Dear Coleen

Last year my husband left me for one of my best friends. It’s been a truly awful couple of years for me.

They were having an affair for a while before I found out. A couple of friends eventually told me they knew it was going on and I confronted him, and he admitted it.

I was heartbroken and humiliated – a double betrayal. This woman had been a close friend for years – we helped each other out, our kids are friends and our families have been on many holidays together. It’s just awful.

My husband is now living with her and he sees our kids every other weekend.

I’m finding it so hard to get over and it doesn’t help that we live in a pretty small community, so everyone knows our business and I’m sick of getting pitying looks from people.

She was already divorced after her husband had an affair and now she’s done the very same thing to me.

I was the one who provided a shoulder to cry on when she found out her husband was cheating – she hated the other woman!

How could she have done the same to me? I’ve only spoken to her once about this – I called her and screamed down the phone – but since then I’ve avoided her.

Have you any advice?

Coleen says

I can feel how hurt and angry you are. Yes, it’s a double betrayal, but what’s interesting is that you seem angrier towards your friend and don’t say very much about your husband.

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I get that, especially as you nursed her through her own break-up – you trusted her and she accepted your support and now you have nowhere to put that anger.

Well, I’d put the anger into counselling where you can vent until the cows come home to someone who’s not involved and won’t judge you or pity you.

I think your pride has been badly battered. One of the things I hated most after my first marriage ended was people pitying me.

But, you know, I was able to see it wasn’t really pity, it was just people having empathy and, after what you’ve been through, you deserve having people reach out to you.

You will get over this and be happy again, even though it doesn’t feel like it now. Surround yourself with good people and let them help you.

The same thing happened to a good friend of mine whose best friend of 30 years had an affair with her husband. With time and support she has moved on and made a good life for herself.

She was the one who encouraged me to have counselling when my first husband had an affair, and I resisted it for ages. But when I finally took that step I found it helped more than anything else.

Some days I’d sit in the room and cry for the whole session, other times I’d get angry and scream, but when I felt really lost and had nothing to cling to, it really helped give me a sense of perspective and logic, which is what got me through. Good luck.

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