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I Found Out My Boyfriend Has a Secret 

Dear Athena,

I have been going out with my boyfriend for more than two years. We are very serious. He has a friend that I really like, and they have been friends for, like, 20 years. The friend is bi. I just found out that, when they were both younger, they slept together when they got drunk one night. It was even the friend's first time with a guy! That seems like a big deal! My boyfriend is away for a few weeks on a trip, and we talk every day and everything, but, since he has been away, I have started to get really upset that he and the friend had sex a long time ago and he never told me! I feel like he lied. Why did he keep that a secret? I'm so sad about it and worry that they like each other more than friends. What do I do?

Signed,

Left Out

Dear Left Out,

"Secrets, secrets are no fun; secrets, secrets hurt someone" is not just a little catchphrase for kids. That is some truth right there. And I'm sure it feels applicable to you right now. But wait. Was his history with this friend really a secret? Was it really a lie? Or was it just information you weren't privy to until now?

Before you think I'm taking his side, let's look at the facts. His longtime friend is ... still a friend. Many years ago they had sex. Maybe it meant something; maybe it didn't. But they had sex, and then they stayed friends. They didn't date. They didn't end up together. It just stopped there.

If they had had the right chemistry way back when, wouldn't they have tried to make a relationship happen? But they didn't then or in all the years since. So what makes you think they have feelings for each other now? The evidence suggests otherwise.

Don't let the intimacy of their friendship fool you. Unless other aspects of their relationship make you uncomfortable, it appears they left their sexual encounter in the past. And that's where you should leave it, too. Even if the friend does have feelings for your guy, that's his problem. He's taken.

But, since you're sad about this, you should talk to your boyfriend. Tell him that you feel funny about the whole thing. Ask why he never told you before. I'm betting he'll say it never occurred to him — because the whole thing doesn't matter now. And if he does, believe him. That may be hard to hear, but you need to respect your partner's history. All of it made him who he is today.

Here's something else to keep in mind: You are the person he calls when he's away. He's committed the last two years of his life to you. You want to be in his future? Then let his past remain in the past.

Yours,

Athena

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