Sometimes in life there are things you’d just rather not know. Like how much you owe SARS. Or how bad your friend’s athlete’s foot is. Or that your BFF’s partner is cheating on her.
What are you supposed to do with that unsavoury piece of information? Do you tell her immediately? Do you keep it to yourself? Let’s consider the options.
Telling her immediately
While this might seem like the obvious option (how can you not tell her?), surprisingly it might not be the best one. Although you’re the innocent party, your friend could transfer her feelings of shame, hurt and betrayal onto you, making you the bad guy instead of her partner. And in this shoot-the-messenger scenario, your friendship could ultimately be the relationship that suffers. You also don’t know if your BFF and her partner have an open relationship or are on a break – in which case your good intentions may be seen as unwanted interference. You’ll also need to remember that no matter how gently you broach the subject, you’re going to hurt your friend, possibly very badly. Do you want to be that person?
Not telling her
While this saves you from having to have any difficult conversations, it could also paint you in an extremely bad light if your friend ever finds out that you knew about her partner’s cheating and didn’t tell her. She could feel hurt and betrayed by your apparent lack of caring, and distance herself from you as a result. Even if you tell her that you were trying to do it for her own good, she’ll more than likely feel that you don’t have her best interests at heart and will feel foolish for being the last to know. All of which could at worst end your friendship, and at best create awkwardness between the two of you.
Seems like you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. So which option do you choose? Ultimately there’s no right answer, because every situation is different. What could help make the decision easier for you is considering how close the two of you are, the strength of the relationship between your BFF and her partner, and what you would prefer if the roles were reversed. Weigh up the consequences and see which option feels best. Regardless of what you do, handle with care.
Is messaging (or its racier cousin, sexting) someone outside your relationship actually considered cheating? Our readers weigh in here.