What is to be done when someone you love shows you trust by sharing a secret with you in confidence that, if shared, would hurt someone else you love?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Regular-Person when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“WIBTA if I told a close family friend that her husband cheated on her 4 years ago?”
OP began by explaining why he’d come to Reddit.
“So my situation is a little difficult so I thought I would confide in the good professional people of Reddit.”
“Couple days ago me and my brother we’re hanging out late night doing regular guy things drinking, watching sports, etc…”
“We haven’t seen each other in maybe 5-6 years so naturally we started talking about life and what’s been going on the past few years. Towards the end of our conversation we started to get to the ‘secrets’.
“I mentioned something along the lines that I smoked weed for the first time and did various other substances (This was hard for me to tell because my whole life I was pretty much anti-drugs and such.)”
Everything was fine, until…
“We both laughed about it saying ‘Just don’t let mom find out’ The joke died out after a little bit and then he just blurted out ‘I cheated on my wife…’”
“At first it didn’t register until I saw his face and he was dead serious.”
“I for one hate cheaters, but I try to do my best not to judge anyone for their actions. He begins explaining this was something that happened about 4 years ago when his wife was always busy with work.”
“She would travel a lot and be away for weeks at a time.”
“He told me they were going through a tough time back then lots of arguing, not communicating, and that he felt really lonely.”
“During this same time my brother met a girl at his local gym, started off as friends, slowly kept bonding and you guessed they did the sex.”
“He told me this occasion only happened once and pretty much cut her off after that night because he started to feel guilty for a short while. Few months later his relationship turned for the better for him and his wife.”
“Pretty much after his wife’s travels slowed down his whole relationship has been great. They’ve both gotten promotions, bought a house, more family vacations.”
“(They have a kid) He told me life has been good to him now and he’s just thankful things have finally worked out.”
“As stated before I hate cheaters and I’ve always felt that the person being cheated on always has the right know.”
“I know for sure this would probably destroy their marriage and there would be a fight for the kid.”
“My heart tells me I have to tell her because it’s the right thing to do, especially because I’ve known my brother to cheat one other time on an ex-girlfriend couple years before his current wife.”
“My brain tells me it’s none of my business and I should keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to see their kid go through that kind pain either.”
“On one hand I betray my brother if I say something on the other hand I betray our close family friend because I know this secret and I don’t say anything.”
OP was left to wonder,
“I wish he never told me, ignorance is truly bliss. So there it is, WIBTA if I said something?”
“Brother Cheated on his wife years ago because he was depressed, now everything is better and he told me about it, but now I feel obligated to tell his wife because she’s a close friend. WIBTA?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Many agreed that this was a complex, conflicted issue.
“Upvoted for real conflict.”
“YTA if you tell her now.”
“I am usually on the side of ‘the cheated partner absolutely deserves to know'”.
“But here it seems to be a thing in the past, your brother has genuinely regretted it and improved his marriage. So it’s better if you don’t stir the pot now.” ~ TessaGray16
“Not sure if I agree but I also don’t disagree I think this is a very tough decision either way.”
“I think OP if doesn’t tell wife needs to have another talk with his brother about how this can never happen again even if they become distant or whatever as there is no excuse.”
“But yes it was years ago and they’ve moved on had a kid e.t.c. so ruining that is not ideal so would understand him not telling and wouldn’t say he’d be TA for not telling.” ~ veggiebuilder
Though not everyone found the problem ambiguous.
“Correction * HE moved on.”
“She never had the chance to know. She is building a life with a man that cheated on her.”
“She has never had an actual say in this dilemma because no one has told her.”
“Just because it’s been X amount of years, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to know that information.”
“No one wants to be the bad guy and feel like they’ll ruin a ‘good’ life by telling the spouse.”
“But then again are they the person who actually messed up and cheated?”
“It was damaged the day he decided to commit adultery. This woman has a right to know so that she can have a voice.”
“These two people, OP and his brother are making that decision for her.” ~ milesforsmiles
Others thought more about the consequences of both sides.
“Telling the wife – results in potentially splitting up the family.”
“If they dont split then they may stay together just for the kid and the general relationship turns bitter and resentful.”
“Or the chance the wife forgives and all is ok. Yet the relationship with the brother is ruined in either case.”
“Not telling the wife – results in family life continuing to get better, kid doesnt see their parents split, which is never easy.”
“Brother relationship is also intact.”
“Yet the brother has some moral issue with something that really isn’t their business.”
“Are we expecting the other brother to tell his brothers employer that hes been taking illegal drugs?”
“I dont like it when both parties are involved in a sort of secrets exchange.”
“Yet one person decides they will take the moral high ground, ignoring the fact that they have also admitted to some bad sh*t.”
“Yet feel that they can trust their brother not to snitch, while snitching themselves.”
“Get off your high horse.”
“Holding your brother to something he did 4 years ago, that he also admitted was wrong. Is just crappy in my opinion.”
“This doesnt feel like a completely logical response. Are you jealous of your brother?”
“Have you had some bad experiences people cheating on you? If so, don’t reflect your bad experiences onto your brother.” ~ [deleted]
Commenters reflected on what they would want.
“I’d definitely want to know, if I don’t have a kid.”
“If I had a kid, I wouldn’t want to know if it’s a scenario like OP described.” ~ sirxez
“I would want to know regardless.”
“If my partner could cheat and not come clean right away, then they aren’t who I thought they were and they probably aren’t someone I want to waste my life with no matter what good qualities they have.”
“Trust is not negotiable. Kids would not change that.”
“Besides, just because their marriage got better and he didn’t feel like cheating anymore, doesn’t mean he’d never go there if things go south again.”
“He opened that door, and more than once (in his past relationship as well, so we know he didn’t learn the first time.)”
“Marriage is never smooth sailing all the way. If I can only count on someone to have my back and stay honest when things are peachy, then I can’t count on them at all.” ~ prismaticbeans
“But there’s people like me. I found out after the fact and would rather not have. I almost didnt survive the anger and depression afterwards (loaded gun in my hands a few times).”
“I would only want to know if it was ongoing.” ~ alvehyanna
OP did return to add some clarity.
“I’m referring SIL as close family friend because my family and her family have known each since elementary school days and thus are Very close lol.”
“I thought this iteration would make the relationship sound stronger than just SIL, but it looks like I was wrong.”
“Wow this is on the front page, I never intended nor expected this blow up as it did! I’m sorry I can’t reply to everyone, but there will be some kind of update.”
Complicated problems aren’t necessarily better or worse than ‘simple’ ones.
Just like some of the commenters above you may see this as an easy answer.
So in the end we all make our own moral codes.
We build them from our experiences and our upbringing.
Our friends and our enemies.
Whatever decision this man came to was his to make, and it’s a choice that will have consequences one way or the other.
We all make our choices, we all build our moral compass with the best materials we can.