Q&A: Resuming friendship after an emotional affair

Question:

Should we terminate our friendship with another couple after the man and I became involved in an emotional affair? It’s over now, and our spouses have taken a firm but conciliatory attitude towards the whole thing. We’ve suspended our normal get-togethers for the time being. At some point, though, do you think it would be okay to resume our friendship?

Answer: As much as it’s hard to hear, we would say “no.” From our perspective, there’s simply no way around it. When marital unfaithfulness has occurred, perhaps the most important element of the reconciliation process is a willingness on the part of the offending spouse to take responsibility for his or her actions and accept the consequences of their mistakes. In your case, we’d have to include the loss of this friendship among the casualties.

Imagine if the man was a co-worker. Would it be possible, once the affair was over, to go back to life as usual in the office? We don’t think so. Our advice would be to give two weeks’ notice and find a new job.

What if he were your next-door neighbour? This is admittedly a more difficult and complicated scenario. Nevertheless, circumstances permitting and all other things being equal, we’d still recommend that you pack the house and relocate.

Why do we say this? Because it’s unwise to place yourself in temptation’s path. You may think you’ve got your emotions under control, but the affair can and often does reoccur if you’re not careful. A wise man once wrote, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” The answer, of course, is no. The best thing you can do is cut all ties with the other couple.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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