Friend is seeing a married man. Need help with conversation.

posted 7 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
3093 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

Personally, I disagree with the bees that are saying that you should only offer advice/input to your friends when they ask for it.

One of the most valuable things that genuinely good friends can do for one another is be willing to have uncomfortable conversations and tell one another things we may not want to hear. No one has ever grown and developed in meaningful ways when surrounded by nothing but yes-men/women.

It is clear that this is about more than simply disapproving of your friends inappropriate relationship. You care about your friends wellbeing and you know that her tendency to seek out emotionally unfulfilling relationships is an unhealthy pattern that will continue to create unhappiness in her life.

I truly do believe that as a good friend, it IS your role to point this out to her and try to help her develop healthier patterns.

She may or may not be willing to accept what you are pointing out to her, no matter how gently you put it, but I highly doubt that there is NO part of her that sees the pattern and knows it’s unhealthy. Even if she isn’t willing to hear it right now and pushes you away, it will force her to confront the facts in some way, whether she chooses to do anything with it or not. 

To have the highest chance of the conversation being effective, you will need to strike a balance between centring the conversation on your concern for her wellbeing while at the same time not coming off as patronising or paternalistic. She is not a child and does not want or need to be told what is best for her. Try your best to avoid wording things in a way that would suggest that you know better than she does what is good for her. However, you also want to avoid putting her on the defensive by focusing on the morality of her choices. 

Try to frame the conversation a bit more inquisitively. Ask her if she’s finding her emotional needs are being fulfilled. Ask her where she is hoping the relationship eventually goes and if it’s realistic to bank on it going there. And when she eventually catches on that you are asking these things out of concern, be honest – “Yeah, ___, I am concerned. Because this is not the first time you’ve found yourself in a relationship that is one-sided / emotionally-unfulfilling or the firt time you’ve dated someone who is simply not available to fulfill your needs in general. You’re a wonderful person and you deserve to be with someone who is able and willing to be with you so I’m trying to understand why you are settling for less.” 

Post # 18
2467 posts
Buzzing bee

I was in a similar situation and I told my friend that she was being a bad person.  She wasn’t happy with me at first, but she realized what I was saying was true and she stopped talking to him and our friendship is going strong.

We can love our friends wholeheartedly, but also call them on their bullshit.  If you are true friends, they will know that you were trying to help, not trying to hurt them.

Post # 19
488 posts
Helper bee

I’ve been there. When my friend asked me to be supportive of her cheating on her husband with a married man my response was to tell her I could be the friend she needed but I refused to be the friend she wanted. 

It was the end of our friendship and then shortly after the end of two marriages. 

Post # 20
836 posts
Busy bee

Maybe she’s happy…maybe she’s tired of getting hurt and doesn’t want the drama. In her head he may be “safe”…not that it makes it right. I just don’t think it’s your place to judge her. 

Post # 21
992 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I would try to stay away from her history of unavailable men (unless she has a history with other committed men) and stick to this particular situation and that you don’t approve and won’t continue talking about it like it’s fun/gossip/entertaining/etc.

I wouldn’t be able to continue the same type of friendship with someone who was part of cheating but that’s just me.

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