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Does he deserve a second (or third) chance?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 12, 2009 10:44 AM

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Let’s help Ms. Trust with Mr. X.

Q: I met Mr. X (let's refer to him as that) way back in 2001. I was currently in a relationship (one I jumped into much too young) and he was dealing with the loss of a close friend in 9/11. What started out as two people looking for company to what now is an 8 year saga of ups and downs.

I quickly broke up with my boyfriend at the time and Mr. X was eager to start a new relationship with me. I, 21 at the time and he 26, we had a great first two years of going out with friends, enjoying the Boston Summers, and the Sox. After two years, it became time to start settling down, so we took the next step of moving in together. This was the beginning of the end. The first year of living together, was our first real year of problems. My friends and family all said that the first year of living together was more difficult then the first year of marriage, so we both stuck with it.

We had our highs and lows like any typical couple does. We never could quite make it to be on the same time line, whether it was about marriage, kids, locations, etc. I watched all of our friends get married and start their lives while we stayed stuck in time. But then I began to notice that Mr. X was becoming more and more distant. I came to find out more about Mr. X. He had a tendency to enjoy alcohol a little bit more then the average guy in his late 20's. We would argue more and more and I endured many of sleepless nights due to his drinking. I would leave, and he would beg me to come back. I finally left for good two years ago. I moved out, got my own apartment, and started from scratch. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

We stayed in touch, but not physically. I could not drown in his highs in lows, so I asked him to keep to himself until he accepted the fact that he needed help, and actually did something about it.

It wasn't long after that, the Mr. X got himself into some trouble for all of his festivities. He finally succumbed to the fact that he needed help, and began participating in AA. During that time, I was told he needed to focus on his recovery. So I did what the typical single female would do, and decided to pursue my options.

I went on a few dates, but nothing too serious, until I met Mr. Y. Mr Y. was completely wrong for me. We had nothing in common, he was not at all the type of individual I find myself attracted to, but for the time being, it seemed to work. I was always up front about Mr Y to Mr X. I told Mr. X when I would date someone and I thought we had that same mutual understanding. Mr Y and I did not last too long, which I anticipated. Things ended and we both moved on, but I never truly moved on from Mr. X.

I always got calls around the holidays from Mr X, saying how much he loved me, needed me, etc. and I in turn would open my heart back up to be there for him and to support him during his recovery. Mr. X and I always seemed to have a mutual understanding and concern for the well-being of one another.

During this past summer, I was completely single. Mr. X and I would talk and meet up regularly, but he always seemed a bit distant. I asked him if there was someone else and he said NO, and I believed him. Needless to say, I found out that there was in fact another female, one 13 years younger then him. (he 35 and she 22)

As I mentioned we were not together, I understand that and I dated plenty of people, but the fact of the matter is he lied. He said it was nothing, nothing happened, it was only a couple of dates, etc. and begged for forgiveness. Told me he needed me in his life, and that he was nothing without me. I yet again believed him. We sat down and had a conversation about it all. I wanted to know details, how they met, who set them up. etc. He looked eyes and said there was nothing more, no more lies. He answered all my questions.

Me being the "typical" female, couldn't seem to let it go, so I did some "investigating." Come to find out there was yet again another lie. He lied about how they met in the first place. When confronted, Mr. X admitted to his lie, and said he thought it would be better to answer the question the way he did to avoid causing me any more pain. But did not realize in the process that lying in the first place is what causes the pain.

He says there is nothing more, do I believe him? Can I move past this? Should I even try?

So not the way I anticipated spending my Valentines Day with the man who "loves" me so much.

Any words of wisdom?

-- ToTrustOrNotToTrust

A: Woah. That was quite a letter, TTONTT.

Obviously, Mr. X has issues with addiction and compulsive behavior. It sounds like he got himself some help -- in a responsible way -- and I assume he’s still sober and working on his problems. That’s commendable. But it’s still overwhelming to deal with.

My instinct is to tell you that this relationship is broken, that there’s a pattern of dishonesty, that you’ve been in a position of having to forgive him over and over, and that you deserve a fresh start. But -- and this is a big but -- I can’t ignore the fact that he got help and that you seem to love each other. I also can’t ignore that you’re putting him on trial for what (and who) he did while he was technically single. It seems unfair and unproductive. He never cheated. He wants to be with you now. He's made it clear that he never stopped loving you.

I think you have to ask yourself if you love him, and if so, why? If it’s just about salvaging eight years – that’s not enough. If it’s about more – if it’s about trying for a real relationship now that you’re both ready, it might be worth spending Saturday night with Mr. X. But really, you’re the only person who knows if you can move past this. If you can't, don't punish yourself. Or him.

Readers? Should she give Mr. X a second chance? Am I being too easy on him? Share your thoughts here. You can find yesterday's letter here. And please, submit your own letter here.

-- Meredith

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67 comments so far...
  1. The letter writer, lets call her Miss Drama Queen, needs to seek serious mental help. She lives for the drama and the excitement and doesn't know how to move on in life and grow as a human being. She is a freak and will never be truly happy in life and what it brings. MOVE ON, change your phone number, block his emails, get a psychiatrist and PLEASE DO NOT DATE ANYONE I KNOW. And don't reproduce, there are enough screwed up people out there without you raising another one.

    Posted by Rico February 12, 09 11:10 AM
  1. Read what you wrote as if it was written by a friend or sister. What advice would you give to a loved one?

    Posted by deborah February 12, 09 11:13 AM
  1. RUN. AWAY. NOW. you will otherwise end up bitter and hating him because the trust between you is broken and that is not something that can be repaired without you being willing to completely forgive and forget. You love him, but your life would be very hard if you stuck it out. It's time to move on. He's a crutch and your legs are fine to walk on without one.

    Posted by alisa February 12, 09 11:30 AM
  1. This one is easy: Cut the cord. Clean break. No more contact. Stop wasting your life. Move on for good. Capiche?

    Posted by Raffi February 12, 09 11:31 AM
  1. The clue-by-four has been shattered into toothpicks since it's hit you on the head so many times. Move on.

    Posted by J February 12, 09 11:32 AM
  1. Once he has lied to you and you took him again, trust me he will continue telling you a lie after another. The fact is that you have given him an opportunity to find an excuse for all the things that he knows are wromg and will hurt you. Do you still want to be with him. That has to be your choice and that comes with the risks of hearing him lie always. Don't forget yuou are not growing younger. For me I will say let him go and let your life go on.... good luck

    Posted by kwesi February 12, 09 11:43 AM
  1. She should RUN not walk away from this guy, and get herself into some good therapy to figure out why she thinks this is even a viable option. She has shown that he is a compulsive liar who cannot and does not want to stop, and she gets sucked in EVERY TIME. Maybe he didn't cheat but he LIES. There is nothing redeeming about this situation. MOVE ON.

    On another note: "My friends and family all said that the first year of living together was more difficult then the first year of marriage, so we both stuck with it" -- I love how people make up totally ridiculous things like this and then perpetuate it like it's useful truth.

    Posted by susan February 12, 09 11:44 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith. Give him another chance - but be ready to run if the pattern persists. I don't think there IS a true pattern yet, because as Meredith pointed out, he is technically single and, however misguided, was trying to be kind.
    I have personally been in similar shoes, for a longer period of time. We stuck it out, got past all the garbage, and today we are a very happy couple. Follow your heart and stay smart!

    Posted by Lefty February 12, 09 11:44 AM
  1. Doesn't anyone edit these nonsensical letters?

    It's great that X got the help he needed, but he keeps lying to the letter writer (LW) and using her as a "placeholder" when he's between relationships. X and LW do not have an open, mature, adult relationship and LW needs to cut the cord completely with this guy--stop answering his calls, extract yourself from the situation. I disagree with Meredith that "you seem to love each other." It seems like there's infatuation, but this is a sophomoric relationship.
    Also want to add that the first year of living together doesn't have to be difficult. That was a sign that the relationship was in trouble.

    Posted by WhirledPeasPlease February 12, 09 11:47 AM
  1. I for one believe that when two people belong together its there fate. True he lied but he did that to protect your feelings. See it as him caring deeply about the way you feel; whether you’re together or not. Never mind the friends around you who are getting on with there lives. You and Mr. X obviously are not on that level just yet, regardless of the yrs you two share together. That fact that your even asking should you give it another shot tells you, you’re ready to throw in the towel. So yes; I believe you should give it another chance.

    Posted by Woodline February 12, 09 11:49 AM
  1. No way...You have given 10 years of your life, the best years of your life, to this guy..and what have you gotten in return? Any happiness, any joy, and love? I can understand trying to love him unconditionally because of his alcoholism, but where can you draw the line??? I would let him go, he has not given you the life that you want, that you deserve. You deserve someone who can love you, encourage you, grow with you, plan with you, cry with you...You deserve better...
    Let him go physically, and from your heart. Let your heart be open for a better love...

    Posted by Karen February 12, 09 11:52 AM
  1. Why did you write to the whole word about us? We could work this out if you would just open up and discuss this with me! You aren't telling the whole truth here.

    Posted by Mr X February 12, 09 11:54 AM
  1. In regards to Rico's comment. I would like to know his relationship status. Someone so cold hearted and cruel can't possibly be in a healthy relationship. As for TTONTT, only you know in your heart what the right answer is.

    Posted by lucky in love February 12, 09 11:55 AM
  1. Let him go. At no point in the letter do you say that you actually LOVE Mr. X, only that he says he loves you. You don't trust him and probably never will -- you'll always be analyzing what he says looking for lies and half-truths. That's no way for either of you to live your lives. It's over.

    Posted by Deet February 12, 09 11:59 AM
  1. Don't you have something better to do than waste your time with that guy...you are still young, aren't you? Wake up....

    Posted by open your eyes February 12, 09 12:00 PM
  1. Any words of wisdom?
    A) NO

    You're not married to this guy, so you don't have to save anything or keep your vows. His behavior is always going to rear its ugly head. You've been through the wars with X, and probably fooled around with A, B and C. There are 22 other letters in the alphabet. If you don't meet your match...there's always sometimes Y.

    Posted by valentino February 12, 09 12:01 PM
  1. I would have to agree with the last paragraph Meredith wrote (to figure out why you want to salvage the relationship). However, I don't agree that though he was technically single he could see who he wanted. Yes, you two were apart, but he wasn't up front with the entire truth and he still wants you. If he still does love you and he probably does, he shouldn't want to hurt you in any way. I don't believe this can be a functional relationship until he figures out exactly what (and who) he wants. He still has some issues in his life (and at 35 he should take care of them sooner rather than later). You need to assess why he's dating someone so much younger than him. People are much different in their 20s then in their 30s. I see that as not wanting to commit to anyone. Guys that date so much younger aren't looking for anything long-term (aka marriage). You may need to think about that and see if that may apply to you. And, no offense, at 30 years old, you need to find someone that won't ever think of hurting you and treat you like a princess (or at the very least, someone who's completely and totally honest!). I don't think that you two are well matched at all. You even said it that you don't agree on kids, locations etc. What makes you think that will change now? Good luck!

    Posted by J617 February 12, 09 12:03 PM
  1. Move on. You will only waste a lot more time with each other. Also, I have a lot of experience with alcoholics. A LOT. He will do better, and you will too, if your lives go in different directions.

    Posted by gc February 12, 09 12:07 PM
  1. If the tables were turned and you treated him the way he did treat you, would he stick with you? If you can't get away with doing stuff to someone else, you don't have to let them get away with doing it to you.

    Posted by Louisa February 12, 09 12:08 PM
  1. Rico, I understand that this is a public forum and everyone is free to comment. However, I can't get over the fact that you were so demeaning to this woman who is obviously conflicted with this situation. I'd have to say that you should be the one to hold a mirror up to yourself and reflect on who needs psychiatric help. I think you'll find the answer staring you right in the face. It sounds like you've been dumped a few too many times and are quite hardened by it all.

    My advice to the letter writer is to avoid guys like Rico!

    Posted by W February 12, 09 12:15 PM
  1. When I read letters like this I am reminded of two things. One is that I am even luckier than I think to have met my husband. Two is that lots of us (even myself years ago) KNOW the answers to these questions but we so much want the answer to be something else that we ask and ask and think about it and try to rationalize it, etc. This letter is chockful of all kinds of things, but most basically was a statement made early on: "We had our highs and lows like any typical couple does." Good relationships do not have ups and downs. LIfe has ups and downs that people in relationships have to deal with - someone gets sick, a relative dies, something breaks in the house and you have to find a repairman and the money to fix it, but the RELATIONSHIP does not have its ups and downs. I say lose this guy, but I can almost guarantee that the writer won't do that.

    Posted by JustSaying February 12, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Here is my advice. I would not take him back no matter how many times he has said to you, " I have changed for the better" or "this time I promise things will be better." Take it from someone who has been there. If I had known today what I should have known then, I would have never wasted too much time taking back a boyfriend over the course of 6 years, on and off. I would never do that again! It is time to move on and live life to the fullest. It is always the same bull, while the person might have said 'things could be better,' trust me, it is better for just a little while. Then it gets worse and the situation mostly would regressed to the previous problems. It is a vicious cycle. RUN in the opposite direction!

    Posted by hardworkinggal21 February 12, 09 12:24 PM
  1. I totally agree with J617

    Posted by dook February 12, 09 12:30 PM
  1. The 2nd comment here is perfect and to the point.
    Do you want to live your entire life like this, the highs and lows and lies? I have addiction issues and a relationship with someone only a year sober is difficult to manage. Also consider the relapse potential. He isn't even being honest about why he lied and you are spending time researching his life? Time to admit to yourself that this is not healthy and to permanently move on. Do not be codependent. Do not leave a window open, close the door and go forward looking through the windshield not the rear view mirror. That's my opinion.
    Good luck, best wishes for much happiness in the future!

    Posted by katie ann February 12, 09 12:43 PM
  1. J617 is completely right. You don't need to, nor should you, entertain this relationship anymore. He dated a younger woman, obviously has issues, and is not ready to commit to you. You sound like a nice girl. You really should find that guy who will treat you like a princess. I was in a similar situation in which he wouldn't commit and dated a younger woman when we were supposed to just be "taking a break" from each other. I finally ended things with him and found true love and happiness with a guy that I always brushed aside as a friend. Good luck, girl - be strong and be true to yourself!

    Posted by AmyinBoston February 12, 09 12:44 PM
  1. What a looong letter from someone who already knows the answer anyway...

    Posted by RT February 12, 09 12:47 PM
  1. DUMP Mr X. Once a liar will always be a liar. It does not matter if he was single or not. Friends don't lie to friends. I was in a similar situation but he was not drinking but he was always evasive in his answers when I question him "who was that girl?" or "who were you talking to on your cellphone (while we were having an intimate time together)?" Gosh I hated it when he does that: if you are with someone, turn off your cellphone. I always believed that he might have a better proposition later even if our time together ended at 10pm.

    Posted by peaks28 February 12, 09 01:04 PM
  1. jeeze - first off -- this princess stuff bugs the heck out of me -- we aren't princes or princesses -- he lied -- he lied more than once -- for me that's it -- if you can't be truthful what's the point

    Posted by laurie February 12, 09 01:13 PM
  1. Rico is a well adjusted very happily married man with children and a great family. He happens to be well educated and has had a very nice life. He has dumped and been dumped and is being truthful in his assessment. The TRUTH sometimes HURTS. People need to get over it and move on and stop blaming the world for their problems.

    As for those who don't like what I said maybe they need some help too. The bottom line is that most of the responses here seem to agree with mine in a less harsh way. I realize no one wants to meet a cold hearted person like me, which is great since I am already spoken for :)

    Avoid people like me(Rico)??? If you like being told what you want to hear and not what you need to hear then please avoid me at all costs, I am a cold hearted evil man. My wife would disagree as would the rest of my family and friends.

    Call your health insurer for names of mental health professionals and make an appointment soon.

    Posted by Rico February 12, 09 01:16 PM
  1. If Mr. X is "nothing without you," then he is nothing. Don't get involved with someone who is not his own complete, independent person.

    Posted by Mr. Z February 12, 09 01:27 PM
  1. Then perhaps Rico should show people that he is not a cold hearted evil man by not being so mean. I do not discount the advice that you give. Instead, I criticize your manner of delivery. I agree that the truth should be told, but your delivery, quite frankly, is rude, mean, and not at all helpful to someone seeking help. That is why I advised her to avoid people like you. Brash and truthful is one thing; rudeness is quite another.

    Also, perhaps Rico should stop referring to himself in the third person? Just a thought . . . it actually does feed the ego to do so. Yet another reason for Rico (Suave, by chance?) to seek professional help.

    Posted by W February 12, 09 01:30 PM
  1. I am doubtful that this letter is real. How could it be? But if it is real...could you possibly be this weak-minded and in desperate need of help yourself? Forget Mr. X, his alcoholism, the chronic lying and just his general lack of character. It doesn't mean anything. Take a look in the mirror and straighten out your own life. Stop answering his calls, cut off all contact and MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Rico is telling it to you straight, in my opinion. If you can't move on without this clown in your life and live to the fullest on your own, there are serious problems that you need to address.

    Posted by Mr A through Z February 12, 09 01:33 PM
  1. NO

    Posted by Red February 12, 09 01:37 PM
  1. W (I hope you aren't the W living in Crawford, TX),

    While Rico may have been rude, I think he has a good point that no one else has commented on. Let's assume that Mr. X was telling the truth that he only saw this woman a few times and nothing significant happened. He and Ms. Trust were not a couple at the time so why should he be responsible for reporting this casual relationship? Ms. Trust seemed to be obsessed with telling Mr. X about every date that she had (could she have been punishing him?) and then she assumed that he sould meet the same standard of transparency. She proceeds to grill him about irrelevant details for this (perhaps) nonrelationship and obsesses about it. (I remember having similar feelings about the boys that girls I was dating had dated. Then I turned 15.) She then goes on to "investigate" this (what the quotation marks mean is anyones's guess) and is upset that he misled her about this detail of what may be a nonrelationship. If you take out all of her opinions and focus on the few remaining facts itis plausible that X is a responsible recovering alcoholic who dated a bit while hoping that Ms. Trust would come back to him, but simply didn't report every date to Ms. Trust in the detail she wanted. Who knows who is correct here, but she should examine her own behavior.

    Posted by Mike February 12, 09 01:43 PM
  1. Never get involved with Mr. X again

    Posted by Bill February 12, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Dating addicts is a whole different ballgame. I would suggest attending an Al-Anon meeting in your area and reading up on addiction. It sounds to be (from what I've been exposed to) that the lies, even small ones, indicate that Mr. X needs to focus on his recovery, and SHOULD NOT be in a serious romantic relationship. If he is under a year sober, AA says he souldn't be in one anyway!

    Read up girlfriend.

    Posted by Jen February 12, 09 01:58 PM
  1. Unlike many questions out here which are really shades of gray, this one is clearly black and white. Do yourself a favor and just move on. You have wasted enough time going back and forth over this guy, who wasn't worthy of your attention from the beginning. Save whats left of your sanity and just move on.

    Posted by mrkleen2002 February 12, 09 02:07 PM
  1. Rico, I wish more people were as blunt as you. Tact is for losers. Tell it like it is. If you can't handle the truth, move.

    Posted by dave February 12, 09 02:09 PM
  1. It goes back to that old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." You need to get away from him. I've been there. He's lied to you multiple times. It's not going to get better. I'm sorry. Move on and find someone who is deserving of you.

    Posted by Eastie February 12, 09 02:10 PM
  1. Rico has an ego bigger than a city block :)

    Seriously though, I have met so many people in my life and from my experience there is no reason not to be blunt and to the point with someone like this. The writer is a whiny drama queen looking for the sympathy of others to make her feel better. The TRUTH HURTS and she needs a good healthy dose of the TRUTH.

    The guy Mr X sounds like an absolute loser incapable of an adult relationship and probably is NOT rehabbed at all. My understanding of rehab is that these people become honest with themselves and there loved ones. (Any AA rehab people here to confirm this?) Maybe they do belong together after all???

    I disagree with my advice being rude, brash or harsh but to the point and honest yes but rude?

    Rico has better things to do the rest of his day so enjoy...It's Rico from Miami vice I was referring to but Rico is pretty Suave too.

    Good night all

    Posted by Rico February 12, 09 02:15 PM
  1. Too many bitter women here! Ok so Miss Drama Queen, you dumped him, moved on and created a life for yourself. He tried to do the same. So what it is to you if he does not want to tell you (or lie) about who and how he is/was dating. You no longer together... non of your business! The real problem here is that YOU thought you moved on but you have not. You are still hung up on this guy and nothing that he does - you will like, trust or be good enough for you. So do him and you a favor... let him go! I understand you "love him" and want him to be part of your life, but sweetie until you get a life, he can't be part of it. You need some distance from each other and time to gro up - mature. You both will be happier.

    Posted by ARN February 12, 09 02:16 PM
  1. It would benefit you both to move on - you, for peace of mind - him, for his recovery. His behavior, whether it's drinking or lying, etc will not change while you enable him. And that's what's happening while you're still in each others lives. Hope that's not too harsh. But if you give him another chance you should be prepared to see this pattern repeat itself over and over. There's no incentive for him to change.

    Easier said then done, but you've got to think of your own future and end it.

    Posted by sounds familiar February 12, 09 02:18 PM
  1. You sound like one of those girls that are always a doormat from all of your x-boyfriends. Maybe that's why you stay in touch with all your x's so that when they want a doormat your always there for them......

    Posted by momtoldmeso February 12, 09 02:33 PM
  1. WHY do most people here blame Mr. X? They were NOT dating. He WAS single -- not just "technically" single, but actually single. She went on dates. He went on dates. For some reason, she felt he owed her detailed information -- he *had* to tell her who and when he dated, and grilled him even about such silly details as where they met. She does not, and did not, own Mr. X. He was clear about his feelings for her. She paraded around her new boyfriends and dates to him. Why, exactly, is he in the wrong? He did not feel he owed his non-girlfriend information about his dates. And he doesn't. SHe needs to back off and stop the judgment and drama.

    Posted by j-len February 12, 09 02:44 PM
  1. Drama Queen, Doormat, troll looking for sympathy, etc...

    Rico was right and not harsh at all. She needs serious psychiatric help and soon if it's not too late. She is a loser and will always be a loser until she changes herself. She has LOW self esteem and probably will go through life this way until she gets help.

    Meredith should have not posted the letter but called her to refer her for real therapy. Sad but true, seen it many times over and it's the same every time with different X's and Y's

    Posted by Ithinkyouarealoser February 12, 09 02:59 PM
  1. You need to ask yourself the following questions, and if you need a therapist to help you find the answers then do that:
    Question 1: How do you define a loving, healthy relationship with a man? Describe what that looks like and feels like.
    Question 2: Do you realize that always being there for Mr. X is enabling behavior?
    Question 3: Do you realize that by giving him "unconditional love" you are actually preventing him from having to discover how to do that for himself?
    Question 4: Would you want Mr. X to be the father of your children? If not, MOVE ON!


    Posted by texasgardener February 12, 09 03:03 PM
  1. the thing is, Letter Writer is not the "typical" woman. We don't all feel the need to snoop. we don't all date loser drunks.

    and Meredith, please please please edit these letters. They are becoming more difficult to read because the grammar is so poor.

    Posted by JourneyGirl February 12, 09 03:11 PM
  1. Based on comment 40 I am reminded of Edward G. Robinson:
    "Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico? "

    Posted by Mike February 12, 09 03:19 PM
  1. Totally agree that Ms. Trust had no right to grill Mr. X regarding the details of his relationships while the two of them were not dating. And frankly, she sounds like a bit of a psycho, digging around for information about his comings and goings while he was single. He had the right to do whatever the hell he wanted and does not owe her any explanations.

    As for her issue, I'd be much more concerned by the fact that they tried to live together once and it failed miserably. What other proof could she possibly need that this just isn't going to work out?

    Posted by SRae February 12, 09 03:22 PM
  1. If he has not learned his mistakes in 8 years that you were with him, he is never going to learn. He will never change. The only thing you can do at this point is to change the way you handle this situation. Just realize that there are things that are beyond your own control and you just going to have to accept and make do. I agree with texasgardener's comment, especially the part about enabling him by always being there for him and giving unconditional love which prevents him from doing that for himself. If you and him were in a relationship for 8 years on and off and every time there are always the same kind of problems coming up, is it really worth it to put up with it all that time? Look at how much time you have wasted, where you could have gone out and date, and find someone who would appreciate you for who you are and treat you right. You deserve better.

    Posted by hardworkinggal21 February 12, 09 04:02 PM
  1. To quote Mr Dan Savage...DTMFA

    Posted by Anonymous February 12, 09 04:18 PM
  1. Actually Ms. Trust should continue being invested in Mr. X and continue trying to make something out of their "relationship." Otherwise, she'll date other men while still being stuck on Mr. X and mess up their lives with her baggage. Better that such toxicity and train-wreck remains contained and not affect others.

    Or she can make a decision to leave Mr. X, and get rid of him like one rips off a band-aid that's stuck to skin and hair - it'll cause some initial pain if she just rips it off, instead of peeling it off a little bit, and then patting it back on because it hurt and refusing to take it all off. Go into therapy and *then* start dating.

    Or she can try dating women. :)

    Posted by Rico's brother February 12, 09 04:43 PM
  1. LW is a mess. X is a mess. This is going nowhere, but will likely take a long time to get there. Look at all the excuses she includes for her behavior and his. All these years knowing each other and they have never been able to figure it out? Doomed. He's a jerk, she's needy...she gives us all these mitigating factors so that we will tell her to stay with him. Nope. Leave. Take a long time by yourself and then find a nice man. It does not have to be so much drama, people! The right guy/gal makes your life EASIER, not harder. (oh, and if he loved her so much he would not have been with miss 22, he'd have dumped her the minute LW was single and agreeing to meet up with him. LW is the backup ego booster.)

    Posted by theyarebothdisfunctional February 12, 09 05:04 PM
  1. Run away from this guy, and run away from Meredith’s advice.

    Mr. X is big on pretty words like “I love you” and “I need you” and “I’m nothing without you.” But what has he done to prove these things to you, or prove that he’s changed? Where’s his new improved track record of adult, honest, responsible behavior? If you take him back, he’s NEVER going to change. He doesn’t have to. Because he knows you’ll take him at half-capacity, any way you can. Is that what you really want?

    Actions speak louder than words. All he’s been giving you are words, and untruthful ones at that. He didn’t lie about his 23-year-old chippie to spare you pain, he lied to protect his sorry behind. He’s sorry he got caught.

    How do you know he’s gotten therapy and AA? Have you been to meetings or sessions with him? For all you know, he could be lying about that too.

    He doesn’t love you in the healthy, selfless adult sense. He’s using you. He likes knowing you’re around to manipulate. You’re an ego boost to him. He doesn’t want to do the hard work of changing. He wants to fall back into his old patterns, and you’re one of them.

    And meanwhile, you’re hoping he’s miraculously going to wake up one morning and be the Prince Charming you’ve always wanted him to be. He’s not going to be that for you. Ever. So stop hoping he is, and stop taking his calls and his 2am texts. Your love for him is not miraculous enough to cure him.

    You clearly don’t respect yourself by demanding better from him and seeking a more fulfilling relationship from a man, not an emotional wasteland. And until you do, you’re going to be writing this letter again in another six months.

    Sorry to be so harsh, but I’ve been in a similar situation. Trust me, get out now so you won’t spend the next ten years kicking yourself and regretting the time you wasted on this guy.

    Posted by Madra February 12, 09 05:06 PM
  1. Dump that jerk and don't look back anymore. He's a drunk, a liar, a cheater, and a loser. You deserve better.

    Posted by Raven February 12, 09 06:18 PM
  1. Why do you love him?

    If you gave him another chance, what would YOU get out of the relationship?

    Posted by CD February 12, 09 07:51 PM
  1. You probably drove him to drink. Move on, and let him do the same.

    Posted by Jughead February 12, 09 08:00 PM
  1. You've known this guy for quite a while now, and the pattern I see in your story is one of lies and deceit. You deserve so much more, and you need to convince yourself of that. The problem is not Mr. X - the problem is you letting him manipulate you once again to a place where you think things will work out. Take it from someone a lot older and now a lot wiser - he will not change - he will keep you in this endless cycle of " I love you - I love you not". Cut him loose and open your mind and heart to someone else. You deserve so much more and you are not allowing yourself to find that person. It took me a long time - but I have found THE MAN of my dreams and it is so worth the wait!

    Posted by ann428 February 12, 09 09:48 PM
  1. Let's get this straight. First of all, you met this person while you were in a relationship with someone else and he was 'grieving'.... so you started on shakey ground.

    Then the fellow couldn't actually commit, but moved in with you anyway- and you were miserable

    Then he sought help for his substance issues and found someone else. And, he
    lied to you....

    It sounds like you are an enabling personality and need counseling to sort out why you are pining for destructive relationships and that he has simply shifted his compulsive drinking to compulsive womanizing. Walk away, pull out the yellow pages and get yourself into counseling. Don't waste any more time and energy on that relationship.

    Maybe he realized that you were a thrill seeking

    Posted by Clear view from 50 ft tower February 12, 09 09:54 PM
  1. I am always struck by how many assumptions and prejudices people bring to bear when they read another person's story. Take this letter for example. Various people write that:

    -the writer a "freak" who "lives for the drama and excitement"
    -it's obvious X is a "compulsive liar"
    -X "likes knowing the writer is around to manipulate"
    -the writer "clearly doesn't respect herself"
    -the writer "has LOW self-esteem and probably will go through life this way until she gets help"
    -the writer should find someone else to treat her right because she "deserves better" than X.

    It's nearly impossible to determine that someone is a freak with low self-esteem, or a compulsive liar bent on manipulation, based on a few paragraphs.

    Posted by Zekoya February 12, 09 11:10 PM
  1. Sherry, I hope you have your sound on, because this will probably be the only time I will ever send you a card that sounds like country music.
    I thought it was a simple buy cute card.
    Love you,

    Posted by Sherry February 12, 09 11:16 PM

    Posted by HANNAH February 13, 09 01:17 AM
  1. As Christopher Titus says, "There are no refunds at the end of your life." If you've wasted large portions of your life in a nowhere relationship, they're gone for good.

    I was drawn to your letter because it sounded so much like my situation. However, you're luckier than I am. You're not married to this guy, you're younger and you don't have kids with him. I'm older than you and I've now finally worked up enough courage to leave a guy who has had a "drinking problem" and lied about things. They seemed small (in the past), but I recently found out that it was a general pattern of deception that was part of his pattern of cheating.

    You are going to be turning 30 soon. Realistically, that really does not give you much time to find a nice, long-term partner and have kids before 40. May I encourage you to ignore what this man wants and think about what you want? If you are like me, it feels great to hear from someone that they can't live without you. However, people like us often don't feel like we can really "ask for" the whole package: someone who loves, is fully present when with us and who meets our needs. As you think about these things, I encourage you to do some soul searching about why this is. I would also recommend Co-Dependents Anonymous (this is a wonderful resource) and books by Anne Wilson Schaef.

    Peace and wisdom to you during this time of decision.

    Posted by Sophia February 13, 09 03:35 AM
  1. But I haven't moved on - I'm still waiting for you, pookie. Come back to me!!! :)

    Posted by Mr. Y February 13, 09 03:28 PM
  1. Meredith missed one really big thing - you mentioned moving in after two years because "it became time to start settling down." Is this something you both wanted, and for the right reasons, or did you do it because "well, all my friends are settling down" or because - like many women - you had an idea of where a relationship "should" be by a certain age/time? Doing the math, you would have been 23, 24 at the time...still very young. Don't hold onto this guy out of a sense of obligation for all the years you spent with him, and don't think that if you don't take him back, you won't find anyone else.;

    Posted by WG February 16, 09 06:23 PM
  1. I have two guy friends in similar situations as Mr. X (not the alcoholism part, but the trying to get back together after being separated for months/years part). Why is it a good idea to deeply pry into someone else's relationships while you were apart and why does it matter? Ironically, one of my friends lied and claimed he was in a strictly platonic relationship while the other one told the truth...and both of their girlfriends got mad at them. Seems like a lose-lose question to me and the people who ask them, like the person who wrote this letter, sound like they're looking for an excuse to end the relationship.

    Posted by Jay February 18, 09 03:30 PM
  1. I think A man will lie to keep himself from being yelled at by a woman. They may say the truth, but for some reason it seems easier for them just to lie and not deal with the issue. I agree to some point on that one. You had it very clear to him that no matter what he did it would be ok. He had no reason to lie, but he was also afraid of loosing you if he told you the truth. Which seems kinda silly but if his love is on the line !he would do it over in a heartbeat, if he thought that was the best way to your heart. This man does love you he just has some issues that he solved it was his drinking problem. Plus you let him know you were serious this time when when you left him forgoo. Id think he deserves one more chance. He loves you....ANd if you still love him... I think that it is worth they try..... Good luck Lady

    Posted by Lad July 30, 09 08:19 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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