Would You Tell?

Updated on February 20, 2013
S.. asks from Lenexa, KS
28 answers

If you had a family member or friend whose spouse habitually cheated on them and you saw the cheater out somewhere, up to no good, as usual, would you tell on them?

--"up to no good, as usual", means this person is clearly cheating, again. I mean behaving with another person the way one behaves with someone they have a intimate relationship with.

--The spouse knows about many of the previous indiscretions which is how the witness knows the cheating is habitual. That is also why I question if someone should feel that there is even a point to telling their spouse that, yet again, their significant other is cheating.

--GrammaRocks, that story made me teary. Your aunt is a very strong lady.
---Riley, great breakdown and points. Thanks!

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answers from Philadelphia on

if i spoke to them i would simply say "oh I ran into Bob/sally at the mall the other day" and then see what that person wants to know by their questions or lack thereof

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When a friend knowingly chooses to ignore a philandering spouse or significant other, I choose to ignore it to. There's a better chance that the friend would be mad at me for bringing it up instead of being angry at the jerk they are choosing to stay with.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Bottom line... you do not know what you do not know....

They could have a mutual agreement between each other, maybe one or the other is not functional sexually and it is an agreement between the two of them, etc.

Personally, I would mind my own business and not stir things up in someone else's life.

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answers from Los Angeles on

In this case, no.

One of my uncles cheated almost his entire marriage. My aunt knew, bore him 5 children, they lost 2, and she took him back every time. She worked to pay the mortgage, feed and clothe my cousins, because when my uncle cheated he stayed away and gave her no money. No one could understand it. My Dad was torn, he loved his brother but detested his behavior and how he hurt my aunt. She appeared so weak to us all. 11 years ago this May he was in a restaurant with his girlfriend of fifteen years (while he and my aunt were living together after the death of my cousin) and he choked to death on his food. Mary, the girlfriend, showed up at the funeral, the last person anyone wanted to see. She was crying quite loudly and my Dad walked up to her and said she shouldn't have come and to please leave, which made her hysterical. Some people with her moved her away a bit in the cemetery, but we heard her throughout the entire service. As it ended my aunt got up and proceeded to walk straight to Mary, I know I for one thought she was going to slap her, and my cousin tried to stop her. She brushed her off and went straight to Mary, and hugged her. You could have heard a pin drop as hundreds of us held our breath. As she walked away she told my Dad, "She loved him, too," with tears streaming down her face. My husband cheated a few times, I couldn't forgive him (he saw nothing wrong with his behavior) and we divorced. I realized that day what an incredibly strong and forgiving woman my aunt is. She dealt with it her own way.

28 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Maybe I am gutsier than other folks, I don't know.
But if I saw the husband of one of my family members cheating I would go up and say, "Oh hey Brian, how are you? Where's the wife? We were supposed to go out to lunch tomorrow but I haven't had a chance to call and confirm. Is she feeling okay? ......... Oh, hello? My name is L., Brian's sister in law. Nice to meet you."
But that's just me.

23 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've been on the "other" side of that one before... I was friendly with a group of Vassar professors after moving to that area and connected with one of them pretty quickly. We were friendly, but I knew that he had a girlfriend. That girlfriend took a position at another college (out-of-state) and a few months later he called to see if we could go out for drinks. We had drinks a couple of times, then he invited me to go out to dinner with him. Great! Nice, handsome, smart... woohoo! Well... went to dinner one night and as I am getting out of the car a man walks up and says "Hi Brooke... oh, sorry. You're not Brooke." Then he turns to my date for the evening and says "I'm so sorry. My wife talked with Brooke last night and she didn't mention that you had broken up. Are you guys seeing other people?" I was so uncomfortable and asked him to tell the truth immediately. Needless to say, we did not see each other again and he was single by the end of the weekend.

So would I tell- probably not directly unless it was someone I was very close to or related to. I would however let the cheater know that I saw them (in a very public way) and reference the fact that I am in contact with the spouse.

Believe me, the message was quickly received and this guy knew he was busted. His choices were to tell her or let her hear from someone else. If he had any hope of salvaging the relationship he needed to come clean.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Lynchburg on


I divorced my husband because he became an abusive drunk.

Some 'friends' were kind enough to share, after the divorce, that he was a cheater as well.

They are no longer friends. Had I known this information earlier, it would have spared me...and my kiddos...years of his abusive drunkardliness (is that even a word?)

I would definitely share what you saw...and leave it up to that friend or family member to do what they wish with your 'observation'.

Best Luck!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

When seeing the cheater out, I would make contact and let him (let's assume it's a "he" for simplicity's sake) know that you saw him. For example at a restaurant, I would stop at the table, smile, say hello and pause and wait for him to introduce me to his companion. Then later I would casually mention to my friend that I bumped into her husband at X place. If my friend doesn't miss a beat and is in step with his story, then it's none of business - either there is nothing untoward going on or she is OK with the arrangement or is deliberately turning a blind eye. If she's surprised to hear that he was at a certain place on a certain date and presses for more info, I would tell her what I saw and let her know that I'm there for her if she needs support with the fallout, if there is any. If she never brings it up again, not my business.

As someone who was cheated on, I would want to know if someone saw my husband out and thought that something was up. If there was nothing to it, I would want to be able to set my friend straight. If there was something to it, it's info I would want to know about and then choose on my own what to do with it. It's very likely that some of my husband's old friends knew about one of his affairs. We are not friends with that circle anymore.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Before you say anything, you had better make damn sure that's what's going on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If they already know about prior cheating, then no, I would not tell them. If they are with a cheater and are staying with them then I would let it go. If it was the first time and you knew for sure, I still don't know if I would tell them or not. It would depend on a lot of things for me. Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Yes, I would tell. I would not say: I saw your spouse out cheating, but rather mention where and when I ran into him/her. The rest is for the friend to figure out (or they may already be aware).
Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


1) Just because she knows about past incidents does not mean that they've come to an agreement that their marriage is now open. In most cases I know of, spouse is clued/ BELIEVES the line of BS their spouse is shoveling.

2) Most people I know of (including myself) who HAVE been cheated on and either reconciled or worked on reconciliation WANT to know.

- We need to go get STD tests. We need to have our children tested if they've skinned a knee / been caught with our toothbrush/ are being breast fed/ etc. and we test positive. The precautions on takes around kids when you know you DONT have an STD and know you do is very different. HIV is hard to catch (although blood to blood happens with parents and kids), but the others are EASY to catch (wiping toddler after yourself in public restroom before washing up, sharing a towel, etc. Things we don't do with anyone BUT our kids).

- This may be the LAST time we believe the adulterous douchebag (or it may not, but it moves the "last" time closer).

- In "at fault" states we need to LOCK the house (most at fault states, spouses are only 'at fault' legally if they're not allowed to sleep under the same roof for even one night.

- We need to file for child support before their mistresses do (child support in most states is first come, first served... 2nd comers only get what's left. Children of affairs are often granted 5x-10x what children of the marriage are granted.

$1000 per month Child of Affair
$300 per month Children of Marriage (3 kids = $100 each)

- and a whole lot of other really nasty/scary/PITA type things

3) Anyone who KNEW my husband was betraying me and kept their mouth shut is obviously not my friend. A friend would have told me. A stranger wouldnt (why would they, they dont care). & A douche protects the adulterer.

4) IF its an open marriage... No harm/no foul, but I know many people in open marriages, and if someone isn't being discrete, BOTH like to know (rather than have people talking about them behind their backs)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would want to know if I were the wife, so I would bring it up, in a casual way.
In my head, right now, I think I'd make it a point to say "hello" to the husband so he knew that I saw him out with a mystery woman. Then during a simple conversation with the wife, I'd mention seeing him and try to gauge whether or not he mentioned seeing me, to her. I'd open it up and plant the seed to maybe open up the conversation, but I wouldn't tell her "he's cheating" if I didn't actually see evidence of it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Why? She already knows.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I've been on both sides of being cheated on and seeing my friend's husband possibly cheating.

Him, I confronted and told him to back off before something happened or I'd tell her. He basically told me to f*** off so I told her what I saw. It didn't hurt our relationship, in fact I think it made our friendship stronger. He later apologized to me.

My ex cheated, we reconciled and I found out he was still seeing her b/c a friend called me to tell. I am still greatful that she called me.

Just be sure if you say anything. Stick to the facts - you were out, saw him with a woman, etc.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADD: If she knows, and this is nothing new, then do not rub her face in it.

ORIGINAL: Maybe if you see the cheater next time, make sure they know they've been seen? Give them the hairy eyeball so they know they're not getting away with something? If they don't care, there's not much you can do.

I don't know if the opportunity to casually mention seeing the cheater (but not accuse the cheating). But you need to be 100% sure, because the damage would be too great to take chances on if you talk without knowing for sure.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

For a new member you are asking some interesting questions.

If you have proof - pictures of them going at it - then yes. If you have nothing, keep your mouth shut.

Did you stop to think "well, if she already knows, maybe they have an arrangement?" I know of two couples that have an "open" marriage. However, they have rules and are to be discrete and respectful.

If you don't know their situation? Next time you see them - say "hey John! It was great to run into at the movies the other night! Did you like the movie?"

Bottom line - if you do not have concrete proof - keep your mouth shut.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Yes/No... I would first ask myself IF I tell the person's spouse about the cheating am I prepared for the onslaught of questions I will then be asked and too, possibly be brought into the drama (maybe more than I had anticipated)

Point is, you can't drop a bomb like that and expect to wash your hands of it.. you may be dragged into something very painful and ugly... Personally, can't say I would want that for myself..

It's also important that you ask yourself what your true intentions would be in telling.. is it that you care so much about this person you think it's absolutely necessary she know.... and too, sounds like she may already have some awareness to his cheating.. Keeping that in mind, maybe she does know but stays in the relationship for various reasons such as money, low-esteem.. Honestly, I guess I wouldn't feel it my place to tell... again, it would depend upon my relationship with the person..

To me, it's a VERY sticky situation.. .if you get involved, plan to possibly be in it for the long haul.. .

good luck in whatever you decide

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

"up to no good" seems pretty ambiguous.

Unless you saw physical intimacy, "up to no good" is more something that is in the eye of the beholder. Your version of up to no good may be my version of innocent fun.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like the cheated-on spouse already knows, so what's the point in adding insult to injury? Would just be salt in the wounds. Or, the spouse has accepted the cheating and has chosen to allow it. Or, the couple decided to have an open marriage. In any case, I'd stay out of it.

A few months ago I asked about whether my friend should tell one of our old friends that she found out our old friend's husband was cheating. The wise ladies in this group helped me to see that it is best to keep out of their marriage issues.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Do you know for a fact that person is unaware of his or her spouse's activities? If they already know, will you be seen as benevolent or a gossip? Do you know that your friend/family member has been unequivocally faithful himself/herself? I would want to know, but I would have to measure very carefully the relationship with my friend before I could know the right answer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I say yes. My husband has had affairs and I chose to stay, but if he had another I would leave, but I can't if I don't know about it!

Maybe consider asking her if she wants to know?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i wouldn't go tattle about a particular incident.
but, if the family member or spouse were someone very close to me, i'd sit down and have a serious discussion with them about my overall concerns.
if it were someone not that close, i'd be honest if asked but not find excuses to tell them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, If I could prove it, I would definitely tell. GL

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm more of a fan of giving the cheater an opportunity to fess up by a certain date. If he doesn't, he will know that you then will.
I'm not a fan of being forced to be part of hurting someone I care about. Especially through some convoluted "don't ask-don't tell" arrangement with the cheater.
I'd make damn sure he knew I saw him and knew where I stood.
The cheater needs to step up his sneakiness factor.
Perhaps if everyone wasn't willing to turn a blind eye, he'd be forced to choose O. or the other side of the fence!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think I would tell because I would want to know if I were his wife.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

If I knew the person would not take it out on me, I might be tempted to snap a cell phone picture or video and message it to their spouse.



answers from Cumberland on

If you're sure they're not just choosing to look the other way.

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