January 7, 2018 at 11:39 am #735143
It might be different if she thought her marriage was fine, but she doesn’t. She already suspects that he’s cheating, so she’s right, just about the wrong person. Your role in this wouldn’t be letting her know he’s cheating; it would be clarifying the details. I know that a part of you is thinking, “If she knew how horrible he was, she’d leave him!” which is partially true, but someone treating you like crap and presumably cheating on you with anybody is enough for a reasonable person to leave their spouse already.
Tell your husband not to ever share details like that with you again. Tell him to never let on that you knew. (Personally, if it ever did get out, I’d play the “it sounded unbelievable” card.) Also, the one thing you can do for your friend is to shift your advice from “he has depression, you should cut him slack” to advice that perhaps empowers her to believe that it’s not cool for him to treat her badly and to look at him objectively rather than with sympathy.January 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm #735159
What?: “Tell your husband never to share details like that with you again.” Right! The husband didn’t tell her. He apparently kept the secret for about 7 years, until she practically forced the secret out of him. This is not on her husband. She demanded to know what he knew. It really wasn’t her business, but she has insisted upon making it her business and now is wondering whether she should use that knowledge to totally blow up her friends life. She seems something of a self-righteous gossip, which is likely why her husband tried really hard not to tell her. Now she knows and feels a burning desire to share with her friendJanuary 7, 2018 at 2:55 pm #735161
Thank you all so much for the advice,
Kate, I do think the title is slightly misleading, what I meant by *no idea* is how her mom and husband could even do something like this to her, because yes, she does think he’s cheating with the friend and, yes, while it is definitely just hearsay, there would be no reason for Tobin to lie to my husband about this and the detail involved leads me to absolutely believe this happened and still could be happening, but yes, there is no proof and I definitely see how that alone could create an even bigger mess!!!
Skyblossom, this is great advice, I totally agree and protecting my closest relationship first (my husband) is definitely my top priority! I can see how damage could be done in any scenario of this situation but the least amount of risk seems for me to just simply stay out of it, I have given her the advice to seek counseling and possibly a lawyer, their assets are pretty even and while messy and heartbreaking I do believe their divorce and custody over their child will be far less dramatic than the situation unfolding!!!
Essie, totally agree, Tobin is absolutely the one that should have to deal with this, alone, within his own relationship and it does piss us off that he would even involve my husband in this! Luckily, my husband has also expressed concern over Tobin’s toxic behavior and has been slowly distancing himself, but I think he’s still just trying to remain a loyal friend, because despite him being a terrible husband to Sara, he has been a good friend to my husband, on the surface anyways!
Northern Star, YES!!! This has been EXACTLY my feeling going into this situation, not just for Sara’s sake but because she means the world to me and now I’m emotionally invested, some of which by Sara for asking my advice and some of which by my own accord for asking my husband, either way, after getting this all out there by talking to all of you, it has, for one, helped me release some of the weight that this burden carries and has also let me get multiple perspectives on this horrible situation, and what I can see now is that, yes, while I do want to protect myself, I also want to protect the ones I love, but telling Sara will not actually “protect” her, it seems that it might even cause her more harm, the damage has already be done, while unknown to Sara, it’s still there! Is it easier now to rip the emotional bandaid off and have this all out in the open so she can just move on? That’s what I would want, but this isn’t about me and I have to take my emotions out of it completely, because at the end of the day like Heatherly first mentioned, it’s practically screaming at her in the face (that he’s currently cheating) and she doesn’t want to know, I really don’t think she is prepared to handle the actual truth and bottom line, Tobin is a ticking time bomb and it’s only a matter of time before this all blows up in his face by his own actions!
Sara’s only other “serious” relationship was with her high school sweetheart who at the time she believed was the love of her life and they were together for almost five years and got married because he was in the military, he cheated on her with a friend and got her pregnant, she still didn’t want to get divorced after that, he practically forced her, so just knowing that fact, it’s definitely easier for me to see now that she doesn’t actually want to know this information, just because I would want to know if it were me, I think it would absolutely just cause her more pain than she’s prepared for, even though she has expressed before how stupid it was to want to stay in that previous relationship and how she would never put herself through something like that again and how if she could get through that then she could get through anything, but someone you love and have a child with screwing your mother is just something very few people I think could ever possibly be prepared for!
The only thing I’m still struggling with now is the feeling of being a bystander, like what if he were to give her a lifelong std, something that endangers her life and I could’ve prevented it, etc. The guilt would be crushing, I can run through scenarios all day but all of this is circumstantial anyways and I just can’t think like that, it will drive me crazy, if for some reason the situation escalates and if I thought Sara was in actual harm then I would absolutely tell her no matter the fallout!
So basically, I have decided it is just best to keep my mouth shut while still trying to be the best friend I possibly can be in such a horrible situation!
I really do appreciate all who have responded!
Thank you! Much love, ShannaJanuary 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm #735162
You need to talk to your husband about his friendship with such a bad man. You may not be the worst thing you’ve ever done but your behaviour defines your character. Fucking your mother in law is not something that just “happens”. There is a basic morality and decency that should be there that is just absent. Why when your husband was told did he prioritize the secret and not your friend? Where was his angst in dealing with this?
I’m sorry, but if she is your best friend and you love her like a sister then I don’t see how you can keep this from her. This isn’t about the husband’s betrayal – as significant as it is or the mother’s – which is beyond words – but yours should she ever find out that you knew. If you are her best friend then you are held to a higher standard. The cheating is devastating. But the deception is what is truly damaging. The feeling that everyone knew but you? She’d have no one to turn to. No husband. No mother. No best friend. Right now she has everyone lying to her and being complicit in the lie. Your husband has been complicit. And now you are poised to be. Telling devastates her life. There is no way around that. Your friendship might not survive given your husband held the secret or that you are the messenger. But sometimes the right thing to do is not without personal risk. You know your friend – if she would want to know – and if you would –
then you should tell her.
The truth has a way of outting. Something like this will come out. The marriage won’t survive. Not with a man like that. A vengeful ex has no reason to continue to keep a secret and what could possibly hurt his wife more than this little truth?
So, of course, you can do nothing and watch her devastation be a long protracted affair where she tries to figure out her part in the demise of her family and tearing herself apart to keep something that isn’t real.
But when the truth finally comes out, how good are you at lying when she asks you did you know, too?January 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm #735164
If this alleged affair with the MIL happened years ago and is over, she may not ever find out and have to know about it. I just can’t see being told being less painful or better than possibly not ever knowing. It’s like dropping a pressure cooker bomb into her marriage and family that’s going to send shrapnel into everyone. It’s not necessarily going to give her this clean, open door to ending her relationship. I can even see her potentially getting talked into forgiving him and focusing the hate on her mom. It was years ago, it’s over, he was depressed and in a bad place, it was mom’s fault… you know?
I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that kind of damage.January 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm #735165
Dinoceros, thank you, yes I completely agree and when I was giving the depression advice it was definitely before I knew the truth, it has since shifted! It’s definitely been more empowering advice!
Ron, it’s ok to speak to me directly, I’m still active on this forum and while I didn’t “force” this out of my husband, and he hasn’t had this secret for 7 years, it was more recent than that, I do take responsibility for asking at all but like I said my husband and I have been together for 13 years, if he didn’t want me to know something, he wouldn’t have told me, he wanted to tell me but would never betray his friends trust directly but since I asked he wasn’t going to lie to me either, which yes, I asked and it truly wasn’t my business but our friends have inadvertently made it a topic of conversation between us by letting us in on their problems and I don’t think anyone here was blaming my husband, I know I didn’t take it that way, and I’m in an anonymous (names have been changed) public forum as to try and not be a “self-righteous gossip” and seek advice from other friends and family, so I’m sorry if that’s how I’ve come across but that was not my intention, I have just genuinely been worried about my best friends well being, but you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, and I thank you all the sameJanuary 7, 2018 at 3:45 pm #735167
Couple of other *possible* scenarios if you were to break this story: 1) she doesn’t believe you / he convinces her you and your husband are liars, and she estranges herself from you and sides with him, or 2) she gets talked into believing it was HER fault her husband hooked up with her mom… she made them live there, she wasn’t giving him enough attention, was a bad wife, etc.January 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm #735168
If this girl would rather not know then that’s the answer. But if she would – and given she has dealt with infidelity before her best friend would know – then the lw should tell her.
I know my best friend would want to know. And I would tell her. And it would suck… but the responsibility for her hurt wouldn’t be mine. All you can tell her is what you know. That this is what was told to others. The truth of it you don’t know.January 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm #735169
FireStar, I totally agree that Tobin’s morality and decency seems to be completely absent as well as her mother’s on a whole other level! My husband and I talked and he just feels that his loyalty to his friend is more important than his loyalty to Sara, although it has really bothered him and he has been more distant recently! Your advice is exactly why I’ve been so conflicted because as someone who is like a sister, her best friend, I am held to a certain standard of trust and honesty and loyalty, but I do have to consider everyone involved now and not just our relationship, as far as it goes with the position I’m in, I’m damned if I do or damned if I don’t, and I brought that on myself by getting involved weather I meant to or not and now I just have to outweigh the risks with everyone involved!January 7, 2018 at 4:03 pm #735171
Don’t say anything. This is baaaaaaad and you do not need to involve yourself in the web in this manner. Continue to listen and offer support to your friend. Encourage her to trust her instincts. But you have no concrete proof and if, as one of Kate’s scenarios suggests, her husband denies it (because of course he will), she’s going to turn on you. And I also agree with the others that said not knowing is the better path here. They have a child. There is probably even more to their marriage than you know – you’re getting her side. Not that her husband isn’t totally disgusting.
This is just one to stay out of….yikes.January 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm #735177
Kate, yes, I agree, those exact scenarios have played out in my head and feel they are definitely possible! Which is another reason I’m thinking the risk of telling her is just greater than my silence, his true character will come to light sooner rather than later I feel and hopefully work itself out anyways!January 7, 2018 at 4:11 pm #735180
Lianne, yes! this is exactly the conclusion I have come too and I have decided that sadly it will just be best to keep this quiet and offer as much encouraging and empowering support that I possibly can!