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February 17, 2019

Love Matters: Old betrayal that still cuts deep

Hi Rowan,

My first boyfriend recently admitted he once slept with my best friend when we were at college 30 years ago. I had my suspicions, but she’d always denied it. I’ve been happily married for years (as has she), but I can’t believe how upset I feel. Should I confront her, or let sleeping dogs lie?


No emotion acts more like a time machine than jealousy, propelling us back to the moment of our hurt. In your case, it’s made worse by the fact the deceit was hidden for so long by two people you trusted.

The fact this duo only had sex on one occasion back in student days suggests a spontaneous, drunken mishap, rather than any concerted attempt to pull the wool over your eyes. It’s easy to imagine how terrified your best friend must have been of losing your trust.

I also wonder if this tale has triggered some past insecurity. Did you tend to feel that boys fancied your friend more than you when you were young?

If so, this may explain why your ex’s uncovering of the past has proved so painful.

The question of whether or not to confront your friend depends on your disposition. Do you feel this revelation has built a wall between you and your friend?

It is far better to air the issue than direct passive-aggressive vibes against someone who has no idea what their offence is.

However, if you feel you can put this hurt back in the past — where it belongs — that would surely be the wisest and simplest course. Over 30 years, your best friend’s good deeds on your behalf must far outweigh one moment of youthful folly?

And why has your ex-boyfriend chosen to bring this up now? His motivation seems aimed at causing maximum disruption.

Ultimately, the thing to dwell on here is who is more important in your life: your best friend or your ex from years ago. I know where my happiness resides.

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