photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões on flickr

photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões on flickr

Dear Meli,

I recently found out that the wife of a dear friend of mine is having an affair. If you’re wondering what this has to do with spirituality, that’s my question. She is supposedly a “spiritual” person. And yet her behavior seems so out of integrity to me. I’m not sure what to do. Do I confront her? Do I tell my friend? Do I do nothing? What?

Suffering in Silence


Dear Suffering,

This experience sounds very challenging. I’m sorry to hear that it’s causing you pain.

I’ve heard various arguments about how to handle these situations. I made a choice once to confront someone in this kind of situation. I don’t think I would do so again.

We can never completely know what anyone else’s experience is. We cannot ever completely understand what another couple’s relationship is, or what another person’s integrity is. For all you know, this couple chooses to have a relationship in which this behavior is fine.

While I certainly understand that it is difficult to know that someone you care about is being betrayed, you don’t actually know the back-story. For all you know, this affair may lead to your friend’s, or the couple’s, greatest healing and love. Meanwhile, your friend may prefer not to know.

In processing your own experience, keep this in mind: Even the most spiritual of us have area(s) of our life we’re still working on. This area might be one of theirs. Can you find compassion for them?

I take opportunities like this to be a personal sign, pointing me right to where my work is. I allow it to guide me in my own growth. For example, in your situation, here are some questions I might ask myself:

1) Do I know for sure that my judgment of this person’s behavior is accurate? (For instance, can I be certain that they are not aligned with their integrity?)

2) Can I imagine a back-story that would allow me to find compassion for them? (Can I love them in all of their imperfection and humanness?)

3) Is there an area of my life where I have the same judgment about myself? Do I need to change something about my own behavior to stop judging myself?

To put it bluntly, the basic premise of my line of questioning is this:

A) How am I just like this person?

As much as I might wish it weren’t true,  there is sure to be an aspect of myself I am seeing in them, and rejecting in myself.

B) Can I love and have compassion for this part of myself?

If not, this is where to focus my attention and spiritual practice.

All of this said, if it feels really right to you to take a different path, then I say “go for it!” Always go with what really feels deeply right to you. If you regret it later, it will have been your perfect path of growth and learning. Cuz that’s just how it works. And in this regard, you simply can’t get it wrong.

Blessings and Love to you,


How have you handled the transgressions of friends? Share your comments below!

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