I need the perspective of a man. Please help. My boyfriend and I have in a LDR for the past year because he’s studying abroad. Four months ago, I broke up with him for stupid reasons and I thought he would never take me back so I got drunk out of my mind and ended up hooking up with his best friend. I know, that’s the most horrible thing I could do and I felt like sh*t.
My boyfriend did try to get back together with me, however, we’re now going through a rough patch because he says he can’t get over the fact that I hooked up with his friend. I told him that it wasn’t because I liked his best friend – I was drunk and I emotionally messed up. I told him that I did it because I regretted breaking up with him and that I tried to fill that void by giving pleasure to someone else, and that it was a mistake. He said it didn’t matter; I hooked up with his best friend and he doesn’t know if he can ever get over it.
Dude, I don’t know what to do. I can’t take back what I did, and no reason I give my boyfriend will make him feel better. I love him and I know that if it wasn’t his best friend, he wouldn’t feel this hurt and I wouldn’t regret it so much. My boyfriend says he loves me and wants to stay together but doesn’t believe we can work out because it haunts him. Is there any hope for us?
– Losing Hope
Dear Losing Hope,
Go to the mattresses.
Some people can forgive and move on, others simply can’t. Unfortunately, the one who messes up isn’t the one who has to forgive the other person. No, the one with the regret has to forgive herself if she wants to move past it.
It sounds like you’re stewing in your guilt and that your boyfriend is stewing right next to you. What happened was a painful and regretful act, it sounds like, for both of you. You were hurt by the break up. You reached out for something but that something hurt him. Rubbing two wounds together prevents them from healing.
There comes a point where you sit down and make the decision to try to move on or admit that you can’t. It sounds like you’re reaching that boiling point. Neither of you is Marty McFly or have a hot tub time machine. What happened, happened. But you can’t let yourselves get stuck in the past without sacrificing any happiness in your future. Trust has to be rebuilt but you have to agree to rebuild it together.
Having consulted with a few shrinks, I’m told that, typically, it can take around 18 months before that feeling of betrayal isn’t omnipresent. That means you’re both in for a lot of work. So, make sure you’re both up to getting knee deep into it.
Look, what you did, you did it after you’d broken up. Does that make it an act of infidelity? Technically, no. But that sounds like how you’re both treating it. If reason and sacrifice doesn’t, in his mind, warrant forgiveness then you’ve got no other choice but to ask the question: “then is it over?”
Whether he knows it or not, he’s punishing you and you’re punishing yourself. You can’t keep punishing yourself for something you regret. That’s not learning from your mistakes. That’s reliving them. Dwelling doesn’t allow healing. It doesn’t leave room for you to take new knowledge from the experience and put it into practice in order to avoid committing acts you’ll regret. The best thing you can do is say “enough.”
Take the elephant in the room by the reins and either wrangle it in or let it go. Be brave. Move on. Hopefully it’s with him but you can do it on your own, too.
[He's good, right? Sigh, we know. Check out The Dude's other insights into the male mind right here.]