If you catch a good friend's partner cheating, do you tell?

@Jennlee3 (292)
United Kingdom
December 29, 2012 5:00pm CST
I think this is always a sticky situation. If you happen to have a dear friend you care about and they're in a long term monogamous relationship, what do you do when you see their partner involved in less than monogamous behaviour? Is it your moral obligation as a friend to divulge the information to your friend or is it not your business to get involved? Tricky, tricky. What would you all do?
2 people like this
18 responses
@lady1993 (19729)
• Philippines
31 Dec 12
I think i would not tell my friend immediately, but instead confront the boyfriend... since maybe i just interpreted the situation wrongly.. But if i am right, i would tell my friend about it, in a subtle way..
1 person likes this
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
31 Dec 12
"In a subtle way" ... what does this mean? I assume you mean, passively? But how? Drop a hint... ask questions about the nature of their relationship? Elaborate! I'm interested!
1 person likes this
@lady1993 (19729)
• Philippines
31 Dec 12
I won't just drop the bomb on her.. I would ask questions first, like does she really love him? Talk to her about their relationship too. Then, ask her million dollar question... what would she do if he cheated on her.. i'm sure she'd get the hint. And i'll explain everything to her.
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@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
31 Dec 12
Interesting. Do you think she would be mad that you sort of 'beat around the bush' instead of just being direct? Like, once she found out you clearly knew about the cheating, do you think she would be mad and ask why you didn't just come out and tell her?
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@chiyosan (30204)
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
Yes, you are correct this is always a sticky situation. I would in fact rather not know anything about this. I would be torn as i do not want any of my friends be made a fool by their partners... But since if i had known this, i would not tell, i would rather that this not come from me as I do not want to be the one to tell my friend about this, it is a personal matter and i am sure she already knows about it by her hunch, woman's instinct almost always are accurate, right? I might just be wrong, say i saw her partner with someone else in public and i sould not be putting a malice on anything I see, especially if it is in public... I would try to drop hints, ask questions and make my friend think, but no i won't be the one to say it... especially if i am not sure about what i saw.
1 person likes this
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I find it interesting that you would take a more passive approach by asking questions, dropping hints, etc as opposed to a more direct approach to the friend or the partner. You're right in that it's a sticky situation that I don't think anyone wants to find themselves in. Thanks for sharing!
• United States
29 Dec 12
If it was me, I would go over and say hi and ask where is "?". This way they know they are caught and I would just keep asking questions like there was nothing wrong at all. I'm sure the person would be totally freaking out and that's the part I would love to see. Yes, I would tell.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
29 Dec 12
hahah I dig your style!
• United States
29 Dec 12
I would just do this so calmly and stare them right in the eye while doing it. Maybe you could even take a picture with your camera for his "real" girlfriend. Hopefully, she'll believe you and not hate your guts. But I still would let her know for her own good.
• United States
29 Dec 12
I meant your cellphone, not your camera..duh.
@iva75cpb (729)
• Bulgaria
29 Dec 12
It's really, really tricky. On the one hand, you are the "third" person who is not involved in this relationship and it's really not your business to comment or share what you've discovered. But, on the other hand, you really and honestly care about your friend who's been deceived and you definitely don't want to see them hurt in the future if you know they will be hurt and devastated. And if your friends somehow finds out that you knew about that infidelity and you haven't told them, then what? Will your friend forgive you when it's too late? Quite a dilemma, I'd say. May be I would tell.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
29 Dec 12
You bring up an interesting point. If you don't tell and then your friend finds out that you knew, you could be blamed. You've brought to my attention another possible scenario in which your friend might not believe you if you do tell them and think you are lying/jealous or somehow trying to sabotage the relationship--(because they're in denial and don't want to believe the infidelity could be true). Good points to raise!
• Penrith, Australia
30 Dec 12
That's true, but if I were in your place and I was the "third party", I would talk to the cheating party and try to tell them that I care about my friend and I witnessed a situation in which I believe is going to hurt my friend. I'd tell them that it would be better if they confessed their deed to my friend and to stop leading her on because nobody wants that. I wouldn't want to be the one to ruin the relationship for them but I can't stand around doing nothing because my conscience will haunt me. It would be the call of the cheating party if they were to break it off with my friend personally.
@iva75cpb (729)
• Bulgaria
30 Dec 12
That's why I said it's a tricky situation. Actually, it's a lose-lose situation because in any case scenario someone will be hurt eventually.
@Dominique25 (9475)
• United States
30 Dec 12
First I would talk to the cheating spouse and give them the opportunity to tell their spouse on their own. If they haven't talked with their spouse about it within a reasonable amount of time then I would have to tell my partner. It is not right to keep something like that from a person especially if we are suppose to be their friend.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
Sounds like the majority of people think the best idea is to approach the 'cheater' and give them a reasonable amount of time to tell their partner about the infidelity. I think this is the best approach as well as it's not really our place to meddle in their affairs but yet we still have a moral obligation to our friends. I'm curious what you think a 'reasonable amount of time' is. A week? A month? Also, do you think it makes a difference if the cheater cheats once or has an ongoing affair? Or is all cheating sort of lumped together as 'bad'.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 13
I think a reasonable amount of time would be two weeks. That is plenty of time for a person to sit down and talk with their spouse about what has happened. If there is children involved then the weekend time in the two weeks would allow the person time to schedule a private conversation with their spouse. Because there of course will be strong emotions expressed and the innocent partner will need a little time to gather his or her wits. I don't think it makes a difference if a person has cheated only once or not. Cheating is cheating no matter how many times a person has done it. It's all together.
@Asylum (48266)
• Manchester, England
30 Dec 12
There is no real guideline for this because it is impossible to predict the outcome. If you tell your friend then they could become angry that you are interfering in their life and causing problems. On the other hand if you do not say anything then they may be angry if they find out that you knew and kept it a secret. We all react differently to circumstances, so there is a risk either way. There is also the issue of whether the partner is simply having a brief affair or whether it will be a long standing and serious affair. This may not seem too relevant because they are behaving badly in either case, but it would certainly have an effect on the long term relationship for your friend.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
You bring up some good points. Everyone does react differently and I think you're right that it is possible for the friend who is being cheated on to react angrily if you tell and angrily if they find out you knew and didn't tell. It is a risky situation to be in. I find it interesting that you brought up whether it was a brief or long term affair. You said both would denote bad behaviour but if that's true and they are both bad, I'm curious if you could elaborate on your statement that: "it would certainly have an effect on the long term relationship for your friend." I'm interested in how a long affair or a short one would make a difference! Thanks :)
@Asylum (48266)
• Manchester, England
30 Dec 12
I was referring to the fact that if it was a short term affair then your friend may never know and it might not affect their relationship. Whereas if the affair became a serious long term relationship then your friend could end up being replaced, in which case you may regret having kept the secret. In either of these scenarios the partner is undoubtedly doing wrong, but it could make a difference to whether you keep quiet or tell your friend.
@Cutie18f (9563)
• Philippines
29 Dec 12
I would tell that friend of mine about the situation. I can't be hiding this important information from a good friend. I would feel guilty or unfair if she does not know about this so the truth will prevail.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
29 Dec 12
I'm with you. I feel like the guilt would be too much. My loyalty would ultimately lie with my friend.
• Penrith, Australia
30 Dec 12
It is better to be sad doing the right thing than be happy doing what is wrong because in the end the truth will come out and it will haunt you. You will never have peace of mind and the happiness you felt doing the wrong things will fade away as temporary as it is. In the end we will all get what we deserve.
• St. Peters, Missouri
30 Dec 12
I'd go straight to the cheating partner. I would tell them what I know and give them a short amount of time - less than a week - to get it straightened out. If it wasn't dealt with in that time - either he told her himself or he ended the relationship - I would make sure he knew I would go to her with the information. I would make sure I had all the information I could though before going to my friend. Giving them the heads up like that also gives them a chance to lay the groundwork for distrusting what I would say. The more details and proof the better.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I agree that you need details and proof so that you don't come off looking like you're trying to sabotage the relationship, or lie, or witnessed something innocent that you're misinterpreting. I also believe in going directly to the partner and giving them an opportunity to come forward because this allows the problem to be dealt with within the confines of the relationship where it should be dealt with.
@Shavkat (65124)
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
It is a tough decision to make if we were going to interfere with other lives. You had described above, it can ruin the relationship between your friend and her or his partner. Although if we really cares for them, we can tell them with full of confidence and substantial proofs to back up our claims against other people.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
Yes I think being certain is crucial in this situation.
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
I do believe that the following words are signs that you need to tell you friend about the indiscretion: dear and friend. However, you need concrete proof of this as what you may have seen may just be a case of mistaken situation. But if you're sure about it I would say you should tell.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I agree. If someone is really close to you, I do think you have some sort of moral obligation to maintain their best interests. I also agree that you need to be certain because you could potentially stir up a lot of trouble if you're unsure and may even end up losing the friend. Thanks!
@leeandrew (1226)
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
Of course I will! What I am not sure of is... if I will approach the person or not. If the the person cheating is close to me too, I might as well have a heart to heart talk with him or her and I would definitely tell that person that I am telling his/her partner. It's better to tell your friend personally than let her/him find it themselves, then your friend will come to you and cry telling you what the partner have done... then your now guilty of not telling him or her what you have found already. I love my friends... all of them, so it's gonna hard for me to just keep quiet.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I agree with what you said that if they came to you crying after the found out, you'd not only feel guilty but maybe you would tell them you had known and then they would react angrily towards you that you didn't come forward with the information. It's definitely a less than idea situation to find yourself in but ultimately, you have to try to think about everyone's feelings and approach the situation delicately. I agree with you that if you're friends with both people in the relationship, approaching the cheater and giving him/her the opportunity to 'fess up' is good as it really is between the two of them, and not you, the third party.
@jenny1015 (13389)
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
I would try to find out what the real situation is before really jumping into any conclusion. I might not be in the right position to meddle with their personal issues, but I think my friend deserves a person much better than her partner who doesn't care if she would get hurt or not.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I agree with you that it would be crucial to figure out what is truly going on before meddling. You are engaging in a potentially very damaging situation by delivering extremely devastating news. And it would be easy to confuse 'cheating' with a platonic meetup or friendship and then you'd cause worry and pain in the relationship unnecessarily. So, I think you're right. It's a sticky situation and you would definitely want to be 100% certain before you said anything.
@ZoeJoy (1395)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I would talk to the person who is doing the cheating and tell him that you are a good friend to his wife. And you do not want to see his wife to be hurt. Ask him what you should tell her, now that you know that he is a cheater. Perhaps that is enough for him to make a decision - either stop cheating or it gives him a chance to tell her that he has been cheating. I would tell him that I would give him a month to tell her that he is cheating and then, you are going to say something to her. Mind you, she might take her husband's side of the story but she has been told. It is up to her to know what to do with being told that she is married to a cheater. If she is a very close friend, then it is probably best to say something but give the husband a chance to say it first to her.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I agree with you that there is some value and merit to perhaps approaching the "cheater" first and giving them a chance to come forward and do the right thing. Especially since in this situation, it should be a conversation/confession taking place between the two actually involved in the relationship and not a third party.
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
Well, if that's the case I will tell my friend but I'll make sure that I have proof and after that I'll let her investigate for her to know the truth with her own eyes.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
Yeah, proof is tricky. Because it would be easy to misinterpret an action that is strictly platonic or friendly as something more. I agree that you need to have all your facts in order before you divulge something so potentially damaging to a friend!
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
I was in this situation one week ago and I also shared it on myLot. This is sooo stressful especially because I discovered it just before Christmas. I saw him on a restaurant and went to him because he's alone then all of a sudden, this girl appeared and we were introduced and she's calling the boy honey. I wasn't able to speak and even kept my mouth shut and really thought about it for days. It is very hard to pick the right words to say to a friend especially that they're living together. But I did it yesterday anyways. I'm just feeling so guilty and felt like a coward that I did not even speak when his other girl and I were introduced. It's a good thing my friend forgave me for keeping it for days and understood the situation. She may be having problems this coming New Year but at least she knows the truth now.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
30 Dec 12
I definitely commend you for coming forward and telling her. I guess you risk the friendship by doing so but it's likely you risk the friendship either way and maybe the old saying is true: honesty is the best policy. Glad it worked out okay for you!
@jiiiiin (569)
• Philippines
29 Dec 12
of course I'll tell my friend what I know about his/her partner. as you said he/she is my dear friend that I care about so I dont wanna make him/her look stupid because his/her partner is cheating on him/her. I dont want my friends to be with "itchy bitsy" partners who are not contented on what they have.
@Jennlee3 (292)
• United Kingdom
29 Dec 12
Yeah, I think my moral obligation to my friend would definitely cause me to tell too! Thanks for your response!
@UmiNoor (3535)
• Malaysia
1 Jan 13
That is a sticky situation. I was in this situation once. I saw my uncle at a jewelry store buying jewelry for a woman who wasn't my aunt (his wife). He pretended not to see me but I was very sure that it was him. I didn't tell my aunt but I told my mom so I don't know if she'd told my aunt. I don't think I would tell my friend either if I had such knowledge. I'd rather she finds it out herself and she will discover it eventually without anyone telling her about it. Let it play out. Perhaps the husband/partner would see that he's straying and will come back to the right path.
• China
30 Dec 12
I will tell my best friend about this matter and I hope my friend will not be cheated by his or her partner.