I’m In a Relationship With the Woman I Cheated With and I Want to Go Back to My Ex.

Evan, I've read a few of the posts and responses and can't quite seem to find the answer I'm looking for, or similar situation, so figured I'd ask you straight up.

I dated a girl for 2 years and felt I was in love with her, yet, couldn't quite pull the trigger - get the ring, get married and start a family. I felt the pressure, I pushed it off but it continued to hang over me like a dark shadow. It seemed that it became the only thing my girlfriend cared about. Whenever I would give her a gift, surprise her with dinner or a show, it seemed that she was disappointed that it wasn't a ring and a proposal. We talked about it, again and again and again, but seemed to make no progress.

Then it happened, I met a girl through friends that I really seemed to click with. She, too, was in a relationship and neither of us wanted to cheat on our gf/bf because we cared so much about them and everything that we had built up with them. The need not to cheat didn't last long - 30 days or so later, we found ourselves alone - the first wrong move - and then one of us leaned in for a kiss and it happened. We slept together, we had sex and it was amazing. It felt like a release on both our parts. We agreed that it wouldn't happen again unless we both felt that it was time to end what we had.

We kept our promise, but both ended our relationships and 2 weeks later got together and a year later we're still together. Lately however, in fact for the last few months, I've been thinking a lot about my ex. I did early on too, but lately even more. The songs, the restaurants, the friends, the activities, our places, etc., all the same experiences but with a new girl, doesn't seem to remove the ex from my memory. I then began to think of how I've changed and opened myself up to change and if I had been this way perhaps the last relationship would have worked out. - I say to that, perhaps the last relationship didn't provide me with the atmosphere to get to where I am emotionally today - so I see both sides of it. I find that the thoughts that I continue to have is making it increasingly difficult to move forward.

On top of it, I feel riddled with guilt that I cheated and that I’m still with that person. Am I with that person because I indeed love them, or with them because I feel guilty and responsible for their relationship ending as well and have a need to be in it. How do I distinguish which it is and if I'm in it because I'm in love and not feeling responsible? But the cheating part seems to be tearing me apart. At first it felt like relief and it was exciting to be with someone new and different but then I realized that I was open to different things with this new girlfriend and that they aren't that different from one another, which is why so many experiences seem so much alike.

I'm hoping you can help me move forward. Stay in, get out, go back, distinguish, remove the guilt, be happy and alive with the not so new. I don't feel a need to cheat, but I question whether I should be in this relationship, or with my ex, or on my own. In the end, I just want to move forward, somehow and for both of us to look in the mirror and know that we're in the right place - together or not.

Thanks for the help.

Jamie

You fucked up, dude.

I’m sympathetic to you – in the way I’m sympathetic to any human being who made an indefensible decision and now regrets it – but I’ve got nothing for you.

You just learned, the hard way, what most people figure out independently:

  •  There is no perfect relationship.
  • There is no sign from above that's telling you to pull the trigger on marriage.
  • Marriage is a choice to do loving actions every day for a partner; it is not based on those giddy feelings from the first few months.
  • The grass is not greener on the other side. Even if it seems like it is because your new partner is cuter or smarter or funnier, that same new partner will come with some downside that your previous partner didn’t have – like ego, selfishness, emotional unavailability, etc. Every relationship involves tradeoffs.

I’m not sure if you’re looking for absolution or advice. I can tell you that your letter sounds like my wife’s first husband, who cheated on her and later married the person he cheated with. I’ve never talked with him and have no idea if guilt forced him to stay in the relationship. I will say this, however: his loss was my gain. No matter how great his current bride is, I’ll bet he realized that he screwed up and couldn’t do better than his first wife. And that by staying with her, he’s trying to prove to her, to himself, to the world, that he’s not such a bad guy, and that he didn’t cheat because of a mere “fling.” I’m sure it’s complicated, since you don’t even know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Let your ex go. Your guilt is with you for life. You can’t fix the past, but you can make better choices in the future.

Anyway, here’s the advice part, Jamie.

1. Let your ex go. She can’t trust you. Nor should she. You were willing to break her heart to cheat with another woman, and now you’re willing to leave the other woman to go back to her.

You’re probably not an evil guy, but you sure are selfish, and don’t seem to recognize the consequences of your selfishness until after the fact.

2. Your guilt is with you for life. You’ve earned it. You don’t get to wish it away. Like my wife’s ex-husband, you have every right to rebuild your life, but you have no right to sweep away the destruction you wrought when you cheated on your devoted two-year girlfriend for an entire month, and then dumped her. Hopefully this guilt serves a constructive purpose in the future about the meaning of fidelity – if not with this girlfriend, then a future one.

3. You can’t fix the past, but you can make better choices in the future. If you have no intention of marrying this girl, break up with her. Not to slink back to your ex, but to free your current girlfriend to find the man who wants to marry her.

Any woman that marries you despite your checkered history is willingly marrying a cheater, and therefore overlooking a LOT in order to trust you with her entire life.

If you stay with her, you have the benefit of hard-won wisdom – specifically the idea that no matter whom you marry, you’re going to have to make some compromises.

And so will she.

Any woman that marries you despite your checkered history is willingly marrying a cheater, and therefore overlooking a LOT in order to trust you with her entire life.

Whoever does this, appreciate her, cherish her and hold onto her.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    starthrower68

    We must lie in the beds we make for ourselves.  Guess that will be in the “lessons learned the hard way file”.

  2. 2
    Joe

    Jamie is probably realizing that since his new GF was willing to cheat with him, she’s probably willing to cheat on him….

    1. 2.1
      yvonne

      Omg I thought that …they will always have TO worry if it can be done to them by the one they cheated with
      ..KARMA

  3. 3
    Noemi

    I was in your ex’s place 4 years ago, and let me tell you that it doesn’t feel good to be cheated on and dumped for the other girl. You acted selfishly, and now you feel guilty. The best thing you can do is let her go. By now, she has most likely vowed to move on and open up to/find happiness with someone else. You live and learn. Such is life.

  4. 4
    Stacy

    I got nothing. Evan, beautiful, perfect advice. My ex husband cheated and is living with said person he cheated on me with. He has tried on multiple occasions to come back and I would not take him back if he was literally the last man on earth.  Dude, you cannot trample of people’s hearts and then get a free do over card.  Move on as best you can and learn these lessons for the future.  Your ex deserves better.  

  5. 5
    Sunflower

    Take Evan’s advice to heart.  Move forward and try to be a better person.  Cheaters never win.

  6. 6
    Alena

    I once went out with a guy from work I thought was so hot. He told me all about his his cheating records, I was quite hurt that he´d actually let me know all about it and still asked me if I could be faithful. I got evasive and went on a second date with him but couldn´t get myself to even kiss him at the end. i just knew I didn´t want to be with a cheater. I don´t know if I acted right because he still was very hot and intelligent and generous but my loss was somebody else´s gain , she is now his g/f for a year. He had cheated WITH HER while he was with his ex, and she was a girl friend of his ex.
    A good sense of integrity is a very rare thing to find with the human being.

    1. 6.1
      veronica

      I’m very satisfied reading this lines from you  Alena. 

  7. 7
    Walt

    Evan – this is a tremendous post.  Kudos!
     

  8. 8
    jeremy

    Dopamine spikes.  Some of us crave them more than others – some people crave adventure and travel, others crave new and exciting sports/activities, others crave new romantic partners or illicit affairs.  But individuals who have intense longings for dopamine spikes have more trouble in committed relationships because they get bored easily and take for granted what they have.

    The example of the OP follows a typical pattern where the dopamine of a new relationship wears off after 6 months-2 years, and reality begins to set in.  This is where we see who makes a good long-term partner and who doesn’t (both in ourselves and our partners).  People who don’t require dopamine, and can bond via oxytocin (and, to a lesser extent, testosterone for men), will be able to forge strong emotional bonds that will sustain their relationships.  But those who crave dopamine will get bored, will find their sexual desire for their partners diminish, will find that they “love their partner, but are not IN love with him/her” since they require dopamine to feel IN love.

    So, first off, I agree with Evan about not going back to the first partner.  Let her move on – things would never be the same again, even if she did take you back.  But to the OP, be aware of this tendency in yourself.  Realize that if you are a person who craves dopamine spikes, long-term relationships will be difficult for you.  You will either need to fight your own natural tendencies by constantly spicing things up, or else realize that long-term things are not your cup of tea.
     
    Ironic…most of the advice given on this forum is for people whose partners exhibit dopamine-seeking behavior, leaving the advice-seekers upset.  But here, the advice is TO the dopamine-seeker to be aware of his own tendencies.  I wish the OP best of luck in his new relationship endeavors, and hopefully he can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

    1. 8.1
      sumitha

      Great advice!!  (Y)

    2. 8.2
      Lynne

      Very accurate, especially for recovering addicts (alcoholics, etc.) who still need the rush but changed their drug of choice.

    3. 8.3
      Jodie

      very true! I guess it shows itself as impatience in a prospective partner. They are somewhat forceful to bring their relationship to the next step, whatever that may be. They are also very irritated when their needs for this to happen are not met and start to pull right away/disappear altogether out of simple boredom for what seems like a slow moving relationship to them. They are the ones who talk up sex on the first or second date, then only weeks to a few months later talk up about living together, and as a partner, you want to make them happy and follow through with the plan, only for them to get bored with it altogether and they go find another pursuit to diminish the boredom.

      1. 8.3.1
        Maria

        This is so true. I can see this in my ex who cheated, chose to stay with the other woman probably to prove to me or to himself that it will work and he isn’t such a jerk.

        He wanted to come back and I gave him some conditions and things he needs to fix before we try again, then he went back to her again. Silly me. He told me to move on because our relationship is beyond repair and he has accepted that. Mostly it’s because his mum who I was in very good terms with condemns the cheating relationship. I told everyone in my close circle who offered to be there for me. My best friend and my sisters. So he knows my sisters will never cut him the slack and this probably scared him off. Which is fine. Being cheated on is one of the worst feelings in the world.

    4. 8.4
      TP

      Great advice… I love it

    5. 8.5
      Ak

      Nice response 🙂 Very interesting.  I don’t believe once a cheater always a cheater, people do things for many reasons and it’s important to keep an open mind, we can only learn more about ourselves and try to avoid repeating mistakes

    6. 8.6
      Tim

      Jeremy nailed it 100%.

  9. 9
    Ursula

    Excellent advice Evan. Your wife is lucky to have you.

  10. 10
    Dina Strange

    Evan, I applaud your words. This man should not even be in relationships, unless he fixes whatever emotional psychological issues he has.

    He will only continue hurting women he is with in his present condition. He needs counseling and meditation. 

    1. 10.1
      starthrower68

      It may not necessarily be some clinical psychological issues.  It could just be a real lack of maturity, impulse control, etc.  Often, overcoming that is just a matter of doing the right thing and standing fast on what is right even though it’s difficult.  Somethings are character issues that don’t need to placed under pathology.

      1. 10.1.1
        TP

        I totally agree with you as well

    2. 10.2
      Charles Dinsley

      Lets also not forget that there are many kinds of relationships. I don’t think its fair to ask the OP to avoid relationships. Perhaps its better to tell him to seek relatioships that give him both the emotional security and freedom that he needs.

      I have friends who are in open relationships that have been together for over 20 years. Our society needs to realize that YOU determine what your life style is and there are many ways to live ensuring that most people can be comfortable if they reflect, figure out their needs and then, the hardest part, remain honest.

      1. 10.2.1
        Matt

        I think this is a fair assessment if you can be honest and accept how a person is “wired” then maybe yuo make it work but not in the “traditional” way a normal relationship works.

      2. 10.2.2
        Tara Mitchell

        This is true that there are other types of relationships — BUT ALL OF THEM REQUIRE AGREEMENTS AND TRUST! His issue isn’t about tradition versus nontraditional, his issue is about holding up his end of the bargain. Open relationship doesn’t mean you can do what you what when you want regardless of how your partner may feel or like it. And even more so if you do these things, KNOWING your partner would not like it.

        To the contrary of most peoples thinking, progressive and innovative relationships require substantially MORE character, trust, commitment, maturity and reliability than traditional ones.

      3. 10.2.3
        Yet Another Guy

        The term “open relationship” is an oxymoron.   It is just a way for men to promiscuous without avoiding crap from friends and family and women to avoid being slut shamed while doing the same. A relationship that is not monogamous is not a relationship.

  11. 11
    JoeK

    “A good sense of integrity is a very rare thing to find with the human being.”
     
    Thanks for phrasing it this way, Alena – lack of integrity is a human issue, for sure – something every decent human being attempts to promote/improve (well, I hope anyway).
     
    We all have lapses in our judgement – is it really necessary to share those lapses with whoever we’re dating now? Seems to me what matters is whether we’ve leanred from those mistakes, and understand how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. In other words – if you cheated on a former partner once and learned from it, why would you ever share that on a date today (or ever?). That just makes your date have to deal with your guit.

    1. 11.1
      jeremy

      The decision whether or not to tell a new partner about past indiscretions is one thing.  But in this particular case, do you think the OP learned anything?  Essentially, the relationship he is in with the new woman has now gotten old, and he once again is searching for novelty.
       
      It is one thing to say “I cheated and regret it.”  It’s another thing to regret past cheating and continue on in the same pattern.  And, problem is, he won’t know if he’s learned his lesson until yet another relationship has passed the 6 month – 2 year mark.

      1. 11.1.1
        Joek

        “Seems to me what matters is whether we’ve leanred from those mistakes, and understand how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. In other words – if you cheated on a former partner once and learned from it, why would you ever share that on a date today (or ever?).”

  12. 12
    KH77

    Jeremy, your description and the OP (minus the actual cheating) sounds like my ex I recently broke up with, we met when we both 34, dated for 3.5 years and he could also never “pull the trigger” despite many conversations, we just couldn’t get past the wall he had. My ex also seemed to think there was something greener on the other side (he would constantly look at other women) although in the same breath he would say how lucky he was to have me and how great a girl I was. Prior to me his longest relationship was about 6 months which I did find alarming but thought maybe he just hadn’t found anyone he wanted to date longer than that. Yeah, next time, I’m going to realize that is a big red flag. We started having issues around the one year mark when it became apparent that progress was not being made towards anything more concrete, unfortunately I wasted another 2.5 years trying to fix our issues. I am upset with myself for that.

    I have been taking time after the breakup which was only 3 months ago to just be me and get my life in order, he on the other hand is already on dating sites looking for his new rush, I have a friend on Tinder who spotted his profile so that is how I know he’s back on the scene. He has reached out to try and establish a friendship/hanging out and probably misses what we had, but I have cut it off on all levels. He is not a bad person, but he is toxic for me at this point. He is someone who unless he commits to some serious therapy and alone time should not be dating anyone who wants anything past a casual level. Once things get real, he can’t deal with it, much like the OP and although he never cheated that I know of, they mistake real intimacy and compromise for a rut they want to escape from because it isn’t mysterious and intoxicating like new love. The new love doesn’t like dishes in the sink or have any annoying habits, they’re absolutely perfect until they aren’t.

    It was a painful lesson and I’m taking this time off to take steps to ensure I don’t repeat it.  

    1. 12.1
      starthrower68

      I admit to repeating myself, as I think it bears repeating, that not all such behavior should be pathologized.  In some cases, (be they more or less than an actual clinical issue, I don’t know) it is lack of maturity, etc.  The notion that new is always better is a result of distorted thinking, but our culture kind of breeds that in us too.  I do concede, however, it would be beneficial to discuss with some objective 3rd person.

    2. 12.2
      SAL9000

      You’re connecting too many dots IMO, with a good dose of Catch-22. It didn’t work out because of his past history (or thin history) – the harsh reality is guys will readily commit to a woman they love.

      1. 12.2.1
        jeremy

        I don’t agree with your statement “the harsh reality is guys will readily commit to a woman they love”.
         
        Some people, especially those with a “P” in their Myers-Briggs profile, don’t like to make final decisions or commitments.  That is just their temperament, and applies to most aspects of life (and not just to romantic relationships).  To such people, commitment makes no sense.  They feel it is logical to enjoy relationships while they last, but if something better comes along they want to be able to explore that as well.
         
        Case in point, one of the commenters below wrote the following: “I pretty much feel for this guy. He did feel trapped, didnt know how to escape the relationship which wasnt satisfying him, but at the same time felt doubt dumping his girlfriend, having no other options. So he found a replacement first. Sounds logical to me…”
         
        This is exactly the type of thinking typical to a “P” personality.  It is not pathological, but rather temperamental.  And it isn’t ubiquitous to all people with “P” in their personality, but rather the more extreme ends of the spectrum, who tend to be more dopamine-seeking.
         
        So I disagree – no matter what feelings of “love” (be they dopamine, testosterone, or oxytocin-based), some individuals will always be on the lookout for greener pastures, especially once dopamine wears off.

        1. Kate

          I’m interested to know what the “P” stands for/refers to in the Myers-Briggs profiling? Thank K

        2. Lana

          @Jeremy … YES!! MBTI is something I’ve been reading more up on it and seeing a lot of correlation between type and behavior.

          Though we are all a blend of factors, Extroverted “P’s” tend to have a higher incidence of cheating. They are more inclined to need newness/novelty and have a harder time committing. It doesn’t mean they can’t eventually, but will likely go through a lot of trial and error (and broken hearts) to get there.

          And even once they do, many will still struggle with fidelity.

          I’m an Introverted J type and supposed to be the ideal pairing for the Extroverted P’s. Maybe for them, but it doesn’t work for me. These days I am with someone closer to my type which may lack a little excitement but at least we are on the same page in terms of what we need in a relationship and our approach to achieving it.

          Definitely worth checking out the MBTI factor in relationships.

    3. 12.3
      Charity

      I experienced the SAME THING! But this time he talked to women on the phone saying it was for business. Then saying it was to get to know them. It was horrible. I should have seen the signs YEARS ago! I wasted SO many years trying to fix it that now I look back and see so many red flags that I ignored. I too hate that I wasted so much time on him. Lessons learned!!!! He’s trying to come back but NO WAY!!! I’m not that lonely

      1. 12.3.1
        Karmic Equation

        Good for you, Charity! Stay strong.

        Sometimes women feel flattered when a guy they dumped comes back.

        Don’t buy the flattery. Remember his cheating.

        There are plenty of good men out there.

    4. 12.4
      chocked

      I’m going through the exact sane thing. My boyfriend of 3years left me for a girl. after few months started to reach out to me again. we got back together 5 months after the breakup and things seemed to move more than the 1st time: we were going to buy an appartment together. well out of the blue he did it again. after 1year together. i think he might be back with the same girl. he is so toxic I don’t want anything to do with hom anymore.

    5. 12.5
      Susan

      “They’re absolutely perfect until they aren’t.” This is a perfect observation & I needed it. Thank you!

  13. 13
    missy

    Evan you hit this one out of the ballpark, my dear Granny said” be careful how you meet them, be careful what you wish for, all that glitters ain’t gold!!

  14. 14
    Suzanne

    This is just a.sad story.
    I feel bad for both.parties.
    I had a.terrific.LTR with a converted player where real, true deep love occurred. The initial cheating episode was similar…he.never thought I would find out and.was a.devastating event.  We actually did counseling.and all the sordid details came out and made things worse for awhile.  My knee jerk reaction.was to break it off entirely but after counseling, eventually came back to.an.even.stronger relationship.
    But the.aggressor gal, who knew of our relationship just never really went.away and unbeknownst to me just kept coming back in contact.  And to his shame, he would periodically see.her.
    Eventually, even though.things seemed great and.we.were.engaged and had so much happiness.and plans I would vet a niggling.feeling when he.was late or checking my.schedule. And then the.bomb.when I.went to check a text dinging on.what I thought was my phone and then it all came out.
    Ii now actually don’t.believe in second chances after cheating. Its a character flaw and when dating I try to ascertain early on.what past issues in failed relationships have been.
    Many men have confessed to cheating as to what blew their most significant love relationship apart.
    My ownove I realized he just simply was never going to be able to maintain a monogamous relationship.  Too many women come on and essentially wave pussy at him and he is weak.
    So we still love each other and accept he.cannot give me the relationship I need and deserve.

     

  15. 15
    Paula

    Yes Evan, what do they selfish cheaters want? Sympathy? No way. I’ll never understand people like this. If you are having doubts in your relationship, just end it and start a new one with a fresh start and not built from deceit

  16. 16
    Dora

    You go Evan- Very well said and so very fair and straight!!!
    And you ,man – Jamie, what is that whining and winging and feelings all the time.. When is your manhood – pride,honesty,Man word,integrity…? You seem to have none of those,that characterize a Good,Normal MAN… Grow up,learn your life lessons, and learn to Commit and Hold onto your true Man word!!!
     

  17. 17
    SAL9000

    An excruciating letter to read – the entitlement, the narcissism, that complete lack of self-awareness – it’s shocking.

    1. 17.1
      Jay

      Yeah, I found it strange that he seems sure his 1st GF will take him back.  Did she move on and start dating someone else?  Is she just one of those young, shy, girls that just stays home on weekends.  Honestly, he seems like a player who just wants the thrill of dating new women.  I don’t know what he is looking for in life, but maybe he needs some self-reflection to think about how he wants to live his life and what he wants out of a relationship.  Maybe his expectations of women are too high and unachievable.

      1. 17.1.1
        JannaG

        Maybe his first GF doesn’t know about the cheating?  Still, he’s being pretty presumptuous assuming that she’d take him back.

  18. 18
    Katie

    I pretty much feel for this guy. He did feel trapped, didnt know how to escape the relationship which wasnt satisfying him, but at the same time felt doubt dumping his girlfriend, having no other options. So he found a replacement first. Sounds logical to me, we dont quit our jobs going nowhere, we first go to interviews, find a better place, then quit. Right now he doesnt feel like marrying his currect girlfriend, but isnt it how we all feel? Six months, a year into relationship, we understand its not what we want, and then move on, right? If he’s not happy, why should he settle? 

    1. 18.1
      Noemi

      “we dont quit our jobs going nowhere, we first go to interviews, find a better place, then quit”

      I hate to sound blatantly rude, but this wasn’t a job. It was a relationship. He had no other options? Sounds like you’re the type of person who is afraid of being single. He felt trapped? Poor baby! All he had to do was break it off if he didn’t want to marry the first girl and was unsatisfied. It’s simple.

    2. 18.2
      twinkle

      @Noemi: I wanted to say something similar, but I was lazy, glad u said it. :p

      Comments like Katie’s–which probably have a similar attitude to the OP–show high insecurity. At least Katie didn’t talk about cheating, which is what the OP did, but there are lots of insecure people who will cheat with the new person first before breaking up with the original partner, I guess to test compatibility in bed before breaking off with the other and decide whether they’re sure if they wanna break up with the other.

      Sometimes in fact, I think the insecurity is directly linked to the questionable morals and cheating behavior, like with the OP. It’s like they think the odds are stacked against them (they fundamentally lack confidence in their ability to attract good partners) and so they’re willing to behave in underhanded ways if they think it’ll help them in their dating life. One of the reasons why I dislike highly-insecure people.

      1. 18.2.1
        Katie

        I must say there are thing to think about in your comment,  twinkle. But what to do if Jamie, or me, or anyone else is insecure? That would be helpful if you give some advice, apparently, you’re feeling secure yourself, right? I cant boost my self- confidence all of a sudden, eating a chocolate bar or something 🙂 We all learn making our mistakes. 

      2. 18.2.2
        twinkle

        Well Katie u took it better than I expected, so I’ll try to write a comprehensive reply. I think pple who wonder about this may wanna take a test to find out their ‘attachment style’. My attachment style is v secure; on scales of 1 to 7, attachment-related anxiety is a very low 1.39 and attachment-related avoidance is 2.83. These attachment styles start being formed from early ages; those who are more secure in attachment often become more resilient, have higher self-esteem, more successful relationships and less anxiety and depression.
         
        How to improve? It’s tricky because w/o conscious effort to change, the natural tendency is for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Eg for a woman who feels insecure and thus becomes clingy or even snooping behavior, anytime she succeeds in getting/keeping a bf, it’s interpreted as the clinginess/snooping being good and necessary, reaffirming the insecurity. Anytime a guy leaves (which would be often, since insecurity is a turnoff), it’d again reaffirm insecurity…Whereas pple who are secure and resilient, every good thing (eg promotion at work, success in love life) makes them more confident,while difficulty or failure is treated as a challenge, a problem that is preventable in the future by developing certain skills or making  changes.

        So it’s v hard for me to tell u ‘how to be > secure’, cos most of us secure pple didn’t do much consciously to get there. But I’ll try. It may seem faked/contrived, but I think the mindset change must come first, b4 behavior changes. Being secure doesn’t mean we think we’re superhot or Einsteins, it’s knowing your good and bad points and feeling attractive, lovable, capable etc the way u are; at the same time, trying 2 improve. I’ve read that setting realistic goals will improve self-esteem whenver those goals are met.
        Eg if u set gd boundaries for guys to follow (without which u won’t date them), like only meeting him if he asks u out a few days in advance, if he treats u with respect and affection, then everytime guys stick around under those conditions, u’ll feel worthy of that gd treatment, u’ll know guys find u likeable and worth the effort. & lots of guys Will like u when u have confidence & self-respect.…& that corny stuff abt loving yourself first is true too. It takes effort, but we should work out regularly (groans), have nice skin, read widely so we’re not bimbos and can have deep conversations. Then u won’t be easily replaceable; he can hit the clubs or go on holiday without u, & u’ll feel secure. When u’re in a bad rship, u can leave and know your next rship will be better. 🙂 

        1. Katie

          According to your questionnaire responses, your attachment-related anxiety score is 5.89, on a scale ranging from 1 (low anxiety) to 7 (high anxiety). Your attachment-related avoidance score is 2.78, on a scale ranging from 1 (low avoidance) to 7 (high avoidance). 

          So i guess it’s quite high, the first number? Anyways, if it’s low, does that mean you dont really care if your partner loves you or now, you dont worry, indifferent to everything??

          Also, you mention  “like only meeting him if he asks u out a few days in advance”.
          So if i say that to a guy and he’s like “yeah why plan in advance, really, should i maybe send you an invitation by post?” That actually is what one of the guys who i got acquanted with online told me today!! And what should i say to that, “well screw you, i’ll find someone else better”?

          It’s not like i have a line of men in front of my house waiting to take me out and stuff…

          Sorry if im too strict, i would really appreciate your point of view.  
           

        2. twinkle

          Katie, yeah 5.89 is v high, but u sound young and it can be gradually remedied. This must be fixed–w/o gd self esteem, it’ll be hard for u to implement Evan’s advice properly. The tendency for < secure pple is to give up quickly when they get disappointments, but persistency is impt. When u start seeing gd results from changes u make, u'll feel more secure & your value in your eyes & others' eyes will grow.

          Lol no it doesn't mean secure ppl don't care if our partner loves us, but we don't worry much. We make reasonable efforts, & if despite that, our bf/gf don't love us, then it's ok, we can leave & know tt other great pple will love us. Anyway it's better 2 be alone than 2 be in a rship with a bad partner or where u lose self-respect. (Btw secure folks are not a rare lucky minority, a study said abt 1/2 of pple have secure attachment).

          The guy who said that to u wasn't v reasonable, maybe used to women with low expectations of men. I think if a guy likes u, he will respect reasonable boundaries. Don't say "U have to ask me a few days in advance", that just sounds weird, lol. But u can say "Sorry I'm already busy that day". The guy I'm dating, after like 5 dates, he suddenly started asking me out last-minute (1-2 days advance) and I forced myself to turn him down, as a result I didn't get to see him for 2 weekends. I was upset but I knew it was the right thing. And he got the hint and we've recently had an amazing date, at the end of the date he was eagerly making plans for the next date like how he behaved early on. He also introduced me to his friends & asked me my desires regarding kids, marriage etc. U've gotta have faith that there are guys who will value u highly; they might not if u let urself be treated too casually.

          U said u don't have guys lining up outside; that's ok, many women don't; u really only need to be highly-valued by a handful of guys, and 1 will be your future husband. If u're dating online, flattering pics are impt & Evan recommended professionally-taken pics in natural settings.

          Btw having boundaries doesn't mean becoming an entitled princess, which is the line some women cross into. :p

        3. twinkle

          @Katie: Anyway that’s just advice based on my experiences. Maybe u wanna be more flexible and not require a few days advance, just 2 days advance notice is quite alrite IMO. Just set standards u think are reasonable & then stick to them.:) Otherwise u’ll get guys who aren’t serious about u wasting your time and u won’t feel secure in these rships.

    3. 18.3
      Unicorn1

      My question for this young man would be what was frightening him about marriage. He seems like he wanted to get away. If he wasn’t ready, then perhaps that could have been addressed in personal or couples therapy. The last thing we often think of to do is talk about our fears. Maybe he was afraid his girlfriend would feel hurt if he said he was afraid to get married. I have learned now that a couple must talk and feel trusting and comfortable about doing so. No relationship will thrive if this isn’t the case. I think he is drawn back to his former girlfriend because he feels there is something unfinished .. which probably means she has never known his real feelings about her. which could be very loving and his destructive behavior had little to do with her. Now he is trapped about feeling bad about it. That doesn’t help anyone. This young man needs some help to figure out his feelings. Until then he will go from woman to woman, wondering why he is not successful. It is important to regard a partner as a person first and their sexuality second; become their best friend. There is not need to worry about the love being there after that. Take care.

      1. 18.3.1
        Asenuo Olivia Yhome

        I agree with you, clare

    4. 18.4
      JannaG

      You hit the nail on the head. Some people feel that they HAVE to have another relationship lined up before they end the current one. Some people who feel that way become cheaters. Not everyone feels that they have to line up another relationship before leaving the first one.

      This is why I decided that I’m not interested in someone who avoids being single at all costs. I like men who can spend a little time alone, who are self sufficient. Men who have the honesty to end one relationship first before beginning another one. As is shown by the OP, finding a replacement before dumping the significant other doesn’t usually work that well. (Statistically speaking, over 90% of relationships begun from cheating end).

  19. 19
    Clare

    Am I the only one who thinks we are being a bit too hard on the guy?

    I do not condone cheating, it is wrong and unacceptable, so that is not even what is in issue. But I am shocked at the number of people who are suggesting that this guy will battle for the rest of his life.

    Quite honestly he sounds young. I would put money on him being in his mid to late twenties, about 26 – 28. That is very young and there is a lot of life still ahead of him. I am a vastly different person to who I was just a year ago, much less 4 or 5 years ago. I think he simply needs life experience as well as personal growth, and that comes with time, if you are committed to it.

    Did anyone entertain the possibility that perhaps he and his ex-girlfriend were just not right for each other? Pouting over gifts given and being taken out for dinner simply because it was not an engagement ring after 2 years? Not necessarily someone I’d want to be in a relationship with. I’m not condoning cheating but it does not seem like his initial relationship was that happy. Men have a tendency to idealise what they don’t have any more.

    The girl he’s with now may or may not be the one for him, but I’m guessing not. I don’t think this guy should be rushing himself into marriage. He should take some time to explore, learn about himself, learn what kind of people are out there, experience life, grow, learn about what makes a relationship work. And get married when he is ready. Or not. 

    1. 19.1
      JaneFromStateFarm

      Clare, I get what you’re saying, but I’d bet a million bucks you’ve never been cheated on! I think the problem with your analogy is that your previous job isn’t going to feel crushed that you left them for another job. Your old boss isn’t going to lose sleep and cry and wonder what he did wrong. 

      The OP does sound young and I would be willing to give him a pass if he’s under 25, but I’d like to think that beyond that, age and experience would teach us that it’s not okay to toy with people’s emotions. I believe people have a responsibility to each other, to help one another, not tear them apart for selfish reasons. Of course we’re entitled to do what’s right for us, and if we’re in a bad relationship or clearly having doubts about the person we’re with, by all means, move on. But why can’t we ask ourselves BEFORE acting on impulse, “Would I be okay with moving on if I hadn’t met someone else?” If the answer is yes, move on and then you’re free to do whatever you want, guilt-free. If the answer is no, then try working it out for a while with your current bf/gf. If the answer is “I just don’t know,” then take a break from both and get yourself sorted out. Why is this so hard to understand?

      1. 19.1.1
        Clare

        Where did I draw an analogy with a previous job and a new job?

        1. JaneFromStateFarm

          Sorry Clare–the part about the job was meant for Katie (#18). My bad!

      2. 19.1.2
        Shelley

        Absolutely,

        I was cheated on and then dumped after a 3 year relationship. Karma hit my ex hard. I was one of those stupid girl’s still in love and I took him back. We have been married for 14 years, but there is a scar on my soul still left by what my husband did to me so long ago.

        1. veronica

          love this Shelley! scars are beautiful experienced too. I’m proud of your heart – brave strong and mighty who choose/ decide to forgive/accept/ understand even wounded. not forgetting is alright. forgiving is just amazing.

        2. Anny

          And how is your marriage now? Has he ever cheated again?

           

    2. 19.2
      JoeK

      Yes, the girlfriend’s behavior wasn’t great – the pouting about the ring, etc.
       
      BUT…what the OP does today has nothing to do with his previous girlfriend. That’s in the past, Whatever she did, she did, We can only really comment on what the OP can do today, about his current situation – what he can do about his own behavior, his own choices, which created his current circumstance.
      His previous GF isn’t the one asking for advice…
       

    3. 19.3
      Adrian

      Clare I completely agree. Did everyone miss the part where he said he felt pressured? You shouldn’t feel you have to stay with someone, you should want to…

      JaneFromStateFarm… No, I’ve never been cheated on but I can still disagree with his cheating, but want him to see that going back to a relationship that he wasn’t sure about isn’t good either 

  20. 20
    sumitha

    I don’t agree Evan! And I think you are being beastly to a good guy who’s confused! When did you start being such a prig? …. Dosent suit you at all anyway! … In the first place he didn’t cheat for a whole month!! Read his post well… He cheated just once and they decided never to do it again until they had decided what to do. Then the first Gf never got to know of this! Haven’t any of you read his msg well? I feel you ads being very unfair to him on the whole. I’ve bought your ebooks and tell all my friends about your “tough love” and how funny it is to hear you being tough where usual coaches are pussyfooting around! 🙂 … But this is too much! Is this really the Evan who dated, was it 400 women before he learnt enough to finally settle down?? Never lose empathy ok? I feel if he feels he loves the first  girl more then let her choose if she wants him or not!

    1. 20.1
      starthrower68

      I am inclined to think if Jamie loved Girl #1 that much, he could’ve moved forward with her. I find myself agreeing with Clare on that one.  I don’t agree that Jamie should carry guilt around for the rest of his life; constant self-condemnation is not healthy and doesn’t allow us to move forward. But Jamie should understand that behaviors have consequences, and many times it’s not just us who endures them.  There’s a reason why this lesson hurt.  

    2. 20.2
      Noemi

      Sumitha: This is more than a good guy who is confused. He may not be a bad person, and he may not have malicious intentions, but he is clearly immature and has made some selfish decisions.

      He is like the kid in the candy store: He eats a piece of candy, and throws it away because he sees a tastier looking piece of candy. After he chews on that second piece, he now wants the first piece of candy. Sorry, dude! That’s not how life works. 

       

      1. 20.2.1
        Jay

        Noemi – are you an evangelical puritan christian?  there’s nothing wrong with having sex with different people.  He was unhappy in the relationship and never wanted to get married.  Women are too obsessed with marriage.  No one gets married in Europe and they are happy with it.  Its seems that women want to live in the 1950’s and not in 2014.
         

        1. starthrower68

          I am curious Jay, how old you are Jay.  Because many of us in our 20’s were telling the older folks to go pound sand because by gosh, nobody’s gonna tell us what to do. Then we gained more life experience and had kids. And we realized some of things we were ok with on our 20’s would disturb us deeply if it were happening to our kids.  Maybe one day, when you’ve gained some wisdom, we old folks won’t seem quite so stupid. Just remember, when anything goes in a culture, you’ve got nowhere to go after that.

        2. JoeK

          Umm..he didn’t dump the first girl, move on to a second, then want to go back – he CHEATED on girl #1, WITH girl #2, and now both he and girl #2 have issues because of that cheating.
           
          He violated trust with someone, and his current girlfriend was part of that violation, so they’re both suffering for it.
           
          Sucks, but that’s how it is.I don’t really see a way out for them – how could this woman ever truly trust him?

        3. Jay

          So you think it would have been better for him to marry the first girl?  Cheat on her, then divorce her?  There are many men that simply aren’t ready for marriage and aren’t ready to make a monogamous lifelong commitment.  Maybe its fear, selfishness, or boredom.  He realized he wanted to try new things and meet other women.  A guy who gets married at 21 is far more immature than the guy who gets married at 35.  He was immature.  Marriage also doesn’t prevent cheating.  Cheating is just a part of life.  If he wants to get married and have kids, he has that choice as well.  Maybe he should just break up with the 2nd girl and see who else is out there and start with a clean slate. 

        4. EmeraldDust

          Jay asked “So you think it would have been better for him to marry the first girl?  Cheat on her, then divorce her?
           
          No one said that or even implied it.  It would have been better to just make a clean break before cheating with the other girl.  No one thinks cheating after being married is better than cheating on a girl friend.  How old ARE you, and where do you come up with these inane questions ?
          Most people here think he shouldn’t have cheated to begin with.  Break up with the girl, then go screw whoever he wants.
           
          You seem to be going out of your way to ignore the fact that he NOW REGRETS what he did and wants to go back to the first girlfriend.   Why is that ?
           
          Of course, she shouldn’t take him back.  He didn’t have a one night indescretion.  He willfully made a decision to cheat in order to break up the relationship.  It’s called an exit affair.  And now that he has made his graceless exit from the first relationship, he should be denied re-entry.
          To paraphrase EMK, the dude f—ed up.
          You seem to be a cheerleader for this man’s betrayal and yet the OP REGRETS it.  Why do you think that is ?
           
           

        5. starthrower68

          My oldest boy will be 22 when he gets married next summer.  I’ve had numerous conversations with him about the commitment he’s taking on, especially because his father and I divorced.  I have never had a conversation telling him cheating is a part of life. But then he’s not out there every night trying to score. He works part time and is in college full time.  He saves his money; for Christmas, he’s asking for gift cards to purchase items for his and his then wife’s first place.  He’s not a wimp or pushover by any stretch of the imagination.  He was raised properly that the hook up culture is not a productive use of his time.

        6. Jay

          You know, I was just thinking about how Disney/Hollywood has brainwashed women into idealizing being a bride/wife to a Knight in Shining Armor.  Young women are told to be virginal, monogamous, and virtuous and they will be rewarded with Prince Charming.  In REALITY, men are terribly flawed and promiscuous.  Cheating doesn’t have to be the end of the world for sexually open-minded couples.  The couple can accept that monogamy is a fantasy.  Aside from religion, men are not taught to be monogamous.  There are very few Disney movies telling guys how to be good husbands or boyfriends.  I think the bottom line for the OP is that he is immature and self-admittingly not mentally ready for marriage.  He has to do some soul-searching and figure out when he wants to get married.  An immature party-guy at 25 is not ready for marriage, but at 35 he would have sowed his wild oats and settled for “boring family life.”  You all are making judgements and assumptions about the 1st girl not taking him back.  You all cannot predict or determine someone’s path to marriage.  His and Her specific life details may be far different.  The 1st girl may have also been young, immature, and too demanding of marriage – thus, driving him away.  I can’t predict if he will have a 20 year marriage, or if he should ever get married.  The very core of marriage is a shared desire to procreate, so he is free to procreate with any woman or multiple women.  If he lives in Utah, he could consider dating both women at the same time, and figure out which he likes best.  There are “No Right Answers in life.”  Its up to the individual to try to live a semi-happy existence.  Perhaps he needs to learn Selflessness instead of Selfishness, and Humility and Humbleness.  Maybe he’s too obsessed with superficial beauty instead of other female traits.

        7. Noemi

          Lol! I’ve never considered myself to be religious. In fact, I don’t even know what being an evangelical christian entails.

          The problem here is not that he wants to have sex with multiple women at the same time. The problem is that he couldn’t be honest with his ex girlfriend about not wanting to marry her and wanting to bed multiple women. He knew his ex wanted marriage, yet he failed to break things off with her until a new one came along.

          Jay, if you were unhapy in a relationship, wouldn’t you leave? Or do you have a hard time being single and alone?

        8. Jay

          I think his first gf was a nice person and he enjoyed being around her, but he wasn’t ready to marry her. Maybe he just considered her average, but not annoying enough to dump. Perhaps the 1st GF didn’t meet his expectations in some way, but was adequate enough to stay with. He didn’t want to break up, but obviously a sore spot was her wanting to get married. perhaps there is a financial fear for not wanting to get married – he never specified why he didn’t want to marry her.

        9. EmeraldDust

          Jay said @ . . . Maybe he just considered her average, but not annoying enough to dump. Perhaps the 1st GF didn’t meet his expectations in some way, but was adequate enough to stay with.
          __________

          Actually what he said was that he felt like he was “in love” with her. That doesn’t sound like a long term sex buddy to me. (which your description of someone who is average, but not annoying enough to dump essentially is)

          In another post you said that the OP should consider moving to Utah to date two women. First of all, there are no state laws regarding how many people one can date at the same time, so if dating multiple women is what anyone wants, they can do it in any state. If they have promised exclusivity to anyone and cheat, then they can deal with the consequences. The OP is suffering from guilt and remorse and wants to get back with his first GF, even tho you have surmised that she was merely a barely adequate sexual partner, but not lovable.

          So I assume your Utah solution is based on the abusive polygamy cults that they had there. These cults were illegal pedophile ranches, aided and abetted by the state authorities. Girls as young as fourteen were forced into marriage with stinky middle age men, often times an uncle. And the roots of these abusive pedophile farms, where little girls were forced to breed with dirty old men were rooted in RELIGION ! They justified the rape, abuse and subjugation of little girls with their RELIGION.

          So much for your theory that ONLY religious people care to be in monogamous relationships. These abusive polygamous pedophile ranches were run by a RELIGIOUS cult. A cult that you seem to admire, as you suggest that men who want to do more than one woman should move there.

          Jay — You seem to really dislike women. You dismiss our very natural desire to love and be loved by one man, build a life and have children as religious brainwashing (yet you admire religions that treat women like cattle and abused) or brainwashing by Disney. With your dismissal of our natural desires as nothing more than a by product of our being “brain washed”, you are implying that we are completely incapable of forming a relatively independent thought.

          One could easily argue that men have been “brainwashed” by James Bond movies into thinking that treating women like sexual disposal commodities is OK.

          So let me ask you this Jay, since you obviously dislike women so much (along with our silly goose desires for love, commitment, children & marriage) why are you on a blog that is mostly for women who want to get married ? If you are just interested in building a harem of women for yourself, why don’t you just go out and find women who will accept that ? Why are you here trying to convince marriage minded women that they are so very wrong to want to be loved, and that we should just embrace casual sex, and be grateful that some man who finds us barely adequate and not so annoying as to be f—able.

          Are you just trying to increase the supply of women who will settle for sex with any man who finds them adequate for a sex buddy along with multiple other women ? Do you think this method will work ?

          So why ARE you here Jay ? Is your advice and comments to women meant to be helpful or hurtful ?

          Do you also go to vegetarian forums and give them tips on how to make beef pot roast ?

        10. Jay

          EmeraldDust – There are also many independent Feminists that also think Marriage is akin to slavery and misogyny. Marriage is a surreal physical construct, that was really meant to facilitate legitimate procreation for inheritance. Now it means living with the same person in a house forever. Marriage is a result of “TWO People” who share the same commitment. Just because “ONE Woman” wants security and dependency from a man, does not automatically mean that man or any man wants to marry her. There are also many divorced men who only marry that one time, and never want to get married again. I admit, there are many women that “want to be dependent” on a man in marriage. But there are also men that “do NOT want to be dependent to or provide for an emotionally-needy woman.” I only write some of these comments to show some insight on what Men might be thinking when they cheat or fear commitment. It might not have anything to do with inadequate or needy women, but that BF just might not have any desire to get married ever.

        11. EmeraldDust

          Jay Said ” There are also many independent Feminists that also think Marriage is akin to slavery and misogyny. ”

          And when those so called feminist come to this board to bash the women here who want marriage, I ask them the same thing, if you are so anti-marriage, why are you on this blog ?

          Jay Said ” I only write some of these comments to show some insight on what Men might be thinking when they cheat or fear commitment. ”

          And the women here take EMK’s advice and DUMP such men.

          BTW, I am 59, twice divorced, obviously can’t have any more children, so I’m beyond wanting a legal marriage. But for women of younger child bearing age, I support their desire for marriage, and I applaud EMK for telling them to dump men who who want no part of it.

          Jay said ” Just because “ONE Woman” wants security and dependency from a man, does not automatically mean that man or any man wants to marry her. ”

          Strawman argument. No one on this board said a woman’s desire will automatically mean marriage from the man. Quite the opposite, observe a man to see if he is on the same page. Walk away if he isn’t. Easy-peasy.

          And most women want a PARNTERSHIP marriage, not to become a completely helpless & dependent on a man as you seem to imply. Perhaps that’s why you are so adamantly anti-marriage because you falsely believe that if a woman wants to marry a man, she automatically wants to become this helpless dependent.

          And just because YOU abhor marriage, you are not the “male point of view”. There are men who DO want marriage. They are few in number than women, so there will always be some quality women left out in the cold, but the marriage mind men (and yes they do exist outside of Disney films, those are the men EMK tells women to associate with, not waste time with men with your POV.

        12. Skaramouche

          @Jay

          I’m uncertain exactly why I’m replying to you as you don’t really seem to be reading and processing other people’s comments :P.
          It’s just that after reading your many comments, I felt the need to say something. Initially I thought you were trolling on purpose. But, you don’t seem like a bad guy…just young and misguided, maybe. I say “misguided” not because your general views don’t agree with mine but because are misinterpreting (maybe not wilfully) everything that people are saying.
          I get it. You feel that marriage is a purely social construct these days and is not necessary for happiness. I accept your point of view. But HOW does that apply to the OP’s letter? We all understand that there are many men out there who do not believe in marriage. This is fabulous for them and I hope they find happiness in whichever way they desire it. However, no one is saying the OP should have gotten married or needs to in the future. To be very clear, the problem is his cheating. A man (or woman) who cannot keep this most important of promises once made is not worth much, married or otherwise. To spell it out, “this most important of promises” is that of exclusivity. Don’t believe in marriage or in sexual exclusivity? Great, don’t promise it. But to make the promise and not keep it makes you a pretty low person.
          We all make mistakes, you might say. Sure, I’m willing to grant that. But the OP isn’t behaving in the way a man would if he understood that he had made a mistake and deeply regretted it. Now please re-read all of your comments and tell me how they make sense in this context.

        13. Noemi

          “Women are too obsessed with marriage…Its seems that women want to live in the 1950’s and not in 2014.”

          Your opinions have no merit on a site for people who want to get married. We don’t care for your female-bashing perspective either. According to you, we women are just so stupid and clueless! We fear loneliness, we’re gold-diggers, we’re delusional, and for our own good, we just need to embrace casual sex, without always thinking about the future or marriage! Your comments reek of blathering nonsense.

          No matter how much you tell us we need to accept that all men are polyamorous, we know there are marriage-minded men out there waiting to meet wonderful women such as ourselves! 😃

          You may be interested in nothing more than screwing women who (in your words) are gold diggers, but I’d like to think that a plethora of men are interested in more than SOLELY our lady bits.

        14. Jay

          Skara, you are making the assumption that he is a player or a constant cheater. The OP wrote the question because he is unsure of marriage and the right woman. Just becuase he cheated on the first gf, does that REALLY mean he should NEVER get married in the future, just because he cheated once? Maybe he wanted to see “if the grass was greener” and now he realizes that “the grass is not greener” with the 2nd girl. Now he knows “what is out there, and he realizes that the first gf was good enough.” Believe it or not, men “Do need to sow their wild oats to soothe the wandering eye.” Its not about cheating for the sake of cheating, its that he wanted to have a different sexual experience and to see what other women had to offer. Do you want to try on a different pair of shoes before you make the purchase? Now, I don’t know the first gf so I don’t know if she would ever take him back. But I do think that the OP “wants to get married someday, but doesn’t know to who” because he is writing to Evan, and not going out banging bimbos every weekend. There are no “rules” when it comes to cheating or relationships. Its up to each person and each couple to figure out what works for them. For example, in France, it is widely considered okay to cheat and have mistresses. Just because you believe in Puritanical rules of cheating, does not mean that the OP or his girlfriends have the same belief system. They may be more forgiving and they may recognize his need to “try on different shoes before making the purchase(marriage).”

    3. 20.3
      BRIE

      I agree with you samitha this guy is acting as if the guy who cheated is horrible and should carry his guilt for life. are we not human? do we not all make mistakes? Yes what he dd was wrong but im sure he realizes that now. people are judge mental of everyone but themselves.

      1. 20.3.1
        JannaG

        He can absolutely choose to stop making selfish decisions. Anyone can. The question is will he? There is a reason why people say “once a cheater, always a cheater.” It’s not because someone has to be a cheater for the rest of his or her life after cheating one time. It’s because many people who cheat don’t honestly wish to change.

    4. 20.4
      Charity

      To me all the better to give the advice he gave. Because Evan knows that there isn’t anything out there better than a commuted loving wife ESPECIALLY after being with so many women in the past. I think he gave it to him straight, be excuses or cop outs!

    5. 20.5
      Maria

      just because they never had sex for a whole month doesn’t mean he didn’t cheat for a whole month. He entertained the thought, and finally did it. Does it matter how long he stayed talking to this other girl before having sex with her? No. Bottom line, he entertained the thought, cheated, left his girlfriend and now regrets it. 

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