Reader’s Commentary Regarding my belief that you should tell someone if you know his or her partner is cheating.
“Imagine my complete surprise when my husband of nine years said that he no longer loved me and didn’t want to be married to me anymore.
“I had to leave our home, which he owned, and I couldn’t afford on my own anyway.
“I only discovered a couple of years later that many of our friends had known for a long time that he’d been hanging out with another woman, (telling me he’d be late from work, or the gym, which I believed).
“We had no kids. We both worked full-time but he was a much bigger earner. I thought we were solid.
“I cried myself to sleep in the “guest” bedroom until I found the strength to move away and get another job.
“When some “friends” and I finally met after I was settled, the two closest admitted they’d been certain that he was cheating.
“But they believed that it was “not their place” to tell me!!!
“They were wrong. Even if telling the truth affects a friendship, it gives the cheated-on partner a chance to prepare mentally for a break-up.
“Years later, I was able to re-connect with one of those former friends, but I never fully trusted her as before.
“What do you and your readers think is the way to deal with knowing someone’s cheating?”
Forgiven but Not Forgotten
There is one other way to handle knowing someone’s cheating on a person you care about, and it’s a past reader who first introduced this solution to me:
Confront the cheater. Say that you know what he or she is doing, and how much it’ll hurt his/her partner when it’s finally revealed… and assure them it inevitably will be.
Say that there are now only two paths for the cheater to take: 1) Stop cheating immediately, especially if it was an aberration due to unusual circumstances. Or, 2) Confess to your partner and start discussing what it means to your relationship.
However, if the person(s) in the know about the cheating is unwilling to have that confrontation, then, I agree that telling the betrayed partner is the only decent choice.
Over the years, I’ve heard countless stories of painful humiliation when people have learned that “everyone else but me, knew what was going on… I was left looking like a fool.”
No true friend wants to leave someone in that diminished position.
FEEDBACK Regarding the family concerned about a relative’s talk of suicide (January 9):
Reader – “As suicide is an extremely serious issue, I believe professional help should be expanded to listing where it’s available to the writer. Also, if there’s a concern for immediate safety, family/friends need to get the person to a crisis center.”
Ellie – Questions come from across the world, not just across North America. Since the column protects anonymity, specific locals are rarely mentioned in order to avoid identifying the writer and situation.
Given the extreme immediacy of a suicide threat, I agree that, besides stressing the need for psychiatric assessment and getting the person to a crisis center, some contact information is important:
Crisis Services Canada – www.crisisservicescanada.ca toll-free at 1-833-456-4566, text at 45645.
The Canadian Association for Suicide, https://suicideprevention.ca/Need-Help and also
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention –https://afsp.org/ is dedicated to saving lives, bringing hope to those affected by suicide, and offers crisis services.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States) -https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Reader’s Commentary Regarding views on “tough love” (December 10 and January 8):
“I can’t totally agree with tough love and NEVER being an option. There are aspects of using this approach that can be successful in certain situations, when properly used with forethought, compassion and insight.
“The original feedback implied an all or nothing process where the person in question was deserted.
“This is totally cruel and uncalled for, especially if that person needs professional help.
“The tough love approach can be useful when dealing with certain behaviours like manipulation, coercion, bullying and other wilful acts.
“Tough love done right can help set boundaries where needed and allow for power balances to be restructured.
“It’s often the only true way to deal with the BS seen in many dysfunctional families and groups.
“It needs to be a last resort (in many cases) but has its value when done wisely and done well.”
Tip of the day:
Once you know someone’s cheating on a friend/relative, you’re no longer just a bystander.