On St Patty’s day, I met 25 yr old J at a bar. We had a nice night that ended in kissing. Since that night he kept in touch with me every day via text, but bc he was busy with work and night classes we didn’t see each other much. Since he didn’t make much time to see me I took this as classic “he’s not that into you” even though he seemed like a really nice shy sweet guy. So when he wanted to hang out if I had time, we would meet up with a drink–sometimes with his friends. The most we did over knowing each other was kiss a handful of times. Each time we hung out we had a good time, I could tell, and then he started to want to hang out more frequently, but I didn’t take him too seriously because he never put in that much effort.
I also rejoined OKCupid in mid April. After a string of mediocre dates, I met 35 year old M. M and I hit it off right away and I could tell we had a good first date. He did all the right things. Made time to see me, send me cute little emails or texts every day, bought flowers, made dinner. We get along really well too but I had some reservations about our compatibility. And he is a MAN and this really intimidated me because I usually date boyish guys. Three weeks after meeting M, I had drinks with J and told him I had started seeing someone, but I liked him and his friends and hoped we could be friends. I didn’t think he would mind at all. But he got upset! It really surprised me. He begged me to meet with him later in the week to hear him out. He apologized to me for not making it clear how much he liked me, he told me he was willing to put in the time and effort to make a relationship and that he really liked me. I said we could only be friends, but I must admit after a year of dating losers, the attention was flattering and felt really nice. Also, I think I was protecting myself and didn’t want to get too invested in M because I had been hurt a few time via OKC. Since then, J and I hung out about 1-2 a week just as friends. During this time, M told me he wasn’t seeing anyone else and I said me either, which was technically true :/
M went out of town for a weekend, and I spent a day with J. Just having lunch, running errands, and I had a great great time. But I wasn’t feeling conflicted until M got back and I felt like we didn’t connect. He is more the strong silent type and I wanted to connect via talking when he got back into town and he wanted to connect by having sex. I got really confused and conflicted and acted standoffish to M and a little bit mean. I am not proud of how I acted. M is a smart, intuitive guy who had been through a lot in life and relationships. He knew something was off right away. And he kept probing–”What happened when I was away?” “This isn’t like you.” He kept pushing a little. Finally, I broke down but I LIED and told him I ran into an old friend over the weekend who said he had feelings for me and I was conflicted. But I thought about it and wanted to be with him. The next day, we talked about it some more and I LIED again and told him, I had actually made plans to see the guy. Then the next day, M told me I had to tell him the whole story because he would not put up with lying and I had to figure out what my heart wants. After a day of thinking about everything, I told M the whole entire truth and told him I wanted to be with him and that I would not see J again. He said he was happy for the truth and happy to be with me because he really likes me and wanted to try to put effort into making the relationship work (he said in his last relationship, which was 5 years long, they didn’t communicate or put effort and that was their downfall and that he learned from those mistakes). Maybe, me being naive, I thought everything would be fine from then on, but it still took a few more days of talking about things. I just wanted to sweep it under the rug. Since that time when I admitted the truth, most of the time things have been really good between M and I. We just had two really great weekends in a row, and we are doing well. But this week, he asked if I had heard from J. I told the truth and said he wrote me emails a few times, but I didn’t respond to the last one and I hadn’t talked to him in weeks. I got upset that he even brought it up! I think it should be done by now! And I got angry and we fought a little. My girlfriends agree, but my guy friends say it is going to take some more time to build back the trust and his ego is bruised. Do you think he can get past this? He said he doesn’t want to control me or police me, he just wants to be in an open honest relationship and it still hurts that I lied to him.
The thing is I apologized over and over and I told him why I did it. And what’s even more, is that I’m not really a liar, I am a pretty good, solid, dependable person who only wants the best for people. So I get so upset that he views me as a liar and/or cheat. Because I made a mistake but that isn’t WHO I AM. And I thought I was doing the right thing by telling J we could only be friends and never cheated.
I guess I’m just asking if you think we can get to a healthy happy place? - Confused, 30
No, because you don’t want to be in a happy, healthy place. You’re 30 years old chumming around with a 25 year old. There’s my first clue. Most 25 year old guys aren’t think long term relationship when they date women that much older than them. Even if they are, they’ll eventually wake up and remember they can date younger. A woman who wants a real relationship doesn’t go for a guy that young, either. Just like a 29 year old doesn’t seriously date a 20 year old. There’s a reason why someone your age would go for someone that young, and it’s usually not genuine compatibility. (Except for you, bro. Your situation is TOTALLY different. ) Usually the compatibility is based on each person’s mutual emotional immaturity. And you, my love, are wildly emotionally immature.
Whether you realize it or not, when you came home from your day of hanging out with J., you were intentionally acting stand offish in order to get M. to ask you what was wrong.
Know how I know you were looking to cause drama? Because there was no reason for you to tell M anything, as you had supposedly made your decision. Oh, right. “I want to start things off with a clean slate!” I hate to tell you, but there’s no such thing as a clean slate. Everybody’s slates area little dirty. People need to get past this adorable idea that relationships require 100% honesty, because they don’t. That’s another sign of emotional immaturity. There are some things keep to yourself because revealing them to your partner would upset them. If you truly care about them you don’t want to do that.
You wanted drama and attention. You got it. There was no need for you to tell him about J. There was no imminent threat. None. But you wanted to. You just didn’t want to offer it up. You wanted M. to ask you what was wrong so that you could say you only told him because he asked and so you could prolong the tension. You wanted to create a situation where the focus was 100% on you.
The majority of men out there don’t feed into this sort of thing. If a woman has a problem or internal conflict, man isn’t going to try to drag it out of her. If she wants to stew or pout or chase her tail hoping he’ll notice how wound up she is, most guys just sit back and let her. Why? Because they know no good can come from pushing for an answer to the question, ‘Are you okay?” They also refuse to indulge blatant attention seeking from an adult woman.
But this week, he asked if I had heard from J. I told the truth and said he wrote me emails a few times, but I didn’t respond to the last one and I hadn’t talked to him in weeks. I got upset that he even brought it up! I think it should be done by now!
If you wanted it to be done, then why answer the question honestly? Good thing you only told him you didn’t reply to the last email J. sent instead of, like, just lying. What cause would there have been for M. to feel threatened? The only reason you even indulged J.in the first place once you had met M. was so you could use him to create conflict.
The thing is I apologized over and over and I told him why I did it. And what’s even more, is that I’m not really a liar, I am a pretty good, solid, dependable person who only wants the best for people. So I get so upset that he views me as a liar and/or cheat. Because I made a mistake but that isn’t WHO I AM.
Well, I agree that you’re not a liar or a cheat. You’re just immature and have juvenile ideas about how real relationship work. It’s not enough to have an even keeled relationship. You need the plot twist and the surprise ending. You want to be the woman afraid to love because she’s burned, or the one who wonders “What if?” about that one guy who got away. The only men who tolerate such nonsense are men with their own dysfunctions or men who have no options. But even those guys eventually wise up and realize they can do better.
NOTE: Three days after this letter was submitted, the OP let me know that M. had cheated on her the night before and the relationship was over.