(Even if this is not your situation, anyone healing from infidelity will find help in this article.)
I am particularly interested in the subject of a dear friend who betrays with a friends spouse. … How do I deal with this woman? I can't seem to let go of the idea of talking it out with her. I'm really so angry it makes me really sad! She is in family videos and photos all over the place! … This was a very developed friendship with our magic baby time. It's just so horrible. Help!
I'm in the first month of finding out about my husband's affair with my best friend, so not really too sure on what to do or what’s going on... How do you handle it when your spouse cheats with a close friend?
For those who are suddenly hurled into the stormy waves of healing from infidelity, situations where you are not only dealing with the fact that your spouse has been unfaithful, but also the fact of discovering that your spouse cheats with a close friend... can be extremely difficult. These situations are more difficult, because you’re dealing with a double betrayal.
In some healing from infidelity situations, the spouse has had an affair with a close family member.
Whether your spouse has cheated with a close friend or your sister or brother, how utterly disgusting and cruel, on both parts! Such an act of betrayal can never be taken back.
If your spouse cheats with a close friend, at least you can make a choice not to have this person as your friend anymore. But your sibling will always be your sibling. Your children will always be your sibling’s cousins etc. How do you handle Christmas and Thanksgiving?!
It’s not fair, and even if you are fortunate enough to have them express genuine repentance and remorse, which helps, it doesn’t take away the incredible difficulty the betrayed goes through in their healing from infidelity journey.
It is unwise to compare healing from infidelity situations. There is something that is harder, and at the same time, in every scenario there are redeeming factors. There is something about your situation that makes it better than another.
Strategy #1 for when your spouse cheats with a close friend – Find Your Redeeming Factors
One way to do this is by attending a local BAN group.
I'll never forget one woman who came to BAN. Hearing her story for the first time, I thought surely I had heard the worst healing from infidelity story ever.
She suffered from a chronic illness that necessitated her being hospitalized periodically. After one such incidence her husband came to see her, before she was released.
Sounding genuinely caring and compassionate he said, “Honey, I know you’re going to need extra care when you come home, and since I’m working extra long hours right now, I won’t be able to help you. Why don’t you go stay with your mother for a couple of weeks until you get stronger?” Sounded reasonable, so she did.
Then one day, she found herself missing something, so she went home to get it. Walking through the door of her home she found that all of her belongings had been packed up in boxes without her knowledge and another woman’s belongings moved in. She opened her closet, and none of her clothes were in it any longer. Another woman’s clothes had replaced them!
Her husband was such an utter wimp of a man. He didn’t even have the decency to tell her their marriage had ended before moving her out, and moving wife number two in!
At her next healing from infidelity BAN meeting, this woman returned telling us she was feeling much better and saying how BAN had truly helped her.
I was thrilled to hear she was feeling better, but also perplexed. Yes, she said, because after hearing the stories of others, she had concluded she was better off than the rest. Better off!!!
She went on to point out that some in the group had children with their spouses, making it more difficult to move on alone if that was their choice. She and her husband had not had children yet.
Some in the group didn’t feel free to leave, because they lacked the skills and education to acquire decently paying jobs. They felt compelled to stay for financial reasons. This woman was highly skilled and had a university education, so she would have no trouble supporting herself, as she moved forward healing from infidelity alone.
This woman found her redeeming factors. What are yours? What good do you still have in your life? What might you be grateful for?
How do I deal with the other woman/other man who was a close friend or family member?
Know that you do not need to remain friends with this person. And it’s okay to question, were they really ever your friend? One positive that can come out of the awful healing from infidelity process is you find out who your true friends are, and often you make new and better friends.
Through the pain and suffering involved in healing from infidelity, you have the opportunity to become a better, stronger, more authentic you, and this renewed you will attract better friends.
During my healing from infidelity journey, the pain was so intense, I was like a caterpillar who entered my dark cocoon where I stayed, working to get out for a long time. But when the day came, I emerged as a butterfly, more powerful and free than I could ever have imagined before.
Should I confront the other woman/other man if my spouse cheats with a close friend?
Most counselors and professionals will advise you against this action. However, meeting my other woman greatly helped me in healing from infidelity, so I wondered, why do professionals generally caution against this?
It’s because most people meet the other person with the wrong motives; to tell them off, give them a piece of their mind, or expecting to hear the other person apologize (which is unlikely). Do not lose your dignity in this situation.
Just because your spouse and friend lowered themselves by doing something, which utterly lacked in dignity, does not mean you now need to respond by lowering yourself. Two wrongs won’t make this right, and acting in an undignified manner will leave you feeling worse, not better.
Check your motives for meeting the other woman/other man.
If it’s for revenge, to tell them off, expecting an apology or something else negative, do not go?
But if you can honestly say your motives are pure, for something good, for healing, then you’ve overcome the first hurdle.
Next you need to play out this meeting in your head, and imagine the worst possible behavior from them. If you can visualize yourself responding in a manner that you would feel proud of, ten years from now, if someone had secretly filmed it and showed it on CNN, then you are ready for such a meeting.
For many meeting the other woman/other man is not only healing, it’s empowering. Face your fear and you no longer need to be fearful.
If my spouse cheats with a close friend, what should I do with all my photo albums full of pictures of the other person?
Put them away for now. These are triggers for you. They are like rubbing salt in your wound.
Once you are completely healed from infidelity, it will no longer bother you to look at them. You may still decide to discard some of them, but it’s best to make such a decision from a healed place, not while you’re in the midst of all the emotions and pain.
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Dedicated to your healing,
Anne & Brian Bercht & Team
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