Your friend is madly in love with her guy. As far as you know this is a great thing because he seems cool. That is, he seemed cool until you saw him cheating on her with your own eyes. Or maybe you heard a rumor. Do you tell her?
What would you do if you saw a friend's boyfriend, fiance, husband or partner out on a date with someone else? When they discussed this question on the ABC chat fest "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg said that she would never tell because maybe her friend and the hubby have an agreement. On "Mob Wives," the newest reality show train wreck, mob princess Renee Graziano lets her girl Carla Facciolo know that Carla's man propositioned her and Carla flipped out -- on Renee. It was a real case of blame-the-messenger. On Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York City" Jill Zarin whispers at a cocktail party that she's heard "from her crowd" that her "good friend" Ramona Singer's husband Mario is cheating.
So what's a girl to do if you witness or hear about a friend's guy creeping?
1. Be sure that you are seeing what you think you see.
A man can be hanging with his sister, cousin or female pal at a bar, restaurant or supermarket. To an onlooker it can appear that they are a couple. Be 100% certain that you are seeing what you think you see.
Your friend's dude could also be a big flirt who never acts on it. Perhaps she enjoys this part of his personality. Maybe once a week he drops a co-worker at the store on the way home so that she can buy milk for her four kids. Perhaps the chick you see shopping with your best friend's boyfriend doesn't even like men. Who knows?
Be clear about what it is you think you are witnessing. Do not project your own fears and trust issues on to what seems to be unfolding. Passing on misinformation is irresponsible.
2. If you can, gather evidence.
No one is saying that you need to turn into Nancy Drew or hide in his bushes like the paparazzi. In fact, please do not do either of those things. By gather evidence I mean that if you are in the supermarket and see a friend's husband buying wine and grapes with another woman whom he appears to be in a relationship with and you've got your cell phone cam, snap a photo.
This will be controversial but a picture is worth a thousand words. Your bestie can determine for herself if your iPhone video of her boyfriend canoodling at the movies is appropriate or not. You are just providing her with evidence so that she does not have to take your words for it. She can make her own determination.
If you think that this is too much you are entitled to your opinion, but if you see my man doing something sketchy, snap a pic and let me decide what I see.
3. Break it to your friend gently and privately.
Do not gossip at a cocktail party a la Jill Zarin that there are rumors about a friend's hubby or tell your girl her man is a creep at a dinner party a la Renee Graziano. This is entirely inappropriate. I know that this may seem like juicy information but if possible keep what you think you know to yourself.
Visit your friend or invite her over then discuss the state of affairs in private. It doesn't matter if you are a group of four "Sex & the City" type chicks who do everything together. This situation merits a one-on-one conversation only. If you bring up the perceived infidelity in a group dynamic, your friend will be reacting more to being embarrassed than hurt. Then she may get defensive. It's not fair to put someone in that position.
4. After you've told her, back off.
You've given your friend the facts as you know them. Her man appears to be a cheating cad. Now back off.
It's not your responsibility to tell her what to do about an affair. Offer your opinion only if she asks for it. Her relationship with her partner is their personal business only. Whether and how she confronts him is up to her. If she chooses to stay or go is up to her. If she is, in fact, in an open relationship is up to her.
Your job is to be a supportive friend only. Ask her how she is feeling. Make sure she is okay. Support her by being there for her in the ways that she asks you to be. You don't know anything about her intimate love needs or personal relationship no matter how much you think you know.
Ask your friends ahead of time
Ask your girls and male friends right now how they feel about the matter. Be forewarned. It's like signing an organ donor card. You have the info upfront so that if, heaven forbid, a dire situation occurs you know how to proceed in the person's best interests.
"If You See Something, Say Something."
"Don't Ask Don't Tell" is not a good policy for a relationship. Burying your head in the sand is an act of denial. Always give your friend the facts as you know them so that she can make accurate decisions for what works in her life.
So, would you want to know?
I have told my friends in no uncertain terms that I want to know if they see my guy being inappropriate or cheating. If a friend did not tell me it would trouble me. If you handle this unfortunate situation with kid gloves then you are not being a snitch, tattle tale or instigator, you are being a friend. If a friend knew that someone was stealing from you or cheating you out of money wouldn't you want her to tell you? It's the same deal if someone is stealing from your heart.
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