“I Cheated on My Boyfriend with His Best Friend”

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I am in my mid-twenties and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend since college. This was the first serious relationship for both of us and we have had a lot of growing up to do along the way. Through work and persistence, we now have a very fulfilling relationship.

“A Friend Groped My Wife At a New Year’s Party”

The boyfriend has a close friend, “Justin,” whom I cheated with a few times, from October of last year to this January. Justin is engaged, and we both decided to stop our affair out of guilt. Initially, I was going to break up with the boyfriend, but Justin talked me out of it. I took some time to evaluate my motivations for cheating, and I realized I had some self-esteem issues. Through some internet reading, I decided it best to not tell the boyfriend as that would only serve to alleviate my guilt, and Justin seems very much in love and planning a wedding and has avoided placing himself in situations alone with me. I figure that living with my guilt is my punishment.

The boyfriend and I have moved forward in our relationship. I let him know that I had needs that were not being met, and I have made an effort to support him more after listening to some of his concerns. I fell in love with him again, and I see that he is what I want in a partner. And after so many years we are still sickeningly sweet with each other. We have been talking about marriage and I continue to appreciate how well we work together. He is exciting, passionate, and loyal. His friendship with Justin has been fading for other reasons and I find little opportunities to point out that he does not have to stay in an unfulfilling friendship (but I never bring it up on my own!).

Things are going well, but I am afraid that the cheating incident will come to light one day. Should I break up with him and hurt him now to save him from hurting later if he finds out what I did? Should I throw away this life we have been working on together? I am trying to deserve him, but maybe this is too far gone to rebuild and I should let him have the opportunity to start over with someone better. And how would I break it to him without messing him up? Should tell him the whole story and let him decide? Is that just self-serving? What is the right thing to do? Regarding Justin and his relationship, if my boyfriend knows the truth, it will get back to Justin’s fiancée and I will let Justin deal with his own mess. — Friendly Cheating

There are so many red flags in your letter, I hardly know where to start. So let’s just start at the beginning — the part where you chose your boyfriend’s close friend to cheat with — someone who was emotionally unavailable for multiple reasons — and how it wasn’t just a one-time thing, but a full-on affair that lasted for months. And then you thought about breaking up with your boyfriend but let Justin, the guy who stood to lose even more than you, talk you out of it. And then there’s the part about how you have self-esteem issues and how you don’t feel like you deserve your boyfriend. That’s a lot, and none of it bodes well for the longevity and success of your relationship.

It’s great that you’ve fallen in love with your boyfriend all over again after cheating on him with his friend for months, but it doesn’t sound to me like you’ve really addressed the issues that led you astray in the first place. You may have expressed some of your needs and are making an effort to be more attentive to your boyfriend, but what have you done to work on your self-esteem issues? If you don’t think you deserve your boyfriend, then it’s only a matter of time before you’re tempted to cheat again because cheating is a quick way to feel validated.

Honestly, it sounds to me like you could benefit from some time on your own and some time with a therapist. You’re obviously waiting for the other shoe to drop — for your boyfriend to discover the truth; for him to “find someone better”; for your relationship to end at some point for one reason or another. It seems like a terrible way to live — always fearful that you’re this close to losing something so important to you. Rather than self-sabotage, I think it would be best to put your relationship on hold and get some counseling before you unravel further.

As for whether to unload the details of your secret onto your boyfriend, I wouldn’t go that far. Your boyfriend doesn’t have to know that two people he trusted betrayed him. It can be enough for him to know that you aren’t in a place right now to be the girlfriend he deserves and that you need some space to work on yourself. It can be enough for him to know that you have doubts about your ability to commit long-term and that you need some time alone and time with a therapist to work through your self-esteem issues before you can be wife material for anyone. Sometimes the work we need to do to be a good partner is work better done outside of a relationship. This seems definitely the case for you.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. WWS.

    LW, you sound intelligent & aware. But I guarantee you that staying with your boyfriend is actually preventing you from becoming ~fully~ aware of the implications of your cheating incident. Right now, because you want to stay with him, you’re guilt-tripping yourself & maybe coming up with not entirely true justifications for why you cheated in the first place. Self-esteem issues played a part, I’m sure, but did they play as big of a part as they actually are right NOW? The whole, whimpering “I’m trying to deserve my boyfriend” thing is a mindset you could quickly lose… if you lost your boyfriend. You know?

    I get that you’ve worked on your relationship issues, but it’s clear that other than some internet research & your own personal insights—you haven’t worked on yourself. You haven’t really been ~able~ to, since your main focus has been on keeping your boyfriend. I recommend you let him go.

  2. Everything Wendy said times a trillion and one. Seriously LW. Please take Wendy’s advice. All of it. I also want to reiterate that telling your boyfriend about your indiscretions will not only hurt him, but will hurt Justin’s fiancé. That’s two innocent bystanders and extremely mean on your part.

    If you want to alleviate your guilt, talk it out with a therapist. If you see a good one, he or she will do wonders. I promise.

  3. lets_be_honest says:

    Aww, how sweet of you to not tell him since it would only hurt him, and then super smart of you to let him know, after having an affair with his best friend, how he’s not meeting your needs! Wonder what his needs are? Gonna take a wild guess and say one of them is for you to not have an affair with his best friend.

  4. I hate when people make excuses for their actions. You don’t have “Self-esteem issues”, you were a slut… so was the bestfriend.

    We’re not talking about a one night stand here; she did it several times. Normally, I’d say to keep things quiet, but in this case I doubt the LW learned her lesson… she will get bored and do it again. Tell him now… in juicy detail, so that he gets pissed off enough to move on easily.

    1. Hey now. There are excuses, and there are reasons. People mess up. I’ve been on both sides of situations like this, neither of them were any fun. Cheating is a slippery slope, do it once, the damage feels like it’s done, and then the difference between a one time thing and a full blow affair starts to corrode. “Good” people can cheat. And people who cheat (I think especially those who are young when they do it) can learn and change their ways.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Good people can cheat. Yes, I fully believe that. But I do not believe good people have “full blow affairs”. Cheating isn’t a slippery slope- it can definitely be a one time mistake, but something is wrong with a person or a relationship when the same mistake keeps happening over and over again for months.

        (And I do think people can change, when they want to. NOT when the person they are cheating with talks them into staying with their BF…)

      2. Sure “good” people can cheat. I’ve cheated before, but when I did it, I was a slut/dog/bastard etc… I’m not proud, but the one thing I didn’t do is blame it on “low self-esteem” or “abandonment issues”… I did it because at the time I was of low moral character.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        No matter what excuse you can come up with, the bottom line is in addition to that excuse, you also messed up big time and likely really hurt someone because of your selfishness. I wish more people would own up to it like you are doing here, rather than blame it on a million things like you played no role in it.

      4. I agree. So many people blame their cheating on other issues, when the reality is they made a choice. Whatever issues a person may have, or think they have, there was a moment in time when they had a choice: deal with the issues, walk away, or cheat. Own it, learn from it, move on. I commend TheTruth for being so honest. The best thing for the LW to do now is what Wendy said: spend some time being single and figuring out why she thought cheating was a viable option, and find other ways to deal with her issues.

      5. I agree that people need to take personal responsibility for their actions.

        What I don’t agree with is name calling, even when it’s to yourself.

      6. Bcamber, I agree with you. The LW is sorry she did what she did, but to call her namesis uncalled for. Yes she did have an affair, not a one night stand, but she os asking for advice, not to be put down by the people she is turning to. Look everyone on here (myself included) has their snarky days, but to outright offend someone for their admitted mistakes is a low blow that was not necessary.
        LW please take Wendy’s advice and take some time for yourself. Figure out your issues and work on them. You need to be able to love yourself before you can fully love someone else.

      7. Eh. Cheating happens. I don’t think you need to slut shame someone for cheating. Or call them a bad person. Or tell them they have low moral character. There’s a plethora of reasons why people cheat. Shit happens. But it does not make you a slut.

      8. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I agree that it’s messed up to use the word slut, but I’m not sure how you can argue that you’re not of low moral character if you cheat. You had a romantic contract with a partner and you broke it. That makes you a shitty person. Maybe not a shitty person for the rest of your life. But in that moment you’re a bad person. If you wanted to break the contract you should have broken up with them first.

      9. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’m with you, IWTTS. You might not be a shitty person forever, but in that moment you are most definitely a shitty person.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        It means you made a really shitty and selfish choice though. You really can’t argue that. Unless you are in an open relationship, there is no good excuse for it. Just leave the person you are with if you want to cheat on them.

      11. I’m not arguing that she made a shitty decision. It happens. I will argue that she is not a shitty person. Or of low moral character. If I were defined by every messed up decision I made, well then, I would have zero friends.

        Look, most people do their best to get through completely fucked up lives. People don’t always make the best or right decisions, but if they did, this world would be fucking perfect, and it’s not. So, why do we need to sit on our high horse and call people sluts. Or of low moral character?

      12. Actually, I think it speaks volumes of a someone’s character when said person makes a mistake, recognizes it, takes steps to correct it and grows.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree. I don’t think my comment said she is a shitty person forever though. I just said she made a shitty and selfish choice.

      14. Actually, I think slut shaming someone for cheating is the only appropriate time to slut shame someone. I would never use the word “slut” to describe a woman who is promiscuous or enjoys sex or who has had multiple consenting relationships.

        This is not a feminist thing… this is a low moral character thing… and I apply the word to men and women equally.

      15. But to me, the word “slut” still has its own definition, regardless of what you use it for. It refers to someone being promiscuous. And it also refers to the person themselves rather than their actions. Cheating is awful, but not everyone who cheats is a terrible person. I’ve had friends who’ve cheated and learned their lesson. And as much as we make fun of the LW for using the low self-esteem thing as a crutch, the phenomenon that Wendy touches on about people who sabotage relationships because of low self-esteem happens. Telling that person they are a bad person, as opposed to having done a bad thing, doesn’t help anybody.

      16. What is wrong with being a “slut?” As in a woman who has sex with many people?

      17. To me, calling myself or someone else a slut/dog/bastard/low moral character doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter- those aren’t reasons, they’re labels that look over why the behavior happens in the first place. I agree with lbh: at a point in my life, I “messed up big time and likely really hurt someone because of (my) selfishness.” But calling myself a bad person (which I did, believe me. Self loathing and I were thick as thieves, for years) wasn’t any more helpful than previous to the cheating when I called myself a good person. For me, the process of figuring out why I did what I did was tremendously helpful, and made me better at relationships, but also more compassionate towards people that fuck up (which it turns out is most people). So, I’m babbling a bit, but what I would want the LW to get out of this, is that her situation is something that can be worked on, and through (with a lot of potential outcomes), and I encourage her to do so.

      18. What Anon. said!

      19. Thank you for this. You said it much, much better than I.

      20. Is she a bad person, possibly not, very possibly yes. She is more than a cheater. She is a person who cheats with her bf’s engaged close friend. Then she sort of encourages bf to put distance between himself and his close friend. Then she leads bf to believe that all of the prior problems in their relationship are because he didn’t meet her needs, not because she was cheating for a multiple month period. Then she expresses total disregard, almost glee, at what the fallout of possibly telling her bf about her affair, might have on her former lover and his fiance. Then she cavalierly dismisses this with ‘letting Justin deal with his own mess’, as if she had no part in creating this particular mess. To top it off, she cops the low-self esteem get out of jail free plea. Yes, I think it is quite possible that she is at least a very selfish person, if not an outright bad person.

      21. lets_be_honest says:

        I forgot to mention that part, and surprised you are the first to—encouraging the boyfriend to distance himself from his best friend.

      22. Hey now, I say “low-self esteem” because it was a motivator that I can address so it won’t be one in the future. I was not feeling attractive, and coupled with choosing to disrespect my boyfriend rather than talk to him about it, it led to the situation. So yes, selfishness and low moral standards are part of it too.

        The fallout on his side will be much bigger than just his fiancee since my boyfriend is in his close group of friends. You are right though, I will answer to his fiancee for my part.

        Is it so wrong to want my boyfriend to distance himself from someone who is apparently not a good friend to him? I guess it is on the same line of reasoning that I should distance myself from my boyfriend too, as everyone has been agreeing on here.

      23. Yeah, if you are reasoning that your boyfriend should get distance from the friend because he’s a shitty friend…well. Logic follows that you should get him to also distance himself from YOU.

        I feel like you can see this all very clearly, but you’re just being stubborn in holding on. Trust me, most of the personal growth (that you think already happened) will happen for real once you’re alone.

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        OMG, wFs. The fact that you want your bf distanced from this guy just speaks to your selfishness even further. You aren’t concerned that your bf has a shitty friend. You are concerned that he will find you two out. At least be honest with yourself about that.

      25. yea, wow. im really surprised the LW actually wrote out/admitted that thought…

      26. I have to defend myself on this… I am not afraid of him telling first. This guy has so much more to lose than I do, like his whole group of friends. Also, a threat of getting physically harmed by my boyfriend and his fiancee’s friends. He wants me to stay with my boyfriend.

        It is not just the cheating that I think he is a shitty friend. His “friend” has told me constantly about everything he thinks is wrong with my boyfriend, and complains about how I need to fix him. And from what my boyfriend has told me, his friend is outright rude to him sometimes. My boyfriend won’t hear it though and says I don’t understand their friendship. My boyfriend might even forgive this friend if he knew the whole story. Maybe I am a little bitter towards the friend, because he can lie and get away with it.

      27. lets_be_honest says:

        Frankly though, its got nothing to do with you. His friendships are his, you don’t get to dictate them, especially now.

      28. lets_be_honest says:

        And really, if he sucks so much, why did you have an affair with him?

      29. a threat of physical harm from your current boyfriend to your affair boyfriend is in the works too?

        wow, maybe you all do deserve each other. are you serious? you really need some higher standards for people in your life…

      30. lets_be_honest says:

        Right?! These updates aren’t very good.

      31. Well, first she says there’s a threat of physical harm…then she says he might even forgive the friend, if he were to find out. So.

        Also (I forgot to address this in my post below), but what do you mean “he can lie and get away with it”?

      32. good call- i was so taken aback by the threat of physical harm comment, i glazed over that part…

        i think that means that if they were to be found out, the affair boyfriend could put the LW in a bad light and get the current boyfriend on his “side”, like she was some slutty jezebel who put him under a boob spell or something.

      33. I don’t think my boyfriend will really do anything, but the friend seems to, though. I understand that taking the high ground and dropping a friend without resorting to violence is the best. But would you really fault a guy for not being able to control his rage (I’m picturing one solid punch and walking away kind of thing) when he finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his friend? I am just curious if I have the wrong expectations of people…

      34. lets_be_honest says:

        Yes. I would fault anyone who resorted to violence.

        Anyway, it sounds like your affair-mate was just saying ‘your bf would probably punch me if he found out’ which seems like a typical thing a guy would say in this situation, not seriously.

      35. Absolutely.

        You know what a person who “can’t control” themselves is? A child. Adults learn to control themselves, that’s like a basic requirement.

      36. A person can control their rage. Plenty of people are cheated on and don’t punch anyone. This isn’t TV.

      37. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yes, violence is never ever ever the right answer and resorting to it shows a lack of maturity, IMO.

      38. I believe you that you’re not afraid the friend will tell. However, I’m sure you’re afraid of (or, at least, wish to avoid) the friend repeatedly cropping up in your life. Which will happen if your boyfriend remains friends with him. Will you be invited to Justin’s wedding, for example? If I were you, I’d be afraid of that. I definitely wouldn’t wanna be there for that.

        So, I do think your reasons for wanting your bf to cool it with his friend are mostly selfish, yeah. He may be rude, he may have talked shit about him (he was hooking up with you though, remember, so…that’s understandable? Post-sex cigarette, is he supposed to tell you what a great dude your boyfriend is?) but you should admit that your boyfriend being friends with him is inconvenient for YOU. Would you think he was such a shitty friend if the qualities you listed were isolated, apart from the cheating? Maybe you’ll say yes, but my take on this is that you’re willing to condemn his other shitty qualities because you 1.) can’t condemn the cheating on an outside level, because that means the BF will have to know 2.) can’t even condemn it on the inside, because that means condemning yourself.

        Sorry to get all psych analysis on you (& to harp on this one point, that doesn’t seem to matter much, I’m sure, in the scheme of things) but it’s frustrating because I feel like I can ~almost~ see you reaching self-awareness, & then falling just short.

      39. I will admit that not seeing this friend will be a nice benefit in the future. I am invited to their wedding. I imagine he will be invited to ours (hypothetical if I keep this a secret for the rest of my 80 years). I think it was the prospect of this guilt every time I see his friend that made me write the letter. So, I concede there was a selfish aspect I was not acknowledging to myself.

        Your two points:
        1.) yes I have run out of reasons for my boyfriend to drop this friend outside of the cheating that my boyfriend does not dismiss, so I have dropped it and I am not actively looking for reasons to talk him into distancing himself from his friend. I guess I just wanted to mention I wasn’t condoning this behavior with his friend, but like lets_be_honest pointed above, I should be staying out of his friendships.
        2.) I do condem myself. It seems I have managed to lie to myself that keeping things the way they are for the best. Everyone’s comments have made that apparent

      40. lets_be_honest says:

        So do you think you will break up? I just can’t imagine you staying, and ultimately marrying, without telling. Whether you have to live with guilt or whatever else comes along with this mess, can you really see doing that forever? How would you feel if the roles were reversed and it was your bf and your best friend? Have you ever imagined that?

      41. LW, why do you want to marry your boyfriend? I’m genuinely curious because this relationship doesn’t appear to be salvageable. You are not currently trustworthy or loyal; two traits that are necessary for any successful relationship. If you care about your boyfriend at all, then you should be able to discern that you should end this relationship. He doesn’t have to know the extent of your betrayal, but you can’t continue this relationship as it is. Do the right thing by your boyfriend.

      42. lets_be_honest:
        I was doing a good job pretending this didn’t happen for the past couple of months. But no, I was not sure if I could go through marrying him. I kept telling myself if I keep working on myself to deserve him that eventually I could put it behind me.
        It is very apparent from all the answers that I need to break up with him. Now the question is to tell him the whole story or not.

        I would probably drop my friend and confess that I cheated too and we can work it out and everything will be happily ever after! If I am being totally honest, I would have taken it as a good excuse to break up with him because I was feeling iffy about the relationship anyway. I know, should have broken up with him before cheating. I really cannot justify the choice I made.

        You guys will kill me for this, but HE is really trustworthy and loyal, so it’s selfish that I want him in my life. My boyfriend knows my character and I am working on being a better person. Besides ignoring this big glaring incident, I really meant it that I have fallen in love with him all over again. That is why I was really considering the guilt I feel about keeping it from him. We were already heading towards marriage and talking through our concerns. I kind of ruined it with the cheating. From what everyone has said now I see that I was deluded to think that it wouldn’t hurt to keep this a secret forever.

      43. Honestly LW you need to stop thinking about it.

        So you fucked this guy for what, 3 months? October to January? WHO CARES? No really. This means exactly WHAT in the grand scheme of life? I mean imagine you marry and live happy ever after with boyfriend make babies go through menoapause and old age retirement and everything life brings…. fucking this dude three months means WHAT exactly in all that? NOTHING. So just consider him mastrubatory material, tell yourself not to do it again, and move on. And stop fucking cheating. Really. Stop over thinking it.

      44. Hey LW I know guys like this jackhole. They watch when their buddy’s girl is so sad and down over his shit and then they move in. Fuck this shit where these girls at DW are all defending their bromance. Your cheating partner was a total jackhole, likely preadatory about it (who the FUCK hits on their bromance partner’s girl?!) and while yes you were stupid to get involved and should have been more up front you’re already beating your own ass about it so I’m not gonna go there but don’t let these people here convince you it’s some bad thing to not be encouraging their bromance any longer when he’s just fucking using your boyfriend as a pickup spot. Yuck.

      45. It’s not wrong to want that, but it’s wrong to manipulate someone into doing it. If you’re specifically planning out when and how to say it without being obvious, then that’s very deceptive.

      46. Yes it is so wrong. For some reason, you feel that you should be able to continue your relationship with your bf with your cheating remaining a secret, but that your former lover must suffer. Without telling your bf why you are pushing him away from his close friend, you are trying to drive them apart. I still think you are lying to yourself. Why must your former lover pay the price? Why not you? The most logical explanation is that you had more feelings for the guy than you are admitting to and feel that he abandoned you. THere is nothing wrong with recognizing that your bf doens’t make you feel valued and attractive and just moving on. Break up and look for someone who suits you better. That is what good people do. It is shitty behavior to cheat on him. If messing around with engaged men is what it takes for you to feel attractive, then you are going to have a lot of problems and do a lot of damage to others going forward. You say you wanted to leave bf, but your lover persuaded you not to? How could that be? Either you wanted to be with youe lover and realized that your bf provided cover that you and he couldn’t be actually having a relationship, so his fiance wouldn’t flip out. Or,… I guess I don’t really see what the or is. You wanted to dump your bf, but were persuaded not to, and now you’ve decided you really want a life with your bf, but all of this is just your little secret?

      47. lets_be_honest says:

        or maybe the friend should’ve told her boyfriend that he needs more from their friendship.

        All snark aside, if you believe you are still good enough to maintain a relationship with, then you must acknowledge the friend is too.

      48. Your comment made me really think about myself and choices I make… so thank you for that.

        I’ll explain the logic: cheat ->
        wow there must be something really wrong with my relationship if i were to do this i should break up with him ->
        oh being responsible for my actions is so hard, what should i do ->
        mention to cheater friend ->
        friend: no i don’t want to be responsible for ruining your relationship don’t do it ->
        maybe if i address why i was motivated to do this we can put this behind us like it never happened -> friend: yes no one will ever know

        Obviously that logic is not playing out. And this comment does not help this situation look less f-d up.

      49. No it is excuse. You seem very quick to say you’ve found and solved the problem. The big problem is that you either do not have or ignore an internal code of conduct/morality to live by. A good person does not salve their “I don’t feel attractive” problems by cheating. It is especially bad to go after an engaged man who is a good friend of your bf. This speaks not of low self-esteem, but of wanting to strike out and hurt some people. You were angry and you used sex to get back at those who angered you. To feel attractive, you have to be attractive. That means setting some standards and living up to them. They don’t have to be all the conventional standards of society, but they do have to embody what you see as good behavior. Good people are good because they avoid doing things that violate their personal standards, even when sticking to those standards isn’t easy. I’m not saying you are a bad person or at least not that you are a permanently bad person. You are a person who allowed herself to act very badly to satisfy some emotional need of the moment. You can turn yourself into a good person going forward. What that means in the moment is taking the situation you are in and doing the most that you can to minimize the harm to others. I think you need to leave your bf, but perhaps you know that an admission of what you did and the chance to make his own decision is what is best for him. If you think the guy you cheated with is still a good match for his fiancee, then you should not do anything to bust up their relationship. That is a tough choice and you haven’t provided enough information to even guess at the proper course. Going forward, you need to decide who you are, what you believe, how you think you should treat people, and how you should behave in a relationship. Make rules for yourself and stick with them. Even good people accidentally injure others. A good person can have a drunken hookup that s/he totally regrets. To do it multiple times, sober, is not acceptable behavior. I think you know this. Be better than that.

  5. Sunshine Brite says:

    WWS, this is NOT a fulfilling relationship.

  6. LW, that’s rough. I’ve been there – and I broke up with the bf in question rather than tell him what happened. I spoke with a therapist after the fact, and it really helped me identify and work on my issues. That’s the last time I cheated, and it feels a lot better to be me these days.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      I’m loving Anon’s comments today!

      I really don’t get cheating – especially long blown-out affairs, especially when there are no kids or other reason that keep people together when the love has died…. I don’t necessarily think this LW is a slut – that word never crossed my mind – but I do think she can benefit from therapy.

      1. Yeah, I’m hiding from my usual moniker – it’s puny, but I fret about using it when fessing up to something 99% of my people are unaware of.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh really!? Whisper to me who you are, I will not tell anyone!

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And in exchange I will thumb up all over your comments for an entire week.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        *thumb up all of your comments….. why can I never get it right? never ever.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        dominating the side bar during the day is really hard —->

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        but i did it – boom! don’t say i don’t have goals.

      7. Tempting…I do love the thumbs up =) But…part of the personal growth thing was not giving into temptation for approval!

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        What if I promise not to approve you?

      9. I wanna know too! I had a feeling you were a regular commenter.

  7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    “…we now have a very fulfilling relationship. The boyfriend has a close friend, “Justin,” whom I cheated with a few times…”

    No, false. You do not cheat on a person multiple times over 4 months with whom your have a very fulfilling relationship. Sorry, you just don’t. You also should not be with someone who you where “going to break up with the boyfriend, but Justin talked me out of it”. No, no no. Just no. MOA.

  8. sophronisba says:

    One has to wonder what the definition of “being in love” really means when a letter like this comes along. You and Justin are two sides of the same coin, LW. He manipulated you by talking you out of breaking up with your boyfriend because it served his purpose of avoiding exposure. You manipulate your boyfriend by getting in little digs to help alienate him from Justin to serve your purpose of avoiding exposure and making yourself more comfortable. This is not good.
    The fact is you already had one foot out of your relationship that cheating, with someone so inappropriate, came easily to you. Your initial instinct to break up with your boyfriend was correct – do that. He may have all the traits a partner should have, but you aren’t up to his weight class right now and some self-work is needed to get there.

  9. lets_be_honest says:

    So if I can get on the train of its best not to tell, I have to also say that if that’s what you choose to do, you should also break up with the guy. I’m trying to imagine myself in this situation, and I think on either side of it, its just fucked up to not break up right away if you aren’t going to tell the person you cheated.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yup I think those are the only two choices. To stay with someone after cheating on them and not telling them is really selfish when it still has current implications in their lives. This wasn’t a guy she knew – it was HIS friend. And assuming this friend is a lifelong friend I find it really fucked up that she would just continue to go to bbq’s with the two of them there making small talk.

      2. Datdamwuf says:

        I agree, either you tell him or you break up with him. Hiding the cheating is taking a choice away from him. This letter is so full of ME, the LW is still way more concerned with her own possible pain than her boyfriends. Let him go.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        “Hiding the cheating is taking a choice away…” this is exactly why I have always been dead set against remaining in a relationship and hiding/lying about cheating. I just can not stand behind staying with a person and hiding such a MAJOR breech of trust.

  10. LW don’t be so hard on yourself….i think if you look at more relationships more people cheat than stay monogamous unfortunately….if your reason for cheating is related to your self esteem than i say get help for that….if you love your boyfriend than stay with him but try to work towards being the type of partner you yourself would want in a relationship….i would not admit to the cheating however as that will serve no good now but to hurt your boyfriend and I especially would not rat out your boyfriends friend as that would not be cool at all

    1. “I especially would not rat out your boyfriends friend as that would not be cool at all”

      I almost didn’t see that at the bottom of her letter (“if my boyfriend knows the truth, it will get back to Justin’s fiancée and I will let Justin deal with his own mess”), but yeah—LW, absolutely do not tell your boyfriend the whole story. I agree with others to just break it off, citing other reasons. It’s selfish to tell him & allow it to trail back to Justin, ruining his relationship. And the “I will let Justin deal with his own mess” makes me wonder if there isn’t some leftover bitterness on your part, there? It’s fine if there is, but that’s just another aspect of this whole thing you need to work out, without your boyfriend by your side.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Ya think? I’m betting she’s not to thrilled the guy stayed with his fiance.

      2. haha. I was trying to be diplomatic about it, but yeah.

      3. Yeah I got the feeling from the last line that she was bitter that Justin stayed with his fiancee and that she hoped Justin would leave his fiancee for her or whatever and their illicit love was real and worth it because it turned into something so beautiful and despite everything they stood to lose their love prevailed. But no, it just crashed and burned like most do.

    2. I feel like if she were going to tell him about the cheating, and he asked who it was, she should defnitely tell him, he has the right to know, and she really shouldn’t care what happens to Justin, it really is a mess he got himself into as well. I also don’t think she should stay with him if she is not going to tell him. She needs to leave him if she decides not to tell him what happenend.

      1. i agree the honorable thing to do would be to leave the guy, since she cheated on him which is complete disrespect….i’m just not a fan of people who tell on other people….i think it is on the boyfriend’s friend whether or not to come clean and then live with the consequences….it almost sounds to me like the LW wanted to leave the boyfriend for the guy she was cheating with and when she brought this up to the guy he put the brakes on the whole thing….otherwise the cheating might still be going on (just speculation on my part)

      2. I don’t really consider it telling on him though, she is just telling on herself, and he is involved.

      3. Yeah for me it’s a tough one. On the one hand I think she would really only be saying that it was Justin to “get back” at Justin but on the other hand what does she say when the bf asks who it was? Justin is a little snake too and to say it was “no one you know” would be lying more – and what if he eventually finds out it was Justin? Ugh too complicated. People need to stop lying.

  11. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    I could not imagine keeping a secret like that for 50 years.

  12. Yeah, I think there’s always going to be that layer of guilt in your relationship no matter how much time passes. I agree with Wendy that you shouldn’t tell your boyfriend but I also don’t think you can continue a relationship with that guilt hanging over you. Maybe it shouldn’t be about getting your needs met by a guy whether that’s Justin or a reformed version of your boyfriend.

  13. I just feel bad for the BF here. I honestly think you should tell him, LW. Normally, I’d say not to do so, if it was a one-time thing and you had learned from it, but in this situation, this guy and the cheating friend’s fiancé both need to know. Because it’s fucked up that you were banging your BF’s best friend for four months. It’s fucked up that he was banging you for four months while planning his wedding. And, it’s fucked up that you two are now using and manipulating your BF to keep your affair quiet. Cheater friend wants you to stay with BF so he doesn’t get caught. You want your BF to “break up” with his friend so you don’t get caught. Clearly neither of you gives a rat’s ass about your BF. Tell him the truth. This guys needs to know that he needs better people in his life.

    I swear, normally cheating stories don’t bother me this much; it happens sometimes and every situation is different. But this situation – the affair, the people involved, the amount of time, the after-the-fact lies and manipulation of the BF (and presumably the fiancé) is just awful. The BF deserves better; the fiancé deserves better, and, frankly, the LW and the best friend sound like they deserve each other. Yuck, yuck and yuck.

    1. bostonpupgal says:

      I am completely with MJ on this one. As someone who called off my wedding a few months before the date because I found out that my fiance was cheating on me, I 100% believe that this poor woman needs to know what her fiance was doing. And your bf does too. My fiance telling me was literally one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, I learned so much about my strength and went on to an infinitely better relationship with my now husband.

      I understand Wendy’s point about sparing him the devastation, but at this point both of your relationships (one about to become a lifetime commitment) are based on on utter lies. They both have the right to know what happened and make their own decisions.

      Tell your bf LW. Seek out therapy for your issues, and think long and hard about yourself. I will register my complete disgust with your letter and this situation, but good things can come out of it for all involved. Closure and a better future match for your bf and the fiance, and better self esteem, self awareness, and ultimately a better future match for you if you’re willing to do the serious work on yourself that you need

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Love this. I completely agree about telling everyone. How horrible would it be for this woman to get married under the false pretense that her fiancé has been faithful when multiple people know he has not been?

      2. i am always on the be honest side. i dont get the prevailing “telling is only self-serving” thought process.

      3. John Farrier says:

        Agreed, bostonpupgal. It’s better to be devastated now than later. If there are any future relationships between these couples, they should be based on the truth.

  14. I really go back and forth on the tell/don’t tell thing. The one time I was cheated on, the girl dumped me a few days later, with no explanation. I went months thinking I’d done something wrong/awful/break-up-worthy, only to learn from a mutual friend about the cheating (to this day, the cheater has never confessed, despite us being on speaking terms/relatively friendly). I was more injured by the non-disclosure than by the act itself. But I see where and why people say don’t tell. As long as NO ONE else knows – don’t tell. But if someone else does, it’s a dangerous thing to not mention. I found it worse to hear from a stranger than from the perpetrator.

  15. LW is lying to us or to herself. She was going to break up with her bf, but her lover talked her out of it. Is the translation of this that LW wanted to move on from her bf to her lover, but her lover preferred to stick with his fiance? Sure sounds that way, especially since at the end she seems to delight in the thought that the engagement will be off after she confesses to her bf. Did they mutually decide to break off the affair out of guilt? This seems doubtful. She was planning to leave her bf and didn’t think he was meeting her needs. She seems to be back with bf as a second-choice haven from being alone, because her lover pushed her away. She’s discovered that she had needs that weren’t be met, other than by her lover, I suppose. All is now right with the world, because she has now told bf that he needs to meet these needs. Seems fair to me — she cheats over a period of months and it is the bf who has to change his behavior to make things right.

    Do your bf and the world a favor. Break up with him. Don’t tell him about the cheating. Don’t punish your ex-lover for not choosing you over his fiance. You thought you were cheating with a guy who preferred you over his fiance, but have now found out you were just a booty call for variety or a last taste of sexual freedom. Get over it. You didn’t get the commitment you expected from your lover, but then your bf certainly didn’t get the commitment he expected from you. That’s the karma.

    Low self-esteem is a self-serving excuse. You had enough self-esteem to believe you could steal your bf’s friend from his fiance. That’s not low self-esteem, that’s just selfishness and lack of impulse control.

    1. you just said that perfectly oldie! agree 100%

    2. I think you hit the nail on the head. My motivations were not as fully formed as you put it, but there was some feeling of power of being the one to take him away from his fiancee. When I was asking my self WHY I was doing this, I dismissed the idea of wanting to steal him away because I really do not want to be in a relationship with this guy…

      To explain the decision to end it: We had both at different times expressed that the affair should stop because it was wrong, but the other would pressure the other to start it up again. We had finally got to a point that we both felt guilty enough to not try to get the other person back involved.

  16. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    I think if you are going to stay with your boyfriend then you need to tell. If he freaks out to Justin and then Justin’s fiancee calls off the wedding then good. I feel so bad for her in this situation, planning a wedding with a man who is cheating on her. She SHOULD know, NOW as opposed to after she marries the jerk. Yes, your boyfriend will likely break up with you. Yes, it will be a shitstorm. But you made the choice to have an affair with your boyfriend’s best friend and part of being an adult is dealing with the consequences of your choices.

    1. I feel bad for the fiancé, too. There is obviously a huge issue somewhere in that relationship for this guy to be cheating on her for four months with his best friend’s GF while they are planning their wedding. If it were a one-time thing, maybe silence would be best. But this? She needs to know, too.

  17. LW, no you don’t deserve your boyfriend. You should let him go and let him find someone who will truly love him. When you love someone you don’t cheat on them for months and then lie to them about it afterwards. You may think you love him but you don’t and probably at this point in your life, you probably aren’t capable of being with someone and being a good partner to anyone. You should work on yourself and figure out why you were so selfish.

  18. I think if it was one time – perhaps at the beginning of a relationship – then you don’t need to tell…but given that it was an ongoing betrayal with a good friend of his you need to tell. Yes it will hurt your boyfriend – but that is what you did – you hurt your boyfriend. If you two are meant to be then you will work it out without the sword of Damocles forever over your head. A secret is something no one else knows. Right now Justin knows – he might feel like he has too much to lose to tell…now. But what if the fiancée leaves him? What if he feels resentment about all those quiet words you are having with your boyfriend about him deserving a better friend? What is to stop Justin from giving your BF a parting gift of the truth? Who can live like that? What kind of life can you build together forever on quicksand? Tell your boyfriend the truth…and either you get beyond it together or you don’t but either way you can’t live like you’ve been living…and your boyfriend shouldn’t either.

  19. LW, Take Wendy’s advice. It’s advice that I should have asked for, advice I would have deserved, and advice I would have probably wanted to ignore, back when I was trying to recover from cheating on my longterm BF for a couple months with a few guys I met at college. This comment is long, but bear with me because I think it might help you.

    In retrospect, the reasons (not excuses, but reasons) I cheated are plain as the nose on my face.
    I was barely 18, living on my own for the first time, the first one in my family to go to college, and had no close friends yet at college… I was alone in totally uncharted territory.
    My high school sweetheart took a contract with the military right out of high school and was in Iraq for three months. After nearly four years of being attached at the hip and seeing each other literally every day, the sudden distance was like losing a limb. I wasted no time finding someone to fill that gap at my side.
    Though I didn’t think so that the time, my self-esteem was low, and the cheating was an ego-boost. I didn’t believe that anyone other than my BF would find me attractive, so when guys on campus started flirting with me, I was stunned. The attention made me bold, and being relatively alone as I was, the only person who could have stopped me was me, and I clearly failed. I was selfish and ignorant.

    My boyfriend found out about the cheating while he was still over in Iraq. Even so, he proposed to me a week after he got home, and I said yes. The months following his return were some of the messiest, drama-filled, confusing and heartbreaking months of my life. In retrospect, it’s clear we were desperate to cling to our relationship in spite of everything, at all costs. We’re happily married now, several years later, but my “youthful indiscretions” cast a huge shadow over our relationship for many tumultuous years. And I mean, HUGE shadow. I can’t emphasize that enough.

    To this day I am not convinced we should have stayed together. Which is not to say that I regret marrying him or don’t want to be with him for the rest of my life, but if I could go back and do the recovery period all over again, I would do what Wendy is suggesting here – I needed HELP, badly, and because I did not get it, healing took a hundred times more effort and time than it could have.

    The fact that we made it through is not the romantic “love triumphs all” story it might appear from the surface, but rather a story of desperate stubbornness, immaturity, denial, and enormous suffering. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. So please, listen to Wendy. Whether or not you get back with this boyfriend, or go your own separate ways, you will be better off if you take the time to work on yourself now. It may be hard, but not as hard as forcing a square peg through a round hole through sheer strength of will like we did.

    I wish you courage, because more than luck, that is what you will need.

    1. Really well said. Thank you for sharing!

    2. I love what you wrote. However, I think the main issue people are having with this is that she cheated with his best friend and then tried to drive a wedge between the best friend and her boyfriend. It’s not just the cheating, it’s the manner and actions of her cheating that make people think she should just end it.

  20. landygirl says:

    “Should I throw away this life we have been working on together?”

    LW, what life is that? If you were truly happy you wouldn’t have cheated in the first place. Maybe you’re afraid to be single? In any case, cheating is a symptom of an even bigger problem in your relationship and the fact that you cheated with his best friend makes you and the bff both disingenuous.

    I vote for break up but don’t tell him the truth because frankly, it is you. Please seek therapy, it will do you a world of good.

    1. Yeah, she threw it away repeatedly when she cheated. I got the impression she was also trying to manipulate us into telling her what she wanted to hear.

  21. Definitely what Wendy said. I don’t see how you can continue this relationship knowing what you did, and I don’t see how it could go on if you told him. I also don’t think you can address any self-esteem issues you may have within this relationship. You need a clean slate, and he needs a girlfriend he can trust. You also need to address your manipulative streak because deceptively trying to make your boyfriend ditch his friend is not OK.

  22. Bittergaymark says:

    My self esteem is so low, I apparently can bang anybody I want… Waah! Whaah… Whatever.

    1. Exactly what I said… I should change my handle to Bitterstraightmark

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh maybe like Bitterstraightdoug, or whatever. I like it.

      2. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        HOT! 🙂

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      “Sorry I kicked your puppy, low self-esteem!”

      “Sorry I didn’t give up my seat on the bus to the eldery lady, low self-esteem!”

      “Sorry I finished the red wine, low self-esteem!”

      … Sometimes people *are* just shitty assholes!

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        But wait. I *DO* finish all the wine because of low self-esteem.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But that’s such a shitty move i think the shitty asshole in you (collective you, not YOU you) trumps the you with the low self-esteem. … new rule!

      3. Please don’t ever kick a puppy!

      4. I know a guy who went to kick a dog and was wearing flip flops and just wiped out on his ass trying to kick the poor puppy. So puppy 1: jackass 0 and karma laughing her ass off somewhere…

  23. findingtheearth says:

    I use to be a horrible cheater. I know it was from a plethora of issues, and I know I did some shitty things to some people. I went into therapy as a senior in college and got some of my shit straightened out. It’s a dark and messy road finding your truth sometimes, but if you want to be happy and secure, you are going to have to do it.

    Also, it takes time and effort. I would advise to not put him through the hell you are going to put yourself through when finding your truths. You won’t appreciate his efforts and he won’t really know what to do.

    You need some time for yourself. You need to tell your boyfriend the truth, and (only if you are truly sorry) apologize. Maybe in time, after some counseling and therapy and you have worked on your shit, you can try again.

  24. John Farrier says:

    Wendy wrote “Your boyfriend doesn’t have to know that two people he trusted betrayed him.”

    But he should know. It’s important information. He needs to know that two people very close to him can’t be trusted.

    It would also be helpful for Justin’s fiancee to know that the man she plans to marry cheated on her–and that she know this before she marries the SOB.

    If I were the boyfriend or Justin’s fiancee, I would definitely want to know.

    1. landygirl says:

      You said it, Quark.

  25. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    The part that really stood out to me about the letter was how she bragged about how “sickenly sweet” her and her boyfriend are. That’s not love. That’s the puppy love stage people go through and eventually grow out of. Your relationship seems stunted, especially given the fact that you and your boyfriend have been together for ~5 years. From that description I get the sense your relationship is more about a show than actual depth.

  26. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    I was also disturbed as to how SHE is gleefully, but subtly trying to end the relationship between Justin and her boyfriend. Talk about self serving…

    1. This. That is what bothers me about this letter. This LW really needs to get herself to a therapist pronto. Cheating is a shitty thing to do. However, it’s a whole another level when you cheat with your significant other’s best friend and then try to end the relationship between your significant other and their best friend.

  27. I think you should tell your bf. I also think the fiance needs to know that she is about to marry a cheating asshole.

  28. I agree that LW needs to break up with her boyfriend, but I also agree with Wendy that it would be crueler to tell him. If this was your first serious relationship, you can come up with a reasonable enough explanation (I don’t know myself yet, etc.) and end the relationship. Also, LW needs some serious therapy. I’m not trying to be mean, but it’s one thing to cheat (terrible) and another to cheat with your significant other’s best friend over an extended period of time (really terrible). There are bad choices, and then there are really bad choices. It’d be good to see a therapist and work through why you acted in such a destructive manner. You are young. You can change. Please see a therapist and fix yourself.

  29. Wait you guys so we call short term hook up relationships nothing important but suddenly this one is SUPER IMPORTANT? Um no.

    LW stop over thinking this. You’re getting way way WAY too into the “omg what does this all MEEEEAN?!” trap people (sorry, women) get themselves into.

    it didn’t mean shit. You were dumb and seeking out approval and affection and your boyfriend’s buddy was an opportunistic asshole. That is all it meant. period end of sentence. Now slap yourself good and hard for being dumb, and go be the woman you WANT to be. That is ALL the further mental energy you need put into this nonsense. Bar hookups from college remmeber? Sex washes off. It’s over now. It never happened. Stop thinking too much and making your life into some drama romance.

    That said if you want some alone time, dump bf and move on but fuck no don’t talk about this “affair” For fuck’s sake people here don’t think that’s long enough to merit meeting the parents in regular relationships so for some boinking on the side (and I suggest you remind yourself regularly this buddy married someone else and you were nothing, I mean NOTHING but spread legs for him) there is way too much mental energy being expended here. Wash it off, move along.

  30. Lillian A says:

    I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 3 months before he left to work in another country. After some time, he has stopped answering my texts and i can not call him coz it is expensive. I dnt knw what to do, i have talked to his best friend but now his best friend is comforting me to give him time but he also wants us to cheat on my boyfriend since he is away. I feel i am in need of sex, i miss boy friend but he is hurting me by not responding to my messages. He has spent two weeks with out talking to me yet i always see him online.
    Pliz advise me on what t do. I dn want t rush into a mistake that will spoil our relationship though i dnt knw if my BF is still serious with it.

  31. I hope this serves as example of how much having your girlfriend and best friend having an affair can hurt everyone.

    I started to date a girl from my class at university, the same class my best friend was in. As a friend I had done things for him when he was in need like giving him a place to sleep, food, etc. without expecting anything back but a little respect. This “friend” knew everything about me, especially what she meant for me.

    I dated this girl and everything was fine until suddenly one day it wasn’t. She started being weird but I am naive, I just thought she wanted to break up, so we did. We still kept seeing each other in class and from time to time we would meet. In the meantime I kept seeing my “best friend” virtually every day. That was until I got a call from a friend I had in common with my “best friend”. He told me about their affair. It hit me. How could they. Why would she make plans with all of us together while this is happening? Why would she go the club with the 3 of us? All the questions hit you and each makes you feel more humiliated.

    After the call an intense rage got into me. I couldn’t see clear anymore. I was going to bury him and make sure people knew who they were. I beat the shit out of my “friend” enough times for him to fear going to class but especially to fear going for a night out. Since we were best friends, basically all of our friends were common friends so I made sure everyone knew, but especially that no one would want to even want to see him. I wanted to make sure his socially life didn’t exist. Enough for him to quit his studies.

    To her, I just made sure everyone in our classes would know about her moral standpoint. When I found out I also lost control and called her a whore and slut, which I am nor proud nor ashamed of. After we couldn’t even look at each other.

    Years after I realised that I became so vengeful and violent during that time because what hurt me the most was that I would have never known if it wasn’t for someone else telling me. That they would have never apologised, I would have kept seeing them both, sometimes together. I wasn’t worth the truth or even a simple apology. That is what hurts and can make someone lose control. So for all of you cheaters, my advice is OWN UP to your mistakes, because if you don’t it will be way worse. But the best thing to do is NOT TO CHEAT.

  32. There were no dates here, so I assume this might be an older thread. However…

    The one thing that stands out, about Wendy’s advice, other people’s, and most therapists really, is this popular shameful opinion of “not telling”. It’s especially coward to rationalize as “it’ll hurt him more” or “it’s selfish to confess”

    Are you all seriously kidding? The most selfish and coward decision of a cheater, worse than the act, is to not tell. It robs the victim of their decision, of TIME OF THEIR LIVES, of their future.
    Therapists especially excuse this lie with “it’ll be worse for him/her”
    Or “what about the fiancé?”

    In other words, you guys think the cheated fiancé should be screwed in order to protect the cheater and her marriage?
    If you don’t tell the BF, he may linger on wondering why you broke up?
    Tell the truth and he may even forgive.

    Wendy says “the BF doesn’t need to know he was betrayed by the two pp he trusted”
    – wow, what a terrible and coward piece of advice. No wonder society is full of weak, self centered cuckolds and liers.

    It hurts, but knowing the truth allows one to take ahold of their own destiny.

  33. You have to come clean. Not telling him nonsense. Relationships are built on one thing: HONESTY. I don’t agree with the idea of “working on yourself” and taking a break from the relationship. It is withholding info from your best friend. You did the worst thing you can do to a partner in a relationship besides being physically or extremely emotionally abusive. He will either forgive you in time or he won’t. It’s statistically proven that most men cannot forgive these incidents at the rate women can because a big part of a woman’s biological and emotional makeup is the ability to forgive: it is a necessity for motherhood. Men, who are already RAGING with testosterone and are told from the moment they are teens by American society that the man who has the most sex with the most women wins are fighting against every societal expectation to remain loyal and committed. If that’s betrayed, it’s impossible to forgive, but some men do. You need to give him that choice RIGHT NOW. Do not keep him stringing along. He is gonna find out.

  34. I say tell everyone. There are no zero innocent bystanders. The man’s g/f you cheated w/ deserves to know what her man did and what you did. Your g/f needs to be called out. You must tell your b/f because he will find out at some point. These are moral and ethical choices. Everyone is going to feel jealousy &
    guilt forever if it is not addressed

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