I posted a question on Facebook yesterday. It said:
Hypothetical question. No judgement. I’m just curious.
If you know for a FACT that a friend of yours has been or is being cheated on by their significant other, would you tell them?
I’ve now been in two relationships where both partners have cheated, and people have known and not said anything for reasons I mostly respect. Now I’m coming to terms with the experiences and am more level-headed; I was curious to see the consensus regarding telling a friend their partner has been unfaithful. I don’t believe that cheating – and the earth-shattering impact it can have – is talked about widely enough, and it felt important to open up a dialogue. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the responses I got from my question that went a little further than the resounding chorus of YES that rang out from about 90% of the people who answered.
It’s a tricky one. A lot of it would come down to how much I’d actually witnessed first-hand and could say outright with less chance of the cheating partner in question being able to twist it into me being a “toxic friend” and trying to undermine the relationship. If the cheating partner is highly manipulative or a good liar I’d want to be able to provide a higher level of evidence (at least one other first-hand witness for example) before getting involved, just in order to avoid it backfiring and resulting in the cheating partner further isolating and controlling the friend.
I’ve unfortunately known some people with extremely manipulative, controlling partners who’ve not only been able to get away with cheating repeatedly but have manipulated their partners into cutting off all of the supportive friends who tried to warn them, so that’s a serious consideration to take into account.
You have to, because they might end up being the last to know…..and that is unforgiveable….
Of course not. Everyone has their own morals, it’s really not my business to judge what they do with their time and body and with who. What is wrong with people deciding to interfere with their friends’ private life like that? What kind of friendship is that?
Depends on the existing friendship. A close friend I would always tell, as they would trust my judgement. Others might react aggressively and potentially assume some other agenda. So in theory *always* tell your friend, but it might be contextual – in that they’d be very angry and only years later would they say “oh gods you were right…”
YES, and I wouldn’t even have to know for a FACT.
Absolutely. There’s few things worse than someone’s life and heart being lied to and wasted on something and someone who is not what they make out to be. The person cheated on can get on with their life, they’re worth more than what the cheater thinks and feels about them.
Yes. What they choose to do with the information is up to them, they could get mad at me or choose not to believe it and that’s OK. I won’t push them to act. But me knowing something like that and the choice of what to do with that knowledge is on me. I’d rather be honest as I sincerely hope that’s what my friends would do for me – the thought of someone knowing something like that and talking about it with other friends or family or even just thinking of me different whilst I remain in the dark is awful, the reality is worse… I’d like to think I would never do that to someone else no matter what.
If they have an open relationship, no. If they’re under the impression they’re monogamous. Yes! Absolutely would want to help save my friend from getting STD/I’s that could affect them for the rest of their life. As well as any other harm that could come from a partner unknowingly sleeping with other people, pregnancy, how important is reputation to my friend, where is my friends mental health at so I can think of the best way to approach the topic, etc. I’d be prepared for our friendship to be harmed if they’re insecurities make them side with their partner. But I’d stick by the friend regardless knowing that must be really hard. And I’d probably try and get evidence if the friend is REALLY important to me.
Been in this situation in the past. I did tell them. The cheater was not happy and never spoke to me again. I was OK with that though.
I think it’s important to do it with care if you do. Make sure you have the facts. I also gave the cheater the chance to fess up first which they decided not to do. I hate seeing someone taken for a ride
Depends on how old I am, in my teenage era I would ask for a ransom, like give me all your money or I’ll tell your boyfriend/girlfriend you’re cheating on him/her, in my 20 I’d organize a round table between the two to discuss what the fuck is going on and try to fix the mess by being the couple’s whisperer, in my 30s I’d focus more on friendship because bros before hoes, now that I’m hitting my 40s, I won’t give a shit, they’re old enough to deal with the crappy people that they date.
Yes, but carefully.
Yes, 100% would if my friend believed it was monogamous and not an open / other arrangement relationship! And if you’re sure of the facts. I’d prefer the Cheater to admit to it first though and perhaps encourage them to before I had my say. It all Saves a lot of pain in the long run however awful and awkward short term