Do you know what to do if your friend shares that her husband is having an affair? You might not know what to say, or how to best care for your friend in her time of need. Here are seven things people have shared that were helpful when they were going through this painful time in their lives:
- Don’t ask for all the juicy details. Before asking questions, consider: What is my motive for asking a particular question?
- This is an excellent time to use Wisdom of the Wounded’s Caregiving Basics. You can:
- Help them tell the story. Help them express their emotions.
- Pray before you visit. Pray during the visit. Pray after the visit.
- Respect the Grief Process. Whenever someone loses someone or something important to them, they will go through a grieving process. Grieving takes time–lots of time.
- Practice strict confidentiality. Ask, “Am I the only person who knows this information?” You don’t want to accidentally share information that is supposed to be held in confidence.
- When the person seems to be immobilized by depression, suggest that she or he write a “to do” list for the day. Then work alongside the person to help accomplish the tasks.
- Invite the person to participate in a physical activity/exercise with you. Walking and talking produces healing. If the person is up to it, vigorous activity is especially helpful in stress relief, so go for a tennis game, or other aerobic activity.
- Encourage the person to become involved in a class or support group on codependency, self-esteem, or assertiveness training.
- If your friend enjoys self-education, perhaps you could suggest a book on the topic (but only if they seem receptive to the suggestion.) One especially helpful book is, After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful by Janis Spring.
When someone experiences marital infidelity it is an emotionally painful time. Although you can do nothing to change your friend’s circumstances, you can be there for him or her. And often, a friend’s devotion can help begin the healing process.