Karen and I were never particularly close, but we were friends and we hung out alone a few times. One night she got drunk and accidentally hit someone with her car. She was sentenced to 4 years in jail. She has been gone for about a year and a half now. About seven months ago, Daryl and I slept together and ended up continuing to sleep together for about five months, before finding out his girlfriend was going to get out of jail early. I never played mom, but I did spend a significant amount of time with their son, and he began to tell me he loved me.
After hearing the news of Karen’s impending return, Daryl broke it off, explaining that he needed to see things through with her. Since telling me, he and I have tried to maintain a friendship (platonic), though we have accidentally ended up sleeping together a few times. I am always left feeling awful, as I know he doesn’t care about me in the way he loves her. He wants to have another baby with her, and he intends to try to give their relationship six months before calling it quits. I’m not sure what she’ll want (and everyone around us says it’s a toxic relationship that will never work). Regardless, this has been eating me up inside, because, despite all of our mutual friends knowing that he and I are sneaking around, she doesn’t.
I need to know whether I should tell her. My fear is that she’s already been through so much, and will be completely helpless in jail, if I choose to send her a letter explaining, confessing, and apologizing. While there is no true excuse for my actions, I was under tremendous pressure at the time, and Daryl and I provided comfort to each other while we were both going through our own issues. She has a hearing about whether she’ll be released in the next week, and I am agonizing over how to deal with it. Daryl and I have distanced ourselves from each other significantly in the last 5-6 weeks, but I fear that, by not telling Karen the truth, I am making things worse for everyone. On the other hand, by telling her, I could ruin any chances they all have of being a family again. She is beautiful and kind, but she initially started her relationship with him in a somewhat similar way – while he was seeing another woman.
Daryl says we’ve done nothing wrong and doesn’t want to tell her, and he says he has no regrets about any of it. He says that he cares about me and wants us to be friends. He says that we had a good time and enjoyed the ride and that now it’s time for him to have his family again. He says he knows I never tried to replace her or be anything other than a friend to his son. He says that we truly care about each other and that is the basis for all good friendships. However, lately, he doesn’t ask how I am (I am having major medical issues), and he only responds in very limited ways, unless he’s been drinking, in which case he’s said he’s miserable not knowing what his future holds, or knowing whether they will have a family or not. He’s in limbo, waiting, hoping. Meanwhile, his son cries for his mommy every night. It’s an awful situation for everyone, and the only true justification we really have is that we were both going through really hard times while we were together and we offered each other comfort and solace during that time.
Finally, I have heard that despite his having feelings for me, he is concerned about our thirty-three year age difference. I do love him, but I know he’s not “the one” for me. I’m not sure she is either, but only they can know that, and they do have a son together who is almost 4. I’m just lost as to whether I should tell her or not. I know he and I can’t continue, despite my loving him, for a number of reasons, mainly our age difference and the fact that he doesn’t love me, but I don’t want to ruin their future so that I can clear my own conscience. However, most of our mutual friends know (20 or so people), so it’s likely and inevitable that she’ll find out anyway…. So, is it better to hear it from me or from someone else? — Sought Solace While His Girlfriend Was in Jail
You’ve used a lot of language here to avoid taking responsibility for your behavior and the effects of your behavior. You “sought solace during a hard time,” you and Daryl “accidentally ended up sleeping together,” and then you “ended up continuing to sleep together.” Let’s be clear: there was no accident here. You didn’t just “end up” having sex. At some point, you made a conscious decision to be intimate with this guy. And you made that decision over and over and over for five months while his girlfriend and mother of his child was in jail. Your going through a hard time and “seeking solace” does not “justify” what you did. There is no justification. It was morally wrong and you know it, despite Daryl’s argument that it wasn’t. Daryl is a fucking loser and a creep and in no way worthy of the emotional anguish you’ve devoted to him.
Frankly, all three of you sound like hot messes and I feel deeply sorry for the young kid in the middle of it all. But the truth is, he — and his parents — are not your concern. His father isn’t because you will never have a relationship with him, nor will you two ever have a true friendship. Daryl has used you. He has no respect for you. You were just someone to keep him occupied and distracted “during a hard time.” And if Karen was ever a concern to you, you wouldn’t have fucked her boyfriend over and over and over for five months while she was sitting in jail. You have done enough at this point. Please move on.
Do not try to justify a letter to Karen. Like sleeping with her boyfriend, there is no justification for that. Hearing from you while she’s in jail that her boyfriend cheated on her with you will not be easier for her to handle than hearing the news from mutual friends when she gets out. Let her find out from people who might actually give a damn about her and not have purely selfish motives for sharing the information with her. Move on.
It sounds like you have enough going on in your life to occupy your thoughts and focus without the added burden of this dysfunctional family. I hope that you have a support network — friends and family — that you can begin (or continue) to seek comfort and solace from instead of toxic Daryl (and other predator-type men like him). Please continue distancing yourself from Daryl and turn instead to people who actually care about you for the support you need. Delete Daryl from your life and alert mutual friends that you do not want updates on him, his girlfriend, his son, or anything about his life and relationships. And please, start taking responsibility for your actions and behavior. You know this man is not good for you. You know he is bad news. You know that keeping him out of your life is as simple as staying away from him. Stop “accidentally ending up” in his path. Get off that road and start traveling in a direction where you can be sure you won’t bump into him. I can almost guarantee that path will lead to better things than the one you’ve been on anyway.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.