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Friend embarking on an affair

(28 Posts)
Lampkinandthecoachman Tue 04-Feb-14 00:23:32

Posting this on behalf of a friend (no, really) who isn't a MNer but will be watching the thread. She is single and has a DS, she works with a man who has a partner of several years and his partner has a child who lives with them.

Soon after my friend got this job, she and this man began texting each other every evening after work and the level of flirting in work and via text message continued to escalate. It's now at the point where he moans about his partner (the usual script: she doesn't have sex with him, they don't really talk to each other etc), he sends smutty texts making reference to sex, and he's told my friend that he likes her but 'it's complicated'. As far as I'm aware, nothing physical has happened yet.

I've told my friend that she needs to disengage from this now, but her response is that she knows it's awful but she can't help herself because she really likes him. She knows the damage that she and this man are potentially causing to his partner and her child who is presumably pretty attached to him seeing as he has a parenting role and has done for years. But this knowledge appears to be overridden by the flattery of this constant pinging of text messages every evening.

I know it's really none of my business, but I want to try to help my friend to reflect upon why she would want this for herself, and why she would compromise her morals by being part of doing this to a woman and child (though I accept responsibility lies with him).

posits Tue 04-Feb-14 00:31:49

You should tell your friend to stop texting, leave his wife if things are that bad he has to get off on texting another female. Also does your friend want to get involved with someone who is blatantly lying/deceiving his wife! Real catch he is..

familyscapegoat Tue 04-Feb-14 02:00:21

I'd say this is a lost cause because she's addicted. It would be interesting for her to find out why she got addicted to something that's likely to harm her as much as it will harm a woman and child who currently have no choices at all in this drama and it would be especially interesting for your friend to link what she's doing to other occasions when she's been selfish and gone for the feelgood option even if others were casualties.

But if she's already saying she 'can't help herself' (when of course she can) then she sees herself as a victim and not a person with choices.

If your friend is generally a good person in her dealings with others, she is probably compiling her own narrative about why this is happening. It might tally with what he's saying - often it doesn't. Normally though that narrative is all about how different this is to an everyday affair, or it's just fun that need not hurt anyone, or how as a single person she has no responsibilities to another family and therefore is committing any 'wrong' herself.

It depends on how good she is at challenging any of that in herself.

bragmatic Tue 04-Feb-14 05:17:02

I'd say she's the latest in a loooong line.

Logg1e Tue 04-Feb-14 06:56:17

Flattered by a man who sends her dirty texts?? By a man who prefers another woman, and he does - all of this "it's complicated" business is crap, making your friend second choice?

I tell her to enjoy her flattery, milk it whilst it lasts, but in the meantime she needs to tell her partner so he's free to find someone loving.

AuntieStella Tue 04-Feb-14 07:13:04

You will not be able to stop anyone who thinks that this extremely common scenario is any way special or desirable. 'Adultery goggles' are surprisingly pervasive.

If she thinks this particular betrayer as some redeeming qualities, then she needs to tell him to leave his partner and be established living alone before she will go out with him (and certainly before she sleeps with him).

If she won't do an adequately decent thing, at least appeal to her sense of self-preservation and get her to start applying for other jobs, so she is no longer putting her livelihood (as well as everything else) in the hands of this (not personally reliable) man.

EirikurNoromaour Tue 04-Feb-14 07:26:06

She's trapped in the adolescent phase of an affair - flattered by the attention and by the idea that she can tempt a man away from his partner. It's sad and pathetic but she won't see it I bet. Are you going to show her this thread?

redundantandbitter Tue 04-Feb-14 07:42:38

Where's that link to the 'script' ?

Tell her to bob round to mine for a brew and ill fill her in on how much 'fun' it is. I promise you she'd stop .

Jan45 Tue 04-Feb-14 10:43:03

You can't, she clearly has low self esteem and doesn't think she's worth more than a second hand shag.

Lampkinandthecoachman Tue 04-Feb-14 10:49:15

Thanks for the replies. Yes she will be watching the thread. I have told her clearly that she should disengage and have given her many reasons why this would be in the best interests of everyone. She has said that she 'can't' because she does like him and she has to see him every day. She also said that she knows it's bad and that she would deserve for it to happen to her one day (which it will if she and this man do become involved). I've told her that of course she can be accountable for her actions, she can stop this right now if she wanted to

Jan45 Tue 04-Feb-14 10:51:56

She doesn't want to stop anything.

flatbellyfella Tue 04-Feb-14 10:54:25

Tell your friend to find a single man that does not have a live in partner with a child, what does she have, that his partner doesn't , an extra breast,thiner waist,? only problems will come if she carries on with this.

AuntieStella Tue 04-Feb-14 11:01:47


Of course she can. She is free to choose not to, but it is her choice to proceed. No-one and nothing is forcing her. She needs to take responsibility for her actions.

LilyBlossom14 Tue 04-Feb-14 11:04:26

She is already having an emotional affair. Does she have such little self esteem that this is all she is worth. A few flattering words and texts and she is his?? His poor partner. Your friend must realise that everything he is saying about his relationship is a self serving lie. His poor partner - I hope she finds out and dumps his sorry arse.

NumptyNameChange Tue 04-Feb-14 11:11:22

i would ask her to consider whether she would want this man anywhere near her child or for her child ever, ever to get attached to him.

presumably this woman he lives with was a single mother too living with her child. she trusted this man enough to let him into that bubble, enough to let her child get attached to him, enough to let him live with her child and become part of his family.

was she right to do so? it doesn't appear so does it.

would you want him near your child given what you know of him?

can you imagine letting someone into your child's world truly believing them to be worthy of it and in fact they're texting smut to a woman at work and flattering the next single mother into their web?

this man thinks presumably that women and children are cheap and their lives are cheap. try to really look and see him for what he is not what you'd like him to be.

eatmydust Tue 04-Feb-14 11:47:41

Of course she can disengage and stop it now. Same as she can register on mumsnet and post her own thread instead of getting attention from you by getting you to post it, whilst she 'watches' this thread.

If you want her to understand the 'morals' of this, as you said in your first post just show her the recent heartbreaking threads from women who have found out their partners are having an affair. Could she really live with being the cause of that? could she live with her DC finding out when he is older that she was an OW who contributed to the breakdown of someone else's family?

If she doesn't get any of this, and can't see what a loser he is, and also understand that his wife probably isn't aware that they is in an unhappy marriage, leave her to get on with it and let her destroy a few lives, including her own in the process. Tbh, if she can't see some of this for herself and uses you to post threads for her so she can 'watch' them, you should be seriously questioning if she is the sort of friend you want.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Tue 04-Feb-14 11:58:42

Tell your friend to grow up. She is being a complete bitch quite frankly. She is knowingly engaging in behaviour that will devastate another person and some small children. Don't give me the bollocks that SHE hasn't made vows and this other man has and it is all him. It is her too and what about her partner and children? If it wasn't her it very well might be someone else but better that than knowing you have screwed someone over.

What a bloody cliché he is. Oh, she doesn't understand me, she doesn't have sex with me, I am so unhappy. Utter bollocks. Does this woman want to be such a cheap shag and potentially lose her job as well as her knickers, morals and self esteem? This isn't mills and boob romance. It is a cheap fuck behind everyone's back potentially.

Grow up OP's friend.

KatieScarlett2833 Tue 04-Feb-14 12:19:25

Tell her to imagine, in an argument, 10 years from now, her DC throwing in her face the fact that she shagged about with a married man.
Because they do find out, everyone eventually finds out and the fallout ain't pretty.

KurriKurri Tue 04-Feb-14 13:46:18

I hate all this 'can't help it' rubbish that cheaters and their co-conspiritors come out with. Everybody is able to make choices, sometimes the right choice is hard, but any decent person knows what the right choice is.

This man's wife and child are going to be completely devastated when they find out (which they will) read any of the posts on here from people who have been cheated on - some days you wonder if you can actually go on with your life it is so devastating.

If this man has any balls at all, he will end one relationship before he starts another. So your friend should ask him to leave his wife and end it, then he can take up with her. I suspect he won;t want to - he wants the comfort of a wife and family and a home, and the thrill of an illicit liaison. She may find that once she isn't a secret any more she loses her appeal.

And what is the prize in all this? - what she knows for certain about this man is that he is capable of extreme deceit, has no qualms about hurting people who love and trust him, and IME cheaters are always terrible emotional cowards. Why would any one want to be with a man like that?

SnowAway Tue 04-Feb-14 14:15:39

If this man likes her and is unhappy in his relationship, then he is ENTIRELY free to leave his relationship and pursue her. If he's not doing this, your friend has to ask herself why.

Jan45 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:46:55

I actually don't think this friend is even bothered about him leaving his wife, she seems to just be enjoying the thrill of going behind someone's back, both as bad as each other really, hope they end up alone.

Littletabbyocelot Tue 04-Feb-14 16:28:08

I'd take a step back from your friends decisions as if someone has decided to do something this stupid it's hard to stop them. I've had a friend in this situation and it amazed me that a normally intelligent, sensible woman was being so stupid. He told her his wife was just like his best friend, that he couldn't hurt the wife by leaving but he wished he'd met my friend first. To me, I felt like he was downloading lines from the Internet and parroting them. To her, he was a sincere, wonderful man trapped in a difficult situation. Having believed everything he said, my friend was devastated when his wife found out, told him to choose and he immediately dropped my friend. Which is exactly what we all told her would happen all along.

The problem is, your friend isn't thinking straight. I didn't when I first met my DH (and we were both single), initial attraction even without an illicit thrill is a heady thing. It will be hard for her to step back from this, but if she doesn't she is going to get badly hurt.

I can't think of a realistic complicated situation that would be improved by an affair; if they really don't talk/don't have sex, he has a better chance of an amicable split (and still being able to see the child) if he leaves BEFORE he's caught sleeping with someone else. But then, I think the fact that he's leading with sex-talk/smutty texts tells you everything about what he really wants.

Mollydoggerson Tue 04-Feb-14 16:33:28

Just stay out of it.

It's not any of our jobs to go around policing everyone else. Yes it is morally wrong and reprehensible, but you are not going to change things, so just accept it is none of your business.

Lampkinandthecoachman Tue 04-Feb-14 17:45:51

I'm not condoning it in any way, my exH conducted a similar emotional/physical affair with his work colleague (hence ex)

NumptyNameChange Tue 04-Feb-14 18:31:06

also remind your friend that for all you know his partner is reading this thread and offering sympathetic advice entirely unaware it is her being discussed.

the really simple truth is if he genuinely liked her, respected her, felt she was special and worth something he'd be processing and evaluating and at the end of that, IF it turned out he could trust his feelings were real and he had enough spine to realise that feeling this way about someone else meant he wasn't happy where he was, he'd tell his partner he wasn't happy and leave her and set himself up alone and THEN start seeing your friend.

there is, of course, no public stoning for falling out of love with someone and/or falling in love with someone else. the thing is though if you are halfway decent and have a spine and you genuinely respect and care about the parties involved you'll deal with it decently and take the risk of telling no.1 and making the break in order to access no.2. NOT doing that says a hell of a lot about the person, their morals, their consciousness of others being whole, actual REAL human beings with feelings and lives and paths that matter just as much as their own and about what they're really up to.

the real, lasting, important question your friend has to look at (and answer on her death bed) is who is she? what does she want? what are her values? what is she worth? whether as a now grown up and parent cheap thrills are worth compromising her self esteem, sense of ease with herself and coherence and following of her own values?

if it turns out that this IS in fitting with who she is, what she wants, her values and her level of need to be a decent person then i'd say you need to jog on and not look back OP. sure there's confusion and lust and all manner of things but really the measure of a person isn't how they act hypothetically and when their values coincide with what they want anyway - it's how they 'deal' in a situation like this.

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