Any wisdom would be welcome.
Anonymous Dear Anonymous, You clearly care about your friend and have a lot of empathy for him. As you well know, your friend is going through a very turbulent time, and what he needs most is to be able to hear himself—not you—clearly. This means that your main job as his friend is to be a compassionate and nonjudgmental sounding board as he sorts through his own fheating.
How can I help? Full stop.
The full stop is hard—especially when you have such strong feelings—but doing so is crucial to his well-being right now, and his ability to arrive at his own place of clarity in the long run. In cases of infidelity, many people have a hard time supporting their friends like this, because righteous indignation gets in the way.
Texting another woman
The thinking goes: This is a no-brainer. I have to save my friend from this selfish person.
If this were me, I would leave the marriage. But the problem with this way of thinking is twofold.
Your friend is going through a trauma, and what he needs right now is a friend he can trust with the full range of his emotions. It means allowing him to have his own feelings, which include great love for his wife, despite the deep pain this betrayal has caused. It means supporting his growth as he goes through his own process of rebuilding with her, and as the two of them try to understand what the infidelity meant, where it came from, and where they might go from here.
This is where your own feelings come in. While your friend is examining his feelings about the affair, you might find examining the intensity of your own feelings about it helpful.
Now might be a good time to get curious about your own feelings around betrayal. Does something in your history hit home here?
Finding "Ashley Maddison" in their partner's contact list. Michelle sexy gal
What makes it hard for you to see the shades of gray that your friend can see, even in his pain? Could a part of you want them to break up so that you can be with him?
Finally, you might also temper the intensity by considering that despite how affairs tend to be viewed in our culture, what goes on in a marriage is often nuanced and complex. One event, no matter how painful, is rarely as clear-cut as it seems. Dear Therapist is for informational purposes only, cheatting not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.