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Advice – I cheated on my ex-boyfriend.

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/u/morganwwinter writes on /r/relationship_advice…

“Me [22F] and my ex partner [24M] had been together for 3.5 years and we were best friends. Pretty much soul mates – we both wanted the same kind of silly rules and standards in a relationship as one another, we always had each other in tears of laughter, sex was great etc. Sometimes I wished he was a little more romantic but other than that we really did have the relationship everyone wanted and that a lot of people strive for.

I’ve never had one night stand or anything like that, in fact all of my ex partners cheated on me in that way.

I went away on my first ever girls holiday, got insanely drunk (the drunkest I’ve been in a long, long time) and I slept with someone. The rest of the holiday was ridden with guilt. As soon as I got back, we broke up but we agreed to stay as friends eventually. I couldn’t tell him what I did because A) he’s had a past of self harm and B) I was being selfish and didn’t want his last thoughts of me to be that.

This was 2 months ago and I am in a pit. I don’t know what to do. I miss my best friend, I miss his love and him as a human being. All I want is him. But the options I have are: not telling him what happened, getting back together and somehow living with that guilt for god knows how long? Or telling him, erasing anything of a second chance, and having him hate me for the rest of his life. Or of course, to say nothing and let time heal our wounds and hope we both move on. I’ve never felt so down in my life, I spend everyday missing him and in floods of tears. I’ve tried talking to people online, to get over him and distract myself, but it doesn’t work. I just need advice on what to do from here, so if anyone is willing, then thank you.

Also, I am aware that what I did is awful, I really am – I think I’ve bullied myself more than anyone possibly could in the last 2 months. So please, even though I know I am not the victim, please keep nastiness away :(“

Dear Morgan,

It sounds like you had a very intense and intimate experience with your ex, and are idealizing a lot of different aspects of your relationship after it ended.

Let’s start with this. Two months is not a lot of time to process the loss of your relationship with your ex partner of three and a half years. I don’t believe there is any magical formula to conjure up and determine a mystical amount of time that you need before you “get over” your partner. I personally believe that there are some exes who you never really “get over.” Some are just meant to be those special, special people with whom you’ll always cherish that special connection with after the romantic component of your relationship has ended. As your first real adult relationship, you and your ex had an immense part to play in each other’s lives together. Those changes you experienced through your three and a half years worth of relationship will stay with you.

In addition, it is important to realize and recognize that those feelings you have to miss his company are completely and totally justified. Like you said, you had a very close and intimate connection with him. And the loss of that closeness and intimacy will remain a big empty gap. It is natural that the hurt feelings and pain populate and emanate from such gap.

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Let’s talk more about those feelings. I am of belief that while every feeling has a say and originate from a deeper source, not every feeling needs to warrant an action. For you, the feelings of loss and grief originate from the premature and unfortunate end of your relationship. It is also very closely associated to the guilt you feel over the infidelitous experience you had on your trip, and is further compounded by the guilt from lack of clarity at the end of your relationship.

The guilt you feel in regards to the act of infidelity is something only you can work through. Whatever happened has happened. And you’ve already been suffering from the consequences of your own actions. Determine for yourself if it really was your intention to have that infidelitous experience on your girls’ trip. And think about how much the role of alcohol played in lowering your inhibition. Alcohol is not to be blamed here; but the over-consumption and its subsequent enabling of your actions are certainly responsible. Alcohol may have served as a facilitating agent, but it was you who decided to drink so.

The guilt you feel in regards to lack of clarity at the end of your relationship is also something only you can work through. You had your own reasons on deciding not to reveal the true reasons in which you ended your relationship with your ex. So I’ll ask you two questions.

  • Have the circumstances changed regarding your original rationale on why you decided not to share why you and your partner ended things?
  • Will sharing your true feelings help both you and your ex in any positive way?

Think about and embrace the deeper most intentions behind what you wish to accomplish through revealing your most vulnerable mistake. It has been two months since both you and your ex have started on your respective journey to recovery. If things have changed for either you or him, reassess how and why it might be beneficial for both of you. Would you be doing this for him? For you? Or for the possible reconnect in the distant future?

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Pain is often impatient. It forces us to redirect our focus from internal excavation to external resolution. If you strongly feel that sharing this detail with your ex will lead to exculpation – for both yourself and from him – then do so with kindness. Otherwise, recognize and embrace that sometimes the best words are left unsaid.

I’m really sorry you are experiencing this. I wish you luck in your journey to recovery.

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at teatimetomato@gmail.com. If you liked my advice for this post, please subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

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