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How do you let a friend know his wife is cheating?
December 6, 2010 1:30 AM   Subscribe

How does someone *completely* anonymously and seemingly randomly let a good friend know that his wife is cheating on him? It must come about in a way that seems more like plain bad luck rather than that she was ratted out...

How does 'Friend A' completely anonymously let another friend (Husband) know that 'Husband's' wife is cheating on him? 'Friend A' found out that she'd been having another relationship for 4 years, and even came across pictures of her and the other guy on a swingers' website. 'Friend A' wants to let 'Husband' know but will only do so if it's:

A) completely anonymous and untraceable back to 'Friend A'
B) must seem to both 'Husband' and his wife that it was just random bad luck that 'Husband' discovered the infidelity. There can be no hint or suspicion of any third party being involved in any way.
C) prefer to avoid public humiliation of wife if possible

These are the parameters (appreciate replies according to these parameters only!), and am looking for the most creative and achievable suggestions. 'Friend A' has a few pics from the swingers' website of wife/lover together as evidence, but that's the only proof in his possession.

Completely appreciate difficulty involved, hence looking to the wisdom of askmefi!! Gratitude for your ideas on this unsavory task....
posted by KiddAnnica to Human Relations (58 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If its a swingers website is there any chance that he knows and is alright with it?

Fake email disguised as spam from the swingers website would do the trick. Just create a fake email account and then make a crappy porn advertisement with the her photos on it and send away.

Also you might want this question to be anonymous.
posted by Felex at 1:42 AM on December 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Well that's hard... Setting aside the ethical considerations of interfering in a relationship in such a way... I guess you could craft a spam message that doesn't look like spam and that appears to advertise the swinger site, with one of the pictures being of the wife and lover.

Of course the possibility exists that the husband is aware of the relationship already. There's a difference between swinger's sites and ashley madison.
posted by gryftir at 1:42 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it possible, since there are published pictures of her on a swingers site, that husband knows all about her 'adventures' and that you are misinterpreting and open relationship as infidelity? Presumably she wouldn't allow pictures to be taken if she was playing without Husband's consent.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:44 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm, perhaps an email to the husband that seems like it was intended for the wife? From some generic email address that has a real-sounding name.

"Hi Wife, it was great to run into you and Guy at the restaurant the other night! I saw this photo of you online, and I gotta say, you look much prettier in person! (link to photo)

Anyway, it was great to catch up, hope to see you soon."

Wife might suspect something was up, but what could she do?
posted by bluedaisy at 2:07 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, you could have flowers delivered to the wife at home, from the boyfriend or I suppose anonymously if you didn't know his name. Leave a salacious message. This one is extra evil, though.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:08 AM on December 6, 2010


looking to the wisdom of askmefi!! Gratitude for your ideas on this unsavory task....

Your mileage may, of course vary; but if I were in Friend A's position and didn't feel that having a quiet face-to-face word about it with Husband was obviously the right thing to do, this would be my Clue that I did not, in fact, feel sufficiently sure of or concerned about my belief in Wife's infidelity to act on it in any way at all.

My best advice to Friend A is: try not to be Iago.
posted by flabdablet at 2:14 AM on December 6, 2010 [23 favorites]


How certain can you be that the photos you saw are actually her? Over the years, in two different communities, I've had people repeatedly mistake me for someone else, they actually start conversations with me and seem to know these women who look like me well enough to know names of spouses and other family members.
posted by mareli at 2:19 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Felex / gryftir / PorcineWithMe: thanks for ideas. Very unlikely Husband knows about wife's actions, so must assume that he does not.

bluedaisy: thanks, you're right though, a bit too much for Friend A

flabdablet: thanks for the input!
posted by KiddAnnica at 2:23 AM on December 6, 2010


I'm curious, why the (B) requirement? I can think of plenty of reasons you might not want to identify yourself, but I can't think of any (non-shady/non-bizarre) reasons why you'd want to make it look like sheer happenstance. Why can't you set up a throwaway email and send your friend an anonymous email?

And nthing what people have said about the possibility that her husband already knows and is okay with it.
posted by kagredon at 2:38 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is Friend A afraid to be forthright about this? Did Friend A find this information by snooping around?

Just send an anonymous email and be done with it before this turns into the plot of a bad sitcom.
posted by twblalock at 3:02 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why would friend A want to do this? If this has been going on for four years and the wife has been this public, then I've got to believe that on some level the husband knows about this. Whether the husband wants that knowledge to change from something he possibly sort of knows to something he definitely knows should be up to him, not friend A.

If you feel like interfering in other people's lives, then I think you're ethically obligated to be up front about doing it. If you don't, then you're treating your friends as if they were less than fully human.
posted by rdr at 3:11 AM on December 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Fake spam might work. It certainly meets your criteria of distancing yourself from the revelation and keeping it as random as possible. But, for what it's worth, I think you're doing your friend a disservice if you go down this route. Discovering a betrayal in such a way could be far more hurtful for your friend than the direct route and you could be denying him your friendship and support if he chooses to keep it a secret (who wants to tell their mates their wife is in porn spam?)
posted by londonmark at 3:51 AM on December 6, 2010


Posting anonymously here might be a good start at "complete anonymity" in this exchange.

Is Friend A trying to get with Husband and doesn't want him to know she's trying to break up his marriage? Even more than (A), I can't think of any other reason for requirement (B) (and it's interesting to note that (C) is by its plain terms optional).
posted by J. Wilson at 4:07 AM on December 6, 2010


Fake spam has a very good chance of not being read by the husband, even it if gets through his spam filters.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:36 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised at all the posters making the jump from "he might already know" to "don't bother telling him". An acquaintance wouldn't mention it; a friend would. I second the idea of sending an anonymous but straightforward email to the husband, or better yet, the wife first, to give her the chance to talk it over with the husband (if she needs to) before he hears from someone anonymously.
posted by monkeymadness at 4:55 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sending flowers anonymously can backfire.

Oh, yes...
posted by jgirl at 5:03 AM on December 6, 2010


Tell him directly if you can.

The husband knowing? Assumes facts in evidence.
Obviously, the OP is either a swinger, or someone who looks like a swinger who doesn't want a particular person or anyone else knowing of the fact.

In these cirucmstances, tell the wife, ask her what is up, and tell her she is going to tell him.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:20 AM on December 6, 2010


B) must seem to both 'Husband' and his wife that it was just random bad luck that 'Husband' discovered the infidelity. There can be no hint or suspicion of any third party being involved in any way.

This makes it impossible, as it would require someone knowing what the habits of the wife are along with the habits of the husband. For instance, suppose the wife liked to keep the pictures? Someone would have to know that fact, know where she kept them and then somehow get the husband to go to that particular spot to "accidently" discover them.

The only thing that might work, since you found these pictures on a swinger's website is if someone constructed a spam looking like email, with the images in the body of the email and then repeatedly sent it to the husband from various addresses, to ensure he would see it in his mailbox, and that it wouldn't go to his spam folder.
posted by nomadicink at 5:48 AM on December 6, 2010


It must come about in a way that seems more like plain bad luck rather than that she was ratted out...

You need to figure out where they go and then run into them accidentally. You and husband show up and see her with the other guy. You're his friend, so you want to be there with him no matter what happens next.
posted by pracowity at 5:53 AM on December 6, 2010


If you want him to know, you should have the decency to tell it to his face. Even more decent: not inserting yourself into this messy situation at all. Sometimes being a good friend is knowing when to butt out.
posted by wowbobwow at 5:58 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, you could have flowers delivered to the wife at home, from the boyfriend or I suppose anonymously if you didn't know his name. Leave a salacious message. This one is extra evil, though.

This is a terrible idea, don't do this.
posted by empath at 6:02 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


If friend A is a swinger or involved in alternative lifestyle he should not be outing people, karma is a bitch and he could just as easily be outed one day, perhaps if one of his partners winds up being a cheater.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:13 AM on December 6, 2010


How about a postcard to Mr. And Mrs. _____, but one of the ones that's folded over and taped. When they open up, it should be an advertisement about an upcoming event the swingers' club is having, and should feature prominently photos of the wife. Some other photos would need to be thrown in there as well for realism, but I recommend only using closeups of non-identifiable bodyparts and be very, very careful about using these photos of other people.

Nthing that parameter B seems likely to cause undue harm, and I think it would be a good idea to simply email him from a throwaway and let him know.
posted by Night_owl at 6:17 AM on December 6, 2010


So it seems to boil down to:

a) Friend A shouldn't do anything
and
b) Fake Spam

Thanks to everyone who answered a), and if anyone has alternatives along the lines of b) it would be much appreciated!
posted by KiddAnnica at 6:40 AM on December 6, 2010


Actually, I think you are ignoring a very significant number of answers here that say C: "Unless there's some explanation for why you think this should be anonymous beyond just your discomfort about the subject, you should abandon your plan to make it anonymous and just tell your friend. That's the decent thing to do."

You go through Ask.Me archives, you can find questions from people along the lines of, "My spouse cheated on me, my friends knew, and not one of them told me a thing. How can I stay friends with them?" And in those questions, you can feel the hurt and pain from the OP, as they realize their lives are falling apart and those people they thought they could count on the most (their friends) have actually been lying by omission. Those OPs are suffering, not just because of their spouse's infidelity, but because of their friends' dishonesty and disloyalty. In those threads, you see a lot of people responding, "Dude, those aren't really your friends--those are jerks. A real friend would have told you."

I'm sorry if this isn't the answer you want, but it's seriously a good idea for you to reconsider how important anonymity is in this case.
posted by meese at 6:51 AM on December 6, 2010 [19 favorites]


Since you're not anonymous on AskMe, can you respond to the several people who have asked why you don't just tell your friend outright?

I understand wanting to tattle on the cheating wife. And if husband already knows about the swinging then it won't be tattling. But why are you afraid to own up?

If you won't respond to that question, then I doubt you have good motivations here at all, and you should leave them alone.
posted by General Tonic at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Husband might want to be told even if he does know. There's a difference between a discreet open relationship, and being so careless about it that friends are likely to find out.

i.e., he may want to ask her to keep it a bit more on the D/L.

Still, that's something you mention to the husband in person, not come up with a crazy sitcom plot. Make up some pretext to lead him unknowingly to where the two lovers are hanging out? I think twblalock and I have both seen that one on TV. Hilarity ensues. Not for the husband, though, now that he's been publicly embarassed and might do something when put on the spot that he wouldn't have done if he'd been able to think about it a bit first.
posted by ctmf at 7:06 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are the Husband and Wife on Facebook? Then you could make up a fake persona, fill it with content for a couple of weeks (join Mafia Wars or something to get some random "friends"), then upload the pictures and tag the wife. If they they are both on Facebook and friends of each other, a note "Wife was tagged in a photo" will appear in his feed.

A lot depends on what you know of the Husbands routine. Does he walk a certain route or wait at a certain bus stop? If so you could make up a fake flyer/ad for the swinger website and post it there as real-world spam.
posted by mikepop at 7:07 AM on December 6, 2010


I thought about this a bit, but am left thinking that the parameters you're restricting this to would probably only work in movies. You will not be able to predict or help mitigate someone's emotions on this sort of scenario unless you're directly involved as a supportive friend. If you fear that there could be some seriously hurt feelings if this goes a certain way....it is likely it could go that way....or not, its impossible for me as a stranger to tell. There's also a good chance there's more to the story than what you've come across...so be prepared to open that can of worms, or alternatively, watch the effort fizzle by getting involved anonymously or directly.

Depending on how close a friend this is, have you considered confiding with him what you saw? If so, is there a reason you ruled that out and decided it would be better done anonymously? I'm just concerned if you make this too elaborate/secretive it could either A) backfire B) weigh heavy on your conscious if it does not work out as you envisioned or C) weigh heavy on your conscious over the following months/years that you were hiding that it was you acting anonymously. It might be better to just man up and tell your friend in private what you found and that it has been hard on your conscious...it is something I'd hope my closest friends would do for me. Be as supportive as you can, etc. If your friend is not that close...the MYOB route is probably best, as hard as it is to hold back your thoughts and uncomfortably accept whats happening. (its tough when you feel a moral injustice is afoot...believe me...been there, done that...it seems that you're in this predicament as well judging by your post...i completely empathize).

If you're friends with both the husband and wife, your best route is to start with what appears to be the more honest of the two. But like I said, its possible you don't know the full story of whats going on and you're also hoping for a Hollywood miracle if you believe this can be pulled off anonymously with predictable results....you're going to have to trust your instincts on this about your friend and go with what feels like the "morally right" action. Put yourself in your friend's shoes, pretend this is your wife and your friend is grappling with this issue....how would you want him to act? Think hard about it....this isn't easy. But its probably best to do the right thing...whatever you decide what that ends up being. Just be prepared for things to possibly backfire or fall flat depending on their attitudes towards their marriage. Different personalities have different moral structures. I've known couples that allow these things to happen secretively as they still remain emotionally faithful to each other. Just whatever you do, never make the mistake that you're taking a moral high ground. Fill the role of a friend, which is about the extent of what you can provide here.

So anyway...with all that being said, I feel that the above should work as a disclaimer as I couldn't in good conscious recommend what I'm about to: If you do this via e-mail be sure to use a public PC at a library, cyber cafe, or go through an anonymous proxy. Many webmail providers will attach a source IP address to the header of the message, which could be traced back to the account or PC from where you sent it. If the e-mail makes it to divorce court, or if there is any private investigation into it beforehand, you stand a good chance of being identified as the source if you do not take this extra precaution. I'm sure that make the friendship awkward. Be also prepared for your e-mail to be left unopened and treated as spam. You may need to try it several times and with different approaches to the subject. Another thing you could try is printing out the page with the picture and leaving it discretely where he would find it and not her. This would be a more reliable way to make sure the message gets across, but would also be a little more risky. I wish you the best of luck!
posted by samsara at 7:11 AM on December 6, 2010


How do you know the husband doesn't already know? If the wife's relationship has been going on this long, it's possible they have an open relationship and everything is just how they like it.
posted by browse at 7:12 AM on December 6, 2010


How do you know this is your friend's wife? Couldn't it be just as likely a sister or someone else who looks very much like her?

And I am with the crowd that says leave this alone. This is none of your business.
posted by readery at 7:13 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


You describe the husband in question as a "good friend", but you seem unwilling to treat him as such by telling him directly. What you're looking for is the equivalent of slipping a note into his locker during gym class, which is really not an adult approach to the situation.

If your relationship with this fellow is such that you're not comfortable having a direct conversation about it, then it's none of your business and you should leave it alone.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:21 AM on December 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


According to your parameters, A should do nothing. Throwing out your parameters, A should have a quiet chat with Husband if A and Husband have a sufficiently robust relationship. Otherwise, A should still do nothing.

I hope this is for a novel or something.
posted by Kwine at 7:26 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Many of you have asked why Friend A would want to remain anonymous, it seems that an obvious reason is that Friend A might not want it known that he/she visits that sort of website.

In any case I agree that if the transgressions is serious enough to merit action (and I think it is), it merits non-anonymous action. I've been in a similar situation myself (as the cheated upon boyfriend) and here is how my friend informed me.

Friend: Hey Oddman, if my boyfriend was cheating on me and you found out would you tell me?
Oddman: Hmm.. I don't know, would you want me to tell you?
Friend: Yeah I think I would. Wouldn't you want me to tell you?
Oddman: Yeah, I guess I'd want you to tell me, too.
Friend: Your girlfriend is cheating on you.
Oddman: (stunned silence)

She then made me swear to keep her role a secret. I did, and I'm thankful that she told me.
posted by oddman at 7:48 AM on December 6, 2010 [14 favorites]


[few comments removed - please try to keep answers directed towards the OP or email them directly if you have something off-topic to share, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:50 AM on December 6, 2010


The question can't really be addressed without also addressing the motivations behind your parameters. I'm guessing, given the information at hand, that you either don't want to seem like a snitch/interloper/"bad guy" OR you don't want your friend to know that YOU were on a swingers' website.

If the former: I hate to be harsh, but you need to grow a pair (of testes or ovaries, take your pick). Sometimes delivering bad news is personally unpleasant.

If the latter: it would be easy to concoct a story about how you and another friend were looking at the site for a laugh or some such...
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry if I missed this being said: The problem is not informing the husband anonymously, that's easy. The problem is when husband informs friend-A that the wife was cheating. Friend-A would need to be a great actor to pull off a convincing reaction of total unknowing. Even if husband does not say anything or know exactly what it is, something about friend-A's reaction (compared to the other friends he's told who were genuinely surprised or other times the husband has witnessed friend-A telling a little white lie to spare someone's feelings) will tip the husband off. People are quite perceptive as well as being skilled at choosing to ignore these little tells.
posted by K.P. at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The anonymous ratting out of someone is really cowardly and low and smacks of someone who wants the vicarious thrill of stirring up shit without the risk of getting dirty.

If you think it's your business, go to your friend straight up, offer your concerns, send him the link to the pictures.

And be prepared for the fact that you may not know your friends as well as you think, that they may actually be swingers, you just haven't found his photos on the website, and now you look like an intrusive busybody.

Tell him or don't. But either look him in the eye or sign your name to the e-mail when you do it. Because everything else is the weasel route.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:58 AM on December 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


If someone is involved in swinging without telling their partner, they are possibly exposing an unwilling participant to sexually transmitted disease. You could register MyTownClinic@livemail.com and send a boring-sounding appointment confirmation for testing to the swinger and BCC the partner.

It would be more true friendship to talk to Swinger, and ask her to come clean with husband, as well as get tested.

There's no other reason to tell. No, really. People don't thank you when you meddle in their lives. It's amazing what really goes on in relationships.
posted by theora55 at 8:14 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to assume this is not a hypothetical question and say that what you're trying to do is impossible, on practical grounds alone. There is no way to ensure that the husband won't realize it was a deliberate tipoff-- if not immediately, then down the road. As I think someone suggested above, people are pretty easy to fool, but only when they want to be fooled. He may not suspect you, in which case he'll be stuck suspecting everyone. It'll be just awful for him: he'll be wondering which one of his friends or acquaintances may have chosen to give him this news in such a cowardly manner. Don't put him in this position.
posted by BibiRose at 8:15 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you do this anonymously, it will be very detrimental to you. You will have your own sordid secret to live with - the knowledge that you acted in this way, that you caused repercussions in two people's relationship, that you watched the consequences of your secret actions unfold, and they never knew it was you. I think the endless harm you will be doing yourself is horrible.
posted by Ellemeno at 8:39 AM on December 6, 2010


I am cringing at how passive aggressive a lot of these options are. Some have the potential to create a lot of needless drama. For example: sending anonymous flowers. They very well may have a preexisting arrangement where she swings but won't get into a romantic relationship. Now these flowers appear and there's a sexy note and she has to answer for it. This could be a new dynamic in their relationship and you could introduce a lot of mistrust when it is possible she has done nothing wrong.

If he is a friend, and this is important to you, find a quiet place to have a conversation with him. I like the phrasing above about how it is weighing on your conscience. Mention that you have been deliberating over what to do but that you have decided to let him know because that is what you would want in that situation. Tell him you don't want to intrude on his personal life but thought it was necessary. Expect awkwardness.
posted by amicamentis at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to say, a lot of these responses are plain nuts.

This man is a friend, so I totally understand why he would want his buddy to know about his cheating wife. But if he tells him straight up, he risks shaming the cuckolded friend with his knowledge. Too many friendships have ended this way. It's the cruel fact that has prompted the question to be asked in the first place.

Here's what I would do:

- create a fake MALE persona on a throwaway email account
- send an email saying "Dude, I f***ed your wife" but that you know she is married and that it would be uncool if she did it to me etc etc, bros before hoes, male code, whatever...
- attach photo link and include any other persuasive details

A spam email is idiotic, passive-aggressive and probably won't work. Plus it would give her some deniability -- she could talk her way out of it.

I'm glad you're telling him. The wife should be ashamed of herself.
posted by teedee2000 at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2010


create a fake MALE persona on a throwaway email account
- send an email saying "Dude, I f***ed your wife" but that you know she is married and that it would be uncool if she did it to me etc etc, bros before hoes, male code, whatever...
- attach photo link and include any other persuasive details


People that are suggesting stuff like this are out of their minds. This is the worst possible way to handle this.

Just tell the man, or don't. Don't add dishonesty to dishonesty.
posted by empath at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2010 [12 favorites]


Assuming this is not real life and is for a fictional plot device, then print up some fake flyers for the swinger's website with the address of the wife's pictures and then put it on husband's car windshield.

In real life, unless the friend knew all details of the couple's sex life, he could never assume the husband didn't know. I don't know any of my best friends' sex life secrets. They could all be filthy perverts with a multitude of kinks. This couple could be into cuckolding and swinging and it would be crass and indecent to bring it up directly or indirectly.
posted by JJ86 at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2010


If I were in the husband's place, I'd want to find out from a friend.
posted by orme at 9:18 AM on December 6, 2010


- send an email saying "Dude, I f***ed your wife" but that you know she is married and that it would be uncool if she did it to me etc etc, bros before hoes, male code, whatever...

The OP ruled that--and all other anonymous notifications--out in the question, though. He wanted it to seem like an accident, not that someone was anonymously dropping a dime.

And lol forever at the idea of someone in the swinging scene emailing a partner's husband in a rash of guilt.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:21 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I would type a letter and mail it from some random post office with no return address. In the letter I would include a picture and state that you have reason to believe the wife is in an extramarital relationship that husband doesn't know about. If he knows and is ok with it that's fine, but it was unclear you you, Friend Anon, as to whether he knew and you just couldn't keep it from him.

He'll know a friend sent it and be grateful that someone told him (if he didn't know), but you can deny till you die if husband ever asks if it was you who sent it. And please re-read K.P.'s comment about the difficulty of acting like it wasn't you.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:34 AM on December 6, 2010


The anonymous ratting out of someone is really cowardly and low and smacks of someone who wants the vicarious thrill of stirring up shit without the risk of getting dirty.

I was visiting a friend who lives in a run-down area and I saw someone dealing drugs to what looked like some young kids. I called the police anonymously and told them the car registration number.

My personal view is that my actions - anonymously ratting someone out - weren't particularly low and cowardly.



I'm curious, why the (B) requirement? I can think of plenty of reasons you might not want to identify yourself, but I can't think of any (non-shady/non-bizarre) reasons why you'd want to make it look like sheer happenstance.

Is Friend A trying to get with Husband and doesn't want him to know she's trying to break up his marriage? Even more than (A), I can't think of any other reason for requirement (B)

Since you're not anonymous on AskMe, can you respond to the several people who have asked why you don't just tell your friend outright? [...] But why are you afraid to own up?


Wife could be aware that Friend A knows she frequents swinger clubs without Husband. For example if they've met there. Wife could know Friend A is the only person in possession of this information.

Therefore, were this information anonymously sent to Husband, Wife would know Friend A was most likely the sender.

Were Wife to know that Friend A had broken up her marriage, that may sour their relationship.



If your relationship with this fellow is such that you're not comfortable having a direct conversation about it, then it's none of your business and you should leave it alone.

If their marriage breaks up over infidelity, it's likely Wife will ask "how did you get this information?" in hopes of refuting it by impugning its integrity. Husband will need an answer to that, and if Friend A wants to avoid souring her relationship with Wife she won't want Husband saying it's her that dropped Wife in it.

If Friend A wants to cover up her involvement, someone has to be responsible for the cover up - i.e. creating and maintaining a credible fiction. Friend A could rely on Husband to do this, or could do it herself. Husband might make a mistake in the heat of argument, or just plain be bad at lying - and if you want a job doing well, you do it yourself.

Of course the benefit of having the husband help with the cover-up is that he has a believable fiction, namely that he was browsing the swingers website looking for porn.

So that's my suggestion; approach Husband in person, point him to the website, ask him to keep you out of it.
posted by Mike1024 at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2010


If it has to be completely anonymous, while wearing rubber gloves construct an old-fashioned ransom-note style letter of words or letters cut from newspapers and magazines, use water rather than saliva to seal and stamp it, then send it by postal mail from a post office an hour's drive away. Bonus anonymity points for constructing the note out of newly purchased materials inside a makeshift clean area, e.g. a very large zip-top bag.

As far as the wisdom of even doing this, my opinion is that if Friend A is not a close enough friend to Husband to convey this news face-to-face, they should not do so at all.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:56 AM on December 6, 2010


This is not your business or Friend A's business. Stay out of it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:12 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


"So it seems to boil down to:

a) Friend A shouldn't do anything
and
b) Fake Spam"

No, actually. Fake spam is a bad idea. It probably won't get read. It's a lie, which means it's easy for her to lie if she wants to cover her tracks. And did I mention that it's a lie?

Part of the problem here is a lack of conviction and courage on the part of "Friend A." It reads like "Gee, I want to tell my friend his wife has been cheating on him for YEARS, but maybe I can find a way for him to find out so I don't have to do it myself." Sorry, but: you're either a good friend or you're not. If you're not a good friend: do nothing. If you are: do what a good friend would do. I'm going to repeat that because it's important. If you are a good friend: do what a good friend would do.

You should approach the conversation from the position that it's none of your business, but if situations were reversed, you'd want to know AND even though the conversation is awkward, you care too much as a friend to say nothing.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why would you want to add another layer of deceptions and lies to this? If the cuckolded spouse ever finds out that their friends not only knew--but concocted an elaborate lie to cover up that knowledge--I can imagine it would only compound the pain and heartbreak he'd inevitably feel upon learning of his spouse's affair.

Seriously, tell your friend. Or have Friend A tell their friend. Whatever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why does it have to be happenstance? That doesn't make sense. Well, at least with the info provided thus it doesn't. Please enlighten us.

You could just send an anonymous letter, with a proper picture. It's more likely to be seen/opened than spam. It's simple and easy.

OR, if you really are friends with husband, then just plain tell him.
posted by Neekee at 7:10 PM on December 6, 2010


Wow, lots of replies, too many to respond to. To cut to the chase this is indeed for the plotline to a short story (sorry to waste the time of all those who replied with very good, ethically-motivated suggestions; food for Friend A's thought).
Thanks everyone!
posted by KiddAnnica at 2:19 AM on December 7, 2010


[For future reference, KiddAnnica, folks here are generally perfectly happy to answer a question that's about character research/brainstorming if that's what you're going for but it'd be good to let them know from the get go where you're coming from so they know that they're trying to brainstorm out a fictional situation, not help you deal with a genuine personal struggle.

Please don't let it hang like this again if you have any reason to ask a similar question in the future.]

posted by cortex at 7:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Im delighted that this is for a short story (and I hope you're telling the truth about that not just trying to avoid our judgment!) because I thought of the perfect solution whilst cleaning my bathroom:

Hire a private investigator to contact the husband about something completely unrelated. Have him leave his paperwork open on table whilst he goes for a shit. Have pictures of wife open on top of file folder with notes pertaining to a case instigated by her partner-in-cheating.
posted by By The Grace of God at 7:39 AM on December 7, 2010


Well if this is just pretend...

1) The normal way for a husband to find out without being told is to stumble upon it. A likely scenario: wife does not close an incriminating email and husband accidentally sees it when logging on / changing user spaces etc. How would a third party ensure this setup happens? Good question. Not likely.

2) Innocent (but fake!) event. Have a person call the house and leave a message on the answering machine indicating a problem with the credit card (or the need for a credit card) from the Swinger's website or something affiliated. Make sure the call happens at a time when the husband would likely get the message and not the wife. Alternately, have someone (hire-a-bitch?) leave an angry message on the machine to the wife saying vaguely that she knows what's going on and demanding she leave her husband / boyfriend alone. Again, be sure the husband is the one that is likely to hear it.

3) Black box. 'Friend' hires a PI to arrange an event (could be one of the above) that the husband will stumble upon. The 'friend' has no knowledge of what or when so they will have a genuine ability to act surprised when it occurs.

That said, that 'friend' sucks!
posted by mazola at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2010


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