Agony aunt: Fighting friends

Dear Wendyl,

oy husband and I spend a lot of time with two very good friends who we’ve known for years. All our kids are around the same age, we’ve been away on camping holidays together and often see each other at weekends. our problem is that about a year ago, the wife found out her husband was having an affair. It was terrible for their marriage and we found it really hard supporting them both through it, but he ended the affair and they are still together.

But now, every time they have a few drinks, they start arguing and it can get quite unpleasant. It’s like they wait until they go out to fight and we have to sit there and listen to them. Spending time with them is becoming more of a chore than a pleasure and we are starting to turn down invitations and not have them over. But we miss their friendship. What can we do?

Sarah and Dave, email

Dear Sarah and Dave,

The answer is staring you in the face. When the affair happened, the two of you became their confidants, perhaps even one of the reasons why they stayed together. So now they think you will be happy to continue in that role. It is not okay, nor is it a nice way to treat friends who have been good to them.

So, as I often say in this column, you need to tell it to them straight. Use language like “we feel uncomfortable when” rather than saying, “You argue in front of us too much.” Suggest they get a real counsellor and let you two just be the friends you always have been. They can phone 0800 RELATE for a marriage counsellor in their area.

– Wendyl

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