Am I a backstabber?

A letter writer wants to know: is it OK to keep making out with her best friend’s ex?


Well, she may not be a bad person, but she’s not being a very good friend right now. A promise is a promise, says our elder.


Dear EWC

So, I dated this guy a couple years ago. Nothing serious, it didn’t last long. But he’s been dating one of my best friends for the past year or so. They recently broke up and he tells me he just wants her to grow as a person and he has plans to get back together with her and marry her. But he wants the two of them to be single to explore their options. He and I have been talking and last night we started kissing, touching, making out, and we almost had sex. We didn’t have a condom so that’s the only reason I didn’t have sex with him. Anyways, I had no regrets. I was never gonna tell my friend. She didn’t need to know—he’s single and she’s single. But after I finished fooling around with him last night, she sent me a Snapchat video of herself crying saying she missed him now more than ever. And I remember that just weeks ago I had promised her nothing is gonna happen between her man and me. But now it feels like I lied. I don’t wanna date him, I just wanna fool around. But I don’t wanna break her trust. Am I a bad person? Should I stop fooling around with him? Should I tell her? Or should I keep quiet until they get back together?

Folk replies

A good rule in general is not to have sex with a friend’s ex as long as she still has feelings for him. And this rule applies double when you promise your friend that you won’t.

After your close friend and her guy broke up, you promised her that nothing would happen between you and him. Just a few short weeks later, though, you broke that promise. You allowed something to happen between the two of you: you kissed and made out. The only reason you didn’t have sex with him had nothing to do with your promise; it was because you didn’t have a condom handy.

Now, you are writing to ask if this means you’re a bad person. The answer to this question is: no, it doesn’t. Breaking a promise to a friend doesn’t automatically make you a bad person. But it does make you an untrustworthy one. It also makes you a not very good friend.

Maybe you thought that because the guy was your ex first, and since you didn’t mind her getting with him after you that she wouldn’t mind you and him hooking up now that he’s single again. Which might have made sense—if you hadn’t promised her to steer clear. Once you gave your word that you wouldn’t mess with him, that was that. I don’t think you lied when you made the promise to your friend.  I think when you made the promise, you probably intended to keep it. What you did do instead was betray your friend’s trust by not honoring the commitment you made to her. It doesn’t matter that you and the guy were both single at the time: a promise is a promise is a promise.

I don’t really think you needed me to tell you this though. I think in your heart you already knew it. Even though you claim to have no regrets, I think your conscience is bothering you. Ironically, the fact that you feel bad is what makes you a good person. You’re a good person who screwed up and did a bad thing. Welcome to the club.

What’s done though is done, and you can’t go back in time and undo it—even if you wanted to. The thing for you to think about now is where to go from here.

  1. You want to know if you should stop fooling around with him.

The answer is: YES, IMMEDIATELY.

If all you want to do is fool around with someone, fool around with someone else.  There must be any number of guys who will happily oblige. You don’t need to mess about with your good friend’s man.

  1. You want to know if you should tell your friend what happened or just keep quiet.

This is a harder question to answer, but since there’s a pretty good chance that you friend will find out anyway from somebody else, you’re better off telling her yourself rather than looking like a sneak. At least one other person besides you already knows what happened—her ex—and he may have already mentioned it to other people.  It’s only matter of time then before your friend hears about it. Better to ‘fess up now, tell her things didn’t get too far, and that you’re sorry that they even got as far as they did.

Taking a break wasn’t your friend’s idea. Her guy was the one who decided she needed to “grow” and that they both needed to “explore their options” (which is code for him being bored and wanting to fool around some ).  Now, your friend is crying and hurting. The last thing you want to do is add to her misery.

I hope this helps. And I hope that things work out for you and your friend. I’m here if you need to talk more.

Best Regards,

Elder Folk

Reference: #406372

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *