Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: Anniissa on October 12, 2012, 10:03:04 AM

Title: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: Anniissa on October 12, 2012, 10:03:04 AM
Hope this is in the right place - it involved other people's relationships but it is a more general question about what to do when you accidentally find something out that could have serious ramifications. If it's better in the relationship section can someone tell me how to move it? I'm pretty sure the answer is that I can't say anything and should just distance myself from all involved and keep out of the mess that is sure to ensue. Long background to follow. Skip to end for shorter question

B/g:

I have a group of old uni friends who still keep in contact on a fairly regular basis - we meet up several times a year altogether and see each other in smaller groups more often. Most of us are married/coupled up to people who we met since graduating. One of the guys, Peter, was out of contact for quite a few years but in more recent times has caught up with us all. He is getting married in a couple of months to the girl he has been dating for several years. We have met her a couple of times but Peter usually meets us without her. At uni Peter dated another of the group - my close friend Vanessa. She is, like most of us, already married. I accidentally discovered recently that Peter and Vanessa are having an affair. I'm horrified but, because I accidentally saw a text which made me suspicious and then overheard something that confirmed things, this is obviously a secret I'm not supposed to know. The whole thing is a mess  >:( - Peter's girlfriend recently had a baby and the wedding is coming up. We are all supposed to be going to the wedding but I really don't think I can attend now. I really want to say something to Vanessa or Peter. Actually, if I were Peter's girlfriend, I'd want me to say something to me so I didn't throw any more of my life away on someone who blatantly doesn't appear to love me  :'( Still I guess it's really not my place - is it? Obviously, I am disgusted by their behaviour and certainly don't want to have them as friends any more but I am still going to see them when the group gets together and if I don't tell them what I know they are going to want to know why I have been distant.

Question:
If you find out a secret that has the potential to cause several people a lot of pain because of someone's behaviour, is there any way you can say anything or do I need to keep schtum and distance myself. If I do distance myself, how can I explain that without telling people what I know?
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Beyond The Veil on October 12, 2012, 10:22:02 AM
The only right thing to do is tell the party that is in the dark, there really is no black and white with this, in my opinion. Not only is this person being lied to, now they have people surrounding them that know about it and haven't said anything, and that's pretty dreadful and embarrassing. I would want to know. Not only is the emotional aspect important, but this woman needs to have some STD tests done for her safety.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 12, 2012, 10:26:44 AM
Lovely.   ::)

The cheaters are the ones you know, and you don't really know the spouse/soon-to-be spouse, I'm guessing.

Personally, I would confront Vanessa and/or Peter, since those are the people I know.  I wouldn't say anything to Vanessa's husband or Peter's girlfriend, mainly because I don't know them as well/at all and because I don't have absolute confirmation.

I'd have to be prepared to lose the friendship with either or both of them because they aren't going to take that conversation very well but that would be a risk I'd be willing to take.  I can forgive friends who cheated, as long as they are making some strides to get help but friends who continue to cheat?  It'd be cut direct time for me because I won't put up with that or be put in the middle.

As for the others noticing you giving Vanessa and Peter the cold shoulder?  'We've had a bit of a falling out.'  And leave it at that.  Smile and beandip.

ETA:  I didn't think about the STD aspect that Frostblooded mentioned.  I think I'd probably tell Vanessa and Peter that if they didn't tell their partners, I would be forced to.  I'm not sure I could actually go through with it but I hope I could convince Vanessa and Peter to.  'You're fiance is cheating on you' isn't a conversation I'd want to have with someone I barely know.  It might be easier with Vanessa's husband if you know him better.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Kaypeep on October 12, 2012, 10:27:01 AM
I've been in similar shoes, only in my case it was my brother who was the cheater.  I kept my mouth shut.  In my case, it drove me mad and along with other things I ended up in therapy to deal with stress and depression. But ultimately, I decided it was none of my business so I stayed quiet.  I'm glad I did.  After 10 years my SIL confided in me that my brother was a cheater.  She caught him several times and kept taking him back.  I have never said a word to my brother, though I suspects he knows that I know via my SIL.  For multiple reasons (that I think are invalid) she has stayed with him.  So I'm glad I kept my mouth shut, because I'd rather keep it a secret that I already knew than have said something, got caught up in talking about the issue and giving my opinions, only to have them stay together anyway despite everything that was said and judged.   You'll never fully know or understand the dynamics of the people involved, so just pull back and try not to have a vested interest at all, for the sake of your own mental health.

Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: ilrag on October 12, 2012, 10:27:39 AM
Is there any way you can determine if the cheated-upon would want to know?

Some people want to know, some people don't want to know. I would want to know, but I have friends who would rather not.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: QueenofAllThings on October 12, 2012, 10:32:46 AM
All you know is that there is, or was, an affair. You don't know the duration. You don't know if it's still going on. You don't know if spouse or future spouse knows - maybe Peter and Vanessa have split and told their significant others. Maybe they haven't split and have told their significant others. At any rate, you can't undo what you know, but it's not your business.

If you absolutely can't keep it to yourself, you could quietly tell Peter and/or Vanessa that it isnt the secret they think it is - but I would stay out of it.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: NyaChan on October 12, 2012, 10:34:23 AM
I would keep quiet unless you actually know the person who is being cheated on.  It just has the potential to really backfire on you if you aren't someone the SO knows and trusts.  You are going to drift away from the two cheaters anyways right?  Really, nothing good will come out of letting them know why.  If they comment on not having seen you, just say things like "It has been a while hasn't it?" and change the subject.  I had a similar problem - I kept quiet and later learned that the girlfriend already knew there was an "encounter" but wasn't mad, which makes me think she wasn't told the whole truth, but whatever - they worked it out and are still dating, so not my business.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: shivering on October 12, 2012, 10:41:35 AM
If you're still close friends with Vanessa, I'd tell her what you've seen/overheard. Otherwise, I would stay out of it. I agree that not everyone wants to know and you don't know exactly what is going on with them.

However, I probably wouldn't attend the wedding.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 12, 2012, 10:45:21 AM
I think it depends on what exactly you know, or think you know, and how close you are to the involved people.  A flirty text is nothing, in my opinion, to potential destroy several relationships over, especially if you do not know the context or backstory or the level of acceptability to the involved parties.  I am also not sure what exactly you overheard. 

I think there can be times when I would confront the cheaters, but based on what you've told us in the OP, this is not one of them.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: CrochetFanatic on October 12, 2012, 11:37:40 AM
I know I would probably keep my mouth absolutely shut, and remove myself from the company of everyone involved until/unless it came to light on its own, but that's probably because I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to confrontation.  :-\  I wouldn't tell the girlfriend/fiancee, though.  Well-meaning or not, it could be seen as making trouble.  I do think she deserves to know, but it would most likely backfire on you.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 12, 2012, 11:46:10 AM
I don't think you can say anything to the fiance.  She may already be aware but because of the child willing to look the other way.

Since you state Vanessa is a close friend, I would approach her and let her know you know, that you don't approve and that you've decided you can't attend the wedding because of the affair.  Let her know you are fine with her sharing the information with Peter about why you won't be in attendance.

Then I'd create distance with both of them.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Anniissa on October 12, 2012, 12:04:41 PM
While I absolutely think Peter's fiancee should know before she ends up marrying him, I think people are right that it is probably not my place to tell her. I have met her a few times but don't really know her very well at all. Having said that I think she probably would want to know - I know that a couple of years ago she nearly ended the relationship when he was a little too flirty to a girl one night and told him in no uncertain terms that she would not put up with him disrespecting her like that ever again. Apparantly he hasn't learned his lesson  >:( He has a three month old child with his fiancee - quite the prize isnt he?

I guess it is right that I don't actually know the full story - their partners may be aware of what is going on I suppose. I don't know how long it was going on for or even if it continues. The text on its own referred to a meeting and was quite flirty but not necessarily evidence of anything specific. I walked in on them when they thought they were alone and I overheard him discussing sexual matters so I can't see there is any doubt that a physical affair has taken place even if it is now over.

It's a horrible situation that will no doubt blow up in terrific fashion. Several people are going to get hurt. If I do say anything, it would be to Vanessa who I am closest to. I'm not a big fan of getting overly involved in other peoples relationships when they are old enough to know what they're doing but perhaps I can at least tell her I know and it must stop if it hasn't already. I'm not sure if I can do anything for Peter's fiancee because I don't really know her or how she would take me saying anything.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: EMuir on October 12, 2012, 12:15:14 PM
Unless the text or comment was as blatant as "thank you for the great sex last night" I think you need to not tell the fiancé.  You could talk to either of the two that you know, but if they deny it, would you believe them? I'd distance myself from them and not attend the wedding.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: DaDancingPsych on October 12, 2012, 12:20:42 PM
I think it depends on what exactly you know, or think you know, and how close you are to the involved people.  A flirty text is nothing, in my opinion, to potential destroy several relationships over, especially if you do not know the context or backstory or the level of acceptability to the involved parties.  I am also not sure what exactly you overheard. 

I think there can be times when I would confront the cheaters, but based on what you've told us in the OP, this is not one of them.

This.

It just doesn't sound like you have all the facts. It sounds like the information that you do have is somewhat vague. You also don't seem to know the in's and out's of these relationships to know what is acceptable to them. You also seem to think that this is a secret amongst the couples... and it may not be. I see way too much potential for this to blow up at you.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: ettiquit on October 12, 2012, 12:39:28 PM
Since Vanessa is a good friend of yours, I'd be honest with her.  Tell her what you witnessed and that you assume she's having an affair and that it makes you really uncomfortable and you need to take a step back from the friendship.

It's a really crappy situation to be in, and while I wouldn't talk to the fiance about this, I see no reason not to talk to Vanessa (and maybe Peter).
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: JoieGirl7 on October 12, 2012, 12:54:28 PM
for your own sanity, don't say anything.

Forget what you know.

These situations are very emotionally charged and can very messy very quickly.  By passing on information you enter the drama.
 
Yes, it's hard to keep the secret but talking about it makes it worse, not better.

This is one of those situations where trying to sae the drowning swimmer ends up with that swimmer taking you down with them.

Messy sticky, horrible, awkward...  been there.  Stay clear, stay sane.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Amara on October 12, 2012, 01:05:41 PM
I agree with Audrey and others who believe you shouldn't say anything. If there was, or especially if there still is, an affair, it's going to come out. Maybe not now, but at some point it will. And bullets will fly. People will be hurt, there will likely be a lot of anger, and even some people not involved beyond friendship will likely get severely hurt.

I know I would want to say something, especially to the fiancee and spouse but I also know that nothing good will come of that for me. It hurts to watch betrayal, which almost never stays a secret forever. But truly, go with Audrey's suggestion and forget it. Forget you read anything; forget you heard anything. If you want to opt out of the wedding invent a small lie--you have to be out of town for family or business, you had a sudden emergency, etc.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: SleepyKitty on October 12, 2012, 01:09:10 PM
I think it depends on what exactly you know, or think you know, and how close you are to the involved people.  A flirty text is nothing, in my opinion, to potential destroy several relationships over, especially if you do not know the context or backstory or the level of acceptability to the involved parties.  I am also not sure what exactly you overheard. 

I think there can be times when I would confront the cheaters, but based on what you've told us in the OP, this is not one of them.

This.

It just doesn't sound like you have all the facts. It sounds like the information that you do have is somewhat vague. You also don't seem to know the in's and out's of these relationships to know what is acceptable to them. You also seem to think that this is a secret amongst the couples... and it may not be. I see way too much potential for this to blow up at you.

Pod-ing the above. In general, I agree with Frostblooded that you should tell the person being cheated on. Their health is in danger - and in this case, since the woman being cheated on is pregnant, so is the health of a child - so to me that is a case of safety trumping etiquette. I would be horrified if people knew I was being cheated on and did not tell me, and it would likely mean cutting whomever knew but kept silent out of my life. But that really only applies in a case where you are absolutely sure of what's going on, and it sounds like you're not absolutely sure. What do you mean when you say your suspicions were confirmed?
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: #borecore on October 12, 2012, 01:21:07 PM
Talk to Vanessa, then go from there. Frame it as wanting to understand what you've seen, not as a confrontation or accusation. If she admits it, let her know you'll letting the woman know shortly -- give them a chance to come clean so you don't look like the bad guy.

Good luck. I don't envy you a bit.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Danika on October 12, 2012, 01:46:23 PM
Talk to Vanessa, then go from there. Frame it as wanting to understand what you've seen, not as a confrontation or accusation. If she admits it, let her know you'll letting the woman know shortly -- give them a chance to come clean so you don't look like the bad guy.

Good luck. I don't envy you a bit.

POD

and hugs to you
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Devix on October 12, 2012, 02:05:36 PM
If you do tell Peter's Fiance, be prepared to be called a liar and all sorts of horrible things.  If I was the fiance and someone came up to me just a week before my wedding while I was pregnant to tell me that my DF was having an affair I would want absolute solid proof.  Not just someone saying that they saw a message or overheard something.  Think about it, who would you believe; your fiance and the father of your child or some woman you have only met once or twice? 

Also, cheaters aren't known to be the most moral of people so I'm sure Peter will find some way to spin this by saying that you always harbored some deep feelings for him and are jealous that he's getting married so you're making all of this up. 

It's a really tough spot to be put into and I'm very sorry you found yourself in the middle of it.  My only advise is that if you do tell Peter or Vanessa's S/O you will need hard proof or they will turn it against you.  I'd just keep out of it myself but that's self-preservation talking. 
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: FauxFoodist on October 12, 2012, 02:08:23 PM
I've been in this situation (knowing the information).  There was no question what was going on because both of the individuals involved were confiding in me (fortunately, I lived nowhere near either of them).  They, too, had been seriously involved in their younger years and split up then Cheater 1 got married.  I kept my mouth shut, but I learned later from Cheater 2 (who was the one in the committed relationship when the affair began -- Cheater 1 had since gotten a divorce) that the SO already suspected something was going on and feared Cheater 2 was going to run off and be with Cheater 1.

Fast forward a few years, and the affair is long over.  I think it ended once Cheater 1 also got into a serious relationship (which happened after Cheater 1 was out of the area for a year or two).  I'm glad I never said anything (not that I was going to, although I never approved of what they were doing but said nothing).  The irony?  Cheater 2 and SO (then and is spouse now) were having an affair before and during the affair with Cheater 1.  Cheater 2's SO was engaged to marry someone else when they first got together (Cheater 2 and SO).

Oddly, everyone is happily paired off, now, and married with kids.  Me?  I continue to keep my mouth shut about ALL the affairs (and other things that I won't mention here).

I might be going against the grain here, but I say stay out of it.

Side note -- sorry if the lack of names might be confusing, but I am purposely keeping gender out of the picture.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Danika on October 12, 2012, 02:11:20 PM
If you do decide to tell Peter's fiancee, my advice would be to send her an anonymous note, so that you're not persecuted for being a messenger. I would mail it, postmarked in a city that doesn't readily identify you and I would say only what you know to be factual, not conjecture.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: rose red on October 12, 2012, 02:41:14 PM
This has nothing to do with the actual topic, but there seems to be some confusion that the bride is still pregnant.  The OP said she already had the baby recently.  Don't know if that changes any answers but I like to keep the facts straight  :).
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: DavidH on October 12, 2012, 03:37:13 PM
From what you've said, I don't think you know they are having an affair, you have suspicions.  Knowing is one of them telling you, seeing them playing scrabble, that type of thing.  A flirty text is perhaps in bad taste, but maybe not even that.  If you feel you must do something, I'd ask Vanessa about it and then decide what to do.  Telling the fiance, who you don't know about this is unlikely to end well.  Sending an anonymous letter seems just petty and unlikely to accomplish much since why should she believe it.

Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: SleepyKitty on October 12, 2012, 03:55:06 PM
This has nothing to do with the actual topic, but there seems to be some confusion that the bride is still pregnant.  The OP said she already had the baby recently.  Don't know if that changes any answers but I like to keep the facts straight  :).

Whoops - I made that mistake. Doesn't really change my answer, but sorry to the OP.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Aquamarine on October 12, 2012, 09:41:11 PM
Many people disagree about this topic.  To not tell the unknowing party is to possibly give them a death sentence because they did not know they needed to seek medical attention or to allow a disease to take root in their body that can have long term complications.  Not everything can be fixed with a quick shot of penicillin anymore, some diseases are now not only horribly virulent but also drug resistant.

You must tell, even if costs you the friendship because it the right and moral thing to do.  Send them an anonymous e-mail from a public computer or an anonymous note.  It doesn't matter how they are told so much as that they actually be told.  If you are OK with someone having a disease they could pass on possibly even to their children or that could end their life years yearly then feel free to keep silent.

The choice really is that simple. 

IMHO it's just wrong to knowingly let someone marry a cheater without giving them the freedom of choice to decide for themselves if they are willing to marry a person who lacks that moral integrity.  Silence makes that choice for them and gives them no chance to change things in a way that may be best for them.

If I found out someone knew and didn't tell me this information I would cut them out of my life and social circle like a cancer. 
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: NyaChan on October 12, 2012, 09:55:41 PM
Rose water, I get that you feel strongly about this, but not all people want to be told about their SO's infidelity.  The bad people here are the two cheaters - I don't think not telling makes a person immoral if there are valid reasons for keeping quiet such as not actually knowing if there is cheating happening.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Beyond The Veil on October 12, 2012, 10:16:58 PM
Rose water, I get that you feel strongly about this, but not all people want to be told about their SO's infidelity.  The bad people here are the two cheaters - I don't think not telling makes a person immoral if there are valid reasons for keeping quiet such as not actually knowing if there is cheating happening.

And the ramifications of them and STD's?
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: NyaChan on October 12, 2012, 10:30:22 PM
The fault is on the people who passed on the disease not the OP.  Imagine if she is wrong and nothing happened? You've basically maligned him to his fiancé and put him in the position of having to prove that nothing happened, which is impossible.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Allyson on October 12, 2012, 10:58:06 PM
As to the STD thing, I think it is often a red herring. Yes, there's a chance that that could happen, but that's not usually the result of this kind of affair (as opposed to the 'sleeping with everyone one meets in bars' kind of affair.) Emotional devastation, betrayal and other things are much more likely and thus what I would focus on. I look at it like this--if I knew a friend of mine had slept with someone *before* they started dating their current, but hadn't told their current, there's also a risk of disease. But because there's no betrayal there, I don't think most people would have the emotional 'tell them!' response that one gets with cheating. I am not saying that it never happens, so please don't tell me horror stories where it did! I just mean that I don't think that possibility should be the *sole* determining factor. Even if I knew that both people involved were totally safe and disease-free, there's still Issues.

I think you should talk to Vanessa. If it were me, it would be absolutely eating me up not to say anything about this. But I don't think *in this case* that you have enough information to go to the partners, considering you don't know them very well. I don't think it's a moral duty to say 'I saw a suspicious text and heard a comment that sounds like an affair is happening'. Largely because it seems like it's very likely that the partner wouldn't believe you, so no good is actually being done, or harm prevented.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: CinnamonGirl on October 13, 2012, 02:05:51 AM
That's a tough one.

I'd say talk to Vanessa and then stay out of it.
Good luck x
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: starry diadem on October 13, 2012, 03:14:10 AM
Stay out of it.  It's really none of your business and getting involved in other people's often complex relationships, when you are not privy to every facet of them, is a recipe for disaster.

As to the suggestions of an anonymous note to the fiancée, that is the most underhanded thing I can remember seeing on these boards and can't believe it's a serious suggestion, that anyone should stoop so low.  If you're going to interfere with other people's affairs, then you should own responsibility for your actions and the consequences - generic 'you'. 
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 13, 2012, 01:52:07 PM
Not only does an anonymous note seem underhanded, I think it's less likely to be effective.

If Vanessa hears "I think your husband is having an affair, because of $evidence" she may or may not believe it, or talk to him if she does. An anonymous note with the same content is much more likely to be dismissed as being because of dubious motives. For example, the unknown sender's jealousy, hatred of one or both parties, or even desire to split Vanessa from her husband so the sender can make a play for one of them.

That would leave Vanessa not only with the question of "do I believe this, and what should I do if my husband is having an affair?" but with the suspicion that someone out there hates her and/or her husband enough to try to break up their marriage.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Carpathia on October 13, 2012, 03:46:17 PM
I was in this situation once (knowing about an affair) and I still don't know what to do if I ever get put in that situation again. In my case however I knew for certain about the affair because one of the cheating parties told me.

There are usually four things that can happen (all you's are general);

You say nothing. The affair is either never discovered or it is discovered, but you are not involved so can stay out of it.

You say nothing, the affair is discovered and it comes out that you knew about it but kept quiet. The cheated-on party is angry at you for not telling them. If they are part of your social circle, the issue polarises them.

You tell the cheated-on party (whether or not you speak to the cheaters first). They either disbelieve you and hate you for it, and the social circle is involved and splits.

You tell the cheated-on party and they are grateful.

From what I can tell, the last one never happens. In your case, because nobody knows that you know you are less likely to face the second scenario.

I really do hate people who put others in this situation.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Amara on October 13, 2012, 04:26:07 PM
The text on its own referred to a meeting and was quite flirty but not necessarily evidence of anything specific. I walked in on them when they thought they were alone and I overheard him discussing sexual matters so I can't see there is any doubt that a physical affair has taken place even if it is now over.

OP, it sounds like no one knows that you know or suspect anything. Is that right? If so, you do have the option of saying nothing. Even if it blows up no one need ever know that you saw that text or overheard anything. If this is the case, then your secret can be safe with you. Then you only need decide how you want to handle it.

I still think you should say nothing and try to forget it. Your behavior stays to same to everyone. But if you do feel the need to say something, then when you and Vanessa are alone and the atmosphere is right that would be the best time. Be aware, though, that if you ever say anything to her (or to anyone else) and the affair does blow up then it will surely come out that you knew. And you will be blamed for something by almost everyone--Peter, Vanessa, Peter's finance, and your other friends. I encourage you to think very carefully about your choice because the repercussions could be immense down the road.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Danika on October 13, 2012, 09:27:02 PM
I think I wouldn't be able to attend the wedding knowing that the groom doesn't sound 100% devoted to the bride.

But I don't know if they have an open relationship. Some marriages are different from mine and maybe marriage doesn't mean a committed relationship to them. I don't what it would mean instead, but it's food for thought.

I know that *I* would want to know if my fiance or husband were cheating on me. I would want someone to tell me something so that my eyes were open. I would rather have a very suspicious anonymous note that said "check your fiance's text messages, his credit card statements and ask where he was on Friday, July 11" than no heads up at all.

On the other hand, I don't know the statistics on how many people don't want to know if their mate is cheating on them. I don't know how many people can live with a cheater and choose to stay in the relationship, or how many people would rather live in denial.

I also imagine, but don't know, that someone who is being cheating on regularly, either through one-night-stands or with a regular person on the side would have some clues that their mate isn't faithful. If your mate is gone a lot or there are other telltale signs, you might not need someone else to tell you that they are cheating.

I think the term "underhanded" in this thread should be reserved for the cheaters, not anyone who might be trying to help the innocent parties.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Shoo on October 13, 2012, 10:16:02 PM
If you are absolutely certain the affair is happening, you could save your friend a lot of heartache by telling her what's going on.  On the other hand, she might actually prefer to not know, and get angry at you for telling her.  It's not an easy choice, that's for sure.

If it were me, and if it was my friend, I'd tell her.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Shopaholic on October 14, 2012, 01:46:37 AM
I once discovered an affair. I didn't tell the affected party, but someone else I conifded in did.
Even though she always claimed she wouldn't want to know, she was happy when the truth got out.

Nevertheless, I'll be in the minority here and say to stay far, far away from all this. Especially since you don't know Peter's GF very well.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Coruscation on October 14, 2012, 03:54:12 AM
I was in this situation once (knowing about an affair) and I still don't know what to do if I ever get put in that situation again. In my case however I knew for certain about the affair because one of the cheating parties told me.

There are usually four things that can happen (all you's are general);

You say nothing. The affair is either never discovered or it is discovered, but you are not involved so can stay out of it.

You say nothing, the affair is discovered and it comes out that you knew about it but kept quiet. The cheated-on party is angry at you for not telling them. If they are part of your social circle, the issue polarises them.

You tell the cheated-on party (whether or not you speak to the cheaters first). They either disbelieve you and hate you for it, and the social circle is involved and splits.

You tell the cheated-on party and they are grateful.

From what I can tell, the last one never happens. In your case, because nobody knows that you know you are less likely to face the second scenario.

I really do hate people who put others in this situation.

Both situations I know of, the cheated on person was grateful. Admittedly, my aunt initially refused to believe it, but after her husband admitted it, she came around and apologised to my mother (her sister) for disbelieving her. And then took him back.

Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: cicero on October 14, 2012, 06:28:00 AM
what a mess.

I don't know what I *would* do. I know that a lot of people (not just on this board) say to stay out of things like this, that the cheatee (person who is being cheated) always knows, etc. I don't know if that is valid.

I think that what i would *prefer* to do would be to tell the GF as she is the one who is being hurt and she is the one who is going into this marriage blindly (as in she doesn't have all the facts). I understand the OP doesn't really know her but she is still the one i would tell. Talking to Peter and/or Vanessa will not help the GF and probably wouldn't change anything. the oP can't make them stop cheating.

afterwards I would probably distance myself from peter and vanessa because i wouldn't people with no morals as my friends. and the GF will probably distance herself from you anyway because apparently that's what happens in these cases.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Emmy on October 14, 2012, 07:30:41 AM
Stay out of it.  It's really none of your business and getting involved in other people's often complex relationships, when you are not privy to every facet of them, is a recipe for disaster.

As to the suggestions of an anonymous note to the fiancée, that is the most underhanded thing I can remember seeing on these boards and can't believe it's a serious suggestion, that anyone should stoop so low.  If you're going to interfere with other people's affairs, then you should own responsibility for your actions and the consequences - generic 'you'.

I have to disagree strongly.  In a situation with no good answers, writing an anonymous e-mail would let the fiance know what was going on without putting the OP at direct risk.  Would sitting back letting a woman continue in a relationship and making vows that you know are bogus be considered taking the high road?  Peter and Vanessa are the immoral ones.  If she knows something is going on, sitting back, and waiting for the fireworks to blow or watching a poor, unsuspecting woman ruin her life seems almost worst than trying to warn her by sending her an anonymous e-mail.  This is one of those situations where even if the OP stepped up to tell her in person, it the fiancee may blame her for fabricating stories, it may isolate her from her group of friends, and Peter and Vanessa may claim innocence and the wedding may go on as planned.   

I don't think there is any good answer, but I don't the OP would be 'wrong' no matter what she tried to do.  The only thing I would add would be that the OP should be 100% sure before doing anything.  Peter and Vanessa are the immoral ones not the OP and I don't feel the OP would be 'stooping low' no matter how she decided to handle the situation.  It seems unfair to judge other posters for making the anonymous note suggestion when they simply would want to let the fiancee know so she could make the right decision without being in the middle of it.  I also like the suggestion of talking to Vanessa about it.  If the OP does keep quiet, I think she should bow out of the wedding and avoid those friends as much as possible.  I also think if you are religious, it may help to talk to a pastor or Rabbi about the situation.

It's hard to say how the fiancee would feel.  It's easy for people to say they would never forgive somebody if they knew such information and were never told.  However, the fiancee might blame OP for being a messenger or just for relaying upsetting information.  Even if she believe the OP, she may decide to go through with the wedding, just because it is so close, she has a baby, and can't imagine backing out at this point, yet still be upset at OP for rocking the boat.  Of course, Peter and Vanessa may convince her it is untrue, she still may doubt, but decide to go through with it anyway.  It is especially likely that the fiancee may not believe the OP because she barely knows her and the OP doesn't have concrete proof, just what she overheard.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: ClaireC79 on October 14, 2012, 08:16:09 AM
Why is everyone saying tell the fiance and not mentioning the husband?  surely if you think you should tell one you should tell both
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 14, 2012, 08:50:16 AM
Why is everyone saying tell the fiance and not mentioning the husband?  surely if you think you should tell one you should tell both

That's what I was thinking, too.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Deetee on October 14, 2012, 09:37:30 AM
I think there are times I would tell ( if I was close friends with a wronged party) and I had absolute proof of ongoing cheating behaviour) and times I wouldn't ( not close friends and/ or merely strong suspicion).

 Even in the first scenario, I would approach the cheater first and give them a chance to come clean before I told anyone else.

Never been in this situation thank goodness.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Danika on October 14, 2012, 03:32:30 PM
Why is everyone saying tell the fiance and not mentioning the husband?  surely if you think you should tell one you should tell both

That's what I was thinking, too.

Good point. I think telling the fiancee is time-sensitive because it'd be better to know and make a decision before wedding vows were spoken. But I think that if OP does want to communicate this information to the fiancee, then she should also communicate to Vanessa's husband in the same manner.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Sharnita on October 14, 2012, 06:05:49 PM
I would talk to Peter and to Vanessa and tell both of them that they had the option of being with me when I talked to fiance and husband but that I would be talking to each. In same cases being friends with the cheaters might make it more clear OP was telling the truth because she would have no reason to hurt her friends if they were innocent and she could avoid it.

I do think there is a moral obligation to try to help people who are taken advantage of, whether they are good friends or not.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: blarg314 on October 14, 2012, 10:19:10 PM

Do you know his fiance well enough to know if she would believe you?  Because if she's a casual acquaintance, the chances that she will believe you when you tell her her fiance and father of her child is cheating on her, without really concrete proof, is pretty small.

An anonymous note is worse than useless.  Think about it - if you got an anonymous note on email or snail mail telling you that your spouse was having an affair, would you believe it, and head for a counsellor/divorce lawyer?  Or would you assume that this is some sort of nasty joke being played by an enemy, or someone who has designs on you or your spouse. If you're going to tell someone that their spouse is having an affair, you have to put your name behind it and accept the consequences, however nasty they may well turn out to be.

For the wedding issue, in some ways, it would be better for her to find out *after* the wedding. Even if she kicks him out, they still have a child together. If they divorce (rather than just breaking up) it might increase her chances of collecting child support, as she enters life as a single mother.  Even if she divorces him, she's still stuck with a relationship with him for at least the next 20 years, probably the rest of her life.

The problem is that this is a situation that has no good ending. Regardless of whether or not you tell the fiance, or the husband, if what you suspect is true, they are still involved with someone who is cheating on them. Whether or not you tell them is a fairly minor part of the larger problem.

Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Anniissa on October 15, 2012, 06:08:31 AM
Thanks to everyone - you have given me a lot to think about. It has been really helpful hearing all the different views. I am still not decided whether to do anything as I want to make sure I think this through very carefully before making a decision.

Just to clear up a couple of points from the replies - I guess it is correct that I don't know for sure that an affair is still going on. The text on its own proves nothing but the conversation snippet I overheard confirmed that at least once in the last few months that Peter and Vanessa have slept together and that Peter wished to repeat it. As soon as I realised what was going on I left as I had no wish to hear any more. Therefore, no-one knows that I know.

I do not know the actual details of either Peter or Vanessa's relationships. They may have open relationships which would allow this. I don't really think that is the case but you never know the reality of someone else's relationship. Peter's fiancee was previously very upset and nearly ended the relationship when she thought he was being overly flirty to a girl where he was only talking to her so I would imagine from this that she would not approve of an open relationship but, as I said, I do not know for certain. I am not sure she would believe me if I told though - I do not know her well at all and she may see it coming now, a month or two before the wedding, as troublemaking.

I am horrified that Peter and Vanessa could behave like this. The likelihood is that at some point there is going to be an almighty mess - not just two marriages/relationships ruined but Peter is risking losing his child who he adores. If he loses his fiancee, he will likely lose any but the barest of contact with his child. I can't believe he would be stupid enough to risk that  :'(
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Petticoats on October 15, 2012, 09:20:59 AM
OP, I'm sorry you're in this position. I don't have any firsthand experience, but I'm an avid reader of advice columns, and it seems like the advice I've seen columnists give is to talk to one or both of the cheaters, and tell them, "You tell your SO what's going on, or I will"--and give them a deadline.

It's tough advice to follow, and I'm not sure I'd be able to do it, myself--offering it here for what it's worth.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Twik on October 15, 2012, 09:35:57 AM
For the wedding issue, in some ways, it would be better for her to find out *after* the wedding. Even if she kicks him out, they still have a child together. If they divorce (rather than just breaking up) it might increase her chances of collecting child support, as she enters life as a single mother.  Even if she divorces him, she's still stuck with a relationship with him for at least the next 20 years, probably the rest of her life.

That's a very good point. They are already bonded in a way (legally, emotionally and morally) that is even more intense than marriage. If she wishes to break up with him, it's not going to be a simple matter of "Get out, I don't want to see or hear from you again."
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Tilt Fairy on October 15, 2012, 09:36:51 AM
I think there are times I would tell ( if I was close friends with a wronged party) and I had absolute proof of ongoing cheating behaviour) and times I wouldn't ( not close friends and/ or merely strong suspicion).

 Even in the first scenario, I would approach the cheater first and give them a chance to come clean before I told anyone else.

Never been in this situation thank goodness.

This is exactly how I feel as well. If the person being cheated on was a good friend and I was 100% sure that there was cheating. Not 98%, not 99% but 100%. Strong suspicion wouldn't be enough either. I have so many friends that send flirty text messages to each other or hang out in private or enjoy building up sexual tension between them - but none of these mean that there is an actual sexually physical or emotional affair going on. It's all conjecture.

However, also like Deetee, if I knew 100% and the person being cheated on was a close enough a friend of mine that I care about her wellbeing, I would ALWAYS approach the cheater(s) first and give them a chance to come clean before I tell my friend. I figure it's better the admission of cheating coming from their loved one where they can explain/justify/confess their actions and keep the private matter between themselves instead of coming from me. They know I know and thus have no other option but to confess to their parter or know I will.

OP in your situation, you only have a strong suspicion. You say Vanessa is your friend. If it was a good friend of mine who I suspected was having an affair, I would simply talk to her about it. She will either lie (in which case you still have no proof) or admit it (in which case you can decide whether you want to tell the cheated on fiance or keep quiet). If it were me, I wouldn't say anything in this instance as I don't know the fiancé that well. I would most likely have a heart-to-heart with my close friend Vanessa about how this is all going to end/surface/come out.

I actually hear rumours all the time about so and so cheating on his/her girlfriend/boyfriend on a night out but I don't say anything because a) theres no concrete evidence and b) I don't know the person being cheated on well or barely know them at all.

Like Deetee said, the evidential validity of the affair AND the proximity of closeness to the person being cheated on are both key factors. Without both, I wouldn't say anything.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: kittytongue on October 15, 2012, 05:30:45 PM
I think you absolutely need to have a talk with Vanessa. You say you're going to end your friendship with her over this. I think you need to confirm what you think you know before you do this. What if you're wrong? You'd be cutting someone you care about out of your life for no reason. not to mention maligning two people who didn't deserve it.

Addressing the other issue of tell or don't tell: If one of my friends knew that I was being cheated on and didn't tell me? When I found out I'd be out a partner and a friend. Some secrets aren't meant to be kept. There's a fine line between protecting someone and hurting them in a situation like this. Give me the information and trust that I'm enough of an adult to handle myself.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Moray on October 15, 2012, 05:39:07 PM
While I absolutely think Peter's fiancee should know before she ends up marrying him, I think people are right that it is probably not my place to tell her. I have met her a few times but don't really know her very well at all. Having said that I think she probably would want to know - I know that a couple of years ago she nearly ended the relationship when he was a little too flirty to a girl one night and told him in no uncertain terms that she would not put up with him disrespecting her like that ever again. Apparantly he hasn't learned his lesson  >:( He has a three month old child with his fiancee - quite the prize isnt he?

I guess it is right that I don't actually know the full story - their partners may be aware of what is going on I suppose. I don't know how long it was going on for or even if it continues. The text on its own referred to a meeting and was quite flirty but not necessarily evidence of anything specific. I walked in on them when they thought they were alone and I overheard him discussing sexual matters so I can't see there is any doubt that a physical affair has taken place even if it is now over.

It's a horrible situation that will no doubt blow up in terrific fashion. Several people are going to get hurt. If I do say anything, it would be to Vanessa who I am closest to. I'm not a big fan of getting overly involved in other peoples relationships when they are old enough to know what they're doing but perhaps I can at least tell her I know and it must stop if it hasn't already. I'm not sure if I can do anything for Peter's fiancee because I don't really know her or how she would take me saying anything.

Just out of curiosity, when you say you "heard them discussing sexual matters", do you mean they were talking about sex, or sex with each other. Those are two pretty different things. I have male friends that I discuss sex with in the same way that I have female friends that I discuss sex with.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Sharnita on October 15, 2012, 07:16:20 PM
I think there are times I would tell ( if I was close friends with a wronged party) and I had absolute proof of ongoing cheating behaviour) and times I wouldn't ( not close friends and/ or merely strong suspicion).

 Even in the first scenario, I would approach the cheater first and give them a chance to come clean before I told anyone else.

Never been in this situation thank goodness.

This is exactly how I feel as well. If the person being cheated on was a good friend and I was 100% sure that there was cheating. Not 98%, not 99% but 100%. Strong suspicion wouldn't be enough either. I have so many friends that send flirty text messages to each other or hang out in private or enjoy building up sexual tension between them - but none of these mean that there is an actual sexually physical or emotional affair going on. It's all conjecture.

However, also like Deetee, if I knew 100% and the person being cheated on was a close enough a friend of mine that I care about her wellbeing, I would ALWAYS approach the cheater(s) first and give them a chance to come clean before I tell my friend. I figure it's better the admission of cheating coming from their loved one where they can explain/justify/confess their actions and keep the private matter between themselves instead of coming from me. They know I know and thus have no other option but to confess to their parter or know I will.

OP in your situation, you only have a strong suspicion. You say Vanessa is your friend. If it was a good friend of mine who I suspected was having an affair, I would simply talk to her about it. She will either lie (in which case you still have no proof) or admit it (in which case you can decide whether you want to tell the cheated on fiance or keep quiet). If it were me, I wouldn't say anything in this instance as I don't know the fiancé that well. I would most likely have a heart-to-heart with my close friend Vanessa about how this is all going to end/surface/come out.

I actually hear rumours all the time about so and so cheating on his/her girlfriend/boyfriend on a night out but I don't say anything because a) theres no concrete evidence and b) I don't know the person being cheated on well or barely know them at all.

Like Deetee said, the evidential validity of the affair AND the proximity of closeness to the person being cheated on are both key factors. Without both, I wouldn't say anything.

OP has said that she is certain there was cheating. Doubt would give her a convenient out but she has no doubt.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 16, 2012, 07:58:55 PM
With regard to your follow-up: if someone in your situation came to me or my husband, the answer would be some version of "Oh, I thought you knew we had an open relationship. Sure, talk to her/him if you like." If someone we knew didn't know that, I'd be glad that they wanted to protect me, or him, as the case might be.

So, yes, it's possible, but I wouldn't lose sleep over that possibility when deciding what to do.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 23, 2012, 09:55:16 AM
Having been the cheated on party, I am still hurt that so many knew and said nothing.

I wish I had been told after the first affair and not discovered the other four when the fifth one happened.  I was embarrassed and felt humiliated even though I did nothing wrong.  As I found out more and more friends and family knew/suspected and said nothing the angrier I became.  A real friend would have voiced their suspicions to me and at least I would have had a clue to look for something before it became repeated.  I finally caught on one day, followed up and starting finding about all of them.  After my divorce I was tested for HIV regularly for several years afterwards.   

Tell Vanessa and Peter what you know and let them know that you will not tolerate the affair continuing with your knowledge, they need to shut it down or you will be notifying their spouses.   

At least then you will not be witnessing anymore inappropriate behavior and it may be what they need to shake them up and make them stop.

As for the wedding, no I wouldn't go.   
Title: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update
Post by: Anniissa on October 23, 2012, 11:45:19 AM
Thanks for all the posts everyone. It has been really helpful getting lots of peoples' opinions as this is not something I am currently comfortable sharing with people I know just in case.

Anyway, whilst I have been sitting here mulling over the options, I have received an email from Vanessa asking myself and another close friend out for "Crisis" drinks. Basically, she explained that things have been kind of crazy in her life at the moment and she wanted to get some help/advice. She did not elaborate on what the situation is but I don't think I'm going too wild with the guess that it's about this situation. I suppose, even it is isn't directly that it will be my opportunity to broach the subject. So, I guess at least it will push me into a decision about what I do. Yikes...
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: PennyandPleased on October 23, 2012, 12:50:19 PM
My Mom was actually in your exact position many, many years ago.

She told the cheating party that they had 48 hours to tell their spouse or she would. Cheating party came clean.

25+ years later the person being cheated on still randomly brings up how my Mom "saved her life".

If I was in your position I would do the above.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: grannyclampettjr on October 26, 2012, 09:19:24 AM
I was once the one cheated upon...or at least he was trying to cheat (she ended up not wanting him and it was all a game to her HA!), and I knew, but I wasn't ready to "know" yet as I hadn't formulated my escape plan from the marriage.   

She may very well know but not be ready to KNOW know.  Does that make sense? 
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: Just Lori on October 26, 2012, 09:46:33 AM
I really hope the OP realizes that she has been put in an impossible situation, and whatever choice she makes is not the "right" or the "wrong" choice, it's what's right for her.

My husband was in the difficult situation of overhearing conversations his brother was having with a woman he (the brother) was cheating with.  It was a case of being 90 percent sure of his gut, but he didn't know what to do with the information, and he didn't do anything until BIL was caught by SIL a few months later.  I know he felt guilty for not stepping up earlier, but really, the guilty party was his brother.  Cheating doesn't only affect the cheaters. It affects the people around them as well.

I hope the OP's situation resolves itself before the wedding, regardless of the outcome.  I once heard cheating described as a "soul sucking" experience, and I think it's an apt description.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
Post by: miranova on November 11, 2012, 01:05:29 PM
If one of my friends knew that I was being cheated on and didn't tell me? When I found out I'd be out a partner and a friend. Some secrets aren't meant to be kept. There's a fine line between protecting someone and hurting them in a situation like this. Give me the information and trust that I'm enough of an adult to handle myself.

This is exactly how I feel.  I would not be upset or hurt if a random acquaintance didn't tell me but a friend?  If a friend knew something like that and didn't tell me, he or she would no longer be a friend.  What are they risking?  A difficult conversation?  Awkwardness?  Being wrong maybe?  At the very worst they are risking being on the receiving end of "shooting the messenger" syndrome.  Which I understand is unfair and not fun but still not even in the same uiverse as me risking my life through potentially getting an STD because I didn't know.  Or being humiliated when I finally find out and find out that all my friends knew.  To me, a TRUE friend will stick their neck out and tell.  I know that I would do it, no questions asked.  If I lost a friendship over it, I would still know in my heart that I did the right thing for the right motivations, to protect my friend and nothing more.

When my DH found out that his ex-wife was cheating, he called the guy up and said "either you tell your wife or I will.  She deserves to know".  I respect him immensely for that.  I think it was absolutely the right thing for him to do.  The other guy did end up confessing to his wife, and they decided to stay together and work it out, but at least she was able to make that informed decision and their marriage got the counseling that it needed.  Not every affair is a permanant relationship killer, but I believe that everyone deserves the information with which to make INFORMED decisions about their relationships.

Now the OP's situation is different, in that she is not friends with the wronged parties, only the cheaters.  I think in that case, I would talk to the cheaters and tell them that they owe it to their partners to come clean.  If they didn't, I personally would not be able to attend the wedding or be friends with either one of these people.  I do have to agree that in most cases an acquaintance shouldn't be the person giving the news.  iPersonally, I'd still want to know, even if it was only an acquaintance who told me, but I don't think an acquaintance has as much or any obligation as a friend to tell.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: Margo on November 12, 2012, 04:30:30 AM
I don't think that you have any obligation to say anything, and if you do, I think that should be to Peter and Vanessa only.

Your choice is whether or not you want to / are willing to remain friends with them knowing what you know (or suspect).

In your place, I would probably be distancing myself from both of them, and I would let them know what I had heard and (unless there was an innocent explanation) that I did not approve and felt I could not continue to be friendly with them unless they were going to be honest with their respective partners.

I would not however be putting myself into the middle of their relationships with their partners.

The position might be different if I was a close friend of one of the partners, and felt I have a loyalty to them, but in the scenario described that isn't the position, so I think you should limit your involvment to the part which affects you,  which is deciding  whether you are willing to maintain any kind of friendship with Vanessa or Peter, and letting them know why you have decided to distance yourself, if you do.

If Vanessa does raise the subject when she meets with you then I think, as a friedn, you can make it clear to her that her behviour is not appropriate (assuming she does admit that there is an affair) and strongly advise her to be honest with her husband.
Title: Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57
Post by: Cz. Burrito on November 13, 2012, 03:27:12 PM
I was in the position of the cheated-upon. My ex's coworker was privy to all the details, as in he was actually confiding everything. The coworker's wife and I were kind of friends but not very close friends.  It put her in an absolutely terrible position.  She never told me, but when I found out on my own (13 months into the affair), she was more than happy to answer any of my questions.  I wish I had known earlier.  I don't think I would have been prepared to necessarily do anything with the information right away, but I would have known why things seemed different in my relationship and I would have been spared a year of gaslighting.

In the position of being the person who knew about the affair, I weighed the pros and cons of telling the woman's husband for several months before deciding that I was better off for knowing and that I thought he deserved the knowledge as well.  I don't think there's any way of really knowing whether or not telling is the right decision -- I still don't know if I made the right choice -- but you just have to do what feels right in your gut.

I think the worst thing about cheaters is the collateral damage all around them.  They often force friends and family to bear a burden that they had/have no say in.