“Should I Tell Her That Her Boyfriend’s A Big Cheater?”

I met Cate a few years ago when I began dating my music-manager boyfriend. Cate was dating Parker, a musician in one the bands my boyfriend managed, so we saw each other at every show and became friendly enough to hang out outside of music venues. It was really nice meeting someone I had so much in common with, as it doesn’t happen very often. However, there were a lot of secrets I knew about Parker that I was unable to tell Cate due to my boyfriend’s management relationship with him. Parker cheated on her many, many times while they were dating and even routinely slept with his roommate/band member/ex-girlfriend, Jessica. Parker used to very seriously date Jessica (they even had an abortion together), yet told Cate that they were never more than friends. Oh, dramatic musicians! This information was kept top secret because if I spilled the beans to Cate, it would have hurt (potentially destroyed) my boyfriend’s management relationship with the band.

The last time I spent time with Cate, she told me that Parker told her he loved her, and she continuously asked me about him. When she asked me questions, I had to tell her that I didn’t know anything, so I gave her some generic advice about following her gut instinct. I know she would have broken up with him a million times over if she knew the extent of his behavior. Eventually, I realized I could never be friends with her without the ability to tell her the truth. I couldn’t watch her fall in love with a guy who cheated and lied to her. Therefore, I’ve spent the past 6 months being cordial whenever I see her at shows and keeping conversations friendly and brief, but we’re nothing more than acquaintances at this point.

In a recent change of events, however, my boyfriend is no longer managing Parker’s band and has completely moved on from that business relationship. So now I am left with a predicament… should I try to reach out to Cate? She is still dating Parker and I would have to tell her everything if it came up. My boyfriend has already given me the go ahead if I decide to. Assuming she believes me (I think I would really just be confirming her suspicions), I think we could really become good friends. I tend to steer clear of drama, so if I didn’t see potential with this friendship I would let it go. Or should I simply leave this all in the past and resign myself to the idea that the timing was just not right for this friendship — Not in the Band

What concerns me about your situation is your motivation for telling Cate that her boyfriend is a no-good cheater. Rather than sparing her the potential hurt of investing more time with her loser musician, you’re more interested in creating some space for your once-budding friendship to bloom again. While it’s not a bad thing to want to be friends with this woman you have so much common with and whose company you enjoy, I’m afraid using that as your motivation for cluing her in on what sort of fellow she’s been with all these months could backfire. How do you suppose she might react when she learns you’ve known about his cheating ways all this time, but you let her believe you knew nothing — even when she pointedly and repeatedly asked you if you had information about him? I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s pissed. Really pissed. Does the phrase, “Blame the messenger” mean anything to you?

But I’m not saying you shouldn’t tell Cate what you know. On the contrary, I think you should. But don’t do it because you hope to be besties with her. There’s a really good chance she’s never going to want to speak to you again after you share your information with her. If she even believes you’re telling the truth, she’ll likely be embarrassed, hurt, and angry you lied to her — emotions that don’t lend themselves all that well to forging a solid friendship. So, instead, tell her because it’s the right thing to do and if the tables were reversed — if you were with someone who had repeatedly done you wrong and a person you trusted knew about it, you’d want her to tell you. Do it because you like her and you hate seeing a good person with a bad guy. Do it as a favor from one woman to another.

And when you do tell her, be sure to explain how terrible you felt keeping the information from her for so long and that had it not been for your boyfriend’s working relationship with Parker, you would have been truthful much earlier. Tell her, even if it isn’t 100% the truth, that the reason you’re coming clean now is because you think she’s such a wonderful person who deserves to be with someone who respects her enough to be faithful. And then apologize for lying to her all those times she repeatedly asked what you knew and you said nothing. Ask for her forgiveness, and hope she’s got it in her heart to move past her pain and eventually give a friendship with you a shot. But know if she does, know that it’s probably going to take a while to re-earn her trust.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. I’m struggling to understand your reasoning behind all this. Up until now, it seems to have been about what is convenient for you and what fits your own agenda. Your motivation for telling her now is that there is no risk of the band’s relationship being ruined since your bf no longer manages them. You even distances yourself from her so you wouldn’t feel so awkward, rather than just telling her. It doesn’t sound much like a friendship. She confided her feelings about him to you and even asked your opinion on stuff, and your reaction is to distance yourself?

    But, you can’t change the past and maybe you truly see a potential for a friendship with her. In which case, obviously the right thing to do is to tell her now. But as Wendy said, I wouldn’t hold your breath for her to exactly be thanking you. In a truly selfless act, you should tell her for her own best interest even if it means she hates you for it. You put your needs ahead of hers before, now it’s time to put hers ahead of yours.

    1. I think you are being a little harsh on the LW. There was a professional line that couldn’t be crossed. She only knew any of this because her boyfriend had confided confidential work information. It would undermine the trust of her romantic relationship if she suddenly started sharing his trade secrets. It was unfortunate that everything became this entangled, but drawing these kind of work/personal boundaries are necessary. I think the girlfriend of the band member was not completely correct to asks the manager’s girlfriend about such information. I don’t hold it against her (I’d probably do the same), but it was a mis-step. A person should not seek deep personal information in a professional situation.

      1. I was thinking this exact thing. Distancing herself was probably the best decision in the situation she was in. Either she betrays her BF and possibly ruins his business relationship, or betrays her new friend. That’s a tough place to be in. I agree with Wendy’s comments on WHY she should tell her friend now, but I don’t fault her for her past actions in this situation.

      2. Oh I agree 100%. I’m not doubting her decision to not tell Cate anything. I think all of us would do what is in the best interest of our significant other any day. But when she made that decision, she decided to not be Cate’s friend (which, in her given situation was the right choice). The slight issue I have is with her desire to all of a sudden be friends with this person because it is now convenient. I just don’t think there is any base of loyalty for this friendship – in fact, almost the opposite. I’ll again stress that there is nothing wrong with that at all. We can’t be saints all the time and we can’t be friends with everyone. I just think that when she made the decision to _not_ make Cate’s relationship her business, she should continue on that route. The right thing to do, obviously, would be to tell her, but I don’t think it should be done with the motivation of earning her friendship.

      3. I don’t understand what the big deal was. So if the LW told Cate, Cate would have broken up with Parker. Why would Parker be mad? He doesn’t seem to be short of girls to sleep around with. And it doesn’t seem like Parker cared much about Cate anyway, otherwise he wouldn’t have cheated on her.

        And the LW would have earned Cate’s respect for not letting her waste her time and get emotionally involved with such a douchebag. That would have been a solid base for a friendship.

        It seems to me that the LW chose her boyfriend’s (potential) money over a (potential) friendship. She already made her choice.

      4. She chose loyalty to her SO, not necessarily his money. There can be other ramifications in additional to a one-time financial loss when a business relationship is fractured or broken. She could have also seriously harmed her relationship with her SO.

      5. It would be nice if things always worked out that easily! “So if the LW told Cate, Cate would have broken up with Parker. Why would Parker be mad? He doesn’t seem to be short of girls to sleep around with.” We all know that is they way it would work in a perfect world, but in reality Parker would have been pissed off that his manager told his personal business to his girlfriend, who intern blew up his spot with Cate. Most likely Parker would have fired his manager, and the LW’s boyfriend could have potentially dumped her for screwing up his career.

      6. EC was here says:

        I think that she handled the situation by distancing herself from Cate. She wanted to tell her that Parker was cheating on her, but it would’ve been a breech of professionalism on her part. Plus, she’s hearing the information second hand from her BF. Who is to say how he came into that knowledge? Was he seeing different girls leaving Parker’s room every morning? Was Parker telling him that was was sleeping with Jessica or expanding on his conquests?
        I do find her desire to become good friends with Cate to be odd now that her BF is no longer the manager of the band. I’m not sure what will become of her telling Cate that Parker has been cheating on her all along. If I was in the situation I would be upset that I was lied to and avoided. I also think Cate had a feeling that Parker was cheating on her, why else would she ask other people over and over again.

      7. MiraGeauxRound says:

        “She wanted to tell her that Parker was cheating on her, but it would’ve been a breech of professionalism on her part.”

        Wasn’t him telling his girlfriend his client’s personal business a breech of professionalism on his part?

      8. I can go further, and say that, if Cate had any brains, she wouldn’t have jeopardized LW’s boyfriend’s business relationship with Parker. In a perfect world, Cate would have rewarded LW’s loyalty to her, with her won loyalty.

        And given with how many girls Parker slept with, I don’t think he cared that much about Cate to begin with. I don’t think he would have been that upset. Unless, of course, he swore his manager to secrecy, in which case, I completely agree with the LW to choose her loyalty to her SO before anyone else. But these are all speculations. And it just my opinion, but I think that the effects of the “spill” have been grossly exaggerated.

        And you’re right, people are not perfect. (Stupid me, thinking people have and stand by their morals…)

        I wish the LW would tell us why her BF is no longer in business with Parker? I venture to guess Parker’s personal life is very similar to his professional life.

  2. i’ve been in a situation where i was friends with both partners in a relationship. the boyfriend was good friends with my boyfriend at the time and we all hung out together. i knew the “boyfriend” was cheating on the “girlfriend” but said nothing because i didn’t want to jeopardize the friendships. i decided their relationship was really none of my business (even when the “girlfriend” asked if anything was going on). However, if the shoe was on the other foot I would want to know that my boyfriend was cheating on me. Especially in this day and age where there can be serious consequences (such as HIV and other STDs). But I know I wouldn’t hold it against the messenger and unfortunately you can’t say that about everybody. its a tough call.

  3. I absolutely think you should tell her; this guy sounds like a special kind of scumbag (actually, he sounds like an ex of mine…). But I agree with Wendy: she likely isn’t going to be happy with you. She’s going to feel very foolish, and very played, and the target for her anger is probably going to be larger than her boyfriend. I wouldn’t feel too awful about this if you can, though. Considering the situation, it was quite inappropriate for her to try to mine information from you in the first place. For instance, my mother would never go ask my dad’s supervisor’s wife if she thought my dad was having an affair. But, since y’all were friendly, she understandably blurred the lines of personal and professional-and the music scene is so messy. So, to end this rambling: tell her, prepare for her wrath, but try not to feel too awful. You did want you did out of respect to your boyfriend’s professional situation; I would have done the same.

  4. I’m not so sure that you should tell her what is going on. Most girls believe that our besties are obligated to tell us info like this, but you said you were just acquaintances and I don’t think that requires you coming clean about what you know.
    I have seen this same thing happen in the world of a pro sport, and many of the wives never told the girlfriends what the players were doing. If you can crack the code of a pro player/musician wife, you can be in for good.
    Cate might be very angry with you for not telling her this a long time ago, and I think that is something that you really need to think about before spilling the beans.

    1. It’s not like they are BFF and telling her this will jeopardize the friendship (since there isn’t really one). I definitely think the LW should tell her. Just because someone is an athlete or a musician doesn’t mean their wives/gfs don’t deserve to know what is going on. If they choose to stay anyway, that’s their deal.

      1. I do agree with you slamy. I didn’t mean to insinuate that because of his status or title, he should get a green light for cheating. It sounded like in the letter, that Cate was asking questions and already had some suspicions. And I know of too many girls that say they want to know, but when they find out, they find any reason to stay with him. I just think if LW tells her now, Cate will put blame on the LW and not the cheater.

    2. Feather – I don’t see the point either. They’ve known each other for years. If I were Cate, I would be furious.

      The LW made the choice not to tell Cate a long time ago. Because they were just acquaintances, and she was loyal to her SO. I get that 100%. Why change her mind now?

      And LW’s boyfriend irks me – I’m not making money off Parker anymore, screw him?

      1. I suspect there is a lot we don’t know about how that business arrangement fell apart. But, frankly, Parker sounds like an ass. My dad has worked with a number of musicians, and while many are lovely and talented individuals, the ones like Parker are a special kind of lowlife. And narcissistic lowlife at that.

      2. If I were Cate, I’d be furious, too. I’m not sure if your question is rhetorical or not. She changed her mind because there’s no longer a business relationship that spilling the beans would jeopardize. She might have her own motives, but that’s the clear reason why telling her now is feasible when it wasn’t before.

        I can see the BF’s side. Would it seem less shady if he weren’t in the music industry? If he were a lawyer whose client was cheating on his girlfriend? To him, it was a client, and I can see why he wouldn’t want getting in this guy’s personal life to harm their professional relationship.

  5. spaceboy761 says:

    I think we’re overanalyzing here… just do the right thing and tell her. If she flips out and hates you forever, don’t look so shocked.

    1. I agree. Tell her, but be prepared for her to freak.

      Since she specifically has asked about the boyfriend’s behavior, I would tell her. I understand why the LW has remained silent until now, it really wasn’t her place to say anything, esp with the complication of the LW’s boyfriend’s business situation.

      This story reminds me a of an old friend of mine. He was a BMX kid, and traveled all over the country filming other guys riding and making videos and selling them. In his travels, he slept with tons of girls, etc. etc. He also cheated on his now wife with some of these girls. None of us ever said anything to her, but she also never asked. I remember a bunch of us talking about his bad behavior, but also that we would not say anything to her. I always felt like he was my friend, and it wasn’t my place to tell her. I don’t know if we did the right thing.

  6. I don’t doubt anyone here will disagree with Wendy’s advice that Cate should be advised of Parker’s cheating ways. I would first rift the distance you developed with her due to your guilt on lying to her about her bf. When you do decide to tell Cate about her BF’s cheating ways, I would begin mentioning it only if she initiates the questions to you again. Then you could explain that due to your bf’s management relationship with hers, some of the information you learned earlier was privileged and couldn’t be immediately revealed. Be prepared to apologize profusely for putting the business relationship between the men get in the way of what you feel is a potential friendship between women. She may decide not to pursue your friendship after all based on your earlier non-disclosure, but sometimes it is what it is. Your loyalty was at first to your bf and his career, and if you’re planning on sharing your life with him, that’s understandable. Good luck LW.

  7. This is such a difficult situation, but given how Cate has asked so much about Parker to the LW in the past, my hunch his that she suspects that he’s not been faithful to her. I don’t think the LW can _expect_ to salvage the friendship, but out of respect for the friendship they used to have, I would tell Cate. Tell her before she wastes any more time on him.

    1. Exactly. She deserves to know, whether or not she breaks up with him because of it.

    2. I particularly agree with your point that Cate has asked. The fact that she’s wanted to know in the past, even if she didn’t get the info at the time, makes me feel like she even more deserves to know — because she seems to have had a reason to wonder earlier.

  8. I don’t fault LW for not telling. I think she was really stuck in a predicament, not being immature. You should definitely tell her now.

    My only issue was that LW seems to think that her now sharing this information will bring them closer. If the LW tells the truth-that she did know but kept it from her due to her SO’s business relationship-regardless of how much we understand, I can’t imagine Cate will take kindly to that. I think LW needs to prepare herself for the worst.

    But if she does tell her friend and it works out and she dumps that P.O.S, well then I say-DRINKS!!

  9. I think that if you’re going to date a musician or pro athlete or anyone else who (a) travels a lot and (b) has a career known to attract groupies, then you have to assume that there’s an increased risk they’ll cheat on you. That doesn’t at all mean all musicians and athletes are cheaters… it just means that, if they have those tendencies, they’ll have far more temptation and access than most and probably a circle of friends/associates to help them cover for any dalliances.

    Cate surely knew this, and, as an adult, she assumed the risk associated with such a relationship. I don’t think the LW needs to feel bad for not divulging what she knew before, especially given the business ramifications.

    However, I completely agree that the LW should tell Cate now. There will be no business repercussions. Cate was a friend, and she’s at risk for being harmed in various ways, and the LW doesn’t currently have a close friendship to be lost – in other words, telling Cate will not make anything worse for the LW, but it could truly help Cate make the decision that she knows she should make but hasn’t yet been able to. And sure, it could lead to friendship, especially depending upon how the LW tells her. But, as so many have said, that is far from certain.

    But the LW should tell her. Absolutely.

    1. “…then you have to assume that there’s an increased risk they’ll cheat on you.”

      Increased temptation yes, but everyone has the ability to cheat regardless of their profession. The reason why someone would be a higher risk to cheat is if their personality and character is such that they are more likely to give in to temptation.

      1. I disagree in that I think the reason there’d be a higher risk is more temptation, easier access, and less risk of discovery.

        Absolutely, anyone can cheat. But someone who has multiple obvious hook-up opportunities every week is going to be a lot more likely to cheat and to do so more often. Such a person doesn’t need to be determined to cheat or even necessarily inclined to cheat… they simply need to not have a strong desire not to cheat, because women will be offering themselves all the time.

        Granted, a sanitation worker might be more interested in cheating than a rock star… but the rock star would have to be exponentially more faithful to end up not cheating, due to the increased temptation and opportunity.

      2. This is true. My boyfriend is very attractive and charming, but in the environment he works in, women aren’t propositioning him every day. The women he works with are professionals who have self-respect and personal lives of their own. If he were in a band, though, I have no doubt that he would have multiple explicit options every week. My dad was heavily involved in the music industry during his twenties, and the stories he tells about the environment are frightening. My boyfriend is the type that would likely be faithful in any situation, but his lifestyle makes it *easier* to be faithful.

      3. Totally true. And if you’ve ever hung out with musicians, especially people in touring bands, it’s reality. Not saying everyone will cheat, but distance and temptation can make a difference.

      4. “Such a person doesn’t need to be determined to cheat or even necessarily inclined to cheat… they simply need to not have a strong desire not to cheat, because women will be offering themselves all the time.”

        People don’t just “fall into bed” together – it’s a choice. It doesn’t “just happen” without a conscious decision to be unfaithful. People are responsible for their actions, regardless of the temptations they are offered.

        “…but the rock star would have to be exponentially more faithful to end up not cheating…”

        There is no continuum for fidelity – either someone “is” or “is not”. Again, I agree there is more temptation, but I disagree with the comment that one should “assume there is an increased risk” of being cheated on by a musician or an athlete. If you are in a committed relationship, there should be an expectation that you won’t be cheated on, regardless of what their profession might be.

      5. “People are responsible for their actions, regardless of the temptations they are offered.”

        I never said otherwise. I simply said that the more temptations and the lower the obstacles to cheating, the more likely someone is to cheat.

        “I disagree with the comment that one should ‘assume there is an increased risk’ of being cheated on by a musician or an athlete. If you are in a committed relationship, there should be an expectation that you won’t be cheated on, regardless of what their profession might be.”

        It doesn’t matter what the expectation should be. If you are in a relationship with a musician or athlete who travels or is otherwise often gone, and you think they’re as likely to be faithful as someone who was always either at the office or at home, you’d be naive. Sure, they might not cheat. But they’re a lot more likely to cheat.

      6. Whether someone cheats or not is about that person and their character, not their profession. I don’t disagree that there is more temptation with certain professions, but the comments about how someone should “assume there is an increased risk” seem to imply that the cheating is excusable _because_ of a certain profession, and no one should be surprised if/when their significant other cheats on them because they should have “known” it was likely.

        If someone wants to have sex with all of the groupies and fans, they shouldn’t be in a committed relationship.

      7. If one marries a firefighter or soldier, one assumes there’s an increased chance of death or injury on the job. It doesn’t mean death or injury are acceptable. Just more likely.

        Same with dating musicians or athletes…. cheating is more likely. Not more acceptable. More likely.

      8. That’s not an appropriate analogy since death and injury aren’t conscious choices. Whether or not someone cheats involves a conscious decision – it’s not an accident or something that just happens to someone.

        I fully recognize that successful professional musicians and athletes are faced with many temptations and opportunities for sex and many very likely indulge regardless of their relationship status. My point is that if a person is truly committed to being faithful, they’re going to be faithful regardless of their profession, the temptations they face and opportunities they are offered.

      9. I actually disagree with you regarding the “continuum for fidelity.” There shouldn’t be, but there *is* one. There are guys who seek out opportunities to cheat (an ex of mine was like this; it was like a game to him). Then there are guys who don’t go out of their way for extra booty, but might consider accepting it if the chance appears. Additionally, there are men are have set their minds against cheating, and are therefore less susceptible to any opportunities (current boyfriend-yay!). I haven’t covered all the options, but these are some I’ve met.

  10. “…When she asked me questions, I had to tell her that I didn’t know anything, so I gave her some generic advice about following her gut instinct.”

    Note to everyone out there – if you’re asking questions just to confirm suspicions, and someone who very well may be in the know tells you to trust your gut instincts, well… trust ’em.

  11. Also, I cannot be the only one who was taken aback by one of the phrases used to describe how close Jessica & Parker were – “they even had an abortion together” is definitely NOT a sentence fragment I’ve ever seen. New to me. Although thinking about it, it does describe the situation of one of my HS friends and his girlfriend (now wife).

    Anyways, just an odd phrasing to me.

    1. I thought that was quite odd too. What, is an abortion something normal that people go through together now? As if it’s some sort of relationship milestone – because you’ve had an abortion ‘together’ you must be a serious couple? Very strange turn of phrase.

  12. she deserved to know the entire time. and if you were too scared of the consequences then, or too selfish, you’re not a very good friend to her!
    i understand your boyfriend had a working relationship with parker but we’re talking about a person’s feelings here, not your boyfriend’s wallet. she deserved to know as soon as you found out. there was no reason for her to be in this horrible, disrespectful relationship for all this time. if you absolutely had to protect the band/manager relationship, you could have written your friend an anonymous letter! ANYONE could have seen him with another girl and wanted to tell your friend about it. she’d never have known it was you.
    i know it’s too late to do the right thing now, but you can at least tell her (FINALLY) what has been going on and, like wendy said, hope she’ll forgive you.

    1. I wouldn’t call her too selfish. Her boyfriend was managing the band, and she was in a funny spot. Some people would absolutely think their wallet is more important than an acquaintance’s feelings. Interfering would not be her place. This is what happens when you mix business with pleasure; it can create difficult situations.

    2. She has a loyalty to her boyfriend, not her kind of acquaintance she sees sometimes. She made the decision to keep quiet, she felt guilty about it. But still, it was her choice and she didn’t want to jeoperdize her boyfriend’s business relationship. which I respect.
      Think about it this way: my boyfriend works in finance, if one his friends girlfriends came to me asking if I knew anything about when they go out for drinks.. I would have to say no. The strain that would put on HIS relationship with this guy would be immense. And this is just co-workers. not supervisors, managers etc.
      Own up to it now, but don’t expect to be friends with her for a while. Hopefully she will just focus more on the fact her boyfriend cheated on her and not that you didn’t tell her.

      1. actually, she said they were friends and saw each other one on one, not while they were at a band event. i consider that friends, not acquaintances.

      2. either way, she didn’t tell her and it’s NOT her responsibility to do so. especially if it could jeoperdize her boyfriends business relationship.
        i just imagine that in any other industry and it would be extremely unprofessional.

      3. In other industries, if her boyfriend was employed by a company (I cannot tell if he is in this case from the letter), it’s grounds for termination. No doubt. Good point.

      4. This is exactly what I meant.

      5. Oops, meant to reply to @Jessica.

        @Rock: I understood the relationship differently. Even so, her loyalty was to her boyfriend, and I cannot fault her for that.

    3. @rock – I disagree with you as well. Adult life is complicated and messy, and as someone on here wrote the other day, everyone’s on this journey for themselves.

      I personally give the LW credit for backing off when she noticed things were getting too enmeshed and she started being questioned directly by Cate. Professional relationships are no joke. There comes a point when you’ve got to put food on the table and just do you. You can’t spend all your time in life going around making sure everyone else is doing fine and dandy.

      The decisions as to whether or not to go around blabbing about anyone else’s personal life is something that should take into consideration context, timing, foreseeable fallout, and the motivations of all interested parties. Next, you try to put yourselves in the shoes of the people whose lives you’re about to turn upside-down, and determine whether YOU would want to know. That’s the best you can do.

      1. I agree with you regarding professional relationships. I am in the health field, which has a high degree of this. Health professionals are often privy to information they might like to share, but they have to accept beforehand that this isn’t a possibility. There is often a class of morals and ethics–not fun.

      2. I meant clash of morals and ethics.

      3. missarissa says:

        Though i’ve sat through many a moral and ethics class… not fun either

    4. Losing some money would most likely have been a temporary repercussion, but what about her SO’s professional integrity? That is much harder to earn back than some money. I can totally understand why the LW made her decision – sometimes you are privy to confidential information that is not yours to share. She not only would have harmed her SO’s career but also lost his trust in her – another thing that is very difficult to earn back.

      Sure in an ideal world she would have told her friend, suffering no personal consequences and everyone would be better off. However sometimes you have to weight the risks of personal loss against the benefit of others, and most people most of the time will pick themselves. You may think that’s selfish, but I think it’s just the reality. At least now she’s trying to do the right thing.

      1. missarissa says:

        I don’t even think that’s selfish! (or not in the conventional sense). While I have no proof, I would think that many of the people who criticize those who “value [their] wallet” over someone else’s feelings are the same people who criticize financial (and other) professionals for their lack of ethics in the workplace. (I think this due to the way “your wallet”/”a paycheck”/slang for money is used in such a pejoritive way). Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Maintaining and expanding professionalism is key to a more ethical society. (or do you want your stockbroker telling all of her friends that about your immending sale so they can go manipulate the stock price). If we accept that people in a committed (possibly marriage-like, due to the length of time) relationship get to tell each other stuff they don’t get to tell other people, then good for her and him for maintaining a professional relationship and not confiding personal information, even though it did not help someone. She didn’t actually hurt the girl — she basically didn’t answer and told her to follow her gut.
        Girl: my gut says he’s cheating on me.
        other Girl: I don’t know anything about what he does when he’s not with you. But you should follow you’re gut.
        Girl: ok, phew, good, he’s not cheating.
        ?? That’s not on her.
        She didn’t sit on a secret that involved a crime or a serious injury; she just didn’t tell a friend she met through her husband and her boyfriend that the friend’s rock-star boyfriend, who she thought was cheating on her, was cheating on her. When she felt she was developing a duty to tell, she stopped the relationship, quashing the duty. She didn’t hurt the friend, she just didn’t help and she upheld a level of professionalism which is admirable. Some people will say semantics, but i really don’t think so.

      2. missarissa says:

        *your gut

  13. I’m in the minority here, but I vote that the LW still has an obligation NOT to tell. I know that her BF has given her the go-ahead, but I would want the BF to warn Parker first, at the very least. The BF learned about these issues from Parker in a *professional capacity* – it’s not up to him to moralize and disclose, and it is certainly NOT up to the LW to blab about something she was told in confidence. The BF probably shouldn’t have told the LW in the first place.

    I would be very concerned about the LW’s BF’s business reputation if she were to go ahead and inform Cate about what was going on. I know personal and professional lines have been crossed all over the place in this situation, but the high road is to always return to the professional distance.

    LW, if you do tell don’t be surprised if this creates negative backlash in some way to your BF. And if he cares about his job and professional reputation, you could end up getting thrown under the bus.

    And I do understand that you feel a potential friendship connection with this woman. But sometimes circumstances in life don’t allow us to have everything we want.

    Lastly, I don’t think the argument to tell due to health issues is particularly valid in MOST cases. As consenting adults, we should all recognize that there is potential for cheating, and it’s always up to ourselves to make sure we’re as healthy as we can be.

    1. I think you make some great points about warning Parker and possibly giving him the opportunity to come clean first, since the boyfriend’s business reputation may still be at risk in spite of him giving LW permission to spill the beans.

      But I take issue with your last paragraph. Many monogamous couples stop using condoms and rely on non barrier methods of contraceptives to protect against pregnancy. I don’t think that means they deserve to get an STD from a cheating significant other.

      1. That’s a great point HmC – if she believes she’s in an exclusive relationship then she’s likely to be less careful than she may otherwise choose to be.

  14. I would want to be told, straight up. If one of my girlfriends told me months afterwards that I had been cheated on, my first question would have been why didn’t they come to be sooner? Had the answer been because of their boyfriends’ career, I would have been very angry but *might* understand eventually.

    The only person who would walk away from this situation in serious pain would be me… and the cheating boyfriend. I don’t think it was a great idea to wait, but you did what you felt was right. Fact is that you didn’t feel comfortable keeping it from her and you still are, so I say pick up the phone ASAP.

  15. I hope Cate and Parker aren’t their real names, because they’re pretty distinctive!

    In all seriousness though, I swear I was thinking the EXACT same thing as Wendy wrote as I was reading the letter. LW, tell her now because it’s the right thing to do, not because of your own selfish reasons like trying to build a new friendship for yourself. This is not about you. If you genuinely think she’s a good person, she deserves to know. And if you’re a good person, you’d be willing to help her at the risk of being villainized. You can’t change the past (and honestly I’m not sure what you could have done much different without betraying your boyfriend’s trust), but you can still do the right thing now. It won’t be easy. Good luck!

  16. I definitely agree you should tell her but not because you want to be friends. I’m sure she might need a friend or two after hearing that the guy she thought she was falling in love with has cheated on her multiple times. However, I wouldn’t however expect her to go to you as that friend. If anything she is going to be confused as to how you can call yourself her friend. Gaining that trust back will probably not be an easy road. Let her know you’re there but don’t push it.

  17. This may be a controversial suggestion but is there any reason why the LW couldn’t tell Cate about Parker’s indiscretions without letting on how long she’s known? She could simply say that when her boyfriend stopped managing the band he told her what had been going on.

    Yes it would be deceitful, but in a way it feels a bit kinder to me. Cate will be hurt enough to hear what her boyfriend has been doing without knowing that someone she considered a friend has been keeping things from her too, no matter how understandable the reasons. That way the LW can make amends slightly by helping Cate through this nasty situation. I think the LW should still be prepared for Cate to be upset with her and not want to continue their friendship, but perhaps this way something can be salvaged.

    1. I agree with this suggestion, Ally. I also think she doesn’t even need to explicitly say that she ‘only now found out’ after the business relationship ended. She could simply say, ‘Cate, I’ve learned some information to confirm those gut suspicions you were having about Parker’. Cate knows the prior business relationship, and must know gossip gets around, and that the LW’s boyfriend may still be in contact with people who know Parker well–she doesn’t even need to be told that LW’s boyfriend knew all along. It’s not necessary to give a historical play-by-play of each cheating revelation.

      This kind of lie of omission is not awesome, but on the other hand, the manager and LW’s previous cover-up is not relevant to the decision Cate needs to make nor does it add to the value of the information–it only creates extra drama. All Cate needs to know is that LW heard these allegations from a ‘trusted source’–and if Cate presses the LW for who/when/etc, LW can just say she sometimes hears industry gossip and wanted to pass it along to Cate in case she might want to factor it into her decision.

      Cate may still blame the messenger, but that is a risk LW has to take. It comes with the territory of a cover-up and mixed loyalties.

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