DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend, “Leslie,” who recently gave me some pretty shocking news. She found out that her boyfriend of four years has been cheating on her with another girl. Leslie told me about how she had her suspicions, but she wasn’t sure until a close friend of hers broke the news.
What makes this situation extra heartbreaking is how Leslie is extremely close to her boyfriend’s family. They treat her like a daughter. She even recently went on vacation to visit his family overseas! Leslie loves his family as much as they love her, and she does not want to tell them out of fear of breaking their hearts. She is going through a lot of stress and heartbreak from this situation. I am happy that she broke up with her boyfriend, but now she has to worry about telling his family about the breakup. Should she tell his family or have him tell his own family that he cheated? -- Split Up
DEAR SPLIT UP: Your friend is in a predicament that is not uncommon for couples in long-term relationships. Naturally, both partners get close to the other’s family. That is a sign of a healthy relationship. The challenge, of course, is that if there is a breakup, it affects more than the couple.
Your friend has the right to tell her ex’s family that the two of them broke up. She does not need to share all of the details, but it is OK for her to say that he broke her heart and that she is working through it. She can add that if they want to know more about what happened, they should talk to him.