I know, this should be obvious just from reading the title. We all make mistakes in the bedroom, but this is one that happens far too frequently, often with disastrous consequences. One day you’re happily talking with a “buddy” about plans for the summer or your fall class schedule, and the next you are drunkenly and awkwardly fumbling with said buddy in his or her room, completely throwing away the free and easy relationship you once had.
After waking up in his bed (or yours, depending on how much the two of you need your space), the awkwardness starts to set in. Awkwardness tinged with sorrow. Not sadness; sadness is temporary. The sorrow you feel never goes away completely. And here’s why:
1. Your friendship as you knew it is over.
Sure, you can pull off the “Oh, it was just for fun, it didn’t mean anything” card pretty well (and I have done it quite successfully); but the fact is, it DID mean something. There’s a reason so many successful couples say “I married my best friend.” They say it because no one will ever understand you like your close friends will, no one will ever get the way you tick as well as your close friends, and no significant other can read your mind as well as a friend. Now, after doing the dirty deed, you will have to face the fact that there are only two choices for you now: You can either try to be with your friend, or you can draw away, slowly but surely, until they forget who you are. Either way, it’s a tough choice, and someone will always leave the situation hurt, I promise.
2. You will be filled with self-doubt.
Unless you’re a complete psychopath, you will be filled with remorse for what you did. It’s very difficult to see yourself as being capable of being a good friend one minute and a sex-crazed monster the next. You’ll find yourself wondering, how on Earth did I do this? Am I a horrible friend? Was I EVER really his (or her) friend? You’ll catch yourself wondering if your friend liked your body, or if maybe laughing during the sex you had was a bad idea (it isn’t). You’ll find yourself looking in the mirror with tears in your eyes, hating what you see because of what you did, but knowing that your friend didn’t hate what he or she saw. You’ll find yourself reevaluating your entire life and your choices, even though when you look at the situation scientifically, it was really just harmless sex. Your heart will tell you otherwise.
3. Your friends who know will hate you.
Not all of them. There will be a friend or two who will laugh at the situation, shake their head at you, and either congratulate you or change the subject. Unfortunately, those people are rare (and you should try your best to have friends like these; they never grow old). The majority of your friends will treat you with contempt and disgust, for the very same reasons that you were filled with self-doubt. You may be called a slut or whore, you’ll be un-invited from events, and generally be treated as a leper. People will keep a healthy distance from you, and perhaps even throw some grudging respect in your direction. After all, you WERE the one who did what no one else in their right mind would do. When this happens, you will know who your real friends are; they are the ones who will stick by you, even though you made a horrible mistake. Also know that now may be a good time to start looking for different friends.
4. You will approach all friendships far too cautiously.
Now that you’ve gained a reputation (completely a figment of your imagination, but that’s part of the pain in this situation), you will take your time making new friends. No one wants to be that guy who sleeps with all of his friends. There are people out there who can pull this off, but it is always at the expense of someone’s feelings. Don’t be that person. You will appear distant and cold to many, and so potential friendships may be nipped early in the bud. You must realize when you see this happening that you made a mistake ONCE. One mistake does not mean that the rest of your life must be ruined. Start new friendships; reach out to that person with whom you’ve had casual (friendly) contact; focus on your job or school. Most of all, meet new people and broaden your horizons. Don’t let one night of mistakes dictate your perception of the world.
5. You can never look that friend in the face again.
Sure, you can hang out from time to time, even do the things you used to do together (the friendly things, mind you). But the easygoing “friend” status is now gone. Every time you look at him, you being to blush. You lower your eyes, and find yourself mumbling about something utterly foolish and incomprehensible. It’s easy, when things start to get uncomfortable, to find your solace in unhealthy things whenever you must be in his or her company: alcohol to “take the edge off,” drugs, or a combination of the two. When you start to feel as if you can’t take it anymore, just remember that your friend is going through the exact same feelings that you are. All the doubt, mistrust, and self-hate that you are enduring, he is too. The guilt you’ve been harboring has been his bedfellow all these nights as well. Just keep this in mind when the going gets rough. You’re not in this alone.