Dear Mary: My partner and his friend lied about their intimate past

My boyfriend of six months has a female best friend. At first I was totally fine with this, but there seemed to be a strange feeling in the air – not that they were interested in each other, but I suspected they were involved prior to me being on the scene.

I asked them both outright and they both denied having any prior relationship. I simply did not believe them, my gut told me otherwise.

They had moved away together – they told me that they had absolutely not been involved, and certainly not after moving away from home.

I waited a few months to ask again and this time the female friend cracked and told me they had been together and that it was ‘only a few weeks’.

I was furious about this and did not understand why they had lied to me.

I eventually forgave them both and we all moved on.

However, recently I was looking at her Facebook account and I noticed an old photo that had been left up by her. It was a Valentine’s Day message to him with lots of kisses and cuddles.

I looked at the date, and realised that it was AFTER they had moved away together.

With other bits and pieces of evidence, it has become clear to me that they had quite a long relationship – bordering on a year – and I am devastated to find out I have been lied to again.

I cautiously asked a roundabout question about what the house was like that they had both occupied, and he flew into a huge tantrum, saying he didn’t want to talk about the past and that I didn’t trust him.

I know that they are lying to me. How do I go about dealing with them?

A While some people remain friends with their exes, particularly if the break-up was not acrimonious, it is fairly unusual for a couple to remain ‘best friends’ after a long time together.

From what you say it sounds like this girl is very much a part of your lives and I have to ask why this is.

Previous relationships are not usually pertinent to current ones, but this case is different. I wonder why they continue to be such a big feature in each other’s lives if their love affair is over.

Is there some element of keeping the door open in case it doesn’t work out with you?

Does she also have a significant other? If so the dynamic is totally changed and much more equal. Less a case of a triangle but instead a square divided into four.

However, my guess is that it is a triangle which is somewhat disconcerting for you.

At the heart of it all is why did they choose to lie to you, and then lie to you again?

It may be that it seemed easier in the beginning and then they couldn’t get out of it, but if we go back to the triangle analogy then the two of them knew the secret and you were the only one that didn’t, at least initially, and that was not at all fair.

Now you are faced with what to do about this lying.

Your boyfriend has chosen to have you as his girlfriend and you have chosen him. He doesn’t want to discuss this past relationship despite your questioning. Is this a dealbreaker for you?

I think you at least need to know why it ended – provided he tells you the truth – because this will tell you a lot.

Are you happy with every other aspect of your relationship? Would you be more unhappy without him than you are now?

Have you somebody with whom you can discuss all of this and be sure of getting an unbiased response?

I advise you to have one last conversation with your boyfriend, and if you are happy with his answers then it will be time to let it all go and look forward instead of back. But if you have even the slightest uneasiness, and your gut is still telling you that things are not right, then you will have to think about ending the relationship.

You cannot continue to be unhappy and distrustful because this will just cause you stress.


You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at [email protected] or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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