Hello Dr. Buckingham,
I’m writing on behalf of my friend. She has been married for 8 years and her husband impregnated another woman 2 years ago. She decided to accept the situation and forgave her husband. She recently left to go on vacation only to return to find her husband and the mother of his child in their home. He claimed that they only talk because of this child. However, she saw text messages on his phone saying “I love u & I miss you”. She told me that she loves her husband, but is tired of him lying to her. She asked me to talk with her husband. He does not know I know about his recent infidelity and we do not talk often at all. I want to help her, but I am not sure if it is my role to talk to her husband. Should I Get Involved In My Friend’s Messy Marriage?
Help, Concerned Friend
Dear Concerned Friend,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me on behalf of your friend. Everybody needs a support system, especially during turbulent times in their marriage. However, your friend’s marital problems require more than a friendly ear. I can only image the emotional abuse and mental distress that she has and continues to experience. I caution you to move carefully in this situation. If her husband finds out that she is telling you about his personal business, he could potentially escalate his emotional abuse toward her.
Placing yourself in the center of their marital discord is not healthy. Your intentions might be good, but the outcome could be bad. If he does not respect his wife, he probably will not respect you. The best thing that you can do for your friend is to encourage her to get professional help. She needs to speak with someone who can help her move on. Your ability to have an objective conversation with your friend’s husband will be negatively impacted by your connection with her. As her primary support system, you can go with her to therapy. But, I do not recommend that you play the therapist role.
I know that it is difficult to see your friend suffer, but respecting marital boundaries is important and safe for all involved. For any actions you take to help your friend, make sure that they are helpful and encouraging instead of hurtful and damaging.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.
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