Advice from Amy: Woman Wants No Part of Friend’s Affair
Will the affair end the friendship, too?
Columnist Amy Dickinson advises a woman whose long-time best friend is cheating on her husband. The friend’s affair is giving the writer flashbacks, causing mental anguish, and affecting the relationship. See what Amy has to say.
My best friend of 25 years is having an affair.
I’m devastated. We raised our kids together, our families spent holidays and vacations together, but most of all she has been my soul sister and confidant.
I have tried to be the best support since this began, listening and trying to be non-judgmental.
The problem is that my dad cheated on my mom. The day I found out was the worst day of my life. I spent years angry, developed a severe eating disorder, and needed years of therapy.
I feel like I’m waiting for a car crash. I love her children like my own and don’t want them to go through that trauma.
What’s my job as a best friend? Must I show my support, no matter what?
I have lost respect and feel like it’s changed everything. Am I being judgmental and not a true friend?
I want this friendship to weather this storm, but need advice on this “besties” role.
– Friend in Anguish
Friends tell each other the truth, and a deep and abiding friendship can withstand the tumult that honesty sometimes brings on.
It is possible, and preferable, to deliver your radical honesty without attaching judgment to it.
You do this by using “I statements,” and by owning your personal distress about this.
For example: “I’m upset about this. I’m worried about your family’s future. My father’s infidelity destroyed me as a child, and this is bringing up a lot of painful memories for me.”
I also think it’s totally OK to convey to your friend, “I’m unsure of my role, here. I don’t feel comfortable being your confidant about this affair. I want you to know that our friendship is important to me, and I don’t want to lose it.”
It would be natural for you to step back a bit as she goes through this whirlwind.
Understand that people do make mistakes. People hurt one another.
Mistakes can be forgiven. Hurts can be healed.
But once you really lose respect for a person, it’s game over.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson