Should I expose someone who is cheating

I have a dilemma that I don’t know how to handle. I have recently found out that my sister’s husband is having an affair and that it has been going on for almost a year.

I don’t know if I should tell her or not. I want to tell her because she has a right to know and I feel like I am lying to her by not telling her.

I am afraid to tell her because we have recently lost our parents and our brother. Now, the only family she has left is me and her husband. She will be totally devastated to find out and I don’t want to hurt her, but knowing about it is giving me anxiety attacks.

What do I do???


Many people face this dilemma because the spouse is typically the last to know.

And there are several things to consider when trying to make such an important decision.

Should I be the one to expose the affair?

What is your intention?

When trying to decide if you should be the person to reveal an affair, it helps to explore your own motives, because your motives will be questioned. Is your desire to tell driven by your concern for your sister? Sometimes, people have less than noble reasons for “telling the truth.” In fact, one of the most effective ways to hurt someone is by telling them the truth (see truth hurts). Although it can be uncomfortable to consider—is it possible that you have a hidden motive? Are you trying to hurt your sister, punish her husband, or settle some other score? Again, it helps to spend some time thinking about your motives, because they will be questioned by most people. And if your intent is driven by anything, but your concern for your sister, telling the truth will only make a bad situation worse.

Are you ready to be attacked?

If you decide to expose your sister’s husband, are you ready to deal with the consequences? Typically, the only thing worse than a cheating spouse is someone who exposes a cheating spouse. Infidelity and affairs are very common (see stats about infidelity). And it is almost impossible to have an affair without someone knowing about it. But, most people keep quiet about it. When it comes to infidelity, most people believe that the best course of action is to “mind your own business.” And if you cross that line, rather than being seeing as a hero of the truth, you might be seen as a troublemaker (even by your own sister). In all likelihood, if you decide to tell, there will be a real social cost. So, if you do get involved and decide to expose the affair, you can expect to be isolated, punished, and attacked. Simply put, while people say they want to know the truth, they also tend to attack people who expose the truth.

Do you think that she might already know?

It also helps to consider the possibility that she already knows. Do you think there is a chance that she is aware of the affair and is struggling to cope with it on her own? If she knows about the affair and she is embarrassed or ashamed, telling her could cause more problems than good. When people are struggling with an issue and there is shame associated with it, exposing the issue can cause a setback. For instance, if you suspect that someone is struggling with any issue (e.g., drug abuse, homosexuality, etc.,), pointing it out does not help. Sometimes people are aware of the problem, but not ready to deal with it. In such circumstances, it is often counterproductive to force people to deal with problems they are not ready to face.

Have you thought about how you are going to do it?

Telling your sister, face-to-face, is an honest and straightforward way to handle the problem. But, as mentioned, doing so may make life difficult for a lot of people, including yourself. So, another option to consider is by telling your sister anonymously (setting up a free e-mail account is a very easy way to do this). But, if you choose this path, be sure to give enough details so that the message seems credible without revealing your identity in the process. This option, however, is not without its problems. It will create more confusion, uncertainty and stress for your sister as she tries to figure out not only if the message is true, but who sent it as well.

Anyway, these situations are always complicated. And it can be very difficult to know what is the best thing to do. We wish you the best of luck.

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