I know what I would do.

I worked with Gail for years. We were good friends. I hung out at their house, I knew her husband. His name is John.

They had a rough road trying to have children. She had several miscarriages, but they kept trying.

They were very protective -obsessive- of each other. They always had each other in site, they couldn’t go out unless the other was also going, they were a package deal. I had never seen anything like it.

It took everything in my power to convince her husband to let her go out with me on my bachelorette party before I got married.

Again, package deal.

Fast forward 10 or so years. They went on to have two beautiful daughters and moved to a new house. I was also busy with my own kiddos and navigating married life and being a mom.

So we didn’t talk any longer. But I often thought of her, and hoped she was well.

One night, I got a rare moment to steal away with my sisters to a movie. Kids home safe with the husband and I got to get out and have an adult moment.

Before the movie starts, we loaded up on junk food and found some seats. Sitting there talking and laughing with each other. That’s when I noticed a super blond big head down to my left.

Is that John? No… can’t be… because that’s not Gail he has his arm around.

It has to be… no one on the planet has that color hair that I know of.

He leans in and they start kissing.

Wtf? Gail is going to kill him. Hell, I am going to kill him.

I tell my sisters. I tell them I have to get him to turn. My one sister makes a big noise and damn if he doesn’t turn and damn if that’s not John.

Wth am I supposed to do now? I think about it that night. I know what I have to do.

I call a mutual friend, and get Gail’s number. It’s been a good 5 or so years at this point since I’ve seen them. But I have to talk to her.

She should know.

I track her down and leave a message. She calls back about an hour later.

We have a little small talk, but there is something odd in her answers and there is some weirdness in her tone.

I just tell her as gently as I can that I saw John at the movies with someone that wasn’t her.

She replies, “I know.” We take a little more, but she’s still being odd. She’s asking me a lot of questions about mutual friends and if they’ve told me anything. I’m so confused by this conversation.

Finally she says, “We separated about a year ago, I am gay. I always have been. I decided about a year ago to come out. John wasn’t doing good for a while, but he’s happy now”

Oh. Alright then. We go on to talk a bit more.

Today? I see Gail a lot. Her daughter and my oldest son are the same age and go to the same school. I even had dreams of them dating. Her daughter was actually at my sons baby shower. They tease each other all the time about that. Gail is happy, John is happy, kids are happy.

All is good.

My point for this? Besides rambling on and on…

I’m in a support group on Facebook, and the question comes up a lot:

“Did your friends know about the affair and not tell you.”

The answers are almost always, yes, friends knew.

Why is this so hard?

People I considered friends knew. They even went out and had drinks with my husband and his whore. One of these friends was even in my wedding.

Is there a “bro code”? Maybe there is. But these friends wives also knew. These women hugged me, talked to me, chilled out with me… DURING his affair that they KNEW about.

I feel weirdly betrayed by all of them. I can’t even look at them to this day without wanting to punch them in the throat.

Did I do right that day telling Gail? I think so. I knew it could hurt her, I knew I might lose her as a friend -you know the whole kill the messenger thing- but damn it! She had the right to know, no matter how hard to hear, that he was not only jeopardizing their marriage, he was putting her health at risk.

Her and I laugh about it now. We have talked in depth about that phone call several times since.

She always thanks me. No matter where her marriage was at the time, she thanks me for looking out for her.

I wouldn’t hesitate to tell a friend again. Though I pray I’m never in that position ever again.

I’m somewhat humiliated when I think of it. How I was posting things about him and I online, how I was just going about our lives like there wasn’t a side chick that everyone knew about but me.

I know I shouldn’t be humiliated, but I can’t help that feeling.

But with that feeling also comes anger. They should’ve told me.

Would you tell a friend?

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About Walking the Journey

I'm a wife of 22+ years, a mother of three, a sister, a friend. This is my journey on healing after an affair. I'm full of sarcasm, humor and truth. Sharing the journey after my husbands affair, I'm hoping to rid myself of the demons and get a ticket out of crazy town that I'm living in.
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19 Responses to I know what I would do.

  1. I’m so sorry for that additional betrayal. My heart hurts for you. Hugs.

  2. I thought long and hard about this one. In all honestly it would depend on the person and whether it would make a difference. I have experienced some people who just want to bury their head in the sand and don’t want to know. Others who would want to know because they couldn’t bare to be made a fool of, but I think I would test the ground first and ask a person a generic question. It has made me wonder if I would have wanted to know, and he anwer would have been yes, but given how much I denied to myself would I have believed them?
    Moisy

  3. I was put in a bad position when my roommate and good friend was dating my friend, Doreen (Carol’s sister). I came to find out he was cheating on her and I was furious. Instead of telling Doreen, I just continued to be mad at him and try to convince him to tell her himself or break up with her. It ended up destroying my friendship.

  4. horsesrcumin says:

    I love this post so much! Everyone I asked say they had no idea he was cheating. I directly asked his best mate near the end of the affair, when I started getting suspicious. No. BUT. Many did say they felt his open friendship with Leanne was ‘too much’ and the women said it was a boundary they would have enforced in their marriage. I just thought I was ‘cool wife’ who wasn’t jealous, trusted him implicitly.

    I have known, and not told. But the reasons for not telling have been that it was based on hearsay. I had no hard evidence.

    I would tell, for sure, now. Also with that poking around the edges thing, feeling the situation out first x

  5. No.

    I would go to the person I think is cheating at a safe time and place and casually tell them my story. I would share the story and the consequences. I would tell them how I betrayed and who. I would use my situation for something useful. I would lead with vulnerability and try to avoid condemning them, judging them or lecturing them.

    Regardless of the reasons, they already know and often want someone to talk with about this situation and how to get help. If you have a conscious you already know you’ve fucked up.

    Depending on how the conversation went, I would encourage them to read Perel The State of Affairs and Madden’s books about “When a good man cheats.” I would tell them my experience with the reveal. I would tell them the three reasons Madden lays out for confessing to the affair, and the four or five reasons not to confess. I would then explain why I should have confessed to C first.

    I would encourage them to get counseling and stress that I am not judging them and that I know that sometimes we make decisions and out of fear and arrogance double down.

    If they double down on the behavior, I’d still be very hesitant to blow someone’s life up simply because I have an opinion. I don’t actually know the whole situation.

    I might even approach the AP if I knew they were the one sleeping with someone in a relationship. I would explain my story and the depth of my secrets and lies to C and K, my ex-wife.

    Approaching the betrayed Partner would be the absolutely last action. Absolute last…and even then it would require me witnessing a significant amount of reckless and dangerous behaviors….

    If someone is an alcoholic you go them first and offer help. If someone is trapped in a car fire you don’t add gasoline. If someone is drowning you throw them a life preserver, not a brick.

    In all cases, I would never take sides, fuel drama, create a triangle, or pick a team. Human beings cheat as a coping mechanism and social shunning only drives behaviors deeper underground.

    All the opinions offered here are from betrayed partners and a betrayer (*eyeroll*) I’d be curious what a family therapist would suggest because frankly, my best thinking got me here.

    • All due respect, that’s not at all what I would do.

      I was not going to meet with John, give him a book and talk to him about counseling.

      I would not meet with the woman I saw him with.

      Instead, I’m going to reach out to my friend, the one who is being cheated on. The one who needs to now go humiliate herself and get tested for std’s. The one who is going to have to face infidelity and all that that brings. I’m not waiting around for John to do the right thing.

      I’m handing her the knowledge, and I’m letting her know I’m there if she needs me. I’m not assuming a thing, I’m not consulting a family therapist, I’m not baking anyone a cake.

      If he was cheating on her, I straight up witnessed it, I’m letting my friend know.

      You and I come from two sides. I can tell you that I’m sitting here, and people I considered very good friends knew. They KNEW. They let me go 8 months KNOWING he was with another woman.

      He was already the coward that couldn’t tell me, so who would? If one of them had stepped up and told me? It does not then become their job to find me a counselor, talk to me about Perel, talk to the other woman, tell me of their own experiences or thoughts on the matter.

      It wouldn’t be their job to do all of that for him, either. It’s not their marriage, it’s not their family.

      Hell, it’s not even their job to tell me! It was always HIS job to come to me… but he didn’t.

      And neither did they. They watched me being cheated on for 8 months.

      It would be the last thing you would do, because of your own story. It would be the first thing I would do, because of mine.

      • I totally, and absolutely understand.

        I also know that before I would inflict the trauma on another person you have experienced I would want him to know he isn’t alone and can man up.

        It was my responsibility to tell C. Mine. No one else’s. I knew it, has already started the process of finding me – and maybe C – a counselor.

      • I totally, and absolutely understand.

        I also know that before I would inflict the trauma on another person you have experienced I would want him to know he isn’t alone and can man up.

        It was my responsibility to tell C. Mine. No one else’s.

        I knew it, I has already starting the process of finding me – and maybe C – a counselor.

        And while yes, after 8 months someone should have come to you, your friends should have called him out first. They should have said “WTF?!”

        Instead – it seems – they enabled his behaviors.

        You approached her and dropped it on her. You didn’t have all the facts, you didn’t know the history, you assumed the worse…and that is why I wouldn’t just drop that into someone family without making sure I had my ducks in a row. I don’t want for anyone else what happened to you or ©.

        And I meant if it was my friend that was the OW…not a stranger.

        I didn’t say anything about a cake.

        I really miss C’s cake. She made – hands down the best chocolate cake ever. EVER.

        Also, I miss her. I really fucked up my part.

      • Girl I get it! I still Remember plain as day a few weeks after DDay, the day I found out all my neighbors knew or suspected and never said a word! Isn’t this the perfect kind of test to see what kind of person you are…are you going to stand for something…are you going to stand for right or wrong?

        I remember that day, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me, my body got so weak and I fell to my knees and huge tears came rolling out of my eyes and I screamed out “none of you could have told me” My God it hurt so bad that these people I loved and I thought loved me couldn’t tell me, what was left of my broken heart was destroyed that day! I tried to be understanding, I can imagine how hard that would be to tell me. At the least everyone could have got together and went to my H and told him they knew and if he didn’t tell it, they were going to tell me!

  6. This is a hard one. I can say that from what I have been able to find out, no one I know, knew. While my H took the skank out, it was mostly to places near her home (small town) where I didn’t know people. Appearances are important to my husband and while he was having an affair, he would have been embarrassed if anyone ‘caught’ him at it if that makes any sense.

    That being said, if I learned a good friend’s husband was having an affair, I don’t think I could keep silent. I could see poking around as you did. However, for a more casual friend, I’m not sure what I would do. I have not been in the position to have to make that decision, and hopefully will not in the future… xoxo Dolly

    • It wasn’t a good position. For me, it worked out and she was actually grateful I had her back. But it could’ve gone bad, I know, and I could’ve lost a friend.

      I have a different perspective now, I guess. There is a feeling of betrayal from those who knew.

      I also believe it depends. It depends on the person and who they are in my life.

      It definitely didn’t take me long to come to the decision to tell Gail. Not easy though to do it. Now? I know the pain it will bring more than I could ever have thought back then…

  7. blackacre02631 says:

    Pre-DDay, I would not have said anything unless I was really close to the betrayed spouse. Now? If I witnessed something? I would absolutely tell.

    I’m just shy of DDay #1 and I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful I am (and how bizarre it is to feel that way) that the Whore’s husband told me about Handsome. Yes, it blew my life apart, but within weeks I could get tested for STDs, it ended Handsome’s acting out, it pushed him into counseling, and it made me aware that there was a puzzle I needed to put together concerning my marriage.

    If he had just gone on his own way as the betrayed spouse, his wife might have dropped out of Handsome’s harem, but all the other women would have remained. Chances are that Handsome’s sickness would have continued to fester and his acting out behaviors would have gotten increasingly worse, putting me at greater and greater risk.

    I am really thankful that someone spilled the beans. Yes, in my case it was likely done out of anger, but it saved me nonetheless.
    ❤️

  8. Great post. I wish someone had told me. My husband swears no one but his best buddy knew, but I wonder if best buddy every told his wife and if she chose not to tell me. There were some signs like her encouraging me to move on. In any event my respect for best buddy is gone and I don’t encourage spending much time there now.

    I wasted time, tears and heartache, I spent tons of money on marriage counselling, trying to save my marriage all while he was cheating on me and treating me horribly. If I had known, I would have moved on faster. I think telling is the right thing to do as long as the motive is kindness and you are sure the story is correct. If a friend kills the messenger then perhaps they are not the best kind of friend to have.

    • Exactly. Knowledge gives us the power to decide.

      I personally wouldn’t kill the messenger. I would be upset, but not at them.

      Same here, respect for the friends is gone. I do not feel comfortable around them any longer and I have enough on my plate working on my marriage.

  9. SpaghettiSam says:

    I would like to think I would tell. I know years ago, before any of my friends were actually married, I flat out asked them if they would want me to tell them if I ever knew their significant other was cheating. I think that’s the way I would still play it. Besides, all I’m doing is giving them information; what they do with that information is up to them.

    I would also add that YOU aren’t potentially ruining an innocent spouse’s life. The cheating spouse and their partner are potentially ruining that spouse’s life.

    I am very thankful that Harley’s husband reached out to me and told me the truth. We had just finished construction on our pool six days earlier. Because her husband told me about them I didn’t pay the pool off like I was supposed to. When he told me he was on his way home and six hours later he still wasn’t there I transferred the money into an account that had only my name on it, which prevented him from taking off with it, or giving her even more money than he had. That money was what allowed me and my kids to stay afloat after he cut me off financially. I wasn’t at his mercy.

    • That’s how I feel. I know the information will be painful, but I’m not the one blowing up anyone’s life. I’m handing them information that their cheating partner isn’t.

      Is it my place to do so? Depending on the person and the situation, I think so.

      I’m glad you moved that money. Very smart

  10. Pingback: Circumstantial existence | try not to cry on my rainbow

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