Long distance relationships are tough.
An unbelievable amount of communication and trust is required for a successful remote love affair.
But if the long distance portion of the partnership does reach an endpoint, the following in-person phase is usually a wonderful reward. Usually.
For one couple, it wasn't until they were physically together that some truths surfaced. The story appeared on Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) subReddit, a place where users can describe real-life experiences that leave them unsure of their moral standing.
The concept is simple: the story is posted, the Redditor asks the community if they have indeed been the a**hole in that situation, and other Redditors offer their takes.
"throwaway839292928," as the user goes by on the site, recently offered up her story of a soured relationship. As for why she, age 24, needs moral advice, this was no typical end to a long term relationship.
She begins with the key variable.
"I am a breast cancer survivor. I have had my left breast removed and there's just a scar there now."
"When I go out I wear a silicon padding on my left breast, otherwise it looks very odd and makes me self-conscious."
After that, she explained how she kept that information from her boyfriend, age 23, for multiple years.
"My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for the past 3 years. We had met a couple of times but we just enjoyed each other's company. He knows I am a cancer survivor but doesn't know about my breast."
Despite the knowledge gap, the relationship developed, bringing an end to the distance that once defined the relationship.
"I decided to move in with him about a month ago and we tried to have sex."
"I say 'tried' because the moment he laid eyes on my breast his face went white and he refused to touch me further. He said I had cheated him and that I should have told him earlier about my breast."
While she defends her choice to withhold the info from a person she had not been intimate with, she clearly wavers.
There is a mixture of conviction and regret here.
"I told him that I didn't think it was important since he said he loves all of me and that he thought I was beautiful. I am honestly so conflicted right now. I feel like a horrible person."
Which brings us to the "Am I the A**hole" part.
Redditors had plenty to say about her decision to keep her missing breast a secret for so long.
Most were sensitive to her situation, though still VERY opposed to her silence.
"Here's the thing: You're a cancer survivor and you value your privacy about losing your breast. But [You're the A**hole] (YTA)."
"Yes, he said he loves 'all of you.' But you didn't share 'all of you' with him when he said that. You lied about who you really are and are now upset because he 'caught you' in your lie." -- gevander2
"I certainly don't think you're an a**hole. But I do think you should have told him beforehand, probably long beforehand, because a) it would be a surprise for anyone and it doesn't do you any good to spring that surprise on him in the moment."
"And b) if he's an a** about it, wouldn't you rather know that sooner rather than later?" -- HatsAndTopcoats
"You should have told him. It surprises me more that you had been going out 3 years and hadn't had sex. Also that you moved in together before you had sex!" -- TheBlueBoffin
"I can understand feeling hurt that in a three year relationship my partner didn't trust me enough to tell me something personal, and has hid something for so long. Because not telling him was a conscious choice on your part."
"Shock can cause people to react differently than normal. If you had told him long ago, he would have had time to process and it wouldn't be as big a deal." -- NoMrBond3
"I don't understand how you believed this would work. Immediately before you initiate your long-delayed physical relationship you drop the news about your mastectomy and expect him not to have a reaction?"
"You had three years to mention it. Why are you even moving in with somebody when you haven't been intimate with and only met a few times? How was any of this supposed to work?" -- Reasonable_racoon
Some felt the guilt was spread evenly between her and the upset boyfriend.
"You should have told him. However, he knew you were a breast cancer survivor and should handle it with a bit more grace than that."
"Hopefully you two can move past it but I honestly don't see how. For me that would be enough for me to peace out." -- littlegremlinsparky
"His reaction is horrible, honestly. The shock I can somewhat understand, but saying that you 'cheated' him is just pure [a**hole] behavior."
"However, you've been in this relationship for three years? I honestly feel like this should have been mentioned once you knew it was a serious relationship." -- Rega_lazar
"If he knew you had breast cancer, etc., then his reaction about being "cheated" out of a boob is just childish."
"If you thought the best way to make him aware was simply to unveil it and act natural, that's at best a little naive, at worst kind of self-centered." -- sveccha
Others took her side completely.
"I cannot IMAGINE something as trivial as a boob making u lose feelings for someone you've been with for three years!"
"Would he have had the same reaction if you were an A cup stuffing your bra to look like a C cup? Or if he found out you'd been wearing colored contacts or dying your hair?"
"How shallow can you get! You're better off without him sis." -- misscrocker
"You are so lucky that this person revealed to you who they really are before you got even more invested...loved together, had children...before you needed to rely on him for a health crisis in the future."
"His decision to bail on you for something that is beyond your control...for something that I am sure was horrifying for you to go through is one of the best outcomes you could have possibly come away with." -- vaguelysticky
"Be glad you dodged a superficial bullet." -- dogmom61
As for gaining clarity about where she stands morally, the unfortunate truth is that a Reddit forum, like any large sample of people, often contains a vast spread of opinions.
At the end of the day, she still will have to draw her own conclusion.
But as the band said...