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Do I tell someone her husband is cheating, and if so, when?

(52 Posts)
DearOhDearOhDear Sat 22-Nov-14 03:00:12

Namechanged, I promise I'm not a troll.

I know a woman - we're between acquaintances and friends. I know her husband better and would've said he was a friend, until all this started. He's been cheating on her for a long while, a couple of years, with various women. I have no proof of any of it, but I'm 100% certain that it's happening, and I am 100% certain that it's not the first time.

I also know that she wouldn't be ok with it. I've been trying to decide whether to tell her for a long time. Her husband and mine are friends, and my telling her will likely result in quite a lot of unpleasantness. But I just keep thinking that I would want to know. I wouldn't care who told me, or what the situation was, I would want to know. I've been thinking this for so long, but something about recent developments, where it's even more blatant than before, has made me feel like it's time someone said something.

My husband is aware of how I feel. He thinks that the right thing to do would be to tell her, but also is wary of the impact it'll have on his circle of friends. We discussed doing it anonymously, but I just feel that that will add an element that's irrelevant - it'll be all about 'who is the mystery person who's saying this' rather than the issue itself. Also, it makes it easier for the husband to deny. I think it's a bit cowardly, as it's a fairly small circle of people who could know about it, so it'll all be a bit of a game of clue, and I don't think that's fair.

So the first question is - should I/someone tell her? I know the standard suggestion is that one tells the cheater that unless they tell her, you will. However, I'm pretty confident he won't believe I'll follow through. I also think there's a good chance he'll lie to me, as I don't see the woman often - we used to see eachother regularly, but over the past few years we haven't - coinciding with the cheating, and the birth of her children. Basically, I don't think this route will work.

Secondly, this woman is pregnant. She and her cheating partner already have one child. She's due with the second in about eight weeks. If I do tell her, do I tell her now, or wait? If I wait, how long?

Final point, which I do think is relevant - finances are not a concern. She is the primary earner, she could afford childcare and to house herself and the children, if needed.

darksideofthemooncup Sat 22-Nov-14 03:12:50

I could have written your post OP, but with the added detail that the husband has fathered a child with one of MY friends and his wife is now in the early stages of pregnancy. I have since found out that he is still cheating on his wife with my friend and after an almighty row with both of them I have gone NC with them. I am in a total quandary too, I KNOW the right thing to do is to tell his wife what has been going on but I don't want to be responsible for doing something that will quite probably destroy her. I hate knowing what I know, it's a horrible situation

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 22-Nov-14 04:58:01

If it's your husband's friend and he feels so strongly about it, he should be the one to confront him, reject him or spill the beans to the wife, surely? As it is he seems more concerned about himself and his friendship group.... happy to load the gun but wanting you to fire the bullet. hmm So much for being a team.

If you're good friends with this woman and/or if you have very good evidence then there's a case for talking to her. If not, you may be on shaky ground and should not get involved.

3mum Sat 22-Nov-14 06:57:58

I was married for years to someone who cheated several times. I just wish that one of the many mutual friends who knew about his affairs over the years had told me. My life would have taken a very different course.

I would tell her because it is the right thing to do. She probably will not thank you and it may have repercussions for the social circle BUT it is the cheating husband who has caused that, not you.

Bakeoffcakes Sat 22-Nov-14 07:10:26

I would tell her. She has a right to know what kind of man she is married to.
I think you'd have to do it ASAP or leave it for at least a ouple of months after the baby has been born. She'll be far too vulnerable straight after the birth.

holeinmyheart Sat 22-Nov-14 07:22:38

At the moment the pregnant wife does not know. When she does know she is going to suffer enormously. I think that you shouldn't tell her at the moment as she has enough to cope with.
Although there isn't ever going to be a good time to tell her. So why tell her ?Why don't you and your husband meet the Rat and tell him that you know what he is doing. Perhaps give him a time scale to get his act together and suggest that he stops or you may have to tell his wife.
Whatever route you take you are probably going to lose someone's friendship.
Perhaps I am being naive, but personally if I was pregnant and my husband was being unfaithful I would not want to know.
There is also the possibility she knows already.

NewEraNewMindset Sat 22-Nov-14 07:32:50

I think given the situation with her pregnancy and soon newborn child, you shouldn't tell her. Let her enjoy her pregnancy and her newborn. It is such an amazingly special time and she will never get it back.

Rinkydinkypink Sat 22-Nov-14 07:34:09

I know the feeling all to well op. We have a friends in a very similar position and he's been cheating on her for over 8 years now with numerous different women. I know a lot about it, more than I want to but I don't think she'd believe me.

I've gone NC with both of them. It's been almost 3 years since I saw either of them but I'm still unsure what I should go. Yes he will still be at it as he's never going to change.

I'd say don't do it now. Wait till baby is born and here and she's thinking of going back to work. That way she will be in a better financial position and have work to keep her going. A few months isn't going to make any difference.

If you don't have proof expect to be called a trouble maker by both of them.

McSqueezy Sat 22-Nov-14 07:38:50

I am 50/50 on these things. On one hand I think people should know the truth, on the other the truth normally seems to out itself anyway in good time.

In addition to this without evidence it is your word (friend/acquaintance) against her husbands...will she even believe you? Don't do it just for the sake of it.

There is also a possibility she may already know/suspect.

bitofanoddone Sat 22-Nov-14 08:04:43

There are studies on the third trimester and the effect of the outside world on the baby.

www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born?language=en

Stress levels (include PTSD) are passed to the baby. I'd leave it for a bit. Nothing is going to change over the next six months and he may help her in the night etc.

Difficult one.

Cabrinha Sat 22-Nov-14 08:05:35

As someone whose husband cheated, I would rather be told.

I don't agree with frightening him off cheating. That doesn't change anything! Doesn't make him any less deserving of being left.

However, I have evidence of my XH cheating on his new girlfriend. And I'm not telling, for totally selfish reasons. I don't feel great about that, but I'm resigned to my decision.

So I sympathise that it isn't an easy decision. I think if his girlfriend was my friend, I couldn't keep quiet.

Hassled Sat 22-Nov-14 08:13:49

You say you have no proof - but I think if you're going to tell her (and you should) you need to get some proof first. Otherwise you will be in this hideous limbo where she's saying "but I need proof" and you're saying "but I know it's true". Have a think about how you can get hold of cold hard evidence before you do anything - and yes, wait till the baby's born.

russellgrantschin Sat 22-Nov-14 08:15:42

I know you and others don't agree with me, but I think the way of protecting everybody's interests is to tell her anonymously but have some form of proof. At least be able to point her in some direction that she can follow where she will be able find out herself, like a social media profile, or a photo, or a social event.

Or you wait until he takes a risk and then innocently/accidently expose it. One thing I did was a friend of DH's who was having an affair came to London to stay with us on a business trip. I knew his wife, but not well enough to blurt it all out to her, but we had a polite texting relationship. One night he didn't come home and DH said he had texted him that he was staying at the OW's house.

When the wife texted me the next day asking how I was. I said I was fine, but concerned that her DH hadn't come home last night. She said "Oh, he told me he was at your house?" I said "I'm afraid he's not here."

That was enough to unravel it.

blingers526 Sat 22-Nov-14 08:20:57

Like others have said, you need proof before you say anything. That said though if you and your husband don't like what he is doing, then cut him out of your life. You are then not aware of what he is upto.
The truth will come out eventually, but if you tell her the anger is aimed at you not him. Easier to shoot the messenger!

DearOhDearOhDear Sat 22-Nov-14 10:19:34

Thanks all, I'll wait, and think it over more - I agree it should be just about the baby for now, and given how long it's been going on it's not exactly an emergency.

Going NC isn't really an option - the friendship between him and my DH has definitely cooled, and I don't really speak to him except pleasantries, but they work together and socialise in the same group. Then again, if we do tell, then some sort of NC arrangement will be the result, so maybe enacting that now would be the way forward! But then... it doesn't solve anything, does it. Just feels like burying my head in the sand when I can't shake the sense that she would want to know.

I think she'd believe me, or at least it would lead her to do some hard digging of her own. We're not 'drama' people, and yes I do think she must suspect something already. That's part of why I want to tell her - I imagine he's given her all sorts of excuses for times he hasn't come home etc, and very possibly done a bit of gaslighting. May be projecting here, as I've been in her position and I remember the awful feeling of knowing, but not KNOWING, and wishing someone would tell me - eventually they did, and I was grateful.

Good thoughts about getting proof, but arg, how to do it! There's no paper trail I'm aware of, it all happens in real life, but not publicly either, in that I've never seen him 'do' anything - until he and a woman leave together and we find out later he hasn't gone home. The way I know for sure is that one woman was a vague acquaintance, and she told me. She doesn't want to get involved, and it wouldn't seem fair to force her. Another woman, he told me about, which is when we stopped being friends. I told him I was considering telling his wife. He wasn't happy and got all 'do you really want to ruin my life' about it.

I could speak to the other women, but I can't see them wanting to get involved. There are two, other than the one I know, that I know the names of, but tbh I probably haven't made a great impression on them, as 'man's friend who gave us sour looks'. The current one is aware he's married and his wife is pregnant, so I'm not expecting much support there... But maybe that is the way to do it, if I do it, to get one of the women to back me up if needed.

darksideofthemooncup that sounds utterly dreadful and I sympathise - glad that the OW here aren't friends of mine, and heaven forbid someone gets pregnant.

Cogito to stand up for my DH, it's not so much that he expects me to do it - the discussion is whether one/both of us should tell, and he's open to doing it. On the other hand we both think that if someone's going to, it might be better if it's me, as he's not great at emotional conversations, and I've been in her position. The effect will be the same no matter who tells and the fallout will be on both of us either way.

russellgrant An opportunity like that would be perfect, and I've sort of been hoping one would present itself. But a good thought, and I'll keep an eye out for a chance.

Shedwood Sat 22-Nov-14 10:43:29

I would have to tell her, and the sooner the better. Yes I would aim to get proof first, but even if I couldn't, she would have to know.

Imagine if the cheating spouse contracts HIV and passes it onto his unknowing wife and their unborn baby? Your silence could contribute to their death sentence.

I know that sounds ridiculously melodramatic, but what's the worst that could happen if you tell her and she doesn't believe you? She de-friends you, you have some awkward moments in future social situations? Quite frankly I could hold my head up through all of that knowing I did the right thing, but if the worst happened because you didn't tell her (or actually because her husband was a cheating a-hole)...

Twinklestein Sat 22-Nov-14 11:09:44

Personally I would wait until after the baby's born.

I think if it's coming from both you and your husband, albeit you're the one to talk to her, it carries more weight. If one person would tell a lie to upset her it's not that likely you both would. You can explain to her that this is the reason your husband friendship with him has cooled.

No-one can predict what she will make of it, but by telling her you've done your bit.

If I were in this situation I'd want to know and I agree her health is at risk.

FiftyShadesofScreeeeeeeam Sat 22-Nov-14 11:15:03

DP's friend fucked someone on his stag night. I've never told his wife and I wouldn't either. I don't want to be the person that starts it all off.

frankbough Sat 22-Nov-14 11:29:42

My ex fiancé and I were together for 12 yrs, 6 yrs in, she cheated had a fling, whatever, 6 yrs later I found out, someone spilled and then she confessed..

My only regret is not finding out sooner, the financial implications for me have been enormous, affairs have all kinds of different effects which can last generations..
We still speak and can have a cup of tea without no recriminations on my part or hers but finding out sooner would've avoided a lot of problems..

frankbough Sat 22-Nov-14 11:30:40

With no.......

ChippingInAutumnLover Sat 22-Nov-14 11:47:04

I would tell her, even without proof. I'd do it face to face. I, personally, think it's the decent thing to do.

I know there are some advantages for waiting until the baby is born, but I'd rather know now and deal with it now before the baby gets here. I'd rather the newborn phase was genuine with just me and the baby, than a farce with him pretending to be Dad of the Year.

Poor woman sad but not telling her only gives her less choices about her own life.

Buttercupup Sat 22-Nov-14 12:14:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worserevived Sat 22-Nov-14 12:17:37

Tell her and tell her now. It is much easier to get your ducks in a row and out of a bad relationship when you are in the early stage of pregnancy, than later on, or when you are feeling vulnerable and sleep deprived after the birth.

I speak as someone who was cheated on, when I was pregnant. My DH had the decency to tell me himself, but a good friend and I did have a discussion where she said had she known (she didn't) she wouldn't have told me. I told her I'd have been upset and angry in equal measure had someone I considered a friend done that to me. It would have been a second betrayal.

Keeping quiet about it protects no one but yourself.

dreamingbohemian Sat 22-Nov-14 12:26:33

I'm always surprised few people think of the health implications in these situations. He could have easily given his wife an STD that she doesn't know about so yes, you should tell her now so she can be tested and know if anything is wrong before birth. Some diseases are minor for the woman but can be catastrophic for a baby born naturally.

I have been in your situation before and yes, I did tell eventually. The woman was extremely grateful as she knew something was up but he gaslighted her, all their friends covered for him. She dumped him and all the friends and we actually became great friends after that.

I don't think there is a blanket rule for these situations but with all the details you've given, yes, I think you should tell.

Greta28 Sat 22-Nov-14 13:28:27

Don't tell her. Chances are she already knows. Don't.

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