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The "best friend" who enabled/supported it

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 Squink (original poster new member #83003) posted at 8:51 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Hi,

I'm new here. Please feel free to move this to a different forum if it's more appropriate. I'm truly grateful this place exists and have learned a lot from reading various pages and threads.

This is me: New York City based, wife, two kids. Found out my wife had been having an affair in December last year. The affair had lasted about a year. We were renovating our apartment and stayed in temporary housing, which was full of other families doing the same. She met a guy there who was with his family and you can guess the rest.

I uncovered it through texts, which were coming through to a laptop we share as a family after she hooked up her phone to it at some point last year. I assume she didn't realize texts would start coming through.

The reveal was a text from her best friend: "For what it's worth no one else you fooled around with made you feel bad about yourself."

So from this I know two things: she is cheating and has cheated before, possibly many times. I feel such a fool, so naive and stupid. I realize from reading here this is a common response and I am trying to process it still. Anyway. I uncovered another affair after digging deeper into her message history, this time with a co-worker, that ended some years ago.

In total it's about six years of cheating, possibly with some gaps in-between. I know. I find it very hard to look back on those six years now with any sort of clarity. All I know for certain is I love my kids so much and the memories I have of them over that time will not be changed because of this. Everything else I look back on hurts so much and I feel like my brain chemistry has been altered.

Onto the point of this thread: her best friend was there alongside her through all this, supporting her, making jokes about it, and in one horrifying text she was encouraging her to do more. Long story, but the best friend got divorced (after cheating, you won't be surprised to learn) and was getting remarried. For her second wedding (a marriage that is apparently already in trouble, even though it was only in September last year) we were invited as a family and she texted this to my wife: "I'd really like to see what kind of trouble you would get into at the wedding if your husband wasn't coming (devil sign emoji)"

We are in couples counseling and I am (probably very naively) trying to figure out if there is anything worth salvaging from the relationship. She has ended all affairs and says she wants us to be together, says she loves me, that she never loved these guys, etc.

On my end, among other boundaries I am insisting on which are common things like cutting off contact with these guys etc, I am saying the friendship with this best friend needs to end. My WW is saying no to this. Like adamantly no. For me, I don't see how I can heal from any of this or continue our relationship with this toxic person still in her (and our) lives. My WW says I am fixating on this too much and should focus on fixing things with us more.

I am in pretty bad shape and might not be thinking as clearly as I would like to be. Am I wrong to be insisting on this? Or does she have a point? Any help about this or anything else here is gratefully received.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2023   ·   location: NY
id 8780649
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RecklessForgiver ( member #82891) posted at 9:05 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Dear Squink,

I am so sorry we need to meet on this forum, but your question is a good one.

I will leave it to others further down the road to give you a fuller perspective, but I think that one place to start would be to back up to this:

I am (probably very naively) trying to figure out if there is anything worth salvaging from the relationship.

This is not naive, it is okay to take the time to be sure you know what you want. That said, a key step in recovery from an affair is that the WS be open to diving DEEPLY into the ways they became a cheater and a liar. How willing they are to do this work matters; that is what tells us if there is anything to salvage.

Maybe a way to reframe this with your spouse is to ask them to reflect on how their friendship contributed to or normalized their cheating. It is a fair question! If you remove the demand and instead ask for the reflection, do they show signs of understanding and exploring how this friendship contributed? Are they willing to consider your concern? If so, giving time and pressure to explore might lead them to be more open to what you are asking for. If, however, they are a wall of defensiveness and unwilling even to ask themselves why a friend would enable and support a behavior they now say they are ashamed of, then that indicates a significant block in their head that they are not moving past. If they cannot see why the friend's behavior is part of the larger problem, that would be a red flag.

Not sure that helps. I am still deep in these waters myself and do not pretend to have answers.

RecklessForgiver

posts: 94   ·   registered: Feb. 17th, 2023   ·   location: Midwest
id 8780652
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FunHouseMirror ( member #80992) posted at 9:07 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Of course you're right. Anytime your wife and her friend got together or even just talked, you would never feel safe. It's ok for this to be your line in the sand. It may also be your wife's line in the sand. In that case, the decision is made for you and you can move forward knowing that you tried but your wife was never going to be a safe partner for you.

I know you're in pain now, but there's something to be said for yanking a bad tooth quickly, rather than suffering while trying to save something that has decayed from the inside out.

***hugs***

posts: 248   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2022
id 8780654
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 9:09 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

It is not unreasonable for you to tell your wife she can have her friend who is not a friend of the marriage or she can have a shot at saving the marriage but not both.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 346   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8780656
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 9:14 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

If you’ve read here for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly seen a universal call for anyone who is not a friend of the marriage to be dropped. It makes a ton of sense to me. This "friend" actively encouraged your wife to betray you, even goading her to go further. It’s disgusting. In order to even try to reconcile, your wife needs to stop her abhorrent behavior, discover and explain her why’s, support you in your misery, and take up the cross of rebuilding your shattered trust. Is having an affair cheerleading best friend whispering in her ear going to be conducive to any of those things? Clinging to that friend is her continuing to deprioritize and disrespect you.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2099   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8780658
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 9:18 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

My WW says I am fixating on this too much and should focus on fixing things with us more.

One element that commonly accompanies cheating is gaslighting by the WW. Per your description, your WW has cheated on you more than once, over a period of years, and has among other things enjoyed the active encouragement of her friend, whom you also know.

To accomplish all of this, your WW must have formulated and communicated thousands of lies. A web of lies. I reckon that, like most cheaters, her weaving of this web was insidious and cumulative. I point that out because she has been lying to you for a long time, in a profound and paradigm-shattering manner. Lying is her normal. You should keep that in mind as you filter the words she utters to you now.

The fundamental goal of gaslighting is to manipulate the victim into doubting not just factual truth, but even his own moral and emotional truth. This position by your WW vis-a-vis a woman who has behaved as nothing other than an enemy to your marriage is classic gaslighting. The answer from you is not just "no" but "hell no!!!"

At the very least, you should personally stay away from the wedding. I would suggest you also let your WW know that her choice to elevate the friendship with an enemy of the marriage, over the completely legitimate and normal emotional need of her BH, will tell you what you need to know about her commitment to the marriage.

Gently, I'd suggest also that you go to the Healing Library on this site and do some reading. Also, read some of the threads on "Just Found Out".

Among other things, you should read about The 180. This is a technique to give yourself some psychological space so that you can start seeking your heart's truth. I'd suggest also seeking a good IC, one with experience dealing with the sexual and emotional trauma of having been betrayed.

On the subject of counseling, the general advice here is to eschew MC this early after Dday. Most MC's lack the skill to deal with the trauma, emasculation, sexual humiliation a man experiences when his wife cheats. Has your MC encouraged you to examine your role in the cheating yet? Has the MC allowed your WW to get away with using the "M-word" euphemism ("mistake") in referring to her thousands of conscious decisions that she would rather treat her half of the marriage as a secret, one-sided open marriage than honor the promises she made directly to your face when you were wed?

That advice is especially apt in the case of a long-term recidivist cheater like your WW. There is something deeply broken in her moral compass. She is not trustworthy nor honorable. Until she figures out what is broken, fixes it, and makes herself into a trustworthy person, then you are attending MC and trying to patch up a marriage to a pathological liar and recidivist cheat.

She has ended all affairs and says she wants us to be together, says she loves me, that she never loved these guys, etc.

How can you know she has ended all affairs? How can you even know whether you know about all affairs?

"Says she loves me, that she never loved these guys, etc." Said every cheating wife caught by her BH, ever.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 9:39 PM, Friday, March 3rd]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 4179   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8780660
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Buster123 ( member #65551) posted at 9:19 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

I'm sorry that you had to find us but glad you did. Full disclosure, I always suggest D when it comes to LTAs (Long Time Affairs) and/or Serial Cheaters, based on what you have mentioned your WW has been engaged in LTAs and is a serial cheater, so a double whammy right here and of course my suggestion still stands.

I am saying the friendship with this best friend needs to end. My WW is saying no to this. Like adamantly no. For me, I don't see how I can heal from any of this or continue our relationship with this toxic person still in her (and our) lives. My WW says I am fixating on this too much and should focus on fixing things with us more.

Her bestie has never been a friend of your M, she's been a cheerleader in all her trysts behind your back, again your WW is not a good candidate for R by a very long shot, she's not even remorseful and even after her huge betrayal still to this day puts her toxic friendship ahead of you and her M.

Please contact a D attorney and end this farce of a M, don't forget to get tested for STDs, yes she's been playing russian roulette with your health and during a pandemic no less, some STDs could remain dormant for years, also DNA your kids just in case, again based on what you posted it seems you don't even know the full extent of her betrayals and how many OMs she's been with.

Keep posting frequently, the collective wisdom of SI could help you go through this difficult situation, we've literally seen it play out THOUSANDs of times, every case is different but cheaters typically follow a similar script.

posts: 2738   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2018
id 8780662
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 9:27 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Hi, welcome to SI. Sorry you find yourself here.

First of all, ditch the couples counseling for now. Your wife cheated, the marriage isn't broken, she is. She needs individual counseling.

Secondly, it's non negotiable that she removes this friend from her life.

I also suggest you get yourself into individual counseling...your wife seems to be a serial cheater, you are living a nightmare, you need someone who is your advocate to steer you in the right direction and help you heal.

Have you asked her to take a polygraph so you can find out exactly how many times she's cheated? Cheaters rarely tell the truth, and you deserve to know exactly who she is.

Also, I'd insist on a written timeline of all of her affair(s). Who, when, where, how long, etc.

Your wife needs to be an open book. Complete transparency. How did she have the time to have these affairs? Where? Hold her accountable for her whereabouts at all times. No social media. Access to her phone and emails/voicemails. Seems a bit extreme but right now you cannot trust a word coming out of her mouth.

What is your wife doing to help you feel safe? Actions, not words.

posts: 12158   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
id 8780663
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 9:45 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Brother Squink,

Sorry that you find yourself among us, but also glad you found this place. You came here for advice, so let's cut to the chase:

Your wife can either have you as her husband or this woman as her friend, but not both. Plain and simple. You should not tolerate any less from the woman who swore a vow to you that she broke over and over again. If she wanted to rebuild the bond you had that facilitated those very vows, she would recognize that her "friend" is not a friend but rather someone who views her as entertainment. I have a true best friend, we've been close since early elementary school days and we are turning 38 years old this year, so that is decades of friendship. He would never have encouraged me to cheat on my wife or been excited to see me cheat on her. He was my best man in my wedding and has been supportive of both of us the whole time we've been together. A true friend of the marriage through and through.

If your wife's friend was a true friend of hers or even a friend of the marriage, she would've counseled your wife to seek divorce and exit your marriage if she was looking to stray from your relationship and/or she would've counseled her to speak to you and figure out a way to work on whatever issues seemed to be plaguing the relationship. A true friend would never encourage their friend to intentionally and repeatedly hurt their spouse or any other friend, which is like the textbook definition of what cheating is. Sure, we don't maybe think of it as intentionally hurting someone, because cheaters operate under "what they (BS) don't know, don't hurt 'em." We both know that is total bullshit, because the "knowing" part almost always happens, but to say that it isn't top of mind for the cheater is probably fair. It should be, but it isn't.

Bottom line, if your wife wants any shot at reconciliation, she should recognize that her friend is not a friend and cut her out. I mean, I guess I'm assuming she gets that she has to cut contact with APs for obvious reasons, so why should this friend who we know encouraged but what if she facilitated these interactions? I would guess it isn't out of the realm of possibilities that your wife and her have used their friendship and cheating ways to hide for the other. I could think of a scenario that wouldn't raise your alarm bells but rather disarm them if your wife says "Oh my friend came over today and we had a girls day."..meanwhile your wife's friend and her AP are using your guest room as a love shack or switch it up, your wife and her AP are using friend's place as their love shack. Hotel meet ups leave a paper trail for someone and of course become a little more cumbersome, but having a place to go where they cover for each other...totally within the realm of possibilities here.

The fact that your wife doesn't see that this friendship has to end is proof positive that she is not even a remote possibility as a safe partner and thus a good candidate for reconcliation with you.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 667   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8780668
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LightningCrashes ( member #70173) posted at 10:53 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

The friend has to go. Plain and simple. She was and is a part of the problem. She's a cancer. You have to cut her out completely.

posts: 139   ·   registered: Mar. 28th, 2019
id 8780676
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 Squink (original poster new member #83003) posted at 11:12 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Thank you for all these responses, they are very thoughtful. I will keep you posted on how it goes and will, as suggested upthread, dig into the healing library resources and other boards on here. For what it's worth, I am seeing my own counsellor who has been good so far.

This part in particular rings true:

A true friend would never encourage their friend to intentionally and repeatedly hurt their spouse or any other friend

Off topic a bit, but does anyone else who has been through this have a difficult time looking back on the period when they were cheated on and didn't know it was happening? My brain can't adjust to the reality of what was going on and what I thought was my reality at the time, if that makes sense. It's like 6 years of my life were radically altered in the split second time it took the reveal text to come through.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Mar. 3rd, 2023   ·   location: NY
id 8780679
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 11:18 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

I'm here to go slightly against the grain.

If you can forgive cheating, you can forgive enabling. I'm not saying it's wise or worth it. I'm not saying the friend can or will change to be a friend of the M. I'm also maybe an idiot but my wife has several friends still in her life that effectively enabled cheating, and some of whom were cheaters themselves, but now reformed. My "den of vipers" situation may be somewhat unique. My willingness to make peace with all the vipers may be somewhat unique. And the day I'm bit by one again I suppose I won't be surprised.

Anyway. I recommend cutting her out of you lives, but I can't truly be hardlined against it.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2656   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8780680
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 11:30 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Squink,

I suggest you read up on the stories others have posted to this website, you need to understand the full range of what your WW may have done, do not accept your WWs stories as complete or factual.

You need to know how bad WWs can be because your WW is a professional liar and serial cheater if she was able to lie and conceal this from you for so long. WW will minimize, omit and gaslight you, but you cannot give in to her powers of persuasion.

I would strongly believe your WW has also cheated on you financially, WW may have secret credit cards, siphoned money off to OMs from her paycheck etc.

And like a professional conman your WW is good at turning on and off the charm to convince you to runsweep all she has done.

If you have money hire a PI to bust the friend in her affair, inform the OMW in her prior affairs, she was in her own voyeuristic threesome with your WW. There's some possibility your WW was also sexually involved with the friend.

There's also the matter of getting a detailed timeline, polygraph and STD testing.

Busting all the OMs to their BWs or SOs is another major effort which needs to be done.

If you have children DNA.

posts: 1487   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8780682
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 11:35 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Hello, Squink. Welcome to SI.

I'll offer you my perspective as a former wayward. If your WW came here for advice, I would absolutely tell her that she needs to cut off this friendship. This isn't an arguably grey area, like a friend who didn't tell you about the A but tried to talk her out of it. She is a cheerleader for infidelity. She will be constantly in your WW's ear, whispering that you are being controlling and unfair and should let the past be past. She will cling to that position because doing otherwise would require her to look harder at herself and her own misdeeds. You will be painted as the villain compared to party girl BFF who always had WW's back.

It is hard enough for waywards to look honestly at the crushing pain we've inflicted on our spouses. We don't need enablers feeding our resentment and inflating it into entitlement. Separating your WW from that influence isn't about punishing or isolating her. It's about laying the foundation of her work.

Of course, this puts you at one of many difficult crossroads. A boundary that you don't enforce is not a boundary. If she sticks to her guns -- and it sounds quite possible that she will -- you'll have to decide whether you are prepared to separate. Only you can say whether this friendship is a deal breaker. I believe "yes" would be a valid choice. If your WW's friend had laughed and cheered as someone sexually assaulted you, no one would expect you to endure her presence in your life. Hopefully, your WW would cut ties without you even having to ask. This scenario is a closer parallel to your reality than anyone who hasn't experienced infidelity could understand.

Most people won't get that, though. Even if they did, you'll pay a harsh price. Divorce means half the time with your kids and presumably significant financial consequences. There's also the possibility that she will give in for those same reasons but seethe with resentment. If she doesn't come to support the decision for herself, as opposed to having her hand forced, then R is probably out of reach. However, if her remorse is genuine, she will eventually see her friend's toxicity on her own.

There are no easy answers here, but hopefully, it helps a little to be around people who understand and validate that these are important questions.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 11:09 AM, Saturday, March 4th]

WW/BW

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id 8780683
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 11:50 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

My brain can't adjust to the reality of what was going on and what I thought was my reality at the time, if that makes sense. It's like 6 years of my life were radically altered in the split second time it took the reveal text to come through.

You just perfectly described the near universal experience of being intimately betrayed. Sorry, friend, you are on a terrible ride not of your choosing. I’ve found this community to be helpful in navigating it. I encourage you to join us, there are tough tough days ahead.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2099   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8780686
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 11:57 PM on Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Swuink - it would be helpful to get more context from you, re the state of your M, prior to and during the A’s, the specific snd detailed actions your WW has taken post D day, etc.

posts: 785   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
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Sick2Death ( member #24681) posted at 12:18 AM on Saturday, March 4th, 2023

Hello Squink,

Like everyone before me has said, I’m sorry that you have found yourself here.

I am married to a serial cheater who I thought I was in R with for some time to realize I was betrayed again. I am hoping that you haven’t divulged to your WW how you know about her past lies.

I am dealing with this latest episode completely differently this time. My WH is remorseful, seeing an IC and being very attentive. The last time I went to IC and that was it. I am looking for a support group that I can join so I can make friends to talk with and learn from. I am also insisting that this time he must tell his sister and he must tell our now adult children about his behavior. I have not indicated this time that I am willing to work on our marriage yet. The first time I made my marriage the first priority rather than me. I am in outraging you to stop MC for now and putting yourself first. If this was one of your children dealing with this what advice would you say to them? Now say that to yourself. I am not saying that R is not possible, it may be. But I learned the hard way that you have to make yourself matter most.

That said, I would consider sharing the texts between your WW and her bestie with her new spouse. If he isn’t another betrayed spouse yet, he probably will be soon. Go to the wedding, and let that bother the heck out of them. Try and have fun and be cold to your WS and bestie.

It’s impossible to not reflect on the last six years believe me I’ve been there. But you have to focus on your well being and future first. Don’t bargain or set ultimatums, they don’t work IMO.

Sending you a virtual hug. The pain will lessen over time.

BS Me 53 WH 55 Married 29 years

posts: 57   ·   registered: Jul. 4th, 2009
id 8780693
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Sick2Death ( member #24681) posted at 12:26 AM on Saturday, March 4th, 2023

* sorry that’s encouraging you not enraging…

BS Me 53 WH 55 Married 29 years

posts: 57   ·   registered: Jul. 4th, 2009
id 8780695
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Never2late ( member #79079) posted at 2:56 AM on Saturday, March 4th, 2023

This woman is no where near R material at this time, and may never be. You need to realize this.

You should also not be in MC. You should each be in IC.

posts: 206   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8780713
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 12:48 PM on Saturday, March 4th, 2023

Not only is this woman not a friend of the marriage,she is an active enemy of the marriage.

Nope. This needs to be a firm requirement if she wants you to attempt reconciliation. This woman encouraged, and enabled, your wife in her affairs.

Consequences.

Also..stop MC. She needs a ton of IC. She's a serial cheater. Right now,your job is to take care of yourself, get tested for stds, inform all the OBS, and watch your wife's actions. What work is she doing to become a safe partner?

[This message edited by HellFire at 12:50 PM, Saturday, March 4th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6711   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8780744
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