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What is the collective MN decision about telling people that their spouse is having an affair?

(23 Posts)
SundaeGirl Thu 13-Dec-12 23:59:54

Keep quiet. Unless it is, say, your sister's H doing the cheating, do not breathe a word to anyone. Anyone.

And when/if the truth comes out do not say 'oh yeah, I saw them together at the cinema and wondered if I should mention it'. (I can't believe people do this but they don't seem to be able to stop themselves.) Just continue not saying anything.

Never be an extra ingredient in an already bad pot.

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 20:04:00

That strategy can backfire too, rask. Giving the accused due warning gives them time to go into denial mode, concoct cover stories, become a model of injured innocence, and convince their wronged spouse/partner that someone is out to stir up marital discord between them - the grounds commonly cited are jealousy/envy or sheer nastiness.

Alternatively, they may 'fess up, throw themselves on the wronged party's mercy, and the re-loved up pair summarily end their friendship with the accuser and blacken their name.

Even without being the bearer of bad news, and even when one has formerly been close to both parties, it can be extremely difficult to maintain friendships with a separating couple and, more particularly, where infidelity has played a part in the breakdown of a relationship.

raskolnikov Thu 13-Dec-12 15:54:55

I think the least hurtful option would be to confront the one having the affair and give them an ultimatum. Then the choice is theirs. I wonder what my XH would have done.

raskolnikov Thu 13-Dec-12 15:49:31

Izzy, yes it was spot on, name, job etc etc. One or two details were wrong, ie the sender didn't know he'd already moved out, which ruled out a few possible senders as several people were in day to day contact.

I'm not sure how I feel about it now tbh, it exposed him as a lying B, while I knew he lied to other people I thought he'd been honest with me. If I hadn't received it we may have got back together but possibly fallen apart again (if he did it again), so in a way it finalised things for me. I realised all our attempts to put things right (Relate etc) were a sham.

MirandaWest Thu 13-Dec-12 15:46:59

I'm pretty sure some people knew that XH was having an affair but no one very close to me. Not sure what I'd have done if one of them had told me tbh.

Realise that's not very helpful but doubt it could have felt any worse than finding out how I did and when you find out from the horses mouth so to speak at least you can't have false hope that someone got it wrong somewhere.

lisad123 Thu 13-Dec-12 15:45:16

If you do it, be prepared that their anger may end up your way confused

raskolnikov Thu 13-Dec-12 15:39:58

Yes, I was devastated. Interestingly, one of the people who might have told me was in the same position herself (ie OH having an affair), so I might have told her, although I strongly suspect she'd known about it for a long time and had turned a blind eye. I have never said anything to her about her OH but she's made it clear to me that she'd known about my H's affair for ages. Tangled web...

I would have preferred to have been told straight, but in my case it would probably have come to light sooner or later. As it happened, it prevented any chance of a reconciliation.

AbigailAdams Thu 13-Dec-12 15:37:44

Do you know what kind of relationship she has with her husband? Because that would be my deciding factor. If her husband was abusive (not that you would necessarily know that) I wouldn't tell him. Why don't you approach her and give her the option of coming clean/ending the relationship?

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 15:36:48

Was the content of the anonymous letter you received true, raskolnikov?

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 15:31:17

If you're not close to this woman, how can you be absolutely that she's having an affair.

If she is having an affair, how can you be absolutely certain that her dh doesn't know?

On balance I suggest you act on your dh's advice to leave well alone and keep schtum.

AppearingDignified Thu 13-Dec-12 15:17:22

Was it a shock? Are you glad you know? I'm not the OW as it is the wife who is being unfaithful.

raskolnikov Thu 13-Dec-12 15:09:14

I received an anonymous letter.

It killed me.

I don't know to this day (5 years on) who sent it but suspect OW. Numerous 'friends' and family knew and no-one said a word. Bitter, much?

AppearingDignified Thu 13-Dec-12 15:07:57

I know for sure. Is there anywhere truly anonymous? It plays on my mind alot but it's only when I see her that I get really worked up. DH says leave well alone as we're not close.

scaevola Thu 13-Dec-12 14:53:31

It's not clear cut because people worry the the betrayed spouse might shoot the messenger, and because there's always the possibility that it's a known, even condoned, affair. And of course the possibility that you are wrong and telling suspicions would throw a heap of mistrust into a perfectly good relationship.

But if you know for sure, it drags in your own integrity, for if you know and do not tell you have become a colluder in the dishonesty (which is usually more harmful than the actual sex).

AppearingDignified Thu 13-Dec-12 14:35:42

Sigh, it appears that it is never clear cut. Maybe one day I'll go the anonymous note route.

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 14:16:30

Not wanting to know bad news isn't an unusual reaction, but much depends on the manner of the telling as it would be particularly mortifying if the bearer of the tale related it in a salacious manner, or with evident glee or pity.

Overall I incline to the view that anonymous letters have a place in such matters.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 13-Dec-12 12:57:52

I would have wanted to know but only if a) the information came from a very good friend and b) they had first-hand/eye-witness status. I wouldn't want to know rumours or idle gossip because that isn't credible, and something as serious as that from a casual acquaintance is pretty inappropriate.

TantrumsandBananas Thu 13-Dec-12 12:48:07

I would want to know.

IF it was my friend, and DH was having affair, I think I would perhaps be of the mind, to say that DH must tell her or I will.

It would be hurtful to find out DH had an affair and a friend knew and didn't say.

Its an awful position to be put in.

gettingeasier Thu 13-Dec-12 12:42:12

Oh sorry I see now

Dont know , depends who it is ? The individual circumstances ?

laverneandshirl Thu 13-Dec-12 12:42:06

i would be grateful but some ppl do shoot the messenger. Can you encourage the offender to come clean?

gettingeasier Thu 13-Dec-12 12:41:07

I presume you mean on MN as referred to in the thread title ? If someone posts on here then they are automatically going to get opinions which is what they are asking for.

In RL I dont know but its different

NotActuallyAMum Thu 13-Dec-12 12:30:39

There will definitely be people who will say yes to this question

Personally, I'd rather know - and I wouldn't care if it was a stranger in the street who told me as long as someone did

AppearingDignified Thu 13-Dec-12 09:38:14

Has anyone been told that their partner was having an affair and not wanted to know?

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