Can’t quit sex with BF’s ex

I’m sleeping with my ex best friend’s ex-husband. She rejected us both, and I don’t owe her anything, but should I still feel guilty?

Our elder lays out the options.

Dear EWC

I lost my best friend of 18 years a couple of years ago when I confessed that I slept with her boyfriend at the time, while they were broken up. She said horrible, painful things to me and I even had to stand up for myself with her mother. I tried to make things right and explain how I started out helping him win her back when he came to me for help, then sex just happened. She ended up taking him back and getting married to him. Again, they were broken up at the time. Now, they’re divorced and he started contacting me again to hang out and have sex. I was saying no at first, but I eventually gave in. The sex is amazing. She threw away their marriage and cheated on him. Now, she’s in a house with their kids that he’s paying for, and he moved in with his sister. And she doesn’t work and has a parade of men in the house. Plus, she refused to be my friend again. She basically rejected us both and treated us coldly. In theory, I owe her nothing. She’s not my friend anymore and she’s the one who divorced him. But I still feel guilty for cozying up to him. Should I feel guilty or keep him around?

Green-Man replies

There is, as you imply, a clear ethic that you don’t sleep with a girlfriend’s partner. Now when people who are partners choose to separate that ethic is less clear cut but it is still a pretty good rule to live by. Alas for whatever reason you decided to sleep with your girlfriend’s ex and she was upset by it. Given the thought that you should not sleep with her ex even when he was an ex, it was always going to be difficult with her, and in truth from that perspective, anything you say will sound like justification and will seem to her as if you are in the wrong. For you to say “the sex just happened” suggests you had little to do with it and that you were unable to say no. That may seem how it felt to you, but the truth is that for whatever reason you chose to sleep with him and now the consequence is that your old friend has not forgiven you, even though she and her ex were not partners at the time. From what you write, I think it unlikely that she will readily forgive you, although there may be a small possibility that she and you might become friends again, but don’t rely on it. So what are your choices now?

The first choice is to leave things as they are and stay with your current, and your old friend’s boyfriend. The consequence of that is that you will have good sex, that you may feel guilty because he used to be with your friend. You will try to justify things because she had already left him. If you stay together it is likely that she will not speak with either of you for some time, and possibly never again. There is a long shot that over time the hurt will heal and if you and your current partner do become an established couple she may eventually forgive you so that you become friends again. The way you write about her and her current behavior make me think that reconciliation between you and your old friend is not very likely.
The second choice is for you to accept the situation, apologize to her but explain to her that since she and he are divorced that you are going to keep him. Ask her for her forgiveness and then according to her response decide what to do next. The cost of your relationship with him maybe the loss of your friend. If she accepts your apology then you may be able to rebuild the friendship slowly and steadily.

The third choice is to accept your guilt, apologize to her, dump him and find a new boyfriend who has no connections with her. She may, only may, accept that apology and allow you to rebuild the relationship of being friends together. There is no guarantee that this will work. To get back to where you were may take some time or it may never ever be re-created, that is the risk you would take. You will, of course, miss out on the current relationship.

The final choice is for you to accept that you acted as you did because she did not seem to want him and you did and carry on as you are, accept that by having him you probably lose her. Then if she wants you as a friend she has to accept the situation and build from there.
I hope that gives you food for thought and enough clarity to make a clear choice going forward. If you want to come back with other questions or comments on this, or indeed any other question then you will always be very welcome.

Letter #: 417470
Category: Dating/Relationship

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