Dear Monica, If you know that your friend’s husband is cheating, should you tell her? — F.P., Chads Ford
Telling a friend about a cheating spouse is a sticky wicket. It’s a good possibility that once you tell her you will not be friends anymore. On the other hand, you can justify divulging the information by telling yourself that it is better to lose a friend and save a family than to remain silent. Personally, I think it is better to stay out of it because the family is not going to be saved anyway considering the father’s lack of morals. If you divulge what you know your friendship will never be the same. As an outsider, stepping foot into someone else’s personal business is most often a lose-lose situation.
Spouses who cheat on each other don’t necessarily end up divorced. Many marriages survive infidelity through therapy and support and friends, family or clergy. Some couples even have open marriages.
In many cases when a husband is cheating the wife knows but turns a blind eye because of lifestyle or convenience. Divorces are very expensive, so she may think that he may not leave her because he can’t afford the legal proceedings. It can be surprising to see which couples decide to officially split. Many stay together, fighting like cats and dogs until the bitter end. You have no idea what the terms the couple has set for their relationships, whether it be an open arrangement of fidelity. It is possible that your friend may simply have put on blinders in order to keep up appearances.
Getting involved only increases the chances that your friend will get mad at you, because if she is not already aware, her husband will deny, deny, deny. Are you prepared to put your friendship on the line? Will you be able to explain to friends why you are no longer connected to this person? The only one who is going to end up frustrated and sad is you. (Does the cliche “no good deed goes unpunished” ring a bell?) Your friend will side with her husband and he will keep on doing what he is doing. Eventually the marriage will probably dissolve on its own, but your friend will not come back and admit you were right. You will be shunned by her, the circle around her, and also by her ex and the circle around him. Contrary to popular belief, no one wants to hear the truth, and when they do, we all know that it is the messenger that takes the bullet.
The only time I am actually in favor of getting involved and telling a friend that their spouse is cheating is when a woman is cheating on her husband. I honestly believe that women have a sixth sense and know exactly what is going on and that men have absolutely no clue. So for the guys who are reading this, if you have a buddy and you know his wife is straying, clue him in since he has no idea. He will actually value your candor. Also know that the friendship between the guys will last since men, unlike women, don’t hold grudges forever.