Q&A – But We’re Just Friends: Common Rationalization for Infidelity

But…We’re Just Friends

Should he continue seeing her (now that he says
the affair is over) as a friend?


My name is Maria. 4 months ago I found out my husband cheated. I thought I would die I am still in a lot of pain. but my question is they have stayed friends. Has this ever happened and whose to say that this won‟t happen again? They both swear it won‟t. They both feel remorse for what they have done? They said they were both caught up in the passion but never thought for a minute that they were hurting someone else in the process. I have been married for eighteen years and have 4 children with him and am still very much in love with him. But I have a hard time dealing with him and her being friends. I’m suffering health ways because of this. They have destroyed my life. and I can‟t seem to get out of this state am in. Please help me.

My response:

Maria, if I could get a dime for every time I hear the, “we’re just friends” schlick, I could buy those Ping golf clubs I’ve been looking at, PLUS accessories, PLUS a membership to the most exclusive country club in town.

Here’s what “we’re just friends” may mean:

“I don’t want to talk about it. Go away. Don’t bring it up again. I don’t want to address your concerns. I don’t want to acknowledge your pain and hurt. Leave me (and her) alone. I can’t handle talking to you about this. I don’t know how to talk to you about this”. (It may mean he is naive or lacks relationship skills.)

So… don’t take that phrase literally.

And, allow me to guess what happened. I would bet my old golf clubs that the two of them had less than stellar sex. It most likely was a dud – a big fat DUD. Great expectations but the follow through left them cold as ice. And, that relationship will probably fade like fog in a hot sun.

Remorse? When they never had a clue such an act would impact anyone else? Doesn’t sound like he suffers from great compassion or emotional awareness. Remorse sounds like a good word to cover up the fact that it didn’t work.

Actually, Maria, I would guess that you are the one in the relationship that carries the sensitivity and compassion. Are you the conscientious one? The one who has worked so hard to raise your family, keep things together and is typically aware of the others’ pain and questions?

And now your body is crying out with pain because it is tired? It has personal needs that are being ignored? It is weary of carrying HIS (and perhaps those of your children) anxiety and fears? And all this, while he plays and tells you it’s no big deal! gggggggrrrrrrrrrrr!

So, Maria, here are some possibilities for responding to “we’re just friend.”

Laugh hysterically and walk away. Or, Say, “Hmmmm, that sure is weird. You have sex with all your friends? Tell me what other of your friends have you done? You think having sex with your friends is no big deal?” Or, I’m not as stupid or naive as you seem to be about this!”

Or, confront the underlying message: “You don’t want to me to bring this up? You didn’t think this would bother me? You want me to condone and forget about what happened?”

I also suggest you begin to reflect on your personal needs and begin experimenting with ways to get them met. (Be prepared. He will notice and he may not like you caring for you!) Uncover the “true” Maria a little more, so she can breath with less stress and tension. I think you probably know what I mean.

And, Maria, remember, you have not lost your integrity or self. They have not destroyed you. They have injured themselves. This is your opportunity to redesign your life and relationship in ways that honor you and your family in greater ways.


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