What would you do… if you knew about an affair?

If you knew your friend’s husband was having an affair? Who would you tell? Why (aka how I justify this to myself)?

Maybe you wouldn’t say anything at all. Perhaps it’s easier to stick your fingers in your ears and just pretend it will go away. I think that’s a perfectly understandable response when your friend’s future and happiness is at stake. Maybe your decision will be clouded by the length of time, or the intensity of the affair. Or whether you think your friend is oblivious – or aware of it.

Let’s try another one:

What if your female friend began an affair with a guy you know is married?

And then what if that female friend continued that affair for years, while the married guy had a child with his wife, etc?

And then… what if your female friend had a baby to this guy as well… and the guy’s wife is oblivious to it all (or maybe she isn’t – you don’t really know)? And your friend says it’s all fine because she’s going to raise the child as a single mother anyway. She has no intention of ever breaking her ‘relationship’ off.

Do you say something? How do your personal experience, beliefs and values impact on your decision when you’re challenged by the friend factor?

Sometimes we like to think that this is something we’d only ever come across in Dear Abby or some Postsecret postcard because we just don’t know women who would do such a thing. Women who are so incredibly (almost unbelievably) selfish that the feelings and entire future of others just don’t play into their decisions.

Women who do this kind of thing are literally murdering the solidarity of women everywhere. I am no longer friends with a woman who is doing this. Because I cut the tie, and I’m glad I did. Not because it makes me feel noble (I am far from that), but because I’m saving all concerned in this – including myself. I’m the one who would pick up the phone and make this house of cards come down. I would dob it all in, and I would hate doing it. Something tells me it’s the right thing to do.

But I’m not sure it really is. Does calling it out make the situation better? So I just ran. Closed it (and more importantly, the woman friend concerned) out, so that it no longer confronted me. But you know what? It kind of still does confront me because this reeks of the disregard women have for each other and I am affected by that just the same way everyone else is.

Was this the ‘easy escape’ or was it drawing a line in the sand? Both? Neither? You choose.

What would you do if you discovered a good friend of yours was doing this?

6 comments

  • Sexual infidelity inside of any committed relationship is a problem. It’s the highest form of betrayal. And still, our society will downplay the seriousness regarding sexual betrayal.

  • Wow. I guess factoring on how well I knew the woman being played, I’d tell. My girlfriend found out two years her husband had been having an affair-when the other woman’s husband came to her door to tell her. It all came out that he’d had several affairs over the course of their marriage.

    If one of my friends chose to have an affair, it would end the friendship.

  • I wouldn’t say a damn thing. Why? It’s none of my business.

    No one knows what goes on between a married couple in the privacy of their homes. Just cause you’re outraged doesn’t mean she would be outraged.

    At one time in my life, I WAS the whistle-blower. And I got a rude awakening. She knew. She knew about ALL of his indiscretions. And she could have cared less. They were together for appearance and that suited them both.

    Lesson I learned? Butt out. If a friend asks you for your opinion, give it. But more often than not, they know. Trust me.

  • I do agree with you, Kath. Butting out was exactly the right way to go. But knowing about it, and maintaining a friendship when the person is doing something that really is so blatantly throwing it in your face (but not…. but you can’t get past it) is difficult. Given that just ignoring it wasn’t working for me, it was better to walk away than blow the whistle. I think?

  • Thanks Melissa. I guess the thing that bothers me is that it sounds like we’d be taking the ‘high road’ on this – it’s all judgy and so on… but really, it’s about self preservation and not ‘live and let live’.

  • I think I would say something to my friend. Let him or her know that I don’t agree with their choice and how it may be harming all the people involved and then back away from the friendship. It’s too draining to carry around the indiscretions of others even if they are your friend and I feel that by continuing the friendship it is almost like giving a thumbs up to the poor choices in this case.

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