If you’re friends with a cheater at what point do you step in and say something regardless of the possibility of dividing up a group of friends? If you don’t say anything are you condoning cheating by being silent?
First of all let’s all agree that breaking the code is never an option. If you do have an issue with a friend’s cheating talk to the friend not the other. The only time that I would ever say anything to a friend about their infidelity if it affects more than just his relationship with his girl (or with her man). If they’re married or have kids, the infidelity affects more than just the relationship and that’s the point when something needs to be said, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to listen to me either.
Ultimately, you can only say so much and you have to eventually let people leave people to make their own decisions. Live and help others to live, but understand that sometimes people don’t want to be helped. If you lose respect for your friend then that’s on you and your relationship to that friend. Go ahead and end the friendship if you feel strongly about it, but there’s no need to meddle in their relationship at that point.
Yes You. Put the Phone Down and Don’t Be an Asshat
There are those in the world who believe in exposing cheaters to their significant others. I am not one of them1. In my old age, I realized something: Their relationship is none of my DAMN BUSINESS and if I get involved, I’m just being a selfish asshole. [At this point, many of you are saying WTF? Good, you are ready to go to school, #badteacher style2].
I am not advocating enabling the behavior by staying silent [Which make you a different asshat]. However, you are not in the relationship, so you have no business being involved in it whatsoever. It is your own sense of self-righteousness. Stop it! This isn’t your relationship and you shouldn’t hold it to your relationship standards.
Your obligation: A serious discussion with your friend, being prepared to dump them Yes, dump your friend. He/She is the shithead and your problem is with him/her If he/she cannot live up to your standards as a human being, you shouldn’t be in the business being their friend.
Do you really needs these kind of people in your life anyway?
Essential: DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN THE RELATIONSHIP. It is none of your business especially since you aren’t telling them something they don’t already know. Let me repeat, they ALREADY KNOW!
The Cues That Tip His/Her Hand
Nobody hides their cheating effectively enough for the other person not to notice that something is amiss. Unless the cheater is in the top 1% of cheaters, he/she has “tells”. [Tells are physical, verbal, and/or emotional cues in poker that help your opponent read your hand].
These tells can be subtle, like new cell phone behavior [Cheaters are like magicians] or changes in the frequency and intensity of sex. They can also be blatant [Your husband suddenly buys condoms]
When Cindy began having an affair with Guido, she started kissing me in a way she hadn’t done in 10 years. I knew it the moment I felt it. I had a pretty good idea of what it meant [She also thought I wouldn’t notice things like his ringtone: Journey’s “Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin”3]
Dirty Little Secret: I Really Like Denial Island
Remember, 99% of cheaters have tells. Why do so many cheaters escape without confrontation? “Denial Island”. In most cases, the partner chooses denial. This means:
THEY DO NOT WANT TO KNOW! YOU ARE NOT DOING THEM ANY FAVORS BY TELLING THEM.
“But #badteacher, I would want someone to tell me.” Easy to say, but let us examine the past a little more closely:
Flashback: You are clinging to a floundering relationship. You desperately love this person, but there are obvious problems. If you hold on long enough, you guys just might make it.
Infidelity was the last thing you want to hear. Deep inside, you know he/she is probably stepping out. You won’t admit it and hold out hope that it isn’t true. Hard work is all you guys need to make it.
Then some selfish prick comes along and shatters this illusion. You would give anything for it not to be true. Take it back! Why did you have to tell me? Fuck you! It will seem ridiculous later. Right now the whistleblower is the biggest assholes on the planet. I don’t care what his/her motives are4. I don’t care if he/she had my best interests in mind. I wish they had kept his/her mouth shut.
Back to the present: Maybe you look back on it now and are thankful. If so, great. But remember, most people aren’t like you and many will hate you until the end time for ruining their happiness. Heck, more often than not, the cheater will get a free pass and your friendship will be damned for all eternity.
Simple Solution: Dump the Cheater
I go back to my original point. Stay out of the relationship; talk to your friend; and dump if necessary.
You: Dude, Sandra deserves better than that.
Jesse James: I know. These things just happened. You know how much I love SaBu.
You: Do you? Do you really? Then you need to stop and tell her about Skankho.
Jesse James: I can’t. I know I’ve made mistakes, but I can’t lose her.
You: I’m sorry Jesse. I can’t support your decision. I can’t be your friend anymore.
Jesse James: But You…We’ve been friends for 15 years.
You: I don’t want friends who break things and people. Goodbye Jesse. [You walk away]
Jesse James: Damn…And I had scored us a couple hookers for tonight. Oh well, more for me. Maybe I’ll call Al Gore…[scene]
I know the above conversation won’t be easy. But I ask you, why do we clinging to friendships with someone who is acting so shitty to another human being. Shouldn’t we aspire toward better friendships? And seriously, WTF was Jesse James thinking? Honestly.
- Addendum: I have done it a couple of times within the last five years…for selfish reasons [Come on, do I really need explain my motives? ;-)]
- I have a variety of other classes and services available.
- Before that, it was “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls. My ex-wife is really that stupid [One of many reason I’m glad I’m not married to her anymore]
- Not all whistleblowers are altruistic and many have an agenda, even if only to placate their sense of self-righteousness.
This one is short, simple, and to-the-point for me. Silence is consent. Lack of response to an action is tacit approval of an action. Therefore, if you stand silently by while a friend of yours cheats and you know about it, you are saying to your friend, “I think what you’re doing is ok. I agree that you’re right. You should keep on doing what you’re doing.” And I am a firm believer in honesty. So if a friend of mine was cheating (which I think is wrong), yes, I’d be honest and speak up. I’d tell her that I don’t approve of what she’s doing and try to examine her reasons for cheating with her. Is she unhappy in her current relationship? Does she need something more from her partner? Why is she going to someone else? I’d hope to help her find a way to come to terms with her situation in an honest way–dump the cheater or dump the partner (or tell them about each other and have one big happy Big Love-esque relationship!).
Now, “stepping in” can also be taken to mean “Would you tell the cheated upon person?” And the answer to that is only if Cheated On is also my friend. If both Cheater and Cheatee are friends of mine, then I would tell Cheater she could either tell Cheatee herself, or I’ll do it for her…and give her a deadline. In terms of “the possibility of dividing up a group of friends,” friends should respect honesty and they should respect the fact that as a friend, you’re willing to look out for their best interests (even when they’re confused about what those are).
So maybe they’ll be mad at you for a while, but they should eventually get over it. If not, fuck ’em and fuck their cheating drama, too; they weren’t real friends anyway. And they suck as human beings. The end.
Thanks to all my contributors!! – TJ
The Final Question of Cheat Week – We realize that all circumstances aren’t equal when it comes to cheating, but at what point does the offended party have to take a look in the mirror? How much responsibility should the people that have been cheated on take? Did they ignore signs?