Poll: Would You Rat Out a Cheater?

Our “Dear Em & Lo” advice column last week, in response to a reader who wanted to know what was so wrong with cheating on her husband, kicked off a passionate debate on this site. But forget nuance — let’s get your feedback in cold, hard statistics! If you knew your friend was being cheated on, would you tell…?

Can’t see the poll? Click here to take it.


  1. A friend or semi-close acquaintence I would tell – just on the basis of that I would want them to tell me. If it’s some random person who I don’t know, I would not tell them… It’s not my place. However, in any situation where I would feel like I SHOULD tell the other person – I would definitely give the cheater the option to tell them themselves. As for who made me God, to the first commenter, I would do this because that’s what I would expect for people who know me well. And, in my opinion, as I have said in the other post there is NO reason that I can see cheating as okay. There is no reason I would and no reason it’s excusable. Not ever. Forgivable – sometimes, but never excusable. Yep, I judge that. And I won’t apologize for it, either.

  2. danielle-you talk to your friend about it. once. then you say it’s her life. As it sounds like you have. and yeah, I think Johnny is right-I’d feel more required to tell a friend, and more sure that they’d believe me- than a random aquaintance.

  3. Yeah, I agree with Johnny. And what about when your friend (not-married) is cheating with a married person?
    A really good friend of mine is fooling around with a married guy, who I don’t know all that well and I’ve never met his wife. I totally disapprove, but what am I supposed to do about it? My friend knows how I feel about it and I’ll leave it at that… it’s really none of my business.

  4. Obviously most people would squeal if it was their friend being cheated on. Not a good example – this demonstrates loyalty to a friend, rather than adherence to a principle.

    A better question would be, what if an aquaintance was being cheated on?

  5. I know for myself, should a friend of mine know that my partner was cheating and didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t consider them much of a friend.

    I have been cheated on, and amongst the multitude of emotions you go through, one of them is humiliation. I had perfect strangers make comments to me at one point about the situation, after all was said and done. What’s worse than gossip behind your back, gossip and pity behind your back. You know by peoples faces when you enter a room something is up, and your the joke of something, but when no one has the decency to tell you what it is, it’s a horrible feeling, and then to later find out…well…

  6. I think this poll shows that people tend less to judge cheaters and more to understand them–but that doesn’t mean they condone or accept it. Personally, I think every situation should be individually considered. There’s no one rule for handling something like this.

  7. I can’t believe there is more than one answer to this. For the rest of you…who died and made you God? Consider all the possible good things that can happen by opening your mouth. Done? Good. Short list. Now go and sin no more.

    Or simply remember Laurino’s 12th Law: Give others as much license as you fear you may need some day.

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