Betrayed Friend

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Seeking redemption for betraying a friend

May 2006

I did something really awful...I got physical with a friend's husband. We got caught, not red-handed, but with a trail of clues that led to the conclusion that we'd gotten too close. Needless to say, I've been feeling horrible, so remorseful and upset with myself and the way I betrayed this friend. I'm questioning and trying to learn from my actions. I've apologized profusely to her, but understandably she can't accept my apologies.

I have never let a man get in the way of my friendships before. I've never betrayed a friend. I am trying to figure out how I could have been so selfish. I'm soul searching and have a counseling appointment upcoming. I cry everyday for hurting someone so much, and for ruining our friendship. I am frankly trying to still like myself as a person after doing this, and it's hard at this point.

My question is, has anyone reading this been in a situation like this, or really hurt a friend in another way, and if so, what did you do to try to make yourself a better person? How do I redeem myself to her and the world for my selfish ways? I'm feeling so awful about what I did, and I would like to make amends further directly to her, but it's too soon. Things are still raw. I've been thinking of volunteering somewhere, giving service...any advice navigating these waters would be helpful. Wish I Could Take It All Back

Hello, Sorry to say, you made a mistake and (rightfully) lost a friend. I don't think she needs to ever forgive you. Maybe living with a bit of your guilt will help you contemplate ever crossing the line again in your future Anon
I also betrayed a friend, not in the way you did, but in a way that was very painful. She lived in another state and called me to say that her cancer had returned and that she was expected to live for six months. I was horrified, but told her that I was going to be married within that time and would like her to come to my wedding if possible. But then I repressed her -- our friendship, the call, everything. I didn't invite her. Shortly after our wedding she called to find out when it was going to take place! I was forced to admit that I had forced her out of my mind, and she was devastated.

I am writing this because I think that what I did was in many ways more inexcusable, yet we did make up. I think that your ability to receive forgiveness from her will depend on 1) the depth of your friendship to begin with (does it precede her marriage?) 2) her understanding of the potential reasons for what you did (i.e., her understanding of you and her husband) 3) her level of security in her marriage.

In order to receive her forgiveness (and forgive myself) I told her how sorry I was (genuinely sorry), explained why I thought I had done what I had done (that I couldn't accept her impending death and so ignored it), and offered to come out to see her right away. But I will always know that I hurt someone for whom I cared deeply. You might not be able to get your friend to forgive you, but you can examine your motivations for doing what you did and try to guard against them in the future. You will be a better friend from now on, I am sure, and others will benefit from your friendship in the future. a better friend now

The truth of the matter is that there is no easy fix to your situation. IF she wants this friendship to continue then give her time. IF she does not...move on. Nonetheless, you have to figure out some way to forgive yourself. Seek out a therapist to help you work through your feelings. For now, you will hurt and for a while One who has lived through hurt
I don't think redemption is an option; all you can do is learn from your mistake. In your counseling I would suggest taking a real long hard look at why you did it, and really try to tell yourself the truth about it, even if it is painful and unflattering. It is difficult to confront when we have done something 'evil' but unless it is truly acknowledged it will continue to run you. You might at some point write a note of apology to your friend, but do not try to get her to forgive you and ask anything from her at all. And do not ask for or expect a response. But at least you will have apologized. Then drop it and don't contact her again anon
I've not been in the exact same situation as you, but I did hurt a friend & lost her in the process, and it was entirely my fault. So I sort of know how you feel. I had to sort out how I felt about it and have learned pretty much the following.

You have to face this: you want your friend to forgive you because YOU want to feel better. This is selfish - admit it. The only way for your friend to feel better is to have you out of her life (and definitely out of her husband's life!) The selfless thing for you to do is let her end your friendship and go on with her life. And you have to live with your guilt, which you deserve. Hopefully it will teach you something anon

I hope your friend's husband is as sorry as you. anon