I did the worst thing you can do to a friend - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I completely betrayed my friend.

I've been friends with her for almost 4 years. I'm also friends with her husband because of her. My friend and her husband have had some marriage issues over the past few years. They have major ideological differences that crop up from time to time. I started talking to him a lot because he would "confide" in me. When he broke away from their religion he sent me he story of deconversion before he spoke to her and her family (they are all very religious). After that we chatted regularly. He has always been very flirty and I flirted right back, but in a joking manner. I was never attracted to him. He started sending me pics of his abs because he started working out. I sent him a picture of my abs as a joke. After that he started asking me for pictures of more than my abs. He wanted to see my boobs. I knew he had already seen naked pics of me because he fixed my computer when it had a virus and those pics (arty, tasteful, but still nude) are there. But, I sent him other pictures I had of my nude torso (boobs, belly and undies). I didn't take pics FOR him, but I sent ones that already existed. Not that it matters. I know I did it because I wasn't feeling good about myself. I struggle with my image constantly. I've been made fun of all of my life because of the way I look and it's rare that someone ever makes me feel attractive. I am married. But I went through a period I didn't feel like my husband was attracted to me. He never did or said things to make me feel pretty, desirable or feminine. We have since worked that issue out. But, at the time, my friend's dh was telling me how hot I am and how great my body is. I knew it was hurtful towards my friend, but I was selfish and enjoyed hearing some guy tell me how hot I was. I didn't do it to entice him. I didn't do it because I wanted him. I did it for my own selfish and screwed up reasons. I immediately felt guilty. He asked for more pics and I said no. I told my husband what I did and he was ticked, but not furious. I then grappled with telling my friend. I was way too scared to tell her because I knew it would probably end our friendship. I stopped the flirty talk with her husband and didn't send anymore pictures and did not allow him to send anymore ab pics. We went back to talking about regular things like politics and gardening. I always wanted to tell my friend about the pictures and my husband encouraged me to do so. I never did because I was too scared. Then I went through a miscarriage and I originally had thoughts of "God is punishing me for sending those pics," but then the whole picture thing went out of my mind as I dealt with depression over the loss of my baby.

Last week, she called me saying she was snooping through his email and found something suspicious. It was something that made her think he was doing things behind her back online. Now, I mentioned they had ideological differences. He used to post very inflammatory political and religious things on his facebook. She forbade him from doing so and he stopped this year. When she mentioned that she thought he was doing something online, I said - and I believed - he was probably surfing political and religious websites and causing trouble. I figured he needed an outlet for that type of stuff and would do it behind her back. She mentioned that she thought he was cheating and I didn't believe it. Yes, he asked for those pics, but I really did believe he stopped at that (I know, that was stupid). In the end, she was right. She confronted him yesterday and he admitted to cheating on her. He had sex with an old girlfriend 6 years ago when my friend was pregnant with their first child. He then admitted that he made out with a couple of women over the years. He set up profiles on online dating sites in the last few months. He travels for business and had a plan to meet up with someone from the dating site "just to make out, not have sex" last week, but it fell through. He also posted pictures of my friend's very attractive 19 year old cousin to some website he shared with friends. He posted those pics and made comments like, "I know she's family, but we're not blood so I would do her." And then he told the truth about the photos I took.

I called her yesterday just to check up on her because, on top of everything else, their house was broken into, their van was broken into and her wedding rings were stolen over the weekend. I was checking on that situation when she told me about his confessions. Obviously, she is disappointed in me. I have betrayed everything in our friendship. Not only did I send those pictures, but when she asked me last week if I ever thought he would cheat on her I said no (because I never believed he would have an physical contact with another woman).

I feel like the biggest piece of sh*t on the planet. There is no excuse for what I've done. I can explain certain things, but it doesn't make anything wrong. I'm so furious with myself for doing this to her and for ruining our friendship. I did express my remorse to her. She said she doesn't know what she is going to do to me, yet, but she may need a hiatus from me. I told her I obviously understand if she hates me and could never be friends with me again. I broke a ton of trust.

I don't know what to do. I feel like there is nothing that I can do. I'm so mad at myself because I should be there for my friend right now. I want to be there for her and help her through this, but I can't because I betrayed her. And I'm furious at him. You might think I don't have a right to be so mad at him, but I am. Part of me wants to email her, to explain why I sent the picture and to tell her that I never once had any intention to have any physical contact with her husband. I don't even find the man attractive at all. I'm afraid to email her, though. As of this morning she still has me on her facebook. I don't know if I should wait to email her or not. I hate myself so much right now.
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#2 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 12:27 PM
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Wow. I might not be the best person to give advice (reference my thread) but I didn't want to leave you hanging. I don't really know what to tell you besides give your friend the space she needs. No contact at all for a couple weeks. After that, if you are still facebook friends you can make a small amount of contact through FB. Don't harass her though! You are really going to have to follow her lead.

I do want to say that if a friend did what you did, I would probably never talk to her again. That is a huge deal and I wouldn't trust her. Her husband is obviously a sleaze but you still played some part. I'm not saying that to be mean, but I want you to realize that she may not come around. Also, I could be really, really off about this but it sounds like you could benefit from talking to a counselor.

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#3 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 02:51 PM
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We all make mistakes.

However, that is a huge one. I think that you need to step away from the friendship and work on forgiving yourself. I really doubt that the relationship can be salvaged. However, you can learn from this and move on.

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#4 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 03:35 PM
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I'd definitely give her some space. You've apologized and the ball is in her court. She's been betrayed by two people she's loved and trusted and she's probably going to need her space to sort everything out.

You also need to figure out for yourself why you would betray her like that for IMO really poor reasons.

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#5 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 04:13 PM
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I feel for you because you did something wrong and are facing the hard consequences now. No way to get through it except to walk through it, own it, no excuses, no putting the blame on the guy friend. Your choice, your actions. Good can come from it for your future relationships as long as you learn from this- and it sounds like you are. I wouldn't contact your friend again unless she contacts you. Specifically do not try to explain why you did this- there is no "why" that can take away her pain or justify your actions.
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#6 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
I feel for you because you did something wrong and are facing the hard consequences now. No way to get through it except to walk through it, own it, no excuses, no putting the blame on the guy friend. Your choice, your actions. Good can come from it for your future relationships as long as you learn from this- and it sounds like you are. I wouldn't contact your friend again unless she contacts you. Specifically do not try to explain why you did this- there is no "why" that can take away her pain or justify your actions.
This exactly. No excuses. You do need to forgive yourself.. Don't justify it, but learn from it. You talked with your husband. You got counsel from him, you're on the path to healing.

I've been on the recieving end of a friend's husband's attraction. Luckily, I was still at home and was able to talk with my step-mother about it and learn how to handle it. I had to end the friendship with the wife because I realized that I did not want to be in the middle of their mess. Now, I know how to assert those personal boundaries so that it never gets to a point where a man would think he was that intimate with me.

What you did was wrong, but it happens quite frequently if you don't know what to watch out for. Look up information/reading on personal boundaries and assertiveness for future reference. You don't know what areas you need to grow in until something happens to make you realize how ill-equipped you are. This is just learning. You're a person with strengths and weaknesses now. This is a necessary lesson for your personal growth. Embrace it, learn from it.

Once you start to learn boundaries, you'll realize when people are unloading their personal baggage onto you. Men who cheat love to do this, it seems. "my wife is jealous." "my life is horrible." Those are alerts for you to draw the boundary. Saying something like "Your wife is beautiful. I hope you're not giving her reason to be jealous." or "I'm sorry things aren't going well. I hope they get better soon." or just not responding and then limiting conversation to small talk or no talk will set the boundary fairly clearly. The point is to not invite more conversation. Other peoples husbands shouldn't be texting you for talking..it should be for planning only such as organizing playdates or finding out if you're attending a function.

Hopefully things will smooth out for your girlfriend, but she's got other things besides you on her mind right now.

You can't control whether she forgives you, but you can control how you let this affect you. She doesn't have to forgive you for you to take these lessons and move forward. Regret has to be one of the worst feelings of all possible feelings.

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/articles/user-agreement

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#7 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 04:52 PM
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I just wanted to send you a

I believe that you are sorry, and i know the place from which you acted (been there too). You know the grief now and i believe you will never act that way again. I wish you strength in moving forward (that is all you can do).

SAHM to one moody son J hat.gif(06-27-03), one super-girly daughter M hearts.gif (02-23-06) and welcome Sophie! energy.gif(05-23-10) expecting fourth in July baby.gif

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#8 of 11 Old 08-19-2010, 07:44 PM
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You have to just live and learn. I've been on all sides of the cheating triangle (been cheated on, been the person cheated with, been the cheater), and I finally realized that not only does it ALWAYS end badly... it is really bad for my soul, is toxic to others, and shows that I do not believe I'm worthy of better. Personally I also believe we as women (no matter what gender we're dating) owe each other better than that, but that's a bit more of a personal belief.

Since the one time I cheated I've never been in any of those positions again. Well, correction, I've been cheated on since then, but that wasn't a choice of mine. If I see it coming or meet someone who is in a committed relationship, I'm just so crystal clear that they are totally off limits, no matter how much chemistry or interest there might be.

And of course now I'm in a committed relationship and I truly believe that if I hadn't gotten to the point where my bar was set so that there was NO room for men already in relationships or men who think it's ok to cheat, I don't think I would have ever found such a great guy. He's human (far from perfect, but aren't we all far from perfect), but all in all he's wonderful and I'm lucky to have him.

Learn from this, and make sure you honor yourself, your commitments, and your relationships as best you can in the future. Go over all that happened and ask yourself how you would handle it differently if it ever happened again.

Lots of great advice above - the only thing I disagree with a bit is about never contacting your friend who's husband you did this with again. If I were you I would give her some space for a little while, but I would get in tough and let her know how sorry you are and how you see the whole thing now. She may not want to hear it, may not care, may not want to talk to you. But if I were in her shoes, even if I never spoke to you again, it would help to know you had some perspective on it and felt bad. Maybe others here wouldn't want to hear from you, but I would.

But whatever you do, don't let this pass without learning how you want to do things differently from now on!
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#9 of 11 Old 08-28-2010, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I am really grateful for the support that you all have given me. I was so afraid to read the responses because I thought everyone would be very angry or tell me how horrible I am.

This has really eaten at me for the last week. It hurts so bad to know that I screwed up one of my best friendships. I have constantly thought about it and wish I could go back in time to do everything completely differently. And I wish I had a much better self image and more respect for myself back then. I have gone through a lot of emotions in the past week. Everything from extreme guilt to despair to hope to peace to anxiety to despair again. I know that I deserve every bad emotion and all of the guilt. I know that everything I am feeling is no where near what she is feeling. And it really kills me to know that I can't be there for her. I don't know what will happen to our friendship. She does still have me on facebook. I have not contacted her, except to write "happy birthday" to her baby on her wall. She did wish me a happy birthday on my facebook a few days ago so I figured it was ok. I can't refrain from contacting her in the future, though. After all of our years of friendship and all that we have been through together, I can't just remain silent and not offer my apology to her. I will give it time before I do it.

I went to my church and spoke with a priest and went through confession. I do agree that I need to see someone about my issues.

The husband contacted me a few days ago. He sent me an email saying he was sorry that he dragged me through all of this, that he has major problems and that he tried to bring me down with him and he realizes that it hurt my friendship with his wife. He says my friend is giving him another chance as he has re-dedicated himself to their religion (born again Christians) and that he's seeking help and healing. He asked for my forgiveness. I did email him back. I just mentioned that I was wrong, too. I made mention of how it's hurt me. I told him I will pray for his healing and recovery and for my friend and their marriage. I did give him my forgiveness as I don't hold grudges. I wished him peace. Who knows what will happen from here. I hope he gets the help he needs. I really hope she can forgive me and that we can re-build our friendship.

I know I have to forgive myself, which I have not been able to do. I'm trying to remain positive and peaceful. I've been an anxious wreck all week and I want to move on from that. I know I had a weak moment. I know that I will never make such a stupid mistake like that again or ever hurt my friends again. I know that I have to accept the fact that I made a mistake and endure the consequences. I am hoping for good things to come in the future, but I realize I have to understand if she never talks to me again.

If you pray, please pray for me. And please pray for my friend and her husband. Or, if you don't pray please think good thoughts.

Again thank you to everyone here.
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#10 of 11 Old 08-28-2010, 10:46 PM
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If I were in your position - since they've decided to try to reconcile and rebuild, I'd probably send a written apology to my friend and then explain that I would be bowing out of their lives altogether.

Why? B'c if I were you friend or your friend's dh, you would always be a reminder of a not-so-good time in our relationship and it would be tough to hang out with you while knowing that the dh and you had the attraction and acted on it. It would just get in the way of your friend and her dh's new relationship. I agree with pp's and cherish her forever b'c this has all lead you to a spot of now having to go inward and figure out why you needed that attention in the first place and to learn how to set up boundaries and also how to be a better friend in your future friendships.

I'd let that friendship go after writing her an apology and an explanation. Sounds harsh for you, but imo its the kindest thing you can do for them as a couple trying to rebuild trust. Best luck, try to forgive yourself.

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#11 of 11 Old 08-29-2010, 02:04 AM
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Personally, I'd give the wife the opportunity to decide for herself if she can handle remaining friends.

OP. I wouldn't have emailed him back b/c I have trust issues like that, but I'm glad you're so forgiving. Work on forgiving yourself, now!

Yes, yes.  I'm fabulous. loveeyes.gif  Moving on...

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