Boyfriend Cheated and I am doubting myself !!

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    Dear Tiny Buddha Community,

    I recently broke up with my boy friend who cheated on me ( we were together for almost a year), after lying for several months and covering up those lies with a lot of conviction. A little about this person, he is charming, social, outgoing, very intelligent and is usually seen by others as a fun person to be around. But with a closer look you will realize that he is very manipulative, lacks empathy, and is very deceptive. He is very good at minimizing even something horrible as cheating. He practically minimized the entire thing into ” I was just casually interacting with females ( which again is opposite of objective reality). If you ever get in a verbal battle, you will never win. He is brilliant at gas lighting, arguing till death to prove he is right and making you doubt yourself and look like a crazy reactive person ( the quintessential crazy ex gf argument).

    When I found out he has been cheating, I confronted him, not realizing how manipulative this person is, I actually ended up empathizing and consoling him by the end of it all. I did decide that I will not continue this relationship forward, but I will support him ( and I genuinely meant that) if he wants to change his ways and seek professional help for his attention seeking behaviour. I loved this guy I really did. Every part of my mind and body were yearning to make things right. As I was consoling him, I obviously did not process any of my emotions and feelings of pain and hurt. I could not process how I was feeling after finding out he has been cheating, how my plans to actually marry this person are in the dump now and how that has affected me. I processed none of this and ended up attending to his needs in the moment. Two days later, I sent him a message expressing how disturbed and hurt I was and how his actions were very selfish. He obviously did not take this message well and immediately resorted to name calling ( jealous, insecure, crazy, not worth his time ect ect). He accused me of being that girl who makes accusations when ” he did nothing wrong”. I am not able to wrap my head around this. How did this person spin this around after lying and cheating and blamed me for all of it.

    I don’t know why but even after being emotionally and verbally abused, I called him to make things right. Worse thing is I sent him a message apologizing for being angry. Can you believe that ?? Even I can’t. I am ashamed of myself, I really did bow down. Maybe part of me felt guilty for being angry and hurt as if I had no right to send him that message. I even gave him a headsup that I need some space and validation and requested him to ” bear with me if i get angry ” which obviously did not happen. I really did try to make amends with this person, I called him and asked for 5 minutes of his time to explain how he should have allowed me the space to be hurt and angry, to say I miss him and maybe we can work things out, if not just be friends. He ended up blocking me.

    Its been few weeks now and looking back, I am not able to snap out how can he treat me like that ? lie and cheat and then block me after I apologize for showing any bit of hurt and pain. How selfish and narcissistic is this person and what was I thinking in the first place? Why did I apologize when he should have allowed me the space to be angry and hurt. ( Cheating is not a casual thing for me, I am a loyal person to the T and I cannot fathom how someone can do that). This guy is so disconnected from reality, that he doesn’t even think he cheated ( he is so convinced that he did nothing… this is so scary). He needs constant reassurance from women because he doesn’t feel desired or wanted physically ( this is something that came up recently, hence to put his promiscuous splurges in context). This is the reason I was consoling him, I saw a struggling and troubled man and I wanted to help. But how did he turned out negated the entire thing and got back to believing that he is a faithful person and I am some crazy girl, I have no idea. I recently also found out through common friends that he is back to his old lifestyle. Life is going on for him. He is dating other girls, partying ect ect. Having no regard of an inch of remorse for what he did to me.

    We share a lot of common friends, he recently reached out to one of our friends to organize a get together. I know he values his outwardly reputation and social connections, therefore he is quickly reaching out to everyone I know to maintain his reputation to reassert how likable and fun of a person he is. This is a very empty human being. He needs that attention and affirmations from people constantly that he is still liked so his actions makes sense in perspective. But all of this is taking an emotional toll on me. I obviously will not attend these gatherings ( in a way I feel cornered and isolated) because he knows I would not attend. What is bothering my core is the injustice in all of this. He still gets to go out and be liked by the people who knows him outwardly ( no body knows these deep down demons he is battling with). I was disappointed in my friend. She felt sympathy for me when she found out and felt momentarily anger towards him, but the fact he is a mutual friend I can understand she why she could not just block him after all she is not directly impacted by this so cannot feel so strongly against him. ( Although a few of my very close friends absolutely detest this person and don’t plan on interacting with him because of his behaviour) but I know I can’t expect people to pick sides. It just hurt to see how he still gets to be socially accepted.

    I need to let go of this resentment. This is consuming my life when I have so many other priorities. I was also questioning God’s Devine justice. How come people who hurt others still get to be liked in our society and have all the resources in the world. What about Karma ? I want to forgive him not because what he did was any less horrific but because I need to move on. I need to stop being anxious about seeing him in my friend circles, close vicinity, work, he is practically everywhere and everyone knows him. I thought of moving cities but why should I ? I have so much at stake here and I am currently at a prestigious school. I cannot just drop out because of a guy. I know its not worth it. But then again there is logic when I am looking at all of this from an eye in the sky and there are my feelings ( which he never validated and basically ghosted me). I feel this immeasurable pain inside me. How can he do this in a blink of a eye. Nothing … no sentiment or regard or empathy or concern for the damage this might cause me. What sort of decent human being lies, cheats swears and disappears ? I am not able to reconcile any of this. Please share your insights or past experiences. How can I move on ?


    Dear julia9278:

    You asked: “What sort of decent human being lies, cheats…?”- no sort of decent human being does it. He is not decent. The fact that sometimes you saw him in some emotional pain does not mean he is decent, as EVERY human being is sometimes in pain.

    He is not about love or truth. Or personal healing.

    Your personal healing is about having no contact with him, whatever it takes. If I was you, I wouldn’t socialize with him alone or in a group. I wouldn’t talk to any of the mutual friends about him anymore. Let your friends know that you don’t want to talk about him or hear about him from them. If you see him, ignore him.

    You are too vulnerable to him, this is why I am suggesting this. You know who he is but you are also emotionally attached to him and so, you depart from what you know when interacting with him.

    And indeed, life is not fair or just, most often it is not. Make justice for yourself best you can- by having no contact with him.



    Hi Julia9278-

    All of the answers to your questions are contained in your own letter which tells me you very much have this person in perspective despite still being in a tailspin about him and what he did – which is only natural.

    One thing that narcissistic or abusive people do is keep us busy anticipating their needs, their ups and downs, often invalidating our own feelings. This gets us off our own centers and if we are naturally empathetic and insightful, we start to compensate for them, – understanding sometimes better than they do what sets them off and forgetting ourselves in the process. So we end up helping them through the ‘very tough’ process of abusing us and apologizing for our own feelings.

    He can do all this in the blink of an eye because it’s his pathology. Hard to believe but it has less to do with you than with his own patterns which were well established before you came into the picture. Guaranteed that he did these same things before you came in to his life and will do so to others after.

    This is incomprehensible to you because you are processing the actions of an abnormal psychology (maybe even borderline personality) with your normal psychology. Imagine yourself sitting in a café or bar twenty years from now talking to his next ex. Do you have any doubt you two would be bonding about him having done the exact same thing to her as he did to you?

    You have every right to feel angry, and it is healthy and justified that you do. Being angry is part of the process of moving on. So be with that and don’t feel obliged to feel politically/emotionally correct or super evolved about it.

    I know you love/d this person, but unfortunately the actions you describe are not going to change. This is not someone who has any interest in confronting his own problems, and keeps busy playing out his on inner problems on those he draws close to him.

    Underneath the narcissistic need for approval is a deep self loathing, and a deep seated belief that no one can truly love him. Deep down he does not value himself, which is why he needs constant approval, so how can he value you?

    He pre-emptively rejects the person who loves him, leaving a wake of hurt and destruction and question marks behind him. The relationships he can handle, however, are the friendships, and in these he feels safe since no one gets as close. He’s the greatest most charming guy in the world to those people to reassure himself that he’s ok. The other stuff mostly happens in close relationships, not the friendships, so the friends don’t get to see that side of him.

    If you drew a diagram, it might look something like this: Feeling insecure, need approval use charm to get love. Got love, still feel hollow- (thinking it must be the love object’s fault). Devalue and reject this person, seek new approval and new love. Seems to me like this would be a circular diagram.

    I get the strong impression that while your feelings might pull you back in, in your heart of hearts you know you are well out of it.

    One thing that might help is doing some mindfulness/meditation on all of this, letting it run its course swirling around your head until it eventually becomes more quiet, and finding your center in the meantime. That seems to be the direction you’re going in..


    Actually, there are times when decent people do practice deceit. It just depends on the context and what is at stake. in WWII, the allies launched a disinformation campaign about the Normandy landings, trying to make the German forces believe the landings would take place in Calais for example. Having the ability to decode tansmissions but yet continuing to send people out to get slaughtered so as to protect that information is another one. To me, it’s generally in the context of what happened. But, then again, I’m a moral nihilist so…

    If you are waiting for “God’s Divine Justice” I am afraid that you are going to be waiting a very long time.

    Here’s the thing: his choices aren’t your choices. Period, end of story. Narcissists never change, because always being right is inherent in narcissism. It’s always somebody else’s fault.


    Hi julia9278,

    God, I hate those people ~ they get to be utter narcissists, block you… and then proceed to hang out with your friends.

    Listen, avoiding him and large social gatherings is good for now. BUT you WILL one day inadvertently run into him.

    It might as well be on purpose. Don’t seek him out, merely live your life. When you know he’ll show up:

    1. Before he shows up at A Gathering, say to your friends there, “Please help me deal with my crazy ex-bf”. (see what I did there?)

    2. When he shows up, yell cheerfully “THERE’S the cheat! Hey, I thought I told you we are NOT getting back together!” and/or “Why are you here?” and/or “Stop following me!” He will stammer, explode or get uncomfortable. Stay silent, cross your arms, make eye contact with someone, and shake your head sadly while looking back at him and remain silent. It will get awkward. LET IT BE AWKWARD. He is counting on you not letting it be awkward. Let him linger in the awkward.

    3. Tell your friends that you don’t want to hear about him or what he said about you. This will further let everyone know that you are not the crazy ex-gf and that maybe, just maybe, he’s the one with the problem.

    Your friends will quickly learn not to invite him and he will quickly learn to stay out of your realm.

    Good Luck!


    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Inky.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Inky.

    @mitchellspielberg Thank you for such an elaborate and well thought out response. I read your letter a few times over the past couple of days. It gave me shivers noticing how on point you are. Almost like you personally know this person. Took me a while to even respond. I am a natural empath, I couldn’t help myself but relate to his misery and how it must feel to constantly seek attention. However, I just found out, none of his tears, promise to seek therapy ect ect was real. It was just a tactic to diffuse further confrontation and buy more time. He has done this on NUMEROUS occasions. His friend told him that going on dating websites and trying to meet up is “not cool” while you are in a relationship…his response- ” I know “. That’s it ! What do you say after that?? This is something that used to bother me in our relationship as well. He would agree his behaviour is wrong just so I can get off his case but he never intended to change the behaviour. He does it wit his friends as well. Sadly enough, they think he has accepted his fault and won’t do it again. He also told him he blocked me because ” he needs time to think” I really do think this is BS, again a way to avoid confrontation and justify his action of blocking in front of his friend. Little do they know. He is back in business still using dating platforms and such to meet girls. I really do think he has a personality disorder Somatic or histrionic NDP which has gone undiagnosed for years.

    I keep hoping that maybe one day he will change, maybe he will confront these problems and look inside. Maybe he will realize how damaging his actions can be to the other person. I do know that I am well out of it. But I am really struggling to let go. I talk about him a LOT, with my friends, common friend, roommate ect. Yesterday a common friend asked me to grab coffee and I told myself I will not talk about him. I will have a good time with my gf. But the moment she asked me ” how I was doing” and there it was … all came out…pouring my heart and soul. I saw the expression on her face, it got awkward from there on. Like she could see I am hurting but she was almost ready to end our coffee meeting. I don’t blame her, it can be overwhelming for the other person. There is so much resentment and negativity and pain inside me. But I still miss him. I am hating the person I am becoming. I need to stop its been few weeks now. I don’t want to turn into that girl who only talks about how her ex mistreated her. There is more to me than that, I have interests, passions, goals. But I am not able to shift my focus. I don’t want my friends to run away from me ( although all have them have been very supportive, I am just worried if i don’t stop they might just be done with my complaining one day). I personally don’t want to turn into this person, its annoying to me as well. I have been on the listening end as well and after a while people just start to run away from you.
    I know I am being harsh on myself its only been 2 weeks or so…I honestly spent two days reading all about Narcissistic personality disorder. Re-hashed all the events in my relationship and its so creepy and scary how similar my stories and events sounds with people who are diagnosed. I know he needs to be diagnosed but he will never bring it up even though he seeks counselling for other things ( work ect). Part of me wants him to realize it so badly… I know I know.. you see what happened there. I get sucked into this, its not my job or life anymore. I deeply cared about this person and I am attached to him. He has so much to offer but he is wasting his life doing stupid stuff and getting in trouble. I hate myself for caring, I don’t want to, after all he has completely blocked me out of his life and moved on… I just need to let it go as well.

    @Newlife123 – Anita, I have been implementing strong no contact so far. But it seems to be counter productive. I need to give it time and keep at it. Thank you so much for your kind words.

    Inky: I plan on not seeing him don’t think I can handle all of that right now. But thank you for a cheeky response 🙂


    Dear Julia:

    When someone suggested to your ex boyfriend that what he was doing was wrong, and the ex bf agreed, saying “I know”- that didn’t mean it bothered him to be wrong. He may have very well meant that he knows it is considered wrong by society, by others. But not by him.

    It can be that what he considers wrong is for him to experience any kind of distress, and he will do anything not to. Looking into his childhood, into his anxiety, challenging his core beliefs, those things are distressing, uncomfortable, so he won’t do any of that stuff.

    I think that your hope that one day he will change, look inside him, see the damage he causes others, is what keeps you emotionally invested in him. Did you experience this before, with another person in your life, a parent, maybe- hoping that person will see how he or she damaged you and care enough to change?



    Hi Julia–

    It might seem like I have some great insight into this person, but as you can see from your recent reading on the personality disorder, all these stories go pretty much the same way.

    These kinds of people often know how to get close to us and appeal to our natural need for love and sensuality and for a while we seem like we’re the center of their universe. But in the end, they are more like casting directors auditioning and actor/actress to play a part in their own pathologies than boyfriends or girlfriends. It’ a great trip, but afterwards we’re left wondering how it could have been SO intimate and then gone to nothing. They on the other hand, think they have ‘moved on’ just to repeat the process. In the end, somewhere deep down they know they’re not capable of sustaining anything more, but a big part of them is ‘normal’ in that they too are just looking for love like the rest of us, blind to/willfully ignorant of their own limitation and the harm they do. They got what they needed; the incredible high of approval and intimacy – and that’s as far as they’re capable of going. Their latest ex on the other hand is left processing the emotions, whereas incapable of processing emotions responsibly, they skip that part.

    If you took a ride on the Orient Express, it might be the most wonderful, interesting, sensual trip of your life and you might look back on it with nostalgia forever, but the train would make the same trip over and over again with different passengers, and wouldn’t miss you at all. It’s kind of like that in my experience.

    Two weeks is nothing in the scope of things, though sorry it has been a painful two weeks for you. We take this wonderful ride (and indeed there’s always something to be learned) we become invested in it, and want it to go further and then we’re dumped off at the nearest stop. Because there just is no ‘further’ with them. There never was.

    For some reason we feel like after this deeply felt emotional experience that has just ended traumatically we should be able to immediately snap back to our normal, driven lives the way we were before without a hitch, and if we can’t there’s something wrong with us. But it just doesn’t work that way. Processing those emotions is natural and it’s natural for you to be heartbroken, because you’re a human, feeling person. So don’t be hard on yourself. Allow yourself the time, and explore things that make you feel better.

    I think it’s in Chinese medicine that they call the spot between your breastbones, at the intersection of your rib cage the ‘grieving point’. When you press there, if it’s kind of sore or inflamed that means you’re still grieving. Yoga breathing and meditation have helped me with releasing this.

    Everything’s normal here and you have all the answers. Not you just have to process it and get back to yourself without worrying that it’s taking too long.

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