Q: Hi Meredith,
I have been single for a little over a year after a two-year relationship. I date a good amount and enjoy my single life a lot. My last relationship didn't end well and I only recently completely got over it. Let's call my ex "George." I don't care about George at all and I feel triumphant that I can now say that and truly mean it. Occasionally, I run into George while out with friends and we always say a brief awkward hello. Recently I decided it was time to defriend him and his friends on Facebook after seeing some photos of him with his ex-girlfriend and other girls. I felt this was the last step in my healing process.
So that brings me to this weekend. I was out with some friends at a bar. And who do you think comes over to say hello ... my ex. We say a forced hello and chat for a couple minutes about family and life. I go over and politely say hello to all his friends. The conversation then takes a turn to why I recently defriended him on Facebook. I explain to him that I thought it was the mature thing to do. I no longer wanted his life popping up on my news feed. I say goodbye and we part ways.
After I got home, I receive a text from George asking whether I got in safely. I respond that yes, I did make the short trip to my apartment safely and that I am sorry that he was so upset that I ended our virtual friendship (note the sarcasm). About 20 minutes later as I am getting ready for bed, I receive a phone call from George. George says that he is on his way over and that we need to talk. Once again I laugh in his face, but tell him he can come over. We had both been drinking all night and this affected my judgment but hey, I am young (26). I knew why he was really coming over. We discuss how neither of us are currently seeing anyone and that this night is a one-time thing and it will never happen again. Anyway, he spends the night. We say our goodbyes the next morning and that was that. I felt so good. It was killing him that I no longer cared about him at all, that I was in control and that part of my life was over for good.
Flash forward to Saturday night. I am sitting at my apartment waiting for my roommate to finish getting ready. I am on Facebook and see George's profile. We still aren't friends but the Facebook gods are suggesting that we know each other. And what pops out at me immediately is that he has a girlfriend!! I text him a rather jolting note about his morals. I would have never had him over if I knew this was the case. I am completely against cheating. He apologizes to me and said it was a mistake and that he was drunk.
Now this is why I am writing in: Do I contact his girlfriend to let her know about Friday night? I know I did nothing wrong but at the same time it is nagging at me and I feel bad for her since she is so oblivious. I was too, because he puts on a good act. My friends have all gone 50/50 on this question. Some are strongly against it. Others suggest I do it because he sure as hell isn't going to come clean and this girl deserves to know. I feel like I should tell her so I feel better and it’s the right thing to do. But is it? Does the girlfriend have a right to know that her boyfriend cheated on her? Should I be the one to tell her?
– The morally confused, Boston
A: This is a tough one -- and there's no right answer. Telling seems intrusive. Not telling seems dishonest.
I want you to do what's best for you -- because you're my concern (when George's new girlfriend writes in, I'll focus on her). And what's best for you is to leave this alone. I want you to walk away and not dwell on George. Wasn't that your original plan?
George didn't have a girlfriend when he was your Facebook friend not long ago. I'm not sure when he committed to her, but it's his business -- and it's his cheat. Yes, you might be doing her a favor by letting her in on your Friday entertainment, but I fear that the disclosure will only put you in the middle of a mess. You're trying to separate yourself from this guy. It's bad enough that you share friends. Do you really want to reach out to his girlfriend?
My advice is to move on. Don't "re-friend" him on Facebook and avoid him when you see him out. Start focusing on your new life.
You're only recently over this. You don't owe anybody anything right now. Please, protect yourself.
Readers? Do you disagree? Sometimes I vote for disclosure, but in this case it seems best for her to run without making it her responsibly. Or am I wrong? Will contacting the new girlfriend make it hard for the LW to stay away from her ex? Discuss.
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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.