Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Slept With My Friend’s Boyfriend and Now He’s Threatening to Tell Her”

I slept with my friend’s baby daddy four years ago, and he still holds it over my head and says he’s going to tell her. I live with her and he’s in prison. I feel bad for what I did and I know it was wrong and that it shouldn’t have happened. Now that he’s saying he’s going to tell her, my question is: Should I come clean and tell her what happened instead of waiting for him to tell her? She and I are very close now and I don’t want to lose a good friendship. — Feeling Bad for What I Did

You don’t mention what, if anything, your friend’s baby daddy/boyfriend is requesting from you in exchange for keeping quiet, but, regardless, the fact remains: As long as there is a secret that he’s privy to that you don’t want your friend to know, this man holds some power over you. And with that power, he’s in the position of making you feel threatened. The thing is: You have power too. You have the power to completely diminish all the power and control he thinks he has over you by sharing the secret with your friend. Of course, in doing so, you risk upsetting her and potentially damaging your friendship. In not doing so, you risk all of that happening anyway, while living in fear until it happens that it’s going to happen. In both scenarios, your friendship is at risk; in one scenario you have all the power and in another scenario you have zero power. I would choose the scenario in which you have power.

If you choose to take the more powerful position of telling your friend what happened, you need to do so with humility, sensitivity, and a sense of remorse. Tell your friend something has been weighing on you for a long time and you are ready to tell her. Let her know that you are aware this news may affect how she sees you and you understand that. Tell her you know you made a mistake and it’s a regret you live with every day and you hope she can find it in her heart to forgive you. You are telling her now not because you wish to simply unburden yourself of the guilt, but because this guy is threatening to tell her himself and you don’t want him to hurt your friendship any more than he already has.

Once you share your secret with your friend, you strip the boyfriend of the power he has over you, and the ball will be in your friend’s court. In a sense, she will have some power then, and you have to trust that your friendship is strong enough to withstand the risk that she may choose to move on. Regardless, I think you will feel much better transferring the power out of the hands of a man who doesn’t care about you and into the hands of someone who does.

I’m in love with someone I’ve known for more than 15 years. He is still residing with his ex because they own a home together, and I believe it’s more of a convenience to remain there than to hurry and sell it to move on. This bothers me, but what I really can’t understand is that he has not introduced me to his ex’s daughter, whom he raised since she was three. She is grown now and married and has kids of her own. When I asked why he doesn’t introduce us, he said that she wouldn’t want to meet me because she would choose her mom’s side and that once we are together completely he won’t have a relationship with his daughter or grandkids because, again, she will choose her mom’s side.

What side? Doesn’t his daughter want to see him happy and not be alone? Also, he is a great grandfather as far as I can tell. I just can’t get a reason that makes sense for why he refuses to introduce us, and I’m so conflicted. Can you please advise? — Tired of Not Being Introduced

 
It sounds like he’s more than just roommates with his “ex” and that maybe she isn’t his “ex” at all. They still live together, he doesn’t mention selling the house and moving on, and he refuses to introduce you to his daughter because she will “take her mom’s side.” As you imply, there shouldn’t be “sides” if this is actually an amicable breakup. And if it’s NOT an amicable breakup, it’s hard to understand why there seems to be no rush for them to stop living together.

Bottom line: If it smells fishy – and it does — it’s usually because it IS fishy. Your boyfriend is lying to you. He isn’t really ready to move on, and he’s nowhere near ready — and may never be — to integrate you into his life. He’s either still with his partner, and/or he feels enough shame and guilt over being with you that you will likely never be embraced as a significant other in his life whom he feels proud to introduce to those he’s closest to. If you want to avoid such a scenario again in the future, it’s best to stay away from men who still live with their significant others and aren’t available to you.

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

13 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Fyodor March 25, 2019, 10:26 am

    I don’t know that it’s reasonable to infer that he’s trying to blackmail her. It’s possible that he just feels bad and wants to come clean and wanted to warn her.

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      keyblade March 25, 2019, 1:53 pm

      It’s really difficult for me to imagine staying with someone who went to prison if we had never been married, so I kind of assumed they had broken up.

      If that isn’t the case and the letter writer has just recently moved in with his baby mom it’s possible he wants to tell her so she doesn’t keep a friend she can’t trust around.

      It’s also a little strange that they even still talk to each other. Quite frankly I’m betting all three people involved are bad at healthy relationships. If the letter writer has been living with the friend for several years, I would guess it has more to do with baby daddy wanting control.

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    Fyodor March 25, 2019, 10:26 am

    I don’t know that it’s reasonable to infer that he’s trying to blackmail her. It’s possible that he just feels bad and wants to come clean and wanted to warn her.

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    anonymousse March 25, 2019, 10:31 am

    LW2-Do you know that they are truly broken up?

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    LisforLeslie March 25, 2019, 10:56 am

    WWS on both.
    What’s his motivation for holding it over the friends head? Maybe he’s making her put money into his prison account. Maybe she has to convince the friend to not leave him or not get involved with a new guy. She did a shitty thing, sisters before misters and all that. She betrayed a friend, so if the friend can’t move on, well that’s the LW’s fault.

    LW2 – if this guy won’t introduce you it either means he’s not really separated OR he’s assuming someone else’s emotions and not giving them a chance to actually react. Like when people cheat on their significant others and say “Well I don’t want to complain about things… that will lead to a fight. So I’ll cheat on them behind their back because that is easier than breaking up or fixing things.” You deserve better.

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  • avatar

    saneinca March 25, 2019, 2:49 pm

    LW, when you say your BF is still living with his ex, do you mean they are actually divorced ? And is his ex aware that he is dating you ?

    As of now you seems to be his dirty little secret. And I don’t know how it is going change in future no matter how ever long you stick with the guy. Either he wants to be honest about your presence in his life or he is always going to hide it. If you are ok with it, go ahead and continue to date him.

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    LW2 March 25, 2019, 4:06 pm

    I am clueless to their relationship and if they are together or not? I did meet his Mom and Dad on a vacation about a year ago.
    I have more questions then answers in this relationship, and I know I deserve better…
    I just hate the time wasted…!
    I truly appreciate all the advise and insight anyone has given!

    CA

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      Ange March 25, 2019, 6:03 pm

      When you met his parents did he introduce you as his girlfriend or anything other than friend? Was he openly affectionate with you in front of them? I mean they could still just be keeping their noses out of it if he was but it’d be interesting to know.

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      anonymousse March 25, 2019, 6:31 pm

      Wow.
      So are you asking all these questions, or just blissfully pretending he doesn’t live with his wife? That’s probably why he doesn’t want to introduce his daughter to you.

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      Silje March 28, 2019, 4:53 am

      I know how it feels, the “sunk cost fallacy” is real also for relationships. I have had the same ex who was living with his ex out of “convenience” and the whole thing had to be kept a secret until he had time to move out. And so I waited patiently for my “reward” of him being moved out and free. Guess what happened? She got pregnant. Apparently they were not as broken up as he claimed. What Wendy Said about considering guys who don’t live by themselves as off-limits. If he wanted to live by himself and be available for a relationship with you, he would be. My advice is to decide, right now, to not waste any more time waiting for him, and then stop. All contact. If you must, tell him that you can consider him again when he will invite you to his new house (where he lives alone) for dinner and wine.

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  • avatar

    brise March 26, 2019, 6:00 am

    LW1: whatever the options, your friend might leave you and cut you off. Why would you do such a thing? And why are you still in contact with this guy?
    Yes, I would tell her myself but expect her to go away and end the relationship with you. This is the obvious outcome. And don’t blame the guy. You chose to do it so own it.
    You should tell her that you like her very much, you feel close, wish to maintain the present situation. But if she wishes to leave, then you will accept it, you respect her and her decisions. This is the only way to preserve your chances. Don’t tell her before you are ready to cope with a probable split from your friend.

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    brise March 26, 2019, 6:04 am

    LW1: by the way, the power is not between this guy and you over your friend. It is you regarding your friend. You must take some distance from this relationship and set her free. To have sex with your friend’s boyfriend and to claim that you feel very close to her and live with her: all this is too conflicted and excessive. This goes beyond friendship: it has to do with your expectations, projections on her, envy, your identity problems, or whatever she represents for you that makes you act this way. You have some introspection to do about this.

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    Danielle March 27, 2019, 11:08 am

    Wait why is LW1 communicating with this guy in the first place? He’s in prison, it’s not like they’re running into each other a social events or when he comes over to see his girlfriend. She is going out of her way to be in contact with him.

    I realize this has no bearing on her question, but it seems fishy to me

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