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A dilemma

(54 Posts)
byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:32:55

I have two friends, let's call them Ann and Barb. Ann is a closer friend than Barb, but I have known both since school. Ann has just had a year-long affair with Barb's husband of 10 years. Only I have been told, AFAIK (and he doesn't know that I know). Ann says it's now over (though tbh she still flirts outrageously with him IMHO), and is upset and misses him. She was the one who finished it, I think, as she and Barb are really close friends (thlhmm) and she felt bad. She says she has had a theoretical conversation with Barb in which Barb told her if her DH ever had an affair she wouldn't want to know. As I say, she knows Barb better than I do, so I have no basis to challenge this.

Anyway, this is clearly none of my business, so I have not interfered in any way, just provided a listening ear and strongly encouraged Ann to end the affair (which she did). The thing is, Barb wants to start trying for a baby with her DH. This fills me with horror - I don't want her sleepwalking into any awful situations while I stand by, knowing what her DH has been up to and is probably very capable of repeating. But I have to keep out of it, don't I? Or am I just a coward? I know it really isn't anything to do with me, but Barb is lovely. Really lovely.


EllieInAnyFuckinRoom Thu 24-Oct-13 11:37:08

I think if it was me, I would have the hypothetical conversation with Barb myself before making any decisions.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:38:30

I don't really see Barb alone, and we live in different cities now, but yes this is a good idea if I can engineer it. Thank you.

Grennie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:38:48

How does Barb's DH treat her?

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:40:26

Fine on the surface of things, Grennie. Nice. He's a charming chap.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 24-Oct-13 11:41:09

I think you have a moral obligation to tell Barb. Ann is neither a friend to you and Barb. Think about it, what kind of friend sits and chats with her friend knowing that she is having an affair with their husband. This might possibly end your friendship with Ann but it's not a great loss. She doesn't value friendship and you don't know what that person is capable of, even to yourself. Does a child deserve to be brought into this ugly situation.
Even if you lose both friendships you would have done the right thing, and Barb can make decisions about her life with full knowledge.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Oct-13 11:41:51

I'd be very angry with Ann for dumping her crap on me and expecting me to keep quiet about it, knowing I was also friends with Barb. It's narcissistic bollocks... she's treating herself as the lead in a soap and you as the willing audience. If Barb ever finds out the truth and that you knew all along, you're in a severely compromised position. Take a big step back from Ann and maybe - to salve your conscience - tell Barb's DH that you've got your eye on him.

Grennie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:42:46

Charming chaps always worry me.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:44:42

Thank you for the advice. I think I have a niggling feeling that really I'm doing nothing through my own cowardice. Truth be told, I'm a little intimidated myself by Ann. I really don't trust her not to be pretty unpleasant if I ever rocked the boat.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:45:01

Indeed, Grennie...

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Oct-13 11:45:30

She already sounds unpleasant. What on earth could she do to you if you blew her cover?

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:46:17

When I say pretty unpleasant, I don't mean a bit of nastiness to me (which I could cope with). I mean serious manipulation of wider relationships, and I don't know what else.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:47:22

I realise I sound pretty pathetic - in general, I'm really not. For some reason, she scares the hell out of me!

EllieInAnyFuckinRoom Thu 24-Oct-13 11:48:30

Agreed, Ann sounds like a case! Why on earth would Barb say that to her? I think she's made it up to deter you from doing the right thing.

I think the only circumstances a woman would take that "I don't want to know" is if she already knows, it happens a lot but she likes her life. In which case, your telling her won't come as a great shock.

Ann doesn't deserve your protection

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:48:42

And would I be blowing her cover to ease my own conscience, if what she says about Barb preferring not to know is true?

I could be ruining Barb's chances of a much wanted baby (we're late 30s).

CoffeeTea103 Thu 24-Oct-13 11:49:11

Sounds like she is the dominating one in a group, the one that you don't want to get on the bad side of. All the more reason to not want someone like this as a friend.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 11:49:36

Thank you all so much. This is so useful.

EllieInAnyFuckinRoom Thu 24-Oct-13 11:51:08

If you had some sort of misplaced loyalty with Ann and deep down sympathised with her I would understand your reluctance to grass on her, but as she is a manipulative bully, I think you should out her.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 24-Oct-13 11:52:38

Once she has a baby she is stuck dealing with him forever. She might end up leaving him, he will probably cheat again, but a child will be involved with much heartache for both.
And as for Ann saying that Barb wouldn't like to know if her DH is having an affair, you don't know that she actually said that, sounds more like Ann manipulating you into keeping quiet.

EllieInAnyFuckinRoom Thu 24-Oct-13 11:53:14

I don't think it is a case of easing your conscience. You're not going to feel good whatever you do, it's a question of doing the right thing.

if Barb was so determined to stay with this guy whatever he does, she doesn't have to take any action.

Abbykins1 Thu 24-Oct-13 12:02:02

I wouldn't say anything,I wouldn't deny Barb the possibility of having a baby with the man she loves.

The baby could be a game changer in the relationship for good or for bad but Barb will have her baby.

Grennie Thu 24-Oct-13 12:05:56

Babies put pressure on relationships, they don't make them better. If the guy is an idiot before having a baby, then having one won't change him.

And I was being honest when I said that charming men always worry me. Too often it is an act to hide what they are really like. It is I think a bit of a red flag. I think men who seem open and genuine are much much better than charming men.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 12:06:33

Thank you again. I sort of agree with all perspectives. What Abbykins says is the reason (other than my own cowardice) that I don't know what's right.

EllieInAnyFuckinRoom Thu 24-Oct-13 12:08:03

It took me a minute to think about it, but I disagree with abbey. If the baby is her priority, she can decide to still have a baby. But maybe her dream is to have a baby with a respectful and faithful partner

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 12:09:24

"If the baby is her priority, she can decide to still have a baby"

I suppose perhaps this is the crux of the matter, yes

Mama1980 Thu 24-Oct-13 12:11:22

I'm usually a advocate of staying out of anyone's else's relationships but I think you have a moral obligation here to say something before a child is potentially brought into this mess. If she knows and then chooses to proceed and stay with her husband than that's her right. But I can't believe anyone wouldn't want to know.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Oct-13 12:11:44

Tell Barb. It could be she and her DH work it out, but they won't while Ann is around, flirting with her DH and offering a nice escape for him if he ever wants it. Barb and her DH need to cut Ann out. I suggest you do the same thing, she has no morals about shagging her friend's DH, not saying she'd sleep with your DH, but if she doesn't value friendship enough to not have sex with her friend's DH, then if she was ever faced with a choice, she'll probably screw you over, and there's lots of other ways she can be a disloyal friend.

Mama1980 Thu 24-Oct-13 12:13:07

If she wants a baby there are other ways and the child itself doesn't deserve to be brought into such a situation unless she knows the facts.

Lweji Thu 24-Oct-13 12:17:15

Maybe you should put this exact question to Barb.

And slowly distance yourself from Ann.

I hope you're not married.

If that conversation was true, maybe Barb was telling Ann that she didn't want to be told, and that her marriage was good thank you very much, so much so that I want to start trying for a baby so back off. If Ann flirts outrageously, maybe Barb already suspects something.

cakebar Thu 24-Oct-13 12:17:22

I wouldn't tell. But I would distance myself from Ann. If I were late 30s I wouldn't be waiting for Mr perfect to get sprogging. I would rather have children and be a single parent then not have children.

Thatsthewayitcrumbles Thu 24-Oct-13 12:19:28

God what an awful decision. I think if it was couple of weeks then I wouldn't tell but a year long affair seems pretty serious so if it was me I think I'd tell my friend. I feel bad for you being out in this position by Ann. She should have chosen someone else to tell not you.
Poor Barb. I realise that as bearer of bad news you might be messenger that gets shot, but if he did it again, or if she found out, could you forgive yourself?
Sorry you're in such rotten predicament.

EldritchCleavage Thu 24-Oct-13 12:19:31

I agree with cakebar.

NomDeClavier Thu 24-Oct-13 12:19:53

I agree that Barb needs to know before she sleepwalks into a situation where there's a baby to consider and her supposedly DH is a dick plus she's lost one of her friends because supposed friend had an affair with said H and another because she can't trust her any more for keeping secrets.

You don't necessarily need to say it was Ann but I think Barb needs to know her husband has been unfaithful and then take the decision whether to have a baby or not. Even just 'I now you said you wouldn't want to know but you need to consider this carefully...'

meekenough Thu 24-Oct-13 12:21:33

I think you have a moral obligation to tell Barb, trying for a baby means unprotected sex with someone who's quite happy to put her at risk of STI's....and if she does catch one could be rendered infertile....aside all the betrayal, some things are too important.

Grennie Thu 24-Oct-13 12:23:08

I think the idea of a hypothetical situation is a good one i.e. would you want to try for a baby with a DP who had a year long affair? If she brushes it aside, then she already knows. But it will be obvious what you are saying to her.

OrmirianResurgam Thu 24-Oct-13 12:30:29

Tell her. Please.

TheVermiciousKnid Thu 24-Oct-13 12:33:01

Are you sure that the affair between Ann and Barb's husband is over? Is it possible that Ann just said it because she knows you disaprove?

I would not want to be friends with Ann, she sounds very unpleasant.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Oct-13 12:34:12

WAIT..... We're all assuming Ann is being truthful. If Ann is a narcissistic bully that goes around ruining lives etc are you 100% sure she's telling you the truth and not just cobbling together some big lie in order to deliberately damage Barb? Is there any suggestion that she's gambling you'll tell? If you spill her secret, she can deny everything and then it makes you look like the bitter friend shit-stirring.

EldritchCleavage Thu 24-Oct-13 12:35:32

Good point. Ann flirts heavily with Barb's husband. Telling Barb could be doing Ann's dirty work for her-you ride a coach and horses through the marriage, Ann swoops in to comfort husband, denying all, and hey presto you are the villain.

NotDead Thu 24-Oct-13 12:37:06

Talk to barb's dh yourself. He might have ended things to be serious and have no intention of cheating ever again. I have stayed friends with female friends I have slept with in the same friendship group before so it's not ridiculous

YellowTulips Thu 24-Oct-13 12:42:44

Personally I would speak with Barbs husband I tell him I know what's been going on.

In the light that he and Barb want to start a family, if he has any moral compass at all he should tell his wife what has happened and be decent enough to give her the choice if she wants a cheating, devious, friend shagging cunt to be the father of her child - and if he won't tell her I will.

I would also cut my ties with Ann (she sounds like a manipulative, spiteful, egotistical tramp) and focus my friendship investment in Barb who is probably going to need a lot of support in the near future.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Oct-13 12:44:08

Cogito makes a good point!

Actually, new advice, why not talk to Barb's DH. Tell him that Ann has been telling people, including you, that she's had an affair with him but that he's recently ended it. (I would suggest she's told other people so he doesn't feel it's just you he has to deal with/lie to).

Say that you arent sure if she's lying or not, obviously if she's not and they are having an affair, then he should tell Barb before someone else does as now Ann is talking about it, it's only a matter or time. If it's all a lie, then he might want to talk to Ann about why she's spreading these lies. Say that you don't want to know if it's true or not, but either way you don't think Ann is someone you want in your life anymore and won't be coming along to any group meet ups.

Ann isn't a nice person. Barb's DH might be a charming cheating bastard or a victim of Ann's nastiness. But either way, this group is going to have to break up.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Oct-13 12:45:35

oh and if she does have DCs with her DH, Barb needs to know not to give up work and make herself dependent on a cheating man who might walk out on her. Not sure how you'll tell her that without telling her that her DH is shagging one of her friends....

Sparklysilversequins Thu 24-Oct-13 12:49:58

I wouldn't say anything but I wouldn't be friends with Horrible Ann anymore.

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 12:56:38

Hello all. Thanks again.
I'm very sure (for various reasons) that it definitely happened, on-and-off for at least a year. I'm also very sure that Ann told me because she knew I would not tell, and that she would definitely not want me to. Good questions to consider, though.

Ann definitely has her issues, and has alienated quite a lot of people in the past. I feel sorry for her, too, but she's hard as nails and in many ways can look after herself (very clever, attractive, often ruthless...).

Idea of talking to Barb's H is an interesting one. Feel like I'd be going behind Ann's back though - I'd have to tell her I was going to, right?

EldritchCleavage Thu 24-Oct-13 12:57:39

No. Why would you owe Ann a greater loyalty than anyone else involved?

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 13:08:48

I suppose I feel sneaky whatever I do now confused

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 13:11:09

I really appreciate all your help. Thank you. Knew I could rely on you lot.

BTW I'm a regular, but have used different ID for obvious reasons smile

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Oct-13 13:19:28

Well, you are now in the position where you have to be 'disloyal' to one of your friends, either Ann or Barb. Look at your two friends, which one do you think would have a greater problem with you being disloyal? I would suggest that as Ann doesn't think that loyalty is important in a friendship (because if she did she wouldn't be shagging her other friend's DH) then Barb is the one who you should avoid being disloyal to.

If you talk to Barb's DH, you are able to avoid being the one to tell Barb (going down the "Ann is telling lots of people" route might force him to tell her himself, whereas if you say Ann has told you and noone else, he might decide to discredit you to Barb so if you do say something she thinks you are just shit stirring). If you can get him to tell Barb himself then you can step back out of it, honestly say to Barb that you only found out about it after the affair had already ended.

Remember, the sneekiest person in all this is Barb's DH, he's not just cheated on her, he's proper pissed on his own doorstep shagging her friend. he's flirted with his OW infront of his wife, he's not cared how humilating that could be to her. He's not had the basic decency to be awkward when his OW and DW were in the same room. He must be very charming and a convincing lier to get away with this. (It's probably not the only affair)

byebyemrpumpkinpie Thu 24-Oct-13 13:29:44

Sounds like a pretty good strategy if I can manage it, Dontmind.

Sadly I can't truthfully say to Barb that I only knew after it had ended - I knew for ages (my only input being nagging Ann to end it, etc.).

I think the reason I've been loyal to Ann over Barb is simply because of much more contact with Ann, and been persuaded that it was not in Barb's interests for me to do anything. I see Barb as the more loyal and decent individual.

Yes, her DH's charming jokes don't seem half as appealing as they used to.

meekenough Fri 25-Oct-13 13:39:50

update us OP.

hetty1980 Fri 25-Oct-13 13:50:23

Could you speak to Barb's husband and appeal to his better nature to get him to come clean? Barb could end up resenting you for telling her and you end up losing her as a friend. It's not for you to say it's for him to fess up.

Things like this have a habit of coming out eventually and she definitely needs to know the truth before she starts a family. Good luck!

mynewpassion Fri 25-Oct-13 15:54:15

A friend who is willing to commit the ultimate betrayal to another friend needs close watching. I would be wary of her around my partner.

mynewpassion Fri 25-Oct-13 15:54:25

A friend who is willing to commit the ultimate betrayal to another friend needs close watching. I would be wary of her around my partner.

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