If you read any of my previous posts, you will know that one of the frustrating things about my experience is the fact the reaction of most of my WW's confidants to not only the fact that she was thinking of ending the marriage, but also to the fact that she was having an affair as well. The most she seems to have gotten from them was some "discomfort" with her infidelity which, in some cases, was eventually replaced with outright support. Even my mother-in-law failed to give her the upbraiding that her behavior deserved, which only served to make her feel more validated in her decision. It's disgusting, and I'm still striving to understand it. Part of it, I'm sure, is that these people had been primed by hearing all about my WW's dissatisfaction in her marriage before they heard about the affair. They were already in "You poor thing" sympathy mode before the affair entered the picture, and switching gears at that point would have been difficult. Others, like my mother-in-law, I think were afraid that if they pushed her too hard, that they'd push her away.
I've often said to myself that if a friend of mine were cheating on his wife, I'd give him a damn slap in the face and tell him to get his act together yesterday. And if it were my daughter, I'd show her tough love until she turned around. There's no way that I would let someone I love do to someone else what has been done to me, and the responses of the people who claim to love my wife have baffled me.
Still, I know that this kind of tough response is risky. After all, you run the risk of pushing the WS further into the behavior, further into the twisted fantasy world that they are living in, disconnected from family. What if your tough love hurts more than it helps?
On my end, I have begun confiding my wife's infidelity to a handful of friends, some of whom are mutual friends of ours, and their response seems to have been similar. They try to reach out to my wife, expressing their love and support (though not, of course, expressing their support for the divorce or affair, thank God). I am trying to understand this response. I get that they don't want to cut her off. That makes sense to me, but I just keep on thinking what I would do if I were in their shoes. I can't imagine myself being nearly so soft on this kind of thing. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm seeing this from the perspective of someone who has been hurt by this behavior, but I don't know.
So that brings me to my question: What would you do if you found out that a friend of yours was cheating on his/her spouse? Or if your friend told you that his spouse was cheating on him? How would you behave towards the WS? What would be your approach?