Affairs: To tell or not to tell

Consider these scenarios:

1. You see your friend's wife holding hands with another man.
- Would you tell your friend?

2. Your married friend brings his gf to a group gathering. You are friends with his wife because he normally brings her to group gatherings.
- How would you treat his gf? Would you be friendly?
- Would you ask your friend about it in private at a different time and tell him that you're going to tell his wife?
- Would you tell his wife?

What would I do?

#1 I've never been in this situation before. But I think if I would tell my friend what I saw. I won't say more than what I know; I will say it in a factual way. Perhaps I would seat him down before telling him. If he tries to fish for my opinion as to whether I think his wife is having an affair, I won't say offer my opinion.

#2 Most people would be friendly to the gf. For me, other than a polite "Hi" and "Bye" and to respond when I'm spoken to, I won't bother much about her. I would ask my friend about his relationship with his wife and gf just to understand the situation. It's his decision how he wants to lead his life. I won't tell his wife unless I'm a close friend of his wife.

What would people advise me to do?

If I asked someone for advice about what to do, I think the advice I would get is not to say anything because:
- I don't have proof of the affair.
- It's between husband and wife so I should not interfere.
- I shouldn't ruin other people's marriages.
- I shouldn't be a busybody.

Is ignorance bliss?

Unless I made up some story about what I saw and made things sound worse than they were, I don't think I'll be the cause of a broken marriage. To start with, it's not in good shape already if someone's having an affair.

I think people prefer not to say anything for selfish reasons.
- They are afraid to be seen by others as busybodies.
- They are afraid that their friend will be angry with them for telling.
- They don't know how to say it, so they don't say it.

Even if someone mentions it, some people would rather not know if their spouse is having an affair, or sometimes even pretend not to know or to "close one eye". So if someone talks about it, they would get upset at you (instead of their spouse). These people are in denial or perhaps just too trusting of their spouses. They would take their angry out on you. I'd say a real friend would take the risk and tell the truth.

Some people don't even tell me when I have a piece of vegetable stuck between my two front teeth! What kind of friend would keep quiet and not tell me throughout the entire meal? I would be upset with a friend who doesn't tell me if my partner was seen with another woman. I don't want to be the last to know. Ignorance to me, is not bliss; it's embarrassing!

Previous posts:
[Extramarital affairs]
[Who ever wants to hear the truth?]


David said...


Twice in one week!

I am in agreement with you.

In fact the scenario you has happened.
At least twice I have enountered male friends with another women.

By the time of the encounter, my friends existing relationship, (marriage and other) were already in trouble.

I said nothing to anyone. Being the source of gossip, or just spreading rumors will only make a detoirating relationship worse.

Enjoy the weekend!


Banshee said...

Hey, this is not a comment to be accepted (unless you want to).

I was just wandering into some readings and an interesting topic came to my mind. Self-image...

You have already posted somethings about image and attraction. But, indeed, self-image is something really important... and at nowadays "photoshopped editorial" world, it´s hard to distinguish true beauty for "plastic" one.

I was reading this article and though about sharing it with you, maybe it inspires a good post:

I will duly comment the post sometime later!

Roberto Carapeto

Shaun said...

WOW. Selfish people. haha, but this is typical.

If people do nothing wrong, there would not be the need to do such things.

~Pink Miu Miu~ said...

现代爱情, 考验的可能不是忠诚度, 而是掩饰程度..能瞒天过海, 很可悲 but in a way is a stupid bliss.. 不能瞒天过海, 也同样可悲, 不过值得庆幸不用活在假象的幸福里...

爱能遮掩许多的罪, 也能遮掩一切过错.. 只是这些人懂得什么是爱吗?

Banshee said...

Ok... now I will comment the post specifically.

Well... based on some experiences in my family, let me comment.

"I don't think I'll be the cause of a broken marriage" - You see, even though "holding hands" may not be something significant at the beginning, an information like this can make one of the partners start a paranoia... that can change his/her attitude towards the other person... that might feel it... and start to worry... Anyway, a "simple comment" that might not ruin some marriage at first sight... may turn in to a complex event. That's one of the reasons why this can't be treated like you said.

Some other times... the partner knows that it's husband/wife is cheating, but... for a wide range of reasons, they decide to overcome it. In some experience I saw before, the husband would betray the wife in two constant scennarios: 1) when sex could be used as a tool to obtain an advantage. 2) when there was a few extreme stressful situation. Besides that, the couple lived a nice life, with great wealth. The betrayed partner... just decided that "the partner entering into intercourse with other people in some specific scenario" was not enough reason for her to give up all the good things that the relationship brings to he.

I should add that an important variant to this scenario you have created is "how much close you are to the person".

Rock Hard said...

Let the one without sin cast the first stone.

I prefer not to be the one to judge and inform my friend about his/her spouse affair.

Unless I am prepare for the consequences.

Such as being interrogated for days or blame for not telling the truth much much earlier.

Informations like this are best left unspoken and let nature takes it's course.

Yu-Kym said...

David, if it is the truth and you tell it directly to the person, that's not gossiping or spreading rumours.

Pink Miu Miu, I completely agree with you that modern love is less about loyalty and more about covering up, deception and living in an illusion of happiness. It's sad and a "stupid bliss".

Rock Hard, what I'm asking here is whether we should tell. Whether the person is right or wrong... I have no right to judge.

Banshee, I intentionally did not define how close a friend the person is. So it really depends on how you want to define it.
Let's assume it's a colleague or a not-so-close friend.Best case scenario: nobody said anything and somehow the couple managed to get through it and they remain together till one of them dies. Worst case scenario: nobody said anything and then 3 years later you heard from someone that the couple contracted HIV, and the woman gave birth to a HIV-positive baby.
If you could go back in time, would you have done anything different?

Banshee said...

Personally, I wouldn´t have done different. I can be somewhat a fatalist, but things happens... and that´s the way it is.

In your scennario, you know, HIV virus may take up to 5 or 7 virus to actually manifest itself in the body, so they could have thought it was ok on the first timr. Further, the couple could have already had sex before I tell anything (because the affair could be more long termed than that only chance I saw it). Most probably, some changes could have occurred... but I don´t think that it would be that much.

David said...


Trus, asking a friend what they are doing in the presence of another man or women would not be gossip or rumor mongering.

Confonting a friend in such a situation is risky without know all the details.

I would not confront any friend in public.
In private away from other ears would be the best time to discuss if an affiar outside of the known relationship was occuring.