You pulled me through my darkest days when I found out my husband was cheating. Your blog was my sanity and North Star. It pointed me towards a new life, one that is now free from fear, chaos, gaslighting, lies, and all the other horrible things that go along with being married to a cheater! I am happy to report my new life is full of joy, fulfillment, traveling, a loving boyfriend, job growth, some fun hobbies, and new friends. It’s taken me awhile to build these areas of my life, especially new friendships. I was isolated in my marriage, so after we divorced making new friends was a big priority.
Fast forward and I have a couple of nice friends now, but they have been hard to find. One of the women who I really enjoy spending time with just shared with me that the reason for her divorce was that she cheated on her husband with a married man and then her husband cheated on her. She also shared that she’s still is in contact with the OM even though he has a girlfriend.
I had thought this whole time she had been the one cheated on! I thought she was a fellow 30 something rebuilding her life, determined to make it too! Needless to say I was astonished! She has been kind, fun, thoughtful, smart, and we seemed to have so much in common. Except, I don’t FUCK married men! In fact, all I can think of is the pain she caused his wife and then I think about the OW who fucked my husband and the pain she caused me! Did that bitch have friends who just looked past her destroying an innocent women’s life too?!
Is your advice the same for when someone finds out their friends are cheaters?! Cut your loss and find people with better morals. I don’t know if I can get past this in a friendship, but she seemed like an AMAZING friend. I feel conflicted… Is there a gray area with friends who cheat, especially since I didn’t know the husband? Am I being a harsh Judge Judy or a realistic person with standards?
How about just… next? There are a bazillion people on this planet, many of them worthwhile and many of them lonely for a good friend. You could invest your energies in other places — so why honor this person with the gift of your awesomeness?
First off, you don’t have that much invested right now. She just looked promising and then you discovered you don’t have shared values. It’s disappointing, but it’s not like you have years of connection and history to weigh.
Left out is how she related her OW story to you. Did she know your story? Did you share it? Any remorse or awareness for chumps? Any therapy or regrets? The only detail we have here is that she’s still friends with the OM. (Presumably he got divorced if there’s a girlfriend, but maybe not! Cake.) So… I’m thinking that remorse thing is a big nope.
She has been kind, fun, thoughtful, smart, and we seemed to have so much in common.
Well, yes, except as you pointed out, the fucking married men thing.
Consider that new friendships are like dating. Stakes are pretty low and it’s fun stuff. Dining out, movies, kickball. It’s not deep character stuff like your mother died and someone needs to attend a funeral, or watch your kids, or show up with a casserole.
Chumps often make the mistake of projecting our character on to others. We assume investment, that people would show up for us the way we show up for them.
Until they don’t. And we look back on the whole thing and realize there was a lot of kickball and not much else.
In fact, all I can think of is the pain she caused his wife
Isn’t it funny that you think of it, but apparently she doesn’t?
then I think about the OW who fucked my husband and the pain she caused me! Did that bitch have friends who just looked past her destroying an innocent women’s life too?
Probably. Maybe she had some brave friends who told her this wasn’t her best self, it was wrong, and she’s selling out the Universal Sisterhood — but she did it anyway. Maybe everyone was being desperately cool and un-judgy. Maybe their character is unformed and they’re inchoate blobs of potential who never put down the appletinis long enough to shriek, “Stop being a fuckwit, Martha!”
I don’t know. These imaginary friends don’t matter. You just control what kind of friend you want to be. And who makes the cut into your circle.
she seemed like an AMAZING friend.
I bet your husband seemed like an AMAZING husband, up to that moment he stabbed you in the back. #character
Is there a gray area with friends who cheat, especially since I didn’t know the husband?
Are morals only for the people we know? Fuck the rest? How’d you enjoy being chumped?
Am I being a harsh Judge Judy or a realistic person with standards?
It really depends on what kind of friends you want. My message here is a simple one — don’t stay with someone who has cheated on you. Know your worth.
The world is full of people who don’t know your worth. Or who are convinced they’re worth more than you, and would happily put a boot on your neck for a sandwich. Most people are quite oblivious to our worth, and that’s fine. We navigate accordingly.
This site isn’t about punishing cheaters or branding their foreheads. (As much as many would like that, the worst I do is put some of them through the Universal Bullshit Translator.) It’s about valuing yourself. And when you do that, the fuckwits lose their centrality.
I don’t care if a cheater takes out my gallbladder, or paves my roads, or prepares my tacos. I just don’t want to be married to a cheater. I refuse to invest my emotional energy in someone I can’t trust.
This is one person. She’s not your only chance at friendship. You are not unloveable or unfriendable. Know your worth and the fuckwits lose their centrality.
If it were me, I’d demote to acquaintance.
You’re rocking the new life — keep going.