A year ago, a childhood acquaintance from my old neighbourhood contacted me on Facebook.
We share mutual "friends" to whom we both talk.
It seemed harmless. But then he started flirting with me.
I knew he had a girlfriend. Usually when guys with girlfriends message me, I shut them down or remind them that they're already attached.
But for some reason, I continued talking to this guy.
Maybe it was because I didn't want to cause drama by blocking someone I could run into here or in our hometown.
Or because I was lonely, vulnerable, and going through a rough patch.
I also found him very attractive, and kept excusing his behaviour as innocent flirting.
But one thing led to another, and we started sexting.
I knew it was wrong, but I kept trying to justify my behaviour because we're not actually "doing" anything.
Until we actually did something, once.
Ever since, I tried to block it out of my head.
But we run into the same people. So my guilt grew, especially when I started seeing their friends everywhere.
I couldn't take it anymore and two months after the incident, I told the girlfriend.
I probably shouldn't have, she didn't take it well.
But after trying to be civilized with her, we argued and I wanted to cut off all contact.
Two days later, I noticed they got back together.
This was six months ago. I’m still haunted and being tormented for my mistakes.
It seems as though everyone continues to blame me and wants to ostracize me.
But what no one knows is that he initiated the flirtations and had every intention to cheat on his girlfriend when he messaged me.
I have proof (saved messages and screenshots), which I've kept.
I continue to pay for these mistakes.
I've seen weird statuses on social media that were not a coincidence, an abnormal amount of "likes" on my posts from a mutual friend of his girlfriend, and blatant smirks and laughs from his friends in public.
His girlfriend has messaged me, showing she still continues to look at my profile by saying she noticed I blocked her (only twice).
Then she blocked me on social media that I don't even follow her on, and it looks like other friends got involved.
She also deleted our mutual friend.
I didn't want to break them up, but it seems as though I'm getting the beating, and he's only got a slap on the wrist.
I can't move on. I can't escape his friends or the possibility of running into him and her. What should I do?
Break the cycle. Get off social media for several months, and clear your head of guilt and torment.
Yes, you made a mistake. He made a bigger one since he purposefully cheated.
However, you doubled your mistake since you told his girlfriend and that’s what’s set off this “everyone-knows” reaction.
Now, walk away from it. Hang out with new friends. Get busy – try a new gym, take a course.
If you bump into people who smirk or comment about this, say you’re sorry you told her, and you regret the whole thing.
Then change the subject.
You’re not the only person who’s been with someone else’s partner. You’ve hopefully learned that actions you know are wrong, can come back to bite you.
So, no more excusing yourself (“vulnerable, rough patch”), and no more guilt.
It’s over… unless you let social media rule your life.
Dear Readers – There have been so many moving responses to the personal difficulties faced by a mother with a drug-addicted son (Nov.30), that I’ve been giving voice to others with such stories:
Reader – “I’m in a similar situation and the questions people ask about my family, feel excruciating.
“How do I tell others how terrified, humiliated, sad and angry I am?
“I divert the unknowing ones by talking about grandkids or something connected.
“And then I ask about their families and let them tell me how wonderful they are.
“Some folks have an inkling of what’s happening with my son, so their questions feel intrusive.
“I try to shut down any further inquiries.
“As for support groups, most of us have “been there, done that” and it changes neither the situation nor the feelings.
“Thanks for including that letter in your column. It speaks about many more than one.”
Tip of the day:
People who want to cheat find a way, but you have the choice to refuse them.