Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to turn a husband into your enemy

She reached out to me because she knew I'd done it before.

Infidelity.

She's the reason that thoughts of my affair came back with a vengeance. All of those long-ago hidden feelings of guilt and sadness and regret. That's why I had to write it out. I had to dig down into those festering trenches of pain and pull it all out of me and look at it. I had to look at all of that ugliness and realize... it wasn't me anymore.

But every time she called, every time she needed to share the weight of the heavy burden of secrecy, I was nauseous. Gentleman Jack would get angry. Not at her actions. He is far enough removed from her that what was happening didn't give him a right to judge. No, he was angry that she wanted to throw the guilt that she carried on me and I was allowing her to.

Then she shared the weight with someone else. That someone else was very thankful to know that I knew. The weight was too much for either of us to carry alone. Then we began to feel our own resentment that we were given this extra burden that neither of us had asked for.

And yet... there are the children. Her children haven't even met this new man.

When her husband found out about her affair on Christmas Eve, we worried. But she felt better. We could all sense her relief on Christmas Day that she didn't have to hide anymore. We thought it was over. Her husband seemed sad and heavy but he was reaching out to her. Perhaps everything would be fine.

Then the news last night: she is running away with this other man.

To hear her speak, its like she's hypnotized. She is completely convinced that her actions are for the best and will take her light years beyond happiness. He will leave his wife and she will leave their husband and they will be together. Nevermind that he will have to resign from his high-paying job at a company that employs the both of them. Nevermind that her husband has threatened to take the children...

I am destroyed by all of this.

I am offering her my perspective as she has expressed such envy at the co-parenting relationship between the ex and I. (Without even realizing the imperfections...)

"I know you feel alone and scared and guilty and worried and sad. I am on your side. If you choose to leave your marriage, I am on your side. If you choose to be with this man, I am on your side. But please, I beg you, slow down. And please be honest and respectful to this man that you are married to. Offer some kindness. Tell him upfront that you want a civil, peaceful divorce. No more sneaking. No running away and letting him 'figure it out on his own'. He is not the enemy. His only sin is not being the husband you hoped he would be. If you treat him as an enemy however, he will react like one."

She, of course, accuses me of making her out to be the bad guy. "I am surprised at this... coming from you...."

I know how guilt works. It feels so much better to project it onto someone else. Her words didn't even sting me. I have let go of that part of me.

She, of course, sees me as taking his side and begins to inform me that he too is having an affair.

"I would offer him the same advice." I tell her.

Divorce sucks. Changing the lives of your children... sucks. Moving out and away from the life you've known... sucks. Knowing that you're going to have to figure out a new relationship with someone that you no longer wish to be with... sucks.

But it is possible.

If she would only try....


"Kindness is the life's blood, the elixir of marriage (and divorce too). Kindness makes the difference between passion and caring. Kindness is tenderness. Kindness is love, but perhaps greater than love ... Kindness is good will. Kindness says, 'I want you to be happy.' Kindness comes very close to the benevolence of God."
~ Randolph Ray

6 comments:

  1. It's so hard when she see someone we love making decisions that we don't agree with...even harder when they refuse to slow down and just learn a little from our own previous experience. All you can do is your best to love her through this, and make sure, most of all, that you take care of yourself emotionally through all of this. This is not yours to own.

    Love you. *hugs*

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  2. I completly agree with Sunshine. All you can do is let her figure it out for herself and not let it beat you down in the process. Be there for her, but really be there for YOU!!

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  3. Ugh. The hard part about these situations is that when you are standing outside of them you can see the collapse of the bridge before those in the thick of it. The Bio left me for his 'chance at love' and that choice ended very tragically for the woman who he left us for and I pray everyday for her family.

    I agree with Sunshine too. She will see IT when she is ready to. Just keep taking care of YOU.

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  4. Sometimes it's hard to know how to be really helpful, really a good friend. Seems like you're doing the best you can. Good advice.

    Try not to let this color your night.

    Happy New Year, T!

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  5. Hope you are having a GREAT birthday!

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  6. I still enjoy reading your blog so much! Love ya!!!

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