Dan, my best friend, is dating Dawn and they have been together seven months. He is like a brother to me. He recently revealed plans to propose to Dawn, and he has officially asked her father’s blessing. It is likely he will propose before the end of the year.
They dated briefly a year or two ago, but it ended when Dan discovered Dawn cheated on him. Ultimately they repaired their problems and dove headfirst back into a relationship, with the understanding this time they were going to commit fully or not commit at all.
Dan appears to be happy with the direction his life is heading. However, not all of Dan’s friends approve of his relationship with Dawn, and even some of his family members have expressed reservations. I, too, struggle with the rapid rate at which they seem to be approaching marriage. I sometimes doubt Dawn’s authenticity.
This past weekend while spending time with friends from college, Claire, a close friend of Dan’s and mine, informed me Dawn said unsettling things about her relationship with Dan, and possibly cheated on him while out of town for work.
Claire learned Dawn met a guy at a bar and ended up sharing wine in her hotel room and talking to him all night. This, in itself, is not necessarily something Dan would need to know. However, it is not the end of the story. After telling me about the guy from the bar, Claire said she heard Dawn say she is not attracted to Dan, but feels he can give her what she wants in life.
Unfortunately, I haven’t heard or seen anything firsthand. Typically, when presented with information that could be disruptive or hurtful, I stay out of the situation and let things work themselves out without my intervention. I am struggling with that option in this case.
If I stay out of the situation, it is likely nothing will be said and Dan will get engaged to Dawn. If I share this information with Dan, he will be hurt and take out his anger on Dawn, the potential offender, or me, the hesitant messenger.
Is there a right answer to this problem?
I would want a friend to tell me if I were in a similar situation, but part of me feels I was never meant to have this information, and maybe I should stay out of their relationship, trusting that what is meant to be, will be.
Luke, I was once sitting on the side of a small lake when a dragonfly flew straight in the water an arm’s length away. I watched it thrash around for a minute or two before reaching in the water and rescuing it.
I placed it on a flagstone to dry out. Five minutes later, fully recovered, it flew straight into the water at the exact same spot. A bass knifed to the surface and swallowed it whole. Something like that is going on here, and you probably can’t stop it.
We always say firsthand knowledge carries with it an obligation to act, but you don’t have firsthand knowledge. What you have is hearsay.
Those with firsthand knowledge cannot unburden themselves by telling you what they have heard. They cannot make you the fall guy. If they believe Dan should know what they know, it’s up to them to tell.
Do car manufacturers have female breasts to sell you? No. But they want to move men from lookers to customers, and sometimes in their ads they use breasts to do it. In the same way, it could be that Dawn is moving Dan through sex and “I love you’s.” Is this how she moves him? Or is she sincere?
Dan has firsthand knowledge of Dawn. He knows Dawn cheated on him. He looks into her eyes. Let him decide whether to dive into the water in the same spot.
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Column for The Week of June 24, 2013