Dear Em & Lo: Can I Cheat on a Cheater?

photo by kevindooley

Dear Em & Lo,

I am 25 years old and I recently found out that my boyfriend of one year is cheating on me. I confronted him about it and he is adamant that there is nothing going on. Recently I got back in touch with an old boyfriend. I’ve known him since I was 13. He recently ended a relationship and is still a little bitter about it, but we have been getting close, even though we have not outrightly discussed geting back together. I’m wondering if I should go ahead and get involved with my ex for several reasons.

1) I haven’t yet kicked my current to the curb, though I am going to.
2) His break up was MESSY and the relationship produced two children. I have no children of my own, not that the children would be a problem for me.
3) He doen’t live nearby — starting in May, he will be in another country, which would mean a long-distance relationship. This bears no problems for me — I have impeccable self control — but we have not spoken about it.

— Drawn to an Old Flame

Dear D.T.A.O.F.,

Okay, we would like to give you several reasons — nay, MANY reasons — why there is NO WAY IN HELL you should get together with your old boyfriend.

1) You still have a boyfriend, and until you break up with him, it is called cheating, which makes you no better than your current BF. We don’t care about technicalities such as “I plan to dump him” — until you are single, you are not free to date anyone else.

2) Two rights don’t make a wrong. Cheating on someone who cheated on you doesn’t restore karma to this world, it just makes you as big of a scumbag as he is.

3) Someone who just went through a messy breakup involving children and is still bitter about it would make a terrible boyfriend.

4) Just because you’ve known him since you were 13 and he recently came back into your life, doesn’t mean it’s fate.

5) He is about to leave the country. Again, this qualifies him to be a terrible boyfriend. It would be one thing if you’d been in love for years — then maybe your love and lust could survive over the airwaves for a while. But a new relationship? Don’t even think about it.

6) You haven’t even discussed it with this man! We’re going to go out on a limb here and guess that he’s not interested, for all of the above reasons and more. Sure, he may want to sleep with you to help ease his bitterness, but like we said, you are not currently available for this type of thing.

By the way, if you’re so convinced that your boyfriend cheated, why are you taking time to write to us instead of dumping his ass? Could it be that there’s some doubt in your mind about whether or not he cheated? In which case, make that reason #7.

Our advice? Prove how much impeccable self-control you really have and do not get involved with your ex. And for the record, even if you dump your boyfriend tonight, we still think that reasons #3 through #6 stand alone. Hell, even if this ex drops down on one knee and says he never stopped loving you, we still think that reasons #3 through #5 are enough to stay away. In fact, any one of these reasons alone is enough. Do we make ourselves clear?

Good. We don’t mean to be mean, we just know that sometimes, in this kind of situation, a person will hunt through an advice column looking for a tiny scrap of a sentence that tells them the answer they really hope to hear. So we wanted to make sure that all our bases were covered. Now get out there and find a boyfriend who’s actually worthy of you!


Em & Lo


  1. Revenge sex is really not good thing, but who know is revenge sex or someone just try to get an excuse for herself, right? sometimes we want to do something but just try to get someone approved.

    I don’t think start an long distant relationship is better way to get marry, but did anyone have experience with long distant relationship, for the advicer, I would tell your guy you are always professional, you are always in the middle class, you are always studying your book, but your guys haven’t had any experience for adventure or fall into an crazy love,then if you are under 25, why don’t you just do whatever you want, cause you are not 52, you are not dead to be a gramother, why don’t you just have sex with your ex if he say he still love you, man is not only sex creature, I won’t sleep with the woman I don’t like, not because I am a gentleman, just because I am not a really “healthy animal”, I just couldn’t make it up if the girl isn’t attractive.

    last sentence, a conselor’s advice is good for your career, but hormone decide the happiness, cause it will “tell” you brain. you are a happy woman.

  2. Just a general note: When you cheat on boyfriend X with guy Y, you’re telling guy Y that he’s so inconsequential he’s not even worth a real try at relationship. Thus if you’re not happy with boyfriend X then you need to make him and X-boyfriend so you can avoid totally disrespecting, and repelling, any potential guys that you might be happy with.

  3. I got the revenge on my boyfriend for 2 weeks, staying with another guy. Don’t do it, it feels awful and it only makes things worse. I wish I saw their advice a little earlier, I would for sure think twice before doing anything.

  4. My initial impression was that she spent one sentence saying boyf cheated, and one saying he adamantly denied it. So, did he even really cheat? Then I read on, and aha! – drama queen. I need more evidence to actually believe he cheated.

    To her credit, she ambiguously, sorta made a list of reasons not to go ahead with her drama plan. And wrote to advice columnists. So part of her is trying to fight it. There could be hope.

  5. Love, love, love your advice. These traps are so common, and although they repeatedly don’t work (or make much common sense), people continue to try to justify falling into these situations.

    Neither guy is worth this chicks energy. Moving on!

  6. Em&Lo made it crystal clear, NO! Nothing to read into it, it is just a bad idea to cheat, a bad idea to get “revenge sex” and ANY type of “revenge” is silly, passive aggressive and manipulative.

    If you are SURE he did cheat, the best thing to do is get out of the relationship, NOW! It isn’t up to you to punish him, nor to get revenge. Revenge tactics never turn out the way people think and often end up hurting the one seeking revenge more than the one on the receiving end.

    It’s bad karma, and it won’t make YOU a better person. Be the better person, walk away, get your house and mind in order and then LATER, when you have healed seek a man with less baggage than the old boy friend. Don’t jump on the old boyfriend on the rebound. Not only will it most likely not work out, there are children involved, they just watched their parents’ relationship disintegrate and you don’t want to be part of more pain for these kids. Parents have more responsibilities when it comes to relationships, especially when children’s wounds are new.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. Getting on with your life is the best “revenge.”

  7. Surely the real question being asked is, ‘how can I get revenge on my boyfriend for having cheated on me – without incurring any complications or negative consequences for myself?’ Which your response doesn’t really answer, Em and Lo. Usually the answer is that cheating back isn’t an effective means of revenge, as it’ll probably just make the boyfriend think that you’re both quits. Plus risks of potential complications with other man at a time when you really don’t need any more hassle.
    As to how to really get revenge on the cheater without any negative consequences for oneself – surely you know him well enough to know tactics what would freak him out, without landing you in jail or losing serious credibility? Some might opt for being very publicly and woundedly innocent and dignified in front of all your mutual friends, some for dumping him and then very rapidly being seen with a fabulously successful/athletic guy… but there are probably a whole range of options!

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