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Did I cheat on my ex-bf emotionally?

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  • #380659
    Kate
    Participant

    Hi,

    So this began when my college started in 2019. I started seeing my senior in college. He seemed great initially and really appreciated me for who I was. Slowly, there were certain things about his family that I got to know later. There were severe financial problems, he having a single mother and his relationship with his mother was strained, court cases, huge debts, younger brother’s education, settling down etc. All this made me very insecure about our future. I was very confused and discussed it with my brother and cousins. Their take was that it will be difficult. I kept thinking about what to do but I couldn’t take a decision.

    In 2020, during lockdown, I started talking to this friend d who was Avery good friend since the start of my college. We would usually chat all day and had no feelings for him then. But gradually, I started having feelings for him. I just thought they will go away and I can’t think like that. But I just couldn’t stop myself. Didn’t say anything to d but would talk to him every single day and would be upset if we didn’t. Then in November 2020, he proposed to me. I told him that whatever it is from my side, I can’t express it because I am seeing someone else. D knew my situation with my then bf.

    In December 2020, I broke up with my bf and on the same day I confessed to d that I like him too. It happened too fast and now I sometimes feel that I cheated on my ex-bf and it scares me at times.

    Please help me with this situation and give your views!

     

    #380664
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kate:

    I don’t think that you cheated on your then boyfriend when you started having feelings for your friend D. Having feelings is not a crime or a wrong-doing. We feel what we feel and sometimes we are surprised by how we feel because we didn’t plan or expect to feel a certain way. Feelings just happen.

    Feelings without actions are not equal to cheating. There is such a thing as wrong-doing, there is no such thing as wrong-feeling.

    Did you accept D’s proposal, if I may ask?

    anita

    #380678
    Kate
    Participant

    Thank you Anita for your reply!

    Yes, I did accept D’s proposal and we are dating.

    I have another concern. Whenever I think of myself being in the same place as my ex-bf was, it concerns me. Had my bf had feelings for someone else, it would have really hurt me and wouldn’t, for sure, have known how to deal with that.

    Even sometimes currently, when D doesn’t reply me on time despite being online, I get scared thinking that he might be talking to someone else. Not sure if I am having trusting issues or I am insecure of myself.

    #380680
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Kate,

    it appears you were at first happy with your boyfriend, but then you found out some things about his family that involved a lot of problems, debts and court cases, and you got unsure about the relationship. You asked your brother and cousins for their opinion and they too believed it was going to be difficult. You were thinking to break up with him, but couldn’t decide, so you stayed in the relationship:

    All this made me very insecure about our future. I was very confused and discussed it with my brother and cousins. Their take was that it will be difficult. I kept thinking about what to do but I couldn’t take a decision.

    Some time later you started chatting with a very good friend of yours, whom you at first didn’t have any feelings for, but they’ve developed over time, as you spent entire days chatting with him. You got attached to him and would feel bad if you didn’t talk for a day. You didn’t say anything about your feelings to him but you continued chatting with him, until he finally proposed in November. You broke up with your boyfriend in December, and on the same day confessed to D that you like him.

    Now you feel bad that you might have actually cheated on your ex-boyfriend, and you’re scared of the idea. Well, you had an intense online relationship with your friend D, for whom you’ve developed feelings. It’s not a sin to develop feelings, people have crushes on other people, even while married, but the question is what we do with those feelings.

    Since you’ve continued chatting with D, knowing you’re developing feelings and getting more and more attached, I believe that’s when it became an emotional affair. A super honest and sort of “enlightened” approach would have been that you stopped yourself, admitted to yourself what’s happening, and then decided whether to either stop chatting with D (stop the emotional affair) or to break up with your then boyfriend. That would have been a super fair approach.

    Whenever I think of myself being in the same place as my ex-bf was, it concerns me. Had my bf had feelings for someone else, it would have really hurt me and wouldn’t, for sure, have known how to deal with that.

    It’s good that you recognize that it might have hurt your boyfriend, had he known you had feelings for someone else. But don’t beat yourself up now – you said it was all happening fast, you were confused and it happened how it happened. Try to forgive yourself and draw a lesson from it.

    Actually, an additional problem that I see here is that you had doubts already in the beginning, i.e. when it turned out that your then bf has a problematic family background. You started distancing yourself from him already then, and this probably made your getting close to D even easier, specially if you expressed your doubts about your boyfriend to D (you said D knew about your situation with your then bf). Talking about relationship problems with a male friend usually doesn’t help and can easily lead to an emotional affair.

    So next time if you have doubts, it would be important to clarify them with yourself first, and then talk to someone neutral. Your brother and relatives is a good choice, a coach or counselor would be an even better choice if there are deeper issues you want to address. But talking to a male friend or acquaintance about your current relationship is not the best choice.

     

    #380683
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kate:

    You are very welcome. The first part of this post will be general and the second part will be specific to your story. Please take your time reading this post because there is a lot in it, and feel free to reply if and when you want to.

    First part,  You wrote: “Not sure if I am having trusting issues or I am insecure myself”- probably both, but every adult has trust issues and feelings of insecurity to one extent or another. Sometimes it appears like a person is secure and trusting (and he/she may feel that way at a particular time),  but if you observe any other person long enough- you will detect his/ her insecurity and trust issues- these are in each and every one of us.

    The reason for that is that people really are insecure: no one’s life and health is guaranteed, not today, not tomorrow (we get to know this fact as children when observing that people do get sick and die), and by the time a person is an adult, his/ her trust has already been betrayed by at least one person, in one way or another.

    We, as people, should have trust issues because many people are not trustworthy. If we trust a person who is not worthy of our trust with something important to us, we’ll get hurt. We need to evaluate a person: is he/she worthy of my trust in this or that area, and if they are- trust them in that one area.

    You are not alone when it comes to feeling insecure and untrusting. Be open to see the same in others, communicate about it with others- first just a bit, see how they respond, then communicate a bit more if the response is inviting, etc.- this will help you and them. Do not expect there to be a time when you will feel consistently and perfectly secure and trusting, such an expectation will make it harder to achieve a state of mind that is more secure and more trusting (of trustworthy people) than now.

    Second part, when you found out that your boyfriend at the time, and his family had “severe financial problems.. court cases, huge debts”, etc.,  it made you very insecure (“this made me very insecure about our future”)- your feelings of insecurity were valid, meaning: if you married him, your life too would include severe financial problems and legal trouble. But you “couldn’t take a decision” perhaps because you thought love should conquer all, that you will be a bad person if you end a relationship for financial worries (?)

    During lockdown you started talking to D, “usually chat all day”, gradually you “started having feelings for him”, didn’t tell him and continued to talk to him, then in Nov 2020, D proposed to you, and in Dec you broke up with your boyfriend and then told D that you liked him too, and started dating D.

    Technically, having a boyfriend and privately talking to another man repeatedly and at length while knowing that you developed feelings for  that other man, is a form of betrayal/ cheating. But, look at the bigger picture: (1) you were very, very young then and now, (2) it was during lockdown and I am guessing you did not spend much time if any, in the physical presence of your boyfriend- that’s why you had the time to chat with D all day, (3) you were confused.

    You are not a cold-hearted, experienced woman having fun cheating on her boyfriend virtually or physically. You were a confused very young woman, chatting with a guy during lockdown.

    “Had my bf had feelings for someone else, it would have really hurt me and wouldn’t, for sure, have known how to deal with that”- like I wrote to you earlier, feelings just happen, and we are not guilty for whatever it is that we feel. At the same time, feelings, when intense are strong motivations to behave this or that way. We need to choose our behaviors so to discourage motivations to behave wrongly. For example, if it happens that in the relationship with D, you develop romantic feelings for another man- don’t chat with the other man privately anymore.

    I suggest that you talk to D about what you and D individually should do if and when either one of you develops feelings for a third person. Let him know (in case he doesn’t know) that developing feelings can happen without our choice.. it just happens, but what we do about it is open to our choosing. Then make a plan of action for the time it happens, if it does.

    “sometimes currently, when D doesn’t reply (to)  me on time despite being online, I get scared thinking that he might be talking to someone else”- there is a concept in American law that is called “reasonable doubt”. We can always doubt something (example: you can’t be 100% sure that D is not talking to another woman in a romantic way when you are not there with him to observe him personally), but we need to distinguish between doubt and reasonable doubt (is there any real evidence to suggest that D is not worthy of your trust?)

    You can talk to D about replying to your messages when he is online: ask him what is behind the timing of his replies to your messages. The more information you have, the lesser your anxiety.

    anita

    #380686
    Bubba
    Participant

    Dear Kath,

    I have been on the receiving end of this ssituation. In my view, you did have an eemotional affair. But it doesn’t change the fact that your last relationship was not in line with what you wanted from your life. Its obviously easier to find someone else before leaving the last relationship and often people develop emotional relationships when they are struggling with their current ones. Its good you realise that…. next time if you find yourself in a relationship that doesn’t work, take input from neutral parties as you have been advised well… and then walk out before falling for a new person. It builds emotional backbone and then you can build your new relationship on an even stronger and mature footing. Its okay, it happened, its human. I hope your current relationship works out and if there are challenges which are normal part of any journey, you know how to address those. All the best.

    #380715
    Kate
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply TeaK, Anita and Bubba!

    I appreciate your honest replies and I somewhere felt that what I was doing was not correct but couldn’t help myself. I tried my best not to get involved romantically unless I broke up with my ex. Yes, there would have been better approach to what I did.

    Thanks,

    Kate

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Kate.
    #380719
    Kate
    Participant

    @Anita – Thank you for your kind replies!

    Regarding this:

    But you “couldn’t take a decision” perhaps because you thought love should conquer all, that you will be a bad person if you end a relationship for financial worries (?)

    Yes! It was that concern and thought itself that am I being materialistic which made me think about the situation a lot.

    You can talk to D about replying to your messages when he is online: ask him what is behind the timing of his replies to your messages. The more information you have, the lesser your anxiety.

    I am not sure if it would be a great idea as it might seem like I am trying to intrude in his privacy.

    Best,

    Kate

    #380720
    Kate
    Participant

    Regarding this:

    But you “couldn’t take a decision” perhaps because you thought love should conquer all, that you will be a bad person if you end a relationship for financial worries (?)

    Yes! It was that concern and thought itself that am I being materialistic which made me think about the situation a lot.

    You can talk to D about replying to your messages when he is online: ask him what is behind the timing of his replies to your messages. The more information you have, the lesser your anxiety.

    I am not sure if it would be a great idea as it might seem like I am trying to intrude in his privacy.

    Best,

    Kate

    #380734
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kate:

    I’ve been busy this weekend but I am looking forward to read your recent posts and reply to you in about 16 hours from now.

    anita

    #380741
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kate;

    I am back sooner than I thought. “Yes! It was that concern and thought itself that am I being materialistic which made me think about the situation a lot”- it is fair and responsible (a good thing) for you to consider financial/ materialistic factors when considering a husband, and especially, when considering the father of your future children: it would be irresponsible for you to put your future children into poverty by the choice you make in regard to their father!

    Regarding you thinking that asking your boyfriend about the timing of his replies being an intrusion into his privacy- depends how you ask him. If you ask him in an angry, blaming tone, then it is  not a good idea. But if you ask him in a curious tone, just wanting to know, then it is not an intrusion on his privacy: it is your right to know. You can practice a way to ask him that does not sound angry or blaming or intruding  (or not- it is your choice, of course).

    anita

    #380764
    Kate
    Participant

    Thanks Anita 🙂

    #380768
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome Kate. Post again anytime you feel the need to, if you do.

    anita

    #381091
    Kate
    Participant

    Hi Anita and all,

    Lately, I am having a set of complex emotions!

    I find it difficult to remain positive about my current relationship. My boyfriend is a great guy. He cares for me and loves me. But sometimes, I just feel a disconnect. I am not sure where is the issue and how do I deal with it.

    A little about my past. So, I have been in a few relationships and they didn’t go well. As always, the start of relationship is good So were they. There is an instance from my first relationship where I was dating this guy and believed that he would never cheat on me. We got into a fight when he visited me in my hometown as I was a little distant from him because a lot of people knew my parents. Having caught with this guy would have created a lot of problems for me back home. He didn’t talk to me for a week. I apologised to him so many times and tried explaining. We got better after a week but he would behave distant continuously. Could never feel the warmness from his end. After a year or so, we broke up. That was the worst phase of my life. One day, after 4 months, he texted me and we started talking again. While we were talking, he told me somehow that when we weren’t talking for 7 days, he started seeing someone else. And when we got back together, he broke up with that girl. And this really broke me. My belief system was complete shattered.

    In my second relationship, the guy was really critical of me. He would consistently comment on my body weight, height ( I was quite shorter than him) and looks. He would tell me you are not beautiful but your nature is good.  That really affected me mentally. I became too insecure of myself and was not at all comfortable in my own skin. I felt ugly and irritated all the time. I introduced him to my girl friends that time. There was this one time in college when he was crushing on this girl who was in my friends group. But after 3 years we started dating. So, I never thought that there would be any problem with all of us hanging out together. But gradually I started seeing their rapport building and that really made me think otherwise. After we passed out, we would fight a lot because of that girl. Meanwhile, this guy blocked that girl and later called her and said that I told him to do this which wasn’t true. This affected my friendship with other girls badly. They stopped talking to me and this really affected me. I might even be depressed that time. A few of my friends still sometime tell me that it was because of me that that girl stopped talking to them which really hurts me. When all of this was happening, I got in touch with a guy and he really made me feel better about myself. This was when I and my bf were together. Although we went out a few times but that was it.  Nothing beyond that.

    Now the issue that I face in my current relationship is I find it difficult to trust him. I feel scared that what if he talks to someone and falls for her. The other day we were just talking and he tells me that there are no girls in his team (work). I asked if he wants girls in his team to which he said it’s good to have a diverse team. He meant everything in a positive way but it’s me who’s not able to take anything positively I guess. Whenever, he doesn’t’t reply to me, I feel paranoid about what he might be doing. Yesterday, he said that he has a secret meeting. I asked him about it to which he said why do you want to know. I said like that only. Once he finished his call, he did tell me who was he on call with. I want to respect his privacy because he respects mine but don’t know how. While I am in that situation, I directly jump onto the conclusion that it might not or difficult to work between us. I am scared trusting him and myself. I really need some perspective on this.

    Thanks,

    Kate

    #381092
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kate:

    I am glad you posted at a time when you struggle.

    “My boyfriend is a great guy. He cares for me and loves me. But sometimes, I just feel a disconnect. I am not sure where is the issue and how do I deal with it”-

    – reads like the issue is anxiety. The term anxious attachment style, is explained by psychology today this way: “The anxious attachment style is always concerned about the stability or security of the relationship. People with this attachment style tend to agonize over the meaning of words or actions by a partner. They read negatives into otherwise neutral or positive interactions. They also tend to crave constant reassurance that the relationship is secure, and the affection and love are still present”- does this quote fit you in regard to your current relationship and the previous ones?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
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