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An Unfaithful Boyfriend... Advice


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This is my first time here, so bear with me.


I dated a girl (I'll call her Zoe) for nearly four years -- it was both of our's first serious relationship. At the time, we loved each other. But in that fourth year, we took a break, and I met someone else (I'll call her Chloe) in that first month apart. Talking with Chloe helped crystallize the grievances I had with the Zoe. I felt happy in a way I hadn't felt in a long time and we quickly began a relationship once I fully broke up with Zoe.


Now this is where things get ... messy. Zoe and I had dated so long that it was hard to have a clean, no-talking break -- and in some sense, we both still had feelings for each other, her more than me. Within the first couple months of dating Chloe, Zoe and I slept together. I broke up with Chloe after that because of the guilt I felt. After a torturous period, she forgave me and we began dating again. For awhile, all was well.


This was hard for Zoe, though, and even after Chloe and I got back together, we had a few trysts. Several factors contributed to why this happened, but I'm not sure if that changes anything. They were physical encounters without any emotion. It made us both miserable. But as long as Zoe hadn't found someone new, it was too easy for her to turn to me. I acted like a stereotypical male.


After the first time I cheated on Chloe and told her I could never bring myself to tell her I had done so again -- I was afraid it would break her beyond repair, and despite my infidelities, I loved her. To me, the sex was nothing but a drunken, one-night stand.


Now Zoe has found a new boyfriend who made her happy and with whom she could see herself getting married to. We hardly talk anymore and we made a deal to never speak about sex again with each other. I have no feelings beyond friendship for her.


It's been a long time since those trysts happened. Chloe and I's relationship has progressed. We are both incredibly happy with each other. I feel at peace now that Zoe has moved on, but I've spent many months agonizing over what happened between her and I. To myself, I've justified my actions by saying that they happened when our relationship was immature, before any serious commitments had been made, and that I had jumped into a new relationship before I had a chance for closure on my past one. But now Chloe and I have talked about moving in together and perhaps getting engaged.


I think the clear answer is that I need to tell her what happened, face the consequences, and do whatever it takes for her to forgive me. I have a feeling, though, that it would mean the end of our relationship, so I still have doubts that this is the best course of action, which is why I came here. I love her very much, and I never had any intention of leaving her. I had a few pathetic moments of weakness. I think about the pain it would cause, and I have trouble finding a solid reason why that indiscretion would be worth knowing. I say this because, if the tables were turned and she had cheated on me with an ex, but it had meant nothing -- I would rather not know if I was happy with our relationship (and granted there was nothing venereal to deal with). I've always found erotic jealousy to be the most painful and gnawing feeling; shed a single beam of light on an infidelity, and the other person becomes possessed with an insatiable desire to know every single agonizing detail. In short, I'm stuck between preserving our present happiness and our now healthy relationship, and, on the other hand, breaking all that down in the name of honesty.


I have male friends whom I've asked for advice, but in some ways that hasn't been much better than asking myself what's in my best interest. I would ideally like some advice from someone who has gone through a similar situation and could shed a female's perspective on the above.

I've never seen a counselor before -- are these issues they can help you work through? Or would they just be annoyed with you for such trite?

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and our now healthy relationship


This is not exactly a healthy relationship because there is habitual cheating, lies and cover-ups involved. She has a right to know that her boyfriend has fidelity issues and that even when forgiven once, he went back and did it again and again until it was the one who he was cheating with found someone new and broke things off. These things eventually get found out...and the longer it takes for the truth to be exposed, the deeper the sense of betrayal felt by the injured party. It is better that you tell her before plans are made to move in together, this way if the whole thing falls apart it is easier to go your separate ways.

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I think you really need to slow the horses down. Already talking about moving in together and engagement. And you haven't even had a chance together at starting at zero with real honesty, intimacy, and truth.


Of course she has a right to know, and I'll tell you why. Because it isn't your call to decide to hide it from her or not. Not if you respect her right as a person to make her own informed decisions about who she wants to be in a relationship with, and on what terms.


Chloe is a rebound. I think you are making what happened here to be more than it is - you have lied, had feelings for, messed with the ex through out. Even now, you are struggling to show Chloe the reality of the situation and who you really are. How can a healthy relationship grow from lies? It doesn't - but a cute facsimile can - what you are interpreting as your love for her.


I think if you gave yourself space, you'd come to the conclusion that you have overestimated what you feel for Chloe. Love isn't only feelings, it is actions.


Councillors do deal with stuff like this - I don't think it is trite. You are going through a genuine issue with having a healthy relationship with someone again. Perhaps talking to someone unbiased could shed some light, help you to unclutter it all for yourself. Some places even allow for drop ins - or short term series of sessions, when there is one specific issue that you know needs some resolving. When a friend of mine broke up with her bf of many years, and was going through a crisis, she did this - and it helped her a lot. Rather than stretching out that crisis for a long time trying to deal with something outside of her capabilities at the time (too much at once), she got a hand and it helped speed up the resolution and process. Helped her keep her health during it as well - a valid enough reason to go.


good luck. Whatever you do, don't engage or move in with Chloe until this is resolved.

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Had it occurred once, I could see where you might not bring it up, but over and over again and in the last year - I think it would end the relationship. I'm not sure what I'd do if I were in your shoes. She does deserve more than what you've given her and a chance to feel good about the man she's chosen.


If you decide not to tell her, the least you could do is seek out a counselor to try to keep from doing it again in the future.

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Beethoven09. Well, first off, I'd say, it's a good thing you think and reflect over your actions. It's a good thing. But also, over the lines, I read that you don't seem to be able to stick to stopping something that you know is wrong. Albeit a drunken one night stand so to speak. Things could go good now but what if later something goes wrong and you feel the same for some other girl? Didn't mean to shut you out there, but just thinking out loud. And it's happened to me. Sometimes we go in, so fast, so deep thinking its all good and then it finally reaches a point where it could break and you're hanging by a thread.


So bro, coming to the point... Tell her the truth... And you need to take the bullet for her, if you love her truly that is. It's not just about you here. It's about someone who deserves to know the truth. There are chances that you brood over this more and finally put it all out to her at a later stage (like after engagement or marriage) and she might just be stuck in your life and you in hers with no space.


I'm not saying you're a bad guy or that you don't deserve her or anything like that. All I am saying is that, everyone deserves to hear the truth, which she definitely does. So, face it. Tell her, "baby, I need you to know all this before we go forward. Because, you always deserve the truth." or something like that. And make sure you set all the facts right and clear for her, break it to her. And then in the end, wind up saying that you care about her and you wanted her to know. And tell her how much you love her and that she's free to take a decision.


You might lose her. God forbid. But she'll have respect for you and hopefully she'll understand. Everyone deserves a second chance, which you definitely do.


And in the words of Kiefer Sutherland from Phonebooth: "You don't have to thank me, nobody ever does. I just hope your new found honesty lasts. Because if it doesn't, you'll be hearing from me. " LOL.. Chill man.. Take your time.. But be true to her. That's what makes you that guy..

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I have no thoughts/opinions/ideas on whether or not you should tell your girlfriend about your past infidelities. However, I do really believe if you tell her the truth, it will be the end of your relationship.


If I were her, if you are certain that is all behind you (not only with 'Zoe' but with other women as well) then I would honestly not want to know. If this is a pattern that you're likely to repeat, I'd like to know the truth so I could move on and find someone else.


I wish you the best, no matter what.

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Perhaps "a long time" is a bit of an exaggeration: it's been six months.


This changes everything.


If you had said that you had not cheated on her in years (like 3 or 4) and were now talking about moving in/getting engaged/making major, life-changing commitments, I'd say that you could keep it to yourself.


But it hasn't been years. It's been months. And you are still talking to your ex (even if you aren't talking about sex).


I really think the lack of cheating has more to do with the fact that Zoe has a new bf. What if she were to break up with him tomorrow and call you crying? Are you saying you wouldn't be there for her?


You need to tell Chloe. Especially before asking her to make a big commitment like that. It's not your distant past. It's your recent present.

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I disagree with (I guess..) with everyone else who's posted: Don't tell her. If you're thinking about moving in, moving on and getting hitched with unalloyed enthusiasm, then Zoe is in your past. That's where she should stay. If you tell Chloe, you'll be bringing Zoe back into the present. Don't.

My only caveat, though, is this: I think that the fact that you're considering telling Chloe is worrisome. Why would you do that after all this time? If it's just guilt, then the price of your previous bad behavior is bearing it. I would think hard about your motives.

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When someone cheats on you, its a huge betrayal on the most intimate of levels. But to go the added step of not even telling her at all, so that she makes uninformed decisions about who she is with and who she commits to, is even worse in my opinion. You cannot have a remotely healthy relationship when one party feels that are keeping you on a "need to know basis" and that what you don't need to know is that they've been cheating on you the whole time.

Sorry to be harsh (if I was) but this happened to me and the cheating wasn't as nearly bad as the lying. I didn't deserve it and neither does she. It demonstrates zeeerrooooo respect for that person and says a lot about the liar/cheat's character. You seem to be a better person than that since you're struggling with this and I recommend that you come clean for the sake of your being able to look yourself in the mirror moving forward. If she has any self respect, she'll move on with complete confidence that she deserves better.

My two cents.

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Healthy relationships are based on trust and honesty.


It's a slippery slope. When you give yourself permission to lie by omission on one thing, over time you will find yourself lying to her about many things until you are untrustworthy to her completely.


I suspect you really love neither of these women. Chloe seems like a rebound and the woman you are truly meant to be with is the one you would never dream of cheating on.


Face the music.

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