What can I do if my husband and my best friend are in love? Last updated at I am 36, married for 11 years, with two children. Eight years ago, I discovered that my husband loved my best friend, also married with two children. I saw it by the way they behaved and how happy he always seemed in her presence. She started working for him and they spent a lot of time alone together. When I confronted him about his feelings, he said I was being silly, so I decided to believe him.
When I found a rough draft of a letter from him to her, I was devastated. He intended to leave me and our baby to be with her. I felt sick and angry. They both insisted that nothing sexual had happened, but the fact that he had feelings for her hurt so much. At this point, I wasn't sure if I should go back to America to be with my family who love me. After much thinking, I decided to stay and give him a second chance. But no matter how hard I tried, it never felt like we fully recovered.
In fact, he started going out to the pub and staying out late while I looked after our children. I felt like a single mum. He then started seeing her again mostly at the pub , then persuaded her to work for him again. He wouldn't let me work for him - which upset me. He promised they'd stick to "work only" and meet socially.
I didn't want to split up my family, so I felt I had no choice but to trust him - and try to be the best wife and mother I could. Over the past two years, things have been especially stressful.
Because he runs his own business, she works from home and he spends a lot of time alone with her at her house. Although they're not going out to the pub any more, he pays her a lot more than he should and gives her regular bonuses for no reason. I've told her she's hurting me. Their relationship is stronger than ever and neither of them are taking my feelings into consideration. He says he loves me, but won't stop his relationship because he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong.
She insists her husband doesn't mind. I'm so hurt and don't know what to do now. I don't mind losing my best friend, but I don't really want to end my marriage unless I've tried everything to make it work. I can't stand the thought of them being so close. Should I consider leaving him or just grin and bear it?
Scroll down for more First, I'd like you to imagine we're in a room and I am introducing you to two other women who have written to me. Here's Pat, 20 years older than you, who has been married for 31 years. Pat discovered her husband has been having an affair with her best friend for a few months, even though all their children have grown up together. Now he has finished it "because he realises he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me". Pat talked to the friend, who now thinks Pat has forgiven the "blip".
But she says she knows that in her heart she is not a forgiving person: So Pat is sitting down with you, having a cup of tea, when Susan walks in.
It's the same story, but Susan's marriage is over. After 20 "very, very happy" years and two sons aged 16 and 18, Susan's husband has moved in with her "dear friend" and at 52 she knows that she has to move on, without obvious rancour, for the sake of those boys.
Yet through that colossal double betrayal experienced by all three of you , she has lost a husband, friend and a whole way of life. She asks for "advice for the next stage of my life". Here we have three readers, then, whose so- called "friends" had no problem breaking up their marriages, three husbands all too willing, and three wives desperately hurt.
I wonder what Pat and Susan would say to you? I suspect the first thing might be to suggest, gently, that although you have plenty of reasons to be jealous, you do not have conclusive proof of an affair.
At this point I can hear readers protesting "Come on! Even if they haven't actually had sex, their closeness is a source of reasonable jealousy. Whatever - since Pat and Susan have no doubt about the infidelity in their own cases, I think they'll urge you to act to get more proof. If this woman was your friend, you must know her husband. In that case, why are you accepting her word that "he doesn't mind"? Isn't it time you had a frank talk with him?
It sounds as if you've let your husband get away with too much from the beginning. Very odd collusions go on within marriage. Now, even if you were ultimately to decide to "grin and bear it", you would want to know the whole story - and move beyond suspicion into certainty. Pat lives with the knowledge of her husband's infidelity but also of his ongoing love for her, but you have neither. Don't be a victim any longer. Find out the facts then decide what to do. Your choices will be to follow Pat's path and stay with a man who has hurt you, or to follow Susan and face life alone.
Those women are in their 50s, whereas you are only 36 - which means you have more time. That's up to you. Because your children are younger, there is all the more reason to struggle on with the marriage, until it reaches the point when it would be better for them if you were to part. Both you and Pat should contact Relate www. Pat says she is suffering in silence, and I suspect you are, too.
There's no need to do that. It would be good to talk to an expert on marriage problems - and surely one of the conditions you must lay down is that your husband goes too.
That is, if he wants to keep you, the mother of his children, as his wife. But what if, like Susan, you have to face divorce? Let's pretend we're all sitting down together again and have moved on from tea to a crisp white wine. I would tell you all that, yes, it is possible to live with terrible hurt and in time be healed.
But that it can only happen if you can realise the absolute value of your very own, very precious life - the one you were born to, long before you met that man or that betraying "friend". This is the ultimate reality, and if you take deep breaths, right from your gut, you can locate it. Believe in yourself and be strong. Let's raise our glasses to that. My ex is rich and happy and I'm so resentful Dear Bel, I was with my ex four years before we lived together.
Things had been wonderful - it was the first time I had really been in love. Then things started to go wrong. He'd nag and pick holes in everything I did and whisper on the phone to his mother every night. It was so sad he was like this when we started to live together. Once he was so horrible to me I actually vomited.
I started to pack my bags on the quiet and then one day just left him. I was four months pregnant but he hadn't believed me. When I got back to my old house, I was so relieved. He wanted me to abort the baby, which I refused to do. As time went on, I became very lonely, sorry I'd left and worried that I had deprived my baby of his father.
Within a year of me having our child he married and is still with her five years on. They seem to have made a go of it and I'm torn by feelings of love for him still and terrible guilt that he couldn't have been that bad as she and he are still together.
It tears me apart that he seems calm, contented and very rich, while I am poor, sad and lonely and my child without a father. Why can some people make a success of things while others just give up - too soon in my case? You will never know if you might have made a success of life with this man, and the fact that somebody else has done just that has nothing to do with your qualities as a person.
Or his, for that matter. The mysterious chemistry which allows some people to find lasting happiness together was absent from your relationship. Yes, you say you were "in love", but once that heady feeling dwindled into everyday life, your ex realised he'd made a mistake. I expect that was what he was saying to his mother each night - wondering what to do. Perhaps you should have gone for couple counselling and not walked out; perhaps you were right to end the misery.
Who is to know? But he didn't beg you to come back. What does that tell you? You were both "relieved".