I’m crying nonstop, please help! My relationship with my boyfriend deteriorated so much I moved out of state in 2007 to give us breathing room. He was supportive, helped me get settled, and we remained committed. Two months later, we broke up. We reconnected in 2008 and worked out our issues. He proposed in April. I moved back here, but we had tons of unresolved resentment and fought a lot. Last week, he read my journal and learned that a month before I moved, I contacted men through an online dating site. Hours after he flew home, I was on a date with another guy. My fiancé is furious and thinks I am an untrustworthy, lying cheat. I suggested individual and premarital counseling. He says he isn’t sure he can go any further. What should I do?
Honey, if you love this man, let him go. He deserves a better partner, and you need time alone to become a better version of you. Before you say goodbye, though, tell him he is right. You were an untrustworthy, lying cheat in this relationship. Do not beg for his forgiveness or ask him for another chance. Do not play tit for tat, as in: “I cheated on you but it was because I was lonely.” Exit denial by acknowledging his accurate assessment of your behavior, apologize for betraying his trust and stop bothering him. No texting, calling, e-mailing or drive-bys, OK? The engagement is off. Ask one of your girlfriends to be his stand-in. Every time you want to contact him, leave her a message instead. The guy deserves a break from your drama.
Your tsunami of tears is the result of grief. You are devastated that the self you fear you are (dishonest, untrustworthy) has been publicly witnessed and named. It is also distressing to realize you have sabotaged your dreams and hurt another so deeply. Redirect the time and energy you spent in relationships (with him and other men) into uncovering why you became so secretive. Consider this: Moving out of state when a committed relationship is struggling isn’t breathing room, it’s abandonment. So ask yourself why you failed to be truthful about your compulsion to hang on to one guy while desperately seeking someone else. It is evidence that you are afraid of closure, that you don’t really respect your man and that you don’t really know what you want in a relationship. That’s not a solid foundation for marriage, but it is an opportunity for personal transformation. So, do find a good therapist that can help you find freedom to grow into an emotionally healthy woman.
What’s the best way to offer condolences and support to a former co-worker who was laid off? I left my company before the friend was let go and don’t want them to feel badly that I learned of their termination through another source, because it seems like gossip.
Gossip is the perpetuation of rumors about someone, while avoiding direct conversation with that person about the issue. You heard a fact about a former co-worker and are interested in offering a helping hand—very different. So call your friend, say you were chatting with a mutual pal and learned of the layoff. Explain that you want to help, and then suggest options: baby-sitting while she is out job hunting, a lead for employment or lunch on you. Be aware that your friend may not be able to accept your kindness. Layoffs often leave people so fearful they imagine that others pity them. Extend your love nonetheless. It’s the sweet thing to do.