Forgiving an old friend’s affair with her husband | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Dear Emily,


At our 65th high school reunion, I saw that many had passed on. Of those remaining, I saw someone who used to be my closest, dearest friend.


As I was about to greet her, she turned away, but that didn’t deter me from pursuing her. I had to talk to her and vent the secret I’d been keeping for decades. I wanted her to hear something important before it was too late.


She and my husband fell in love and had a short affair when we were much younger. Though the hurt punched my gut, it wasn’t enough to break up our marriage. We took pride in having one of the strongest relationships among our friends, and here he was fooling around on the side, which nobody ever knew about except me. The culprits didn’t even know I knew.


I just had to tell her I knew about their affair and, most importantly, that I’d forgiven them a long time ago.  I said I was grateful that despite them enduring the pain of separation from each other, my husband never left me, and our relationship as a family grew even stronger after that.


My trust in my husband suffered, but time healed that, as well. Both our husbands are gone now. The only casualty was my friendship with her.


I never sought her out again, much to the confusion of our friends.


My point in opening this old hurt is, if I can go down on my knees every night to ask forgiveness for my wrongdoings,  how can I not forgive the wrong she has done to me? We’re all getting old, and I didn’t want her lugging this heavy burden of guilt forever. 




Courageous of you to offer an adversary, who almost ruined your life, the magnanimity of forgiveness. In some ways,  you’re clearing your own deck for yourself as well. You were best friends, and a human abomination called love derailed your relationship.


But as you pointed out, your family survived this short-lived drama, and even improved from it. Nobody died. No one even had an inkling of that fly-in-the-ointment moment in your marriage. Everyone moved on. Except possibly during certain lulls, when a flash of that by-gone flustered equanimity and wounded pride jolts your memory, and you reluctantly remember.


Yes, wasn’t it an absolute relief physically and emotionally—to forgive and forget? All hurts and pain flushed out?


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