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Love Letters

How do you date again after being duped by a liar?

Her duplicitous ex-husband makes it hard for her to trust new guys, or herself.

Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I am 35 and divorced. My ex-husband is gay and had been cheating with men (unbeknownst to me) throughout our relationship.

I am not over the man I thought I married, even though our life together was a carefully executed charade. Between missing him and feeling like the world is full of pathological liars, dating is hard.

I met someone right before COVID-19 and we have continued to date throughout the lockdown. He’s trustworthy, but he’s the polar opposite of my ex—quiet, shy, unambitious. He’s sweet and readily goes along with anything I want to do, which is great! However, we have nothing to talk about; he’s not a reader, doesn’t like music, and only watches sports. I don’t see us together for the long haul, but I’m worried I’m being too quick to end things. Maybe it’s my own judgment I don’t trust.

Should I stick it out and see if excitement levels improve once COVID is behind us? I don’t want to make another mistake. I know this is a lot to unpack.

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– Unpacking

A. It’s challenging for some people to be their best, most interesting selves during COVID-19. It’s not easy for them to show how animated and funny they can be in a room filled with friends. They might not be able to take their new significant others to favorite restaurants or weekend getaways.

That said, for some new couples, this lockdown has been a time for real bonding, because there’s been more time to connect. In your case, if you have nothing to say to this very nice new man—if you are watching him watch sports, or becoming the boss of everything you both do—it’s not a match. You say you don’t see the two of you together for the long haul. Trust that instinct.

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This has been a great experience, one that’s taught you that not everyone has something to hide. Please celebrate that you’ve been able to date and get to know someone. It’s part of the healing process.

Also, as you move forward, remember you shouldn’t feel overwhelming pressure to be right every time you make a decision about your romantic life. I understand why you fear the wrong path more than others might, but you won’t be able to have much fun or enjoy the next steps with a person if you’re thinking, Is this a horrible mistake? If that question is getting in the way of these experiences, especially as you start relationships, consider therapy, if you’re not already in it.

What happened in your marriage involved many decisions not made by you. Let this new relationship be proof that deal breakers come in many other benign forms, and that every relationship will bring a different set of highs and lows. On to the next.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

You’re allowed to move the bar a little higher and not just date someone because he’s not sleeping with other guys. DANGLEPARTICIPLE

Would you want someone to tolerate you because there isn’t anyone better? LUCILLEVANPELT

I don’t want to make another mistake. This to me is the most revealing line in the whole letter. Life is a series of mistakes, and that’s the only way we learn. MAJORISSUES

Catch Season 4 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.

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