ASK COLETTE: “I Lost My Husband and Best Friend – To Each Other”
Photo Credit: Corbis
Here, what to do if you’ve been blindsided and betrayed by your husband – and your best friend.
I am embarrassed to write this but I can’t seem to get my thoughts straight so I hope you can help me. After almost 20 years of marriage, my husband left me. He left me for another woman, who just happens to be my best girlfriend. We vacationed with this couple twice a year for the past 16 years. I had no idea the affair was going on for almost as long. Looking back now I did see some signs but I dismissed them because we were all so close and it seemed incomprehensible that something was going on. This woman is my daughter’s godmother and her 16-year-old daughter and mine are very close. I have not told my daughter what happened. I don’t want either of our children to suffer. I just don’t know what to do!
To top it off my husband broke up the affair and has since asked to come home. My girlfriend is now begging my forgiveness. How can I keep my family and friendship together and move forward? – Blindsided and Betrayed
Dear Blindsided and Betrayed,
Wow. Okay, this is like riding upside down on a rollercoaster—my heart has not stopped pounding since I started reading your letter. I don’t mean to be rude but why are you writing to my column? There’s so much happening here, it calls for a qualified therapist that can really sit down and guide you through it.
That being said, you asked so I will give you my opinion…so hold onto your seat.
This is your BEST friend? Um, are you serious? This is no friend. This woman lied to your face for 16 years. Of course, she wants forgiveness now. She had him and you and she lost both of them, just like you did. I understand how you were HER best friend. After all you gave her everything you had and she sure took it. You’ll mourn the loss of the friendship (the one you thought you had) but how will you ever trust and respect her again? Those are two key elements of any good friendship, and she failed on both counts.
As for your husband…you guys need serious couples therapy. What else has he been untruthful about? What else have you turned a blind eye to? How do you get to a place of respectful transparency? You need a therapist, a mediator and a referee – all rolled into one!
Your original question was how do you keep it together? I think you need to take it apart. Look at your part in this. Ask yourself how and why you enabled it.
Don’t take 100 per cent of the blame for their lousy decisions. You could be a stunning beauty, fabulous cook, great lover, mother of the year, supportive friend and the moral compass of your husband and girlfriend could’ve still been broken.
Hiding won’t make it go away…this WILL affect your daughter. Show her that although hearts get broken, they survive, they rebuild and they thrive. You have an opportunity to show her what self-respect, self-confidence and reliance are all about.
What do you need now? Be selfish and let it be about you for a change. You asked how to forgive and move forward. I am all for forgiveness but don’t do it just to keep it together and not interrupt the image of your happy lives. That’s co-dependence. Do it from understanding. You have been betrayed, Sister! Own it. Face it. Surrender to it. Cry about it. Grieve it. Cry some more. Get support for you not for “them”.
Love always and forever,
The Invision Project
If you have a question you would like to ask Colette, write to her at [email protected]. All published questions and answers will be anonymous – we honor and protect your privacy. (Please, Colette respectfully asks that you do not request a reading as the anticipated response to your question.)