The Truth about Consequences. And Ripples.

It's one of the first life lessons we learn:  for every action, there is a consequence.

We cry.  We're fed.
We try to walk. We stumble.
We touch a hot stove.  We get burned.

It's something that is so inherent, so deeply imprinted into our brains that we don't even think about how many hundreds, thousands, of times a day we go through the action/consequence do-si-do.

Truth is, everything we do causes a ripple effect.  Some are tiny, one-ringed little plops on the surface of the universe.  Others are like earthquakes, causing shockwaves that reverberate across our emotional, and physical landscapes for what seems like eternity.

Last night, I got a message from a friend on facebook.  I was out on a date, and checked my phone as we left the theater after seeing "Skyfall" (kick ass movie, my friends...kick.ass.).  The friend is someone I've known for several years, we met when my now 18 year old was in elementary school with her son.  Not close, by any definition, but according to the facebook, we're friends.

It was one of those things that shocks you out of the lull you're in.  Pulls you out of the comfort zone and back into the cold reality of life.  One second you're babbling on about Daniel Craig's amazing shoulders, the next second you're reliving your divorce.

The message said:

"Are you related to XXXX?"  Insert the name of my ex-husband's newish wife in place of XXXX.  Insert fist into my gut, too, while you're at it.  Because that's what it feels like, even after 6 years have passed, to have that name intrude into my day.

I hesitated a second, wondering what the protocol was for answering messages such as this.  I wondered why she was asking...are they friends?  Did XXXX mention me to someone?  Do I take the high road, and just respond with a simple "No."?

Of course this is how I answered:

"She's the skank my husband left me for.  So I guess in a way we're related.  Ha."  Because I am usually a high-roader, but last night I decided to test the driving conditions on the low road.  Conditions were, as they usually are, slippery.  I felt badly about that answer almost as soon as I sent it, hoped I hadn't crossed a line or started something nasty.

She quickly typed back:

"Is she in the xxxx business?  Young?".   Again with the fist to the gut.  Young?  I remember when people would use that word to describe me.  Will the insult of being left for someone younger ever lose its sting, its strength?

I confirmed both things in my next message:

"Oh yes.  And yes.  Why??  Did you cross paths?"  I was still wondering how this all came about.

I won't divulge any more of my friend's responses, since it is, after all, personal.  But the gist of it is this:

My friend works in a certain industry.  So does the woman who is now married to my ex. This certain industry has boards and associations and things of that ilk.  My friend belongs to them.  So does the woman who is now married to my ex.

One of the boards that they both belong to had a Christmas party this past week.  At the party, someone started chatting up my friend.  The name of my ex-husband's newish wife was brought up.  Conversation was had.

Now, here's where I get to the relevance of actions and consequences:

Remember what I said about how everything we do causes a ripple effect?  I mean, everything.  From the route we take to the grocery store, to deciding to buy a coffee instead of having a cup at home...from the people we decide to be friends with to making the choice to get involved with a married man.  All of these things can, and will, make a ripple.

How big of a ripple, you ask?

Big enough that someone you work with, someone who has seniority, loads of experience and yes...some power in your industry may just happen to notice that you have the same last name as one of her acquaintances.  She may ask this acquaintance about it, and she may find out things about you that perhaps aren't positive things.  The kind of things you most likely don't want someone in your professional life to hear.

And if you really want to know all about the ripple and how it spreads out and over and onto pretty much everyone and everything in your life, I'll tell you this:

Woe unto you when that person with whom you rub shoulders with, professionally, has also been the victim of "another woman". 

Because that particular ripple, my friends...that ripple never really goes away.

Every day we find ourselves having to make choices.  Big choices, little choices.  Choices that will affect you, those around you, and even people you haven't met yet.  The consequences each one of these choices creates vary.  You may choose to take a wrong turn and end up being late for an appointment.  You may choose to eat that iffy sushi and end up spending the rest of the day in the bathroom.  Or, you may choose to screw a married person and a few years down the road your dirty little secret becomes not so secret. 

When my kids and I part ways for any length of time, I bid them adieu with these two phrases:

"I love you!" and

"Make good choices."

Because the choices we make are so very important.  Don't you agree?


  1. OOOooooo. Boy.

    The flames of that particular karma inferno are so warm I can feel them out here on the west coast. :)

    And have I mentioned my *very* favorite saying in the whole universe? If I have done, it's worth repeating. From the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus:

    "Character is destiny."

    (I think you're beginning to see that play out in real-time, girlfren'!) :)


    1. That's a great saying, Salish. Funny how the karma really does show up. I don't wish bad things on him or her (well nothing really bad), but it would be nice to see some of the fallout from this epically disastrous divorce to land on their side of the highway.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Yo. Yeppers. Uh huh!! Choices ARE important. Goes around, comes around.

    When it happened to me, I simply could not absorb the reality that a woman would DO that to a fellow woman. It is the worst kind of betrayal, almost worse than her betrayal of her own husband, if there is one, which in my case there was. A double-barrelled betrayal, there.

    I had to read your post twice to get it all straight, being everyone's name is "acquaintance." But when I got it, I GOT it.

    A married man once made the mistake of hitting on me. I would be proud for any acquaintance to ask what it was I told him.

    1. Um Becky, do I count as an acquaintance?? Spill it, sister! I can't believe how stupid some of the married guys are. Of all the women in the world to hit on, they choose us?? Doy.

      I, too, have marveled over what kind of woman it takes to get involved with a married guy. I want to say it's losers with daddy issues, or women with horrible self esteem issues, but in reality, I think it could be many of the women we interact with every day.

      Thank you for reading, and please...let us know what you told the married dude!


  3. Love this. Thanks for posting.

    1. Thank you!! I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  4. Jenny,
    As usual, great blog. I love the karma. Cannot wait for my ex and his "skank" ("skanks") to get their karma.

    Meanwhile, Becky, can I be your acquaintance? I would love to know what you told that married man.

    Keep on writing!

    1. Thank you anonymous! More than one skank?? Karma will catch up to all of them.

      If Becky tells you what she said, you gotta let me know, okay?

      Thank you so much for reading!

  5. Shut the front door!!! Karma baby! Love it!


    1. Yeah baby! Karma shows herself in many different ways.

      Thanks for reading Esme!

  6. It's probably not as vitriolic as what you're imagining, but close.

    And it was for two solid hours. He'd presented himself as single, but at a restaurant two hours from here he proceeded to tell me he was married but "separated," and that he and his wife (they had two kids) were not going to divorce ... they just had to live apart for their jobs ... but he was "lonely" and "so attracted to me" blah blah.

    This guy had held my hand in a movie, sent me cards saying how special I was, etc. etc.

    I stood up and walked out of the restaurant and stood by his car. When he came out, we got in and headed home. The entire way (he was captive!) I lambasted him for his lowlife behavior and treachery. I got into the whole "Your kids need you to be an example and a solid rock of integrity for them" deal. I think I hit him with every grievance (and he so richly deserved them) that I hadn't had the chutzpah to do with my ex (who had been unfaithful with a married woman). I kept my voice down but never let up for two whole hours. I think I was even referring to his future grandchildren at one point, and the potential consequences of his legacy of deceit and perversion. He was not to call me again, was that clear? He said it was.

    Believe it or not (YES! Some men ARE this dense!!), he e-mailed me at work two days later wondering if I wanted to go to lunch. What the what?

    So I got another go at him! This time it took. But I had to say "Get out of my life and back to your wife."

    I have no idea whatever happened to him after that.

    1. I think it's fabulous. Better than vitriol, in my opinion. But as you said, some men really are so dense that even a two hour car ride worth of scolding isn't enough to teach them a thing. Dumb asses.

      You did the right thing, Becky.

  7. Ha HA Ha ha ha ha HA HA Ha HA!



    I tell my kids to "Make Good Choices!" too! Exactly those words. We should live closer. We would be BFFs.

  8. Ha! Sucks to be xxxx, for sure. Love that you tell your kids to make good choices. It's really something every parent should advise their kids.

    1. Oh Lin. And here I am a year later seeing this comment. Sigh.


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