Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Tell My Boyfriend I Drunkenly Kissed Someone Else?”

From the forums:

I have been dating someone for two years and I love him with all my heart. We live together in the northwest, but I’m originally from the east coast. Recently, I went back home (by myself) for the first time in six years to see old friends. While there, I went out to a bar with my old childhood friends and among them was a guy I had a crush on when I was a teenager. Nothing ever came of it, but there was always mutual innocent flirting – although to be clear, I have not had a crush on him since I was 15 (I’m now 30). I also hadn’t spoken to him much in the last six years, so there had never been any kind of lead up to what I am about to tell you n.next…

By the end of the night, we were all extremely drunk — the drunkest I’ve been in a very long time. My childhood crush was kind of flirting with me, but he’s a flirty guy so I ignored it. Fast forward to my leaving/getting in an uber: I’m hugging him goodbye and he gives me a kiss on the cheek which somehow turns into a full-blown make-out. It only lasted a few seconds but I feel AWFUL about it. To make matters way worse, his girlfriend of five years SAW the whole thing and now they are not speaking (this happened two weeks ago).

I am not the type of girl who ruins relationships or cheats on her boyfriend. It was so stupid and pointless, and my boyfriend deserves a lot better. I don’t know what to do. Do I tell my boyfriend, too? I think about it 100 times a day and here are my pros/cons of telling him:

Pros:
1. He deserves to the know the truth and decide if he still wants to be with me.
2. I won’t be keeping a secret from him (I’ve never kept anything from him).
3. There’s no chance of someone else telling him first

Cons:
1. He could break up with me over something that meant absolutely nothing.
2. If he forgives me, there may always be this doubt in his head that I’ll do it again (we are SO happy and so in love and I don’t want to ruin that, ugh).
3. It’ll cause him unnecessary pain – at the end of the day I am so in love with him and that other guy means absolutely nothing to me.

I made such a stupid MISTAKE. Do I tell him or ride it out?

Side note: I realized through this event that I clearly don’t know how to stop drinking when I should and for this reason I have given up alcohol. I’ve not explained the reason to my boyfriend, but it’s one thing I can do to improve myself/learn from this.

Please help me, I’m consumed with guilt. — Consumed with Guilt

You clearly want some absolution here, but I don’t think confessing to your boyfriend is going to give you the relief you desire. For one, it’s selfish. You can justify that telling him is for his own good all you want, but it’s not; you’d be telling him for YOUR own good (to relieve the guilt you are currently consumed with). Also, for the record, I don’t think giving up alcohol is going to give you the absolution you crave either. It’s one thing if you really think you have an alcohol problem; it’s quite another if you’re creating an issue where there isn’t one to distract yourself from the problem that actually exists – the guilt you feel over kissing someone other than your boyfriend for a few seconds. Creating an alcohol problem that likely doesn’t exist isn’t going to solve shit and is just going to confuse the boyfriend you say deserves to know the truth.

The truth is that you did something stupid that arguably isn’t that big of a deal unless it’s indicative of a bigger issue. You say the bigger issue is an alcohol problem. I say that maybe the bigger issue is that you aren’t as happy with your boyfriend as you say you are. If that doesn’t resonate – if you really feel in your heart of hearts that you have a good, solid relationship with someone you love and care about and respect, don’t fuck it up by confessing about some meaningless drunken kiss that lasted a few seconds. If this is a relationship for the ages for you, you’ve got to learn how to deal with mistakes that might rock the foundation of that relationship. Because you will make more mistakes!! No relationship and no person is perfect. To worry about “ruining” a perfect love is going to be the death of your relationship – and, not for nothing, your emotional well-being. What pressure! You know what putting pressure on yourself like that sometimes leads to? ACTUAL ALCOHOLISM! Like, the real kind and not the made-up kind you diagnose yourself with after one wild night.

So forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and for making one little mistake that didn’t mean anything except you were dumb in the moment and not thinking. It led to nothing, right? You didn’t have sex with the guy, zero clothing was removed (or even moved), he didn’t follow you to wherever you were going next, you haven’t spoken to him since, it didn’t start anything (if anything, it ended whatever flirtation might have existed between you for the foreseeable future). If you feel like you absolutely have to have your boyfriend’s forgiveness in order to move on, tell him, I guess, but own that you are telling him for yourself – for your own need to be forgiven. And while you’re at it, tell him that you’ve stopped drinking because you had to put your guilt somewhere because you were suffocating under the weight of it, and so denying yourself whatever escape or enjoyment alcohol might give you was a way to do just that without potentially breaking his and your heart and ruining your relationship. I mean, if the truth is what you’re after, you might as well be 100% honest – with him, and with you.

Also from the forums:

I am 24. My boyfriend is 30. He is a 4th year medical school student aiming to become a surgeon (and highly likely to become one with his test scores so far) and adore him in every single way imaginable. We have been dating for a little over a year and he is the most kind, gentle, smart, honest, loyal, hilarious man I have ever encountered. Basically, he’s the perfect human being. He insists he does not want children for five years, but I feel very ready and I feel as though he is as well, even if he does not say so. His father almost died last year and he is not looking too good this year. My mother and my best friend support me, and I believe his family would not be upset if I fell pregnant either.

However, I realize this is a huge decision and I want to talk about it with as many people as I can which, unfortunately, I cannot do in person since this is such a personal topic. — Ready for a Baby

 

You are nowhere near ready to be a mom, even if you say you are. See how that feels? When someone takes what you say and believe about yourself to be true and then says, “Nah, I know better.” Multiply that feeling by 1000, add 20 years of childcare responsibility on top of that, as well as derailed dreams and goals, and broken trust, and you’re getting close to the betrayal your boyfriend would feel if you “accidentally fell pregnant” after he said he wasn’t ready to have kids for at least five years. If you’re so ready to have a baby right now — and I mean it when I say you don’t have the emotional maturity, evidenced at the very least by your inability to discuss personal issues with people in real life, and you are not fucking ready for the financial and physical and emotional demands of parenthood — then find someone who is also ready or thinks he is. Don’t blow up your most-perfect-human-being-ever boyfriend’s life with your selfishness.

***************
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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.

15 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ms.Vader January 14, 2020, 11:01 am

    WWS 100% for both letters. For letter 1, confessing your sins is hardly ever for the benefit of the injured party. It’s to relieve the pressure you’re feeling. If it was reversed, would you actually want to know? I wouldn’t- ignorance is bliss is a popular saying for a reason. As well, one night of being really drunk doesn’t mean you’ve got an alcohol problem – you even said that you haven’t been that drunk in a very long time so it’s not a pattern. You’re trying to find a reason why this isn’t your fault.

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  • avatar

    K January 14, 2020, 11:01 am

    LW2 – even if you feel ready to have kids, you’re only 24 and you have plenty of good childbearing years ahead of you. If you truly love this man and think he is so perfect, then maybe he is worth waiting for. If your desire to have kids right now exceeds your desire to be with this man, then move on. There’s nothing wrong with him wanting to wait 5 years until he completes medical school and residency, and he’s likely also dealing with a lot with his dad not being well.

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  • avatar

    golfer.gal January 14, 2020, 11:47 am

    I said this in the forums and I will say it here: taking away someone’s autonomy to make reproductive decisions is ABUSE. Using your partner’s trust in you (your assurances that you are on birth control and using it consistently) to sabatoge their agency and make decisions you know actively go against their stated desires is abhorrent. It’s indicative that something is deeply wrong- there is a pathological lack of respect, caring, and empathy. The fact that you’re calling this a decision you want to talk to “as many people as you can” about, when you already have a clear answer from the one and only person who you SHOULD actually be talking to, tells me you are nowhere near ready or mature enough for a mutually loving relationship, let alone parenthood. Please get therapy. I dont mean that with snark, please get help and figure out what’s going on with you that got you here.

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    • avatar

      ArtsyGirl January 14, 2020, 11:53 am

      YES on all of this.

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    • Miel

      Miel January 14, 2020, 12:35 pm

      Yes!
      I was at my doctor’s office and they were going down their question list. They asked versions of “is your partner controlling/withholding/interfering with your birth control?” Why do they ask this? Because it would be a sign of ABUSE for a partner to hide your pills, throw them in the garbage, poke holes in the condoms, etc. It is ABUSE for someone to mess with/lie about birth control in order to force someone to have children.

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    • avatar

      BonV January 15, 2020, 8:43 pm

      Perfect reply! I hope that LW2 can seriously absorb what you wrote.

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    • avatar

      MelB January 19, 2020, 12:08 pm

      Yeah, this person is a gross human being. She’s going to do it anyway, and then bitch when this guy is never home and is neglecting her and the baby because of school.

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  • avatar

    ArtsyGirl January 14, 2020, 11:51 am

    Holy Crap LW2 – DO NOT GET PREGNANT! You have only been dating a little over a year and are still in the honeymoon period. You are not married or even engaged. He is clearly a smart guy and he has told you kids are on the back burner – if one of your girlfriends told her your BF got her intentionally pregnant despite her saying she wasn’t ready, how would you feel? That is exactly what you want to do. Just because you have the babies-rabies does not mean you get to trample on your BF’s plans and wishes. The medical condition of his father has zero bearing in this decision. You are not gifting his parents a grandchild out of the kindness of your heart, it is something you want even through your partner does not. That is selfish. It is also shitty to think you know your BF’s wishes better then him. He knows what he wants and it is not to be a father right now.

    I am unsure if you are aware of how medical training works (if you are in the US) but he still has a further 4+ years to go with his residency. Residency is hell on people – they work insane shifts all while prepping and taking exams. He is likely to be working 50-70 hours a week during his residency so he will not be home most of the week. When he is home, he will be studying and sleeping. He absolutely does not need an infant or small child in his life during this period. If you want this amazing man in your life, adjust your plans. If you need a baby now – dump him and find someone who matches your timeline.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 14, 2020, 1:37 pm

    For LW1, I do think that making a decision not to get that drunk again makes sense. Some people can get super drunk once in a while and be fine. If you are the kind of person who gets that drunk and then does something detrimental to your life, then you should not get that drunk. I think there’s a lot of space between abstaining from alcohol and just not/deciding it’s dumb. But I’d agree. LW, your intention is to tell him and stay together, and in that case, your purpose is solely to feel better by making him feel like crap. IF you make a decision to not get wildly drunk, then I think that this is something you don’t have to confess.

    LW2: It’s unacceptable to decide he’s wrong when he says he’s not ready. You are implying that you’re going to secretly get pregnant and that’s unquestionably horrible. It’s no one else’s business but yours and your boyfriend’s. If he doesn’t want kids right now and you HAVE to have them immediately, then break up and find someone who wants them now. TBH, I’m disgusted that you are even considering this…

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    • avatar

      dinoceros January 14, 2020, 5:49 pm

      I’m back because I’ve been thinking about this. LW2, you need to think about the bigger picture and about other people than yourself. Aside from your boyfriend’s wishes, no child wants to be brought into a world where their mom knows their dad doesn’t want them and makes them anyway. And there’s a very good chance your boyfriend will dump you. I assume being a single mom doesn’t fit in your fantasy of being a mom.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 14, 2020, 2:48 pm

    LW2 You wanted to hear from mothers. I’m a mom of two. My son is 28 and my daughter is 19. I’ve been married for 32 years. That’s my background for what I will say.

    The only two people who should be included in a discussion about having a baby are the two people who will be the parents. Absolutely no one else should be part of that discussion. The fact that you are turning to your mom and best friend to help you make this decision shows that you don’t have the maturity for a serious, committed relationship. You don’t seem to understand the foundation for a successful, long term relationship. If your mom gave good advice she would have told you to talk to your partner not her. Your mom encouraged you to have a baby. That’ means she gives terrible advice. You need to stop going to your mom for advice.

    In a situation like this you must come to an agreement with your partner. If and when to have kids needs to be mutual for the best outcome. Anything less than both parents being in agreement is at best harmful to the relationship and at worst totally destructive. Kids are hard on relationships. Kids need huge amounts of time, which your boyfriend knows he won’t have and are a large financial commitment. He won’t have much income for years. He’s being wise.

    A good relationship needs a strong foundation and a critical part of that foundation is trust. If you want a lasting relationship he needs to be able to trust you. Even if you get pregnant and he never finds out you planned the pregnancy he still won’t be able to trust you because he will assume you are irresponsible. Irresponsible people can’t be trusted with anything important. Even if he believes your lie he won’t be able to trust you. You could leave him with the impression that he had to watch everything you did because you couldn’t be trusted to do it right. That turns your relationship into more of a parent/child relationship. That’s highly destructive.

    As far as his dad goes assume he knows his dad better than you do. If he isn’t trying to provide his dad with a baby before his dad dies you should follow his lead. A “surprise” pregnancy might sadden his dad more than make him happy. I don’t know of any parents, and I know a lot of parents, who would be happy to see their child blowing up their life with an unplanned pregnancy. His dad is much more apt to be sad and disappointed in a “surprise” baby than happy. His family could very easily love the baby and despise you for forcing him to be a parent too soon.

    One more thing. I have seen lots of relationships that were happy at one year and over and done by two years. I had one of those myself. It’s very common for a couple to break up somewhere between 18 months and two years after the relationship started. The honeymoon period wears off and you see the person in a different way. You need to give both of you time to see if this is a long term relationship. Make major life decisions as a couple. Accept his wishes. If your wants and his don’t match then you break up and find a more compatible partner. The most likely result of an “unplanned” pregnancy is that the two of you end up broken up. What would you do if you told him your birth control failed and he said he wanted you to get an abortion because he couldn’t be a father yet? The decision would be yours but the stress would belong to both of you. His disappointment and changed view of you would be permanent.

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  • avatar

    Ashley January 14, 2020, 3:39 pm

    I have a feelin baby bells wouldn’t be ringing quite so loud if everything was truly good in your relationship. Let me guess…he’s off at med school and your worried he’s gonna leave you for another med student? You think you get pregnant hell HAVE to stay with you? Oh honey that is not how this works. You are 24 focus on getting your own ducks in a row.

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  • avatar

    katmich15 January 15, 2020, 1:18 pm

    I think it’s a pretty big leap to assume that LW1 doesn’t actually have a drinking problem, if she does, good for her for stopping. We’ve all done stupid things when we were drunk and the surest way not to do them is not to get drunk. And it sounds like LW1 is recognizing that when she drinks she can’t stop and that sounds like alcoholism. I agree that telling the boyfriend will only hurt him unnecessarily, but the problem is that other people saw what happened so he may end up finding out. I would think about how likely it is that anyone from that group would ever tell him, and if it’s unlikely than probably better to keep it to yourself.

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  • avatar

    Luchi January 16, 2020, 7:23 am

    Hi Anonymous!
    I think that the truth is that you did something stupid, you said that the issue was the alcohol, perhaps the bigger issue is that you are not as happy with your boyfriend as you think. On the other hand if you really feel in your heart that you have a good and solid relationship with someone you love and respect, don’t bother her by confessing a meaningless drunk kiss that lasted a few seconds. If this is an important relationship for you, you should learn to deal with the mistakes that could be the basis of that relationship. Because you will make more mistakes! No relationship and no person is perfect. Worrying about “ruining” a perfect love will be the death of your relationship, and not for nothing, your emotional well-being. What a pressure! Do you know what it takes to press like this sometimes? The alcohol, as the real type and not the invented type with which you diagnose yourself after a wild night.
    Bye.

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  • avatar

    Claudia January 19, 2020, 1:47 pm

    Hi!
    I reckon it must be a difficult decission. However, you should keep in mind all you have said, if it did not mean absolutely nothing, you have to explain it to your boyfriend, and he will understand.

    What else? For a start, you must say to the boy you have kissed that you don’t want any relationship with him, that you really love your boyfriend, it was a mistake, and all this kind of things.

    Finally, you must have a serious conversation with your BF, always with steem, I’m sure that if you speak as you have done in this forum, he won’t take into account the kiss.

    Good luck! And I wish that things work out with you.

    Claudia.

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