I have just stumbled on a great blog called http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/about/ by a woman called Natalie Lue. Some of her posts which I have just read have been absolutely insightful. The one that stands out for me and I absolutely recommend that you give it a read, is the post about 'Some people hover just below your boundary line' Well, she hit the nail on the head with that one with regards to my situation.
My ex-friend was always there in the background but ever so slowly and surely she inched towards boundaries and then happily skipped over them when my guard was down. As her behaviour appeared to be so sincere (especially when she was having the affair with my now ex-partner) I let it slip. I thought deep down she is not really going to do anything even though there were neon lights flashing when I look back, and I always felt a sense of uneasiness with her flirtatious behaviour. And that is the keyword here: uneasiness.
Initially it was never out and out I want your man, it was subtle actions such as making eye contact with him in my presence but doing it in such a way that one could sense the connection between the two of them, if only for an instant. This progressed to flirtatious little looks and giggling at anything that he said which she thought was funny. All the while this was done in front of me and with each escalating flirtatious act my feeling of uneasiness increased.<< New text box >>
Instead of confronting her and saying what you are doing is wrong and I think you better stop it, I let her carry on. I let her cross my boundaries! Even though, deep down, I was aware of this I still naively believed she would never do anything that would be detrimental to our friendship. I believed she would never have an affair because she was a 'Christian'. Her going to church every Sunday and taking my child along, whilst I worked, was naively a guarantee in my mind that she would never have an affair.
This logical way of thinking was constantly challenged by my instinct, which was telling me that something was wrong, very wrong indeed. What have I learned from this and also reading Natalie's post on boundaries? Your inner voice is your radar! when that starts bleeping it is telling you something and that you should not ignore it. I did and I did so at my peril!
...Why does the pain of an affair hurt so much? That question can only be truly answered by those who have experienced it, and as someone who has, I hope this blog can offer some insight to the agony that you are facing.