Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My friend recently separated from her husband and I don’t think she’s dealing with it in a very healthy way. They aren’t even technically divorced yet but she’s signed up for multiple dating sites. And she isn’t just browsing or flirting, she’s actively going on dates with guys and has even admitted to sleeping with a couple of them.
I feel she will regret this later. She and her husband, as I said, haven’t even actually divorced. That means there’s a chance they could still work this out. But what’s the chance he will even want to if he finds out what she’s been up to? They have two children and I feel like she’s putting her own social life above behaving in a way that would support keeping her family together.
My husband and I frequently double-date with this couple and personally if they do reconcile, or even if they don’t, I don’t know that I could keep quiet about her behavior should her husband ask. Should I tell her that I think she’s being irresponsible and crazy? I feel like someone needs to talk some sense into her before she sabotages her future.
Interesting that you interpret this as your friend sabotaging her future; I see it as her boldly setting out on a new path and leaving the past behind. It’s all a matter of perspective and interpretation, and while any of us could armchair quarterback her intentions and actions, really the only person whose opinion matters here is your friend’s.
Who knows what led up to her marital separation. Wait — she does! She knows the reasons, she knows the likelihood of reconciliation, and she knows whether or not she’s even interested in doing so. Judging by her actions, she isn’t. To the contrary, she sounds like a woman who is exploring her new identity as a single person in a new dating landscape. As long as she isn’t neglecting her kids and is being safe, what’s the problem?
It’s true that some couples take breaks and make up. Some don’t. Maybe you imagine yourself in the first camp, presumably being in a happy and committed relationship. From your perspective, I’m sure it’s hard to imagine a divorce as a positive. But for many people who make the difficult decision to end the marriage, it signals a new beginning toward a happier future.
Serious bummer that the dramatic change of course in your friend’s love life has thrown a monkey wrench in your occasional double-date-night routine. Pretty darn selfish of her to place her happiness ahead of staying stuck in a relationship that wasn’t/isn’t working for her. And the nerve of her to entrust you with all of it in such a challenging time for you! Jeez.
Look, she clearly needs new friends in her life right now: boyfriends and besties. Judging, telling her how you’d do things and/or telling her how she should be doing things isn’t going to inspire the moment of clarity you’re hoping for. If anything, her clarity will come in taking the empowerment of the new direction in her life journey and taking it even more fresh directions, like leaving other dead weight behind.
In fact, seems you’re the one who needs the clarity. So here it is: Something is wrong with her marriage. Maybe she’s tired of it. Maybe her husband pushed her away. Maybe they’re both miserable. Whatever the case, you can’t assume it’s worth salvaging or who, if anyone, is sinking or sabotaging it. If you aren’t in this to be a supportive or at least understanding friend, what are you really around for?