Do I spill the beans to my cousin her hus­band’s cheat­ing?

The Peterborough Examiner - - WEATHER - El­lie

Q: My cousin’s hus­band is cheat­ing on her and she has no idea.

He and I have been close friends since univer­sity days and the years since.

I’m the one who in­tro­duced him to my cousin. (She and I grew up in a close ex­tended fam­ily).

Ini­tially, I only knew that he’d started to travel more for work.

Over a lunch to­gether a month ago, he ca­su­ally men­tioned that he’d met a work col­league at an off-site com­pany meet­ing and she was “a fire­cracker.”

I didn’t think about it then, as­sum­ing he meant she was great at her job and good for the com­pany.

Maybe be­cause I didn’t re­act, he then felt free to men­tion her again the next time we talked on the phone.

He said that they were go­ing to meet again in the near fu­ture.

I still thought it was busi­ness-re­lated.

But the third time this woman’s name came up was over drinks one re­cent evening, at my place.

He took me aside and said he was soon go­ing on a Las Ve­gas get­away, sup­pos­edly with guys from work, but ac­tu­ally with this woman.

I al­most choked on my drink. I couldn’t be­lieve he’d tell me this in my home, with both our wives just one room away, and know­ing that I’m a first-cousin to the woman he’s telling lies to while hav­ing an af­fair.

I feel sick about it, and stumped about what to do.

If I tell my cousin, she may hate me as the mes­sen­ger of hor­ri­ble news.

She may in­sist on a di­vorce that’ll break up their fam­ily which in­cludes two chil­dren un­der age eight.

But if I don’t tell her, it feels like I’m giv­ing him a li­cence to cheat.

She’ll then hate me if she ever dis­cov­ers he’s cheat­ing, and learns that I knew.

Is there any way to han­dle an informatio­n bomb with­out hurt­ing ev­ery­one?

Cousin in the Mid­dle

A: Get out of the mid­dle and tell your cousin’s hus­band that ei­ther he must end the af­fair and get mar­riage coun­selling with his wife, or you’ll be forced to re­veal his be­trayal to her and their chil­dren.

Yes, it’s heavy duty, but your other two op­tions both make you com­plicit in his de­ceit.

The very in­jured party that mat­ters is your cousin, not you.

If warn­ing her hus­band of ex­po­sure does get the cou­ple to get mar­i­tal help, then you’ve done a favour for them and their kids.

If, in­stead, they break up, she may have dif­fi­culty with your know­ing about his cheat­ing even for a short time, but, in time will likely come to un­der­stand that you did the re­spon­si­ble thing in this sit­u­a­tion.

Likely, you and this man won’t be friends in the fu­ture, un­less he and your cousin stay to­gether in a bet­ter union that ben­e­fits from their mar­riage ther­apy.

But how can you be friends with some­one who had no dif­fi­culty telling you that he’s play­ing fast and loose with an im­por­tant rel­a­tive of yours?!

Warn him with a dead­line: He tells her within a cou­ple of days and can­cels the Las Ve­gas trip, or you will tell her what you know.

(Note: Given your long friend­ship, his dump­ing this informatio­n on you may even have been a weird cry for at­ten­tion and help to get out of some­thing he hasn’t felt able to con­trol.)

He needs to be outed to his wife so the two can deal with what it means to them.

El­lie’s tip of the day

A cheater who brags to you should be warned of be­ing outed, if you know the spouse.

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El­lie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your re­la­tion­ship ques­tions via email: el­[email protected]­tar.ca.

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