Hello, world. My name's Stephen LaConte, and this is Hey Stephen — a cozy little corner of BuzzFeed where readers like you can DM me for advice.
Today we've got this woman, who recently met her boyfriend's father and immediately recognized him...from a dating app for sugar daddies. Here's what she wrote to me, via Instagram:
Alright, here's the deal. You've asked what you "should" do in this mess, but there isn't one singular answer to that question; so much depends on your personal comfort level with each of two possible paths forward. So instead, I'm going to ask a slightly different question: What can you do here — comfortably, reasonably, and safely?
For example: Do you feel that you could happily put this behind you without ever speaking about it? If so, I think that's a valid option. It's not your job to police your boyfriend's parents' marriage, and the contact you had with his father was years ago and very minimal. You never even replied to his messages! The fact that he seemed so unfazed by your presence on Christmas may indeed mean that he has no recollection of contacting you or, at least, no intention of ever bringing it up.
And hey, if I'm being generous (insert sugar daddy joke here), it's possible that the father has already discussed his use of that website with his wife. Maybe they have an open marriage. Or maybe he was cheating at the time, but came clean later and they worked it out. You don't know what may have transpired inside their marriage years ago, and it's not your responsibility to find out.
So if you'd rather keep this bizarre revelation to yourself, by all means, keep it to yourself. You mention that you're embarrassed about having once been on a sugar daddy site. For the record, I don't think you should feel that way — you were single, and you did nothing wrong — but you certainly have a right to privacy about that part of your past, if privacy is what you prefer.
However — and this is a big “however” — it's possible that keeping this thing a secret would ultimately prove more uncomfortable for you in the long run. Maybe it would weigh heavily on you, and drive a wedge in your relationship. Or maybe the messages this man sent you were creepy and inappropriate, and you don't feel safe being around him. Or maybe you're worried his DMs are eventually going to come to light, and you'd rather get ahead of them.
If any of those situations applies to you, it probably does make sense to tell your boyfriend what happened. Any fallout it creates in his parents' marriage would be the father's fault, not yours. And at the end of the day, you shouldn't have to bear the weight of this secret if doing so would cause you harm.
If you do choose to tell your boyfriend, you don't need to justify your decision to be on a sugar daddy site years ago, or apologize for it. Nor should you accuse the father of being a cheater — it's likely, but not something you can claim with certainty.
Instead, just stick to the facts as you know them: A few years ago you were on a dating site, an account with your boyfriend's dad's photos messaged you several times, and you never replied. If there are boundaries you'd like to create moving forward — like not being alone with this man at family gatherings — you can assert those in the conversation too. Your boyfriend should respond with respect and agree to whatever boundaries you need. If he doesn't, well, then, you should go with what is perhaps the easiest route of all: Dump him and wipe your hands clean of this mess.
Ultimately, the choice of whether to tell your boyfriend about this can only be yours. Both paths have risks, and both have merit. Just do whatever protects you, and not your boyfriend's father — that's the only responsibility you have in this situation. Good luck. I'm rooting for you.
Oh, and PS: If you do decide to tell your boyfriend what happened, have him DM me. He's probably gonna need some advice too...
That's all the advice I'm giving today, folks, but if you've got any words of wisdom for our DM'er, share them in the comments. I'll be reading...
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