I’m having a hard time dealing with a friend who’s going through a divorce. He and I have been friends since college. I’m not close with his wife, but that doesn’t stop me from being appalled by the way he is treating her. He says he knew their marriage was over a long time ago, but instead of dealing with the failing marriage like an adult, he chose to have an affair (continually, over a long period of time, often in his bed while his wife was away on business). He and his wife have now split (he’s couch surfing and still paying the mortgage). The worst part is, when his wife went away on business recently, he took the opportunity to stay at the house — with his mistress! I have never heard of something so disrespectful.
Obviously, I would never tell his wife, but I’d like to tell him that he’s being a first-rate asshole. I don’t know how much longer I can contain my disgust. In the meantime, he’s sleeping on my couch!
Dear Friendly Fire,
You’re right — your friend is being a first-rate asshole. To have an affair is bad enough, but to invite the other woman into the bed he shares with his wife is despicable. When the going got tough in your friend’s marriage, he should have addressed the issues with his wife head-on until some resolution was found, whether it was staying together, opting for a trial separation or filing for divorce. Instead, he chose the coward’s way out by burying himself in an affair.
That said, Friendly Fire, no matter how detestable his actions, it’s not your job to play morality police. You cannot control his actions, but you can control your own. You clearly need a break, so it’s time for him to surf on over to someone else’s couch for a while. You can also politely request that he keep the details of his love life to himself, particularly when they involve sullying his marital sheets. Even though you’re not close with his soon-to-be ex, you can still show compassion for her.
Remember, this is not your battle. Your buddy is currently in the process of making his bed all by himself — at some point, he will have to lie in it.