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Parallax - Advice

March 18, 2002

Sex, lies, and delusions

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I've been living with my boyfriend for a year and a half now. We've been together off and on for six years, since I was eighteen. There have been a lot of rough times, including the loss of a baby. Following this loss, he had an affair with an older woman that lasted about a year. He'd lie about where he was, but for the most part, I knew all about it and accepted it. Then he broke it off and asked me to live with him. I did and it was fine. We tried hard to compromise with each other, but I guess I could never forget the other woman. A year ago I started an affair with a man I work with. I kept it a secret (knowing he couldn't accept it) and I broke it off after five months. A few months later, I had a one-night stand with another man. My boyfriend found out and I confessed the earlier affair. He's so heartbroken and I feel awful. I don't know what possessed me to do such a thing. I can't believe I hurt him like this; I want things to be the way they were. At this point we're still living together, but he's seeing someone else and I'm going crazy with jealousy. How do I get him back? Should he take me back? Is all hope lost? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Hopeless,

I think all hope is lost for your perspective. First of all, may I remind you that he started the cheating pattern, so I think your pangs of guilt are a bit exaggerated. Certainly, what you did was wrong, and you should be upset with that. However, I think you are beating yourself up over cheating on a cheater. A little over the top, I'd say.

Second, are you sure you want him back? He doesn't sound so swell. You were able to forgive him earlier, so you'd think a bit of leniency is in order from him. Frankly, he's not such a nice fellow.

Now, having indulged you in this question more than I should have, I must say this sounds like quite a bad relationship. There are times that call for the old college try, even over and over. However, you've both cheated up a storm. You've been very rocky - do you really want this? If so (and I don't think it should be so) you'll have to provide the usual profusion of apologies and convincing monologues about how such a thing could never happen again. Nothing fancy to get you out of this one - just good old-fashioned begging.

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His view:

Dear Hopeless,

I don't think all hope is lost. After all, you are both proven cheaters. So, even if you are both dating others, you'll surely still find time for each other. The fact that you feel jealous helps too.

So, you want things to go back to the way they were? What way, in particular, is that? You mean, before you both cheated? Or back when the score was tied one-one? Damn, if you had only stopped with the five-month affair, then you would still be even. It's too bad you had the one-night stand, and now your boyfriend's out there getting back at you (which, by the way, doesn't sound too heartbroken to me).

I am sure he will take you back, once he gets it out of his system. You both are so dependent on each other that you are doomed to an endless and unpredictable boom-and-bust cycle. Jealousy, hurt, cheating, heartbreak - you have all the right ingredients in place. Nothing, short of a voodoo spell or a whack on the head, is going to get you out of this one.

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