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After dating a celebrity for 3 months, I learned he's married. Should I tell anyone?

Julia Naftulin   

After dating a celebrity for 3 months, I learned he's married. Should I tell anyone?
  • Before you decide how to proceed, consider your motivations for telling other women involved.
  • There's not one right way to resolve the situation, so prioritize your needs and boundaries.
  • If you do decide to come forward, confront the cheater first.

Dear Julia,

About six months ago, I received a flirty private message on Instagram from a celebrity, who I won't name.

We hit it off, and started seeing each other. When I did a Google search, it said he was married, but he assured me he was separated. I believed him.

Skip forward a few months, when I'm deep into dating this man. I found out he's not actually separated and has been cheating on his wife with me. I broke it off as soon as I found out, but I have concerns this is a pattern and there are several women he's misleading.

Apart from walking away, should I tell anyone else about what happened?

- San Francisco

Dear San Francisco,

I'm sure it wasn't easy breaking off your relationship upon learning this shocking news so suddenly.

Even though you've removed yourself from the situation, it's normal to still feel betrayed and bamboozled by this man. He did, after all, lie to you.

Before you consider your course of action, however, it's important to sit with those feelings and understand your motivations for wanting to potentially speak out.

Since you only know part of the story — that he's married, not separated — it's possible you're missing details that could influence your next move, Eden Katz, a licensed social worker and therapist for Sesh, told me.

"Remember that there is no exact right way for navigating these difficult human emotions and experiences. Most of all, it's important to have compassion for yourself, take care of your needs, and maintain your own boundaries," Katz said.

Consider your motivations for alerting others about the cheater

To decide how to act in your best interest, Katz suggested you first push aside any expectations about what you should do. Instead, focus on what would best serve you.

To do that, ask yourself, "Why do I want to tell these other women what happened to me?"

Perhaps you want to prove to yourself that you shouldn't feel shame for the situation, and feel like sharing could absolve you of that shame. Maybe you're coming from a moral standpoint, and don't want other women to go through what you've experienced with this man. There could even be a health aspect involved, like if you've developed a sexually transmitted infection since being with this man.

Your answers to this question won't uncover the "right" thing to do, since there's no perfect way to resolve the situation. But understanding your motivations will allow you to stand strong in the decision you ultimately make.

Confront the cheater before you reach out to others

If you do decide to reach out to these other women or the cheater's partner, Katz suggested learning as much about his situation as you can beforehand, and confronting him first.

"When individuals lie about their relationship status, it often stems from a desire to protect themselves or others, but that doesn't make it OK. Most often, lying is deliberate and intentional for personal gains," Katz said.

Keep your intentions in mind when deciding how to address him, Katz told me. It's fair to explain how his deception affected you and how his lie crossed your boundaries, if those details feel important to you to share.

When it comes to the other women involved, you're unlikely to ever know if the cheater will tell them himself. Even if he says he will, he's already eroded your trust. With this in mind, remember it's not your responsibility to right his wrongs.

If you still feel compelled to speak up, do it on your terms, Katz said. She said you can take an anonymous approach if it feels safer, considering his celebrity status. And if you still need time to heal from the situation, don't push yourself to act just yet.

Most of all, remember not to judge yourself for taking someone at their word.

As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

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