Dear Ms. Vicki,
I'm writing you because I am in the middle of a moral dilemma. One of my dearest friends has been having trouble in her marriage ever since her husband got back from deployment in December. She and I no longer live near one another; however, we've been talking almost weekly about this and I've done my best to be a supportive friend who listens and tries to give applicable advice.
My husband is also best friends with her husband, and the two of them have been phoning since he got back from deployment. Now for my dilemma: My husband told me that her husband revealed that he had been cheating on his wife, my friend. Not only has he been cheating on her, but it is with a senior female from his ship. She ended up pregnant while on deployment, and when they returned, my friend's husband and she went to the clinic for an abortion.
He made it clear to my husband that he is not happy in his marriage and plans to go through with the divorce and continue seeing the senior female. I swore to my husband that I would not say anything as he swore to his best friend that he wouldn't tell anyone.
I do not want to go against the promise I made to my husband as our trust in each other needs to come first. I will obviously continue to support my friend and, given this new bit of information, the advice I offer will probably change.
However, is there a way I can anonymously report the affair? I know it is strictly forbidden for the woman to have engaged in a relationship with my friend's husband as she's a higher rank, and I know her husband can get into trouble for adultery. It's not even so much that I want to get them into trouble (however, if that does happen that's the risk they each took when they engaged in the affair) but rather I want there to be a way my friend can find out without directly coming from me so I don't break my husband's trust.
I'm just not sure my friend will be able to move on or even want to move on if she doesn't know the extent of the troubles her husband has brought into their marriage. She keeps telling me that she wants to keep trying to work on their marriage, but I know if she knew everything, she would no longer want to do this.
What can I do? Thank you for any advice you may have!
Sincerely, Do I Say Something?
Dear Say Something,
I hear you, and I totally understand all of your concerns. Of course, you feel bad for your best friend for so many reasons: Her husband has been lying and cheating. Moreover, his side-chick became pregnant with his child.
Girl, this is a mess. I really regret saying this happens every day on ships, other deployments and in garrison. Just because it happens doesn't make it right.
Trust me, I've heard and witnessed the situation you are in. So many things can happen that may backfire in your face.
First, you have to protect the trust between you and your husband. You can't lose that. If your husband said "don't say anything," then you can't. I know it's hard because you feel like you are not being true to your good friend because you know the truth.
Second, your friend could side with her husband and get mad at you for outing her husband. Don't ask me why, but I've seen it happen numerous times. It's something about human nature that people say they want to know, but when they know, they do nothing about it. Either way, you come across as the busybody who has her nose in everyone else's busy, and you lose.
You also asked should you report them anonymously. Well, in my experience ships are small. They are like small communities and everyone knows who is sleeping with whom. Trust me, the rumor mill is on the ship. Maybe the fraternization rules should be abolished because people don't follow them. They hook up and they marry, too.
You mentioned that your friend wants to work on her marriage. This says that she knows some problems are there. There are two things I would recommend. Because your husbands are good friends, I think your husband should tell the cheater that he needs to come clean with his wife. Your husband should tell him it's difficult for him knowing all of this because of family friendships. Have him tell the cheater to tell her now. He shouldn't leave her in the dark, especially since he is planning on divorce.
Lastly, you can encourage them to seek intensive therapy. Other than being supportive to your friend, there is nothing else you can do. I really appreciate you for taking the time to read the column and to write me. I know this is difficult for you.
Let me know what you decide to do.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki