11 Things To Do If Your Best Friend Says She’s Cheating On Her Partner

Your BFF confessed she’s been cheating on her boyfriend. You’re shocked, horrified and don’t know how to deal. Should you be completely supportive or should you tell her to stop her shady behavior or else your friendship is over? It doesn’t have to be so extreme. Here’s what you should do instead.

  1. Be honest. She’s your best friend, so she’ll value your honesty. Tell her what you really think. Yes, she’s being unfair to her partner. Yes, she risks wrecking her life. Getting real with her will help her to figure things out and hopefully get a reality check, but give it to her kindly.
  2. Focus on support. She’s opened up to you about something really personal, so don’t lecture her. The last thing she needs is for you to tell her she always picks such idiots for boyfriends or she’s a huge commitment-phobe. Even though she’s cheating on her partner, it doesn’t mean she’s going through a blissful time. She’s probably torn up about what she’s doing, so she needs support.
  3. Don’t enable her. It can be easy to get roped into helping your friend out of her sticky situation, like by pretending she was with you on Saturday night when her boyfriend asks or going out with her to her dates so she doesn’t look like she’s doing anything bad. Don’t engage in enabling behavior. This just drags you into the uncomfortable situation and makes you feel guilty — it’s not fair on you and it certainly won’t help her in the long run.
  4. Don’t waste your breath. It can be tempting to want to get through to your best friend so she changes her ways, but she’s the master of her own destiny. She has to make her own choices. You shouldn’t feel you have to try to change her because that will get you nowhere. All it will do is cause you both to fight, which isn’t worth it.
  5. Don’t let it change your friendship. Your friendship shouldn’t be affected by this unless you’ve decided that you can’t be friends with someone who cheats, which is another story. If you still want to be friends, you should be able to see the good qualities in your friend and appreciate them without letting this aspect of her private life get in the way of your friendship. Think back to times when she pulled through for you and how much it helped you to have her in your corner.
  6. Don’t change towards her partner. Maybe she’s cheating because her partner is a jerk or she just doesn’t feel for him anymore. The reason doesn’t matter — remember, there are two sides to every story. You shouldn’t change your behavior and attitude toward her partner as this can just make you an enemy in the future. If they stay together, which is not completely off the table, you’ll cause more problems for yourself.
  7. Set some boundaries for yourself. If you’re really close to your friend, it can be easy to get swept up in her drama, but this is her problem, not yours. You need boundaries so that her life choices don’t affect you. For instance, if she’s venting to you every day until it makes you feel drained AF, you should try not to be so available to her so that you don’t deplete your resources. Don’t neglect yourself.
  8. Try not to judge. If you’ve been cheated on in the past, you might feel mad at your friend for what she’s doing, but this isn’t about your past and she’s not doing it to hurt you. It’s her life and her issues. Try to be open-minded about what’s happening so that you don’t become the friend who judges her or makes everything about you. You don’t have to think what she’s doing is fun or acceptable, but you shouldn’t make her feel like she deserves to be stoned. Everyone makes horrible choices.
  9. Don’t take sides if her boyfriend is a mutual friend. It might be tempting to take your friend’s partner’s side in all this because he’s the victim, especially if he’s a friend of yours, but this can cause more drama and upset between all of you. The best thing you can do is detach from the drama and be neutral. Don’t let your friendship with either of them get harmed by something that’s got nothing to do with you.
  10. Don’t spill the beans. You might be so sick and tired of what your friend is doing that you decide to tell her partner. This is a huge no-no! Although you think you have every right to tell him what’s going on behind his back, being the messenger of bad news only risks you getting shot. You’ll end up hated by your friend and perhaps even her boyfriend — people don’t always deal well with the truth. It’s not your news to spill or your confession to make so don’t try to be the hero.
  11. Be clear about your views on cheating. You might feel guilty for supporting your friend when you’re so against cheating, but that’s why you need to open up to her about your thoughts. Be clear about your views on infidelity and how you don’t want her to think you’re supporting what she’s doing. However, tell her that you’ll still be there for her in spite of this. She’ll then know that she can’t drag you into her drama but she has a friend she can talk to. And honestly, that’s the only thing you need to do to be a good friend.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.