Can I be "Friends" With my Cheating Husband?

Uncertain About The New Wife
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Could You Be Friends With An Ex Who Cheated?


Reader Question: Can I be "Friends" With my Cheating Husband?

My husband of 26 years informed me that he no longer loves me and wants a divorce. Shortly after I found out there is another woman in his life. I can’t breathe Cathy, my pain is so terrible. On top of that he says he wants to be "friends" and to remain a part of my life. How can I be his friend after what he has done?

How do I get over the pain this is causing me?



Dear Shelly,

I’m sorry for the loss of your marriage. I know the devastation you are feeling and I promise, it is not terminal. In time, you will heal and move on to rebuild your life.

You can’t be his friend. Not at this point anyway. You can’t heal the pain over the loss of him if he is a constant part of your life. You have to quit him "cold turkey." There should be no contact unless it pertains to issues with your children. Even then, I suggest all contact be via email or text messages.

Conscious uncoupling the Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martain way is not a realistic goal if there has been infidelity in the marriage. If being around him is emotionally painful for you, then I suggest you not be around him. 

I'm sure he does want to remain on friendly terms with you. You being his "friend" assuages any guilt he may feel over being unfaithful to you and the marriage.

You being his "friend" lets him off the hook for his bad behavior. Don't give him that relief until you are ready and, only when you are ready. 

More than likely, your ex is going through a midlife crisis. He is confused and feeling guilty. His desire to be your "friend" is motivated by his need to relieve his guilt.

It will do neither of you any good in the end.

If he wants a divorce, the best thing he can do for you and himself is to move on so that you can move on. He is pushing change on you that you do not want and did not ask for. The only way to get past the pain of this unwanted change is to adapt to and accept the situation. That will be impossible to do if he is in and out of your life.

I am adding links to articles that will be helpful to you while navigating this new phase in your life.

Surviving an Unwanted Divorce:

  • How to Respond to Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis
  • Bounce Back From an Unwanted Divorce
  • I am Divorced But Still Want to be Married
  • How to Adjust to Being Single Again

Letting go is the secret to healing your pain. Letting go takes discipline and will-power on your part. There will be times you feel a need for contact with him. During those times please keep in mind that the more contact you have, the less progress you will make.

Keep yourself busy with daily distractions and surround yourself with a good support system. Emotional pain is an opportunity for growth. I hope you are able to grow and flourish through the pain. I wish you well!