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August 1

Thinking about cheating

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:05 am

Into the Cheating Zone on July 20, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I don’t think I can resist cheating on my boyfriend. Tell me what you think.

It’s a long distance thing; we’ve been together, yet apart, for over a year. But there’s someone else here who I’ve known longer and longed for since before I was with my bf. Soon I’m going to move across country to go to grad school. My bf is going to quit his job and move to the town the school is in. The plan has been for us to live together with a view towards marriage. He wanted to get engaged before we move in together, but last winter I told him the marriage idea wasn’t working for me, that I had qualms, based, mostly, on my feeling that he’s a grumpy poop far too often for me to be with forever (it had nothing to do with the other guy). Other times things are nice. So the plan is to try living together first. But now I don’t know if I should.

Before I started going out with my bf, I went out briefly with someone else I really liked, but who — to make a short story even shorter — blew me off. Still, I kept seeing him at parties, because he’s in one of my social circles, and there seemed to be a connection. I don’t want to sound like a masochist, or to make him sound like a jerk. He was all in a muddle over his ex. I tried really really hard to forget about him. He’s gotten over his muddle and now has a girlfriend, though people say he’s not in love with her. I have been pure as driven snow with regard to my current flame. (I know that’s a mixed metaphor but it kinda works.) Anyway, whenever I’d see this other guy there would always be tension between us. Every look or seemingly casual touch was loaded with meaning for me. I supposed this was unilateral and that I was a fool until last week. I saw him again and we got smashed at a party and he confessed that he has had all these feelings for me ever since and oh, God . . . we kissed and now I can’t stop thinking about him. We’ve been emailing each other, which is unusual, but have made no plans. He mentioned in one of his emails that he and his gf are “on the brink” of breaking up. Of course he knows I’m leaving. Seeing him may seem immoral but isn’t it more immoral to not try something that feels so right? It just feels cosmically right. I feel so tender toward him, like I love him. Maybe I’m deluded. But then, that’s what I thought before and it turned out it was mutual after all.

My question is, what should I do? I’m not going to tell my boyfriend. Why hurt him? But should I not see this guy? See him? Is it possible to be in love? My relationship with my bf is called into question. If it’s not the deepest love, is it still better than no love or is it unfair to both of us? Whatever happens at least I have school. I’d like your perspective!


Dear Tristesse,

See my answer to Akemi, previously. Much of it applies, with one major difference being that you, unlike her, have actually (as opposed to virtually) entered The Cheating Zone. Computer Boy gives her data; Party Boy gives you … kisses. Look, I don’t want to get into [self-serving … to you] questions of morality here; let’s keep it in the realm of ethics and ettiquette. Ultimately, your relationship with PB is somewhat of a non-issue because you are leaving. And no, you don’t necessarily have to tell your BF about the incident in and of itself. But you do have a responsibility to inform him that your doubts are more serious than he may realize. Remember: he’s quitting his job to be with you. Doing so only to, in effect, find out that the strongest word you used to describe your relationship to Breakup Girl was “nice” — well, if you think he’s a grumpy poop now…

Breakup Girl


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