Should I tell my friend what her boyfriend says about her?

For the podcast: I'm looking to talk to people about when they choose to get physically intimate with someone they're dating. Did anyone wait a certain amount of time for a specific result? Does anyone believe that waiting for sex (or not waiting) affected the outcome of their relationship? Tell me your story: meredith.goldstein@globe.com. Put "podcast" in the subject line.

Also, we can talk about this when we chat at 1 p.m.

Hey Meredith,

One of my closest friends was going through a difficult breakup with her boyfriend of five years. It was pretty brutal. He basically just told her one day that it was over and walked out without talking about it. This came after months of him treating her pretty poorly, avoiding her, canceling trips to see her, etc. A couple of months after the breakup, he came back to talk, and they're giving the relationship another shot. At least, that's what my friend thinks - and that's the problem. He has a horrible habit of talking about her to his friends behind her back, and the stuff he says isn't run of the mill guy talk. He's told his friends that he has no intention of marrying her, that he doesn't take their relationship or her seriously, and that she's just easy.

After this week's conversation, she came away from it thinking they were back together, but he told his roommate that was "definitely not what was happening." This is something that our whole friend group talks about, but she has no idea, and it's seriously been eating away at me. If she heard him saying those things, she'd be really hurt, and I don't want her to have to go through that kind of pain right now. On the one hand, I've been hoping they would just break up and she could move on with her life, but now that they're maybe back together, I can't help but feel some sort of responsibility to tell her what's been going on. On the other hand, there's a good chance that me telling her would ruin our friendship. She knows I don't like him very much and that I don't think they should get back together, and based on the way their relationship works, I'm pretty sure she'd either defend him or think I was lying to keep them apart. Should I tell her what's been going on, or should I ride it out and let them figure it out on their own?

- Concerned Bystander


I vote for Option 2, the one where you ride it out and let them figure this out on their own.

Why? It sounds like your friend's boyfriend is an unreliable narrator. Maybe he lies to your friend to get what he wants from her, but it's also possible he lies to to his own friends to make his relationship seem less important. He might also be lying to himself about his intentions. Some people don't want to admit they want company.

That's why I'd stay quiet if I were you. You know what your friend's boyfriend is saying to others, but you have no idea how he feels.

If your friend asks what you've heard from your shared community, that changes things. Then you'd have reason to answer her specific question. But for now, it's best to listen, ask her how she's doing, and tell her that if she's heathy and happy, you'll be happy for her.

I would also think about what kind of friend would assume you're lying. I mean, it's one thing for her to know you're opposed to the relationship. But does she really believe you'd invent information to manipulate her choices? If so, what is the state of this friendship? Just something to think about.

– Meredith

Readers? Option 1 or 2?