Skip Nav
The Story Behind This Couple's Heart-Stopping Photo Will Leave You in Tears
Game of Thrones
Why That Missandei and Grey Worm Sex Scene Is Such a Big Effing Deal
32 Sexy GIFs From Tumblr That Will Fog Up Your Screen

You Asked: I Feel Guilty For Moving On

Dear Sugar,

I recently got out of an eight-year relationship with someone who was my best friend. At the end he cheated on me numerous times and we both felt that we needed a break before either of us could work on our relationship. When we were separating, I instated a policy that neither of us would date other people for the first six months, but he wanted to be more "free."

After the split I went to therapy as I was heartbroken by his actions. During this time, I met a really great guy who I've since fallen in love with. The problem is that my ex has confessed that he still loves me. He told me that this break has given him time to grow. He's owned up to how badly he treated me and he wants a second chance. I know I don't want to get back together with him; however, I feel incredibly guilty that I have moved on while he has not. What should I do? How should I tell him that it's over, forever? — Starting a New Life Laurie

To see DearSugar's answer


Dear Starting a New Life Laurie,

I understand that you feel badly because you broke the policy you instated, but you can't put your life on hold because your ex — who cheated on you — feels ready to make amends. Since he was the one who wanted to be more "free," how were you supposed to know that he wouldn't meet someone before you?

If you truly feel that your relationship with your ex has run its course, you should be honest with him so that he can close this chapter in his life and move on. Your guilt will subside, but in the meantime, enjoy the new man in your life — the beginning is the best part!


Join The Conversation
hillamaria hillamaria 8 years
No feelings of guilts, he should have known better before cheating on you. If you've met an amazing guy then keep him, it's always the same with ex's - you wonder what if's. I did leave my boyfriend and started dating very soon after that, I felt so bad for moving on when he couldn't. you just need to realize it's not your job to take care of him, you should think what's best for you. It's ok to feel guilty for a while but it should fade at some point, as he knew the risks before doing what he did and he knew he might have to suffer. Just do whatever makes your life better, it could be the new guy, it could be the ex - think things carefully through. It might be good to try dating someone else, maybe you learn something new from dating and relationships..
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 8 years
Breaking up is never easy, and neither is moving on! But now that you're happy, you should want to stay that way. Even though you were moving on while he was not, it is not your problem, but I think that this will give you closure. At least he know he did you wrong.
a-million-suns a-million-suns 8 years
What goes around comes around for him. Congratulations on the new love in your life, and know that you deserve it.
tnmom tnmom 8 years
You should release the guilt. If he had only cheated once,maybe even twice,that would be one thing but he cheated multiple times. I would not give him the chance to cheat again. Enjoy spending time with the new man in your life. You are not responsible for the feeling of Mr. Cheater-pants. If didn't care much about your feelings or he would never have cheated on you.
Miss-Senorita Miss-Senorita 8 years
No need for the quilt he wronged you and now he's suffering the consequences.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
You don't have anything to feel guilty about. He doesn't own you and you didn't do anything wrong. The two of you ended. Really, I'd just be worried about if you two can even talk without rehashing past problems (truly being over what he did to you). It takes a lots of Zen to get through that crap....did for me.
0fashionqueen 0fashionqueen 8 years
Hell not I do not think that any body should ever feel guilty about moving on in their lives because you can not stay lonely all of your life.
dm8bri dm8bri 8 years
THAT'S what you should do! Cut off his weewee!
kristyy kristyy 8 years
I don't even know why this question was asked/posted in the first place. What a waste of space! The guy cheated on you, wants to be "more free" so he can bang other chicks, and now is left out in the cold because you've moved on with a great guy. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM AGAIN??? Get your head out of the ground and realize that there are REAL problems in this world besides your "I feel guilty because I've moved on from this jerk." How about this being a problem? "My jerky ex cheated on me and I cut off his weewee and now face jail time."
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Your ex doesn't still love you, he doesn't respect you, he doesn't care about you, he doesn't want a second chance to "do better", he wants a second chance to USE you again, he's lonely now. Why do you feel guilty for moving on just b/c he hasn't? Are you both supposed to move on at exactly the same time so no one feels bad? You should not feel guilty for making yourself happy!!! This is such a woman's trait...quit caring about other people for a second and remember to take care of yourself!!!! What should you do? How should you tell him it's over forever? Literally in words exactly like or VERY similar to this, say: It's over forever, I don't ever want to get back together. I don't want to be in contact ever again after this. I am moving on with my life like I deserve to. Just be direct, why not? He will get the picture and leave you alone. Honestly though, I don't understand why you would even care about the feelings of someone that cheated on you multiple times and obviously didn't care a bit about your feelings. I would just ignore him until he leaves me alone, with no explanation what so ever.
kandrew4 kandrew4 8 years
Good for you! No need to feel guilty. You have your happiness. Your ex messed up, now he gets to deal with it. Don't let him taint your new-found love! Also, just as a precaution, if you haven't done so already I'd explain the situation to your current boyfriend so he doesn't think that you are encouraging feelings from your ex. You don't want to lose him by accident!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
You're the victim here, not him. Remember that. Don't stick around for another 8 years.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i have something to add - it's not like he isn't moved on..he just realized what he lost now and he happens to not have a girlfriend yet (since he's probably a jerk)'s not like he's been sitting around crying over you since your break up...he was sleeping around and now he's bored and misses you...don't fool yourself
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
he cheated on you, and he was the one who wanted to be more free. he moved on physically a long time ago. its not your responsibility to put your life on hold because he has yet ot find someone. you were not happy with him, and you are finally in a good place. tell him to move on, and don't let him control you to make you feel guilty for HIS actions. this was what he wanted, and it backfired on him because he expected you to be there waiting for him.
pioneers pioneers 8 years
A lot of people do this--they stay in a relationship with someone they love, but after a certain amount of time, they just kind of grow bored and want to see other people--the fact that he cheated on you and then insisting on seeing other people pretty much proves this--and then after they've had their fun, they want to get back together with the person who makes them feel loved and comfortable. It's really, really typical.

Here's the thing. You get back together with him, and you know what will probably happen another few months or years down the line? It doesn't go away; the need will come back and the boredom will return and he will just hope you stick around a second time to break his fall when he comes back to be comfortable again.

Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
Oh geez, please let your looser ex go. He CHEATED on you, you deserve to be happy, especially if it's not with him.
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
Stop feeling guilty. He got what he wanted, to be free and it backfired on him. Don't give up a perfectly good man that you have fallen in love with for someone who is merely a familiar habit.
Myst Myst 8 years
You have no reason to feel guilty. The relationship ended because he didn't know how to keep it in his pants and be faithful. Now you're with someone who's better and you need to do what's best for you. Look forward, not backwards.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Dear Ex-Boyfriend, You snooze you lose. Sincerely, Starting a New Life Laurie
bikinib7 bikinib7 8 years
He cheated on you and you feel guilty for finding someone who may appreciate you without the need for several weeks of freedom? Like skigurl said, be thankful.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
dearest Laurie, he wronged you. i'm happy you're happy now. do not feel guilty. carry on with your new life and do not look back. cut off ties. you're lucky things are working out with the new man and the old man wasn't worth it, so be thankful and have a great new beginning. regards, skigurl
How Journaling Helps After a Breakup
People You Should Let Go From Your Life
Where Should We Begin Couples Therapy Podcast
Things That Women Appreciate
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds