To Tell or Not To Tell

Here’s an awkward situation:

A friend of mine told me that she had broken up with her boyfriend and started dating a new guy. Cut to 3 months later when the ex boyfriend calls me to express his concern about his girlfriend- at which point I drop the bomb that she’s been dating someone else. Not a pleasant situation.

Now, I didn’t have time to decide if I wanted to tell the boyfriend about his girlfriend cheating on him- I let the information slip before I realized that the ex boyfriend didn’t know that he was an ex.

What would you have done? Told or kept your mouth shut? I am just wondering what the general consensus on this issue is.

16 thoughts on “To Tell or Not To Tell

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    [Whoa, wait. Just to clarify first… so, for THREE MONTHS, you thought she’d been broken up and was dating a new guy? But, in reality, she was cheating on her boyfriend this whole time?

    Wow, that’s balls.

  2. Jasmine says:

    [Well, I have been in this situation where I was friends with both- I told the girl that she needed to come clean (she didn’t) and then I cracked under the pressure of listening to the guy moon and swoon over how wonderful she was and told him. Probably should have kept my mouth shut but sometimes conversations get to a point where if you don’t tell, you end up lying for the other person.

  3. Dave Jag says:

    [This comes down to your relationship with the ex-BF. If you two are REAL friends, then you owe him the truth and should feel no guilt in that. If you are just acquaintances connected through the common girlfriend, then you can just say, “Her and I are friends and I don’t feel right talking about her.”

    You have to put all of this back on your girlfriend. She’s the one who screwed up… and she’ll keep on screwing up until she gets held accountable for what she did. That’s just human nature.

  4. Solstice says:

    [What people would do you in your situation would vary. For me, it would depend if I was better friends with the girl or her boyfriend. If I was better friends with the girl or had known her for longer, then I think I’d leave it up to her to tell her (ex) boyfriend, and I would strongly encourage her to tell him, since what she’s doing is not by any means okay. If I was better friends with the boyfriend, then I’d tell him what his girlfriend had been up to.

    But you let the information slip before you knew the situation – if you had time to make a decision, what would you have done?

  5. Metacognition says:

    [Wait, so THREE months go by since she lied to you and you seem to be trying to justify whether it was okay for you to accidentally spill the beans to the supposed ex-boyfriend?!?
    I might be a bit caught up on that part alone, but based on what you’re saying, SHE LIED TO YOU FIRST! She told you what she did to try to cover her own tracks. For one, that doesn’t sound like a very cool friend. Two, why should you feel bad for catching her in her lie?
    If it were me, I’d be more hurt because my friend didn’t trust me enough to confide in me in the first place.

  6. Kier says:

    [This has to be taken on a case by case basis.

    Me? I’ve been in this situation. A close friend of mine was dating another close friend of mine. We went of a school trip to Florida that she went on but he didn’t. While she was there, she was being really flirty with another guy. The next day, I caught them making out.

    I confronted her and said “Look. You’re both my friends, but this needs to stop, or I’m going to tell your boyfriend.”

    I caught them making out again the next day. So I told her boyfriend (one of my best friends) and she never spoke to me again. BUT he was extremely grateful for me telling him and it brought us closer. Besides, I’m better off not having a selfish friend like her anyway.

  7. Eleanor Roosevelt says:

    [It seems like it caught you by surprise – I probably would have ended up doing the same thing, telling him or at least clueing him in before he realized what was going on. “What do you mean? She told me she broke up with you three months ago, before she started dating _____.” Now, if he had called you and asked if she was cheating on you, that’s when you say say “you know, I really think this is a conversation you need to have with her.”

  8. Jasmine says:

    [In this particular situation (since it was asked) her “ex” called me to say he was worried about her and I said “well, you know, she’s with so-and-so now and I think they are doing well….(pause pause) … You didn’t know she was with so- and-so did you” and his reply was “no… We are still together” yah. You need to let your friends in on these things if you don’t want them unintentionally outing you!

  9. DavidIsGreat says:

    [No matter what the final outcome, your relationship with these people has changed forever.

    I probably wouldn’t tell the person being cheated on right away, but I’d let the cheater have the first opportunity to do so. But if they don’t or won’t fix it I might step in and do it myself. Because I’m a jerk.

  10. Addie Pray says:

    [In this case you didn’t have time to decide what to do — you thought he was an ex and that he knew that! If your friend wanted to pull off dating two men at once while keeping them in the dark, she should have (a) not told you about the new guy or (b) told you not to tell the old guy. (In scenario (b), whether you should have kept the secret is another question.) Neither scenario happened here. Your friend was sloppy, and that’s not your fault. If she’s upset with her, tell her you’re not a mind-reader and she should go clean up her own mess. Don’t lose any sleep over this. You did nothing wrong.

  11. EricaSwagger says:

    [Yeah, the only thing I really have to add here is: I can’t believe people actually treat others this way. That poor, hurt, disrespected (ex)boyfriend needs to find himself someone who will actually care about him, because your friend clearly doesn’t.
    I second what others said… you didn’t do anything wrong.

  12. LMcMack says:

    [I suppose I’m a bit confused about the initial conversation with the poster and the boyfriend. Did he specifically call to ask about his “girlfriend”? And what was his concern? I think that’s an important piece of information here that is missing. If he was calling about his concern for her… health, for instance, that’s one thing. If he was questioning her actions, her lack of communication, anything else relationshippy, then at that point it would have been best to simply say you didn’t feel comfortable with the conversation and they needed to work things out themselves.

    I get that you were taken off guard, but I think paying attention to the clues in his choice of language could have prevented the awkwardness and kept you out of the middle.

  13. Maracuya says:

    [Your friend is something else. You should not feel bad at all about accidentally spilling the beans. After all, she was living a double life and purposely deceiving both her best friend and her boyfriend. That’s cold. That’s premeditated. And for what, a piece of ass? Or the love of her life? Whatever her perspective on this other man, she ruined her closest relationships because she didn’t have the guts to be honest and truthful (or because she wanted to have her cake and eat it too.)

    It wouldn’t sit right with me to have a friend treat others that way, and I would have (if I wasn’t friends with the boyfriend) given her a chance to come clean before I 1) told him and 2) cut off our friendship.

  14. MargieCharles says:

    [I would be super uncomfortable being in this situation. It’s not fair for your friend to expect you to keep this a secret, and it’s not really fair of the guy to call you up and put you on the spot.

    I think what I would have done is just say something like, “That’s really not something I’m comfortable talking about. I think you should discuss this with [friend].” That way he knows something IS going on, but you’re not putting yourself in the middle of it or technically ratting out your friend.

  15. Happy Pants says:

    [My take on situations like this is to not get involved in other peoples’ lives unless someone’s being abused. Yes, the guy was getting taken advantage of, but it’s not your job to end a relationship if you’re not in it.

    Granted, I don’t think you did anything wrong because your friend told you she’d broken up with him, but in general, I plead the 5th about my friends’ relationships, unless they ask me my honest opinion about the guys/girls they’re seeing, at which point they usually yell at me and tell me I’m wrong. Love does funny things to the human brain, doesn’t it?

  16. Jasmine says:

    [You know, I am a really honest person so it is very hard for me to lie, keep a lie, or condone a lie. I’m not perfect, but this is how it plays out 99% of the time. If you don’t hold yourself to those same standards, we probably just shouldn’t be friends!

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