7/25/18

We Need To STOP Normalizing Infidelity



I'm writing this with tears in my eyes and a raging fire in my heart. A member of a private facebook group I run just shared her heartbreaking story. Without giving away any clues to her or her ex-husband's identities, here's the breakdown:

Husband, after several years and a few kids, gets restless. He finds his (lol) soulmate and starts a big time relationship with her. While, of course, still under the guise of being "happily" married to his wife. You know how it goes...like a cheating ass mullet he was all AwesomeHubbyDad in the front and ClandestineSecretLovah in the back. Eventually, he has to choose between the two ladies and despite that old axiom "they never leave their wives" that's exactly what this dude did. Left his wife, left his kids and left the home. Left a partner with whom he had promised to build and maintain a life, and not only left her but did so as so many of them do: with an attitude.

Look, being left for someone else is never going to be an enjoyable experience but I imagine it would be a whole lot more palatable if the one who is doing the leaving would show some, any, freaking remorse. If they would own their part in it. But I, and millions of others who have been left can tell you that it rarely goes down that way.

For some reason the ones who do act out this tired old cliche tend to do it with a weird sort of vengeance. An oddly misplaced anger towards the one they are leaving, as if she/he somehow pushed them towards this seedy fate. Like the choleric farmer who gets his mask ripped off being all pissed at the Scooby gang. "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for my meddling spouse!"

Instead of expressing sorrow for the way things ended, and wanting to do the human thing of, you know, ensuring that the family they left in shards will be able to survive, they end up doing practically the opposite. Some of them seem bent on not only making life harder for their soon-to-be former spouse, but downright impossible.

It's all a shit sandwich, of course, but the secret sauce in it just may be how the people in their world, how society in general, doesn't seem to find it as appalling as they should. Where is the outrage? Where is the disappointment?

I'm not saying we should start doling out scarlet letters or reviving the stocks/pillory system, but damn. Part of me still wonders what if? 

What if one of the dozens of coworkers/friends who knew about my husband's affair had spoken up? "uh you guys better hope HR doesn't find out about this, just sayin"

What if one of her friends, instead of giggling with her about the naughty married dude, had said "you sure this is cool?" or "wait- doesn't he have, like, four kids??"

What if someone, ANYONE, in either of their families had taken them aside and said "what you're doing is shitty and mean and wrong. Stop it."

Yeah yeah. I know. Water under the bridge and all that. And yes, with the benefit of years passing I do know that in my personal case, if it hadn't been her it would've been someone else.

What am I trying to say here? That the people who choose to be part of infidelity should be punished? That they be shunned or ostracized or sent to their own gross island? No. Of course not. At the beginning of my journey-through-hell, my own stepmom warned me: "Be ready to lose friends and family. Blood is thicker than water." And it did happen, much to my dismay. I mean, let's be real, we don't expect them to be kicked out of the family or anything but it hurts to be photo-shopped out of that world and seeing someone else so seamlessly taking your place.

*I am incredibly lucky to still be on very good terms with most of the ex-in laws. And I got to keep most of the friends, too 😉 but many aren't as fortunate, and end up being outcasts at events where the whole big happy family congregates*

I hear these stories, you guys, every.single.day. You'd think there would be some sort of callousness on my part, some desensitization to it. You'd think that whenever a new email popped into the ol' inbox, laying it all out, it might become almost redundant...the names and other details may change but the story is almost always the same.

Instead of growing numb, I seem to be growing even more empathetic, despite having been there, done that AND getting the damn t-shirt.

Too bad the rest of the world can't say the same.

    






24 comments:

  1. So well put. My experience exactly. Well, no kids but somehow I was the focus of a lot of his anger and treated very shabbily and for what? For trying desperately to save a relationship that I spent 12 years of the prime of my life in? I know he's bad, he's a dick. But he he didn't start acting that way until the shit hit the fan. It messed me up. I'm healing, and after 5 years I'm doing a lot better than when I was in the darkest place, but I will have a permanent scar on my heart from the most cruel betrayal. It still blows my mind that you can have sweet pillow talk with someone while at the same time you're carrying on a torrid love affair (with your young employee!) I only want good people in my life from now on. But how do you know? This guy was a great actor for many years.

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    1. Same here. I’m six weeks out from DDay. This has been the most painful experience of my life. The greatest pain that keeps me up at night is that I wanted children. In our case the affair went physical four months ago and was emotional for a year prior to that. We had experienced the death of both our fathers in the past two years. I’m actually an actor and think that it is insulting to call cheaters actors. What my art form does is to tell stories and stimulate emotional catharsis. He doesn’t have the bravery to do what I do.

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  2. There are people out there that stand up for relationships. My best friend didnt speak to me for months after finding out I was sleeping with a guy who had a live in girlfriend. A friend of mine gave the girlfriend the heads up. He ended up single.
    It's a period of my life that I never want to repeat.

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  3. so much like my own story. We spent our 27th anniversary in therapy, after i had learned of his "friend". He lied & said he would quit talking to her. I saw text, i found receipts, I could look up phone records, all kids of stuff & he would lie or get pissed & leave. I was willing to try & 'fix" things, he was not. He left me & his kids & he hardly see's them. The hardest things is that EVERYONE that knews him, said "he is the last person i would have expected to ever be like that". I had my 2 year divorce-aversary in May. I am moving forward, but i may not ever forgive. forgiveness is so hard.

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  4. My wife did this to me. No remorse, no guilt. As though our past 6 years meant nothing.

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  5. I constantly think about ending my friendship with a good friend. She has zero cares about swooping in on married/engaged men. The only reason I haven’t ended it yet is because a part of me feels like it is a “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” situation.

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    1. I had a friend like that. She herself married and sleeping with the husbands of her friends. After the third time, I ended the friendship. I felt like I was becoming complicit in her infidelity and wanted to no part of it. She was offended and felt I was judging her. In her mind, being her friend many supporting all of her actions no matter what.

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  6. Everytime I hear another one of these stories I become enraged. I truly grieve for the person that is just starting out in their journey for being the one that has been left. Misery Is never fun but it’s one of the least painful emotions that is felt in comparison to the rest of the shit that happens in the days to come. The list of heartaches is long and the uncertainties about the future will be haunting. I’m so, so sorry for their sorrow and their pain. It will get better, eventually.

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  7. My daughters ex decided to have an affair but found a winner on Match. The kicker is that he used their zip code so of course the tuna tart lived in her town. She had two kids and moved them to my grandsons school and just became one happy little family, although they’re not married...yet. Everybody thinks their the nicest couple because nobody knows the story. I guess some people actually do and it’s not a big deal. Infidelity seems to be a dime a dozen now, so acceptable but only by morally bankrupt people. My daughter was still married to him for a year and a half and the tuna tart was telling people they were raising the children in a Household with Christ. Um pretty sure Christ wouldn’t send you a married man to live with. He begged my daughter for a year to take him back. The grass wasn’t greener on the other side. Now, she’s 2nd place and I’d assume most men always regret their actions at some point. Years down the road it becomes evident. I’m glad she never took him back. I do wish people would stick up to cheaters and liars. I had a friend that spoke to the tuna sandwich, and she said they were keeping everything on the down low because his wife was a crazy bitch! My friend said Wife? He has a wife and kids? Well, she has every right to be a crazy. As a society when can say Trump is a pig and hate his damn guts but we can’t call people out for ruining families. We still want to hang out with this life ruiners. Trust me Jenny, you may not see it now but it’s there. A man doesn’t show up in the rain and be bitter about a 3000.00 check if his life was rosy at home with his 2nd place finish. He wouldn’t care, he would want you to have it. He’s miserable. Give me his address... I’ve still got a mountain of dicks to send him.

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  8. I thought it was shitty that when my ex-husband just took off, no one seemed to question what was going on. But then again, I have no idea what he was telling people or how much he was telling people. Besides, they were yuppies anyways. . .

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  9. Oh and for the record, I’d never hire a “financial advisor” that left his first family destitute. “Oh hi Financial advisor I want to make sure my family is cared for in case of death or divorce etc... “ oh don’t worry dude...do like I did and just leave. Great advice. What a tool and I’m quite the FBI and him and Katie both need braces, katie could also use a nose job. She looks like that girl that couldn’t get a date to save her life so went for the older man. I’m sending her a bag of noses.. You’re prettier and funnier and your foundation is not built on lies. I suppose you won’t post this but I wanted you to know that I’ll never get over hating your ex and his Salem witch looking woman. I will never stop rooting for your happiness and I’ll never stop believing in you. I wish I lived in Minn. I’d make you be my best friend.

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    1. I read this while just waking up and guffawed way too loudly. I'd totes be your best friend &heart;

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    2. You are not the only one. These two are riding their way to the moon and back, seemingly delusional, thinking that in the world they created, they are untouchables, immune from being found and called out, that they deserve their lives, because they love and cherish each other. Do these people know that in the age of internet, they cannot remain anonymous, and hide their revolting unforgiveable unexcusable actions? Does her employer know that she destroyed a family? That this employee does not have morals, values, integrity and honor? She serves in her position right now, assisting people. They let her loose, not knowing what she is capable of deciding? That she has no qualms of making a decision knowing that will destroy lives of many people as long as it makes her happy. Does the people who seek advice from him know his background and what he did to his first family? Left them, starve and almost made them homeless. Knowing that his family of five lives only miles away, and ignored and made a decision to wash his hands off them. That he will not only divorce, but he continually found ways to not fulfill his obligations financially and morally? That it did not bother him that his four children are always almost in the brink of starvation? That he purposefully made sure to pay only the very minimum financially support because you know, they are not his family anymore? I cannot stand looking at their smiling faces everytime I see them. I'm surprised nobody has contacted yet her company and his clients as to the extent of their horrible actions.

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  10. I so relate to this. I’m five years out and ex now claims he is broke and wants to file for downward modification of support. He travelled the world, built a multi-million dollar home, drives top of line bmw and Range Rover and cries to me about how he can not afford to live. And, poor dear, his new wife cannot get pregnant. Perhaps there is karma but it doesn’t change a thing for me. My heart still hurts at all that was lost and how easy it was for him move on and away. Nothing will ever change that. And you are so right - it becomes more and more acceptable with each passing day! It is, as your title says, a piece of fresh hell.

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  11. Well, that’s why we as a society shouldn’t put our trust in people that can’t be trusted. I for one only do business with people who I know I can trust. People can justify bad behavior all day long and they do but we shouldn’t condone behavior that rips someone else’s world apart. If that other woman didn’t come along just maybe Jenny would still be married but let’s just say she sauntered into his life like a snake like she did they both should have had the decency to have compassion and make sure that Jenny and their children didn’t starve and that at least their basic needs were met. He didn’t. He didn’t give a shit. He’s an awful person. If any of my sons ever pull anything close to this I wouldn’t stand by and accept it. I would most certainly speak my mind and make sure that my daughter in law and grandchilden had their burden lightened up. I bet the world would have been different for Jenny if she wasn’t left high and dry. Yes, heartbreak would have still been there but feeling like you birthed these beautiful children and gave all those years to someone that just gave it away with no remorse and leaves you destitute is what hurts the most. So for every single one of you women that have friends or family members that do such awful things... SPEAK UP! We start the Me Too movement but what about the US TOO a movement of mothers and children that are discarded because men and women can’t keep morality in check? It takes a very desperate woman to break up a home but a very ugly weak man to allow it. Speak up America!

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  12. Well, it’s all about sex now, and doing whatever feels good, according to TV, movies, even our schools ... with trans ed and pride parades. Democrats: keeping sex front and center, and driving out God and virtue. As well, the Left (which dominates media, education, and entertainment) is trying to take down the family ... has been for generations. We stopped feeding that beast. #WalkAway

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    1. Oh Becky. I do not wish to argue here but ya lost me at the Democrats/Left trying to take down the family. Trump??? He’s not exactly someone I’d say represents any god or virtue. All political parties have their demons.

      Also I participate in all the pride festivities because some of the people I love most in this world are gay.

      #LoveWins

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  13. This is my story, too. I'm six years post-divorce, eight years post separation and mostly think I'm okay. Then I read a story like this and it's like a scab getting knocked off a half-healed gash.

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  14. I felt very lost today. I was back to a place I hadn't been to since I was Mrs. Weldon and it was sad and confusing and full of bittersweet memories that made me want to cry. I felt like me being there was a mistake. It's amazing and interesting and a little depressing that despite six years the huge rush of all those emotions can come screaming back into your face. I don't like it. One little bit. I fought the urge to introduce myself to people I thought were always going to be a part of my life, "Hi! Remember me? I went to your wedding. We went to college together. I used to be part of this family." Today bitterly reminded me that I am replaceable. That I was replaced. The fresh pain surprises me. It angers me. I am mad at me. Get over it. I'm trying. Rosary time.

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  15. I LOVE the US TOO Movement idea! I always feel like everyone forgets about the pain we endure. Sometimes for years bc we mourn the loss of our family, our future family. It hurts so often. And even good friends seem to feel like “it’s time to get over it” as they travel with their husbands to play with the beautiful grandchild, not realizing that not only were we, the moms ,derailed, but also our children. #USTOO

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  16. I wish I could give all of you a giant hug and take the pain away :'(
    I was there too, 13 years ago, but I was luckier than many in that my heart was not broken when my ex left. He'd broken my heart for the last time years before he took off, so apart from the pain of trying to pick up the pieces for my shell shocked children, I was OK. Even a little bit grateful to the OW. It's funny you can call that lucky - that the marriage had been so horrific for so long that I felt lucky when he left, but I did.
    From observing his behaviour when he left and the stories of so many others I've seen, there is one thing I am convinced of. People who do this (men and women) feel they need to convince themselves that the spouse they are abandoning and more often than not leaving to destitution and homelessness, are awful people and have made their lives hell, because it saves them having to face the fact that they are weak and have caused terrible harm to innocent people. It makes them feel better to tell themselves that they were escaping intolerable situations. So then they turn nasty because they have to believe that their abandoned families deserve it.
    I am not in the least trying to excuse their behaviour, but I honestly think this is the answer when the hurt, bewildered and deserted parties are asking why? What did I do to deserve this? How did I become the enemy when they've got everything they want?

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  17. I agree with kitesandkitties I have seen some benign people become really, really unkind when they left. It was unfathomable to watch and seemed to be part of the process of leaving. A strange behavior they couldn't control but needed, the blaming of the victim to make them the victim instead. There really isn't a simple way to shake hands and walk out. My husband left about a year ago and what he said to our boys was "your mother and I haven't been treating each other very well." And I thought "really, what did I do?" But that was important for him to think and I could not have explained it differently to anyone on the planet including him and he was there. I just explain it over and over to myself.

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  18. I stumbled upon your blog and so glad I did. I have no idea if my ex cheated on me, probably did, but he committed large scale financial infidelity, which is another form of cheating. When I found out, I went back to work full time, get the kids on my company health care plan and started looking for a divorce attorney. Turns out he spent the bulk of our marriage lying to me about every aspect of his life. It took years to piece it all together, and I had no idea the magnitude of the lies, while also caring for 2 young children. I will never regret divorcing him, he put me and my kids thru hell. His family enables every bad decision he makes and has never made him take responsibility for ripping his marriage/family to shreds. I am not on speaking terms with his family, I told them what he had done and to get him help/counseling for the sake of our children. That fell on deaf ears. Some members of my family continue to be on speaking terms with him, some have even said I must have caused some of this. When a person wants to lie, they will go to extraordinary lengths to keep the lies going, and throw their spouse under the bus with zero remorse. He has never apologized, never taken responsibility and never will. My only saving grace, it was all in his name and I was able to prove I had no prior knowledge of what he had done. I will never understand how friends and family can be ok with this behavior, as if it's some every day mistake like forgetting to put out the trash cans on garbage day. Infidelity, in any form, should never be normalized, when will friends and family start making this a priority?

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