What Ever Happened To…

I came across one of my old posts, Living With a Cheater on the Weekends… For the Children (Of Course!) and I got to wondering what had happened to that writer, Jaimie Seaton.

If you missed it the first time around the story is this: Daddy cheated, got his much younger mistress pregnant, and left his wife for the mistress. One day when Mommy was dropping the kids off in Daddy’s new town one of the kids wanted to know why she wasn’t going to accompany them on their adventure. And thus set off the new direction of her life. She began going with them on their weekends and letting him stay in her house for the weekend when he came to see their children.

People were divided over whether she was a saint who put her children’s needs ahead of her own anger or if she was a controlling nutjob who was depriving the new baby of her daddy every weekend and denying the OW a chance to bond with the kids.

That was written back in 2016. I found a podcast that featured an interview with her about that article so I had a little more background info. Nonetheless, I was curious so I googled her.

The daughter is off to college in Europe but Daddy Dearest still visits every other weekend and still stays with Mommy.

A little over a year ago she wrote a new piece entitled, How My Ex-Husband Accidentally Became My Good Friend.

Six years later we’re divorced, and he still drives up, alternating weekends between his new home and family, and our children. He arrives on Friday night or Saturday morning and comes straight to my house, parking his car and letting himself in the front door. When he calls out his arrival, the dogs rush to greet him, and my son darts from his room and into his father’s arms. When he arrives on Saturday, he makes himself a cup of coffee and we sit outside and talk about the week: how the children are doing, changes I’ve made to the house, the latest happenings at our jobs. Invariable, we fall into a discussion of the week’s news; dissecting the latest nugget of information from the Mueller investigation, or weighing the chances of various candidates in the midterm elections. We linger so long in these conversations that my son has to interrupt to remind us that his father came to see him, not me.

When he’s here, our home feels complete. For two weeks at a time, I am alone, struggling to juggle a full-time job with taking care of the children; driving my 15 year old son to activities, trying to snatch a few moments of conversation with my perpetually on-the-go 18 year old daughter. I do my best to keep up with the house, with cooking, with mowing the lawn, but I always fall short; it’s too much for one person. When he is home, I have a part-time partner to share in discipling the kids or helping with homework. There is someone to run to the store for milk, or cook dinner. I am finally free to go to a movie or simply sit outside and write. In the afternoons I often fall asleep on the sofa reading a book. Because I can. Because my children have their father.

Oh my. Where to start?

Look, if you want to remain friends with a person who lies to you, cheats on you, throws you under the bus, and blows up your entire life after creating a new family, be my guest. I don’t claim to understand it but if it works for you, awesome.

But let’s get real. He is not “home”. His home is in Manhattan with his mistress and their new shared child. He’s visiting. And the youngest kid is at least 15 at the time of this writing. She can’t take a nap or go to the movies without another adult in the home? Is she afraid her 15 year old is going to wander off, dump out all the shampoo, or get into the household poisons? Since my youngest has been 15 he spends the majority of his time in his room. I go out to dinner. I go to the gym. I go out with my friends. Never once have I thought, “I can’t leave my little baby alone. Who will watch him?” He’s 15. He’s going to watch himself.

She claims she doesn’t want him back and perhaps she doesn’t. As she has said in podcasts and in other articles she misses the life she had. So maybe this is a way for her to get that back for a little while. They sit around drinking coffee, discussing the nearly grown children, their careers, and current events. Their son has to pop in to remind them that Dad is here to see him and not Mom. In fact, in a podcast interview she admits that now when she asks if she can go with them to dinner or breakfast her son frequently responds with, “No!” with the follow up that if she comes along he won’t get to spend any time with his dad because they’ll spend the whole time talking.

She talks about a recent event where the two of them went car shopping together and how she later told him she was never going to do that without him again.

She says they talk almost every day.

He reads her work and gives his opinion on it, which she appreciates because in the very beginning of their relationship he was always her proofreader and proved to have a valuable eye when it came to such things.

He readily acts as her handyman and fixes stuff around the house. Apparently cooks dinner and runs errands as well.

One of the things that she mentions is that this didn’t happen overnight. She had a lot of anger and says it remains a very painful situation. But she also didn’t want her kids to deal with parents who couldn’t be in the same room. She didn’t want her kids to have to spend their weekends in hotel rooms with their father.

Personally, I feel that’s one of the consequences of cheating on your spouse and leaving them and your children behind to create a new family. Kids might have to spend the weekend in a hotel. Kids might get dropped off at Starbucks to spend the weekend with one parent and then the other parent picks them up at the end of the weekend.

I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to explain to your child that when people treat you badly it is okay to no longer want that person in your life. It’s okay and healthy. Nothing wrong with explaining, “Daddy hurt me very badly. I don’t choose to keep people in my life that have hurt me and lied to me and betrayed me. There will come a day when someone in your life does something very hurtful and if you decide their behavior is a deal breaker you have every right to no longer let that person be a part of your life.” I think teaching children about boundaries is a good thing.

I also feel you’re almost setting your kids up for failure if you teach them there are no consequences to cheating on your spouse.

These kids have seen their mom open their home up to their father, engage in long conversations with him when he’s clearly moved on (he lives 5-6 hours away), treat him like a spouse as opposed to an ex-spouse, and eat shit sundae after shit sundae all in the name of making sure her precious darlings never have to suffer the consequences of having divorced parents. What happens if the lesson they internalize is not grace under pressure but rather they can do whatever they wish without consequence? And what happens further if the person they cheat on isn’t as noble as their own shit eating mom? That’s a hard lesson to learn on the fly.

A lot of people commented about her controlling nature from the first article and believed that Daddy should be able to pick up the kids and take them to his new home with the OW and the love child.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Daddy is perfectly comfortable with the way things are. I cannot imagine that there is any judge out there who would order visitation take place apart from the new family forever. Yet here they are, six years later, and he’s still leaving the new family to go spend the weekend with the ex and the originals.

I’ve got to hand it to her. Most people are not so fortunate as to be able to keep the OP away from their kids. I don’t know how she got him to agree to it but she did. It sounds like those kids have never met the OW or the new sibling. Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with that.

Naturally, she speaks of how exhausting it is to carry that kind of anger around forever. I disagree. It’s not exhausting at all. Because it’s not about going around angry forever. It’s about getting the toxins out of your life and living a life free of that.

Later on in the podcast interview she talks about how difficult it is to find someone with whom she can share her life, and in the same breath says it’s a huge red flag for her when men talk ill of their exes.

You know, at one point I thought the same way. I guess I’m not sure where to draw the line. I don’t have particularly nice things to say about Jerry Lee. He cheated. He moved us across the country to get closer to his mistress. He cheated again (if he ever stopped). He abandoned his kids financially and emotionally. I’m not sure what kind things I should be saying in this instance. He made good money. That’s about all I’ve got. He had a great sense of humor when he wasn’t moping around. Sometimes there really is nothing good to be said.

I do give him credit for the few things he did. I do my best not to speak ill of him but I’ve often said my kids are older and it’s a hell of a lot harder to lie to them. I don’t have the time or energy to try to make him and his behavior look good. I’ve reminded them of good things he’s done and vacations he took with them. I’ve corrected misinformation. I’ve told both of them that I understand them wanting to have a relationship with him, that he’s their father and it’s not a betrayal of me if they wish to have a relationship with him. That’s as far as I can go because I’m not going to lie for him and I don’t think it does my children any favors to lie for him.

I think the biggest reason she doesn’t have anyone else in her life is because her life is filled up with the ex. He’s the one that goes car shopping with her. He’s the one she talks about her job to. He’s the one that gives her advice on her articles. They talk almost daily. He runs errands. He cooks. He lets himself in and the dogs greet him before he goes and fixes himself a cup of coffee and they spend the next hour or two shooting the breeze. How would she ever fit another man into this? She even admits that some of the men she’s dated have told her she needs to get him out of her life.

Her philosophy is that it is a good thing when the exes have a good relationship. I can see that to a certain extent. Would I want to be with someone who’s ex shows up on their front porch, screaming obscenities and calling the police on them on a weekly basis? It would not be ideal. Is it easier if you can have a civil conversation and be flexible with the schedules? Absolutely. Is it easier on the kids if you can both be in the same room without flinging insults or acting like the other doesn’t exist? Probably. But I can assure you I would take the mobster’s ex sending crazy, threatening texts any day over the mobster going out to dinner or spending the weekend with her. That is a flat out no. If he remained that embroiled in her life then he would not have time for me.

I find it interesting though that in all this talk about how her kids never have to choose between their parents and how both of them are invested in the two kids and are able to attend all of these important events in their lives there is never talk about the OW joining them. That is a very important piece of the puzzle. It works because she has managed to exclude the OW and the love child and Daddy has gone along with it. Yes, she is proud of the fact that she planned a graduation dinner for her daughter and instead of her daughter having two separate celebrations for this milestone, she had one with both of her parents there. She’s proud of the fact that she can sign her ex-husband up to help with her son’s drama/singing activities. They sell tickets and concessions together, and sit together at the performances. Yet, in neither of those situations does she have to deal with the OW. Mom and Dad are at these events and OW is conveniently edited out of the picture. That doesn’t usually happen. Most of the time the cheater insists upon including the OP. In Jaimie’s case she’s not only able to put aside her anger to come together and do these things together for her children, but also she’s able to pretend the OW doesn’t exist and they’re still a couple, albeit a divorced couple.

I think when it comes down to it that’s the driving force behind this. She disclosed in the podcast interview I listened to that her ex and the OW are still not married. She also admitted that the OW hates the relationship Jaimie shares with her ex, and that she (the OW) often sends profane laden texts to her, telling her that they need to act more like a divorced couple and that he’s not her husband anymore.

There you have it. A delicious triangle that will go on and on. Her ex is a cake eater extraordinaire. He dumps his wife for the pregnant mistress. The wife eats shit sundaes on behalf of her children, letting Daddy Dearest camp out at her home while he dodges any kind of consequences. This, of course, does not sit well with the OW. She’s now forced to dance, dance, dance to get this buffoon to pick her once and for all because let’s face it, even though he “chose” her he hasn’t completely discarded the wife and he’s not marrying her, even after the divorce. Why do you still talk to her, dammit? And why won’t you marry me? Your divorce took four years and I waited patiently but now you’re free. You have no excuse! Meanwhile, the wife, who has been humiliated and discarded, gets the chance to stick it to the mistress every other weekend; you know she’s got to be uncomfortable with their weekends spent together. She knows he’s a cheater because he cheated with her. Now he’s spending every other weekend in his ex-wife’s home, letting himself in with his own key, greeting the family dogs, and chillaxing with a cup of coffee while he and the ex spend hours chatting. All for the children of course. Plus she also seems to get to call the shots when it comes to the children; she has effectively banished the OW and her child.

Ex-Wife: No, you will not expose my children to that cheating whore. If you want to see your children you will see them without her or her child around.

Ex-Husband: Okay. Sorry, love of my life, nothing I can do. She won’t bend.

Mistress: But I’m your partner now!

Ex-Wife: Ha ha ha- we’re out car shopping and having lengthy discussions on the Trump impeachment hearings.

Mistress: You need to act more like a divorced couple. He’s not your husband anymore! He’s my partner.

Ex-Wife: Bless your heart. Couldn’t get him to marry you, could you? Always the mistress, never the wife.

Mistress: Why are you talking to her anyway? You left her for me. You act more like a married couple with her than you do with me!

Ex-Husband: Baby, it’s for the children! It won’t always be this way. Only three more years!

Mistress: Stay away from my man!

Ex-Wife: Shouldn’t have fucked my husband, you trollop. Buffoon, come fix my kitchen sink and read my newest article.

Ex-Husband: [to the ex-wife] Yes, dear. [to the mistress] Dance, bitch. We’re not married yet. I could still go back to my ex.

Rinse and repeat. Yes, one fine triangle.

It’s Been 14 Years…

Maybe I wasn’t writing this blog when I first read this. Maybe there was so much turmoil going on in my own life this seemed like nothing in comparison.

My old steady debate board had a post entitled: I had lunch with the OW.

In this particular situation she and her husband had dated for 10 years before marrying. They were married around 7 years, I believe, with 2 little girls, aged 7 and 4, when she discovered her husband was having an affair and had in fact gotten the OW pregnant. Deliberately.

For many years she was quite blatant in her disdain for the OW, and how she had absolutely no use for her.

Fun fact: He never married the OW and is now cheating on her with somebody else. The original OW actually had the nerve to email the now ex-wife and complain about it.

What happened, apparently, is that there was a death in the family and she attended the memorial luncheon with her daughters. She wrote that not only were they in the same room for the first time ever, but they had sat at the same table. Someone else asked her how that conversation went.

This is what she said:

She walked right up to me when I walked in and held out her hand and said, “I think with all this time past, we should, you know..”

And I shook her hand and said, “Yes, life moves on.”

Maybe it’s true that time heals all wounds. I tend to doubt it. Maybe time dulls the pain but I don’t think it heals it.

I’m astounded at the hubris of the OW. I think with all this time past…

Huh. Who knew? It only takes 14 years for it to become okay for the OW to have slept with her husband. Enough time has passed that the fact that she deliberately set out to get pregnant by another’s woman husband is a moot point. Now that 14 years have passed it makes it okay that the OW threatened to sue her if she dared to tell others, specifically the OW’s employer, that the OW was pregnant with a married man’s baby. Fourteen years later and the ex-wife should put the past in the past and forget about the time she called to confront the mistress and the mistress threatened to take legal action against her. Fourteen years has wiped out the fact that her husband left her in financial peril, that he bullied her into quitting a job where she made more than him, and then promptly began sleeping with the OW. Fourteen years later and it no longer matters or hurts that her daughters grew up without their father in their lives everyday, while the OW’s daughter lived with him. Fourteen years later and it no longer matters that the post writer had her best friend and partner stolen from her, that she has gone through all of life’s biggest events alone, that she has shouldered the burden of house repairs, taking care of elderly parents, and doing the majority of the child rearing.  Interesting.

I’m only four and a half years out so maybe that’s why I’m not so magnanimous but I still clearly remember every damn thing Jerry Lee did to me while Harley was along for the ride. I’m in no mood to forgive.

I always love it though when the OW decides to be the bigger person. Not tough to do when you haven’t lost anything. Poor little OW. No one recognizing how nice and sweet she is to the betrayed wife. Sure, she’s fucking your husband but she’s not calling you names or saying mean things about you to your kids. Why can’t you do the same for her?

A little later on the writer says they’re not going to be best friends or anything. She’s more indifferent and doesn’t have the time or energy to scratch her eyes out. She also said that it could be time dulling everything. She’s glad that he’s her problem now (remember, he’s cheating on the OW with an OW now, too).

I would love to say that in fourteen years (or would that be more like 9 years?) if I ever had to be in the same room as Harley I wouldn’t “scratch her eyes out.” Alas, it took my mom over 30 years to get to that point with my dad and stepmom. Not that she didn’t allow them in her home plenty of times or that she ever attacked anyone. But, nowadays she will actually meet them for lunch or breakfast when she’s driving Rock Star down to school. That will never happen in my situation. I would rather slather honey all over my body and roll around on an ant hill than have a meal with Jerry Lee and Harley. Okay, true confession- I really don’t want to do that either, but I really don’t want to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the two of them. I don’t want to share cocktail hour with them. Light h’ors d’oeuvres. Nothing. Stay the fuck away from me, you two jackasses.

Hell, I’m glad I no longer have to deal with him and that he’s her problem now and I’m only 4 1/2 years out. I will still never shake her hand. She extends that thing she better be prepared for it to be ignored or broken.

I am happier with the mobster than I ever was with Jerry Lee. Yet I will never forgive either of them for the hell they put me through. The passing of time does not mean that my life being blown apart didn’t happen. No matter how much time has passed it will never change the fact that I lost everything thanks to them and their affair. I will never forget having to go through my entire house and put price tags on everything. I will never forget having to leave behind the majority of everything I owned. It will never change the fact that I was forced out of my home, or that my kids were forced to give up yet another set of friends, or that I worked my ass off just to provide the basics while they lived it up. The passing of time will never give me back my life as I once knew it. It will never restore everything that was lost. It won’t put money in my retirement fund. It won’t buy me a house. It won’t make me financially independent. It will never replace the time I lost with my kids. It won’t make up for the lackluster performance I’ve given as my children’s mother these last 3 years or so. Time will never erase the past.

No, what I’m left with are the pieces of my life that they blew up. Of course, time will see an increase in my retirement fund. But it’s going to be a much lower retirement fund than if my husband hadn’t run off with his whore cousin. Bloody pieces of my life. Maybe, one day, far in the future I may be able to buy a home. But maybe I won’t. I refuse to buy some disgusting piece of crap just to say I have a home of my own. I’m not going to settle and it may very well turn out that I can’t afford anything I like. Regardless it sure as hell won’t be anything like I used to live in. Another bloody piece of my life.

My friends and family talk about what a great memory I have. Some of my longtime friends are amazed at the shit I remember. It can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have those memories, but at the same time it means that fourteen years wouldn’t do shit for me as far as forgiving. I will never forgive either of them for what they did to me. I am perfectly fine with that.

Wishing Them Well

I was reading a blog the other day. It was actually Betrayed Wives Club. Elle wrote,

…though it may seem counter-intuitive, being able to extend compassion for others’ dark sides, for those parts of themselves they kept hidden out of shame or fear or lack of awareness, releases the shackles we wear. It frees us to love the flawed person seeking to be better, or to wish them well while choosing to not have them in our lives. Either way, we’re liberated.

That’s a very nice way to look at things but unfortunately, I don’t wish him well. If I’m being honest I try not to think about him at all. But when I do think about him the last thing I’m thinking is, “Gee, I sure hope he’s doing well. I hope he’s being a better husband to her and a better father to her kids than he was to me and our kids.” Nor am I thinking, “Golly, I sure do hope he’s got a great job that he finds fulfilling and that the house he lives in is exactly what he’s always wanted. My prayer for him is a life filled with serenity and riches.”

No. Quite honestly it pisses me off that he’s living it up in his five bedroom house while his kids and I are still seeking refuge in my mother’s home. It pisses me off that our lifestyle has changed significantly since he decided to fuck a whore while his has never wavered. That is probably why I do my best to not think about things like that. Because it is grossly unfair.

Does that mean I’m somehow shackled? Will liberation always be out of my reach until I can hope for good things for him?

I don’t think so. I feel very liberated. I feel very free admitting I don’t wish him well. I don’t spend my evenings plotting revenge but him living a wonderful, blissful life is not my concern, or my wish for him. As long as he keeps sending those support checks I don’t give a shit if his life falls apart. I’m very liberated in acknowledging I don’t give a rat’s ass if people think it’s horrible I’m not invested in his happy future. I will never sympathize with him. I will never justify what he has done, nor will I ever excuse it.

I heard it said once that the only reason forgiveness gets the action it is does is because it’s got better quotes and better publicity. It’s not looked upon as favorably when you preach about not forgiving, or remark that it’s okay to not want great things for the person who betrayed you.

Somebody really needs to get to work on that! Maybe I should give it a shot. Stay tuned…

Does Intent Matter?

I’ve seen some people say their partner’s intent behind cheating on them does not matter one bit. As one person put it (and I’ll paraphrase): It doesn’t matter if you shoot me on purpose or if you shoot me accidentally; the end result is still that I’ve been shot.

Others seem to go with the idea that as long as their spouse didn’t intend to hurt them with their actions that somehow makes it better.

Aside from the fact that I have a hard time believing anyone thinks they can cheat on, betray, and lie to another person and it’s NOT going to hurt them, I have to wonder if the intent really matters.

If, when your spouse gets stressed, he drinks a bottle of Jack, gets stupid drunk, and knocks you around, do you excuse the behavior because he was stressed?

What if, when your spouse feels down, she goes out and runs up thousands of dollars on your joint credit cards? Or, maybe, when they’re overwhelmed with work they tend to make cruel jokes at your expense. Maybe, when hard things come up in life, like problems with health, children, or parents, their first reaction is to escape and leave you handling everything. Or to drink, or fuck others, or do drugs, or hit you, or mistreat you in other ways.

Look, your partner/spouse can pick a million different ways to cope with stress/anxiety/depression, etc. Instead of asking, “Did they mean to hurt me with that kind of behavior?” perhaps we should be asking, “Am I prepared to deal with that for the rest of my life?” Because as I said above I have a real hard time believing anyone is so stupid as to believe that they are not hurting the person they claim to love when they fuck around on them. And there will always be stressors. Rarely does life move along smoothy with no bumps. Are you willing to live with the way they cope with whatever for the rest of your life?

The Pursuit Of Happiness Fallacy

What seems like eons ago, when in reality it was back in June, there was an article posted on Huffington Post about two wing nuts that got together through their mutual love of the Oregon Country Fair, or “Fair”, as the “family” knows it. Tracy Schorn UBT’d it over on Chump Lady and Jennifer Ball posted about it on her Happy Hausfrau Facebook page.

The quick recap: “Ruby” and Paul spent 16 years working “Fair” in Oregon. One day, while peeling potatoes the feelz hit ‘em real hard and they realized they were destined to be together. While his wife and kids were away on vacation Paul invited Ruby over for a “picnic”. They spent the week together navel gazing and justifying their behavior. It was a love that could not be denied. When his wife came back into town he told her he was leaving her for another woman and Ruby left her husband as well. Ruby was simply stunned that her ex-husband didn’t chase after her, begging for another chance, and was equally shocked that Paul’s ex-wife didn’t bow out without a fight. I’m pretty sure if I remember correctly they are now married (going on 4 years of blissful happiness) and own a pot farm.

Even more vomit worthy than the article were the comments. These are just a few of the stand out gems:

Love isn’t ownership. I’ve walked and I’ve had others walk. Learn and grow and move on. Stop blaming people for loving someone.

Good on them. No point continuing a BS relationship just to conform to everyone else’s BS relationships/marriages. Life’s too short and too long to live a live just to please church goers. Obviously they’re against real love anyway.

In response to someone saying that people who cheat on their spouses have a character flaw: We all have character flaws. People who stay in a loveless marriage also have a character flaw. They keep their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

Yes, it’s a kick in the teeth when your spouse says they’ve fallen in love with someone else, and hard for the kids to deal with two homes, new step-parents, etc. But I can’t think of anything worse than reaching old age, the kids gone with lives of their own, moved to other states even, only to call on holidays and birthdays, and you being stuck immobile or infirm as time ravages your body, depending on someone you don’t love, haven’t loved in a long time, are disappointed with and sad to be around, and knowing you could have been happy, could have actually had a life worth living, years of love, sharing, fulfilling companionship, etc. and missed your chance.

Don’t stay somewhere you are not happy, life is too short! People like to pass judgement based on their own fears and insecurities. Let people live!

…way too many people stay in miserable marriages and hate their lives. Glad they’re happy.

People that are brave enough to admit their faults, their choices, their lives, always get very “righteous” people judging them… you could see that both of them were unhappy in their marriages before they “found each other”.Are people supposed to live a mediocre and unhappy life forever because of what looks good for society rules? No. I don’t think so.

Wow, so much hate because someone fell in love with another person and left a toxic situation.

Life is short, some people will stay miserable to “do the right thing” and never really live a happy life which is ok… but it’s also ok to make the decision to find happiness.

My husband left me for a younger woman. I’m happy for them. My 10 year marriage was unhappy. He wasn’t happy. I let him go be happy. It’s the mature thing to do.

They are both adults who made a questionable decision, but I’m sure all involved are better off, No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their “responsibility” to someone else’s feelings.

Let me remind you what Thoreau said:

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To paraphrase Rock Star, “I. cannot. even. with all of those asinine comments.”

I love how everyone believes that if you’re in a toxic relationship you’re entitled to cheat. God forbid you realize you’re in a bad situation and actually get the fuck out without having someone else waiting on you.

Wait a second! Are you telling me I can actually end a relationship before I have another one waiting in the wings? I can leave someone who makes me unhappy and sucks the life right out of me even if I don’t have another person I’m going to immediately be involved with?

Yes! Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying!

Then why in the fuck didn’t they tell me that? I’ve been stuck in this miserable relationship for the last ten years because I didn’t have time to set up a Tinder profile! Or volunteer at Fair.

I don’t know what to tell you, Sparky. You’ve always had the option of leaving. This remains a free country and more importantly, divorce is legal.

Quick question. Who will have sex with me once I kick my spouse/partner to the curb? Who will hold my hand while I go through this divorce? Who will tell me how awesome I am and how horrible my spouse was? And who’s going to pitch in and do all the things my spouse used to do?

Ah, that is the kicker, isn’t it? It’s not that these cheaters don’t realize they can leave a toxic relationship; it’s that they’re lazy. They don’t want to leave until they’ve got the replacement lined up.

Look, I don’t think anyone advocates staying in a miserable marriage. I know I don’t. I’ve always said you’ve got a couple of choices. The two good choices would be you can try to fix it or you can end it. The two bad choices would be you cheat on your spouse under the guise of unhappiness or toxicity, or you suffer through it for years on end.

About that so-called unhappy/toxic relationship. Cheaters lie. Mine lied a lot. It’s amazing to me how many people who have been cheated on talk of their cheaters telling them how much they loved them, how they couldn’t live without them, how these had been the best fill-in-the-blank years of their lives, how they were the love of their life, they were their rock and salvation, and sunshine shot out of their asses.

Hell, even ol’ Jerry Lee claimed that I was his rock. My family was his only real family. He wanted to renew vows. He wanted to have another baby with me so I couldn’t leave him.

A year later I was a mentally abusive spouse who never supported him and hadn’t had sex with him in ten years.

The story has to change when they start doing shitty things. It excuses the shitty things they’re doing.

So many of them focus on “ownership” and not staying if you’re unhappy. I truly don’t think most people think any of this through. We’re not talking about a summer romance here. We’re not talking about a couple who has dated a year or two. We’re talking about, in this case in particular, two people who were married to other people. They made plans with each other. They bought houses. They may have moved across the country. In one case they had two children together. The time to figure out the relationship is not working for you is before you get married and certainly before you bring children into it.

And again, I’m not advocating staying in a loveless or toxic relationship but, Jesus Christ, could maybe someone put a little effort into maintaining their current relationship, the one that did produce those children, before they decide the potato peeler is the new love of their life? I think the innocent children in these situations deserve a little bit more than, “Golly, I just wasn’t happy. Mommy didn’t support me quitting my full-time job and becoming a pot farmer.” Grow the fuck up! It is not just about you anymore.

That seems to be the popular refrain. You’ve got two choices. You either wait out a miserable life being trapped in an unhappy relationship or you cheat on your spouse and get the hell out. Repairing your current relationship never seems to be a solution. What an antiquated idea!

I loved the one that posited, “I’m sure they’re all better off. No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their responsibility to someone else’s feelings.”

What kind of bullshit minimizing is that? It’s a marriage. It’s a legally binding relationship. If he’s in the hospital, as his wife I will be the one deciding whether to pull the plug or not. Our lives are entwined. Our money is combined, I’m taking care of his children. I’m keeping his house and doing his laundry. Do not reduce it to some kind of half baked responsibility to my feelings. No, I’ve created a life with this person. We have made plans for our future. When he decides he no longer has a responsibility to my fucking feelings he’s not just hurting my fee fees he’s fucking with my life.

How does this person know that everyone is better off? Maybe the kids have psychological problems stemming from this. Maybe his ex-wife is struggling to keep a roof over her kids’ heads. Maybe she’s working two or three jobs to keep afloat. Maybe his ex-wife was a depressed, suicidal mess for months, if not years, after this happened and his kids were barely being taken care of because their mother was unable to function. This idea that everyone magically pairs up with someone new and has this fantastic life now is magical thinking designed to excuse people like this.

Look at Jennifer Ball. She’s lived just above the poverty line ever since her husband left. She raised four kids on her own. The jackass ex was rarely around. He was far too busy with his ho-worker and their two new spawn. Is she better off? I think she would tell you that she’s happy and counts her blessings, but better off? I don’t think so.

I’m going to have to invoke my John Walsh analogy one more time. He’s got a lucrative career on television because of what happened to his sweet little boy, Adam. Had he never been kidnapped and murdered John never would have done the work he’s done with missing children or going after wanted fugitives. But I think anyone would have a hard time arguing, “Oh, he’s better off.” Quite honestly, I think anyone stupid enough to say that to him deserves a punch to the throat.

I also appreciated the person who declared that, yes, it is a kick in the teeth to get dumped, and golly, it’s probably hard on the kids to deal with a change in their lifestyle, two different homes, and potential step-families, but gee whiz, wouldn’t it suck to get to old age and realize you’re with someone you don’t want to be with.

Yes, it’s slightly disappointing when you find out you’re being cheated on and deceived. It kinda sucks when you have to return to the workforce after being a stay at home mom for 15 years and you don’t get paid enough to actually support your kids and have a home of your own. 

Sure, the kids do sometimes struggle. I mean, I’ve got one who now thinks he shouldn’t have to even complete high school because it’s pointless and another one who calls me up crying because her anxiety is out of control. They both suffer from anxiety but one gets stressed and cries, and the other finds it difficult to reach out for help and fails school. Neither one of the kids dealt with anxiety or depression when their father and I were together but hey, if one of them winds up killing themselves it’s worth it so long as their dad is happy, right? The kids are collateral damage. Don’t get too attached.

Yes, the real travesty isn’t one parent living in poverty or kids having anxiety attacks or lives being upended. The real travesty is finding out after the kids have left home that you are in a loveless relationship and you were too much of a chicken shit to actually do anything to improve your relationship, or to end it the correct way.

I think my favorite comment though was the one who said that people in loveless marriages have a character flaw because they are keeping their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

What the what? First of all, maybe the spouse in the loveless marriage doesn’t think they’re in a loveless marriage. Maybe they think they’re in a very happy marriage. Second of all, if you’re both in a loveless marriage, but only one person goes off and cheats while the other person remains faithful, why in the fuck is it the faithful partner’s responsibility to get out of the marriage? Oh, I’m sorry. Why is it their responsibility to make sure their spouse finds someone who will love them? I would think it would behoove the person who can’t keep it in their pants to get out of the marriage before it comes to that.

That whole comment is just one big mindfuck.

Oh, your partner cheated on you? That’s not a big deal. Move on and get over it.

Oh, you stayed in a loveless marriage but didn’t cheat? You horrible person! How can you keep your wonderful spouse from finding love? I hope you rot in hell!

I’m going to say it one more time. I’m not against ending an unhappy marriage. Hell, I would advocate for ending unhappy relationships far sooner than most of us do. Most of us who stay, even when things aren’t going great, do so for good intentions. We do it  because we want what’s best for our kids. We believe in commitment and working through the hard times. We think about things other than ourselves and our own happiness. We regularly put others ahead of ourselves. 

I will, however, take issue with someone cheating on their spouse and then excusing it by saying, “I wasn’t happy.” That’s entitlement and crappy character, not a search for happiness. It’s about selfish people putting their own wants and desires ahead of everyone else.

Who Is Mariella and Why Is She So Stupid?

Have I got a gem for you today! This comes from an advice column. I wish I knew which paper ran this tripe. Is there a newspaper called The Observer in England? Horrible advice! Horrible.

Here’s the story:

The dilemma: I’ve been in a relationship for four years. It started as a workplace affair, but we fell madly in love and knew we wanted to be together forever, which meant leaving our spouses. She went first, informing her husband their marriage was over. But she did not tell him about our affair. They agreed to separate and all was amicable. When I confessed, I was able to end my marriage, but not without difficulty and revenge acts. Neither of my children has spoken to me since, despite my efforts to reconcile. Three years later, my partner and I are still together. It’s mostly very good. My problem is that she retains a strong relationship with her ex. I understand this is good for co-parenting, but it makes me uncomfortable. She hasn’t divorced him or made any effort to- even though I made a point of getting a divorce to ensure a clean start. In contrast, my ex-wife and I have never been able to have a polite conversation. She is spiteful, vengeful and constantly asks for money. I appreciate my actions have had consequences. However, I struggle to manage my jealousy and fear my partner will return to her husband. It feels as if she is keeping her options open. Am I being irrational?

Let’s hit the pause button because there is so much to digest here, and we haven’t even gotten to the juicy “advice” yet.

From what I’ve managed to put together they began as a workplace affair but fell madly in love- in the span of a year. That was enough time to decide it was worth it to destroy two marriages (or perhaps only one…) and abandon at least one set of kids (although I’m guessing two sets since he mentions his love co-parenting with her husband/ex-husband). That sounds about right. It’s all about the happiness.

Second thing I’ve noticed is not only is she a cheater and a liar, but she’s also a liar. No, that wasn’t a mistake. Obviously, the majority of the cheaters out there have to tell lies in order to carry on their affairs. She continues with the lies. She has gaslighted her husband into believing that their marriage just magically went poof! It’s over. No real reason why. No, I’m not fucking my co-worker. We just grew apart.

Next I’m hit over the head with the news that she is not divorced yet! The bitch went first in letting her husband know their marriage was over and she’s still married? It’s been three fucking years!

This guy is a cheater so I’m not terribly sympathetic but those feelings he’s having? That wondering, “Am I being irrational in feeling jealous? Am I irrational for wondering if she’ll return to her husband that she hasn’t managed to divorce in the three years since telling him their marriage is over?” is a gigantic red flag waving furiously in the breeze, signaling the fact that this is not a good person he’s with. She is a liar and a cheater who will say or do whatever is needed to put herself in the top position. She has not changed for him. She conned her husband and she’ll con her co-worker/affair partner. He feels like she’s keeping her options open because she is. If things don’t work out with the shiny affair partner then maybe she’ll give her poor sap of a husband another shot.

I get it. I really do. He left his wife. His kids won’t speak to him. His wife won’t play nice and refuses to help him out with image management. Meanwhile, his partner in crime is skating along, consequence free. No one knows she’s a lying, cheating whore. She kept that shit to herself. “I’m not going to tell him I cheated on him. There might be consequences. What if I need him later?” It’s almost like the two of them decided to rob a bank together and only one of them got caught. He’s doing hard time while she’s out spending all the money they stole together. That’s a bitch, huh, dude?

Fear not, though, because Mariella is on the job. Her response to his question: Am I being irrational?

Just a touch. You do seem to be ignoring the obvious, which is that your partner’s approach is netting positive results while yours has created only adversity. She’s engineered a departure low in acrimony while yours is marred in misery.

Of course it has! She’s been lying and gas lighting her husband! The only reason her “approach” (correct terminology: lies of omission) is netting positive results is because the spouse in her situation does not know the truth!

She’s engineered a departure low in acrimony while yours is marred in misery.

Oh, she’s engineered something all right! Her departure is low in acrimony because her spouse has not been given the full information. He was never told, “I’m leaving you for someone else.”  He can go blithely about his life believing they just grew apart when the reality is she was fucking her co-worker and making a fool of him.

I’d put money on your being one of those impetuous lovers who doesn’t like to let detail get in the way of an increased pulse rate. There’s certainly romance in the notion that the right two hearts would forever beat in unison and previous commitments were merely training for this, the real thing. It’s also a pretty naive stance to take.

What are you babbling about?

Rushing from one relationship to the next, swearing undying love and tying yourself up in hard to untangle commitments is beset with obvious flaws. It may play to your sense of insecurity to believe that your new partner is hedging her bets, but a better way to regard it would be with a degree of admiration for her superior wisdom.

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s not wisdom. It’s lying. It’s omitting pertinent details. Details like, “Oh, by the way, I’m fucking my co-worker and have been for the last year. I’m leaving you for him.”

She’s managed to elegantly detach herself from her marriage without causing undue emotional misery and excess pain.

No, she’s lying. She’s keeping pertinent details to herself so that she does not experience any unpleasant consequences.

Now she’s embarked on this relationship with you, but without the same determined disregard for past experience. Instead, she would appear to be carrying with her the lessons from her first foray that include the possibly, hard-earned, that wanting a relationship to last forever and achieving that are two separate and sometimes unreconcilable ambitions.

Wait just one minute. This advice might be great for two divorced people who are getting together and trying to create a life with one another. It’s bullshit advice for a couple who were having an affair. She didn’t learn shit. She’s an opportunistic whore who will work the situation to her advantage. That’s what she did in her marriage, by not being honest, and that’s what she’s doing now.

What exactly is it that she is supposed to be learning? Not to get involved with a dishonest person? Not to date a cheater? I’m pretty sure those lessons are lost on her. She’s dating one and she is one.

She’s not a heartbroken, dumped spouse with trust issues because she was betrayed. She was the one doing the betraying. Stop writing as though she was wounded by the demise of her marriage, as though her relationship failed despite her best attempts. She cheated. She left him. The only reason the marriage didn’t last was because she was fucking her co-worker and decided that the grass was greener with him. At least partially. She’s not completely sure.

For many, their first wide-eyed love affair will struggle to last the elongated journey that our increased lifespans now provide. Sticking together for up to 80 years is a tall order and we could all do with lowering our expectations.

Wow- I don’t even know where to begin with that one. I guess the most obvious is to point out you don’t see a lot of 80 year marriages. Most people die before that can happen. Even reaching 50 years together is rare.

Secondly, what do longer life spans have to do with any of it? The median age of marriage for males from 1890-1940 varied from 24.3 to 26.1. It dipped down to 22.8 in the 50s and 60s and slowly began going up again. The average age of marriage for a man in the year 2010 was 28.2 and in 2018 it was 29.8. So yes, they’re living longer but they’re also getting married later. Both men and women have many more chances to date a variety of people and sow their wild oats before getting married. Premarital sex and living together are not the grievous sins that they once were. Women are not always as financially dependent upon men as they were in the past, when they were basically considering property.

This whole “people live longer and it’s not realistic to expect fidelity for that long” is a crock of shit. It’s an excuse. But sure, let’s lower our expectations instead of raising our standards.

The mistake you’re making, and it’s a common one, is to plough on without a moment to digest the experience you’ve just emerged from- which makes you the proverbial old dog!

Again, you speak as though the letter writer has emerged from a long term relationship through no fault of his own. It’s as though you believe the person who cheated and the person who was cheated on go through the exact same thing when the relationship dissolves.

They don’t. One of those people forges on by themselves. One of those people has to deal with being betrayed and replaced. One of those people must deal with feelings of shame and regret and anger. One of those people is left feeling like maybe they weren’t good enough or left wondering, “Why wasn’t I enough?” I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the person who was fucking another person and has another partner already lined up.

Your partner, on the other hand, seems to be proceeding far less impetuously, at the revised pace of one set on her path but mindful of the pitfalls.

Of course she is. She’s mindful of all the consequences that could befall her if her husband knew the truth.

That does say something about her expectation of your relationship- not least that it’s imbued with the wisdom of past experience.

Tying another individual up in public statements of intent and transforming irrational impulses into set expectations doesn’t make it any easier to keep them on board- as both your exes have discovered to their emotional cost. The fact that you see your current partner making a similar commitment as the only way to feel secure about your hold over her deserves further scrutiny on your part. It suggests that what you are in pursuit of this time around is no more achievable than it was last time.

Um… he’s not trying to convince her to marry him. He does, however, want to know why she still isn’t divorced. Supposedly, they are madly in love, remember? Why would she want to remain married to her husband, the one she was cheating on with him?

I think you are correct though that this is no more achievable than it was last time. At least the last time he married a woman who wasn’t cheating on her husband. He also didn’t marry a woman who, despite being madly in love in with him, refused to divorce her first husband. He didn’t marry a liar.

I’ve no doubt your wife was furious you were breaking promises that she felt were non-negotiable.

Yes, it’s amazing how furious some spouses can be when they find out they’ve been lied to and cheated on. It’s amazing how angry it can make you to realize your whole entire life as you’ve known it is over and you’re forced to start all over- by yourself- while your spouse traipses along with your replacement. It’s downright puzzling to think that just because someone went to the trouble of asking you to marry them and then made vows to you, that you might believe those promises and believe, too, that they were non-negotiable.

You’ve proved her wrong by leaving her and now you want your next partner to make those same unrequited promises all over again. Think about it- it really doesn’t make sense. Embarking on a relationship preoccupied with how swiftly you can create an inescapable institution doesn’t bode well for the success of the enterprise.

Many of us will move on from relationships that aren’t perfect or have lost their allure over time, but life is supposed to be a learning process. I appreciate that the world today may not encourage belief in that concept- and your determination to declare your current pairing a “together forever” situation when you’ve already broken that promise once is just another indication that as a species, we still have a lot to learn.

That’s adorable. What it boils down to is this: So many people are simply too provincial to understand that marriage is temporary. It means nothing. It’s just two people who have decided this sounds like a good time- for now. When it’s no longer fun- dump them and move on. Make sure you have the next one lined up, though, before you move on. You wouldn’t want to be lonely.

I suggest you enjoy what you’ve got- and when you are content enough not to care whether she commits publicly or not is the perfect moment to get remarried.

I had to go back and re-read because Mariella keeps mentioning remarriage. Unless she omitted that from the letter she published, there is nothing in this letter that indicates he’s freaking out because she won’t marry him. He’s freaking out because his affair partner hasn’t left her husband, despite telling the poor sap their marriage was over three years prior. He’s freaking out because she never did ‘fess up about their affair.

What Mariella is suggesting is for the letter writer to feed his mistress lots and lots of cake. Do the pick me dance, Cheater Boy. Don’t make demands. Don’t enforce boundaries. Whatever you do, do not impose consequences. Wait silently and show her that you, too, can be a useful sap.

Lest anyone fears I’m going soft, or feels like I’m defending the original cheater, I’m not. I just happen to think all of this advice stinks to high heaven. If Mariella is willing to gaslight a cheater the way that she has throughout this advice column I don’t even want to see the kind of damage she could do to a deceived and hurting spouse.