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 Post subject: Staying friends
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:01 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:50 am
Posts: 80
Hi all.
My H and I have had a really tough year, and quite a few times, more than ever in our relationship, I was seriously considering leaving... but for some reason I have held on and held on, always hoping and believing something would change, that he would see the light and start doing the necessary work. Sadly, now, after all his assurances that he was "working", I found evidence that he was in contact with another woman, whom he claimed over and over was just a friend. My gut feel would not let up, and eventually the truth came to light (accidentally, otherwise I probably still would not know). Not only has he developed a relationship with this woman, but they have serious feelings for each other.

Before I got the actual truth, he agreed to go to counselling, and the appointment is tomorrow. However, over the weekend we spent a lot of time talking and both of us crying, and i have come to realise that he does not want to salvage our relationship. He has gone away for work until Friday, and I will keep the appointment on my own, as I feel I need help in letting go. I cannot understand at all why, after everything, it hurts so much. I am trying to determine if it is just my stubborn nature (I refused to give up, fighting for so many years) or my pride (having to admit to the failure of a second marriage). And I am of course angry. He lied about the relationship, and tried to engineer my leaving because "we were making each other miserable", which in a way we were. But he was not truthful about his motives. He still tells me it is not that he is leaving me for her, that our issues were insurmountable even without her in the picture (and that is probably true too).

He is trying to convince me that she is such a nice person, that she never meant to hurt me, they never meant for feelings to develop (but she knew he was married...) etc. I know there are never guarantees, and that people do sometimes fall out of love and meet others. But they did nothing to prevent it (I do not hang out with other men, especially married men, on my own, ever). I am not convinced that he is anywhere near healthy enough to start a new, addiction free relationship (and part of me feels nastily happy that the other woman is going to get a bit of a rude awakening), as I found some evidence that he as recently as last week was on dating sites too. I do not want him to "try" for my sake to keep our relationship going if it is not what he wants. Part of me wants him to actually be happy in future, even if it is with this woman. Part of me wishes she is a demon bitch from hell and makes him really miserable :e:

She has apparently told him to spend extra time with me to help me get through our breakup, because I am hurting so much (she is sooo nice, isnt she? I wonder if she is not much more manipulative and clever than he will ever see). He is still in contact with her, and worries about her as she is an epileptic which is not always well controlled. She constantly has computer issues, etc which he has to help with. He says he still cares deeply for me, and wants to be there for me, and wants to keep my friendship as it means so much to him, that i know him better than anyone else. He says he always wants to be a part of my life.

Somehow, it helps knowing he feels and sees, and to some extent shares the pain and hurt of our marriage ending, but i am cynical in that i think it is just a way for them to feel less guilty. He has been honest and open about things I never thought he would be (perhaps because he no longer sees me as a "partner" he has to hide himself from?). He was never able to deal with emotions, from my side or his, but he has put up with everything and more from me in a caring manner. I have been brutally honest about him, his flaws, and my view on past events, he has been very hurt by some of what I have had to say. The cynical side of me wonders about this sudden new development, is it more smoke and mirrors?

Sometimes it feels like he is expecting me to trust, and make myself vulnerable to my torturer. I have told him perhaps a clean break would be more intense intitially, but easier and faster to get over. However, we will have to live in the same house for at least 3 months before he will be able to move out! We also have a few commitments over December that we will have to keep as a couple, before we can let everyone know our marriage is over. I am trying very hard to hold on to my values through this, with varying success. I know that is the way forward, I know who I strive to be and that is how i hope the psychologist will be able to help me.

Now, after all I said above, does any one of you think it is possible to be "best friends" or even friends after all the emotions have died down? My H really is a very good friend, and a really crappy husband. We do share many interests, and have always been able to talk about everything (non relationship related). Some days i think there is no reason why it should not be possible (though perhaps it should develop naturally and not be pushed quite the way he is pushing)? Or am my kidding myself, is it better to get as far away as possible?

 Post subject: Re: Staying friends
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:55 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 667
LaLuna - I am so, so sorry for what you are going through. I send you my virtual embrace.

I am so glad you have a pyschologist who can be there for you. It took me a couple of tries, but I have found a therapist who has been immensely helpful to me and my top priority right now is the work I am doing with her. It's very healing and it will take me some time. I hope you can find healing as well with your psychologist.

I am still with my husband. I don't know about being friends with your ex. I know some women can do so, and do so quite successfully. I know some women who made a clean break with no contact and feel very good about that decision. I know some women who muddle through before they figure it out. I know for me if my husband left me for another woman, I would not want any contact whatsover after a divorce. The 3 months together in same house would be a challenge, and I would aim for amicable and civil.

I do know from women who have been through a separation and divorce that they tell me they feel tremendous relief when they are finally living apart from their exes. That's not to say they did not have challenges, but they tell me how relieved they were once they made their decision and started with the new chapter of their lives.

In the meantime, a boundary around this other woman may be helpful. If it were me, I would not want to hear about her thoughts and opinions about anything, particularly me and what I would need. Their behavior is nowhere in the realm of "nice."

And, I don't believe for a minute that there is a life of happiness and healthy intimacy in the picture for either your ex or this other woman. I do believe that in an affair, the 'third party', is fuel for the relationship and when that third party is gone, they have to face each other and all the reality of real life with a real human being. I do not see a positive outcome for them. But, I don't care about them. I care about you. I do see a positive outcome for you.

With compassion,

 Post subject: Re: Staying friends
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:08 am 
General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
I strongly believe it is possible for you to remain friends. I have a long history of being friendly with my exes. With some I was just friendly but not close. With the last two I have a very strong bond of genuine brotherly caring ... we don't speak very often but when we do we talk about deep things like happiness, world view. The key is detachment and boundaries. You both need to be very clear on where the boundaries lie ... no confusion, no ... maybe one day ... it has to be a closed door from the romantic point of view. For me it was closed because I knew we want different things and we can never have a future together. I chose to respect their right to happiness as much as I respect mine. So, I had to respectfully let go of my illusions but we still had great conversations or chill out time or we helped each other with errands and money and whatever else. In my case I did not have other friends or family close but I knew that I can always call them if anything goes wrong. As they also knew I will do anything for them as far as it is in my power to do so. Therefore, I don't look at the years spent with them as wasted ... 4 years relationship with one, 2 years relationship with the other ... We've invested in a strong bond that goes beyond romance, it is a genuine friendship of people that do not have anything to lose or gain of the other's back. It's honest, genuine and caring and I'm proud I was able to develop this type of bond with other human beings. Even with my H I would like that very much. I would like us to be friends and be at least a small part of each other's lives, even if we don't make it. I think for me it's also a coping mechanism. I found it easier to say we are friends therefore I have no right to judge what he is doing or who he is with than cling on to him ditching me or cheating me and being drowned in a sea of sadness and anger and envy and jealousy. I think for me turning an unsuccessful relationship in a genuine friendship is a pattern and it makes the world a much better place to live in ... no enemies, no hard feelings ... I have my own life and my own happiness to worry about or make it happen.
Hope it helps.

"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy

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