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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 792
Experience:  Specializing in relationship/family counseling
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I recently went through a very ugly break up. My partner of

Customer Question

Hello! I recently went through a very ugly break up. My partner of four years cheated on me, lied to me and to our friends about it, then began threatening me (like violence) and demanding that I leave the apt we had been sharing as a couple (she had since temporarily moved out, and I had another 6 weeks there per our earlier agreement), and it was all, to be quite honest, very frightening! In a few instances, when I was feeling very overwhelmed, I put an "SOS" out on fb basically illustrating what was going on without naming anyone -- granted, it was clear to the people who knew us whom I was talking about. Now, there is a 100% consensus among our mutual friends that I stepped very, very far out of line for speaking out about the threats I had been receiving and the lies I had been hearing from her. Meanwhile, she is 100% forgiven for the aggression and cheating. Is asking for help on a public forum shared by friends worse than threatening to physical harm to someone? I'm so confused, because my instinct is to say no, but the general consensus seems to be that I'm the one that f**ked up for speaking out and that threatening and cheating are okay. What do you think?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for asking your question - I'm happy to help you today.
I'm very sorry to hear about this situation and I can imagine how upset you are justifiably feeling at the moment. In my opinion, I do not think that you are in the wrong here at all, based on what you've shared. Obviously, keep in mind that there are two sides to every story, so I can only share my feelings based on what you have described. If she was threatening you with violence and making demands that you leave the apartment (which was yours, too) then I think it makes sense to have asked for help. You did say that your FB post didn't include any names, and people who knew you would have eventually found out what was going on anyway, if they didn't already know or suspect, that is. I can't say that I understand how you ended up being wrong and she ended up being 100% forgiven for the cheating and aggression except perhaps to say that the mutual friends, for whatever reason, feel greater loyalty to her than to you. That's just my opinion, but I really don't think you've stepped over any lines here. In my opinion, she is the one who stepped over the lines by threatening you and demanding that you move out prior to your earlier agreement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks! The apartment was in her name, though we had lived there only as a couple, so I believe it was seen as her apartment more than mine. Yes, they definitely feel greater loyalty to her than to me. Despite feeling scorned, of course, I still do want to heal the broken friendships I had with them, and also to bridge the gap with my ex so that we can be on friendly terms in the future. I am at a total loss as to how to do this, assuming it is even possible, since I now have been blacklisted from the group of people I spent the last 4 years of my life with. Is there a way for me to express to them that a) what I said was true (no one believed me, unfortunately, because she tends to come across as very unemotional, except for only one friend because he had been aware of past issues -- she had hit me a couple of times before), and b) that my intentions were honest, and good and I wasn't trying to shame her -- I was simply asking for help when I was feeling overwhelmed? My first task, of course, is to express this to my ex and I'm trying to do that now. But it is very frustrating to be annexed from my former life, while the person who treated me so cruelly is heralded as some sort of hero...
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 1 year ago.
I can understand that (the part about the apartment and why it might be seen as more her apartment than yours) -- but regardless, I can imagine that it's very hard for you to have to deal with the breakup and the loss of your home at the same time.
As for the friendships, I think what is needed in this situation is just a bit of time and patience. I think it's possible for these relationships to be healed, but probably not right away. You're too much in the thick of things and it's going to be too hard for them to divide their loyalties at the moment (in most cases, anyway), so I would advise just stepping back for the time being while you get things sorted out. I think what you could do is (if you feel comfortable with it) write a group email expressing the things you've said here -- that what you said was true, whether they believe it now or not, that you have no reason to lie to them and that because of your friendships you would not lie to them in the first place anyway, and what you said in part b -- about not trying to shame her but that you felt that you had nowhere else to turn and were only looking for support. You might also express that you understand how hard the situation is for them at the moment with divided loyalties -- you could say that you really value their friendship and that you hope when all is said and done that you can resume and rebuild your relationships with them.
Trust me, I do hear your frustration and the fact that she's being seen in a completely different light when, it seems to me, she's the main perpetrator here. But I think it's important (when dealing with her and with them) to try to take as dispassionate a stance as possible -- lay out the facts, let them know what your intentions were and then leave it alone. You probably can't convince any of them (including her) at this point of those things no matter how much you try, so that's why I advise just saying it once and then letting it lie for now. Give yourself some space (mentally and physically) from the situation too so you can recover and move on, and the pieces (with your friends) will hopefully fall into place over time. There will inevitably be a few casualties who will still side with her, but there's not much you can do about that. Your true friends will stick by you and realize that you're not the bad person here.