My close girlfriend of over 20 years is cheating on her husband.
They have a young son and her husband does everything for them (all yard work, shopping, activities with his son when he’s not in school).
She has a long-distance boyfriend with whom she’s online daily. They’ve travelled together and have tickets for their next adventure.
She says that she prefers to travel alone, so that her husband lets her go, and she meets up with her boyfriend.
She plans to continue this way for ten years, until her son moves out and then she’ll move to her boyfriend.
He separated from his wife and also has young children.
I feel terrible for her husband that she’s taking advantage of him. I also find it harder to be her friend listening to all this deceit.
What Do I Do?
Stand back, and it’ll become clear.
You may lose this friendship no matter what you do.
She’s made you an unwilling, uncomfortable accomplice. You end up nodding and smiling before her husband if she mentions her “solo” travels, or other lies.
Time to tell her the truth - that you find her behaviour appalling.
You understand that she may be unhappy with her husband, that their marriage may not last.
But she’s apparently not even trying to work on it.
Tell her as a friend that you’d be fully supportive if she were going to counselling with her husband, and if they discovered that they just can’t work out their problems.
But to stand by silently while she’s playing him for a fool – and risking ugly discovery – is beyond what you can support.
She needs to tell her husband that she’s unhappy with him and why.
You need to tell her you can’t listen to her stories about cheating any more.
Whenever we ask my in-laws (husband's parents) to babysit (with one-to-two weeks’ notice), they say they’ll “let us know,” then later, “we made plans/we’re busy."
They’ve only babysat our two-year-old daughter four times since she was born! Yet they get upset if they hear that my parents babysat her.
Even my husband gave up asking his parents and suggests I ask mine.
Also, we usually only ask any grandparents to babysit two days a month, if my husband and I are both working on the same day, and occasionally once a month if we want to have a date night.
Yet they expect us to spend every weekend with them despite that they drop in unannounced once or twice a week.
We want to spend time together as a family and do activities with our toddler.
In-law and grandparent issues can be very complex – and hurtful on all sides – if you don’t find some compromises early on.
Especially since the value of developing another healthy grandparent relationship for your daughter can outweigh some of these annoyances.
If his parents are older and/or frailer than yours, or conversely, more active and busy with their own social life, the reactions of both couples are going to differ.
Yes, his parents do present some difficulties for you.
They clearly want to see their granddaughter, but not that open to setting defined dates outside of their weekend.
They’re also not easy about leaving their comfort zone for whole days while you two are working.
Work with that knowledge, but be upfront about your choices as a couple: that you and your husband plan to spend one of your weekend days with your child on your own.
Reader’s Commentary More help for the married letter-writer who was suffering pain and avoiding sex due to interstitial cystitis:
“I suffered for two years with this condition. After switching doctors, we ran down every possibility for the cause.
“When I mentioned the soap my husband used, the doctor just shouted, Bingo! And that was it. No more urinary tract infections (UTI’s) ever.
“And still having great sex at 73! Thank goodness we figured it out.”
Ellie – It would take extensive scientific research (not my field) for me to feel free to publish the name of that soap.
I do know however that it’s strongly scented. I also know that many people, myself included, are turning to fragrance-free soaps and cosmetics due to sensitivities to strong scents (and some chemicals, too) that can cause rashes and itching.
Congratulations on discovering an answer that works, and the reward of great sex.
Tip of the day:
When a married friend’s cheating upsets you, say why, and change the topic.