Social Question

Shippy's avatar

Would you tell or not?

Asked by Shippy (9852 points ) January 15th, 2013

I was chatting with my son today, and his friend, and my son was relating how (fictional names) his buddy called Mark had a girlfriend called Jill. He was primarily Marks friend, and really liked him as a friend. But one night in a tipsy state, Jill told my son she was having an affair.

My son then told his friend Mark. The friend that was with us, said that is a definite no, no. I tended to agree. But the more I thought of it, the more I decided that it was the right thing to do. Since as my son put it, Jill was basically making a fool out of Mark, and as his friend it was his duty to put a stop to that.

How would you handle this, if your best friends girlfriend confided this to you? Would you feel it better to save them the time wasted on this person, and tell them? Or would you let life take its course? If you decided not to tell your friend, what would be our thinking behind it?

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17 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d tell my best friend. He comes first.

newtscamander's avatar

I would do the same as your son did. I always try to behave towards my friends as I would like them to behave towards me, and if one of them found out my SO was having an affair, I would be apalled if they kept it from me.
If I decided not to tell my friend….then that might be because I know that he/she is planning to break up with his/her partner soon, and I might think it would only cause pain for my friend if I told him/her, but I can’t really imagine such a scenario….

Pachy's avatar

I had a similar experience once and told my friend. Nothing but trouble ensued, including losing both friends. I will never put myself in that position again.

Coloma's avatar

I would never coverup an affair, no. My friends have always known to not even go there, putting me in a position of having to be privy to something I want no part of. I won’t lie for anyone short of it being a life threatening issue. I commend your son, truth tellers are rare birds and to look away from something so life impacting as an affair for the unknowing partner is unacceptable.

I loathe the idea of being in that position though. Ugh!

burntbonez's avatar

Once my friend was about to tell me that he was having an affair. I’d known him and his girlfriend for years, and I liked her very much. Basically, I told my friend that I didn’t want to have to keep any secrets from her. So he didn’t tell me. He also stopped talking to me. That was the end of our friendship. I guess I was telling him that my loyalty was no longer to him, but to her, as well. That came between us.

If he had told me, and I had told her, that also would have ended the relationship, I would think.

I think to keep the friendship going, I would have had to allow him to tell me the details, and kept it from her. I don’t think I could do that. So, by having that affair, assuming that’s what he was going to tell me, he put an end to our friendship as well.

I guess I’m sad about that. But once he had the affair, either he kept it a total secret, or everything had to fall apart, I guess.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My husband and I disagree on this. He says keep quiet, I say tell them. And I usually do. But then he’s right and it always turns into drama.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I would tell them as well because I would feel it was his right to know and I would be seriously annoyed if I saw them together and she was acting all normal when I knew she was having an affair. That kind of thing would really get to me.

glacial's avatar

No. This is not anyone’s business but theirs.

Coloma's avatar

Well…it’s a kill the messenger risk. I wouldn’t get involved with peoples business that I barely knew or cared about, but among really close consorts, don’t put me in the position of keeping your dirty secrets. No thanks.

bkcunningham's avatar

I had a friend who was having an affair on her husband. When she let me in on her “secret,” I could no longer be friends with her because of the lies and betrayal. We actually talked about what was going on and where were each were in our lives and how it wasn’t behavior I could uphold or allow into my life. We parted on very sad terms.

Her husband was also my friend. It wasn’t my place to tell him that someone who had made a vow to be faithful to him was cheating behind his back. A situation came up that he came to my house and asked me point-blank what was going on and I told him it was something he should discuss with his wife. She finally came clean and told him. Their marriage ended. My friendship with her never fully recovered and he and I remain friends to this day.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Well when this kind of situation occurs you are always risking your friendship if you tell, but on the other hand if you don’t tell and the friend finds out you knew, you then you are also risking the friendship.

I was in a similar situation. I was friends with this girl and I saw her (worthless, piece of shit boyfriend) out with another girl. I told her about this and he (of course) denied it. Luckily she didn’t get mad at me. She knew that if I told her that, I must’ve actually believed that’s what I thought I saw and that’s what she told me, but she said that I must’ve been mistaken.

Internally I just threw my hands up in the air and said, “whatever.” Later on I saw him out with another girl, but I didn’t mention it to her because I didn’t want to push things and lose her as a friend. I feel like if you tell them once and they don’t believe you, but they don’t get mad at you, you’re lucky, if you tell them again you’re asking for trouble.

Later on she found out what a piece of shit he was and luckily she’s not with him anymore.

In short, if I was you I would tell what you know, (but be prepared to lose a friend) but only do it once. If they don’t believe you and continue the friendship, leave it up to them to figure it out. Because once again if you don’t tell and they find out you will probably lose a friend as well.

Good luck.

P.S. Calling her ex a piece of shit, is insulting to shit. Just saying.

jca's avatar

You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I lean more toward staying out of it.

zenvelo's avatar

So I’d go with the Dear Abby answer: give her a deadline to tell him or you’ll tell him. That way you can say to her in front of him “did you tell him?”.

augustlan's avatar

I’d tell, knowing full well it might cost me the friendship. That’s a risk I would take for a close friend.

creative1's avatar

I say something, noone deserves to be cheating on and what if she picked up an std from the guy and passed it to his friend tsk tskā€¦. Your son did the right thing protecting his friend

Randyn9559's avatar

Always protect the people you love!!!! This guy did the right thing absolutely !!!

Yeahright's avatar

I would do what your son did. I would definitely tell my friend what I knew. If I were in the same predicament, I would like my friend to tell me because if she didn’t I would feel betrayed not only by my SO, but also by my friend. True friends watch out for each other. The people here who lost their friends after telling them what they knew didn’t really loose much because at the end of the day, they were not the true friends they thought they were.
It is also very difficult when the situation is reversed like when it was my friend who told me that she was having an affair outside her marriage, I didn’t like the feeling at all. For the sake of our friendship, I was forced to try to understand that my friend had her reasons to do something I wouldn’t do or approve of. I knew she had stopped loving her husband and was only staying in it for the kids. He lover was also married and had children of his own and the whole thing was a mess and extremely complicated. When the whole thing exploded, her (now ex-) husband and her oldest daughter stopped talking to me because I had been covering up for her and keeping her secret.

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