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Friend having an emotional affair

(22 Posts)
recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 00:09:41

My friend is single (separated) and has been having an emotional affair with a man for over 3 years.

He is married with 4 daughters.

Nothing physical has happened. He lives miles away (they met at work) and they have agreed never to meet up.

They Facebook message each other, talk on the phone every day and texts.

She refuses to believe there is any problem with this as she hasn't shagged him.

I've told her that I feel uncomfortable about it but she keeps looking for my approval.

I have run out of things to say. hmm

DragonsCanHop Sat 08-Aug-15 00:13:11

I would tell her I didn't agree with what she is doing and ask tell her to stop talking to me about it.

I would struggle to find any respect for anyone doing that.

ThoseAwfulCurtains Sat 08-Aug-15 00:17:45

Tell her it goes against the grain for you and you don't want to hear any more about it at all. If she tries to justify it by saying they're friends, tell her anything they say that they wouldn't want his wife to hear crosses the boundary between friends and affair. Stand your ground on this because it can be absolutely awful to be put in the position she's trying to put you in.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 00:20:18

She is lonely, I get that.

But I just can't listen any more to
'His wife doesn't understand him'
'I don't understand, it's not like that'
'He just needs a friend'

ThoseAwfulCurtains Sat 08-Aug-15 00:26:19

Tell her to read Shirley Glass .'Not Just Friends". It might help to explain the dynamics of her affair. She's probably riding for a massive fall here and the book might open her eyes. There's a kindness towards the OW in it too.
You really don't have to listen any more but rather than avoid her or stay silent, maybe it's just best to tell her the topic is off limits as it's making you very bored uncomfortable.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 09:01:38

I have tried that in the past but it feels like I am not being supportive either way.

I think my frustration is that she refuses to accept that he is cheating on his wife and thinks they are both being terribly restrained and noble.

horsewalksintoabar Sat 08-Aug-15 09:17:41

It's very draining to have a friend in this situation. I have one and I find it fatiguing. You just don't want to hear about it anymore but you can't really say that, can you? I can't. Unfortunately, you're not her keeper and it's no one's place to tell her she is in the wrong. She knows this but is trying to justify her feelings/actions. What a waste of her life. She's letting true happiness pass her by and that's the saddest part.
My friend meets up once a year with her 'whatever this is'. I don't know what it is. They never get physical. They just sit, once a year, in a cafe and talk. And the rest of the year they text... he goes off radar while he shags other women she knows about via FB and then he resurfaces closer to the time they meet up for the lamest rendezvous ever. He's unmarried. She is married with kids. So she is spending these years of her life obsessing, stomach in knots, heart racing, unhappy, confused, putting her emotions for this guy before anyone or anything else. It is so sad to watch. And yet it's become the only thing that makes her 'happy', if that makes sense. Don't you find it all-consuming? I do. I've had all sorts of real stuff happening. Friends around us have had big life changes. But I can't talk to my friend. I can have an Everest sized crisis and she just looks at me blankly before returning to the topic du jour: this idiot who is stringing her along! I do get fed up. It's a strain on a friendship for sure. I feel our friendship revolves around this stupid non-existent guy. She gets suicidal over him and goes into a very dark place, so of course, I can't let go. Anyway, sorry. I've made this about me, haven't I?! I am sorry. I just can totally relate. Though I have no solution.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 09:35:58

Thanks horse, that's how it feels.

I think I just need to avoid the topic. She is looking for justification and approval which I can't give, but I don't want to lecture her either.

viridus Sat 08-Aug-15 12:02:47

It looks as though your friend is very low on self esteem, and has latched on to this man. He is using her for reasons known to himself. It is a dangerous, destructive relationship.

The best course of action should be that your friend could do self esteem courses, or/and find a good counsellor. I understand you want to support her, and listen to her. However, I think you have to have the "tough love" approach, and say to her that you no longer can talk in detail, and that she should find a counsellor (or self help group) in order to move on with her life. At the moment she is stuck in her life, and unable to change.
You should tell her that you find it emotionally draining, and would like to see her in a happier frame of mind. Perhaps she has issues from her past that she has never faced. Now could be an ideal time to tackle them.

Sometimes in life we have to move on, even when we don't want to.
Change is essential to survival.

AuntieStella Sat 08-Aug-15 12:23:23

I'd try: "if he put the time he spent talking to you into talking to his wife, his marriage would be so much happier. I really never want to discuss with you ever again how you are conspiring with this man to wreck his marriage"

AlpacaMyBags Sat 08-Aug-15 12:27:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 12:31:24

She genuinely argues that she is helping their marriage by being someone for him to talk to, rather than being so miserable he just leaves.


viridus Sat 08-Aug-15 12:58:07

She is making up excuses/minimising hiding the truth from herself, because she has become emotionally dependent on him.

You need to tell her that he is married to his wife for a reason. The reason or ties is only known between the couple. Otherwise he would leave. Right? This is fact.
As a friend I think it is best to point out the facts to her and focus on her needs. She is neglecting her emotional needs, and as such could damage her health.
There are also some good books on Boundaries, which may help her.

DorisDazzler Sat 08-Aug-15 13:02:03

Cheaters know full well what they're doing is wrong. They are not looking for advice , support , or approval. They are only interested in seeking an audience for their toxic drama.

Your not obliged to listen to her drama Op and your not obliged to support someone who's doing something very wrong. Tell her clearly you don't want to hear about it. If she doesn't respect that she's not much of a friend.

lostinikea Sat 08-Aug-15 13:07:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DragonsCanHop Sat 08-Aug-15 13:12:37

If there are any parts of the conversation being deleted or hidden from his partner or anything written that the friend wouldn't want his wife to read that makes it much more than a close friendship imo

viridus Sat 08-Aug-15 13:17:21

Also as this man is already cheating on his wife, it will also mean that he has many more women. And as he lives away there is no way of verifying this, unfortunately. Cheaters thrive on secrecy.
However, it is important to be a realistic and caring friend, so that at some stage she may wake up and smell the coffee. It could be that she needs help from a professional source. As it is her needs are beginning to have a very negative affect on you, and you need to address this, before it gets worse.

viridus Sat 08-Aug-15 13:22:23

In a "close friendship", people visit each other, and each partner knows about it. In this instance it seems hidden, and the posters friend seems very dependent on him.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 13:26:42

She has told him that she has feelings towards him.

He says he feels the same but won't betray his wife.

In my book he already has.
She says not.

viridus Sat 08-Aug-15 13:59:38

So this makes her a mistress. Many people think that mistress's have a good life, but it undermines and devalues. It also isolates and worsens, over time. It is important for her that she realises this, hopefully. This man is dangerous, and doesn't care about how his wife feels, or your friend or any other women in his little black book. (or his children).
It will all come out in the wash, eventually.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 16:53:33

Thank you.

I'm glad it's not just me overreacting.

recyclingbag Sat 08-Aug-15 22:45:09

I have looked up Shirley Glass. I may not so subtly send her the link

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