Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked for suggestions on what someone should do when they know that their friend is being cheated on. I have been in this situation a couple of times and have seen it play out many a time with other friends, so despite the fact that I do prefer honesty, I have to say, it is pivotal that you understand your audience because women, are complicated.
Most women will say they would want to know if their guy was cheating – This is total BS. Most women would want to know if their guy was cheating on them…as long as it didn’t happen. Suddenly it becomes ‘How could you do this to me?’ and they’re screaming it at you. When they’re single again, struggling to make ends meet, going through a bitter divorce, or lacking in confidence because they’ve decided they don’t trust men, it’s you that gets the evil eye. The ones who say straight up that they don’t want to know – they have bigger issues…
Friendship, especially female friendship is a precarious relationship which can sometimes test the boundaries of what you feel is morally right, and one of the few situations that will really create conflict within you before you ever open your mouth is when you know that a friends partner is cheating on her (or have heard very strong evidence) and you’re confronted with some rather complex choices:
Do I tell her that her boyfriend is a cheating assclown?
If I do tell her, it could send her over the edge and do untold emotional damage. Do I want to be responsible for breaking her heart?
She’s so in love with him that she is likely to stay with him but then I will lose her friendship. Am I prepared to risk our friendship especially when it is unlikely to make any difference to her relationship?
Is it my responsibility to tell her? Shouldn’t I be getting him to man up and tell her himself? What if he starts telling lies about me?
Can I get between a marriage? Do I want to be responsible for breaking up a family/dream/etc?
What if she calls me a liar?
And therein lies the problem; whilst many of us are uncomfortable with lying and knowingly witholding a piece of information we’re sure we’d want to know, there are many pitfalls and very few benefits to being the deliverer of cheating truth.
The problem I have with this type of honesty is that unless this is one of those times when she has been duped into believing that he’s wonderful when in actual fact he’s a Class A Assclown, the likelihood is that if she is with an assclown who has been exhibiting various assclown behaviours, it is likely to all blow up in your face no matter what your intentions. She knows he’s an assclown but may not be willing to receive the information that blows everything wide open and pushes her to make a conclusive decision about him.
For some people, the knowledge that their guy has been playing around is the straw that broke the donkeys already worn out back and see it as an opportunity to wise up about the type of men they date and move on. It becomes a period of growth.
For some, they blame themselves or chalk it up to him being a man, forgive him, and then live a life of insecurity and are likely to suffer further infidelities.
For some, they listen to a BS story from him that suddenly turns the tables and has you painted as the bad guy, who is jealous and trying to destroy the relationship. Suddenly he makes copper look like gold, and you become the cumbersome friend.
In my experience, I have had to keep quiet even though it annoys the crap out of me, because me saying something would make no difference. On both occasions, they had already heard stories or even caught him red handed and it made no difference. But on the flipside, I have told a couple of other friends and they did end the relationship and our friendship more than survived it, it was made stronger by my honesty.
But it is different strokes for different folks, so I ask:
In this day and age of assclowns aplenty and women struggling with conflicting relationship values and low self esteem, do you think that honesty is the best policy when it comes to disclosing that your friends man has been cheating? Have you been in this situation?