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Awkward: Dealing with OP in a small community

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Thessalian posted 10/22/2013 01:04 AM

WH and I are expats (we live overseas). Because of this, our community is pretty small - everyone knows everyone. It's kind of like living in a tiny town tucked inside a big city.

WH's LTA happened with a girl who is also a part of that community, and tons of other people knew about it while it was happening. While I completely agree that our real friends are those who are friends of the marriage, our circumstances are a little different. I don't appreciate that no one told me while the A was going on, but I also realize that everyone here is very cautious about stirring up drama or rocking the boat, because a wrong move can land you on your ass in a foreign country with NO friends that speak your native language and very little possibility of finding any more. So again, while I really don't appreciate that none of the people who knew told me, all those people know OW just as well as they know me, they didn't owe either of us anything, and if I was in their shoes I'd be unsure what to do, too. So I also sympathize with them a lot - the act of telling could blow up their entire lives, and though everyone that knew about the affair knew me from events, parties, etc., none of them were my very close friends. All of my close friends here had no idea.

WH and I used to be pretty active around town and went out frequently. Since dday, we dropped totally off the map, and have been staying home and focusing on us. But the holiday season is coming, and there's a Halloween event I absolutely am NOT going to miss, and I know OW will be there.

The situation is very awkward. She knows almost everyone we know, we know almost everyone she knows, everyone knows about the affair, and everyone probably has a totally skewed version of what happened because OW has been running around town lying about it and telling everyone why she's the victim, and WH and I have only told the details to our closest friends (all of whom are completely outraged at her classless after-the-fact behavior). Yeah, total social life clusterf-.

I'm ready to go out again - no one is going to stop me from enjoying this event! - and WH and I have every intention of just ignoring OW while there. Ideally, she'll just stay away from us, but if she's stupid enough to try to talk to us, we'll just turn around and walk away and keep enjoying the night. So that's easy. But I'm not really sure how to handle potential situations like:

- Either myself or WH is talking to someone and OW approaches and tries to join the conversation. Just excuse ourselves and walk off? WH is committed to NC, so how best to maintain in public?

- Dealing with questions and uncomfortable situations when there's 40 people who know in the same room together.

For me, this event is important, because it will be the first time we see AP out, and it will be setting a precedent for:

a) How WH deals with OP in public (there will be unavoidable run-ins for the foreseeable future, so we have to crack that seal sometime).

b) Our friends and acquaintances and community noting how WH and I behave towards each other and OP.

c) Showing myself and everyone else that I'm not going to spend the next year hiding in my house - I'm not the one who should be hiding.

Ideally we can non-verbally communicate that the best thing to do is for all of us to ignore each other. Anyone else have a similar situation, or advice on dealing with an OP in a close-knit group?

[This message edited by Thessalian at 1:05 AM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

niaveone posted 10/22/2013 08:41 AM

We live in a small town where everyone knows too. I have to run into OW and her spouse at different times as well. We have all come to an agreement that we will ignore each other and keep a respectful distance. Since there are kids involved, it's the best we can do in a shitty situation.

But that's something I worked out with the OW and the men agreed with it. I don't know how it would have turned out if I didn't speak with her directly about it. I think I'd always be wondering if the other shoe were about to drop.

Ostrich80 posted 10/22/2013 09:11 AM

I used to be in the small group ow was in, and yes it was awkward when she was around. I'm not sure how many others knew but I'm sure there were a few. Thank God we moved 30 miles away.
Your right, you shouldn't have to hide. Walk with your head held high. She's the one that should feel awkward. Maybe if you get trapped in
the same vicinity, have ws hold your hand. Sometimes as I remember, a squeeze of the hand can give you comfort or even the signal to remove yourselfves to another section of the room. Ignore her skanky ass. When she sees you two together, maybe she will exit to go home and cry her eyes out. Seeing her former ap with his wife will hopefully send her on to other conquests or at least out the door.

Thessalian posted 10/22/2013 18:54 PM

@niaveone - Well, when I originally found out about the situation, I wrote OW a letter asking her to stay away from us. She agreed - sadly, I only had about 1/20 of the actual truth at that time, and when I found out the whole truth, I was so horrified I didn't want her to be anywhere near us, and based on her behavior since then, I don't think talking to her AT ALL is a good idea. She's completely delusional about what went on between her and WH (we were just friends that had sex! it's not my fault! etc. Yeah, I'm sure someone held a gun to your head and made you screw my husband multiple times in my house, on my couch, without protection, while I was out of town, then sleep in my bed.)

So I am kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but based on her behavior towards me during the affair (I saw her around a lot before I knew what was happening and she would barely look me in the face), I think she'll be too cowardly to do anything at all. Only concern is if she's drunk. But I guess facing situations like those are just part of the cost of this mess.

@Ostrich I considered moving away for a bit, but a) there's really nowhere to move, we'd have to uproot our entire lives and b) I love this city and I'm not going anywhere. But it's hard. It's really hard. She already has about 5 other conquests (that I know about, several of which she was with at the same time she was with WH), one of whom I know is in a long-term relationship. I outed that mess, too, so there's also the possibility of running into the OTHER guy she was banging whose relationship I kind of blew up (well, he blew it up by cheating on his girlfriend in a tiny, gossipy community, but I very openly told). It's just that WH was her favorite at the time (BARF).

I'm just so angry that WH blew up all of the care and attention I put into trying to build a circle of friends and become active in our community because he just had to bang this one psychotic bitch. There are a billion pretty girls around, he had to pick one that knows everyone we know. Of all the betrayals, why couldn't he at least have had an affair with someone that wasn't so connected to our lives? It makes me sick.

[This message edited by Thessalian at 7:00 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

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