Should I Tell My Friend Her Boyfriend’s Cheating?

By Guest · November 8th, 2011 · Student Life · Comments

8 November


Dear Kathleen,

To say I have a serious dilemma would be an understatement. My two best friends started dating a few months ago and from the outside looking in everything seemed to be great. Until, I, recently overheard two girls in my English class talking. Now usually I would just mind my business but when I heard my very unavailable guy friends name mentioned I decided to ease drop. Boy, oh, boy, did I quickly regret  doing that. Turns out one of the girls in the conversation has been hooking up with him on the regular!

I just don’t know what to do. We all became best friends freshmen year and I don’t hold one friendship more valuable than the other … either way I feel like I’m betraying a friend . Should I tell his girlfriend? Or should I just keep my mouth shut?  It’s weighing on me I don’t know what to do? I don’t want to lose either of them.

To Tell or Not to Tell

Dear To Tell or Not to Tell,

Let’s face it, no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. I’m sure you didn’t grow up dreaming about becoming the repo man of your best friends’ relationships. I know you’re grappling with what to do but honestly, what choice do you really have? Ask yourself this, if the situation were reversed would you want to know? Unless there’s an ironclad pre-nup that leaves you with nothing I’m going to go with yes. Would you be mad if your best friend knew and didn’t care to share that tid bit of information? Once again, I’m going to take yes for 50, Mr. Trebeck.

The potentially volatile situations outcome could weigh heavily on how you approach it. Consider that reactions can be navigated by emotions not truth. In many cases the truth is obsolete. Taking the approach of just telling her straight out could backfire in a number of ways. In one instance going behind your guy friends back could leave him feeling betrayed and result in losing him. There’s also a major possibility of losing them both also known as, the ‘Sammy Sweetheart Denial Effect’- your revelations could turn the tables on you making you the perpetrator. It’s always easier to blame someone else. De-Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt it’s a freaking ocean.

Here’s what you need to do. Sit him down in a private setting and tell him you need to talk. Two of the most important things to remember is to keep a calm, coy and neutral demeanor. Balls to the wall just come out with it right away and tell him you know about his “Scarlet Letter” and leave it at that. He may initially admit it but there’s more of a possibility of denial. Remember, not to attack- stay calm and just repeat, that you know. Skimping on the details and being coy is key because if he knows what you know up front it’s easier to come up with a story or excuse. Letting him sweat a bit increases the odds of getting an admission. Don’t get caught up in whatever he’s selling. You’re not inspector gadget. Your job isn’t solving mysteries, it’s being a good friend so stick to what you know. Inform him you haven’t spilled the beans yet but there is an expiration date and if he doesn’t tell her in the next few days you will – that way you’re giving him forewarning. You’re her friend too and she needs to know what’s going on whether it’s true or a rumor. This way you’re giving him a chance to address it directly instead of going behind his back.

Staying diplomatic is the key to getting through this situation.