-- Question for John --
My boyfriend and I just got engaged and plan our wedding for a year from now. The problem is that when we first started dating, his best friend came to visit. They went out drinking half the night and my boyfriend fell asleep. In the meantime, his best friend hit on me. Telling me that “he knew I wanted it too.” The fact was, I was very attracted to him.
His friend and I ended up kissing and a bit more but I stopped things before we had sex (though he kept asking and pushing me). The problem is that I wanted to tell my boyfriend from the beginning. We had just started dating; he knew I was still seeing other people, and we had not decided to be monogamous yet. So, if it were anyone else, it would not have been a problem at the time.
The reason I didn’t tell him is that I didn’t want him to be disillusioned with his best friend. Now, his best friend is going to be in our wedding. He is also getting married himself next year. (He is in a long-term relationship so he was cheating on his girlfriend with me at the time as well.)
I don’t know if I should tell my fiance before we get married or just take this secret to the grave with me. I don’t want him to lose his best friend, but I feel bad going into a marriage with this secret between us. He realizes his best friend is “sometimes a pain” but says that he doesn’t get upset with him because “he’s never done anything to hurt him”. I beg to differ. His friend obviously lacks any respect for him so it makes me sad that he places such faith in him. His friend also cheated on his fiance with another (girl) friend of my fiance’s in the past. He’s just a jerk. How do I tell my fiance this? Or should I just let it go?
-- Answer from John --
There are two schools of thought on this kind of disclosure.
One school is the “Just don’t rock the boat” school which would advise that the risk of upsetting your boyfriend outweighs any possible advantages of telling him. This school would take the attitude that what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. And so you should just let it go — or take it to the grave.
The other school would advise that this event lives on in you and in doing so it form a kind of mini-wall between you and your boyfriend. You carry some emotions about the old event itself — and you also carry your knowledge and attitude about his friend that your boyfriend doesn’t yet know — and these are all not going away — unless you can figure a way to send them up into orbit or bury them in the center of the earth. This school would suggest that if you want to show up with maximum authenticity in this relationship — then disclosure is necessary — especially if you recognize that this thing is separating you, even in some small way, from your boyfriend. Going for authentic intimacy is a process that often chooses the more uncomfortable option over the more comfortable one — it is a process of continually growing and facing new challenges and moving through fears that hold you back.
I guess you can judge which school I belong to by the amount of words I devoted to describing each school. I am curious which one appeal to you more. And very curious about which you will decide.