No, they were solidly broken up so it’s none of his business.
Carolyn is away. The following first appeared on Nov. 23, 2003.
DEAR CAROLYN: Two months ago, my boyfriend and I ended our one-year relationship. It was one of those mutual but still painful breakups, and after a few weeks of slinging insults at me, he finally conceded and we forged what I hoped was the beginning of a friendship.
About two weeks ago, I was out with some girlfriends and met up with one of his friends with whom I have remained close. Quite a few drinks later, one thing led to another and we ended up kissing. We decided it was a mistake and that neither one of us wanted anything to come from it. I feel telling my ex that I kissed his friend will create nothing but a negative situation for all three of us, but his friend feels otherwise and says he won’t be able to maintain a friendship with someone he’s betrayed without coming clean about it.
Am I just being selfish in wanting everything to stay cordial? What should I say if my ex confronts me?
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— Kiss and Tell?
DEAR KISS AND TELL?: If he confronts you, then you tell him what happened. But if he doesn’t, then you kiss and shut up. Not to keep things cordial, because his knowing shouldn’t change that; one sudsy face-sucking does not a betrayal make when you’re solidly broken up. Shut up because it isn’t your ex’s business what passed between you and his friend.
If it helps, I’ll say it again: It’s none of his business. Say it to the friend, too. Say it to your ex. Don’t let your ex’s past insult-slinging (wholly unacceptable, by the way) intimidate you here. When you’re tiptoeing, there is no “friendship” to lose.
DEAR CAROLYN: I have always been the one in my family and group of friends who knew what I wanted to do with my life. Now that I am about to come out of graduate school, I don’t have a clue what I want to do … although I am pretty sure it isn’t anything in my major. When I try to talk to family or friends about it, they brush it off because they think it’s silly of me to say that, since I’ve always been so sure of this career. Well, I am not sure, and I am really freaking out. Am I crazy or what?
DEAR WASHINGTON: Only if you make decisions based on who you think you’re supposed to be, and not who you really are. You’ve figured out you might want an entirely different future from the one you envisioned. No shame there. It’s normal. And lucky — better now than a year or 12 down the road.
Plus, anybody who starts a sentence with “I’ve always been the one who” is begging for an epiphany, the sooner (and bigger) the better. It’s the rare character indeed who fits neatly into one box, much less a box chosen young.
Now you just need to explain this to your intimates. Or not. People who can’t see past the box won’t be, can’t be, a reliable source of advice. Hit your school’s career office; counselors there won’t know you well enough to be anything but objective.
For advice tailored only to you, though, listen to your instincts. Sounds like they’re saying a lot.