SHESAID resident psychologist Kim Chartres answers your most awkward and confronting questions.
My best friend broke up with her boyfriend of five years about a year ago. Recently I ran into him while heading out for drinks. The two of us ended up going for drinks together and one thing lead to another and we had a (very drunken) one night stand. Even though it’s not technically cheating I feel like I’ve really betrayed my friend. Should I tell her what happened, or keep it to myself?
The truth generally has a way of revealing itself at the most inopportune moment, particularity when someone tries desperately to keep a secret, so if I were you, I’d seriously consider how and when you’d rather your best friend discover this information. From an outsider’s perspective, you have a few options.
Firstly, if it comes directly from you as quickly as possible, at least you’re displaying some sort of remorse and respect for your friend. Obviously it wasn’t something you set out to have happen and although technically it wasn’t cheating, you wouldn’t be questioning whether or not to tell this friend of yours if you knew she’d be fine with it and it wouldn’t upset her.
I wouldn’t expect her to be happy about it, so don’t anticipate her to thank you for being honest. She might surprise you, but the bottom line is, if you feel as though you’ve betrayed your best friend, you probably have. Instead, own whatever consequence comes of your confession and learn something from the experience. After all, a best friend’s ex isn’t an ideal drinking buddy, regardless of whether you intended to meet up with them or not.
Alternately, if you choose to stay quiet, she may never find out. But all the while your secret will be lurking in the background. In this case, you’ll need to ask yourself if you could cope with knowing you’d done something to hurt your best friend and not tell her. You may find you’ll get anxious or paranoid wondering if she’ll find out some other way.
Clearly you’ve got some thinking to do, but I wouldn’t think it over for too long. The longer you hold out to make a decision about whether or not to tell her, the harder it will be. Regardless of what you decide, I hope your friendship remains intact and you’ll both be able to look back and have a good laugh about your drunken indiscretion.
Got a relationship dilemma or serious life issue you’re not sure how to deal with? Send your questions to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.