Should I Tell My Friend She’s Being Cheated on?

My friend has been married for several years. She and her husband always seemed to be a great couple. But recently, I found out that her husband was cheating on her. And now the news is eating me up inside. Should I tell my friend the truth, or is it better to leave it at that?

Mary, 37

Cheating is always a sensitive and uncomfortable topic of conversation, no matter the context. But what should you do if you find out that someone you know in a relationship is cheating on their partner? In such cases, don’t rush into a decision. First of all, consider how close you are with the involved couple.

If you barely know the person who was the victim of infidelity, you should not interfere. If you know each other closely enough, you should think carefully.

Based on new information, you may be tempted to act on your own, but you should first stop and think about how well you understand the whole situation – you may not have all the facts. Are you sure you know that you witnessed the cheating, and could that be the reason for the relationship to end? Can you be sure that this is unacceptable in this relationship?

The thing is, you don’t know the couple’s boundaries – for example, they may practice an open form of relationship, and then you would be violating their personal boundaries.

But if you’re determined to tell the truth, at least delve deeper into their relationship history, try to learn something before you speak up. It’s also likely that the pain the person will experience from your intervention will be much less compared to what they would have to go through if they found out on their own or lived in blissful ignorance.

Also, try to imagine how you would react in this situation – unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, but try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and find the most tactful way of telling the truth.

If you do decide to take this step, do it in person. Don’t send a text, an email, or make a phone call – be considerate enough. Avoid being categorical and judgemental, and then make sure you give the person the time and space they need to digest the news and be there for support if they need it.