My life is a blues song.
June 22, 2008 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Brokenrelationshipfilter? Two weeks ago I found out that my girlfriend of a year had been seeing an acquaintance of my best friend for the past two months. They're over, and she told me, asking that we stay together. I'm not sure now if we're going to or not, but we agreed to six months more to see if we can make it work. I'm pissed, frankly, and she's suffering from horrible post-breakup depression; crying, insomnia, apathy, the works. I do, I believe, love her, but I'm having trouble seeing how we'll get through all the smoke in the air. I'm well aware that I'm the only one who can make this decision, but rationality isn't my strong point right now, and I could use some outside perspective.

Messy, eh? There are a few corollaries to this that you should be aware of. First, my leg was broken 1.5 months ago, and I'm still recovering from that. It's one of those steel insert thingers, so I'm able to hobble around without a cast, go out, etc., but it limits my mobility to a certain extent. We don't have the option of going hiking, clubbing, or out to dinner, like we normally would. She's sick and tired of staying at home. I, however, work from home, as does she. She actually manages a business complete with staff that comes in during the day from here. I mostly work on the web.

The other really ugly complication is that our circle of friends is one that's closed pretty tight. My girlfriend and I know the same people, are pretty equally liked by them, and the drama this would create if it got out isn't something I like to think about. I can't really rely on them for support without shredding the circle. I've told two of them that it happened, not with who, and responses were "ditch her" and "consider me the bat poised in hand - if I find out who the motherfucker is I'll beat the shit out of him". That is the last thing I need on my conscience.

As to her depression, well, it's in full swing. She doesn't have energy to do any housework (I'm doing what I can, but, my leg is broken), nor much rational thinking. Last night she spent the entire night sobbing, alternating between "I love you" and "I regret ending it with him". She's mentioned suicide in passing, and though I don't think she's serious, I'm watching for warning signs. She's 29, I'm 24.

I'm exhausted and confused. She's been the most supportive, loving person I've ever known, and up until about the time she started seeing him, this was the most satisfying relationship I've ever been in. We were and are still talking about marriage. Even now she is as loving and supporting as she can be in her lucid moments. I want to be the same for her, but I also do feel very, very wronged, and at times that comes out. I need to control that if I'm going to get through this. My primary complaint is that she just does not say it when things are bothering or hurting her, that she acts out, is acknowledged by our mutual friends as probably her biggest shortcoming, and we've made a lot of progress on that front. What I've come to understand since this all came out two weeks ago is that she felt ignored by me, for a long time, and I'll attribute that to my moodiness - I prefer solitude when I'm stressed out or angry, and on the career front I have been frustrated since February, when I had to take a job I didn't want to retain residence in this country (I'm somewhere in Asia; primary career is freelance web stuff). I've got some time off because of the broken leg, but once it's healed I'll have to either go back to work or quit for a job with less demanding hours.

And that's my dilemma. I think this relationship is worth saving, but I really, really don't know how, and after a lot of long, sleepless nights trying to help her sleep, I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it, or possible.

Any thoughts, feelings, or advice are deeply appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (61 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
She cheated on you for two months? Walk away and don't look back.
posted by bricoleur at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

"I regret ending it with him"

This is not a woman who wants to be with you. Annoying, painful, and it's going to cause a mess.... but it's also true. Of all the things she could be depressed about... wow.

I don't recommend saving a relationship in which you're recast as such a doormat.
posted by rokusan at 5:51 PM on June 22, 2008 [5 favorites]

Your girlfriend is suffering from post break-up depression over breaking up with someone else?

This is a DTMFA for the textbooks, my friend. I know you love her, but this relationship will never, ever work. If she were 22, maybe, but she should've grown out of this nonsense by now.

You're going to have to leave her. You can do it now, or you can do it after she's wasted a few more years of your life and hurt you even more.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:54 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

"consider me the bat poised in hand - if I find out who the motherfucker is I'll beat the shit out of him". That is the last thing I need on my conscience.

Dude, are you from Mars? Maybe you've left something out, and this friend is *literally* a violent enforcer of his moral code... but I'm guessing that he is, as friends do, employing hyperbole to get across the idea that he has your back in this horrific situation. Your girlfriend cheated on you for two months. And now she has the nerve to keep you up nights while she cries to you about how she shouldn't have let that other guy go?! And you blame yourself for the cheating?! And you blame yourself for her sulking now because your leg is broken and you can't cheer her up by taking her out clubbing?!? Do you have any idea how sad that sounds?!?
You need to break up with her. You need to kick her out, and then you need to spend a long time getting to a place where you can clearly see that you deserve an honest and faithful partner who will not pile humiliation upon humiliation while you lap it up.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:02 PM on June 22, 2008 [13 favorites]

I'm sorry, this is very hard. I know some relationships can recover from infidelity, but both parties have to be fully committed, and both sustain ongoing pain for months.

If she is prepared to have you tell her over and over again how much it hurts, AND not minimise what she did, AND understand that you probably won't trust her easily, probably not for a long time, years even, and you are prepared to be angry and untrusting, and upset with her, and still try to love and forgive her, then maybe you have a chance. However, without children or some massive assets in the balance, or some other impetus, I wonder whether it's worth it to work through.

It's possible you might think your friend-circle is a big enough reason - you guys want to be together so that nobody in your friends gets hurt, but honestly, that's not a good reason to go through this shit. Maybe she won't even want to, knowing that they know she's been unfaithful and hurt you, maybe they won't be able to contain their anger in front of her.

I'd let this one go.
posted by b33j at 6:07 PM on June 22, 2008

Dude, walk (or hobble) away from this chick. She's too old to be doing this shit, and you're too young to be putting up with it.

It's rough to end relationships that have gone on for a year or more, but you need to get away now. That doesn't mean it has to be "over" over - you could always try dating her again sometime in the future, but right now you need to be away from her in a bad way.

Justice for all. Mercy for none.
posted by wfrgms at 6:08 PM on June 22, 2008

Wait a minute, you're feeling bad about ending things because she's depressed about breaking up with the guy with whom she was cheating on you?

Do you live together? Move out and get your own place. Like, yesterday. Even if you do try to stay together, it sounds like this woman needs to learn to clean up her own messes. I also think you should break up with her, but obviously I'm just going on what you wrote. I don't mean this to sounds as harsh as it may come across, but it sounds to me like she's the textbook hot crazy chick and you're the chump who puts up with the drama.

Oh, your friends will be fine. Just tell them things didn't work out and leave them out of it.
posted by emd3737 at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I regret ending it with him"

Dump her. NOW.

She's been the most supportive, loving person I've ever known,

Until she started fucking someone else. Dump her. NOW.

Even now she is as loving and supporting as she can be in her lucid moments.

Oops, she's not lucid? Dump her. NOW.

my leg was broken 1.5 months ago

my girlfriend of a year had been seeing an acquaintance of my best friend for the past two months

Two weeks after getting injured, she started fucking someone else. Dump her. NOW.

She doesn't have energy to do any housework (I'm doing what I can, but, my leg is broken), nor much rational thinking.

Ok, after starting to fuck someone else after you got injured, she ended it and is too depressed to , oh I don't know, pick up the slack for the injured person she supposedly loves and has gone crazy and is using your injured, heartbroken self to make her feel better.

She may have feelings for you and she might call that love, but these are not the actions of a person who loves you. A person who loves you would put you first, would think of you and wouldn't start fucking someone just 'cause you broke your leg and she's tired of staying home.

Dump her. NOW.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 PM on June 22, 2008 [9 favorites]

anonymous, your girlfriend sounds like she's going through something pretty terrible. I will save my judgements as to her character when I read your post (I will tell you this, though, they are Not Nice).

However, this is the truth as it stands:

You deserve better.
You are not going to get what you want from her.
It's not your fault.

You may love her and want to work it out, but it's not on you to soothe her pain. She's made her bed. You do not need to hobble around, literally and figuratively, to make anything better for her. Get out as soon as you can. It's very difficult to leave someone who is wrong for you. I don't really know how, either. But you should probably find a way. If it's being angry, get angry.

She has wronged you, it's true, but you are debasing yourself by putting up with it. Painful as it is, when you debase yourself, you deserve what you get.

Repeat after me:

"I deserve better."
"I am not going to get what I want from her."
"It's not my fault."
posted by pazazygeek at 6:15 PM on June 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

she's suffering from horrible post-breakup depression; crying, insomnia, apathy, the works.

Here's the problem. There is only one person here who is willing to act in your best interest. That's you. Her feelings about the break up aren't really your issue. They are hers. Your issue is dealing with your feelings about what happened to you. If you do not attend to these, you are going to have a lot of problems with yourself moving forward.

Every one of your actions right now needs to be about taking care of you, not her. You are in a situation where you cannot count on someone you previously trusted to look out for your interests. The quicker you realize this, the better.

The secret to a successful love life is (1) understanding and acting as if your first responsibility is to your own happiness and (2) figuring out a way to make that work with someone else's situation.

the rest is just implementation.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:22 PM on June 22, 2008 [6 favorites]

people make mistakes but two months of cheating is not a mistake. i know it's tough and you are thinking there all are these exonerating circumstances that you forgot to mention in the post, but the answer from outside perspectives will always be move on, move on.
posted by bluenausea at 6:26 PM on June 22, 2008

Christ on a pogo stick. Run away, on the broken leg if you have to.
posted by tkolar at 6:34 PM on June 22, 2008

Repeat after me:

"I am not responsible for the choices other adults make, regardless of what they say, or the consequences of their choices."

"I deserve the same good, happy, loving, supportive relationships that I wish for others."

(If you are a religious person) "I am made in the image of God."

"There are worse things than being alone."

Repeat as often as necessary. All the best to you.
posted by 4ster at 6:36 PM on June 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I know some relationships can recover from infidelity

I don't

She's too old to be doing this shit


I have never just jumped to this conclusion when one of these questions are asked, but seriously...DTMFA!
posted by P.o.B. at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2008

She cheated on you for 1/6th of your relationship, and seems to have a significant portion of her mind telling her to continue. That's not good, and the desire to continue is worse.

Two, the suicide thing, while it may be a valid part of her depression, may also be an attempt to emotionally manipulate you into staying. Don't fall for it should it happen.

Either way: not worth the pain. Sorry.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:01 PM on June 22, 2008

Two weeks ago I found out that my girlfriend of a year had been seeing an acquaintance of my best friend for the past two months. They're over, and she told me, asking that we stay together.

In other words, he dumped her, and you are the fallback. I believe you need to face the fact that this woman is without concern for you as a person, and sees you as an instrument for fulfilling her needs-- an instrument which can be manipulated with no more attention to its feelings than you would give to a frying pan.

Reciprocate her lack of feeling as best you can, and get on with your life.
posted by jamjam at 7:04 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

She's mentioned suicide in passing, and though I don't think she's serious, I'm watching for warning signs.

Sounds like one reason you're with her is to take care of her. And okay, maybe she needs someone to lean on right now — but that someone shouldn't be you. You can't effectively take care of someone who's hurting you that badly. You're just not the right guy for the job.

Those extra-loyal friends you've been complaining about? They're also a resource here. Tell that guy who thinks he's a baseball bat to take it easy — if he's really got your back, he'll do it. Ask another friend or two to keep an eye on your girlfriend and make sure she's doing okay.

And then get the hell out of there.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:24 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Walk (limp) away, sir. This is a pretty obvious DTMFA situation.
posted by jjb at 7:33 PM on June 22, 2008

DTMFA - core of the relationship is trust, and the trust between you has been destroyed...
posted by thedaniel at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2008

Not knowing you, not knowing her, but hearing the way you talk about how supportive and loving she can be, I'm not going to say there's no way this can work. Maybe you can get through this, and maybe it will be worth it.

But there are a couple questions you have to ask, and the answers really have to be yes for you to even have a shot at this working out: Does she really want to be with you? Is she really sorry about what she did? Does she accept that you're rightfully hurt and angry and is she willing to make amends to you in order to fix things? Listen to your gut. If you honestly believe that the answers are yes, then it might be worthwhile to wait through this patch where she's psychologically struggling until she pulls herself together more (at which point she needs to actually and consistently demonstrate to you that she is sorry and wants to be with you and is trying to make amends.) But if any of the answers are no, then it certainly seems to me like you need to get the heck out of there.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 7:44 PM on June 22, 2008

So you live together right? To me this is the crux of it - not only would it be breaking up but it'd be messy to figure out who gets the place and so on. So my advice is this: do not let that be the reason you stay together. You're getting lots of objective advice and it all points to the fact that she's somehow on the rebound from that other guy and trying to keep you around to help out. You need to get out both emotionally and physically.

And the shared friends thing? Don't worry about it. These things work themselves out, and people can deal with the reality that you're not together anymore without you having to find a whole bunch of new people to hang out with.
posted by drmarcj at 7:45 PM on June 22, 2008

DTMFA. Anything else said is wasted.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:00 PM on June 22, 2008

Relationship, meet fork. Fork, relationship. Seriously.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:18 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm sure you must be confused and in a lot of pain right now. But I'll tell you one thing I'm sure of. If you get out now, as you should, at some point in the future--maybe a month, maybe six months--you're going to come back and reread your question. And it's going to look just like you asked: "Hey, I'm standing in the middle of the highway, and a 16-wheeler is headed towards me. Should I get out of the way?"

Because your girlfriend is a liar. And nobody should be romantically involved with a liar. And when you realize you aren't anymore, and you realize what you avoided, you'll be absolutely giddy with relief.

Congratulations--in advance--for missing the oncoming truck.
posted by neroli at 8:23 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Woah. Dude, admittedly I am no expert at relationships, but WOW. You need to run far, and run fast from this girl. You need to understand YOU ARE NOT HER BOYFRIEND. The guy she just broke up with was her boyfriend, you are now officially the guy she uses. Get out, get way out. Move, change your phone number, RUN AWAY.

posted by blue_beetle at 8:26 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure now if we're going to or not, but we agreed to six months more to see if we can make it work.

Seems like a better idea to take a break now, let her do her healing (or whatever it is) on her own without inflicting it on you - you have your own hurt to deal with, you don't need hers as well --, and then reconvene in a few months to see if it can work.

It'll give you both time to think about whether you really want one another. I suppose there's always some chance that you can make it work eventually, but she really screwed up and doesn't seem to know what she means when/if she says she loves you. She made a grievous mistake that wasn't loving at all. You have every right to be hurt and angry, and no reasonable person would expect you to be patient and supportive at this moment.

If I were you, I'd want to think about whether this was really a good relationship for me, whether she was treating me the way I want to be treated, and whether I could handle a future with someone I knew was willing to do this sort of thing. It was very big of you to try to honor her request to try to work it out, but it doesn't sound like she's even ready to try to work it out. It sounds like she's settling for the comfort of having you around while mourning a relationship she would have rather had. But short of saying DTMFA - because that's harsh-sounding, and very far from your mindset right now - I recommend telling her that you need to take a break. Just spend a few months apart. And plan to set a date three to six months in the future when you meet to talk and decide whether you can pick up again and heal the rift.

I'd be very surprised if you found after three to six months that you wanted to.

Good luck. You definitely deserve, and have a right to insist on, better treatment from an SO.
posted by Miko at 8:26 PM on June 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

People mess up and make mistakes. Her fucking your friend once is a mistake -- she confesses, she feels sorry, you get angry and hurt, life goes on.

Her fucking him for two months and crying about it now (in front of you, no less) is not a mistake -- it's a big fat "fuck you" from her to you. If she valued the relationship and loved you, she wouldn't have done it, and she wouldn't be crying and missing him now.

Time to move on, man. Life is too short for crap like this; she sounds like an endless bucket of neediness and if it isn't this crisis it will be another. Either boot her out or move into a friend's basement, depending on who's place it is that you are living in now, and make it the cleanest break in the history of breaks.

(And if you haven't done so already, get a full STD check up, just in case your friend was also seeing some other girl, and so on.)
posted by Forktine at 8:35 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

She's been the most supportive, loving person I've ever known

You must know a lot of really terrible people if she stands out as the best, because in my life, she'd be in the bottom .1% based on what you've described. If she were truly supportive, she would not have been screwing your friend as you were recovering from your broken leg. If she were truly loving, she would not be trying to manipulate you with the tears and suicide threats. The loving, supportive stuff is an act, and her true self is a selfish, lying, emotionally manipulative cheater.

You are the one that should be crying, not her. She's the one running around on you and pining away for her lost lover that isn't you. As someone else mentioned, she probably got dumped. I would be willing to bet if she hadn't been, she'd still be running around on you.

I honestly hope that everyone screaming DTMFA does not fall on your deaf ears. It's good you aren't married. Can you imagine the nightmare this would be if you had children together?
posted by MegoSteve at 9:20 PM on June 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

You've "agreed to give it six more months?"

Sir, your relationship is not a work contract, where you can agree to extend the duration at will. This woman isn't looking for a boyfriend, she wants an employee to pick up after her mess.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:31 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

A person who cheated on you and desperately wants to be with you would be trying to show you how much they love you, working on the issues you two have, etc. Based on your description, she's wallowing in the pain of this other breakup. On the whole, this doesn't sound like someone who cares for you the way you deserve to be.

Don't factor your circle of friends into this equation---that will sort itself out (I've been there). Do what is best for your long term happiness and go your own way.
posted by lacedback at 9:37 PM on June 22, 2008

My curb, let me kick you to it.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:58 PM on June 22, 2008 [8 favorites]

I agree with the dtmfa crowd, not out of vengeance. But, just because whatever had her off looking will have her off again, and because you're not getting the support you need from her now. You don't need to be trying to support her pain as well as your own.

"Even now she is as loving and supporting as she can be in her lucid moments. I want to be the same for her, but I also do feel very, very wronged, and at times that comes out. I need to control that be honest about that if I'm going to get through this."

You generally cannot control your own feelings, not in any long-term way. You can only respond to them skillfully, and represent them honestly and non-aggressively. In this case, that might mean asking for a break.

You could say this: "I'm exhausted and confused. You are as loving and supporting as you can be in your lucid moments. But your depression, well, it's in full swing. I want to be loving and supportive for you, but I also do feel very, very wronged, and at times that comes out. You need someone else to support you through this." And then, spend some time thinking about whether this relationship is worth it.
posted by salvia at 10:00 PM on June 22, 2008


I have a hard time believing this is a serious question.

She's crying to you about regretting breaking things off with the other guy??

Unless you have some sort of dysfunction where you can only be happy being degraded and humiliated and taken advantage of, then you should end this relationship immediately. Tomorrow would be great.

And a woman pushing 30 who still cries hysterically over a soap opera like this and threatens (or implies) suicide is emotionally damaged.

Move on. Again, tomorrow would be great.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:03 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you want to make this relationship work, you've got to take control of it. From what you wrote, it sounds like you are taking on responsibility for her actions. If you let yourself be turned into the villain, then this will happen again, soon. Possibly, the next time she sees that guy.

That said.

This sounds like a pretty clear case of DTMFA, as has been said many times above. She was annoyed at you, so rather than discuss it with you, she went and started a new relationship. People that cheat don't magically become people that don't cheat. This is going to happen again, next time, the other guy might get her and you'll be left with nothing.

Longer term, you're probably gonna wind up raising the mailman's kids.
posted by paperzach at 10:18 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Humans have the ability to cope with all sorts of traumatic situations. This woman has really hurt you, obviously. If she had hurt you in a less egregious way (such as making out with someone, one time), you would be justifiably angry and maybe you'd just dump her right then and there. But she has stepped so far over the line of acceptable behavior, and inflicted so much hurt on you, that your pain mechanism has had to adjust and probably is misfiring now. Instead of viewing this as "why is she hurting me?" you're viewing this as "why is she broken and how can I fix it?" Ditch the problem solver mentality and determine what you want. Not what she needs or she wants, but what you want.

You sound like a selfless person. That's an admirable character trait when you're with someone who respects you and doesn't abuse your generosity. The woman you describe, however, is a leech. Ditch her.
posted by Happydaz at 11:13 PM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have you heard the expression "sunk costs"? Say you buy a $100 nonrefundable ticket to a concert. Then a good friend invites you to a movie for $20. You feel that you had to go to concert because you had already paid $100 but the $100 is a sunk cost that you can't get back. The real choice is whether you would rather go to the concert for free (since it is paid for) or go with your friend for $20. Looked at that way, you might decide that the concert isn't that great and would really rather be your friend. Or maybe you like the band would jump at the chance to go for free.

Right now, you have sunk a great deal into the relationship - you are even planning to marry her. So you feel like you should keep going on the path that you are on since you have gone so far already. (After all, you already paid $100 for the ticket.) But you need to assess where you are right now. There is a cost to breaking up - emotional and logistical. But you have to ask if this woman is right person to be your partner for life. (Do you want to be free to meet someone else who might be better for you?)

Redoubing your commitment doesn't make sense when your partner has no idea what she wants. She needs to prove that she is trustworthy (I assume that being able to trust your partner is important for you.) To that, she needs to get her own act together and then you each need to figure out if this is a relationship that you really want to be in. Please try to give yourself some time and distance to figure out what just happened to you and what you want for your own future.
posted by metahawk at 11:42 PM on June 22, 2008

You will not be able to have a good relationship with this person. Dump her. Fuck the suicide talk, fuck her stress over breaking it off with the other guy. Dump her, dump her, dump her.

But she has stepped so far over the line of acceptable behavior, and inflicted so much hurt on you, that your pain mechanism has had to adjust and probably is misfiring now. Instead of viewing this as "why is she hurting me?" you're viewing this as "why is she broken and how can I fix it?"

Yup. She has sailed over the boundaries of uncaring behavior into borderline absurdity. Dump her.

I'm sure she has many other good qualities as a human being, but for your own sake, as well as hers: dump her, dump her, dump her.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:19 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I can't for the life of me figure out why you're being such a doormat for her. For her to keep you up crying because she's sad she broke up with the guy she cheated on you with is just...

Dump her, quickly. But after that you might want to consider getting therapy; I could be wrong, but from reading this you sound like you have very little self esteem and are starved for affection or maybe dependent on her in some way. It's natural to not like breaking up -- you've already put so much time into the relationship -- but you seem to be in "unhealthy" territory. I think it might be helpful for you to figure out what it is that makes it so difficult for you to get rid of someone who has walked all over you. If you decide to go that route, CBT might be helpful; you've rationalized a lot of things to yourself.
posted by Nattie at 5:12 AM on June 23, 2008

You can still care about her. You can retain some form of friendship with her. And you will find somebody else at some point in the future that you will love every bit as much as you have loved this woman (and probably more).

But you won't find that person by sticking around in this relationship.
posted by puffmoike at 5:29 AM on June 23, 2008

I don't agree with the "dump her" crowd. People make mistakes, and this kind of thing is as confusing for her as it is hurtful for you. What it comes down to is that she had sex with someone else; that's not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes we need it. Not everyone's morality is founded on needing to find 100% of everything you need in a partner always and forever.

I think it is telling that she has opened up to you, now been honest about it (some will say, "too late"), and is talking with you about what she's going through. That she sees you as the person to turn to when she's made a mistake (even if it puts her relationship with you in jeopardy) demonstrates that you have a closeness and connectedness -- even if this manifestation of it is tough for people to understand.

That she says she shouldn't have ended things with him must really be painful for you to hear. But that's how she's feeling in some of these moments. That's OK. She's working though that. She did make the decision to end it, so there's other unknowable aspects to this that you're not hearing.

I think you're both doing what you can in the situation. Give it 6 months, keep working through it, and wait and see what happens. You can't predict the future and you can't make it have a particular outcome. What you can do is live moment by moment with personal integrity. Yes, it will be painful, but pain isn't a bad thing; yes, it hurts, but it helps you grow.

You're 24. If this doesn't work out, move on to whatever life holds in store for you next.
posted by Lleyam at 5:30 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Let's hope you ignore the foolish advice to cast her 8 weeks (8 weeks! That's a LOT of time in which to consider and continue something, and can't be excused away as a "mistake") of cheating as "confusing". Fuck that noise - you got injured, she decided to go get boned by some other guy until it wasn't as inconvenient to be around you, then tried to lay the guilt she felt for her lying and self-serving behavior upon you.

Don't give her 6 months. Hell, don't give her 6 days - DTMFA, and move on. Let the spineless masses who want to be emotionally abused date girls like this; you deserve better.
posted by ellF at 6:02 AM on June 23, 2008

I would move ASAP and DTMFA. Don't feel guilty. I can't believe that she is doing the "post-breakup depression" crap in front of you! There is no need for you to feel guilty because you can't go clubbing or whatever, either. She's 29-she can (or should be able to) entertain herself!

I agree that you can still care about her (if you want), but this is one of those things that falls into the 'unforgivable' category. I also hold the belief that, "once a cheater, always a cheater." (I know there are those that disagree-whatever). Run, don't look back, you deserve better. Life is too short to be putting up with stupid crap.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:25 AM on June 23, 2008

I was in a fairly similar situation to you in my last relationship. I sincerely and fervently wish I had DTMFA after her first little dalliance with another man.

She's done it once, she'll do it again. And, like in my relationship, she's trying to unload all the guilt and negative emotion about what she's done, on to you.

I've vowed that I will never allow that happen again. So should you.
posted by idiomatika at 6:56 AM on June 23, 2008

The "cheating" language is a really destructive way of characterising things. It smacks of immaturity and I would suggest you put that out of your mind while you try to find you way through to whatever resolution you want to achieve.

If you feel you can put this behind you, if you want to put it behind you, and you can see a path though to resolution with your partner, that's great. Dumping the "mother fucker" isn't the only way though this situation, as your question acknowledges.

Do what you feel is right.
posted by Lleyam at 7:08 AM on June 23, 2008

Fire her.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dump her. Absolutely. Even if you're hoping to keep her, dump her. Think of it this way: if you countenance this kind of behavior by staying with her, she may be outwardly grateful, but she'll lose respect for you. That will lead to her treating you like shit down the road and more than likely doing this again. So dump her, wish her the best but tell her you want nothing to do with her, and disappear from her life. If a few months down the road she's still begging for forgiveness, saying how much she wants to get back together with you, and saying how much of a mistake she made, then maybe consider getting back with her. And if she doesn't do that, oh well--you probably wouldn't want to be with her ayway.
posted by decoherence at 7:46 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

The language of your question shows me that you are denying your feelings. Not once do you call it cheating- I was trying to figure out all the way through your question if that was what was really going on. Do you have an open relationship? Even now, I am not sure (you could be pissed that she didn't tell you of a relationship, not that it existed).

To get over cheating infidelity (in respect to Lleyam) in the relationship, you will have to talk a lot. You'll have to forgive her, over and over. You may think that you are totally over your anger when she does some tiny thing that annoys you and you realize you are taking it out on her because you are still mad at her for cheating on you. She'll get tired of begging for your forgiveness- aren't you over it already? This can poison even a strong relationship, and yours doesn't sound that strong, quite frankly, if she were able to compartmentalize "his" and "your" relationships so much it didn't affect your relationship until now. The healing is going to be doubly complicated by her still grieving over her last relationship. In some ways, you are a rebound.

You can be her friend and help her grieve over her last relationship, or you can be her boyfriend. It is unfair of her to ask you to be both. It is not healthy for you to be both, and you shouldn't let yourself be treated that way.
posted by Monday at 7:56 AM on June 23, 2008

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I even tried to pick up the pieces and ended up marrying the girl. Then she it again two years later ("I'm not sure I want to go to counseling... what if we try for 5 months and it doesn't work out? I may blow my chances with XXXX" ugh.).

Do not pick up the emotional price tag for her brokenness. She is telling you in no uncertain terms that you are not priority number one for her. Do not continue to make somebody a priority in your life for whom you are only an option.

It's super fucking hard, but put some distance there. Feelings follow actions, and that works for you, too -- it'll feel strange at first to not rush to her side, but that gets better the more you *do* it.

You deserve somebody that isn't broken. Somebody that makes you a priority. Somebody with some empathy.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. Knowing exactly what it's like, I wouldn't wish it on anybody.
posted by kaseijin at 8:06 AM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Never trust a club girl. They are looking for the best possible way up, and they will climb on your head to get there. You're too young to deal with old depressive women - you get one chance at this life thing, don't make other peoples problems your own.
posted by ChabonJabon at 8:16 AM on June 23, 2008

I have been on your end, and I have also been the guy on the other end. The short version of the story here is that your girlfriend was auditioning your replacement, and it just didn't work out for her. It worked out for mine.

She pulled the same act to get me that she pulled to replace me, I found out later on... she just couldn't be single, so she led a double life. On the new guy end, the dating story was that she was single and living with the ex as friends because she was trapped in a lease with him... on the old end, she was going on as normal and barely mentioning this new friend at all. Once the new guy sealed the deal by asking her to move in with him instead, she dumped the old guy and went right into the new relationship. And like you, she discussed marriage with me a lot... even while doing this to me. There is no doubt in my mind now that had she failed to land my replacement, she'd have either gone through with it or just auditioned another -- she was just that terrified of being alone.

I've seen plenty of other people I know pull similar acts... enough of them that I don't think it's at all uncommon for people to line up their replacement mates in advance. The common thread in all the cases was a fear of ending up alone if they let go of one hand before taking another.

I can't say what you should do, I just know what I did: at the very end, when the truth came out and moment of trade-in arrived, she suddenly had second thoughts. I was tempted to cave in and fight for it... but I realized that I couldn't look her in the face anymore without remembering that I wasn't good enough, so I walked and never spoke to her again. They ended up married, so I assume he thinks he won... I haven't been that close to anyone since, so maybe he did.
posted by Pufferish at 8:35 AM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your girlfriend = manipulative self-centered bitch. If she cheated once, she'll do it again. Why do you need us to tell you this? And you are considering marrying this chick? Bad idea.

And you live with her? And you, with a broken leg, are doing the housework?

No offense, but are you out of your mind?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 10:44 AM on June 23, 2008

I don't agree with the "dump her" crowd. People make mistakes, and this kind of thing is as confusing for her as it is hurtful for you. What it comes down to is that she had sex with someone else; that's not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes we need it. Not everyone's morality is founded on needing to find 100% of everything you need in a partner always and forever.

Trust and security: sometimes we need it.

I would stay with her and make nice until you find a new place to live. Then I would move without notice of any kind, to minimize the pre-move drama.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:09 AM on June 23, 2008

Um, are you fucking serious?!!? This post has got to be a joke, right?



This is batshit insane. The relationship is not worth saving. Get a shrink. And DTMFA.

She has absolutely no right to make you deal with the emotional fallout caused by her ... mistreatment of you!

I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

Imagine someone punched you in the nose, and then demanded you drive them to the drugstore to get some ointment for their aching fist. That's the situation you're in.

posted by paultopia at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

Regardless of what you do, I think it's high time to hire a cleaning service or maid service until you are able bodied if you can afford it. That would remove one source of rancor and might allow you to think more rationally since you'll have less to worry about.
posted by melissam at 11:41 AM on June 23, 2008

If this isn't fake, then I also think you should move on. For real, because your story is ridiculous. I can't imagine what exactly is worth saving here.
posted by chunking express at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2008

sorry mate; i didnt read your [more inside] or the rest of the comments... but i'd have to say break it off. you're done.
posted by phritosan at 12:11 PM on June 23, 2008

I don't agree with the "dump her" crowd. People make mistakes,

So it's like this... Whoops, not only did I fuck around on you for two months, but now I'm in bed with you and I'm crying because I left the man I cheated on you with! Don't you hate when that happens?


Get out of there, dude. Get. Out of there.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 2:09 PM on June 23, 2008

Her fucking your friend once is a mistake

Why do people insist that fucking another person is just a mistake?

People don't fall onto or into another person's crotch, repeatedly, ACCIDENTALLY! There are a series of concious, and unconcious, decisions that take place before someone does something like this.

I hope you seriously take the advice of what most of the people here are saying.

Tell her to kick rocks.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:41 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

give this person an aisle seat one-way ticket out of your life. If you don't, this will most likely happen again.
posted by richter_x at 7:47 PM on June 23, 2008

If you look at my track record, you'll see I'm a fairly anti-DTMFA advocate, since I'm a soppy idealist at heart and I hate to see romance fizzling.


Except. I'd make sure someone is on-hand to take over your role as "observer of her for possible suicidal tendencies." Not that you would be responsible if she did kill herself, but if that possibility is rustling around in the tall weeds, it's best to be careful.
posted by WCityMike at 10:50 AM on June 24, 2008

She's mentioned suicide in passing, and though I don't think she's serious, I'm watching for warning signs.

On top of everything else, this specifically is a red flag for an abusive relationship.

Normally I'd be the one piping up with "Can the two of you possibly negotiate communicative non-monogamy," but fuck that shit. You're being played, son. If you really do want to help this woman, give her unequivocal negative reinforcement for her manipulative bullshit.

Then tell all your friends you dumped her, and tell them why, because it sounds like otherwise she'll go to one of them for comfort. Dump her with fireworks. It will be a public service.

Then run. Run away with Chariots of Fire in the background.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:20 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

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