When You Should (And Shouldn't) Tell A Friend Her Man Is Cheating

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Should You Tell A Friend Her Husband Is Cheating?

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Heartbreak, Family

What would you do?

The first time I met my now-close friend Gina, she was rhapsodizing about her awesome boyfriend, Eugene. After a few minutes, I realized I'd already met him. But he wasn’t the sweetheart she was describing.

I was familiar with Eugene because the weekend before he had propositioned me in a particularly crude manner. I realized I had two choices: tell her what kind of loathsome dirtbag she was dating, or keep my mouth shut in the hopes that she'd someday figure it out on her own.

I went with Option A. I told Gina that she could do much better than that jerk and blurted out the whole tacky tale. She was understandably upset, but appreciated my candor. I was lucky — she dumped him, but kept me as a friend.

I barely knew Gina when I spilled my guts. If she'd been a close friend I would've been on the phone as soon as it happened. But not everyone agrees that you should tattle on a wayward partner. My buddy Erin didn't find out until years later that her husband had been hitting on her close friend, Susan. And that was only after another mutual friend spilled the beans, long after Erin and her husband had split up.

Most of the people I spoke with said they were reluctant to tell because they felt it was none of their business. I asked my good pal Debra if she would let me know if she saw my boyfriend cheating on me with some other broad.

"No way," she said firmly. "That’s between you, your man, and the tramp." Debra! Bad friend!

I remember how enraged my ex-friend Jill was when I suggested she might not be the first sliver of side action her married boyfriend had enjoyed. She yelled at me and hung up in a fury. A week later, she called to reluctantly report I'd been right, and she was but one in a long line. Our relationship never recovered and she eventually came up with a lame excuse to end our friendship.

Despite the risks involved, I'm fairly sure I'd still tell a pal if I knew her partner was screwing around. Maybe it's unwise, but I'd be prepared to take that risk. Partly because I have a big mouth incapable of containing a secret, but more because I know how angry and betrayed I'd feel if I found out that everyone but me knew I was dating a cheater.

Written by Judy McGuire for The Frisky.

 

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