In a situation where your friend confesses that they're cheating on their partner, we're sure you're going to be shocked and disappointed especially if they're someone you admire and truly care about. It's understandable since this isn't something that normally happens to everyone. Now, you're left with utter confusion as to what you should do.
Whether you're close with their partner or not, don't do anything impulsive first like telling their partner the truth or getting mad at your friend. To guide you, we listed down the things that you should do instead.
1. Hear them out first.
Although it's easy to be angry with your friend for their wrongdoing, you have to understand that being mad doesn't actually help your friend come to their senses—you have to hear them out first. Find out the whole story of how and when it started. They might have their own reasons and some of it you might not agree with, but be open-minded so that they won't feel like you're trying to meddle with their life. It's true that there's no valid reason for cheating, but you're not in the right position to make them feel like they deserve to be in pain.
2. Be honest.
Instead of pretending that you don't care about the fact that your friend is cheating, the best option is still to be honest. Tell them what you really think. Friends don't always have to support each other, because, sometimes, we're here to give them a reality check. Be someone who helps them figure things out and end something that could possibly ruin their life and hurt other people.
3. Don't enable them.
The last thing that you would want to do is help your friend continue their mess. That's why, as much as possible, you shouldn't condone them. Don't tolerate them when they ask you to pretend they're with you on a Friday night when the truth is they're with someone else. Believe us, enabling them would just lead you far more into the mess which would result in worse consequences not just for them, but also for you.
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4. Nurture yourself.
It's possible that the things your friend told you could impact you more than you think it would. Of course, you have this idea that you're surrounded with people who are faithful and honest to the people they love. But it gets shattered the moment you hear from your friend that they've been hiding a secret. A part of you would believe that if your friend can do this to their partner, then someone else can do this to you, too. Whether you're single or in a relationship, it's important to nurture yourself first and remember that not everyone is a cheater. If finding out about their infidelity is making you uncomfortable to the point of having trust issues on your own, make sure to take action accordingly.
5. Encourage them to tell the truth to their partner.
The only way to end this problem is when your friend tells their partner that they're being unfaithful. Start with telling them the consequences if they further continue to live with this lie, and always remind them that their partner deserves to know the truth even if it's going to hurt them. It's going to be messy and your friend might need you to be there to help them deal with it when things get out of hand. But this is the best way to, at least, make things right even if their relationship will never be the same again.
6. Don't be the one to spill the truth.
Although you feel so tired of the dilemma that your friend started, remember that you're not going to be a hero by doing being the one to break it to their partner. You can't fix a problem that is not yours to begin with. Yup, what they're doing is wrong but the only thing you can do right now is to tell your friend to do the right thing. Their relationship is between the two of them, so don't ever step a single toe into it even if they're both your friends.
At the end of the day, you can only do so much for them. Don't feel bad if you think that you're not helping. As long as you're honest to them about your views on infidelity, you're not leading them to a bigger mess, and you're encouraging them to tell the truth, then believe us that that's already enough.
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