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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....

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 21:36:18

she's been a good pal,she gets you,you get each other.you could do with a pal
whether you like it ir not via school,birthday parties social contacts will be shared
ds will have pals who see him when with you and ex as burgeoning friendships blossoming

I have friends who have to grit teeth and share contacts,same wee pals and parents at parties etc.they find it excruciating but kind of muddle through

Yes, it is gutting. It is as though everyone wants you to get over it, move on, - but how can you when it's an ongoing situation? and now it must feel like your friend has joined that chorus too.

But, It doesnt sound as though your friend is really doing that - she has behaved very sensitively around the issue - even if her choice was crap - it sounds like she still wants to be your friend. Try and be honest with her, and then laugh and talk about other things...it may never be the same again, but it might be...

Hope you are having a good time with your boy.

kitsilano Thu 17-Jan-13 21:42:56

You are entitled to feel very betrayed by this. But agree with others about keeping your cool and not providing any "crazy ex-wife" fodder that will just delight your ex.

Get some more friends! You are clearly a caring, thoughtful, articulate person so get out there and get friendly!

scottishmummy Thu 17-Jan-13 21:47:08

see that's the rub,emotions do cloud intellectual reasoning and clarity
IMO,you've not been betrayed, you are disappointed/hurt/rejected and it's another blow
be careful you not get portrayed as bulgy eyed ex. keep it cool,calm,cordial no hasty decisions

mammadiggingdeep Thu 17-Jan-13 21:49:56

Don't give up on her- she sounds like she's really been a good friend to you. You've had a really hard few years- once you've had such a massive betrayal as an affair in your life, I think smaller 'betrayals' or even disappointments/let downs from other people can seem harder to bear. This is certainly how I've felt.

Could it be that her husband really wants her to go and she has just had to do it fir him? If she's been really supportive of you, her dh might be saying something along the lines of "now it's our turn to support exdh, he's my mate too etc".

Unfortunately in life people do surprise us and let is down, often the people you really thought you could count on. If at all possible, muster some strength and rise above it. Enjoy your precious dc and focus on you and him. Hugs x

Feckthehalls Thu 17-Jan-13 21:50:45

very harsh to say dump the friend!!
she totally gets that this is difficult for you and she herself is conflicted about it.

frantic53 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:23:04

Wouldn't dump her. Would definitely keep her more at arms length in future though. I think you're incredible OP. I know that, in your position, I'd be in pieces. (((hugs)))

deste Thu 17-Jan-13 22:45:09

I wouldn't dump her either. Do you think she wants to meet her to sum her up sort of thing. I know it's difficult but put it behind you and move on. You sound very positive and strong. I don't think I could have coped with this if I had been in another country.

Piffpaffpoff Thu 17-Jan-13 23:12:46

I was in a similar situation to your friend although the friendships were not as close to start with but it was an equally messy break up. I tried to maintain both friendships because I didn't want to pick sides and it was awful, one half refused to speak to me for a very long time because I had maintained contact with the other. It was awful, I felt like whatever I did I would upset someone and I didn't want that but it seemed unavoidable.

So my advice would be speak to her, she may be feeling wretched about it too and be struggling with the situation she's been put in by your ExDH. it's a difficult and impossible situation all round. sad

OP in the past I've been a very ignorant, insensitive friend. Without going into detail I was dropped by a couple of people about 20 years ago who explained why they felt I'd betrayed them but I was too pig-headed to understand. I regret my behaviour to this day.

Your post a while back when you were saying you felt OW had 'taken' your life was articulate and heartbreaking. Write to your friend, or speak to her saying what you said here. Make it clear that you can't continue the friendship if she's going to be new best buddies with OW. I'm pretty sure she'll want to remain friends with you. Fwiw I'd be your friend - you sound like my kind of person - strong, positive, intelligent and you put your dc first. My heart goes out to you, but something tells me you're going to end up the happiest, most fulfilled person in this set-up x

Mimishimi Thu 17-Jan-13 23:24:53

I wouldn't dump her just yet, especially if your ex and her DH have become good friends. Are you in Australia? Unfortunately it's common for the males to congregate around the barbecue drinking beer whilst the women are expected to look after the kids. She might not trust her DH to keep a close enough eye on the girls alone especially if there is a swimming pool, open access to the road etc.

I think the fact that she's been open with you about it means that she's not likely to be sneaking around behind you forming friendships with OW. See how it goes after the party and by all means let her know that you did feel a bit hurt by it .

I've seen this situation myself and with a few friends in similar circumstances.

I'd say step away a little bit and then just see how it goes with your friend.

Time will tell.

It could be a one off. She could just not get it and then over time it would just be an annoyance for you.

Most of my friends have been fine. No interest in H. But I have made new friends through all of this and you will too. And I actually I see far more of my new friends now than the old ones who mostly to be honest seem too entangled in family life to want to play with me. I have time on Sundays and holidays when most of them are seeing their families. I don't have hardly any family except for my kids. My new friends like to met on a Sunday or Bank holiday and chat on the phone of an eve.

One of my friends just didn't get it. Over time I have stopped confiding in her. Sad but the right thing. She doesn't understand.

Graceparkhill Thu 17-Jan-13 23:35:27

Hello Dolly( sorry couldn't resist).

I don't have any specific advice to offer on your situation with your friend other than to say I would just let things drift for a bit and see if you can put it behind you and continue the friendship.

What I did want to say is a massive well done to you for going through such a truly awful time and still being insightful and considered and generous.

I am wondering whether you could utilise your experience perhaps through creative writing or becoming a life coach.

You truly are the better person in all this and a rock for your wee boy. You never know what's round the corner so I hope you can stay focused on a happy future for yourself and DS- you certainly deserve it.

By the way- what you said about other woman living your life may yet come true. If he cheated on you he can cheat on her!

orlakielylover Thu 17-Jan-13 23:37:21

My heart is breaking for you OP. You sound like such a lovely lady and so strong.

AThingInYourLife Thu 17-Jan-13 23:58:20

I think she's made her choice, and she went for the big house, the large social group and the people who think you should get over having your life roped to shreds by this prick.

The best thing you can do is put as much distance as possible between you and him.

Can you move to a new city?

Certainly you should try to move as far away as possible from the whole mess and start again.

Gosh it is good to get lots of perspectives, it has helped pull me out of the black hole I was slliding into so thank you.

I also appreciate the comments about me sounding nice (shucks) but I do want to assure that over the last few years I have certainly had a lot of times of being shrill, emotionally incontinent, slightly crazed person as I had such a lot to deal with. Honestly, I have been quite disappointed with myself at times. I didn't picture myself this way and sometimes I think that I should have bounced back a lot quicker.

I think that is playing on my mind in that I do acknowledge that I probably haven't - and I'm talking generally, not in relation to this specific friend - been the best of friends to hang out with as 1. I have been a bit Ms Misery and 2. Certainly for first year and a half I was honestly so consumed with all my troubles (outside of the emotional ones, there were huge financial and logistical ones and this had come on the back of 2 failed pregnancies that ended quite late, the IVF, then the marriage split) that I probably offloaded too much onto certain friends and just didn't really have a filter. I was also so consumed with my 'shit' that I didn't really stop to think about what was going on with their lives - in that it was probably a bit one sided in terms of talking about me vs them, and lets face it after a while who wants to hear tales of woe too often. I hope I wasn't rubbish friend but I do know I was self absorbed in my problems (hopefully not generally self absorbed) and I do realise that this can be quite wearing. Of course there have been nice fun times, drinks, laughs, talking about them and their families/issues/work - the usual stuff of friendship but I suppose my dramas have overshadowed a bit and net net not Mary Sunshine. This was quite confronting to realise as without sounding egotistical, I think I used to be the kind of person it would be fun to sit next to at a dinner party - interested and interesting in life and people and actually damn good fun if I'm honest.

I did realise this fortunately and reigned myself back outside of some very old UK based friends and try to stop myself banging on about the latest dramas.

Half of me wonders if going to a fun glam party was a bit of a draw and yes to one poster - here in Australia it is much more men in one corner women in the other. I am also currently in a very affluent area - very mono cultural, realtively wealthy, middle class (as the Daily Mail would have it) - so there isn't much diversity. Single parents are a bit of an anomoly and I'm not sure people know what to 'do' with them. In my old London life I had single, divorced, gay, older - tons of different types whereas here its all a bit tennis lessons, highlights, 4 wheel drive territory. I'm contemplating a move to the city proper (we are 50 mins outside) when and if my house sells but then the enormity of starting ALL over is daunting (I do have some nice friends if not that many where I am).

Anyway. This is starting to be a bit like therapy rather than a response to the posts so I'll shut up now. And again thank you taking the time out. I think MN and the like is wonderful in helping those that may feel isolated at times.

Dolly

AThingInYourLife Fri 18-Jan-13 00:21:32

Yes, move out of the dreary suburb and make a new life for yourself somewhere more interesting.

I would leave everything that has been a part of your life in Australia so far behind.

AThing - I have to stay in same City - part of terms of legal stuff unless ex gives permission and he won't. Plus I want my son to have that relationship with him. I think it is a good one (when he is with him). Limits choices though....

elastamum Fri 18-Jan-13 00:37:32

Dolly, you might not feel it, but you have done fabulously well and your old self is still there waiting to get back out there once the dust has settled. It takes a long time to put yourself back together after such a trauma and you will come out of this a slightly different shape, but still you smile Have been there and how friends treat you post split really matters. I think your friend has been unkind to you - but she probably does'nt really appreciate the hurt she has caused. Keep moving forwards and building your new life. If her friendship is worth it it will remain, if not just let it drift away.

springyhope Fri 18-Jan-13 01:05:08

A nuclear bomb has gone off in your life dolly, and the fallout isn't over yet. What has happened to you is immense, many would have gone under (scuse pun). So what if you droned on? It was keeping you alive. At the moment I drone on with friends who I know care about me. If they don't care about me they're out - nothing personal, I just can't afford it at the mo. I am in major crisis and that's what friends are for, to stick with you when youj're in crisis. Being bubbly, happy, interesting dolly/springy is for another time, this isn't it.

I dont apologise, either. When you're facing something immense you hunker down to stay alive. Give yourself a break, Dolly. Who gives a shit if you've not been the life and soul? Though you say you take an interest in your friends' lives etc, you're not a complete drudge 24/7. Even if you were, so what? You don't need to apologise for being smacked into outer space by your shit ex.

Your 'friend' says you can call her to talk about it gee thanks . you call her ?? if anything, it should be the other way around. It all seems wrong, something very wrong about it. Is she patronising you?

ime people who haven't had their guts ripped out of their lives can be a bit thick about severe emotional crisis, can definitely be patronising. Even if she is inadvertently patronsing, I still can't see that going to their house is in any way acceptable, no matter how you look at it. The majority of posters consider it a dealbreaker dolly - what's with turning yourself inside out like a pretzel to find a socially 'acceptable'/ tolerant philosophy to smother the outrage you feel at your friend's betrayal by making it your fault (for being a drudge etc).

Betrayal is very shocking. Do you see a counsellor? You won't get patronised by a counsellor.

Yes, you're stifled. Move to a city. Find some older, younger, ethnic, feminist, single parents, gays, other freelancers, creatives, etc. Network, have fun and make a success of your life. I reckon you could do that fairly painlessly actually.

emmyloo2 Fri 18-Jan-13 03:06:57

Gosh how upsetting for you. No matter whether she was right or wrong to attend, I can totally understand how absolutely gutting this would be. I think the fact they were having a party for YOUR son would be difficult enough for me to cope with. I wouldn't want the OW having anything to do with my child (but I would be bitter and petty like that I think if I was in this situation).

I think she was wrong to attend. If it was me, I wouldn't have gone. She doesn't need to support her DH.

But bloody hell, how awful for you.

emmyloo2 Fri 18-Jan-13 03:16:38

and you don't sound pathetic at all. Honestly, if it was me, I would be so hurt and so bitter about the whole thing I wouldn't even be able to stomach the fact the OW saw my son. You seem to really be taking the moral highroad and the OW is left with a cheating shit. And when your son is older, this will fade in significance, if you know what I mean. I.e. when he is teens+ it won't all seem so hurtful that she spends time with him. I may be talking out of my arse mind you but I just can't believe this has happened. All of it. You are really very strong to still be coping in my view, let alone trying to be reasonable.

AuntieVenom Fri 18-Jan-13 03:23:06

I'm sorry you're feeling so rubbish. I also think your friend has been insensitive at best and would also be reconsidering her friendship. I would be worried that anything you were saying to her would end up getting back to the ex and OW.

On a tangent, I just noticed that in your OP you mentioned your ex has just moved back to your city.

Does that mean he was able to move away and did you have to give your consent? You might be able to use that fact to your advantage either way.

Auntie - he maintained granny flat next to his parents but lived in the other city in reality but as he had a job address (national one so he could do from anywhere). at the time we had huge dramas as he would take my son to her city (10 hours round trip in a w/end with a then 3 year old) and not give me her address or tell me he was going (Springy knows this story from a thread last year)....so it is good that he is in our city again for DS sake - I'd much rather he had an hour round trip instead BUT tough for me as they are 'proper' family unit and 'in my patch' as it were again. I knew this would throw up issues but just not how quickly.......

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