cheating friends

My Friend is Cheating: What Do I Do?

I couldn’t believe my ears. My friend Jake had been married for over a decade with four young children. He was someone I admired as a dad, but even more so as a husband. Now around their twelfth anniversary, he was complaining to me about his marriage. The more he went on the more unbelievable it seemed. He discussed their lack of compatibility, lack of intimacy, and even how he wasn’t sure he ever actually loved her. Then he took it one step further saying that he thought his kids would be more happy with parents who were with a person they each actually loved. It made no sense until he finally revealed he had started a relationship with another woman.

Once it became clear he was cheating I was faced with the dilemma of what to do about it. It’s tough to know exactly how to respond, but the worst possible thing to do is nothing. As a friend, particularly as one who was a witness when they got married, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to encourage and strengthen their marital vows. If you have cheating friends this is what to do about it.

Encourage Him To Talk

You are there to help, not condemn. While it might feel natural to judge and be angry, it’s important to remember that all of us are capable of anything. Believing we are above committing this type of betrayal is not only unwise, it’s dangerous. Before you start talking do a lot of listening. Ask questions with gentleness that will help reveal what led him down this road. Find out about his marriage in particular. He needs a friend to walk with him.

Confront The Problem

It’s important to be persistent and firm here, perhaps even confrontational. We have a way of minimizing or justifying the effects of the hurtful things we do. When we justify our actions we weaken the conscience. What used to be clearly wrong no longer feels that way. Changing bad behavior with a dulled conscience becomes a difficult task. Don’t let him shift blame or minimize what he has done. Whether it is an emotional affair or it has turned physical, it is a betrayal of his wife, his kids, and even the community. It’s not your job to convict, but it is your job to present a clear picture of the reality of what has been done.

He Needs To Cut It Off

He needs to turn back from the direction he has been going. That starts with cutting off the relationship, which means no contact with the other person. Stopping the affair isn’t enough. If it happens to be someone he works with it is more complicated, but I would suggest he look for a new job. If he refuses to stop his affair more drastic measures will need to be taken, such as involving another one of his trusted friends or someone close he admires.

Encourage Him To Confess

This is the most difficult part. A marriage will never be healthy when spouses keep secrets from one another. What’s done in the dark has to be brought into the light so it can be dealt with. Otherwise, he will continue to live a lie; a lie that cracks the foundation of his family. He may resist, but I can say this for me and you may disagree. I would tell him he had two weeks to tell his wife or I’d tell her myself. If I don’t, I become a co-conspirator in his affair and every time I saw his wife and family I’d be lying too. If he is not going to be an advocate for his family than someone needs to be.

Encourage Him To Pursue Rehabilitation and Reconciliation

Everything will be incredibly painful after the confession. I would highly recommend he and his wife go to counseling. If she refuses he should go by himself to talk about his brokenness with someone wise. He needs to work towards rebuilding trust. It is possible to survive and rebuild a marriage after an affair. However, it takes effort, faithfulness, commitment, humility, openness, and a desire by both spouses to forgive and make it right. Keep encouraging both spouses to fight for each other and their marriage.

Sound Off

What would you do if you found out your friend was cheating on his wife?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • My suggestion would be to encourage immediate counseling and then with excellent Christ centered counseling – share with his wife what has been going on.

    • FitforLife

      Telling the wife , only a low life snitch would do. Nothing worse than a friend who breaks another friend’s confidence. Much worse than a doctor or religious member breaking the oath of confidentiality.

  • Cr We

    I agree with all that was said with the exception of giving your friend an ultimatum! I feel this can and would be damaging in more ways than one. Your friend would need to make that decision, certainly encourage prayer for strength to do it and encourage your friend to talk with his wife about it and come clean but it should be his decision. What if two weeks is not the time God intended and God had not prepared her ears to hear that info yet? It can come across as self serving/ selfishness on your part and may cause your friend to shut down completely! Do we know better that God? Pray, encourage and yes be stern when needed and hold your friend accountable but I would say never threaten or give an ultimatum, very, very damaging and unwise. Just my two cents… thanks for all you do! Craig

    • gb1234

      Any biblical examples of when God wanted someone to hold on to a lie longer, when God was displeased because someone told the truth too soon? It seems to me that notion doesn’t square very well with John 3:19-21 and 2 Cor 6:2. While it’s good to maintain a relationship with our cheating friend, it’s infinitely more essential (in my humble opinion of course) to maintain our own integrity. Not only is our relationship with God (the way the TRUTH and the life) more important than our relationship with the friend, but also we do the friend no favors by allowing him to wallow in darkness longer. The sooner light is shed on the situation, the sooner the healing can begin.

      • George

        If your friend and his wife are either close friends or yours, or members of the same church you attend, then the truth needs to be helped by you. In the 1st case, by telling the wife if he doesn’t within a reasonable period of time. In the 2nd case, telling leadership in the Church if he doesn’t within a reasonable period of time.

        In most other cases, your friend came to you, confided in you, and generally I think it’s your duty as a true friend to keep his confidence. You should encourage him to stop cheating, admit his cheating, and reconcile with his wife. You should be patient, and give him time. But as a Christian, after some time, if he doesn’t want to stop cheating, then honestly, you probably should not associate with him anymore, since the Bible does say to cast out an immoral brother.

        In general, in situations like that, it’s wise to mind your own business. If people confide in you, unless they are doing something illegal or endangering themselves or others, it’s not your place to tattle on them to anyone else.

  • scott

    One thing I have learned is you can’t judge people having affairs, you have no idea what their personal lives with the spouses are like. You can also not trust the spouse that is being cheated on to be saying the truth. Alot of Married men are trapped in relationships where they get no sex from their wives and/or have nothing in common with them anymore. In many cases after getting married women stop sex, taking care of themselves and changing completely from what attracted the man in the first place. Getting a divorce is not simple if you don’t have the money to rent another place to live in that can also accommodate your kids when you have custody. This can be an impossibility for a lot so these guys/girls seek the solution of an affair.

    If the person was close to me, and I had a really good knowlege that I thought his wife wasn’t as horrible as he said she was I would try to convince him to end it with telling him all the good things I know of about his wife and the cons if she were to find out.

  • mxprivateer

    My take on telling the other person they’re being cheated on is this: If you tell and they break up, you’re going to be looked at as one of the reasons they broke up. If you tell and they stay together, you’re going to be the person who tried to break them up. Telling on your friend is a no-win situation.

  • FitforLife

    One thing I have learned is you can’t judge people having affairs, you have no idea what their personal lives with the spouses are like. You can also not trust the spouse that is being cheated on to be saying the truth. Alot of Married men are trapped in relationships where they get no sex from their wives and/or have nothing in common with them anymore. In many cases after getting married women stop sex, taking care of themselves and changing completely from what attracted the man in the first place. Getting a divorce is not simple if you don’t have the money to rent another place to live in that can also accommodate your kids when you have custody. This can be an impossibility for a lot so these guys/girls seek the solution of an affair.

    If the person was close to me, and I had a really good knowlege that I thought his wife wasn’t as horrible as he said she was I would try to convince him to end it with telling him all the good things I know of about his wife and the cons if she were to find out. If I didn’t know his wife I would just tell him to carefully examine the situation and prepare himself for the repercussions.

  • RC

    I’d recommend looking into 911 marriage helper. Founder Joe Beam.

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