Dear Dr. Darcy:
Many years ago, I dated a girl who broke up with me because she thought I cheated on her. We spent many years out of touch and reconnected about a decade ago and we are very good friends now. There’s nothing intimate between us today – she’s married and I’m also in a committed relationship. Here’s my question: She thinks that I cheated on her back in the day with a girl who was really just a close friend of mine, although I’ll admit that maybe I made some mistakes back then. I wasn’t always honest when I was going out with my friend and sometimes I broke plans with my girlfriend to hang out with the friend. This coincided with a period of time when my girlfriend and I weren’t being intimate, which I’m sure led to her concerns that I cheated on her. That and I think my best friend’s father told her that I cheated. Anyway, so how do I clear the air once and for all? How do I convince someone who I care about deeply that I never betrayed them? And shouldn’t she be over this by now?
I’m confused about why you would wait so long to clear the air. Why didn’t you take care of this back when you two broke up? And how do you let someone break up with you because she thinks you cheated on her and not address or correct her misperception? I’ll tell you why: You wanted out and were too big of a pussy to tell her that you wanted out. So you figured you’d let her think you cheated, you’d voice some words of denial ~ essentially, you’d get your freedom without really looking like the bad guy because she always had it wrong, right? Wrong.
You are responsible for everything you did that led your then-girlfriend into thinking that you cheated on her. Every time you lied to your girlfriend and went out with your ‘friend,’ you were emotionally cheating on her. And I suspect that there were reasons why you lied to her about hanging out with this friend, not the least of which was because your then-girlfriend didn’t trust your relationship with your ‘friend,’ leading me to believe that there was something less than Kosher about your friendship. And your best friend’s father told her that you cheated? Dude, on the outside chance that you didn’t cheat, you need to take some responsibility for your behaviors that led the people in your life to conclude that you were a cheater.
Life isn’t about perfection, but it is about learning from mistakes. I’m not sure you ever did, and that’s why this issue is still an issue today.