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Can I date the other man?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 14, 2011 07:18 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith,

During my two-year relationship, I cheated on my boyfriend with a good friend of mine, "Rob." I knew it was wrong the moment it happened and asked for forgiveness from my boyfriend right away. My boyfriend forgave me and we tried to make it work. However, it was so hard not to think about Rob and how he made me feel. I enjoyed his company so much. My boyfriend told me that I was not allowed to be friends with him anymore. Rob and I stopped being friends and this only made it harder for me not to think about him.

After six months of trying to work it out with my boyfriend, we broke up. We both knew that we did not feel the same way about each other anymore. We had grown apart.

Rob found out about our break up and wanted to be friends again. Since I was not dating my boyfriend anymore, I thought this was a good idea. We were really good friends before anything happened and I really enjoyed being with him.

We started hanging out more and those old feelings started coming out again. I really like how I feel when I am around him. It is easy and I am just happy. I really like him. Recently, we started talking about what the next step was. My friends say that I should try to stay single for a while. I just came out of a long serious relationship. I'm in my 20s and I am in no rush to get married or anything. Rob fears that I am only using him as a rebound. He thinks it's unhealthy to get back into another relationship.

I really like him and I would love to see if things would work out between us. Is this just not the right time for both of us? Is it wrong for me to date the guy I cheated on my boyfriend with? Should I wait and try to be single longer? Should I just realize that I am happy with him and go for it?


– Wrong time, Right guy, Boston


A: I think you should go for it, WTRG. Not pursing this would be ... unnatural. You want to be with him. You've wanted him for a long time. You guys know each other well. Despite everything that's happened, you're still drawn to each other.

I understand what your friends are saying, but you can't plan your life based on perfect timing. Yes, it would be great to be single for a while, but forcing it is just a different kind of dishonest behavior.

It seems to me that you're keeping your romantic distance from Rob because you feel guilty about the cheat. And you should feel guilty. You betrayed your ex and that was very, very bad. But you learned from it. You wouldn't do it again. You need to forgive yourself and move on from it. Rob needs to do the same.

Tell Rob what you want -- how your relationship would work in your ideal world. See if he feels the same way. Explain to him that rebounds (which I don't quite believe in, by the way) don't work this way. He's your friend and you fell for him a long time ago. This isn't a quick, thoughtless decision.

You're allowed to be together if you both want to pursue this. And I think that you should. You sort of already are.

Readers? Is it too soon to date Rob? Should she date Rob? Is she punishing herself because of the cheat? Why are her friends telling her to wait? 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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