Ethical Dilemmas: What Would You Do If Your Friend Was Having an Affair With Another Friend's Husband?

BlogHer Original Post

I love it when women share opinions because we are excellent at deep advice and consult. As the contributing editor for Religion & Spirituality, I have also been interested to see how my writing area and the secular world intersect every day when we make choices that are ethical decisions. So let's bring everyone together in a hot discussion about a fictional event that needs an ethical decision.

Today we offer an event with three dear friends that could really happen, and we're letting you decide what you would do if it happened in your life! There are no wrong answers. So read on, think about your response, and then dive right in and tell us what you would do!

An Ethical Dilemma

You have been friends with Susan and Marie for a long time. You are all married now, and your husbands even get along! You still all live within about a ten mile radius, so getting together as couples happens a lot. All three of you even had babies around the same time, so it has been natural to take group camping trips and to gather up the whole gang to go on picnics, sporting events or to the beach together. You see each other at least once very few weeks.

Three Friends Smiling

Today starts out like an average Saturday, but changes quickly. Your husband just left to run some errands at Home Depot. You are home when Marie calls. She is in tears, asking if you are alone and if she can come over for a few minutes. She has to talk with you. Of course, you agree. When she arrives, her eyes are red-rimmed from crying. She begs you to keep what she is about to tell you confidential. You agree, of course. She is a dear friend who is obviously suffering.

It takes a few minutes, but finally she blurts out the problem. She has been having a brief affair that just split up. She is ashamed that she let herself be unfaithful, but she vows to you she will never slip up again, even though she is still very powerfully attracted to this man.

You would have never guessed that she would stray. You are shocked.

She tells you that they both agree that the affair is wrong, and they should not have done it. She is telling you because she feels that by telling someone she knows, she will stay faithful to the man she loves, her husband. "I have to get this out of fantasy and into the real world," she says. "I love Stan, and I don't want to destroy our marriage."

She tells you over and over that it was just a physical thing with the other man, but a very powerful attraction. Then she tells you the worst news:

The other man was your mutual friend Susan's husband.

She is stricken with embarrassment and shame. You are stunned. You listen, but say little, other than to hand her fresh Kleenex and get her some tea. Your mind is racing, but you seem to have run out of words. She just keeps talking, reminding you of your vow of confidentiality. She tells you how hard it will be to stay away from Susan's husband, but that she knows that she must. No one knows she is telling you this, not even Susan's husband.

At this point, your husband walks in from Home Depot, and Marie finds a quick reason to leave, hiding her tears from your husband. She gives you a huge hug and thanks you for being her friend.

Marie is a friend, but no more so than Susan, who has been betrayed. You have some events coming up on the calendar where the three couples will be present. You will have to spend time with Marie and her lover and the two spouses who do not know that their partners have been unfaithful. And all these people are your friends.

What do you do? What factors in to your decision? Would you want to be told if your husband strayed, even if it was over?

~~ Contributing Editor, Mata H. also blogs right along at Time's Fool.

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