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Two friends having an affair? WWYD

(93 Posts)
AtALoss2012 Mon 10-Dec-12 10:56:13

NC, and really at a loss! Will keep brief as would rather not be known in RL.
I very strongly suspect that my friends DH and our mutual friend are having an affair. Very randomly I was out for dinner with work people and saw them there together. They were being very couply and cosy, holding hands, kissing, giggling until they saw me, I was really shocked but they then shortly got up and left, they didn't talk to me at all or really acknowledge my presence, but they definately saw me. Friends DH had told her he was working away that night. They know I know but haven't said anything to me, this was last thursday night. It does make sense to me as a few months ago I commented to my DH that I would be uncomfortable with him being as friendly and flirty as friends DH was with OW. Friend has also commented that mutual friend(OW) hangs around alot... but it has never gone further than that. DH thinks I should leave it, he says that they know I know so that will either prompt them to come clean or end it and I would be better off not being involved.
Do I tell friend? WWYD?

I would stay out of it. The messenger always gets shot.

It sounds like they aren't very discreet anyway so will be caught out before long.

What a horrible position for you to be in.

SugaricePlumFairy Mon 10-Dec-12 11:04:43

I would speak to the mutual friend or the Husband and say that either they confess within the week or you tell your friend waht you saw..

You saw it with your own eyes so it isn't idle gossip otherwise I would say stay out of it.

Would your friend feel betrayed by you if she knew you were aware of this sighting but said nothing?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 11:05:49

Tricky isn't it? I would normally agree with your DH that it's a total minefield to get involved in someone else's marital problems... especially if you're the one dropping a bombshell as big as this. But as they have been completely caught with their pants down and as your friend already has her suspicions, I don't think I'd be able to keep quiet. Especially if it later came out that you'd seen them together and said nothing.

AlphaBeta82 Mon 10-Dec-12 11:06:39

Ohh that sounds like an almost impossible situation... whichever way you go you'll end up in the wrong I'm afraid. I would probably talk to my friend, if it was a really good friend, and just tell her what you saw and leave it at that, where she goes from there is then her choice. If you were your friend wouldn't you want to know?

WinkyWinkola Mon 10-Dec-12 11:09:41

I would tell them they either come clean or you will have to tell your friend what you saw.

It's crap you're In this position. Affairs often have a large fallout range which makes it even more of a selfish act.

Is OW a good friend of yours?

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Mon 10-Dec-12 11:11:19

How is your friend going to feel if it later transpires that you knew and said nothing? In her shoes I would want to know and would be very unhappy to find out that a friend had known about the affair had kept it from me. Do you think your friend would want to know and if so do you really have the right to remain silent?

Abitwobblynow Mon 10-Dec-12 11:11:48

Confront them. Tell them that what they are doing causes unimaginable pain to more people than they have started to think about, and that they WILL be found out.

So whilst they are in control of the situation, that they come to what decision they want to come to, and do it.

That is what I would do anyway. (I would NEVER tell the wife. She is the one person who is not in any control of the situation whatsoever, so why give her the responsibility to manage what she didn't cause?)

Duty discharged, their secrecy bubble blown, a bit of healthy disapproval, advice given, responsibility handed back to them.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 11:14:37

I'd so want to know though -in my case I'd want to be told. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't.

ComradeJing Mon 10-Dec-12 11:15:05

My friend discovered that her ex was cheating on her left right and centre and was devastated because so many people had seen him cheat but didnt tell her.

I'd a tell a good friend and I would want to be told to.

Oh dear OP, you will indeed be shot no matter what you do or say. Either the DW will have a go at you for telling her what she didn't want to really know or for not telling her what she DID want to know.

I have been in this position once. I said nothing. I decided that if the DW came to me to ask if I knew anything I would tell. Otherwise I decided that as I hadn't actually seen her DH and the OW having sex in front of me I wasn't going to assume anything. For all I knew they were watching re-runs of Eastenders when they were hidden away in OW's house. And it wasn't my business to make assumptions and force them on the DW and risk her marriage. Maybe she knew and was prepared to live with it, or maybe she didn't. But who was I to decide that she had to know whatever it was I assumed was going on?

My advice would be to say nothing - and prepare an explanation as above when the DW eventually phones you.

AtALoss2012 Mon 10-Dec-12 11:22:13

Friend is quite a good friend but not one of my closest, sort I don't share everything with but would happily meet up for a cuppa or for Dcs to play. OW is someone who comes along to larger social gatherings etc, I wouldn't invite her to my house for a cuppa for example. My DH is friends with friends DH, which is how we got to know one another many moons ago. OW and friend used to be quite good friends but not so much now I think as friend as DC. Sorry if this sounds confusing.
I'd want to know but I don't want the responsibility of dealing out such horrid news. Though I think deep down I have to do something. Abitwobbly that is a really good point, but I do think maybe I should tell friend...
Oh I really don't know what is for the best!! Very angry at both of them for creating this mess and dragging me into it! (even if it was inadvertantly!)

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 11:23:32

"hadn't actually seen her DH and the OW having sex in front of me "

Openly snogging in a restaurant kind of wipes out any element of ambiguity... The OP isn't assuming anything.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 10-Dec-12 11:27:54

Would it be possible next time you see your friend to just say 'oh i saw him on x night havign dinner with friend b' and just leave it at that.

She then knows he wasn't away and can ask him about it.

DontmindifIdo Mon 10-Dec-12 11:33:19

well, you know they are having an affair, and they know that you know they are having an affair, and they are not being discreet, so other people will find out in due course. Plus if they aren't being discreet, it could be that they don't care if they get caught, and therefore are in the 'planning to leave' stage. This then means it's going to all blow up at some point, possibly very soon.

When it does, it could easily be that the Friend finds out independantly that her H has been cheating and he assumes she found out from you, so says something. That would be very hurtful to your friend if she's been going slightly crazy trying to find evidence and she suddenly realises you have known all along. (She might mistakenly think you were either laughing at her behind her back and/or helping her H have an affair)

I would talk to either the OW or the H, say you know what you saw and they have put you in a terrible position. I wouldn't give an ultimatium this close to Christmas, though, I think AbitWobbly is about right. Put it back on them.

AtA Please think about it.

Someone I know was in a similar situation to you. She confronted the cheating husband and gave him an ultimatum. The husband then told his wife that the lady I know had tried it on with him and threatened to ruin his life. All of her credibility was gone no one believed anything she said about him and the person he was having an affair with after that.

If you tell the wife then she may find it hard to be around you after that, or her and her husband will try and work it out and then you will be pushed out too.

Its so hard to know what to do for the best I know, but please think of all the possible consequences for yourself before you do anything.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 11:35:54

I'd also recommend the 'I saw your DH in <insert restaurant>' opening gambit. He's either a) owned up, b) said he was somewhere else or c) said he was with someone else. If she asks you a direct question e.g. 'who was he with'... be honest.

AtALoss2012 Mon 10-Dec-12 11:40:28

In response to chrismissy, yes I am worried about this, we all live in a close knit village, apart from OW but she isn't far away. I can't not see these people on a regular basis, we share friendship circles and community stuff.
It is great you are all giving advice but everyone has such conflicting opinions, wish my brain would work better and sort this mess out in my head! Currently at work and not getting a thing done!

I know, I know cogitO I'm advocating the chicken's way out.....!

But the thing is, unless the DW is noticeably sniffing around for information on her DH, or gives some kind of indication like some of the other MNers "I'd want to know etc", the OP is not necessarily going to be thanked for this. (Not that she's looking for thanks, you know what I mean).

I'm with chrismissy - OP needs to think it all through before wading in.

Nancyclancy Mon 10-Dec-12 11:40:38

I agree to the 'I saw your dh out the other evening' approach too! You are not accusing anyone of anything but not letting it go either.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 11:44:27

The OP will not be thanked if she drops the bombshell and she will not be thanked if it comes out she kept quiet. In a no-win situation therefore I think it's a case of 'tell the truth and shame the devil'. You may not be popular but you can always defend yourself if you've told the truth.

AtALoss2012 Mon 10-Dec-12 11:49:36

I must admit Cognit0 I am leaning towards this approach. If I just tell the truth to friend, not my assumptions at what this means but exactly what I saw, then I've done what I can feel is the right thing. I always tell DC that he should always tell the truth (albeit with diplomacy!) but needs to accept sometimes people don't like it, but telling people just what they want to hear is as bad as lying. Maybe I need to listen to my own parenting advice.
I will think about this though before wading in. In truth I've thought about nothing else for the last 4 days! I really expected the H or OW to contact me. The only contact I had was OW 'liking' a comment on my FB!!

Abitwobblynow Mon 10-Dec-12 11:50:54

Or - where does he work?

You could download 'what will you become?' by lindajmacdonald and send it to him anonymously. £8 for a clear conscience and knowing you did your best.

That essay is a right kick in the nuts.

Abitwobblynow Mon 10-Dec-12 11:52:10

Please don't tell the wife. If you do anything, it should be towards the twat who is doing the damage.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 11:53:35

They're not going to say anything are they? They're probably gambling that you're too embarrassed to spill the beans. Also they've had a few days to work out a plausible explanation why he was in that restaurant with female friend where you saw him, etc. etc., just in case you say something.

"What tangled webs we weave"... and so forth....

vitaminC Mon 10-Dec-12 11:54:29

If the original friendship is through your DH, I would tell him and leave it to him to have a "man-to-man" talk to his friend!

He could probably do it much less confrontationally, in a blokey way: "hey mate, DW told me about you and OW last week, what are you playing at?", then take it from there depending on how he reacts...

vitaminC Mon 10-Dec-12 11:55:12

I forgot to add: otherwise, your own husband might end up getting annoyed with you if his friend falls out with him do to you getting involved!

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Mon 10-Dec-12 11:57:55

Oops, more conflicting opinions here

But I would tell the wife what you saw ie. exactly what you saw and no more with no embellishments and judgments about what it might mean. Make sure she knows you have no expectations of what she will/won't do with that information and that it goes no further.

If I were her, I would hate to be the last to know and, when it all comes out, to think that people that are supposed to care about me left me looking like a duped fool.

She has no control over what is happening with her H and the OW but she does have control over what she does in response to being in full possession of the facts

DontmindifIdo Mon 10-Dec-12 12:00:55

I actually think a start of "I meant to tell you, I was in X restaurant on Friday and I'm sure I saw your DH in there, but he left before I had chance to come over to say hello, I hope he didn't think I was being rude!" as that just gives her the chance the start the conversation along the lines of, "AtA said she saw you in X place, but weren't you away on Friday?" if she asks for further details you can say you thought you saw OW with him, but you don't have to say you saw them kissing unless you want to

SeasonallySnowyPeasant Mon 10-Dec-12 12:05:32

If my husband was cheating and my friend knew about it, I would want them to tell me. It would be the end of the friendship if I found out later that they knew and let me carry on being played the fool.

GlaikitFizzogTheChristmasElf Mon 10-Dec-12 12:05:44

I agree with AnyFucker here. You need to present your friend with what you saw, and let her know you are there if she needs you, but you will not judge her whatever she decides to do.

Callisto Mon 10-Dec-12 12:07:57

I would tell the wife, and I would want to be told in her situation. I just don't understand why anyone wouldn't tell a friend that they are being cheated on. All of the damned if you do stuff is just an excuse to do nothing and imo if you do nothing then you are complicit in the affair.

halfthesize Mon 10-Dec-12 12:09:22

I think advice from MrsCampbellBlack is very good, then its just like an innocent comment made in passing for friend to investigate. I really think she needs to know. Good luck, would hate to be in your position. x

SledsImOn Mon 10-Dec-12 12:09:57

Talk to your friend.

If you make a big song and dance about it, complete with shocking revelations and so on then that would be horrid and make you look like you were enjoying it - but if you just have a quiet word, in private, and tell her what you saw then she will be more likely to appreciate it.

If you don't tell her and then she finds out that you knew, you'll lose her I imagine.

Horrid situation - I'm sorry.

moogalicious Mon 10-Dec-12 12:10:23

Ata I have been in this situation. I told the dh who was cheating that I knew and the shit really hit the fan - he told lots of lies and wriggled out of it and I looked like a complete bitch. The DW begged me to tell her the truth but I just couldn't - I was in a such an awful position.

A few months later the DW found out anyway. She thanked me for looking out for her, but I feel terrible that I didn't just tell her straight away. She's forgiven me for that (I think!).

I can't give you any more details as it might out me or my friend. Needless to say, it was an awful position to be in but if it happened again I would tell my friend. No questions. No giving the DH the opportunity to wriggle out of it. If it was me I would want to know that my DH was a cheating bastard. Why protect him?

AtALoss2012 Mon 10-Dec-12 12:12:07

Thnks everyone. I am going to tell her but in a very non-bias way, as you say just what I saw and when and leave it at that. I will support her if she needs it but will also understand if I get caught up in her anger when she lashes out or indeed if she wants to ignore it. I haven't told anyone else apart from DH and we've agreed no-one else is to know as it is not our life being thrown all over the place.
DH did think about talking to friends H but felt he couldn't, and they are not that close anymore. also his exact words were 'I'm not sure if I could stop myself from punching him!' My DH is quite a traditionalist about marriage, espceially when children involved, I'm not sure he would deal with it very informally. DH does think we should say something if it doesn't stop or they don't tell wife, but whatever I feel is right is my decision and he'll support me.

SuperChristmasScrimper Mon 10-Dec-12 12:12:35

I would say something. It would be the end of your friendship if she found out you knew but carried on letting her being made a fool of.

badinage Mon 10-Dec-12 12:12:42

Bear in mind that on a forum, some of the advice is going to be coming from people who would have rather have put their heads in the sand and not known - and also from people who've been in the OW or husband's position. Even your husband's opinion is skewed by not wanting to dob in a mate, plus he doesn't sound very good at confrontation.

So just do what you think is the right thing to do. Your friend is already suspicious, but is probably being told she's unreasonably jealous or insecure. She might even be led to think she's going mad. Meanwhile she is risking her health if she's still having sex with an unfaithful man. These two are treating her with contempt and they aren't even being discreet about it.

If you tell her what you saw then she can decide for herself what she does next. She can plan, get a health check, go to see a lawyer, get her own evidence, confront or do nothing. Telling her doesn't force her to do any of those things but it gives her info to make those decisions.

If you tell the husband or the other woman, they will just hide it better so please don't do that.

magimedi88 Mon 10-Dec-12 12:17:43

Late to this but I think your decision is right, ataloss. It's the lesser of two evils & I would definitely not say anything to the husband or OW.

AlphaBeta82 Mon 10-Dec-12 13:22:49

Good luck OP, FWIW I think that is the right decision

AtALoss, I think you've made a good decision. If I was the wife in this scenario I would be grateful. Forewarned is forearmed.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 10-Dec-12 15:53:46

I'd say nothing. It's not my business.

If it came out that I'd seen them I'd just say, oh yes, that's right I saw them in the such and such restaurant.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Mon 10-Dec-12 18:13:49

Yes I also would tell her what you saw. Give her the chance to decide what to do with the information, the chance to regain some control.

Good luck OP

Pizzaexpress2 Mon 10-Dec-12 18:32:56

Ooh. A difficult one.
I have been in this position and I kept my head down. I was sure it would come out but it didn't. Couple are still together and all seems well.
I am relieved I never said anything to any of those concerned.
I was waiting for ages for it all to come out and to support my friend as necessary.
Why would it come out that you randomly saw the Dh and ow in a restaurant. You have no firm proof of anything going on so could shrug it off without thinking too deeply.
I would not want to know to be honest. Sad, yes I maybe but what if it does work it's course?
Honesty isn't always the best policy.

MerlotforOne Mon 10-Dec-12 19:47:12

I caught my Dad in a clinch with a family friend. He didn't know I'd seen them. I told my mum who confronted him. He denied it, gave me a stern talking to, along the lines of 'Merlot, I'm disappointed in you for thinking the worst of me' etc.
6 months later it all came out. He was having an affair with her sad. I was able to support my mum through the horrendous aftermath. They patched things up and are still together 16 years later.
I believe I absolutely did the right thing, despite the damage it did to mum, who hadn't been suspicious before and might never have found out otherwise. She stopped behaving like a martyred doormat and their relationship is much healthier as a result.

Teeb Mon 10-Dec-12 20:32:55

What an awful thing your father did to you Merlot (as well as your mother of course.)

ZenNudist Mon 10-Dec-12 20:48:58

Another vote for tell the wife, do it soon. I'd say 'oh I saw your dh in x place on Friday, he was with y' then change subject to how your work do went.

lunar1 Mon 10-Dec-12 20:49:39

I think you are doing the right thing, I would want to be told.

MerlotforOne Mon 10-Dec-12 20:52:15

Thanks Teeb. It was horrendous at the time, I was 18 and living at home, doing A-levels. In hindsight I think it actually undid some of the damage caused by growing up with this idea that men needed looking after, although not all of it, and that I'm less of a doormat as a result (although my feminist SIL would disagree with you!)
Sorry OP, don't mean to hijack, just saying I think telling your friend what you saw is the right thing, regardless of how she reacts to it.

MerlotforOne Mon 10-Dec-12 20:53:21

Would disagree with me I mean...

MikeOxard Mon 10-Dec-12 21:05:55

I think you are doing the right thing OP.

suburbophobe Mon 10-Dec-12 21:07:40

The messenger always gets shot.


Stay well away, I would say (bitter experience).

An innocent remark - cos THEY don't tell the truth! - will be used against you to cover their tracks.

The shit will hit the fan soon enough anyway. Best you don't have anything to do with the fall out.

who needs these kinds of people in your life anyway?!

Junebugjr Mon 10-Dec-12 21:11:55

This happened to me and a couple of friends, we found out our friends DP was cheating, but stayed schtum for various reasons too lengthy to go into.
She found out about his cheating, kicked him out, and was totally devastated. Then it came out through a drunken friend that we all knew about it. So as well as already being devastated, some of her friends hadn't told her either. It was bloody awful. Looking back, she must have felt betrayed by everyone she cared about.
Tell her, but in a factual way. I wouldn't bother with giving him any heads up, he'd find a way of weaselling out of it. Even if she doesn't come to the conclusion he's having an affair, at least she on a bit of an alert for what's happening.

Abitwobblynow Tue 11-Dec-12 05:45:28

To all of you saying, 'tell the wife', have you ever been the 'recipient' of betrayal?

You see, there is a HUGE disconnect between intention and result. The person doing the betraying 'doesn't mean' to cause this much harm. S/he is thinking very very selfishly, only about their feelgood moment, an affair (being admired, desired) raises their self-esteem hugely. A large part of the problem is that they are not thinking of their spouse. In fact, they are not thinking at all. How many times have people heard 'I didn't mean to hurt you'?

The knowledge of an affair is absolutely shattering, in ways I can hardly describe. You self-esteem is gone. You feel ugly, unwanted, unsexual. You are so traumatised you don't even know what is real. I used to wish the world came with one of those packing boxes 'this way up' with an arrow. It makes you doubt EVERYTHING. Once your innocence is gone, it is gone. This is the one area where I think pure applied honesty is not applicable, really.

Please, please don't visit this holocaust onto the one blameless person. When someone is being selfish and thoughtless, they are in a little bubble of fantasy where they are in control. The issue here (the disconnect) is the fantasy. So an outside person, bringing a bit of reality of DISAPPROVAL and SHAME (and a bit of disgust) - could jolt the selfish arse into getting real about what they are doing and what is really important - and to turn away from his path of destruction.

The betrayers have no idea how destructive they are being, and what they are destroying. The disconnect (intention and result) is soooo toxic I think they should be challenged and given the option to stop and the wife given a chance to keep her innocence. It is ENORMOUS hard work to get to the place where 'his behaviour does not define my worth/I am not defined by him'. It has taken me 3 years and I and my children have lost so much.

If they are too addicted and choose not to, well - hell will be visited on them anyway. I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy.

Confront the DH and OW in a factual way. Give rhem a chance to come clean

nooka Tue 11-Dec-12 06:13:55

When I finally got proof that my husband was cheating on me it was a huge relief. Of course it was also incredibly painful, but that pain began many months before when he started to get so deeply into his love affair that he found he had to demonise me in order to justify his behaviour to himself (and I totally agree wobbly that he was living in a complete fantasy world). As a result he was a bastard to live with and frankly I thought that I was going mad with my suspicions and being blanked whenever I tried to talk. It was the worst period of my life I think (worse for me that the aftermath, when at least I had some control and my dignity).

In my view the holocaust has already been inflicted by the person you love most in the world, and who you think loves you most in the world too. Anything outside of that to me was pretty irrelevant.

Sure I would have loved someone to have given my dh a stern talking to, and that as a result he would have realised the error of his ways and immediately stopped his affair and lavished me with the love I deserved. But I really really don't think that he would have reacted like that, except possibly if it had been from one of our very close mutual friends. Most likely he would have lashed out at that person and retrenched in his own little world.

OP I would tell your friend that you saw her dh out for dinner with the other woman. I might preface it with a 'is everything OK between you and your dh' type intro so you get a feel of where she is at - she might already know something is deeply wrong in which case she may welcome your proof of her suspicions, or she might brush it off in which case you can fall back on the 'surprised they didn't say hello' if you feel the need to. Either way you can make sure she knows that you are offering support if she needs it.

My dh didn't feel any true shame or disgust about his actions for at least a year after the news of his affair broke, but of course everyone will react differently.

It must be a horrible position for you OP, especially in a small community. Good luck with however you choose to go forward.

SundaeGirl Tue 11-Dec-12 06:34:37

Don't do it! Do not to this info to any one else: friend, OW or H.

This is not a situation where the thing of 'well, everyone knew why didn't they tell me?' is going to be relevant because your friend is unlikely to find out that you saw her DH and the OW. You and your DH are not telling anyone (keep it that way!) and it doesn't seem likely that the OW and DH will mention it. This only becomes a problem if other people gossip to you about it, which hasn't happened yet.

As for confronting the cheating couple, there is no faster way to end up embroiled in a mess. They will hate you for bringing their relationship to an end and will focus on you and your role as bad guy. They will be out to make you look meddling or worse. Right now, they just want you to go away.

It can be tempting to want to ride into these kind of situations and set the moral world straight. However, this isn't about you and this kind of thing has ways of biting back, the nature of the news infects the teller. You might see this as helping her, everyone else might see it as stirring.

If you want to help your friend then be around for her and her DCs. But unless she asks you directly: have you seen my DH out with OW? then don't mention a thing.

SundaeGirl Tue 11-Dec-12 06:36:31

Or, if you do feel compelled to say something, my friend got an email when her DH was cheating that said:
'I believe your DH is cheating on you with X You deserve better' which you could try. My friend's DH still denied it though.

FellatioNelson Tue 11-Dec-12 06:41:34

I agree with Chrismissy. I did tell a friend this once, years ago, but I am not sure to this day that I did the right thing, and she suspected anyway, so I just confirmed it. They broke up shortly after and he married the OW. I did not personally know the OW so I was not caught on both sides of the problem.

I'm not sure I'd do it again though. I have known a couple of sets of good friends who have fallen out spectacularly over things like this.

DH and I know a very good friend of ours is screwing around but I don't think it's serious so we are sticking my heads in the sand. TBH I wouldn't be surprised if his DW has had the odd fling as well. They both seem to be going through midlife crises.

I really wouldn't want to find out that other people knew & didn't tell me

SomersetONeil Tue 11-Dec-12 07:25:40

The thing is, everyone SAYS they'd want to know - I say I'd want to know too, and I know my best friend at least, would tell me, if she suspected anything - but who the hell knows what it must actually be like to receive that news in real life??

I mean seriously... There's clearly a reason for the massive disconnect between all of us piling on to say, 'yes, I'd want to know, I'd dump a friend for not telling me', and the fact that in real life, the messenger often gets shot in a rather spectacularly blood-thirsty way.

Finding out something like this is arguably the most devasting thing you'll ever experience in your life. It means an end to your family as you know it. It means single-parenthood. It means change in the most fundamental way. In reality, a lot of people are simply not willing to step up to that change when it comes down to it.

And if someone decides to stay with their cheating partner, then the first person they're going to throw overboard is the person who kindly broke the news to them, assuming they'd want to dump the sorry arse of the person who cheated. And when they don't dump their sorry arse - the cuckolded party is left feeling very red-faced in front of the friend for being a doormat, a pushover, an affair-accepter, pathetic, etc, etc. It's then way too difficult and awkward to continually face this person and so they're frozen out.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying don't tell her, necessarily. But I'd also take everyone's (including mine) fervent claims that 'we'd absolutely want to know' with a pinch of salt and basically, just do what you think is best.

Somerset - have you ever been the betrayed wife though? I have, and believe me I'd have been very grateful if someone had confirmed my suspicions. My best friend discussed this with me after the fact. She said she wouldn't have told me had she known. I would have wanted her to though.

SomersetONeil Tue 11-Dec-12 07:58:35

No I haven't - I imagine that I'd very much want to know. I hate the idea of others knowing and me not, and looking ridiculous. I've known my oldest friend virtually all my life and I know she would tell me, and thank God.

I align myself completely with those who say they'd want to know. However, you can't deny that as much as people say they'd want to know in theory, in practice when people relay their real life experience of this sort of thing, the messenger so often gets shot...

LeBFG Tue 11-Dec-12 09:19:00

So what if the messanger gets shot? Should OP keep schtum because it might mean the end of her friendship? It seems a pretty selfish reason not to say anything.

I also don't see where morals come into it (poster upthread mentions this). If OP just says I saw your H at the resto on Friday and he didn't say hello - OP is simply informing friend. No assumptions of affairs have been offered up. No red-faced embarrassment for friend. No judging. No moral position taken.

Keeping schtum would be entirely appropriate in cases where friends are just on the edge of one's social group. You've no big vested interest in their happiness and they would be wondering what your motivation was for speaking up. When you're closer your motivation is obvious (you care about your friend).

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 09:33:04

I agree wholeheartedly with SomersetONeil. I was the one frozen out despite the fact I only told my bf after weeks and weeks of handwringing and 'I think he's cheating on me. If only I knew'. Well it turns out she didn't want to know.
If he's not being that then the chances are he's going to get caught out at some point.

poozlepants Tue 11-Dec-12 09:34:09

That is meant to read "If he's not being that careful then the chances are he's going to get caught out at some point". My brain is mush this morning.

LeBFG Tue 11-Dec-12 09:45:42

Why should friend wait til the dust hits the fan? - it may never happen. Meanwhile their relationship is one based on deceit and a deceit that isn't complicit - it's one where one party is hoodwinking the other. Even if H realises he's wrong and dumps OW, his marriage cannot be the same as before the affair. The real issues haven't been addressed and then the veil of guilt comes. But then that really is their problem to sort. However, saying don't say anything because she's likely to find out anyway is a right cop-out (sorry for the strong wording, don't know why I feel so strongly about this - I almost never post on relationships).

I guess if you are the friend you have to balance up which option you think is better for you then. There is of course a chance the messenger will get shot, but there is a bigger chance that if you don't say something you will never be forgiven. I would have been incredibly hurt had a friend known and kept schtum. I would have questioned their loyalties to be honest, and probably lost trust in them.

I would say something, and I would want someone to say something to me.

AtALoss2012 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:04:55

Well thank you all, I had a good reason to see friend last night and she was alone. Told her what had happened, framed it very diplomatically without opinion, just what happened in the restaurant. She repeatedly asked what I thought was going on and I tried to say lets not jump to conclusions and only her H could tell her. She said he had been really 'off' with her for months, snapping and being difficult, she suspected something was going on and had been driving herself a little nuts trying to work it out. I don't know what she will do next or if this will affect us as friends, but I do agree with the above person who said that I'd be selfish if I didn't say to protect myself.
In truth I am relieved that she has suspicions and things weren't great as it didn't seem to be as big a bomb as I was expecting.

I know some of you will think I was right, some will think I wrong, but knowing her and I as I do, I feel what I did was the only right decision I could have made. I know OW or her H will not speak to me or DH again, but I am not concerned by that.

SugaricePlumFairy Tue 11-Dec-12 10:08:48

Hello AtALoss I think you did the right thing in bringing it to her attention.

It's up to her how she chooses to use the information, I hope she's okay.

AtAloss - she will thank you, if not now in the future. She'll have known anyway, just not known known iyswim. I knew, as partners who are having affairs are horrible people to live with. They are emotionally cold, disconnected, often critical, hurtful and cruel. They need to find reasons to justify their affair so make their partner feel at fault, constantly. It's confusing and horrible. Knowing why they are like this is actually a release.

Well done Ata it sounds like you have done exactly the right thing, although its not what I would have done it seems like you have just confirmed her suspicions rather than dropped a bombshell. What a crappy situation to be in though, how are you feeling about it all now?

I forgot to add - now, all you can do is be there for her, hand hold, take her out for lunch/coffee/drink, listen, sympathise, but avoid offering an opinion or a solution. Ask her questions so she can make her own decisions. You sound like a lovely friend.

AtALoss2012 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:19:33

Thanks, honestly I am feeling pretty crap at the moment. I hate seeing others in distress and it was horrible, and she was so nice about it which somehow made it worse! and it is just before christmas!
I'll be here as much as she needs and give her as much space as she needs. My feeling is if he wants to stay and repair the damage she will let him try....

You didn't cause this though Ata you have absolutely nothing to feel crap for. You didn't choose to see them and you didn't choose the timing. You are a victim in all this too.

I think you would have felt worse sitting there last night and not telling her. You are an amazingly selfless friend.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 11-Dec-12 10:55:26

You are a good friend, OP x

ComradeJing Tue 11-Dec-12 11:06:57

Well done OP.

badinage Tue 11-Dec-12 11:12:45

Well done OP. You did the right thing and you are a good friend. I bet your poor friend is a tiny bit relieved too, that she's not imagining things. This puts her on the front foot for the first time in months and at least now she can stop risking her health and get herself checked out. I wish there were more people like you in the world.

dequoisagitil Tue 11-Dec-12 11:29:34

I think you did the right thing too.

It is bloody horrible living with someone when you know there is something off, but you're not sure what it is - and they put the blame on you or stress or whatever and make you feel like the bad guy or that you're demanding or paranoid. And you want to believe it is you, because the idea that the person you love most is betraying your relationship is so awful & hurtful.

rainbow2000 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:55:54

I think you did the right thing,at least now she can be proactive and do something about it.

mamakoula Tue 11-Dec-12 14:18:24

You are a true friend and have strong morals and integrity. She is lucky to have a friend who is looking out for her and is thoughtful and caring.

lunar1 Tue 11-Dec-12 14:50:55

It might not seem it right now but you did the right thing for your friend

nooka Tue 11-Dec-12 15:41:53

You did the right thing AtALoss. Whatever path she takes now is at the very least one of her own choosing.

Some of us do make things work again after an affair so try not to think that if she does stay with her cheating dh that you've not done the right thing. If you can be a supportive non-judgemental friend then you will be helping your friend enormously - it's incredibly valuable to have someone fairly neutral to talk to (lots of people feel they can't tell anyone when their partner cheats as somehow it is shaming/they feel a deep seated need to protect them).

spooktrain Tue 11-Dec-12 18:23:11

that must have been really hard OP, but you did the right thing by your friend. I would definitely want to know if I was in that situation.

Hegsy Tue 11-Dec-12 18:42:03

I think you did the right thing.

Mumofjz Tue 11-Dec-12 18:52:09

how about just dropping in conversation that you saw the two of them together on "such a day" having a meal (no mention of how close they seemed) as you would if you had saw him with his mate in the pub, and then i would probably think the wife will work out he's wasn't suppose to be there and have words with him, if not, at least her suspions will have been raised and she'd be more checking of him. Leaving you with your consious clear IYSWIM

Mumofjz Tue 11-Dec-12 18:54:10

So sorry, just saw the previous page. For what it's worth, you did the right thing smile

ImperialBlether Tue 11-Dec-12 21:17:05

I think you did the right thing. I was driven nearly mad thinking on the one hand everything was lovely but on the other hand I felt I was walking on sinking sand.

Why don't you tell her to come on here? You can get this thread deleted. It would be a good support for her whatever she/he decide to do.

WhoPutTheDickOnTheSnowman Tue 11-Dec-12 21:30:37

I too think you have done the right thing in this situation. Whatever our opinions we do not know you both or the intricacies of your friendship.

My view was tell her the facts and leave the door open. I have been the fool that was the last to know, I have been the one left there alone wondering how many days worth of gossip the destruction of my relationship provided for the same friends that couldn't raise the courage to tell me.

Abitwobblynow has some incredibly insightful blog posts and is wonderful; however we are fundamentally different. I feel if I had been told I could have taken control back of the situation, I would have become a player in the plot that was about to fundamentally change my life. As it was it happened around me, I had no control, no say, no choice until the end - I didn't know. No derision or disgust would have pulled my ex up due to the very same cognitive dissonance ABWN mentioned - he knew he was doing a 'wrong' thing but to him it felt right and love's young dream, no comment would have pulled him up, it would have pushed him further in. My choice was to tell him to pack up and fuck off - it was the only one I had left, the only way to regain any of the ground that had been taken from me, no time for negotiation (the faint hope there would have been any was another thing taken from me) - I had no warning or grieving period to make a plan or come to terms, I had to deal with those feelings alone after the storm.
It is just evidence that people are different and only you know your friend.
It may yet get sticky but I personally would have valued you beyond measure as the only person that cared enough about me to put yourself and our friendship on the line.
If there are kids onvolved then I'm a x2 for telling as I think forearmed is forewarned and any chance to buffer them from the storm is a good thing. Even if it falls on a dependant and in denial woman that doesn't want to know you've done the decent thing - at possible cost to oneself you have given the headsup, it needn't be a big broadway production but a twitch of the sisterly flag is enough.
Rather than not thinking it my place to place the responsibility on the wife, I don't think it is my place to actively remove her choice of doing or not doing. It just has to be an individual thing. I hope she gets the resolution she wants.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Tue 11-Dec-12 21:53:32

Well done OP- I really do think you have done the right thing

imdreamingofaskyebluechristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 23:16:48

Well fine. Very difficult but better to know.

I would rather be told by a friend than discover it like I did , by texts/emails...

Be there for your friend and point her in MN direction if she needs it!

Abitwobblynow Wed 12-Dec-12 08:30:01

Loved Snowman's post, and I actually agree with her in part: BECAUSE I had no idea what was really going on (my gut told me, but I believed him when I asked, because after all he was my best friend AND he hid it very well), I enabled my own abuse for 2 years.

And it is the memory of his behaviour over those 2 years, and the damage of watching his love for her/agonise about leaving me, that has caused me the most harm.

So ideally I would have liked someone to speak to him to get his head out of his arse.
Then to have been told the reality of my life.

Being left in the dark is the WORST option, thank you Snowman.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Wed 12-Dec-12 15:51:03

I very much agree with Snowman too, as well as wanting to congratulate her on the best xmas name I have seen this year smile

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