Betty and Bob have been together for nine years, married for four and are getting a divorce. John and Jane have been together for seven years, married for three and are talking about having kids. We're all around 30. Bob, John and I are best friends. Jane and Betty used to be best friends but that relationship began to fall apart about a two years ago following some professional conflicts. They're still friends but it's tense.
Betty confided in me that she started having a SnapChat affair with John about six months before she asked for a divorce. So about a year ago. Bob was totally devastated when she asked for a divorce and has no idea about the SnapChat dalliance. Neither does Jane. And John has no idea that I have known for months. I've just been waiting for him to say something.
I feel really stuck in the middle. The SnapChats and texts have since stopped, but they went so far as to arrange to meet up at a hotel before both of them got cold feet. Betty cut it off before asking Bob for a divorce but I think the entire thing made her realize how unhappy she was in her marriage.
John is kind of tight-lipped about his feelings and he's been really supportive to Bob during his divorce and I don't want to take Bob's support network from him. I have no intention of telling Bob. It's not my place. But I do feel really conflicted every time we get together and Bob tells us that he has no idea what happened, and he can't understand why Betty doesn't want to work through their issues with their marriage counselor and John and I just say nothing.
I also worry that John is desperately unhappy and won't do anything about it until after his wife is pregnant. Should I bring it up? I want him to have someone to talk to about his feelings (I have felt like he needs to go to counseling for a while now). Or should I let him have made this mistake in private and move on? And Jane is the most straight-laced person I've ever met. She would not be ok with this. I also am not sure they like being married to each other all that much.
TLDR: Bob and Betty are getting divorce. Betty and John almost had an affair. John has no idea I know. Bob and Jane are clueless. John and Jane are about to start trying for kids.
So, Dan, do I say something or say nothing?
Hoping Endless Love Problems Eventually Resolve
John and Jane's relationship might implode all on its own, HELPER, like Bob and Betty's most likely did. (More on that in a moment.) Or John and Jane might stumble along in their imperfect marriage, imperfect as all marriages are, a certain degree of ignorance ensuring a certain degree bliss.
But John and Betty had a Snapchat affair and John can't be allowed to get away with it because—ugh, sorry, but I can't even, like the kids used to say. I can't even finish typing that sentence because it's just so fucking stupid. All John and Betty are guilty of is flirting with each other. And booking a hotel room they didn't use. So they never pressed their stinky bits together. Which means they didn't have an affair. Or a dalliance. They thought about having an affair—but what partnered person hasn't?
And you're granting way too much power to this supposed dalliance, HELPER. If a little Snapchat flirting was all it took to bring down Betty and Bob's marriage, that thing wasn't built to last. The next strong wind would've knocked it down. And flirting with John was clarifying for Betty—if it helped her see she needed to end her marriage—then the flirting was a symptom, not the disease. (Hell, the flirting was the cure, not the disease.) And the flirting may have been equally clarifying for John, too; he seems to have recommitted to Jane, going all in on kids, in the wake of it. Only time will tell if John made the right call.
Think of it this way, HELPER: John and Betty tiptoed up to the abyss together. Betty jumped, John didn't.
And think about this too: If every married person who flirted with someone else (online, in a bar, via Snapchat, etc.), if every person who thought about having an affair, if every person who actually did have a one-off, instantly-regretted affair—if all those people were outed to their spouses by people who weren't "stuck in the middle" but were narcissistic enough to believe they were, HELPER, no one's marriage would survive for longer than a month.
So here's what you should do, HELPER: You should STFU.
I'm sure you think your friends tell you everything, HELPER, because you know yourself to be so darn helpful. But let's say they didn't. Let's say a few crucial details were omitted when Betty confided in you. Maybe they really did bang in that hotel room. Or maybe they didn't bang. Maybe they snapped constantly, for weeks and weeks, or maybe it was a couple of silly, ill-advised, instantly-regretted, not-that-dirty snaps. Maybe John already told Jane everything and she forgave him but would be mortified to learn that others knew and your "help" might set them back. Maybe Betty hate Jane and made the whole thing up to sabotage the marriage of her ex-friend. Who the fuck knows? Not me, not you.
In a situation like this, HELPER, it's best to assume you don't know everything and to stay the fuck out of it. So once more, with feeling: STFU.