Must best friend tell bride about groom’s re­cent cheat­ing?

Austin American-Statesman - - TVTONIGHT - cAroLYN hAX Tell Me About It is writ­ten by Carolyn Hax of The Washington Post. Her col­umn ap­pears on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day. E-mail her at tellme@ wash­post.com.

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.

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