I know that you, of all people, will have sound advice about this situation.

My boyfriend takes really interesting pictures. I tell you this to explain why I was on his computer in the first place. He has some amazing pictures from various vacations we've taken, as well as some of his own artsy projects that he kind of keeps to himself because they are "never ready." So I was browsing through his digital photo albums.

That's when I came upon a set of pictures (and one video) that seemed a little strange. My partner's best friend in some rubber get-up... a picture of his ass, a photo of him taking a giant black dildo up his ass. Strange, but I'm still willing to go with it. Then a picture of someone's cock in someone's ass. Then a picture of my partner in some rubber get-up. Okay. Then a picture of said best friend's cock in my partner's mouth! Now, even at this point I'm still crazily willing to chalk it up to gay boys playing around. Then I hit the image that makes the blood drain from my head, my boyfriend on top of said best friend, filming himself fucking him. A video!

I wish that I could say that I was cool with this, but I was not. I wish I could say that I didn't sink to the floor in the most cliche' way screaming and sobbing. I took a photo of the screen and sent it to my boyfriend-of-five-years (out at a birthday party with said best friend) with the comment "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!?!?!?"

I'm feeling like I should make a long story short here. Obviously I was feeling extremely angry, betrayed, and hurt by both of these people. This is something that we never agreed upon. Something that we have actually discussed and both agreed that we would be willing to bring a third in but not seek sex outside the relationship.

I've already forgiven my boyfriend. And he told me that this happened months ago, and both he and the best friend agreed at that time that it was a horrible mistake that would never happen again, that it was detrimental to their friendship and explosive for their respective relationships. I still have so many questions about this whole thing. (Many I've already asked: Is this something you need? Why didn't you talk to me about this? You do know that I'm totally willing to get rubbered up for you (or leathered, or masked, or cuffed, or WHATEVERED)? Have their been any others? etc. etc.) And I feel like we're good and this situation has honestly opened up a discussion about our sex life that I believe he thought was taboo. And, I don't know, maybe I inadvertently made it taboo. I tend to lean vanilla. Obviously this is a conversation that he and I need to keep having... as you say, the relationship is far more important than this single stupid infidelity.

Anyway, here's the crux. Over the last couple of years, this best friend and I have actually become friends. The boyfriend has made it clear that he's not going to stop being friends with him (and I'm not really asking him to). I know that the best friend feels horrible about what happened. I've been avoiding him like the plague. I can feel the need to forgive him pressing on me, but I can't bring myself to bridge my anger. I don't know how I can continue this friendship. I want to forgive him, Dan, but I don't want to forgive him. My ambivalence is driving me crazy. Is it weird that I harbor more anger for him than I do for my boyfriend? Do I just need time? I can't just cut him out of my life because that would be cutting out a huge piece of my partner's life as well. I don't know. What do you think?

Hopelessly Ambivalent

My response—and a bonus letter—after the jump....


Forgive the best friend—let's call him "Gimp"—but not yet.

You're focusing most your anger on Gimp right now, HA, and while that may not be fair, it is useful.

Here's what I think is going on in your head: You're angry but you want to work things out and you've consciously or subconsciously willed yourself to be mad at Gimp instead of your boyfriend. Because it's safer. Because taking all of your anger and dumping it on Gimp is going to buy you and your boyfriend the time you need to rationally discuss/process/get past this single, stupid, and—sorry—ridiculously hot infidelity. By the time you realize and/or are ready to admit that your boyfriend was the appropriate focus for your anger, HA, and your anger with Gimp begins to subside, enough time will have passed that your relationship will (fingers crossed) be back on track.

And when your anger does turn to your boyfriend—or what's left of your anger does—it won't be quite so WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK ALL CAPS anymore and, AS FUCKING SUCH, it will be less likely to destroy your relationship.

But, yeah, you should forgive Gimp—but not yet. And if your boyfriend presses you to forgive Gimp before you're ready, HA, tell him something like this: "Look, honey, if I forgive Gimp now then I'm WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK anger will be directed at you instead. Let me be FUCKING ANGRY HULK SMASH with Gimp while we work to patch things up and once we're solid I'll forgive him and just be normal angry with you."

And after it's all over—once you and your boyfriend are solid, HA, and Gimp is forgiven—I think a rubbered-up, no-hard-feelings, bygones-be-bygones threesome (with Gimp's BF's permission—or, better, yet, participation) would be go a long way toward convincing your boyfriend that you're not vanilla anymore.

Bonus letter...

I'm a 26-year-old bi girl in an awesome, sexually/emotionally/everything fulfilling relationship with a dude who has the best ass in the world. (That's right, I threw down that gauntlet!) I actually I don't have any questions or problems. Rather, I wanted to write a thank-you email. I recently moved to a new city and found myself once again broke, but for the first time in my life living in a room of my own with plenty of privacy—this will do wonders for your sex life! (who'd a thunk it?)—I decided to apply to be a phone sex operator (with my boyfriend's blessing). I was nervous to start, but soon figured out that I am really fucking good at this business—the shit that comes out of my mouth sometimes makes me wonder if I've been possessed by a porn star! I just wanted to let you know that your column/podcast played a crucial part in me having the cojones to actually go for something like this, and as a result you have made many kinky men very, very happy. Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

Got Your Number</blockquote>

What do these two letters have in common? Pictures should have been enclosed with both letters!

Best ass in the world? You threw that gauntlet down, GYN, but you didn't enclose a picture to prove it. That's not something we take a LW's word for around here, GYN. Pics or that ass didn't happen.

And, HA, reading about those photos you discovered—the source of so much pain, I realize, but still— made me want to see them. And I'm surely not the only one who felt that way. Maybe you could send pics of the threesome if it happens?