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TexasStateOfMind's avatar

My friend cheated on her boyfriend. She feels really badly and is freaking do I be a good friend to her? Should I even bother?

Asked by TexasStateOfMind (23points) August 28th, 2010

He’s a nice guy, though I’m not particularly close with him aside from seeing him every other weekend with my friend. They’ve been together for about 6 months total, the last month being LDR since he’s moved to a new city about 3 hours away. I thought they were a good couple and never really took her for the type to cheat, but she disclosed to me that last night she went out with coworkers and ended up going home with one of their friends.

I was shocked and disappointed – if my boyfriend cheated on me, it would be OVER – but she was very distraught and in tears. She was very drunk, though she realizes it was her decision and she regrets it deeply. She’s been crying all day and feels terrible, and she is also very emotionally unstable and used to suffer from severe depression (she used to harm herself in the past, though she was a teenager and we are now a few years out of college and now she only suffers from more mild depression).

So…what role do I play here? She obviously needs me since I am her best friend. Do I encourage her to tell her boyfriend the truth? Tell her to dump her boyfriend? She claims that she doesn’t want to because she does love him and that she now knows for sure that she doesn’t want anyone else (she does not like the guy she cheated with).

Do I tell her that what she did was okay? Tell her that we’re all human? Tell her to never tell him (No, I do not plan on telling him)? I don’t know if I could do that, given my feelings about cheating (that it is always wrong, and almost unforgivably humiliating to the other party).

Maybe it’s none of my business at all, but I just can’t stand seeing my friend so upset and feeling so much self-hatred and am worried about how she will react given her depression. I am as shocked as anyone else that she did this and while it was wrong, I feel the need to support her in some way. What does the best friend do?

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26 Answers

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Drama, drama,drama. Your best bet is to not get involved, I know I wouldn’t. You can comfort her but don’t become a messenger.

TexasStateOfMind's avatar

I wouldn’t become a messenger. I’m asking how I should comfort her and what I should say we she talks to me about it. I’d rather not sit in silence with judgey eyes and be like “yeah, well…shouldn’t have done that.” Or even worse tell her that I simply have no comment. She’s obviously under a lot of stress despite doing something wrong I’d like to be able to tell her something to ease her anxiety.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

You should encourage her to tell him, in the end she’ll feel a whole lot better having an honest relationship. She should tell him that it was a mistake and how she feels about him and the whole situation. You shouldn’t tell her it was okay, but that everyone does make mistakes, and hopefully he’ll understand and forgive and forget the situation.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Say what comes to mind. If you often say offensive or rude things by mistake say what comes to mind after you rethink it.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Be supportive but it is her decision whether to disclose her infidelity. If she wants to discuss it, do lots of listening and be empathetic. Encourage her to do what she thinks is best.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Listen to what she has to say and be honest with her about what you think. If she chooses to tell her boyfriend, be prepared for her to need more consoling if he ends the relationship because of what she did.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

What a horrible knowledge, I’m sorry for you. I wouldn’t tell her what she did is something everybody does because they don’t but I do agree with others just to listen and be supportive if she calls on you for comfort.

A woman I once knew did the same to her bf and then confided in me knowing I didn’t approve of cheating. She needed to tell someone for her own reasons which was okay with me but she also knew I might not stay friends with her, she was right.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m not sure what you could say or do that will make her feel better. I can only think of bad things that will happen if you get involved.

And to be honest, maybe she needs to feel like shit for a while. She fucked up and needs to deal with it.

MacBean's avatar

I think the best you can do is to listen when she needs someone to do so. Don’t make her feel worse, since she already feels shitty, but also don’t go out of your way to make her feel better. And if she specifically asks for advice, say you really have no idea what to tell her.

Cruiser's avatar

You say she is your friend so be a friend….don’t make it all complicated. She knows what she did and how she feels about it and how she handles it will be all up to her. Of course if she asks, I would not get all judgmental and offer your opinions…just ask her then how she feels about it and go from there. Plus those perfect relationship you observe at a distance are often not all that idyllic back at home and there may have been sufficient cause to take a wild romp in the hay with Mr. Goodbar.

actuallery's avatar

It was a drunken one night stand, not a big deal. If she has had mental health problems in the past, she might have a Bi-Polar Disorder that may cause her to act “differently” with other people. Depression and erratic behaviour is another symptom as is excessive sexual activity.

You might consider asking her to get some counselling (for her depression) as it might also alleviate that guilt that she feels.

BoBo1946's avatar

Just listen and console.


I don’t know about you, but I would never be friends with someone who cheated on their boyfriend or girlfriend. I set high standards for myself, and people who cheat behind their loved ones’ backs have a bad character flaw that makes me distrust them forever. It’s just like a “friend’ who lies to you. How can you believe him/her anymore?

actuallery's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES – You wouldn’t make a very good sales person.

sharpstick's avatar

As a friend your job could be, in addition to comfort, to help her see the paths ahead with a clearer head and prepare her for the consequences of what ever action she takes. Talk to her about never revealing it and what that would feel like the longer they are together and what would happen if he did find out later on. Also talk to her about telling him and being honest and then leaving the decision about the relationship in his hands, and let her know that you will be there for her no mater what he decides.

My vote is with honesty and ripping it off quickly like a band-aid, taking the consequences and then moving on from there. In the long run, it is easier to live with loss than with constant guilt and fear.

actuallery's avatar

In my opinion, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, I would tell her off and ask her if she was really serious about herboyfriend, though. I’m sure it was a once-off situation and you should just take it as that. As I said previously, get her to a therapist for her depression.

shoebox's avatar

He needs to know… When people cheat on their partners they KNOW what they are doing…. none of this I was too drunk or he came on to me crap…. I’m an extreme light weight, when I drink I just get more confident to tell sleezy men to go away…. even one tried to make a move even when I said I had a boyfriend… you know what I did… I slapped him and told him to get lost.
You shouldnt bother with your friend. Maybe comfort her but she needs to face the concequences. Cheating just shows she has no respect for him and it wasnt worth much to her. He must know but I don’t know how you’ll handle that part… sorry, it’s your choice. She can’t play or toy around like that. She has to learn.

actuallery's avatar

@shoebox – He doesn’t need to know but maybe should get a test to ensure that she hasn’t caught anything that would harm her partner. It has already been stated that she is remorseful of her actions and that she suffers from anxiety and depression, I doubt that telling him would help the situation at all.

shoebox's avatar

@actuallery true true….. but I’d want my partner to be honest… there are no excuses for cheating on some one…. but its really @TexasStateOfMind ‘s choice…. just hope things work out for everyone…. just very dissapointing and direspectful she’s done this.

actuallery's avatar

@shoebox – In time, I think she will admit to her indescretion, perhaps before the vows are tied, to ensure a proper and honest marriage.

shoebox's avatar

@actuallery haha, hopefully!

TexasStateOfMind's avatar

@shoebox and @MRSHINYSHOES She’s still my friend, and I will always side with her over some guy that I don’t know very well. I don’t know exactly why she did what she did, but I certainly won’t make snap judgments like “it’s because she has no respect for him.” You don’t know my friend. I know it’s really easy to see every situation like this in black and white or good and evil, but not every case is the same.


@actuallery No, you’re right. Salesman (yeech! Lol.)

BoBo1946's avatar

A person has to be very careful with this situation. Don’t take sides and never be judgemental. Just listen and be a friend by a caring attitude.

shoebox's avatar

@TexasStateOfMind cheating is cheating… it’s respectful towards your partner when you are out to take caution towards people who are out looking for… something different
but you are right too and I just hope things go well for you and your friend and that she does the right thing…. good luck! Everyone reacts different and feels differently about cheating, I just hope your friend and her boyfriend are both ok.

bippee's avatar

You are her friend, so be a friend and listen. Don’t be judgmental. You can ask her questions though and get her to evaluate her current relationship. Maybe she knows it isn’t going anywhere & she is looking for guidance on what to do next.

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