My life is in shambles and I feel lost and helpless.
August 9, 2006 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Recently I broke up with my girl of 10 best friend. I'm entierly shattered and heartbroken. I wanted her to be the mother of my children when the time came, and now she's gone. Is there anyway to make this work? Warning: LONG post inside

**Note: This post turned out WAY longer than I had thought it would be….but since I’m posting anonymously I thought I would present as much info up front as possible. I'll break it up into two sections for those who like to skim. I thank you for your time and comments.

I very recently ended a long distance relationship (LDR) with the girl I basically grew up with. I fell in love with her in the 11th grade, and have loved her since, and will continue to do so forever.

The long distance part began when we separated to go to college, but I made the 150mi trip every weekend just for her, so it was never really that bad. The only real problem we ever had was that her parents were un-accepting of me. Her father was of the mind that she needs to "date" a handful of guys before she decides what she wants. Needless to say we kept our relationship alive in secret from her family. This of course presented its own challenges to our relationship. Little things like a night at the movies, dinner, etc. became VERY difficult. We were constantly running into her family friends at the most random places, and then there was a constant worry of that person mentioning to her parents that they had seen her at so-and-so place with so-and-so (not to be mean, just in passing conversation).

College ended and I moved back home. We were together for the summer, and then she had to leave to attend a masters program, followed by Medical School, across the country. We still stuck it out though. I tired to visit as often as I could...again, behind her parents back.

Things were Ok...we always discussed eventually being married and having a life together. And that was what we both wanted, and always, the shadow of her parent’s disapproval hung over us. Culturally having her parent’s approval is VERY, VERY important. For her, even more so, because she is the type of person who lives to make everyone around her happy (no matter how often I try and tell her that you can't always make everyone happy). I got to a point where I didn't care anymore. Her mother sort of knew what was up, and would outright ignore me in social situations where we would both be. The father would speak to me, but he really didn't know what was going on.

All the while she was in school meeting new people and doing her thing. I never "restricted" her activities and was always supportive of her school. She started studying with someone that made me slightly uncomfortable. Every time it would come up I would get a funny feeling and I tried explaining to her that this guy is only studying with her to get into her pants. She would tell me things like, "he isn't like that", "you don't know him", etc. Till one day she calls me almost in tears, telling me how he tried to kiss her and she felt guilty about it. I was livid and felt betrayed by her. This is where shit got bad, I think.

A year or so later we were really having problems with the LDR. Phone conversations were very superficial, and the time-zone difference wasn't helping things much. She started stressing about school and us, and soon it took its toll on us. She called one day saying she "needs a break" and "time to figure things out". I was angry and hurt and basically walked phone contact, no email, nothing. It killed me to do it, but she hurt me, and maybe that was my way of hurting her back?

6 months or so went by, and I saw her at a mutual friends graduation. We started talking and soon we were back together again. It was like we hadn't even skipped a beat. Another 4 or 5 months went by with her back across the country and a few days before he xmas break I made a terrible discovery. It was long ago, so I'm not entirely sure what prompted me to do it, but I read her email and saw a disturbing message from that other guy....when I confronted her about it she told me that she had planned on telling me everything when she was going to be home for 3 weeks over xmas break. And that for the 6 months we weren't talking, she had a relationship with this guy (the original "study buddy" i had issues with) ... this is where my heart was ripped from my chest. She was the first and only person I had been with, we lost our virginities to each other, and it really bothered me that she would sleep with this other guy, and get back together with me, let me sleep with her, and then tell me about it (or let me find out about it) later.

So another break-up ensued for a few weeks till we started talking again...a few months went by and I started to realize my trust in her was shot. Then I broke it off again thinking that without trust there cannot be a relationship (which I'm probably right about). Until of course we got back together again.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this year. Her sibling was going to marry, and we decided to confront her parents after the wedding. And my plan was if all went well with that I would propose late this year, move to be with her, and we would marry 3 years later (when her school was done).

Around April I started getting that uncomfortable feeling again...checked her email, and saw a letter to her friends with a picture of her and some guy, and a blurb about "here is the picture I promised" and one friends reply struck me VERY hard. "i hope he deserves you" .... I kind of bring up the fact that I think something is going on with this new guy, and she reassures me that nothing is happening. A day or so later I decide to re-read the email just to see if I can put it into another context. Her password is changed. Red flags shoot up and another discussion ensues. I tell her I checked her email before and that she must be hiding something if she has changed her password now. She claims it was preemptive because she knew I would take it out of context, and that her friends comment was just a joke, and the guy is just a friend who is "cute" and her friends wanted to see a picture.

Believe me, I see the manipulative nature of doing something she knows I won't approve of, and hiding it from me.

She was currently in some tests so I backed off to give her time to study, but this was eating away at me daily. Until we finally had the time to talk about things face-to-face.

Long story even longer, I broke up with her again...for what I think is the last time, because my mind can fabricate stories that my imagination runs with because I lost trust in her when she kept from me the fact that she had slept with that other guy.

Now I am miserable....I grew up with this girl...10 years together...she has had a tremendous influence in the person I've become. I finally (at age 26) had seen a future with her, a house, kids, that is all gone, and it's killing me. I used to wake up every morning with a phone call from her, now I can't get out of bed till I know I'm going to be late for work.

Life's just a lame 9-5, I make about 55K a year which I guess is decent. But with cc debt and student loans (about 30K in total) it doesn't get me very far. I'm living at home and I hate being there, but I can't afford to move out....and will do so as soon as I can afford it.

Writing this all out is semi-therapeutic in a way, so sorry for the's been about a week without her and I still think about her daily, constantly. I miss my best friend.

I've been trying to come up with solutions to my problem, but would like to hear what others have to say. In your experiences; Is this a lost cause? Should I continue to pursue it at all costs?

The solution I've come up with for the time being is to really sit and talk to her again. Make sure she understands I love her, and care for her, and I want to be with her, but that the LDR isn't working for me, or for her. What I'm thinking of proposing to her is to put our relationship on hiatus for a few years, and then when she returns, assuming neither of us has found someone serious, we can pick-up where we left off....Anyone accomplish something like this in their lives? Am I just setting myself up for disappointment three years down the line?

thanks for reading through this mess of emotions, and I look forward to any insights the MeFi community can provide.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (69 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think this is dysfunctional and probably not healthy to continue, it sounds like you have some jealousy and control issues. Perhaps you should do your best to remain friends in some capacity (not dating), and to stop reading her e-mail.
posted by dead_ at 6:37 AM on August 9, 2006

Uh, this is a really bad idea. You cant get her back after she cheated on you that many times. SHE IS OVER YOU, CANT YOU SEE THA??? Grow a spine and get a girl who gives a damn
posted by wheelieman at 6:38 AM on August 9, 2006

Is this a lost cause?


Should I continue to pursue it at all costs?

Definitely not.

Everything you describe makes it sound very much like you had a lot more emotionally invested in this relationship than she did. How many times over the years did you travel to visit her? How many times did she travel to visit you?

Bottomline, you won't be happy until you get over her. Also, stop reading other people's email.
posted by anonymous_k at 6:40 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sorry anon, but it sounds like you were more into her than she was in to you.

Breaking up sucks, and it sounds like you haven't experienced it before.

Put your energy into something else (a new sport or activity) and move on. You sound more depressed than from this break up.


PPS, her parents were probably on the right track thinking that she should have a lot of experiences before settling down. Maybe you should try the same.
posted by k8t at 6:45 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you miss your best friend, then let her BE your best friend, and not your on again/off again girlfriend.
Friendship is much different.
I think there are too many restrictions, too many issues, too much history here for either of you to move on unless a clean break is made.
Like NO communication for X months. Period.
It's a difficult transition from lover to friend, but it can be done with time and patience and effort.
Trying to predict the future three years from now without some sort of souped up Delorean is a waste of time and effort.

I think that you need to get out, meet new people and develop new interests. Are you working out? Keeping healthy? I find that getting into my body for periods of time (working out) keeps me out of my brain, where I can worry and make catastrophies out of everything.
"Why didn't she call? She must be cheating on me!"

I understand that you love her and understand that you want to be with her, but that may not be the way the cards are dealt.
You need to createa life for yourself that is fun and compelling and passionate that is independent of her, so that should the two of you get together in the future, as lovers or as friends, she will add spice to the receipe as opposed to being the main ingredient you're obsessing over.

I hope my .02 helps in some small way.
posted by willmize at 6:45 AM on August 9, 2006

It's time to get a few shallow meaningless romances under your belt and gain a little perspective.

I have to agree with the above posters. It's over. Let it die.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:46 AM on August 9, 2006

It doesn't sound to me like she was cheating on you. You didn't talk for six months and she had another relationship. She was just living her life. It sounds like you need to do the same. You have to forget about her, because no matter what, you are not going to have the relationship that you've dreamed of for the last ten years with this woman. It will never satisfy you because you've built up this perfect image in your mind. The only way she can surprise you is by disappointing you. Try again with someone new, holding no expectations, and don't read their e-mail. If you don't respect somebody's privacy, why should they have any respect for you?
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:46 AM on August 9, 2006

and will continue to do so forever.

No you won't.
posted by k8t at 6:48 AM on August 9, 2006

It sounds like things aren't going to work out, which is horrible, but sometimes that is how life goes. You've broken up with her several times now, so I am guessing there is something wrong and you already know it. I would advise you avoid her for as long as possible. I seriously think time heals all wounds, but it's hard to move forward when you are face to face with someone you are so emotionally invested in all the time.

Anyway, advice from strangers on the internet who don't know your whole story can only take you so far. You need to decide what is best for yourself.
posted by chunking express at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2006


I've been in the LDR business for almost three years now, so not quite your ten, but this was across the Pacific so our chances to see each other were few and far between.

One thing that I've found is that love makes no guarantees that you'll be happy, or that you'll be together. It's a wonderful thing, but don't assume that just because you love her and she loves you then everything will work out. It's not a bad thing though, because when you accept that you can be happy with what you have got instead of miserable because of what you don't.

It worries me that you'd read her e-mail again and again. No matter what she does, that's got to stop. It will never make you feel better.

The fact that she slept with someone else, while she was away from you, and didn't tell you about it doesn't mean that she didn't care about you at all. I've been on the other end of that, and in my situation it was about confusion, desperation, and loneliness.

Your relationship doesn't work as an LDR. Not if you want it to be an exclusive, complete relationship. You have to accept this. Instead of trying to make the relationship fit your ideal dream, try to be happy with the shape it takes in your lives at the moment. Maybe it will be alright for you to see other people, and then you'll see each other every now and then. Maybe it will be alright to see other people and you'll wait for a few years to see what it's like then. Maybe you'll work something else out. It would be a horrible thing to lose her entirely just because you can't have her in the exact way you'd like it. If she can't be your exclusive girlfriend, maybe she can be your friend. It's a change, I know, but if you love her that much it's better than having her out of your life completely.

Talk to her. Tell her you love her, that that won't change. Tell her that the LDR isn't working. Tell her that you still want her to be a part of your life. Tell you you will never read her e-mails again. Work out a way for you to be in each other's lives in a happy way. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, as much as we'd like it to be.

It is possible. I recently went through something vaguely similar, and my old LDR girlfriend is now my friend, and she's overseas, but we talk to each other and have found the happiest way to be in each other's lives, although it took a long time and a lot of tears to find it.

I hope that helps. Any other questions, my e-mail is in my profile.
posted by twirlypen at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Frankly, you sound a little possessive. This may or may not be making you lose points with her, but either way, it seems pretty clear that she does not want you as badly as you want her. You can't change this.

1. Don't propose this "hiatus" thing. You're trying to make her commit to you when you know full well she doesn't want to commit to you.
2. Probably best not to stay in contact; regardless, you definitely need a different best friend.
posted by equalpants at 6:51 AM on August 9, 2006

I stopped reading after "A day or so later I decide to re-read the email just to see if I can put it into another context. Her password is changed. Red flags shoot up..." Because that put up a red flag for me. I can understand the Need to know what is going on. But that need should be met with conversation not snooping. A relationship that is based on invading privacy will not stand up to the total commitment of trust and honesty that Marriage requires.

Unfortunately I cannot give much recommendation about how to deal with from this, because you have to first decide to move on. A Three-Year hiatus is just kidding yourself. I know that you can't see beyond this right now, but you need to date other people without strings attached. There's no way to Know she is The Woman For You until you get to know other women and can make an informed decision.
posted by iurodivii at 6:51 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

re: living at home.

I'd recommend moving to a new place

I make about 55K a year which I guess is decent. But with cc debt and student loans (about 30K in total) it doesn't get me very far. I'm living at home and I hate being there, but I can't afford to move out....and will do so as soon as I can afford it.

On 55k a year you can't move out on your own? WTF? You may be saving some by living at home, but it is time to grow up, get an apartment and keep on paying off your CC debt. Student loan debt isn't so bad.
posted by k8t at 6:51 AM on August 9, 2006

If you miss your best friend, then let her BE your best friend, and not your on again/off again girlfriend.

Don't do this. Seriously, it won't work.
posted by chunking express at 6:51 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Lengthy reply coming up.

Believe me, I see the manipulative nature of doing something she knows I won't approve of, and hiding it from me.

To be fair dude, you went through her e-mails. I don't care how long you've been together, it sounds like you have some serious trust issues.

Till one day she calls me almost in tears, telling me how he tried to kiss her and she felt guilty about it. I was livid and felt betrayed by her.

You did warn her about this guy, but maybe she was naive about his intentions. The fact that you blamed her for his actions ('felt bertrayed by her') also speaks of some fundamental issues with how you relate to this woman.

I can only comment/infer stuff from what you've written, so sorry, but you come across as being a bit... obsessive. It could very well just be the emotion talking, but I would try to take a few steps back and try to figure some stuff out a bit more objectively.

Also, Med School is fucking rough, much more so than she might have expected. Keeping up the relationship you had before is practically impossible and possibly a great strain on her while she is trying to perform well academically.

To prove that I'm not just talking out of my ass, I broke up with my girlfriend of about 7-8 years a few years back. Our relationship was effectively the same as yours and was intergral to developing the way we view relationships and other people. We broke up, went our separate ways (to uni in different countries), dated new people and then ended up back together again. And then we repeated the process. But it was different and the distance between just grew and grew. The familiarity was still there and that's probably why we tried several times to rekindle the thing we had years ago. Didn't happen.

We're still in contact and good friends. We're both in new relationships. But it took both of us a long time to move on. And there are still days when I miss her (or what we once had as a couple). So be warned, if you do call it quits, there are no real quick-fix solutions.

Go out, meet new people, see what happens. Maybe, like you say, in a years time you'll both realise that what you really want is each other.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:53 AM on August 9, 2006

This is done. Its gonna hurt. Don't try to make it not hurt. Take the punch hard. You'll recover. Sometime in the future you will be with someone great, and will actually look back on your pain with a bit of wistfulness--you'll almost long to feel how powerful the hurt was.

P.S. Its not you--its the distance.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 AM on August 9, 2006

It might feel different to you, but reading that it sounds like you should have broken up and stayed that way the first time. You haven't lived in the same place for more than six months since you were a kid. You're a jealous bastard who couldn't handle her hooking up with someone else when you dumped her, and couldn't believe that she was simply naive enough to think a guy might want to be friends with her. So now she's over the whole mess of a ldr with a guy her family doesn't like, so she's actually cheating on you. You will both be better off forgetting the other, and actually having a normal adult relationship with someone in the same city. DON'T put the relationship on hiatus. DON'T think 'maybe we'll get back together in x years'. Because even if it might work out after a couple years apart - hiatus is not apart. Hiatus is where you think 'she'll never find anyone else she likes, so I'll say she's free to have relationships with other people, and in a couple of years she'll come crawling back to me, her one true love'. And you spend those years waiting for her, and then someone mentions how Girl and her boyfriend of 18 months are doing, and you realise that she's not spending them waiting for you, and feel betrayed again. Even if you hope that after a couple years, it'll work again - those couple of years have to be spent assuming that you'll never see her again, or they won't help you with the personal growth that you need, for time to make a difference.

Break up with her. Tell her you both need to move on. Then (this is the difficult bit) ACTUALLY move on. Forget her.
posted by jacalata at 7:00 AM on August 9, 2006

Ironmouth is right, but it's not just the distance. It's the fact that you started together at 16...people need to go through radical changes between that time and your age now. It was a snowball's chance in hell that you would change together, rather than apart. Don't waste any more time on this. Move out. Get out and meet other people. In a few years you will understand that this was one of life's most important lessons for you and you will be glad you had the chance to go out and meet other people and do other things.
posted by poppo at 7:03 AM on August 9, 2006

It is time to move on. The relationship, to the extent it was ever really that meaningful for her and could thus be called a relationship, is over. The sooner you accept this the sooner you can start getting on with your life. She's not worth the your continued longing. You keep holding on probably because you have no other relationship experience and are afraid of the great unknown out there. You will survive and once you get back on your feet will be a stronger person for having had the experience.
posted by caddis at 7:04 AM on August 9, 2006

You need to let this die. Really. I wound up dating who had become my best friend, and it ruined both the friendship and the relationship. I missed her terribly for about a year, but reworked my social structure, found some new drinking buddies, got myself a nickname. Then I decided that even if it was unfair to a potential someone else, started dating for some "rebound". Once that was out of my system (rather quick; I'm not the type for flings) I got back to the business of being myself again-not some guy with a hole in his heart - and have been dating a wonderful girl for a bit over a year now.

I still occasionally come across something - a story, a website, a book, a CD - where I think, "oh, [my ex] would love this." That's the nature of memory, man; but you've gotta let it go.
posted by notsnot at 7:05 AM on August 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

Aw dude, sorry to hear about this. I've been with my partner since she was 15 and I was 17. I'd be heartbroken so on one hand I can completely empathise.

Thing is though.... you checked her emails.

Around April I started getting that uncomfortable feeling again...checked her email

Regardless of how paranoid or justified you felt that is just wrong. You say you can't trust her, how can she ever trust you?!?

You are the one who has been in the wrong from what I can see. You are extremely possesive - you need to get that out of your system mate.

This relationship isn't right for either of you anymore. Good luck for the future. Life is never as bad as you think. You are obviously in a good career, now find another good woman. There are plenty out there.
posted by twistedonion at 7:06 AM on August 9, 2006

Is it a "trust issue" if your s/o really is cheating on you?

Anyway, it's definitely over. Stick a fork in it. You've never had a relationship end before so it feels like the world is ending. That'll go away.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 AM on August 9, 2006

Yeah, it's amazing but understandable how long people can drag out a relationship that's long gone (I know I've been there). The best thing you can do is to accept that it's over (it really is) cry it out, try to move out of home and meet other people. It sounds harsh now and it sounds cliched but that's the only way to do it. Believe me in a few years you'll be wondering why you were so upset in the first place. Breaking up sucks, and the antidote is meeting new hot girls.
posted by ob at 7:12 AM on August 9, 2006

It's over, and it needs to be over, and it is going to hurt like hell for a while anyway. Just let it - the only way out is through; you can't shortcut the process. You dragged this out for a very long time, and of course it's hard to let go of what has become habitual.

I think this girl is being a big wimp and letting you continue to think you have a relationship when you do not. You are hanging on every tiny little thread she leaves dangling, and she thinks she's being nice but you have described a situation in which she is basically not even involved and you are making a fool of yourself.

You cannot make people do what you want them to do. It doesn't matter how many plans you make, or how many times you inform her that you guys are going to get married some years from now. She doesn't want it. Go and heal and learn from this experience, and take that out in the world to find someone who actually wants to be with you.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:13 AM on August 9, 2006

You're investing a lot more of your emotional well-being in another person than is healthy, especially for what was a long distance relationship. Whatever you think you know about her and what she feels is possibly more of a projection of your own wants and needs than what she actually feels. It's amazing that you were able to keep it up for a long time at a stretch, but it's over.

Although you were the one to spot some questionable behavior on the part of her study partner, she's probably the one with more dating knowledge now due to actually interacting with more people in a romantic context. And you know what you learn? That even if you're completely honest, people have different motivations, different approaches to feeling in love, and possibly neither one of yours is healthy right now. You've become her stable person who she can go back to between fleeting relationships, the one who possibly gets her a little bit more but that's not enough for her. As it is, she's willing to be in relationships that she hides from you, and was willing to hide your relationship from her parents. That's not healthy either.

It's over. She might want you to be someone she can come back to between flings, but you need to stop that for your own sanity. It doesn't mean she's a bad person, and it doesn't mean that you're flawed in any way, it just means you need to pull your emotional investment out of this, or at least avoid interacting with her until you've got something new and stable. Don't sit around wondering what she's been doing or who she's with. Just don't care, no matter how hard it is. Concentrate on your life.
posted by mikeh at 7:19 AM on August 9, 2006

One 26 year old female's opinion:

It IS a big deal that the parents don't like you. I think it would be for most people, if they have a good relationship with their family. I think her family sees how unhealthy your relationship is - it's apparant even from this post.

Till one day she calls me almost in tears, telling me how he tried to kiss her and she felt guilty about it. I was livid and felt betrayed by her. This is where shit got bad, I think.

You felt betrayed because someone tried to kiss HER? SHE didn't do anything wrong, she even told you about it, and you reacted with feelings of betrayal? I'm sorry, but I don't even understand that.

As for sleeping with the other guy? Well, you two were on a break. You expected her to be dateless that entire 6 months when your relationship was completely on the rocks?

Her password should have been changed on her email account. You were snooping.

In your experiences; Is this a lost cause? Should I continue to pursue it at all costs?

Yes, it's a lost cause. Why would you puruse it at all costs? Because your heart is broken and you don't think you can live without her? You've LIVED without her - but with the hope you'd get back together. Drop that hope and do some dating of your own.

The solution I've come up with for the time being is to really sit and talk to her again. Make sure she understands I love her, and care for her, and I want to be with her, but that the LDR isn't working for me, or for her. What I'm thinking of proposing to her is to put our relationship on hiatus for a few years, and then when she returns, assuming neither of us has found someone serious, we can pick-up where we left off....Anyone accomplish something like this in their lives? Am I just setting myself up for disappointment three years down the line?

This comes off like you think you can force her, with the will of your undying love, to accept you and the relationship, one that hasn't worked consistantly for years. It's not possible. She doesn't need convincing. I think that YOU need convincing that this relationship isn't healthy and that it would be beneficial for you to date a few other women and see what else is out there. You seem fixated on making this work, when it obviously doesn't.

And during this years-upon-years separation, do you expect her to be celibate again? Forsake all others even though your relationship has seemed doomed from the start?

I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but let's face it - most breakups hurt this way, and I think you'd BOTH be better off if the relationship ends here. I wish you luck.
posted by agregoli at 7:21 AM on August 9, 2006

From what you've said, it sounds like your relationship was fairly dysfunctional. The things that sprung out at me were:

a) you doing most of the travelling to see her.
b) her moving long distances away from you when she went to her masters program and med school.
c) you reading her email. Jesus! This is ghastly - it betrays your mutual trust, makes you seem controlling and violates her privacy.

It *really* hurts when someone you love moves on. But it sounds like that is what she has done. If there weren't the problems you described, I would maybe suggest giving it another go, but given that it sounds like a fairly bad relationship, let it go and try and move on.
posted by pollystark at 7:43 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's over. Stop fixating on her.
posted by normy at 7:53 AM on August 9, 2006

When I read your post (minus the email snooping) it reminded me of me. My first relationship was one that I was CERTAIN would last. I was totally in love and was looking forward to finishing grad school and beginning our life together.

Unfortunately he was unfaithful, inconsiderate, and immature. And he dumped me! But when he couldn't find a job and was sick of his new girlfriend, he came crawling back. We did the off-and-on thing for a few months before getting back together. And it was the worst idea ever. It ended again after a few months, this time for good.

I think you should do what I did. Realize it's over. Realize that it's unfair and painful as hell. And realize that you can either dwell on it or move on. She wasn't right for you. Find someone who is. I did, and I couldn't be happier that I'm not with that first guy anymore.
posted by christinetheslp at 7:55 AM on August 9, 2006

All the while she was in school meeting new people and doing her thing. I never "restricted" her activities -How generous of you.

but I read her email - Creep.

And that for the 6 months we weren't talking, broken up she had a relationship with this guy
-Fixed that for you.

my plan was if all went well -What about her plan? Did you even ask her or just make a unilateral decision that you would keep her on a leash for the next 3 years?

checked her email, -Creep.

I decide to re-read the email -Creep.

Her password is changed. -pwned!1

I see the manipulative nature of doing something she knows I won't approve of, and hiding it from me.
-I'm dumbfounded at this statement.

I lost trust in her when she kept from me the fact that she had slept with that other guy - You two were broken up. She had another relationship while you weeped into your Cheerios. She didn't even have to tell you. In fact she probably wasn't going to because it's none of your goddamn business, but you just had to snoop. No one's email except for your own is any of your business. Where you get that sort of arrogance, I have no idea.

put our relationship on hiatus for a few years, and then when she returns - Go reread everything you wrote. You have a stalkeriffic obsession with this girl. She is not going to come back. You need to man up, Nancy and move on. Stop reading other people's email.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:55 AM on August 9, 2006 [11 favorites]

There is a huge difference from being in a relationship when your younger and then being in one now. I can sympathize with your situation somewhat, but the key is that you really need to move on, and get out to meet new people. The pain fades, eventually. That girl who I was with for so long, and that I had such a hard time getting over is now actually a good friend. It's a long process.

As an aside: if any SO ever tried to read my email, hacked or otherwise, they'd get one aisle ticket straight out of my life. Turn the tables on that. How would you feel if someone read your email? That isn't exactly conducive to forming trust.
posted by richter_x at 8:08 AM on August 9, 2006

Welcome to your first breakup. Yup, it hurts like a mofo, yup, it does that for everyone, yup, it's amazing anyone ever falls in love again after going throught that. But they do. The triumph of hope over experience.

Now is a good time to learn some breakup strategy. Read all the posts tagged breakup, read one self-help book or three, read a stack of (good) breakup novels, perhaps starting with Shipping News by Annie Proux, then read some more.

You ain't got a girl anymore, so with plenty of time on your hands, go read.

Then lists yourself on some dating site. It may or may not help you find someone, but at least it will let you count the fishes.

And by god stop reading people's mail.
posted by gmarceau at 8:11 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's over and you have to move on.

Pursue some hobbies, and get involved in fun after-work activities to meet new people.

Join and attend group classes at a gym
Take a first-aid course at the local YMCA
Take up running or biking and participate in area road races
Learn how to cook or how to fix your car or both.
Sign up for guitar lessons.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:17 AM on August 9, 2006

Financially, I'm in the same income and debt bracket as you (maybe more student loans, less credit card). And I totally don't need to live at home. Even when I was making less money and had more debt, I was able to afford to live by myself in a pretty expensive city.

So it can be done.

And you should do it.

If your career is easily transferable to a new city or town, do it (if it's not, move cross town). This will force you out and make you so busy setting up a new life in a new place that you won't have time for thinking about her at all. Better yet, don't tell her that you moved, let the parental/local friends grapevine do that for you. After all, she's out of your (new) life, right?

And don't be reading your next SO's emails. If you don't realize it now, you will understand at some point how seriously uncool and counterproductive to a healthy relationship that is.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:17 AM on August 9, 2006

Move out of your parents' house, stop stalking this girl, and pull your pants up. Then it will all work out.
posted by xmutex at 8:21 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

P.S. She is not the one.
Someone else is. How are you going to meet that someone else?
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:21 AM on August 9, 2006

Put a fork in it, it's done. I won't bother adding to the chorus about how you need to change/grow up/improve, hopefully you have gotten the message. This is your chance to improve yourself. NOT to win the girl back, because that is never going to happen. But to become a better person so your next relationship won't follow the same path.

First, banish thoughts of the girl from your mind, stop or minimize any contact with her. Second, move out, stop making excuses and move. Third, time to develop some new interests that will broaden you and introduce you to some new people--maybe a hiking or cycling club, or community theater, or Habitat for Humanity, or...? It will help get your mind off her.

The astonishing thing about heartbreak is not how bad or long it hurts, but how complete the healing eventually is. A few years from now this will have no more emotional resonance than some movie you saw about someone else's heartbreak. You don't believe me now, but it is true.
posted by LarryC at 8:22 AM on August 9, 2006

She's over you. You don't trust her. Move on.
posted by headspace at 8:30 AM on August 9, 2006

I got a budding Star 80 feel from this post. If you don't trust someone you can't date/marry them. It just won't work. True love is about wanting the other to be happy - even if that happiness doesn't include you.
posted by any major dude at 8:37 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm gonna second and third just about everything said above. Especially the part about how you read her email. That is so wrong (and so is the fact that you don't seem to see it as wrong) I can't even get into it.

Here's your action plan:
1. Grow up. It's time to be your own person. Find an apartment and live on your own. Yes, you'll suffer. That happens. There's no getting around it.

2. Move on. She's not the one. No matter what you think now. And moreover, she will not become the one, no matter how much you want to change, want her to change, want her parents to change, ad infinitum.

3. Get out of the house. Seriously. Get the hell away from your computer, game station, tv, and other insular crap. You need to make friends, expand your experiences, and generally get a life. Hobbies, activities, what ever. Get some sun, see some bands, learn to socialize. Stop living in a fantasy world.

Sorry to be so brutal but it sounds like you've spent the past decade being frozen at 16. Time to be an adult.
posted by jdfan at 8:38 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've been mulling this over for a few hours and here's what I've got:

First, your relationship is over, and you should definitely consider it that way. It'll be much healthier in both the short and long run.

Living apart from your significant other for nearly ten years, and having to sneak around when you are together, is not acceptable. LTRs are common these days, but they're really not all that they're cracked up to be. Relationships exist, apart from reproductive reasons, to give a close support network to both partners and dependents, and you really lose that when you're living farther apart than across town. Some people make life work that way, but it's hard. I've had two LTRs, one out of high school, and one at the end of college, and both ended. The first when we actually started living in the same place and realized that it was ill-advised to begin with, and the second when we moved apart after graduation to Ph.D. programs in different cities and couldn't fulfill each other's needs from that distance.

One other thing I've learned from experience is that there isn't just one person with whom you're compatible. There are least a few, if not dozens, hundreds, or thousands, depending on how picky and high-maintenance you are. Now's your chance to find out exactly what you want in a life-partner. You'll probably think when reading this that no, I'm wrong, there's only one for you and she's gone, and that you know exactly what you want in a person and it's *her*. Give it time. You'll find others, and you'll find special qualities in them that make you love them and stay with them (one at a time!). You will have a new best friend; this I know from experience, and I had the same feelings of loss and confusion you did. The important thing to note is that you are a special person too, at least to some people, and you should be treated like that, so if someone isn't treating you like so, they don't deserve you. That said, cut out the paranoia bullshit. Dude, don't ever fucking read someone else's email. Be a better person than that. Confront someone to their face.

That leads nicely into the next part of this post, which is that this is an opportunity for you to grow. You're not in high school anymore, so don't ever fucking read someone else's email. Move out of your parents' house, ASAP. Take the financial hit and do it; you'll be better off. Get some new friends and create a support network. And get out and meet some new girls. You'll be happy you did. This is a tremendous growing opportunity for you (again, said from experience), and you'll come out far happier and more fulfulled than before.
posted by The Michael The at 8:45 AM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Your story is a lot like my own: eight years with a girl who was a college sweetheart, my best friend, long distance at the close of the relationship, much contention by parents on both sides -- and a guy who had his eye on her, and made his move almost the moment I was gone. I was dumped about four months after the long distance started.

I held on to hope in grief for about six months, then decided to move on with life after a year.

The best solution IMHO is a clean cut. No "just friends," no emails, no phone calls, no wishing it could come back. Engage your life in other ways, avoid rebound if you don't want to get even more miserable, and let your wounds heal naturally. Through the whole ordeal I reminded myself constantly that grief and agony over lost love are part of the process of becoming a man, and that by going through it you experience life in its full color -- even when that color is black.

It stops sucking after a while, trust me. Years later, I'm much, much happier today with someone else, and am back on amicable terms with the ex and even with her current BF, and it all worked out for the best.
posted by brownpau at 8:54 AM on August 9, 2006

Oh, one more thing: just because you need to cut clean from her doesn't mean you can't remember the good times with fondness, or think of her with at least some gratitude that she was a formative experience in your development as a person. I remain forever thankful to my ex-GF for making me the man I am today, and even if we can't be together, who I became because of her is far more important than who she became when she broke up with me.
posted by brownpau at 8:58 AM on August 9, 2006

One thing: 55k a year, with only 30k in debt? Unless that debt is at 20% interest, you shouldn't really be having money problems, ESPECIALLY living at home. What in the world are you spending your money on?

As for the girl: let it go. It's over. You should have let it go MANY years ago, as you clearly don't trust her and never will. Reading her email? And then getting mad when she changes the password? Maybe because you're INVADING HER PRIVACY. I think you need to step back and take a look at your behaviour here, and really reevaluate what you want from a relationship.
posted by antifuse at 9:06 AM on August 9, 2006

if this girl really wanted to spend her life with you she would have sucked it up with her parents long ago, because nothing is stronger than true love. move on and forget her.
posted by trishthedish at 9:20 AM on August 9, 2006

I agree with just about everything already said. (Yes it's over, yes the breakup period will hurt like crazy, yes you will survive it.) What I want to add is what I think you should take away from this experience.

Your description of the relationship comes off to most of us here as controlling and invasive. You seem to have concluded that she betrayed you, that she was manipulative. Many of us here don't read your facts that way at all - she is allowed to sleep with someone else while she is on a break, she is allowed to be kissed against her will by some guy, she is allowed to have private emails (and btw, I would not assume that the picture of the guy was someone she was actually dating).

Now, considering all that, I think it's important to your future happiness in relationships that you emerge from the upcoming painful breakup experience respecting her/not hating her. You need to feel that she was a good person (not the only good person, or some idealized first love though ), and while she did some screwed up things (mostly continuing to date you when she evidently was no longer interested & the lying to the parents thing ), she was not a manipulative, cheating creep. You need to own up to your own controlling acts, your invasions of her privacy, and you need to vow never to do those things again. Because if you don't view her as a decent person, and recognize the mistakes you made, your next relationship(s) - and there will be more! - will be premised on hostility to women, and you will repeat your recent mistakes all over again. Since I don't think you'll ever have a healthy/happy relationship with those attitudes, I think it's imperative you take this time to rework the way you view healthy relationship behavior.

Trust is essential to a relationship - you agree with this too, you say - but it seems that you are too quick to mistrust, and to slow to be trustworthy yourself. Things to work on so that the next relationship is great.
posted by Amizu at 9:21 AM on August 9, 2006

If you miss your best friend, then let her BE your best friend, and not your on again/off again girlfriend.

I'd just like to side with those who say: Don't do that! If you ever want to get over the girl, then the worst thing for the both of you is to be in contact all the time and try to be friends.

I've tried to be friends with my ex girlfriends on a number of occasions, and it has always ended up with either party being more hurt than they needed be. It might work after a short relationship, but I don't see how you can be friends after a 10 year relationship without one of you being hurt.

You don't have to be an ass about the no-friendship part, just tell her that you think it's best for you to split and that you don't feel you're ready to be her friend. You may be in a couple of years, but not now.

Then get over her, and find a new girlfriend. As has been said before, you might not think there are other girls out there at the moment. But there are. Chasing those girls sure beats waiting for 3 years for someone who probably isn't that interested in you anymore.
posted by einarorn at 9:56 AM on August 9, 2006

I think I almost wrote as much as you. But here goes.

Your future is not gone as you indicate it might be. The worst thing this girl did: tried too hard to keep you happy at her own expense.

...because she is the type of person who lives to make everyone around her happy (no matter how often I try and tell her that you can't always make everyone happy).

She stuck around way longer than she should have, I can't believe she kept you around after you admitted that you checked her email. So she changed her password (logical choice) and then you got mad at her. At first, I sort of felt bad that everyone was dumping on you, but DUDE! COME ON!

All she suggested was a break and you stormed off with no contact for six months. I'd have also assumed it was over and started moving on with my life, as she did.

Even though it's been though a few different relationships instead of one, I've lived the parts of your story. You guys had so much against you from the start and I get the whole, "true love will make it work" mentality that I also had for the first four years of my dating life (i.e. 16+), but that is not the real world. The fact that you made it 10 years is astonishing. Let me break it down:

1. Parents hate you. Never a good start and if she loves her family, this is enough to doom the relationship right there. She wants her family involved in her life and doesn't want them to not come to her wedding, see her kids, talk to her husband, etc.

2. LDR. Also enough to kill any relationship, though some tenacious people make it work. Not to mention the fact that she kept moving away from you. Sure, not in the obvious sense, but I would have done anything to live near the college my HS bf went to. With a different bf, we moved to the same city so there wouldn't be LDR. I spent my summers in certain locations with certain guys (or vice versa) to be together. She kept putting distance between you. Sure, maybe that master's program or med school was highly ranked, but it is very easy for the two of you to be together if she (or you) had wanted it badly enough. The point is, you see it as "she kept having to leave," and I feel it is important to follow one's career goals, but she could have been a little more compromising or asked you to come too. Please do not read this as my blaming her for the demise of the relationship.

3. You got pissed at HER and flew off the handle when someone else made a move on her
. Dude, if that happened every time a guy made a move on a committed girl, we'd all be single again. You had instilled so much fear and distrust in her that she felt guilty even though she didn't do anything wrong. She came to you honestly with her guilt and instead of reaffirming your relationship and saying, "Wow, I really appreciate you telling me that, I always had a bad feeling about him. Did you tell him you weren't interested and are seeing someone awesome?" you felt betrayed by her. That is seriously messed up.

4. Your view that she "cheated" on you during a break: I've already covered this one. This one is totally your fault. You got mad at her again, even though she admitted it when you asked and even said that she had planned to tell you when you were face-to-face. This is the moment I would have dumped you for good, but apprently she is way nicer than me (and I'm a bit of a pushover). Your whole argument about how you felt upset because she was your first, etc, may hold a small amount of merit and I could see where you'd be upset. But again, that's not her fault. You essentially ended the relationship, which meant she was free to do what she wanted. And then shortly after finding out, you ended it again. Way to work through your problems. Why on earth do people initiate a break/suggest to date other people and then feel entitled to get pissed when the other person actually sees someone else?

5. The trust issue manifested in the email checking
. Also covered above and by practically everyone else here. I hope he does deserve her since you don't.

When I first read this I was like, "oh, this would be an interesting thread to keep refreshing today." And then I actually thought about it during lunch and got all fired up at how awful you were. So I apologize if we hurt your feelings, since you're clearly already hurting. But wait! There is good news!!

You'll be okay.

Maybe not today (def. not today) or tomorrow, or even nine months from now. As I mentioned, your future is not gone. Heck, it's just beginning!

1. Move out.
Enough other people have explained why. But if I know people that can live with debt like that in a major city on half your salary, you can do it too.

2. Find a good friend or better yet, a therapist that can work with you through some of the trust and possession issues that you display. Seeking solace from strangers on the internet is dangerous, as you can see.

3. You will meet someone else. You will meet someone local (and oh, what a great feeling it is to have a local relationship after years of LDR!). You will meet someone who is 25 times better for you than this girl and you will seriously question why you got so bent out of shape way back when.

4. You will have another best friend. I know this is probably the hardest thing to accept, but it's true. Don't let that be the reason you want her back, since you'll probably have way more friends than significant relationships in your lifetime.

5. If you live life to the fullest for three years instead of relying on your proposed hiatus you won't need her at the end. I've been in relationships where we've tried this, thinking, "we'll find our way back to each other" or "if we are still single by May 25, 2006, we'll get married" (swear to god). Both times, they found their way to someone else, which was fine, since I had too. Both were married before the allotted time period was up and I was in a happy relationship. Just wanted to show you that even though the hiatus will not work, it won't be the end of the world.

6. You can mourn and grieve. This was 10 years of your life spent with one person. It's not the sort of thing you can just snap out of. It is not going to be easy but you will be okay. Life is not over and your future is not gone. I promise. Listen to some sad songs, write a little poetry, be moody, but please, don't let your thoughts stay on this girl and how you're meant to be.

Good luck.
posted by ml98tu at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2006 [4 favorites]

Her parents were right, she should date around, and she is. Someday you'll be glad that you got to see the world a little bit before you settle down, too. Take the heartbreak right now, suffer through it, maybe even savor it a little bit, and then go sow your wild oats.
posted by anildash at 10:32 AM on August 9, 2006

40-year-old male (grumblebee) perspective: I can't say "move on" like all the others here. That may or may not be a good idea. Whenever ANYONE posts a relationship problem on AskMe, the #1 responses are "it's over" and "move on." As someone who deeply values commitment (even when times are tough -- ESPECIALLY when times are tough), I can't give this advice. I also DON'T believe that one should stay in a relationship no matter how bad it gets. Heck, I don't believe one SHOULD do anything. But I do think that when love is involved, a relationship is worth working at.

And since you two have a deep, long-term bond -- and share a lot of history -- it's possible that the relationship can be salvaged.

But if you want to give it a chance, there are (at least) two things that you MUST work on (and solve) first. Don't even attempt to start up with her again until you deal with these things.

1. Your boundary issues. (Reading her email.)
2. Your jealousy.

1. I, like pretty much everyone else here, am shocked that you REPEATEDLY read her email. In a mature relationship, each member MUST be granted some privacy. If you believe that couples share EVERYTHING, you've swallowed crap from romantic movies. Until you can get to the point that -- even if you suspect her of infidelity -- you're able to keep yourself from invading her privacy, you shouldn't be in a relationship with her. Or anyone else.

2. A really healthy relationship should be able to handle infidelity. People lust. In a longterm relationship, MAYBE that lust will never translate into cheating. But that's often not true. So you have to face the fact that, in any relationship, your partner (or you) might stray.

I'm not condoning it. I'm not saying it's no big deal. It IS a big deal. But if you want a LONG TERM relationship -- if you want to pairbond for life -- then you need to become the kind of person who can whether these sorts of problems.

If your girlfriend/wife cheats on you all the time, that's a major problem -- probably divorce-worthy (though marriages have recovered, even from this). But a single incident? Or even two? Again, it's a problem, but do you want to be the sort of person who lets such problems ruin your relationships? If so, since many people cheat, you're likely to be in many ruined relationships.

Remember, people make mistakes. People make BIG mistakes. A mature person knows how to forgive.

If you feel like that's impossible, because the idea of her cheating fills you with rage that's beyond your control, then that's YOUR problem. And you need to solve it.

It's not your problem because she should be allowed to cheat with impunity. I'm not talking about ethics here. It's your problem because your anger is hurting the relationship.

Okay, her cheating is hurting the relationship, too. But you can't control that. Only she can control that. They only thing you can control -- or at least the only thing you have a chance of controlling -- is your anger, possessiveness and jealousy.

None of these things are easy to control. You will probably have to work at it your whole life. That's just the way it works. For many of us, relationships are hard work. But worth it.

If you can't do the work yourself, there's a whole industry of therapists waiting to help you.

Good luck!
posted by grumblebee at 11:36 AM on August 9, 2006 [4 favorites]

I'm really sorry about the breakup. Breakups are hard, but we all get over them, even though it doesn't feel like it in the moment.

As others have commented, "Welcome to your first breakup." You're about ten years' behind the game, but you're still young, and now you're in the Fun World of Singledom.

And I'm not trying to be funny, because now is really the time for you to get to know yourself. Who are you? What kind of person are you? What kind of personalities do you get along with? What do you like to do? What's a good way for you to relax or blow off steam? What kind of books do you like to read? What do like to do on a weekend instead of driving 300 miles roundtrip?

Like the rest of us who dated for years, we learned something new about ourselves with each relationship (and definitely at each breakup).

It sounds like you have trust issues, but it may have only been because of the stress of the LDR. In any case, you can get help for that.

I seriously suggest you see a therapist and get over this relationship. Just because it was ten years doesn't sound like it was a good ten years. You mention it so often, as if it is part of you, and that it should have gone on forever because of ten so-so years.

With each successive breakup, I learned that there wasn't only one man out there for me. I learned that there are lots of different personalities and temperaments. That's where the getting-to-know-yourself part comes in.

You only have to please yourself while you are single --- enjoy it! This is actually a really fun and exciting time in your young life. And, get the hell out of your parents' house.
posted by Pocahontas at 11:38 AM on August 9, 2006

grumblebee - there's not a lot of evidence to suggest that she cheated on him at all.
posted by agregoli at 11:46 AM on August 9, 2006

The reason you need to let go of this relationship is that it has obviously prevented you from growing up and learning the things that other people learn in their early twenties. Like how to break up with someone. Seriously, you need to let go. And move out of your parents' house. Pay off your loans slower and get a cheap apartment. Date lots of girls. Don't read their email. Try to have some fun and not obsess over things.
posted by 912 Greens at 11:47 AM on August 9, 2006

Okay, I didn't read any of what the others posted, because there is just so much of it.

I had a very similar relationship; I was with the same guy for five years. He cheated on me with my best friend six months in, and I was young and stayed on thinking it was "true love" and that's what you do. Eventually we broke up, horribly. We had heated arguments, told our friends the worst about the other person, and were generally just very immature about the whole thing.

Now, two and a half years later, I see the boy every weekend, as he is now one of my best friends. I am happily involved with someone else, as is he, but the friendship is still there. We were able to work through our breakup, eventually, and come back to doing what we did best--just be friends.

It is doable, I assure you, you just need a [possibly quite long] cooling off period. At the end of the cooling off period, you need to evaluate your feelings to determine if you even want to be friends with this girl.

Good luck.
posted by starbaby at 12:05 PM on August 9, 2006

Here is the only thing you can do to get past this: become a new person. It's not as difficult as it sounds given enough time, we all change eventually. You can actively speed this process up and choose the direction of it, though. With a relationship this long and deep, you don't ever really get over it. The person you were for those 10 years is not going to get over it. But you won't be that person forever.
posted by scarabic at 12:47 PM on August 9, 2006

grumblebee - there's not a lot of evidence to suggest that she cheated on him at all.

It doesn't matter.

He can't change what she's done or hasn't done. He MIGHT be able to change his perceptions and his actions.

So many of these discussions get bogged down in ethics and semantics: was she wrong to cheat? Did she or didn't she cheat? What counts as cheating? Etc. Etc. Etc.

All that stuff -- if useful at all -- is only useful after the breakup or reconciliation, to justify your behavior ("I HAD to dumb her, man. She cheated on me." "I'm such a good guy. I stayed with her even though she cheated.")

This can be taken to ridiculous levels, like that ongoing joke on "Friends", in which that couple endlessly debated whether or not he cheated. He claimed they didn't, because "We were on a BREAK!!!" If you can get some distance from the characters, you realize that endlessly trying to argue whether or not he cheated leads them nowhere.

(I'm appalled that I've actively tried NOT to watch "Friends," and I still know about this... *sigh*)
posted by grumblebee at 1:03 PM on August 9, 2006

So many of these discussions get bogged down in ethics and semantics: was she wrong to cheat? Did she or didn't she cheat? What counts as cheating? Etc. Etc. Etc.

I agree, and that's exactly why I responded to you the way I did - you mentioned several times about her cheating and it's not relevant, if it ever actually happened.
posted by agregoli at 1:07 PM on August 9, 2006

I just wanted to add that break-ups can (and possibly should) be empowering. You can do all those things that you put off because you were too busy thinking of her. As others have suggested you can try new activities (however you want to take that!) and you can work out who you are as an individual who has to stand on his own two feet. This may be a gross generalization, but in my experience guys tend to take break-ups worse than women (I know that I took my first real break-up pretty badly at first until I really thought about it.) Many women take them as empowering -it's a damn good example to follow.
posted by ob at 2:51 PM on August 9, 2006

you mentioned several times about her cheating and it's not relevant, if it ever actually happened.

It is relevant in the sense that, for most of us, if we FEEL that someone has cheated on us, we get angry, hurt and jealous. And these are feelings we need to understand and learn to control -- if we want to keep relationships going.

We also need spouses that don't cheat. But we can't control that. We can try to make predictions about mates and choose people we THINK won't cheat. But we often predict wrong. Anyway, few people use rigorous logic when picking a mate.

Here's a place that you CAN get to: I've been married for 10 years, and I remember when it dawned on me that I would stay with my wife even if she cheated on me. I just suddenly knew it -- as clearly as I can know anything. (I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stay with her if she cheated over and over. I'm talking about if she admitted to -- or if I found out about -- a single mistake.)

When I realized this, I realized that it meant that I valued my marriage above many other things: my pride, my status as alpha male, etc. Bottom line: I love my wife, she's my best friend, we have years of shared history, etc. Yes, it would suck if she cheated on me. I'd be very upset. But it would suck worse to be without her. I don't know if I could instantly forgive her. But realizing how much I value her and my marriage, it's in MY best interest to find a way to do so.

Which is when the ethics became less important to me. I don't care about who's right and who's wrong. I care about the relationship. If I do anything to jeopardize the relationship (including lashing out at my wife -- even if she is at fault), then I'm damaging something that I don't want damaged.

Not everyone can or should live like this. But everyone should think hard and deep about their priorities and try to fashion a world in which they are met.
posted by grumblebee at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

When I realized this, I realized that it meant that I valued my marriage above many other things

Which I think is admirable, but not altogether relevant in this particular instance, in which the 10-year-relationship under question began isn't a marriage -- it's an on-again, off-again, high-drama long-distance relationship that began when the participants were in high school. Your understanding of your marriage is that of a mature, reflective 40-year-old who I know (from your other posts on the topic) is incredibly considerate and respectful of your partner; in this case, the poster is a 26-year-old who lives with his parents, has never had another relationship, regularly invades his (ex)girlfriend's privacy, and seems to think he's the victim because of it. It's not that your insight into your marriage isn't valuable; it's that I think you're talking quantum physics with someone who's not even clear on the basics of gravity.
posted by scody at 3:19 PM on August 9, 2006 [4 favorites]

feh, I have no idea where that rogue "began" in the first sentence came from, but please disregard.
posted by scody at 3:20 PM on August 9, 2006

I didn't read everyone else's responses, but i'll just tell you that I, and 2 other close friends, went through a very similar ordeal of having highschool sweethearts / firstloves that cheated on us.

It hurts so very very very fucking bad at first, but I swear you'll get over her in time. Right now you can't imagine a future without her, but one day you WILL get over her.

In the meantime, go to the gym. Try lifting weights. It really helps a LOT and redirects your anger/frustration in a positive way.

It might take a few months or a few years, but things will get better. You probably won't believe this right now or even want to think about it, but you're going to meet a lot of new, more interesting, and all around better women in the future.

1.5 years after my ex cheated on me, she begged me to take her back. I couldn't help but chuckle at the prospect because at that point I couldn't even imagine my life WITH her. I have met so many great women and been in some wonderful relationships since we broke up 4 years ago. When I look back now, I don't feel an ounce of sadness or remorse. Instead, I feel horror that at the time I was willing to spend the rest of my life with her. I discussed this thoroughly with my 2 buddies who went through the same thing. They feel exactly the same way as I do.

Take this opportunity to learn about yourself and what you want in life and from your future partner. Improve yourself by taking up a hobby, reading some good books, or just learning something new.

When you do get over her, you can decide with a clear mind whether or not you want to pursue a platonic friendship with her.

I hope I gave you a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. There is life after love and it IS good. Live your life and have fun =]
posted by atmu at 3:32 PM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also, if you have a close group of friends, hang out with them as much as possible. Good friends will always be there to help you out during tough times, and I guarantee you will forge some awesome friendships in the process.
posted by atmu at 3:37 PM on August 9, 2006

I think you're talking quantum physics with someone who's not even clear on the basics of gravity.

I agree. But he has to master both before his relationships will work and last -- or at least I did. For me, it didn't all click until my mid 30s.

So he needs to know that (a) relationships are hard work -- but worth it; (b) it make take him many years to get it right; (c) but there's a light at the end of the tunnel if he DOES spend those years working at it.

I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. When I was younger, romantic movies fooled me into thinking that "love is all you need," and that if you had to work on YOURSELF, the relationship wasn't worth it. I think a very few people luck into relationships where no work is required, but I'd bet that's less than 1%.

People should use the relationships of their youth as learning tools. I'm not saying these relationships aren't important -- or that they definitely won't last. But if one ends, and you don't use the "data" from it to change and grow, then the relationship was a waste. I wasted a lot of time, enduring breakups and refusing to learn from them. Instead I emoted and got into high drama. There's nothing wrong with emoting, but things didn't get better until I started analyzing, learning, and seeking help.
posted by grumblebee at 4:18 PM on August 9, 2006

(a) relationships are hard work -- but worth it; (b) it make take him many years to get it right; (c) but there's a light at the end of the tunnel if he DOES spend those years working at it. [...] When I was younger, romantic movies fooled me into thinking that "love is all you need," and that if you had to work on YOURSELF, the relationship wasn't worth it. [...] There's nothing wrong with emoting, but things didn't get better until I started analyzing, learning, and seeking help.

Nicely put, and that I agree with 100%.
posted by scody at 4:24 PM on August 9, 2006

I think you should see a therapist. You have to learn how not to overstep boundaries. No girl/woman is ever going to like or appreciate that. She doesn't feel the way you do about the relationship, so I would learn to let it go, if I were you, andd try your hardest not to be bitter. She could have cheated on you when you were married and that would have sucked.

Just let her go, dude.

You willl get over it and it will be ok. I know it seems like magic or special, but you have to know what you really want and you have to take her off that pedestal and start revising your future dream life. It may or may not involve her. But it's obvious that she wants too sow her wild oats right now. I'm surprised you don't feel the same.
posted by onepapertiger at 8:37 PM on August 9, 2006

Beware: I am not going to sugarcoat this answer as I am a firm believer you need to be bluntly told this, as it seems subtlety doesn't really work for you.

I 100% agree with pieoverdone - you brought this all on yourself and you have very little sympathy from me.

You have bullied and emotionally blackmailed this girl for years and I for one am glad she woke up to herself.

You strike me as a very possessive and intimidating party in the relationship, with little respect for her autonomy. She doesn't need your blessing to choose her friends, whatever their intentions might be. Are you really that insecure in yourself? Or do you think she isn't intelligent enough to handle these situations yourself?

You seem to have very little to offer this girl despite your 'undying love'. So what? I have undying love for Angelina Jolie and i am sure she isn't going to dump Brad for me. If you want to pursue this sick scheme to trick her back into a relationship then perhaps offer her some respect.

You're hurting. I understand. I just hope in a few weeks you will re-read this post and realise how bad an idea this all is.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 10:51 PM on August 9, 2006

Eh, I wouldn't be so hard on this guy. The girl apparently strung him along for ten years refusing to stand up to her parents about their relationship. I mean, she was in medical school and still didn't have the guts to tell her parents about him. Anon may be jealous and controlling, but his ex sounds incredibly immature. They are better off without each other.
posted by footnote at 6:06 AM on August 10, 2006

This will hurt. In the end, you will be stronger for it.

Move on.

It seems insanely complicated, but it's really simple. Believe me.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:00 PM on August 13, 2006

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