I saw my friend’s husband on Tinder
I'M A single parent and, every so often, I venture into the world of online dating. I was absent-mindedly swiping through the very meagre offerings that Tinder was throwing up when I saw a man who made my heart pound in my chest.
I couldn't believe it. Was it really him? Would he be so stupid? His name is the same; Jake*. He's a man whose kids go to school with my kids. A MARRIED man. More specifically, a married man who is married to my friend, Jane*.
I keep saying married because I am so appalled that this philanderer would have the gumption to set up a Tinder profile and 'put himself on the market' in such a public arena.
I hadn't seen Jane for a while so I wasn't 100 per cent sure that she and Jake were still together. In fact, it was fair to say that I didn't know the details of the couple's life well enough to be certain that she wasn't aware of his extra curricular activities.
Consenting adults in marriages can agree to a range of accepted behaviours, and if these two had an agreement that their marriage was open, or if they were looking for a third party, I would have no qualms about it.
However, I had a strong feeling that this wasn't the case. Therein my dilemma began.
As a casualty of a cheating husband, my ethical position on exposing morally dubious behaviour is rock solid. It is humiliating enough to be betrayed by someone you love but more so if others know about it. I was fully committed to sharing the news with Jane; she could then make an informed choice.
But, as is often the case when faced with a moral dilemma in real life, practising what you preach is extremely difficult. I knew that this information was likely to be devastating news for Jane and I was concerned about her 'shooting the messenger'. My ambiguous feelings surprised me. After much deliberation, I decided I had to act.
Rather than going to her, I went to him and gave him a chance to confess to his wife.
I took a screenshot of Jake's Tinder profile photo and sent it to him via Facebook messenger, along with a short note:
Not sure if you remember me but my son, William, was in class with your daughter, Sarah, and I know your wife, Jane. Just saw this on Tinder and it reminded me of you. I didn't want to mention it to Jane in case she didn't know."
I waited 24 hours but he didn't respond.
I sent the same photo to Jane, also via Facebook messenger. Again there was no response. Obviously these two didn't use messenger to communicate. Next, I sent Jane a text with a warning that there was a message for her, but that it was bad news.
She responded instantly. She hadn't known and, sad as it was, she was glad I'd told her.
Phew! What happened next was up to them, but at least everybody had the same information now.
The same scenario occurred again only yesterday. While flipping through the piteous selection of bathroom selfies on the hunt for a needle in a haystack, my spirits were sinking as I spent the required two seconds glancing at each stranger. A friend was visiting and, as she treats Tinder matching on my behalf as a sport, she begged to be allowed to choose for me. I handed over my phone and read the paper until I heard her gasp.
"Oh no," she said. She looked like someone had died. "I can't believe it. It's my next door neighbour!"
"But he's married! He lives with his wife. Next door!"
Despite her outrage, the outcome of her moral dilemma was different. She decided that she had no right to interfere and that if she did, living next door to this married couple would be very uncomfortable. And so, she lives alongside these people, knowing the husband's not so secret 'secret'.
Being on Tinder doesn't imply that these men are definitely cheating, but it's not a place that people hang out unless they are looking for sex or love. If a person goes to the trouble of setting up a profile on Tinder, their intentions are not in line with their marriage vows.
Most people go into marriage intending to be faithful. We, as a community, definitely support the ideology of commitment. So, what would you do? Would you tell? Would you slip an anonymous note under the door? Would you remain silent? If so, does this make you complicit in this guy's behaviour? Does it mean you accept it?
How would you feel if it were you? Would you want your friend to play 'the messenger'?
* Names have been changed