Must best friend tell bride about groom’s recent cheating?
Dear Carolyn: Within the past month I was in my best friend’s wedding. While I was at the wedding, I shared a hotel room with another female friend who is tight with the bride and groom (originally friends with the bride, though). I noticed that the roommate-friend and the groom were being really chummy over the wedding weekend, so when she left her journal on the nightstand the day after the wedding, I took a peek. (Terrible, I know.)
I found out that she not only had strong romantic feelings for the groom, but also slept with him multiple times a few months prior to the wedding. Now I don’t know whether to tell my best friend. Please let me know if I need to tell my friend or take some other course of action.
— Holding My Peace
Dear Holding My Peace: Because you know it was terrible, because what’s done is done, and because it has no bearing on what you do with the ill-gotten information, I’ll let you flog yourself for the snooping, and get straight to the nut. The voices in my head think this is an easy one: “TELL HER TELL HER TELL HER.”
In the end, they might be right. But knowing when to disclose bad news is never easy, because these situations almost always fall into one of two camps: (1) the I-can’t-believe-my-friend(s)-knew-anddidn’t-tell-me camp, and (2) the I-wish-I’dnever-been-told-because-now-I-can’t-getpast-it camp.
Meanwhile, each situation has a unique set of variables: how close you are to the principal players, how solid your evidence is, how serious the wrongdoing and its potential consequences are, whether the victim subscribes to “ignorance is bliss” or “the truth will set you free,” and, to a lesser extent, what you’d want if you were in the victim’s position.
Telling your friend might ultimately be your only bearable choice — especially because this so-called friend/other woman is still on the scene.
But still, anytime we know our words are going to have a devastating impact on someone else’s life, we need to speak those words only after we have ruled out every alternative as unrealistic, cowardly/selfinterested, paternalistic, dangerous, immoral, or cruel.
This is your best friend. You know her — probably better than anyone else does, and arguably better than she knows herself. Would she want to hear it from you, or from him (because forcing his hand is one of your options)? Would she want to know at all? Would she want you to wait till you were confident the affair was still going on?
And, if you’re still torn after all that, you have this to fall back on: What would you have her do if you were in the exact same awful position? When you sincerely don’t know how best to take care of her, it becomes a matter of how best to live with yourself.