Hooked up with my friend’s boyfriend

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Hey Meredith,

I really need your help with a situation. And I really hope you can consider my feelings.

A couple of weeks ago, I hooked up with my friend's boyfriend. We're not best friends, but we're close colleagues. One day, her boyfriend and I were hanging out in his car and he kissed me multiple times. I pushed him away a few times, but I wound up getting turned on and gave in. We mostly just kissed – no sex. Since then, I've felt horrible. I've wanted to tell her, but I haven't. She'd tell everyone and ruin my image with the people we both know.

A few days after the hookup, her boyfriend and I met up to discuss whether we would tell her. He suggested we keep it to ourselves and move on, and said he wouldn't say anything. At that moment, she called him and he answered – on speaker. And she wound up complaining about me to him! (She didn't know I was there and could hear). I thought, "Why am I feeling so guilty?" After the call he said, "Why would you protect someone who says this kind of stuff about you?" I felt betrayed – and I hooked up with him. So now it has happened twice. No sex.

I want to tell her because it's haunting me. I called it quits with her boyfriend and told him I never want to speak to him again. If I tell her, she'll expose me and everyone will hate me. I don't want that; I want to make it right if I still can. What do you think I should do?

– Feeling wrong

You have two options right now, and both of them cause pain. I can't tell you which path is better for you.

What I can say is that you need to take space from this woman. Be her colleague but not her friend. Don't put yourself in a position where you have to lie about your feelings or hear about her relationship. Stop pretending that everything is the same, and accept that you've changed the dynamics of the friendship forever.

Also accept that your friendship wasn't very strong to begin with. It didn't take much for you to hook up with the boyfriend, and when you overheard that private call, you didn't give this woman the benefit of the doubt. You don't seem to value her much. For so many reasons, it's time to let her go.

Know that because of your distance, she'll probably ask what's wrong, so be prepared to answer. You can say that you'd rather not discuss it, or you can tell her the whole truth. And yes, if you tell her what happened, she'll probably talk about you to your shared community.  All you can do is be honest and apologetic. If you're genuine with her – and yourself – the haunting might stop.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW tell?