My partner of two years just broke up with me. We were living together at his place and after the breakup we decided that I could live with him until I found a job (I was laid off last year and still haven't found anything). I was pretty depressed because of my failure to find a job; the breakup made the depression worse. I was in an obvious state of grief over the end of the relationship. I'm assuming he had been thinking about breaking up with me for a while, so he was emotionally prepared for the post-breakup phase. Living with my ex was tough, since my status was downgraded from boyfriend to roommate, even though we were still sharing the same bed.

We also hadn't ironed out details of our breakup—would we bring dates home? would we still have sex? would we have sex with others?—and when I tried to have this conversation with him he dodged. He did, however, say that if I wanted to know anything all I had to do was ask. I had no plans for sex or dating, especially not when I was grieving, though I hoped my ex and I would continue having sex.

A couple of weeks after the breakup I tried to have the post breakup conversation again, I learned from him (and boy did he not want to tell me!) that a week after our breakup he participated in an orgy with mutual friends while I was camping with my brother. I was not emotionally prepared for this news. I got very upset and angry, left, and now I'm living with a friend. My ex can't understand why I was so upset, since we were broken up and his affairs were no longer any of my business, as he said. I was furious. I realize that a lot of my anger comes from not getting what I want, but I also feel that having an orgy with mutual friends one week after our breakup, and not being honest about it, was ill-advised at best and unnecessarily hurtful. He thinks that there wouldn't be a problem if I weren't so immature and selfish. I think there wouldn't be a problem if he had been honest about about his intentions to go wild so soon after we broke up. Of course, it hurt me that he was able to move on so quickly, without going through any apparent grief about the end of the relationship.

This wouldn't be a problem but we have many friends in common and hang out regularly, so we're sure to interact at least once a week. I feel terrible about how this happened and think it could have been avoided with honest and open communication. What do you think, Dan?

Exes And Orgies

My response after the jump...


I think he's your EX-boyfriend, EAO.

And I think your ex is free to do whatever he pleases without running it by you first—regardless of your living arrangements, regardless of your hopes, regardless of your feelings that your post-breakup conversations have been inadequate at best. Would it have been any easier if he had been honest with about his intentions to go wild and attend an orgy? When would've been the right time to give you a heads up? Before? After? During?

I don't mean to be cruel, EAO. You have a right to your feelings—you have a right to be upset if you're upset—but you don't have a right to dictate terms to your ex. He's right: the orgy was none of your business. You were not together, he did nothing wrong. And it sounds like you only found out about it because you pressed him. Perhaps he didn't tell you because, in addition to it not being any of your business, your ex-boyfriend knew that you would be upset and he wanted to spare your feelings (or spare himself the grief).

And I'm thinking your post-breakup relationship—unavoidable interactions thanks to mutual friends (presumably not the same friends from the orgy)—might be easier to negotiate if you hadn't dragged the orgy confession out of him. Finding out a year or two from now, after you found your own place, and landed a new job, that he'd gone wild after the breakup might've been less painful.