Hi everyone, today i received a message from someone asking for a bit of advice based on a situation that they had gotten into, let’s dive straight into this;
‘Hi Beth, i have seen that you offer advice and i am really stuck at the moment, i am 17 years old and i have a boyfriend that i have been with for 3 years, recently i have been in contact with an old male friend from my past, i have not told my boyfriend as i know that he is going to be very jealous, a month has passed and i think i cheated on my boyfriend.. this old friend of mine kept asking me to send him pictures of myself and at first i kept saying no but eventually he annoyed me so much that i just sent him one, it had been very innocent, i feel so guilty and i have stopped speaking to this guy, i am scared he is going to tell my boyfriend and i am so scared to lose my boyfriend, can you please please give me some advice? thank you Beth’
(because this person has asked me to keep them anonymous i am not going to reveal their name, obviously).
I am going to break this message down into 3 parts to make it easier for you to try and understand yourself, the first part is your question; ‘Did i cheat on my boyfriend?‘ and in simple terms and harsh as this may be, but, yes, yes you cheated on your boyfriend, now a lot of people may disagree with me on this and even you may disagree with me on this, but cheating doesn’t have to be physical, you don’t have to just kiss someone, have sex with someone that is not your partner for it to be classed as cheating, cheating does come in many different ways…
The reason that i believe that you have cheated on your boyfriend is because for starters you had not been honest with him, you don’t need to tell him every little thing that you do (of course, he is not your parent), but after 3 years together, something so simple such as an old male friend coming back into your life should be something that you should may have mentioned, something simple such as; ‘hey babe, do you remember.. blah blah, me and him have recently gotten into contact blah blah’, you don’t need to explain why because he should trust you enough, relationships main foundation is trust, but because you decided to keep something so simple from him you already put one foot in the wrong direction, the second reason is that you let this go on for a month behind your boyfriend’s back, if you were talking to him innocently then you wouldn’t have had to hide the fact that you were communicating to someone from the opposite sex for so long, you have to put yourself in his shoes, if he was texting a female friend that you knew nothing about for an entire month in secret, ask yourself how you would feel?
Third of all, the picture incident is a huge red flag, your excuse ‘he annoyed me so much’, is not good enough, you have been together with your boyfriend for 3 years and because an old male friend from your past ‘annoyed’ you so much you decided to give in and cheat? this advice is harsh but it’s going to be like that from me, you messed up and you are asking me for advice, i’m going to be real with you and not sugar coat shit.
You said in the email that it had been an innocent picture, now, i am not sure what is classed as innocent in your books, but the fact that you feel so guilty about it and the fact that you asked me if you cheated on your boyfriend i am guessing it had not been such an ‘innocent’ photo that you had sent your male friend, i am never going to be fully able to understand why you chose to do this, but it was wrong and as much as this may break you, you have to respect your boyfriend enough to tell him the truth, no matter what the outcome, but to answer your question, you did cheat on your boyfriend and deep down inside you also know this yourself.
The second part to this question, is about you, what you did is very wrong and you know this yourself, but it doesn’t mean that you are not going to be hurt emotionally, i understand that you have been together with your boyfriend for 3 years and this is a very young relationship, you are both still in the process of growing up, you are both trying to find yourselves and trying to explore and achieve so much in your life’s, after telling your boyfriend the truth (which i really hope that you find the courage to do), this is going to go 2 ways; your boyfriend may take into consideration how long you two have been together and decide to try and work things through with you, this is great and i’m sure that you would love that outcome, BUT.. and this is a huuuge but, he is going to be very insecure, not trust you anymore, he is going to be constantly checking up on you and making sure that he is not being taken for a fool again, of course he is going to tell you different to your face, but in his head he hasn’t truly forgotten what you did and of course that’s normal, it may be one hell of a rollercoaster, but you may both make it to the end of the ride safely, but with a lot of highs and lows on the way.
The second way that this could go is that he is completley shocked and angry at you so he decides to call off your relationsnip, this is going to be heart-breaking for you and it is going to upset you and break you in all sorts of ways, 3 years is a very long time, especially seeing as you have both grown up together in this relationshhip, but it’s a consiquence that you must face, you made a silly silly mistake but in time you are going to learn from this mistake and you are going to realise what it cost you and maybe one day some day in the future you and him could give it a go again, but for now you have to let him have his space, let him be angry, let him get upset and feel like shit, he at least deserves to have time to process what has happened, take these steps;
- Tell him the honest truth, don’t find excuses for yourself (it’s only going to make you look more guilty)
- Apologise, it may mean nothing to him at the time, but you are truly sorry for what you did, so let him understand that
- Accept his decision
- Give him time, as much as he needs, DO NOT bombarde his phone
- Have time to grieve for yourself, you made a stupid mistake, don’t punish yourself, learn from this, process it and never do it again
I hope that this advice has helped you in some ways, eventually no matter what happens, you are going to have to forgive yourself and move on from the situation, but this is why people say that time heals, it really does, i wish you the best in this situation.
Lots of love