Here is a PSA: If you decide to cheat on your significant other, please keep it to yourself.

I have an acquaintance, Liz, with whom I share a good friend, Michelle. I see Liz occasionally at weddings and other social functions that cause a big group of us to travel and get together. So although she isn’t one of my close friends and we don’t keep in touch aside from the get-togethers, we are friendly and have known each other for close to 10 years now. Liz is incredibly sweet and I really like her a lot. The only reason we aren’t closer is because we always ran in slightly different circles and didn’t spend much time together in college.

A few years ago I was spending time with Michelle who had just come back from Liz’s wedding. She had been a bridesmaid and was telling me how uncomfortable the entire weekend was for her. She disclosed that since college, the groom, Brian, had been cheating on Liz. The worst part is the person he cheated with was another one of the bridesmaids named Jenny. I swear, it’s like an awful soap opera. They had been cheating together since college, so for at least 4 years when I heard this story. I should also mention that Jenny, who had been cheating with Brian, was also recently married at the time I heard this story. Michelle came by the information because she is also close friends with Jenny who had confided in her.

I do not know if the affair continued on past either marriage, but it doesn’t matter. Every time I see Liz, usually with her husband in tow, I feel incredibly guilty because I know the dirty secret, and it seems like she is completely oblivious. She is still close friends with Jenny and she appears to be incredibly happy in her marriage, so I assume she doesn’t know. Although, you never know what is going on behind closed doors.

I was around both couples a few years later at a wedding and the entire time I was cringing watching them all spend time together and dancing on the dance floor. I just pasted a smile on my face and tried to act normal but internally I was disgusted that Brian and Jenny could act so normal around one another and keep the wife in the dark. It just felt so dishonest.

I realize the affair may all be a rumor, but Michelle is not the type to spread gossip. She was venting to me about how uncomfortable she had been at the wedding, knowing what she knew. And I couldn’t blame her. It’s not our place to spill the beans, so we have to just sit back and watch. It makes me feel like a terrible and dishonest person.

I think perhaps if Liz were a closer friend, and if I had heard the information first hand from Brian or Jenny, I would consider letting her know. But I’m not entirely sure I would actually tell one of my best friends if I had this kind of information. If it was me, I’d want to know. But what if the friend already knew, and they had worked past the issue in their relationship? Then there I am, drumming it all up, rehashing an old issue, and I am sure making her feel embarrassed that others know her private business. As a distant friend of Liz, I certainly do not feel like it is my place to step in and get involved, especially when all I have to work with is hearsay. Regardless, every time I see her post a picture of herself and her husband saying how happy she is and how much she loves him, I cringe with disgust for him, and feel guilty myself. I feel like I am somehow being dishonest and deceitful.

Knowing this kind of information is not fun. I know many might think it is juicy gossip, but this is the kind of gossip I would rather not know. So before you spread these kinds of details about someone else’s life, please think twice. Not only because you are burdening the person you are telling, but because it could really ruin someone else’s life or relationships, and it would all likely be based on a rumor or hearsay. We don’t know the truth behind other relationships, nor should we. It is not our business.

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