To my husband’s best friend,
Over the past few years, I have faced levels of pain I didn’t think were possible. From the discovery of my husband’s first affair, to extensive counseling, and the discovery of yet another affair, not only has this journey been painful, but lonely.
And although my own best friend has listened to my cries, held my hand, and been there for me every step of the way, I think no one else has felt the pain of my husband’s absence like you.
I believe you when you tell me you didn’t know about his first affair.
And I believe you when you tell me you didn’t know about the second affair.
Because although I failed to see the type of man my husband is, I KNOW the type of man you are. You are the man who goes to your daughter’s ballet practice after working a 12-hour shift. Who stands in line for hours to take a picture with Santa Claus. And would rather spend a Friday night with your parents, than at a bar. And although we butt heads from time to time, I know what matters most to you. Your family.
If you knew about my husband’s affairs I know you would have said something. You would have told him it was wrong. If you knew about his affairs, you wouldn’t be as broken as you are. Because you would have seen it coming.
When you’ve hugged me, and let me cry on your shoulder, I’ve felt your pain. I’ve seen your heartbreak as you’ve watched your best friend slip away. And I’ve seen your loneliness. After all, he not only abandoned his family, he abandoned you.
This divorce didn’t just affect me, or my son. Although we will carry the pain and the scars of the divorce, trauma is a ripple. Slowly spreading to friends and family.
So, while I may suffer. While I may have bad days. I see yours too. I see you quietly stare off in the distance as the memory of his presence and the heaviness of his absence fills the room. I’m sorry he wasn’t the friend to you, that you were to him. I’m sorry he hurt you, like he hurt me. I’m sorry we trusted someone who was unworthy of our trust. I’m sorry you’re hurting.
But I wanted to take this moment to say thank you.
Thank you for showing my son how much you love your wife.
Thank you for showing my son how much you love your daughters.
Thank you for being there for me while I’ve cried.
Thank you for being there for my son, when his dad wasn’t.
Thank you for showing my son what it means to be a man of character.
My best friend is lucky to have you.
Note: I wrote this letter to my ex-husband’s best friend because it was important for me to acknowledge his suffering, even in the midst of my own. While going through a divorce, we sometimes become consumed by our to-dos, decisions and dramas, that we miss the “collateral damage” caused by the destruction of our marriage. Acknowledging the suffering in others does not diminish or dismiss our own, but simply says “I see you” and “I understand”.
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” -Romans 12: 15