I was in my first lesbian relationship for three years with a controlling woman. When we first started dating, I moved to another country, and four months later, she followed me there and we lived together and worked at the same company.
Nine months ago I met a woman who works with us and felt very drawn to her. Over Christmas vacation (and many cocktails) we shared a passionate kiss. For the next two months I cheated on my first girlfriend with our co-worker. I fell in love with this other woman, broke up with my first girlfriend, and moved into my own apartment. The three of us work together. The new relationship is still a secret; however, my ex-girlfriend has many suspicions, and has seen us out together.
Should I tell my ex-girlfriend that I'm dating our co-worker now? Or should I wait six weeks when my ex-girlfriend will be leaving the country? I feel like I'm lying and leading my ex-girlfriend on, but I don't want my new girlfriend to have to suffer at work because of my guilt.
My response after the jump...
You shouldn't have to hide your current relationship from your controlling ex, LL. But if you think your ex will behave unprofessionally if she finds out that 1. you're dating someone else and 2. that you started dating this someone else while you were still with her, you can wait until she leaves the country to drop those bombs.
People will probably jump down your throat in the comments thread for how you started your new relationship—which entailed prolonged cheating on your ex—but don't beat yourself up over it to badly, LL. The folks jumping down your throat have either forgotten what it's like to be young and inexperienced or they're lucky enough never to have been in a relationship with someone who was controlling. Since controlling often comes bundled with scary, and since people who are controlling and scary tend to seek out young and/or inexperienced partners (they're easier to control and intimidate), young and inexperienced people with controlling and scary partners are prone to making technical relationship fouls—like "failing" to cleanly end their current relationship before embarking on a new one. (The arrival of a new potential partner often gives a person with a controlling/scary partner the incentive and courage she needs to dump the scary controller.) This is not meant to excuse the cheating, LL, as you were in the wrong there. It's just to put it in context and perspective for the forgetful and the lucky. Still, LL, cheating like that is not something you should do to your current girlfriend or any future girlfriends.
Which brings us to this: "I feel like I'm lying and leading my ex-girlfriend on..."
That sure makes it sound like you've allowed your ex-girlfriend to think that there's a chance you might get back together with her. Maybe you did this because she's controlling and scary and so emphatic about her desire to get get back together with you that you were afraid of telling her it wasn't a possibility. Or maybe you allowed her to think she still had a chance because you're a pleaser and you couldn't bring yourself to tell her something she didn't want to hear. Either way, LL, it was a mistake to let your ex live in false hope. And that's not something you should do to your future exes.