“My husband’s best friend is cheating on his wife, and it’s really weighing on me. My husband is not OK with the affair, but he firmly thinks it’s not his job to ‘out’ his friend. I’m pretty close with the wife, and I truly think she’d want to know. I’m considering telling her myself, but am also wondering if it just isn’t my business. Could this blow up in my face?”
You should follow your gut instinct, and it’s safe to assume most women would want to know the truth. Hey, on some level, she may already know, but just not have all the evidence to support her suspicions.
The first thing you need to do is clue your husband in to your plan, because your number one loyalty is to your spouse. But be firm, and tell him that if he doesn’t convince his friend to fess up, you’re planning to go to the wife. (The ideal scenario is that your husband can convince his pal to come clean.) After all, the best friends are the ones who hold us accountable for our actions and help us become better people. If behavior violates a clear moral code, it’s time for a call-out.
But if your husband still doesn’t take action, then it’s time to talk to the wife. (Deep breaths.)
For starters, call a meeting face-to-face. Choose a public yet quiet place to make sure the cheating husband doesn’t walk in on your convo. Next, tell her what you know and how you know it. Give her some specifics for when she confronts her partner—like what he was really doing on that weekend work trip to Colorado two months ago.
Answer any questions she may have. Give honest advice if she asks for it. But avoid revealing the name of the mistress, unless she knows the person and needs to create distance. (Say, if it’s the nanny.) And as for your anonymity, you can calmly and directly ask that she not tell her husband how she knows what she knows. But understand that by bringing yourself into it, you’ve opened up the possibility that it may get back to him.
But let’s talk about her reaction. There’s always a chance that she may lash out at you, out of anger or denial. If so, remove yourself from the situation immediately, but let her know that you’re there for her if and when she needs you. There’s also the chance that she won’t be shocked or even angry. After all, every marriage is different, and you have no idea what is and isn’t kosher in theirs.
Still, I applaud you for forcing action that feels right to you. At the end of the day, women must look out for other women, and the golden rule still reigns supreme. If you’d want to know that your husband was cheating, and you know this friend well enough to believe she’d feel the same, then behave in kind. She deserves that respect.
Jenna Birch is author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, a dating and relationship-building guide for modern women. To ask her a question, which she may answer in a forthcoming PureWow column, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.