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Friend having affair- how to approach?

(16 Posts)
PotOfYoghurt Fri 07-Nov-14 15:31:31

One of my closest friends has told me she's been having an affair with a man in her office for the last month. She has a boyfriend of three years, they live together. The man has a girlfriend who is pregnant.

She told me she's going to break up with her boyfriend tonight, which I'm pleased about as he's been making her unhappy for the last year or so. She also says the other man is going to tell his girlfriend, whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen.

I suppose what I'm asking is advice on how to talk to her now- I'm surprised she's done this as she never seemed the type to have an affair and I can't just shut down my feelings about affairs.

I'm pleased she's leaving her boyfriend, but not about the way she's gone about it. Even if it is love, as she (and supposedly he) say I can't see it working out- and office romance that began with infidelity and lies on both sides.

How do I relate to her now?

SundaeGirl Fri 07-Nov-14 15:36:52

Well, decide what kind of friend you want to be. Do you want to add to her problems or just be there for her?

chdmum2491 Fri 07-Nov-14 15:40:09

my friend has done exactly the same except her om has got 3 kids and a wife, she knows exactly what i think about it doesnt even mention him to me because she knows i think shes a complete prick for doing it, she also knows he will never leave the wife, but tries convincing herself he will ! more fool them i say ! your friend will more than likely end up hurt, as will mine eventually but just be there when that happens and hopefully theyll learn their lesson !!! (very doubtful but heyho !) confused

Windywinston Fri 07-Nov-14 15:46:40

Your friend has a lovely moral compass there doesn't she? Her OM is even worse though. I've nothing constructive to add as I would cut someone like that out of my life.

If you want to remain friends with her you should ask her what is so attractive about a man who would cheat on and abandon his pregnant partner. If her response is the predictable "oh he wouldn't do that to me" wish her luck and let her get on with it.

zigazigah01 Fri 07-Nov-14 16:10:06

People do make mistakes though Windy.
Should you cut an otherwise good friend out of your life because of an error in judgement?

I am finding it hard to relate to a friend at the moment - not because she is having an affair but because her personal life is a disaster. I've tried and tried to help her and given advice but it's pointless. I'm not going to cut her out of my life but I am limited how much time I spend with her just now because it is draining. So at the moment I don't see her more than once a week. If she suggests meeting up more than that I make my excuses. I also try not to just sit and discuss her issues all night and steer the conversation round to other things. Not sure if this helps. It's helping me a little bit. Now that I'm seeing her a bit less the times we do meet up are less difficult.

She is still a person after all, still your friend, beneath it all.

MaryWestmacott Fri 07-Nov-14 16:18:20

it sounds like this man is giving her an 'excuse' to leave a crap relationship - I've seen that a few times, once they have got out of the bad relationship, then the other relationship doesn't always survive.

she might be attributing "true love" feelings to this because she needs to believe she loves OM to make her brave enough to leave 'crap boyfriend'.

Just advice her to separate the two in her mind, if she's certain that her relationship with her boyfriend is over, then she should end that relationship anyway, that it might or might not work out with OM, but that if she's certain her boyfriend isn't right for her, then leaving him is the right thing to do.

Be relatively neutural about OM, but leave it a while. If they do end up together, you might find you have to step back from your friendship, but right now, she might need support to leave her boyfriend.

Drumdrum60 Fri 07-Nov-14 16:28:21

Don't judge her. Be there within reason. How many friends would we have if we dumped them because they did something we disapproved of. She's responsible for her own life.

Windywinston Fri 07-Nov-14 16:35:48

Depending on her attitude, yes I definitely would cut someone out for that. If she was genuinely remorseful of the hurt she was causing to another person and made real attempts to resolve that, then I would try to maintain some level of friendship, but if not my respect would be gone. This isn't a mistake, this is an affair and they don't simply happen by mistake. They just don't.

OP's friend sounds like she's using this situation to get out of a bad relationship and that is understandable (not ideal, but understandable), but if she sees a pregnant woman being cheated on as simply collateral damage to her relationship crisis, that's piss poor IMHO.

For clarity I should add that I think OM's behaviour towards his gf is clearly worse.

SundaeGirl Fri 07-Nov-14 18:23:28

OP, what would you like her to do if you were making mistakes? Presumably you'd want to be able to talk to her without too much judgement.

There'll always be Windy-types waiting to pounce on her and judge and tell her how despicable she is and cut her out, etc, etc. And you can join in too. Or you can just accept that people make mistakes along the way and that flawed people can still make great friends, especially when you or someone you love screws up a different time.

PotOfYoghurt Fri 07-Nov-14 18:47:48

Thanks very much to everyone for replying.

I don't want to cut her out of my life, she's been there for me through some pretty difficult times and I don't want to turn my back on her when she's making some bad decisions.

I think you're possibly right about it being an excuse to leave her boyfriend, I asked her if she thought it was maybe because she had been unhappy in her relationship but she says they love each other- I think possibly she wants it to be true and has convinced herself.

I think it was just a shock that someone you previously thought had a very strong set of morals can do something like that. Makes you wonder if we're all capable.

I don't want to chastise her, but I don't want to condone it either. And I don't want her to think it's something I approve of. I'm seeing them both tomorrow night (friend and other man) as I'm accompanying her to a work party. I don't know whether I should pull out or not now.

Windywinston Fri 07-Nov-14 18:58:25

I'm sorry if my own reaction is controversial, but I'm just trying to be honest.

If you want to continue this friendship then, as I said in my first response, I think asking her why she is attracted to this man is important, because from the information in your original post it seems like she's leaping from a relationship with an unsuitable partner to another relationship with an unsuitable partner. Does she have self esteem issues?

Personally, and I might get flamed for this too, but I wouldn't meet with her new man until you've had chance to sit with her alone to talk over it all. If he's there you will not be able to have an honest discussion about it and you may miss that opportunity entirely.

SundaeGirl Fri 07-Nov-14 19:11:24

You aren't condoning anything. Just let it flow. No one is asking you to make a judgement or decision. This is a pressure you are putting on yourself.

Whenever someone I know screws up I don't think: God, why didn't his/her friends stop her? People are autonomous beings.

We are all capable. Maybe not of cheating but making other bad decisions.

handfulofcottonbuds Fri 07-Nov-14 19:17:18

I think it was just a shock that someone you previously thought had a very strong set of morals can do something like that. Makes you wonder if we're all capable.

No, we're not all capable of it!

My STBXH is now living with his mistress. When I suspected it was going on, my friend (not the OW) told me she was having an affair with a MM. She detached herself from any guilt by saying that he was still lovely to his DW and their affair didn't impact on their marriage. I am disgusted with her behaviour as she has seen the fallout of an affair with how it almost destroyed me.

My STBXH was still intimate with me when he was seeing OW - maybe remind your friend that adulterers often sleep with both people.

She's still my friend but I have little respect for her morals and she knows not to talk about him with me. Pretty sad really. These women (and men) should really find their own person to love. To sleep with a man when his partner is pregnant - that's disgusting!

NoMarymary Fri 07-Nov-14 19:38:38

I'm have a very similar issue which I posted about and got some good advice too!

It's so difficult to put your personal ideas of morality to one side and support a friend.

I agree a man who betrays his pregnant gf is not worth spitting on!

Quitelikely Fri 07-Nov-14 20:06:59

I don't think I could keep quiet tbh. There's a baby on the way and it's mothers world is about to be shattered.

Sure I would still be friends but not before I had told her what I thought of her actions.

Crushed2914 Fri 07-Nov-14 21:32:05

I was pregnant & my STBXH had an affair, he left me when my baby was 3 weeks for his mistress who is also married. I can't begin to tell you how crushingly awful it feels. I'm now a single mother & was clueless to his affair, he was my world. If you can help her see sense & stop the affair please do so, no one deserves this kind of pain.

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