Would You Dump Your Friend For Being A Cheater?

Every woman has a story of having her heart broken by an ex-boyfriend. But whether you broke up because you weren’t compatible or he cheated on you, making the decision to finally walk away is a tough one.

Cheating is one of the most toxic and unforgivable behaviors out there, but how do you respond when the cheater is a close personal friend?

Why Do People Cheat?

Well-dressed man and woman at bar
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

It’s important to first realize that cheating isn’t always black and white, and oftentimes, it’s shrouded in shades of gray.

A 2017 study revealed that out of 500 people who cheated, “43%…cheated out of anger, 77% reported doing it because they felt a lack of love in their relationship, 70% said they cheated due to some type of neglect, and 57% attributed their cheating to low self-esteem,” according to SELF.

Can We Talk?

Fake text message from the perspective of a woman messaging her friend about getting together soon because she needs to talk to her about something important.
Photo Credit: ifaketextmessage.com
Photo Credit: ifaketextmessage.com

Your friend has invited you out to a coffee shop one afternoon. Sitting at your table and holding a warm beverage in your hand, you notice your longtime friend looks nervous and that this coffee date—which you’ve done a million times before—probably won’t be like all the others.

After a brief period of silence, she begins with, “I need to talk to you about something.”

Your Friend’s Confession

Two women engage in a serious conversation at a coffee shop.
Photo Credit: Alexander Suhorucov / Pexels
Photo Credit: Alexander Suhorucov / Pexels

Your friend takes a deep breath, looks you in eyes, and says, “I cheated on my boyfriend.” She pauses before adding, “Please don’t hate me.”

Cheating is something that is universally loathed because it’s the cause of countless heartaches, breakups, divorces, and trust issues. Perhaps you’ve been cheated on before or it’s why your parents divorced when you were a child. You yourself would never cheat on a significant other, so how do you respond in this situation—especially when it’s a friend?

Take The Time To Process Your Feelings

A woman looks out the window with a serious look on her face
Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas / Pexels
Photo Credit: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas / Pexels

First and foremost, news like this is a big deal, and therefore taking the time to emotionally and psychologically process it is key.

Just as your friend is processing the totality of what they’ve done and how it’ll impact her romantic relationship, you too need time to process this revelation about your friend. Not surprisingly, you’ll probably have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

Ask Questions To Understand Their Point Of View

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Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pexels

There are many reasons why people cheat, and your friend is going to have her own individual reason. With this in mind, it’s important to understand her mindset so you can better help her. Asking, “What do you need me to do?” is a good place to start.

Whether your friend did it because she was lonely or as payback for perceived wrongdoings, and whether she’s remorseful or prideful, keep in mind that you might not like her answers.

Because She’s A Friend, Reserve Judgement

A woman sits on her bed and looks down at her cell phone.
Photo Credit: Mathilde Langevin / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Mathilde Langevin / Unsplash

Take the time to hear her out and understand her point of view, but reserve judgment. Remember, she came to you seeking help for a reason.

So whether she spends an hour venting to you over the phone, needs your shoulder to cry on, or wants to spend the afternoon eating ice cream, be there for your friend at the moment and allow the dust to settle before figuring out your next move.

Make Your Boundaries Known

Serious woman in orange blazer looks at the camera with her arms crossed.
Photo Credit: Etty Fidele / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Etty Fidele / Unsplash

Perhaps your friend’s significant other is also a close friend of yours—would you be able to have get-togethers knowing that she cheated and he’s oblivious?

Now that you’ve heard her side of the story and offered emotional support, it’s your turn to make your feelings known. Whether you’re willing to protect her secret or you believe her significant other deserves to know the truth, be honest with what you are and aren’t willing to do.

Take A Step Back If Needed

Text message where a person says they need space after learning that their partner cheated on them.
Photo Credit: Ollyjet1993 / Reddit
Photo Credit: Ollyjet1993 / Reddit

Try reversing the roles. If your friend was confiding in you that it was her boyfriend who had cheated, you’d probably tell her that he was a deadbeat loser, that she should dump him ASAP, or that she can do so much better.

Now that all the cards are laid out on the table, be honest with your friend, and, if needed, tell her that you need some space and time away from the friendship to process everything.

Determine If The Friendship Is Worth Salvaging

Two women hugging and smiling at the camera.
Photo Credit: Omar Lopez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Omar Lopez / Unsplash

No matter how you sugarcoat it, your friend is a cheater. No time machine or magic wand will undo what happened, nor will it change how you now view her. Because if she cheated once, who’s to say she won’t do it again, or, even meddle in your own relationship?

Cheating is toxic behavior and an enormous breach of trust. Whether you’re guided by your moral compass, lack of trust, or ability to forgive, you need to figure out whether you want to save the friendship.

Not An Ideal Situation

Person looks at a text message that their significant other sent them which says they should break up and how
Photo Credit: MART PRODUCTION / Pexels
Photo Credit: MART PRODUCTION / Pexels

Either way, the situation you’ve now found yourself in is not an enviable one.

While your friend’s significant other now has to decide whether to continue his romantic relationship or break up with her, you now have to make the choice regarding whether to continue your friendship.