My friend reads your blog, but doesn’t take your advice.
I (and several other friends) have coached her through the hurts and heartaches of the past 18 months during which her husband had an affair (still ongoing!). And I love her, I have listened to all her horror stories (e.g. when he announced he wanted to divorce her just before Thanksgiving and spent the holidays with the OW).
But plot twist! The husband has just moved back into the marital home! And she is happy with that. And the mistress is still in the picture, and I am STILL the confidante who listens to all he puts her through.
I am getting tired of her not taking anyone’s advice. Not mine, not her other friends, not her family who have watched their marriage struggle for 20 years (she even got rid of her therapist who said that the marriage was doomed — her husband has an ONGOING affair, doesn’t take responsibility for anything, doesn’t want to divorce her, but has no remorse whatsoever, etc.).
I have supported her through this whole ordeal, and I am still trying to be a good friend, but we have stopped talking about the affair as she seems to have accepted the mistress. She and her husband are now in “don’t ask don’t tell” territory. He has moved back in the house, they are sleeping together, and she seems happy! She is allowing him texting and calling the mistress throughout the day.
I loathe the husband after everything he has put her through, but my husband is good friends with him. And of course my friend is married to this cake eater. So, for her sake, I try not to be too negative about him. But I just don’t know how to deal with this anymore. She is my friend, but this is whacko.
Should I just accept their reconciliation? I think he will cheat again. He is mean, dishonest, a liar, unreliable, uncaring, unkind, and she has now turned into a woman that will accept everything, and she is no longer the strong woman I always knew. How much longer do I have to support her in this craziness, because it is affecting our friendship. I feel like I no longer know her, and I want her to be happy.
Whoa. Before I untangle your friend — your husband is GOOD FRIENDS with Mr. Mean, Dishonest, Liar, Unreliable, Uncaring, and Unkind? The guy you loathe, who’s having an on-going affair? Have you had a chat with your husband about his values lately? If he’s a Switzerland friend, or worse, enabling Mr. Cheaterpants — you’ve got a bigger problem than a chumpy friend. No wonder her situation unnerves you.
As to your friend, she won the pick me dance, so she’s probably feeling exceptional. He came back! Their reconciliation has a chance! He still sees the OW? I’m not the only advice out there, Bianca. She’s probably read some reconciliation sites or books and may believe he’s “in a fog” or grieving his fuckbuddy. The MAJORITY of advice out there on infidelity is that she should “stand” for her marriage. And this nasty affair will just blow over if she stays strong and figures out how to improve herself so he doesn’t cheat again.
Don’t underestimate the incredible need to believe. Anyone going through something traumatic wants to feel some sense of agency, like they can control scary outcomes. That’s why the Reconciliation Industrial Complex is so seductive. Being a cold bucket of harsh reality isn’t a winning sales strategy.
Your friend has invested 20 years in this relationship. She’s probably been mindfucked for 20 years and doesn’t have the strongest sense of self worth about now. You mention nothing about her financial situation or her kids (if she has any). She probably feels like she has a lot to lose and lives with a lonely kind of daily terror, however “happy” she appears. (No woman is “happy” to live with colossal disrespect that is texting and calling the mistress every day.)
All that said, I’m sure she is annoying as fuck. A therapist has told her it’s doomed, a chorus of friends tell her it’s doomed, but her cake-eating asswipe of a husband? He doesn’t tell her it’s doomed — he tells her she has a chance! Dance prettier and you can save this!
That Dr. Simon axiom works on chumps too — “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”
Your friend disagrees that she’s doomed.
So what do you do? You leave her to her doom.
It may be that your values don’t align and you can’t be friends with someone you don’t respect, and you drop her. That’s one option. Another option is to stay in touch, but refuse to engage on the subject of her marital problems. Point out to her that SHE HAS A CHOICE and this shit stops when she stops putting up with it. She is CHOOSING her misery. And then change the subject.
Abuser isolate. If you really feel like she’s in an abusive situation, I’d encourage you to keep the lines of communication open. Do the things together that you two enjoy. Keep it light and superficial and don’t have the long, skein-untangling conversations about Him. The most compassionate thing you can say to someone in this situation is “You deserve better. This relationship is not bringing out your best self.”
And then say a prayer that some day she begins to act like she deserves better.