Something approximating friendship?
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|Thu, 10-25-2012 - 9:12am|
It's been 9 months since the affair ended, with limited contact during most of that time and no contact the past month or so. I believe we are both currently struggling with a resurgence of feelings (I know I am lately and by his recent request to cut off all contact, I think he is as well). His wife knows about the affair but my husband doesn't have a clue.
The problem is that we live in a small community where the wife and I sometimes pass each other on the road, see each other at school events, etc. She has acted fine since the affair ended, so I'm not sure how long she's known. Since my ex-affair partner told me a couple months ago that she does know, I am filled with even more shame than usual when I see her. But I try to keep it together and act friendly. In fact, feeling bad about hurting her was one of the main reasons I broke the affair off after a few months, since it seemed such a horrible thing to do to another woman. And though we never really clicked personalitywise like I did with her husband, we were friends and I miss our mom-to-mom conversations very much. I wish we could talk about this whole thing together, but that doesn't seem like something she could handle. She seems to prefer faking that everything is fine, although sometimes when she sees me unexpectedly, I can see the hurt on her face.
Anyway, since the affair ended, there have been no more dinner parties, no more playdates, etc. between our families. I feel bad for my kids, who only know that they don't see their friends much anymore, and I know their kids also miss ours. When we see each other and our kids ask to get together, we each say "maybe, we'll see." For the simple logistical fact of us running into each other fairly often (the wife mostly), I'm trying to figure out whether a limited friendship between our families might be a realistic goal. A couple months ago, the husband indicated to me that this was something they both were working toward. But that was when I thought she just suspected that he had inappropriate feelings for me. Now that I know she knows about the affair, it seems so hard to be "normal" with her. And I wonder how fair a family friendship would be for my husband, with him being the only one among us who doesn't know what happened. When the affair was ending, I told my husband that they were having marriage problems and that I felt in the middle of it because I was friends with both of them, so we weren't going to see them for a while. He never really connected with either of them anyway, so he accepted my explanation without question and has not asked about it since. The past couple years have been a difficult period of unemployment and depression for him, so I have chosen not to tell him and make things worse.
So I'm just curious, has anyone out there managed something approximating friendship with their ex-affair partner and the betrayed spouse? From the betrayed spouse's perspective, does the idea just sound like torture? As the other woman, it sounds painful to see them together - painful if things seem to be going well between them (jealousy) and painful if things don't seem to be going well (guilt that I made it worse). Is it realistic to think that enough time and limited contact will make a friendship possible one day?