Was I right to end this relationship?
November 2, 2016 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I just found out that my new boyfriend of 2 months slept with his ex wife after our third date. I ended the relationship. He is now trying to win me back.

I know that 2 months may seem like a short time, but the relationship was very intense. That's why the hurt from this revelation was worse than if it was just casual dating.

His ex wife and him have a history of on/off relationship for many years. They have lived apart for 3 years now but it was clear from the start that the whole relationship was emotionally messy. I am the first person he seriously dated after his wife. She has remained single. It was all a big red flag to be honest and they have children together. But I felt like maybe sometimes people just need a final push in meeting someone new to disentangle themselves fully from the past.

After our third date, he told me that I am the only person he is interested in "in that way" and has no desire to date anyone else (which I thought was similar to exclusivity). I agreed. His ex wife found out and kind of went crazy in trying to get him back. He has made steps in showing her that it's truly over. He has even blocked her phone number and involved a counselor to deal with their child caring schedule (something that hasn't happened up until he met me). He has constantly told me how much he wants to be with me, how he wants a future, how strong his feelings for me are and how I made him happy. He was pretty consistent about that through all this time in words and actions apart from a period of few days when he was a bit distant and said that he is "sorting his past out" - those few days I now know were right after he slept with his ex.

I thought that things were going well until last night when he told me he needs to confess something. He said that in his ex's attempts to win him back, she came to his place one night announced. They argued, she cried and screamed, he attempted to comfort her and yeah, it happened. He realized that he made a huge mistake immediately, realized that it's really over, that he wants to be with me and felt bad for leading her on. He said that's the only time it happened and he has since went no contact except for e-mails about children. He said that it felt silly telling me right after it happened because we were only 3 dates in and things could still unfold in any direction (?) but acknowledges that he messed up badly and deeply regrets it.

I now feel like I can't trust him anymore but part of me feels like maybe I am throwing away a promising future and over-reacting. I have since told him it's over and he has been hounding me with constant messages. He wants a second chance, swears it will never happen again and so on and so on.

I just need some unbiased opinions.
posted by sockiety to Human Relations (55 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You are not overreacting. At the same time, he might really be moving on, and he was honest with you (appropriately honest, since this is the kind of situation where not telling you would have been the wrong choice). He's taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. You admit it was after the third date and his confusion at that time seems genuine.

You've also made it abundantly clear that this behavior is not acceptable.

If he's really got good strategies in place to keep his distance from her, and if you can take a deep breath, maybe put the relationship on pause until you're really emotionally ready (and you can see that he's demonstrated that he's successfully keeping his distance), then I think there might be something worth salvaging.

I am absolutely not any kind of authority on this kind of thing; this all hinges on you making the decision based on a lot of factors that I can't know about. Good luck to you.

It's only been 3 months, and you say it's been intense... just make sure this is a real thing.
posted by amtho at 9:31 PM on November 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


You never, ever need a reason to break off a relationship. Especially when someone has broken your trust, and especially when they have cheated on you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


"and yeah, it happened..."

Uh... no. He choose to let her in. He chose to take her clothes off. He chose to put his penis in her. It just "just happen." He didn't fall and suddenly they're naked and having sex. He made choices to do that.

What about the next time she pulls the same thing? He has children with her, he's going to be communicating with her.

I wouldn't trust this person. I wouldn't date this person. There's too much mess with the ex and their yo-yo relationship is not something you want to deal with. Yuck.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:47 PM on November 2, 2016 [56 favorites]


It's very messy. It's okay to draw the line for yourself and say that you don't want a messy relationship. (I wouldn't want that chaos and drama in my life. Period.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:55 PM on November 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


No, you did the right thing.
posted by Violet Hour at 9:55 PM on November 2, 2016


my opin is RUN RUN RUN; seriously
posted by soakimbo at 9:57 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


i would never date anyone who described their ex to me as "crazy" on our third date in the first place tbh
posted by poffin boffin at 10:08 PM on November 2, 2016 [56 favorites]


Has he actually told you she's crazy? Or is that your interpretation that she acted crazily? Because trash talking his ex would worry me more than sleeping with his ex early on in your relationship.

Marriages are messy, people are messy and it sounds as though they had done a very common divorce thing of divorce-not-divorce and hadn't really finally separated emotionally when the two of you met. For me, I would be annoyed and I would make sure there were very good boundaries up with his ex going forward, but I really wouldn't one indident early in our relationship personally. But then I wouldn't expect exclusivity after three dates either, regardless of intensity-- so we just may be very different people in this respect.

If you are bothered by it because your spidey-sense is telling you that this was not an ending but instead part of the future to come, then definitely leave him dumped.

You also have to consider that fair or not fair if you can't forgive him for it then you should just break up anyhow because he will need to have regular contact with this woman as long as their children are alive. So if all interactions with her will be salted with jealousy and pain for you, then it won't work no matter how rationally you might try to talk yourself out of it. At a certain moment, you feel what you feel and it will likely not work to try and talk yourself out of it.
posted by frumiousb at 10:41 PM on November 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


After your third date- I'm assuming that's about 2 weeks into knowing you- he slept with his ex, and then he realized they were done, he stopped seeing her and kept seeing you for the next 6 weeks or so? And then today he voluntarily told you?

Personally as I read your description, I would totally forgive that behaviour; I'd think 3 dates is too soon to be exclusive anyway, be glad it helped him figure out his priorities, and I'd be happy he told me about it.

But-- you aren't me. And if it crosses a line for you, it crosses a line for you. If you feel he betrayed a promise he made to you, or if you think he is still seeing his ex or likely to hook up with her again, or if your gut says he's a liar, then yep, get outta there. Also, I can't tell if the word crazy is yours or his; I think that if HE is the one saying his ex is crazy, that's a huge red flag. People date people who are their kind of people, so it hints that he'll be erratic too... plus, it's kind of a shitty, dismissive thing to say, right?

Also- now he's "hounding" you? Like in a bad way? Not respecting boundaries is also a red flag.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:07 PM on November 2, 2016 [32 favorites]


Data point: I dated a person 1 year after their divorce. Neither they nor their ex were ready to move on, and their frequent phone calls to and about the kid they co-parented really exacerbated their dramas, which were sometimes very overt (yelling and crying) and at times really subtle (a two-hour phone call about the kid's minor, non-urgent misbehaviour... conveniently timed for an evening when (parent) knew that (other parent) was on a romantic weekend with me). Also lots of calling the ex "crazy", and also some inarguable evidence that their relationship had been super-fraught and intense.

It was bullshit, immature drama for its own sake, and I got outta that relationship. But-- they both re-married new partners less than a year later, and they all seem fairly happy from what I see on social media. So maybe if I'd been more patient, things would have calmed down? They weren't right for me, but they were right for someone.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:21 PM on November 2, 2016


I take a slightly different view from many in this thread. He "confessed" without prompting and he has taken steps to make sure nothing like this happens again. This shows me he feels truly remorseful and wants to move forward with you on an honest and open footing. I would be inclined to give him another chance as long as you can do so without it being too painful for you emotionally. But keep your wits about you - if you choose to forgive and keep dating him I think that's a valid option, but don't forget and be a bit wary at first. I think you'll be able to trust him in future, but not immediately.
posted by hazyjane at 11:28 PM on November 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yes, of course you were right.

You dated for two months. That's what, 8 dates? 10-15 dates if you were real hot & heavy?

Like a third of the way into your lil fetus of a relationship, this dude cheated on you.

Nothing else you say in your question makes this better. It's just worse worse worse. Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who is already in an "emotionally messy" relationship with someone else? His ex-wife of three years (meanwhile they've both never dated other people) got jealous and tried to win him back? What? Are you fucking serious? And what's more, he lied to you about it? (By omission, but, like, still?)

Seriously you have to know deep down how wack this is and that you can't tolerate it or continue seeing this guy. Maybe you don't want to know that you know, but you know.
posted by Sara C. at 11:38 PM on November 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


lol, 'it happened'?
Also, going 'no contact except emails' with the mother of his child is really not a viable long-term solution, nor can you expect it to last. What if there's an emergency at school, or one of them needs to go to the hospital or something. Is he really gonna say, 'nope, don't call. Just email.'
What I mean is, I think this is really dumb, no 2 months, however intense is worth the kind of drama you're considering getting back into.
posted by and her eyes were wild. at 11:52 PM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


There's only a few possible scenarios to someone cheating on you. a) they don't think about you at all at the time, b )they do think about you but are willing to put their own desires ahead of your hurt feelings, or c) they genuinely don't think you'll be hurt. C is pretty unlikely. The other two would make me not trust someone enough to continue dating them.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:54 PM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


My relationship of a year recently ended over some pretty crappy betrayals by my boyfriend. But the key difference I see between your situation and mine is that your boyfriend (eventually) volunteered what he'd done and he sounds genuinely remorseful.

I had to drag every tiny fact and admission out of my former boyfriend. I felt like an investigator/prosecutor. And instead of being sorry? He dumped me.

This distinction doesn't necessarily mean you should invite this guy back into your life. Only you can assess how genuine he is and only you know if you'll ever be able to trust him again.

Also, if he's the one who called his ex crazy, run like the wind. No good person does that.
posted by wreckofthehesperus at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's utterly normal for some divorced couples to do this sort of back-and-forth sleeping together thing for a while. I don't know if I would call it 'cheating' if he slept with her after only your third date, like, at all unless you guys made some sort of agreement after the second date or something (which would be...weird).

But, the road ahead with him will mean having to deal with his kid's mother forever, so that may be a dealbreaker for you.

The fact that he 'confessed' shows some integrity, I think. Maybe take a few weeks' breather and revisit the possibility of a relationship sometime down the road. But there will always be entanglement for him due to the kid so you will need to come to terms with that reality if you do decide to proceed with this guy.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 12:09 AM on November 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


Wait on, if this is the same guy you had very valid doubts about in September and felt awkward around in October: definitely, definitely leave it. You've had more AskMes about him than months together.
posted by wreckofthehesperus at 12:33 AM on November 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


You did the right thing. Even if it was early in the relationship, he was still being deceptive early in the relationship. You shouldn't have to earn acceptable treatment in a relationship by putting in a sufficient amount of time first. Also his ex will always be in his life if they have kids.
posted by Polychrome at 2:58 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


In his quest to prove himself BF material it seems like this dude manages to raise more red flags than remove them:

* I think it's kind of weird that he TOLD you. I mean, why did he feel you needed to know that? I'm not seeing any integrity there as much as I see he's purposely stirring things up.

* If he referred to her as crazy, run. Why the hell is he leaving his children with someone he thinks is unstable?

* Co-parenting exes don't block each others' numbers. Kids have emergencies. So he's either lying about this or he's a pretty bad parent -- both red flags.

* In his confession, comforting a person means having sex with them. Do you see how nonsensical that is?

Nothing about this guy seems to indicate smooth(er) sailing down the line. Stay together and you can expect a whole lot of lying/hyperbole mixed with nonsensical rationalizations. His ex isn't going anywhere and he relates to her in a pretty dysfunctional manner. That's not to end any time soon.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:59 AM on November 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


Nooooope. Do not take him back. Such a major breach of trust so early on in a relationship is absolutely not worth working past. If he thinks he can do better in the future, he's welcome to seek some other woman who will give him a chance. You owe this guy nothing, and taking him back would be a terrible move for you. Frankly, even asking you to take him back is totally inappropriate on his part, it prolongs a shitty time for you in a way that makes your totally justified breakup all about him and his feelings. Tell him to go away and stop trying to contact you, all he's doing is causing you distress and fucking up your head.

He's shown you who he is. Thank your lucky stars that he did it early and that you did the right thing by breaking up with him. If you'd stayed together—or if you take him back—he'd have known that he could walk all over you without consequence. You'd have been in for an indefinite period of lies, cheating, and rationalization which would probably have turned to control, isolation, and emotional abuse as soon as you started struggling to escape the trap. You got out early, while it was still easy. Be grateful for that—and proud of yourself for exercising good judgment—and shut this guy out of your life completely.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:51 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


His trying to win you back is the bigger red flag here.

This person doesn't respect your very reasonable decision and is being a boundary pushing drama llama. This behavior is EXACTLY why his relationship with his ex is toxic and overdramatic instead of mature and resolved.

A worthy person resolves things with an ex and does self-work before meeting someone they want to commit to. Making you the reason he got a clue about his ex is ultimately setting you up to have a long term conflict with the mother of his children.

It's not that he slept with her after your third date, it's that the whole thing is bananas.

Don't date him even after a cooling off period, don't ever take him back. Even that it was so intense yet we know now about the true nature of his feelings and actions points to a problematic future relationship fraught with drama and surprises if you ever take him back. His way of behaving in relationships is not compatible with mature stable fulfilling intimacy.

Also. Fuck him for thinking he's a special snowflake who does not have to respect your decision. That's not romantic, it's insulting and demeaning.

Block him and move on.
posted by jbenben at 6:12 AM on November 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


I have since told him it's over and he has been hounding me with constant messages

He is not respecting your space or your decision here. He doesn't respect boundaries. One thing I thought of while reading this, though, is that you are the one who decides if the whole thing makes you uncomfortable or not. If you feel betrayed, you feel betrayed. Everyone is going to feel differently about it. However you feel is correct. Honor that.

(upon preview, what jbenen said)
posted by marimeko at 6:20 AM on November 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I would err on the side of 'yes you were right' because he is always going to be in contact with his ex and to be able to trust that nothing is going to happen is going to be hard on you. I've also read through your past AskMe's and I don't think there's anything horrific in terms of his behaviour. He hasn't dated anyone other than his wife since he was 15 so he's obviously a little stale (although should he have been 'stale' in a developing relationship/marriage??? I don't know...). It doesn't excuse his behaviour. It's a good sign that he told you (I don't think he's trying to create drama between you and his ex) but still when he goes to see his ex, you'll always be thinking 'what if it happens again?' There is a possibility that because they've been together since they were both so young, they find it very difficult (and strange) to move on the way normal adults do and this is part of readjusting but for the sake of your peace of mind, I would leave it and move on.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 6:20 AM on November 3, 2016


Just read your two previous Askmes about this fellow. I'm pretty sure your intuition was clanging the whole time you were dating him.

Even though you could not pinpoint it, your subconscious was doing a great job of noticing something was "off."
posted by jbenben at 6:26 AM on November 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


For some people, it’s very important to date someone without a complicated life… no kids, no serious exes, no strong obligations to their parents, etc. And that’s a legitimate desire. But as you get older, it’s harder and harder to find. I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re past 30, you’re going to have to work hard to find someone without those ties (and if they don’t have them, you might want to wonder why!)

I personally don’t see what happened here as cheating. If you do, get out. And I don’t know if there’s enough other good stuff going on in this relationship for you to try it out for longer. But I do think it’s worth remembering that no one is a blank slate.
posted by metasarah at 6:32 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not at all unusual for an ex to sleep with the former spouse after a fairly short time following a divorce...clearly neither has fully moved on. I did this. But it helped me realize after a few dates that we really needed the divorce....soon after being on our best behavior, all the old stuff bubbled up and we were as we had been.
I had been married 21 years. Now, remarried for 34 years.
posted by Postroad at 6:37 AM on November 3, 2016


Here is one problem that makes his only redeeming feature (confession) fall apart. About a month ago his ex contacted me and said that she has something to tell me. The timing lines up. I ignored her because I knew they had problematic relationship and didn't see contact with her as necessary. She never told me anything and went away and never contacted me again. She could have blackmailed him into telling me. Tell her or else... Of course I have no way of proving that , but it's a hunch.
posted by sockiety at 6:53 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here is one problem that makes his only redeeming feature (confession) fall apart. About a month ago his ex contacted me and said that she has something to tell me. The timing lines up. I ignored her because I knew they had problematic relationship and didn't see contact with her as necessary. She never told me anything and went away and never contacted me again. She could have blackmailed him into telling me. Tell her or else... Of course I have no way of proving that , but it's a hunch.

Oh man. I would heavily consider noping out just based on this, the prospect of years of drama and enmeshment still to come alone. This is not normal behavior. I was on the fence but I'm thinking you've made the right call, if this guy wasn't already absolutely reading as "the love of my life, for whom I will walk through insane drama just 60 days in"
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:56 AM on November 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'd dump him for blocking the phone number of his coparent, among all the other life stuff he clearly doesn't have a handle on. Do you want to date a shitty father? Is that really the life you want, and the thing you want to have to look back on later?

You don't need proof of anything to break up with him, you don't need the "right" reason. All you need is the decision that this isn't what you want. Do you want this? No? There you go.

Relationships are supposed to be easy at the beginning. Intensity isn't love, and it isn't meaningful, and it doesn't forge a stronger relationship. This is a guy who's desperate to not be alone, and that probably means that even though he totally can't see himself with someone else, he will nonetheless be with someone else within weeks.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:03 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eh, move on. I've been there. Your feelings toward him have changed and what you WANT is to reestablish a trust that you will never recapture. You CAN accept that it happened and continue to date him with the altered perception of how you feel towards him, knowing that he broke the social contract early on, but I don't think you want to. And that is completely fine.
posted by Young Kullervo at 7:04 AM on November 3, 2016


Bad mouthing an ex is not good.
Cheating is not good.
Intense is not good as it prevents you from thinking clearly and gets you sucked into feelings that probably aren't yours to begin with.
There is no shortage of men and ones who are respectful.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:13 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you two did stay together, I think this would always be a black cloud hovering over your relationship.

Better to get out now after 2 months, than to stick with him for longer and try to work it out, only for it all to implode in the future.
posted by JenThePro at 7:19 AM on November 3, 2016


I am the first person he seriously dated after his wife.

Look, I know divorce is a big messy shitty mess of a mess on fire. I get what happened between them. Those things occur, but it's a 100% gold star iron clad siren's blaring bold lettered sign that he's not ready to be seriously dating anyone. Especially you.

You did the right thing. The problem is, when we're wronged the "right thing" still feels like shit for awhile.
posted by French Fry at 7:38 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Was I right to end this relationship?

It's hard for me to think of times when it would be "wrong" to end a romantic relationship that isn't working for you.

I just need some unbiased opinions.

Here is the opinion rollercoaster that your question (and this discussion) has sent me on:

Read above the fold - Yeah! DTMFA!
Read extended question - huh, 3 dates, he told you on his own, he took affirmative steps to tamp down the drama? I'd consider giving him a chance...
Read comments regarding previous asks, update - this is so not worth it.

This guy has some growing up to do. You don't need to be the one to help him do that. Go non-contact for a while (if he doesn't respect that, then it should be over, IMHO). If you're both still single in a year, AND he's managed to establish a workable relationship with his co-parent, then maybe there's a chance. But right now this is drama that you don't need in your life.

And, for what it's worth, I know there's a reflexive aversion to dudes who call women "crazy." And maybe "crazy" is not the right word for a person who shows up uninvited to an Ex's house, cries, screams, and then has consensual sex with that person AND THEN contacts the Ex's new SO to play vague games in an attempt to drive a wedge between them. But whatever the word is, that's not a person you want to have to deal with, and you will have to deal with her if you say with this dude, because they are co-parents.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:59 AM on November 3, 2016


About a month ago his ex contacted me and said that she has something to tell me.

Oh for heaven's sake.

RUN.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2016 [13 favorites]


I don't think you should be dating this guy because this situation seems like a mess BUT at the same time, I don't think that sleeping with a different person after you and he had only gone on three dates counts as cheating (unless you explicitly had a conversation where you agreed that you were exclusive/monogamous, which based on your description I do not think you actually did).
posted by aaanastasia at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


You were right to stop seeing him, but not because he slept with someone else after three dates. He slept with his recent ex-wife (are they divorced or just separated?) AND because the whole situation with her is not resolved and you are, frankly, a pawn in this weird intense whatever thing they have going on. She's calling you? She might be blackmailing him? Enough. You deserve so much better.
posted by sockermom at 8:24 AM on November 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm confused -- did you already break up with him or not?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:26 AM on November 3, 2016


Give him a second chance. He didn't have to confess, but he did. He's taken steps to minimize contact. Your first AskMe had him being upfront about where he was, yet clearly falling for you. You second AskMe related to him was about dealing with your own anxiety about talking, even in casual friendships. All signs point to him being a bit of emotional mess, but basically a standup, upfront person.

It's totally understandable you breaking it off. But I'd recommend giving it another chance, with the caveat of taking care of yourself and not buying into the drama between him and his ex-wife i.e. you thinking she might have black mailed him into telling you, which it doesn't sound like you have any proof us. But hanging around drama tends incite drama you know?

Give him second and final chance, make it clear that its a final and then work on actually forgiving him and moving past all this. If you agree to try again, you have to put it all behind you.

I wish you nothing but the best and hope everything tells out good!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:29 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


You did the right thing. Keep running far far away. She wants him back. He knows this and slept with her. They have kids. She's calling to tell you something mysterious. Is she going to start playing the "I might be pregnant" game? Do you want to play that game?
posted by WeekendJen at 9:06 AM on November 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, of course you did. Not because he did anything unforgivable - I don't see anywhere that he promised you sexual exclusivity that early on - but because there is way too much hurt and drama here with the kids and the ex and the obvious ongoing attraction and entanglement. Save yourself a ton of pain and just end it now. He could be a great guy but this is just too complicated and it won't end well for you.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:34 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't see anywhere that he promised you sexual exclusivity that early on

Well, the OP says:
After our third date, he told me that I am the only person he is interested in "in that way" and has no desire to date anyone else (which I thought was similar to exclusivity). I agreed.
So, either they both agreed to be exclusive before he had sex with his ex — or only the OP thought they were exclusive, in which case there was a serious miscommunication. That's a problem either way. Even if most people wouldn't expect exclusivity after a third date, you don't need to do everything the way most people would do it. If you believed you were exclusive, felt hurt by the realization that he had sex with his ex at that point, are generally turned off by all his drama, and instinctively feel like you can't trust him after all this, those factors taken together are a good enough reason to break up after 2 months.
posted by John Cohen at 9:45 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd dump him for blocking the phone number of his coparent, among all the other life stuff he clearly doesn't have a handle on.

oh hell yes. i would absolutely not date a man who was like "i will never again speak to the mother of my child for you" bc that is wildly inappropriate and fucked up behavior.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:57 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


About a month ago his ex contacted me and said that she has something to tell me.

OMG that's just the cherry on top. So much drama! How can you stand it? I decided in my late 20s that relationship drama was a no go for me - it corrodes stability and masquerades as intimacy.

Look, this is way too much drama for you to be required to deal with and I have a very strong feeling this will not be the end of it.

This guy is in no shape to be dating - he and his ex need to work out their shit between them without crapping all over people extraneous to their relationship fallout.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:12 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rebound is what he is, Drop him now.
posted by metajim at 1:15 PM on November 3, 2016


Give him a second chance. He didn't have to confess, but he did.
It sounds like his wife slept with him to cause a problem, then gleefully called you like a week later to rub it in your face--in the guise of "warning you".

This idiot (who "can't seem to help" having post-argument make-up-sex with his ex-wife) figured out--or was explicitly told by his ex-wife--that she was going to tell you.

He didn't tell you out of a place of "chivalry", but rather he knew the information was coming no matter what, and he knew he could put on a better sob-story "presentation" than his ex-wife would.

The fact that he is now "hounding" you to take him back--instead of taking responsibility for cheating on you after saying he wanted to be exclusive, and, far more importantly, respecting your godamnned wishes to cut contact with him--show that you made the absolute right choice to leave this guy.

"Hounding" is scary, entitled, stalkerish behavior and I hope your continued silence will lead to it's end.
posted by blueberry at 1:24 PM on November 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Setting aside the right-now elements of this: you did the right thing to break it off, because if you wanted to get serious and long-term with this guy, you would be dealing with a parent who clearly does not have the skills to navigate a nice clean polite break from his ex for the sake of his kids and who can not respectfully co-parent for the sake of his kids and who does not have his single parenting ducks in a row for the sake of his kids and... Maybe eventually he'll be ready to move on properly and he'll flourish as a single parent and would actually develop the skills to have a serious relationship with somebody and he'd actually be able to integrate them into his family without his kids hating on you and... I'm just not seeing the "promising future." Single parents really need to get their single parenting mojo on before they can date, y'know? This guy doesn't seem to be functioning as a full-on competent SINGLE single parent.

His "not looking for anything in particular" from your previous Q crossed with this level of intensity and drama in a brief relationship sounds like a whack of instability, too.
posted by kmennie at 1:40 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do, or what is or isn't going to make you happy. But I will tell you that this is not a situation I would like to be in myself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:31 PM on November 3, 2016


You feel like you can't trust him because he has proven himself to be untrustworthy. You did the right thing. Take heart and know that you are one step closer to the *right* partner.

He cheated on you. He doesn't get to try to "win" you back. He fucked it up royally, and that's on him. He doesn't deserve to have wonderful Sockiety in his life!

Cut contact with this man in every way possible. Hang in there- I know it's tough. Engage in some meaningful distractions from this- play some music, go out with your friends, read a good book, volunteer somewhere.

Just don't give him a second chance to stomp on your heart. (He will.)
posted by Mistress of the Bunnies at 5:16 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think the "this is an exclusive" relationship talk was particularly clear. (Normally I don't think most adults would consider 3 dates to be "exclusive relationship territory by a long shot). I would recommend using such abrupt and harsh wording similar to:

"I really like you. I would like us to go exclusive. This means x y and z (specific list of acts that you consider to be exclusive, assuming literally nothing, eg., no sexual intercourse with other people of any kind, no mouth on mouth kissing of members of your chosen sex or gender, no dancing with other women without me, no cyber sex, no porn, no sex toys, whatever *you* think exclusive means) to me.

If you would not like to become exclusive partners on my terms, and whatever terms you may have for an exclusive partnership, then I would like to end it now."

See if your terms map, then come to an agreement. If you go into a relationship knowing there are already deal breakers or major compromises, you're just setting up a bad relationship (although everyone does this at least once, it's best to know going in).

However this guy sounds like a total mess and sometimes doing the right thing feels wrong. I think you were 100% correct to dump and should stay broken up because:
- ambiguous communications are no good
- he just got out of a marriage with someone who may or may not be "crazy" (actually she does sound crazy to me, and i hate the "crazy woman" stereotype/typical man excuse thing)
- he has not yet figured out how to coparent
- has sex with an ex (this is a horrible idea 99% of the time, no matter the circumstances)
posted by shownomercy at 6:53 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, in your next relationship be clear. "So are we not having sex with anyone else from now on?"

(He said he didn't want to date anyone else. To me that means explore new romantic attachments. I certainly get why you thought that meant he wouldn't have sex with new people, but I really don't think he broke a promise to you here. Obviously the guy is not done with that ex. He might have thought he was, he might desperately want to be, but he is not. And that's why I think you need to get out.) Good luck, it sucks when the timing just can't be fixed.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:17 AM on November 4, 2016


He messaged me today and in a typically erratic fashion said that he obviously still needs to sort his life out before he is ready to be in a relationship but wants to stay friends. I wished him good luck, then blocked him. I don't think lingering stringing-along attachments are of any good for me. I actually think he will end up back with the ex, I almost feel like collateral damage in their power games.
posted by sockiety at 6:29 AM on November 4, 2016 [18 favorites]


You actually are. Good decision.
posted by Miko at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


I know this probably feels crappy right now, but in the not-too-distant future you're going to look back at this and be like WHEW.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:58 AM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Good choice!! The more you explained about that guy, the worse he sounded.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:12 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


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