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Parallax - Advice

May 13, 2002

Two-timed and used

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I feel used by my 'friend with benefits' and I regret being with him for a year. It hurts to feel this way because he was the first guy in my life. He basically used me, and I naively didn't realize it. He had a girlfriend and he was cheating on her, with me. I didn't know that, and when I confronted him, he said that they were on a break when he hooked up with me. I don't know how to stop thinking about what he did. I want him to be sorry for his actions and I want him to know that he hurt me. Please give me advice on how to move on.Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Hurting,

You need to write this one off as a sunk cost. In case you haven't noticed, he is a huge jerk—who cares what he thinks? He will never feel sorry, which is why it should be easier for you to move on. Yes, he will go on happily doing his thing with no woes to speak of, but you should too.

By the way, what goes around does come around. He will get his—as most people who behave badly eventually do—in some form. But it won't be from you, so get over it. He will have his own cheating girlfriend or horrible breakup where he gets dumped for somebody else. Don't you fret; things come full circle (in general), and he will have his time in the sun.

If you continue dwelling on this, you will let him wreck your life. Do you really want to let him do even more damage? Do you want some awful guy to have that kind of power over you? I doubt it. You just need to flip a switch and say, 'Okay, I'm done with this. I can't believe I've wallowed for so long. I'm moving on. What an idiot he is.' End of sad story.

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His view:

Dear Hurting,

You appear to be confused. First, you say that you want to stop feeling used by your friend. That makes me think you want to get comfortable with the concept of using and being used for sex. Then you say that you want him to be sorry for what he did, and find a way to move on. Which is it?

Forget about him and whether you can make him feel sorry for what he did. Why do you care, after the way he treated you? Even if you pulled out the whole trauma act for him—even if you got him to apologize—I doubt he'd be honestly sorry. It sounds like he's an inveterate jerk—you'd be wasting your time trying to turn a sinner into a saint.

Better to accept the fact that you got duped, learn from it and move on. You are not the first, and there's limited benefit to spending the next six months of your life like a love recluse. Besides, next time someone wants to use you, you'll be prepared to avoid the situation, or use them back—whatever the case may be.

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