So, your friend’s husband is cheating on her. You have unearthed the affair and now you’re gripped by the dilemma of whether you should break the news to your friend. Not only will the truth cast a dooming spell on her marriage but you also risk jeopardizing your friendship. Any advocate of friendships might argue that it is your moral duty to come clean because friends ought to protect each other and not lie.
But can you be sure that your friend will take it in the right spirit? What if she projects her denial onto and your friendship gets sacrificed at the altar of truth?
Actually, what do you say to a friend whose husband cheated on her? It’s indeed an extremely tricky situation. You must be in the dilemma: Should I expose a cheating spouse? Should I tell his family he cheated?
Infidelity disclosure details can actually land you in a soup because you really are not sure how their spouse would react to the revelation.
The Truth About Husband’s Cheating Took Its Toll On A Friendship
We, recently, received a query from one of our readers, “Tried telling a friend her husband is still sleeping around behind her back, got blocked instead. Was I wrong in telling her?”
So, we reached out to our relationship experts and readers for their views. Here’s what they had to say:
A grey area
Pyschotherapist Snigdha Mishra says: You were not ‘wrong’ in telling her. Your heart was in the right place. You were looking after a friend. But what her husband does or doesn’t do is between them.
She has the right to protect him and block you. That’s her choice. What she does with the information you gave her is up to her.
Marital relationships aren’t always black and white. Every relationship has its complexities. These may not always play out as expected. It may be difficult to figure out why she blocked you and that’s quite understandable. As I said, a marital relationship can be different for different people.
Different people react differently to infidelity disclosure details. A wife might take it up with her husband in the privacy of her home, but she would make an effort to maintain his dignity in front of her friend. Isn’t that natural?
Shattering a glass castle
“By telling her the truth, you broke her castle. She would rather live in that castle than uphold the friendship with you. Send a message through another channel and say that it was your mistake. It’s for her peace, not yours.”
So to tell or not to tell about a cheating spouse remains a million-dollar question. Even if they are suspicious about their spouse, and know that something is amiss hearing about a cheating spouse from a friend is not something they are ever ready for. The friend invariably becomes the villain in the scheme of things.
Erring on the side of caution
Author Harshali Singh says: I would say sometimes it’s better to err on the side of caution. You did your duty. Now, it is your friend’s prerogative how she takes that information and does what she feels is best for her.
In my view, she could have blocked you, fearing:
- The judgement of the choice she intends to make
- Feeling less than a truthful friend
- Maybe she knew or sensed the truth and you made her face it.
Even if you secretly tell someone they are being cheated on and you promise to keep it a secret, the very fact that you have passed on this information to them could jeopardise your friendship.
Since they cannot immediately confront the spouse and need time to process their feelings or gather more information, they take the easy way out. They severe all connections with you.
Related Reading: We Were Best Friends Who Fell In Love With The Same Guy
Writer Devraj Singh Kalsi: Your friend seems like the arrogant type who believes friends are for partying, not for sharing the ugly truths of life with. Maybe your friend does not believe in genuine friendships, and a circle of fake friends makes her happier.
True friendships are indeed about a friend’s ability to criticise you, tell you when you are wrong and also share with you the harsh truth. If infidelity disclosure details lead to such a situation, this might make us believe that the foundation of the friendship was never strong.
How to disclose the infidelity details
Psychologist Prachi Vaish: “No, you were not wrong. However, the approach might not have been the best one. When conveying sensitive information such as breaking the news about being cheated upon, it is important to keep in mind that it is extremely embarrassing for the listener to find out from a third person that they are being fooled.
“Also, many times they might not even want to believe that their partner is doing something like this and prefer to stay in denial. In this situation, the messenger becomes the enemy.
“However, in both instances, it is not exactly your fault that they are reacting this way, so stop taking it personally. When you approach a friend with such information, start by telling them that you have something uncomfortable to share and that you come from a place of respect for your friendship.
Also, add that you don’t have any particular expectations with regards to the reactions to the information you’re about to share and that it is their complete prerogative to decide what they want to do with it.
Denial and delusion
Seema Lalani, Reader: If she isn’t asking you, why tell! Sometimes people want to pretend or not want to know the truth. It’s their prerogative to keep that delusion.
Keya Karan, Reader: Sometimes in marriage, people choose to look the other way.
Truth can come back to haunt you
Jaksha Dikshit, Reader: I had this experience at one of my past workplaces. The sad part was that they both ganged up against me. I had to resign because of all the frustration and mental abuse they put me through.
Partners in crime?
Neena Singh, Reader: Maybe she didn’t like that you found out the truth. Or perhaps, her husband’s cheating is part of some sort of arrangement between the couple. Chances are they both might go against you and bad mouth you on the assumption that you may share this truth with others.
Sonal Baid, Reader: The question is why is there a need to tell? Isn’t it your friend’s responsibility to be aware of what is happening in their relationship? A lot of times people ignore the writing on the wall simply because they don’t want to know.
A responsible friend
Annie Vig: Sometimes wives are the last one to know about their husband’s cheating. You did a good thing by telling her. It was your responsibility as her friend. What she does with that information is entirely up to her.
Cheating a necessity
Pranav Thakkar: What do you say to a friend whose husband cheated on her? My suggestion is nothing. Nowadays, extramarital affairs are essential for the smooth running of a marriage. That’s my observation.
Related Reading: What Happens When The Thrill Of Pursuit Is Over?
Aarif Malik: If you are still thinking should I expose a cheating spouse? I think she already knew, as most wives do. You stressed her out even more. As a result, she ‘escaped’. Proof or no proof, most wives know when a husband is cheating. They get a sense, they just know.
Apart from the stress of handling such a twisted relationship, a lot of stress comes from the social stigma and the rumor-mongering by friends and acquaintances. That stress is not easy to take. So much so, that anyone broaching the topic becomes a nuisance.
So if you were cut off by her – despite your intentions – it is possible that she saw your action as one of nuisance-causing intrusion.