Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: cookiehappy on December 11, 2012, 07:29:10 AM

Title: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: cookiehappy on December 11, 2012, 07:29:10 AM
Last evening, a friend and I were at a local diner having dinner and going over next steps on a project.  We were seated in a back booth that has a full view of the place.  You have to pass this booth to get to the restrooms down a short hall.

During the course of our meal, my friend looks up and gasps.  I froze, thinking two masked men just walked in with guns drawn.  I turn to see what she is looking at.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  But then she says, "oh my - there's my cousin's husband and that isn't my cousin with him".  I went through the "maybes" - maybe it's a coworker, maybe it's a family member, maybe, maybe, maybe.  The maybes stopped when CH (cousin's husband) dunked his finger into a drink, stuck it in the woman's mouth and put it back in his mouth.  Then they smiled at each other and began holding hands across the table.   :-\

My friend yelped and was about to charge full steam ahead when CH spotted her and walked over to our booth.  At that point, I was totally ignored and the conversation went like this:

CH: Hi, what are you doing here?
Friend:  (arms crossed and blushed) No, the question is what are you doing over there?
CH:  Having dinner with a friend.  People do eat, you know.
Friend:  Go away CH.  You should leave, you and whoever she is.
CH:  Whoever she is, is not your business.  Okay? (a bit menacingly, but not overly so)

Then he put his finger to his lips like "shhhhhh", walked back to his table and the woman he was with glared at us.  They grabbed their coats and left.

Friend was beside herself. She never had any bad inklings about CH, nor had her cousin said anything to her about trouble in their marriage. 

She wants to tell her cousin, but decided to wait a few days to calm down.  I didn't know what to tell her as I've never been in this situation.  I would imagine if you do plan to tell someone a thing like this, it's best to do it as soon as possible - not weeks, months or years down the line.  What is the etiquette in this?  Tell?  Don't tell?

FYI:  Friend and her cousin are really like sisters, grew up together and remain close.  Cousin lives an hour away from our town.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Sharnita on December 11, 2012, 07:53:08 AM
I would say something.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: EnoughAlready22 on December 11, 2012, 07:55:14 AM
I would definately tell the cousin.  It's obvious CH is up to no good by the way he "shhhh"ed her.  That also tells me he has no intention of telling cousin.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 11, 2012, 07:59:06 AM
I think this is a definite tell situation, and ASAP.  If he's sleeping with somebody else, he can put the cousin at risk for all sorts of STDs and the like without her knowing or taking precautions, and the health risk is just the tip of the iceberg.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: dawbs on December 11, 2012, 08:01:50 AM
I'd say tell and leave an 'out'.
Husband knows he's been spotted, so if he's saavy, he'll have a plan to cover his tracks...which means, sisters or not, cousin would be quite normal if her response to voicing suspicions is to shoot the messenger.

So call, have a normal conversation, and say "oh, and I saw Jim last week.  My friend Barb and I were at X restaurant-their tieramisu is to die for, although it's more of a 'romantic' restaurant than I normally go to with friends.  Jim was eating dinner w/ some girl, co-worker maybe?  we spoke briefly--he said I shouldn't mention anything so I waited a few days, assuming he was planning some sort of surprise for you.  I assume he's pulled it off by now?"

(^that's not remarkably good, but it probably gets the point across--I'd leave it so that your friend is giving information, not speculating.  Make it conversational, and leave it so that *cousin* is challenging what the husband was doing/says, not your friend)
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: RebeccainGA on December 11, 2012, 08:04:38 AM
I'd conversationally ask how things were going, and then mention that you saw someone that 'could have been your husband, but was with someone else, so we were sure it was just his evil twin' at a restaurant the other night. Who knows, there may be a good explanation - but at least you can brush it off as 'wow, that guy looked just like him!' if she's not ready to face it.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Sharnita on December 11, 2012, 08:08:58 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Jaelle on December 11, 2012, 08:15:14 AM
I agree with Sharnita. I'd be as kind as I could be when telling news like this, but I think this is a time to be blunt.  :-\

And if I found out after the fact that someone "like a sister" saw this and didn't tell me, I'd really rethink the relationship.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: yokozbornak on December 11, 2012, 08:18:40 AM
I'd conversationally ask how things were going, and then mention that you saw someone that 'could have been your husband, but was with someone else, so we were sure it was just his evil twin' at a restaurant the other night. Who knows, there may be a good explanation - but at least you can brush it off as 'wow, that guy looked just like him!' if she's not ready to face it.

Since she actually had a conversation with him so that would be an outright lie, and I wouldn't be comfortable with that.  Since she is a very close friend as well as a relative, I would tell her what happened and then let the chips fall where they may.  I am sure he has been covering his tracks, and the cousin may decided to get angry and take it out on the mesenger, but I think sometimes you do the right thing and then let the chips fall where they may.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Bexx27 on December 11, 2012, 08:20:58 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

Yup. I'd tell her exactly what happened. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't. This is her cousin who's like a sister, not some random acquaintance.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: MariaE on December 11, 2012, 08:31:27 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

Yup. I'd tell her exactly what happened. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't. This is her cousin who's like a sister, not some random acquaintance.

Agreed! Tell, and sooner rather than later.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Shoo on December 11, 2012, 08:37:53 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

This is how I'd do it too.  Don't pull any punches.  Make it very clear that Jim was obviously upset that you saw him and practically threatened you. 

There is absolutely no reason to sugar coat this. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: suzieQ on December 11, 2012, 08:38:39 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

Parking my POD here.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Miss Unleaded on December 11, 2012, 08:44:44 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

This, exactly.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 11, 2012, 08:45:53 AM
Another vote for Sharnita's approach.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: KarenK on December 11, 2012, 08:59:21 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

Don't mean to pile on, but I agree as well. There is no alternate explanation for what she saw, and CH confirmed it when he came over to speak to her.

Ordinarily, I'm a fan of staying out of things, but if it's one of my brothers' wives/girlfriends, or someone who is like a sister or brother to me, I'd have to tell.

However, she should be aware that her cousin may not believe her.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 11, 2012, 09:08:26 AM
Agreed with Sharnita et al - just tell the truth and let cousin draw her own conclusions.  Do it soon.  If CH had nothing to hide, he would have introduced the woman to the OP's friend. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Amava on December 11, 2012, 09:17:42 AM
My goodness, what a creep!!
The way he said "shhhhh"... oh man he squicks me out. He really thinks he's in charge, doesn't he!

I would tell my cousin literally what I saw, in an as neutral as possible way (so not in the way I did above - those were my private thoughts that I would keep private).

Normally if I saw two people looking like a couple who were not supposed to /be/ a couple because one of the both were taken, I would mind my own business. There are however two factors here that would cause me to speak up:
- if my cousin is so close to me she's like a best friend
- the way he tried to "control" ME by that "shhhhh". Try to pull that sort of controlling stuff on me and you will get the complete opposite of what you are /trying/ to intimidate me into doing: every. time. I am like a cat that way. Do not try to give me orders if you are not in a position to do so.


Also this has nothing to do with etiquette. Well he has dreadful etiquette showing off his "belle" in public when he is married, and "shhh"-ing people like that. But whether you tell or not tell is a matter of friendship not etiquette.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Shopaholic on December 11, 2012, 09:19:24 AM
If CH had nothing to hide, he would have introduced the woman to the OP's friend.

The way I read it, not only did he not seem ashamed at being caught, it seems as if he has some pride in the whole incident.

Definitely tell the cousin.

I also agree that this is not an etiquette issue, but a friendship one.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 11, 2012, 09:25:10 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

This.  I would give her the full story as soon as possible.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 11, 2012, 09:27:08 AM
Another vote for telling the cousin, in a calm, factual manner.  The cousin is very likely to withdraw from your friend, at least for a little while, to allow her to process the information.

Honestly, I think it would have been better for your friend to call her cousin right away, before the husband had a chance to make up any story.  He knows he's busted now and will be scrambling to come up with any plausible explanation for his behaviour to make your friend appear to be the one that is lying.

OP, are you willing to confirm what your friend saw?  If so, maybe let your friend know that she can give her cousin your number and if she'd like to talk to you, she can.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: weeblewobble on December 11, 2012, 09:33:38 AM
Frankly I'd be pretty ticked off about the "shhhhing" and the menacing and I'd be worried about he's treating my cousin.  I would call her and give her the cold hard facts and mention the menacing behaviors.  I would tell her I'm worried about this incident and how it reflects on CH and if she ever needs anything, to give me a call and I will be there in a jiffy. (With one of those pepper spray cannon things they use on bears.)  Make it more about her needs than her jerky, creepy husband.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: weeblewobble on December 11, 2012, 09:39:49 AM
l that sort of controlling stuff on me and you will get the complete opposite of what you are /trying/ to intimidate me into doing: every. time. I am like a cat that way. Do not try to give me orders if you are not in a position to do so.


Exactly.   A college roommate's boyfriend tried this on me when he and my roommate wanted me out of the room so they could engage in Scrabble.  If anything, I dug my heels in an spent MORE time in the room I paid good money to occupy.  Do not try to physically intimidate me when I stand half foot taller than you.  It will not work.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Dorrie78 on December 11, 2012, 09:42:53 AM
Definitely tell cousin exactly what you saw. Don't try to analyze it - but be very factual. CH made you a part of the situation by his threatening behavior. There may be a little bit of wiggle room if he had just left the restaurant when he saw you, but by approaching you and "demanding" that you act in a certain way, all wiggle room is gone. Tell cousin.

ETA - I don't actually think this is an etiquette issue, by the way. I don't think etiquette dictates what you do here. This is a rel@tionship issue.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Amava on December 11, 2012, 10:12:12 AM
Also, I will never, never understand why people who want to have a /secret/ relationship go out in public together, much less why they engage in public exchanges that cannot be explained in an innocent way. (For example: him being there with her, could be anything, friend, co-worker. But the whole feeding her etc, what the heck? WHY?)

I think I have written that (or meant to post it, I often start to write but then never post) in one of the recent threads about a celeb who was cheating, too.
Whether you're a celeb or an average-joe, if you don't want something to be publically known, why show it in public??

Is it because they /want/ to be caught? Or is it because they feel overly courageous like nothing "unfortunate", like "being seen by someone who knows them", could possibly happen in their mind?

It boggles me.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: cookiehappy on December 11, 2012, 10:13:21 AM
Thank you to all.  I am going to speak with my friend at lunchtime today.  I will relay the responses I received here and she can do what she feels is best.  I am in agreement that she should say something and say it soon.

Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: cookiehappy on December 11, 2012, 10:16:15 AM
Is it because they /want/ to be caught? Or is it because they feel overly courageous like nothing "unfortunate", like "being seen by someone who knows them", could possibly happen in their mind?

I was thinking that last night as well.  Perhaps he thought since he lived an hour away, what are the chances.  But he knows his wife's cousin lives here, why take that chance.  But he seemed arrogant, so perhaps he really didn't care.  It's just an awful situation.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: jibby on December 11, 2012, 10:22:07 AM
I agree with Sharnita's suggestion, especially given his obnoxious "shhh" behavior.  I admire your friend for the way she spoke to him at the time.  She didn't make a scene, but she did call him out.  The only thing better would have been pulling out a phone and recording his interaction with the other woman. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: bloo on December 11, 2012, 11:49:51 AM
I'd go the opposite way. I would say I had an uncomfortable encounter with Jim when I saw him dining with another woman and feeding her by hand, only to have him come over and warn me not to say anything.

Yes. This is what I would do. Speak exactly as you saw. Add nothing. Don't speculate to her. The situation as described speaks clearly for itself. Act affronted that CH expects you to keep silent.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: QueenfaninCA on December 11, 2012, 12:11:37 PM
I'd tell the cousin. Especially because of the way CH treated your friend.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: DavidH on December 11, 2012, 12:13:47 PM
I think Sharnita had the right idea.  Just a basic description of that you saw.  She can draw her own conclusions.  I think the time to say something is a soon as possible. After some point, it seems less reasonable to have that type of conversation.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: Sara Crewe on December 11, 2012, 12:25:15 PM
I suspect it may already be too late - the delay will have given the husband time to come up with an excuse.

The OP's friend needs to be prepared for a 'shoot the messager' scenario.  However, I still think she needs to say something.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: O'Dell on December 11, 2012, 12:37:58 PM
I have a strict policy of not getting involved in a couple's business and that includes if one seems to be cheating. But in this case...I agree Sharnita nailed it. Your friend should tell. His trying to intimidate her pushes it over the top. What a dirtbag! :(
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: dawbs on December 11, 2012, 01:00:06 PM
The only thing I'd add is to have a plan if it gets turned around back on her.

Because...I'm assuming husband isn't a complete idiot and I can picture "Husband SAID he was alone in a bar and that you  were drunk and hit on him and said you ddo this if he turned you down!"/"husband said he was planning a surprise party w/ my BFF and that you were trying to ruin it"/etc.

Cousin shouldn't believe tis but..when you simply have the word of your husband/man you love vs. the word of your cousin who is like a sister...there are not good choices.  Someone has to be lying and she won't be able to kow which one..
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: sparksals on December 11, 2012, 01:03:25 PM
I would tell and follow Sharnita's method exactly.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: cookiehappy on December 11, 2012, 01:43:30 PM
I spoke with my friend over lunch.  She was talking like a rushing river, so I just let her vent.  Friend made up her mind to call this morning and tell cousin all about last night.  But she never got the chance.  Cousin started in on how her employer will be shuttering their doors right before Christmas or shortly after the new year.  She complained that she and CH are deeply in debt.  Cousin was nearly inconsolable saying how the future seemed bleak.  So, friend said she lost all nerve to tell her right then.  And she doesn’t know when would be a time to tell her, what with her job and all.

I told friend there will never be a “good” time to tell her, but she needs to know.  Friend feels she would be dogpiling on her cousin dropping more bad news.  I’m at a loss here.  I truly did not know what else to say.  We parted ways at lunch with her saying she needs to think about this.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: rashea on December 11, 2012, 02:25:25 PM
I'd tell her now. Because when she loses her job, she needs to not be supporting him anymore. If she has the information, she can make a decision about whether or not she should stay with him through this crisis.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Mikayla on December 11, 2012, 02:34:50 PM
I'm in Camp Tell-Her, so I'm only thinking about one side of the equation.  But what if you asked friend if *she* would want someone very close to her to let her know the truth if she was in a similar circumstance?   Most would say yes.  In fact, they'd say they expect to be told, as part of "girl code", or whatnot. 

The fact that they have huge debt problems is probably irrelevant from an etiquette standpoint, but this may make it even more important for her to have full disclosure before figuring out what to do next.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 11, 2012, 03:02:39 PM
She should call her again.  "I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles!  I actually called you before because I ran into your DH the other night and it really rubbed me the wrong way.  He was with some woman and they were obviously NOT "just friends," and when he saw me he told me not to tell you about it.  What you do with this information is up to you, of course, but it pissed me off that he thought I would lie to you about what I saw."
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 11, 2012, 03:12:27 PM
Don't be surprised if he tries to head this off by telling a lie to his wife.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: onyonryngs on December 11, 2012, 03:20:03 PM
I'd keep trying to get your friend to tell her.  You never know, it may be bleak, but her financial situation might be better without him and this could be the catalyst to make the break.  I'd want to know now, with the rest of the bad stuff, rather than when things start to look better again & then get whacked with another blow.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Erich L-ster on December 11, 2012, 03:25:56 PM
I think she should tell. It's not as if she found out in some roundabout way that would make it questionable. They were out in public having physical contact. That removes any question. If cousin doesn't tell after that, she is complicit in the deceit.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Deetee on December 11, 2012, 03:42:34 PM
Because this is so firmly in the "tell" category, the friend will likely find out that cousin knows anyway. So it willl be worse if she doesn't tell.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: SiotehCat on December 11, 2012, 03:43:18 PM
I also think that cousin should be told.

I would worry about the possibility of her husband getting his ducks in a row before he leaves her. Then she's dropped without any warning, on top of all the other problems that she is having also.

This way, she at least knows what she's dealing with.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: JeanFromBNA on December 11, 2012, 04:03:30 PM
Is it possible for your friend to get another person who is a close friend of Cousin, and tell her in person?  I wouldn't go to Cousin's home, for obvious reasons.  But the tangible, personal support may be helpful. 

She needs to know, and soon.  Goodness knows what he might be doing with their money.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: sweetonsno on December 11, 2012, 04:33:48 PM
I'm in camp tell. Your friend does need to relay this sad news, which is an unfortunate task. Sharnita and Slartibartfast have great ways of wording this.

If CH hadn't been such a jerk at the restaurant (say, he'd shown a bit of remorse or had made even the slightest effort to bungle an excuse), I would suggest that your friend give him a deadline to tell C himself. However, he was a jerk, so he doesn't get the chance to do that.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Danika on December 11, 2012, 05:04:27 PM
I think your friend needs to tell Cousin, ASAP. Then, Cousin can decide to sell the house, move across the country, or make other decisions on her own that she might not normally make because she'd be taking her husband's feelings and wishes into account.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: bloo on December 11, 2012, 05:26:46 PM
Might I also add that this is not a 'phone call' conversation. If at all possible can she do it face-to-face? I agree, despite the update, TELL.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: wolfie on December 11, 2012, 05:35:29 PM
Perhaps her debt situation wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't spending money on the other woman?

I think it is important to tell her now - she is going to be making big decisions soon and she might make different ones if she knew about her husband.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Softly Spoken on December 11, 2012, 06:13:17 PM
I spoke with my friend over lunch.  She was talking like a rushing river, so I just let her vent.  Friend made up her mind to call this morning and tell cousin all about last night.  But she never got the chance.  Cousin started in on how her employer will be shuttering their doors right before Christmas or shortly after the new year.  She complained that she and CH are deeply in debt.  Cousin was nearly inconsolable saying how the future seemed bleak.  So, friend said she lost all nerve to tell her right then.  And she doesn’t know when would be a time to tell her, what with her job and all.

I told friend there will never be a “good” time to tell her, but she needs to know.  Friend feels she would be dogpiling on her cousin dropping more bad news.  I’m at a loss here.  I truly did not know what else to say.  We parted ways at lunch with her saying she needs to think about this.


Wow talk about when it rains :( :(
...the problem is if this comes to light another way, and Cousin finds out your Friend knew it will be "Why didn't you tell me? :'( >:(" I think Cousin will feel more betrayed (on top of CH betrayal) that her friend didn't warn her. No one wants to hear bad news but often they need to hear it - and I think Slartibartfast's suggestion was great - if Friend comes from a place of love and concern then she can hopefully not make Cousin feel defensive of herself and her husband's relationship.

Here's hoping things work out...one way or another! :-\
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: nuit93 on December 11, 2012, 06:28:51 PM
I'm also in the camp of "tell".  It would be worse if she knew you knew and didn't say anything, I think.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: BarensMom on December 11, 2012, 06:53:22 PM
Perhaps her debt situation wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't spending money on the other woman?

I think it is important to tell her now - she is going to be making big decisions soon and she might make different ones if she knew about her husband.

I would point out to friend that Cousin needs to know, so she could make wise decisions regarding her severance/unemployment monies.  For example, on a divorce attorney.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 11, 2012, 08:03:46 PM
I'm also in the camp that says "Tell Her".

I'd keep things as factual as possible. For example, rather than say "Your husband is having an affair!" I'd tell her "I saw your husband holding hands with another woman in XYZ restaurant last Saturday at 8pm."

As PPs have said, your friend should be prepared for the fact that her cousin's husband may have already told her cousin a pack of lies (eg that your friend hit on him or something) so she may not believe your friend. But I still think something needs to be said.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: gen xer on December 11, 2012, 08:46:54 PM
I'll be the rogue here and say if you're going to say anything....say something to the cousin's husband and see what he plans to do about it. 
I know this won't be popular but I am a pretty strict "don't tell" kind of person although this jerk's threatening demeanour almost makes me sway the other way.  Almost.
I say this because there was a time I was "outed" by a coworker of my first husband's who saw me out for lunch with my.....wait for it.....brother.  Even gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek ( not the same as  errr....finger licking I know ) nonetheless.....word got back in that smallish town and a violent man got very .....violent.  All because some self-appointed morals police busybody just had open their trap.  It could have been a lot worse.
I am not trying to defend this guy....but know you could really be opening a big Pandora's Box taht you can't shut....and there is the potential taht she could resent you for bringing it up.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Sharnita on December 11, 2012, 08:52:17 PM
She did speak to him. He did not respond in a cooperative or open manner. I think that obligation has been met.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: gen xer on December 11, 2012, 09:39:51 PM
She did speak to him. He did not respond in a cooperative or open manner. I think that obligation has been met.

Speaking to him when you are caught off guard is not the same as a well-thought out conversation where you have had a chance to gather your thoughts.   She owes him nothing of course.....but still....charging into something on behalf of others can be one of those "road to hell is paved with good intentions" kind of thing. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Yankeegal77 on December 11, 2012, 10:10:46 PM
Oh, wow. Poor cousin. :(

Honestly, I feel that she needed to be told already, other issues aside. And another poster beat me to it-this is an in-person conversation. Chances are, her jerk of a husband already has told her some lie. His demeanor kinda freaked me out even from here. To address the etiquette and moral aspects, here are my points:

1. Your friend should do this in person. Over the phone means well, but from an etiquette standpoint, this just seems more polite.

2. Have her invite cousin to *her* house, or to a middle area, so it's neutral ground. Being told in her own home, where CH is "present" even if he is not there might lead to her defending him. Either way, the messenger should be prepared to be shot., at least initially.

3. She should stay calm and reassuring and be prepared with a back-up plan. What will cousin do, or go, are questions that might come up.

4. Chances are, this creep will wait until she is most vulnerable and then leave, or spill this. At least NOW, she has options. As another PP said, she can take a job out of state, sell the house, what have you--in short, she can think of *her* needs, not the couple's needs.

5. Finally, she might need back-up if she decides to leave. This guy sounds like a potential abusive jerk, with his menacing attitude towards your friend. Or he might try to manipulate her into staying. Either way, she will need help--even the strongest of women need a little additional steel for their spines sometimes.

Best of luck to all of you and please update!
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: BarensMom on December 11, 2012, 10:13:57 PM
She did speak to him. He did not respond in a cooperative or open manner. I think that obligation has been met.

Speaking to him when you are caught off guard is not the same as a well-thought out conversation where you have had a chance to gather your thoughts.   She owes him nothing of course.....but still....charging into something on behalf of others can be one of those "road to hell is paved with good intentions" kind of thing.

When OP's friend spoke to him, he replied in an intimidating and possibly threatening manner.  I wouldn't blame the friend for not wanting to have that conversation with the CH.  She needs to tell her cousin and, if necessary, ask the OP to corroborate what happened.  The fact of the OP having witnessed the incident, would be able to counteract any lie the CH told his wife.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Danika on December 12, 2012, 01:14:09 AM
OP, I obviously don't know your friend or her cousin, but if Cousin doubts Friend's story because it's easier to shoot the messenger than accept that you might be being betrayed by your husband, would you be willing to step up as a witness to the finger-licking that you saw? Something to mull over before you are in the situation to be asked to validate Friend's accusations.

I say this because there was a time I was "outed" by a coworker of my first husband's who saw me out for lunch with my.....wait for it.....brother.  Even gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek ( not the same as  errr....finger licking I know ) nonetheless.....word got back in that smallish town and a violent man got very .....violent.  All because some self-appointed morals police busybody just had open their trap.  It could have been a lot worse.

Yikes! I'm very sorry to hear that.

I work in a male-dominated field. I am often the only female in a group of male coworkers who go out to lunch. I very rarely go to lunch with only one other coworker, and prefer to stick to groups because of this. But once, enough people in the group bailed at the last minute because of deadlines and such that I ended up at lunch with only one other coworker, and he was my age (I only mention this because it didn't look like I was out with my father or boss or something).

We were eating and I noticed that a few tables over, my next door neighbor was eating lunch with his coworkers. He saw me and looked really shocked and uncertain. I immediately figured he was concerned that I was on a date. I made sure to wave and say hi. And as soon as I got home, I told my DH "by the way, I was at the sushi place today with coworker Nick, and saw Ken the neighbor who looked really concerned that I was at lunch with just one other guy." I figured I'd head that one off at the pass.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette?
Post by: cicero on December 12, 2012, 02:26:27 AM
sooner rather than later.

IF she is going to tell her, then she needs to tell her. It's very possible that cousin will make different decisions when she has this info than she would without it.

what a mess...

and what a creep her husband is - "deeply in debt" while wining and dining another woman?

Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: atirial on December 12, 2012, 02:42:47 AM
Another vote for tell her, and Sharnita's wording seemed fine. Caught off-guard or not, he came over to them in an intimidating manner and never explained who the woman was or what he was doing.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Danika on December 12, 2012, 02:44:37 AM
Another vote for tell her, and Sharnita's wording seemed fine. Caught off-guard or not, he came over to them in an intimidating manner and never explained who the woman was or what he was doing.

I know! I can't get over the guts of that guy!!! I'm interested to know if he's normally a bully. My guess is yes.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Reika on December 12, 2012, 04:39:29 AM
Perhaps her debt situation wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't spending money on the other woman?

I think it is important to tell her now - she is going to be making big decisions soon and she might make different ones if she knew about her husband.

That's what I was thinking when I read the update.

And I agree, your friend needs to tell her cousin.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Gyburc on December 12, 2012, 05:50:12 AM
What an awful, sad situation. I agree with the PPs, your friend does need to tell her cousin what happened, and in fact it's more urgent given the financial problems. It's possible that CH is planning to run off and leave her with all the debts.

It won't be a comfortable conversation at all. I feel very sorry for your friend as well, having to give such dreadful news. However, Cousin might already know, or at least suspect, what is going on.

Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: Nora on December 12, 2012, 06:33:10 AM
Perhaps her debt situation wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't spending money on the other woman?

I think it is important to tell her now - she is going to be making big decisions soon and she might make different ones if she knew about her husband.

That's what I was thinking when I read the update.

And I agree, your friend needs to tell her cousin.

Give the woman a chance to build a new life that is not stuck to this loser! Tell her before her new life plan (that she has to make anyway because of her job and the debt) is tied up all around him!
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35
Post by: cookiehappy on December 12, 2012, 07:15:06 AM
Good morning, everyone.

Later in the afternoon yesterday, I called my friend to encourage her again to tell her cousin NOW.  I told friend to give her cousin the information so she can make a well-thought decision for the rest of her life.  She agreed.  She called me last night as she was driving out to cousin's town to have a talk with her.   I just told her to be ready for any response her cousin gives.  But just know this is the right thing to do.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: JenJay on December 12, 2012, 07:22:29 AM
I can't imagine how hard that chat was for them. I hope to hear it went as well as possible, considering.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: lightning on December 12, 2012, 09:01:04 AM
Website that might help the betrayed cousin--

survivinginfidelity.com
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: onyonryngs on December 12, 2012, 09:01:41 AM
I hope it went ok!
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Danika on December 12, 2012, 09:41:14 AM
I'm relieved that Friend planned to talk to Cousin. I hope it went as well as one could expect from a conversation like that.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: CharlieBraun on December 12, 2012, 11:08:44 AM
Thank you for encouraging your friend to tell about the directly observed behaviour.

There will never be a "good" time to deliver news like this, but only a less-bad time.  Now is the right time...so very much is at stake.

I'm sure your friend will be saying to herself "well, I don't want to ruin Cousin's Xmas or life or marriage..."  The answer to that, is that she is not.  The information that she is conveying is neutral.  It is her husband's shady behaviour that is the "ruin" of any of those things. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Eeep! on December 12, 2012, 11:16:52 AM
I'm glad she decided to talk to her cousin. And in person. Her poor cousin. But I agree, best to have all the information when making "going forward" type decisions.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Reika on December 12, 2012, 11:32:57 AM
I'm glad your friend agreed to talk with her cousin. Here's hoping the talk doesn't go badly. *hugs to your friend and her cousin*
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: RobinJ on December 12, 2012, 12:06:59 PM
Thank you for encouraging your friend to tell about the directly observed behaviour.

There will never be a "good" time to deliver news like this, but only a less-bad time.  Now is the right time...so very much is at stake.

I'm sure your friend will be saying to herself "well, I don't want to ruin Cousin's Xmas or life or marriage..."  The answer to that, is that she is not.  The information that she is conveying is neutral.  It is her husband's shady behaviour that is the "ruin" of any of those things.

This, right here.  There really never is a 'good' time to hear this type of news.  Best of luck to all.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Petticoats on December 12, 2012, 12:12:08 PM
I'm glad to hear of your friend's decision, too, and I think it was particularly smart and kind of her to decide to do it in person. I hope it helps cousin rebuild her life without this untrustworthy man.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: ncgal on December 12, 2012, 12:26:26 PM
I am glad that she is telling her cousin as some of the massive debt that they are in and she is helping pay for appears to include him wining and dinning at least one other lady (I am being kind to the lady in question and hoping that she does not know that he is married). 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Quesselin on December 13, 2012, 06:45:33 AM
Oh, what a mess :( But I'm glad she's telling her, too. As a married woman myself, I would want to know - even if just thinking of being told something like that hurts my heart.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: Winterlight on December 13, 2012, 11:28:13 AM
I am glad that she is telling her cousin as some of the massive debt that they are in and she is helping pay for appears to include him wining and dinning at least one other lady (I am being kind to the lady in question and hoping that she does not know that he is married).

Excellent point!
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? UPDATE #35, #65
Post by: cookiehappy on December 14, 2012, 01:56:42 PM
Hello Everyone,

By way of update, a couple nights ago, my friend drove out to her cousin’s to talk about the restaurant incident.  Friend suggested they go out to a restaurant or lounge, but cousin did not feel like going out.  Friend explained she wants to talk uninterrupted.  Cousin assured her they would be alone as the husband would not be home for hours because he is working late.

Just as friend begins to speak, the phone rang.  Cousin excuses herself and answered the phone.  It is her husband.  She spends a few minutes on the phone with him and comes back and says, “that’s funny, husband is coming home now – he finished early”.  Friend is panicked, but just bit the bullet and told the entire story to cousin.  Friend said cousin just sat and stared into space.  After a few minutes, friend got a glass of water, cousin took it and threw it against the fireplace and started bawling.  Friend asked if cousin wanted to come home with her, cousin went upstairs to pack some clothes.

Friend is now nervous because husband is on his way home and she wants out of there before he makes it.  Cousin brings her bag down and they head for the door, but suddenly sets the bag down and says she wants to wait for husband.  Friend says perhaps she should leave so they can talk privately.  This is where it gets weird.  Cousin told friend she is rude for “dropping a bomb” and not staying to back it up.  Friend said she can most definitely stay to back up anything she told her, but thought cousin would want her privacy.  They went through three rounds of this.

Just then, husband’s car pulls up and cousin tells friend in a stern voice, “stay”.  Friend sits on the couch and husband bounds in yelling, “WHAT DID YOU TELL HER, YOU’RE RUDE FOR COMING OVER HERE MEDDLING, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE”.  Cousin and husband get into an awful row, verbal only, but really intense.  Friend asks cousin if she still wants to leave with her, if not, she is leaving herself.  Husband starts yelling obscenities and says, “NO, IM LEAVING”.   After he left, friend goes to cousin to hug and cousin shirks her off saying, “thanks for wrecking my marriage”.

With this, friend left.  She is chalking up her cousin’s behavior to shock.  This was two nights ago.  Friend has left several messages and sent several texts to cousin, but has gotten no response.

I am there for friend, she is really distraught over this whole situation.

Is it rude of her to keep calling and texting her cousin?  She is really concerned about her.  Would it be rude of friend to go back out to cousin’s house to check on her?
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: onyonryngs on December 14, 2012, 01:59:33 PM
Her cousin needs to know she's still there for her, but also needs to realize that cousin may need time.  People process this kind of thing differently.  But just assure her she did the right thing & of course she didn't ruin the marriage, cousin's husband took care of that.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: rose red on December 14, 2012, 02:01:47 PM
Yeah, Friend wrecked their marriage  >:(  ::).

It's not rude to keep trying to contact cousin, but maybe she should send one more message about being there for her whenever she's ready.  Then back off so cousin can have space to gather herself.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: weeblewobble on December 14, 2012, 02:02:45 PM
Please assure your friend that she did not wreck the cousins marriage.  This is a common reaction to bad news like this.  Your friend is the messenger and it's a lot easier to get mad at your friend than to grasp the scope of her husband's betrayal.  And the husband is trying to shift the focus off of himself. 

I think your friend has done a good thing in sending the texts and checking in on her cousin.  But I think she needs to back off now for just a while and let cousin absorb the information.  I don't think it's a good idea for friend to go over and check on cousin, because it could be a potentially dangerous situation for her if husband is there. If nothing else, friend could call a parent or sibling of the cousin and ask if they've spoken to her recently.  But please tell her not to mention the affair issue unless the other relative does because she doesn't want to be accused of "spreading gossip."
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: nuit93 on December 14, 2012, 02:03:07 PM
Maybe it's just me projecting my own experiences, but that sounds *really* scary.  I'd be concerned about the husband's behavior escalating.

Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: JenJay on December 14, 2012, 02:06:08 PM
Your friend should back off and give her cousin some space, at least for a couple of days. Classic "shoot the messenger" thing going on. It isn't right, but it also isn't surprising. Your friend did the right thing. Imagine if the cousin had found herself bankrupt and infected with some horrible disease on top of having her marriage ruined. There's no winning here, but she did the right thing!
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: cicero on December 14, 2012, 02:20:37 PM
Your friend should back off and give her cousin some space, at least for a couple of days. Classic "shoot the messenger" thing going on. It isn't right, but it also isn't surprising. Your friend did the right thing. Imagine if the cousin had found herself bankrupt and infected with some horrible disease on top of having her marriage ruined. There's no winning here, but she did the right thing!
i agree.  i still think your friend did the right thing. I hope the cousin will cool off and reassess her situation.

Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Iris on December 14, 2012, 02:23:27 PM
Maybe it's just me projecting my own experiences, but that sounds *really* scary.  I'd be concerned about the husband's behavior escalating.

This. The fact that he thought his aggressive behaviour in the restaurant was going to actually work tells me he's used to getting away with things.

Your cousin absolutely did the right thing, whatever happens from here.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: WillyNilly on December 14, 2012, 02:25:29 PM
Of course the cousin is upset and not returning phone calls.  She has HUGE stress right now and is probably pretty embarrassed (not that she necessarily did anything wrong but its not uncommon to internalized these types of things, all these things - the work thing, the finances, the marriage stuff).

Your friend needs to just make sure cousin knows she is there for her if cousin wants her, but in the meantime give her space. And privacy.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 02:26:28 PM
Awful.  Your friend did the right thing.  At this point, I would have to assume cousin has other people she is leaning on.  Cousin knows friend is there for her when she is ready.  At this point friend needs to take care of herself, which means understanding she neither caused this situation nor can she fix it.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Mikayla on December 14, 2012, 02:40:11 PM
This won't be popular, but I feel so strongly I'm willing to take the hits.  I think Friend should be angry at Cousin. 

I guess we all pull from life experience for this, but I've been "Cousin" twice in my life (ouch) and Friend at least 5 times.  Never has anyone reacted this way to someone who had been "like a sister".  The closest was one person telling me to get out, but she called later that night to apologize.

I don't think it's ok to treat someone like this, and if I was Friend, I'd stop contacting Cousin.  And then if/when Cousin initiates contact, I'd make it clear that her actions were very hurtful. 

I guess I believe that just because someone is under stress doesn't give them the right to spread the stress around.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 02:52:39 PM
This won't be popular, but I feel so strongly I'm willing to take the hits.  I think Friend should be angry at Cousin. 

I guess we all pull from life experience for this, but I've been "Cousin" twice in my life (ouch) and Friend at least 5 times.  Never has anyone reacted this way to someone who had been "like a sister".  The closest was one person telling me to get out, but she called later that night to apologize.

I don't think it's ok to treat someone like this, and if I was Friend, I'd stop contacting Cousin.  And then if/when Cousin initiates contact, I'd make it clear that her actions were very hurtful. 

I guess I believe that just because someone is under stress doesn't give them the right to spread the stress around.

I agree.  I think a moment of shock is one thing.  Stretching this out for days in anger toward Friend is another.  It's "understandable" that Cousin is upset and angry, but as an adult she should learn to channel her anger and use it to productively move forward.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: CharlieBraun on December 14, 2012, 02:52:54 PM
Yes, it's shock.

Does Friend have any contact with Cousin's parents?  Yes, Cousin is a grown woman but she is in tremendous pain and shock, and trust me - her cheating husband is working Cousin over, but good, to twist what has happened.  If Friend knows Cousin's parents, or sister, or brother, then Friend might consider a quick email or FB private message stating that "I was at Cousin's earlier this week, and she may need to hear from you."

Cousin's husband may be intercepting Friend's messages as well.

I believe that I predicted that Friend would get the "blame" for ruining their marriage/Xmas/life, and that's what happened.  It may or may not be a permanent "blame."

I think that one more FB/email/other way to communicate, saying "I will always be here for you, and I love you" from Friend to Cousin is about as far as she can go.

Bless your friend and bless her cousin.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 14, 2012, 02:56:57 PM
Friend definitely did nothing wrong. I'm glad she told Cousin what she saw.

I second the suggestion of discreetly calling another friend or relative of Cousin and asking them to check on her, not mentioning why but just that "she seemed down lately" or something--if her money troubles are well-known in her circle they might assume it's entirely related to that. I think Friend should leave Cousin alone for a few days (no messages), but having a more neutral party check on her would alleviate Friend's reasonable concern about Cousin's safety and emotional turmoil.

Mikayla, interesting perspective. I do think you have a point, but for right now, I would advise Friend to try and remain on Cousin's "side," and not angry at her, especially as this all happened so recently. If Cousin calms down, gets some perspective, realizes Friend was trying to help her and all that, she should definitely apologize to Friend for what she said. I would hope that happens soon; if not, it may mean Cousin has decided to sever their relationship anyway.

I wonder what prompted Husband to come home early? Was it just coincidence, or did he somehow know Friend was going to be there? Also, it seems like he did not offer his wife a preemptive explanation of the restaurant events, or surely she would have mentioned it...
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 14, 2012, 02:57:12 PM
Yes, it's shock.

Does Friend have any contact with Cousin's parents?  Yes, Cousin is a grown woman but she is in tremendous pain and shock, and trust me - her cheating husband is working Cousin over, but good, to twist what has happened.  If Friend knows Cousin's parents, or sister, or brother, then Friend might consider a quick email or FB private message stating that "I was at Cousin's earlier this week, and she may need to hear from you."

Cousin's husband may be intercepting Friend's messages as well.

I believe that I predicted that Friend would get the "blame" for ruining their marriage/Xmas/life, and that's what happened.  It may or may not be a permanent "blame."

I think that one more FB/email/other way to communicate, saying "I will always be here for you, and I love you" from Friend to Cousin is about as far as she can go.

Bless your friend and bless her cousin.

And he might be spinning all kinds of lies and fantasies about what Friend saw.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 14, 2012, 02:57:44 PM
Your poor friend.  I can understand cousin's reaction and why she doesn't want to talk to friend right now but it doesn't excuse causing the hurt your friend must feel.

I think I would send one more text, email and/or voice mail.  Something along the lines of, 'I know you are very upset right now.  Please know that I am here for you.  I won't contact you again until I hear from you.'  But if that contact doesn't include a big, old apology from cousin, I think I would be letting the relationship cool once the crisis was over.

I wouldn't drive over there without knowing whether or not the husband was home.  I'd be worried about my physical safety around the husband.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 02:58:00 PM
I believe that I predicted that Friend would get the "blame" for ruining their marriage/Xmas/life, and that's what happened.  It may or may not be a permanent "blame."

Under no circumstances should Friend accept the misplaced blame.  Any sane person can see that, and anyone who blames Friend is, IMHO, insane, either always or temporarily. So their opinoins should be disregarded by Friend.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Ornery on December 14, 2012, 03:05:12 PM
This is a case of Kill The Messenger.   I have friends that were in the same circumstances once, and after one friend worked out her problems with her man, she cut off the friend who told her she had busted him with someone else.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 14, 2012, 03:25:18 PM
It's only been two days.  I wouldn't think it okay for Friend to be upset with Cousin at this point.  Again, it has only been two days.  I don't think I'd be done with the shock of learning my husband is cheating on me, especially when realizing that *I* will be the one out of a job so my options would be limited should I choose to leave him or really upsetting should I choose to stay.  I couldn't imagine feeling normal again after two days (and, as PPs have said, I expect he's also working over Cousin as much as possible and making Friend out to be the villain -- yes, a leap, but given his reaction in the restaurant and in person, I'm going to make that leap).

I don't know what Friend's best course of action would be at this point, but I don't think get angry at Cousin would be it.  I'm thinking give Cousin some more time to digest (I don't know how long as I've never been in this situation on either side).  This info is essentially the death of Cousin's marriage as she's known it, and she really still needs more than two days to figure it out.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Danika on December 14, 2012, 04:02:39 PM
I feel bad for Friend. There was no way to win in this situation. She did the right thing by telling. If Cousin wants to stick her head in the sand and stand by FingerLicker (didn't want to call him "Cheater" since all we know he did was finger licking) then it's unfortunate that Friend is getting the brunt of the anger.

I'm glad to hear Mikayla's perspective because I kind of felt the same way, however, fortunately, I have never been the bearer or recipient of such news so I couldn't say how long would be typical of someone to still be blaming the messenger. Mikayla, I'm sorry to hear you were in Cousin's shoes ever, much less twice. Hugs.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 04:06:10 PM
If Cousin wants to stick her head in the sand and stand by FingerLicker (didn't want to call him "Cheater" since all we know he did was finger licking) then it's unfortunate that Friend is getting the brunt of the anger.
I would consider what we know he did to absolutely be cheating, especially given his reaction to being caught.  If the husband had just cheated, I would say the Cousin might have some reason to perhaps try to work through this.  But the threats to Friend and his general demeanor that we know about makes me afraid for Cousin so even if he had never cheated, I would hope she gets out.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: onyonryngs on December 14, 2012, 04:08:11 PM
If Cousin wants to stick her head in the sand and stand by FingerLicker (didn't want to call him "Cheater" since all we know he did was finger licking) then it's unfortunate that Friend is getting the brunt of the anger.
I would consider what we know he did to absolutely be cheating, especially given his reaction to being caught.  If the husband had just cheated, I would say the Cousin might have some reason to perhaps try to work through this.  But the threats to Friend and his general demeanor that we know about makes me afraid for Cousin so even if he had never cheated, I would hope she gets out.

I agree.  And I consider a date with another woman to be cheating when the man in question is married.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: TurtleDove on December 14, 2012, 04:16:29 PM
I agree.  And I consider a date with another woman to be cheating when the man in question is married.

Yep.  For my job I have lunch with married men frequently, and am seen in public with men not my SO.  Never has it ever been a question of whether we were on a "date" should we see anyone we knew.  There is no physical contact, and introductions are always made with no need to lead anyone to believe there is anything untoward going on.  Here, everything about the husband's actions screams infidelity and immaturity.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Shoo on December 14, 2012, 04:18:57 PM
I think the husband got to her.  By that I mean he has lied to her and has turned her against her cousin.  He is now sequestering her to keep her from speaking to the person who outed him.

Cousin is now being isolated.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: jedikaiti on December 14, 2012, 04:28:17 PM
This won't be popular, but I feel so strongly I'm willing to take the hits.  I think Friend should be angry at Cousin. 

I guess we all pull from life experience for this, but I've been "Cousin" twice in my life (ouch) and Friend at least 5 times.  Never has anyone reacted this way to someone who had been "like a sister".  The closest was one person telling me to get out, but she called later that night to apologize.

I don't think it's ok to treat someone like this, and if I was Friend, I'd stop contacting Cousin.  And then if/when Cousin initiates contact, I'd make it clear that her actions were very hurtful. 

I guess I believe that just because someone is under stress doesn't give them the right to spread the stress around.

I agree.  I think a moment of shock is one thing.  Stretching this out for days in anger toward Friend is another.  It's "understandable" that Cousin is upset and angry, but as an adult she should learn to channel her anger and use it to productively move forward.

Everyone deals with shock in their own way, on their own timeline. Maybe she just doesn't want to deal with reminders of the situation, including talking to the person who "busted" Husband.

Friend has left messages for Cousin (where, BTW? Could Husband have deleted them?), so Cousin knows Friend is there for her. Friend now needs to back off and let Cousin make the next move.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 14, 2012, 04:33:45 PM
I think the husband got to her.  By that I mean he has lied to her and has turned her against her cousin.  He is now sequestering her to keep her from speaking to the person who outed him.

Cousin is now being isolated.

I predicted as much.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Danika on December 14, 2012, 04:34:56 PM
If Cousin wants to stick her head in the sand and stand by FingerLicker (didn't want to call him "Cheater" since all we know he did was finger licking) then it's unfortunate that Friend is getting the brunt of the anger.
I would consider what we know he did to absolutely be cheating, especially given his reaction to being caught.  If the husband had just cheated, I would say the Cousin might have some reason to perhaps try to work through this.  But the threats to Friend and his general demeanor that we know about makes me afraid for Cousin so even if he had never cheated, I would hope she gets out.

True. He does sound very aggressive.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: DavidH on December 14, 2012, 04:36:04 PM
I'm not sure I'd go all the way to the Cousin is being isolated, but whether or not he was cheating, you can hardly expect he would do anything but discourage future contact with Friend. 

I think that Cousin needs some time to react and may just need time alone.  Being angry with Friend initially seems like an irrational, but not unusual or unexpected reaction.  I'd suggest that Friend not take it personally, realize it was likely Cousin's general shock and anger talking, and wait to hear from Cousin in the future. 

I think one more text or call is fine, but I wouldn't pester her.  I wouldn't go over in person since it seems very intrusive.

Unless there is a history of violent behavior, I wouldn't be that worried at this stage.  I don't think a loud argument and shouting was unexpected or all that unreasonable when he arrived home and if he didn't get violent in the heat of the moment, I think he'd be less likely to in the future when the initial event is over. 
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Honeypickle on December 14, 2012, 04:41:45 PM
This seems straight from the movies! From finger licking to drink hurling. And we all know that never ends well.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Drawberry on December 14, 2012, 05:17:15 PM
I can't help but feel like based on Cousins reaction she may have had previous suspicions that she was refusing to look seriously at and Friend has confirmed her cousins suspicions.

Her cousin is hurt, incredibly so and at the moment it's a case of 'shooting the messenger'. Deep down Cousin knows that Friend didn't ruin her marriage, she knows that isn't true and it isn't right. But she isn't in a place to think about 'right', she's going to be emotionally fragile and deeply hurt in a way I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Her reaction to Friend wasn't appropriate, but at this point in her life I don't think Cousin was acting in her 'right mind' and was not stable at the time.

Giving her space but letting her know that someone is there for her will be difficult to do when all Friend wants is to just be right at her side to hold her hand through everything. But sometimes we need to let people breathe and handle things on their own.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Sharnita on December 14, 2012, 05:25:46 PM
Maybe she is also scared about her financial situation and thinks that she can't get out of the hole without his help.  Being confronted with his cheating means she has to choose an uncertain future alone or an unloving cheater.  She might blame Friend at the moment for "forcing" her to choose. Hopefully she will process the situation and come to terms with the actual reality.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 14, 2012, 10:50:25 PM
How very sad. I also think it's fishy that the husband suddenly came home early. Did he somehow know that your friend was visiting her cousin?

Even if the cousin stays with her husband and continues to blame your friend, I still think your friend did the right thing in telling her. At least her cousin has the relevant information, and can make her decision to stay based on that.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Precarious Armada on December 15, 2012, 12:02:01 AM
Given Husband's reaction in restaurant, and his reaction to Friend visiting Cousin, I think the phone wasn't accidental at all. I think Husband is very controlling and manipulative. And I don't like the menace aspect. Of course, he might just be all bark and no bite, but he doesn't sound like a very nice person at all. I'd get somebody else to check on Cousin, just in case Husband has isolated her. I'm also wondering how much of that debt is in Husband's name, and how much is in Cousins.
Hopefully the delay in communication is because Cousin left to stay with relatives and is busy separating her finances from Husbands.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: sammycat on December 15, 2012, 12:21:32 AM
Friend did absolutely the right thing in telling Cousin, for all the reasons listed by PP.  Cousin's reaction is a typical case of 'shoot the messenger', and Friend should absolutely not blame herself for any of this in any way, shape, or form. The person 100% responsible for this mess is Husband. 

I'm wondering if Cousin has even been receiving Friend's messages.  It's entirely possible Husband has been deleting them or hiding Cousin's phone etc. 

I second the suggestion that Friend have someone call on Cousin to check that things are ok.  Failing that, is Friend able to drive by (but not go into) Cousin's house?  There may be some sort of clue as to how things are going. Eg. if it all looks empty then maybe Cousin and/or Husband have left the premises.

It's only been two days. I'd give it a week before trying to contact Cousin again.  I may have missed it, but does she have a job that Friend could contact her through, rather than at home?

Oh, and add me to the list of people suspicious as to how/why Husband came home when he did.  My bet is that Cousin called him, either to give him a heads up for some reason, or just mentioned it in casual conversation and Husband lost the plot.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: AngelBarchild on December 15, 2012, 03:03:13 AM
It seems more likely that cousin and her husband are trying to figure out weather to fix or end their marriage, rather than the husband hiding the phone or intercepting messages or some how "getting to her". This is life altering, earth shattering, news. It is probably not a intentional snub, they just have way more important things going on right.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Gyburc on December 15, 2012, 04:13:54 AM
I'm very sorry but not surprised that Cousin reacted in the way she did. I imagine she is not only scared and angry, but also ashamed. She shouldn't be ashamed, of course, but I suspect she is. It doesn't excuse her lashing out against Friend of course, but it does explain it.

I hope very much that she will remember that Friend is there if she ever needs help, but in the meantime, I would honestly advise Friend not to keep texting her. Friend has done all that she can, and it's now up to Cousin.

Regarding the husband, I'm not sure what to make of his belligerent behaviour. It could very well be down to guilt, or perhaps he's just naturally an overbearing kind of person.

OP, please do reassure your friend that she has done the right thing, but do urge her now to step back, unless Cousin contacts her, or unless she has absolutely clear evidence that Cousin is in danger.

I really hope all will be resolved well, however that resolution occurs.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: bonyk on December 15, 2012, 05:49:47 AM
It seems more likely that cousin and her husband are trying to figure out weather to fix or end their marriage, rather than the husband hiding the phone or intercepting messages or some how "getting to her". This is life altering, earth shattering, news. It is probably not a intentional snub, they just have way more important things going on right.

I agree with this.  I think friend is being way too pushy right now.  She needs to back off and let cousin process everything.  No more phone calls or texts.  Let cousin figure out if her marriage is over without interfering.
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: sevenday on December 15, 2012, 07:51:53 AM
I do think Friend should lay low for a little bit, let things begin working out, especially at this time of year.  However, they should reach out to other mutual friends or relatives of Cousin and discreetly inquire.  "Hey, have you talked to Cousin in the last couple days? I haven't heard from her and I'm wondering if she's all right."  Seems simple and straightforward without airing dirty laundry.  Others may know whether CH is being controlling or if they are in "damage recovery mode" and discussing whether to save the marriage or not as other PPs have said.  When I announced my intention to divorce my now ex-DH, he blew up and said and did many things that I did not suspect that he was capable of, almost up to physical blows at one point.  I'm sure it looked very intense and it was scary for us both, and he pulled many asinine moves along the road to our divorce, but in the end the day came and went relatively calmly, and we have a truce going as friends/roommates now.  So it's possible CH is not "like that" all the time.  Hard to say.   

Give it until after the holidays if others say that Cousin is well and just wants time.  Then Friend can drop a polite line.  "I've been thinking of you, want you to know that I'll support and help you if you need it.  A shoulder to cry on if you want.  Please let me know you're all right."  Seems okay I think?
Title: Re: Tell? Don't Tell? What Is The Etiquette? AWFUL UPDATE #78
Post by: Wordgeek on December 15, 2012, 11:39:07 AM
Insofar as this is an etiquette issue, the matter has been sufficiently addressed.

Best wishes to the parties involved.