What to do when you find out something awful about your boyfriend or girlfriend, while they’re going through a bad time.

Snowball18 asks: My long distance boyfriend’s sister just died, and at the same time I came to know that he had lied to me about not having any girlfriends before me, and about being a virgin too. I am a virgin and this is my first relationship. I don’t know how to react to this – how and when should I tell him I know this?

Hi Snowball18 –


Oh what a horrible story!  I’m so sorry, about his loss and about this awful discovery.


I think the answer to your question, though, is that you need to divide these two issues up clearly.  And ask yourself what you’d do with each.


Now with his sister dying, I imagine you’d be enormously supportive and loving.  You might even try to travel to see him and his family.  You’d listen to his pain, you’d try to comfort him, you’d do everything you could to help him through this so-unfair experience.


But if she hadn’t died, if she was doing just great, or if he’d never had a sister at all… how would you react to this news about his past, and his lie?  Would you just call him a liar?  Would you break up with him?  Would you smash up his home?  Would you growl and bark and bite him so hard you ripped the seat out of his pants (that’s what I’d do, but I’m not saying that’d be necessarily best)?


The issue here is time.  You’re in a horribly confused place because both these things (her passing and your discovery) happened so close to each other.  And you’re too kind a person to bite him while he’s in shock and grief over his sister.  Good!  That makes me like you!


But you need to deal with both things.  My question is, do you think you can semi-lie well, and pretend that you simply haven’t yet heard about his past, for a while?  Can you be absolutely wonderful about his sister, for, oh, maybe two weeks?  And then, only then, bring up what you’ve learned?


If you can, that’s great.  But still, you’ll need to know what you want to do.  Confront him, leave him, or punish him (or any mixture of those)?


And when you do, to coolly point out to him, “By the way, I want you to know, I’ve known this for a while.  But I am too good a person, and care too much about you, to have hit you with this right when your sister died.  But that time has passed.  And now I have to let you know, I just learned about…”


There’s that old line, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”  Well even if you’re not very vengeful, his finding out that you’ve known about this lie all this time… that’s going to feel really weird to him, and likely kind of awful!


Which I think is just great!


All my best,


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