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a friend of a friend is cheating-- what is my responsibility?

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PhantomLimb posted 7/9/2014 12:24 PM

I had brunch with a friend the other day who had just come from visiting one of his close friends. This close friend is actually someone I went to high school with, but we did not know each other well back then and I've only seen him maybe twice in the last 15 years, so I can't really call him a friend as much as an acquaintance.

Anyway, this friend of my friend is cheating on his wife of 6 years. She is a SAHM and they have two kids under 4 years old.

It is a very, very typical WW story. He blames her for the whole thing, basically: being distant, depressed after the children, not going out enough, not cleaning up the house enough. You get the picture. He started with having ONSs while on business. Now he is having an A with a (much younger) coworker and it's schmoopie love. He thinks he wants a D to be with his AP, but is contemplating R and MC because he doesn't want to pay CS and doesn't want his wife to move back to her home state with the kids. He has finally at least told his wife he's unhappy, but doesn't have any plans right now to tell her about his As or his current AP. He thinks that he can fake MC for a few weeks, keep the AP on the back burner, and then "reveal" the AP a few weeks after the D and no one will be the wiser and his wife won't have to live with knowledge of his As. That way, he thinks the D will be more amicable, he'll have more access to the children, and they can stay "friends" as they co-parent.

Yes, we all know it's delusional WW thinking.

To his credit, my friend is saying all of the right things to this guy. Telling him he is insane if he thinks his wife won't figure out the A. That when she does, she is going to go all out with the D. That this AP is not a good person. He even gave him the statistics on a relationship with the AP working out. He agrees the M is probably over-- but he thinks he needs to either come completely clean and take his hits, or totally break it off with the AP and D anyway to give his wife a fair chance at starting over.

I've met this guy's wife once. As I say, I hardly know the man having the A. My friend is trying to persuade him to do the right thing here. And, based on my own experience, I have encouraged my friend to keep pushing him along this path.

So my question is: do I have any responsibility here? I feel like I am too distant from this particular situation to step in and reveal the A to this man's wife. I also think there's a chance that this guy will come around and either admit the A or it will come to light on its own without my immediate "help." At the same time, I feel terrible for this woman.

Anyone with experience with this kind of thing? Just to be clear: no, I don't have their phone numbers, I don't know the address (I've been to the house once for a party, but was driven there and it was very, very far away) and, as a SAHM, I have no way of getting her a message, say, at work. So I'm not even sure how I would step in anyway.

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 12:25 PM, July 9th (Wednesday)]

suckstobeme posted 7/9/2014 12:32 PM

I would say there is no responsibility. You are far too removed from the situation and while it's horrible that you know this woman's husband is a cheating POS, in this case, it's not your place to approach her to tell her.

Cheating is all around us, unfortunately. I understand the inclination to form a solidarity with other betrayed spouses and to try to eliminate as much as the pain as we can. But again, this one is not your war to fight.

This wayward's friend who is pushing and trying to advise him to turn toward the right direction is doing his job. Depending on how good of a friend he considers the wife, his next step may be to tell his friend that he has 24 hours to go home to tell his wife himself or the friend will do it. As far as your involvement, keep it at a far distance. As the SI saying goes, not your circus, not your monkeys.

PhantomLimb posted 7/9/2014 12:35 PM

I want add that I worry about two things:

(1) I worry that if I stick my nose in here, it will upset my friend who is in the middle. He trusted me with this information to help him think through how he can help his friend, and if I interject myself, I worry that would damage our friendship.

(2) I don't want to get the reputation among my friends as the "affair police." I worry that no one will confide in me going forward if they think there's a chance that I will make my own moral determination on a situation and expose things told to me in confidence, like affairs.

Am I out of line?

sparkysable posted 7/9/2014 12:47 PM

I am in the exact situation that you are in. I am considering sending an anonymous letter with as much information as I know.

I wish someone would have tipped me off sooner.

Sad in AZ posted 7/9/2014 14:33 PM

Don't do it. For many reasons. You are getting this information second hand. It's not as if you observed any of it. Yes, she has a right to know what's going on in her life, but it's not your responsibility. If anyone should tell her, it's your friend. HIS friend was stupid enough to reveal the information.

I can only respond from my point of view. If I had received an anonymous communication before I knew about the A, I either would not have believed it (anonymous is a chickenshit way to do things) or I would have shown it to the X and he would have taken the A underground AND gone out of his way to find and punish the anonymous source (because that's how he operates.)

k94ever posted 7/9/2014 16:20 PM

I wish ANYONE would have clued me in on FWS's cheating.

I get angry that my supervisor knew about FWS and her daughter having an affair and didn't tell me.

I get angry that my neighbors saw women coming into my home and didn't tell me.

I get angry because a good friend of mine didn't tell me FWS propositioned her and didn't tell me. After D-day when I asked her why she didn't tell me her answer was she felt that was between FWS and I and she didn't want to get involved.

I feel foolish because everyone around me knew or suspected and didn't tell me.

I'm in the camp of dropping the BS a note letting her know what is going on. Be a decent human being and treat her like a human being.


Schadenfreude posted 7/9/2014 16:28 PM

Why is she going to believe you, a person she has met once and with whom her WH has only a passing acquaintance.

This is an example why the hearsay rule exists in courts. What you propose to tell is classic hearsay. So and so told me that your WH told him that he was schtupping Ms. X. No matter what you say, you are not going to have any written proof such as emails, etc.

You are not the adultery police.
Friend could tell BW that WH said he was schlepping Ms. X, but he'll lack proof beyond that. BW would have to become Sherlock Holnes to catch him, but at least the initial disclosure would come from a known source.

SBB posted 7/9/2014 16:34 PM

If you were the BW in this same situation would you want to get an anonymous note?

That is one aspect that would drive my decision here. You have no obligation to tell because you are hearing it second hand and you've only met her casually.

I do understand your predicament though - he told you about his friend in confidence so you would be betraying his trust.

Have you told him you are considering telling the BW and that you think she deserves to know? I would have a hard time being friends with someone who would keep something like this a secret.

Are you 100% certain his 'friend' isn't him?

PhantomLimb posted 7/9/2014 18:04 PM

My friend isn't married, so it's not him. Also, I have heard through the grapevine in the past about this other guy's ONS while on business trips. It's fairly well known among his friends (who are, again, allied friends of mine). That's why I figure it's coming out at some point... and there are many other people closer to this couple than I am that seem to be aware.

As for whether I would have wanted someone to tell me-- I'm fairly certain that one of my X's coworkers knew about his A and didn't tell me. But I think she sent many signals and my X was throwing off red flags like crazy. I'm not sure how I would have responded to an anonymous note. Unfortunately, I don't think I would have believed it.

I think my friend has picked up that I wasn't happy with the situation after he told me about it. He was supposed to meet with me on the 4th to update me on what was going on, but never got in touch. So I think he sensed that I was a loose canon after all, but I don't know for sure.

ladies_first posted 7/9/2014 18:11 PM

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." ~Edmund Burke

I don't want to get the reputation among my friends as the "affair police." I worry that no one will confide in me going forward if they think there's a chance that I will make my own moral determination on a situation and expose things told to me in confidence, like affairs.

If you don't act on your values, then you're just gossiping about others misfortunes.

PhantomLimb posted 7/10/2014 06:27 AM

But when I say that I don't want to get the reputation with my friends of making my own moral determination on what is right and wrong in their lives, one thing I'm trying to say is that in this case, by forcing the issue, I worry that what I would really be communicating is something along the lines of: if you don't move fast enough for my liking, I'm going to step in and force you to do the thing that I think is right. That seems heavy handed to me.

And I guess the other question is: if he does break it off with the AP and still pursues a D, does she absolutely have to know about his As? Must that be revealed in all cases in your opinions?

I really do struggle with these questions, which is why I've posted them here.

Also, I didn't mention this before, but they are madhatters. She admitted to being unfaithful right before their wedding and they worked through it and got married anyway. In some ways that is neither here nor there-- that doesn't excuse his actions within the marriage. But I think it also shows that this particular couple has the capacity to come clean with one another.

Right now I'm thinking the most appropriate thing for me to do is encourage my friend to be the one to tell his wife.

realitybites posted 7/10/2014 06:56 AM

I can't see a problem with an anonymous note or letter. No one will ever know it came from you because as you say so many people know, could have come from anybody. And so what if she does nothing, or goes to her WS as we all did in the beginning to ask questions and he gaslights her? Come many here first heard something or found something and ran to our WS for answers? But each piece of evidence follows a trail. All you are doing is handing out anonymous information, what the BS desides to do with it is up to them.

Whatever you decide to do its up to you but it bothers you I can tell. Sit back and wait and stew on it for a bit. You are a good person for even thinking about it.

confused girl posted 7/10/2014 07:10 AM

I believe you have no responsibility and shouldn't do anything (I can't believe I am saying this.) You have no first hand knowledge and often things aren't exactly as told two or three times later.

Your friend, on the other hand, should tell the wife. He is the one with the knowledge. I would encourage your friend to tell the cheater that he needs to tell his wife within x # of days or else he (friend) will tell her.

cayc posted 7/10/2014 07:14 AM

When you asked your friend why he wasn't doing anything, what did he say??? That's pretty shitty of him to do nothing.

No, it's not your responsibility. Sure the easy thing to do is nothing. True, an anonymous note might make the poor woman hunker down behind her blinders even more in defiance.

But I wouldn't want that on my conscious. I spent a year getting tested for HIV because my xWH was never not fucking OW, for 10 years. That bastard tried to kill me. No one seems to see it like that. They see the betrayal. They get he's a cheater. They think I'm a loser and weak dummy for not seeing it so long. But it always seems to escape people's attention that when all is said and done, he tried to kill me. That's what cheating is. Unprotected sex with someone else who might be sick and infect you!

She might not believe you. But she might. And if you are the first to tell her and then someone else does, then she might. And if she's ignored a previous message from another person, and then yours comes along, she might.

And if you tell her, why do you have to tell anyone you did? Who is going to know it was you??? That's what anonymous means.

Tell her. It's the decent thing to do.

[This message edited by cayc at 7:15 AM, July 10th, 2014 (Thursday)]

PhantomLimb posted 7/11/2014 10:17 AM

I spoke to my friend and apparently the couple had a blow up wherein the cheating husband told his wife again that he is not happy. They decided that she would take the kids and go on a trip with her family for a couple of weeks to give one another space and decide next steps. The A is not yet out in the open.

My friend is spending a lot of time with this guy during this sort of mini-separation and encouraging him to break it off with the AP and get ready to tell his wife when she returns. But he remains in the fog. He also wants out of the marriage without her knowing about the A.

So there is really nothing I can particularly do right now. If I send an anonymous note to the house, he will receive it.

Also, if I tell about the coworker, it will be obvious that it's from me. Only this friend of mine knows the situation, and I'm the only one he confided in "on the outside". If I just told about the ONS then, yeah, that might be confirmed by some others around the couple. But I have zero evidence for that. I don't even know how many times it happened. What would the note even say?

I hate to pass the buck, but I'm feeling more and more like it's my friend's responsibility to do something here. I've asked him how close he is to the wife and he's known her for 10 years, but doesn't particularly like her. I don't think that's an excuse. I'm spending some time with him next weekend and I'm thinking of bringing it up again. I do view infidelity as abuse and I'm hoping that I can appeal to him on that level. Any recommendations on what I might say?

norabird posted 7/11/2014 12:24 PM

I agree that this is on your friend. I would continue to make sure he knows that you are upset by this and that he should really step up and tell the BW if his friend won't man up.

I'm very sorry for the poor BW. I hope the situation is not triggering you too much. Take care of yourself.

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