My husband and my friend are having secret contact

I have been married for 15 years. My husband and I have always had a great relationship. He is a very gentle, trustworthy, helping man. That’s what I have always loved most about him. He is 53 and I am 43.

We had some family friends (mom, dad, & 2 teenagers) for about 5 or so years that we spent quite a bit of time with. With that said my family was dealing with some pretty big issues with one of our daughters that caused a great amount of stress in our family. I also was dealing with significant health issues of my own.

I know that I was probably pretty hard to live with at the time (this past spring) for both my husband and my kids. I’m sure that I neglected to see that my husband needed somebody to talk to about it and I was too busy with my own problems to see it.

My problem is that my best friend, C, took it upon herself to start calling my husband a few times a month and sometimes more to check on him and see if he was okay, so she says, never mentioning to me that she was doing this.

I asked him why he didn’t tell me that she was calling before and he said he knew that there was so much going on in our lives with our teenager that he knew I wouldn’t understand and it would make things worse and I would jump to the wrong conclusion about talking her. He said he never had any feelings for her other than she was my friend and thought of her like maybe a sister.

He said he finally realized that she was wrong in calling him (she called all the time) behind my back and thanked her for helping him but told her to stop calling.

I feel so betrayed... I am trying to deal with the fact that he didn’t tell me to start with (he said he didn’t think anything wrong about it to start with or he would have) but more than anything I feel so betrayed by my best friend.

I loved her like a sister and I don’t think I would’ve have ever called her husband without her knowing it no matter what the circumstances would have been. I feel like she was never a friend at all to have kept such secrets about my family to me. Its been really hard to deal with for the last 3 months.

Can it be true that a husband can be faithful to his wife and love her in a situation like this? Was my friend wrong in not telling me about her calling my husband? Was my husband wrong in not telling me about it even though he knew I probably wouldn’t understand at the time?

He hasn’t hid anything from me—call logs, etc.—he actually showed them all to me. She doesn’t feel like she has done anything wrong... then why am I so hurt?

I don’t know if I can ever have a female friend anymore that I can trust. Does it sound like I can trust my husband? For some reason I always have. He has apologized for being so naive about her many, many times and even feels embarrassed that he talked to her about anything at all. He actually called her husband and apologized to him because he felt like he had betrayed him for ever talking to her when she called. I respected him for that.

She hasn’t even apologized to me or my children for the hurt she helped to create.

Some background history—I grew up with a Dad who always cheated on my mom and still does—we always knew about it and it was a hard pill to swallow—could this be why I am so doubtful about men and truth?

Please help me!


First, it’s not wrong for friends to help each other in times of need. That’s what friends are for. In fact, people who have a lot of social connections get through life with a lot less difficulty (e.g., anxiety, stress, loneliness, etc.).

But with that said, keeping their contact hidden from you wasn’t the smartest move. Because discovering what happened creates a lot of uncertainty. And uncertainty leads people to question everything that happened, and interpret people’s motives in the worst possible light (see consequences of discovering deception).

And discovering that your husband had developed a special relationship with your friend can also bring forth intense feelings of betrayal. People have expectations about the type of contact a spouse can have with other people. When those expectations are violated, the response is similar in nature to discovering sexual infidelity (see what counts as cheating).

The feelings you are now experiencing are only made worst because you were betrayed, not only by your husband, but by your friend as well.

But while you have every right to feel betrayed, it is also important to understand that not everyone may share your expectations about how people should behave. So, it is quite possible that your friend saw nothing wrong with contacting your husband when he was in need of someone to talk to. But, the question remains, why did they hide their contact from you?

Typically, people hide things from a spouse when the behavior in question is either inappropriate or their spouse feels that it is inappropriate (see when lovers lie).

Sometimes people know they are doing something wrong and they hide it. But, it is also possible to hide things, not because people feel they are doing anything wrong, but because their spouse would disapprove. For instance, a friend of ours is married to an environmentalist—an environmentalist who does not think that it is acceptable to read a traditional newspaper when the news can be read online. Our friend, however, likes to read the actual newspaper—so he hides this from his wife. He doesn’t see anything wrong with what he’s doing, but doesn’t want to get into a fight over this issue.

Now, the problem facing you is trying to determine if your husband and your friend hid their relationship because it was inappropriate. Or did they hide it from you simply because they feared your reaction. If you are prone to being judgmental, disapproving, or set in your ways—people may be hiding a lot of things from you—not because they feel they are doing anything wrong, but because they don’t want to deal with your reaction to the truth (see getting others to be honest).

At this point, our best advice is to share your feelings about what happened with both your husband and your friend. When doing so, it helps if you can focus on how the situation made you feel (i.e., betrayed, left out, hurt), and not their behavior. Rather than trying to force an apology from people, try to get them to understand how it made you feel. Typically, this is the best way to resolve problems in a close relationship (see talk about problems).

Finally, your reaction to this situation, is most likely influenced by your past history. It is impossible to read a situation exactly as it is. Our thoughts and feelings are constantly influenced by prior events, relationships and experiences (see attachment styles). The difficult part is learning that one’s initial reaction may not always be the best reaction to have.

Hope this helps.

 confront lying | friend causing problems | unpleasant discovery

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