Saturday 21 October 2017

Ask Brian: My friend is constantly cheating on his fiancée - should I tell her?

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

I'm having a bit of a moral crisis.

I recently discovered a close friend has cheated on his fiancee. Frequently.

On a night out he disappeared off in a club, and when I was going to the jacks I found him kissing another woman.

He laughed it off and I was kind of prepared to look the other way, it was just a drunken kiss and I didn't want to cause trouble for him.

Then last week I caught him at it again, kissing another woman in a pub.

I confronted him about it this time, and he confessed it's a regular occurrence and that more than kissing has happened on many occasions, both when he's drunk and worse still sober.

I live in the real world, I know of many lads who cheat week-in week-out, but having it so close to home has knocked me a bit. It makes me question my friendship with him.

His wife to be is no picnic, she's very controlling and demanding and we don't see eye to eye at all, but try to be civil for his sake. He spends half the time moaning about her and then goes off with other women, so I don't get why he stays.

Should I tell his fiancee about it? I know it could cause problems with my friend but I'm really uncomfortable knowing about the whole situation, and don't know how I'd feel staying quiet and sitting at their wedding next year. On the other hand who knows what his missus is up to, I've heard rumours about her before. What do you think?

 

Brian replies:

Hi Anon,

You've found yourself in a very tricky place that is not at all of your own making.

It really is a catch 22 situation and there won't be a great end to it.

The saying 'don't shoot the messenger' rarely applies to relationships - in fact the opposite is often true. The messenger is nearly always shot, it's quite a thankless profession really.

The relationship with your friend is the one I assume you want to survive any fallout from this relationship, so you need to keep that in your mind's eye.

To put it simply, if you tell your friend's fiancee about the cheating you're essentially pressing the red button on your friendship with him at the same time.

I completely understand why this has come as a shock to you, and it does make you question if you truly know your friend.

However unless you've decided that this is something you're willing to end the friendship over, telling his fiancee isn't an option for you unfortunately.

But I understand you don't want to stand idly by and appear as if you're condoning his cheating, and feel you're aiding and abetting him in his betrayal.

You should definitely take it up with him, maybe over a quiet pint or two rather than in the heat of a messy night out. Or just over a cup of tea.

Cheating is a bad act, but I don't think it necessarily makes the person a bad person. Don't get me wrong - plenty of bad people cheat; but plenty of otherwise good people do too.

I think your shock suggests that this isn't something you would have expected from your friend, so that would suggest to me you consider him an otherwise good person.

Plenty of reasons lead people to cheat - maybe he isn't ready to settle down just yet, maybe there are other issues in the relationship and this is how he deals with them.

It's not about condoning his behaviour, but there are reasons behind it and a more healthy outlet would be for him to talk to you about it rather than cheat on his fiancee.

On the scale of cheating he is obviously on the more serious end; it's not a once off drunken kiss - it's a repeated pattern of behaviour both sober and drunk.

I know you don't get on with his fiancee, but she deserves far better than to be treated like this behind her back.

If he truly loved her and wanted so spend the rest of his life with her he wouldn't cheat on her, it's that simple.

Someone who cheats as regularly and as carelessly as him will get caught out eventually - it's possible she already knows and chooses to ignore it. No one ever knows the full inside workings of anyone else's relationship.

As for the rumours you've heard about her, they're just that - rumours. I'd attach no value to them and wouldn't let them impact on any decision you make.

You have two choices - keep your friendship and try to encourage him to do the right thing from the inside, or lose the friendship by going straight to his fiancee.

 

 

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.

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