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Ask an Expat: Can I Tell Her He's Cheating?

Ask an Expat: Can I Tell Her He's Cheating?

Conventional Wisdom is a different kind of advice column. Your questions will be answered by people from all walks of life rather than by advice experts. This week, an American living in England dishes advice to a woman who is burdened with the knowledge of another person's infidelity. If you have a question, you can submit them here.

This week's question:

My boyfriend's friend cheats on his girlfriend. It's pretty much common knowledge among the group of friends, but his girlfriend doesn't know. At least I don't think she does. While the girlfriend isn't my best friend, I can't help but feel guilty when I'm around the couple. And I don't want my boyfriend to think I condone the infidelity. What should I do?

Signed,
Feeling Guilty

To see the expat's answer,

.

Dear Feeling Guilty,

I don't think that you should say anything to your friend's girlfriend. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), their relationship problems aren't yours too.

If you can't let it totally go, you might consider convincing your boyfriend to tell his friend that the cheating makes you guys uncomfortable, especially when you're hanging out as couples. And if being around them still makes you feel guilty, maybe you should simply spend less time with them. It sounds like there might be other things you don't have in common with this couple, or at least the boyfriend.

You should also remember that since you are in a committed relationship, it probably goes without saying that you don't condone cheating. If, however, your boyfriend jokes around about it and seems to condone or support it himself, maybe it's time you and he had a talk about your own relationship and expectations. Good luck!

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sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
Oh man, I was put in this situation by my ex-boyfriend and boyfriend's best friend. He was "seriously" dating at least two women at the same time. I felt SO sorry for them as we were actively hanging out with them individually without mentioning the other. He cheated on me so I just felt the pan they would eventually feel. However, it's a year later and he broke up with one of them but still continues to cheat with other random hook ups. He doesn't use condoms with his "main" girlfriend and I dread to think about the STD's he must be giving her. At the very least I imagine she now has HPV. Sigh. I don't like being involved in his lies but how do I say something without looking like the weird ex who is trying to destroy his life? I'm leaving him to it.
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
Oh man, I was put in this situation by my ex-boyfriend and boyfriend's best friend. He was "seriously" dating at least two women at the same time. I felt SO sorry for them as we were actively hanging out with them individually without mentioning the other. He cheated on me so I just felt the pan they would eventually feel.However, it's a year later and he broke up with one of them but still continues to cheat with other random hook ups. He doesn't use condoms with his "main" girlfriend and I dread to think about the STD's he must be giving her. At the very least I imagine she now has HPV.Sigh. I don't like being involved in his lies but how do I say something without looking like the weird ex who is trying to destroy his life?I'm leaving him to it.
Pink2022 Pink2022 7 years
I would want to be told if it was me!
mallorycurtis mallorycurtis 7 years
I have been the girlfriend in this situation, where my boyfriend was cheating on me and all my friends knew, yet no one even hinted to me that anything was going on. When I found out, I was even more angry at my friends than I was at my ex. I would sit her down and tell her that you heard something about her boyfriend. Maybe she's had the inkling for a while but hasn't had the evidence to confront him about it. That way, your boyfriend doesn't get in trouble for telling her and she won't suffer any more heartbreak.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 7 years
i would be so pissed off if people knew that my boyfriend was cheating on me and let me waste time thinking nothing was wrong. Im suprised so many people can sit here and think that its ok to not tell someone they are being cheated on because its not your problem.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I would probably tell her. Yes it might be awkward, yes it could ruin your relationship and the friendships between your bf and the friend, but you really have to step back and decide whether you WANT relationships with people that are content to sit back and let their friends decieve, lie, and cheat on their girlfriends or boyfriends or husbands or wives, as well as possibly do it themselves. Do you want to date a man, and down the years possibly marry a man who is okay with the people close to him doing such things to others? It's not an exaggeration that negatives are much easier in pairs. How long does it go before actions like that are tolerated, then condoned, and then acted out.. I personally would want to know if i was being cheated on, and i don't think i could continue friendships with people who have no respect for others.
janneth janneth 7 years
If they were moving towards marriage, could you really keep the secret? Also, what would you want if you were in the situation? To know? or not?
janneth janneth 7 years
If they were moving towards marriage, could you really keep the secret?Also, what would you want if you were in the situation? To know? or not?
mondo mondo 7 years
You can't tell, because she will blame you. Let her find out on her own.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I agree with the comments here. If you really want to do it at least do it anonymously. Send here an e-mail from a different e-mail address or an anonymous letter. As stated before the messenger usually gets the worst part, she may not believe you, or worst case scenario think that you want his bf. I recommend for you to let it go, and if you really feel guilty about it then you should let her know without her knowing that it was you.
ali321 ali321 7 years
I get this is a tricky situation, but I have to say that I hate it when people use the reasoning that it's none of your business. Who cares? Besides he's doing it in front of everyone and it's common knowledge. It's not like he seems to care. You're not the one hurting the girl if you tell her. You would only be hurting the guy and he's a jerk who could care less about his own girlfriend. So, why would you care about him? I just feel bad for this girl. When she finds out she's going to feel like such a fool knowing that you all knew. I understand that it might not work out well if you do tell her. She might be in denial. She might think you're just a girl who starts drama. But at least hint on it or something. Let her know you're there for her. And let the guy know you're not on his side. People might say you have a big mouth. But he's the bad guy here not you. Women need to look out for one another. I'm not saying that to sound like I'm against men. It's just that I know so many guys who go by the saying "bros before hoes." Honestly I don't know how I would actually approach her. You're not that close so it's kind of awkward. I guess I would just let the guy know I'm not going to lie for him and he should stop flaunting his drama in front of people if he doesn't want it brought up. At least hint to the girl somehow. Maybe she'll think to dig deeper and figure it out. Either way I wouldn't do it in front of people, like joke about it when people were around just to hint. She will only feel worse if it's not done tactfully.
ali321 ali321 7 years
I get this is a tricky situation, but I have to say that I hate it when people use the reasoning that it's none of your business. Who cares? Besides he's doing it in front of everyone and it's common knowledge. It's not like he seems to care. You're not the one hurting the girl if you tell her. You would only be hurting the guy and he's a jerk who could care less about his own girlfriend. So, why would you care about him?I just feel bad for this girl. When she finds out she's going to feel like such a fool knowing that you all knew. I understand that it might not work out well if you do tell her. She might be in denial. She might think you're just a girl who starts drama. But at least hint on it or something. Let her know you're there for her. And let the guy know you're not on his side. People might say you have a big mouth. But he's the bad guy here not you.Women need to look out for one another. I'm not saying that to sound like I'm against men. It's just that I know so many guys who go by the saying "bros before hoes."Honestly I don't know how I would actually approach her. You're not that close so it's kind of awkward. I guess I would just let the guy know I'm not going to lie for him and he should stop flaunting his drama in front of people if he doesn't want it brought up. At least hint to the girl somehow. Maybe she'll think to dig deeper and figure it out.Either way I wouldn't do it in front of people, like joke about it when people were around just to hint. She will only feel worse if it's not done tactfully.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I say hint to your boyfriend (or directly ask him) to tell the girl. It's not your business, so she probably wouldn't believe you, however, since she's friends with your boyfriend.... but only if he could tactfully find a way to tell her. If my boyfriend were doing something behind my back with another woman, and my friends knew and told me, I'd be upset. If they knew and DIDN'T tell me, I'd be REALLY upset.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I say hint to your boyfriend (or directly ask him) to tell the girl. It's not your business, so she probably wouldn't believe you, however, since she's friends with your boyfriend.... but only if he could tactfully find a way to tell her.If my boyfriend were doing something behind my back with another woman, and my friends knew and told me, I'd be upset. If they knew and DIDN'T tell me, I'd be REALLY upset.
Smacks83 Smacks83 7 years
People keep saying "your friend", the cheated on girl is not her friend, its her boyfriend's friend's girlfriend. If it was the questioner's friend then by all means you need to tell her. But its not her friend, you have to remember that would put your bf in a very sticky situation if you said anything to a girl you don't really know (and there is a good chance will not trust what you have to say).
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
I'd have a conversation with your boyfriend about your own views on infidelity, and then ask him how you should address it with the girl/the guy. it doesn't sound like you're technically very close with either the guy or his girlfriend, so looping your boyfriend in to help assess the situation may help. it may also hit home that you 100% do not tolerate the behavior.
hottpink hottpink 7 years
This is a tricky situation. As much as I would like to say tell her, I don't think it's your place to say anything. If she were your best friend then maybe I would hint at it but for all you know she might in fact know he is cheating on her.
WritingLikeCrazy WritingLikeCrazy 7 years
One of my friends is making a big life decision I think he's seriously going to regret. But I realized a long time ago, sometimes our friends do things we wish they wouldn't - cheating, coupling up with jerky partners, accepting lousy jobs - and there isn't much we can do. The old tale about "shooting the messenger" holds true: tell your friend something s/he doesn't want to hear, and you might get blamed. Maybe your friend knows her partner is a cheat (maybe my friend knows he shouldn't be making this rotten decision). But there may be some psychological "thing" happening that draws them to a situation that looks cruddy to us on the outside. Let them make their mistakes. And be there when and if they need to heal their wounds when the you-know-what hits the fan.
WritingLikeCrazy WritingLikeCrazy 7 years
One of my friends is making a big life decision I think he's seriously going to regret. But I realized a long time ago, sometimes our friends do things we wish they wouldn't - cheating, coupling up with jerky partners, accepting lousy jobs - and there isn't much we can do. The old tale about "shooting the messenger" holds true: tell your friend something s/he doesn't want to hear, and you might get blamed. Maybe your friend knows her partner is a cheat (maybe my friend knows he shouldn't be making this rotten decision). But there may be some psychological "thing" happening that draws them to a situation that looks cruddy to us on the outside. Let them make their mistakes. And be there when and if they need to heal their wounds when the you-know-what hits the fan.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
use their situation to be totally honest with your boyfriend and have the conversation about fidelity that is likely implied but may need to be verbalized and don't butt your nose into their business - it will only hurt you in the end - the girl, guy, your bf, and all the other friends may end up hurt/angry at you...just don't bother
skigurl skigurl 7 years
use their situation to be totally honest with your boyfriend and have the conversation about fidelity that is likely implied but may need to be verbalizedand don't butt your nose into their business - it will only hurt you in the end - the girl, guy, your bf, and all the other friends may end up hurt/angry at you...just don't bother
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
I was in a similar position but it was the girl cheating on my boyfriend's best friend and roommate. Everyone knew what was going on, but NO ONE would tell him, not even his friends (my boyfriend included). It really drove me nuts and I despised this girl, but I felt like it wasn't my place to say anything. He was such a good guy too, I hated to watch that happen right in front of me.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 7 years
I agree you shouldn't tell her. Yes it sucks but its not your place to tell her. My best friend was in the same situation as you and she ended up telling the girl. The girl didn't believe her and it ended up ruining the friendship between my friends boyfriend and the couple.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 7 years
I agree you shouldn't tell her. Yes it sucks but its not your place to tell her. My best friend was in the same situation as you and she ended up telling the girl. The girl didn't believe her and it ended up ruining the friendship between my friends boyfriend and the couple.
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