This is the problem: I’ve been in an on/off relationship for approximately 8 years. I met this guy through his sister and I can say we became a family. At some point in the relationship he meets a girl 10 years younger than both of us and decides to cheat. So I left him AGAIN. After a year of being apart he decides to contact me again and throw a surprise party for my birthday. He apologized and everything goes back to “normal.” The problem is the little girl — who I might add is under 21 — decides to stay in his life. He insists that this girl is threatening to take her life and hurt his family if he leaves and that is the reason he can not totally break up the “friendship” with her! I’m very tired of this situation because this girl and her entire family are constantly harassing me.
He doesn’t understand that this wouldn’t be a problem if he hadn’t cheated. Why doesn’t he entirely leave the relationship if supposedly he hates her? I’m confused and feel very betrayed.
— Sad Chica
Dear Sad Chica,
Drama begets drama. Your life is total telenovela, and you know it, so you have to fix it. I will gladly take the rest of this column to chide your boyfriend and this girl, but first I want to be clear about your responsibility here. If you want your life to change, you have to change it. If it is everyone else’s fault, it’s time to get a new set of everyone else. Think about hiring a therapist and completely re-staffing your love life.
The boyfriend sounds like a chump or a player. He is either too stupid and dramatic to realize that the girl is playing him, or he is lying to you and enjoying his relationship with her. Give him an ultimatum: He ditches the crazy chick and files a police report and restraining order or you leave. If the girl and her family are truly harassing you, then you do the same. Tell the police that the woman has threatened the safety of herself and others. It isn’t dramatic. It’s practical, and the only solution to your problem other than walking away. It might be safer, too, if she really is dangerous.
It sounds like this girl needs some help. Sleeping with older dudes and then holding them captive with threats and blackmail is a bit predatory. This doesn’t happen by accident, and therapy is an understatement for what she most likely needs. I am not clear why her family is bothering you, too. I can only guess that I am missing at least a little bit of the story here.
You should reflect on all of your interactions with each of the individuals involved in this love polygon. One can technically be right and still behave in an inappropriate manner that worsens the situation and begins to blur lines for everyone. How is it that all of your relationships with these people are fucked and your boyfriend is at the center of it? And where is the friend/sister that hooked you two up? Was this original “family” possibly one of convenience rather than support, community, and love?
I might have lied in that first paragraph; I am clearly not done with you. What did he do before the cheating that made you leave in the past? Why did you take him back, repeatedly? How easy are you that a birthday party makes up for cheating and a year apart? Must have been a great party. You cannot go back to “normal” after this kind of indiscretion and time off. Normal wasn’t working before; that is why he cheated and you left. Normal is broken, and you need new. When reuniting with an old lover with the intention of making it work and last, it is important to honestly start over. This means dates and courting and not pretending like it’s your old relationship without the giant fucking elephant in the room. As you know, the elephant is most assuredly there and will start kicking ass as soon as possible.
My instincts say move on, but you’ll need to listen to your own. Either way, be careful: You’ve seen the nightly news.
Much love and less drama,
Your Uncle Mat