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What Do You Think About What I Did?

So, I'm new to the community, and I'm just getting comfortable with posting personal stories on here. So, bare with me.

A few months ago, I dated a girl that we both had some strange mutual attraction years ago. I was young, and relatively uncertain as to where my life was heading, so I eventually ended it. I didn't wish to waste her time if I wasn't going to be fully committed, so I ended our little fling. I told her that I didn't think she was for me, and that I didn't think I was ready for a real relationship. (FYI, we were college freshman at the time).

Several years passed, and I occasionally thought about her. She had two relationships in between mine; one terrible and one that she was very invested in. Unfortunately for her, the relationship was brief, as her old ex ended it due to distance.

Anyways, I had never had a girlfriend before, as I'm a very insecure person. To make a long story short, I've had people give me a hard time in my life before, and I think it's effected my confidence. I've had many people tell me int he past that I'm very unattractive, and I'm foolish enough to let it stick.

So, I figured that I'd try dating this girl from my past, since I knew she was single. We spoke a bit at the bar a few times before eventually starting a fling I guess. I was a moron and told her that I didn't want anything serious. Since the end of the year was approaching, maybe we shouldn't get too attached. But, I do remember saying we should be open-minded as to where we wind up, if things did intensify.

I hadn't realized that she wanted more form me, and never said anything. Apparently she was very lonely. As the year progressed, I began to realize just how beautiful a person she truly was. I began to regret what I had done, and I strove to be as compassionate as I could possibly be to her. I thought she noticed that I was trying to be as caring, supportive, and available to her as possible. Thus, I could have sworn that we were forming a connection.

She opened up a bit to the woes of her past. Her parents divorced, and her father's mistress/fiance abused her, her family constantly judge her aspirations, and many friends have abandoned her. Previous relationships had been abusive, and left a lasting impression on her. I could relate to the myriad of feelings she was dealing with, and I resolved to be there for her.

Unfortunately, I fear that I never truly communicated my feelings for her, as I arrogantly thought that my actions were enough to express my emotions. I tried to spend as much time with her as possible; I included her in the activities my friends and I were doing; I tried to be creative with my dates; I listened for hours about her fears and inhibitions; I always complemented her and tried to make her feel special. I even helped her construct her studio art thesis for graduation. And, yes, were "official" if you'd give the relationship a label.

But, I knew the situation that I had put myself in. I felt that this amazing person would leave me, due to my arrogance. To show her how committed to her I was, I bought a bracelet to symbolically show that I was willing to stick it out with her as the turbulent period of post-graduate life began. Essentially, I didn't want to be like all the other people in her life; I wanted to be that one person she could always rely on.

Anyway, I grew anxious. Very anxious. It contributed to the rise of private panic attacks that I put myself through. I thought, though, that she very well may have been getting closer to me, as she invited me to go on vacation with her right after graduation. It lasted a week, and toward the end of the time there, I told her that I loved her. It caught her completely by surprise.

She didn't say it back. She said thank you, and that I was special to her, but there was no love. I was devastated. I got very emotionally. The following night, I told her that I really did love her, and all I wanted to be was her best friend; that I'd do anything for her. She told me that she thought the pace of the relationship was going too fast for her level of comfort, and that for her to profess her love meant that she might as well get married. She wasn't ready for that. She told me that we were destined to meet other people, and that no one could ever possibly stay together happily forever in a relationship. My ex cited her parents relationship as evidence. But, she was happy then, and was willing to stay together; she just couldn't promise me that her feelings would keep her there in the future.

I panicked that I was losing her, and I had to do better to keep her around. Essentially I wasn't good enough, and the mistakes I had made were ruining things. I began to excessively apologize for everything, big to small, and I was hyper-sensitive.

She was going overseas for a few weeks that summer, and I decided to spend some time with her before she left. I drove her to the airport, but I voiced my concern that I'd miss her very much when she was away. She told me to not contact her; instead, I should keep a journal of all the things I'd like to say to her while she was away, then give them to her when she came back. She would do the same for me.

So, I did. She came back, and we spent a few days together. She was happy to see me, but she acted differently. I couldn't place my finger on it. It was erratic. She was affectionate, but it was different. She was different.

The relationship deteriorated quickly after that. She became depressed. She became irritated with me, and the rudimentary things I did. She became insanely critical. But, I was patient and I still gave her love, as I thought she was under stress from her career planning.

One night on the way back from seeing friends, I confessed in the car that I was very sorry for the mixed signals I gave her at the beginning of the relationship. She essentially told me that what I had done was a huge reason why she felt so disconnected with me and couldn't fall in love with me. It as my fault. Yet, she still wanted to stay together. I felt hideous with guilt, and I held myself responsible. I believed she had a point.

Later on though, she confessed that she couldn't fall in love with me, because she didn't know who she was and that her previous relationships were defining who she was. She was miserable at her job, her insecurities, and life in general. I said that I'd be there for her, if she'd like, but she kept pushing me away. She said she needed to do it alone, but she still wanted me around. Again, I concluded that I had done many things to wrong her, so I accepted her request as a form of penance and love.

Still, she was acting very erratic and I didn't know what to think. I did something so uncharacteristic and morally reprehensible that I shudder to think about it to this very day. I read her diary.

What I found was more disturbing. She had an affair on me. During her trip, she met another guy and the two...had a relationship. Sex, intimacy, everything. It was like I didn't exist. Everything I had done. To make matters worse, she was comparing me to this guy. I looked disgusting in comparison. And, despite all that, she came back to me as if nothing happened. I would have never found out if I didn't do this.

I began to feel even more guilt from reading the diary and I confessed. Obviously, she was rightfully hurt, and yet, I think sad about cheating on me. I called for a break, since we both knew she needed time to think about her life.

After a few days, I relented. I called and apologized for everything. She, however, did not. She got frustrated that I wouldn't understand why she felt connected with another guy that would share similar interests with her. I said I knew how hideous I was, and I'd do anything to come back. She told me that she didn't know if she was ever falling in love with me, as our first months together were essentially her re-bound from her ex. I was now a re-bound relationship. But, she did say that we had a connection, and that she didn't want to lose that. It just wouldn't be so pristine, since I violated her.

I apologized for everything, but she said that I had nothing to be sorry for, as all the things that had happened were water under the bridge. She said she cared for me, and that I should relax, but I never believed her.

Despite my hurt feelings, I agreed. I had done everything wrong. We still had fun together, but in the back of my mind, I felt that she really didn't want me. She never took the time to drive up to see me; never had patience with me; withheld intimacy; and never considered saying that she loved me. She did call me her best friend though. She never communicated with me, and didn't wish to talk about the relationship, either.

We fought a lot. I found out that she was still talking to her ex, and I got jealous. I wouldn't mind if my partner in a relationship spoke with their ex, I just want that person to be honest about it. She wasn't.

She eventually said she love me, but wasn't sure if it were the same kind of love I felt. We eventually broke up because she was moving. She broke up with me through a text. I had to get call her to clarify things. She needed space and I was essentially suffocating her.

Distraught, I agreed and told her that I was sorry for everything. She said that there was nothing to be sorry about, and she still wanted to be regularly involved in my life. She wanted to still be friends, but I needed time to heal. Now, ever since she broke up with me, she sporadically texts me to see how I'm doing. I can't tell her to leave me alone, because I don't want to throw her under the buss. But, I need to heal. Perhaps this is what I need to experience since I violated her.

If I could do things over, I would. In a heartbeat. I would've been more warm, caring, responsible...essentially everything. I'm not a piece of trash when it comes to women, as I have a deep respect for them. Yet, look at what I did! Not only did I betray her, I betrayed myself. How do I get over this guilt? I've resolved to never do these things again, but how can I trust myself? I've beaten myself up for month now over this as another way to forgive myself. But how can I when I'm a terrible person. I don't think I truly deserve another shot with someone great, because of the immoral behavior I'm capable of doing.

What do I do?
deleted deleted 26-30 1 Response Feb 8, 2013

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First of all, stop beating yourself up. You already know what you did was wrong. And you know that what she did was wrong. We all make mistakes - that's how we're supposed to learn what not to do next time. I emphasize NEXT TIME, because you can't erase the past. The next time may very well apply to your next relationship. After reading your post, it really seems like you're a wonderful, caring guy. Apologizing for doing something wrong and trying to make it right is good, but there's a point where it's up to the other person to decide how they want to proceed - you can't just keep apologizing until they give in to you. We are ALL capable of immoral behavior and all of us are guilty of it as well. Forgive yourself, as she has done, and move forward with your life. You are hurting, but this is part of the "process". Know for yourself that you are deserving and capable of a good relationship that is mutual. Be happy for what you have learned from the past relationship mistakes (both yours and hers). If you hang on to these doubts about yourself, how will you let anyone new in your life not have doubts about you? You have to know in your heart that you are as deserving as anybody else to be in a happy and committed relationship. Forgive yourself, give yourself time to heal, and MOVE FORWARD with someone new. Hope this helps!