Dear Dr. Archer,
My boyfriend has recently moved up-state to Michigan; we had a fling over the summer and I got to know him well, and some of his family. We've only recently decided to have a relationship since he has moved. I've never fallen in love like I have with this guy, but I've done something terribly, terribly wrong.
When he left, his brother and I became friends, and we got along very well together as good friends. One night we got drunk together, and I was so drunk that I passed out and can't remember parts of the night. I do remember one thing though -- I remember waking up in bed, with his brother kissing my neck, and I'm unsure whether we slept together or not.
I didn't technically cheat on my boyfriend, because we weren't together at the time, even though we were in contact with each other. But that doesn't excuse anything; I've done something which can't be undone, and I keep thinking about it. Everyday I know I'm lying to him and I know I've done something so wrong.
My boyfriend is a very possessive person, and would hate any idea of me disrespecting him or anything that seemed like cheating on him. I don't believe his brother would ever tell him, because he knows that would be the end of their relationship. He'd never trust anyone again if he knew about me 'cheating' on him, let alone knowing it was with his own brother.
What do I do? He's coming back to spend Christmas Eve and day with me. I'm acting normal, but I've had so many stresses in my life recently, like family deaths, my home was burglarized and I've opened a new business.
Should I just end things and not give a reason why, or carry on like normal, or tell him? I'd rather things end between us than for him and his brother. I feel like poison infecting his family.
I know I'm a worthless piece of dirt, and I feel like I should die sometimes. I've done something so hurtful! Sometimes I wonder if his brother would tell him or not, and I can't handle it anymore.
I feel like a cold bitch who doesn't deserve love, and should be thrown away in the trash. Please help. I need your psychological advice.
This is a lesson to be learned by everyone. You chose to go drinking with your boyfriend's brother; you chose to drink irresponsibly; you chose, you chose, you chose, and now you must face the consequences. It's called personal responsibility.
Anyone in this situation would have immediately asked the other person, "Did we have sex?", but you do not include that in your letter, which makes me believe you already know you had sex.The thing about secrets, Jen, is that they have a way of coming out eventually.
So, first you have to ask his brother what happened that night. If nothing happened and he was trying to start something by kissing your neck, then that’s on him, not you and you can let it go.
BUT, if you did have sex, then it’s going to get complicated. First, you weren’t with your boyfriend at the time, so you are correct you were not cheating. However, it was his brother and if it ever did come out after the fact it would devastate both families.
There is no right answer here, Jen, only a personal choice. I’ve worked with patients who made a one time mistake with the best friend or a family member of their partner and choose to never say anything and it worked out.
In this case, you were not unfaithful and were not in a relationship with him at the time, so in reality you owe him no explanation. But you clearly feel guilty and based on your letter will never be able to live with yourself without saying something. So this narrows down the choices to two.
Tell him what happened and face the fall-out or leave him now and move on to protect his relationship with his brother. My advice; if you did sleep with his brother, the chances of this relationship working are slim to none.
I know of few individuals in the world that could handle the fact that their future wife slept with their brother. Is he one of the few that could? I doubt it based on your letter, but, if you think so then tell him and deal with the consequences.
However if he is not, then say nothing, break-up and move on. Nothing good will come in telling your boyfriend about the brother unless you want to try to make it work long term. In other words don’t tell him just to spite the brother. He could just say you hit on him, but nothing happened because he turned you down.
Chalk it up to a mistake and a learning experience and also don’t underestimate the role that alcohol played here. I know of so many people that have gotten drunk and done something that they regret forever. I hope this serves as a cautionary tale, not just for you, but for all our readers as well.
Oh, one more thing. You are not a bad person, Jen -- you made a mistake. The simple fact that you are agonizing over this indicates that you have morals and a conscience.
You can read "Making Mistakes and Overcoming Them
" to help you now and in the future. We all make mistakes, not just you. The best thing you can do now is to realize what you've done and learn from it.
Any time we choose to act, there will be an effect -- good or bad. If you anticipate consequences before you act, you will be way ahead of the game. Please let me knowm how it turns out for you. Good luck!