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My best friend stayed in a relationship with a married, abusive man. Now they're engaged.

This is an extremely hard piece for me to write, but I think it’s safe to assume I’m not the only person who has been faced with this dilemma.

I used to have a dear friend. She was energetic, independent, and lively. She paid her bills on her own, she saved her money, she needed no one to get shit done. She was the kind of person you wanted to be around, all the time. She laughed hard and full.

She had a light around her before.

But she met this man, who none of her friends ever felt comfortable around. He had a sense of uneasiness about him. We found out after two years of them dating that he’s been married to someone else the whole time. Our friend was the mistress and she had no idea. She was destroyed. She barely got out of bed for weeks, and we couldn’t blame her. Her whole life went up in smoke.

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But then, she forgave him. They fought non-stop after that, and still, she stayed.

And when he became a father and started raising a child with his wife, she stayed. She found out she wasn’t the only ‘girlfriend’ through social media. Even then, she stayed.

She lost all of her friends, through all the drama and emotional exhaustion of trying to convince her to leave when the abuse wasn’t just emotional anymore.

He’s divorced now (we assume, since he put a ring on my old friend) but knowing the man, I can’t even say this with 100 per cent confidence.

And so she’s engaged now. She’s planning a wedding. She’s promoting it all over her Facebook. She’s talking about how expensive the ring is.

And we’re all in disbelief that after so many years, she’s going to marry him.

I cannot judge her. I did for so long, and it made me feel worse about myself. So now, I’m trying to be open and see things from her perspective. I’m assuming she is doing only what feels right to her after spending so many years with him. I get it (kind of).

That feeling of helplessness, of starting over after a long relationship – it’s terrifying.

But still, after hearing her engagement announcement, I felt a pain in my chest.

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I was mourning the girl who used to be while trying to celebrate the girl who stood in her place.

So, what do you do?

Do you pretend to be happy for your old friend? Can you let yourself be genuinely happy for someone whose dirty secrets you know?

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If invited, do we attend the wedding, and watch this man read vows to our dear friend knowing what we know about him?

Well, she’s the one in the relationship with him, not us.

And she knows what we know, obviously. If she’s willing to move forward and marry this man, for whatever reasons it may be, then shouldn’t we be happy for her?

I think that’s the most important part when looking at this situation. I am not involved in this. Not in any shape or form. I am not the one agreeing to marry this man, she is. I am not the one who is going to be living with him, she is.

What good would come from standing up at that wedding, and objecting to their matrimony?

Nothing.

What good would come from telling your old friend that you think she is making a grave mistake?

Nothing.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can be said that could help her situation. The only thing that could come from someone saying anything to her, would be conflict, unnecessary conflict.

We are no longer friends, but we still run into each other from time to time, and when she bragged about how much the ring cost to me, I knew I was happy that I was able to enjoy her friendship while she still had that glow about her.

For that, I am grateful. And for that, I will wish her the best, and hope that he doesn’t harm her anymore.

I think that’s all we can do for people we are no longer really friends with.

We cannot judge them, for we do not understand the ins and outs of their relationship, no matter how much we think we do. Only the people involved know every detail of their relationship.

So I will wish them the best, and hope it works out.

Because really, that’s all I can do from my distanced relationship at this point.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo from Getty. 

What would you do if it were your friend? Let us know in the comments.

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