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jordym84's avatar

Would you want to know/what would you do?

Asked by jordym84 (4742points) November 2nd, 2012

Dear fellow flutherites, I’ve been losing sleep over the following issue and I really need some help figuring out what to do, so I thought I’d reach out to the collective for some insight. I’ll do my best to make a very long story somewhat short.

Last year while doing a year-long internship I met a guy with whom I became good friends. We had lots of chemistry and, skip forward 8 months later to January, we finally acknowledged our feelings for each other. We dated long-distance because my internship ended before his and I had to return home. Everything was amazing and I visited him several times. He was my first serious relationship and the first time I fell seriously in love. Fast forward again to June/July when I found out that he was married back in his home country. Somehow I’d always had a feeling that something was off about him, but I could never put my finger on it. I broke things off with him even though it was devastating (at the time I was sure he was the love of my life). After much denial that he’d ever been married, he then changed his tune when I told him I was staring at a picture of him in a wedding tuxedo next to a woman in a wedding dress and promised me that it had been a “mistake” from his past and that he’d gotten divorced before coming to the US for the internship. I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt and we tried to give things another try, but the damage had already been done and I just couldn’t trust him anymore (oh, and I found out that he was married through a wedding picture on one of his friends’ Facebook pages, not even from him). Eventually I broke things off again and cut off contact with him (he was in FL and I in NYC so it was somewhat easy to not contact him). He told me that, even though I’d broken things off, he would always love me.

Then, about 1.5 months ago, I moved back to FL but didn’t want to tell him because I was completely over him and had no intentions of getting back together. Eventually he found out through one of our mutual friends and he got back in touch with me. I believe in “forgive and forget” and had no resentment towards him, and so we got back in touch as friends only (again, I have zero feelings left for him, though I know he still likes me). He calls me at least once a week to see how I’m doing and he’s hinted several times that we should meet up, but I always change the subject.

Well, 2 days ago I found out that his wife is now here working at the same place where we met (they come to work as cultural representatives for their countries in a year-long program, but he got a visa to stay in the country after his program ended). Earlier that day he had called me to see how I was doing and after we hung up I had this weird nagging feeling, the same feeling I had a few months earlier that drove me to dig deep and find out that he was married, that something just wasn’t right. I did some research and looked at the company’s roster and lo and behold, who do I find? The wife! And whose last name does she have? His very own! A little more Facebook research turned up some very interesting information: she has been in the US for at least a month now and has a son back home who just turned 1 and I have a strong feeling it’s his son (he once told me that, out of all his friends, he’s the only one who’s not married and doesn’t have kids!!)

Although I have no feelings for him, I’ve been really pissed off (pardon my language) that he would pull such a stunt and actually get away with it! I’m not one to do things out of spite and I want absolutely nothing to do with him ever again, not even as friends, but my friends keep telling me that I should inform his wife of his infidelity because, knowing me as well as they do, they know I would want to be afforded the same courtesy if I were in her position. I don’t know what to do because half of me wants to distance myself from this situation as far as possible and never deal with him ever again, but the other half (my conscience) keeps telling me that I need to do the right thing and inform her. I’m just so confused!! I wouldn’t even know how to go about telling her or where to begin…and keep in mind that he still doesn’t know that I know all of this.

I know that, ultimately, the choice is mine, but I’d really appreciate some help putting things into perspective to help me pick the best course of action.

If you were the spouse being cheated on, would you want to know? How would you want to find out? From the adulterer or from the “other person.” And if you were in my situation, what do you think you would do??

Thank you for reading this far…I know it’s a long post, but I really need some help with this!!

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18 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

You are in a tough position. I have been cheated on and I don’t have a clear yes or no answer. It all depends on the context. In this case, and it isn’t so different from my situation, I would say I would want to know. I spent a long time in a troubled marriage, trying to make things work, only to find out after many years he had cheated early on in our marriage. Other people knew but didn’t tell me because they believed him when he said “I feel so bad. I will never do it again”. He confessed to them. They didn’t discover his infidelity but they were a friend to us both. Later in our marriage he cheated again, more than once. For all I know he cheated all the way through. I can’t help but think if I had known about his early cheating, I would have walked away a lot earlier. So, I think I would have liked knowing so I was making an informed choice based on the whole situation – not just my view of the situation.

How you do it in this case, without appearing like the ‘scorned woman’ is an important consideration. You will hurt his wife greatly. So, I think you have to weigh up whether he is a lying cheat (my ex was apparently), or whether there were any mitigating circumstances and you think the affair with you was most likely a one-off.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jordym84 I’m so so sorry this guy put you in this place. Us guys suck at times. But I want you to know some of us aren’t that bad. My word is my bond. I do not lie. Well unless you ask me if the jeans make your butt look big. But I like a bigger butt so that’s okay too.

deni's avatar

Yikes. Honestly, if I were you, I think what I would do is just cut the entire thing out of my life like a big lump of cancer. You are not benefiting in any way, nor would you benefit by telling the wife, and not only that but it’s really not your place. Their situation could be a complicated one, or maybe relationships work differently where they come from…and what is the point of stirring things up even more? She has chosen to be with this guy and you seemed to be able to tell fairly easily that something else was going on….if she can’t see this, and if he doesn’t tell her, that is their own problem. I really don’t think in this situation you should step in. It sucks to be a part of something like that but it wasn’t your fault.

jordym84's avatar

@Bellatrix Thank you for your post and I’m really sorry that you had to go through that. I get what you’re saying and I feel the same way, that I would want to know early on. Though I do feel cheated (in more ways than one because I also suspected him of infidelity while we were dating), I don’t feel like a “victim” or the “scorned woman.” Knowing as much as I now know, I am pretty sure he’s a pathological liar but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt because I had no concrete evidence of anything (he once sent me a text with another girl’s name saying that he missed her “radiant smile.” This was before we’d started dating and it turned out that the girl was a coworker of mine and she used to tell me a lot of stories from her personal life so I knew that he had been hitting on her. However, when I pointed out that he’d sent the message to the wrong number, he lied and said that someone else had borrowed his phone to send a text and texted my number instead of hers…that should’ve been my first clue that he was a lying cheat). Finding out that he was married was the last straw. I’m an open book and never hid anything from him, but he was so sneaky and secretive about everything. So much so that, even though he has a Facebook page and we’re friends on there, no one can post on his wall. That was my first hint that he had something to hide. Argh I’m just so mad at him for putting me in this situation and mad at myself for not listening to my guts and following my instincts at the very beginning…

@Adirondackwannabe thanks for making me laugh with that last bit, I really needed it!! lol I do believe there are nice guys out there and though I know I won’t trust so easily again, I still believe in good guys.

@deni my thoughts exactly!! I really want nothing more to do with him. I strongly believe in karma and I’m counting on it to give him what he deserves some time down the line…I truly, honestly do not want to open up a can of worms. I just want to move on with my life. But then again, there’s my conscience to deal with…sigh

Bellatrix's avatar

I mean his wife may view you as the ‘scorned woman’ who is trying to hurt her husband. He sounds like he finds it quite easy to lie. He is undoubtedly lying to her and she wants to believe him. Look at your own willingness to believe him. My ex was a compulsive liar and I am sure there must have been clues. I don’t recall any. Perhaps I was just refusing to see them though. I don’t know. I was also too trusting. Like you I am an open book and I think that can be to our detriment. We think other people are also so honest. The man in this case sounds like a complete sleaze.

I am fine by the way and well and truly moved on from there. Whatever you do, don’t do it to get at him. That won’t make you feel any better. You asked if I would have wanted to know and looking back, and with hindsight, I say yes. Should you tell her… not sure. Really, I can see exactly what @deni is saying and it is their marriage. Don’t do it out of revenge though.

I would take some time to think about why you want to tell her.

jordym84's avatar

@Bellatrix No, I wouldn’t be doing it out of revenge or spite. I’m just trying to figure out if it would be the right and honorable thing to do. Or if, like @deni said, it’s their marriage and eventually the truth will come out, just like it did for me. Either way, I personally wouldn’t be getting anything out of it other than knowing that I did the right thing (whether that means telling her or not).

And yes, you’re right, I tend to hold everyone to the same standards I have for myself and unfortunately it backfired on me in this case.

snapdragon24's avatar

Honestly…how much drama are you willing to face? Telling the truth could be dangerous for you…he already is a sick liar…who knows what shit he can pull off and remember that they have a kid together. You need to know if you feel okay with doing the damages. I understand your intentions but Id say stay away, eventually someone else will do the job! People like him will get it one day.

chyna's avatar

He is a big jerk and a liar and a cheater, however, I think I would walk away from this entire situation. His wife does need to know, but maybe she already does and chooses to stay.
I think if you do go forward with informing her, you could be opening yourself up to things you don’t want in your life. He could seek revenge, she could seek revenge, or it could just backfire in some way.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve engaged in this sort of question before and I have had a similar experience as @Bellatrix with my now, 10 years gone…yay! lol ex husband.
I would want to know and everyone I have known would certainly want to know if they were being cheated on.
I am a truth teller when it comes to matters such as these. I wouldn’t lie for anyone to cover up their cheating ways nor hold back in disclosing the truth to a spouse.
Hey, don’t kill the messenger and if you’re going to play with fire, you risk getting burned in more ways than one.

I’d send a letter or anonymous note, yes, you bet I would. Everyone has a right to know the truth of their life IMO and should want to as well if they have any self value.
This guy is a true snake, I say sink your fangs into him and let the wife know she’s married to a Cobra.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jordym84 I always figured it wasn’t my place to tell but you’re making me rethink that. I don’t want to be the one to rat someone out, but I’m thinking if he cheated with you, he cheated elsewhere. You might want to get an STD test.

jordym84's avatar

@snapdragon24 and @chyna I want zero drama in my life. I never put myself in situations that would bring drama into my life which is why my initial reaction when my friends told me I should inform her was that I won’t do it. I can totally see how this could backfire on me and I want nothing to do with any of it.

@Coloma when I told my friends I wanted nothing to do with this situation, they suggested sending her an anonymous message, but I feel that that would be cowardly and spiteful. Again, I wouldn’t be doing it out of spite, to “stick it to him” because nothing good would come out of that; if I were to do it at all, it would be to let her know what/who she’s dealing with, but I figure she probably has a sense of it, like I did too. Or so I would hope.

@Adirondackwannabe I’m sure he’s cheated several times and yes, I’m definitely going to get tested.

Coloma's avatar

@jordym84 I agree. It’s all about informing the other party, if you chose.

josie's avatar

Blow him off. Live your life. He and his wife have obvious problems and I am sure they are each aware of the fact without your input.

marinelife's avatar

I think that you should cut off all contact with him, and never see him again. Do not tell his wife.

It is not your place.

She may know that she lives with a cheater, but she has a child. His child. For the sake of the child, you do not want to go there.

You don’t want any connection with this man. I would unfriend any mutual Facebook friends. I would change my phone number. I would even consider moving if he knows where you live. He is poison.

You need to get the poison out of your system.

jordym84's avatar

Thank you guys for weighing in! I slept on this last night and thought about it some more today and I have decided to not say anything to the wife. I don’t know how it would turn out if I did and I don’t want to get involved with any of it. I figure the truth will eventually come out for her just like it did for me; I found all of this out on my own without anyone saying anything to me, I just had a gut feeling that something was wrong and dug deep until I found the source of my uneasiness, so hopefully the same will happen for her. As @deni, suggested I’m just going to “cut the entire thing out of my life like a big lump of cancer.”

Now what I’m wondering is whether I should just cut him out without a word (remember, he still has no idea that I’m aware of the recent developments; all he knows is that I found that he was married and, according to him, divorced) or if I should send him a message before deleting him from my Facebook saying something along the lines of “Do not contact me ever again in any way, shape, or form, unless you want me to go to (place where his wife works) and inform her of your “little” indiscretions. Yes, I found out the truth and I know more than you could imagine.” Thoughts anyone?

Thank you all once again for helping me work through this! :)

Bellatrix's avatar

I wouldn’t pee on him if he was on fire from this point on. Delete him from every place, virtual or otherwise.

chyna's avatar

I would just cut him out without a word. He didn’t give you the courtesy of the truth, why should you explain yourself? I think he might keep trying to contact you to tell you that you are wrong, he isn’t married. Why do you want to keep listening to that?

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