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To snitch or not to snitch

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 26, 2010 10:12 AM

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Cue the "Sopranos" theme song and enjoy ...

Q: Hi Meredith,

I am suffering from a broken heart. My ex and I were together for three years, and lived together for two and a half. We are both getting ready to finish up grad school, which means we are both feeling the pressure of ongoing job searches in an unforgiving economy.

Some background about him (and us): When we met at work, while we were both in the process of applying to schools. We became friends during the application process, and though I had been looking at schools outside the state, he asked if I would consider staying in state so we could begin/maintain a romantic relationship. I was flattered, applied in state, was accepted, and we moved in together months later.

He had always been up front about the fact that his family comes first in his life. I always knew that if he and I were to stay together, his family would go wherever we went, and I was OK with that. Actually, I was more than OK with that - I was thrilled (I loved his family, and hoped that they would one day become my own). Fast forward to this past September: the stress of the economy, and pending job search was weighing heavily on my mind, and I was unsure where to focus my efforts: family or career. So, I finally asked him – did he see a future for us, and if so, would he consider moving if I happened to be the first one to get a job? He told me that yes, he did see me in his future, and in fact, he had been planning to propose on our anniversary in January. However, he then backtracked and said he was not really interested in thinking about moving - he just wasn't there yet, and it felt like too much pressure (what with having to move the family and all). Needless to say, I was thrilled about the prospect of getting engaged to the man I loved, and I pushed thoughts of moving from my mind. I'm the type of girl who will choose family over money any day. I made the decision to concentrate my job search in the local area.

For the next month, I felt as though we had recommitted ourselves to each other. Then, in the beginning of November, we came home, kissed as we always did, but then he did something he's never done before: he pulled away. It hit me like a bag of bricks - he had fallen out of love with me. I burst into tears and he confirmed my gut instinct. The prospect of marriage and of moving was too much for him, and he asked me to move out of our apartment. The breakup was sudden, unexpected, and left me devastated.

Since November, I have been living in heartbreak hell (I can't sleep, eat, focus, the usual symptoms). I have continued to hope that he may one day wake up and realize what a mistake he's made, but I lose a little hope with every passing day.

I realize my story is pretty typical, but here's the kicker: I can get "revenge." My question is: do I do it? While we were together, he trusted me completely, so much so that he let me in on some family secrets that were…illegal in nature. I am talking some pretty serious stuff, although they have always made sure to keep him clean. Though I considered turning them in while we were still dating, in the end, I didn't have the heart to because I honestly believed that his family was to become my family, and I didn't want to hurt my family. Well, he has since kicked me out of his family, and they have made a point to cut me off cold. He has maintained that he no longer sees me in his future. What I'd like to know from you and your readers is: have any of you gotten (legal) revenge against your ex, and did you feel better afterwards?

– Broken in Brookline

A: You dated Meadow Soprano. How exciting.

I understand that you're upset, BIB, but please don't seek revenge. I say that because I worry about your safety and because honestly, tattling on his family won't improve your situation in any way. What do you get out of tattling besides a few seconds of pleasure that would probably be followed by hours of panic and sadness?

Your Meadow hurt you. He was unreliable. And that's awful and I'm sorry. But you avoided a bad marriage to someone who is in a sketchy family situation. Thank goodness he bailed.

I'm not telling you to take the high road. I'm just telling you to take the safe and healthy road. And that means waiting it out until you heal. Eventually, this will be just another break-up story. As in, "Remember when I almost married the guy whose family worked in, um, waste management?"

It will always hurt a little, but it gets better. After a while, you'll move from revenge fantasies to indifference. And really, is this how you would want him to remember you? As a snitch?

Readers? Should she tell the authorities? When is revenge OK? Does it ever feel good? Whatever happened to Meadow's boyfriend Finn? He was so skinny. Discuss.

– Meredith


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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.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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