Q: I was having drinks with two girlfriends when one of them said, "I did something awful." She told us that she was out at a work event and got very drunk and ended up kissing some guy. She apparently feels horrible about it, but says she will not tell her husband because it was a mistake and she knows she won't do it again. I tried to remind her that honesty is the best policy, but she doesn't agree.
I don't know her husband that well, but he's a really great guy and has the right to know. So should I tell him myself?
A: Oh for the love of biscuits, no. Egad. For one thing, "Honesty is the best policy" is a blunt instrument where a marriage is better served by a thoughtful, individual touch. ("Butt the heck out" comes to mind.)
And, it's a kiss, not an out-of-wedlock child. If he doesn't know about a single, regretted, drunken smooch, then the marriage can arguably hum along just fine. If instead he finds out about said smooch from a third party, the marriage can be knocked off its pins. And why? Because you want to feel as if you did the "right" thing?
If anyone should tell of an oops like this, then it should be the spouse. When a transgression is huge enough to demand reporting, a friend's place is to say, "I can't in good conscience keep a secret this damaging. You need to tell the truth, or I will be forced to." This smooch falls very, very short of the "huge" standard, but even if it didn't, it would be wrong to jump straight to tattling, especially on someone you call a friend.