You find out via a bolded ghcat (you just go *bold* around the word) that _________ cheated on _________ aaand (insert element of story that makes it even more boldable): it's been going on for a year/she doesn't remember doing it/everyone from work saw it happen/it was with her best friend...
What's the first thing you do?
Never date that person.
It's around the second thing you do that things get tricky...
When are you under the obligation to inform on a cheater? What if you know both people in the relationship? Do you tell the cheater you know and they better deal with it? Do you tell the cheatee what went down first? Is there a male/female divide?
I polled some my-aged males and females both in and out of relationships that have and have not involved cheating. Here are some of their responses:
a 27-year-old male
- Guys should NEVER tell a guy on a girl unless they are family, they want to hook up, or are SUPER DUPER BEST FRIENDS with the girl
- Guys should only tell on a girl if they are good friends with the guy or they are making fun of the guy they are spilling the beans to
- Girls should ONLY tell on the guy if they are the BEST FRIEND or family
- Girls should ALWAYS tell on the girl
a 27-year-old female
- I have a strict policy against ever saying anything and people know about it. Bottom line - I don't get involved in other people's relationships. If someone were like - "did you know he was cheating on me!?" I'd be like, "I had heard some things but they weren't confirmed and I don't get involved in these situations, as a rule." I figure it's easier to just have a policy. Oh -- but if it were my sister or either one of my brothers forget that shit. I'd tell them if their boy or girlfriend so much as looked at a person the wrong way.
a 26-year-old male
- If my friend is a girl and I see her bf cheating on her, and her bf is also a friend, I'll cowardly say nothing to her.
- If my friend is a girl who is being cheated on, and her bf doing the cheating is less than a friend but greater than "some douche I hate," then we're really in the grey area here. I bet I wouldn't say anything, -- maybe drop a subtle hint or line here and there. If her bf is someone I hate, I would delicately tell her outright.
- If my friend is a guy and the girlfriend is a friend of mind I'd go into high-powered detective mode, kind of on his behalf but leading him down the path. "Where was Julie last night? Did she tell us she was going there? Who did she go with?"
a 25-year-old straight female
- It's hard to say because you don't want to meddle, but at the same time if it was me I would TOTALLY want to know. And if my friends knew and didn't tell me, my anger towards them would probably just as strong as my anger towards that son of a bitch who cheated on me!
- I think it also depends on which friend you're closer to and what side they're on. If my primary loyalty lies to the cheater...then I'd probably hold my tongue. But if he/she was the one being cheated on it might be a different story.
another 25-year-old straight female
- I think it depends on how close the friend is and where you go your info from/how reliable it is. Very case by case. But if it were me, I'd want someone to tell me -- even if it was just a rumor. I'd want to know what people were saying about me. So, if I ever get a boyfriend again, and you hear anything bad, let me know okay???
- Due to sympathy and bro-pressure, I almost always uphold the bro code: never inform on another bro. However, some caveats: 1. If disease is involved (clear evidence of him not being careful with certain people) informing is a must. 2. If I dislike the bro a lot or really like the girl and there is evidence of lots and lots of incidents, and they are really serious, then the indirect method is sometimes permissible.
- As for telling your bro his girlfriend is cheating on him? That's no problem. It's a bro's duty to let him know. Weird, and one-sided, but true.
another 26-year-old male
- I am not excusing cheating, but I also am not blind to the temptation of man (general sense here), and I believe if you have true love (and these are extreme cases) then being informed by a friend might just fuck it up. In that case, in fact in most all cases, I think as a friend you have an obligation to approach the cheater and handle it from that angle.
- If this is a situation that is bound to get out, and upon it getting out the cheatee will come to you and say, "did you know about this?!" and you will feel like the scum of the earth saying, "yes, I did -- but I didn't tell you because...." then you should take action. I would go straight to the cheatee because some, "if you don't tell her by Friday then I'm going to" deal doesn't appeal to me. Doesn't mean it can't work and isn't the right thing to do; that's just me personally.
This -- like so many things in adult life -- is one of those probably damned if you do, probably feel like shit if you don't situations (i.e. attend an obligatory wedding, recommend family for a job, encourage your parents to share their inner most feelings with you). It's such a case-by-case thing that rules, even of the "bro" variety, are always broken.
My advice is tread lightly, go in with back up if necessary, and never ever tell them when they're drunk.
Agree? Disagree? COMMENT.