I have just ended a long-distance relationship. We both agreed at the time of the breakup that circumstances wouldn’t allow our relationship to continue. I cared about her deeply, but that wasn’t enough for her, and I understood her point. The relationship was passionate, and I believed we both loved each other. However, I found out through some common friends that she had started cheating on me at least a week before she broke it off, and lied about it while ending it, pretending to still care about me. She was going to continue doing this behind my back. I want to confront her about this, but I can’t betray my friend’s trust. I want her to know she did something wrong, that she passed on a chance at real happiness, but I know it’s over because I can’t love her anymore. What should I do? What is the proper etiquette for confronting an ex over indiscretions learned after the relationship is over? It is hard for me to let this go. — FrustratedEx
Write a cathartic letter to your ex in which you really let her have it. Tell her everything you’re feeling — how you’re hurt by her betrayal, you think she threw away something promising, and you wish she would have had the decency to be honest with you. Call her any names you feel like calling her and let her know what you think of her now. Then tell her you forgive her because you know no one’s perfect and it’s human to have an occasional lapse in judgment and character. Yes, she’s hurt you, but the one you should feel sorry for the most is her because she clearly lacks the emotional maturity to have a committed, meaningful relationship.
When you’re finished writing the letter, read it once to yourself and then burn it, flush it down the toilet, or tear it up and throw it away. The door to your relationship with your ex is closed and no good can come from re-opening it and slamming it in her face, no matter how great you imagine that might feel. She already knows she did something wrong, so confronting her now will only give her the satisfaction of knowing you’re having a hard time letting go and moving on. Count yourself lucky that you dodged a bullet and be more discerning in choosing your next girlfriend.
How hard should you work to remain friends with a former flame? I was hooking up with a friend during the fall of last year. We both made it clear that it wasn’t going to be anything more than friends with benefits. By spring, I was trying to end the benefits with him because I felt he was getting too attached. I talked to him about it and he was okay. The next day, I ended up kissing (not making out, not hooking up, just kissing) someone else and he freaked out when he heard. We’ve since become friends again, but within the last month I’ve received many mean drunk texts from him. I told him to cool it if he still wanted to be friends, and he apologized to me in person. But at a party last night, he started making mean comments about me to our friends and said some things to me that would be considered sexual harassment. When I called him out on being mean, he told me to stop being a party-pooper and that I can’t tell a joke when I see one. How can I make this stop? I feel like the friendship isn’t worth saving at this point, but if he keeps attacking me at parties, I might lose all my other friends. — Friend or Foe
Ignore him, delete him from your phone, and avoid him at parties or when you run into him out and about. He’s hurt and feeling rejected and trying to get a rise out of you to “make you pay.” As long as he gets one, he’ll continue acting like a douche. If you refuse to engage him in his immature game, he’ll get bored and quit playing. And rest assured, if your friends are true, you’re not the one who’s going to lose them.
*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.