Can a Friendship Survive An Infidelity Accusation?

November 18, 2013  |  

Occasionally, friendships can be very tricky to maneuver, but anything worth having is worth the extra effort, right?  It seems that for longevity in a friendship is not just based on proximity (I’m still great friends with people who have moved to South Africa, and hours away from my current location), the recipe is simply communication.  Instead of sitting and simmering when your friend upsets you, you should address it.  Friendships end more often due to unspoken words, or worse, words spoken from repressed anger.  It seems as though if people would just talk, and be open with each other, then there’s nothing that a friendship wouldn’t be able to survive.

But let me ask you something, readers, if your friend falsely accused you of something horrible, could you forgive them?  I ask this because occasionally I’ll watch a DVR’d episode of Maury with my mother (guilty pleasure, don’t judge me), and there will be cases where a woman (and sometimes a man) will accuse their significant other and best friend of sleeping with each other.  Sometimes it turns out to be true, and sometimes the friend is an innocent bystander that got unfairly drug into a dysfunctional relationship’s baggage.

Now in my bizarre journey through life, this is something that I’ve never encountered.  But I always wondered, would I be able to forgive a friend that would think so lowly of me and how I take our friendship?

In normal life, we don’t have access to a lie detector test, or free DNA testing.  All we have is our word, and the knowledge that what’s done in darkness will come to light.  So, you wait and hope that your innocence can be illuminated.  But after the dust settles, would you want that platonic “old thang” back?

I believe that most things can be salvaged by communication and introspection, and with a situation like this, these are the things that are worth considering.

Why would she even accuse me?

Relationships, particularly dysfunctional ones, can become a power struggle.  Sometimes, in moments of maintaining control, one partner might start planting seeds in your friend about you.  Maybe (s)he begins complimenting you to your friend, or even using downgrading language to her about why she can’t be more like you.  There could even be times that your mate’s partner will make their attraction to you known to him/her.   Sometimes it’s because they want to infuse jealousy in your partner, sometimes they want to begin to break close ties to isolate them, and sometimes it’s both.  But your friend could be a victim of manipulation that causes them to question you, instead of looking at the person who’s pointing fingers.

Did I do something to warrant this accusation?

I am very pro-be-yourself, but at the same time, things should be pulled back when it comes to someone’s relationship.  Sure you noticed that your friend’s mate has been going to the gym.  A simple compliment shouldn’t be a big deal, but gushing over “how great” the mate looks, might have your friend giving you the side-eye.  So is trying to be their partner in a group game (Spades, anyone?), or maintaining inappropriate communication with their mate. (Kenya, anyone?)

If you are a naturally flirty person, there are times, places, and people to do that with, and your friend’s mate is not one of them.  No matter how harmless you feel like it is, or how your friendship should know that that’s just how you are, you should also respect your friend enough to not make them begin to question your behavior.

Where do we go from here?

Personally, I would be impressed if after a person was able to prove their innocence, a friendship could go back as if nothing ever happened.  If you’ve been able to do this, please share your story, so that we may bask in your friendship’s overwhelming maturity.  But for others, that accusation just entered their union into an uncomfortable territory that might be hard to get back out of.  Once the smoke settles, and you’re looking at each other awkwardly, what are your next steps?

Communication.  Find out what was going on in your friend’s head to even make him/her consider you as a possible homewrecker.  Sometimes when people are too in their own minds, and don’t allow themselves to have an outlet or sounding board, minute things begin to magnify to them.  Have an open conversation and try to get to the bottom of what fueled the whole thing.

But, at the end of the day, it’s all up to you if you decide that keeping this friendship is worth it.  Friendships are definitely worth having, but so is your own peace of mind.

So tell me, dear readers, how would you handle a situation like this?  If you have, how did you deal with it?

Kendra Koger can be caught occasionally watching Maury, and occasionally on twitter @kkoger

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