How many times have you said to a friend that you would want them to tell you immediately if your partner was being unfaithful, or even promised that if their partner was cheating you would be the first to let them know? Well findings from our recent study suggest that when it comes to witnessing such adulterous acts we may not be quite so vocal…..
OnePoll asked 1000 UK adults the action they would take if they saw the following scenarios occur whilst on a night out:
- Friend’s partner cheating on your friend
- Dad cheating on your Mum
- Mum cheating on your Dad
- Work colleague’s partner cheating on your work colleague.
Surprisingly, not even for one of the above did the majority of respondents say they would immediately tell the person being cheated on, rather they opted for giving the cheater an ultimatum of confessing to their partner or they would tell them what they had seen.
- ‘Friend’s partner cheating on your friend’: 33.1% said they would try and get the partner to admit what they had done
- ‘Mum Cheating on Dad’: 39% said they would try and get the partner to admit what they had done
- ‘Dad cheating on Mum’: 39.5% said they would try and get the partner to admit what they had done
Shockingly, it would appear that respondents would prefer to say absolutely nothing at all rather than let somebody know what they had seen.
- With almost a quarter of all respondents choosing to keep quiet – ‘tell no one’ was the second most popular action.
- It was in fact only 16% of individuals who opted to immediately tell the cheated individual.
For work colleagues the level of openness was even worse, within this scenario the majority of respondents not even opting for giving an ultimatum – but simply stating they would ‘tell no one’ at all (37.2%)
So why do we keep so quiet…
Scheinkman (2005), discusses how there are two sides to the crisis caused by infidelity in a relationship.
- Knowing your partner has cheated can have positive implications; it allows the couple to recognise the existing problems within their relationship and then ‘prompts them to focus on these problems’.
- In contrast however, revelation of an affair can be highly destructive not just to the couple but to family and friends. Scheinkman even goes as far as to highlight how it could, in extreme cases, lead to suicide or murder.
Perhaps it is these negative consequences on the couple and all who are involved that lead to many choosing not to interfere directly. It may be that people feel that they should do something with the information they have (e.g. can see that the couple must have issues that need resolving), but choose more of an indirect method to help the situation (tell the adulterer, leaving it in their hands) and thus perhaps feel less guilt for their part in the matter.
But What About When the Shoe Is On the Other Foot? - The free text below demonstrates some of the actions people have taken to get revenge when their partner has cheated!!