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Ask Anna: Caught my boyfriend on a dating app -- confront him or ghost?

Anna Pulley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Dear Anna,

Six months ago, I ended my relationship with my boyfriend due to repeated boundary violations, including emotional abuse and dishonesty. Recently, he apologized and promised to change, so I hesitantly gave him another chance. Spoiler! This was a big mistake. Despite his sweet words, I felt something was off. Four days after we reconciled, I created a fake profile on Hinge (where we met originally) and found him there, actively flirting and claiming to be single to my fake persona. While he was chatting with my fake account, he was also sending the real me affectionate messages.

I’m committed to ending things for the second time, but my question is: Should I confront him about this deception or just walk away quietly? — Trust Betrayed

Dear TB,

The lure of the Ex Who Has Changed is hard to resist, whether because of nostalgia, misplaced hope or simple longing — or all three. Plus, every culture loves a redemption story. We yearn for transformation and (often) end up disappointed when those we trusted with our hearts fall short again. But damn — four days is a short amount of time to blow things! WTF, ex-dude! Pat yourself on the back for trusting your instincts. It's clear you saw red flags and decided to investigate further — a courageous move that will save you from more heartache down the road.

As to how to end things — well, that’s largely up to you. Let’s consider both options:

Confrontation: Calling him out on his deceit can be cathartic. When someone has wronged you, expressing your hurt and disappointment directly to them can feel like a release. It’s a moment of reclaiming your voice and asserting your boundaries. By confronting him, you get to articulate your feelings and say, “This is not OK. I deserve better.” Sometimes, just saying those words aloud can bring a sense of closure and empowerment. (And hopefully make him reflect on his actions.)

There’s also a certain satisfaction in seeing the look on someone’s face when confronted with the harsh truth. Imagine the surprise and the scramble as he tries to piece together his defense. It’s a moment where you hold the power, having turned the tables. For some, witnessing this reaction can feel like justice served, a validation that he can’t wriggle out of his betrayal.

 

However, and especially if he’s prone to emotional abuse, as you said, a confrontation could also backfire. He might deny, deflect, manipulate or otherwise try to charm his way out of it. If you do choose to confront him, consider doing it in a safe and controlled environment. Write down your thoughts beforehand to ensure you express everything you need to. Stay calm and focused, and remember that his reaction is not a reflection of your worth. It’s merely his attempt to cope with the reality you’ve laid out.

Ghosting: You know the adage about actions speaking louder than words? Walking away silently from a person who has harmed you can indeed speak volumes. It’s the drama-free choice, and sometimes, in situations where trust has been shattered, silence is not only golden but powerful.

Sure, ghosting can be perceived as immature or cowardly. But let’s flip that script a bit. In your case, you’ve done the emotional heavy lifting. You gave your ex-boyfriend a second chance, only to discover he’s been deceitful and hasn’t changed. You’ve gathered all the evidence you need to make a decision. Do you really owe him an explanation?

Confrontation can sometimes lead to more drama and manipulation. By walking away silently, you’re shielding yourself from further emotional turmoil. Your peace of mind is valuable, and protecting it by avoiding unnecessary conflict can be a mature and wise choice.

Whichever path you choose, remember this: You deserve someone who respects and cherishes you without the need for detective work. A relationship should be built on trust, not secret dating profiles and late-night flirtations with fake personas.

In the wise words of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Your ex-boyfriend’s actions have shown you who he is — a man who hasn’t changed in the slightest.

Embrace your decision to move on. You’re stepping into a future where you’re valued and respected for who you are. Keep your head high and your heart open — you deserve a love that’s genuine and trustworthy.


©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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