When a friend cheats on their spouse

Ugg…so I found out tonight that a friend has been having an affair with a guy she met online. She’s actually a relative of my best friend who has become sort of part of our circle of women friends. I have known her since we were kids. Her marriage has been rocky for a lot of years…and she has been acting kind of different lately but she’s prone to moodiness so it didn’t throw up any major red flags or anything.

Her husband kicked her out and she is now living at home with her parents. Her son is with her husband. I can’t even imagine what kind of pain her son is going through. Her husband was unfaithful many years ago and they went to counseling and some church group therapy (she’s protestant). She chose to stay in the marriage back then.

Her birthday is at the end of this month and all of us usually get together over dinner for birthdays. I can’t even imagine sharing a meal with her right now. It sounds unchristian but the idea just makes me ill. All her facebook/ myspace comments are all chipper and positive. He status says “in a relationship” instead of married now. She has all this life affirming stuff on her pages -moods like accomplished and confident. Apparently she’s been out of her house for almost three weeks but its just starting to come out now.

I don’t know how to handle this whole thing. The rest of our group of women have very strong feelings about marriage commitment, and the sacredness of marriage. How am I supposed to celebrate with a woman who has just destroyed her family?

Hi Rayne, thanks for sharing this with us. I’m not experienced in this matter, but I do believe I might be able to offer a helpful perspective.

As odd as it may seem, I think the situation calls for compassion. You certainly wouldn’t behave this way, but letting your anger and disgust get the best of you is the easy way out. I would take her aside, tell her that while you personally don’t approve of what she’s done, you wonder if there’s some way you can help her get her life back on track. Tread softly so that she doesn’t feel like you’re looking down on her, because chances are she’ll be quick to get defensive.

Then, if she insists there’s nothing you can help her with, tell her that the offer still stands, and then let it be, and focus on your own life from there on out.

As Catholics, we should hold ourselves and others to high moral standards, but sometimes we have to be careful about how we enforce those standards.

Let’s say the situation was happening to you, and you were forced to move back in with your parents. Of all your friends, let’s say just one directly offers help in the way I described above. Who would you think was behaving the most morally, and compassionately? The direct and helpful friend, of course, who made you feel cared about.

This doesn’t mean that we should accept immoral behavior from others, but that we should extend compassion even to sinners so as to show the power of love.

Maybe you are being too hard on this woman. Her husband kicked her out, she did not kick him out when he cheated.

That family was probably “destroyed” back when her husband cheated, and she simply never got over it and moved on. It’s not like she cheated on a wonderful husband and walked out, she cheated on a cheater who kicked her out as a result.

Not condoning his behavior at all but this was almost ten years ago. She chose to stay and work on the marriage. Her son is now old enough to know what is going on. I realize he cheated but his behavior does not excuse hers. I don’t like to discuss this much but I know what its like to experienced infidelity, I went through it with my husband close to the beginning of our marriage. I chose to stay. We worked on our marriage. What he did doesn’t give me the right to “return the favor.” We have a wonderful marriage now because we chose to work very hard at saving our marriage.

Yeah, I am being hard on her and I know it -which is why I posted here. Right now I just can’t feel sorry for her. I feel horrible for her son. I just can’t seem to get past that.

You shouldn’t. Honestly. Your compassion is where it should be. She is showing no remorse. You are acting appropriately.

You know that old saying: Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are.

Don’t celebrate anything with her. Invite her son and husband over instead. Show support where it should be. “Traditions” can be broken and sometimes should be.

Even God requires us to show remorse and ASK before He forgives us and moves on!

*I’m sorry to hear that rayne. I can’t help but think she didn’t really forgive him, just harbored it all these years. Maybe she was trying to make things work, but deep down she couldn’t ever forget what he did…I’ll pray for your friend, her husband, and their son. *

Tell that woman it was pretty bright of her to have her family’s best interest at heart. It fires blood pressure up read things like this. Cheating is a very very hurtful sin.

Well…yeah…not feeling compassionate right now. Her (we’ll call her Liz) myspace mood today is cheerful. Apparently Liz and her husband are in individual counseling. He says he loves her and wants to try to save the marriage. She says she knows the affair is wrong but this the happiest she’s felt in a long time and she’s not giving him up -which is why her husband said she can’t live at home then. This gem of a guy she is cheating with is living with a woman and they have two children. I saw his myspace…it has “player” written all over it (figuratively speaking).

The thing is technically I’m not even supposed to know. In fact most her family isn’t supposed to know. Her mother basically told the family (she wants them to pray for her) but told the family not to say anything. They all went out to dinner a couple nights ago and Liz never said anything, acted like everything was fine and was happy as a clam.

Her mom is beside herself and doesn’t know what to do with her. Her mom asked her what about your son and she just kind of shrugged it off.

It’s a mess. Honestly she has bought into the father of lies hook, line and sinker.

Rayne, I can totally see why you feel like you do; however, I think that the situation does call for some degree of charity. You already know that there are long-standing difficulties in the marriage.

Infidelity often doesn’t happen out of the blue. It can happen due to problems in the way one spouse treats the other and it can happen as a result of low self-esteem on the part of the cheater.

I have heard that among womanizers, it is known that the easiest mark is a woman whose husband hates her. A woman who has been treated badly and abused by her husband will feel like she is someone altogether new when she starts getting the positive attention and appreciation from a man she believes loves her. With what you are saying about her affirmations and chipper statements, I am thinking this could be the case with your friend.

I am definitely not saying that it is okay for a woman in such a marriage to cheat, because as you know I was in such a marriage…and did face the temptation myself. Although I didn’t go and do that, I know how powerful that temptation is and would have compassion and understanding for someone who fell for it. I have a cousin who was in a very similar marriage to my own who did cheat, was kicked to the curb by her husband who just loved to be the wounded victim, and who now is in a relationship with the guy she cheated with. I think she is going about this all wrong and is just going to end up hurt again. Often times jumping out of the frying pan only has you end up in the frying pan.

Infidelity is wrong, period, even in an abusive marriage situation. Your friend really does need to face whatever the situation was in her marriage rather than just moving on into a new relationship. I would probably encourage her more on that end, and listen to her about the problems that she had, while avoiding encouraging or condoning the new relationship.

If she isn’t someone you tend to like to begin with, then by all means, avoid her. If she is someone that you have enjoyed being friends with in the past, then at least try to see where she is coming from.

I’m confused. Her husband is not abusive, I never said that. Where did that come from? Her husband cheated a long time ago -he actually went to a prostitute. Gross I know. But she stayed and chose to work it out. “Liz” had an affair with a married man before she was married when we were all in our early 20’s. She was very promiscuous when we were all teenagers. I think you are making a mental picture about this marriage that isn’t anywhere near what you perceive it to be.

Their marriage has been rocky. They argue a lot. He’s spends a lot of time gaming online. She has a shopping addiction. She knows the UPS guy personally because he comes to their house so much to deliver stuff she’s ordered. She and her husband are both on facebook and he’s always said nice, complimentary things about her. Talks about how beautiful she is.

She has started working out a lot lately, her husband is quite over weight -he was even before they were married. She looks great now. She’s made a new group of friends, a lot of them single. She doesn’t come out with us as much as she used to. About a year ago she found out an ex-boyfriend lived in her neighborhood. They began hanging out. We warned her to be careful. Then something soured there because all of sudden they weren’t friends. And now this happens. I do know her husband is not abusive. She would have told us if he was, she has no problem sharing his faults.

I think she’s going through some midlife thing. She’s turning 39 this month.

I was only listing the abusive angle as an example to show that we don’t know what is going on inside the marriage and that perhaps there is a reason for compassion. If you were already bothered by her behavior, then there is no reason to continue the friendship. If she was a good friend and you find the infidelity to be a shock, then it would be worth it to consider what is happening behind the scenes. It sounds like they both have issues that stretch way back and neither one has an understanding about the sanctity of marriage. From the more complete picture that you paint of your friend, she doesn’t sound like someone I would want to invest my time in befriending further.

Dulcissima, she isn’t a friend I would have chosen, although I’m pretty easy going and can get along with most people. We didn’t really like each other as teens but when our kids were small we got along pertty good. She actually was a good friend at one point but there have been changes in her in the last three years or so. She is a relative of my best friend though and my best friend can’t exactly ask to not be a part of circle of women without causing family issues for herself -and my best friend is very non-confrontational. So I’m kind of stuck with her.:o

I will make myself go to the bday dinner for my best friend’s sake and suck it up. My best friend has a lot of family issues going on right now so I don’t want to add anything to her plate. I’m not even supposed to know about any of this.

Just an update…well Liz and her husband are in the midst of divorce proceedings and its not pretty. I did actually find it in myself give Liz emotional support. Her husband decided it was a good idea to tell their 12 year old son ever gory detail of his mother’s affair and her mother was telling her she was going to burn in hell.

Her mother has finally come around after seeing a “booklet” worth of documentation her husband submitted exposing every private confidence between her and her husband over their years of marriage, every perceived flaw including that she struggled in high school etc basically implying she is an uneducated moran.:rolleyes: He wants full custody of their son.She has moved back home, the judge ordered that her husband allow her back in the house. Now of course he claims she left of her own free will.

The more she talks about what happened the more I realize she has no judgment at all. The guy she was having an affair with promptly dumped her once she was served with divorce papers. She still cries over him. He is a drug abusing, ex-con whom she actually participated in some of his activities with. Her reasons were he made her feel wonderful, told her she was beautiful. The woman he was living with found out about her and made contact with her. When he found out she had talked with his girlfriend he sent her a text which said things I can’t repeat here but including the statement to lose his number and he was only with her because she willing to put out. She thinks he said this because he was angry.:rolleyes:

She hasn’t had contact with this guy in a month but still tears up about it and I can not relate to this at all. I realize her marriage was bad and being told your beautiful can be powerful to a depressed woman but from a crack using, shopping lifting womanizer?

As much as I feel loyalty to her because she is a relative of my best friend I wonder about her judgment as a parent. She keeps talking about how hot her lawyer is, even sending out a group email to many of us to look at his facebook page to see what he looks like. By the way her lawyer is married.

I’ve tried to gently director back to going to church and that she needs to let God fill that hole in her instead men. I chose my words carefully trying hard not to sound judgmental. I did tell her teasingly her guy radar is defective. Honestly as soon as I saw this guy she had an affair with’s page online -alarms went off. It was so obvious what he was after.

Anyway I do feel sorry for her because she is in a lot of pain, and I don’t like to see anyone in pain but I can’t say I understand the choices she makes.

I dont have any advice but it sounds like this woman really needs our prayers. Cheating is never okay. But there are probably a lot of factors that made her vulnerable to poor decisionmaking in this department. It sounds like she needs a lot of counseling so it is good she is receiving that. She sounds like a lost sheep. Ill keep her in my prayers.



Wow - it sounds like she’s been a mess since, well, forever.

It sounds like this woman has no idea of what marriage really is. It seems like she needs to go way back and start at the beginning as far as learning about relationships, women, men, commitment, responsibility, romance, attraction, in short, the whole gamut.

I feel sorry for her…

Some people never learn. I’d avoid outings that include this woman.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.