Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My ex and I broke up a decade ago. We were together about five years and while it didn't work out I always felt good about the relationship. I'm happy and with a great guy now.
I ran into a friend the other day who used to be friends with my ex until they had a falling out. We got some drinks and he told me something I didn't know -- that my ex had cheated on me for a period of time, a couple years before we broke up.
Suddenly I have all this hurt and anger and don't know what to do with it. I can't confront my ex because it's ancient history and we don't even talk anymore. I can't help but look at my boyfriend in a new light -- what is it he's not telling me?
I feel like a fool for thinking we had a good relationship and confused about whether I should resent my friend for telling me now -- when I can't do anything.
Should I be pissed at my friend? How can I get over this?
You've got a few questions and issues to sort through.
First, should you resent your "friend" for blabbing about your ex-boyfriend's philandering? Uh, yeah! What was the point in dropping that decade-old bomb, besides being a drama-conjurer?
Second issue: Does this newly acquired knowledge alter your impression of your prior long-done relationship? Yep, no doubt. But on the bright side, you're no longer dating a man who cheated on you.
Issue 3: You are now looking at your new "great guy" differently, with perhaps more skepticism and anxiety, while also corking the anger, hurt and confusion that's been bubbling up since your "friend" told you about your ex's infidelities. This is your most urgent problem.
It's unfair to hold a prior partner's transgressions over a new partner's head. While the knowledge that someone you deeply trusted had betrayed you will no doubt impact your general feelings toward fidelity, it shouldn't impact your general feelings toward your new boyfriend. And if you keep bottling up this storm of emotions you're facing, you'll eventually erupt; and your current man may likely be the Pompeii to that volcanic Vesuvius release.
So before you emotionally explode, try venting. Sit your boyfriend down, tell him what happened, and talk through the negative energy it's caused for you. Sharing these feelings with him puts you both on the same page and on the same team. It hopefully will help you to remember your current boyfriend is your ally, not adversary.
Ever hear the old idiom, "It's best to let sleeping dogs lie"? Your buddy clearly hasn't. Or maybe he has and just doesn't respect old idioms, old friends and old sleeping dogs. If he did, he wouldn't have started howling about your ex's alleged excursions. That's no friend -- that's a frenemy, and an extremely selfish one at that.
So, now that one recently resting dog is barking and ready to bite, I'd recommend you don't chomp on the nearby dog that's still sleeping -- your new boyfriend. (And really, why would you ever wake a sleeping dog? They're so cute with their little doggie-dream barking and doggie-dream running.) Your new boyfriend doesn't need to know anything about this just like you didn't need to know anything about this.
Feeling confused? Need to vent? Want a fresh perspective on things? Book a shrink and let it all out there. They are great at listening and providing clarity to messy emotions. I'm confident that once you've been able to get this off your chest, you'll feel free and see the situation for what it really is -- your ex, cheater or not, is the past, your current boyfriend is your present and future who deserves your trust.
Do your boyfriend the solid that your "friend" didn't do for you -- keep him out of this. And next time your buddy offers to buy you a drink and have a talk, feel free to growl at him.
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