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Best friend meeting OW. Incredibly hurt but not sure if it is reasonable?

(96 Posts)

I am divorced and it is just over 2 years since my DH left myself and my DS (then 2) whilst I was in the middle of IVF (so a surprise). Hugely traumatic and messy situation (I moved to his home country when pregnant and cannot return to the UK due to Hague convenention) but net net he left to be in a relationship with OW from work who just before Christmas moved cities to live with him and her DS from a previous relationship. Post split lots of financial and emotional stunts/dramas/deceit and shoddy behavious to deal with. Not an easy time of it.

A few years later and the inevitable dividing of friendships occurred with a few people cutting me off quite abruptly and a few gradually but as hurtful as a couple of them were at the time, I do understand it is hard for people and given my devastation in the immediate aftermath prob the easiest thing for them and I just let that go and concentrated on making new friends as many of our friends had been 'his' original ones as we were in his country and I had only been in the country 2 years before he left.

However this week something happended with one of my closest friends which has upset me hugely and I am struggling to work out if my feelings are reasonable (as they are quite strong). Essentially, she is one of only a handful in this country (we met in baby group - no back story with ex) who has been aware of the whole terrible drama of my marriage split and the OW and has witnessed the havoc it has caused me and seen me at my rawest. She has been wonderful throughout all of this, mopped up my tears and I tell her most things and one of the few people in this country I would consider a proper 'friend', possibly my 'best' friend. I introduced her and her DH to my now exDH and encouraged her DH to join a group sporting activity that they shared. Her DH sees my ex for this and they are in a guys way 'friendly' but no long history or individual relationship outside the group. My close friend is not involved in this sport (all male) runs into ex from time to time but they are not 'friends' outside of general courtesy if they run into each other and close friend is horrified at some of the things he has done.

Now exDH and his OW are moved back to our City I fully expected my close friend to be at the occassional social event that the sporting group occassionally have. I am grown up and realise that as irritating as it is to be excluded (and in most cases dropped) by a social group I helped to put together and introduce to each other well that is just life and it is the shared interest that holds it together and I am not part of that anymore. So I got close friend would inevitably meet OW and no doubt exchange polite chit chat at some point.

What I was NOT expecting though is for my close friend to accept an invitation to my ex and her house for a party that they were throwing for my DS on his birthday (DS is having 'main' party at w/end with his kindy class - exDH was going to attend that as obviously ideal for DS but unpleasantness precluded for this year sadly). I was not expecting it as 1. she is not friends with exDH 2. she knows how devastated I was at not spending all of my son's actual birthday with him this year 3. she knows all of the pain that he and the OW has wrought (2 months ago OW emailed for for first time out of blue and quite unpleasant) 4. she is one of my closest friends for fucks sake and I never in a million years thought she would contemplate going to meet her for the first time at her house co-hosting a party for my son. The invite came last minute via close friend's husband (as part of the sporting social group).

I think I am so upset about it as:-

- if the tables were turned there is no way I would contemplate attending. I would say to my DH - sorry I know you are friendly with x but I am best friends with Dolly who I know is finding not being with her DS hard enough, if you would like to attend please do go along and take our children.
- invite was last minute (day before) so easy to wriggle out of without being rude
- she has not spoken to my ex for months and months, is not friends and has never met the OW
- I've recently returned from the UK (holiday) and feeling wobby about leaving good friends - now one of the only ones I thought I had here I feel just doesn't value our friendship enough to draw a bit of a line...like I say in my mind meeting someone at someone else's bbq etc is totally different than accepting an invite to their house on my DS birthday
- As her DH working she took her children and was going to be there on her own until DH called in on way from work so not like they went together as a family and he was putting pressure on her

To be fair to close friend she called me up and told me that she was going as she did not want me to find out from my DS. She said she was stressed at invite, wished it was different, but felt that she had to support her DH. I was shocked and very audibly upset but thanked her for her telling me. In a subsequent call I was very clear that I found it upsetting and surprising (not going into the detail above), she asked me if I wanted her not to go but in a way that suggested she did want to go. It was clear that I did not want her to go but said that I couldn't ask her to do or not do something....there was no argument/cross words, I was teary but we just left it and she sent me text saying that I was her friend, she admired how I had coped with things and didn't want this to upset me etc etc.

My problem is that I AM upset. Hugely so. And it really impacted me. I think I am a very loyal person and in the UK have strong and long standing friendships (this one is 5 years old) and I just would not do this to a close friend. I know it is hard when divorce hits friendships but in this instance my ex H and she are not friends and her DH is 'only' a social friend rather than long standing friend. I am also annoyed with myself for being so impacted. I am aware it is layered on top of my return from a home visit, the emotion of a split birthday with my son and that she was very upfront and 'nice' about it. But if I am honest I am not sure I am going to be able to get past it entirely as it has changed the way that I feel about our friendship - or at least in terms of how it is valued.

Do I need a kick up the arse or is it OK to be upset with her decision. I am quite a sane 42 year old and not in the case of Heathers. I do get that I cannot dictate whom sees who post break-up it is just that she is such a close friend that I didn't expect this at all. Also would obviously be different if this was a subsequent girlfriend and not the OW who it turns out was exchanging texts with my ex from the time my son was 6 months ago and who had a huge hand (resp being my ex's of course) in the marriage breakdown.

Thanks for your perspective (and please be kindish even if I am being a loon - again problem is the more time that goes by the more I can't believe she accepted invite which isn't helpful).

Sorry if this was a bit long but was trying to convey as much relevent back story as possible without turning into war and peace....

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 17-Jan-13 20:15:10

I am so pleased that all the responses have seen this from your POV.

I don't have much to add to what has already been said really, but just wanted to add another YANBU <even though it's in relationships! smile> I can't believe she's done this to you.

I also can't believe you can't just bring your babies back here to your friends and family sad

something2say Thu 17-Jan-13 20:16:12

It hurts tho, losing friends, doesn't it?

bochead Thu 17-Jan-13 20:17:12

Wow this friend has broken the girl code big time.

Tbh I'm shocked at the support her own hubby malarkey - no way would I support a partner in making an innocent friend feel awful(who has already been shat on a from a great height). If the mother of the child can't attend the party then WHY would either member of the couple feel comfortable attending? I don't accept the comment about putting her marriage under strain - you have been treated appallingly. This lady isn't your friend.

You are the one stuck in a foreign country, forced to miss your baby's birthday party, not the ex hubby. A little compassion goes a long way, and by her actions this woman has shown she possesses neither compassion, nor integrity. What's she's done is VERY cruel.

I'd be looking to widen my social circle and gradually easing this "friend" out of my life. Then again I'd rather be totally alone than unsure who I can trust -not everyone has that sort of personality & I accept that. I'd certainly have to tell her that she'd hurt my feelings very, very badly and that I'd need space while I considered the impact of her recent actions.

In future she would be a nodding aquaitance on the street, but never again would she be invited round to my home for a cup of tea. That approach is because you are stuck abroad with no significant social circle of your own; here in the UK I'd just cut her dead.

Thanks for much for your perspective every one, I really appreciate it. Had a sleepless night (I’m in Australia) mulling it all over and got to the point where I could not work out if I was going insane for feeling upset.
I think the key thing is that having gone through an unexpected betrayal and the darkest period of my life, I am much more sensitive to both the small kindnesses in life and also to the small betrayals. And this rightly or wrongly feels like one. I want to emphasise that my friend is genuinely a very lovely and caring person and I know she was very conflicted by this and has made a great effort to say that I have her friend and this won’t change that etc etc. But outside of the obvious foot stamping but its not fair I can’t believe you would go, I also feel it sets a precedent and opens up the floodgates. I mean if you accept an invite to a party then why not one to a dinner party etc as some form of relationship will have been established. I want to make sure I am not confusing or projecting my wider feelings of hurt onto her though but I am genuinely surprised by her going.
To answer some of the questions, the party was for 5 year olds and she has girls who are friends with my DS since birth but now the friendship is more me and her as they went to different kindy’s and the boy/girl gender thing has kicked in – that is we used to have loads of playdates, now it’s the occasional one but we go out for drinks much more as her girls are very girly and my son is all boy; they are lovely together though just the friendship is now more an adult one with kid thrown on – having developed from kids one with adults thrown in. She did mute the possibility of dropping them off until her DH came but sort of ruminating and again seemed to want me to tell her what to do which I didn’t feel was appropriate and also I felt she KNEW what I wanted but sort of didn’t want to do that IYSWIM?
I wasn’t aware until my ex in-laws told me that there was to be a party per se as sadly my ex is very very secretive about his time with my DS and won’t share any details with me (ie I’m not ‘allowed’ to meet the OW and such bullshit). I think there was an element of making up children number as although ex sees DS regularly he is not across who his friend are as he lives a little distance away. There was also the element of he and OW moving into huge mini-mansion type place so a bit showcasing that <pause for calming breathe as he can afford that but pays as little as he can get away with for child support despite large income>.
The point raised about me being isolated is bang on target. In London I can great job, great friends, great life, lovely family and support network, healthy finances etc and over here I am struggling on many levels and trying to carve out freelance work in a field that predicates itself on connections/networks that I don’t have. I have always had quite a charmed life and been very capable and independent and the events of the last few years have really shaken me and rocked my confidence. I guess I don’t want to cut off my nose to spite my face as she is a very very nice person (outside of this decision) and I don’t have that many people I have met here that I click with – plus as I was on the floor with the split and aftermath in all honesty I haven’t been at all my usual self or in the zone to make that many new friends as fairly internal in trying to sort things out and not great company.
I also think at heart – and this is possibly a bit foot stampy – I feel like the OW has my life. She has my ex DH, my son every other w/end, the 2 children, 2 parent set up I had wanted so badly (post DS had ectopic then medical termination at 16 weeks 2 months before my husband left – it was a joint decision and one that I live with but honestly had I known he was about to fark off, I may have made a different one although aware of reality of being single parent with health challenged new baby), has my ex-inlaws who I was close to, big house etc and now I feel like she is moving in on my friends. I know that sounds a bit conspiracy theory and I have to suck it up but the reality is it really isn’t fair so this just feels like another thing that pretty much sucks. That all said having been on my knees my resolution for 2013 is to be more positive and create a fabulous new life but I feel this has tripped me up a bit before I got going. I’m also quite an emotional person – and by that I mean I find it hard to hide what I am feeling – so I guess I don’t want to be too hair trigger about things with this friend as as someone pointed out I don’t have that many to shed over here.
I hope I’m not sounding like sad victim sap. The truth is I miss my old self and I don’t want to be the kind of person who never got over their divorce but there has been much to process and the smaller things seem to trip me up much more readily than they would previously.
I do appreciate all of your views and also the validation. My ex has played the long game as I knew he would – ie everyone horrified by his behaviour including his family so he kept OW out of sight (although knew of her existence) and introduced her 2 years later when everyone deems that it is time to ‘get over it’ and move on. Easy to say. Very hard to do in practice when your life has exploded I am finding…..

<waves to Springy>
PS Sadly have to stay here until son is 18 (I don't but he does so net sum game) due to laws. ex-H could give a shit about my happiness as its all about him and how my DS is when he is with him - when he is outside of his orbit (80%) of the time he sort of blanks it out.

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 20:21:14

the children have a father and roots,social ,cultural isn't just cases take her babies back uk
this does sound ghastly, I hope op can put the distress behind her and get on
imo talk to friend before any hasty termination of friendships

jenny60 Thu 17-Jan-13 20:21:30

You poor thing. I too would distance myself from her, at least for a while. I don't think a friend should behave in this way.

sarahseashell Thu 17-Jan-13 20:27:29

I know it's a massive cliche OP but time is a great healer and one day you'll see that OW got a selfish twat not a prize. You have your integrity and you sound lovely.

As for the 'friend' YANBU - I wouldn't do this to a friend and I wouldn't expect one to do it to me. You're quite within your rights to terminate the friendship if you wish IMHO

Look after yourself and ds, no-one else matters. It'll get easier. Best of luck to you

arthriticfingers Thu 17-Jan-13 20:28:42

Dolly I remember your original thread and just wanted to send you a brew and a <hug> sad

springyhope Thu 17-Jan-13 20:32:29

You're better off alone than with a 'friend' like this. Like having a friend who's like a wet bottom to a cardboard box: you don't know when it's going to go. She may have been lovely and all that but this is a very poor choice of hers. You shouldn'[t have to spell it out.

You have already reinvented yourself, keep going. You're made of stern stuff dolly, you know that. yy I get her taking your life and yy I get that that's how it feels. But girl you don't know the end of the story. It has been unbelievably shitty but you don't know the end. NOthing is going to keep you down for long.

As for being sensitive to the 'small' betrayals - this isn't small! It's huge!

Junebugjr Thu 17-Jan-13 20:33:59

I really would talk to your friend, see what she has to say before distance yourself, although I can understand how you feel. Then you can go from there. What opportunities do you have for socialising OP? What do you do on your wknds off from your ds?

spudmurphy Thu 17-Jan-13 20:34:19

Yanbu. I'd be devastated but as they say ' there's nowt so queer as folk'. People let you down sadly. I know!

spudmurphy Thu 17-Jan-13 20:42:48

Be careful- what you tell her she may tell her dh who may then tell your sh***y ex dh.
Move away slowly from her.

This would spell the end of the friendship for me, it would be that simple.

It starts with a child's party, pretty soon it's a play date here and there, then meeting without kids for a quick drink to 'support her husband'... She doesn't really want to go of course hmm.

I wouldn't want to hear about any of it and deal with her 'oh poor me I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place'.

Oh dear, this is very sad. I'm sure she feels conflicted - but she has made her decision.

I would continue to see her, but only casually. She might regret this but until she does, you can't trust her to be on your side.

I'm afraid your bastard ex will be delighted won't he. That must be painful too.

Sending you lots of love.

SavoyCabbage Thu 17-Jan-13 20:50:24

I wouldn't do this to a friend either. I would not want to spend a moment making small talk and admiring the cake of someone who had hurt a friend I cared about. I couldn't do it and I wouldn't want to do it.

I think you should use this as a push to try and do some different things and meet some different people. You have a big shared history with your friend but it sounds like time to widen your net a bit.

Is your ds starting school this year? If so I found that a great way to meet a lot of different people.

You sound really lovely.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 17-Jan-13 20:58:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lastSplash Thu 17-Jan-13 21:04:37

I don't think it was such a huge betrayal for her to go but I can understand why you feel so upset. I think dropping her is the best thing to do, not simply because of this but because now exDH is back in town, there will be other invites and other little hurtful things, because of the social connection she has with him. Better to make a fresh start as you say, with new friends unconnected to your old relationship.

startlife Thu 17-Jan-13 21:08:58

I had something similar happen to me when my marriage broke up. My supposedly bf (of many,many years) met with my ex (as her H and ex were friendly). I ended the friendship as I felt she had made a choice. Interestingly the 'friend' later split with her husband as he played away.

How are you supposed to act after the party? can you ask about it? Will she have to choose her words? or not speak about it? This causes the problem, how can you be good friends and have this unspoken topic - the elephant in the room.

I really feel for you - horrible to have it happen but this is your new start. Good luck

arthriticfingers Thu 17-Jan-13 21:09:29

It is one of those horrible cases of damned if you do and damned if you don't. Not cooling off the friendship would leave Dolly vulnerable to repeats of this hurtful behaviour. Cooling off the friendship makes you feel like you are being unhinged and unreasonable.
FWIW, I would go with a gradual cooling off - gradual with no blow ups which only cause more scars, but cooling off because I would not be able to reestablish trust after this.
And being stuck so far from home is shit.

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 21:10:16

in fairness pal acknowledged its uncomfortable and I wouldn't terminate friendship
you've both said your piece, why dwell on it.you're enacting residual anger you have toward ex upon friend
and hard as is,don't dwell or expec prior friendship trumps this social connection they have to your ex

Thisiseuphamism. Your point about my ex loving it has really hit home. I think that is a big part of it. i.e saying to OW – Oh friend and Dolly used to be close so we must be super special sparkly people that she has chosen to come here…I imagine Dolly has alienated all her friends by being unable to get over things (ex H narrative from day one is that I needed to pull myself together and accept things – actually said as I was recovering in hospital post egg collection for IVF…yes that sounds mental but when he left I thought he was having mid life crisis, we were on the point of no return re eggs and he agreed to turn up and put any embryos in freezer which I took to be a good sign. He in fact turned up told me to pull myself together and ‘shut the fuck up crying as I don’t feel anything for you so your tears don’t bother me’ – yes I know. A veritable prince).

He is smug enough as it is so yes, that does sting. And I am honestly so angry with myself that I can’t seem to find the wherewithal to just say ‘fuck ‘em’ and not give it mental airspace.

Party was yesterday. I have no idea whether to raise or not. She did say I could call her if I wanted to about it. I don't think I will. I think I will just let things lie. According to ex in-laws OW is saintly warm hearted country girl. I imagine they pulled out all the stops. I dont' think I want to hear about it, outside from my lovely lovely DS who is arriving home in an hour <btw of course I am 100% positive about his dad, the OW and her child to him. I wouldn't project any of this onto him ever>

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 21:16:45

dolly,understandably you're angry at ex,don't project that onto your pal
you and ex clearly have unfinished emotional business.not drag pal into it
but you can't punish or terminate friendship with anyone crossing shared paths

MimiSunshine Thu 17-Jan-13 21:25:39

I am shocked that most people say 'drop her' and dismiss the friends conflict over the issue.
Do you really think that when the friends DH told her about the invite, she just said "oh shoot, that might upset Dolly but never mind"?
I mean really? Do you not think she said "hell no, I'm not socialising with that bitch" which resulted in a conversation between them and ultimately she chose her DH who probably told her that she'd hardly need to speak to OW.

Even if XH and OW are outright trying to upset you OP and take more from you, why give them the satisfaction?
I think how you feel is perfectly understandable but if this is the first issue you've had in your friendship with her then why not give her a 2nd chance? Talk it through with her and see how you feel.

scottishmummy, thanks for your perspective. I think that is the essense of the thing. I intellectually know that I shouldn't let it cloud our friendship and that my feelings are probably coloured by all that has gone on before but the reality is because she knows all this (as we have shared it) I do feel very let down and I don't want to bring resentment into the friendship. I very much wish that I could take the approach my head would dictate as the correct one but I'm just trying to manage the hurt that I feel - which may be misplaced or inappropriate - but it does feel very real. I also know that this plays into the hands of my ex who no doubt describes me as bitter and bereft but I do feel a little like someone who is pressing their nose against the glass of a busy restaurant where my former life is having a party without me. And yes I know that sounds a bit pathetic and playing the smallest violin for myself but that is how I feel. I think I'm posting here to get some perspective and not trouble any friends in RL with this. It helps to see things from different sides. Thanks

sarahseashell Thu 17-Jan-13 21:34:04

OP don't worry about being 'fair' - people haven't been fair to you. Most people just wouldn't go in this situation, IMO. To get through this situation you may find you have to get a bit ruthless and just put yourself and ds first. Start to broaden your social circle and get a counsellor if you can, so that you've got someone to confide in whom you can trust.
Then focus on building up your own life to the best it can possibly be and remember the best revenge is to live well. If you want to just give it some space and keep this friend then do. If you don't want to then don't feel bad. It's survival, and she'll understand in the long term or if she's ever in your shoes

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