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planckwalker's avatar

I used unethical means to learn she lied (and "cheated"). Advice?

Asked by planckwalker (11points) June 19th, 2014

10 months ago, I started seeing an old girlfriend again after three years apart. We both weren’t looking for a relationship but we got along well and the sex was great, so we decided to be FWB while she dated other people. I was okay with this arrangement with one caveat: that she let me know if she slept with someone else (we both were only comfortable in a monogamous arrangement). She agreed that she would let me know beforehand if she felt she was about to get into something serious with someone else.

As these things usually go, our feelings for each other grew and the arrangement became complicated (causing a few fights and reconciliations) and we sometimes talked about going exclusive. I was strongly considering going steady with her. Recently, she left a tab open on my computer, logged into an online diary. I couldn’t help myself and read through her entries. I learned that she had slept with one of the guys she was dating less than two weeks ago. I was both devastated and thoroughly grossed out.

I am upset that she slept with someone but feel I am in the wrong because I should have seen it coming. Our arrangement, after all, did allow for that (we weren’t in a committed relationship). But what really hurt was that a woman I have known to always be blunt and tactlessly truthful… lied to me. I wouldn’t have believed she was capable of it if not for the evidence in front of me. She slept with me after being with someone else, despite promising me not to do that. She knew this was a big deal for me.

I am ashamed of the fact that I broke her trust in reading her diary, but at the same time, consider myself lucky that I found out this information before committing myself to her. She is now no longer dating anyone else and wants a real relationship with me. I turned her down without explaining why. If I had never read that diary, I would be with her now!

So now I’m in this weird place where I’m still sort of in love with her, but know I can’t trust her. I’ve tried probing her, but it doesn’t look like she is going to come clean. Despite her betrayal, I still care about her and don’t want to lose the friendship we have (I’m not interested in having sex with her since learning about what she did). She’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had. However, she doesn’t seem to be interested in a friendship because she has feelings for me.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for in response to my story, but I think I could use some outside opinions and insights to help me sort out this mess. I am deeply hurt by the way things turned out. Do I confront her about what she did and how I found out? It will definitely end the friendship and I admit I don’t want to do that. But it seems like the friendship might end anyway because she doesn’t want it.

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16 Answers

CWMcCall's avatar

My take is she did what she did because that is what floats her boat. She wanted her cake and you too and got it because you enabled it. So you are either cool with her penchant for more men in her life than just you or pack your bags and head off into the sunset. Your choice to play second or third fiddle to her romantic desires or find a woman that will respect you for who you are.

Seek's avatar

Dollars to donuts she knew exactly what she was doing, and left that tab open on purpose, because she didn’t know how to tell you what she had gotten herself into.

Someone in this relationship needs to be a grownup and start a real conversation in which you both decide how you are going to move forward. Start with laying out all of your cards and see how it goes.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t see how you can have any meaningful relationship with her unless you tell her what you know. I don’t see anyone winning in this scenario, so why not at least find out her side of the story and tell her yours so that you can both move on? Then, after some time has passed, if you find yourselves coming together again, you can do so without a barrier of secrets and lies between you.

JLeslie's avatar

You weren’t steady, but you wanted a monogomous relationship and expected her to tell you when she screwed around? Why, so you can call the whole thing off? Not surprising she didn’t tell you. Either you have a sexually open relationship or you don’t I think. You had an agreement that your sexual relationship ends if she has sex with someone else, but you are just friends. If you tell her how you found out you do run the risk of her “breaking up” with you because of what you did. Her perfect excuse to get out of the relatio ship and blame you when she was the cheater and liar. See how that works?

You either tell her you know, or just break off the sex and don’t tell her why. I probably would tell her why, but that’s me. As far as the snooping, I think @Seek is probably right that she left the information there for you to find, but she probably still will be furious you read her diary. Why did you snoop? Did you have a feeling something was going on? I have very little empathy for people who are lying and cheating when they get upset about a breach of privacy. I guess since you guys are not in a committed relationship it is a little different. If I snooped on my husband and found out he was having an affair I wouldn’t give a fuck how I found out. However, FWB is a whole different thing. Sex often is very tricky when it is just a friendship. It can ruin the friendship. Not always, but it isn’t unusual.

People who cheat usually have all sorts of symptoms. More fighting in the relationship (sounds like maybe that gies along with what was happening between you two) behavior that feels like they are lying, changes in behavior that they like to think aren’t noticeable, but are. Their withdrawal from the relationship is just as bad as any snooping someone might do. If you break it off you will have done the hard part if she knows she cant go on with the relationship with you. It’s not uncommon for the person who knows they need or want to break up to torture the other person enough so they do the breaking up. They dont necesarrily consciously, a lot of people are not aware they do it, but it is a very common pattern.

zenvelo's avatar

Sorry to break the news to you, but you are in the wrong on this.

You don’t get to claim FWB and not a committed relationship, yet get the right to set boundaries for her.

You asked her to let you know before she slept with someone, and that may have been her intention, but often times that is not planned days in advance but in the moment. Did you expect her to text you and say, “going to go hop in the sack with Charlie, talk later.”

And really, what did you expect from her telling you? A conversation about your relationship with her? An argument? Permission?

She did not cheat, because the two of you did not have it set up that sex with someone else is cheating.

So, let her know you read it, and then break it off with her, not because she had sex with someone else, but because YOU are not ready for an open relationship.

Darth_Algar's avatar

So you agreed to an open, friends-with-benefits relationship with her and now you’re upset that she acted like it was an open, friends-with-benefits relationship?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Talk talk talk all you want. It’s the end. Tell her goodbye and let your life take you places.

jca's avatar

What @zenvelo said.

If you would like to update us as to how things go, please do.

Thank you.
The Update Lady

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

So let’s see, you lied and cheated to find out she lied and cheated, even if you were FWB? Sounds like neither of you are ready for a real relationship. You both need some more maturity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seriously. And just why would you be “grossed out?” What would the difference be if she told you in advance anyway? You have yet to tell us if you’ve been sleeping with other woman and being gross too.

planckwalker's avatar

Just to clarify: I wasn’t looking for a relationship with her (too busy with grad school). She was not looking for anything serious with me either. We had casual sex because we couldn’t keep our hands off each other (and we also hung out a lot together). I was not dating and she was. I was okay with her dating other men as long as she ended the sex part of our arrangement once she was intimate with someone else. She didn’t have to come and tell me about it before it happened, just stop having sex with me once she had sex with someone else. Was this an open relationship? Not exactly. It was more like a temporary relationship, until she found her next boyfriend/sexual partner. So no, she did not “cheat” but she did lie. She knew I was against having sex with someone who has other partners (because of STD’s and general grossness), and I now think she withheld information so as not to lose her arrangement with me (or because she developed feelings for me).

The difficulty for me now is that I still have feelings for her and desire her… but at the same time know that I can’t be with someone that lied to me about something so important. In the context of just friendship, her lie doesn’t matter as much. But, she currently wants a relationship or nothing.

And I can’t help but feel there is something wrong with me for still loving her and/or desiring her friendship despite what she did. Am I just a masochist?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, pretty sure any chance for a future relationship has been destroyed.

Seek's avatar

@planckwalker No, you’re not a masochist, you’re just a person who started with a casual fling and started to feel more, whereas your partner in that relationship didn’t.

I’m now even more convinced that the “leaving the tab open” was her way of calling it off. She probably sensed that you would be upset and couldn’t bring herself to break it off with you face to face.

In the future, you might want to clarify your desire for a monogamous FWB relationship. It may be hard to come by, but then, so is everything else we really want in life, isn’t it?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

This has got to be one of the easiest questions to answer.
What do you do? SUCK IT UP, you want her but don’t want to be with her because you are hurt she did not do as you expected by telling you who she boinked before she boinked him. What if you looked and it was another woman? Regardless of if she left it open for you to look because she wanted to “come clean” without having to say what she did, or she was setting you up to break it off, since you say ”She is now no longer dating anyone else and wants a real relationship with me.” I would go against the later. So now I’m in this weird place where I’m still sort of in love with her, but know I can’t trust her. I’ve tried probing her, but it doesn’t look like she is going to come clean. Despite her betrayal, I still care about her and don’t want to lose the friendship we have (I’m not interested in having sex with her since learning about what she did). She’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had. However, she doesn’t seem to be interested in a friendship because she has feelings for me. Face it dude, you still love her, you are just hurt she did not due as you wished her to do. As said before, in the heat of lust she may not have had time to text you what she was doing, it might have even came on her suddenly without giving her time to think about that stipulation. Other than that you cannot let go of having someone, especially a somebody with good sex. Yeah you say you have no desire to boink her, but that is more you convincing yourself that you are punishing her for not giving you the respect you believe you were due by her telling you before she boinked anyone that she was going to do it. If you really still want her, suck it up, get off it, get over it, and get on with it. Chalk it up as she was not fully into you and the relationship was not exclusive and stop feeling as you were cheated on, and look at it as a singular act not to be repeated. If you can’t do that, then cut it off clean before it festers into something terrible.

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