Advice | Ask Amy: Best friend says sorry for emotional affair with my … – The Washington Post

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Dear Amy: Last year, my husband and my best friend, “Derry,” were caught having a very intense emotional affair. When it all came out, Derry was overheard saying that she didn’t care about breaking “girl code” and didn’t feel guilty about hurting anyone. Her own marriage was in the toilet at the time, so she jeopardized mine.
I was obviously devastated and extremely angry. Of course, the affair exposed fissures in my own marriage. My husband and I had a year of intense marriage counseling and worked through it. We’re doing great now. Derry had never apologized in any meaningful way until last week via email. A mutual friend also saw her last week and talked to her about it, so I was privy to some of her feelings for the first time. I learned that, like us, she and her husband did a lot of therapy and have patched things up.
Our mutual friend told me that Derry is in an enormous amount of pain over hurting me and cried through their whole conversation. In her email, Derry said it took her a year and a half to reach out to me because she wanted to have enough perspective to make a genuine apology. I believe this is true, and I know she deeply regrets the pain she caused. My question is: Should I respond and have some closure, or maybe even give her absolution? I have mostly healed, and I worry this will reopen the wound.
— Betrayed
Betrayed: Call it what you will, but in my view, breaking “girl code” trivializes this person’s behavior. People often ask whether couples can heal from betrayal and emotional or physical adultery, and I’m happy you have provided a positive example showing that sometimes, it is possible to come back from the brink.
I’m not sure it is within your power to grant absolution to this friend who has betrayed you so completely (that job might best be left to clergy), but you can certainly forgive her, and it sounds as if you have. You can close the loop by replying to her email, acknowledging her apology and stating that you forgive her. (If you haven’t forgiven her, you can say you’re working on it.)
I suggest you keep it short: “I want you to know that I believe your apology is genuine and that I have forgiven you. I hope that we can now all close this very challenging chapter of our lives.” You don’t say whether you want to engage in a dialogue and perhaps attempt to revive your friendship, but this is a decision you can make later on. No matter what, you should always protect your own feelings and interests by being completely honest and speaking your truth.
Dear Amy: My older sister “Barb” lost her husband two years ago. My husband and I live five minutes away from her. Being an introvert, I enjoy my solitude. I walk every morning at sunrise for 90 minutes and love being alone with my thoughts and with nature. Barb began walking with me immediately following her husband’s death, which was okay, because I knew she was lonely.
For the past six to nine months, though, I have been dreading her coming with me. She talks constantly, from the time we meet up until the time we part ways. We don’t have conversations, because I don’t have an opportunity to say much. She is very judgmental and nosy. What can I do or say, short of telling her I want silence from her if she goes with me?
— My Ears Hurt
Ears Hurting: Why can’t you tell your sister that you want silence on your walks? You have provided needed company and no doubt an important lifeline to her over the past two years since her husband’s death. And now is the time for you to revert to meeting your own needs during your morning constitutional.
She is your sister! Just tell her: “Barb, I need silence at sunrise. Let’s catch up for the first couple of minutes of our walk, then shut it down for some quiet time. We can visit at other times.” Ear buds might be your best morning accessory.
Dear Amy:Desperate Phone Hostage” needed a way to get off the phone with overly talkative people. That person should use the Wisconsin goodbye. You just say: “I should stop taking up so much of your time. I’ll let you get going.” Growing up in Wisconsin, everyone learns this.
— Hello and Goodbye From Wisconsin
Hello: This is delightfully “Wisconsin.” Thank you.
© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.
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