My Girlfriend Broke Up With Me. I Slept With Someone Else. Have I Done Something Wrong?

My Girlfriend Broke Up With Me.  I Slept With Someone Else. Have I Done Something Wrong?

I dated my ex for 16 months. We broke up with no hints of getting back together. 2 weeks later I had a one night stand with someone I don’t know. 1 week later, my ex calls and indicates we should try to get back together. In subsequent discussions, she asks me if I had slept with anyone. Being an honest man, I reluctantly told her yes. She is furious and hurt and is accusing me of cheating and lying to her. I want to be with her, never wanted to be without her (she pushed the breakup), and am disappointed that I hurt her, BUT, do not feel like I cheated or lied. Where do I go from here? Lay low and see if time helps or go all in again and try to win her over again?



Dear Brian,

You did nothing wrong.

You were broken up.

You had no hints of getting back together.

You did what pretty much any guy would do after a sixteen month relationship.

That doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet, but it does mean you’re technically “right”. The problem is that having truth and logic on your side matters very little when discussing emotional issues. This, by the way, is the main reason that I blog. I try to inject a little male logic into the largely feminine realm of relationship discussions. (This does NOT mean women are illogical – I’m just making a generalization here). I don’t actively hope to change the world, but I do hope to observe the world AS IT IS, as opposed to how it SHOULD be.

She probably wanted you cry your eyes out for a few weeks, paralyzed, unable to imagine yourself in the presence of any other woman.

Your girlfriend is caught up in how it SHOULD be. After a long, serious relationship – one in which she still had feelings for you – she was clearly hoping for some dating moratorium. She probably wanted you cry your eyes out for a few weeks, paralyzed, unable to imagine yourself in the presence of any other woman. And then, when she came back to reconcile with her beloved, she was shocked to discover that you had drowned your sorrows in the cleavage of another woman during – GASP! – a meaningless one-night stand. The gall! The disrespect! Did your relationship just mean NOTHING?

It feels pretty ridiculous to type those last few lines because they make no logical sense. You were broken up. You did when men do when they’re single – look for other women. When my serious girlfriend dumped me in 2004, I left her house, red-eyed, drove ten minutes home, and reactivated my JDate account instantly. Would I want to be the first woman to date me after my heart had been shattered? Hell, no. But I certainly wasn’t going to repair my wounds by sitting at home by myself for a month….

This isn’t to say that I don’t have sympathy for your ex-girlfriend. It’s just that it’s HER job to get over this bump in the road. There’s nothing you could do at this point that’s going to fix things. Especially since she asked for your honesty and you gave it to her.

This brings up a rant that I’ve always wanted to have in public forum. It stems from a conversation with a girlfriend from 4-5 years back – a girlfriend that I loved, a girlfriend who was deeply distrustful of men. It was based on her personal experience – she’d been cheated upon, and even dated a polyamorist at a time. As a result, I remember her telling me, point-blank, early in the relationship (and repeatedly thereafter):

“If you ever cheat on me, you’d better tell me. I do not tolerate cheaters and I will break up with you.”

And, me, ever the wise-ass, replied, with a twinkle in my eye, “Well, if you’d break up with me, why would I tell you that I cheated?”

And she’d reply: “Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the manly thing to do. You’d want to have integrity, right?”

And I’d reply: “Yeah, but what if I made a god-awful mistake – say, drunkenly kissing a stranger at a party in Vegas? What if I made a mistake that I instantly regretted and would never repeat? What if I knew I would never intentionally jeopardize my relationship for any other woman again? What possible incentive would I have to confess, presuming that you’re instantly going to dump me for ‘honorably’ telling you? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

I’m not defending cheating. I am saying that I was living in the real world, and she was living in the fantasy world. In the real world, when someone cheats and realizes the consequences are dire, he’s got no incentive to confess. I can spit gum on the street in Singapore and turn myself in so I can get caned, or I can deny, deny, deny. I can “borrow” lines from a book when writing a term paper, and then tell the professor that I plagiarized, but that wouldn’t be too wise.

You want a guy to tell you the truth about cheating? You better be prepared to forgive him and painfully accept his apology. Otherwise, you’re asking for him to lie to you.

So while I’m not encouraging cheaters, let’s understand what logical behavior follows after infidelity: lies to cover up. You want a guy to tell you the truth about cheating? You better be prepared to forgive him and painfully accept his apology. Otherwise, you’re asking for him to lie to you.

To wrap up, I want to offer a quote from Ramana Hamarshi, “Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”

If you’re frustrated with the dialogue here and expect to change men or women, make no mistake about it, you’re trying to cover the world with leather.


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  1. 121

    Hey Guys, something similar to this happened to me last night. My ex and I were together for six months but on valentine’s day she went all crazy jacked my truck and went God knows where all weekend leaving me with no car at home. As a result I moved out and moved to another state because I knew it was over or so I thought, for a couple of weeks I was doing my own thing until I started talking to her on a daily basis again, she said that she missed me and still loved me and wanted to see me very badly. I agreed and started getting things in order but as soon as I almost had my plane ticket and hotel picked out she tells me she has been thinking lately that an ex is an ex for a reason and she does not think it is a good idea to see me. I was so shattered and confused because just a couple days ago she was telling me she loved me and wanted to see me. I talked to her one last time and she said that she never said she wanted to work things out and that she thinks we should leave it in the past, but she still wanted to stay friends on facebook. I went out last night and met this cute girl, we went back to her place and got busy but during the moment I could not get into it and felt lost and confused, as a result I drunk dialed my ex at 3 am and am now ashamed of myself because we are done and she made it perfectly clear. Now I feel anxious and confused and am hoping my ex does not call me back but I got a feeling she will.

  2. 122

    Kat Wilder you hit the nail on the head~!!

  3. 123

    Oh my God! What is it with you guys?!!!! So assured of your ‘male needs’! Discussing together about how women need to get a grip and see how men are, and that’s just the way they are etc etc! We are men and we love sex and our women(grunt, as in caveman) should just accept it! Well, welcome to the world of women, who you may not realise need just the same. For years they have been breaking their backs trying to make ‘love’ work, and now eventually they have realised that you guys simply don’t care as much, they are having a great time too, and planning even better. i believe we were programmed to love and nurture and be pretty and faithful. But alas, our men couldn’t keep it in their trousers, so neither are we. And yes we love it too! What fun! Angry and passionate sex with a stranger! Pure rugged passionate sex with a stranger! Marvellous! Time you men took over in trying to keep the boring shit together! Drink, drugs and sex! Thanks guys. Your call.

  4. 124

    Let’s be honest, women have been holding the court for eternity in the name of love and the upbringing of their children. Men are not ‘programmed’ to be with one woman. Hey oh, that’s ‘how men are’….. At last we are deciding to have meaningless rampant sex with others. Hey guys, it’s just our oestrogen levels… I love men very much, but it’s about time they stopped saying ‘oh that’s how men are’…. Hello, we can be and feel just the same too! And the truthful reason s that we have generally been the nicer sex, but are finally done in by our partners behaviour!! We are the same now. Hello my best pal! That is a better love. You gotta laugh. Ridiculous.

  5. 125

    So, it’s ‘logical’ for the author to lie? Wow, some integrity there. The person  in this letter was totally in the right, but what kind of stupid logic is that on the part of the author to assume that the normal reaction to messing up is to lie about it? Be a goddamn adult here.

  6. 126

    After a break up ppl are angry and hurt but woman find it so hard to let a man touch her while she’s heart broken. Feels like your still cheating because your heart belongs to another and sex isn’t meaningless to most woman. Men have to remember that. U need to give your break up some time so no mistakes are made and maybe discuss it one more time before actually going out and doing the deed because once its done its done and your girlfriend will see you as dirty. How would he feel if the shoe was on the other foot? You did right being honest knowing you could lose her but its easier to forgive the truth than find out later a lie.

    If your gf has been cheated on and even if not, if your in a relationship don’t act single. Kissing strangers in Vegas should not happen if you love someone. Cheating should not happen if your happy and in love. If your able to kiss that stranger you need to be honest because that girl doesn’t deserve to live with that lie, u need to think why did u do it, maybe no in love after all? Maybe a jerk who doesn’t deserve a good girl?

    1. 126.1

      …..a man can “think” his way out of a relationship….its not that he doesn’t deserve a good girl…or that, he is a jerk…..

      1. 126.1.1

        If you cheated on her then u don’t deserve her and is a jerk. Its easy not to cheat……

        1. hunter

          …how do you figure that..?

    2. 126.2

      Thumbs up for this. Just took the words right outta my mouth.

  7. 127
    Karmic Equation

    Look, for the women here who say they’ve never cheated, then you cannot possibly know the kind of guilt the cheater feels, if for that cheater, that is an aberration not a habit. Habitual cheaters will feel no guilt. I will never know. Just as I will never know how a murderer feels to have killed. There are some feelings we can’t know until we do the deed.

    In this case, Brian wasn’t cheating. But he feels like it was. That speaks highly of his conscience. But he needs to let go the guilt. He didn’t cheat. He as a free man.

    Back to the women who never cheat telling cheaters why they should come clean. You are not in a position to tell those people anything. You have no experience in that feeling. You can imagine all you want, but imagining how a colonoscopy will feel isn’t the same as actually experiencing the colonoscopy, ok? Just like chldbirth. Ask a guy to imagine it. Use all the wonderful words you want to describe it. He can try to imagine, but we all know if guys actually experienced childbirth, all childbearing would be painfree without an epidural, right? Men can’t handle that kind of pain. They would make sure that problem is solved. haha. Here’s the youtube video about that, btw (“men experiencing simulated childbirth”) — LIsten to their comments afterwards.

    No, I’m not saying the guilt of cheating rivals the pain of childbirth. (It could, I don’t know as I haven’t experienced either). I’m saying if you’ve never done the deed that causes the feeling, then imagining the deed or the feelings associated with it can’t do it justice. And you can’t preach about how good the coming clean will feel either, because if you haven’t cheated, then you’ve never had to come clean about it either. Same exact principle.

    Just go with this: If you love the guy enough to try to get back together with him after the break up. You owe it to the both of you to clean slate his actions (and your own) in between the break up and the reconciliation. And DON’T ASK him. Don’t make him decide between winning his integrity and losing the relationship. Let him live with his “guilt”, if he’s like Brian and feels guilty when he shouldn’t. And otoh, if he DOESN’T feel guilty, you know you won’t like that either. So just let it go. Keep telling yourself it’s none of your business. If after a month, you can’t let it go. Break up for real, THEN tell him why. Why break up first? Because then YOU’RE behaving with integrity. You’re not tying to manipulate him into telling you what he did during your breakup “because you just can’t get it out of your head that he slept with other women”. Because you know if you told him this BEFORE you break up with him, you’re fishing for information. Telling him this AFTER you break up with him ensures that you own that feeling and it has nothing to do what you imagined he did or didn’t do.

    1. 127.1

      I’m positive they didn’t have a ‘break up’.  And in any case the period of several weeks after any ‘break up’ is still part of the relationship in a way – if it was a truly sexual, truly loving , genuine adult relationship.  To be able to go with someone so soon after any ‘break up’ is a sure sign that the ‘cheater’ was  a fraud emotionally (and possibly physically) during the relationship and this is why such conduct causes such a distraught reaction.

  8. 128

    This might be old,but very insightful.I’m the gf in this case,I’m broken up that my bf slept w other women whilst we were broken up.I am not being logical and he echoed everything in your post ,that I wasn’t being reasonable,I realized I’ve been hard on him emotionally after finding all this out.It hurts because as a woman you can’t fathom hopping to bed after a breakup.We were broken up about two months, that’s quite a while after a 3year relationship. I want to continue our relationship because we are best friends and we care deeply about eachother! Thanks for this article!

  9. 129

    In the famous words of Ross…”We were on a break!!” ;p

    1. 129.1

      LOL. I swear I was thinking of posting this and then you did.


      We are all just looking for our lobster. 🙂

    2. 129.2

      ‘On a break’ clearly does not mean the same as the couple having ‘broken up’.  The couple still exists!

  10. 130

    My bf of four years has broke up with me many times and begged to come back. It hurt me bad Everytime.  I have asked him to leave two times.. first time he moved back in with his ex wife, second time he went to his ex and she set him up with a past fwb over a six year period.  Which I knew nothing of.. he asked me to go away with him so we could try and talk, I asked him if he had been with anyone, and he said no… we went away and his ex wife found out we were together, she called her friend that she set up with him, next thing I got a message on fb with all the details of there night… I was devasted, not that he ss with someone but the who and he still lied and said it didn’t happened.  I was 15 hours from home,  he told me to leave, that I had no business being there and I drove home alone…   now he is saying I left him stranded there, and still wants to work things out.  Really?   I wish I knew how, but I can’t be bothered with the childish games.

  11. 131

    If a girl breaks up with you.if you really cared about them you’d wait awhile before getting into another chick’S Pants and don’t lie about it . Don’t try to get the girl back because that’s disgusting. Shouldn’t lead her on either. Obviously she was upset. Shame on dudes saying not her business since they broke up. Well obviously it was her business Kudos for not lying about. Typical double standard.

    1. 131.1
      Karmic Equation

      Absolutely disagree.

      Women do NOT own men’s behaviors PARTICULARLY once she’s broken up with him.

      Similarly, MEN do not own women’s behaviors if HE breaks up with her.

      Whom you date/fuck or whom he dates/fucks during a breakup is neither party’s business.

      If you don’t want your bf to bang anyone during a breakup, then don’t break up with him.

      Once you’re broken up,  BOTH of you are free agents, whether you like it or not.

      This guy was a fool to tell her. And she was an idiot for asking.

      1. 131.1.1

        Wow Mr Karmic Equation!  I really hope that someone who refers to relationships in terms of who fucks who gets their due karma 🙂

        1. Anonymous

          Plus… it;s not a case of ‘owning’ behaviours but of having insight into a person’s character according to how they behave.

      2. 131.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Anonymous and other women who agree with you that a guy has no right to sleep with someone else when the WOMAN did the breaking up, you women are the reason for MGTOW. Women are NOT entitled to dictate an EX’s sexual behavior, whether the breakup lasted one day or one year. If you want your boyfriends to remain faithful to he has to BE your boyfriend, not the guy you broke up with.

        If you’re breaking up with him to manipulate something from him, you were the one doing wrong. Him acting single was not wrong. You freed him when you broke up with him. Own it.

        1. hunter

          karmic E…Bravo..!..Bravo..!!…my applause…!!


  12. 132
    Jane Smith

    I just went a similar situation. My boyfriend and I broke up in early February and were in the midst of reconciling a few weeks later, at which point I was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Fast forward to April, after being on and off for two months we have a final blowout and we both end it. I try to have a conversation, however, and he makes it very clear that we are done by blocking me and ignoring me and refusing to talk. He left to go to Reno a single man. So, knowing that I have a mastectomy scheduled for the first week of May and chemo starting in June, I take an old friend up on his invite to head to the city and spend a weekend with him. Little did I know that my ex would want to reconcile upon coming home from Reno. How fucking convenient, eh? However, as soon as I admitted that I had slept with someone else (he asked pointedly), he will have nothing to do with me. Part of me is relieved that the cycle of bullshit is over and part of me is absolutely heartbroken that I caused it.

  13. 133

    I did the same thing as this guy except that i’m a woman and the guy I hurt is acting like the girl in this article. It’s not a gender thing. I regret it and it was not wise even though there were no hints of reconciliation and we were broken up I’m still to this day being called a cheater. He always throws it in my face and there is no reasoning with him.

    Maybe the girl in this case will end up being more reasonable. My advice. Stay away. Don’t have regular contact with her. If possible none at all. If a year or two later you still love this person and she loves you start clean. Right now it’s too fresh. She is very unlikely to move forward with you.

    If I had to do it again I would never. But if brought back to the point of whether to reconcile I wouldn’t. Not while he or she is still holding it against you.

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