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July 2024

Ask Amber: My Best Friend and I Share the Same Boyfriend

Question

Hi Amber

My best friend, let’s call her Lily, and I have been inseparable since primary school. We’ve grown up together and although we have had our minor tiffs, we have always resolved our issues and never been afraid to tell each other anything. We share everything and I thought she was my ride or die. But I didn’t expect to find out we were sharing boyfriends…

Fast forward to last weekend, we were hanging out at my house, and I saw her phone light up because it was receiving a call. When I glanced over, I saw that it was my ex-partner of a year calling her (let’s call him Josh). This is where I made a mistake and now I don’t know how to proceed. Instead of confronting her about this, I decided to quickly go through her phone as she was in the bathroom while all this was happening.

Josh and I broke up in February and as I was scrolling through their text messages, I learnt that they’d been sneaking around behind my back for months, prior to us breaking up as there were messages about meeting up in January. I cannot comprehend what I saw. Was Lily the reason Josh and I broke up? How long has this been going on for? I am genuinely heartbroken by her betrayal.

I don’t know how to navigate this problem as I am in the wrong for going through her phone and to be honest, I don’t want to have to admit that. I’m so stuck on what to do. Any advice?

Answer

Hey there,

Thank you so much for reaching out. I want to start by expressing how much empathy I have for your situation. It sounds like such a tough spot to be in, and I can’t begin to imagine how much pain you must be feeling. Two of the people who I imagine you consider to be some of the closest in your life have made a decision that is extremely hurtful. I imagine you feel betrayed, upset and disappointed on all fronts right now.

In terms of going through Lily’s phone, you’re right in saying it was not the right thing to do. It goes without saying that it is an invasion of her privacy and a betrayal of her trust. It sounds like you know this, and are remorseful for making that decision. While it was definitely wrong, the fact still remains that you now have this information about what Lily and Josh have done. The reality is then, that you have a number of choices of what to do next.

1. You could pretend you never saw any of the messages and go about your friendship and life as usual. For me, I don’t see this happening. I think this betrayal is far too big to brush under the rug and will mean there is broken trust and underlying tension that will eventually lead to the relationship deteriorating alongside your mental wellbeing.

2. You could lie to Lily about how you came across this information and confront the situation. This to me is a question of values. Would you feel comfortable addressing the situation about a lack of honesty and broken trust while not being truly honest yourself? How would you explain how you got this information? Does it feel true to the kind of person you want to be in the face of hardship to make this choice?

3. You could confront Lily with the information you have and be truthful about how you found this out. I know you said that you don’t want to have to admit to this, and I understand why. However, when I think about a situation where I need to make a choice, the question I always find myself coming back to is “What kind of person do I want to be in the face of this?” There will likely be some backlash from the choice to go through her phone, however, that shouldn’t detract from the issue of her betrayal and addressing that directly with her in an open and honest way.

The reality is, that no matter which approach you choose, you will not control how she responds, and you can’t change what’s happened. The only thing you can control in this situation is who you choose to be in the face of it. I truly wish you the best for this conversation and trust that you’ll make the right choice on how to approach this in the best way that you can.

Learn more about recovering from a friendship betrayal here.

Read more of Amber’s advice here.

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Amber Sargeant

Meet Amber Sargeant, The Modern Muse’s resident psychologist, however, you might know her better as The Anxious Psych on TikTok or from her clinic The Sunshine Club Psychology. With a Masters of Professional Psychology, and a Masters of Psychology Practice (Clinical) under her belt, Amber works with all different kinds of presentations from anxiety and depression to personality disorders, ADHD, and everything in between. Her TikTok forms a community hub for accessible information about mental health and psychology in a way that is more approachable and understandable to the average person.

Amber is also someone who also struggles with Anxiety and aims to highlight that while we each have our own experience with difficult emotions and situations, we can learn to manage effectively and to make sure we are still able to build the life we want. Amber is such a warm and passionate clinician and we are so lucky to have her on our team. We can’t wait for her to help our readers “find their sunshine”.