Reddit: Woman sparks fierce debate after revealing her partner cheated on her with his terminally ill friend

Couple having an argument in bed, woman's head in her hands - stock photo
"I would do a lot of things for a dying friend's last request but disrespecting my relationship is out of the question." Photo credit: Getty Images

A woman grappling with the revelation that her partner purportedly cheated on her with his terminally ill friend has prompted fierce debate after seeking advice online.

The woman, 22, shared her shocking story anonymously on the popular Reddit forum Relationship_Advice in a post that has since amassed almost 2000 responses. 

Writing under the username u/WhiteSeal9723, the 22-year-old claimed it had been the "wish" of the now-deceased friend to sleep with her partner, also 22, and that he obliged - knowing she had a "secret crush" on him.

"My boyfriend didn't tell me that he had sex with his dying friend. We were together when it happened. He's still depressed about her death. I feel jealous and I don't know what to do," she began. 

The woman claimed that the friend had been terminally ill and died in March 2022, about three months after allegedly having sex with her partner while they holidayed with friends. 

"I wouldn't have found out if one of our mutual friends didn't slip," she continued. "I'm confident he was never attracted to her. They never had a relationship beyond that. She did have a secret crush on him though.

"He's never had a death in his life before, so it has really [shaken] him. For the past year, his mental health has been very unwell... It's not solely because of her death but it was the catalyst... I hate myself because I get angry inside whenever he mentions her. 

"This jealousy is eating me up... They totally had emotional sex because of her condition. I don't even know who initiated it. It was probably something like how she didn't want to die a virgin. My boyfriend and I had never even had sex all the way then. To clarify, he didn't lose his virginity to her, but she did lose her virginity to him."

The woman added that they have an "otherwise perfect relationship" and he had previously stood by her when she was battling her own "bad episodes", noting there had been no other instances of infidelity on either side.  

"My family is strict and didn't approve of us, but he tried hard to win even my extended family over. We've been together for more than three years and have known each other since high school.

"I don't know if I can talk to him about this. I don't want to push him to the brink. But I'm also afraid that he might be dismissive of my feelings. What to do?" she concluded.

In an edit to her post, the woman clarified that she was also invited to the "beach getaway", which the group had planned for the terminally ill friend as she had always wanted to visit the destination. However, she declined to go.

"I know it was supposed to be a getaway trip for her. I was only acquaintances with the rest, and I didn't want to intrude on her final trip with friends," she added.

Thousands of Redditors have since offered their advice in the thread, with the majority urging the woman to consider ending the relationship, given the emotional toll it has taken on her. Others advised her to have a raw and honest talk with her partner about the incident before making any decisions, with several recommending counselling. 

"You know. It's eating you up. You need to just talk it out. And by talk, I mean you're going to have an emotional outpouring. Then decide what to do when you both have had your say," one of the most upvoted responses read. 

"It's very tragic that she was sick and that she died. It's tragic that he lost a friend and that he cheated on you in what appears to be an attempt to make her feel better. He may not cheat in any other circumstance. But he still violated your trust," said another.

"He lied and kept up the lie even though apparently other people knew. The fact that this situation is tragic doesn't mean your feelings of betrayal aren't valid. You can empathise with him and still leave. You can pity him and still leave. You can feel all of the emotions known to man and STILL LEAVE. It's okay to protect your heart and do what's right for you."

"The fact that mutual friends knew and did not tell you would be enough to end it for me. His friends conspired with him to keep this a secret. He had no intention of telling you... Have some dignity and leave with your head held high," a third advised.

"I would do a lot of things for a dying friend's last request but disrespecting my relationship and cheating to give them one last thrill is out of the question. Would he be so forgiving if you had done that? I don't think so," a fourth weighed in, with another adding: "Your boyfriend unfortunately has full control of this narrative because the other participant is DEAD. He can tell you whatever he wants to tell you... For all you know, he was actively cheating on you with her for months."

Another agreed: "What's kind of sad about the whole thing is your boyfriend is throwing his friend that he slept with under the bus, and she can't defend herself - because she's dead. Slimy, slimy, slimy."

In an update shared a few days later, the original poster said she had spoken to her boyfriend and during their discussion, he claimed he didn't tell her of his infidelity because he was afraid she'd leave him.

"He was never in love or attracted to her. He feels guilty and hopes to still stay with me, though he also said that he understands if I wouldn't," she added.

"At least I know my boyfriend's side now. I think a cool-off is the middle point of the 'dump him/reconsider' advice I got... We'll do what we can to work on things. We still love each other so much. Thank you once again for the advice and support."