Dear Wendy: “I’ve Fallen Out Of Love With My Deployed Boyfriend”
I have been dating the same guy for almost two years now and he joined the Marines literally like a week into our relationship. I barely see him and he is currently deployed. I did think I was in love with him but since he’s been gone my feelings have gotten more and more weak and I talked to my friends and family about what I should do but they all say it would be horrible of me to end our relationship while he is gone, especially because he lent me his car while he is away. But I can’t help feeling myself drifting further and further away from him and just wanting to be able to go out and be a teenager. What do I do!? — Military Girlfriend
I answered a very similar question to yours last March, but it’s such a hot and timely topic, it’s worth re-visiting. I’ll give you the advice I gave the letter writer in last year’s column, which happened to be controversial, but I’m sticking to it: you are under no obligation to stay in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling for you simply because your boyfriend is serving our country (or because he loaned you his car, for that matter). You aren’t married to the man; it sounds like you barely know him. And for crying out loud, you’re a teenager! Whether or not to break up with him should hardly be up for debate, but the how and when you should do it is another matter.
If you read through the comments in last year’s column, you’ll see there was quite a heated discussion about the appropriateness (or lack thereof) in dumping someone who is deployed. It sounds like the grief you’re getting from your friends and family is focused on that as well. No one is telling you not to break up with him (right?) — just that it would be “horrible” to do it while he’s gone. And while I’d still argue it isn’t necessarily “horrible,” especially considering your age and the amount of time you’ve actually spent with him since you started dating, it would be the kind and respectful thing to wait until you can tell him face-to-face why the relationship is no longer working for you. I actually amended my advice in the comments section of last year’s column and I’ll tell you the same thing now: while you are waiting until you can see your boyfriend again, enjoy your friendships, focus on school work, and fill your free time with fun activities and hobbies to keep you occupied and your mind off being lonely. There’s no reason you can’t go out and enjoy yourself, but maybe hold off on dating others until you can officially break up with your guy in person.
I am a senior in college. My two year anniversary was supposed to be tomorrow, but I cheated on New Year’s Eve and got caught. It was the only time I ever cheated and I was so drunk that I only remember bits and pieces. Obviously, cheating was incredibly stupid and I feel very remorseful. My boyfriend is such a kind soul and he doesn’t deserve this. The morning after when he showed up unexpectedly and berated me, I realized that I have been a brat and been treating him poorly for a very long time. I have been selfish and quick to anger and manipulative. I have an appointment with a counselor to help me with strategies to be a better person. Although I apologized profusely and sincerely, I do not expect my boyfriend to forgive me, and I highly doubt that we have any future together now. We may discuss things further in a few days when we are both on campus, but as of now listed as single on Facebook.
In my boyfriend’s understandable anger, he called and texted several of my friends, my younger sister, and an ex-boyfriend to tell them what I did. I honestly did not go out that night hoping or planning to have a one-night stand, and I hate myself for putting my boyfriend through the emotional roller-coaster he is now experiencing. But, now I also feel embarrassed that my friends know. I feel like I deserve the judgment that will come, but I’m scared that everyone I know will hate me for my mistake. Should I tell my roommates before they hear about it from somebody else? How should I react when my boyfriend’s friends give me a piece of their mind? Should I lie down and welcome any harassment that people give me? — Regretful Cheater
Well, I’m really happy to hear that you’re seeking counseling and I hope you stick with it and take it seriously. A good counselor will help you process your emotions and quit letting other people make you feel bad for something that doesn’t involve them. What happened in your relationship is between you and your (ex?) boyfriend and no one else. It’s simply no one else’s business. That’s not to say that people won’t talk or have opinions or say nasty things to you, but you need to remember that what they are commenting on is a private matter and you have not invited them into it. Why would you lie down and “welcome harassment” from people who have no business butting into your personal affairs? You didn’t cheat on them.
You made a mistake. You aren’t the first person in the history of the world to have made a mistake. You’ve apologized for it. You feel awful about it. You’re seeking counseling to help you process it, grow from it, and move on. What else are you supposed to do? Grovel to every person who has ever known your boyfriend? Sacrifice your firstborn for the forgiveness of your sins? Come on, now. That’s ridiculous. You made one lousy mistake and it’s not the end of the universe. You’re going to survive. Your boyfriend is going to survive. People will find other things to gossip about and move on from your personal drama (that doesn’t sound like it’s even all that dramatic, really). And if you find that you’re harassed before they move on, keep your dignity, look these busybodies in the eyes and say, “I appreciate your concern, but this is a personal matter that I’m dealing with the best I can. As you probably have your own personal regrets, I’m sure you’ll understand my need for privacy to make amends and move on.” The end.
Follow me on Twitter and get relationship tips and updates on new Dear Wendy columns!