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My two closest friends had an affair with each other, not coping with the change in our relationships

70gsmpaper
Community Member

I have a small social group, around half a dozen people, but there's two people in that group I've known for over 10 years that I would put in the "close friend" category. We've been to each other's weddings, gone overseas together multiple times, started (and closed) businesses together and been friends for almost all of our mid-20s to mid-30s. They're some of the few people besides family I'd drop everything for if they needed me and would go out of my way to assist with whatever they needed.

Yesterday I found out those two friends have been having an affair with each other for the past 2 months that's dissolved one of their marriages. I only found out because one of them mentioned they're looking for a new place to live, so I asked why they're doing that and they explained what's been going on.

In the 2 month period we've met in person fortnightly and they never mentioned it to me and I didn't notice any major change in how we all interacted (in hindsight, there were probably subtle signs). It's all come as a massive surprise to me as some other people in our friendship group knew, but not me. I don't feel it was deliberately kept away from me, but rather they simply didn't consider me a close enough friend to share that type of information with.

I feel quite hurt about it and also embarrassed I wasn't aware of this major life changing event of the two people I care about most. I thought we had an equal relationship, where I was as open with them as they were with me, but now it looks like I placed a much higher value on that friendship that they did on my friendship. I also feel guilty that whilst they were having difficulty in their relationships, they turned to other people in our friendship group instead of me.

I'm not sure how I should feel to be honest. They don't owe me anything, nor is is it mandatory for them to share every aspect of their lives with me, but I still I feel hurt that they didn't - is that an appropriate feeling? Should I be happy that my two favourite people in the world have found something that works for them on a level more than friendship?

I also feel like the status of our 3-way relationship has now changed where they have this incredible bond and I'm just an accessory to that. Thinking about meeting up with them in person again makes me feel very awkward as I never thought of them in any kind of romantic relationship, it's almost like imaging your brother and sister making out. Should I even mention any of how I feel with them?

4 Replies 4

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

This is my fav topic. I know how you feel but I will disagree with your outlook on this.

I was married 11 years and has two daughters. My brother in law I matchmade to a family friend, I was best man etc. They were married 20 years..then I and that lady split marriages to become single.

That lady became my second wife. People were outraged. My eldest daughter like you implied "its like two grandparents getting together". My now wife was my daughter fav suntie by marriage and became "mum" after things settled.

So, while it is natural to feel odd and take time to adapt, it is more important to wish them well and not place mote stress on the friendships. Yes it id sad one marriage collapsed out of it...what does that say about that marriage? ...it wasnt a happy one?

The reason you were left out of the knowledge of the affair is likely that you would react negatively as you are here in your post. They also needed to establish their attractions and deal with ine marriage ending. Lots of turmoil.

The real issue here is communication. Telling them in a loving way that you are happy for them but you need time to adjust is the better way to go. Showing too much resistance is thwart with danger.

Finally, some of your other friends already knew of the news. It's a situation that had they announced it as a group it could have started arguments. Informing as individuals is the softer approach. The fact that you were down the pecking order is irrelevant imo because the lady might have needed counsel from another friend beforehand. Thats just jow friendships evolve.

Time is your friend. Be there unconditionally.

I hope that helps.

TonyWK

Betternow
Community Member

Hello 70gsmpaper

You post a very interesting letter. I had something similar happen to me many years ago. I too had an irrational sense of irritation and disappointment that took me quite a while to work through. I do understand your sense of confusion and perhaps even self doubt about where you sit in your social circle. Could it be your ego has suffered a small dent?

Nevertheless, I agree with white knight. You need to cut your friends some slack here. They obviously needed to keep their affair secret as they were both married to other people. When the news slowly leaked out to others in your group, it is not their responsibility to make a public announcement.

Within a social group there is always going to be information and gossip that swirls around and you should never expect that the release news will synchronise like some military operation. My advice is that providing you still enjoy being part of the social circle, continue to participate. Be a wise and receptive friend and don’t let the foibles of human error affect you negatively.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello 70gsmpaper, I'm sorry for what has happened but the words from Tony and Betternowhave some very good points, which I agree with.

You can never be sure what happens amongst a group of friends, let alone a close group of three people because if two people in that group discover they love each other then it's obvious they want to keep it between themselves, that's how I met my wife (ex) of 25 years.

The three of us were very close and it's not that we didn't love the third person, the relationship between us had changed.

It's not that you were kept out from knowing, but doesn't love work in ways that no one can understand.

It can and will happen behind your back, but that's a connection that develops and doesn't need to keep you apart from them.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

70gsmpaper
Community Member
Thanks everyone, it's been useful to get some perspective.