July 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm #157530
Dear Tiny Buddha Community,
My closest friend is getting married in less than a month and last week her fiancee confessed that he had cheated on her over the past several months with a former coworker. The details are all very sad and messy (as such a thing would be) but his guilt finally got to him and he decided to tell her the truth.
She shared this with me over the phone and is of course heartbroken. It's all the worse given a series of betrayals by men that have befallen her in her life. But she also shared that she still wants to marry this guy and wants to believe they will get thru this together. My heart is broken for my friend, and I want to support her no matter what.
But I must confess it terrifies me to think of her marrying him when this situation is still so fresh and messy and when it seems his other behaviors don't assure he's in a stable place emotionally. When I bring up the idea of delaying the wedding she does not want to.
I understand it is a terrifying proposition with all the momentum in place and all the dreams they've been building suddenly dashed by this news. It's hard to see your storyline altered by such a harsh revelation (I've been there…) and I understand and respect that she still loves this man. I understand why she feels she cannot tell other friends and family for her fear they would never welcome him again in their world.
But I am worried for my friend. Deeply deeply worried about what infidelity before one's wedding means and what parts of her own needs she would be denying by saying “I do” with this awful mess on her heart.
I'm going this weekend to be with her. How do you support someone and stand by their side when you do actually think there is a better way (delaying the wedding) and a more scary path (getting married because you feel it's all set in place)? I don't want to harm my best friendship, I know she hates being told what to do, and I don't want to challenge her love of this man. BUt I don't want to stand mutely by and pretend I'm not deeply concerened for her well-being if she stick with the path the way she wants to. Any advice on how to walk that line and help someone out who is deep deep in their love and grief?
– confused friendJuly 12, 2017 at 10:30 am #157654
You read like a very reasonable person and it reads to me that she is adamant about her decision to go ahead with the wedding. Because you cannot change her mind, and you do respect her right to make the choice to go ahead with the wedding, what I would do, if I was you, would be to no longer voice to her your concerns. Instead, adapt as positive an attitude as you can: after all, it is possible that the marriage will work out.
Keep in mind: if he cheats on her again and if she experiences more heartache in the marriage to come, that will not be your responsibility, not something you caused and not your job to fix. Just as it is now, not your responsibility or job to fix her heartache or situation. You already voiced your concerns, and that is all you can do. And so, you already did all you can do.
anitaJuly 12, 2017 at 10:31 am #157656
* didn't submit correctly…July 12, 2017 at 10:52 am #157676
What a terrible position for you to be in. I think that all you can do with your friend, is engage in a conversation about what happened, just listen, and accept whatever decision she has chosen to make. I agree with Anita when she said, “Keep in mind: if he cheats on her again and if she experiences more heartache in the marriage to come, that will not be your responsibility, not something you caused and not your job to fix. Just as it is now, not your responsibility or job to fix her heartache or situation.” Really, it is not your job to fix that. You must be an observer as an active listener in this situation, not a participant whose intention is to “fix it.” Who knows? Perhaps it will work out. But be patient and listen. That is the support she needs.
PearceJuly 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm #157822
Dear Anita and PearceHawk,
Thank you both for taking the time to provide some very thoughtful and empathetic advice. I appreciate what you each have suggested, even as I see that's the hardest advice for me to take. At core, you are both pointing to the same truth: I cannot “fix” this thing, it is not my issue to solve. I feel I am being driven by an inner sense of “responsibility” to protect this person I love but really my responsibility to her is not about interfering with a messy situation but just being present with my friend as she decides how she wants and needs to move thru it.
So thank you for giving kind hearted advice that's going to be hard for me but also hits home and reminds me I cannot take other people's lives on as my responsibility, even if I want to out of a feeling of love.
JMJuly 13, 2017 at 10:20 am #157914
You are welcome, JM. Post again anytime.
anitaJuly 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm #157964
I just want to share something ever so brief that I recently shared on this site. I told someone, “The only person you are destined to be, is the person you decide to be.” I cannot recall who said that, but it is a quote that I often times refer to myself. When I do that, I return to being grounded. Sometimes the difficult decisions we make are necessary to overcome adversity. By making a difficult decision to achieve what we need often times results in getting what we need. It also makes you stronger. Know that we are ALWAYS here for you. Just reach out and you will have a heart to hold on to.