My partner and I separated 3 months ago, after 6 years of living together. We had been arguing more and more. We decided to separate, take a breather in our own space to find out if we would be happier apart, or possibly learn that we might be taking each other for granted and find our way to living happily together again. We agreed to give it 6 to 12 months. We also said that we could date others during this period.
He called me last night to tell me a mutual friend had asked him out and wanted to know if I was okay with that. I asked him if I could think about it. I feel betrayed by our friend – we never said it was a permanent split. I thought dating would be new people, not taking existing relationships and making them romantic or sexual. What do I do?
– Hurt and Betrayed
Dear Hurt and Betrayed
I feel your pain and confusion. I’m sorry you are going through this. Take time to sit with your feelings, understand them without judgement, and look for the cause of the pain. Ask yourself some questions. Some suggestions are below:
•What is the source of your hurt? Is it wondering if a mutual friend is attracted to your partner, or that your partner might be attracted to a mutual friend, or both? If so, what are the source of those feelings?
• Are insecurities making their way to the surface or are you feeling a sense of rejection?
• What is/was your long-term goal in this separation? Were you leaning towards finding your way back together?
• What do you want today?
Once you understand what your feelings are, and what you want currently, you can start to dialogue with your partner and possibly your mutual friend. It’s okay to share your feelings of hurt with either of them, or both. Ask your partner what their thoughts are and why they thought this would be okay. If you and your partner are still in the same place, still wanting to explore your feelings and what makes you happy, this would be a good time to reset the ground rules to include dating has to be with new people, if you both agree.
I am confident you will find the answers you’re looking for, by learning the cause of your pain, and acting in harmony with what you really want. I wish you all the best. This will get better.