I hear this a lot from people who talk about their cheater’s reaction and from cheater’s themselves who think that once the divorce is over that they and the betrayed spouse will be best of buddies. “I’m hoping my spouse and I can be friends after the divorce. I think we will be. Sure, he/she will be mad for a little while but they’ll get over it. Maybe we can even double date sometime.” I guess it’s true what they say. Affairs really do cause people to lose their damn minds.
I’m not saying it never happens. On another board I frequently read there is a longtime poster who is friendly with her ex and his wife, who was the other woman. She even babysat their kids once upon a time and is known as Aunt to them. Hell, they vacation together! Another woman on that same board was cheated on by her husband of twenty plus years. She’s not friendly with the other woman turned wife, not even after all of these years, but she does consider her ex-husband to be a friend. She’s actually proud of the fact that they are friends.
Just in case anyone was wondering where I stood on the whole “friendship after gutting me, betraying me, lying to me and destroying my life” thing, I’m solidly in the corner of, “No fucking way.” I’m sure that’s shocking to most of you.
Look, the way I see it why would I want to be friends with someone like that? Or as someone over on Chump Lady once put it: You want to be friends after what you did to me as my husband?
This person has lied and cheated. Why would anyone believe that now that they’re “friends” this person won’t continue to lie and cheat, gaslight and betray? I depend on my friends to have my back, not stab me in it. I expect my friends to care about me and my best interests; someone who has cheated on me has demonstrated they don’t give one single solitary fuck about me or my best interests. I expect my friends to be loyal to me. A person who cheats on me isn’t going to be loyal now that we’re “friends”. Bottom line: I prefer friends who don’t lie to me. Actually, it’s not so much a preference as it is a prerequisite.
Okay, just for shits and grins let’s pretend that I actually buy this “friendship after an affair” bullshit. Let’s pretend millions of other betrayed spouses buy it, too. It sure sounds like a swell idea, Wally. So tell me, how’s it going to work?
Are you going to call me up on the phone and have long conversations with me? You didn’t want to do that as my husband so why are you so willing to do it now that we’re divorced and you’re fucking a whore? The same whore you left me for.
Are we going to text each other all day? First, what on earth would we talk about all day long? I find people who need to text each other constantly juvenile. Second, I’m not even able to text all day long. I’ve got this thing called a job. I’ve actually got two things called a job. And I can’t be on my phone while I’m working either of them. Maybe once you start making obscene amounts of money they don’t care how much you’re on your phone. Lord knows CF told me many times about how he played games all day long. But when you’re simply a mindless peon you have to put your phone away, which means I can’t text with you all day long to tell you about every minute of my tedious life.
Hey, I just cashed a check! Oh wow, I just cashed another one. Oh, this time it was a withdrawal. Holy shit! I just made a deposit. Oops, answered a phone call. Made another checking deposit. Cashed in some coins. I know; this stuff is fascinating.
Would we go out to dinner together? Would we catch a movie? Maybe go to the casinos or take a walk or see a play or sit down and watch television together? Hey, I know! We could go to the next Chump Lady book launch party together! I’ll introduce you to her. You’ll love her.
Seriously, what is this friendship supposed to look like? And do I have to hang out with your whore as well? Because that’s not happening. I’ll throat punch that bitch.
Don’t tell me how much you admire me and appreciate me. Don’t tell me how you want us to move forward into a new relationship that is defined by us being happy for each other in our new lives. I don’t give a shit about your new life. Your new life came at MY expense. Frankly, I hope your new life crashes and burns. I hope your dick falls off. I hope your whore dies a horrible death. I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your dickless life. Go fuck yourself and your happiness. You’re a liar and a cheater and I don’t wish to be friends with people who stab me in the back and betray me.
I’d no sooner want to hang out with the guy who cheated on me than I would want to hang out with the guy who kidnapped my kids or raped me. Sorry. You’re in that category now. If you wanted to be my friend you shouldn’t have cheated on me.
In the end I think it comes down to two primary motivations- image management and keeping the other woman (or man) on a short leash.
Hey, if someone cheats on their spouse and they continue to be friends that has got to be nerve wracking for the affair partner. This person was supposed to be so awful, so horrible, that their beloved was forced to cheat on them. If not for their egregious behavior the affair partner’s beloved would never have been tempted to turn towards another person. So how come they’re still friends? Why is he texting her (or why is she texting him?)? Why are they meeting for friendly dinners or lunches? This makes no sense. Maybe your soul mate isn’t going to leave behind the wretched spouse after all. By golly, you’ll just have to dance harder and prettier to make sure you’re still #1. Isn’t that a lucky break for the cheater? Yep, not discarding the former wife (or husband) sure keeps the mistress turned main squeeze/new wife in check. Maybe once those marriage vows were said they realized they married a person who doesn’t have a problem cheating on their spouse. And lying to them about it. Dance, dance, dance! A cheater’s got to keep his or her options open. If you won’t dance pretty they’ll find someone who will.
And if the betrayed spouse agrees to go along with the friendship bullshit then the cheater can say, “See? I didn’t do anything wrong. We’re still friends. Would we be friends if I had done anything horrible to my spouse? Of course not! So obviously we simply grew apart. There were problems in the marriage but now we’re going to go forward as best of friends who work together cooperatively for the sake of our children. No need to judge me or label me a low down yellow-bellied slime bucket cheater because my former spouse and I are friends!” Image management, people. Image management.
They can tell everyone that they’re still a wonderful person who refuses to be defined by their cheating, lying, backstabbing behavior. If they had any guilt the friendship assuages it. Again, what a lucky break for the cheater.
Personally, if someone wants to remain friends with their cheating ex I don’t care. Hell, they can make nice with the skanky ass ho, too, if it makes them feel better. I, however, have no desire to play nice with the ex and his whore. I will never be friends with either of them. They have absolutely nothing of value to add to my life. They’re manipulative liars with no conscience. I try to stay away from people like that. I would advise everyone else to do the same.