Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

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whattodo
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Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby whattodo » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:34 pm

I am wondering if anyone has found themselves in my situation and could help in any way. 

Last week one of my oldest friends shared that she was having an affair.

I was totally shocked and feel very uncomfortable about how to deal with the news and subsequent fall out.
 She has been married (I thought happily) for nearly 10 years and has 2 young children. We have shared the whole getting engaged, married, having babies journey together and as a result I feel very close to her husband and children as well. We go out regularly for dinner etc and are booked to go on holiday together in the summer with one other couple. I am feeling so awkward, guilty etc about knowing it’s going on behind his back. 

Has anyone been in this situation?  Do I just carry on as normal or do I try to 'be busy' or 'avoid'. I don't think that I would tell him as I feel my loyalty is to my friend but it doesn't stop the awkwardness. 

Many thanks for any advice anyone can give I appreciate it.
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boyswillbeboys
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby boyswillbeboys » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:07 pm

Hi - this is a really tricky one.  I've been in a similar situation with a friend.  I don't know if any of this will be helpful as all situations are different of course but this is what I learned from my experience.
First - I tried not to judge.  You don't know what the state of her marriage is even if it looks happy from the outside.  Generally people in happy marriages don't have affairs.  So why not try to find out more about that as a way to support her.  I didn't want to know details of her affair and I think she understood that as she didn't give me much and I didn't ask.  We focused on what had gone wrong in her marriage.  You might well be surprised by whats going on behind closed doors - I was.  Also encourage her to seek professional support - there may well be stuff going back to her childhood that has been bubbling under the surface for years.  There definitely was with my friend and there is for most of us so perhaps focus on trying to understand all of this.
Second - think about why its difficult for you - any change is hard and the thought of a friendship group breaking up is hard but this isn't about you sadly.  This is about another couples relationship.  You can be there to support both of them through it - and the kids.   But you can't do more than that.  My friends situation isn't resolved but they are seeing a counsellor.  It's not up to you whether she tells her husband or not but that would be a start and then they would benefit from seeing a marriage therapist for sure.  unfortunately your friend is probably in the bubble of lust and excitement and won't be seeing the wood for the trees but it helps for her to think about how many peoples lives she is potentially hurting.  If her marriage is over then that needs to be sorted first and any relationship put on hold.  People fall in and out of love and that's ok but affairs are generally going to end badly.
My friend was brave and did the honest thing - told her husband, having counselling, trying to explore why she did it.  Her marriage may not survive but the secrets and lies will hurt everybody - including you as a friend.  So I do understand the way you feel.  Helping her to see this will be hard but as a good friend you have to at least try I think.
Good luck.  It's stressful but I do feel that by telling you she may well be asking for help?  Or at least trying to find out what you think so be honest with her
x
 
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Titanium
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby Titanium » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:12 pm

I agree with the above. Don’t get involved but be a good listener, as for her it must be confusing and telling someone helps making sense of things. This might help her then tell her husband, which is what she should do by herself.
I was damaged as a child finding out (first by accidentally witnessing a very passionate kiss inside our house...) that my mother was having affairs. The image is still very much alive as though I’d seen it yesterday. It is a very lonely place to be to discover such a secret as a child and I subsequently developped neurological troubles which I am in no doubt were a consequence. I also had problems with my relationships with boys as a teenager.
My view is that your friend really needs to talk to her husband and they need to make sure the children don’t ‘stumble’ on it.
Don’t worry too much, just listen. It will be helpful for her to confide in someone who isn’t going to judge her.
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Bounty
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby Bounty » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:49 pm

Everyone knows that the more people you tell, the more likelihood of your affair being exposed It’s more than likely that your friend subconsciously wants her affair to be discovered and unfortunately has chosen you to do the honours .
You should keep schtum.This would be just about acceptable because of your long standing friendship, but you should let her know what a stupid selfish cow she’s been to put you in this dreadful position
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coldatchristmas
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby coldatchristmas » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:42 pm

Sorry I think that I must be missing something. A close friend shares something with you and your suggestion is to call her names. I'm not sure that she confided to have her story told to all and sundry at all although it is of course one very valid viewpoint.

I agree with boyswillbeboys. Try not to judge, lives are very different in private and people in happy relationships don't have affairs - make a mistake yes - affairs no.

I think that you need to suggest that she gets some professional help to help her work her way through her situation as one way or another it does need resloving. 

That said I think that the holiday will be tricky and quite stressful for you and her.

Hope that it is all resolved as soon as possible.

CAC
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Bounty
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby Bounty » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:58 pm

The “name calling” was tongue in cheek but I speak from experience. To place your best friend in such an awkward situation is unforgivable. She is not sharing a problem or asking for help or advice -on the contrary she is is boasting about having an affair. She could end the affair if she wanted to, or carry on and ask her husband for a divorce. But I suspect she wants the cake. Yes , people sometimes marry the wrong person but that is not an excuse to be deceitful and ride roughshod over the feelings of friends and family who still love them. If this friend has dragged you into web of deceit then there’s no reason why she can’t be judged
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NVNV
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby NVNV » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:26 pm

I don’t envy you this one. Though I don’t think it’s fair to say this isn’t about you. Sadly now, it is. You have to live with how you respond, and you have to live with the outcomes - how this affair affects both your friendship with your friend and your family friendship with her husband, and your relationship with her kids.
I don’t know the answer and haven’t experienced the exact situation but when someone close to me started an affair with a married man, then started a family with him, I judged it quite hard. I learned the hard way that this only affected our relationship, not that person’s behaviour. I learned to put aside my strong feelings about affairs (my mum had one when I was a teen and now I have little time for them - yes people’s lives are hard but make the tough choice and do something about the issue, not the easy, selfish choice and run away into a fantasy life. However, that’s for another topic...).

However, I didn’t have to face the other party and pretend everything was good.

I know I fear this situation (partner has affair), and my supposed friends saying nothing to me. I imagine if I found out the full picture they’d no longer be my friends. So I think that’s what you also have to consider. If he finds out you know, and they deal with it in counselling, I’d assume it’ll change how he feels about you and affect your family friendship.

I think the posts above offer great advice in trying to support her and find out why she’s doing it / why she’s told you. At the same time I don’t think that also requires a total opt out from being honest with her. If you’re really good friends then the hard chats are what real friendships are about.

There is an outcome where you accept you and your friend have different values but still love each other for many other things (that’s where I ended with my situation).

But regardless this is now also about you. You have to live with your decisions and the consequences.

Part of me thinks it could help to do an outcome comparison and see how you feel about each potential outcome - eg judge hard, loose friend, but keep her husband as friend; do nothing at all, he doesn’t find out, nothing appears to change (except your view of her maybe); do nothing he does find out, keep her, lose him, etc etc etc.
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NVNV
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby NVNV » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:36 pm

The other thing is part of being a friend is keeping each other on the straight and narrow. She also has to live with her behaviour and its consequences and she might value a friendly guide now. That said, that can only be done with compassion and her knowing you love her and are looking out for her best interests and aren’t saying it out of judgement / sense of moral superiority.
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K1999
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Re: Friend having affair and not sure how to deal with it

Postby K1999 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:39 am

I have been on the receiving end of this situation and I promise you, I would have preferred for someone to be honest with me rather than feel like you could be the last one to find out.  Having an affair can be the most hurful thing someone can do in a marriage and not to be taken lightly.  I think it is very sad that your friend feels this is the solution to her problems rather than leaving an unhappy marriage or to seek marriage counselling. And I feel for you having been put in this situation in the first place.  She may well be either wanting to boast about her exciting affair, or she is worried about what might happen if she gets caught.  For you to be dragged into this is such a tough situation to be in as your loyalty is now being tested, and you may feel forced to take sides.  Plus it can make you feel somehow complicit just being involved which of course you are not.  I would be totally honest with her, and that may include the fact that you are not happy being put in this situation (even if you are still showing that you are still her friend and not judging her - if that makes sense), as I feel that your being honest will help you to feel you can still be her friend, but not compromising yourself at the same time.
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