Question: My Friend's Husband Cheated On Her
I know my friend's husband is cheating on her. Should I tell her?
You've just stumbled onto one of the most difficult subjects in a friendship. Infidelity, whether it's your friend who is cheating or her spouse, affects friendships in a very negative way. As a friend, you want to make sure your pal is safe from hurt, so if someone isn't being honest with her, the natural inclination is to tell her.
There are pros and cons to each side of this dilemma.
If You Don't Tell Your Friend
You may decide not to tell if:
- Your friend is already touchy on the subject (perhaps she knows and doesn't want to deal with reality).
- You aren't totally, 100% sure.
- You don't have proof.
- You have had an issue with arguing over your friend's spouse in the past.
- Your friend thinks you just don't like her spouse or boyfriend.
If you don't tell your friend, she may at some point find out that you knew. This will cause problems between the two of you, and damage trust in your friendship. If you keep the information to yourself, make sure you don't use it as a point of gossip with other people. Keeping silent means that you don't tell anybody, and instead just gauge the situation going forward. Perhaps you'll change your mind and decide to tell her later.
If You Do Tell Your Friend Her Husband Is Cheating
Would you want to know that your husband is cheating if the situation was reversed? Most of us would. For that reason, most people lean toward the "telling" option. This can bring up several points.
First, your friend may already know that her husband is cheating. Perhaps she wouldn't appreciate you commenting on her business, so you need to tread lightly. Say something like:
"I'd want you to tell me if the situation were reversed, so that's why I want you to know that your husband is cheating on you. I know this because of (and list the reasons - be sure to have proof and more than just a feeling!)"
Continue immediately with your nonjudgmental support by saying:
"I will be here for you and do whatever you need me to do. If you want me to drop it and mind my own business? No judgment, no issues, no problem. It's your business and I realize that. I just wanted to tell you because that's what I'd want you to do if the situation was reversed. If you want to talk about it, or not, I'm here either way. The door is open."
If she didn't know her husband was cheating, obviously she will need some time and space to fully absorb what you're saying. Make sure you have proof because she may ask for it.
If she did know her husband was cheating, saying that you'll support her either way will help her to either come to terms with the situation (perhaps she was in denial and you telling her was the final nudge she needed to take action), or feel embarrassed. Support her with whatever that outcome happens to be, even if you wouldn't make the same choice. Remember, our job as a friend is to give our pals a safe place to be emotionally cared for and secure, not to be put on trial. You can disagree with your friend's choices in life and still be a supportive friend.