My ex-husband cheated on me two and a half years ago. He has also cheated on his current girlfriend. I know he lied to her about it, and I wonder if I should tell her.
Some people say it’s none of my business. They say it’s not my job to save her. Others tell me of course I should tell her. They say she deserves to know what she’s getting into. Still others say I should have told her long ago, but the time has passed.
I keep getting advice, but I’m paralyzed when it comes to taking action.
My ex-husband’s infidelity was the last straw reason for our divorce, but there were nearly two decades of dishonesty and addictions prior to our day in court. He’s an expert con man. He has problems he’s not facing. He presents as someone who is gentle, sweet, thoughtful and romantic. He does that so expertly because it’s the perfect cover for what’s really underneath–a man with many dark secrets.
My ex-husband told me he had started dating someone when we were setting up our son’s birthday party. This was just three months after I’d discovered the affair and filed for divorce. I was a hot mess emotionally, but to the outside world, I was as much the put-together overachiever as ever. (We were hosting the party together because it turns out I’m awesome at putting aside my own feelings for the sake of my kiddo.)
I was shocked at how quickly he’d started dating, but I shouldn’t have been; he was already dating when we were married, after all. It definitely was some sort of sick game to tell me at the birthday party, though, amiright?
It’s two years later now, and he’s still with that woman. Let’s call her Sarah. He and Sarah are planning to move in with each other shortly. Sarah has young sons who have come to know my ex as a stable father figure. My son sees Sarah as a caring and important adult in his life. By all accounts, she’s a wonderful woman and mother.
And because of this, I think she deserves to know he cheated on her. And at the same time, I think I shouldn’t disrupt the lives of the kids involved by letting the truth be known.
By staying silent, I am complicit in my ex’s lies. By speaking up, I might play a role in ending their relationship.
Would you want to know? If you were dating a man who you thought was the sweetest, greatest guy you’d ever met, would you want to know he’s actually just a charming liar with serious amounts of problems? If you were ready to merge your life with your boyfriend, would you want to know he disrespected you early in your relationship?
I would. I would appreciate it. I want a relationship that’s honest and true. And if my boyfriend was able to two time me during the precious early months of a relationship, it would definitely be something I’d want to know. But not everyone values an open and honest relationship. Some people would rather just enjoy the ride, no matter what each other is hiding under the trunk.
If you are wondering if I’m stating factual information or just speculating about his cheating on Sarah, rest assured I’m a facts-based opinion sort of gal. Not only did my ex admit it to me, it’s also backed up by a confession by the other woman.
How I came to know this information is dramatic and sort of unbelievable, but that’s what my life became due to my ex’s “activities.” The husband of my ex’s mistress wound up contacting me months after our divorce was final. He told me that he had caught them at it again. She admitted to sleeping with my ex following a work event they attended. I knew about the event; it had been my favorite one to attend with him as his wife. This phone call from the mistress’ husband was months after he’d started dating his girlfriend.
And when I confronted my ex with this information, he confirmed it. I mean, at first he lied, of course. That’s always his first response. He told me he “saw her” at the event.
Then I pulled out my interrogation skills — I pointed out inconsistencies, offered possibilities that seemed more likely, reassured him he’d feel better if he just told me the truth … and he admitted it. In the end, he said he invited her, got her a ticket, took her to dinner before the event, and did the deed in her car afterwards.
That was also the story that the husband said his wife had told. The stories matched up.
And so here I am, with this salacious information about my ex-husband having cheated on his current girlfriend. He cheated on her with the same woman he cheated on me with.
Sarah and I are linked — we are women who have both loved a charming liar, and who have both been cheated on him. Only she’s still in the dark, and I’m keeping her there.
I know who he really is, and she still thinks he’s awesome. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before her world comes crumbling down too…before she’s left crying on her floor, hands covering her face, wondering how she could have been so fooled, so stupid, so wrong about this man.
I’m a caring, compassionate woman trying to prevent another woman from going through the pain of betrayal and heartbreak. I’m also a scorned ex-wife who doesn’t want to be keeping my ex’s secrets for him anymore. Is it selfish or selfless to tell her? I honestly don’t know.
If I tell her now, it might be devastating for her and the kids involved. If she finds out much later, won’t that be even worse? Doesn’t she deserve to know before they move in or get married, or does she deserve to be able to live her life without my messing it all up? Do I deserve to be free from my role as his secret-keeper?
These are the questions that circle around my head all day. (And, who am I kidding, all night, too.) I never imagined that day when he admitted to his affair that I’d be in this same place over two years later.
I’m in the same place — my kitchen island. I’m doing the same thing — typing into my computer, as if the answers will arrive if I just keep writing. The same look is on my face — a mix of confusion, doubt, and fear. There’s the same shaking head and aching chest as I ask, “What on earth am I going to do now?”
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