In desperate need of some adult advice here.
A little background info: I’ve basically been in an on/off open relationship with this girl, let’s call her Jessica, for the past 2 years. It really works for us. We tend to keep this to ourselves, and when it does come up, we act like we’re joking about it. I’ve been really good friends with this guy from another town, we’ll call him Sam, for about a year now. Several months ago, Sam and Jessica started dating. Sam knows we have a history, but he thinks it was over a year ago. Because it’s kind of long distance, Sam always jokes about me “stealing his girl,” but you can tell he’s a little worried, even if it’s subconscious.
Over Christmas break, Jessica and I went on a trip to California. We were cuddling in the hotel room one night, and we kissed. No big deal for us. Well, things just started heating up from there I guess. We ended up having sex for the first time that night, MY first time. Afterwards, she jokingly said something about Sam. I don’t remember what it was, but I just started crying. She held me, told me that everything was perfect and not to worry about it right now. We haven’t talked about it since.
Sam is such a sweet guy, and I care about him a lot. Not in the romantic way, but still. He hasn’t got a clue about what happened, and I feel so guilty! I saw him at a school function the other day, and I just had to walk away, I felt so terrible. He’s so committed to Jessica, and wouldn’t ever hurt her or me. If it were just myself and Jessica involved, it wouldn’t be a big deal and we would just get on with our lives. But I hurt Sam, and he doesn’t even know I hurt him. I’m really beginning to hate myself because of it. If I tell him, I’ll cause tension between him and Jessica and he really likes her A LOT. If I don’t tell him, I’ll bottle things up inside, which is never good for me, and will just cause myself to become more depressed and more self-loathing. I want to talk to Jessica about it, but I don’t want to make her depressed either. I can’t stand to see her cry! I never meant for anything to happen, it just sort of happened and I don’t know what to do. Help?
Letter submitted by:
Before diving into your situation, I want you to take a moment to realize that you have not done anything wrong by expressing yourself and letting your attractions and relationship to Jessica “get the best of you,” if you will. Your actions with Jessica do not appear to have been done at all done out of vengeance or spite, but were merely from intimacy and care, so you cannot beat yourself up about this. While admittedly your situation is not the most ideal, it is a perfectly normal one to find yourself in, especially when you truly care about both Jessica and Sam. So before I go any further, reiterate to yourself that you are not terrible in any way and that you are not deserving of anymore self-loathing. In no way am I saying that remorse and guilty aren’t good or necessary, they are, but you cannot let them drag you down or consume you. You are entirely too young to let this keep you from living at your fullest potential.
Now that you have realized that you do not deserve to carry such a huge burden on your shoulders, we can talk about next steps and how to broach this situation. My first piece of advice, especially considering that it immediately concerns the two of you, is that you may first want to discuss this with Jessica. I know you said that you haven’t talked about it since it happened over Christmas break, but that really wasn’t too long ago and it is definitely something – it sounds like – that is really on your heart to discuss. And why would talking to Jessica about this make her depressed? I completely realize that it will not be an easy conversation by any means, and there may be tears, but in no way should your honest, trustful and open discussion driver her to depression. If it does for some reason, you should commend her to our Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, which is available to you and to her 24/7/365 and where you’ll always find a listening ear, support and encouragement. No one should go through these difficult circumstances alone, and we’re here to help you.
And in order to avoid slipping into further depression, you will likely need to discuss this with Sam as well, because like you said, you don’t want to keep this from him and in doing so it will not be healthy for you. I’d recommend speaking with Jessica first and then jointly determining how to approach the situation with Sam. If you and Jessica aren’t in agreement as to how it should be approached, take time to think and weigh the decision. Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you, while also trying to do the best by those who you care for and love around you. But do not let the inhibitions and fears of other trap or engulf you.
You also need to recognize when you’re depressed and work to climb out of that dark pit. When you’re depressed, it can be very painful to feel and can make you isolate yourself from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or more than usual, and make you see everything in your life in a very negative and pessimistic light – which is not the way to live. Sometimes depression can get so bad it can make a person think of ending their life. Sometimes people think about ending their life when they’re feeling very depressed, feel hopeless that things will get better and helpless to make things better in their life, and this is difficult to overcome. But on http://us.reachout.com/facts/depression you’ll find facts and solutions for your depression which can really help you. So take a few minutes to explore that and give yourself plenty of time to process it all. Please also know that there is treatment for depression, including medication and/or therapy. It can help to talk with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist about what you’re feeling and going through including your thoughts on this entire, overwhelming situation with Jessica and Sam in order to get the correct treatment to help you feel better and to help you see choices and options you may not already be aware that you have. On http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. Then on http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx you can search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website, http://www.aglp.org/, for help in finding someone in your area for you to talk and work with. But as I mentioned previously, you also always call us at 1-866-488-7386 and you can also seek out a trusted adult, parent or even school counselor – just ensure it is a safe and accepting environment.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to check out two additional resources that we offer – TrevorChat and TrevorSpace. TrevorChat is a safe, real-time chat experience where you can ask questions to a trained Trevor volunteer, http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat, so find a time that works for you and check it out. TrevorSpace is our safe social network for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, their friends and allies. And considering there are no doubt other teens out there who are experiencing similar situation as you, this could be a wonderful place for you to safely ask questions and inquire of others in similar shoes. Above all, I want to encourage you to be true to yourself and to follow your heart. I can tell from your remorse and guilt that you are a loving, heartfelt and honest person and you deserve liberation from this situation. Keep your head held high and remember that every tomorrow is a new day, and the first day, of the rest of your life.