Ask Angel – Pen Pals

When I was much younger, I used to have a penpal who I would write letters to as a favour for her grandma, who was her only family (we knew each other through my grandma) because she wanted her to have a friend. I was a bit embarrassed back then, so I used one of my childhood friend’s names (without telling him) as an alias when writing to her. We sent letters back and forth to each other for several months but I lost contact with her once my family moved out of the city.

Fast-forward to present day, I had moved back to Toronto 3 years ago, and by complete chance, she was recently hired at where I work. I got put in a lot of shifts with her, we started to become friendly with each other, and I eventually caught feelings. She would always bring up her mysterious penpal (me) from a couple of years ago who she apparently has had a crush on ever since. Apparently, she’s been searching for me for years, but has had no luck. (My childhood friend doesn’t use social media which is why there’s no trace of his name online)

I felt really bad for disappearing from her life, and I wanted to make it up to her in any way I could. So, I contacted my childhood friend, explained the situation, and asked him to pretend to be me and meet up with her just for one day to cheer her up. The problem is, my childhood friend ALSO caught feelings for her, and asked her out.

Now, they are dating and he’s continuing with the lie that he was the one who wrote letters to her. I feel betrayed that my childhood friend would do me like that. Technically, yes, I did use his name without permission, but I’M the one that was her pen pal and I’M the one who she fell in love with! Am I the bad guy if I tell her the truth about everything and expose my childhood friend?

– H

Hi there H,

What a twisted situation you have found yourself in! This is a grave misunderstanding that obviously has a big impact on you. You need to confront your childhood friend for betraying you and the girl needs to know the truth about her relationship. 

Let me start off with the fact that the only way you will get any justice in this situation is by telling the truth. You should tell your childhood friend that you’re really sorry to ruin his relationship but that you feel betrayed, as you were the one who built that relationship as her pen pal. He was a bad friend to you by asking her out knowing that you fell in love with her, and he is being a bad person to the girl by letting her believe that he was the one she was corresponding with. 

Their entire relationship is based on the lie that he has followed along with, and it is really unfair to her as well. You can give him the opportunity to confess to her, and if he does not want to do that, then you have to do it yourself. Try to bring evidence such as her old letters or something that can prove that you match the letters she was receiving and that her current boyfriend does not. 

She may be angry at you for not confessing that it was you earlier and letting her continue to think that it was your childhood friend. However, you have to tell her that you were really embarrassed and immature back then and never expected her and the childhood friend to start dating. You should confess your current feelings for her; Let her know that you are telling her this out of respect, not for the sake of sabotaging her relationship. You should tell her that it is only right for her to know that you were the actual pen pal and that you didn’t want her to keep thinking that her boyfriend was the one who corresponded with her all those months. 

However, even though she deserves the truth and it will most likely upset her that she was lied to, at least a part of her has to love her boyfriend. All you can do is tell her your truth and apologize for not using your true name. Being honest with her is the decent and sole option for you in this situation. 

I hope it works out for you!