Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
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....
Bloody hell, what a fucking bastard!
I can fully understand why you're feeling the way you are. I know it's trite but your son only has 1 mum and it's you.
Another thing to think about is she's always going to have at the back of her mind that her "man" can't be trusted. Every time he's a wee bit late, or his phone goes unexpectedly, or he has to travel for business she'll have a niggle - she'll push it away but it will be there. Something you never have to worry about again.
You probably already know that but it's good to re-affirm it
At least it's Friday and almost o'clock!
you've had messy break up,and hurt.that's a given.don't get stuck in emotional rut
Time to take wee steps towards transition away from the impact of divorce
Focus on the now,keep whatever support you need inc this pal and get a here and now focus.
Yes, move out of the dreary suburb and make a new life for yourself somewhere more interesting
Definitely definitely definitely. Doing this absolutely saved my mental health when I was in similar circumstances a few years ago.
Are you in Sydney? Get yourself a nice two bed unit near the beach, manly/ bondi/ bronte. I have three single parent friends in the eastern suburbs and they are all very happy (and dating).
Walk out of your old life and start a new one. If you are in an area where ex and your old friends don't live you won't have cross over people.
don't be defined by this,forever the woman with messy divorce
look online, to meet other mums, expat forums meet new arrivals, uk folk
start a class or women gym to meet folk.accept shit hapoens and move on,start again
I can see the move being very good for you, friends/career/well-being wise, and also give your dc a more rounded upbringing. A breaking free.
An Update (just in case anyone was wondering) and a Thank You....
.....For firstly thank you all for your comments. It was very useful in the round as both a validation of what I was feeling and food for thought in terms of the thought processes and expectations of my friend.
I decided to call her so we didn't have this 'elephant' in the room and whislt it was a very 'nice' phone call it did clarify that she just does not understand or 'get' how I must be feeling - in that I know she's sorry I was upset but I don't think she really knows why and also got the impression she liked the OW which is fair enough but not something I am keen to hear. Don't get me wrong - with mutual friends/family I have ZERO expectation of discussing or commenting on their relationship - for example I am still friends with my former sister in law - do business with her in fact - and we just (now) never go there - as with the handful of other people I know still see him/and her as they were very much mutual/his friends - just THIS friend surprised me a bit. Anyway, net net we will see how things pan out and if this has made things awkward in the medium term.
Separately though in considering if our friendship did end it also served as a really good reminder that I need to remember not to let the current financial and residual emotional difficulties encroach too much into friendships....ie lets say if I did (which I won't) decide to cut myself off from her what would she be losing?have I been too much of a draining friend? I do think I'm relatively good company most of the time now but it has not always been the case so worth remembering....
....anyway - cheers for your help. I really was in a decline when I posted so helped avert a little - Dolly x
Please don't knock yourself, Dolly
Yes, you have been through a tough time, but I would rather have you as a friend than someone who has been directly involved in shit awful behaviour and both facilitated and been complicit in terrible deceit and, what to me sounded very much like, child abduction.
Not the kind of person I would want to be anywhere near - however 'nice'
You, on the other hand, should cut yourself some slack and hold your head up high.
Dolly - how very painful.
I think some of the advice here has been excellent - "don't let yourself be defined by this" etc - but of course easier said than done. Still, thinking about moving and widening your circle will be good and fun for you I imagine - and preparing for your circles to overlap - less fun.
Your friend doesn't get it now, so I would leave the issue. However, in ten or twenty years time, I wouldnt be able to resist telling her, don corleone style - "you hurt me" etc. perhaps she will get it by then.
Liking the OW is in your 'friend's' interest if their OH's get on, plus it's funny how a big house can turn people's heads.
You've referred a couple of times to worrying about what kind of friend you've been and have you been fun enough but the point is that in times of trouble friends do lean on one another and are loyal.
Are you waiting for your house to sell before you make the move?
"However, in ten or twenty years time, I wouldnt be able to resist telling her, don corleone style - "you hurt me" etc. perhaps she will get it by then."
She won't matter by then.
The OP's life will have moved on.
I doubt they'll even be in touch.
I would find it almost impossible to now be relaxed and open around this friend.
Considering what has been said about your breakup between you I would be unable to trust if she liked the OW what could get back to her accidentally or on purpose.
The friendship level would be damaged.
You won't know me but I recall your thread and kindly input with other threads when I was reading and not yet on MN, Dolly. I often wondered how you are getting on.
I don't think you are being unreasonable to feel very upset in this instance, even if your friend excuses herself by saying she went along for her DH's sake, or was even curious to see OW in action, looking out for your DS, etc. It's come as a shock and you feel the sands shifting beneath your feet. She did at least phone you to tell you and 'fess up. I know you're not entirely reassured by your last conversation, but suspect you will feel clearer about how things stand when you meet face to face again.
Now you can either consider whether you want to let ex's pervading crappy influence spoil this friendship entirely, (aka he wins again), or whether you can let this go and be prepared for future disappointments when it comes to her socialising, but overall value her friendship and overlook this flaw.
PS As AuntieVenom says ^^, not that you give a damn about OW anyway but how will she ever relax when she has to perpetually out-do you, or your ex is late or takes 'business calls' at the weekend or late at night, or the shine wears off and he starts nit-picking?
^"... and also got the impression she liked the OW which is fair enough but not something I am keen to hear.^"
Of course you're not, and this just shows how much she does not get it.
I mean, the OW is not the devil incarnate. I'm sure she's perfectly capable of being superficially and socially 'nice'. I mean, your DH wouldn't have formed a relationship with her if she'd been a deranged witch.
But that's not the point is it? She still did what she did. Under the pleasant enough exterior is still someone capable of unkind, extreme selfishness. Just like your DH has a perfectly amiable exterior to his acquaintances, underneath he is also a highly flawed person. Even more so than the OW.
Your friend knows this better than most. And yet she is seemingly willing to overlook this for her own reasons. Which she is obviously perfectly entitled to. But which also show a certain lack of empathy and loyalty to a hitherto good friend.
Ultimately - her friendships are hers to make and as you know full well, you need to accept that. But likewise, the fundamentals of your friendship are likely to shift after this. Actions have consequences, etc; it's not a matter of 'punishing' her, but simply re-evaluating what your friendship means and how much you can rely on this person.
I agree with everyone who's said that you shouldn't let this define you and it will probably take a huge amount of effort to not let this get to you, but in the long run it will be worth it. Of course it's right to try to be the bigger person, but you can't help your own unbidden thoughts about things, can you...
all this introspection she said,is bit indulgent. you dont need more things to be sad about
sorry friendship taken a decline,but Christ alive don't dwell.it's disappointing.move on
start some classes,women's gym,do a blog,throw self into activity,mums groups
Hi Dolly - I was on one of the original threads 2 yrs ago (may have NC'd since then ) my exH left the same time as yours.
My take on it is that this will keep coming up as they live in the same city - and your ds will be a common factor (ex inlaws, friends etc). You can't stop yourself feeling hurt but you can control how you react to that. Being the "injured party" is not how you want to be defined - you've said that already. You have to work on detachment, otherwise he and the OW are in control of your life and emotions not you.
Your exH's OW probably is very nice to talk to - a lot of OW are probably very nice to talk to
morals of an ally cat of course so people you like, and who like you, might like her and that's OK. It really is and I think you have to come to terms with that otherwise you will be torn apart by your emotions every time you discover someone you consider a friend has spent time in their company.
The advice to make new friends is obviously good advice - but continue to connect to your existing good friends back home. Some of my best support has come from friends who don't live in the UK and live in a different time zone, the internet is a wondrous thing
You think she's got your life - she hasn't. She has a life with a cheater and a relationship based on lies and deception, I doubt she'll ever really trust him. you have been released from having to live with him and you are now free to be yourself - a self who is not defined by any relationship with him or her - forget them when it comes to your relationships, they don't exist. You can do it because you say you manage it with exH's sister - just do that with your friend. You need to detach for you so that you can move on and be the person you know you are.
scottishmummy. From my perspective the nature of an online forum in the relationship section is to allow people to mull over things that are issues for them, get thoughts, advise and perspective. And the nature of a forum is that you have to be willing to accept and listen to all points of view. I have found it helpful at various points when I have found things hard to process or deal with on my own. I found your thoughts very useful and a good different perspective so thank you but I am a little hmmm about being labelled as indulgent for being introspective on an online forum about relationship issues again, I thought this was a good place to be thus rather than inflict it on those I know in RL (who would probably indeed be commenting Christ Alive change the record). Without sounding Pollyannish I posted again as a courtesy update as I am always grateful that people have taken the time out of their day to help a stranger, not to hear the sound of my own voice or as a pity poor me exercise. If that is how you imagine me that you would be incorrect.
Dolly - I think scottishmummy's post was probably aimed at some of the rest of us, not you!!
Moving on is the best possible advice in the world - and the easiest to give someone. Anyone can tell someone to stop dwelling, being self-indulgent and to 'move on'. But actually moving on involves processing what's happening, trying to make sense of it, and yes, getting other perspectives.
Personally, having people empathise (even if they can't fully understand) with me helps me an incredible amount in terms of validating my feelings, letting me own them (sounds so naff, but you know what I mean) ... and then putting them behind me. Writing it all down can also be really cathartic and enlightening - so hopefully this thread has helped from those perspectives.
Not everyone can just deal with the shit storm that you've been through and then come out the other side unblemished and able to forget. Please don't feel like you're being unnecessarily self-indulgent; you're not.
This would be a dealbreaker for me. Not even on loyalty grounds, just future likelihood of misery grounds. It's an overlap to the most painful aspect of your life, you'll always be second-guessing anything you say, and every time you see her you'll be wondering what contact she has.
I'd let it drift, and work at establishing friendships without any overlap at all.
And you aren't over reacting, because this is about the divorce fallout, with a friendship letdown thrown in. You'd not be human if you didn't feel betrayed again, and it's completely natural to be very hurt.
Incidentally, nice people don't send nasty emails to the woman whose marriage they helped destroy. Nice people can be OW, they can even be OW who become second wives, but by definition they feel shitty over it and curb the natural resentment they'll feel, with the hostility so high. If your friend doesn't know that, and worse, feels it wise to tell you how nice the OW is, she's either stupid, or a bad friend, or both.
I appreciate that it's rotten for you but it would also have been a difficult situation for your friend. Her H is friends with your X, her DC presumably wanted to go to the party - whichever way she decided, someone would have been hurt and upset. I don't think she's a terrible person for putting her own family ahead of a friend's needs. Also, please bear in mind that two years might not be long enough to get over a horrible trauma but it's a long time for the people not directly affected by it to carry on giving unlimited, unconditional support when they are not professional counsellors.
I agree with the posters who suggest you devote the bulk of your time and energy to building a new social life for yourself - and if you are not already seeing a counsellor, look for one (it might take two or three goes to find one who 'fits' with you, but it's worth doing.) In another couple of years, you will be wondering what all the fuss was about. Good luck.
I (have NC several times but similar) remember your earlier threads Dolly and also saw how supportive and nice you were to other posters despite your despair. You have stayed in my mind because my XH is in Australia and I was so nearly trapped there like you are (a long time ago I'm 10 years or so older than you).
You are obviously a very caring and loyal person and unfortunately your friend is not but don't sacrifice one of your support network just distance yourself slightly - along will come other friends with the same values and loyalty as you. OW is not a nice person as nice people have compassion and empathy like you.
FWIW I think the grieving for the end of a marriage that you believed would be forever probably takes the same duration as the marriage. Given the shock and isolation you have be subjected to, you're doing amazingly well and your son will carry that example of great human spirit with him his whole life.