In Lalalaletmeexplain's hit column, readers ask for her expert advice on their own love, sex and relationship problems.
With over 200k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.
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I've been in the best relationship I’ve ever had with my boyfriend for the last eight months. We’re both 23. We see each other daily and our social groups have merged so we spend a lot of time together with friends.
My best friend has been in my life since Infant school; we know each other inside out and I trust her implicitly. I've encouraged a friendship between her and my boyfriend because it means a lot to me that they get on – they’ve become really close. Last week my boyfriend and I were watching a video on his phone when a WhatsApp message popped up on the screen from her. It said: “I want to be touched”. I couldn’t see the rest, he grabbed the phone instantly. I went mad and he said that it was totally innocent and that she has been asking him to help her with her sexting skills so that she can impress a guy she likes. I rang her and she confirmed this story.
I asked them both if I could see the conversation thread but they have set their conversation to disappearing messages so there is no evidence. I told her I felt uncomfortable with this, but she mocked me and said my boyfriend wasn’t her type.
Prior to this, on Christmas eve we had all been out drinking. I couldn’t find either of them for ages and when I did, she was sitting on his lap, and they looked shocked, like they'd been caught doing something. I didn’t say anything, and the lap thing wasn’t too odd because we're all very tactile and affectionate as a group, but it did make me paranoid.
Another time he got a call at 2am from a private number. He answered, and I was certain that it was her voice, but he ended the call and said it must have been a wrong number. There have been many more tiny things: looks between them, times when I haven’t been able to get hold of either of them for hours then suddenly they both reappear at the same time.
I do feel concerned, but I’ve got this niggling doubt that I’m being paranoid because I’ve been cheated on before. They’ve both told me that I’m being crazy. My boyfriend makes me feel very loved and I know that my best friend would never hurt me like that. I just don’t know what to do.
Whilst it might seem glaringly obvious to people reading this that you are not at all crazy for feeling concerned about the relationship between them, I completely understand why you're looking for an angle that would explain these red flags away. To accept that these warning signs are pointing to infidelity means accepting that you have been betrayed by the two closest people in your life and that is not easy to do.
I don’t think you're being silly or irrationally paranoid, and the fact that you feel that way might indicate that you're being gaslit. The WhatsApp message was completely inappropriate, even if it was being sent as a way for her to practice sexting, she could have done that with you or another mate. There's no reason why your boyfriend was the person to help with that. The fact that their conversation is set on the disappearing messages function is also very odd. Whilst nobody but the two of them can say for certain whether they were lying, I think that the signs very much point to there being something dodgy going on here.
In isolation I can see how those things you describe, like finding her on his lap, and the 2am call, would make you suspicious but not certain. However, when you put these red flags together, even without definitive proof, I think there is enough for you to be clear that their behaviour together is falling outside of the boundaries of friendship. And even if you don’t feel clear about that, then one thing that is clear is that this whole issue is making you feel sick to the pit of your stomach and you don’t feel entirely safe in this relationship/friendship. So, whilst he might be an amazing boyfriend in many ways, this isn’t actually a relationship that is meeting your needs.
Your gut, plus the evidence, is telling you that you are being manipulated and deceived by them both. It’s a lot to get your head around because you put your trust in them. It’s also hard because making the decision to end the relationship means making the decision to blow your whole world apart as there will obviously be a huge impact on your social group too. This shouldn’t stop you from leaving though. I think it’s good to think about what you would do if you knew for certain that they were having an affair. Would you end it with him and stay friends with her, would you remove yourself from them both? Stay with him? What would that look like?
Apart from ending things the other choices you have are attempting to set a clear boundary around their friendship. Tell them that you feel that they have been inappropriate – the sexting is clearly inappropriate no matter how you look at it, let them know that you are uncomfortable and that things need to change, see how they react. Or you could continue on until you catch them in a situation that they can’t lie their way out of, but I’d imagine that doing that would leave you feeling unsure and paranoid for a long time.
Personally, I think there's enough here for you to not need to wait for any more proof, but I understand why it’s extremely hard to accept, especially because it involves your best friend. Your brain is probably scrambling to come up with answers to make it not true because the alternative is hard to bear, but burying your head in the sand won’t make it go away. Speak to some other friends, get some support, and then do what you’d be telling a friend to do if this situation was theirs.
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