A guy I was dating for a few months ended things recently. It was a nice breakup, ending with a simple "My gut is telling me this isn't the right thing." Totally understandable. Here's what I'm still mulling over: It came out in our last conversation that he was in love with a dear friend. He had gone through a difficult divorce years ago that coincided with the end of his friend's marriage. The two supported one another through what were tumultuous times in both their lives, and in the process fell in love. Completely reasonable. The kicker -- he never told me about the true scope of their relationship.
I had asked if he had dated since his divorce or had slept with anyone. He said only casually. To hear him say that he was deeply in love with this other woman was a blow. He said he simply wanted to build a future with someone, something that wasn't happening in their relationship, partly because she already has children and he wants his own. They had talked it over and came to the conclusion that they would only reveal their history to future significant others if asked directly, given that they were still close friends and in one another's lives.
I was taken aback. He didn't explain why his "casual" answer to the dating question was appropriate. In many respects, it's a moot point now. I haven't talked to him since things ended. I'm just left doing postmortem analysis. I am pretty confident we didn't last for reasons independent of his relationship with this other woman. But the experience has left me a little cautious in thinking about the next go around. I don't know what I am looking for here, maybe just understanding.
Are these types of relationships common? How do they normally develop? My hunch is that both the guy I was dating and this other woman are going to try dating others for a while, but ultimately end up back together. I don't know why he's trying to will himself away from it. He loves her, and she loves him.
– Still Wondering, Boston
A: "I am pretty confident we didn't last for reasons independent of his relationship with this other woman."
Please focus on that statement. You have every right to be annoyed that you dated a guy who's in love with someone else, but this was going to end anyway. I'm just glad it was a short relationship.
Don't jump to the conclusion that all men lie about their platonic female friends. And please, stop with the postmortem analysis because it will only drive you crazy. This was just one experience. And for the record, it's not a common problem.
My hunch is that they won't wind up back together, but who cares? You're out of their weirdness and that's all that matters. You can be annoyed that he lied, but you have to let this go. Spend your energy dreaming about what's next for you.
Readers? Is this common? Is it fair to jump to the conclusion that other people will lie about their past relationships? Did he commit an offense here? How can the letter writer stop the analysis? Help.
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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.