Photo credit: WIRED

The breakup catalyst

Would you tell your friend that he or she is being cheated on?

Brandon Chia

Published: 28 December 2016, 11:39 AM

Recently, I was horrified to discover that my best friend’s boyfriend was active on Tinder. Clearly she had no idea of this, because if she did, they’d be history.

I was going nuts, scurrying around asking different groups of friends on their opinions, trying to answer the important question: should I be the “breakup” catalyst? It boiled down to two options:

1. Tell her the truth knowing my actions might break them apart.
2. Don’t tell her, and let her live in a dysfunctional relationship.

This is where is where my dilemma kicked in.

Tinder does not show profiles that have been inactive for about three weeks, so he had to be matching or talking to other girls while dating my best friend.

As friends, we have a moral duty to tell the truth, especially if the situation is not good for your friend. For example, you would stage an intervention for your alcohol-obsessed friend to save their life and liver.

This is principle that many whom I sought advice from emphasised to me. Blood or DNA does not tie a friendship together; loyalty is key.

So many of them were baffled by my reluctance because telling my best friend that she isn’t the only girl was the way of proving that our friendship was legit.

Part one of a long conversation with our mutual friends on what we should do.

However, I was hesitant because I had gone through the same thing once before with another friend that turned out just plain messy.

At that time, I suspected her ex-boyfriend was having relations with another girl because he had a supposed “best friend” that he couldn’t stop texting.

So I started stalking his “best friend’s” Twitter out of curiosity, and noticed a weird thread of tweets with someone that sounded like her boyfriend. Turns out he created a secret second Twitter account just to talk to his “best friend”, even using the same display picture as his Instagram.

Part two of a long conversation: All of them were unanimously in favour of telling her the truth.

My first instinct when I read his “I miss you so much” tweets to another girl was to run screaming to her. I felt she should rip the band-aid off as fast as possible, ditch the fool and begin to heal.

However, my enthusiasm in delivering this piece of news inadvertently ripped a hole in our friendship that took at least three months to repair.

Nothing burns more than a good intention backfiring.


It’s never easy finding out you were being cheated on. For my friend, the way I had suddenly sprang the news on her definitely did not help. She was now reminded of her failed relationship each time she saw me, and this association strained our friendship.

I was kept at a distance by someone I was trying to look out for, someone I even travelled abroad with for five months with on an exchange programme. I felt like she saw me as a meddler, someone who had no place to come in between her and her relationship, but still did.

While I later understood that she was too overwhelmed with the emotions and drama that that one text started, I cannot deny that the cold treatment I got from her did hurt.

Who else could you count on other than your best friends? Photo credit: Rauff

Although we have made up and she knew I wanted nothing but the best for her, she still wishes she had found out on her own and had the opportunity to deal with it in her own time.

Now looking at the current group chat encouraging me to confront another of my friends regarding her cheating partner, I couldn’t feel more torn. The majority told me to just say it, but my experience made me fear history repeating itself.

After much contemplation, I realised I couldn’t live with myself knowing that she was investing her time and love into a guy who clearly does not reciprocate it.

This time however, I was a lot more careful about how I broke the news. All I said was: “Hey gurl, I just thought you needed to see this. Whatever you do from here on out is up to you. But I am here if you need to talk.”

A friend in need, is a friend indeed. Photo credit: Rauff


My friend just responded with a simple “thank you” and the rest of our text messages that night went on as per usual about the latest gossip and happenings in her life. It was as if nothing ever went down with us and with her boyfriend…

But I will always be keeping a close watch on her, just in case.

Edited photos by: Chia

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