Her ex is my ex; it’s a mess!

I hooked up with my close friend’s ex (well, he’s my ex too). Should I tell her? 

It might do more harm than good, warns our elder. Forgive yourself and move on.


Dear EWC

So one of my close friends and her boyfriend have recently broken up. They kept their relationship a secret and I only recently found out they were even (back) together. The thing is, her ex is also my ex and he and I are still close. After they broke up, he offered to be friends with benefits, and I agreed to it for many reasons. I trust him, we’re close, and I’m single/lonely. We agreed not to tell anyone but I told my best friend and she said I should tell her. The only thing is that I feel like it would do more harm than good and it would create such a mess between her, her ex and me. My best friend has said she already suspects something is up between us, I’m not sure why, but I’m just torn. I don’t want to lose a really close friend and it seems like I will lose two if I tell her, but another if I don’t.


Sparks replies

When dealing with these kinds of decisions, I always ask myself two questions. The first one is, “What is my true intention for doing this?”  So, what intention do you have for telling your close friend that you are now and have been in an intimate relationship with her ex-boyfriend? The second question is, “Who would you be serving by sharing this information?”  So again, who benefits from knowing this information? 

In this case, you did make a promise to your ex-boyfriend not to share information about your relationship. Do you have a really good reason for violating that promise? As an aside, I am not sure why you and your ex-boyfriend wanted to keep things secret unless it was a way for your boyfriend to keep your close girlfriend from finding out about you? Now that he has broken up with your close friend, do you still want to keep things secret? If so, again, what is your intention for doing so? This kind of secretiveness does not create a solid foundation for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. You indicate that you are lonely and want to have a trusting relationship. 

In my years of experience with married friends and divorces caused by infidelity, I have never seen any benefit to the cheating spouse or partner who is having the affair telling the wronged or aggrieved spouse or partner about the affair. In fact, it can lead to incredible pain and agony. The aggrieved spouse may know in their heart about the affair but at least they can still hold on to their dignity and self-respect if they are not confronted with the truth. Often the party who is having the affair will tell the wronged partner with the intention of relieving their own guilt. I have never seen much good come from this tactic but I have seen a lot of pain. 

Now if your close friend point blank asks you about it, then you can decide if you want to tell her or refer her to ask her ex-boyfriend. 

So I believe your gut is telling you the right thing – telling your close friend after the fact would do more harm than good. I think we all have some guilt that we have to live with and it just isn’t right to try to unload our guilt on someone else when it ends up causing them pain. Try to move forward, forgive yourself for the indiscretion and resolve to create more open and honest relationships for yourself. Wishing you the best and the joy of trusting and warm relationships in life. 

Article #: 463565

Category: Friendship

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