couples

'My best friend shared her dirty little secret, and it's killing me.'

I have a secret. And it’s tearing me apart.

I wish I could tell someone. But the thing is, it’s not my secret to tell. It’s a secret my close friend has burdened me with and I’m beginning to resent her for it.

She cheated on her husband.

Angie and Dave (I’ve changed their names) have been together since high school. We all grew up together, in a small town where everyone knew each other. So it was almost inevitable they’d fall in love.

Dave followed Angie to the big smoke when she went to university to complete her finance degree and he did engineering. We stayed close, writing letters each week, and I was the one Angie called when they split up briefly the summer after first year.

We've been friend for over two decades. Image: Tumblr.

I eventually relocated as well and they both became my best friends. When they got married three years later I was maid of honour at their wedding. That was more than 15 years ago and we still remain close.

Angie confided in me last week over coffee. She said simply, "I've cheated on Dave, and I don't know what to do."

I couldn't hide the judgement on my face.

"Don't look at me like that, I know I'm in the wrong, but I needed to tell someone."

I asked who it was, even though I already knew the answer.

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"George."

Ah, George. Angie's coworker. He's a couple of years older, but they'd been working together for more than five years and he and his wife would regularly go on double dates with Angie and Dave. If it had to be anyone, I would have picked him.

"I haven't been able to tell anyone." Image: iStock.

"What happened?" I asked.

"You know that weekend away work had a couple of weeks ago?"

I did. Angie's work had rented out some cottages down the coast for a 'team bonding' weekend. I bet they didn't count on this kind of bonding.

It was almost a cliche. "One night ... too many reds ... one thing led to another ..."

"Well what are you going to do?"

It was a loaded question and we both knew it. Would she tell Dave and risk the trust in their relationship disappearing forever? Or would she stop at me, and let me harbour her dirty little secret for years.

"There's more ..." she continued. Apparently Angie and George had been more than 'just friends' for years. She said she felt like she'd been having an emotional affair but had never acted on her feelings, until now. I knew Dave and Angie were going through a rough spot (feeling ignored, no romance etc) but I never thought it would lead to this.

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We talked for a while, debating the pros and cons of telling Dave, and eventually I said I thought she should tell him. Let him decide what he wants to do with the information. I thought that was the only fair answer.I could see Angie was hesitant, so encouraged her, in the meantime, to at least see if she can transfer departments. She got the go-ahead last Friday.

Image: iStock.

It's been two weeks since she told me, but she still hasn't told Dave. George and her still chat at work, there hasn't been any further fooling around - at least that I know about - but she's acting as if nothing has happened, like everything's normal. She keeps inviting my husband and I over for drinks or for outings with all of our kids. But it's hard to face Dave.

I haven't told my husband because he and Dave are best buds, and I know he'll tell him in a heartbeat. But this secret - knowing something that could potentially destroy their marriage - is eating me alive.

It's Sophie's Choice: Do I tell Dave, break his heart, and lose Angie or both of them as friends? Or do I shut my mouth and pretend like it never happened?

I don't really want to get involved in something that's none of my business, but the guilt is overwhelming, and all because I leant an ear to my best friend.

Any advice?

Disclaimer: All names have been changed to protect their identities.

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