How are you?
What's been happening?
Hope June is treating you well.
Anyhooza, I thought I'd just start with a few pleasantries before you realised what a completely terrible person I truly am. Okay here goes:
I've made heaps of new friends at university this year and have become really close with a guy we'll call Eric. We study together, have sleepovers, watch movies, do all of your usual friendship things. I think you'll get where this is going. Of course, I now like Eric. A lot. He's great. One problem: girlfriend. They've been dating for about ten months now and she seems really nice. Anyway, on one of those sleepovers Eric hopped into bed with me... We shared a kiss, he said it was wrong, I agreed, and I then went on to confess my feelings for him. He was lovely about all of it, in essence rejecting me but never actually saying he didn't like me.
Everything went on as per usual, we basically pretended it didn't happen and I didn't feel guilty for his girlfriend because I had been rejected, my heart hurt and I was paying for what I'd done. I wish the story ended there, but after finishing all of our exams Eric and I, along with all of our friends from university, went out partying. We all went back to stay at his house, and things got very very frisky/physical between me and Eric. We both agreed that it should never happen again, but then we said that the last time as well.
I'm ashamed and disgusted with myself. I feel like an absolute whore, and the worst thing is I know that I now am one. I never wanted to be that girl who would do something so terrible to another person. What should I do from here Auntie? I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Forgive yourself? Forgive... yourself?! I'm sorry, Sparkler, but it must be said: you're so starry-eyed over this dude—and so self-flagellating over his coupled-up status—that you seem to have missed the part where he's kind of a massive douche.
Case in point: this so-called "rejection"? The one in which he went out of his way to make sure you knew that he does have feelings for you? That's not lovely. That's shenanigans in the first motherfranking degree. This guy, intentionally or not, made sure you stayed hopeful and available to him—even though he knows he's taking advantage of some serious feelings on your part, and even though he likely also knows that you're putting all the blame squarely on your own shoulders for hookups that he himself initiated.
Darling, he didn't reject you; he put you on reserve.
And as these things go, he—not you—is the one who should be riding the Shame Train because you got frisky together. He's the one in the relationship; he's the one responsible for honoring it. And while it is admittedly not awesome to get all makey-outey with somebody else's SO, it's not a crime to fall for a guy who's dating somebody else—and it's also not exactly surprising that you'd have a moment of weakness (or two, or five) when a dude you're over the moon for suddenly climbed into your bed with his mouth open.
Or in other words, I hope you can see the enormous difference between your misstep—being receptive to the advances of an unavailable crush—and what he did, which is cheat on his girlfriend, on purpose, twice, with a person he knows has really deep and complicated feelings for him—and who, precisely because she has deep and complicated feelings for him, is the one person in the world he shouldn't be turning to when he's looking for some meaningless drunky cuddling. What you did is completely forgivable. What he did is... well, not unforgivable, but pretty freakin' gross. Even if he's not intentionally manipulating the situation to feed his ego, and even if he's genuinely torn between his commitment to his girlfriend and his feelings for you, the wanton willingness to mess with your head doesn't speak well of him.
Which brings us to the part where you stop beating yourself up for being human—and seriously, stop that, right now—and start getting just a little bit angry at the way you've been screwed with. You had the integrity to feel bad about what happened, you had the courage to be honest with Eric about how you felt, and he responded by being incredibly careless and cavalier with your heart. You deserve better than that. Yes, you do.
What this means for you: distance. You already know, from painful experience, that this guy's promises to keep it platonic mean exactly nothing in practice. You also know, from painful experience, that you like him too much to resist temptation when he presents himself to be smooched. And together, these things add up to the necessity of keeping him at arms' length in general (and out of your bed in particular)—at least until you gain the perspective to assign blame for this mess to the person who truly deserves it.
Hint: it's not you.
Have you ever smooched an unavailable crush? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more info about how this column works? Check out the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.