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My friend is having an affair.

(47 Posts)
UntilTheCowsComeHome Wed 15-Jun-16 08:53:44

My best friend told be recently that she is having an affair with a married man.

She is also married, I thought happily, but clearly not.

I feel really weird about the whole thing. I don't know what to say to her.

I feel protective of her; I don't want her getting hurt.
I feel sad for her DH. I've never been close to him but he's a decent bloke who loves her.
I feel sorry for the wife of this other bloke, she has kids a similar age to mine. My friend has seen photos of them which totally got my back up, I'd hate that if I was this poor woman.
My friend works closely with this bloke, her job is incredibly important to her, how is she going to deal with things at work?

And really importantly, my friend has mental health issues and at the moment she's all happy and excited, I'm worried that when this all goes to shit, she'll become very ill.

How the hell do I get her to see that this is going go fuck her life up? She doesn't want it to end at the moment, she's too caught up in the excitement and 'romance' of it all.

What do I say?

hangingoutattheendofmywick Wed 15-Jun-16 08:59:22

Bloody Hell. I could have written this myself. I found out the same thing very recently. I'm worried sick about it. I can't judge her and maybe I could just let her get on with it but it is the fact the other woman looks like me and has kids that look like mine. When there are children involved it makes me so upset. I could be that woman. That poor woman. There's nothing I can do about it - I think it's the worst mistake she will ever make but what can I do? I wish I didn't know. I hate knowing.

TheNaze73 Wed 15-Jun-16 09:18:41

I think you do nothing, for your own self preservation. Your friend confided in you, so it's not your job to doing anything, despite her selfish, disgusting behaviour. I don't envy your position OP. Damned if you do, damned if you don't

heron98 Wed 15-Jun-16 09:25:03

You can't really do anything, really.

It's her life.

I have been in this position. I just sat back and provided a listening ear, although she fully knew that I didn't really approve, then picked up the inevitable pieces when needed.

Zumbarunswim Wed 15-Jun-16 09:28:12

Have you asked her where she sees it going (ie does she want them leaving their spouses or would she hate for them to even find out-maybe thinking it through might take some of the romance out of it). I also don't think there is anything you can do. I read somewhere being in an affair gives the person a false high so doubt there is anything anyone can do to make her think.

MildlyattractiveBetty Wed 15-Jun-16 09:31:17

Hmm, I've been in this position and lost the friendship. I couldn't continue to be friends with someone who intentionally hurt another woman, all respect went.

She needs to channel some of her 'excitement' into speaking to her husband and letting him carry on with his life without her. I don't think mental illness is an excuse for breaking up families either.

Heavens2Betsy Wed 15-Jun-16 09:33:00

Say everything you have said in your OP. But say it once and don't keep on at her. After that all you can do is be there for her and wait for the inevitable fallout when it all goes to shit.
I've been there too, when my best friend had an affair and I've also been the wife of a cheater. There are no winners.

hangingoutattheendofmywick Wed 15-Jun-16 09:43:32

It's so sad - my friend thinks it's harmless fun as they are both married so no possibility of it going anywhere. I think she's deeply deeply unhappy in her marriage and this is her way of coping with it. I think she loves her husband but there's no intimacy. She doesn't have children and frankly before I had children I didn't feel the same way about these things. Now I feel atrocious about it - it's just tragic. No one would ever ever suspect it as they seem like the perfect couple to the outside. The whole thing is awful.

Oddsocksgalore Wed 15-Jun-16 09:53:03

She wouldn't be my friend after telling me that.

Like a previous poster said, I would have also lost all respect.

She is nothing more than an unpaid prostitute.

I'd also tell her exactly why I was ending the friendship and then I'd walk.

AristotleTheGreat Wed 15-Jun-16 09:57:17

Wow some of you seem to be able to show a lot of compassion and understanding for other people! NOT.

Agree with other people. The best you can do is to be a listening ear for her. Maybe ask neutral questions to make her ask herself what the heck she is doing (the one about, what do you expect from it long term is a good one).
Clearly you don't want to support her actions but you can support her especially when everything will fall apart

Oddsocksgalore Wed 15-Jun-16 09:59:39

Compassion and understanding for someone who's having an affair?

Wow.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 15-Jun-16 10:07:37

Talk to her about how exciting and wonderful it all is. How she is feeling like now.

Then maybe ask her if that is worth it when her husband is devastated and her children never respect her or see her the same anymore. Will she be able to answer when people ask why she got divorced and will her new man be worth it when she doesn't see her grandchildren.

hownottofuckup Wed 15-Jun-16 10:10:02

An unpaid prostitute? How on earth do you work that one out? I don't think there is such a thing.

OP I agree with PP, I think it might be worth asking her where she see's it going. But really, I doubt there is much, or anything at all, that you can do.

AristotleTheGreat Wed 15-Jun-16 10:14:13

Yep compassion and understanding because she is the OP's FRIEND.
And because all 4 people involved in that scenario are going to be hurt. NOt just the two people who have been cheated on.
And because ime, people behaving like this usually do so because in some ways they are hurting themselves. The MH problems the OP is alluded to confirms that.

It doesn't mean that the actions are RIGHT or OK.
It just means that, as a friend, it's OK to look a bit further than 'you have cheated you are a BAAAAAD person and shoould go to hell'

The comment aboout being a prostutute for example is absolutely vile.

Oddsocksgalore Wed 15-Jun-16 10:16:44

So is cheating on your partner and shagging a married man.

If this friend was a man the responses would be soooooo different.

JellyBean31 Wed 15-Jun-16 10:17:24

I have been in a similar situation although my friend was single I knew the OM's DW.. It was horrible.

Over the time it was going on (a couple of years) I was invited to their house on about 6 occasions, I made a excuse every time (1) I had no desire to be in the same party as her cheating husband (blanked him if I saw him) and (2) my conscience wouldn't allow me to accept her hospitality knowing what I knew.

You can only do what feel right within your own moral compass, it's impossible to influence other people's behaviour when they can't see the wood for the trees themselves

Oddsocksgalore Wed 15-Jun-16 10:18:49

I didn't say condemn them to hell but who wants friends like that. Not me.

Mental health problems are no excuse. You don't shag someone else's husband because you have mental health problems.

JacketPoTayTo Wed 15-Jun-16 10:19:22

I'm not sure I could provide a "listening and supportive ear". Why would I want to support someone in their quest to destroy two families just so they can have a bit of excitement?

On the other hand, she is your friend and we are all capable of making mistakes. I suspect we have all done some pretty disgraceful things in our time and would not want to be judged on our very worst actions. Hopefully your friend will come to her senses before it's too late.

So, no I would not be listening to all her sordid tales. I would not be drawn into her excitement at all because having secret conversations with you is part and parcel of the whole illicit thing. I would state my position - i.e. that you cannot condone what she is doing and that you would like to see her cut contact with this man and either work on her marriage or leave if she is unhappy. Tell her that you don't want to hear the juicy gossip because it makes you very sad to think about her DH and children who would be so devastated if they knew. But I would also tell her that you are her friend and that you love her and care about her, and you will always be there to support her, but only when she stops behaving like a lovestruck teenager.

OrangesandLemonsNow Wed 15-Jun-16 10:20:35

And because all 4 people involved in that scenario are going to be hurt

Two of the four are getting hurt through their own selfish actions.

Two aren't.

There is a huge difference.

Goingtobeawesome Wed 15-Jun-16 10:29:15

Not just four, the children too..

2nds Wed 15-Jun-16 10:30:25

Aristotle you can console someone who has cheated for weeks, months or years and been found out, but it's not going to end there is it?
By consoling someone in that position you are effectively showing them it's OK you can do whatever you want with someone else's husband and hurt your own family in the process, I will be here for you. This can put your own relationships at risk if you know her husband, her lover or her lover's wife. In this life sometimes you've got to do a risk assessment and put yourself first and say your problem, you aren't a teenager you are an adult and therefore you deal with it. Sometimes being blunt is needed, otherwise you might find yourself being treated as a doormat or seen as someone who knew all about it but did nothing.

roundaboutthetown Wed 15-Jun-16 10:41:16

I would tell her that her behaviour is deeply selfish and self-destructive and that I wanted no part in it - she should come back to me when she's fucked up,which is a 100% certainty to happen, and she might get some support, then, but she won't be getting any support or time from me while she continues to prioritise temporary, selfish, personal pleasure over the lives of multiple other human beings.

SpeckledFrog2014 Wed 15-Jun-16 10:42:48

If you're that uncomfortable about the situation do not be friends with her. I wouldn't be friends with her as her behaviour is against my personal principles. I wouldn't blow up at her or out her to her husband or the wife of her boyfriend either, I would just walk away as this could swing either way. Knowing and not telling you could be an accomplice in both parties eyes or knowing and telling you could be meddling in their relationships. Although bottom line for me is this is immoral and that would be my main reason for not being involved with her, obviously others wouldn't agree though.

ChicRock Wed 15-Jun-16 10:45:09

No way would I offer a "listening ear", that's exactly what the friend wants, for her it's not about confiding in the OP or wanting advice, it's the friend needing some mug to sit there listening and giving the whole thing even more oxygen.

pizzanchips Wed 15-Jun-16 10:47:53

MH issues can come into risky behaviour, promiscuous and impulsive behaviour, poor judgement, lack of inhibitions etc

I'm dealing with a friend making poor choices right now similar to this, I know when well she would be horrified at herself. Trying to reason with her unwell state isn't easy.

She's got zero self esteem since her most recent psychosis and desperately seeking approval and attention in all the wrong places.

I refuse to (also having first hand knowledge of MH diagnosis) say that MH excuses behaviour like this, but it does in my book "explain" it.

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