More Than Flirting with Disaster

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Dear Rivkie,

 I am very close friends with a married couple, “Sam” and “Rebecca.” Recently, Sam confided in me that he is using a dating app that rhymes with Hinder to meet up with other women on a regular basis. He says it doesn’t “mean anything,” and that he isn’t going to stop. What do I do? Should I tell Rebecca? Should I try to talk Sam out of doing what he’s doing? I am totally shocked and can’t stop thinking about it. Help!

 

 Signed,

 Stuck-in-the-Middle Sara

 

Dear Sara,

First I want to say, Oy vey! What a pickle you are in. Except, you will be glad to know, you really aren’t in that much of a pickle, because here’s the thing: DO NOT GET INVOLVED. Yes, you heard me honey. This is a disaster waiting to happen; but, lucky for you, it’s not your disaster. Let’s break it down.

Sam is doing some naughty things that nobody should be doing, let alone a nice Jewish man. I mean, aside from the obvious, he is knowingly doing something that will deeply hurt Rebecca and could destroy not only their relationship, but potentially others as well. For example, I assume you are worried that if Rebecca knows that you know, she will be super angry at you for not telling her. This, I understand. Once the dust settles, however, she may see that you were not in a position to tell her. Or not. This is a gamble you have to be willing to take.

Let me reiterate: You cannot tell anyone anything here, except the following: “Sam, you are an idiotic jerk. You need to get your relationship figured out tout de suite. Stop lying, you lying liar.” Or something to that effect.

I would also like to suggest speaking to a rabbi about your obligation in this situation. There are halachos (Jewish laws) that deal with loshon harah (sharing negative information — even if it is true!), and they are complex. A rabbi may be able to guide you in the right direction or, if the couple knows the rabbi, maybe he would be willing to counsel one or both.

Sam may want his relationship with Rebecca to implode due to a variety of reasons, and he may hope that telling you will encourage you to do the dirty work for him. He should not have put you in this situation in the first place, by the way. That is not being a friend. Support him if you can, be a good friend to Rebecca as always, and remember: This is not your responsibility. Take care of yourself and keep this disturbing information to yourself. I wish you much hatzlacha and bracha in staying strong here.

All the best,

Rivkie