Stacy's Place on Earth
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Friday, July 11, 2008:
Silence is golden...or is it?
I'm a bad friend. I'll admit it. I don't have much patience when it comes to certain things, and it's hard for me to be supportive in the middle of these circumstances. Horrible. I told you so. I'm not even going to make excuses. I have none. But as a bad friend I have a little dilemma and I want to know what you think and maybe you could direct to the "better friend" path. I'd appreciate it quite a lot.
I mentioned the other day my friend L who recently broke things off with her FWB. What I didn't say is that she's been driving me absolutely batshit crazy about it...damn, it's 8pm and there's the phone. I'm not picking up. Every night for the last week we've been on the phone 2+ hours (did I mention I hate talking on the phone?) going over "the conversation" that happened last Wednesday. Now, they'd been hooking up for the last SEVEN years, which is a loooong time to carry on this type of situation, yet according to her, they supposedly became friends along the way. Fine. Whatever. Still, the rules of the game never changed: he was not looking for anything permanent with L. It was all about sex.
So when he tells her he has now a girlfriend and can't "see" her anymore, L was not happy. What made it worse was that she knows the woman he's now dating, and it turns out she had introduced them years ago and planted the whole FWB thing in both their minds. Twisted, but again, whatever. Anyhow, L was devastated, and feels totally betrayed by this woman. Now, I don't think she has much of a case as a FWB, but she feels she does, so I'm biting my tongue on that technicality. Some things aren't worth debating.
Now stick with me here, because I have a question. It's not whether she has a legitimate argument, or whether FWB relationships should have an expiration date, or even whether FWBs are a good idea in the first place. What I want to know is this: if L and FWB were actually dating, and he starts messing around with another woman, and I know about it, is it my duty as a friend to tell her? (No I had no idea about the other woman, and I don't even know the FWB, just so you know).
Now if it were me, and I'm dating some guy and L finds out he's seeing another woman behind my back, I would want her to tell me, no question. I would want someone I trusted to look out for me, because if I find out she knew all along, I'm going to be pretty upset, and probably feel betrayed. But some of my other friends said they wouldn't do it. It's the whole "shoot the messenger" thing that would keep them quiet. Instead of being mad at the guy, the woman is going to be mad at the person/people who told her about his cheating ways. I guess I kinda understand that, but not completely. I just know I wouldn't want to be in the dark and then one day have it blow up in my face. Maybe it's a revenge thing, as in "let's re-enact the Carrie Underwood song" here, I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned, ignorance is not always bliss.
So that's what I want to know: do you tell or don't you?
I know it's a little off-track the whole FWB topic, but the question came up and it got me thinking about what would I do if I am in a position where I know something that could hurt a friend, would I do it? Would you?

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  1. Hi Stace - Sorry to hear your friend is having a rough time (and you too, by proxy).

    My policy on this sort of thing is, if I know the guy well enough, I'll go to him and basically say, "Either you tell her, or I will." If I don't know the guy well enough, then yes, it's my duty as a friend to tell.

    That's just me though, many people's mileage may vary.

  2. We're so alike. LOL I'm talking about the patience thing and not liking to talk on the phone. :P

    As someone who was cheated on and others knew but no one told her, I'd want to be told.

    But if I had to tell someone, I really don't know what I'd do. Because I know how I'd react, but not sure how the other person would react to bad news like that.

  3. Personally I think the fried should tell. I KNOW it would be so hard. I'd struggle with it but I think its important. The friend will feel like they're getting a double betrayal.

  4. I agree with Kati. If I knew they guy well enough I would talk to him first and if not I would just tell her. As hard as it would be I feel morally obligated to tell her.

    I know I would want to be told. I think I would feel pretty betrayed if they didn’t tell me and it all just blew up in my face.

    And I’m sorry to hear that your friend is having such a hard time. I personally don’t do FWB because I have a very hard time separating those emotions (learned the hard way like most people) and am a very possessive person LOL.

  5. That's a sticky question, but I'll answer it by telling you a story:

    Once upon a long time ago, I was married to a Rat Bastard. He cheated on me w/ his ex-girlfriend for something like 2 years. During those two years, I basically gave up all my friends b/c that's what he wanted (he didn't actually say that, you know, but being a Rat Bastard he let it be known regardless). And so I became friends with his friends and their girlfriends.

    What that means is that I didn't have any friends that weren't his friends. And all his friends? They were all friends with his ex.

    When I found out the RB had been cheating on me, I also found out that ALL of our friends new. Every.Single.One.Of.Them. The girlfriends who I considered my friends? Yep, they knew. The guys who I knew weren't my bestest buds in the world but considered friends regardless? Yep, they knew.

    And I'll tell you this: I was more humiliated and upset about everyone but me knowing than I was that he was cheating. I felt like such a fool, because THEY ALL KNEW!

    So.. I guess you know where I stand on the issue.

    As for the other: I'm a lot like you. There are certain things I just can't deal with, and once you cross a line for me..well, there's no going back. I realize this makes me a really bad person/friend, but I can't listen to someone go on and on about a situation I don't agree with. I might listen for awhile, but it won't take me long to reach my "point of no return".

  6. I'm with Holly. I can listen for a bit, because everyone needs and deserves to vent. But then it has to end.

    I usually start it off with, "I love you dearly, but enough is enough".

    If I knew the guy and gave him the chance and he didn't take it, I might very well find out where "they" would be and drag the injured party on a trip and "run" into them. I say this because I have done the tell them thing and it does backfire. I can be sneaky when I need to.

  7. I know it's very painful and very hard and has to be done very delicately - but yeah - you tell the friend.
    And I don't think not wanting to listen over two hours night after night to someone go over the same conversation makes you a bad friend. We are human and can only take so much.
    I do have a question though - what does FWB stand for? I'm a bit lost there.

  8. Hi Stacy.
    I agree with everyone who commented here and would tell my friend. If I were the one being cheated on, I would want to be told, too.

    So sorry you're friend is so devastated. I would be, too, but then again I couldn't do the FWB thing anyway, because I'm like LeeAnn and couldn't keep my emotions separate either. Especially after 7 years. Oy!

    Good luck.

  9. Thank you all for the comments. They've given me a lot to think about. My friend has her good and bad days, and I admit, sometimes I won't answer the phone because I know it won't be a quick chat. I also find myself resenting that I don't get a chance to talk about "Me". Sometimes I need that too.

    It's only been a week and a half, so I've decided that if it keeps up, I'm going to have to say something at some point. It's not good for her to dwell on it.

    And thank you again for being so honest. Some of these things I needed to hear.

  10. Ok - I think there are ... well a lot of issues. But first of all - FWB - if the guy is hooking up with someone else, while hooking up with your friend - it's "not a problem" b/c they're just FWB and she has no hold over him. I know it seems horrible, and it's not the way you want it to work, but yes. That's the whole point of FWB. The fact that it went on for 7 years... makes it pretty clear it'd be more than the casual hookup for at least one of the parties - which would be your friend.
    Now, if someone is in a relationship - and you know their sig O is cheating - yes. Let them know. There are a myriad of ways that could end - but you've taken the initial steps to do what you could.
    For the FWB part - if you know the other guy starts DATING someone - which is different from hooking up- you should also let your friend know, b/c it's never good to [let anyone be] "the other woman."
    But... yes, I'm sure she got emotionally attached and is hurt and betrayed- but if the guy was clear from the start and they had the FWB understanding... she's sunk.

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