DEAR KELLY: My boyfriend recently went with some friends for the weekend to visit some other friends who graduated last year who are in college. I knew the people he was going with were partyers, but he promised to be good and not do anything bad. He texted me a couple of times during the day but didn’t respond to my texts at night. When I asked him if he was good the next day, he said yes and that he had two beers but that was it because he didn’t want to get messed up and make me mad.
I went over to his house when he got home and when he was in the shower, I looked at his text messages. One message was from one of the guys who he stayed with and it said, “So fun to get baked with you. We gotta do that again soon.” My boyfriend had replied, “Most definitely.” I could not believe it. I was so hurt and so mad and didn’t know what to say. I kind of scrolled at some other texts and it sounded like they smoked on the way up there, then all weekend they smoked and drank. Someone in the group texted some pics and one had him laying on the couch surrounded by handles of alcohol and bottles of beer with a hash of #Crossfaded and #epichangover, so I know they must have partied like rock stars all weekend, so I guess he lied to me. He promised me he had stopped smoking like four months ago because I hated it, and I believed him. Stupid me.
I didn’t confront him that day because I was so confused. Plus I didn’t know how he would react to me reading his texts. When I told one of my friends she said well at least he didn’t cheat on you or anything bad like that, and I said who knows if he did because I can’t seem to trust anything he did that weekend because he doesn’t tell me the truth. I now wonder what else he has lied to me about. Even if he didn’t cheat, I still feel betrayed and lied to and really hurt. I’m not sure if I will ever believe him again.
Is this a deal breaker? What do I do now that I know he lied to me? Please help me.
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DEAR EVIE: Deal breakers are a pretty individual thing. What one person feels is a deal breaker, others might not. No one can decide if something is a deal breaker for you, you have to make that decision. It all depends on what you value and what matters most to you.
I’m not sure what part of this situation you find to be the deal breaker. Is it the fact he lied about the weekend, or that fact he partied like he promised he wouldn’t do? Or is it that you learned he smoked and you don’t approve of this choice? Maybe you don’t feel you can trust him again? There are many potential deal breakers and it’s hard to know what one bothers you the most and which one you are looking for a response to. Or if it is all of the above, your decision may be easier than you think.
Honesty, while not always the easiest, is the best approach. Figure out what part you are most upset about (or maybe it’s all of it) and talk to your boyfriend. Tell him that you looked at his phone and saw texts about the wild weekend he had. Let him know how hurt you are that he lied and feel your relationship isn’t based on honesty and truth. If he focuses his anger on the fact that you looked at his texts, he’s avoiding the real issue. He has a right to be angry with you for reading his personal messages, but that is not the main issue.
Maybe a good approach is to apologize for snooping at his personal messages but tell him now that you saw what you did, it’s hard to see him the way you used to. This has caused you to be skeptical about what other things he has lied about in the past and what other life choices he is making.
Stick to the facts, not just the emotions. He lied to you, he smoked when you had agreed it wasn’t OK, you feel betrayed and wonder about trusting him again. Tell him that drugs and alcohol are deal breakers to you. Perhaps you suggest taking some time apart so you can figure out all your emotions and decide how or if you want to proceed ahead.
Your boyfriend might try and defend his weekend or his decision to party hard with friends. If that’s the case, your decision should be easy. Walk away. If it’s important for him to party, you shouldn’t have to be his mother and watch everything he does or feel like you have to set the boundaries for him. That is his job and not a role you want to take on.
Perhaps you like the person you thought he was, and around his friends he is different. Drugs and alcohol are big issues and you are smart to see this as a big deal. You learned something about him that is hard to forget. The lying is wrong but his life choices are more concerning.
Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email krichardson@ sacbee.com.