I have recently found out that my friend is having an affair with a married man. I knew she was seeing someone, but she had not told who, or that he was married. I found out from a mutual friend by accident, and I am really shocked and upset with my friend and don't know what to say to her. Why on earth would she want to be part of adultery? Why would she want to be with a man who is cheating on his wife, who has shown so little regard for the woman he married? Surely by the adultery, he has shown her that he is a liar and untrustworthy. I thought I knew my friend, I thought she was a good person, but now I don't know anymore. I think that I might not be able to continue being friends with her.
An X Friend
Dear An X Friend,
I hate to start this off with a bit of a harsh tone, but your question does not paint you in the best of lights. You sound rather judgemental and ruthless. Friendship is not always easy. Sometimes our friends do things we don't understand or don't approve of. Abandoning a friendship over something like adultery, especially when you have not even tried to talk to her, seems a bit heartless to me. I think a real friend would at the very least reach out, and try to put aside their own prejudices when they do.
As for why your friend has chosen this person, well we can only speculate. Love and desire are powerful emotions that can often result in people overruling their head with their hearts. No one understands why we are attracted to the people we are. Those attractions can often surprise us and challenge our existing relationships. It is entirely possible to fall in love with the wrong person at the wrong time resulting in them committing adultery.
Why this man has chosen to cheat on his wife could be for a multitude of reasons. Maybe he finds himself trapped in a loveless marriage but does not want to break up a family unit. Maybe his wife is cheating on him, and this is his form of revenge. To be honest, I could go on and on with possible reasons for his adultery. There is no one simple answer to why men cheat or why women cheat for that matter. It is not something only men do; women cheat on their partners just as much as men do.
None of the reasons why a person commits adultery justify the hurt and pain it will likely cause their partner one day. But that does not mean that judging them harshly for their actions helps to achieve anything. I suspect you can't possibly judge them anymore harshly than they are probably already doing themselves. The same goes for your friend. I would assume she has spent many hours agonising over her decision to enter into this relationship and may well feel very conflicted. Having a friend to talk to about this would be a good thing, but it seems she realises that person is not you.
You mention that surely the fact he is committing adultery tells her everything she needs to know about the type of man he is. Maybe you need to give your friend more credit than that. Firstly perhaps she does know that and doesn't care. Or more likely she feels she knows him a way that mitigates that. I don't know anyone who has ever got involved with a married person lightly. Your friend has probably thoughts those very things you are thinking too. But apparently for whatever reasons she has decided, despite the adultery and for now at least, that this man is worth it.
What you have to ask yourself now, is what your friendship with this person it worth? Is it worth at the very least giving her the benefit of the doubt? Is it worth taking the time to have a conversation with her about the relationship and the adultery? Is it worth entering into that conversation with an open and compassionate mind? Clearly, your friend has an idea what the answers are to some of these questions, which is why she has chosen not to confide in you. But maybe you could surprise her and set aside your judgements and just be her friend. I suspect she really needs that right now.
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