My best friend is having an affair with my stepson. I can’t believe this is happening. I am married to a man 17 years older than me and his children are adults. She has been involved with him for several months now. Her husband is a very good friend of mine too. I am devastated, confused, and furious with her. She hasn’t told her husband but wants to leave him and move in with my stepson and they are even talking about getting married. It’s such a mess.
You are feeling betrayal at several levels in this situation.
Amidst all this emotion you are no doubt grappling with the odd possibility of having your best friend become your stepdaughter in law someday.
However, remember a whole lot of things must happen before any future marriage could become a reality. This needs to be taken one day at a time.
First, the biggest burden at the moment is the secrecy. I am guessing that nobody knows but you at this point. That is an enormous responsibility she has given you. It is also quite likely that people will take their anger out on you for keeping the secret from them if the truth is not revealed soon.
The very first thing that needs to happen is that everyone needs to be honest about the relationship. The secrecy gives the whole affair oxygen and creates a certain excitement for your friend and stepson that is detached from reality.
Honesty is necessary to move forward. Your friend and your stepson need to tell her husband and your husband. Both conversations are going to be very stressful, but they do need to happen as soon as possible.
Listen and support by encouraging everyone to avoid any quick decisions and hasty judgments. That initial shock will be a huge hurdle for all involved. Every stage of separation and divorce is painful. The easy part, however selfish it might have been, was all the excitement of the affair.
There will be the inevitable criticism and fallout from those involved and from extended family and friends. There will be a lot of anger from many places in your life. You might find yourself drawn into the criticism because she is a friend.
Try to maintain an emotional distance. It won’t be easy because you are connected at many levels. When you slip and get angry or say something you regret, just regroup and carry on.
Remember that none of this was your doing or your choice. These two people, your friend and your stepson, are adults and made the choices that have brought two families to this point. They need to fully accept that responsibility. Their choices are going to cause enormous pain for many people.
Be cautious with assumptions. People will surprise you- both in good and bad ways. Let the future evolve at its own pace.
You have a difficult place in all of this because of your connection to both people. It is important that you look after yourself. Attempting emotional distance, as difficult as that might sound, will help you to navigate the future.
It won’t always be possible because there will be times when emotions run high and maintaining distance is impossible. But work towards that. It will be that role as a voice of reason that will allow you to be the most helpful to everyone involved.
If you are in need of a place to seek some advice on a way forward during separation and divorce please write to firstname.lastname@example.org – Reaching out is the first step.
ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.