Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Valentine’s Day is coming, and I’m dreading it. Last year on Valentine’s Day, I was dating someone. I thought we were happy. In fact, Valentine’s Day ended up being awesome. We went out of town for the weekend, we had a really romantic time — everything seemed so great. Not long after that, I found very flirtatious and suggestive texts on his phone with another woman. He denied cheating when I confronted him and he broke up with me for “violating his privacy.” Not long after, he and the other woman started dating.
I know of her, but don’t know her well. By all accounts she’s a nice person. Mutual friends say she had no idea he was involved with someone when they started “talking.” They swear nothing else happened but that — I still don’t buy it. From their social media accounts, I know they’ve been together this whole last year. They seem happy. In fact, she seems cool. It makes me furious that he cheated on me and continues to pass himself off as a nice guy when he’s obviously not. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until he cheats again — in fact, I’ve noticed a couple women in particular who comment a lot on his photos.
I want to give this woman a heads-up that he is not all he seems to be. I also still want the validation of hearing from him that he did in fact cheat on me, at least emotionally. My friends say I should let all this go, but they don’t understand how badly he hurt me, and how much I want to protect this poor woman who’s currently dating him. Advice?
You don’t want to protect this “poor woman” — you want to hurt the guy who hurt you, and you know sabotaging his new relationship will do the trick. Your friends are right: you need to let go. You are spending way too much energy thinking about him, her, them, and skulking around on their social media accounts. Just stop! This isn’t about protecting or defending them; this is about you having some self-respect and channeling your energy into efforts that will bring you positive returns.
Look, as long as you are putting all this effort into investigating his life, dwelling on your past, and obsessing about his current relationship, you aren’t focusing on what counts: your future! How are you going to find your own happiness if you’ve got one foot in the very dysfunctional past? How are you ever going to meet anyone if you’re too busy poring through online evidence of the daily lives of your ex and his new gal?
I acknowledge you were hurt. Heartbreak sucks, and it’s hard to let go of the fantasy that said heartbreaker will come crawling back begging for forgiveness, redemption — even a second chance. But you’re better off without him. Maybe he was emotionally cheating on you; maybe he wasn’t. It doesn’t matter! It has absolutely no bearing on your current reality, which is single — and at a crossroads. You can be single, and stuck in the past, unable to let go, bitter and clingy. Or you can be single, fabulous and interesting, able to let go of old baggage, and ready to embrace the future.
Now that’s a Valentine’s Day gift everyone yearns for — a surprise visit and wild rant from the crazy ex! What’s next? Keying his car?
At this point, nothing you can say or do, and nothing he can say to you, is going to smooth over what happened between you two or put you two back together. And nothing you say to his girlfriend is going to burn him so bad that it heals the burn he put on you. If anything, you’ll probably bring them closer together.
So why bother? Cheaters gonna cheat. He’s a jerk and you know it. Maybe she’s a sweetie or maybe she’s a cheating accomplice — doesn’t matter anyway. Let them live how their fairy tale or melodrama plays out.
I know it’s easy for your friends, Wanda and I to say, but we’re all saying it: move on. You can start by unfriending/unfollowing/un-cyberstalking them on social media immediately. And no more asking or talking about them when you’re with mutual friends IRL. Need to get something or all of it off your chest? Book a therapist — they’ll actually listen and help. The sooner you stop focusing on them and start focusing on you, the sooner your heart will heal and you’ll get in a better space.