So I have this friend, whom I don't see nearly as often as I want to....but I love her. She's bold and brassy and tall and sexy and strong and a fierce mama. Her husband left her a few months ago, for (gasp) a younger woman. He gave her the same litany of excuses and reasons that so many of us get: things are stale, he needs more (insert whatever primal need here; blowjobs, attention, steak dinners, whatever), this new chick just "gets him" in a way she never could, etc. I have tried to be there for her during this whole process, the sifting process in which the woman who has been left behind tries to sort out the good stuff from the bad, a process which I know firsthand can be soul-wrenching and laborious and make you feel like you want to just jump in front of a speeding semi-truck somedays. I know, firsthand, that realistically the only thing you can do for a woman in this situation is just be there for her. Sifting is hard.
Anyhoo. So when this woman first told me of the news, that her husband was leaving her for someone new and shiny and oh so much better for him than her, I thought I had done what most of us would do in this situation: I picked a side. When you're friends with both parties, you try to sell yourself a bill of goods which goes like this: "I like both of them! I can be friends with both of them and it will be ok and not at all uncomfortable or awkward for any of us!". Bullshit. It's like trying to be both a Republican and a Democrat. Can't be done.
Or wait, can it? I suppose in the cases of divorce where it was a truly two-sided, even, amicable split...I suppose it can be done. I have another friend who is recently split, who has done just this: she and her ex are parting as friends. And knowing that, if the three of us ever find ourselves in the same space, I would totally be buds with both of them. Because I know that's how she wants it.
That said, in a situation like the one my aforementioned friend is in, I don't think it's so easy for people who are friends with both parties. I think a lot of people want to remain neutral, to stay in the good graces of both parties. And that mystifies me. I think when you remain on good terms with the spouse who cheats and lies and leaves, that is the same as supporting what they've done. I know, I've heard the rationale: "But what he does doesn't define him, Jenny, he's still a good person. I can't judge him, that's for God or Zeus or whomever to do." Again I have to say bullshit.
In my very humble opinion, it does define a person. Let's say, for example, you have a friend. He is a GREAT guy, a pillar of society, a stand-up dude. Let's say, then, that this stand up guy is found guilty of, oh...let's say animal abuse. Bad animal abuse, like dog-fighting caliber. Would your former opinions of him still stand? Would you still think that, deep down, this guy is still all that and a bag of chips? I don't think so. I think the act that he has committed has shown what kind of person he has been all along.
Same with these guys who leave their families for greener, more taut, pastures. And here come the waves of excuses: But there are two sides to every story! You don't know what he's been going through! I get it, really I do. I'm right there with you on the "two sides to every story" thing, really I am. I am always the first to say that my marriage wasn't perfect, that there are things I could have done differently, but there is never, ever any excuse to cheat. Never. I summed up my feeling about this in a post titled, go figure, "Such Bullshit". Click on the title if you want to read it...I was mad that day so it's kind of ranty, but I like it.
Let me just say that I don't condone ostracizing the offending spouse, or bad-mouthing them or doing any of that alienation junk. I have never once asked my friends to not speak to Big Daddy, nor have I asked them to keep their kids from seeing mine while they are in the custody of Big Daddy. That's not my call. Would I let my kids go over to the house of a friend's ex-spouse? It depends. It would matter to me if the ex-spouse in question did something I found to be questionable. I realize that doesn't matter to a lot of people, and I respect that. However, I know that I find it unpalatable that my kids have to be around people who have done crappy things, and if I had my druthers they wouldn't be there. But that's another diatribe for another time.
So back to the point of this post: When my dear friend confided to me that her husband was philandering, I thought I did what a friend should do: unfriend him on the facebook. Apparently, though, I didn't do it, because last night, before I settled in with William to watch Iron Giant (OMG please, if you haven't watched that movie, do so very soon. I forgot how completely awesome it is!) I perused my facebook for a few minutes. And I saw that my friend's soon-to-be ex-husband (they haven't yet started the grisly dismemberment process) was tagged in a few pictures. Being the nosy snoop I am, I clicked on them.
There he was, with his new lady (and her kids), enjoying a fun getaway to Florida. At first I was just all, "Ewww." and then I decided to read some of the comments people had left.
"OMG you guys are SO CUTE!"
"Good for you, man. Good for you!"
"WOW girl, you snagged a hot one!"
"So so happy for both of you!"
And I got mad. I got mad for my friend, who was home dealing with two teens while her a-hole husband was romping the beach in Florida with his new conquest (who, of course, looks A LOT like my friend. What is up with that???). I got mad for her kids, because their dad was on a vacation with some other woman's children. I got mad for all of us who have been discarded when I read the comments other people had left.
So I did what I think a lot of people think of doing, but don't. I left a comment. I wrote, "XXXX, I feel sorry for your wife and kids." That was it. Then I unfriended him like I should have a few months ago.
Was I wrong to do that? The pictures weren't even his, they were the girlfriends, but as one of his "friends", I was privy to them. And as one of his friends, I was allowed to comment.
When I was going through my divorce, when Big Daddy unveiled Secretary to the world, when they came out as a couple, I often wondered if anyone ever said anything to them. I wondered if anyone had the balls or the lack of tact (I'll admit that one right here, folks) or the integrity or the loyalty to call them out on it. I don't think anyone did. And I think that's a shame. Because I think this is another case where silence is interpreted as support.
I don't support this kind of activity, so I wasn't silent. Did I screw up? I don't think I did. It probably didn't come across as "HELL YEAH NORMA RAE YOU TELL 'EM" as I hoped it did. In fact, it probably came across as very bitter and shrewish. I don't care.
He sent me a message later that night, I didn't see it until this afternoon. It was an angry message, in which he told me to mind my effing business, told me that when I was dumped he was on my side, told me how dare I sully his girlfriend's photos with my bitchy comment. Then he told me to enjoy my life, and stay out of his.
Do you think I did the mature, emotionally-stable thing, and just delete/ignore? Of course I didn't. I had to write back. Because it's how I roll. So I wrote back (addressing him the way he addressed me, and also using the same "relaxed" writing style he did):
Yo XXXX, here's the deal 1 if that crap shows up in my newsfeed, it is
my business. I've removed you from my friends and will go ahead and
block you to save myself from further exposure to this kind of stuff. 2
Have Einstein fix her privacy settings...that way only people who
support what you're both doing can see it and you'll only get positive
responses. 3 thank you for your support during my dumping, it was
appreciated. However, how anyone can go ahead and do the same thing
after seeing what it does to the family torn up and left behind is
beyond me. I've dealt with kids who became suicidal after Daddy left
for something younger and shinier and newer, and let me tell you, it's
not fun. It makes one angry and sad and when I see it happening to a
family that I adore it makes those feelings even more tangible.
However I know you are in the honeymoon phase right now so nothing that I say will sink in.
I apologize for encroaching on your happiness, however I will never
apologize for speaking up for women and children who are the victims of
You reap what you sow, ya know?
I will enjoy my life, and pray to all things good and positive and holy that you are able to enjoy yours.
I am thinking that people will be divided on this one. I'm sure that more than one person will tell me that I overstepped some lines, some boundaries, and you know what? I'm sure I did. But I am also confident that some other women, most likely women like me who have had their worlds ripped apart, will support what I did. There are women out there who will read this and wish that someone had done this for them, so that all of those people slapping the Big Daddys of the world on the back and saying "Congratulations" may see, for just a second, the wreckage that these men have left behind. And the friends of those women, the women who knowingly enter a relationship with a married man? I think they need to see, even if it's just for a moment, what kind of disastrous consequences come from "snagging" a married guy.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Just like I'm sticking to the couch right now. Even with the air cranked my pasty thighs are sweating like a whore in church.
Stay cool, friends. And stand your ground when you are given the chance. Or don't. I won't judge you either way. But someone will be grateful to you for doing it, that's a guarantee.