Is your sixth sense tingling — that feeling women often get when they know something’s up? Perhaps you saw your friend’s guy leaving the bar one night, getting into a cab with another girl. Perhaps you overheard something you shouldn’t have, about that guy messing around. How you found out that your friend’s man is cheating is irrelevant. The decision before you is whether you tell your friend, or decide to not say a thing. To choose your course of action, you have to first answer, for yourself, questions about the following three scenarios.
BODY OF EVIDENCE: Do you have proof?
Did you read something on his Facebook wall that seemed suspicious? Did you see his arm around a girl at a bar one evening? Neither of these is an indication of guilt. Before you go rushing to your friend with heartbreaking, gut-wrenching news, be sure it’s a fact, not just an assumption or a comment from a non-credible source. If you decide to blow the whistle and you’re wrong, you may come off looking jealous, or as if you have some ulterior motives (even if that was never your intention). Obviously, it also might cause a rift between you and her other half, which can only lead to a fracturing of your friendship — not necessarily a loss of friendship, but likely a change for the worse.
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: Can you break the news without judging?
These things have the tendency of coming out, eventually. How devastating would it be if, down the road, your friend receives a random Facebook message from “the other woman,” who, perhaps scorned, tells her all the dirty details? Or what if your friend hears it from someone else? Sometimes, bad news is better coming from you (if you’re a very close friend). By telling her what she needs to know, you are being her rock. Of course, make sure of your facts first (see: #1). When you break the news, tell her you are not judging her based on whether or not she stays with the guy or walks out; just let her know that you believe she has a right to be informed. Tell her you understand she must be hurt, and you’re here to support her should she need it in any way. The fact is: The sooner she knows, the sooner she can move forward before more feelings are invested — not to mention, before their relationship goes further.
3. FOREVER’S A LONNNG TIME, BFFs: What’s really at stake in your friendship?
In a delicate situation such as this, your friend might refute your claims. Unfortunately, many of us would rather ignore truths because they hurt too much to digest. In a denial situation where both members of the couple know you know the inner workings of their not-so-perfect relationship, they might slowly remove you from their lives, or cut you out altogether. Be prepared for a negative reaction from your friend and don’t push her. In the end, when all is said and done, she will know deep down that you were looking out for her. Friendships often come in ebbs and flows; sometimes you spend 24/7 with someone, other times you both get caught up in your lives and separate for a while. Don’t take her potential dismissal of you personally. It is not a personal attack and has nothing to do with you. Remind yourself that you did the right thing — which was really rather noble — and let her approach you on her own. Alternately, if you hear through the grapevine of their imminent split, use that as an opportunity to reach out and offer her your support.