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cheating ex is very confused


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We were in an almost 4 year relationship. We're both 21 and she cheated on me 3 months ago with a coworker. She confessed everything the day after, and seeing her regret I wanted to forget her and try working on it.

Many people will think that i shouldn't take her back, but we've both always said that the relationship was awesome, it was honest, we never argued and communication was fluid. For me it's one of those special girls with a personality that you almost never get to meet.

Nevertheless, the following months were very confusing for her. She told me that she didn't know what she wanted for her future (she is finishing uni this year) and that she needed time to find herself for a while. This confused me very much, as the cheating made me loss a lot of trust on her, but knowing she's a very genouine, honest and mature person, I'd rather believe her than thinking she's toying with me.

For the last 2 moths we've kept very low contact as she asked. She's told me multiple times that she needs time to find herself, and that she doesn't want a relationship right now. She also told me that she knew that dating the new guy would mean getting into a rebound relationship and that she knows its not a good thing. She also has mentioned me that she's still keeping all my presents and photos on her bedroom and that she misses me a lot and usually wants to text me but tries to hold herself back as well as asking my friends for me.

All these inputs were driving my anxiety crazy for the last two weeks, so 3 days ago i called her to explain this and to ask her to stop contacting me for a while unless its important. She then started to cry, told me that she respected my choice and that she only wanted the best for me. Before hanging up, she told me once more that she would miss me a lot these coming days.

What do you think about this situation? Can I do something to attract her again? Should we keep talking from time to time? I want to keep my door open, but having hope doesn't help me too. For me, she's a very special and unique person, but I can clearly see all her confusion. I really want her back as the chemistry was perfect and we have a lot of unfinished future plans. But if she says she needs time, I guess I can't do much. I hope this no contact period really helps both of us. For me to find a bit of peace in myself, and for her to really miss me and experience the real breakup.
All suggestions and thoughts are wellcome. Thanks.

Edited by zzzeb
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I think it's merely that you got together young, it ran its course for her, and she's ready to see what else is out there.

Never put yourself in the position of trying to "re-attract" a cheater. Don't kiss your dignity goodbye like that. When you feel compelled to do so, the other party is already long gone. If she's not trying to make amends with you and re-attract you after such a grave betrayal, that's your cue that the relationship is over for her. 

She does sound as though she feels guilty for hurting you and cheating on you, but that she knows that ultimately her heart isn't with you any longer. It's tough to break up after 4 years, especially when you're this young and inherently don't have a lot of other experience yet, so she's getting used to living without you, too. The problem is that many dumpees confuse this for meaning their dumper misses the romantic relationship, when that's often not the case. 

Yes, she might date and rebound with the other guy. Or maybe not. The point is that when someone is detached enough to cheat and then want space (rather than try to ask for forgiveness and make it work) the connection has already been severed. Coming back together after this would therefore likely result in another break-up. 

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Sorry this happened.

It's important to reflect if you want to be in a holding pattern for her while she dates other guys.

This could end in more heartache if you do that. 

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13 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

I think it's merely that you got together young, it ran its course for her, and she's ready to see what else is out there.

Never put yourself in the position of trying to "re-attract" a cheater. Don't kiss your dignity goodbye like that. When you feel compelled to do so, the other party is already long gone. If she's not trying to make amends with you and re-attract you after such a grave betrayal, that's your cue that the relationship is over for her. 

She does sound as though she feels guilty for hurting you and cheating on you, but that she knows that ultimately her heart isn't with you any longer. It's tough to break up after 4 years, especially when you're this young and inherently don't have a lot of other experience yet, so she's getting used to living without you, too. The problem is that many dumpees confuse this for meaning their dumper misses the romantic relationship, when that's often not the case. 

Yes, she might date and rebound with the other guy. Or maybe not. The point is that when someone is detached enough to cheat and then want space (rather than try to ask for forgiveness and make it work) the connection has already been severed. Coming back together after this would therefore likely result in another break-up. 

Thanks for your words,

The first 2 weeks after the cheating, it was like she wanted to work things out. But at that time i was just very hurt, lost all my confidence and acted needy. Maybe pushed her away a bit. After that, she just told me that she had so many doubts about why and what happened and that she needed time to figure herself and her future. How should i approach the situation? She insists that she wants to keep contact. I told her that its hard for me because i don't want to be her friend, but she also insists that for her it is way more than a friendship till she figures herself out. On the meantime she doesn't want a relationship with anybody. I feel like she is divided.

Thanks.

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15 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this happened.

It's important to reflect if you want to be in a holding pattern for her while she dates other guys.

This could end in more heartache if you do that. 

I know I have to move on. But she's clear that she doesn't want to date anybody while she figures herself out. She always tells me that she doesn't want to lose me but we both know that if we meet somebody else things will have to go very cold.

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2 minutes ago, zzzeb said:

The first 2 weeks after the cheating, it was like she wanted to work things out. But at that time i was just very hurt, lost all my confidence and acted needy. Maybe pushed her away a bit. After that, she just told me that she had so many doubts about why and what happened and that she needed time to figure herself and her future. How should i approach the situation? 

This is backwards.

Her cheating pushed you away. Your blame is misplaced - you didn't cause this. She did. 

I would tell her that contact is not possible at this time. She's being selfish by telling you she wants to be in touch because this is more than a friendship. She doesn't get how much she hurt you, and this is no longer all about what she wants. All you are doing is enabling her to test the water with someone else and make sure it's going to work out before walking away from you completely. Because make no mistake, that's what she's really trying to sort out. 

She is right about one thing, though. Her cheating was the manifestation of other issues that maybe she didn't want to acknowledge yet. My guess is that she's been losing interest in the relationship for a while and wasn't ready to confront those feelings and hurt you. I was in her position once, many years ago, right around the same age. I'd been with my then-boyfriend for 5 years and I knew I was drifting away from him, but I wasn't mature enough to face that and be honest with him. And, another guy caught my eye. I didn't do anything with him, but I was attracted enough that I had to finally admit to myself that I'd outgrown my relationship and needed to end it. I think that's what's going with your ex now, too. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

This is backwards.

Her cheating pushed you away. Your blame is misplaced - you didn't cause this. She did. 

I would tell her that contact is not possible at this time. She's being selfish by telling you she wants to be in touch because this is more than a friendship. She doesn't get how much she hurt you, and this is no longer all about what she wants. All you are doing is enabling her to test the water with someone else and make sure it's going to work out before walking away from you completely. Because make no mistake, that's what she's really trying to sort out. 

She is right about one thing, though. Her cheating was the manifestation of other issues that maybe she didn't want to acknowledge yet. My guess is that she's been losing interest in the relationship for a while and wasn't ready to confront those feelings and hurt you. I was in her position once, many years ago, right around the same age. I'd been with my then-boyfriend for 5 years and I knew I was drifting away from him, but I wasn't mature enough to face that and be honest with him. And, another guy caught my eye. I didn't do anything with him, but I was attracted enough that I had to finally admit to myself that I'd outgrown my relationship and needed to end it. I think that's what's going with your ex now, too. 

I feel that everything suddenly exploded in my face. Maybe for her too. The last weeks before cheating she mentioned that the relationship was better than ever, she said so even after breaking up. She's no innocent she wouldn't kill a fly, but she's toying with both of us? Its all very confusing for me, how can she be testing the water when she admits that dating him and being in a rebound isn't a good thing. She already knows what the other guy is looking for and I'm pretty sure that he is also feeling the pressure after chasing her for almost a year.

Its just hard for me to think I can't do anything make her want the relationship. Thanks for your words, its just that I've never been through something like this before.

Edited by zzzeb
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Posted (edited)

I also wanted to mention how she's had many anxiety problems before meeting me. She has like a natural protective reaction to walk away from things that create her stress and anxiety. Knowing this i just try to be positive and fun around her.

Edited by zzzeb
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So sorry about this. 

My impression here is that you're trying to apply logic to something—human emotion, specifically her emotions—that doesn't always follow logic. The truth is that, right now, she probably has no concrete idea what she wants and feels, and hasn't for some time. That's the head- and heartspace, in part, that can lead someone to cheat, just as it's the space that leads someone to behave in the wishy washy way she's behaving now. 

Big picture? Trying to find any sense of stability in someone who is wishy-washy and consumed by guilt and shame is a recipe for whiplash and anxiety, as you're learning, all the more so when that person has cheated on you. Deep down, I think, you know this. That's your highest self tapping  you on the shoulder and asking you to step up. But at the same time you're in pain—pain at being cheated on, pain at the thought of your relationship being done—and so not-quite-consciously you're trying to keep that pain away by solving the mystery of her, finding some way back together. Doesn't work that way, sadly. 

She is not waking up every day with the intent to "toy" with you. But where she is emotionally, right now? Any engagement will just leave you feeling toyed with, and the more you engage the less she will respect you, just as you will struggle to respect yourself. So this is where you call on your inner core, your deep personal strength, and just walk away, trusting that time is the thing that has the answers. Use that time to process your emotions, to just feel them without needing to react to them, and you're likely to find you start finding some clarity from within.

Sorry again. Infidelity is really painful—been there—and I think it says a lot of positives about you that you tried to get past it, together. What you've learned is that she's not in that place, and in trying to move through it with her you've just ended up drilled further into hole. Time to climb out, on your own. 

 

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4 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

"My impression here is that you're trying to apply logic to something—human emotion, specifically her emotions—that doesn't always follow logic."

"Trying to find any sense of stability in someone who is wishy-washy and consumed by guilt and shame is a recipe for whiplash and anxiety."

Thanks. You just perfectly described how I feel. I'm a very logical and thinking guy. Its like my brain is fighting my heart. Lately I've just been trying not to contact her and let her do it from time to time.

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8 minutes ago, zzzeb said:

Lately I've just been trying not to contact her and let her do it from time to time.

This is a passive approach, like me saying I'm "trying" to stop eating fried chicken because of what it's doing to my body. I either choose to eat less fried chicken, or not, you know? You can choose, right now, to stop contacting her, and you can choose what kind of contact from her you find acceptable, if any. I suggest you give all that some thought, and create some boundaries that prioritize the health of your emotional body, so to speak. 

 

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I would bet she's seeing the other guy. Or at the very least she's talking to him as often as she's talking to you.

She probably isn't sure who she wants to choose.

Do you want to stick around playing the "pick me!" game?

BTW, she isn't a unicorn. There are lots of fun, intelligent, lovely young women out there who you would be compatible with. And who wouldn't cheat on you and then dither back and forth. But you'll never meet any of them while you're turning your head around looking backward.

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Z,

Welcome to ENA

Reading your words I see you searching for a reason or excuse for her cheating and her subsequent behavior.   There are several key words you have used to try and give her a pass on all this.  I am not saying this to put you down, I am just pointing it out.  Many of us have done the exact same thing, me included.

She cheated on you and it was no accident, it wasn't some drunken mistake and it was done with clear intent.  This other guy chatted her up and she liked it and eventually she turned her feelings for you towards him and started having sex with him and lying to you.  She betrayed you and the reason why doesn't matter because there is no good reason ever to cheat.  Even if she or you figured the why it wouldn't change what has happened.  You were right not to trust her like you once did and you reacted the way anyone would so don't beat yourself up like you caused her to walk away.  This is all on her.

You have received some awesome advice but for you to begin to heal you need to accept that the girl you trusted completely and loved with all your heart was doing things behind your back with some other guy and then smiling and acting like everything was perfect with you.  Remember that.

I agree the best thing for YOU is to go total NC.  You need to stop trying to figure out how to win her back or fix this, you need to start figuring out how best to heal and learn from this.  That way you are in a healthy place emotionally no matter what the future brings.  Who knows in a year or so you may run into her and all the old feelings might come flooding back or you may be holding the hand of a wonderful new girl that cherishes you and knows just how lucky she is to have you in her life and you will feel like she did you a favor for walking away.  The main thing to remember is you can only control what you do, not what she does.

Keep posting

  Lost 

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You two were together during some very important developmental times in your lives.  Going from 16 to 20 and beyond, you mature exponentially.  How you are today is not who you were 4 years ago.  It's rare that young relationships last.

I don't think she is being intentionally manipulative.  You two no doubt were very attached to each other.  There is a special bond with first loves.  Nevertheless, the slow come undone is almost to be expected.  She is feeling that pull but at the same time afraid of taking that leap.  Instead she is breaking up with you slowly.  She says just enough to make sure you are there in case she wants to run back.  But as you will learn this will just prolong the inevitable.  

Not to mention while remaining available seems like a good idea, you are actually lowering your value.  We tend to lose respect in people who allow us to mistreat them.

In the end you are helping her break up with you slowly.  Don't do this.  You are likely to make a deal with the devil to have her back and put this behind you.  And though it would momentarily stop the pain, you two would likely never get back on track, move past to trust issues, mature and end up on the same page.  

This relationship is running it's course.  Do yourself a big favor and shore up, cut contact and surround yourself with supportive people.    

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all for the support. I already know that the best for me right now is to move on with my life. I've started hitting the gym and trying to work on my social skills.

2 hours ago, bluecastle said:

"you can choose what kind of contact from her you find acceptable."

I've already told her that we should keep contact to a minimum until we she figures her things out. She insists that first of all she needs time to find herself again. Its like she's waiting for a magic signal to tell her what to do. I know that woman are very complex with their feelings.

For the last weeks I didn't contact her, but she reached out to ask how am I, for the holidays and new year. She even asked me to reach out from time to time. I don't want to ignore her too, for me its mature to be able to talk things out even when it has gone very wrong.

2 hours ago, boltnrun said:

"I would bet she's seeing the other guy. Or at the very least she's talking to him as often as she's talking to you."

I know that they have seen each other because of work. The guy has been using his position for a long time to keep her close, and trying to impress her with all his artsy projects and working trips. After the breakup she even told me how she didn't know if she really liked the guy or just the things they did together. I feel that there is a bit of the grass is greener syndrome as she's been very unsatisfied with all her studies for the last year, and meeting him has open her a new door for her short term future.

 

2 hours ago, boltnrun said:

But you'll never meet any of them while you're turning your head around looking backward.

I feel that the day I meet someone new, all my attention will change its focus. Its just that i'm a very introverted guy and all the covid thing has made it pretty much impossible to go out and meet new people. I'm aware that i have to work on my seduction skills, but I guess that's another topic. (Suggestions are appreciated too)

Edited by zzzeb
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"Seduction skills"?  How about instead of trying to learn how to "seduce" women you focus on being the best person you can be?  A confident, accomplished man (no matter what the accomplishments are) who treats women with respect, who has a sense of humor and who is friendly, healthy and fit is the most attractive.

And please don't make the mistake of trying to use another woman to make you forget your ex.  That wouldn't be fair to the new woman.

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7 minutes ago, zzzeb said:

She even asked me to reach out from time to time.

The word "even" here conveys that you chalked this up as some kind of plus. But is it? I can understand how you reaching out to her would make her feel better—less guilty, less "bad," and therefore more at peace as she separates from you—but what does it actually offer you save for more confusion? 

When my last long relationship ended infidelity was involved. I wanted to make things work—a thought I see as pretty crazy today, or at least motivated by a whirl of unsustainable emotion, but for a moment it was my truth. But the other truth was that the only contact I was open to was us getting back together, working through the fire actively. I made that crystal clear to her, in words, and then clearer in actions, which is to say I didn't respond to anything that wasn't on that level. This freed me up to start healing, while remaining open, and then eventually I just closed the door. 

As for "seduction skills"? Along with bolt, I'd really encourage you to let go of language like that. Just be you, every day, and keep discovering more about that awesome person that is you. The right person will be compelled by you in your authentic state, not by some performance designed to impress. That's just hot air, the stuff that burns off and burns spirits away. 

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10 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

And please don't make the mistake of trying to use another woman to make you forget your ex.  That wouldn't be fair to the new woman.

Absolutely agree Bolt. A very bad idea from every viewpoint. 

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14 minutes ago, zzzeb said:

Its like she's waiting for a magic signal to tell her what to do. 

No, she's waiting to see if he wants something more serious from her. 

Look, if he was chasing her for a year and she finally cheated with him - there was more going on behind your back than you realized. You feel it suddenly blew up in your face (understandably) but it was evidently a long-simmering thing between them. She might not have physically cheated more than the occasion she told you about, but I would bet my last dollar that there'd been flirting and signals from her that she was open to it in the weeks or months leading up to this. 

I promise you that you don't know all there is to know. While I don't think she's an awful person, she is not the innocent snowflake you thought she was, either. 

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10 hours ago, zzzeb said:

Can I do something to attract her again? Should we keep talking from time to time? I want to keep my door open, but having hope doesn't help me too. For me, she's a very special and unique person, but I can clearly see all her confusion. I really want her back as the chemistry was perfect and we have a lot of unfinished future plans. But if she says she needs time, I guess I can't do much. I hope this no contact period really helps both of us.

Awww :(.. sounds like this poor, confused young woman is lost- (at a crossroads) and so acted out.

No contact.  You said so and I agree.  Because should she choose to just remain single & focus on HER future, is best for you both to remain silent, as is.

We cannot accept & heal if the contact continues. - You will see if this NC makes things turn around in next few months. ( But to tread carefully- when one is so 'confused', they can be quite unsettled). So I suggest, unless or until she does reach out & say she wants you two to continue, for real- just leave all alone.

Keep in mind, as for your unfinished future plans, that may not be a go- with this occurance.

 

One day at a time- is good you've backed off and not tormented her- as she is figuring things out.

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She didn't just cheat, she told you about it. Unless there was imminent risk that the guy would tell you about it, why would she?

People who dump their 'conscience' on one who can do nothing about that information except for feeling awful, I'd question whether she didn't drop that confession in your lap so that you'd be the one who would break this thing up cleanly.

I'd stay no contact. You'll need to invest in considering whether you could ever trust this girl again, and if you want her back, consider that you can't trust that outcome unless it entirely comes from her--without any influence from you. Even then, decide whether taking back someone who you may not ever fully trust again is how you'll really want to live.

Head high, and hang in there. Focus on reaching your own private higher ground. If ex is ever capable of meeting you there, she'll have no problem catching up to you.

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Your relationship couldn't have been as perfect as you say or she would not have cheated on you.  I think you need to back off and let her sort herself out.  Dont contact her in any way.

I think things just ran their course, you two were so young and you have both now grown and moved on.

 

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8 hours ago, melancholy123 said:

Your relationship couldn't have been as perfect as you say or she would not have cheated on you.  

I also think that something must have happened, but we were one of those couples that end each others phrases. We never fought and complemented each other, as I filled her weaknesses and so did she. All the closure i got was: "Its something that happened to me, I messed up. You were perfect to me and i'm the only one to blame. I failed you." And I know there must be other things that she doesn't want to tell me not to hurt me more.

I'm staying in no contact. I just hope she will be able to find herself out. And somehow find a way into me too, even if i have moved on. I guess we'll have to see. Knowing her, I know she's full of guilt, regret and not happy about how she sees herself.

What if she reaches out?, I know that sooner or later she will, because she genuinely cares about my pain. I'm just not one of those block her/ignore her guys. I already told her I don't want to see her for a while unless she wants to fix things up.

Thanks for the support!

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