At a bar last weekend, I ran into my best friend's husband, who was out with his buddies. We chatted a bit and, since the bar was small, ended up in proximity to one another for several hours. I couldn't help noticing he was texting constantly, barely even talking to his friends. Once, as I was ordering a drink next to him, I saw the name of the person he was texting—"Kelly," which is his ex-girlfriend's name. I'm thinking I should probably keep this to myself, since I don't know all the details. Maybe his boss is also named Kelly, maybe his texts weren't all to her, maybe I should just mind my own business. But this is my best friend, and I happen to know that he'd be in huge trouble if he was indeed texting his ex for hours on a Saturday night. Do I say something or keep my mouth shut?
He Said: A friend of mine recently ran into the romantic partner of his best friend at a sex club. He came up with a great solution to a more extreme version of your dilemma: Rather than informing his best friend of the fact that his partner might have been "cheating" on him, he confronted the partner via text later. (No, he did not confront him naked at the sex club!) This way, he gave the guy an opportunity to either clarify the situation (We have an open relationship! I was only there researching an article on sex clubs!) or to break the news of his indiscretion to his partner himself. So you might try that tactic first. Write directly to the your best friend's husband, giving him the space to work it out in his own way. Then check with your best friend to make sure the topic did indeed come up in an honest way. In the end, they will both thank you.
She Said: There’s a huge difference between catching your bestie’s spouse at a sex club and “catching” him texting someone who may or may not be his ex. As you point out, even if the Kelly you saw referenced on his phone is the Kelly he used to date, he may not have been texting her all night. Some folks text constantly, rotating through family, friends, and hookups like a Cirque du Soleil juggler. Secondly, you saw the name because, let’s face it, you were eavesdropping—or the digital equivalent of eavesdropping—essentially “listening in” on a piece of private conversation. Lastly, who knows what the circumstance was? Perhaps Kelly’s dad had just died. Perhaps he was wishing her happy birthday. Perhaps it was a group text to all her friends announcing her engagement. If these explanations sound naïve, it’s because the situation requires you to err on the side of caution before you go trespassing into your friend’s marriage. If you had seen him kissing Kelly, that would be one thing, but people are, and should be, allowed to conduct private conversations without being reported to the Thought Police. I would keep this to myself, and at the very most only mention it to your friend if she happens to bring up a concern about her husband’s fidelity or ex-girlfriend in the near future. Barring that, let it go.
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