The Guy­liner


I have rea­son to be­lieve my best mate’s other half is play­ing about be­hind his back. They’ve been to­gether for a cou­ple of years – and we do get on – but I’ve never re­ally taken to him. I’ve known my best mate for years and only want what’s best for him. I was on Grindr the other day and saw my friend’s man on there, pos­ing with no top on. He was on­line so ob­vi­ously look­ing for sex. I’m close to my best friend and think he de­serves bet­ter. Should I tell him that his other half is a cheater or should I con­front his boyfriend and find out what’s go­ing on? I don’t want him to get hurt, but I don’t want to cause trou­ble. Glen, by e-mail.

The Guy­liner replies We all like to be there for our mates. In times of joy and times of pain, your friends are the one con­stant you can rely on. Ex­cept, of course, de­spite your protes­ta­tions of not want­ing to cause trou­ble, you seem to be in­tent on caus­ing a prob­lem you can put your­self at the cen­tre of.

You ad­mit your­self that you never re­ally warmed to your pal’s part­ner, so to go steam­ing in now with ac­cu­sa­tions that are, at best, flimsy and, at worst, de­struc­tive would be an er­ror. You’d need more ev­i­dence than a top­less pic on Grindr be­fore you in­ter­vened – and that’s not to say you should any­way. Not every­body uses so­cial apps as a knock­ing shop, and you don’t say whether there was any more info on the guy’s pro­file – what he was look­ing for or of­fer­ing? He might just want to chat. Not that I’m de­fend­ing his be­ing on what’s pri­mar­ily an app to meet men for sex or dates, but you don’t seem to have much to go on.

You should also con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that your friend is fully aware his boyfriend is on this app – maybe they’re in an open re­la­tion­ship or are into group sex and the boyfriend is the ‘shopfront’. If you know this def­i­nitely not to be the case, be care­ful be­fore you do any more dig­ging; you could com­pro­mise your friend­ship.

Get­ting in­volved in friends’ re­la­tion­ships is al­ways a huge risk. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Con­front the boyfriend and there’s a pretty big chance he’ll deny it – he has the good old get-out, “Oh my God somebody must be us­ing my pic­ture of Grindr.” Whether true or not, you won’t have much choice but to ac­cept it. Chal­leng­ing the guy also makes it ob­vi­ous that you know some­thing is go­ing on: if it does later come out that he is hav­ing an af­fair and you knew with­out telling your mate, guess who’s go­ing to get it in the neck? You, baby. You.

Go­ing to your pal and telling him what you know has its own prob­lems. He may not be­lieve you, or may won­der whether you have an ul­te­rior mo­tive for telling him. There’s no way for you to come out of this well, ex­cept the very dull op­tion of keep­ing it to your­self. Soap opera writ­ers have huge re­veals for sto­ry­line rea­sons, but this is real life, not EastEn­ders. In­dis­cre­tions have a habit of com­ing out even­tu­ally. This is not your mo­ment; you’ll just have to let things play out.

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