Cheating. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of a relationship. It can be gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and devastating for the person on the receiving end. But the pain of cheating does not stop with the couple – oftentimes friends and family members are brought into the lies and deception and placed in a very sticky situation.
The first (and probably most important) thing to do if you find out that you’re friend or family member is being cheated on is to keep it to yourself! Don’t go gossiping about your new discovery to everyone who knows (or doesn’t even know!) the couple. This is not the time to spread the drama. Sharing this news will only add to the pain your friend will feel when they find out that EVERYONE knew but them. If you’re a real friend, you shouldn’t be the one to add to their pain.
The next step is to assess the friendship. If it’s just someone you know of, but not a close friend, you should stay out of it. It will probably be very hard to do. Every time you see them it will remind you that they think they’re in a happy relationship, but you know otherwise. But just know that what’s done in the dark will come to the light… eventually.
If you are close friends with the cheater, the person being cheated on, or both, you should start by confronting the cheater (since they already know what’s going on!). Explain that you don’t want to get involved, but that simply knowing what’s going on makes you involved. Ask them to be honest with their significant other so you won’t have to tell your friend. Explain that it would be better for them to hear it directly from the source. Give them a deadline to come clean (maybe a week) and let them know that after that you’ll have to tell your friend.
If the cheating continues or if the situation gets out of hand, you have to tell your friend. It won’t be easy. Telling someone that they’re being cheated on is one of the most difficult things to have to do in a friendship. You’re gonna want to punk out, but you can’t. Tell your friend. But be fully prepared for them to not believe you or think you have alterior motives. They think things are fine and believing the opposite is going to take some time. Let it marinate. Also realize that they are probably going to be embarrassed. Don’t get mad if they turn on you. Allow them to save face in this particular situation. Being cheated on is a tough pill to swallow. Let them handle it in their own time, in their own way.
Regardless of how they handle the situation, don’t get mad at them. You have to understand that at the end of the day it’s their relationship, their life. Don’t try to tell them what to do or how to handle it. And be understanding if they decide to stay with that person. It’s necessary for your friendship to keep your personal emotions towards the cheater out of the situation. If they forgive them and you hold a grudge, it will only hurt your friendship.
KBrookethomas asked @tcarr_examiner a question: “You see a friend’s significant other cheat, do you tell them or confront the cheater?” Send me your questions or article suggestions @tcarr_examiner!
***I want to hear what you think! Comment on this article with your response. What would you do?
Also read: How to get closure without the other person.