For many, they owe it to their friends to be honest all the time, even if the truth would gravely hurt them. As the famous novelist Paulo Coelho once said, “Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.”
However, this seemed inadmissible when it comes to dealing with a friend whose partner is a serial cheater. Everyone knows about it, except your friend, the one cheated on, but you feel like you’re not in the position to tell them the truth. You’d rather wait for them to discover the affair regardless of how long it would take. You just can’t afford to deliver the bad news and possibly take the blame for telling them about it too early or too late. Or worse? You might be accused of making up stories and destroying their relationship.
You can only wish that your friend read a reckless social media post or checked their partner’s messages and emails, revealing everything about the fling. But even if your friend has these means of catching a cheating partner so you wouldn’t have to tell the truth, your friendship might still be put in a quandary, especially if they find out that you knew and did nothing.
So what should you do then? Should you tell a friend about their partner’s infidelity or not?
Things to Consider If You Should Tell a Friend About Their Partner’s Infidelity
Nikki Green, a marital therapist, says it is not about you, which means that what you think is right or wrong doesn’t matter. What matters is this: “Would your friend want to be told?”
You may know your friend more than anyone else, but you probably don’t have the answer to that. It is important that they are ready for the truth before the big reveal, and here are some factors you must consider to know whether or not it’s okay to tell a friend about their partner’s infidelity.
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1. Frequency of the affair
If your friend has been cheated on before, it is more probably that they will feel disappointed that their partner did it again. However, the next flings would not be as surprising as before. In this case, telling them about it might be a good option, given that they’ve handled their emotions quite well upon knowing about the previous flings. Most likely, this is how they would act when they find out about the succeeding affairs. But if not, you’ll have to back away or at least delay the tell-all.
2. Your friend’s circumstances
Before you tell a friend about their partner’s infidelity, you must also consider their present hardships. Try to be discerning if the infidelity is something your friend can deal with at this point amid all the other problems they are facing. Telling them the truth might only make things worse than they already are.
3. Your friend’s personality
People are often conflict avoidant, some are even shy to discuss their problems, especially when it’s about relationships. Your friend might be like that, so do not assume that they’d be comfortable with you discussing the issue of infidelity with you. Although you mean well, your sincerity might not be appreciated.
4. Your sources
It is never acceptable to disclose the infidelity of your friend’s partner when you are only basing it on someone’s statements. If you can’t prove your claim, it is better that you keep quiet about the issue. If you were the one to witness their partner engaging in an extramarital affair, make sure not to tell anyone if you haven’t event told your friend yet. It’s one thing to be honest, but quite another to be spreading gossips.
Every friendship, relationship, or affair is different. There is no fixed answer to the question that will fit everyone, all the time.
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