Q: Hi Meredith,
A few nights ago, my husband confided in me that one of our good friends told him that he'd been cheating on his girlfriend. His girlfriend and I are close. We play softball together, get our nails done, see "Twilight" movies and giggle like schoolgirls, etc. My husband is torn up about it because he feels really awkward being around this guy now since we spend so much time together double-dating. He only told me what the guy was doing because the girlfriend and I were planning a trip for the four of us and my husband doesn't want to go and pretend that everything is peachy.
Besides that, a long time ago, I was cheated on. Like, full on, my boyfriend is sleeping with my best friend kind of cheated on. Ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend secretly hooked up behind my back for an extended period of time and it tore my life apart when I finally found out. As it turns out, a lot of our mutual friends knew that this was going on, turned a blind eye to it, and never told me. Meanwhile, I was planning a life with this man. It took therapy and moving to get it out of my life, and there are a lot of people I was once close to that I had to cut off in order to regain control of my feelings/relationships.
Now that I know about what's going on, I want to tell the girlfriend. My husband is adamant that I stay out of it because it's between them, but I've been in her shoes, and I wish someone had the guts to have told me what my ex was doing.
I don't want my husband to regret telling me, but I also don't want this poor girl to keep planning a life with a man who not only disrespecting her, but counting on the rest of us to keep our mouths closed.
– No Friend to Cheaters, Woburn
A: There are no right answers here, NFTC, but whatever you do, you have to do it as a united front with your husband. You have to decide what you think is right as a team and then stand by each other no matter what. You're the letter writer, so it's your relationship I'm worried about. If you tattle about this cheat, it'll get ugly, so you need your husband by your side. And if you don't tattle, you'll need to navigate this mess together.
Based on your letter, I think that you and your husband are on the same page about what to do. He told you about the cheating knowing that you're close with the girlfriend and that you might spill the beans. Then you emailed me a somewhat specific letter about the activities you do with this woman. (Luckily, zillions of people like softball and "Twilight" so nothing about this letter is identifiable -- but you were secretly hoping she might see this, right?)
And on some level, her boyfriend also wants her to know. If you want to keep a cheat a secret, you don't tell anybody about it. He told the husband of the woman who likes his girlfriend most. What was he thinking?
Do what you need to do -- but with the support of your husband. Come up with a plan that you both can live with, whether it's talking to the boyfriend, talking to the girlfriend, or distancing yourselves from both of them. Stand strong together. Remember that the most important relationship here is yours.
Readers? Should she tell? Should the husband have disclosed his friend's cheat? Does he have the right to ask the letter writer to stay out of this couple's business? Am I right about everyone in this situation secretly wanting to get caught? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.