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Want to move on with her, need help


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My girlfriend and I have been together for almost 9 months and until this past week, we were deeply in love with each other and talking about building a future together.


Then last week while she was on my laptop I caught a glimpse of an email conversation between her and an ex-boyfriend that took place around a month into our relationship. He sent her a racy message and she responded provocatively. We laughed it off and she assured me there was nothing to it - they parted on good terms over 3 years ago and occasionally contact each other with updates on their lives. I believe her - she's the type who gives as good as she gets and never lets men make her blush, which after all is one of the qualities that attracts me to her.


However my curiosity got the better of me and I had to know if this was just a once off. I went back and checked her messages, which I know is wrong and have apologized to her for (she said she understands given what I saw earlier and the fact she has done it before herself). They speak very infrequently and always about work or their current relationships. The only other message dated during our time together mentions me and how well we're doing. However there was another message to another man, sent about a week after we had met. Having asked her about this, I have learned the following:


We met one weekend in a club and hit it off - within a week we had had two dates where we chatted, held hands and kissed. The following weekend she went to a party with friends and had a one-night stand with another guy, which she says she regretted the next morning as she was so interested in me at the time. We had another date that week, but then the following day she emailed the guy, expressing how much she enjoyed the night and offering her number to meet up again. He never got back to her - she says she doesn't know why she sent the message and feels like she made a fool of herself. I suspect she sent the message because she wanted to believe that the guy was genuinely interested in her and didn't just have his fun and discard her. We had one more date that week and she invited me to her place for the weekend, where we had sex for the first time and really started behaving as a couple.


From that weekend our relationship really took off and we have been completely devoted to each other since then, but I can't help but feel cheated by her one-night stand as I was crazy about her from day one. Knowing that we were not exclusive from the beginning has come as a huge disappointment to me. Knowing she had a one night stand while dating me has changed how I see her.


I care about this girl a lot and know without any doubt that she cares about me and is completely in love with me now, but I'm tormented by this new revelation, despite the fact that almost 9 happy months have passed since then.


I'll give some insight into my girlfriend's perspective. Some years before we met she was dumped by her boyfriend of a year, who she was head over heels about. She was completely devastated and depressed for months. It was only in the month or so before she met me that she decided she wanted to try again with someone new. Even so, when we met she was understandably on her guard and unable to have an open heart for a long time (when she finally came around, the difference was tangible and our relationship has been absolute bliss ever since).


She has told me in the past (before these revelations) that she wasn't sure where she stood with me when we were initially dating, as I was quite stand-offish and difficult to read (I had virtually no experience of dating before I met her and was nervous - I must've done a good job of covering up how excited I was about her). Basically she was interested in me but had no idea whether or not I was interested in her.


When I think back, inviting me to her place that first weekend was the first sign of her choosing to pursue a relationship with me even though I believed from day one that we were both completely on the same page and wanted to be together. Our relationship definitely took on a whole new meaning that weekend and I can safely say she hasn't had eyes for anyone else since.


I want to accept that things between us didn't really get going until that weekend, but it's tough to have the fantasy that was the first two weeks blown away and I can't help but blame myself now for not being more forthcoming about my feelings on our first two dates. I also find it difficult to know that she was capable of a one-night stand - I always thought of her as a discerning woman with strong principles and integrity.


We are moving on, talking about the future again (with genuine excitement) and with each day that passes it bothers me a bit less, though I still wake up earlier than usual every morning upset about it. I still feel that she disregarded me that night and her complete loss of sexual inhibition with a stranger doesn't sit well with me.


- Am I being ridiculous here or am I right to still feel betrayed?

- Was it cheating, considering how early into our relationship we were?

- Do I need to grow up and change my views on adult sexuality or is it reasonable to expect someone to be immediately faithful to a person they might view as a potential boyfriend?

- Is this going to haunt me for as long as I'm with her?

- Is she only with me now because the other guy never called?

- This has hurt me so much - is it possible to move on from this or should I end the relationship and try again for the perfect romance?


As you can see I'm still wrestling with the details and struggling to come to terms with the difference between the woman I thought she was and the woman I now know her to be, but over the last few days my love for her has resurfaced and I actually feel closer to her than ever. There's no issue with trust here - the only obstacle to our relationship now is whether or not I can accept her as she is, accept that the first two weeks were not the fairytale I thought they were and finally put this to bed.


Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

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To answer your questions:

1) You're not being ridiculous, I guess anyone would be atleast a little bit bothered by it and you have a right to feel the way you feel, BUT you were not "betrayed" in that sense.


2) It wasn't cheating, you only had two dates prior to her one-night stand, and she explained that she did not know how interested in her you were. You were not exclusive!


3) Yes, it is unreasonable to expect someone to be immidiately "faithful" to someone they view as potential bf/gf material, nobody knows that early on whether it's going to develop into a serious relationship. going out and having fun with guys was still fully within her rights, and it does not make her a person of "less integrity" as you implied.


4) It is only going to continue haunting you if you let it continue haunting you.


5) Wondering about the "what ifs" leads to nowhere. She's with you now and obviously because she thinks you're awesome, not "just because" some other guy didnt call back.


6) Dont throw away a good thing over something that she did when you two were not even official yet.


I think you are being very judgmental. It is bothering me that when a guy sleeps around, his "integrity" and values are not being questioned, but as soon as a woman decides to have so much as just ONE hook-up, she is being viewed as a lesser person with no values or standards. Please just let this go, if she's faithful and devoted to you then nothing else matters.

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