [15 favorites]

Nooope. Don't meet up with him tomorrow. His closure is his problem.
posted by Etrigan at 8:33 PM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]

don't meet with him tomorrow.

as for the family - he will probably fill them in on why you're not around. if they contact you, give them your version (similar to the non-dramatic email DarlingBri wrote above) but only if they contact you independent of him. don't try to get roped into group situations where you'll have to deal with him again. in a way you're going to lose them too and that's just sort of how it goes if you want a clean break.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 8:40 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't tell her. Don't meet with him. If you feel the need to "do a solid for a sister" just do it for all sisters in the abstract by setting an example and refusing to get sucked into ANYONE's ridiculous drama. You can not avoid drama by introducing yourself into her life and warning her about anything. You don't know her knowledge base about this guy or you, her values, her morals, or anything else. She is not a child who needs your protecting. She is an adult woman.

Elegance is refusal. Refuse.
posted by beanie at 8:51 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't say anything to anybody. New girl will figure it out on her own. His family isn't really privy to his romantic life.

If you run into his family -- and they ask -- you say something non-committal. I'd go with, "It just didn't work out, but I'm still thrilled to see you. I hope it'll never be awkward now that Ex and I broke up."

This is one of those moments to be quiet and stay classy.
posted by 26.2 at 8:55 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm sympathetic to your desire to tell her, but your ex- is going to have all the time in the world to couch and qualify anything you say. He's a cheater, and he'll use on her the same deception he used on you. When he's done, she'll see any innocent attempt by you as a malevolent revenge against him.

Cut them all loose. And *really* don't fall for the "closure" bit. He's going to try to salvage things (this is basically guaranteed by his timing and the general lack of strings that need to be parted), and then you're going to mention the cheating, and then everyone's upset and nobody's got closure. Lose-lose.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:59 PM on May 21, 2014

I am going to dissent and say - don't tell her.

So many reasons.

If she's smitten, she'll ignore you. If she's not smitten, she'll test this guy in her own ways and probably find out he's a liar. It's not your responsibility to intervene.

Maybe he and this girl are simply a better match, and he won't cheat on her but he did cheat on you. It's at least possible. You can't predict the future.

Having been on the receiving end... I was once "warned." I was smitten so I ignored it. But it poisoned our relationship and I never trusted him much. That led to our downfall. I wished she hadn't told me, and had let the relationship sink or swim on its own merits. When I had the opportunity to "warn" the next woman, I didn't. Their relationship went fine, as far as I know. Once a cheater does not mean always a cheater, despite the cliche.

What stands out to me about your question is this -- how coldly dispassionate it is. You just had a relationship end, and rather than feeling the feels, it seems that you are focused on this situation. Maybe if you stop focusing on this, you'll have to feel the devastation and heartbreak of an ended relationship that involved cheating.

Telling this girl is helpful for you emotionally because it lets you believe the (false) fact that this is a "bad guy" and he would be bad with anyone. However, people act in one way in one situation, and may act differently in another. You can't predict the future. Your very difficult challenge is to accept the fact that someone betrayed you and lied to you, and that your relationship is over. What happens to anyone else has nothing to do with what happened to you.
posted by htid at 9:12 PM on May 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

I say tell her, but not because I think she's all that likely to believe you. I say tell her because if she's heard something about this happening before, she may be more likely to be able to recognize it if he does it to her, and to possibly prevent herself from getting stuck in an even worse spot at some point later on. But don't try to make it a discussion, don't try to convince her if she isn't taking it seriously, whatever. Just quick FYI and then stay out of it. And dear lord, no, do not ever see this person again. There is no "closure" thing you need to do that cannot be done by mail.
posted by Sequence at 9:12 PM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

What stands out to me about your question is this -- how coldly dispassionate it is. You just had a relationship end, and rather than feeling the feels, it seems that you are focused on this situation. Maybe if you stop focusing on this, you'll have to feel the devastation and heartbreak of an ended relationship that involved cheating.

The relationship ended for other reasons which I've had since around Christmas to work through and process. The finality of the end stings, but all of the Big Feels were happening while he was still around.

The cheating portion sucks. I feel shitty about it having happened, and probably will for quite a while. It just happens to not really change much about the situation in its entirety, as I see it.
posted by jorlyfish at 9:21 PM on May 21, 2014 [10 favorites]

I want to be clear in that I'm not angry at her. I have no reason to be -- I'm just upset at him.

I feel like you should probably get some emotional distance before getting involved. Wait a month, see how you feel then.
posted by empath at 9:37 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

This happened to me several years ago. The ex (who was still sleeping with him at the beginning of our relationship) didn't tell me directly. Instead she told a mutual friends. And my ex denied it and said that his ex was nuts and jealous. I believed him. Two years later, I received a long email from her explaining everything. I showed to him and he finally admitted everything That's when I finally left him.

So, she may not believe you or she may thank you.
But I think you should stop all communication with your ex.
posted by KogeLiz at 9:52 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

don't meet with him again, and don't tell her anything. meeting with him can come to absolutely no good whatsoever, and poking your nose into your ex's current affairs gives him carte blanche to reciprocate. disregard this advice if you love drama and the jollies that come from haunting and vexing an ex you broke up with, and you have no apprehension over whatever he might do if you cost him a new relationship.
posted by bruce at 10:08 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

For both questions (should I tell her, should I meet with the ex), I would ask yourself a series of questions and do some mental math:

1) What do I hope will happen in this interaction?
2) What do I think is most likely to happen?
3) How do I think I will feel in the most likely scenario? Or in the situation I'm hoping for?

Add weights of importance and statistics as you see fit, and punch those numbers. If that low percentage of hope outweighs the almost certain chance of feeling shitty, then proceed.

It sounds like you have this all balanced out in a mature and logical way re: approaching the new girl. But about talking to the ex, these questions may be helpful in figuring out if, statistically, you're going to regret it afterward.
posted by Paper rabies at 11:58 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't meet with him and tell her. And tell her in that drama free way prescribed above, or she might not believe you. But don't ever talk to him again.
posted by discopolo at 12:14 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Tell her. I would have wanted to know when it happened to me. I wanted to let her know when I was on the other end (yes, it was the same guy, how did you know?).

Don't meet up with him. That way lies drama. A simple, just-the-facts email with NO follow up is not drama.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:33 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was in a similar situation. Turns out the guy was a serial cheater. I did email his other girlfriend (of MONTHS!) when I found the emails; it was just a short email saying, "Hi, this is "the ex" who actually still lives with him and we only broke up this past weekend . . . no hard feelings to you, but maybe get an STD check." The last time I spoke to him, he confirmed that he had lied to me about the ex before me; I thought he was single when we met but he was still living with THAT girlfriend until about four months in.

I met her several months after they did break up, and she figured out from that conversation that he had cheated on her. She never said anything about it to me (though she sure did give him a call) because months had passed -- in fact, she was so pleasant and polite to me the whole time I thought she was awesome. Even if I had heard from her, I was ready to brush off the "psycho bi-polar ex" he'd warned me about.

But, if in during the early getting-to-know him phase she'd contacted me calmly and told me either that they were still living together or that he'd cheated on her with me, I like to think I would have bailed because that's just dramz no matter how you cut it.

So I emailed the girl he cheated on me with. However . . . she was dumb. Or in love. Or something. She stayed with him, at least for a while. I don't know if they're still together. Maybe she rationalized it that I'm so awful and she's so awesome, no wonder he strayed into her arms? Whatever, if she wants to be an idiot and get cheated on, that's her business. But I feel like I did my bit of due diligence towards humanity to let her know.

On the chance that she's an innocent player, send her a facts-only email. Don't meet with him because he doesn't deserve a second of your time or the $3 you'd spend on coffee to listen to his bullshit.
posted by mibo at 4:30 AM on May 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Normally, I'd tell you to stay out of it, but I'm with you 100% about not wanting to waste my time and money. So using DarlingBri's script, I'd send her an email.

As for meeting up with the ex "for closure," screw that nonsense. Your Ex is desperate and grasping at straws at this point. You don't owe him closure. You've ended it, and for some people no matter what, there's always, "and another thing..."

Send him a text: I don't want to meet with you today, or ever again. Please move on with your life, as I've moved on with mine. Best Wishes.

And it sounds like you've got your shit together and should be well out of this drama.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:27 AM on May 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm not sure how his behaviour counts as cheating. You were no longer living together and there was no longer any sex. So he allowed the possibility of a new relationship to grow, but since it is long distance there has presumably been no sex and no-cohabitation going on there.

Okay, he didn't tell you about her, and I get that this feels dishonest to you, but it strikes me as rather than cheating his actions were a fairly reasonable line of action as he prepares to replace you. You had clearly given him notice that the relationship was on the rocks, so why should he not be looking for a girlfriend to replace you, given that he was not bring home any STD, not breaking your heart, nor diverting your joint funds to supporting his other girlfriend or children? It would be cheating if the pair of you had been still deeply involved but you weren't. From my standpoint once the sex stopped there was a clear directive to consider the whole thing in extremise and no longer any need to not check out the field.

Now I know the line between cheating and not cheating does not lie inflexibly at having sex with another person, like it used to do. But I still wonder at what line that division falls. It could be different for her than it is for you. So far as I can see your ex would really still prefer to be with you and likely is still somewhat in love with you. And he hasn't told his prospective girlfriend about this since he is still holding out for the faint possibility of the two of you getting back together. Besides there is still the strong possibility that when he does meet her in person they won't click right and his relationship with her won't take off.

Dishonesty is often caused by conflict avoidance. If he had said to you that he had been talking to another girl who liked him, how likely is it that you would have said, "Oh good, I do hope it works out for you if we can't patch things together!" It's not likely that he felt safe to be honest. I'm guessing that he and you might be defining cheating using a different metric, one where you would define his behaviour as dishonest and he would describe your behaviour as over controlling. If he has been dishonest throughout the relationship it is one where he has not felt secure enough to be honest.

I think the ethically responsible thing to do is to break it off with him as completely and cleanly as possible. And that means not being responsible for his behaviour, or trying to shape it in any way. You describe yourself as angry with him. When angry it is often wise to err on the side of being kind to the one you are angry at just in case your emotion is making you interpret his behaviour in a worse light, and your behaviour in a better light than it will appear to you when the anger has worn off. Self-righteousness has led many people into being vindictive, all in the name of the greater good, of course. Note also that many people react to the end of a relationship with anger where another person would react to the end of the same relationship with depression, or grief or obsessive thoughts. You're in the process of losing a nice set of feel-good neurochemicals. No more oxytocin from feeling loved. That's enough to make anyone furious, no matter what caused the relationship to end.

And so, to be as kind and ethical and mature as possible, I would not approach the other woman; doing so means in some way still trying to have a say over how your ex leads his love life. At this juncture you are very critical of him. He is doing everything all wrong, even cheating on your so clumsily that you called him an idiot. Part of why your relationship may have failed may have been because you needed him to have a greater degree of compliance and cooperation than he wanted. That's a question of misfit not something wrong with either of you. I would be concerned that it could turn you into the bad guy if you first keep him on a string for six months tied up in a non-relationship, then dump him and finally finish by attempting to sabotage his next relationship. I know this is not what you are trying to do at all, but because of the slow death of your relationship this is what it might turn into at least in his eyes and possibly in her eyes or eventually in your own.

If there was anything abusive about his behaviour I would say definitely tell her. I would say let her know if he was the kind of guy who grilled you about who you had talked to or who got angry at you and expressed that anger violently, or if he belittled you or if he did things that damaged you mentally or physically. But in this case you didn't say anything about abuse. There's nothing in this to say that he was over-controlling or mean, only that he was weak and not clever.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:33 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, I was in the exact same position that you are several years ago. And I mean down to them him trying to reconcile while still carrying on a relationship with her and both of us not talking to each other.

We wound up having an accidental conversation and, while drama-filled at the time, was one of the best things that could have happened for both of us. Daylight is the best disinfectant, and it also helps to prevent gaslighting. It's easy for him to paint you as a crazy ex in absentia, but when there's actual, solid, sensible contact, it's hard to dismiss. Say your piece, and then get out. Don't linger, but let her know.
posted by corb at 7:10 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Our relationship had been in decline for several months - emotionally rough after a cross-country move and lots of other changes and no sex - so he looked elsewhere. I get the why, even though it sucks."

Agree with Jane the Brown to some extent. What, exactly, are you planning to tell her? Will you also include this part about how your relationship was in such a state of decline that you understand the "why" of his seeking a relationship with her? This will probably not have the effect you intend. She may not consider you have any standing to "warn" her about anything. Or will you keep that part to yourself and only tell her the details about your relationship that you think she needs to be warned about?

Again, you don't know her. You don't know her values, morals, or relationship with your ex, or what she may think about people who continue on in obviously broken relationships but still demand absolute loyalty from their partners and then feel inclined to insert themselves in their relationships afterwards. You've stated you understand the "why" of your ex's actions. Unless you're planning to include that in your warning, do not introduce yourself into this drama, which is not yours.

posted by beanie at 7:15 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

To be fair, I've gotten two emails from ex-girlfriends warning me about the horribleness of two different guys I have dated. One detailed out how he cheated and lied to her and then provided me with screenshots of his current dating profile and how he was cheating on me. (He wasn't, we hadn't had the serious relationship discussion yet and I was still dating other folks as well) The other was a general warning of how the dude treated women as banks and a reminder to be cautious with him.

The latter email made me think a bit and I was a little bit more aware of how the guy dealt with money. In the end, we broke up because I just wasn't in the place to get serious. He never did any of the things the email warned me about and all it did was to make his ex look a little over-zealous.

The other email that detailed out the cheating and showed me "proof" of how he was cheating on me as well only lent credence to his descriptions of his ex as possessive and a little over the top. I didn't follow my gut and replied back to her and thus started up a massive pile of crazy that eventually led to a discussion with her mother and a threat to get a restraining order. After being married to the guy for three years and together for six years, absolutely none of what she said was true. Except the bit about farting. He does have toxic farts.

Sometimes an email from the ex is batshit crazy, sometimes it's a valid warning. Both times, I ignored it and it only served to make me closer to the guy.

I say, don't send it.
posted by teleri025 at 8:18 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Please tell her. It is possible that she won't believe you or won't care and she'll be mad at you, but so what? You won't lose anything by telling her. You have no relationship with him, you are in the right and on the side of the objective truth. The winds are with you. There's no way to make you look like a crazy bitch if you are not a crazy bitch and have evidence.

But what if she's a really nice person? Maybe she's a huge, crazy, smitten, evil drama queen. Okay, whatever. But what if she's not? What if she's really, really hurt by this? What if she would really want to know? What if he breaks her heart?

I'd want to know. I would really, really want to know.

Tell her. Drop all contact with your ex, his family, her, and any mutual friends. Burn them all from your life. But send her one email first. Be calm. Be rational. Have proof. Be wise and compassionate and don't judge her.

The move the fuck on and get out of dramaville and go be your fabulous mature self elsewhere with better people.
posted by quincunx at 12:26 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd cancel the meeting with the guy, make a throwaway email account and send DarlingBri's email to teh girl, and never check it for a response.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

I might not be the perfect model for someone else's behavior.

But I was so destroyed and heartbroken that I refused to talk to him - because I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of apologizing. And no apology was going to make me less crushed (closure is bullshit). Nor was an apology going to undo what he did.

Who knows if it worked - maybe he never cared that he got to tell his side of the story, beg for forgiveness, etc. Maybe he even thought he got lucky and was spared having to deal with what he'd done. None of it matters, really. But it did give me extra resolve to go on lock down (what others call no contact, I guess). My mantra: I will not give him the satisfaction of apologizing.

Don't meet up with guy, either way. He's awful. But I would tell the other girl. From there she can make her own decision - but don't let her drag you farther into it. Girl code has its boundaries.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:59 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Responding with followup in case anyone searches for this looking for answers for a similar situation, or is just plain curious:

I sent her an email following DarlingBri's template, using my college email account -- I thought it was a connector that made it more likely that she would open the email and not see it as being from a totally random person/possibly spam. She and I both have graduated but still have access to our .edu addresses, but I wasn't sure if she would still check it almost a year out of school. She received the email soon after I sent it, and immediately called my ex. After they hung up, he called me, and we spoke briefly. According to him, she is mad at him, cancelled her visit, and he is paying for her plane ticket. It does not seem like she wants to continue any kind of relationship, but obviously I don't know what will happen and it's not any of my business anymore.

I told him I didn't want to see him the following day, and I went and ate a donut and bought fancy new underwear instead of seeing him AND IT WAS GREAT. As of today (a few days later) I have not heard anything from her, and that is absolutely fine.

In regards to "Is this really cheating?":It was unfair to both women, he knew it would be deeply upsetting to me if I knew about it, and we never agreed on any such thing.
At the very least, it's some grey area stuff and pretty icky to try and hedge your bets by starting a new relationship before actually ending the previous one.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:02 PM on May 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

Good job! You did everything right. Thanks for updating us about this awesome outcome and I hope you get over this dude quickly and start having fun.
posted by quincunx at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Good for you! And I'm glad there were some consequences for his slimey behaviour and that you make excellent, strong decisions for yourself.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:57 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hooray to you!! And hooray for her, for all of his obvious flaws he obviously should be applauded for his taste in classy, self-respecting women.

Dance in that underwear and eat that donut. I hope the update gives good direction to people who have to check this out later.
posted by mibo at 6:24 AM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

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