My best friend is married and having an affair, which she tells me about on our drive to work together every day. At first, I was shocked … and I admit I was caught up in the romantic details of how it all started, so I didn’t react other than to listen and giggle along with her. But now, I’m getting disgusted and nervous too.
Her husband’s my friend, too, and a nice guy. Her lover’s our manager and I see them flirting like silly teenagers, every day. Also, we both know his wife – we see her whenever she has some reason to come by the office. I can barely stomach it when my friend chats her up, acting so innocent, then later badmouths her to me!
I know I have to speak up against this affair but I also know she’s so caught up with it, that it’ll ruin our long friendship, forever. Meanwhile, I’ll still be working there and they’ll both hate me! What should I do?
Be honest, instead of judgmental. Tell your friend you understand the pull of a romantic affair but two marriages are involved, and you feel awkward listening to things you shouldn’t know. There’s a momentum to affairs whether they last or end and this one will inevitably cause pain to some of the four individuals affected, all of whom you know.
Ask her to now leave you out of it; you’re happy to talk about work or other matters but not this part of her life. If she reacts badly, find another way to get to work. Do your best to stay professionally amicable with both parties at the office. If there’s fallout at work, such as being treated badly by your manager, you may need to talk to someone in the human resources department.
A young woman’s letter about how her struggle with cancer caused her in-laws to withdraw from her, disbelieve her diagnosis, and cruelly ignore her suffering, appeared on September 14. Even her husband had stopped standing up to his parents. The letter brought compassionate responses from many.
Here’s one from someone who’s surmounted the tough challenges of surviving cancer despite others’ lack of support.
A: I'm a three-time breast cancer survivor – the first at age 24, the last at 50. I’m now 53, and expect to live a long time. I have many examples of people - family, friends, employers, government officials - behaving badly towards cancer patients.
This family knows she’s sick although they may not understand the severity of her disease. If they’re being mean and insensitive to her face, imagine what the husband’s being told when she’s not around.
She should stop wasting precious time and energy looking for compassion and understanding in places where none exists. She should stop all contact immediately, unequivocally and unapologetically. If they ask why, she should tell them why in no uncertain terms. If the husband doesn't get it, he should be asked to leave.
It IS drastic, but her very existence is at stake. All her efforts must be directed to getting well and not thinking about them and what they did or did not do or say. ANYONE who’s being difficult and unhelpful should be shown the door.
Only when she’s soundly on the road to recovery should she consider the merits of staying married to this man and his creepy family. I’m encouraged that at least she has good friends around her.
My younger sister’s consumed with health issues; she hardly talks about anything else. She’s 52, and healthy enough to travel whenever she and her husband can get away. Back home, it’s all about her allergies, sinuses, aching back.
I can’t believe she just wants attention, as she has a loving husband, four children who stay close to her and a large circle of friends. But I can’t figure out why she’s such a hypochondriac!
- Sick of It
Maybe it’s you … that is, your attention that she seeks. The close people around her obviously have their own rapport with her but clearly this is what she believes she needs to talk about with you.
Think about your history as sisters … has it always been competitive, or had she looked to you as her protector? Whatever the answer, try asking first about how she’s feeling, then listen and show some caring. Then change the topic.
Tip of the day:
Knowing about a friend’s affair can end up risking the friendship itself.