The Didn’t Ask, Don’t Tell Rule in Cheating

December 21, 2011  |  

Almost anyone can find themselves in an inappropriate situation with a man who’s in a relationship, whether he pretended to be single, or his wedding band was simply ignored. But there seems to be a certain type of woman who wants to tell the man’s spouse about what he’s been doing behind her back, and to those women, I say you need to abide by a didn’t ask, don’t tell policy. If the wife didn’t ask you based on her own suspicions, then it is not your place to tell.

It’s almost comical to me when women on the side think it’s their obligation to tell on a cheating man. I’ve dealt with this situation with friends who knew a guy was involved with someone else and they still went along with being the side chick until things went sour and all of a sudden the thought was, “I need to tell his girlfriend/wife so she knows what type of man she’s dealing with.” Oh really? Where was that sense of honor when you were laid up under him at night?

I’ve also had friends who may have been dating or sleeping with a guy for a decent amount of time and they suddenly find out he’s wasn’t the single man he pretended to be. Almost instantly, the search for who his main woman is ensues and the Facebook/text message- email-phone call whirlwind begins because “I just have to let her know that he’s been with me.” Why?

Whenever I think of situations like this, Xscape’s “My Little Secret” comes to mind. Particularly the line, “I like being in the same room with you and your girlfriend, the fact that she don’t know; it really turns me on.” While most women try to act as though they want to tell on themselves in order to do the right thing, most times telling is simply about revenge and gloating. Admitting to sleeping with someone else’s man doesn’t redeem you from the dirt that you’ve done. Most times, it’s a reaction to being cut off by the man, and out of that anger the mistress decides to get back at him by telling the wife/girlfriend.

If you’ve been sleeping with someone else’s partner, you’ve already interjected yourself in the relationship enough, the last thing you need to do is insert yourself in the middle of their relationship even more. For women who didn’t know the man they were with wasn’t single, the same way you found out he was a liar, she will too. Trust me, she knows the type of man she’s dealing with. While you may be giving the woman specifics on his cheating behavior, you’re most likely not telling her anything she doesn’t know. Now whether she wants to admit that is another thing.

A lot of people have the same rule when it comes to telling a friend that you know his or her boyfriend/husband is cheating. While I think the circumstances are different because you aren’t the “other woman” and there isn’t anything for you to gain by telling, this is still a tricky situation. I’ve been in positions where I knew someone was cheating and felt like a bad friend for not telling; I’ve also been on the other side where I knew for a fact someone was cheating and when I told, the tables were flipped on me and the friend didn’t believe the story anyway–and most people won’t. If even when people know for a fact they’re being cheating on, they stay in denial and don’t leave, it’s rare that they will take a mistress or outsider’s word for it.

Personally, if a friend knew I was being cheated on and didn’t tell me, I’d have a serious problem with it, but a side chick is the last person I want telling me that the person I’m with has been unfaithful.

What’s your policy when it comes to telling on cheaters? Do you think mistresses should tell spouses? If you knew a friend was being cheated on would you tell her?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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