Coming clean on July 6, 1998...
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have a boyfriend in Japan, and I live in Seattle. We have decided to stay together for the summer and we aren’t supposed to be seeing other people. I, however, have met someone and I don’t know if I should tell my boyfriend or not. It’s just a summer thing and I still love my boyfriend very much. It’s just hard to go from being with someone everyday and then not seeing them for three months. If I told him, I know he would be very upset and would most likely break up with me. What should I do?
If you break up with Summer Thing now, like before you even finish reading this letter, then you don’t have to tell your boyfriend. If you let it go until just before Japan Air flight #123 hits the ground, you do have to tell him.
Okay, now that you’re back, let me elaborate. If so far you’ve hooked up like once or twice, and now you’re like, “That was dumb and unnecessary and Zima-induced, what on earth was I thinking?” then — and I may get in trouble for saying this — spilling to your BF may cause more problems than it’s worth. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: BG does not endorse skulking and conniving, but she also does not endorse the supposedly Gold Standard of Full Disclosure. Often, the case is such that you mess up in a finite, harmless-in-the-big-picture manner, your punishment is that you have to live with the mildly gnawing secret. NOT that you have to hurt someone unnecessarily in the process of — supposedly — expiating your guilt.
And now the other scenario. I assume from what you say that (a) you do love your boyfriend, and (b) he is coming back. Listen, Bridgett, of course it’s hard to go from being with someone every day and then not see them for three months. But if you’re totally into each other, then three months should be that much harder – and that much more dealable. Not that your eye should never wander, not that you won’t wonder “What if…?” Heck, these are things that happen when couples are in the same place. But if you can’t last that long without an extended roll in the “Hey, it’s summer,” then Hey, I worry.