Fucking His Friend, Fucking a Married Man: Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid

Comments

1

What Dan said. You're allowed to have stuff in your past you don't offer up. If you did something borderline sketch (but not officially sketch, a la L-dub 1) then you've got to live with the guilt. You don't get to unburden yourself into the other person so you can feel free and they can feel like shit. Well, of course you can, and the internet ethicists will praise you, while in reality you're just being a jerk to the person you are dating.

2

Can someone reconcile these two sentences:

"My boyfriend and I hooked up once or twice before things got serious."
"After the first couple times I hooked up with the man who is now my boyfriend... I ended up partying with our mutual friend and we had sex."

So did she fuck the friend (sorry, sex was had, a consequence of partying) after getting serious with the boyfriend?

3

Sporty: LW and now-boyfriend-person-A did some hooking up, casually, after being introduced by person-B; still in the casual period, LW and person-B partied and hooked up; later on, LW and person-A got serious. In other words, the fucking was after being sexually involved with the boyfriend, but before it got serious.

Oddly, I read the LW as male. Not sure why. And in this case I don't think it matters.

4

you're everything. -> your everything

5

Agree with Ciods interpretaiton- seemed pretty clear to me. During the time when the LW and the bf were casually fucking, the LW also once fucked the third person. Then the LW and bf became serious. I can't tell the gender of the LW. Agree it doesn't matter.

Agree with Dan also that there's no reason to volunteer this information if you are just feeling unnecessarily guilty about it, no reason to unburden yourself by burdening your bf (and the third). But the LW knows the bf better. If the LW thinks the bf might really feel betrayed or like they duped him, then LW might want to have the talk with him before taking any really serious steps. Unless it seems like he'd really freak out if he were to find out in the future, it's probably best to keep it sealed unless bf starts to ask about it (in which case don't lie). It's also possible he sort of knows and does not want it verified or doesn't want to make a big thing out of it (which it isn't).

6

Also I have no idea why Sporty you'd apologize for saying fucked. Yeah there's a word no one has ever used in Savage Love land.

7

LW1: Don't tell him and get over it. Your hookup is minor in the grand scheme of things you could have done.

LW2: Let's roleplay a bit. You meet People Magazine's most beautiful woman of the year (Does People actually do this for women or only men) and that woman is married. And that woman wanted to fuck you before you were dating your current GF. Would you fuck that woman? Of course you would. So it makes no difference if your GF's affair was with some schmuck or some famous hot person. Get over it or break up with her. She didn't do anything wrong. Although I will say that since this LW is so hung up on this issue, it is going to come back to haunt her. They are going to have a fight and I can guarantee that he is going to call her a slut, a whore, an adulterer or some other shit like that. So, really it's not about him deciding if he should stay with her; rather, she should be the one who is moving on to date someone who understands human complexity.

8

That is not a reasonable, proportionate, healthy level of anxiety WWAS is describing. I'm going to go so far as to suggest that ze should not be dating anybody until ze gets into therapy that starts addressing zir tendency to make zir boyfriend's moods zir responsibility. The hooking up with the friend is a red herring: ze already knows it's no big deal, yet ze identifies it as the source of anxiety about zir boyfriend's moods; that's disordered thinking.

I suspect the actual source of anxiety is an underlying disorder, though I'm not in a position to determine which, if any. WWAS has fixated on one particular event, but it's probably not the source so much as it's a convenient explanation zir brain grabbed to construct a narrative.

The advice to avoid dating is because blaming (or crediting) oneself with responsibility for someone else's moods is both contrary to how reality works and miserable for everyone involved. The person in WWAS's position is miserable because ze ISN'T actually responsible for the other person's moods, and the control required for that to be the case is literally impossible, so ze makes zirself miserable for failing to control something ze can't possibly control. The person in the boyfriend's place is miserable because just being around someone like that makes it clear that ze requires performance of Doing Great! to not go into a miserable shame spiral, which means walking on eggshells constantly, hiding one's real feelings. That's not a way to built a good, mutually supportive relationship. In fact, that dynamic in a close relationship - family, romantic partners - is abusively (if not maliciously) toxic, and WWAS has a responsibility to not inflict that on other people (and zirself, for that matter), hence not dating.

9

If screwing a married guy is unforgivable sketchiness, what happens when she says she did anal with the UPS guy?

10

@8 You had me at your use of ze and zir but lost me with your content.

LW said ze had a bad track record with men. I suspect ze has been blamed or hassled for non issues like this before, or has seen other people totally overreact to similar situations and wants to avoid that situation again. Ze is weighing honesty against DADT, and your armchair Dx of "some disorder" smacks of a person who just finished a freshman psych seminar and has just enough knowledge to be a boor at parties. But who knows, maybe that's just a sign of my disordered thinking.

11

@3, I wasn't sure myself until the signoff.

12

@8, I am not a therapist, but if I were, I'd never try to diagnose somebody based on one Agony Aunt letter to Dan. You might be over-thinking this, even if you happen to be right.

13

On second reading, I think we thought the LW was male because of the headline "Fucking his friend" implies his = the letter writer's friend, instead of the boyfriend's. I think.

14

WWAS: What would it do to your boyfriend's brotherly friendship with your one-time hookup if you told him about it? Yeah, don't.

MGSP: You deserved a "fuck off" from Dan. Not sketchy? Your condescension is sketchy.

15

Oooh, this is a tough one. I'm with Dan and those who say keep quiet, because I don't think the news would go over well. If the only reason the lw had for telling the bf, was so that the lw didn't feel guilty, I'd say to find other ways to deal with the guilt.

But I think there's too great a chance that the bf will find out. This is a good friend. Who may have confided in another mutual friend/member of their social group. In which case, I think the lw might want to get out in front of the story, because when this kind of story comes to light and the bf or gf finds out about the sex, they don't always believe it was regretted, feeling-less, or only one or two times. And the fact that it was a secret may add to the feeling that there is more to the story--and more to hide--than the way it's being presented. Like I can imagine the bf saying, "why did you feel that you needed to keep it a secret, if it meant nothing to you and we weren't serious yet? It must have meant more than that."

Maybe the lw can talk to the mutual friend and make 100% sure that he will never say anything--not even when he's drunk, not if he has a crisis of conscience--and that he hasn't told anyone else. Feeling reassured in the secret's ability to stay a secret, she can follow the don't say anything" advice. But if she has any worries that the truth will out, she wants to have been proactive about that truth.

Also, the fact that the two weren't officially a couple yet or serious and yet the lw is still torn up about this and we all understand why she might want to keep it a secret says something about how fucked up our culture is when it comes to to non-monogamy.

16

I just assumed that LW1 was male, I'm not sure why. Agree that it doesn't matter. I am going to go against the general consensus here and say that the LW should actually confide this with his partner (assuming that the friend is ok with this). If the LW had hooked up with someone random then I think that there would be no reason to disclose, but if this person is going to be a constant in there life (something that seems likely), then I think that for peace of mind it would be better to get everything out in the open. If both parties tell the BF that it happened, that it isn't happening now, and that they just wanted to make sure he knows that they both care for him and are telling him to avoid any misunderstanding, I think it will go OK. The LW seems very worried about this and I think it is possible that guilt will slowly poison the relationship (he gets worried every time the BF gets pensive, that's a problem). I know that we aren't big on alleviating guilt at someone else's expense, but I think that it might be warranted here. This is not a situation where actual cheating is involved, so I think that hiding it will end up being worse in the long run.

As for LW2, how old are you? I would totally have been bothered by something like this when I was 19, but if someone can make it to actual adulthood and be bothered by something as "sketchy" as sleeping with a married person once, you have no excuse. My only concern is that she seems to have internalized her actions in an unhealthy way and the LW is likely to make it WAY WORSE. I agree with Surfrat that the LW seems like the kind of person that will use this to attack her during every argument.

17

Totally missed the signoff, so I apologize for the incorrect pronouns.

18

I think the real answer here is: Choose a partner who is loving and confident and isn’t going to get all bent out of shape over something that happened before you were “a monogamous couple”. Anything else and you’re in for trouble sooner or later over something. I’ve said it before, I WANT my partners to have fucked other people before me, practice makes perfect. And if it were me, I’d fess up to the boyfriend. If time has taught me anything, it’s that this shit ALWAYS comes out sooner or later, and the later it is, the more time you have spent perpetuating the cover-up making the revelation exponentially worse.

19

MGSP: I don't think it's necessarily wrong of you to be discouraged by your girlfriend's past behavior. You're under no obligation to wear blinders and pretend it didn't happen and that she's a perfect human being. In this case, though, your girlfriend is more than aware of what she did wrong. She told you what happened, and that she felt guilty and never knowingly repeated the experience again.

So cut her some slack. I feel like she deserves a pass on that. If that's the stupidest thing she's ever done just because she was gullible and horny, then you lucked out.

20

Having sex with someone and their close friend within a short period of time, absent threesomes or full disclosure - is a recipe for problems. So long as it was clear that WWAS and her now boyfriend were not a monogamous couple at the time she fucked their mutual friend, she has done nothing wrong, in so far as having sex with someone other than her now boyfriend, but she did exercise some poor judgment in fucking someone close to a man with whom she was developing some feelings. She could have obviated this by disclosing before they transitioned from casual sex partners to romantic partners, but at this time, I think her best course is to stay silent.

What is unsatisfying about @Dan’s advice is that pushing this down the old memory hole is hard for some people, and is hard for everyone the more significant the transgression. People with small secrets, like WWAS, need some mechanism for unburdening themselves psychologically from their guilt. Perhaps there is someone WWAS trusts, and can speak to about this in confidence, and if not, perhaps she can write a letter detailing everything that happened in this one night stand, and mail it to a random address on another continent, and thereby gain some mental satisfaction, and she has physically unloaded her “sins.”

I have to disagree with @15/nocute. This isn’t about non-monogamy. I am not sure that WWAS would be particularly guilty if her second sex partner wasn’t a close friend of her now boyfriend. While I think many people might recognize that their casual sex partner is having sex with others, I think many people would less enthusiastic to know those other sex partners were their close friends.

Like @7/surfrat, while reading MGSP's letter, I also believed a thought experiment was in order. But I wondered how he would feel if his girlfriend knowingly had sex for a period of time with a married man simply because she wanted to do so, and while she wasn’t going to apologize to anyone for the sex she wanted at that time, she values her relationship with MGPS, including any monogamous commitment. By imagining a set of facts less benign than to which Ms. MGPS has admitted gets down to the main issue. After six months of dating does MGPS feel he knows his girlfriend well enough to accept that while she may have done something unpraiseworthy in her past, that this will not have any bearing on their relationship because of who he knows her to be today. Only MGPS can make that determination, but even good people do things at times that aren’t always the most honorable, and on the scale of transgressions even these facts don’t shock the conscience. So given that Ms. MGPS has acknowledged that she has changed and regrets her past actions, I think MGPS shouldnlet this go.

21

Ciods @3: In addition to the signoff, from what some of our gay men on the board have said, hooking up with a mutual friend while not in a committed relationship would not be considered "bad" by anywhere near as many gay men as straight people. Of course that does not mean no gay man would be excited by the potential drama involved...

So, yet again, women can't win. I remember a few weeks back when the woman who chose not to tell her nine-year boyfriend that she had had a prior affair with her married boss was blasted in the comments for not sharing this with the boyfriend who had a "right to know." Now Ms MGSP has done what those commenters advised and MGSP can't get over it. Dadddy, as the one who led the charge against the previous LW, what do you say? Personally, I think both situations are an argument for disclosure; if MGSP is as judgmental as the previous LW, it's good that Ms MGSP is finding this out now instead of spending nine years stuffing something down the memory hole only to get dumped when he snoops and finds out anyway. Hope MGSP can indeed find a way to forgive his girlfriend, because if he dumps her, she will probably decide not to tell the next guy.

22

John @8: Interesting perspective. On re-read the phrase "We both have trust issues" jumped out at me. This may be why WWAS is so paranoid about her boyfriend finding out. She and the friend both think it was no big deal, but would Boyfriend think it was no big deal? There's only one way to find out. And yes, she's freaking out when he gets in a bad mood, which he surely doesn't understand, which can't help the dynamic between them. I'm almost of a mind now to say that it's only been six months, so she -should- tell him now and let the chips fall where they may. Perhaps she should tell him but twist the facts slightly, and say "we hooked up once before you and I got together" which is close enough to the truth that if he's bothered, she's dodged a bullet, and if he's not, she can stop worrying that the secret will come out after they've become more committed.

NoCute @15: 'Like I can imagine the bf saying, "why did you feel that you needed to keep it a secret, if it meant nothing to you and we weren't serious yet? It must have meant more than that."-- Exactly. Also agree 100% with your analysis of how "toxic monogamy" has fucked up expectations.

23

The boilerplate advice--'stuff it down the memory hole'--is in most circumstances correct, but there may be peculiar features of this case that mean it needs to be tweaked.

The LW has an unusual degree of lack of self-confidence in dating. She says this relationship unfroze areas of herself she thought she'd lost--which may mean sexual responsiveness, but also conceivably playfulness, the ability to goof off, intellectual curiosity, emotional vulnerability, and so on. She suggests she was slow to seize this chance to have a happy relationship with her bf on account of 'trust issues'. She reports a bad 'track record' with men. Is she exaggerating the discomfort that her disclosure would cause--is her concern that things getting out into the open would have bad consequences for her magnified by her anxieties? It's a possibility. Equally, there might be something about the close relationship between the two men she isn't communicating--her bf might be grossed out, hurt, alienated by the thought of her with his 'best friend'. This is possibly something that could be held against her for not revealing. There would not be any generalised prejudice, anything culpable or that I'd feel the bf should just get over, in his feeling this way.

Possibly her line is to dip a toe in the water by saying something like ... oh, that she regards their mutual close friend as a Platonic friend and isn't normally attracted to him, but felt a strong attraction one time a way back in the past--and see how the bf reacts. If it's with marked aversion, she wants to be sure her friend is not going to spill independently if she's staying stumm. It’s also possible that the longer she stays together with her bf, the more this troubling episode will recede into the rearview mirror as a minor stumble in her past.

But my main advice wouldn't be either 'spill' or 'bury' but work out why you're so anxious or self-doubting. Lots of people have dubious romantic relationships throughout their twenties. Just because things went badly in the past doesn't mean they'll go wrong again. Relationships are stronger, and offer most support, when you bring all of yourself to the party--your vulnerabilities and shortcomings as well as your strengths; your wit, humor and imagination; your sexual fantasies, including those for which you have the most potent ambivalence. Don't withhold yourself because you fear being hurt and good luck with your new guy!

24

@18. Donny. Her bf could be fine with her sleeping with someone else while they were in the initial stages of hooking up together seriously ... so long as it was with anyone but his closest friend. This isn't something for which we could blame him (imv). There are close, brother-like relationships between men in adolescence and one's twenties--which are threatened by the men's having the same sexual partners--that aren't created so easily in later adulthood.

25

@21/BiDanFan: “So, yet again, women can't win. I remember a few weeks back when the woman who chose not to tell her nine-year boyfriend that she had had a prior affair with her married boss was blasted in the comments for not sharing this with the boyfriend who had a ‘right to know.’”

That LW specifically asked his partner at the start of the relationship about her previous relationships and she did not disclose a three year relationship. That is a big difference. Commentors weren’t suggesting that she was wrong for not disclosing unasked, and many commentors took LW to task for freaking out after nine years.

26

LW2 - Meh, who HASN'T had sex with a married man who's Wife Just Doesn't Understand Him?

27

LW1: it's really not a big deal, but if it's really eating at you so much, fine, go ahead and tell him. Personally, I'd be like "didn't really need or want to know that," but you could justify it by saying "well, since we're all in the same friend group, I didn't want it coming up later, so figured I'd give you the FYI."

re: LW2 - this is substantially different from the other situation. She did a bad thing once, repented, learned from her actions and resolved not to do it again. That's what humanly flawed but basically good people do. The other chick screwed her boss for three years (immoral and just plain stupid) and doesn't seem to consider it wrong. Three years is a pretty long time to do something - that's a pretty solid indication of character right there.

28

Philosophy @1: Why would an inevitable consequence of learning that one's partner was no angel in their past be "to feel like shit"? Why should people feel it is their responsibility to keep significant others in a fantasy land where no one ever does anything they regret? If they can't handle the fact that life is sometimes messy, that is their issue.

Sublime @25: Good distinction. We don't know how MGSP's past, short-lived affair came up in conversation. I also don't disagree that the main villain of that piece was considered to be the snooping, judging boyfriend. Just wanted to point out instances of "She should have told!" versus "She shouldn't have told!" Telling is a risk, and so is not telling. People use their best judgment which sometimes turns out to be wrong.

Roseanne @26: Good point! This is How We Learn. The fact that she feels terrible about it means she's a lot less likely to make this mistake (again) than someone who has never made it in the first place.

Traffic @27: I disagree that she doesn't seem to consider it wrong. If she didn't feel guilty, she wouldn't have hidden it. I agree that in both cases, the affairs reveal something about the respective women's characters. In MGSP's case, that her conscience is exceptionally strong and that she is therefore a keeper.

29

LW1 - Before you do anything you can’t undo (like telling the BF what happened), do remember that it’s not just your relationship in the crosshairs here. You could be dropping a bomb on his relationship with a very close friend, too. Does that change your mental calculations at all?

LW2 - Get over yourself. This had nothing to do with you, and you have no standing to judge her over it. If you can’t let it go, break up with her now (she doesn’t deserve to have you looking down your nose at her forever for this, and you’re standing at the edge of the Emotionally Abusive Asshole crater; get out before you fall in), and do some serious self-reflection before you try to date anybody else.

30

I disagree pretty strongly with Dan's advice to WWAS. Having to carry this secret is clearly causing her distress, which is bound to manifest itself in the relationship. You may think she has no reason to be distressed, and you may be right, but your reasoning is unlikely to change how she feels. For her, this secret is a burden; she will need to unburden herself sooner or later, and sooner is better than later. My wife cheated on me 8 years ago. For me, the cheating wasn't so hard to deal with as the fact that, during the five years between when the cheating occurred and when she told me about it, she would constantly accuse me of cheating, without any apparent reason. I'm not saying that WWAS would do that, but guilt makes people behave in irrational ways. Both you and your partner deserve your true self, not your guilt-ridden self.

32

Wow. A one-time hook up with a married guy that she seemed to have gained some amount of wisdom from later is "sketchy" in your book? You need to look at your tendency towards judgment.

33

@6 I was making light of LWs passive language.

Also my question was which happened first: they got serious after "one or two" hookups, and Lw was with someone else after "a couple of" hookups. So did things get serious before they slept with someone else? Which number is greater?

34

In MGSP's defense, they might be young, as Savage @16 says -- we tend to see the world in starker shades of black and white with little lived experience -- and/or they might have -just- found out this information. Quite often letters read as if someone is reeling from a bombshell and this is one of them. To their credit, it does sound like they want to get past it, so hopefully they'll be able to look at their own past and find a mistake they made and learned from.

Sporty @33, stop being obtuse. You know that "couple" means "two." So she meets Future Boyfriend, they have casual sex on approximately two occasions, she has active-voice sex with Friend on precisely one occasion, then she makes a monogamous commitment to Future-Now-Current-Boyfriend. The math is not difficult. (In fact, perhaps it took the drunken hookup to make WWAS realise she wanted to get serious with Now-Boyfriend, in which case she could try considering it a secret gift to him that does not need to be disclosed.)

35

In case you are still unclear on the timeline: "I feel guilty for not telling my boyfriend about hooking up with our mutual friend. It was before either of us had realized that we wanted to take things further."

But what? You've decided you don't feel much sympathy for this LW based on her tone? Hmmmmm.

37

@34 Yeah. That first paragraph. People are way too harsh on here towards people who are just young and dumb. It's one of the cruelties of aging, the inability to remember what it was like to be 21 and inexperienced. I remember being very black and white about cheating - the person who cheat is an asshole and should be dumped. I haven't cheated myself in the intervening decades but I've changed my concept of it. People make mistakes, people can choose to let that define their relationship or they can grow from it.

Aging is the best and the worst.

38

Sublime, generally agree, but I think it changes things a bit that LW was friends with the Mutual Friend before she met the Boyfriend- he was her close friend too. This isn't a case of someone meeting a hookup and then fucking his friend too. From her point of view, she's hooking up with someone casual that her friend introduced her to, then hooking up with her own friend. It's bad judgement all around (and they seemed to realize this later, hence the conversation) but the LW had just met the Boyfriend. Mutual Friend was the one with loyalty to both, not Boyfriend or LW.

39

Completely disagree.

LW1 should spill now instead of hide it, get married, and possibly have a husband who won't sleep with her but she is bound by monogamy to when the truth comes out.

How many people were around while they were partying together?

She has a golden opportunity to discover now whether her boyfriend is reasonable or overly controlling. So long as she admits it was a mistake in judgement to sleep with the friend given her feelings for bf. If one person has some tendencies toward nonmonogamy this may also appear, maybe bf doesn't think it was a mistake at all who knows. But she might avoid giving him a very bad surprise in the future by navigating the mistake now. If they are really serious then this is really important.

LW2, people are really amazing sets of strengths and weaknesses and desire. But they are not like toys that you can change easily or swap parts between. If you are concentrating more on the bad things than the good things with this person, you should have already broken up with her. You could try never discussing this nearly irrelevant part of her past that you don't like with her, and see if you still like a relationship with her, if you really want to give the relationship a shot though. I agree with Dan about this one I guess. I just think that it's better to know if you're with a guy like this or not before you start to get really serious. It's almost like he's assuming that the first boyfriend is going to be unreasonable like this. That's not very nice.

41

There are two reasons LW1 could possibly have to disclose: her guilt, or her belief that someone else will tell her BF about it.

For the first, you have to forgive yourself. If hooking up with two people in the same friend group is that great a crime then every college student ever has a lot of apologizing to do.

For the second, if you have any friends who think bringing up your previous hook ups in front of your monogamous partner is a good idea then you need better friends. And if you really think Mutual Friend will say something then he's a shitty friend to both of you.

42

Cocky @36: He wasn't her best friend. And she knows -- they both know -- it was a bad idea! Sounds to me like she had always fancied him, and then he became single just as she was becoming interested in this new guy, so they took the opportunity to boink now because they might not ever have it again. Dick move? More like a thinking-with-one's-dick move, again, physical dick not required. If she decides not to tell, she should forgive herself. She's great at rationalising, not so great at forgiveness. If they both feel like this was wrong because they knew Now-Boyfriend would be hurt, then yes, it's their joint punishment to deal with the angst of keeping it quiet. But if there is anyone else who knows, she should definitely speak up and do damage control before the grapevine outs her.

Sporty @40: Loosely translated, "you win." I'll take it, and consider the subject dropped.

43

Agree with Dan, though she doesn’t need to shove it down any memory hole. Who she slept with before she and her bf got serious is not his concern.
The second letter from Mr she’s got a sketchy past, same to you bud. Second time one of you moral purists has written in recently, what’s going on. We left the fifties behind.

44

My advice to Ms Sketchy is to get the hell out of this relationship. A man who thinks like this,
‘oh I’m struggling with this, she’s got a sketchy past’, sounds like a bore.
Go find yourself a virgin LW2, then her sexual past will be pure as snow.

45

LW1, you sure this guy is the deal, because if he’s getting all upset and withdrawn, after how long, I’d be out of there as well. Moody people are always making one feel their moods are one’s fault.

46

If LW1 is just thinking about Friend because she's over bf and bored and craving drama etc then I think she should skip it and cut the poor guy loose... Maybe she is not thinking commitment and future but just about the other sex, only she knows.

47

Comparing apples and oranges. If she had hooked with someone who doesn't consider her bf his brother, then really no big deal, But she didn't (it was a really shitty thing for the mutual friend to have fucked her). To be crude about it the concept is bros before hoes. Since he is a mutual friend, it fair to assume that the friend was aware that the LW and his "brother" were hooking up.

The only really comparable situation would if her bf had fucked her bff. In that situation, how would she feel about it.

I have no idea what she should do. Does anyone else know about this? Even the best of friends can become enemies, in which case there is no guarantee that their mutual friend will not tell her bf.

The kindest thing to do would be to let him get on with his life without her. If her relationship really goes south (think Lena Headey/Jerome Flynn bad, they've been on GOT for years and their is real hatred between them), can she guarantee that she wouldn't use this to hurt him (say if he cheated on her)

48

@28 Yeah, I didn't say any of those things. Wow.

49

Skeptic @47: If anyone broke that "bro code" it was Friend, not WWAS. Good idea for her to ask herself, If BF had hooked up with my best friend at that time, would I want to know?
I keep going back and forth on this because there's not enough information here, a lot depends on what kind of person BF is and how incestuous their group of friends is. Generally I would say yeah, telling will probably do more harm than good; she technically did nothing wrong, and what he doesn't know won't hurt him. But what he doesn't know IS hurting him, because every time he gets upset and needs sympathy and support from his partner, she acts all paranoid and weird instead. NoHighway @30 makes a compelling case.

Philosophy @48: You said this thing: "You don't get to unburden yourself into the other person so you can feel free and they can feel like shit." Perhaps you should explain what you meant, if I've misinterpreted it.

50

My reading is the LW has been friends with man1, and she fancied him. Then man1 introduced LW to her now bf. Nothing is said about the men being best friends.
Bros before hoes is a disgusting phrase.

51

BDF That was my second point. It was a really shitty thing for the mutual friend to have fucked her. My first point was that Dan used was comparing apples to oranges. If she had hooked with someone who doesn't consider her bf his brother, then really no big deal. The appropriate comparison would be not if her bf had fucked a stranger, but if he had fucked her bff. How would she react/feel in that situation. My third point that even strong relationships end with the parties bitter enemies. She can not rely on the 'brother" remain (under all circumstances) silent and take the secret to his grave. Or that she herself will never use the secret to hurt her then ex-bf. It is big deal because of effect on her bf of disclosure at some future date. A soul crushing double betrayal (doesn't matter what the root cause was, it would be that they kept it a secret for so long) and humiliation. In the worst case he could react as if it had been a shared joke on him and at his expense. If she tells him now it may end her relationship with her bf and will likely destroy the friendship, but she won't be racked by guilt. She WILL have to deal with the unpleasantness that the disclosure may create. A damned if you, damned if you don't/choose you poison situation. The longer the secret is kept, the greater the pain upon a future disclosure.

52

There is no secret, she got with her new bf a couple of times, then had sex with Man1. They both didn’t enjoy it, and returned to being platonic friends. Her connection with her new bf got serious and now it’s six months later. These people are in their twenties, at least she is. Lots of groups in that age bracket mix it up in their friend groups. What is there to feel guilty about. Even if the bf finds out, so what. It happened before the LW and he got serious.
Let it go LW, what good will come of making an issue of it now, after six months. You did nothing wrong, neither did Man1.

53

Lava @50, she says the friend "loves my boyfriend like a brother." Also, she didn't say they didn't enjoy the sex -- she says they both decided it was a bad idea given her new involvement with his friend. (She should have given these men names -- I'm going to call the friend Fred and the boyfriend Bob.) Anyway, after sleeping with Fred, she and Fred decided that it was a mistake and they shouldn't tell Bob. She tried Dan's approach of stuffing it down the memory hole, for six months, but it isn't working. Good point, Skeptic @51, that it may not have been a betrayal of anything at the time but keeping it a secret might be. WWAS should have told Bob about Fred at the point when they decided to get more serious. Perhaps when Fred comes up in conversation, she could try a light, "Did you know that Fred and I hooked up once? It was before you and I were a couple." Technically true and phrased as the no-big-deal it is.

54

LW1 should keep silent. If she’s having trouble with her unreasonable anxiety or guilt, she should see a therapist. Nothing else is ethically required and the chance of a bad result from disclosure is high at this point with little benefit. She should keep the promise she made it to the friend guy not to disclose. He also has a stake here and his relationship with her boyfriend is longer than hers.

LW2 needs counseling to unpack the basis for his unreasonable feelings - whether they stem from bad but common social, family, or religious conditioning - so he can let them go. Otherwise, he needs to let her go before he becomes that abusive guy he doesn’t want to be.

56

Cocky @55: That the two men aren't actually related?

58

Fan, she writes “ .. it wasn’t a good decision.”. May imply it was because of her fucking her now bf, it doesn’t say that. She was friends with Man1 before she met the new guy. Why would they worry re her with the new guy if it wasn’t serious yet?
She’s in her twenties. I won’t do any more confessions about how I behaved in that decade, I do remember the etiquette around fucking friends of friends, was pretty loose.

59

Again Cocky, you are overlooking the fact that LW and the Mutual Friend were close friends first before he introduced her to his friend. The (later to become) boyfriend was just a casual acquaintance to her at the time. I'm sure from their (LW and Mutual Friend's) POV, they were just two close friends hooking up.

It would be a dick move if I met a guy somewhere, slept with him, then he met my female sister-like best friend through me and turned around and slept with her. I'd say the person doing the dick move would be my sister like best friend in that scenario, not the guy who had no loyalty to either of us. But this is not analogous to the LW's situation.

What would be analogous is if I introduced a close male platonic friend to my sister-like bf and they fucked casually. Then later, while hanging out with my close male platonic friend, we ended up having sex. Did my close male platonic friend do anything dickish? No. He was only casual with my sister like bf. He had no loyalty to her. Did I do anything dicksih to my sister like bf? Perhaps- if I thought that she and my close male friend might be on to something. But if I was under the impression that they'd just casually fucked, why would it matter to her if I fucked him, seeing as I have a longer lasting and established close relationship with him myself? I suppose that in my more cautious mind, I'd ask her first to clarify that she wasn't actually really into him, but if she'd indicated that it was casual, I'd see a green light here.

60

LG Isn't it the same etiquette as fucking a friend's ex-girl or worse ex-wife. It's something you don't do to a friend, if you want to keep the friend. Besides who needs that amount of drama

61

What is LG?

62

LavaGirl

63

oh shit, I see, sorry I totally mis read that. I thought you were comparing the etiquette around something called LG to the etiquette around dating a friend's ex, ha ha ha

64

Things like this seldom end well. Regardless of what they say now, there will always be the temptation to do it again. It's just sex, where's the harm in that. A sexual tension between the two that didn't exist before. Men are visual animals, he has seen her naked and he has fucked her. Those are images that he will remember whenever sees her wearing a swimsuit or sexy outfit.

65

Cocky @57: In that case, because she knew (and liked) Fred before she had ever met Bob, and whom she sleeps with is her choice? Honestly, the idea that -future- partners have some right of ownership over people is not sitting at all well with me. Now if it were the other way round, if Bob had introduced WWAS to Fred as someone he was seeing, and Fred then proceeded to sleep with WWAS, that would have indeed been a dick move. But that's not how it happened. And at any rate, this concept of "bro codes" denies the women's agency in choosing whom they have sex with. Why was it Fred's responsibility to turn WWAS down? Lava/EmmaLiz, you've got it right. If someone has broken your best friend's heart or been abusive, it would be really shitty of you to shag that person. If not, that's how many people meet -- through friends, sometimes including friends you've slept with. If Bob had told Fred, "I really like WWAS and I hope to get more serious with her," and then Fred slept with WWAS, yes, that would have been shitty. Again, no evidence that's the case, it was just people in a group of friends having casual sex, then two of them deciding to become a couple.

66

Skeptic @64: "Regardless of what they say now, there will always be the temptation to do it again." How do you figure? I have a number of friends I've (drunkenly or no, repeatedly or no) slept with in the past and have no desire to do again. And dude, wouldn't most men picture most women naked upon seeing them in a swimsuit or a sexy outfit? What is the harm in remembering sex from one's past, anyway?

68

“Missed it by thaaaat much.”
-Maxwell Smart

69

BDF You have your experiences and I counter with mine. Also this type of situation has been considered previously. [e.g. Savage Love Letter of the Day: Two Dicks, One Girl (Who Happens To Be Engaged to Someone Else) by Dan Savage • Jun 29, 2016 at 4:22 pm]

70

I don't know if most men would, many men would, but I'm not sure if most men in the world would. Whether it be cultural taboos against nude (burkas) or personal probity. While I have a vivid imagination, I do picture women naked when they are dressed provocatively. I am more likely to wonder what it would be like to fuck them.

71

Woo Hoo and I wasn't even trying for 69

72

Typo: While I have a vivid imagination, I do not picture women naked when they are dressed provocatively, unless I have previously fucked them and know what they look like naked. Since I have fucked them and seen them naked, mentally stripping them naked should not offend the woman. Whereas mentally undressing someone I have not fucked would be rude without there explicit permission. I am more likely to wonder what it would be like to fuck them.

73

@cocky-

I didn't interpret the secrecy that way. They've only been together a few months total. You don't immediately tell people you are casually fucking about other people you've casually fucked unless there is some expectation (or request) for disclosure. Assuming he didn't ask and she didn't lie, then it's natural that she would not say "oh hey btw I fucked our mutual friend last weekend and it was a mistake!" Also yet again I have to stress that she had (at that time) more loyalty to the mutual friend- the existing and longer term relationship- than to this new guy that she'd only been seeing a few weeks. So her not telling at the time might've had very little to do with her dating this guy and more to do with respecting her friend. It's bad form to go about telling others when you hook up with someone, especially if it's in an existing friendship. Don't kiss and tell and all that, plus if they felt it was a mistake the next day they may not want to dwell on it.

Then the relationship with this guy became serious- perhaps she should have disclosed then but there aren't hard and fast rules about this and again, it's pretty normal to not tell all when thing first start to become serious. The time to do so is around the six month mark, and here she is considering. I think the longer she goes without disclosing, the harder it will be to do it later. I agree with NoCute and others above though that this just shows us how fucked up our society is about sex. Also I'd add how weird some guys are about how they feel about sex with the same women- the "bros before hoes" stuff referenced here is pretty out of place considering that the LW and the mutual friend were friends first before the LW met the boyfriend and considering that the mutual friend introduced them, and yet still that framework is so embedded in people's minds that they are focusing on that aspect of it.

@skeptic & others regarding seeing someone naked or remembering sex- I don't see what it matters. We see friends in bikinis as well. We sometimes see them naked for non sexual reasons. Who cares if someone is thinking of you sexually in their own private minds so long as they don't act on it. I don't know how much the existence of a previous sexual relationship correlates with how much a guy thinks of sex with a woman anyway- seems like they'd do it anyway if the attraction was there and it seems like the fact that the sex wasn't good and that they regretted it later would color that memory. I actively try to avoid thinking about bad sex as usually the feelings around it aren't pleasant.

75

I guess the difference is that I don't see at all how it is "disrespecting a friendship" to have sex with your good friend if you've recently had a casual hookup also with his friend. To me, it seems more like you are assuming that people agree on what behavior is considered respectful. It would only be disrespectful (on the part of the mutual friend) if he thought his buddy was hoping for something more than casual with the LW. But even in that case, I don't see how it would be disrespectful from the LW's point of view since she and the guy had agreed that it was casual sex and it's not the business of her casual sex partner whehter or not she has sex with her own good friend.

You say you aren't concerned about loyalty which leaves me a bit baffled by what you think is disrespectful between people who know one another having casual sex with one another.

I'm not getting into any animal-nature bullshit as those conversations can always be used to justify anything at all and are totally irrelevant and boring. If it makes people feel bad because of biological reasons, then there wouldn't be such a range of different responses to the same situation. What you think of as decent and respectful is entirely personal and social- as other people have stated as well, I wouldn't give a flying fuck if a friend of mine and I had casual sex with the same guy, it happens all the fucking time in social groups.