Dear eNotAlone: My life is crumbling around me and I'm desperately seeking advice. It all started when my best friend's mother died of cancer a few months ago. He was so devastated at the time that he pushed everybody away. A while later, he confided in me that he had been in an abusive relationship with his girlfriend since they started dating nearly three years ago. He said that it was the abuse that drove him to be so insensitive to those around him and to push them away because he was so hurt that he couldn't bring himself to trust anyone again.
Now there's an even bigger problem—I recently found out that his girlfriend has cheated on him multiple times, and he doesn't even know. It's killing me not to tell him, because he deserves to know the truth, but I am absolutely terrified of the consequences.
The thing is, he doesn't trust me enough to tell me the entire story of why their relationship is so complicated and why it has reached this point. He told me bits and pieces, but he obviously didn't feel comfortable telling me the whole story, and I'm scared that if I tell him what I know he'll never speak to me again. I don't want to lose my best friend, but right now it feels like I'm faced with a seriously difficult dilemma—whether to tell him or not and risk our friendship. What should I do? Please help me. - Andy
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It sounds like you are in a difficult situation and it must be incredibly heartbreaking for you to have to witness your best friend's suffering first hand. Although it can be tempting to want to protect him from any harm and shield him from the painful truth, it is important to remind yourself that he ultimately deserves to know the truth.
It is understandable that you may be apprehensive about revealing such sensitive information due to the risk of damaging your friendship, however it is likely that, as your best friend, he would also value your honest opinion and appreciate that you care enough to look out for his best interests, even when it is not easy.
The best thing that you can do is to approach him in a compassionate and understanding manner, without making accusations or making him feel like he is being judged. Put yourself in his shoes and try to see the situation from his perspective. You can let him know that you care about him and his feelings by expressing concern for him, rather than stating a fact. It is important to find the right balance between being honest and understanding. Although it can be difficult to tell someone the difficult truth, it is ultimately the right thing to do for someone who you care about and want the best for.