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Parallax - Advice            September 25, 2000

   He cheated, she took him back

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I have been in a relationship for two years and my boyfriend cheated on me four months ago, but we stayed together. Now he has been talking on the computer with her and he admits there is an attraction there, and that he can talk to her differently than with me. I don't know what to do.

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Her view:

Dear Left-out,

Well, that is not good. My advice is to bail. Cheating is cheating and an interest in someone else, even a psychological one, is a lack of interest in you. Maybe cheating happens sometimes and you just work past it. People do all the time and I can buy that. It's great that couples can overcome a debacle here and there (even a cheating one) and work it out - it's a testament to a strong foundation.

But your beau is maintaining contact with his paramour, and he is emotionally cheating - currently and continuously. He looks forward to his chats with his other girl and is nurturing their emotional relationship. If it were me, I'd leave - no hesitation, minimal conversation. You, I imagine, are less temperamental and are thoughtful enough to ask for some help. So how about this speech: 'I think some time apart will do us good. Maybe in a while we can reconnect, who knows, but this right now is not a relationship I want to be in and you need to sort some things out - I do too. So have at it with your Internet girlie while I move on to someone who would die to be with me - see ya.'

I feel for you, it's a hard thing, you love him. But come on - if you were advising your best friend you'd tell her to bail, you'd have a few whiney dinners about what a bad person said guy is, and in a couple of weeks you'd introduce her to several new hotties. You'd be doing her a service.

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His view:

Dear Left-out,

You stayed together, and he still writes to her? You are either way too far in love with him, or a very generous person. Maybe both.

The thing is, men don't always know how to value things, how to give women their proper place. They hold them up too high when the girls abuse them, and they push them down when the women let themselves. One good way to help men value things appropriately is to offer them a trade off. You or her, for instance.

Now, being able to talk differently doesn't mean she is better than you. It just means different. He needs to decide whether he enjoys writing to her more than being your boyfriend. But if you don't give him the choice, he won't make any decisions until he is ready. And that could be tomorrow, or in six months.

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