Last year, I had a great time with some of my girlfriends at a wine festival.
On the way home, the designated driver made some comments about her husband and called him an asshole. Hmm. Not such a good thing.
A few weeks later, she and I had a chance to talk one-on-one, and it turned out she was unhappy in her marriage and was in the midst of an emotional affair. Having been in a very similar situation, I did my best to talk her down and give her some “I’ve been there” advice, in the hopes that she’d use my mistakes as a lesson.
“Whatever you do, deal with the issue of your marriage separately from the relationship with the other guy.”
“I wish I hadn’t gotten physical before actually leaving my marriage.”
“Don’t get pregnant!”
She seemed to take the advice to heart, but a month later, she was a wreck, and it turns out she’d slept with the other guy and her husband had no idea and she didn’t know what to do.
We talked for a long time. She was sure she wanted to leave her marriage. This wasn’t the guy she wanted to spend the rest of her life with anymore. She’s not sure she ever felt that way, but inertia happens and we sometimes stand by choices we know aren’t right out of a false sense of obligation.
She was sure she wanted to leave but was afraid that if she moved out, she’d lose any claim to their house. Our state sometimes recognizes “in-home separation,” so I sent her some information about it.
Her husband became suspicious that night, not believing she was with me, so he snooped in her phone and found the e-mail I sent. He woke her up, devastated, saying he’d do anything to save their marriage, including counseling, which he had stubbornly refused to go to when she had previously suggested it. Sounds awfully familiar.
She felt obligated to give it one more chance. He had one condition: cut off contact with me.
Fast-forward to last summer. She and I managed to find some time to talk. Things were “ok,” she said. But then she asked, “Do you really think it’s possible for a marriage to work when the two people have nothing in common?”
I said that I do think it’s possible, if they enjoy time together and are confident enough in themselves and their marriages to do things independently, and those independent experiences enhance their relationship when they come together afterward. But I also told her that I had nothing in common with my ex-husband, and I have everything in common with my current partner, and the relationships are so very different. The current relationship is so much more fulfilling and happy.
Just this week, I heard from another friend that she and her husband are trying to get pregnant.
My heart sinks.
I sent her a request for a double date. I’d like to get to know her husband better. I want to support her and let her know that I will be there for her no matter what. I am hopeful that we can maintain our friendship.
But I get a chilling–and chilly–response. They don’t have time. And not even a hint of “let’s try another time.”
It’s time to write off this so-called friendship. I don’t know if I’m still persona non grata to her husband, and he has denied my request. I don’t know if she is happy, but seeing me reminds her of the terrible time she had last year. I don’t know if she is unhappy, and seeing me reminds her of what could be if she took control of her life.
I sincerely hope she is happy.
I am doubtful.