Dear Amy: My husband recently confessed to me that he was unfaithful four years ago.
We had a great life, or so I thought. I was completely devastated and contemplated leaving him, but I was pregnant with our fifth child. Now I see him making changes to live an honest life.
I am trying to forgive him every day.
The problem is that he told his best friend about the affair at the time.
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This friend, who is a pastor, stood up in our wedding, and spent time with our family several times during the affair period.
He chose not to tell me, nor did he "force" my husband to confess to me.
We are people of faith, where forgiveness is something to live by, but I am having a hard time forgiving this man for keeping my husband's lie a secret.
This friend has apologized to me. He reached out to me soon after my husband confessed.
I have accepted his apology, but forgiving him is harder. I am also still trying to forgive my husband.
I know the forgiveness will eventually come, but I want nothing to do with this man for now.
We don't live nearby, so it's easy to avoid him, but I know that eventually my husband will want to see him. They are best friends.
Part of me wants to tell my husband not to see him anymore, but I know I can't do that. I definitely don't want to see him, talk to him or look at him.
Am I wrong for not wanting to continue a relationship with this friend? Can I ask my husband to limit contact with him?
Trying to Forgive
Dear Trying: I'd like for you to imagine the extremely tough position your husband put his friend in when he confessed his affair. Your husband might have lied to him: "I'm ending it now," or told him, "I want to tell her myself." His friend might have decided that he would be most useful if he maintained the friendship and didn't interfere in the marriage. Or, he might have been afraid. He might have lacked courage. He might have made a mistake.
He has apologized and you accepted his apology (good for both of you). If you have further questions or statements you want to make to him, you should express yourself, perhaps by letter. He may be more remorseful than you realize.
Do not transfer responsibility for this affair from one man to the other. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and try to release the burden of these relationships. Your faith counsels forgiveness. Forgiveness can be most powerful and healing when it is hardest to achieve. Let time do its magic, and let forgiveness liberate you.
Dear Amy: I have a close friend of more than 15 years (we're in our 30s) who, over the last two years, has taken it upon herself to "educate" everyone around her. For example, I called her while waiting for a sandwich at a local cafe, which incited a lecture on all the health benefits and cost savings of packing a homemade lunch, which she knows I usually do.
I feel like I can't say anything to her without preparing for a discourse on the subject.
This all came to a head recently, when we were discussing a mutual friend and I said it seemed rude to break away from the main topic of discussion to lecture another grown woman.
This really touched a nerve, so I suspect this is not the first time someone has critiqued her newfound approach to conversation. Though she apologized, I've found myself backing away since then.
Is there anything I can do or say to maintain our friendship but end the condescending "lessons"?
Dear Had It: Your friend has changed over the time you've known each other. Please, be brave enough to be honest with her. These moments of honesty between friends can be transformative. Tell her, "It bothers me when you change from listening mode to what I see as lecturing. I miss the easy back and forth we used to have."
Dear Amy: I want to add my voice to other readers who have objected to your choice to refer to a woman Ph.D. as "Ms." rather than "Dr." I thought it was disrespectful and sexist of you.
Dear Another: Given the newspaper editing standard I use, I would have "disrespected" a male Ph.D. in the same way. I regret the impression this has left with readers.
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