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Help! My friend is a cheater

 Help! My friend is a cheater (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

A friend at work is having an affair. I feel I should say something, but I am close to both husband and wife and do not know how to be loyal to one without betraying the other!


Chris says,

Hi Dilemma!

There is no right answer. If you keep quiet the spouse will accuse you of knowing and not telling. Speak up and they will blame you for bringing the bad news. While the cheater will say that friends should keep secrets. Even just letting the cheater know that you know probably won’t stop anything. They will just be much more careful in future.

Some will say it is none of your business. But then you are knowingly letting someone hurt an innocent spouse. You might feel it is a moral issue, so you must tell. But part of being a good friend is standing by someone when they do something awful.

And are you completely sure that you are right? Did you see something with your own eyes, or hear about it first-hand? Do not trust anything you have heard from anyone else.

Say nothing if it is just a little drunken flirting. But if it is more serious? Like you have seen your friend with someone when their spouse thinks they are on a business trip? 

Say nothing unless you know the couple well. Either way, do not tell anyone else to protect their privacy.

Consider talking to the one who is cheating. Tell them how awkward you feel, and let them know you will listen if they want to talk. Encourage them to think through the situation.

If you feel you must tell the spouse, then be direct and compassionate. They will probably be utterly devastated. Explain how you found out, offer a listening ear whenever they want it, and have the phone number of a good counsellor handy.

Most couples stay together after an affair, so don’t badmouth the cheater. Share only the bare minimum of information, and do not say anything unkind about their marriage.

Be ready to handle the spouse’s emotions. And if you do not feel able to do that? Then maybe you are not close enough to say anything.

All the best,


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