Dear Shirley and Steve, I love my husband, dearly. He is a god-fearing man, a leader of our household, a caring husband and a great father to our four kids. We’ve been married for 15 years and things are as good as they have ever been, probably the best. That man adores me and I know would do anything for me; his love for me is unconditional. Which is what makes this Strawberry letter even harder. There was a time when things weren’t so great and we were really struggling in our marriage. About 4 years ago things were so bad I was ready to leave. So was he. I guess for our kids sake we stayed together. I had just had the third baby and we really wanted to keep the family together. But I was unhappy and I eventually strayed. The guy was a good friend at the time. My biggest mistake was I kept telling him about my marriage problems and eventually I admit, he played on my vulnerability and the weakness in my marriage, telling me how much better he was for me and my kids. How much more I deserved and how he could be the one to give it to me. I fell for it and we started an affair. And it wasn’t just a fling, it lasted three years. At some point I did think I might actually leave my husband and start a new life with this other man. He became my refuge, my escape, my joy and my best friend. But things got too intense. He was no longer satisfied with being just the other guy. He wanted more. He was adamant about me to leaving my husband. In the end, this guy gave me an ultimatum and I chose my husband. I finally stopped the affair. It took a while but we ended it for good. After a year though, the guilt of the secrets and the affair weighed on me and I finally told my husband everything. It was a hard time, but we got through with church, counseling and a lot of communication. I know I did wrong. My husband did not to deserve it but amazingly, he forgave me and I got a second chance. I did and continue to do everything I can to show him how much I love him. Our marriage is strong than ever and we even had our fourth child. But here’s the only problem. The “other guy” is actually a really good guy, And even though part of my agreement with my husband was to never speak or see this man ever again – but I find it hard to keep that promise. This man was (is) one of my very best friends. He knows everything about me, he knows me like the back of his hand. And I genuinely like the guy as a person. He’s funny and we laugh a lot and have a good time. He’s moved on after the affair too – got married and just had a child. My husband and I were even invited to the wedding, but my husband said HELL TO THE NO we weren’t going. He was pissed we even got an invitation wondering why the dude would feel the need to invite us, especially if I wasn’t talking to him anymore. Well the truth is we do still talk on the phone, sometimes we meet for coffee before work, every once in a while we go to lunch, sometimes hang out at happy hour. I have fun with him – and what is wrong with that? There is NO chance we will resume an affair again. He jokes about it sometimes, but he knows I will never do that to my husband again. And one night when we had too much to drink at dinner, dude admitted he would never get back with me again because I broke his heart too much when I chose my husband over him. That proves there’s no chance of an affair happening again. So I guess what I don’t understand is why CAN’T we be friends? I don’t like sneaking around to take his phone calls or feel like I’m doing something wrong when I meet him for lunch or drinks. Shirley and Steve, why can’t I be friends with the man who used to be the other man? Tell me I’m right and my husband is wrong and he should be able to trust me to be only friends with the guy.
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