I didn't cheat on my girlfriend but it might look like I did; I flirted with my friend but I don't want it to be emotional. What to do?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a weird quandary here regarding cheating (but not really), and I'm not sure how to reslove it properly.
I'm (mid-20s) currently in a committed relationship with a wonderful, sweet, supportive, and very very attractive girlfriend (mid-20s). We're monogamish, as Dan Savage would put it -- we're open to each other sleeping with other people in a non-emotional manner. I'm okay with her sleeping with other girls, and she's also okay with me sleeping with other girls. (And this has worked out totally fine on her end)
She's brought up her okayness at me sleeping with other girls this multiple times, on her own and without any prompting from me. I even once kept on asking - 'are you sure?' and 'I don't know if I'd be interested', but she maintained that she would be okay with it. However, she insisted on one condition: That she would not know that I had slept with another girl.
Her explanation was that, as long as she didn't find out, she wouldn't be jealous. And as long as I kept the physical relationship purely physical and non-emotional, then no real harm would be done to our emotional relationship, and thus it would be okay. (Again, this is totally and absolutely coming from her -- I asked her, 'are you sure?' multiple times, and she was pretty firm. For what it's worth, my conditions are that she tell me with total transparency when she sleeps with other girls, and she's totally fine with that, and I trust her.)
So, last night I had a drink with a female friend who I hadn't seen in a few years. There was a lot of good tension, and a lot of great conversation, and while I definitely am not attracted to this person in an emotional way, I was interested in flirting and perhaps having something physical. However, I really wanted this friend to fully and completely understand the situation as well, and for her to be totally okay with it, before anything happened.
I walked her back to her place last night. At the last moment, I asked if I could come up. She said, after hesitating, "not tonight", because she had to work early tomorrow -- and then she said, "definitely some other time". I gave her a (chaste) hug, and then said goodbye. And then over text message, she reiterated that I should come over some other time by saying that 'she was happy I said what I said'.
The problem is - our conversation over drink was more abstract/professionalish conversation about our interests and our places within our lives. So I didn't really get a chance to talk about my currently relationship with my (wonderful) girlfriend. I know I could have, but the chance didn't appear. I had the idea that I'd go up to her place, after which the charade of flirting would have been a little bit dissipated by the clarity of "yes, come upstairs". Then, I'd explain my current relationship and the situation, and I'd see then if my friend would be comfortable with it at all.
But since I didn't get to go up, now I'm concerned that my friend has the wrong perception of things (and I'm pretty sure she does). She's been texting me once or twice through the day, with more quasi-emotional contents than flirty ones. And since I don't want this to be a romantic thing, I feel horrible and bad. Since I'd rather not have my girlfriend see these texts and misunderstand the whole situation as an emotional cheating situation, I feel like I have to hide my texts, which makes me feel even more horrible.
Above all, I want to be with my girlfriend and be friends with my friend, and if I could zip backwards in time and have not have walked her to her place, then I definitely would have.
Added complication - my friend is traveling for a while, so the soonest I'll see her is probably in mid-January. If she was around then I'd ask to go get coffee or lunch and explain the whole thing in person and apologize for leading her on / misconstruing things. But since she won't be, that's nearly impossible -- unless I see her tomorrow, during the day.
I guess the worst-case scenario would be to wait a long time, have my friend text/contact/email me in a flirty/emotional matter, to have my girlfriend accidentally find the text and to be surprised and hurt, and for me to explain to everyone way later, and to lose a friend and to have a hurt girlfriend.
So I could do a few things -
1) I could talk to my friend in person tomorrow (but I'm about 90% sure she won't be free)
2) I could wait until mid-January and talk to my friend in person.
3) I could send her an explanatory email explaining the whole thing and apologizing, but I don't like the fact that I wouldn't be able to talk back-and-forth with her
4) I could explain the whole situation to my girlfriend, making her slightly jealous, and also talk to my friend. But since my girlfriend had explicitly said not to tell her, I feel as if I should resolve this without involving my girlfriend --- especially since nothing has happened on my part, whether emotionally or physically. And so I feel like my desire to explain the situation is really my desire to relieve myself of feeling horrible, which feels selfish.
At the same time, I wonder if I'm over-reacting. However, I really don't want anyone's feelings to be hurt. What do you think?
TL;DR: I (didn't) cheat on my girlfriend by hitting on my friend, who seems interested in a relationship which I don't want, but I can't talk to her in person for a month and don't want to mislead her on, and don't want to have my girlfriend "find out" and be hurt