Send your relationship questions to [email protected] They don't have to be as dramatic as this one.
My best friend (really! it’s not me) has been seeing a man on and off for the last year and a half. They see each other every few weeks, spend occasional nights together at her place, go out to dinner at nice restaurants, and talk/text periodically. Recently, at his invitation, they spent a fun long weekend together just before the pandemic. My friend, who is in her early 30s, is sweet, talented, and beautiful. She genuinely cares for this man and was thinking that they might be become more serious. They have had conversations leading up to this. The problem is that he is not yet legally divorced. He is a professional in his late 30s.
According to Man (as I will call him), he has been separated from his wife for several years with absolutely no chance of reconciliation. Neither Man nor wife is interested in getting back together and they live in separate cities. Man states that they have not formally divorced solely for the sake of their young daughter. Recently, through a credible source, my bestie learned that Man is actually very married and has been married for several years. In fact, Man is happily living under the same roof with his wife, who is a career professional with a busy schedule. On top of this, in reality, they have no children! Man’s wife seems to be quite in love with him and frequently posts pictures of them and their happy life together. Apparently, Man’s wife is unaware of the duplicitous life he is leading.
My friend feels hurt and betrayed. I feel horrible for her. If it was left to me, I would outright confront lying Man and tactfully inform his wife and provide her with supporting evidence. My friend feels perhaps it’s best to simply sever all ties with Man, without further discussion. However, it is likely Man will continue to reach out to her, as he is unaware that she is on to his lies. I want to be supportive of my crestfallen and trusting friend. How should she handle this situation?
- Oh, man
I'm responding to you, not her, so my first thought is that you must let your friend grieve. She spent a year and a half with Man and it sounds like she was in love with him. She might have had dreams of a life with him. Now all of that is shattered, so she'll probably need to sit with that for a bit. It's a lot to accept and it'll take time.
Questions are good. You can ask, "What do you need?" and "Would you like to talk about it or would you prefer a distraction?" If she's spiraling about what to do next, you can remind her that she doesn't have to make any final decisions right now.
You ask how she should handle the situation, and look, there are many reasonable paths here. Some would send a note to the wife with evidence. Others might cut Man off but say nothing. Personally, I like your plan, but that's just me. You might ask your friend, when she seems ready, what she wants the outcome to be. Sometimes it's easier to work backwards. Her state of mind is more important than justice right now.
This is a major betrayal; the disappointment must be overwhelming. Please make sure she's sleeping and eating and talking. Remind her that she’s sweet, talented, and beautiful. That's your only job.
Readers? Would you tell Wife? How can the LW be a supportive friend?