Something approximating friendship?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2012
Something approximating friendship?
7
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?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 12:05am

The answer is no.  When you make the choice to have an A, it changes everything, especially once the A is revealed.  You sacrifice the close friendship, and you sacrifice the family connections.  Of course having you in her family's life in any way would drive his W crazy.  If he really thinks that might ever happen, he must be delusional, unless she is masochistic.

I was involved in a 3 year A with a longtime friend (18 years).  I didn't realize it at the time, but when we took that step into A Land, it changed everything.  It can never go back to the way things were.  He and I are still friends, but it is not the same friendship it was before the A.  It is strained a lot because I still love him and I get mad that I can't be with him.  I'm sure it is a strain on him trying to keep up a connection with me while dealing with my anger and sadness.

 I was close to his 3 kids (I've known them 10 years longer than his W has), but staying in his life was worse for them than disappearing.  If you like his children, let them have peace at home.  This just isn't one of those situations where you can move on and things will reset to some happy, comfortable mode.  And it is sad, because I doubt your realized the significance of your actions, either, when you made those choices.  But whether you realized it or not doesn't change the reality of the situation.

I know it is hard to move on, and trying to hold on to any piece of the R you can salvage is a very normal thing to try to do.  I'm still trying it, but I realize in my heart it is pointless and harmful to me in the long run.  Maybe if it is easier to you to think of it this way, imagine that in 5 years you can try to be friends again on a shallow level. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2012
Fri, 10-26-2012 - 8:26am

Thanks for your reply, JaneJosie. I guess anybody who gets mixed up in an affair is capable of self-delusion, and this is one more example of my weakness. Still, it will probably take a long time until I can accept the bleakness of the situation. In the meantime, I wonder how to proceed? For example, the wife and I have had some email contact about school and community-related matters, but I'm wondering if I should try to cut that off in everyone's best interest. It's funny you said "unless she is masochistic" - this is actually something I've thought about, because she was the one who originally pushed her husband and I to do things together in the evening, saying she didn't want to go to a particular event, etc. and he should ask me to go. And for however long she's known about the affair, for the most part she acts perfectly normal to me, even complaining about her husband, etc. So I just don't know how to handle it at this point. I have said some honest, apologetic things in my emails, but she always ignores that part of my message. Do I now just go along and act like everything is hunky-dory when I see her? I have tried to put myself in her situation and imagine what would be best, but just can't do it because our personalities are so extremely different.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2007
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 9:50am
I really don't think you should try to be friends with him or her. You are incapable of being her friend because you are not trustworthy with her H. And being his friend and not hers is not appropriate. Leave them alone and let them sort through the mess you and her H created. Seeing you is a reminder of so many ugly things. It's best that you get out of their lives and their M and work on fixing your M or make some real decisions about whether you want to stay M.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2000
Mon, 10-29-2012 - 12:40pm
The fact you are thinking u can ever be friends with this woman again is crazy!!! Sorry, but honestly just being in the same room with you, having any contact with you at all is probably torture to this woman. My best friend had an affair with my husband and I have been lucky so far that I have not had to be in the same room with her. Even after over a year, the thought of runnign in to her scares me. Because I do not know how I am going to react. I want to think I can hold it together and pretend I don't even know her, but I'm not sure if I will be able to or not. My husband was friends with her husband also. Our families spent a lot of time together. My kids played with her son. After our DD, my kids would ask me when we could go to their house to play with their son. Why we couldn't go to their house. Their questions alone were torture. It hurt knowing that this woman who I trusted and thought was my best friend could do this to me and my kids. Because not only do you hurt the spouse of the one you are having an affair with but you hurt their kids, their families. So my answer to you is no, there is no way you can ever be friends with this woman again and please leave the poor woman alone and only have contact if you absolutely have to. You destroyed any chance of having a friendship with her by what you did. You chose this path, she didn't. So leave the poor woman alone and forget any thoughts of being friends with her again.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2009
Fri, 11-09-2012 - 7:19pm

 I do agree it's probably pointless to think you could all be friendly again but I'm also stymied by her behavior before and after the A. She actually encouraged you and her husband to go to events alone together? And she is friendly and  puts on a brave mask when you see her and exchanges emails with you? That seems so, well, unusual. Of course there's no right way or wrong way or even 'usual' way to work through the grief of being betrayed but don't you wish she'd just acknowledge it in some way--get mad, scream at you, cry, run the other way...something real? Putting on a happy, everything is normal face for kids when they can tell that something has drastically changed isn't good either. I feel for all of you. And for the kids.

 


Your final reward will be heartaches and tears if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.       &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2012
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 10:32am

JaneJosie,

I was wondering how long ago you had the A and are you still dealing with the feelings of losing a friend on a daily basis, or has it subsided?  And what do you mean that you are still friends with the XAP?  Do you talk to him regularly?  I'm just asking, because I  betrayed my best friend by texting her H behind her back.  I thought it was just a fun game to keep me happy while I got through a terrible situation in my marriage.  It only lasted a few months, and I was trying to wean myself away from him and quit texting when he got caught, so I was pretty much done with it, only hung on for security reasons, afraid that I would sink back into some type of depression.

I feel horrible all day every day because of what I have done.  I can't let go, because I was his W's friend and I was the one who used to fix things for her, her shoulder to cry on, now she's gone.  I have lost my best friend.  Yeah, an A changes everything, easy to say, but how can you find a way to fix the devestation you feel because you betrayed your best friend and now you have lost her?

On top of that, my H misses his friendship with her H because he is struggling with being upset when he sees him because he was texting me behind his back and losing his friendship also.

I'm dealing with the guilt and grief of messing up friendships between the W and me, my H and him and the kids on both sides.   Because his W told hers, so one only waves from a distance because he misses me, and the other won't even look when she sees me, she turns her head completely away.

I keep hanging onto the hope that we can all hash this out, forgive and forget, if she would let me discuss it with her, I keep hoping that she will give me a second chance and we could slowly repair trust and have our friendship back.  I thought our friendship was that strong.

People on the message boards have the "you've made your bed now lay in it attitude."  I get it.  I am being punished by my own grief and agony ever day over this.  I couldn't be more remorseful. Also, people have said that I was selfish to have a texting A with this guy and that I am still selfish to want a friendship with her, that I'm not thinking of her feelings in this thing, that I'm putting being friends with her/them again in front of rebuilding the relationship with my H.  Is it not okay to be hurt over the loss of a good friend?  I don't understand the attitude, "you betrayed her, now get over it!"  that other people have had.  I can't get over it.  I don't think it's selfish to want your friend back.

I made a mistake.  I didn't choose to give in.  I was lost and desperate and he paid attention to me.  Anyone, and I mean Anyone (never say never) could have done the same thing if they found themselves in the desperate emotional situation I was in.

So it doesn't make it any easier.  I was just wondering what you are doing to get over the friendship and get over the hurt feelings?  Cuz I just feel like I can't take it anymore.

KK

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2012
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 10:43am

Woodsy,

I only wish I had contact with my x-friend, the XAP's W.  You said you didn't think she could handle talking about the situation with you.  I have wondered if I could ever discuss my A with his W.  I lost all contact with her when he got caught.  I am seriously tortured by this.  I don't know how to get over it.  I'm actually obsessed with trying to figure out how to be friends with her again.  There must be a thought process or something to get over something this horrible, but I have googled everything and signed onto a bunch of these boards and talked to a therapist to try to figure out how to get over this.  It's the same answer every time, just forgive yourself and move on.  I've tried and tried, but no success.  I don't know how to shut this off and just move on.  I just want so desperately to fix it and have it all be okay again.  Even if it wasn't exactly like it was before, I still would like to be able to have some sembelence of friendship.  If my H and I can work on our relationship and build trust, why can't she do it with me?  I wish I could find the ansswers.  I have had NC for 8 months.  I can live without contact or friendship with him, but I don't want to leave my relationship with her, his W, the way it is.  I just don't know how to leave it alone.

I kind of wish his W would act civil to me and that I would have a chance to email with her, because I miss her so much!

But I get that the W is already hurt, and me trying to fix it will only hurt her more.  I can't accept that this cannot be repaired.  But I'm leaving her alone to deal with it, because I want to make sure I don't hurt her worse.  Maybe you could approach your situation kind of indirectly and just gently ask if she would like to discuss it and get it out in the open how she feels.  Then if you find out that she is very hurt and wishes you would just go away, you can do so, and cut off contact with her H, because that's not fair to her.  If she says that she has given you a second chance and that she is trying to rebuild trust between you, then you are one lucky girl, because if I had that, I would be whole again and not living in misery.  I think before you ignore her and walk away, find out what is on her mind, because if she is one of those rare people who wants to work this out with you, then that's great!