/u/ThrowRAassholefriend on /r/relationship_advice writes…
“My [44F] best friend’s [45F] name is Rachel. We have been best friends since we were 14. We supported each other through difficult times and I can’t imagine my life without her. She is the one that introduced me to my now husband [45M] 23 years ago . We married 3 years later and we have 3 beautiful kids.
3 months ago she found out that her husband was cheating on her. She tried to forgive him but eventually she divorced him. Me and my husband helped her through the divorce, especially with her 2 kids. She was very depressed and moved in with us until her husband moved out of their house.
Last night me, my husband and Rachel went to a wedding last night. Her ex-husband came too (both of them were invited before she found out about the cheating) . The asshole came with his new girlfriend. Then Rachel started to drink too much.
At some point she and my husband were dancing and she went and kissed him. My husband pushed her away very shocked and came to me. She came too and she was visibly very drunk and tried to apologize for what she has done but she was barely able to talk. I was very angry but I didn’t want to cause a scene there. Me and my husband took her home.
This morning she came to my door and apologized for kissing my husband and begged me to forgive her. I told her that I will think about it.
What should I do now? We have been good friends for 30 years and I don’t want to throw away this friendship like this.”
I really feel for Rachel.
In between discovery of her cheating spouse, subsequent separation/divorce, and moving in with you while still maintaining her role as a mother… Rachel is trooper. And when she was faced with the hard difficulty of her exhusband waving her new fling around right in front of her eyes, she instead turned towards alcohol to dull the pain. And that’s the thing about alcohol. It desensitizes you to the pain, but it doesn’t make the suffering beneath go away. It often exacerbates the source. In this case, it sounds like she clamped hard onto her closest male connection – your husband.
Let’s consider three different points here. Your relationship with your husband. Your relationship with Rachel. And Rachel’s relationship with alcohol.
Your relationship with your husband should not be affected here. It sounds like he was just as surprised about the kiss as both Rachel and you have been. It was a momentary lapse in judgment that was just made worse by lowered inhibition that came with alcohol. Since he came straight to you instead of hiding or downplaying it, your husband gets tons of brownie points.
Your relationship with Rachel should also survive this. It was one singular kiss on the lips. Your friend has been there for two thirds of your life so far. She has been there for you in some of your hardest moments. And you have been there for you in some of her her hardest moments. She is going through one of her hardest moments. There is nothing here about your relationship with Rachel that tells me this has been an ongoing pattern, and is a mistake she deeply regrets. She is not an asshole. Please sit with some of your feelings to understand that your pain is legitimate, but it has been greatly misplaced.
Then there is Rachel’s relationship with alcohol. It sounds like this wedding certainly aggravated her already vulnerable emotional state. Going forward, she might need to establish some firmer boundaries regarding being around her ex-husband or being in situations where she cannot mindfully indulge in alcohol. This should be easiest part to accept if she has never displayed any previous issues with alcohol.
We in this western culture vilify and intensify the act of infidelity as this incredible act of betrayal. We need to remember that we are all humans and we all are capable of making mistakes often. I don’t think you would return your car to the dealership the first time the tires slip on ice, would you? Choose to be a more mindful and loving person by forgiving your friend for a brief moment of lapse in judgment. She has earned so much trust so far in your connection with her. Choose to rely on some of that incredible history you’ve built together. She deserves a break. And so do you.
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