My best friend and her boyfriend were once having problems in their relationship and were considering becoming open or polyamorous. I was incredibly supportive of any decisions she decided to make, and she was constantly keeping me in the loop about the situation. But then, I found my friend's boyfriend on Tinder. She hadn't told me they had taken the plunge, though. Were they open now, or was he just cheating?
I didn't know if I should tell her or if I should just keep my big mouth shut, considering she'd already told me their relationship was complicated and in the midst of a transformation. Plus, it's her relationship, not mine. When is it my place as a friend to get involved?
If you see your friend's partner on a dating app, it can be hard to know what to do next. So here are some things you should do if you see your friend's partner on Tinder. There are some different options, so choose which route you think is right for you.
1. Do Nothing
Sometimes, doing nothing is actually the best move. Other people's relationships are not your business, unless your friend explicitly asks you for your advice. Otherwise, you might just be involving yourself in a situation you don't know a lot about.
Like I learned from my situation, my friends turned out to be in an open relationship, and my BFF didn't feel comfortable telling me about it yet. Both she and her boyfriend had joined dating apps, and they didn't feel the need to send out a warning to all of their friends. Then, suddenly, she was getting inundated with messages from people ("OMG, I saw Tom on Bumble, is everything OK?") and it made her feel like shit, having to explain over and over again what was going on in her private life to people she pretty much only kept up with on Instagram.
Doing nothing is a good option, especially if you don't know what to do. Then, if your friend ever comes to you thinking that their partner might be cheating, you can tell then what you know. If they ask why you didn't tell them earlier, just say you didn't think that it was your place to intrude on their private business. Adults don't create drama and gossip, and your friend will understand.
2. Message Them For An Explanation (If You Match)
Sometimes, instead of going to your friend, it's best to go to the source itself for clarification. And if you don't match, you can always confront them via text, email, Facebook, Instagram, or privately in-person when you see them next. That way, you might either get a sensible explanation or be met with a pile of bullsh*t that could lead you to your next indicated step.
While definitely awkward, meeting the issue head on is a good way to solve it immediately without wasting a lot of time. Plus, your friend's partner will know they are busted and won't have a lot of time to save face or make up excuses. You have leverage over them, so why not make them clean your apartment or do your dirty dishes, too, while you're at it?
But seriously, sometimes, going to the source of the problem is better than going directly to your friend, because not only do you get more information (if you decide to go to your friend as well), but you also get a little bit of clarification. It can be scary, but if you've thought about it and think this is the best plan of action, it could be worth it.
3. Ask A Mutual Friend For Advice
Recently, my friend started dating a new guy whom she is really excited about, but he has been wishy-washy in terms of commitment. Some days, he acts like her boyfriend, and other days, he thinks they need to slow things down. It leaves her confused and a little exhausted, but nevertheless, she's still trudging along, and they mainly seem happy.
Then, I went to a birthday party the other day, and he was there with another girl. While that's not a dating app, the scenario is similar: What do you do when you see your friend's partner with someone else? Since their relationship seemed noncommittal at this stage, I didn't think that saying something was the right thing. So I turned to our mutual friends for some advice.
The group consensus was to do nothing, and it turned out, the girl was just his friend, so I was glad I hadn't done anything dramatic.
While a person on a dating app isn't likely scouring for buddies, you can never really predict why they are there. Being a relationship writer, I sometimes have to investigate new apps for a story, whether or not I am in a relationship. While I usually inform the partner I am dating, I doubt he sends out an email blast to all his friends, informing them, too. So sometimes, it's best to defer to mutual friends for advice before you jump to a decision. A second opinion never hurts.
4. Tell Your Friend
If you've really thought about it, and you're sure your friend needs to know immediately, make sure you come with receipts. Have evidence and take a screenshot — otherwise, your BFF might not believe you. But be careful, as sometimes the messenger gets shot.
Make sure you come to your friend calmly as well, because your worry or anger will only intensify the situation. Remember, this isn't happening to you. This is happening to your friend and their relationship, so make sure you don't add more drama to what could already be a heartbreaking moment. Say what you know, but don't offer any of your suggestions. You bring the facts, so allow your friend to have the reaction.
If this has happened to you, then I'm sorry. You are stuck in a rough place, where, no matter what, someone is going to get hurt. Trust your gut to make the right decision, and come to it from a place of love, empathy, and understanding. Respect your friend's decision, no matter what it might be, because love can be a confusing animal, and we've all been blinded by it before.
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