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LOVE LETTERS

I hooked up with my friend’s ex

‘I won’t see my friend for another six months, but should I call her and tell her?’

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I hooked up with my best friend’s ex last night.

They have been in an on-and-off relationship for five years and have only been broken up for about seven months. However, they still have something there.

My friend and I both moved away to different universities. I was back for the weekend and decided to have some drinks when I ran into my friend’s ex and he started hitting on me. I knew it was bad but I found it difficult to say no. After we hooked up, people caught him at my house and could tell what happened — but they didn’t talk about it.

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I won’t see my friend for another six months, but should I call her and tell her? He told me we can’t tell her but I’m worried that if they have a fight, he might. I don’t know how to have the conversation.

WHAT DO I SAY?

A. He might tell her. Someone else in the house could also decide to share.

Even if no other person tells her, it sounds like you’ll have trouble carrying this secret. That makes me think this is worth an uncomfortable phone call or FaceTime.

I do believe in secrets, for the record. People can have private experiences without feeling like everyone is entitled to the information.

This situation seems to call for a disclosure, though. Your friend’s breakup is new-ish, the friendship itself sounds important, and you don’t seem to want to keep this information from her. Maybe knowing what happened will help her make decisions about the relationship in the future.

Please understand that telling her might mean losing her, at least temporarily. This kind of thing hurts, and she might not want to talk to you for a long time. Apologize and be honest about your part in it. Tell her how you feel about your friendship, and that you want to make space for her to do whatever she needs. Respect her boundaries.

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There is no easy way to start the conversation. Try, “Hey, I want to talk to you about something.” Maybe the six-month break will be a good thing after that. It’ll give everyone time for some perspective.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

Stop and ask yourself why you’re considering telling her about this. Are you trying to save your friendship? Assuage a guilty conscience? Forestall her wrath? Some other reason? Once you’re clear on your motives, the decision should become easier.

TERMINATER5


FYI, this guy will want nothing to do with you publicly going forward. He doesn’t want your friend to know because he still wants her. If he ever discusses it with her, rest assured you’ll be the one who came on to him.

LUPELOVE


I lean toward telling, for one because I would want to control the information and if others know, someone is going to tell her.

ASH


As long as the two aren’t in an “on” phase, you did nothing wrong. So: 1. If she doesn’t directly ask you, don’t tell her. 2. If she does directly ask you, don’t lie.

HARRISBSTONE


They were on a break!

CUPPAJOESEATTLE


Get over your need to confess. Give this some time. If she finds out, you can beg forgiveness and remind her that they were broken up for seven months when it happened and alcohol was involved. You didn’t tell her because you didn’t want to hurt her.

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SEENITTOO


Never complain, never explain.

WICKEDBOSTONACCENT


You call this person your best friend, but you’re not going to see her for six months, and you hooked up with a person who she’s been entangled with for the last five years. It makes me wonder if you’re really all that close anymore. Maybe you could stand to make some close friendships where you’re living right now.

BONECOLD


Give this a little time and see how you feel in a month. This just happened last night so a little time will give you the perspective you need to make a sound decision.

SONALSORISES

Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

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