Learning a friend’s partner has been cheating on him or her is a difficult dilemma. On one hand, you probably don’t want to be the messenger with the horrible news, and on the other you don’t want to see your friend continue to get hurt unbeknownst to him or her.
Another fear of telling a friend about a partner cheating is the worry only he or she won’t believe you. Often people experience the dilemma knowing there is the possibility telling about the cheating will put a permanent wedge in the camaraderie and risk causing harm in the friendship if the messenger is not believed. It is hard for the recipient to digest this kind of news and there is a chance the friend will experience a level of disbelief at first, if even believed at all.
There is never an ideal way to deliver a message that relates to infidelity, and there is never a sure way to predict how a friend will react to the idea his or her loved one is cheating.
However, it is worth considering if the situation was reversed whether or not you would want to know if your partner was cheating. This is an important question to ask yourself, but is only one of a few questions that should be examined prior to telling a friend the truth.
Prior to informing your friend of the cheating, it is important to first be sure and have the facts to back up your claim. No assumptions should ever be made. If you do not have any evidence aside from a gut feeling, this is not the best way to approach your friend.
Before sharing what you’ve seen or heard, it is important to be certain you’ve not misunderstood a situation or could be making an assumption based on hearsay. It is perhaps OK to share any rumors you’ve heard, as long as you share where they came from so your friend can determine whether or not it is worth following up on, but credible evidence will be much more helpful to your friend as he or she processes the news.
Another consideration is your own motives. Are you jealous your friend spends more too much time with his or her significant other? Do you intensely dislike the partner and think your friend can do better? If these are your primary motives, you may want to reconsider the how and why you are telling your friend.
If you’ve decided your motives are pure and you have indisputable proof to prove an infidelity you’ve more than likely have decided to tell your friend. This, is in many cases, the right decision. It allows your friend the right to be able to decide what to do; the cheater is already lying to his or her partner and it puts the betrayed at an unfair disadvantage when others make decisions about someone’s life without his or her own input.
How to Tell a Friend His or Her Partner is a Cheater
Choose a Time
There is never a good time to tell people you care about that you’ve learned their loved one is cheating on them. That being said, you want to select a time/place that is quiet and one that will allow your friend to have the ability to digest what is being told. This news is likely to come as a terrible shock.
It is important to handle this kind of news with a gentle approach. Stick to the facts, do not bash or put the betraying partner down, just share what you know with as much kindness as possible; it is important to leave out any additional personal commentary. If you have tangible proof of an affair, share the information so your friend can have all the details he or she needs to make a decision about the relationship.
Once you’ve told your friend, the ball is in his or her court. The individual may want to break the relationship off, or he or she may want to reconcile and try to work the relationship out. The decision your friend chooses will likely depend on what is already invested in the relationship.
This is not the time to judge or tell your friend what to do, but rather to stand back and let him or her call the shots. If he or she needs a hug or an ear, be their shoulder or patiently listen. No matter what your feelings are about the partner or cheating, it is important to remember, this is not your decision, it is your friend’s choice on how to handle the cheating.
Dealing with cheating is never an easy issue for anyone involved. No one wants to be the bearer of this kind of news, however sometimes this dilemma does occur. As you decide how you want to approach your friend, try putting yourself in his or her shoes and see how you feel.
Chances are you’d decide you want to know and in most cases, telling a friend is the right thing to do, however it is important to consider how you approach it.
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.