Best friend hav­ing an af­fair

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - DEAR EL­LIE A. El­lie: el­liead­

Q. My best friend who’s mar­ried re­cently told me that she is hav­ing an af­fair.

She said it had been go­ing on awhile and she didn’t tell me be­cause she was so happy see­ing this man that she didn’t want me rain­ing on her pa­rade.

She has no in­ten­tion of leav­ing her hus­band or com­ing clean — just see­ing where the af­fair takes her. She doesn’t seem to feel any guilt at all.

For me, this has thrown her en­tire char­ac­ter into ques­tion and I’m not sure I can con­tinue to be friends with some­one I didn’t re­al­ize was so un­trust­wor­thy, and for whom I now have so lit­tle re­spect.

All she wants to do is gush about her new boyfriend, so I can’t act as if I don’t know.

I don’t want this one bad de­ci­sion to negate every other qual­ity I love about her, but I don’t rec­og­nize this self­ish, sneaky person.

You’ve al­ready be­gun your re­sponse to her cheat­ing. You’ve re-ex­am­ined your former im­age of this “best friend,” and found her very dif­fer­ent in char­ac­ter. And, you’ve lis­tened too long to her tales of cheat­ing.

You’re not alone, by the way. Other read­ers have told me of los­ing their com­fort with and car­ing for once-close friends, be­cause of fickle, dis­loyal or cheat­ing be­hav­iour.

And the same con­science-search­ing of what to do al­most al­ways points in the same di­rec­tion — take a break from the friend­ship.

How­ever, you haven’t men­tioned her mar­i­tal sit­u­a­tion, or whether you’re aware of cir­cum­stances she’s try­ing to es­cape through an af­fair. Ex­am­ple: Whether her hus­band’s been cheat­ing, or she’s had a health scare, or a loss. These don’t jus­tify an af­fair, but they could help you un­der­stand her bet­ter and talk about what else she could be do­ing to han­dle things.

If none of this ap­plies, tell her you’re un­com­fort­able with what’s go­ing on, and then dis­tance your­self.

Feed­back re­gard­ing the sons who worry how their sin­gle fa­ther will man­age when they’ve both moved away ( June 15):

Reader: “Stay con­nected with your fa­ther in the ways El­lie men­tioned. I also cau­tion you that there are some women out there who’ll see him as a tar­get for mar­riage for fi­nan­cial gain.

“In my so­cial cir­cle of six close friends, it’s hap­pened five times and I’ve read hun­dreds of sim­i­lar cases.

“These women con­vinced our fathers and us, of their undy­ing love. Af­ter mar­riage, they all found ways to get ac­cess to all fi­nances, spend­ing money like crazy.

“Those more adept at de­cep­tion will con­vince their new spouses to change their will, to be­come ex­ecu­tor of the will, and in­sist that they be named as power of at­tor­ney over their fi­nances and health.

“Af­ter three years of mar­riage, my fa­ther’s re­tire­ment fund had been spent on lav­ish cruises with her girl­friends, gam­bling at casi­nos, jew­elry, and cash do­na­tions to her chil­dren.

“When he be­came ill, she cashed out all of his in­vest­ments, took all the cash from bank ac­counts, and stuck him in an aw­ful re­tire­ment home.

“When he died, I had to pay for his funeral.

“Have a con­ver­sa­tion with your fa­ther about these things to pro­tect him and his fu­ture. And see a lawyer to­gether as a fam­ily, to make sure that he’s pro­tected from these types of vul­tures.”

Your per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence and sim­i­lar ones of friends, form a se­ri­ous cau­tion­ary tale.

Hope­fully, many read­ers will keep close con­tact and pro­tect older fam­ily mem­bers who are alone and vul­ner­a­ble.

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