Sunday, May 2, 2010


Dear Cheryl,

If you knew your best friend’s husband was cheating on her, would you tell her? I HATE HAVING A SECRET


If I had to give a one word answer, that word would be No.

There are circumstances would I might change my mind, but as a general rule, I’d say No.

Readers, would you want your friend to tell you your spouse was cheating?

Dear Cheryl,

You've printed stories before about mothers who worry about their daughters' romantic choices, but what about daughters who worry about their mothers?

My dad died a few years ago and my mom, a senior citizen, started dating a man at least 10 years her junior. He says he's divorced and living alone in a small, rundown house. However, he spends several nights a week, and all holidays, at the home of his married daughter, which is in a much better neighborhood. The only catch is that his supposed ex-wife lives there, too. Isn't this odd?

On one occasion, Mom spent the weekend at his little house and the ex-wife just showed up and stayed the weekend, too. They actually managed to convince her the more the merrier! She really seems to believe the only reason he spends so much time at his daughter's house is because he’s such a devoted father.

I think he's playing her for a fool, and his family is taking advantage of her, getting whatever they can. For all I know, he and his “ex” are still married. She may have moved in with the daughter to live in a better house in a nicer neighborhood while she couldn’t sell her own little rundown house.

Mom is slim and rather attractive, and I don't think she should allow herself to be treated this way. She actually dropped a decent boyfriend for this guy. Whenever I try to talk to her about it, she says this is all acceptable behavior under the "new rules" for senior dating. Is there any such thing? SWINGING SENIOR’S DAUGHTER

Dear SSD,

There are a lot of new rules, these days, but this isn’t one of them.

How is your mother’s health? Does she see a doctor regularly? Is it someone who’s familiar with geriatric issues? Who handles her money? Do you know if she’s been giving this man any money?

What about her friends? Does she have any close ones? Have they met him? What do they think of the situation?

Something is so obviously wrong here that I think you have to intervene. If you have any siblings or if your mother has any, involve them also. It may be time for an intervention. Good luck and stay in touch.

Dear Cheryl,

My boyfriend and I are having an argument. He says you’re related to Linda Lavin. I say you’re not. Who’s right? FRIEND OF ALICE


Who’s Linda Lavin?

Just kidding.

We’re not related. But the weirdest thing frequently happens when I meet someone new. Half way into the conversation, they’ll start calling me Linda. I wonder if anyone ever starts calling her Cheryl.

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  1. Should you tell your BF (best friend) that you know BF's spouse is cheating? I agree that telling may devastate BF, end the marriage, hurt any kids, and run a serious risk of ending the friendship. But not telling may risk the friendship as well. It's a secret you better be prepared to carry to your grave, because if BF finds out later you knew and didn't tell her or him, BF may wonder where your true loyalties lie and may not forgive your silence. If the cheater knows you knew, it may be used against you to hurt BF. What if BF later contracts an STD? Will you feel guilty for not speaking up? This debate illustrates that the devastating consequences of cheating are not confined to the families directly involved.

  2. My answer is YES! Of course. It's the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Would YOU want to know? I would. It's as simple as that. Even if you lose the friendship, at least you've done the right thing.

    Think of the potentially devastating consequences for a woman kept in the dark: An incurable STD; infertility; wasting prime child-bearing years with a cheat when she could have left and made a life with someone else; being unpleasantly surprised when the other woman pulls a Glen Close or worse, has her husband's baby.

    And finally, consider this: My uncle, whom I loved dearly, contracted HIV/AIDS from his cheating partner and died a painful death in a hospice. It was gut-wrenching for me to see him like that. So in my opinion, being silent is being complicit and you are knowingly allowing ther pereson to be harmed.

    Since when is it wrong to tell the truth and save someone's health, and potentially her life? I cannot fathom the mentality behind staying silent. Basically, you're condoning the cheater's actions and permitting the continuation of a serious wrong. Of course you should tell the truth! My advice: Try to have solid evidence when you do, because you better believe, a cheating husband will deny, deny, and deny some more. I've been there - it's better to know, and the sooner the better.

  3. One more thought: If you're worried about your friend getting angry/disbelieving you and losing the friendship, you could always send an anonymous email/Facebook message with details so she can verify the situation herself...

  4. Why doesn't she confront the cheater and tell him he fesses up or she will?