BF sniffed my mom’s underwear!

Should I take him back?

You might want to think very carefully about that, says our elder.

Dear EWC

I recently caught my boyfriend sniffing my mom’s underwear while he was drunk. The situation itself made me so uncomfortable that I had to have him move out. Initially, I thought I never wanted to see him again, but we then talked and he explained everything and took sole responsibility for ruining things with me. He explained that he has never done this before and he doesn’t have feelings for my mother at all. He said he doesn’t know why he did what he did and he hates himself for it. He knew he ruined something great and told me that he would do whatever it takes to prove himself. I want to fix our relationship and I want to make this work because I truly love him and he’s all I’ve known for three years. When we talk now everything feels so different and better. We talked about the things we will change if we do end up together again. Am I crazy for trying to stay and fix this relationship?

JanLynn replies

As you know, people do all kinds of crazy stuff when they’re drunk. But I will say that there’s usually a bit of truth in what they do while they’re inebriated. If I were you, I’d be very concerned about what he did, no matter what he says. Keeping that in mind, my advice for you is this:

Don’t accept that things can be changed going forward unless he’s willing to talk with a relationship counselor, where you would accompany him, of course. Sometimes we just can’t do the best for ourselves by ourselves. We need the guidance of a professional who knows the right questions to ask and then to offer specific steps to take.

To my way of thinking, he can’t prove himself. All he can do is to apologize, say that he will see someone, and then accept the fact that it will take time for things to heal. Saying he hates himself means nothing, I’m sorry to say. If he loves you as you love him, he should be willing to do whatever it takes to win back your trust. Remember that trusting again sometimes takes a long time. Not saying that’s how it will be here, of course, just mentioning how often it is the case.

I do believe it would be a mistake for you to get back with him right now. You’re going to be thinking about what happened because it disturbed you enough to break off with him. And I don’t see what he’s done to ameliorate that. Just to say that he’s sorry doesn’t do what I believe is necessary for the two of you to start the relationship again. It’s going to take more than a few words.

What he did indicates at least a desire to do something sexual that isn’t comfortable for you, as it wouldn’t be comfortable for another woman either. He should be willing to talk with a counselor about why he might have done it.

As to your specific question, whether you’re crazy for trying to stay and fix this relationship, I understand that you want him with you because you love him. So, no, you’re not crazy. At the same time, there is the elephant in the room that must be dealt with, and that’s where he was sniffing your mother’s underwear. I’m sure you can see that it must be explored. Again, meeting with a relationship counselor is warranted, in my view. I hope you will take my recommendation on that.

One more thing: If he has been drunk on other occasions, a suggestion for AA might be in order. This is especially important if he is doing things he either doesn’t remember or they’re outside the norm for him. Just a thought.

I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about. Best of luck in all of this, and please do what’s in your own best interest. Sometimes we let those we love do things that don’t serve us well. I encourage you not to give in until you feel everything has been explored and you’re comfortable about all of it. Take care.

Letter #: 437700
Category: Dating/Relationship


  1. Paul J Haskew Reply
    July 28, 2019

    This response assumes alcohol played a role in the alleged misbehavior but there’s no mention of drunkenness in the original letter. There’s are also a huge range of behaviors covered by the term sniffing underwear, some trivial, others more significant. I question the advice given in here, and the value in publicizing it.

    1. Administration Reply
      July 29, 2019

      Due to a copy/paste error the portion of the line regarding the boyfriend being drunk was not there – it has been added – thank you for letting us know.

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