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DEAR HARRIETTE: I was dating this girl for about two years, and I always had difficulty trusting her, but I loved her. She worked in theater, so she was often on the road. I’d fly out to see her sometimes, but it ultimately just didn’t work out. We broke up, and not even a year later, she got engaged publicly to one of her castmates.
When they tell people how they met, it confirms that she was cheating on me the whole time. This makes me furious because I put so much into that relationship emotionally and financially. How do I move past this? — Mad at Her
DEAR MAD AT HER: I’m so sorry this happened to you. For closure purposes, you may want to have one more conversation with your ex. If possible, schedule a meeting or phone call with her. You can congratulate her on her upcoming wedding. But also tell her that you realize that your fears during your relationship were real. The fact that she lied was devastating for you. Tell her that you hope she will be happy in her life with this man, but the way she handled your relationship was unkind. Because of the lies, you now find it difficult to trust anyone because you learned to second-guess yourself with her.
Do not expect her to say anything that will make it all better. If you are able to have this conversation with her, it may prove to be a catharsis for you. You may be able to reach that without speaking to her at all. Write down all of your thoughts and feelings and memories about this relationship, then burn the letter. Release your feelings. Forgive yourself for staying as long as you did. Forgive her for hurting you. Agree to trust your instincts again. That voice inside does let you know when something is wrong. You knew, and she lied. You can move past this with your inner wisdom intact.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was a little girl, my mother was in a physically abusive marriage with a police officer. I remember a neighbor calling the police, and when they arrived, they just told him to keep the noise down. I was devastated because I thought the police were going to save my mother from being beaten every night. I am grown now, but the memory has haunted me for years, reminding me about the police and the code of silence many of them maintain. How do I get over this? — Haunting 5-0 Memories
DEAR HAUNTING 5-0 MEMORIES: This is tough. I’m so sorry that it happened to your mother (and you) and that it was swept under the rug. While there are many honorable police officers, you witnessed that this is not always true.
For your own mental health, you may want to go to counseling to talk through your experiences and memories to process your personal story. The abuse and the coverup affected you and your mother. You have some healing to do around this.