Dear Coleen: 'My friend is cheating on her husand and I'm upset with her'

Dear Coleen

After a few too many glasses of wine the other night, my best friend confessed to me she’s been having an affair for the past six months. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

I’ve known this friend since we were 12 and doing ­something like this is so out of character. I had no idea she’s been living this double life.

She’s been married to her husband (also a good friend of mine) for 13 years and they don’t have kids. They tried, but it never happened and she’s now saying she’s desperately unhappy in the marriage and wants out, but doesn’t want to break her husband’s heart.

She was very upset when she was telling me and cried a lot, saying she felt like an evil person and that she knows what she’s doing is wrong.

The guy she’s been having the affair with is single and really into her, so she feels under ­pressure to make a decision.

I don’t know how to help her and, to be honest, I’m so ­disappointed in her, although I didn’t say that. I love her husband like a brother and if he finds out about this affair, it’ll destroy him.

I don’t know what to say to my friend. Please help.

Coleen says

It’s a sad situation all round and it sounds like this couple have felt the pressure of trying for a baby and it not working out. I understand it’s difficult for you because you love them both and don’t want to see them hurt or break up, but I think all you can do for your friend is to listen and try to support her without judgment.

It sounds as if she’s very aware of the damage this affair is already causing and the heartbreak it would lead to if it ever came to light, and she’s struggling with guilt.

I think the only advice I would offer is she’s put herself in a very stressful situation and it would be better to end this affair while she sorts out her marriage one way or the other. The affair is a distraction from what she knows she must face, which is a difficult conversation with her husband.

There’s no easy way to tell someone that you’re unhappy in a relationship and want out, and of course her husband will be shocked and upset, but he deserves to know and cheating on him isn’t fair and it isn’t the answer.

You could also suggest ­counselling. Even if your friend has made her mind up to leave the marriage it can really help ease the process and help both parties feel heard. Good luck.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.