I think you should get over it, UITM.
Easier said than done, I realize, particularly with the twin burdens of anxiety and depression. But if you would have been fine with this had you known – if there was no reason for Mary to hide this LTR-of-sorts from you – the best way to prove that to her is by giving it your retroactive blessing.
You’re right, UITM: Mary shouldn’t have hidden this from you. But she assumed – incorrectly, as it turned out – you would have a problem with those texts. It was a reasonable assumption on her part, since swapping flirty texts with a stranger is regarded as “out of bounds” by most. While this makes Mary’s failure to disclose look a little worse, we live in a culture that defines absolutely everything as cheating – don’t get me started on the idiocy that is “micro-infidelities” and the idiots pushing that toxic concept – and as a consequence, people not only lack perspective (oh, to live in a world where everyone regarded harmless flirtation as no big deal!) but also the language to honestly discuss our need for a little harmless erotic affirmation from someone who isn’t obligated to find us attractive, i.e., not a spouse or partner.
Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a moment. When should she have told you about Jeremy? What would you have done if on the third or fourth date, she looked up from her menu and said, “I’ve been swapping flirty texts with this guy for, oh, the last several years. I have no interest in him in real life, we’ve actually never even met in person, but I enjoy his texts and would like to keep swapping texts with him. I hope that’s not a problem.” You would have dumped her on the spot, right? She didn’t want to stop, she didn’t know how to talk about it, she hesitated, and… a decade went by.
If there’s nothing else – if no other shoes drop – give this your retroactive blessing.
Q: I am a transgender man, and my girlfriend is a transgender woman, and we have hit a plateau. Intimate time is rare, communication is minimal, and although I care for her deeply, I do not like her as a person and no longer want to get married. I have considered asking if we could open up the relationship, but I doubt that is the solution. How does one end a long-term relationship?
Whatever you do, HRT, please –please – don’t ask to open up your relationship when what you really want is out. A lot of people who want out do this, and it’s why so many people believe all requests to open a relationship are a sign the relationship is doomed. People who want out but ask for open inevitably get out in the end. People who want open and ask for open and get it tend to stay. But since most couples in open relationships aren’t public about it (most are more comfortable being perceived as monogamous), people hear about the insincere requests that preceded a breakup and conclude all requests are insincere.
Anyway, HRT, how does one end a long-term relationship? One uses one’s words. If “I love you” are the three magic words, then “I’m leaving you” are the three tragic words. Seeing as intimacy is rare and communication is minimal, it shouldn’t come as a shock to your soon-to-be-ex fiancée.