“Help: My BF cheated on me—should we break up?”

Dear Sarah,

My life feels like a soap opera right now, and I’m freaking out and don’t know what to do.

I’ve known this guy since we started college two years ago, we are together in many classes, and recently, I’ve been sleeping at his apartment most nights. We started out as friends and after a year began dating because we were already acting like boyfriend and girlfriend. The problem started about six months ago when I saw photos of him with his ex-girlfriend at some parties when he told me he was out with the guys.

Sooo, I told a (male) friend how I felt about it, and then I got hacked and all my embarrassing messages to him got back to the bf and he was furious and broke up with me. We made up but he said he didn’t want to “label” our relationship. It was OK, but he seemed distant and cold sometimes which I attributed to what I did to him. Two months later, he admitted he had a crush on his co-worker but preferred being with me—I felt destroyed but we stayed together.

The worst came when I saw he was messaging with my roommate. Then I snooped on his Facebook (I know, I shouldn’t have) and I discovered he’s in love with his co-worker and all his friends know that they have been hooking up! Not only this, but he’s asked other girls out—including my roommate.

I freaked out because many, many times when he told me he was at work he was with his other “girlfriend.” I tried not to yell at him, but I did and we broke up again. Less than a week later, we saw each other again, and it seemed like everything was normal and he told me he didn’t want to talk about it ever again and he apologized and said he didn’t want to hurt me—that’s why he’d kept things a secret.

The fact is, I can’t deal with this anymore. I love him (still), but I’m so confused. I’m trying not to cry, but all of this is hurting me (A LOT). I don’t know what to do, should I try to talk to him? Should I leave him?

Please help me,

Hurting in California

Dear Hurting,

I’m going to answer your question, “Should I leave him?” with another question, “Why shouldn’t you leave him?” I don’t mean that in a snarky way—but there’s no mention in your letter of any of your bf’s good qualities, only that you feel love for him.

Instead, here’s what I have learned:

He partied with his ex-girlfriend and lied about it to you.

He was furious that you shared you were upset with a friend and broke up with you over it (instead of taking responsibility for his actions).

He developed (and told you) that he had a crush on his co-worker (but I suppose that was vaguely OK in some “technical” way because you agreed not to “label” your relationship?).

He flirted with (and later asked out) your roommate, as well as other girls.

He was/is in love with his co-worker and cheated with her publicly. And deceived you about it—frequently.

When you got angry with him about this (normal behavior under the circumstances), he broke up with you again.

He got back together with you, on the condition that you “never talk about it again” and justified his lying by saying that it was because he didn’t want to hurt you. (Again, he’s not taking responsibility).

Now, despite your feelings of love for him, which I totally understand, you are heart broken and crying buckets.

It’s not my place to tell you to end your relationship, but I will ask you to examine why you keep going back again and again to someone who cheats, lies, and hurts you and then refuses to own up to his behavior. What are you actually getting out of this relationship but pain and anxiety? There have better be some amazing “pros” to overcome all the “cons” you mentioned above.

Repeat after me until you really believe it: “I am a valuable person who deserves a loving, honest relationship.” Then do what you heart tells you to do.

Love, Sarah

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