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Struggling to maintain a relationship with best friend after this marriage split

(46 Posts)
ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 15:33:02

Some of you might recall I started a thread a little while back when my best friend (BF) walked out on his wife (also a very close friend) and his 3y/o completely out of the blue. The way he did it was pretty brutal and heartless sad

Things have moved on apace, divorce has been filed (by him) and things have developed considerably with OW (although I only know this via very reliable third party). BF is still maintaining that his sole reason for leaving was that he was unhappy in the marriage, and is citing DW's unreasonable behaviour as causal. He is massively playing down OW situation, and only mentioned her to me once when he first walked out, saying there was someone he had feelings for, but did not expand.

In the weeks since, he hasn't made life easy for DW, cutting off household contracts without warning, being uncooperative about what to do with his things, claiming among other outrageous statements never to have loved her and making unfair and untrue claims about her behaviour during the marriage. I hear much of this direct from her. She only offers the information when I ask how things are going and is very matter of fact. I know her well and believe her at her word. I also have a reliable neutral source, and when cross-referenced, it all checks out. The neutral source has no agenda whatsoever, and confides in me as they find it so exhausting being BF's sounding board and I am trusted not to pass anything back to the DW (which I don't) My BF has made some very unpleasant general statements to this neutral source too regarding his take on the situation, attitudes that are in line with his behaviour when he's at his worst (selfish, thoughtless, impressionable)

He hasn't spoken to me a since the first week, last time we spoke it was left on amicable terms, I told him that while it was going to take me a while to come to terms with the situation, we were there for him. It's all gone a bit quiet in the intervening weeks. I think he's realised that while he may be much happier now, friends and family are reeling and struggling to get their heads around this very unexpected abandonment. I'm trying to keep my distance from the situation a bit for several reasons, firstly I find it all very upsetting, and secondly after letting people know we (Dh and I) are there for them I generally tend to give people space to work their own lives out. I hate drama and find people doling out advice on how others should live their lives to be futile and distasteful.

He's just called. I panicked and got DH to say I wasn't in. I don't want to talk to him. I don't even know if I can be friends with him anymore. I'm shocked at his behaviour, but I know if I tell him straight it will fall on deaf ears, and be to no avail (neutral source feels the same and just makes noises in the right places to BF) I don't think I can keep up the pretence though of being supportive and understanding. I don't really support what he's done and my understanding of the situation is very different to the one he's convinced himself of.

On the other hand I feel bereft that after around 15 years of friendship (through thick and thin and all the clichés) to be feeling this way.

AIBU to just avoid him for the time being? Gah sad

WhoNickedMyName Thu 20-Feb-14 15:37:58

YANBU to avoid him forever. He sounds like a complete and utter twat.

Preciousbane Thu 20-Feb-14 15:38:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CromeYellow Thu 20-Feb-14 15:42:29

yanbu, be honest about it; sorry I can't support you, you're behaviour has been abominable and I don't recognise this person you've become.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 15:44:08

Thank you all.

Chrome I think if he asks me outright or wants to meet up I think that's pretty much the line I'll take. It just feels so drastic though.... I'm a bit of a sand-head-burier in these kinds of highly emotive situations....

LilyBlossom14 Thu 20-Feb-14 15:45:22

He is following the script to the letter really - I think if I were you I would find it impossible to remain friends with him anymore. I would remain friends with, and offer support to, his wife though.

expatinscotland Thu 20-Feb-14 15:45:47

Your friend is a dicksmack of the highest order. He was fucking this other gal and ditched his family for his piece of ass and he's being an utter cock about it.

I would have nothing ever to do with this guy again except to tell him he's a c*&t who deserves nothing but the worst.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Thu 20-Feb-14 15:49:50

You would not be unreasonable to decide that his behaviour has changed the way you view him and you no longer want him as a friend

But for me personally someone leaving an unhappy marriage even if there was someone else involved wouldn't be enough for me to drop them as a friend. It would depend though on how they treated their children

Friends often come in and out of your life, only you can decide if he is worth holding onto or not and you should only do what you are happy with

WooWooOwl Thu 20-Feb-14 15:50:00

If he's your friend you should at least hear him out and get his side to the story.

It may be that after that you still think he's done thing very badly, but I don't think you can call yourself a good friend if you don't even give him a chance to talk to you.

Good people do bad things sometimes.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 15:56:05

expat grin can always rely on you not to mince your words!

Lily I am indeed offering support to DW. Without getting to faux-sisterly solidarity, I have instinctively given her the practical assistance as I would any friend in this situation, it just has the added weird dynamic that I had previously had loyalty to the 'villain' of the piece.

I also have this nagging guilt that 3rd party and I are enabling his behaviour by not letting out true feelings be known, but DH reminds me that he'd be doing it anyway regardless of what we say.....

I also feel torn that I should hear him out, although I did eavesdrop on his convo with DH (who he'd be as open with as he would me) and it's all the same bullshit stock phrases being rolled out paraphrased from his solicitor, and being totally cagy about what he's doing with his time now and his immediate plans (we know he's seeing OW, and his immediate plans involve her he just doesn't know we know)

It would be so much better for everyone if he was just straight and confessed that while tried everything to make his marriage work he'd fallen in love with someone else. I could deal with that and try and find a way to work through it together.

MimiSunshine Thu 20-Feb-14 15:58:15

Could you text him and say "sorry i missed you earlier, do you want to meet for a catch up? We haven't really spoken properly about everything that's going on and i'm worried about you"

Then you can (prepare) meet up, hear what he has to say about it all and if he tries to minimise the OW then say something like "look we both know you've had some kind of affair even if its not been physical so for the sake of our friendship can we both agree to be honest with each other?"

See how he reacts and take it from there.

expatinscotland Thu 20-Feb-14 16:01:43

He's a fucking liar who thinks with his cock. Of course he'd still be doing it, he always has. He's been shagging her and now he's living with her.

No meet up or text his book ass.

Get some wine on Fri. or Sat. night, then ring his arse and tell him what a cock he is. That his stupid lies are see-through. And that you're sorry he became such a twunt, but anyone who does this to his family is a twat.

Then ring off on him and delete him.

Flossyfloof Thu 20-Feb-14 16:05:38

When a similar thing happened between me and a friend I lost contact with her. I am now trying to find her, many years later. I miss her and am much less judgmental now than I was then. No one knows exactly what happens behind closed doors. Also when marriages break up other people do get involved and offer all kinds of (sometimes cruel and stupid) advice. You must do whatever you feel comfortable with but I would try to keep communication open.
Although you say you disagree with people getting involved and giving advice distasteful but you seem to have had a lot of discussion about it, but not with him. Only you can decide what to do but when I was busy being judgmental about my friend I so wish I had taken a phone number for her and been there for her.

Flossyfloof Thu 20-Feb-14 16:06:24

Ha! I see Expat and I have slightly opposing views!

tomverlaine Thu 20-Feb-14 16:09:47

I think you need to tell him what you think.
I have a friend like this- he split with wife - then met OW (who he has now married) - he denies meeting the ow before- whilst everyone knows that she was on the scene a long time (his wife's jealousy/paranoid behaviour was a significnat reason for their break up). We have all remained friends with him as- he is fundamentally a decent bloke - our friendship pre dates his marriage; we have all been open that we think the unfaithfullness etc was awful. Fundamentally though he has been a decent guy post break up though - esp in regard to his children
We would have stayed friends with the wife but she didn't want to -we were regarded as his friends regardless.

rpitchfo Thu 20-Feb-14 16:09:52

There isn't much my best friend could do for me to drop him as a friend aside from criminal acts or treating me or my family badly. Regardless of how I view his behaviour. We have been friends for 25 years.

Mintyy Thu 20-Feb-14 16:12:13

He just sounds an utter creep. Surely your feelings for him have changed completely now? I'm fairly sure I'd unceremoniously dump any friend of mine who behaved like this.

expatinscotland Thu 20-Feb-14 16:13:12

There is NEVER any excuse to treat your family like this. He has a kid and is treating the parent he lives with like this.

CailinDana Thu 20-Feb-14 16:14:34

In the past when good friends have been bullshitting/behaving badly in this way I've called them on it, not in a confrontational way, more in a "come on, it's me, be honest you idiot. See how that goes, then decide. Be clear you know about the OW and think his behaviour is atrocious but give him a chance to explain. If he maintains his "she's shit, I'm entitled to behave like a massive entitled cock" position then tell him to jog on and enjoy his new friendless life with OW.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 16:14:57

Interesting perspective Flossy.

We only have a lot of discussion about it because whenever I speak to the neutral friend and DW, all I need to say is a general "how's it going?" and am met with every interaction they have had with BF since the last time we spoke. Both of them feel that being as I'm the only other person who knows BF as well as them, I'm the only one who truly understands how they feel. I don't mind being a sounding board, I am pretty emotionally stable and have a great support in DH.

But you're right I haven't heard it direct from him since that first week. My instinct is that he wouldn't be any more straight with me that he is with them (and DH).

I've really tried not to be judgmental. But then I get conflicted and think I should be more judgmental and give him a massive bawling out then I think oh fuck it, there's another load of washing needing doing and push it out of my mind.

As it stands I feel I've neither closed communication nor compromised my integrity by fibbing and pretending believe what he's saying, but there's only so much longer I can walk that fine line - which is probably why I'm now on here talking to strangers about it....

LilyBlossom14 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:15:59

And they all tell you their ex is a nightmare and their marriage was dreadfully unhappy to justify their own unfaithfulness - absolutely typical. But he would have been telling his wife how happy he was and how much he loved her up until the day he left - I would put money on it.

I agree with Expat.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 16:19:00

good advice Callin

tomverlaine I see the parallels in your situation, only now I feel that the DW is as much a friend as BF which gives it a different dynamic....

I think taking a balance of the views here, if I do see/speak to him, I have to cut the crap a bit....

You're all making me feel better - thanks.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 16:22:39

tell you their ex is a nightmare and their marriage was dreadfully unhappy to justify their own unfaithfulness - absolutely typical. But he would have been telling his wife how happy he was and how much he loved her up until the day he left

This is exactly it. No one knows what goes on in someone else's marriage, but these are very close friends we're talking about, everyone but everyone is utterly agog at the claim that this was a dreadfully unhappy marriage.

Unhappy compared to the giddy intoxication of mutual infatuation, yes. But in terms of a stable marriage and ordinary family life? I just don't buy it.

mumandboys123 Thu 20-Feb-14 16:26:49

When a similar thing happened between me and a friend I lost contact with her. I am now trying to find her, many years later. I miss her and am much less judgmental now than I was then. No one knows exactly what happens behind closed doors.

I agree, we have no idea how the marriage might have been, from either spouse's perspective. However, as someone who had a husband walk out for another woman and as someone who has spent subsequent years supporting women in the same position, there is very much a script that men (and women) who have affairs follow and is very much along the lines the OP is describing. Personally, I could have respect for anyone who left a partner following an affair and who behaved in a respectful and decent manner - acknowledging the hurt they have caused, being honest (without being gleeful about it), doing their best to deal reasonably with joint finances, children and ultimately the divorce. What I don't respect is those who re-write history, play games, mess about, lie and lie some more and generally pretend they are somehow 100% 'innocent'.

No sensible adult - and that includes those who have been left and who are in shock and distress - believes that they didn't have a part to play in the breakdown of their marriage. Some of us take longer to have the lightbulb moment, but we all get there in the end. None of that justifies being treated like total crap.

OP - in my situation, I made a very early decision to leave my ex's friends (including their wives/girlfriends who had been my friends) and his family well alone and concerntrate on my own friendships that I had, effectively, brought to our marriage (or made since marrying). None of the wives of his friends ever contacted me - there's good reason for this as the extent of my ex's lies was dreadful and I don't think I'd have contacted me either! Had it not happened this way, I would not have remained 'friends' with any of these women because I simply couldn't have coped with it. I was very much the wronged party - and I just couldn't have put myself in a situation where there was a possibility anything I said could have been relayed back to my ex (accidentally or otherwise). Many people seem to feel this way - others seem to be able to successfully walk the tightrope. I think it's Ok to be judgmental and I think it's OK to say what you think - but don't expect it to be heard. You have a decision to make about the kind of person your friend is and whether or not you want to be a part of his life knowing what you know. But be very clear, whilst his marriage may not have been the happiest one, there is little doubt in my mind from what you have said that it was anywhere near as bad as he would have you believe.

ViviPru Thu 20-Feb-14 16:39:11

Thank you so much for sharing your experience mumandboys

That first week I heard her side and his side, and on balance decided his was complete fantasy.

Those first few calls I told him we cared about him and supported him and he should feel free to drop in whenever, but then subsequently since the extent of his involvement with OW has become clear, and the way he has treated STBXW has just been downright cruel, my opinion has changed.

I believe he does have his DDs interests at heart, but at the moment he is so blinded by his new exciting circumstances that his judgement has become clouded and is behaving in a way he wold have himself found unreasonable before all this - for example cancelling services to the former home that directly impact DD (nothing vital, more entertainment and pleasure-based)

One part of me feels that once he's in his right mind again he will reflect on his behavior as having been as unacceptable, but does he deserve the luxury of patient friends hanging around till then? But then it's not my place to punish him is it? Or is it? GAH!!! (Yes overthinking)

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