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What to do and/or say?

(10 Posts)
frostyfingers Wed 17-Aug-11 16:41:05

My closest friend is having an affair with the husband of a neighbour (not local to me) and asked me for advice yesterday. I'm stunned, and at a loss as to what to say that will get across the awfulness of what she is doing. I so disapprove, she kept saying she's not a predator, she wasn't giving signals, and similar. I said that it didn't matter whether she ended it now or not, the damage was done and that she should get him to be honest about what he expects. Does he want a long term proper relationship or is it a fling - and that if he replies "a fling" (which I suspect he would never admint to) then she should get shot of him straight away. I also said that he and she must have the courage to face his wife with the truth. There are no children, she said that "if there were children I wouldn't have done it", but that doesn't make it any less wrong to me, and the predictable "there must be something wrong at home for him to come to me". All concerned are in their mid 40's.

I'm torn between loyalty to her - she's been single a long time and would love a relationship - but this is not the right way to go about it. As far as I'm concerned I think he's being a bastard to his wife and to her, by drawing her in, but she's as guilty for responding to him.

I'd rather she hadn't told me, but now I know, what can I say to get her to see what she's doing? I've been married a long time and felt sick thinking about how I would feel - I feel anger at him, pity for his wife and "you stupid, stupid woman" about my friend.

disambiguation Wed 17-Aug-11 19:32:42

I know this is too late, but I don't think your friend should have confided in you at all, as I said in another thread, in my opinion, confession is a luxury, it may ease the conscience of the 'confessor' but does nothing to help an injured party.
I don't think you will be able to 'get her to see what she's doing', and if I were in your situation and I felt as you do, I think I would simply tell her bascially what you've said here - that as far as you are concerned, what she's doing is unacceptable. I would probably also tell her that you are not prepared to discuss any of it, ever, at all with her and just leave it at that.

buzzsore Wed 17-Aug-11 19:32:43

If you want to continue the friendship, I wouldn't talk much about it, tbh. If she tries to discuss it with you, just say you don't want to argue or whatever. It's unlikely you'll convince her you're right, so it's a question of whether you want to pick up the pieces if and when it goes awry.

deburca Wed 17-Aug-11 19:54:01

frosty, she certainly sounds like she is vulnerable in this relationship, have any other friends or acquaintances that you and she share ever been in any sort of a similar position ie that you could then point to and say, "do you remember Joan from the local, that did work out so well" etc etc. It is a horrible position for you to be in as she has obviously told you as she trusts you. Still though if it is uncomfortable for you you need to tell her that.

I have been in your boat, actually had the guy in the marriage tell me he was in love with someone else and the wife also come to me telling me that he was leaving her. Both of them knew the other was approaching me, I was absolutely roasted on this forum for not telling her to kick him out! - he was still living at home for financial reasons.

Basically I listened to all sides and tried not to judge. They are proceeding toward divorce now and it is far more amicable. I still speak to both and actually myself and my husband have been out for meals with them both (separately of course).

I say this to you as sometimes I think least said is soonest mended. That worked for me anyway. By all means say you are uncomfortable but I would be careful regarding reading her the riot act you may find she stops telling you anything at all and if it all goes tits up you will be worried more about her and will have no information to go on!


deburca Wed 17-Aug-11 19:54:36

sorry, should have said "didnt work so well!"

frostyfingers Thu 18-Aug-11 17:39:48

Thanks - having had a day to reflect, I'm not going to offer any advice and only respond to direct questions. She knows I don't approve, so I think it's possible I won't hear any more, probably because she realises she won't get the answers that she'd like.

She's still my friend, and I'll be there to pick up the inevitable pieces without saying "I told you so", but it's going to be a real test. What a mess.

PhilipJFry Thu 18-Aug-11 17:58:38

Seems like a sound position to take. It's hard to be certain but it sounds as if she was confiding in you but wasn't intending to break off the affair (hence the excuses, the justification, describing the unhappy home life), which makes it seem like she wanted someone she could talk to about her "relationship". Being put in that position could damage your friendship with her, esp if you end up cracking at some point and laying out some harsh truths she isn't ready to hear.

Besides that, having someone she talks to about him and what's going on and all the ups and downs could legitimize what they have for her. If she can discuss it like a genuine relationship she's going to keep believing that in some way it is real. Better to not enable her.

deburca Thu 18-Aug-11 18:06:45

Its a difficult situation you are in - as you say she is your friend and your interest is her but you cant make the decision for her. Its hard being a friend sometimes isnt it?

She may be having a brief period of low self esteem which this man is feeding. Hopefully it ends before anyone gets hurt - cant imagine what it would be like living in her street though if his wife finds out - ouch for all concerned.

For what its worth I think you are doing the right thing and that you are a good friend to her - she may not see it now but hopefully she will in the future.


frostyfingers Tue 23-Aug-11 08:28:51

I'm still getting phone calls, which I'm finding harder and harder to deal with. Last night I was very blunt and said that I thought what she was doing was totally out of order (exact words), and that the man was behaving like a spoilt child and being incredibly selfish and that it will end in tears all round. I was trying also to spell out the consequences of discovery in the hope that that would frighten her into seeing straight but I'm not sure I succeeded.

As you can imagine it was a fairly brief conversation and I feel bad that because I haven't said what she wants to hear I've upset her but the more I think about it, the crosser I get, and the more sympathy I have with his poor wife.

I want to be a good friend, but we are so far apart on this. I think if there's another call I'm going to say I don't want to hear from her until it's over. I really don't feel there's a future in it and that he's hoping for a bit of "fun" and then will go back home.

Aislingorla Tue 23-Aug-11 09:13:12

I think you 've handled the last phone call well frosty. You have shown strength of character in telling her the truth instead of what she wants to hear.
She is perhaps 'not quite herself' at the moment (fantasy affair world) and hopefully will go back to the person she was when it all ends (in tears, hers!)

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