It’s shocking, sad, and completely devastating when you find out a friend has been cheated on. It’s even more complicated if you know their spouse and have a relationship with them. So, what do you do when your friend comes to you and tells you their husband or wife cheated on them?
Well, I’ve been in this position, and this is what I did.
Let Them Vent Their Feelings
We all need a safe place to get our feelings out, and you can be that for your friend. They need to be able to share their raw emotions without being judged. At this stage of the game, their confidence is shot, and they do not need someone who will question their decisions.
Be available to your friend when they need to talk. Check in with them regularly so that they know you care.
One thing I will caution you about here is that you do not reciprocate venting your feelings to them about how you feel about their husband or wife. You can say, “what they did was wrong,” or “how they hurt you is inexcusable.” But don’t put that person down or breed more hate. The truth is, their husband or wife is going through their own hell.
Also, you don’t know if your friend will work it out with them. The last thing you need to do is breed hate for their spouse, because if they get back together, it will be hard for you to support them.
Suggest They Go To Counseling
Of course, you are a great friend to them, and they can get a lot of their feelings out with you. However, people who go through a traumatizing event like an affair need to see a professional. It is not a good idea that they handle the situation entirely on their own.
A trained counselor will give your friend the action points they can take to get through recovering from what was done to them.
Please don’t push the issue with your friend, but make the suggestion and see what they do with it.
Also, you should recommend they look for divorce care support groups and suggest they attend. Ultimately, they need to be able to talk about their feelings with others that understand their personal struggles on a deeper level.
Support Their Decisions
Not all marriages end in divorce after an affair. Your friend will need to decide how they want to proceed. This is not the time for you to weigh in on how you would handle the situation. If you have been through an affair, you may still want to hold your tongue on what to do in response to the matter.
Guide them to make their own decisions about what they will do in light of their spouse’s actions. No one can make that decision for them other than themselves.
Do Not Bad Talk Their Spouse
I mentioned this already, but I want to repeat it. It doesn’t matter what you think or feel about their spouse; keep your negative comments to yourself. If they choose to stay with the person, their feelings will eventually turn from negative to positive.
It would be better if you were kind to their spouse throughout the entire process, rather than to have to make that switch at some point. The chances are, you will have a much harder time making that switch than your friend, and it could become a source of contention between you two.
When an affair happens, both the offender and the offended are going to be in pain. The one who had the affair has their own issues and hurts that they will need to get over. It is best to keep that in mind when walking with a friend through this type of situation.
My Own Advice to You
And my personal suggestion to you? You can’t fix this, so don’t try. You can’t take away their pain. And it’s not your job to do that. You can’t make their decisions, determine how long they need to heal, or even what they need to heal. Your job is to show up when they need you, offer support, back off when they want you to…but you cannot fix it. Don’t excuse away lousy behavior on either end. But be there to support them if they need you.
We all have stress in our lives, and all relationships go through ups and downs. It’s important to understand what causes stress so you can not only be there for your spouse but also be there for your friends when they need emotional support.
This is a tough time that your friend is going through, and it is easy to get sucked into their collapsing world. That’s why you must make sure you have support, take breaks when you need to, and when you get too emotionally involved, back off.
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