Many adults – perhaps all adults? – look back on at least one thing they did in a relationship as a preteen, teenager, or young adult and are embarrassed. They regret their actions and the pain they caused someone they professed to care about.

My regret? I was in 9th grade, and dating a truly lovely young man who lived several hundred miles away. And one day I kissed a local boy. One time. I felt horrible, and immediately admitted to my 14 year old infidelity. (From my description you can tell I am continuing to beg: “Forgive me! I still feel badly about the pain I caused!”) Now I can look back and sigh at the pain I caused, and admire my young boyfriend for his forgiveness and continued friendship until we drifted apart just a few years ago.

However, five years after The Event, my new boyfriend (NB) become good friends with my old boyfriend’s best friend (BF). The BF could not get over my five-years-old kiss. He crucified me, in ways small and large, in front of me and behind my back, to my NB. The BF demanded that I give cause for my actions – answer the question: Why had I cheated?

I don’t really remember how I responded to his question at the time. And now as I think back on that kiss, I still don’t have a clear answer. I was young. I was immature. I was taken by the moment and did not fully appreciate the lovely young man who was my boyfriend.

But is that enough of an answer? It can’t erase, or even explain, the pain I caused.

At the risk of sounding too Sex In The City:

Is immaturity an answer to why we did things when we were young? Can our friends and lovers through the years expect a deeper answer from us?

And to apply that answer (or excuse) to those heroic young people who are currently teenagers: Should they be called upon to answer “Why?” of their social and emotional wrongs?

Or is it perhaps enough to admit wrong-doing, at any age, and to endeavor to learn from it?

What do you think?