Everybody likes a tattletale.

My cousin (let’s call her Megan) lives one town over from me, and my husband and I spend time with her and her husband regularly. Over the last five years, the men have become really close friends – better friends than Megan and me. We’ve never been particularly close. I love her, but we’re very different people.

My sister, however, has been Megan’s confidante since they were small, and she’s always reported Megan’s drama back to me. I keep my mouth shut about it, but last week when my sister was over for dinner she mentioned that Megan’s has been having an email flirtation with a man she works with, and was planning a hotel tryst with him. None of my business, right?

Except my husband was there during that conversation, and now he’s all fired up and angry at Megan and wanting to tell his friend (her husband) that something’s going on. I told him to stay out of it but now he’s mad at me, hates Megan, and says he won’t spend time with her ever.  My sister and husband are also angry with each other, and my sister will absolutely flip out if we say anything to Megan or her husband. And while Megan is being dishonest and terrible to her lovely husband, she’s family and I need to support her. What do I do?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! My head hurts.

There’s a lot of information here, and what it boils down to is this: Megan is trouble. She’s a sneaky little liar. She should have known better than to tell your sister, and your sister should have known better than to tell you and your husband…and blah blah blah.

I’d like to make a general statement, then, about telling. I always tell my kids not to tattle, because tattling is annoying. For grownups, though, I think tattling is totally fine. If I ever knew anything about a friend’s husband, I would find a way to tell the friend. I don’t think your husband has to be involved on a personal level; any way of spilling the beans will do. Skywriting, candygram, anonymous email, whatever. I would want someone to tell me, and I wouldn’t want someone I love to suffer the humiliation of being the last person to know.

Since nothing has actually happened yet,  in this case instead of telling his friend, your husband should call Megan himself. He should say, “I know what you’re planning on doing, and I can’t in good conscience keep it from my friend. Please talk to [husband’s name] about the problems in your marriage. Since you haven’t done anything yet, maybe this can be an opportunity to save yourself from being a LYING CHEATING SLUTBAG.” (Maybe leave out those last few words, but you get the picture.)

As far as your sister is concerned, she’ll get over it. Maybe this will prompt her to tell Megan not to keep her infidelities to herself, and your sister will learn what happens when a girl doesn’t keep a secret.

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