GT HIVEMIND HELP ME.
I have (possibly now had?) a great friend. We've been friends for years, we work in the same field, and she's just generally lovely and kind and interesting and fun. I helped her through a difficult breakup of a long term relationship last year, stored a bunch of her stuff when she moved out of the place she was living with her then boyfriend....etcetera.
They broke up officially in December. She had kind of started seeing somebody else while the relationship was falling apart and the then-boyfriend was of zero emotional or physical support. She fell in love, and she's still in it. (No judgement here. She did what she needed to do and is much happier for it). She confided in me about the whole thing and I was more than happy to support her through it all, because I adore her and breakups are the worst.
I was on OkC at the time. So was her ex boyfriend. We started chatting and he was kind of flirty, but I didn't think much of it because he's flirty in general. He was/is in love with my cats (and when he and my friend were together they cat-sat for me for a while....). One night he came over to visit the cats. We had some beer. We slept together. It was fantastic.
It happened again a few times over the course of a few weeks and it was so much fun. I was really lonely and loved having this...thing. The sex was fantastic. I felt guilty, but tried to rationalize it by telling myself they had broken up, she was madly in love, the ex was wholly undateable and I couldn't have romantic feelings for him.....but the guilt became all-consuming and I ended it. I felt like I was betraying my friend by sleeping with the guy she had talked to me so much about. He wasn't thrilled, but understood(ish).
I felt terrible and contemplated telling her about it, but ultimately decided that would only be to assuage my guilty conscience...that if I felt bad, that was for me to deal with, and if she ever found out I'd just own it like a grown up, but otherwise I'd eat the shame I created for myself.
She found out a week ago and phoned me about it tonight. "I've been dreading having this conversation with you." We both cried. She asked me a bunch of questions (when did it happen, how, did you have feelings for him, how long did it go on), and I answered them. More crying on both ends. I apologized a lot. I said I knew it was the wrong thing to do, I've felt bad about it every day since, and that all I could do now was tell her I was really, really sorry. If I had it to do over again, I never would have done it. I said she didn't deserve to feel the way I was making her feel, and that I completely understood if she didn't want to talk to me anymore. She said she wasn't angry, just really disappointed and hurt; she thought we'd be lifelong friends and never thought I'd do something like this. If it was somebody else who she wasn't as close with, it wouldn't have mattered. She confided in me so much about the relationship. I was there through the whole breakup. She isn't sure if we can be friends anymore. At one point she said "I guess we can still be friends, but I'll need some time to process all this." I said she didn't have to decide now; that if she changed her mind, I'd understand. That I'd stay radio silent, and if/when she wants to get in touch she can. More crying. She said she wasn't sure what else to say. I said that was okay. She said she wasn't sure how to end a conversation like the one we were having, and that it was awkward. I agreed. We managed to say goodbye.
I don't know how she found out, and I didn't ask; it wasn't my place to ask questions, and ultimately it doesn't matter. I have been crying like an idiot since, chain smoking, and have had several large drinks.
She means a lot to me, and so does the friendship, but my actions don't reflect that at all. I did an awful thing. She feels hurt and betrayed and I don't know what to do with myself because they were choices I made and there's really no excusing them; it's not really about my feelings. I'm not the victim here. She has every right to be angry and hurt.
I'm just not sure where to go from here, guys. I feel like an awful person and a terrible friend. I have a lot of schoolwork to do but am too busy crying to contemplate doing any of it.