Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Saw a Woman Cheat On Her Fiancé. Should I Tell?”

My best friend, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s brother, “Adam.” and his fiancée, “Jane,” and I are in our early twenties. Adam and Jane have a 2-year-old daughter together. We all went to high school together but I’ve never really interacted with Adam and Jane. Jane and I go to the same college while Adam works full time to provide for his family. That’s the background; here’s the problem: This past week I ran into Jane with another man two separate days on campus. The first time, I saw her walking arm and arm with another man. The second time, I saw them entangled together on a couch in a secluded lounge near the computer lab where I was working. I saw them kiss a few times (unashamedly, as I was walking by. I was not hiding out nearby and peeping).

I talked to my best friend and without telling her what I saw, asked her about Adam and Jane’s relationship. They are still engaged and actively planning a wedding for the summer. I feel quite uncomfortable because I don’t know Adam and I don’t want to start a grapevine of rumors but at the same time, I feel that Adam deserves to know his fiancée isn’t fully committed. If I were being cheated on, I would like to know before I go through the expense of a wedding. I am 100% sure that it was Jane and I’m 100% certain that the other man was not Adam.

Do I keep my mouth shut? Do I tell my best friend or her boyfriend, Adam’s brother? Do I tell Adam directly? Do I completely stay out of it because it is truly none of my business? — Eye Witness

You may be 100% sure that the woman you saw was Jane and that the man she was with was not her fiancé Adam, but that does not mean you are 100% sure that she’s cheating. Maybe she’s a theater student and she was rehearsing a scene with this guy (hey, it happens. I was a theater student in college and I remember quite a few “couch entanglements” that could at least be partly blamed on “rehearsals.”). Maybe Jane and Adam have an open relationship. Maybe your best friend doesn’t know the details of her boyfriend’s brother’s relationship and Jane and Adam are on a break. Maybe the guy you saw Jane with is her gay best friend and what you perceived as romantic closeness was simply affection between good friends of the opposite sex. There are lots of possibilities here and given that you don’t know these two people, it’s really dangerous to jump to conclusions, especially since Jane and the man you saw her with didn’t seem to be sneaking around. If she were really cheating, don’t you think she’d be less blatant about it?

If it were I, I’d stay out of it. Unless the people in question were friends of mine, or if it seemed like someone was in legitimate danger, I wouldn’t stick my nose somewhere it didn’t belong. If your conscience won’t let you sit this one out, then consider talking to your best friend. I’d assume she’s around the couple fairly regularly and may have information you don’t that will explain what you saw. Even if she doesn’t, she can use her closer position to the couple to decide how to proceed with the information you’ve shared. Basically, it won’t be your problem anymore; it will be hers. But that’s as far as I’d go if I were you. Do NOT go directly to Adam, or even to Jane. It’s just so inappropriate to do that. I wouldn’t even talk to Adam’s brother. If you tell anyone, let it be only your best friend and let her decide what to do with the information. She knows all the players much better than you do and has a perspective on them that you, as an outsider, do not. Hopefully, her position puts her in a good place to act wisely.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

137 comments… add one
  • avatar

    scattol January 19, 2012, 7:25 am

    Yea, I agree about the keeping your mouth shut part but frankly it does look like cheating to me. Well that or an open relationship. The “we are just friends” does’t look right.

    “Jane” has a long life ahead of her. This could well be her only indiscretion and if she manages to keep it a secret she and her kids will have a happy family life for decades. It wouldn’t be unheard of even if it’s likely not the most recommended way to happy family life.

    If LW is quizzed by Adam, she shouldn’t lie about what she saw. But LW talks she could very well risk throwing the life of a 2 year old under the bus at the very least prematurely.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny January 19, 2012, 11:51 am

      “throwing the life of a 2 year old under the bus” Aaahhh! #unfortunatemetaphor

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  • avatar

    jess January 19, 2012, 7:54 am

    I think wendy’s advice is spot on. Open relationships are more common then people think. Especially in situations like this, where people are young but tied together by a child. They might be getting married to do the tradition family thing for their kid, but they are both not really ready to be monogamous and they’re both okay with that. Of course, that’s just speculating too. But in any case, the LW isn’t in the position to start rumors or get involved.

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  • avatar

    atraditionalist January 19, 2012, 8:02 am

    You don’t have to save the world LW. Sure you feel bad for the guy but you don’t know him (I know you said you went to high school together but you guys don’t interact). If this is an example of Jane’s true character it will come out soon enough.

    As an aside, I don’t understand some women’s need to meddle in other people’s business. Why would you ever want to introduce someone else’s drama to your life? I don’t think you would see a guy telling his best friend that his best friend’s girlfriend’s sister is being cheated on. Hey, maybe you’ve always secretly had a thing for Adam in high school and this is your shot or you’ve always disliked Jane

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    • FireStar

      FireStar January 19, 2012, 8:39 am

      Why is the litmus test ‘what would a guy do in this situation?’ Gender has nothing to do with conscience.

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      • avatar

        atraditionalist January 19, 2012, 8:42 am

        My point didn’t have to do with conscience but rather with the desire to meddle in other people’s business. Women seem to want to stir up drama more so than men

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      • FireStar

        FireStar January 19, 2012, 9:04 am

        My point was that it has to do with conscience and not the desire to be meddlesome that you attribute to the LW – and “most women”. From my perspective – she saw something she believes to be wrong and asked how best to address it.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy January 19, 2012, 10:13 am

        >> Women seem to want to stir up drama more so than men

        That may be due to the way they go about it (e.g. gossiping ). But I know plenty of guys who would go off half cocked, tell Adam that he wife is cheating, and then want to organize a posse and beat the crap out of the other guy. Men usually aren’t nearly as tolerant of women cheating as they are other men.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 19, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Do you even *watch* Jersey Shore? Look up “Meddling and stirring up drama” and you’ll see a picture of The Situation.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f January 19, 2012, 12:21 pm

        Sorry, that was meant more for atradiontionalist.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 11:04 am

        “Women seem to want to stir up drama more so than men”

        And you know this based on what, exactly? A survey of the Real Housewives of Where the Fuck ever?

        This statement is absolutely untrue and I’m just so tired of this kind of gendered nonsense. And what from that letter makes you think LW has a thing for Adam!? If anything, she sounds like she really DOES NOT want to get involved, and is just checking that it’s conscionable to mind her own business. But yes, she must just be jealous and out to sabotage someone- forget that this someone may very well already be sabotaging herself. Please.

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      • avatar

        atraditionalist January 19, 2012, 1:52 pm

        please don’t respond so aggressively. I can understand your frustration just fine without the swearing or aggressive tone

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      • avatar

        EB January 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

        THIS IS NOT YOUR WEBSITE therefore you do NOT get to police OTHER people’s tone or censor their word choices.

        I seriously think you need to grow a thicker skin if you plan on continue making such inflammatory statements because to to me and I am guessing many others YOUR comment was way more offensive than Taramonster’s.

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      • avatar

        Sarah January 19, 2012, 2:20 pm

        Exactly. I’ll take using the word f*ck in a comment over a comment telling me I’m meddlesome and that I stir up drama just because I’m a woman any day.

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      • avatar

        atraditionalist January 19, 2012, 2:30 pm

        I can still ask you to not be aggressive when you respond to a statement. Why do I need to grow a thicker skin? If I said something that alot of people agreed with but one person disagreed with very rudely would I still need to grow a thicker skin? My comment may have inflamed you but it was not directed at YOU the way your comments have been towards me.

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      • Roxy_84

        Roxy84 January 19, 2012, 6:10 pm

        Wasn’t directed at me or EB or Taramonster? Just women in general….ummm….worse. Would you not prefer to be criticized for your specific behaviour rather than that of men in general which you may or may not be guilty of? And what makes you think “a lot of people agreed with” your statement? Unless you’re speaking in the hypothetical there, which I would say does not apply to this case, judging from the people that agreed with Taramonster and EB’s statements vs yours.

        What EB is saying is if you’re going to say something people might take the wrong way, then don’t be surprised when people do. I would also rather profanity than the kind of statement you made. I don’t understand why some men are such pigs. I don’t think you’d see a woman making those kind of sweeping generalizations. Amirite??

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:57 pm

        New avatar? Or are you a Taramonster imposter?
        I can’t handle change and clearly am aware of something out of place.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 4:04 pm

        New avatar! I got bored of the other one. Plus, Sméagol is just so grossly adorable. I figure if I’m gonna CLAIM to be a monster I might as well put the face on. Then again, maybe my words already do that? Lol

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      • avatar

        Sarah January 19, 2012, 12:28 pm

        Are you by any chance Ricky Ricardo? Because that is some messed up 50’s bullsh*t.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 8:17 am

    These kind of letters are always hard for me. I think there would be a lot less divorce and strife in the world if people didn’t marry the wrong person for them. The messiness, the legal entanglement, the emotional despair…it could all be somewhat avoided if someone knew BEFORE they decided to get married that their fiance had been cheating on them. We’ve said more than once that a particular LW “never should have gotten married…” and yet, on the other hand, we’ll keep quiet and watch two people get married who very well shouldn’t be getting married. I don’t know…sometimes, I think speaking up BEFORE would do far more good than bottling it up and letting it spill out after the deed has been done.

    That said, I still don’t think the LW is in the best position to introduce this news. I think Wendy is right about telling the mutual friend and letting her decide what to do with it.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't January 19, 2012, 8:49 am

      I read a piece by an advice columnist in my local paper that was basically people who had been told about an SO’s cheating explaining how they felt. It was pretty close to a 50-50 split: half the people said they are eternally grateful to the people that told them and the other half weren’t as thrilled because they would have preferred to just never know/keep their head in the sand. Nobody mentioned that they had been in an open relationship and were okay with it (although I suppose that’s selection bias, because those people probably wouldn’t have written in).

      So, yeah….it is a bit of dilemma to find yourself in, when you are the “witness”.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 8:58 am

        Yeah, it’s difficult. I think if I were very close friends with one of the people in the relationship, and I knew how they would fall on that 50/50, it would make my decision much easier. That said, all of my close friends would absolutely want to know if they were being cheated on. When you don’t know someone very well, I think you run the risk of embroiling yourself in too much drama.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar January 19, 2012, 9:07 am

        I think that is why the advice to tell the best friend is best – she would know where the boyfriend’s brother falls on the 50/50 spectrum – or if not her, then her boyfriend would know where his brother falls.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 19, 2012, 9:29 am

        I disagree with this.. This way, by the time Adam gets the information, it would have passed by at least three people. And in my experience, one of the most hurtful things about being cheated on, is being the last to know you were cheated on.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar January 19, 2012, 9:49 am

        What is the alternative? The LW is too far removed to tell Adam and I think the person closest to Adam should tell him – and that is his brother. I know I would want to hear that type of news from the person who absolutely had my back. The information essentially “followed the chain of command” so to speak.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 19, 2012, 9:56 am

        I gave what I think would be the best thing a bit lower. Basically, I think she should talk to Jane and let Jane decide what to do with that information.

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl January 19, 2012, 9:54 am

        I agree with you both…I think if it were me I would have a REALLY hard time keeping this to myself, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want Adam to hear about it second- or third-hand. It might be really meddlesome and intrusive, but I’d rather go straight to him and have an awkward conversation (and quite likely alienate this couple, but hey it sounds like they aren’t close anyway) than risk him finding about it years down the road and watching a horrible, messy breakup occur knowing you withheld information in the first place. It’s a shitty place to be in.

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    • avatar

      scattol January 19, 2012, 8:56 am

      There would be a lot less divorce if everyone married their soul mate. And by that I mean “The One”. When you are with The One, life is easy, never with a disagreement, you just don’t need to do any hard work on the marriage because you both follow the same path in life till your grave. (oh and don’t forget the unicorns)

      And really to avoid any doubt, soul matedness would need to be confirmed scientifically by blood tests. Anything less than that and you are settling for something less than you deserve.

      Anything less and you aren’t paying attention in those “rom-com” documentaries they have at the MultiPlex

      Anything less and it would look too much like real life… (where you need to commit, make sacrifices and compromises to keep your relationship alive for decades). You don’t want that, believe me, it’s just too messy.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 9:02 am

        I’m not sure where all of the snark is being directed, but at least as far as I can say, you may never know for sure when marrying someone that they’re right for you. But when something so blatantly questionable, such as cheating, comes up before you marry someone and you don’t address it…well, that’s just not very smart. Of course marriage is hard work. Of course it requires sacrifices and a lot of compromise. So if you’re going to do it, you better be DAMN sure that this person isn’t wrong for you. And if there’s any question of that – cheating, disagreement about kids, different values, different philosophies about money, immaturity, whatever – then you should pause and wait a second before getting married. Unfortunately, too many people believe in “unicorns” and rainbows, and you say, to do that.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 9:05 am

        *as* you say, not “and you say”

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      • avatar

        Something More January 19, 2012, 9:50 am

        “…you better be DAMN sure that this person isn’t wrong for you.”

        Right. So, wouldn’t this in itself be a reason to have ALL information available to make the best decision? Wouldn’t that include knowing if your fiancee is “entangled together on a couch in a secluded lounge” with someone else?

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 9:58 am

        In my opinion, yes. I would definitely want to know about that, and I think *someone* (not necessarily the LW) should inform Adam so he can make the best decision possible.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 19, 2012, 9:23 am

        Your arguments flaw is that it wouldn’t be a blood test. They would need to read your energy and see how your aura’s interact. Everybody knows soulmates can’t be confirmed by a blood test….come on.

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      • avatar

        Mel January 19, 2012, 11:04 am

        I was about to point that out. There’s no “soul” in blood. That would make blood donations very awkward.

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      • avatar

        SweetPea January 19, 2012, 10:19 am

        Seems like unnecessary snark.
        Regina’s answer had some sound logic! And I very much agree

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      • avatar

        jess January 19, 2012, 10:48 am

        I would like to sign myself and my boyfriend up for the soul mate test please!

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      • avatar

        Sarah January 19, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Projecting much?

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  • avatar

    Trixy Minx January 19, 2012, 8:29 am

    I would tell him. He’s working to support the family and she’s off at school hanging out with a guy that’s not her fiancée.

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    • avatar

      cporoski January 19, 2012, 10:52 am

      I totally agree. I have a family member that lives in a small town and everyone knew her husband was cheating. She was so embarrassed and hurt because everyone said it wasn’t thier business and so she walked around like a fool for a year.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar January 19, 2012, 8:29 am

    If it were me I would want someone to say something. Maybe she isn’t cheating and it was her gay best friend – cool – then no harm is done. But if it isn’t above board then before you marry someone is the time to hear about that type of thing. I disagree that people stepping out aren’t blatant. Some very much are – whether they secretly want to get caught or are so wrapped up in themselves, being oblivious isn’t evidence of innocence. Wendy is right though, and you don’t actually know if she is cheating or what even constitutes cheating for that couple.
    The best you can do is to tell your best friend what you actually saw. The best friend will know what to do with the information or at least her boyfriend wil.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom January 19, 2012, 2:26 pm

      Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to breakup and so they cheat to force the other person to be the one to leave. Especially women, marriage counselors say that it is far more serious if the woman is cheating because usually it is the last thing she does before leaving the marriage. A woman may be looking for the replacement man before going, or cheat because she knows the man will leave when he finds out and that puts her in a better position for custody and she gets to live in the home until it sells. She may also cheat to get over her emotional attachment to the man but it almost always means the end of the relationship.

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  • avatar

    Renee January 19, 2012, 8:39 am

    “If you tell anyone, let it be only your best friend and let her decide what to do with the information.”

    This is the type of advice I always need. Keep it strictly to the information, and do not speak indirectly of any possibly conclusions. Acknowledge that your goal isn’t to start rumors or speak ill, yet you’re confused about her public behavior.

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  • Budj

    Budj January 19, 2012, 9:21 am

    Agree with the tell your mutual friend crowd. She can decide what to do.

    Start rant: Unless they have a secret open relationship….”Jane”sucks. “Adam” is working so she can go to school and she’s using that oppotunity to cheat…right or wrong person be damned…you owe it to your partners to be open and upfront about things…especially a “not feeling it anymore that results in cheating, but I’m going to hide my outside relationship so my school situation doesn’t change” thing.

    I hope the LW’s friend decides to tell…this girl sounds totally selfish.

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    • Budj

      Budj January 19, 2012, 9:25 am

      opportunity* – I do like saying oppotunity outloud though.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 9:29 am

      I mean, does it really surprise you that “Jane” is selfish? If she’s in her early 20’s with a 2-year-old, she likely got pregnant in her late teens. Now she’s engaged with a family and going to college…where she sees all of the other girls her age living carefree lives and casually hooking up with dudes. It sounds like she might be trying to experience the life she didn’t get to have.

      Does that excuse her behavior? Absolutely not. But none of it surprises me. And, just to get on my soapbox for a second, this is why I am very wary of people getting married so young, when they have a child together. I think maybe they think they *should* get married for the child’s sake, but that’s such faulty logic. A child will be fine with two involved, loving supportive parents…regardless if those two parents are married or even romantically involved at all. When people get married so young for the “sake” of a child…they still have a lot of years left that probably should have been spent maturing, growing, and ensuring that they didn’t grow AWAY from that person. Sigh.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 19, 2012, 9:42 am

        No, it’s not surprising…it’s more disappointing to me – no one makes perfect choices all of the time…but this is so blatantly wrong. For all we know this guy put his college education on hold for her and she is just taking advantage of the situation. She made her choices and those youthful desires should be falling to the wayside…or she should break up with her fiance and go get a part-time job while she goes through school if she wants to pursue those desires. Why would she do that though when she has a great guy at home footing the bills while she gets herself educated.

        And wouldn’t it be perfect when he expects she use her education to foot the bills while he goes to school that she dumps him for someone else?

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 19, 2012, 9:47 am

        I know. I’m with you. It’s unfair and unjust all around. But, unfortunately, I doubt she has the maturity to see things the way you just described.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 19, 2012, 10:12 am

        RR, are you flirting with my DW boyfriend?

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      • Budj

        Budj January 19, 2012, 10:16 am

        LOL – if that is flirting then we are the worst flirters ever. Reminds me of that family guy segment on British porn…

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am January 19, 2012, 11:35 am

        I wonder if they get married to keep one or the other in toe. Raising a child by yourself is hard and it’s the woman that gets the child by herself 9/10. This girl is clearly wanting her cake and eating it too, but think of all the cases where the Father runs out and pays no child support or balks at paying it.

        In this instance, I don’t know if I would tell or not. I would think that the guy or girl would know if something is fishy going on with their significant other that is outside the norm. I would think people are creatures of habit and if anything was to change, you would discuss it with your SO first. These are hard situations to be wrapped up in.

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    • avatar

      amber January 19, 2012, 10:02 am

      I agree and I think people in situations like this convince themselves they’re not really doing anything wrong. I mean it’s not their fault if their relationship isn’t what it used to be or life isn’t what they expected, right? (please note sarcasm when reading that last line) I see this so often in the small town I grew up in. At least half (i swear it at least feels that way) of my graduating high school class got pregnant and married within a year of leaving high school. I’m going to guess that like 85% of them are now divorced and it’s because they’re now completely different people and grew apart or one or them cheated on the other. And it’s even worse when one of the people makes sacrifices for the family while the other one selflishly does whatever they want to because, this isn’t where they expected they’d be right now in life.

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      • Budj

        Budj January 19, 2012, 10:26 am

        It’s a victim complex rather than identifying self-responsibility for their choices.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am January 19, 2012, 11:37 am

        Accountability. Some people accept that they can’t do better and what they have is the best they will ever have.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy January 19, 2012, 11:36 am

        I’d seen the same in the town I’d grown up in, though the divorce rate isn’t quite 85%. But one story that was very common, was for a wife or girlfriend to cheat with a guy at the local college. This was what drove a lot of the town vs gown conflict. A campus full of young guys, who are more affluent and have a higher social status than the locals is like a giant honeypot for young women looking to step up in the world.

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  • avatar

    Flake January 19, 2012, 9:25 am

    Wow, I think this is like the first time I completely disagree with Wendy…

    Personally, in this case, I would talk to Jane. I would tell her that I know Adam, and though I do not know the details of their relationship, I do not feel comfortable witnessing something like this on a regular basis. I would tell her that I will not volunteer this information to anyone, but should someone ask, like, say Adam, I will not lie. I know that technically the LW is removed from the situation. But I think talking to Jane directly is the best course of action. Since the information concerns her and her relationship, she should be the one to decide what to do about it. She could become more discreet or stop the “affair”. She could also tell the LW to screw off and mind her own business. In either scenario, the LW will have a clear conscience.
    Talking to her best friend, however, might start a rumor mill that noone will want to deal with. And if it comes out, the LW will still be seen as a gossip who gets in other people’s business.
    Also I

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    • avatar

      amber January 19, 2012, 9:56 am

      I don’t know, I think talking to Jane directly could just cause more drama. I mean if she is having an affair she obviously doesn’t care about Adam’s feelings, why would she care about the LW, I’m sure she’ll find a way to paint the LW as a crazy person if Adam were to bring it up. (I can imagine something along the lines of: Oh her, she’s always wanted you, she’s jealous because we’re getting married, don’t even listen to her.) Talking to the sister would at least let her know what the situation is. I mean it could be that this isn’t the first time Jane has done something like this and truthfully the sister will probably be able to handle the situation better than someone who doesn’t really know the couple. This kind of thing almost never ends well and I mean for all the cheating letters on here we’ve had when have we ever seen an update that went I told so and so that they were being cheated on or I confronted the person that was cheating, they saw the light and things changed for the better or the relationship ended.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 19, 2012, 10:20 am

        Well, it worked for me once.. I saw a guy friend cheat on one of my friends, not best friend, but more than just an acquaintance. I just told him what I saw, and that it wasn’t my business to a point of going and informing my friend, but that I would not lie for him. I honestly do not know what happened later between them, if he ever told her, or someone else ever did, but their relationship ended not too long after.

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    • avatar

      Sarah January 19, 2012, 11:54 am

      I have to agree with you. Making this an issue is not the LW’s business, but I don’t think anybody would have a clear conscience if they had to see the guy working full time to support his family get cuckolded over and over again every time she runs into Jane at school. And you’re right, telling the friend is just going to incite gossip because everybody will have that same mindset of “well, I’m not sure I’m the *right* one to tell Adam, but I’ll go ahead and tell this other person who knows them,” and the rumor will keep spreading and spreading.

      Talking to Jane is a great way to remedy the solution because the LW gives Jane a chance to clean up her act or clear up the confusion without the LW turning into the catalyst for a break up. It could be as simple as the LW walking up to Jane the next time she catches her in a romantic session with a guy and just being like “HI JANE HOW ARE YOU DOING DO YOU LIKE THE WEATHER TODAY HOW WAS CLASS LOOK HOW I’M NOTICING YOU AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING.” So Jane get’s the point.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 19, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Yeah… I know that if someone asked me to tell my brother that he was cheated on, I may not be exactly thrilled with that option. Actually, now that I thought about that, I would tell the person to pass that information to my brother him/herself and make sure that no one finds out before he does.

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      • avatar

        amber January 19, 2012, 12:52 pm

        Well what if you’re in the position of not really knowing that person that well like the LW. Do you ask for their phone number? Just go to their house? I mean how would that make Adam feel to have a someone he knows sort of coming to his house or calling to let him know he was cheated on. I don’t know I would rather hear it from a close friend (or in a case like this a relative). I think this kind of thing just comes down to personal preference.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 19, 2012, 1:05 pm

        I would not tell Adam or my brother for that matter. But if I could, I would talk to the cheater and give him or her a chance to come clean.

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl January 19, 2012, 10:02 am

    I know everyone’s going to disagree and jump on me for being “interfering” in what’s “not her business,” but honestly? I’d go straight to Adam. I would tell him what I saw and that I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone else because I didn’t know their relationship status and didn’t want to start rumors, but since I was peripherally friends with him and Jane I didn’t feel right keeping it to myself. Possible outcomes:
    1.) Adam tells you to f*** off and mind your own business
    2.) They break up because of this
    3.) It comes out that one of Wendy’s possible “other explanations” is true
    4.) Adam says thanks for telling him and nothing changes
    There are probably several others I can’t think of right now (need more coffee), but really, I would NOT feel right keeping this kind of information to myself.

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    • avatar

      Something More January 19, 2012, 10:11 am

      I completely agree.

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    • katie

      katie January 19, 2012, 8:01 pm

      i totally agree also. you just cant un-see something like that, you know? it would grate on me everytime i saw or heard about them… i couldnt keep it to myself either.

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  • avatar

    Something More January 19, 2012, 10:09 am

    Many years ago, my husband and I were “going thru a rough patch.” It lasted awhile. Like, a couple years. But we stuck it out for our 2 young kids. We eventually came back around to eachother and decided to give it the ol’ collge try. We stayed together for a few more years until he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and we started the seperation process. This was in 2006. Last year, my best friend and I were talking and she mentioned how her ex-husband (my ex-husband’s BFF at the time) had told her I was cheated on during our rough patch. (The exes are in the Navy and it happened while they were deployed.) She had known about it, but since we reconciled and I seemed happy, she kept her mouth shut. I wish she would have said something. I wish she would have let me know what kind of man I had married turned into. One who seemed committed to me, but wasn’t. One who seemed committed to our family, but wasn’t. One who I wasted YEARS with loving who didn’t deserve it.

    LW, if you don’t want the drama, that’s fine. Tell your friend and she can pass it along. Be prepared to answer questions directly from “Adam” for clarification of what you saw. But for the love of god. Speak up.

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      anonymous January 19, 2012, 11:46 am

      Can I just say that I *hate* it when people after the fact say, “Yeah, I knew about that, but I didn’t want to say anything.” If you didn’t want to say anything at the time, *don’t* say anything *ever*. It just leaves the person feeling like a dumbshit and doesn’t help anything. Just resist the temptation to prove that you were “in the know.”

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      • avatar

        Something More January 19, 2012, 11:57 am

        I hate that as well. And while in my situation, my friend wasn’t using it as a proof of being in the know, but honestly just wanted me to be happy and that was, in her mind, the best way to handle the situation. I made it VERY clear to her that if anything like that happens again to tell me immediately. I am definitely a “I would want to know” person.

        BTW – I have had that conversation with all my friends. “Would you want to know if I found out…” It makes life easier.

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        iseeshiny January 19, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Maybe that’s a good solution? Asking Adam, “Would you want to know?” If he says yes, tell. If he says, no, don’t, but he might be more likely to be on the lookout for shady behavior. The hard part would be bringing it up naturally, since it doesn’t sound like they hang out.

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        Fabelle January 19, 2012, 3:30 pm

        Having a “would you want to know if…” conversation with friends (close friends, I’d say) is a good idea. But asking someone that when it’s clearly NOT hypothetical is prooobably a bad idea. Because what do you say if they’re like “Mmmnnnope, I wouldn’t want to know”? “Oh, alright. Have a nice day!”

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    Bossy Italian Wife January 19, 2012, 10:32 am

    LW, you sound like you are still in high school. This is none of your business and you need to butt out. When it comes to other people’s relationships, you need to leave well enough alone. You have no idea what goes on between two people and more than likely, that girl will end up hating you for outing her and so will the guy.

    Cheating isn’t a crime, though it’s in bad taste and totally unacceptable in my book, and it’s not your job to go around “reporting” on it to others.

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      Something More January 19, 2012, 10:48 am

      “Cheating isn’t a crime…”

      Actually, depending on where you live, it is. While the couple in the article is already married, I think just because it’s your opinion that one shouldn’t go reporting it around doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. I suppose if a friend’s 3 year old told you to “Fuck off,” you wouldn’t mention it to their parents, because well, cussing isn’t against the law.

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      • katie

        katie January 19, 2012, 8:04 pm

        that was the first thing i thought of to!!

        cheating is a crime in some places, certainly in other parts of the world, and i believe it should be everywhere!!

        if you marry someone you marry them. if you want to be with other people you have to divorce. period.

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    Fabelle January 19, 2012, 10:55 am

    I agree with Wendy, but these kinds of letters are always so polarizing. It seems like most people have a built-in response to these kinds of situations– either “Not my business or my place!” or “OH GOD I can’t just let him/her marry that cheating scum!!!!

    Which is why, LW, I guess I’m going to be that asshole who questions your intentions? Since you’re not having either of those reactions & seem to want permission to tell someone about what you saw. Like… I’m not going to accuse you having a thing for Jane’s fiance or taking pleasure in meddling because there’s no evidence of those things in your letter. But I just don’t understand why someone in this position would be SO uncertain of what to do that they’d need to write an advice column? Maybe that’s because if it were me, I would never even think twice about NOT telling. I am firmly in the not-my-business-or-place camp.

    But anyway. If you read your own letter, you list pretty accurately (in one sentence) the pros and cons of interfering: “…I don’t know Adam and I don’t want to start a grapevine of rumors but at the same time, I feel that Adam deserves to know his fiancée isn’t fully committed.” You seem more focused on the “he deserves to know” bit, because you go on to say you were 100% certain blah blah & if it were you, you’d want to know etc. However, I think you should focus more on the grapevine of rumors part. Grapevines of rumors and the bullshit that follows isn’t worth it. Especially since you don’t even seem that close with Adam or Jane. And trust me, nothing ever turns out well for the informant in these situations.

    Example: If I (a random internet commenter) can think to be skeptical of your intentions, then this group of people you’re involved with might come down even harsher on you. If she’s actually innocent, it’s going to seem like you were trying to start drama. If she’s guilty– and in such a state of not-giving-a-fuck that she’s flaunting it around campus– then I don’t think she’d be daunted by a third-party witness claiming to have seen her with some other dude. There are enough ways to explain that away to her fiance. Like… “He’s my gay friend!”

    Don’t tell your best friend either, because she’ll probably tell her boyfriend– who will then feel obligated to tell his brother. Then Jane or Adam (if he’s in denail) can pin the blame on any of the 3 of you for making it up, because it’s such a he-said, she-said clusterfuck. I know I’m presenting sort of worst-case scenarios, but that doesn’t mean it’s unlikely– shit like this does bring out THE WORST in people. So seriously, stay out of it.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 10:58 am

    Anectodes are just my favorite:

    A few years ago, I found out that my neighbor’s live in boyfriend was cheating on her with multiple women. We had become pretty good friends, but I did not have concrete proof, and telling her would have lost the trust of one of my roommates. So I said nothing and inwardly despised him a little more than I already did for about 4 months- until she came up to my apartment with a huge handprint on her face. I told her then because she was considering going back to him and I was desperate to prevent that. And guess what? It didn’t work. And it made him even more bold in his cheating because just a week later I DID get concrete proof.

    I was sitting on the one train waiting for it to leave the station in the morning. He got off an arriving train directly across the platform from me on his way home from the night shift. He was porno kissing some girl from his job. I assume they were heading to the apt he share with m friend while she was at work (she’s a teacher). I was so mad I was shaking. So I told her. And you know what? She didn’t believe me. She thought I was making the whole thing up in order to get her to leave him. Well, I may have been a little harsh then. My reply to her was not kind. And we didn’t speak for about 6 months until she finally caught him in the act, dumped him, moved out, etc. In the interim I had moved out of our building. It was a tough place to be in. I kicked myself for ever getting involved, and to be honest, if I had it to do over I’d just have minded my damn business. You have no idea how a person might react in the face of unwanted information. And you certainly can’t force a person to help themselves until they’re ready to. Lesson learned.

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      Something More January 19, 2012, 11:09 am

      Lesson learned. Even tho you said yourself that you never know how a person would react to that kind of information? Sure, s/he might not believe you, but at least your conscience is relieved. What if the next (hopefully there’s not one) time it happens, the cheatee leaves before they have a chance to smacked across the face. Or throws one month, six months, years down the drain for someone who obviously doesn’t care about them. I get it. You tried to help someone out and it was completely unappreciated, thrown back at you and tossed aside. But you would blanket this one woman’s response and actions onto the rest of the population so YOU wouldn’t have to deal with the “drama?”

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 11:22 am

        Cheater does not equal a physical abuser. There was no way I could have known that he would do that just because he was cheating. And in case you didn’t notice- I did get involved when there was physical abuse. You are right about one thing- let me ammend my lesson learned- I would get involved again if I suspected physical abuse. Absolutely I would. Even though the “drama” was not merely her not believing me. He STALKED me after I told her and threatened me. It’s part of the reason I moved out of the building. It was a nightmare of a situation, so don’t paint me so callous. These situations are never simple and I had to protect myself in the end.

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 11:35 am

        I didn’t mean to imply cheater = physical abuser. My wording was… awful. I just meant that if you would have said something four months prior when you found out, then it might have saved her from getting smacked in the face in this particular incident (probably not since she was so adament you were lying). That guy is obviously a whack job (unfortunately you found out the hard way) but to still deter you from speaking up again in a different situation… I guess people are just different in their willingness to help others.

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    wendyblueeyes January 19, 2012, 11:03 am

    Take a picture. Print it out. Mail it to Adam anonymously. Don’t breathe a word to anyone that you sent it. You can then sleep at night knowing that Adam has the info and will do with it what he wants. If it’s a harmless friendship, no foul. If not, It’s Adam’s call.

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      Trixy Minx January 19, 2012, 12:37 pm

      I like this. Sometimes people need concrete proof that their significant other is cheating.

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        Mel January 19, 2012, 12:56 pm

        I don’t. Way too sneaky.

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        lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Sneaky like a cheater?

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 1:25 pm

        Haha. I love that idea. Although it could be pretty awkward to take a good enough picture of her that Adam couldn’t say it wasn’t her. I can just imagine the LW standing 5 feet away from her taking a picture with her i-phone. I have NEVER understood why people choose not to believe it when strangers tell them their SO is cheating. I know the statistic is that 50% of people wish they had never been told, but it’s like really? You like walking around like a total clueless jackass? I guess ignorance is bliss but JESUS.

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        lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:34 pm

        I don’t get it either. Why would someone make that up?
        Even if I HATED my friend’s SO, I wouldn’t lie and say he’s a cheater just to get her away from him. I guess you are right about the ‘ignorance is bliss’ thing. Pretty sad.

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        amber January 19, 2012, 1:48 pm

        I think it comes down to it’s easier to believe it’s not true than to deal with it. Especially if you really want the person you’re with to be the one. You can’t imagine that they’d ever do that to you. It’s a lot easier to blame the messenger for wanting to screw with you.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 6:25 pm

        But why would a messanger want to screw with you? Like have you really met that many crazy people in your life? I have met one compulsive liar in my life. IN MY LIFE. One person. And I don’t necessarily believe that once a cheater always a cheater. But I do believe that once you cheat with me i’m sure as hell not going to stick around to see if you do it again. I just think once one person (X) cheats on one person (Y), X will always cheat on Y. X might go on to have a phenominal monogomous relationship with Z, but X and Y just can’t act like it didn’t happen and go on to have a great relationship after something like that. Just my opinion.

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        amber January 19, 2012, 6:30 pm

        I don’t disagree with you at all. I just think in general that’s why people react the way they do when presented with that sort of information. I haven’t ever been presented with this sort of information, however I have had friends who have been told they were being cheated on and they would not believe it. Nothing made them believe it until they saw it in front of them (literally my one friend came home to find her bf in bed with someone else THEN she believed she was being cheated on). I truly think that’s because for them it’s just easier to not believe it.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 7:00 pm

        Well I seriously want your friends phone number. Like this is just one issue where I can never see the other side – or like I never understand why people don’t believe it when they hear it. Like what did your friend say once she had proof? Then did she admit those people weren’t lying to her? Was she embarrassed that she didn’t believe them? Did she ever admit that she was being willfully blind and secretly knew deep down inside? And if she really did believe the person (even if she wouldn’t admit it) why did she stick around and not further investigate? Did she turn into a sneaky snooper after that?

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 6:38 pm

        I agree with you, but having been in that position it’s not so easy. If it wasn’t my best friend whom I had known for all of my life, I wouldn’t have believed her. It’s easier to believe someone else, especially if you don’t know them well or aren’t that great of friends, or whatever, than to believe someone you love and trusted (especially if you’ve been dating them a long time) has cheated on you.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 6:57 pm

        I’m not being judgmental at all, i’m just so curious about why you would not believe. I really do want someone who has chosen not to believe (so obviously you wouldn’t fall into that category) to explain to me.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 7:02 pm

        @ForeverYoung I don’t think you’re being judgmental and I’m sorry if I made you think that. You don’t want to believe someone that you trusted and loved and put work into a relationship has cheated on you and so the more distant the relationship with the person who tells you about it (like say you’ve been cheated on and some friend of a friend of a friend that you’ve met once), it’s easy to convince yourself that they’ve been mistaken and that it was someone that looks like your s.o., but wasn’t actually them. And if it goes through a chain of people so someone closer tells you, it’s easy to believe that someone along the chain miscommunicated the info and your s.o. wasn’t cheating on you.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 8:05 pm

        But I mean wouldn’t you at least try to check the story out? Like make sure it wasn’t true before just blindly disregarding the information? I would! And then if it checked out, great – no harm no foul. I am now going to be obsessed with googling articles where women talk about these things. First it was baby blogs, then marriage trouble/divorce articles, and now this. I am just so curious about people’s decision making trees.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 8:26 pm

        Checking it out would mean having a chance that it’s true and that’s scary. It’s easier to say you’re lying and lash out at the person who told you instead of your s.o.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 8:39 pm

        But this is such irrational thinking I don’t get how 50% of people say they would like to remain in the dark. To me that is insanity. to me it’s almost childish – like if I just close my eyes it will go away. Thanks for indulging me. It still makes no more sense to me than before though.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 19, 2012, 8:42 pm

        I agree it’s irrational and doesn’t make sense.

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        ForeverYoung January 19, 2012, 6:22 pm

        Yeah I don’t get it. Like maybe if this has happened to someone and they really wish they didn’t know, I want to have an interview with them. Like I want them to spend at least 3 hours explaining why they would rather have not known. Every logical fiber in my being does not understand wanting to be clueless. I would want someone to tell me if they had WAY less proof than this LW does. Like you saw my husband ask some chick for her number? I want to know. If it’s innocent he will be able to explain that to me. Knowledge is power. That’s my saying instead of ignorance is bliss.

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  • avatar

    _jsw_ January 19, 2012, 11:15 am

    I think that the LW should do nothing or should mention something non-confrontational to “Jane” (“I saw you hanging out with someone a few times, and I have no idea what the background is and won’t mention it to anyone else, but you might want to keep in mind that others might not understand if they see you as well.”) Jane is the only one who knows the whole story, and telling anyone else risks side effects that might not have anything to do with the actual situation.

    While there are a ton of other explanations, it seems likely Jane is cheating – in some form – on her fiancé. She’s about to get married young after becoming a mother before she intended to (probably), and she might just be having one last fling before walking down the aisle. Maybe all it is, is some affection and kissing. Maybe they’re sleeping together. The point is that none of us know, nor do any of us know the circumstances. Jane knows. She’s the only one who does. If what she’s doing is wrong, she’ll do something about it, probably, once it’s clear it’s known to others. She’ll call it off. She’ll call off the wedding. She’ll confess to “Adam”. She’ll bitch out the LW and hope she never says anything. I don’t know. Knowing that someone else knows will likely have some effect, though, and might correct the problem – if there is one – with the least amount of drama possible.

    I’ve cheated on people, and I’ve been cheated on. Cheating on someone doesn’t inherently mean you don’t care about them. Being cheated on doesn’t inherently mean the other person doesn’t care about you. It also doesn’t mean the relationship can’t work out (or that it will). There are some good people who have cheated, and some horribly evil people who haven’t. It is always a different situation, like snowflakes, when it comes to people who aren’t just scum out looking to get laid.

    She’s a mother in her early 20s who’s about to make a major life choice, and she’s likely having some fun before she does so. Maybe she’s naive enough to think she’s never going to be spotted, and maybe they have an agreement, but I don’t see any situation where telling Adam or the LW’s best friend will do anything to help things. Telling Jane might.

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    • avatar

      Flake January 19, 2012, 11:24 am

      Exactly.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster January 19, 2012, 11:34 am

      _jsw_, I’ve missed your insight!!

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      Renee January 19, 2012, 11:35 am

      I really appreciate this response. It’s hard going up to someone you really don’t know well, but if you tell a third person even someone you trust and should normally speak to, you and “Jane” can’t control who they may speak to.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar January 19, 2012, 12:07 pm

      Telling Adam or someone who tells Adam what the LW saw results in Adam knowing the truth. It may not benefit Jane but ultimately that information will benefit Adam. All of us should be afforded the opportunity to make decisions with as much information available to us as possible. I can’t think of a situation where knowing less about a life choice is better than knowing more. Maybe it leads to a break up – maybe it leads to nothing – or even counselling but I feel that is a call for Adam to make. Telling Jane, to me, is just like telling her big brother is watching – a little creepy but without any consequence.

      Fascinating to get other points of view though – I can’t name one person in my circle who wouldn’t want to know or who wouldn’t be upset with someone who knew but didn’t say anything.

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 12:14 pm

        “Telling Jane, to me, is just like telling her big brother is watching – a little creepy but without any consequence.”

        100% agree. If she is cheating, she’s being an asshole and doesn’t derserve the “heads up,” her fiance does. Who cares how she feels about it?

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        Fabelle January 19, 2012, 12:35 pm

        “Telling Jane, to me, is just like telling her big brother is watching – a little creepy but without any consequence.” I know you’re saying “without any consequence” like it’s a bad thing, but I don’t get that attitude. No one should decide if there’s “consequences” for a cheating person except whoever he or she is in a relationship with. There’s a fine line between tipping somebody off because you want them to make an informed decision, and being a moral crusader. (And I’m not attacking you personally, just offering my perspective on this side of the argument)

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 1:42 pm

        I guess the “consequence” is just being held accountable for her actions. You’re right – Adam is the one who decides if there is a consequence. But he can’t if he doesn’t have the information. In reality, it doesn’t matter if Adam calls off the wedding. Or if he shrugs it off as rumor. The point is he has the choice. As of now (assuming nothing like this has happened before) he’s completely in the dark. If someone is cheating and a mutual aquaintance came up to and said, “Just so you know, I saw you, but I’m not going to do anything about it,” do you really think their conscience is going to magically decide to break thru? I doubt it.

        And for the record – I appreciate the offering of a different perspective and the chance to clarify my opinions. 🙂

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        _jsw_ January 19, 2012, 12:30 pm

        “It may not benefit Jane but ultimately that information will benefit Adam.”

        And how is it that you know that? There is no way whatsoever for you to know that the LW telling Adam will in any way benefit him. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t, and it’s a bit pious, I think, to suggest that anyone would be able to be certain of a positive impact and would definitely have a good reason to tell him.

        What is certain is that he cannot be un-told, and that, by telling him, you’d be creating a path in his life that he cannot un-walk. Maybe he’d be better off knowing, but it’s at least as likely that he’d end up taking a course of action which wouldn’t benefit him, Jane, or their child based on an emotional response to an event he found out about second-hand.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar January 19, 2012, 2:06 pm

        The benefit I was referring to is not the end result – I don’t know how it will end – but the benefit of having the most information possible before making a decision. I grant you this is a principled approach – like I said I can’t think of when knowing less would be better than knowing more when making life decisions. I feel in advocating not to tell Adam, aren’t you then essentially making that decision for him? You’ve decided that he will be better off not knowing? Adam can’t be untold but neither can the LW un-see what she saw. Why should she be complicit in the secret vs. Adam having to deal with the reality of his relationship – however he wants to.
        Personally, I am a truth will set you free kind of person…it may not feel like a blessing right away but ultimately there is no sin in hearing the truth. Other people feel differently – and that’s cool – I have heard people say they wouldn’t mind their partner cheating if it was just once, far away and no one knew; some people stay married wilfully blind to affairs going on for years; and there are people like me that would treat it as a kindness to be told so I could see about my life on my terms. Clearly we fall in different places along the spectrum – the LW will have to figure out where she falls.

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

        If I could “like” this a million times, I would.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy January 19, 2012, 3:23 pm

        I’m prone to agreeing w/ this perspective, but there is the fact that they intend to marry. And if they do, he’s taking on a legal and financial liability that significantly ups the ante. Would he be likely to take that risk knowing that his fiancee is cheating on him?

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        Flake January 19, 2012, 12:39 pm

        I also think that telling Adam looks a little too much like meddling in something that is none of your business and could be interpreted as self-serving. Whereas, telling Jane, and giving her a chance to explain and/or correct her mistake is the least meddling option in my opinion.

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        Flake January 19, 2012, 1:01 pm

        It’s not like Jane is trying to be discreet and the LW is spying on her.

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 2:04 pm

        It’s not really spying if someone is making out on a couch next to a computer that you’re working on….

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        Something More January 19, 2012, 2:06 pm

        Flake – I totally read your response wrong. Please disregard my last comment.

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        Flake January 19, 2012, 2:17 pm

        I figured 🙂

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    • katie

      katie January 19, 2012, 8:19 pm

      to me, this just seems like a bunch of reasons why cheaters should be able to get away with it….

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  • bagge72

    Bagge72 January 19, 2012, 11:23 am

    Take a picture with your phone next time you see it, and send him an anonymous email! Or you will at least have evidence to back you up after you tell you BFF, and Adam comes to you for more information.

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      Renee January 19, 2012, 12:01 pm

      Better yet let’s get a group together for a traditional stoning on the campus quad.

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

      But I understand you’re point very well, because if approached she will deny it personally and make one look like they’re nuts.

      In the way media now works anything recorded can easily become viral much like a ‘digital stoning’. It won’t do anyone any good and cause greater harm.

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  • Lyra

    L January 19, 2012, 11:39 am

    I really don’t have anything more to add…just this rant:

    I think it was ReginaRey who mentioned how people tend to rush into marriage too young. I very much agree with that. Right now I have a friend whose Facebook statuses are all about how she has found “The One” and how she’s started planning their wedding. Here’s the kicker…they started dating 3 months ago…AND she’s 19…AND she recently moved in with the guy into a HOUSE with a MORTGAGE. It feels like that one is a time bomb that’s about to explode. Of course every relationship is different and goes at a different pace, but honestly, what’s the rush??? When I look back at who I was when I was 19 and who I am now, it seems like a joke. I’ve always been fairly mature for my age, but I’ve grown personally so much in the past 5 years. I truly believe that people need to take time to grow as a person before taking the plunge and getting married.

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      _jsw_ January 19, 2012, 11:47 am

      My opinion is that all marriages should be like leases. You sign up for a period of time – let’s say three years – and can only get out of it with a costly divorce. You must renew each period for another one. There are legal benefits to marriage, so there should be some minimum term associated with it.

      If you’re with someone you want to be with, and vice-versa, it’s a no-brainer.

      If either of you wants out, it’s easy to do so – you just don’t renew.

      I’ve never seen any benefit to effectively making it difficult or impossible for many to divorce due to financial reasons. I don’t think we as a society benefit from unhappy marriages. I think all of us – aside from divorce lawyers – would benefit from making marriages as easy to exit as they are to enter.

      Those who want to stay married due to religious reasons can – nothing stops them. Those who don’t, won’t.

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        Renee January 19, 2012, 11:56 am

        Isn’t that what dating/having a relationship is for?

        What they heck has the couple been doing then prior to the wedding then, if they think early in their marriage as a lease.

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        Flake January 19, 2012, 12:34 pm

        I actually agree with you. No matter how long you date, once you start living together as a couple (married or unmarried) you will find out a lot of interesting things about each other. Some of those things might become deal breakers for you over time. Or you will simply fall out of love.

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        AKchic January 19, 2012, 12:43 pm

        You’re thinking of a hand-fasting. A person is hand-fast for a year and a day, and should they choose to renew, they do. No real ceremony. If there are children involved, then it gets a bit more complicated, of course. I’m not up on my Druidic law when it comes to those issues. I just know the preliminaries.

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      • katie

        katie January 19, 2012, 8:14 pm

        mexico actually considered making that a law- a marriage that had an expiration date… i dont think that it ultimately passed, but i remember all the talk about it.. its an interesting concept.

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      anonymous January 19, 2012, 11:56 am

      Adding to your plug, or maybe supplementing it:

      I was engaged at 19. My in-laws somehow managed to get us into intense premarital counseling (I don’t know how they persuaded us, since we were so smart) — and I nearly broke off the engagement during the counseling. I took a deep breath, and looked at what I was really committing to, and made the conscious decision to make that commitment (rather than the ooey-gooey emotional decision).

      We have now been married 20 years. We’ve seen lots of changes in ourselves and our situation during that time. But we love each other deeply, and know how to draw each other back when we’re feeling distant.

      So — here’s my shameless advertisement for good premarital counseling, particularly of young couples (but even for the older folks out there!).

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      • Lyra

        L January 19, 2012, 12:57 pm

        I totally agree. I think it IS possible to make things work at a young age…as long as — like you did with your husband — things are hashed out in pre-marriage counseling beforehand. Unfortunately, not every young couple does this and sometimes marriages fall apart simply because they grow apart.

        I remember when I first started dating my current boyfriend at age 21 (I’m 23 now), I wanted to get married within the first couple years. I fell hard and fast for him. Though I still love him very much and am hopeful that we will get married someday, I also see the bigger picture. We’ve had our share of fights. We’ve almost broken up a couple of times. In a way, I’m fortunate that he will be in school through May because it has allowed us to grow as a couple and to not rush into things.

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      Sarah January 19, 2012, 12:01 pm

      The only thing that scares me more about myself 5 years ago than that I was so completely devoted to being with men who were absolutely wrong for me is that no one in the world could convince me that it was a mistake to do so.

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        rangerchic January 19, 2012, 12:35 pm

        I agree with anonymous and Sarah. I was so stubborn no one could tell me the guy I was seeing was so not right – though they tried.

        And my sister ended up in two bad relationships – married. She is only 25 and has two divorces under her belt. The second guy kept cheating and was such a lier. I tried talking to her but she wouldn’t listen until she was ready and realized she needed help.

        I’m in the tell someone camp. I would want to know. And, I don’t understand if you (as a couple) have an open relationship why hang out like that out in the open unless your comfortable with the whole world knowing – which is fine – but it doesn’t sound like anyone close to the couple knows this information.

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      • Lyra

        L January 19, 2012, 1:00 pm

        That’s really sad about your sister, rangerchic. I’m always sad when people “settle” for someone who so obviously treats them like crap.

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    AKchic January 19, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Jane is in college while the fiancee, Adam, is working full time to support his family. College does seem to me (and correct me if I’m wrong, since I’ve never been to college myself yet) a different atmosphere, and a different world, than home and the working world.
    It could be that Jane has a completely separate life on the college campus. Something where she doesn’t feel like a nearly-married woman with a child. A desired, desirous, sensual woman, which is something that is lacking in her home life where she is just the (soon-to-be) ball and chain and “Mommy”.

    No, I’m not saying that it’s a good reason to cheat, but it is an explanation (however thin). It’s a common one too. I’ve seen it plenty of times. Newish moms with their partners too busy (in their minds) to pay as much attention to them as they’d like, so they end up finding attention elsewhere outside of the house when they get part time work or go back to school. It’s so detached from their “norm” that it feels safe, and they do it out in the open because they don’t think they’ll get caught, or they WANT to get caught, or they enjoy the alter-ego they’ve created.

    LW – if you happen to see Jane again, and you’re feeling frisky, you could just brightly go up to her and her paramour (if they are in full lip-lock, or hand-holding, or whatever compromising position) and say “hey Jane, good to see you, I’m X’s friend! I didn’t know you and Adam separated. Who’s your new guy? You’re looking good”. Let HER answer your questions. Let HER be the one to answer the awkward questions.
    Or, just realize that this is a very conflicted woman who will eventually be outed on her own.

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      amber January 19, 2012, 12:55 pm

      I like the approach you use in your example. It lets her know people are aware and I think honestly would probably fluster her more than being approached about it in a more upfront way. Also the reaction of her new friend will tell a lot in that example as well.

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    • Lyra

      L January 19, 2012, 1:06 pm

      That’s a very interesting perspective, AKchic; I really like your idea for approaching Jane. And I can’t help but wonder if Jane’s college boy knows about her fiance and child…

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      Flake January 19, 2012, 1:09 pm

      Yes, if you see them walking on campus holding hands, you bump in to them “accidentally” and say, “Jane? Is that you? Haven’t seen you for a while… How’s Adam doing, is he still working all day?”, then wish her a great day, and move on.

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        lets_be_honest January 19, 2012, 1:13 pm

        I loved AK’s idea, then I read yours…
        awesome!

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      AKchic January 19, 2012, 2:42 pm

      I hate to see the LW confide in her friend, who is to become the SIL to Jane if the marriage does happen. She would have poisoned that relationship, or, if the best friend didn’t believe her, poisoned her own friendship. If she was believed, the best friend would tell her own BF (if I’m reading this right, it’s the BF and Adam who are siblings). She would ask her BF if things were still good, and end up confessing what she was told, which would end up getting back to Adam, and then there’s more drama than the LW really wanted in the first place.
      By going to Jane, it saves a lot of drama, and gives Jane a chance to repair things herself with minimal damage to multiple lives.

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  • Lili

    Lili January 19, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Hmm, this letter is making me think back to a discussion in yesterday’s comments about relationships that are right shouldn’t be hard. Doesn’t this include the ability to stay faithful, for me it does. Sure, the LW doesn’t know Adam or Jane that well, but maybe confiding in the Best Friend could save both parties a painful divorce later on. I truly believe that people who are meant to be find a way in the end, and if Jane needs to sow some oats then she should be able to. Sure a child is involved, but if they can raise the child cordially, then a reconciliation could occur after both have explored other options and independently figured out each is the best one.

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    caffeinatrix January 19, 2012, 4:32 pm

    These are such difficult situations because the answer can really go either way- telling the partner who’s being cheated on can be the right OR wrong thing to do. I was involved in something similar a couple months ago, but in my case, it was a coworker I didn’t know well before we went on a work trip together, and I saw her drunkenly making out with someone on the trip. She’d been with her boyfriend for a couple of years, but I had never met him. I wasn’t sure what to do- I thought about trying to stop her and ask her what she was doing, but at the same time, I didn’t know if she and her boyfriend had maybe had a fight and broken up recently, or had an open relationship, or any other number of extenuating circumstances. In any case, if what she was doing was wrong, I figured she knew and I didn’t think she’d appreciate me confronting her about it. So, in that case, I chose not to get involved. But in a situation where you basically know everyone, the couple is engaged with a child involved, and you know it wasn’t just one random occurrence, it’s even murkier. Wendy’s advice to tell the mutual friend, if you chose to speak to anyone, is probably the best course of action.

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    Betty Boop January 19, 2012, 7:41 pm

    Unless you are absolutely, positively, unmistakably sure it was Jane you saw, do not approach anyone about this. There’s been more than one time when I was convinced I say somebody where they shouldn’t be, doing things they shouldn’t be doing or what have you and been completely wrong later. It’s easy to mistake somebody in passing. If you have incontrovertible proof that it was Jane misbehaving then I would consider speaking, without drawing any conclusions, with your best friend and seeing how she feels it best to proceed.

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  • katie

    katie January 19, 2012, 8:18 pm

    i would never be able to keep this information to myself. i dont know what it makes me, but i think people have the right to know the truth 100% of the time. if i was in your shoes, i would tell any of them, all of them, im not sure… i would definetly tell, though, and then i would sit through whatever drama came my way knowing full well i did the right thing. that is all that would matter to me.

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  • avatar

    Jay January 22, 2012, 3:55 am

    I think you should tell. I would really appreciate if someone would tell me that.

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