“Dear Dr. Kim:
“I’m feeling distraught and jealous after my boyfriend slept with his terminally ill female friend as her ‘final wish’. The jealously is eating me up but I can’t express it as she’s dead anyway. I’d been with my partner for three years, and to make matters worse, he didn’t tell me about it straight away for fear of getting dumped.
“While on a group holiday, a mutual friend revealed my partner had cheated on me, and I’ve been struggling emotionally ever since — particularly because his friend passed away not long afterwards.
“I’m confident that he was never attracted to her, and that they had never had a relationship beyond that, but I suspect she’d always had a secret crush on him. They totally had emotional sex because of her condition. I don’t even know who initiated it. It was probably something like how she didn’t want to die a virgin.
“I approached my boyfriend about it following advice I received from fellow forum-users, and he said he’d regretted it immediately. He didn’t tell me because he didn’t know how I’d react and was afraid that I’d dump him. He didn’t want to hurt me.
“We’ve had an otherwise perfect relationship, but he’s been struggling in the wake of his friend’s death.
“I hate myself because I get angry inside whenever he mentions her. I can’t express my jealousy because she’s dead anyway. This jealousy is eating me up.
“Dr. Kim, how can I deal with this?”
— Dead Jealous, UK
Here’s a question you need to ask yourself (and be honest): if your guy had asked you if he could grant his friend her dying wish by having sex with her, would you have said yes?
If so, then you have no reason at all for your jealousy. Of course, you can get pissed off that he didn’t ask you first — it’s not an unreasonable ask — but from his reaction now, I suspect that he feared that you might dump him even for asking.
Which is the second question you need to ask yourself: would you have dumped him if he’d asked first? The fact that you’re jealous of a dead woman makes me suspect that you would have — and given that he seems to love you, his rationale for not asking is probably sound.
Here’s a parallel thought. What if the sick girl had begged your boyfriend to take her to some place she’d never been to before — e.g. Paris — and just the two of them, without you. Would you be equally jealous now? And if he hadn’t told you about the trip until after you’d found out, would you be equally angry?
I know, a trip to Paris isn’t the same as sex — not the least because the trip would last longer, and be more expensive than a “final wish bonk” — but the principle is the same: a friend’s dying wish was granted that you weren’t consulted about.
Frankly, I think you need to get over yourself and your jealousy. What your guy did was not wrong — by the way, we’d be having a different discussion if you and he were married — and the shades of morality we have here would make this an interesting topic in a university Philosophical Ethics class.
The real question is: are you ever going to forgive him, and trust that he won’t do anything like this again? If you do, you have to agree never to bring up the topic again, no matter what the circumstances. Accept that it happened, his motives were good, and get on with it.
If not, you need to walk away now. And if I’m to be blunt,if you continue to harp on this and not forgive him, he would be well rid of your jealousy. Of a dead woman.