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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I cheated in a LDR, now what do I do?

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Author Topic: I cheated in a LDR, now what do I do?
Hippolyta
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I'm 19, I've had plenty of dates and relationships before but never have I cheated on anyone. This was the first time.

I met my boyfriend online and from the first time I spoke to him, I knew he would be moving away to another state after the summer. He was cool, fun, sweet and I planned to simply enjoy his company, in fact I made an effort not to get attached, knowing we would have to break it off eventually. This was mutual.

Unfortunately, after telling ourselves not to, we both fell in love. We dated for 3 months until he moved away.

We went from texting constantly and going out every night when he was here, to me getting a few sparse texts about his day or this or that. I knew he was busy settling into New York and living with his cousins, trying to register for college and get his life in order, so I was okay with not talking as much. Plus I didn't want to be clingy and complain and make his life harder than it already was.

Another 3 months LDR and things were still the same. We interacted on facebook, sent each other a few texts throughout the day but it made me very angry and frustrated. I'd always be the one calling him. I sent him sexy pictures, sweet texts, even care packages with presents. I know he was busy taking express classes and didn't have enough money to mail me anything, but I still felt like a fool for trying so hard and not getting it back. I talked to my internet friends more than I talked to him.

For him, everything is so different and distracting and busy just trying to settle down and live in a new life. For me, everything is the same, except he's not here. I feel the absence so much more.

I cheated on him with a friend of mine a few days ago. I didn't pursue it, I didn't even enjoy it or like the guy, I was just so frustrated at that point, and I missed intimacy, being held. We made out a lot but we didn't have sex.

He's coming back in 1 week to stay for a while and visit me and his family, before going back. Ever since he moved away I knew I would have to break up with him when he came down here, I just wanted to spend a little time with him before I did. Now that I've cheated, I can't enjoy that company and feel right with him.

Do I tell him that I cheated on him? Now, or when he comes? Or wait until he leaves? The guy I cheated on him with says I should tell him, and I know it's the right thing to do, but I would lose a lot of friends and break a lot of bridges. Everyone knows me as the good person. No one would ever expect this from me and I'm afraid none of my friends will trust me or respect me again.

Another guy friend told me just to break up with him, and not tell him. Spare hurting him twice. That there is no sense "falling on your own sword" for what was barely a relationship anyway. I don't know if that's okay.

I feel so guilty that I hate myself, I just stay in bed crying and it feels like the end of the world, I almost want to kill myself, and I NEVER think or feel like this. I'm the most rational person I know, so it's tearing me apart that I did something SO SENSELESS. Nothing justifies what I did, and nothing I do will absolve me. There's nothing worse you can do to others than betraying people who trust you and hurting those you love. I don't expect him to forgive me if I tell him, I don't expect us to work out even if I don't. I know I should have told him over the phone that I was feeling neglected and despondent about our relationship, but what's the point? I wanted to pretend everything was fine. I wanted to live a fantasy up until the day it had to end.

I know for a fact that he is NEVER moving back and we can NEVER have a real relationship. I wonder what the hell is going on in his head to make him think that this is working, or is going to work. I could've done it if I knew he would be back in a year. Even two years. But he's staying up there and I'm staying down here. My family can't afford to fly me to NY every few months to visit and with school I don't have time to anyway. I know it's silly that we didn't even pass the 6 month mark, but I have a pretty good instinct about these things. We could have. I hate that I finally found someone I feel safe, happy, fun, beautiful, and sexy with. Someone I could finally love and I can't even be WITH them. I hate even more that the first normal guy I find is the first one I cheat on.

I love him, I will still love him, I hate myself and would give anything in the world to go back in time. I just don't want to hurt him. What do I do?

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Heather
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I want to first make sure I understand something: you know you want to break up with this guy regardless, and intend to when he comes to visit and stay with you? Does he understand that this visit will involve a breakup? If not, do you think he'd really want to visit if he did?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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He's not staying with me, he's staying with his parents, and reason he's able to even get a flight down here is because his parents paid for it and arranged it on account of it being his dad's birthday, they're having a party. That's he's able to also visit with me again, is just very convenient.

And no, he doesn't know I plan to break up with him. I know I should have done it when he moved away, or over the phone, but I prefer to do these things in person. I want to talk to him face to face and let him know that I care about him but it's not working out

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Heather
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Got it.

Here's the thing: I think you want to think about how fair it is to want to spend time that sounds like it's for your benefit, before breaking up, while you know that's coming and he doesn't.

Do you know what I mean?

And personally, if you're splitting up with him about other things, I don't see how disclosing that you were sexual outside the relationship since you last saw each other offers him anything. It's not like he'd need to know that to choose if he's going to stay in the relationship or not, or choose to still be sexual with you, because you're choosing for those things to no longer be options.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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Yes, you're right, it's not fair. I just feel awful that he'll be so happy to see me and as soon as I open the door I'll need to talk to him and break up. But I wouldn't be able to do anything else you're right, my conscience wouldn't let me. Even if I am "choosing" options for him, is it still the right thing to do?


And do you or does anyone else have any other advice? Is this all crazy, ridiculous, stupid? I know I'm a bad person, a horrible person, I just want to understand

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Hippolyta
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And what if I tell him I want to break up, as soon as he gets here.. and then HE decides he still wants to spend time with me? Then what?
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Heather
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Then you two get to make that decision together, rather than you making it for him, with knowledge he doesn't have. You have very important information about your relationship and its status right now he doesn't. Sharing it with him isn't making a choice for him: it's giving him the same information you have so you both can be part of decisions that are about both of you.

I don't think it sounds like there are any horrible people here, by the way. I hear confused people at the start of a long, lifelong, learning curve, that's all. I also hear that you seem to have felt pretty desperate for something you know isn't realistic, and made some choices long the way that obviously weren't so great. But you're developing awareness around those choices, intending to make better ones, seeking to do all of this with integrity and care, and you know, that is all any of us can do.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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I want to get this straight, though.. are you saying it's "OK" to break up with my boyfriend and not tell him I cheated on him too?

What if we decide to just be friends after that... do I ever tell him? Is it wrong to not?

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Heather
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I'm saying that you need to think about what that information can or can't offer him. If you were asking and were planning to continue the relationship, this would be a very different conversation.

Since you're planning to end it, I think it's tough to figure how telling him you made out with someone else is 1) information he has any real use for 2) a situation that has any relevance to him if you two aren't going to be together anymore and 3) can offer something besides hurting his feelings when he's already likely to be hurting.

So, with those things in mind, what do YOU think is the right thing to do and your best choice in this situation?

(I don't think it makes sense to talk about much-in-the-future maybes right now. Let's deal with right now for right now, okay?)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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Someone once told me that the hardest thing to do is usually the right thing to do... and I feel compelled by some sense of morality to tell him, but it's almost as if the hardest thing has actually become NOT telling him. Now what? I certainly wouldn't be using it as an escape.

I just don't want to hurt his feelings any more than I have to, but I feel like lying, even when he won't know, does the same thing as telling him.

I don't know what the right thing to do is [Frown] I don't

I have another week to stew this over until he comes here. You'll probably be hearing from me a few more times

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Hippolyta
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And thank you [Smile]
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Heather
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Maybe in thinking more about this, you can try putting yourself in his shoes and thinking about what you'd prefer him to do in this situation, were the roles reversed?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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I know that I'd be happier not knowing, but mostly because I have huge jealous tendencies that eat me up inside and make me go mad. Now doesn't that make me the hypocrite [Razz]
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Heather
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I'm heading off for a couple days, but didn't want to leave you hanging.

Sometimes I think certain words or framing obscure what we probably really need to get to. Clearly, being or calling yourself a hypocrite is loaded for you. But do you think it really helps you learn from your errors here, and take whatever responsibility around your own errors and actions you need to?

What I'm seeing in all of this is the following:
- the efforts in your relationship didn't feel mutual to you, but you (I think ) internalized those feelings instead of communicating them, and acted out your frustration via dishonoring your agreement to be exclusive.
- You both decided to get more involved when it sounds like you, or both of you, knew that wasn't likely to be what you both wanted and needed.
- Again, you were with someone else outside the agreement you made, and weren't honest about that when it happened.
- It also seems like you were considering engaging in what YOU wanted with his visit, getting pleasant experiences for yourself, while withholding information critical to both of you (your intent to break up) until you had that time.

So, if I have this stuff right, how do you think you can take useful thing away from this, and in places where you need to take responsibility, how can you do that?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hippolyta
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Well all of the above really lets me know that I'm in the wrong and it's all my fault, and I know that already, I know I should have talked to him sooner or I should have broken up earlier or I should have communicated more

I talked to him last night about my feelings. I didn't break up, didn't tell him I cheated, but I told him everything else, how it frustrates me that I do love him but I can't even be with him, how I don't feel like we even have a good communicating relationship as it is. I'm sure he feels like a breakup is coming, but he sounds very desperate, and he just keeps asking me to wait until he gets here. I asked him, what different things can you tell me on wednesday that you can't just tell me now? He didn't have an answer.

I asked him what his plans were at the beginning of us dating. Didn't he expect to break up too? I remember us having a conversation early on where we both agreed it was going to have to end, but apparently he never planned to take part in that. He just expected me to break up with him -before- he left.

Now, and ever since then, he's been asking me to wait for him. I ask him when is he moving back? He doesn't know (never!) When will he be finished with school, 1 year? 2 years? He doesn't know. All he "knows" is that he "doesn't want to lose me." He says we'll be together soon. Well when the hell is that? Can he give me a date, even a guess? No. HE JUST EXPECTS ME TO WAIT INDEFINITELY, GETTING BY ON THE TEXT MESSAGES HE CALLS A RELATIONSHIP. It would be different if we were together for a year before this, or had something really really strong.

I asked him how he deals with it, with this, what is he thinking? He says he just tries his hardest to -ignore- it and forget about it and just wait until the next visit. Wow thanks, when pretty much ALL I think about is it, and it makes me angry.

I do love him but not only do I feel like a fool, I know that if you truly love something you let it go. I think we need to break up, he needs to move on to his brand new life he started up there, he can date other girls because that's healthy and that's what college kids should be doing, especially since he's only had 2 girlfriends (I'm one of them.) The thought of him with someone else is gut-wrenching but it doesn't matter because I can't be with him anyway, and maybe he will find someone who can. Dating and getting to know yourself and others is just as important to being a well-rounded person as exercising or eating right, and that's what I want for him, I want to see him grow because I do care about him

It just blows my mind that he can think so short into the future, and have such blind hope. It's like walking through the mountains to find a village but you don't even know the way.

It also blows my mind that after telling him that I'm unhappy, that I don't like this, that it's destroying me, he asks me to keep going. The last time I "kept going" in a relationship based on BLIND HOPE, I got NOWHERE. I was -in- his position once. The love is strong, it's powerful, one of the few things in the world that can motivate a person to be so foolish. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it isn't.

It's become obvious to me that he doesn't deal with conflict, or at least this conflict. He told me himself he tries his hardest to ignore things and forget about how frustrating they are. Will he also ignore my feelings? He pushes things to the back of his mind and he just wants to pretend like everything's fine. Which is what I was trying to do too, but I knew I would have to confront things sooner or later. Apparently he never planned to confront them at all and he still wants to run away, asking for me to just "wait until he gets here." Right. What's going to magically change? Maybe I'll forget about how horribly miserable I am when he strokes my cheek? and then I can get right back to it once he LEAVES again?

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Hippolyta
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He kept telling me that he doesn't want to lose me

I told him that he barely has me.

It feels like he wants to hold on to me just because he wants me, to have me, no matter how unhappy it makes me in the process. Is that even fair?

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sugar_plum82
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I am new to all of this but I wanted to provide my opinion on the situation because I have both cheated on someone and been cheated on...I can definitely see how you are stuck and not sure what to do.

My biggest advice is to do what you are able to do.

When the situation actually arises go with your heart and speak from there. Whether you tell him or not will come out on its own. As long as whatever you say comes from your heart, you will be able to walk away knowing that you spoke from a true place. Does any of that make sense? Like I said I am new at this but I wanted to offer an opinion as well.

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Heather
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I'd try very hard not to see this situation as having to be about one person being wrong and the other right. It sure doesn't look that way to me, and I don't see how a whole relationship could ever be that way, since it's about more than one person, always.

What I hear you saying is that this isn't and hasn't been what you have wanted and needed, but that he isn't hearing that, and that you have had a hard time drawing your own lines, rather than trying to respond to what he has been saying and asking for; what he wants. I still hear you putting a lot of focus on that, in asking you to think about what you can take away from this -- as in, you're leaving, so what lessons for yourself to be able to find and make more of what you want can you bring now, and what can you also bring in what you think will help you to choose actions you feel ethically good about -- and how you can take responsibility for what things you need to.

Does that sound about right?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Maybe the better cue for some of this is this: you already know you're going to break up with this person. You've made that decision, you intend to follow through with it.

So, knowing this is a relationship you're leaving, why hang on to what sounds like a lot of anger towards him? How does that benefit you and support you in identifying and getting what you need to break up and move forward, and then make peace with yourself about whatever you need to?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Djuna
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Hi Hippolyta! No, I don't think that's fair at all, and I agree that this is pretty clearly a relationship where the two of you want wildly different things. I think your desire to break up is valid. Have you expressed to him that that's something you want to happen?

I do think that it's also important to think about how fair it would be to tell him about making out outside of your agreement if you're also going to break up with him. If you do want to tell him about that, what do you think your motivation might be?

As for whether or not it can be okay to break those exclusivity agreements (assuming that you did have agreements, and they weren't only "implied"), I don't think that's super relevant when you're planning to end the relationship anyway. By that I mean that I'd imagine (and I'm guessing here) that it wouldn't be okay with him, but I don't see any reason why it should be not okay with anyone else, including you - in that you get to make your own choices, and you can either value or regret those choices without having to feel like you're a "bad person". Know what I mean?

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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