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How Do I Support My Friend’s Reconciliation?

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assunicornDear Chump Lady

How do I support my friend through “reconciliation” with her abusive cheating husband?

Last year one of my best friends, “Dianne” found out her husband, A-hole, had been having an affair for six months, he told her they only slept together once, yeah right. When she confronted him he walked out on her and moved in with his Schmoopie, 15 years younger (they are both 53). Dianne was distraught. She showed me a few messages that her husband sent her including one where he told her that he realized he never loved her and was just “content” with her and he hoped she would experience the sort of real love that he had with Schmoopie.

Dianne went through an awful time and me and our group of friends tried our best to support her. She bought out A-hole’s part of their shared home and he bought an apartment close by her house (!) where he lived with Schmoopie. He said he insisted on a divorce and it was nothing she had done wrong but circumstances had just changed after he met Schmoopie and fell in twu wuv 4ever.

But fast forward to a year later when the bloom was off the Schmoopie rose and A-hole started to love bomb Dianne, telling her she was amazing and he realized it was twu wuv not with Schmoopie but with Dianne. I guess Schmoopie left him. During this time living apart A-hole would not let Dianne alone but called her every day to “see how she was.”

Anyway, now he moved back in and is back to his old self where he blogs about cars and goes in chat rooms all the time while Dianne says she “supports him” by cooking cleaning and dealing with his 3 kids from a previous marriage (oh yeah A-Hole was married before, that marriage ended when he cheated on his wife…).

Dianne says she is in love and A-hole just made a mistake and he was tempted by that whore Schmoopie and he realized his mistake blah blah. I want to support her and I am glad she is happy but I am not buying the backtracking. A-hole is a smooth talking charismatic narcissist who comes across very charming but a little too charming. (He calls it “shining people up” according to Dianne).

Anyway Dianne wants me and our friends to go round to her home for a BBQ with A-hole and support them in reconciling and let him see that he made the right choice but… I just… can’t. Is that bad? Should I go and play nice? I saw her when she was throwing up and crying after A-hole sent those emails about how he never loved her, when he walked out and took all his stuff and half the house. I can’t act like it was a “mistake” he inadvertently made. Plus, I think it’s likely he will cheat again.

Marcia

Dear Marcia,

Huh?

Dianne wants me and our friends to go round to her home for a BBQ with A-hole and support them in reconciling and let him see that he made the right choice…

Together? Is this the pick me dance as Ziegfeld Follies? A whole chorus line of you?

You made the right choice, Douchebag! You picked Dianne! We all agree! 

Yeah, I would skip the Unicorn BBQ.

(Do you know that you can google anything? I googled “unicorn barbecue” and this awesome cartoon appeared by Oliver Ottitsch. )

unicorn-bbq-party

See that flaming unicorn with a weenie stuck on its horn? That’s your friend. She’d be all “Oh, it’s only a flesh wound! Have more potato salad!”

I don’t think I could endure that, Marcia.

It sounds like your friend is giving you guys a bit of an ultimatum — love me, love my cheating asshole husband and publicly avow that you support us. (Did they ever get divorced? What happened to the apartment and the money?) You can choose to remain friends with Dianne and disassociate from the husband. You can also choose to avoid them both. But you don’t have to accept the unicorn combo plate.

Let’s explore these options.

1) Keep Dianne, try to avoid the creep. This won’t be easy. She’ll want to discuss the creep and share unicorn fever with you. You need to have some firm boundaries here. I would state your position: “Hey, I know too much to ever feel comfortable with this guy or support your reconciliation.” And then change the subject to scrapbooking, or whatever other interests you have in common.

“Douchebag sure does spend a lot of time car blogging at 3 a.m….”

“Hey, I noticed they just came out with new gel pens and squiggle scissors! Wanna scrapbook?”

You’ve stated your concerns and you’ve demonstrated that you’re still friends. You still love that creative person she was before Douchebag. You support her. You don’t support her idiocy with Douche. You’ll have to agree to disagree on him.

It takes a lot of loving patience to be a friend like this. Especially after you’ve had a front row seat to the infidelity horror show. My friend Yoma was like this. Most people in my life did not confront my hopium problem. They thought they were being supportive with the “We support whatever you do!” stance.

My truest friend was “Reconciling with that abusive piece of shit is an abhorrent idea. I still love you. Hope you come to your senses soon. Meanwhile, let’s check out the orchid show.”

If I tried to cry on her shoulder during reconciliation, she’d listen to 10 seconds of it and cut me off. She’d made her position known. She was essentially pushing it back on me — so what are you going to DO about it?

It takes a lot of guts to be this kind of friend. Most people show up at your barbecue, choke down the fraudulent sausages, and gossip about it later.

2) Detach from them both. This is sad, but sometimes you have detach with love when there is a hopium addiction. It may be that you just don’t share the same values. She would take this guy back at whatever cost to her self-esteem. She may not appreciate your “not with Douche” position and further isolate herself. That’s a danger with people in abusive relationships — the abuser is actively trying to isolate them. And their own chumpy behavior is turning off friends and loved ones. People retreat from the discomfort and awkwardness, so it’s a reinforcing cycle.

That’s why I tend to prefer option 1. Keep the lines of communication open, but don’t compromise yourself by pretending to like the guy.

People will probably point out I’m missing the third option — He’s Really a Unicorn. Abandoning serial cheats can become good partners after being dumped by their affair partners!

I don’t believe that and I don’t think you do either. Behave accordingly.

This one ran previously.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • There are no unicorns. Only in the mists of our fevered hopium dreams.

    I’d like to know what Marcia decided and how this reconciliation worked out for her friend. Anyone want to place a bet that he is in to the next victim?

    • Oh no doubt he is. He’s probably onto the next three. There’s no such thing as unicorns and that guy wasn’t even a goat with a toilet paper tube taped to his head.

  • I do not see a good outcome for your friend. The husband or ex husband will only cheat on her again. And most likely drain her dry financially. The husband never left her alone to realize that he is a abusive fuckwit. He knew what he was doing. He needed to keep her waiting in the background for his backup plan. There is nothing you can do for her. Unfortunately she will have to find out for herself.

    I would not go to the BBQ. I would be honest with her and tell her that you do not feel comfortable being around her husband. That you will support her and will gladly meet her as a friend. But, the husband is not welcome. Going to the BBQ will give the message that you accept the husband abusing your friend. You might lose her as a friend. But, if your friend truly cares about you she will accept your decision.

  • I am jumping up and down right now – pick me pick me!!!!

    I have lived this. The summer that our lives imploded in a spectacular fashion, was the same time I found out about my best friend’s husband.

    She was totally there for me while dealing with her own fucktard ( a true friend ).

    Her husband drained all accounts and ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit debt on escorts ( travelling engineer ). She had no idea until she got stuck somewhere, unable to put gas in her car!

    She never told her family. I know, his Mothet knows ( she was on my friend’s side and was amazing ). She had young children and this was marriage number two.

    A prenup the size of a bible and a lot of therapy and they are still married.

    We vacation together. It’s a tight group of friends.
    He knows that I know everything and will castrate him if he slips up. But the odds are that he will just go so deep underground next time that she won’t know until she gets an std or loses her house.

    THIS IS HARD. I love her. It’s her decision. All I can do is be there for her. I don’t go out of my way to speak to him.

    I don’t believe in unicorns – so this is an enormous shit sandwhich that we all get to partake in 🙁

    • I have one of these, too, Lucky! A second time (that we know of!) cheater, and a frozen in the headlights friend. I was an old school friend of her husband’s. She saw what happened to me, as a second time around dickhead who got shafted again (THERE ARE NO UNICORNS!!!)

      I just avoid him, and support her in her decisions, encouraging her to make better choices for herself. She is not telling me how great he is, there is no love left (unlike doofus here) just can’t seem to MOVE and we both know she needs to. But, I will be here for her, it will happen.

      It has to!

  • Man – I hope “Dianne” wised up and dumped A-hole. In the time since the first run, has Marcia ever updated you?

    Yeah, it is tough to be the friend who says, “I’ve heard this before but you’re not doing anything differently. So I don’t want to discuss it further.” Blows chunks.

  • I can empathise with this situation.

    What works for me is to not let Mister distance my friend from us.
    We laugh together she and I about things going on which are neutral territory, I told her once that she deserves better and I’ll be a good friend but I won’t shore up this situation.
    I don’t slam her husband to her thus making her choose between us, but I always decline invitations to happy family gatherings because they are a car crash in slow motion. I get side eye but I look her in the face and say I am not available family gatherings, no apology, no snark.

    It’s hard not to get caught up in the oh my gosh-ness of the gossip, but it is doable.

  • Your friend is desperately doing the pick me dance, her head is all over the place.. She’s being abused. But she can’t see it, or is ignoring it. She’s lucky to have you. You incidentally are also being used by him pretending to play happy families. He’s using her to look after his kids. When he was cheating who was looking after his kids. Was there a overlap between the ex wife and your friend. He certainly has issues does your friend talk about was his side of the family are like.

  • This part is interesting . . . .

    “Anyway, now he moved back in and is back to his old self where he blogs about cars and goes in chat rooms all the time while Dianne says she “supports him” by cooking cleaning and dealing with his 3 kids from a previous marriage (oh yeah A-Hole was married before, that marriage ended when he cheated on his wife…).

    Does that mean that Dianne was the AP during A-hole’s first marriage? Because if she is, she deserves whatever she gets.

    • I did not think about her being the OW. If she was she is living her own Karma. I have no empathy nor feel sorry for anyone who knowingly ruins a marriage.

  • I love my friend whose husband is retired Cheater Cop. I learned about the cop term “beat wife” from her. (A “beat wife” is cop slang for the OW you see while you’re a cop at work).

    I adore her. I am civil to him but he and I aren’t friends. The known affair was twelve years ago and I think he’s just gone underground with his tricks. He is 12 years older than her…in his late 70’s now. I would not be surprised if she finds evidence of cheating when she is cleaning out his stuff after he dies.

    Ironically it is her situation that helped me agree enthusiastically when the traitor asked for a divorce. Despite seeing a therapist every week to this very day for my friend and Cheater Cop, I do NOT see a stronger marriage. I do not see anything I want. The suspicion NEVER goes away. The hurt NEVER goes away. The twitchy triggered hyper vigilance never goes away. The affair did not make the marriage stronger. The affair is a big stinky pile of elephant poop that follows their every move and they have to spend all of their energy pretending not to smell it.

    Just last week I heard about The New Flip Phone. He now has a second cell phone. Why does he need a second cell phone? There is an argument over The Flip Phone. The Flip Phone is an issue.
    Inappropriate computer browsing? Still alive and well.

    She and I have lots to talk about and do that has nothing to do with him or them. That’s the key, I think. If our relationship was merely a venting session about him, it would never work. I don’t feel drained by her….another clue you’re in the wrong relationship.

    There is no doubt in my mind that affairs are a way to murder someone without laying a hand on them.

    • What is it with cops and cheating?! It must be a job prerequisite, part of the mental/behavioral testing.
      “Hey Sarge, based on the test results, she/he is prone to being a cheating fuckwit.” “Perfect! Give ’em the oath and badge!”

      • I don’t know if they cheat more than any other subgroup of people, but I have heard often the profession has a bad reputation for cheating.

        It makes me sad. I want them to be the good guys/gals on the job and at home.

        😪

      • They’re a very entitled bunch. It’s a very difficult life(I lived it with my ex-wife for 17 years) and a very hard job. They get an extreme amount of power and often that goes unchecked. It doesn’t mean all cops do it, some of the best humans I know are law enforcement. When Chump Lady talks about entitlement, that’s the definition.

  • “Shining people up” was similar to what my exh would say. He’s a building contractor and would call it “putting a corporate arm around them” – well he did more than that with the woman (probably plural) he ended up having an affair with.

  • I needed this article about 5 years ago when my friend welcomed back her cheating husband. Today we’re both in the midst of a divorce. The funniest thing is my (now ex-) husband was just horrified at what he had done and cut him off when he went back to his wife after moving out.

    Then my ex did the same thing except, I’m the one who left the marital home because I wasn’t putting up with his cheating ass anymore. The irony was lost on him of course. Oh, and it’s different because he found his soulmate and was able to get rid of his horrible, supportive, loving wife (that’s me, folks!) who took care of his every need for nearly 20 years.

    Thank GOD he finally found his twu wuv in a woman he had known for 6 months who is conveniently 9 years younger than him. Oh, and who faked cancer and lied about her job, education, and everything in between. So glad he was able to find happiness at last (let’s ignore the fact that he’s beyond miserable and just took a second job because his salary – more than what my lawyer makes BTW – wasn’t enough to support his lifestyle because I’m so mean as to demand child support). I’m just the WORST!!!

    • Honestly, it’s laughable isn’t it really on almost every level apart from the devastation they leave in their wake. So basically as long as you are leaving for your ‘twue wuv’ then everything you’d done and said before suddenly doesn’t mean shit and you can do total u-turns on almost everything, often including responsibilities for your own offspring it seems.

      Sometimes when I step back and read all our stories I think as a species are we really this shallow as grown adults, this gullible. Just want to tell them all to grow the fuck up.

  • That friendships are damaged by the shrapnel of the cheater grenade makes them collateral damage and the compromised friendship is just one more shit sandwich we are forced to choke down. Whether we choose Option 1 or Option 2, our friendships can no longer be as open as they were.

  • It would be too triggering for me to have anything to do with this nightmare. No, just no.

    I’d wish Dianne well and let her know I’d be there when she leaves cheater. Until then, no can do. I protect myself now and my recovering psyche cant handle any pro-cheaters, cheating movies, tv shows, cheating books, liars, con-artists, etc. it’s been 5 years since Dday. I matter.

    • I’m almost 5 years since I left him. I used to love to read historical romances – last one I picked up I threw across the room. Can’t watch most TV, just stick to documentaries, nature, sci fi or horror movies. I can’t even listen to most popular music nowadays. Either the songs about love trigger PTSD because of their horrible lyrics and situations, or they are beautiful testaments to something I thought I would have, and probably will never experience. I have renewed my appreciation for classical music.

      • I hear ‘ya, Skunkcabbage. I try not to think about sex, romance, romantic love any more because there haven’t officially been for the last few years, unofficially for the last few decades, and unfortunately no sight of any of these things in my life for the rest of my life. (As a straight fifty-something year old woman working only with kids, women, and guys coming out of jail/rehab and no time to even sleep, much less attempt to sift through really bizarre, badly behaved guys, lottery odds look much better than odds of finding a decent long-term romantic partner!)

        Just lost our family cat of 15 years–this gentle animal stayed with the extended family longer than my husband and last boyfriend combined stayed with me–and way kinder and more affectionate than either of these humans were to me. Should have skipped the guys and spent ‘guy’ time with her instead.

        • Rock star Wife
          I know what you mean. My cats/dogs have given me unconditional love that I never got from my ex or some friends, family members. I’d advise you to adopt another homeless cat or dog and give the both of you love unconditional. God Bless You 😊

  • My sister took her cheating husband back 30 years ago. It seems that they have made it through together. We all know what he did, but we suffer through encounters for her sake. You could tell your friend that you are still angry that he betrayed her, and at this point in time you can’t be around him without giving him a piece of your mind. But you would like to keep seeing her one to one. If she says no then you have to let her go.

  • I can’t help but think that in the throes of pick me dancing hopeum addiction and a unicorn hunt that Diane might be a victim of “Temporary Narcissism By Proxy Disorder”. Having been narcissisticaly abused for so long has altered her view of reality and is attempting to juxtapose some of her new norms on you all. It’s not her fault. She’s seeing a path to happiness but is unaware of the peripheral dangers that lurk. She has had her pride and self esteem beat like a redheaded step child but might believe the path to happiness lies in a modified version of her dick- nose husband’s playbook. Please follow CL’s advice. When someone is so lost in the fog of hopeum it’s tough to change their minds, it’s even tougher to attempt to. You know what ultimately is going to go down but you really are powerless in making her come to her sences. Be patient but also be firm.

  • My friend found true love with an asshole, and some friends of mine knew all about him with specifics. I told her what I knew but she had her blinders on. But she told him what I said (oh the impression management that followed!), and he knew I knew what a big pile of poop he was. She asked us to be civil to each other because she loved us both. I avoided him as much as possible. And yes, you guessed it, she lost her house and all her savings to this piece of shit. She later said, “I should have listened to you.” 😟

  • My wife’s best friend just reconciled with her husband. He separated from her so he could sleep with whoever he wanted to. The best friend didn’t want to divorce him because of it being her second marriage. But he lied and lied and lied about his affairs. And guess what? He got sick and came running back to her. I told my wife that her BF shouldn’t take him back because he has hit rock bottom and not coming back on his own accord when things were going good. My wife said it’s her life and she will support her whatever she does. I asked my wife recently how things are going. My wife Said not so good. I had to resist “I told you so”.

    It’s got to be hard seeing your friend go through this. I wonder what happened all those years back?

  • Two of my friends have said that they would tackle me and drag me away if they EVER saw me together with STBX. In many ways, a reconciliation like this is a betrayal of the friendship. You are pouring your heart out to a supportive person who then becomes invested in your hurt and your narrative and then you go back to the creep? It’s sort of like crying wolf. Chicken little, the sky is falling. I’ve thought about this in the brief moments I wondered about reconciliation. Listening to cheater say “marriages can be stronger!” His lies of “maybe we’ll be together again some day.” Thankfully I’ve been absolutely no contact with him since November. He hasn’t called or texted. I haven’t called or texted. He isn’t offering or asking for reconciliation and I’m not either.

    Back to the topic. I think it’s very hard to keep listening to the same complaints when the friend isn’t doing anything to resolve them or protect themselves. I’d stick with option 1, with boundaries. Once DDay happened and I needed support, I realized just how isolated I was in our marriage. My husband had frowned on having people over, or “I don’t like her” and therefore I limited my time with that friend so that they gradually faded from view. I can see now what he was doing. We all need people in our lives who are supportive, not abusive.

    • Yeah, my stbx was a cake eater who wanted (and felt entitled to) reconciliation – because it was a series of one-night stands, and not twu wuv with a newer model. I, of course, had earned the money and did all the housework, so who wouldn’t want to still have a life like that?

      I wish I could have been one of these people that didn’t tell anyone, but I was too devastated to even work for a month, so there was no hiding it. My primary reason for not reconciling was that I was getting the GINR remorse not the real remorse, but my secondary reason was that even if I forgave her, I knew my friends and family never would. It would make gatherings awkward for a really long time, if not forever. Marriages are much more likely to be successful with community and social support and she made that impossible once she cheated.

      • That’s why it’s HEALTHY to tell the people who care about us, when something devastating like this happens.

        Not only do we get the support we need at the time, it helps us keep our heads screwed on straight, when we are tempted, later! Those people who know the truth, and can see it more objectively than we can, help keep us in touch with REALITY.

        Which, although it can be painful, is always a good thing.

    • Thank you for this insight: I think it’s very hard to keep listening to the same complaints when the friend isn’t doing anything to resolve them or protect themselves.

      This is a variation of the lesson Chumps need to learn: you control only you. We all of us can have friends or family members who complain about a situation but never take action to improve things. It does get tiring to hear the same old complaints over and over again. If you want to preserve the relationship, the only real way to do so is to set up firm boundaries. Change the subject or find a way to excuse yourself from being present.

      I do feel that “Diane” is a poster child for the Hoovered Chump. How many of us longed for our cheaters to confess that they were Wrong. It was All a Mistake! But when you read the collective tales of Chump Nation, you understand that this is what every Cheater says, once things go south. They want a Spouse Appliance–someone who’s reliably there for them and who takes care of the routine chores of life, leaving the cheater free to find yet another piece of strange.

      As the concerned friend, I would probably tell Diane that I didn’t feel comfortable attending the barbecue, as I am keenly aware of the Maya Angelou injunction that when people show you who they are, believe them. I would say that I understand that Diane really wants to salvage the marriage, and while I wish her luck, I would have a hard time being civil to A-hole, since from where I sit, he seems to have reverted to his old behavior–and we all know how that worked out! I would, however, appreciate doing some Girls Nights Out with our mutual friends.

      I would expect her to be defensive, but I’d probably let her know the door’s open, so that when Dday comes along again, she has a friend.

  • I met a lady once whose husband left for a much younger woman. They never divorced I think because they were wealthy and it would have torn apart their company. The lady left him go off and she lived alone and went shopping a lot. So the OW was a young, pretty secretary and he and she ran the biz for years and the young gal did well for herself. Then after 15 years they break up and he decided to move back with his wife. And she took him back. But all those years she waited for him to come back. But it wasn’t this great thing. He was still a selfish duck and he just went on doing what he wanted. It was rather sad and tragic and pretty much wasted her life in limbo.

    • My two cents is don’t desert your friend – unless as some people commented she broke up his first marriage then yuck.
      Stay away from him though. Tell her to protect her heart, tell her she’s wonderful and deserves to be with someone wonderful, go to movies, play tennis or anything where you don’t have to listen to her talk. Tell her you don’t have the emotional strength to listen to her talk about him because you worry too much about it because you care so much about her.
      Please don’t abandon her she will be abandoned soon enough by him. It takes some of us a long time to know our worth. You can help her with that by doing fun things with her, appreciating her and telling her that you don’t judge her because she’s on her own path. But tell her that you no longer want to be exposed to him because you think he’s toxic.

  • This sucks, but it’s got to be pretty common. The wife of a colleague of a male friend of mine and I got to know each other at some social events we both attended. We share interests and before long we were planning gal trips. She knows my history, but chose to reveal to me that she cheated on her first husband. (not sure what her motivation was, but let’s be realistic, she’s a cheater…so…). Now I’m saddled with this information, and I have no idea whether her current husband knows or not. I cannot continue friendships with people who have cheated or are cheating on their spouses, so I’ve backed away. It’s incredibly awkward as I keep getting invites to socialize with them.

  • So Mr A-hole gets a payout from the marital assets ( D bought him out )
    He gets a year long relationship with AP in their new home and now back living with D having BBQ !!!

    What happened to the money ? I hope D got it back as if you live with someone and both are paying off the mortgage he might be entitled to some of that back when he cheats again .

    I know when I got divorced my pre marital assets were mine until he moved in with me then it was classed as joint assets ( as he was paying down my mortgage also )

    Please support your friend and avoid the cheater if possible she’s going to need you in approx 6-12 months when he does it again and please advise her to get all her assets registered with a lawyer

  • I’m so grateful to my very generous best friends for standing by me when I went back over and over and over and over and over. They knew serial cheater was abusive AF and did not in any way support serial cheater. But they would be there for me every time serial cheater did some new horrendous atrocity.

    I might not have had the strength and support to leave had they not stood by me and been there for me as much as they did. They are amazing.

    Please don’t abandon your friend unless she is hurting you.

  • He didn’t decide to reconcile. He merely defaulted to Plan B when Plan A didn’t work out. He’s cybersexing and looking for APs well into the night and ignoring her. She’s 100% being played. A “reconciliation” without a change in attitude and behaviour is nothing but a con job. This ran before, so I bet a bazillion dollars he has been cheating since this first ran.

  • Stick with your friend, and get her Chump Lady’s book. Only see her without him.

    I’m forever grateful for the love and support of my friends, and the strength and knowledge I have gained from reading Chump Lady.

    Without Chump Lady I would never have known all about love bombing, circling back, the cycle of abuse and all that cheaters do. I really was the frog in the pot of warming water and I didn’t know it.

    I no longer valued myself, but above all I valued my friends. In my early days before I read CL, whenever I considered taking him back again, I thought of my friends. How disappointed in me they would be, and how taking him back would be like cheating on my friends. My girlfriends were around long before the 25 yrs of sunk costs, and 3 kids and are still there for me. They are my heroes, my soul mates and worth more to me than gold.

  • This is tough. My best friend and I have rolled since 2007. Let me tell you, I know she’d have my head if I did this. You do not have to support this. She’d tell me that she loves me and what I’m doing is dumb. We are dealing with this right now with a mutual friend. She is in an abusive marriage and we are desperate to help her. But we also have to teach her about boundaries by enforcing ours with her.

    Being a real friend is hard, sometimes you have to keep your distance and let the fall happen. It sucks, it really does , but that’s how it goes some days.

  • I had a very close friend for 20 years, we were married about the same time and had several kids about the same age who went to school together – who gradually revealed to me the suspected cheating and pornography addiction – as well as the alcoholism – of her husband. I left my husband when I realised that he was highly abusive to both me and our children and wasn’t going to change. She chose to stay and take to anti-depresssants, obsession with diet and slimness so he wouldn’t leave her, and escape into children’s fantasy writing. It seemed as if our meetings since over coffee were more a pain olympics (she always won, always could top any of my stories) than a friendship. The only thing we had in common in the end was our love of writing, and since I realised that I was using that as an escape from my awful real life (writing myself happy endings), and so was she … our friendship has petered out. I don’t want to hear the ongoing dreary hopeless litany about her awful husband and his terribly harmful effects on her and her children. Alienation from one, anorexia in another, drug use in the third, and a grandchild she has most of the care of as the father and his girlfriend are pretty useless lazy types … it is unspeakably sad, but there is nothing I can do for her. I told her I am there if she needs me, but we don’t meet any more. We both made our choices.

    • … the cooling off began when, rather than sympathising and clucking over how dreadful he is and how brave she is, I began to ask the real questions that had made me reassess my marriage and leave. I began answering all her complaints with “is this acceptable to you?” “How do you feel about that?” “Are you happy to keep going with that?” They really do put the ball in your own court, those questions, and they are uncomfortable. But real friends will ask them.

  • (Real) Friends don’t expect their friends to lie to them.

    I recently broke up a 9-month relationship that went on 8 months too long. All of my friends were clear they did not like this guy’s sketchy boundaries or sporadic disrespect toward me, but were willing to see if he could make me happy (he didn’t). A number of other life stressors prevented me from breaking up fully with the fuckwit until he picked a fight with me the day I had had major surgery, as I was trapped in a hospital bed.

    At no point did I expect my friends to tell me anything but the truth—“he’s a manipulative asshole.” Or “he’s bonkers,” (after his thinking turned out to be guided by a cult.) Were they silent during the times in between crises with the guy? Yes, but I would not have ever expected them to lie and say they approved of the guy.

    • Hugs for you, Tempest, and your true friends. Glad you are done with that guy. Focus on taking good care of yourself and recovering well.

      I think of you, your past contributions and kindness to us here at CN. xoxo

  • A man ask u to marry him u say yes, your partners, your friends,a couple,you then have children your a family , they grow up ,and raise those children together,Now it’s your time together As the wife you have given your whole self. Your time, energy, love support, affection,attention,you cared for this man,who is your husband, Then out of the blue he tells u that he doesn’t love u never has , and that he’s in love with someone else, so when he doesn’t get the reaction he was hoping for he then tells u he Cheated on u , again not the reaction he wanted from u What your husband doesn’t understand is that you are giving a reaction its of shock , hurt , confusion you don’t understand , you have given him 39 years of you life And now he wants to end it and move on to someone new. What is he thinking? Just because he’s done that his wife has to be done to ? It doesn’t work that way He was the one that asked u to be his wife, No where in the vows was it mentioned that later on in lifehes going to find someone new and you the wife have to go along with it You the wife have honored the vows As you knew them Sorry that he wants someone new that’s his problem Wife doesn’t and shouldn’t have to give up the life that she has to accommodate him He wants out Then leave But the wife that your promise to take care of , you better take care of . And when u the husband leaves , just know it’s for good When the OW kicks u to the curve Don’t think u can come back to the wife you dump to be where u are now

  • This is Marcia the original letter writer. I check in here occasionally and I was pretty surprised to see this again. Thank you CL.

    I kind of drifted apart from Dianne. It was hard to see her kind of contort herself to meet Ahole’s needs. They are still together. I don’t know if he found another AP. Dianne took very early retirement so she could be home more to look after him and also so he would not have opportunity to cheat during the day. She works part time one day a week and the rest of the time keeps house for him. He moved back in with her.

    She said that she loves him and he loves her and he just made mistakes because of various reasons including that she wasn’t there enough for him. She said she was lucky to have a love like that and lucky he Chose her. I couldn’t deal with the bullshit so I stepped back from our friendship. She was anxious he would cheat again. She went on a diet and lost a lot of weight.

    Someone asked if Dianne was his AP when his first marriage broke up. No she wasn’t. He had an affair with a younger colleague, well actually a foreign exchange student who worked in his college. The first wife found out because she found a lot of love letters emails from Ahole to that woman. The affair didn’t work out and Dianne met him before his divorce came through.

    It’s not a fairytale ending. I don’t think he’s a unicorn. He told her the affairs were exciting and he felt like a secret Agent on a mission under cover. I bet he cheats again.

    • It’s amazing how some people will pretzel themselves just so they can say they are married or partnered.

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