Helen Chik: Should I tell my friend her man is cheating?

Author Helen Chik recently found herself in a “murky” situation which every woman knows has Unwritten rules.

I recently found myself in a murky situation regarding the Unwritten guidelines that exist in female friendships known as girl code.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the basic housekeeping rules that exist between women are Meaningful and necessary – like telling your friend when she has toilet paper hanging out her shoe (or any other wardrobe related malfunctions), checking in with them when you know they’re on a first date with someone who has questionable intentions, and of course, provide a tampon under the cubicle door in Moments of crisis.

These are common decency, but what I’m really talking about are the unstipulated scoring system that females use to police on their own.

The automatic – no trespassing – sign that is taped to a girlfriend’s ex’s forehead the minute they fall tragically out of love with each other.

That urge to tell her that you spotted her man’s philandering with a girl that wasn’t her, because you’re obligated to and well… it’s a girl code.

I found myself in the latter situation where I witnessed a sweet girl fold herself into an origami crane for a man I know, waiting on his hand and foot after he underwent minor surgery.

Over the course of two months this man and girl had been doing all the ‘couple tings’ – home dinners, movie nights, training together, road trips away – you name it.

I can only assume that this lass thought he was seated at the wholesome table of exclusivity and commitment alongside her. But I knew very differently.

I deliberately chose not to befriend this girl and observed from a safe distance to ensure plausible deniability.

I’ve experienced this (un) intentional miscommunication in dating more times than I can count; where all the signs pointed towards something Meaningful only to have that impression dissolved unceremoniously by the most grating line in modern dating – I’m not ready for anything serious.

I can confirm that being ‘led on’ is no fun and I always feel for women (and men) who become disheartened and cynical about dating.

This brings me full circle to my dilemma of whether girl code in this situation should have prevailed.

Sure enough, when she stopped showing up, I knew she had been served at the museum the – it’s not you, it’s me – cliche. I felt guilty.

Even though it was not my business to meddle in, it felt all too familiar, and it triggered that empathetic nerve we all possess when we witness something unjust. I questioned myself as to whether I should have casually divulged the facts of the situation to her before she got in too deep.

Looking back at all the times I found myself in her shoes, I know I should’ve been more upfront about what I was searching for and pushed aside those irrational fears of not wanting to appear too keen.

It was my responsibility to communicate those expectations to shield myself from those disappointing moments. My lack of awareness and willingness to have those conversations early on in each of those failed dating attempts were the foundation for frustration and disillusion.

At the end of the day, we should all be held accountable for our own wellbeing and things such as a girl code, shouldn’t be used to Balm against emotional obliviousness.

Helen Chik is the author of Sex, Swipes & Other Stories, online dating Veteran and Australia’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw. | @helenchikx

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