Do I forgive the friend who had an emotional affair with my husband?

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Dear Meredith,

I don't know that you can help, but I'm getting conflicting advice from friends and family. The short story is that my husband of 25 years has been having an emotional affair (and I think somewhat physical, although he denies it) with my best friend. Yes, my best friend. I found out after he suddenly asked for a divorce, and am beside myself with the double betrayal. He never came clean on his own, and had shown no remorse beyond getting caught, so I have no interest in reconciling with him.

But it’s been really hard not having my best friend to lean on. I'm not about to give her a pass for engaging in any of this, but she has been remorseful, has volunteered a lot of details I never knew about, and has mostly answered my questions directly (showing me texts to back up what she told me). Half of my friends/family tell me to run from her and never look back, while others think the relationship can be saved. Am I crazy for believing her version of events, and opening myself up to trusting her again? For what it's worth, she has said she liked the attention from him, but that it meant nothing more than that to her. I'm so confused, and hurt, and lonely. Please point me in the right direction. Do I forgive or forget and never look back?

– Forgive for forget?


Are they still together in some way? If so, I don't know that you want to be around her (or them) right now. If they're not coupled, this is harder to figure out.

I wouldn't say that you have to run from your best friend. Really, there are no rules here. I would only tell you that this is an ever-changing situation. Right now you're seeking information about what happened, and she's a good source for that. I imagine that sharing this evidence and giving you the answers you need makes her feel good too. After causing you pain, she gets to feel helpful. She's unburdening herself.

Of course, after she's told you all you need to know, I don't know how you'll feel about spending time with her. Maybe you'll be able to forgive. Perhaps you'll want to dismiss her.

Give yourself permission not to know for right now. There's also some middle version of your two options where this friend is in your life, but her role has changed.

Your friends and family love you and want the best for you, I assume. They're angry with this woman – which makes a ton of sense – but they're not in your shoes. Ask them for support, and remind them that you're on your own path with this.

Also, remember to see other people – the kind who aren't involved in your marriage. It's a good reminder that there's more to your life, and a lot to look forward to.

– Meredith

Readers? Would you forgive? Is it OK not to know? Interesting that this LW barely mentions the husband?