The Things Silence Says
The Deviant Nerd
Brought to you by Arrested Restraints; with prices that won’t hold you back on the things that hold you down.
Last week, my boyfriend told me that he cheated on me with one of his classmates. I told him then that I needed time to think about things and I would tell him when I was ready to talk. But it's been a week later and I still don't know what to say! I've thought about it and thought about it, but I still don't know if I want to stay with him or break up with him.
He's called and texted me a couple of times to tell me that he knows I need space, but he wants me to know that he's sorry and he hopes that I'll find it in my heart to forgive him.
But I don't know if I can. I want to, but I just don't know.
Then, yesterday, he cornered me after class and said that I was being really spiteful and mean, shutting him out like this. I tried to tell him that I wasn't trying to shut him out. That I just wanted time to think. He told me that the silent treatment was hurting him and that, if I wanted to yell at him or break up with him or whatever, that I should just do it and get it over with, so we can move on.
And a part of me wants to yell, but I don't know what to yell. I know it's been a long time, but isn't it better to think things through so you can work things out logically rather than get into some screaming match you might regret later?
– Not the Spiteful Silent Treatment
Pip: Hey Silent Treatment,
First off, I'm sorry you were cheated on; that hurts and can be very hard to process. I definitely can understand why you would need some time to think about this. And I absolutely applaud you on wanting to take the time to really think about what you want and what your options are before coming to a decision.
That being said, I also understand where your boyfriend is coming from. Which is on the other side of that silence. While your extended thinking-time makes complete sense to you—filled with the opportunity to order and weigh your thoughts—for him, that silence is completely empty—an unanswered void that leaves his love life hanging uncertainly while he waits on the other side of that silent wall to see what you decide.
You may not have the handle you're looking for on your thoughts, but at least you have some grasp of them. He has no idea what you're thinking or feeling. And a week is a long time to wait and worry about all the ways your life could go.
I'm not saying that you have to rush to an agreement on his account; you should take all the time you need to come up with a decision. It's unfair that he's trying to rush you—to shift the burden of responsibility from him to you. He screwed up; the least he owes you is the chance to decide for yourself if he's worth the work of piecing together the trust he's broken.
But, maybe, you should try talking to him about it.
And, believe me, I know that isn't always easy. It really never is. Being honest like that requires you to allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of another person, allows them to see you when you're unsure and unprepared. You sound young and you probably don't have a ton of experience dealing with this kind of thing. Of course, you're having a hard time figuring out what to say. So might help to write some things down first.
Jot down how his cheating made you feel. Let him know how he hurt you. Let him know how confused you are. Think about questions you might want to ask him; see what he has to say. See if what he was thinking and feeling at the time changes how you feel now. Find ways to make it easier for you to let him in on what's going on in your head and give him a chance to let you in on what's going on in his.
Because you've been silent for seven days now and still aren't any closer to a decision. Your silent treatment may not be spiteful, but it isn't being very useful at the moment either.
Then think some more. And, hopefully, since you couldn't find your answer on your side of the silence, you can break down the wall between you two and find it there.
And, remember, if you do decide to take him back, test, test, test. Passing on an STI isn't a great way start your relationship fresh again.
Best of luck on whatever you decide.
– Pip, Your Resident Deviant Nerd
* If you have a sex, kink, love, or life question for The Deviant Nerd, email Pip at PipJones.DeviantNerd@gmail.com.
And read more about Pip’s story in Brought to You By.