Author Topic: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything? Small Update - #57  (Read 18683 times)

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Anniissa

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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?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 12:46:12 PM by Anniissa »

Frostblooded

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 11:22:02 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 11:26:44 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.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 11:30:03 AM by Outdoor Girl »
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Ontario

Kaypeep

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 11:27:01 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.


ilrag

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 11:27:39 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.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 11:32:46 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.

NyaChan

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 11:34:23 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.

shivering

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 11:41:35 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 11:45:21 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.

CrochetFanatic

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2012, 12:37:40 PM »
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.

Hmmmmm

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 12:46:10 PM »
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.

Anniissa

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 01:04:41 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.

EMuir

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 01:15:14 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 fiancÚ.  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.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 01:20:42 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.

ettiquit

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Re: I wish I didn't know - now I do should I say anything?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 01:39:28 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).