I have a friend who recently confessed to me that she slept with a mutual friend’s husband. The same mutual friend invited everyone over to her house, and my friend came, acting like everything was OK. I thought it was inappropriate for her to be there and didn't speak to her other than to say “Hi” and “Bye.”
I do not feel comfortable watching her smile in this woman's face, and I now question if she could or would do this to me. I don't want to judge her, but I just don't feel comfortable being around her right now. Should I tell or be quiet? —Anonymous
I have a feeling many readers are not going to like the gist of my answer, which is, essentially, be quiet and mind your business. It’s unfortunate that you’ve been drawn into this drama by being made privy to a big secret. I imagine that the friend who told you feels guilty about her actions and needed someone to talk to. She may even be hoping that you will do her dirty work for her by telling the wife what her husband and the “friend” are up to.
Don’t make it easy for her or put yourself in the middle of a battle that’s not yours to fight. This is for the wife, the husband and the alleged mistress to hash out whenever they get around to it. Surely you have enough to deal with on your own plate.
It’s clear that the friend isn’t ready to fess up, largely based on the fact that she hasn’t. What I don’t want from you, who have no proof of the affair, is to run to your friend to say, “Guess what!” and when the wife follows up with the mutual friend and her husband about what’s going on, they both adamantly deny the truth and blame you for being a messy or jealous friend. It’s their word against yours.
Without any proof, the wife is more than likely to go with the version of events that creates the least amount of upheaval in her life. That means you’re more likely to be cut from the circle of trust than the alleged mistress or the husband.
Another possible scenario here is that the mutual friend is jealous or has some issue with the wife or maybe bad blood with the husband, and she wants to upset their relationship. She may not have even had sex with the husband. You don’t really know what’s going on here, which is why I advise you to keep your mouth shut.
Maybe she did have or is having an affair with the husband. If you believe something is up and you must say something, pull aside your cheating friend and speak to her about your discomfort with what she’s told you and with being around her. Add that you don’t appreciate her involving you in this drama, and encourage her to end the affair and confess to the wife about what’s going on.
This is preferable to passive-aggressively offering her the silent treatment after she’s confided in you. If the wife ever discovers that an affair between the mutual friend and the husband took place and that you may have known, your loyalty bases are covered.
One more thing: You don’t want to judge your friend, so I will, because it’s OK to have standards and not just accept anything that comes your way. Your mutual friend has broken boundaries, and she is absolutely capable of betraying you in the same way she did her other friend. You are right about that, and you are likely best served by distancing yourself from her after you tell her what’s on your mind.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “Should I Tell My Husband Our Last Child Isn’t His?”