Breaking the Triangle: Should You Tell a Cheater’s Spouse?

When you find out the person you’ve been seeing is married, should you tell their spouse?

Wendy Miller


I’ve never dated someone who is married or in a committed relationship — to my knowledge. But I have been the betrayed spouse. My former husband cheated on me even before our wedding and continually throughout our marriage. And a recent two-year relationship ended after I learned that the man I was with was also seeing at least 10 other women — no wonder he didn’t have time for me!

When you do find out that someone you’re involved with is married or otherwise committed, the immediate urge is to tell their partner. Some of it may be outrage or jealousy; some of it may be a desire to do the right thing. Morally, telling the betrayed partner is the right thing to do. It’s the principle of it, if nothing else.

But relationships are complicated. Assumptions are made, beliefs can be tested, and doing the right thing can put you in situations you never expected.

So what should you do when you’ve learned that the person you’ve been seeing is married or otherwise committed? Is telling their spouse as black and white as it seems? Or should you stay out of it?

I think it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before you make any decision, one way or the other.

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

Is the spouse in any danger?

Maybe you were diagnosed with an STD and that’s what clued you in that your partner wasn’t true to you. Maybe you found out another way and when you confronted them, they got violent. Or maybe you just like the bad boy/girl type and know that they have a record of domestic violence or other dangerous behavior that puts their spouse at risk.

Danger can take many forms when it comes to relationships. It could be danger to their health, to their safety, or even to their financial situation.

If you know that the spouse is in danger, you should let them know. Whether you choose to tell them yourself or attempt to do it…