Does a Friend Tell on a Cheating Pal?
Q: My buddy lives with his girlfriend, who is the coolest lady I know. The three of us hang out a lot. Problem is that I don't think he treats her well. I saw him making out with another girl at a bar recently. We stopped for a beer and a girl came up and started talking to him and flirting like she knew him. Then he got up to go to the bathroom and I saw them with their hands all over each other. Then they were grinding on each other on the dance floor. When he came back to the bar, I asked him what he was doing. He said MYOB.
His awesome girlfriend doesn't deserve to be cheated on. Should I tell her? She'll be crushed, and what if she leaves him because I spilled the beans? Plus the dude might get mad. — Camron, 41
Dr. Susan: I hate when that happens: when a pal puts you in the position of choosing between being honest and maybe losing his friendship, or of lying to someone you respect a lot. I tend to vote for honesty, or at least not dishonesty. So consider this: tell your buddy that his girlfriend is way too decent for you to watch him cheat on her that way. And since you couldn't bear to lie to her, you're going to have to stop hanging out with them until he can assure you his cheating behavior is finished. Otherwise you'd be an accomplice and feel awful. When she asks him why you never come around anymore, he can make up whatever he likes. If she happens to ask you directly, you might say something like, "Your boyfriend and I had a disagreement about a personal matter. Can't tell you more. I miss you both, but it's better for now if we don't hang out. Sorry."
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.