Winning Vs. Losing, Or What I Learned From Michelle Kwan

The fabulous Dolly over on The Queen Is In wrote a provocative post last week. She mentioned someone on Twitter who questioned whether or not she stayed because she couldn’t stand to see the OW win. Dolly admitted she, too, wondered if part of why she stayed was because she didn’t want to see the OW win. Several other people commented that they didn’t want to see the OW in their situations win either. I couldn’t really chime in because as you must know if you read my blog, in my situation the OW did win. She got my husband. They are married now. I was effectively cast out and replaced.

Plus, as I kept thinking up a response it kept getting longer and longer so I decided to do what I do best and turn it into a post.

I can understand not wanting to lose your spouse to another person. I felt that way the first time I discovered what was going on. White hot rage that he had been playing me for a fool all summer long while he sweet talked that bitch. She knew I existed. She knew my kids existed. She didn’t give a shit. She wanted what was mine.

I wanted her gone! I wanted to win. I wanted her broken and destroyed. I wanted her to know that he loved me and he would never leave no matter what plans they may have had; I wanted to show her that all I had to do was snap my fingers and tell him I wanted us to work out and she would be gone without a second thought. I wanted her to know I was better than her and that she wouldn’t win.

I demanded he end things with her. I wanted to see it in black and white. His story was that he called her instead and ended things. He said she cried when he told her he could never leave me. I loved that. I felt great satisfaction in hearing she cried, that she felt discarded. She had been messing around with my husband for more than three months at that point and I wanted to banish her from our lives forever. I wanted her to know how insignificant she was to him.

I told him I had contacted her husband and when he told me to leave them alone and let them concentrate on repairing their marriage while we did the same I hissed at him, “Do not beg for mercy for your whore!” He backed off. I felt powerful. In control. Victorious.

So I definitely get it. I did not want her to win. And yet, I remember when our anniversary rolled around and the reality of everything hit me. I was “celebrating” my anniversary with a man who cheated on me.

About two months later I followed it up with this jewel:

One day I was talking to a dear friend who is wise beyond measure. I referred to the whore as a homewrecker. She pointed out to me that she wasn’t a homewrecker; my family was intact and I had won. I had to think about that. I don’t always feel like I’ve won. It sucks knowing your husband was declaring his love for someone else, someone he considered his soul mate. How do you feel like you’ve won when the prize is a lying, cheating sonofabitch? I’m being melodramatic here. I don’t feel that way now. I’m actually pretty pleased with my life right now. But still it’s that phrasing. Kinda like our marriage is better than ever. You know how I hate that one! I don’t think there are any winners or losers in the aftermath of an affair. Sure, he’s with me. He picked me. He’s a lot nicer. A lot more attentive. But he still lied and cheated. And that’s not a great prize to win.

Much like Katniss who won The Hunger Games only to find herself having to fight for her life once again in an ultimate showdown, I found myself in round two of fighting for my marriage a short two years later; sadly, I didn’t realize there was a round two until it was too late.

So this time I lost and she won. But did she really? What did she win?

She won a man who cheats. She won a man who, when times get tough, seeks out others instead of turning to his partner. She won a man who abandoned his children. Maybe she sees that as the ultimate sacrifice and a sign of how incredibly special she is. Most people see it as an act of cowardice. She won a man who can never be happy. She won a man who, according to his court testimony, can’t drive, can’t be around loud noises, and can’t be in public places with big crowds. She won an alcoholic. She won a man who is always the smartest guy in the room and who demands all the attention and adulation. She won a man she can never rely on when things are tough because for him every small problem is a giant problem; she’ll have to be the strong one all the time because he can’t handle it. She won a man who can’t take criticism and who will demand she is happy and appreciative all the time.

My mother likes to remind me that people can be different with different people. She has tales of her own with my father. As a child growing up I remember him spending a lot of time helping my grandpa out on the farm. Once he remarried though he didn’t spend nearly as much time out on the farm. As my mother said once, “It’s amazing that as his father ages he doesn’t need his son’s help nearly as much as he did when he was younger.”

I, on the other hand, don’t believe in personality transplants. I think my stepmom has something on my dad and that’s why their marriage has lasted 30+ years. And following that logic if she had something on him she could effectively control him.

Even if my ex-husband is a completely different person with Harley what is important is how he was with me.

When I “lost” to Harley, I lost a man who rarely used my name when speaking to me. I lost a man who didn’t want to hold my hand in public (although he thought it was hilarious to grope me). I lost a man who told me on many occasions, “Only one of us can be crazy or unhappy at a time, and that person is always me.” I lost a man who took it as a personal insult if I was unhappy or sad or dared to complain about anything. I lost a man who shut himself off in the basement or bedroom, and then dared to justify his behavior with Harley because I “treated him like a wallet and a handyman.” I lost a man who didn’t really want to go on family vacations or outings with us. A man who didn’t bother to go to parent-teacher conferences with me most of the time (I think he attended two). A man who didn’t really seem to care about being a husband or a father when it came time for the day to day activities. I lost a man who didn’t want to socialize with me and friends together. I lost a man who had no interest in hearing my stories from my life before him, and who didn’t really seem to show much interest in my life outside of him when we were married.

More importantly, “losing” him to Harley led me to finding the mobster. It’s no secret that I would have probably stayed until the bitter end. Her swooping in with her “big win” allowed me to find a love I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Yes, I may have “lost” to the OW but do you want to know what I’ve won?

I’m with a man who thinks I’m funny. He genuinely laughs at my jokes.

He thinks I’m adorable. Seriously. I’ll do something and he’ll say, “You are so cute the way you…”.

He butters my roll for me without me even asking. He makes me breakfast. He wants to please me. He sends me flowers and chocolate covered strawberries.

He greets me every morning with, “Hi, Beautiful,”  “Hi, Cutie,” or, “Hi, Babydoll”.

He appreciates the things I do for him instead of merely tolerating them. He has thanked me over and over again for his “Box ‘O Love” and the surprise party I threw for him. He thanks me every time I drive the entire way to see him.

He thinks I’m smart and beautiful.

He listens to me. He listens to all my crazy stories, both present and in the past. I can tell him anything. And I do. He tells me to never apologize for complaining; he wants to hear everything. We’re partners and he wants to hear the good and the bad. He likes to hear about my day. I work in a bank, for crying out loud, and he treats it like I’m doing amazing and interesting work every day. Hell, I believe he even listened to me explaining Candy Crush to him in detail.

He doesn’t tell me only one of us can be crazy at once and it’s always him. In fact, he calms me down when I’m freaking out and he’s willing to take over if I need him to.

He tells me that I give wonderful advice and I’ve been so good for him and I always think things through and know just what to say.

He ran out to Wal-Mart when we were together for my daughter’s Family Weekend and bought me shampoo and conditioner because I hadn’t brought any and the hotel didn’t have any in the room. My mom told me later she was amazed that he was willing to do that and asked me if I could ever imagine CF doing that for me. Considering he grudgingly made me a lemonade when I was pregnant with his child after three miscarriages I’m going to say, “Probably not.”

He accompanied me to a wedding all the way out in Utah AND met a ton of my friends while out there. Some people would have found that to be much like a lamb being led to slaughter, but he was amazing. He was a bit nervous but he was genuinely pleased to finally be able to meet my friends.

He likes to socialize and have fun. He’s always up for adventure. My daughter has labeled him “the happiest person [she] knows.”

He lifts me up. He wants to be a full-time partner to me.

He’s more supportive and attentive to my kids than their own dad was.

And he’s funny. He makes me laugh and we have the best time when we’re together.

He picks flowers for me from the side of the road. He creates chalk signs for me when I come to visit and he buys balloons and decorates for me. He’s willing to drive 10.5 hours to see me. He sends me song lyrics and creates picture books of our adventures together. He gets me a cup of coffee when we’re together.

He’s also never cheated on me and never lied to me. He has been patient and understanding, especially in the beginning when I was a skittish mess. He is the most amazing man and I never would have met him if I hadn’t lost my husband to Harley.

Years ago I remember an interview the lovely, talented and graceful Michelle Kwan did. It was right after the Olympics, where she had been expected to take the gold, only to have someone snatch it out from under her. The interviewer asked her how she dealt with losing the gold medal. I still remember her response all these years later. I didn’t lose the gold. I won the silver.

Wow- talk about reframing a situation. Michelle didn’t lose anything. She won something that very people even have the opportunity to compete for. What does that have to do with infidelity and Harley and losing CF to her, you may be asking?

It’s simple. I don’t look at it as losing my husband to Harley. I look at it as “winning” the mobster and finally being in a relationship where I am valued, cherished and loved.

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According to Redbook Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Take Back A Cheater

I came across some light reading the other day. Entitled 5 Reasons You Should Never Take Back a Cheater it goes through a list of, you guessed it, five reasons you shouldn’t take a cheater back. It’s more like a checklist, I think. As in, if the cheater in your life did this…

And while this comes backed by Redbook experts (!) it’s nothing that the exquisite Chump Lady hasn’t already covered pretty thoroughly in her excellent post, Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse? I think we can all use a refresher course once and again so let’s begin.

Reason #1 you shouldn’t take your cheater back: It was an emotional affair. If sexologist and author, Eric Marlowe Garrison, tells you that emotional affairs can be just as hard to weather through, then you should probably believe him.

In all seriousness, what I hear time and time again is that it is not the sex that destroys the betrayed spouse. It’s all the damn lies and gas lighting.

CF’s first affair was supposedly an emotional affair. We did live almost 2000 miles away from Harley and I can testify that CF does not have a 1500+ mile long penis so perhaps he was telling the truth. Or, maybe on one of the few times he visited with his mom he took off and fucked the whore. I don’t know and I don’t care at this point. What hurt the most was the fact that he told me she made him happy. That was something I had been trying, and failing to do for eighteen years at that point. You want to talk triggers? Any talk of happiness was a huge trigger for me.

He told her he loved her. He made plans for the future with her. They talked about coming home to each other and eating dinner together. All things he didn’t bother doing with me and our kids. He was giggling like a teenager in love to his nephew about bringing her around when he got his tattoo, and telling him, “I can’t say much but one day you’ll be related to her!” Tee hee hee. So yeah, that stung more than a little bit.

Reason #2: Learning new info over the months. I think that’s what those in the reconciliation industry like to call “trickle truth”. It’s a pretty little cover for what should be known as lying by omission. It can also be called covering your ass and what they don’t know won’t hurt them but what they do know can sure as hell hurt me!

For those of you who have dealt with the so-called “trickle truth” you know it’s difficult to heal. For one, you know there’s information you don’t have. For two, every time another bomb drops, usually courtesy of someone or something else, you go right back to square one. It’s almost impossible to heal, or forgive, when you don’t know the entire story and you keep getting little chunks of it over the course of months or years.

Reason #3: They don’t answer all your questions. Well isn’t that some bullshit? They cheat and break your heart, potentially destroy your family, and then they’re going to get a burr up their ass about answering questions.

I like the way sex and family therapist, Jane Greer, Ph.D, puts it: The person who cheated should answer all these questions. If they can’t or won’t, walk away.”

Amen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are quite a few cheaters out there who have no interest in a divorce, but they also have no interest in truly reconciling. Divorce might mean having to do for themselves. Divorce will mean divvying up assets and potentially paying child and/or spousal support. Divorce might mean a lot of unpleasant things the cheater doesn’t want to face. What they want is for you to shut up and go back to the way things were before they were caught. They won’t do any work on the relationship, or helping you heal, and they feel like you should feel fortunate they’ve chosen to stay.

I do my best to let everyone find their own way but I will say a little prayer that any of you who find yourselves dealing with a supposedly remorseful cheater who refuses to answer your questions and does the trickle truth routine will find the strength to tell that cheater they can either start answering your questions honestly, or they can get the fuck out.

Reason #4: Placing the blame elsewhere. Specifically, if they are blaming you for the affair. No one makes a person cheat. I couldn’t get CF to eat a turnip. I couldn’t get him out of the bedroom to join us as a family. I couldn’t get him to enjoy holidays or vacations. I couldn’t get him to replace our screen door. I couldn’t get him to follow through on the promised theater room or the outdoor entertainment area. It follows that I couldn’t prevent him from fucking someone else. That was all on him.

For the love of God, if your cheater tries putting it all back on you, please, PLEASE, stand up to that sniveling coward and let them know you had absolutely nothing to do with their piss poor choices. Be crystal clear that the cheating they did was their own damn fault and a result of their poor character, which had nothing to do with you. And then go one step further and let them know that if they ever dare to blame you for their affair again you will kick their ass to the curb and file for divorce immediately. Or better yet, just leave. You’ve got nothing to work with. That’s a whole lot of entitlement and crazy thinking to cheat on your partner and then expect them to shoulder the blame for your shitty actions.

Reason #5: The affair has been ongoing. I always thought if a person cheated I would end the relationship, no questions asked. Boom. We’re done. And then of course I bought into the whole, “I won’t measure our entire relationship by one mistake,” hocus pocus. But even after I considered maybe forgiving a cheating spouse I always figured I couldn’t forgive him if either the affair had lasted a very long time, or if there had been multiple women.

I hate to quote Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert (whatever that is) but I agree with her when she says, “If cheating lasted a long time, like a year or more, it’s no longer an affair, but rather a full-blown relationship.”

Most affairs are short-lived. I don’t think I could have dealt with a long running affair. Had I found out CF and Harley had been fucking around for 2 or 3 years the first time, I’m pretty sure I would have been singing Ace of Base’s, “I Saw the Sign” and walked away. Nothing to save. There is an awful lot of lying going on when someone conducts a long term affair. The sheer fact that my spouse could have lived a double life for years on end would be enough for me to say, “I’m done.”

Similarly, when Elin Nordegren first took a golf club and chased her husband down, ending with him crashing into a tree, I thought to myself, “Maybe they can rebuild.” And then the long list of women started hitting the news. That’s when I said to myself, “She needs to leave him. She’s got nothing to work with.” A one night stand, or even a one time short-lived affair is a whole different kettle of fish from someone who will fuck anything and everything.

You might be able to rebuild your marriage after an affair. When you’re dealing with someone who endlessly cheats you’re married to someone who wants a pussy or dick buffet. They’re not interested in faithfulness.

There you have it. Five reasons you should leave your cheater. If it was an emotional affair, if your partner won’t tell you the whole truth or refuses to answer questions, if your partner blames you for the affair, or if the affair was long-term Redbook says to run. If you can’t trust Redbook, who can you trust?

The Myth of the Sexless Marriage

I was reading a conversation over on DC Urban Moms and Dads. The original poster asked why on earth anyone would recommend Chump Lady’s site because she was so bitter, angry and negative. Several people patiently pointed out that anger is useful to get you through the initial phase of being discarded and accepting what you married. Others pointed out her tag line is: Leave a cheater, gain a life. She’s not into the reconciliation business. Eventually it meandered over into the fact that men NEED sex and that most people who cheat do so because of sexless marriages.

Well, of course they do! It couldn’t be the fact that the person has bad character. It couldn’t be the fact that the cheater lacks impulse control, or feels entitled to anything he or she desires. It couldn’t be the fact that they act like toddlers, throwing a tantrum anytime things don’t go their way. It can’t be that they are needy and clingy and are bottomless pits of need. No, it must be because their spouses (wives usually) have cut them off from sex, forcing them to cheat. They wouldn’t do this awful thing if the “refusing” spouse would simply hop into bed and participate. This is not their fault! It’s the cheated on spouse’s fault!

Why not divorce? Coz reasons! It’s no fair that if my wife cuts me off from sex and I believe that’s a deal breaker then I have to be a grown up and make hard choices. One person even put it like this:

I’m not comfortable defending the position of a cheater but…

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice. Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life. That’s a ridiculous choice to have to make. So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Oy. And vey. Dramatic much?

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice.

First of all, who are these wives this person speaks of who entirely cut their husbands off? There is a difference between, “I want to have sex six times a week but my spouse will only give it up twice,” vs. “I haven’t had sex in five years.” Not to mention, cheaters lie. It’s what they do.

CF will tell anyone who will listen that we hadn’t had sex in ten years. That is an outright lie. He will also tell people he is an Army Ranger. That is another outright lie. He lies. It’s what he does. I feel like I’m in a fucking Geico commercial!

In addition, the only spouses I’ve ever heard of who cut their spouse off sexually were the cheaters! They did it to maintain control. Meanwhile, they were out there screwing anything that moved.

Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff…

Secondly, if you do even the tiniest bit of research you will find that it is generally women who pay the greatest price when it comes to divorce. Hell, I know I got a great deal compared to some people but my standard of living is still far, far below what it was. I will again remind the reading audience that while CF is indeed paying out in excess of 60% of his paycheck to me, he’s doing so because he refuses to leave his sweetie behind to find a better paying job. He was imputed at his previous wages. Even with a ten month gap in employment and being basically fired for drinking on the job, he managed to get a $100,000/year job. I finally got one for $11/hour. He lives in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom 3000 sq. foot home which looks eerily like our old home in Virginia, with a community pool and a community clubhouse. I live with my mother, have no bedroom to call my own, and sleep on the couch.

Sure, there are stories of women who take their husbands to the cleaners. The ironic part? They’re usually the ones cheating. I know far more women who have been left destitute after a divorce.

…and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life.

I’m pretty sure CF must have written this. Yet another person lamenting having to pay “for the rest of their life.” No, it’s not the rest of their life. In many states they pay nothing aside from child support! Child support ends at some point. Spousal support ends at some point. In my case it will end in 16 years. That is hardly “the rest of his life”.

I loved this though: So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Nice! So men are forced to cheat because otherwise they may have to give up some of their stuff. Women, on the other hand, never have an excuse to cheat.

It’s too bad some of these people never grew up. If they had they would understand that sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. They would understand that on occasion you get to choose between two shitty things. These poor babies just assume the fact that divorcing comes with consequences they don’t want to face means they should be excused for cheating.

Could we please stop acting like women (or whoever is withholding) have all the power? It’s not like a stay at home mom who is “refusing” to have sex has nothing to lose if her husband leaves her. Many states start with 50/50 custody so she stands to lose her kids. Even if she has primary custody she still misses out on weekends and holidays with her kids. A woman who divorces may find her children being raised by another woman. After reading a Mom vs. Stepmom debate board for over ten years it seems to me that women are much more territorial when it comes to the children. Many states have no alimony, so even if she does get custody of the kids, she won’t be receiving it any longer than 18 years and it will go down as each child ages out. Her chances of finding a job where she makes as much money as her husband are fairly low unless her degree is in something that will remain current- think nursing. I’ve known women who were teachers, IT professionals, and accountants who struggled going back into the workforce after years of staying home with children. If she was already working then he’s not going to end up paying her alimony anyway, if they live in a state that awards it, unless he makes significantly more than her. And, if their salaries are very similar he might not end up paying her much in child support either- probably none at all if custody is 50/50.

It’s all a narrative to justify cheating. Those trying the hardest to justify it keep referring to the “refuser” in the relationship and how that person is the one who first broke vows. Apparently, one of the vows you make when you get married is to have sex on demand. If that vow isn’t met then the other spouse is justified in cheating, or so their theory goes.

Even when it’s pointed out that if that is indeed happening then both parties know they are not having sex. The person being refused sex is not left in the dark. When the other person decides to go outside of the marriage both parties are not aware of it. When that is pointed out, and divorce is offered up as the responsible response to such a situation (not getting all the sex you deserve) they once again chime in with, “But… consequences! Why should I suffer any consequences for any of my decisions? I have to cheat. I deserve to cheat because they won’t do what I want them, no NEED them, to do.” They are nothing but big ol’ cake eaters.

Here’s another truth. It’s not about the sex. If he’s getting it twelve times a week at home then he’ll complain that she won’t do anal, or oral, or some other thing. Or it’s that she won’t do a threesome or let him watch her have sex with another guy, or participate in a gang bang, or agree to an open marriage, or participate in S&M. Look at the swinger from last week. He and his wife are having sex upwards of five times a week and he wants to be able fuck strange on the side. His complaint about his first wife wasn’t simply that she only wanted sex a few times a month. It was also about the fact that she wasn’t willing to indulge his other fantasies.

If you read Chump Lady you will hear that narrative over and over: I had plenty of sex with my husband, but he went looking for other sources because I wouldn’t… (fill in the blank).

People don’t cheat because they’re in sexless marriages. I would be willing to bet that most of them who make that claim aren’t even in sexless marriages. They cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. They cheat because they want to eat cake, as Chump Lady would say. They cheat because nothing is ever enough for them and no amount of groveling and catering to them will ever make them happy or satisfied. They always demand more. They cheat because they don’t want to have to do the hard work of filing for divorce and going through everything that entails. It’s far easier to keep your spouse and some strange on the side, than it is to be honest and do the hard thing. They cheat because they have convinced themselves that it’s YOUR fault. You’ve made them do this; the poor lambs didn’t have a choice.

Don’t fall for the narrative, folks. People with an ounce of common sense don’t ask what the rape victim could have done to prevent the rapist from raping her/him. People with an ounce of common sense don’t tell the battered spouse, “If only you would do (fill in the blank),” or “If you wouldn’t do (fill in the blank) your spouse wouldn’t be driven to abuse you.” People with an ounce of common sense should also realize no one makes another person cheat. It’s a damn choice. Own it!

#riseup

If I Had a Time Machine

I haven’t forgotten about the rest of the fall TV lineup. When I wrote my original review there were still a handful of shows I wanted to see that were premiering later. I think almost all of them have premiered but I haven’t written a review yet.

One of the shows that premiered later and which I’ve been watching (obviously!) is Timeless over on NBC. It is about a stolen time machine and the crew who is trying to get the bad guys back into present time. Naturally, they have a backup time machine. They have two jobs- #1 find the bad guys who hijacked the first time machine and bring them back, #2 make sure they don’t change history because if that happens who knows what the ramifications might be!

Here’s my quick review: I find the plot line intriguing. The actual execution is not as well done. One person came back and her life has been completely changed, but no one else seems to have experienced that. I’m also a bit confused as to how it is that history can change but the people work at the time machine lab are fully aware of the changes. I’m not sure how they are immune to this. However, I love history so I really enjoy the way they go back in time and how they explore that. I love the costumes and the customs of the times. It’s also fascinating to imagine yourself going back in time and having the knowledge that you have now. But the larger storyline involving some arch villain (or organization that is the arch villain) is somewhat tedious.

I keep watching for the historical aspects of it. I’d give it a 6 out of 10. It’s not one of those shows that I look forward to watching every week, but it’s a good way to kill some time. Ha ha ha.

This got me to thinking: What if I had a time machine? Where would I go? What would I do? Obviously I’d go back and play the winning lottery numbers, right? Or bet on the Kentucky Derby or some sporting event. Hell, invest in Google or Apple!

For some reason this is always frowned upon in these situations. I don’t get it. Even if time machines were real it’s not like there are a plethora of them sitting around waiting for people to hijack them and go back in time to bet on games!

So, all money aside, where would I go to alter my own life? My first choice was to go back to the day in May when I met Cousinfucker. I thought maybe my re-do would involve never meeting him. I have no idea how my life would be different now. I suppose it could have ended up worse. Doubtful, but possible. Hey- I was doing the old-fashioned version of online dating at that time in my life. I had 2 or 3 other guys interested in me and I had to pick that shit eating chimp. I’m not saying I would have ended up marrying any of the other 3 guys but surely it wouldn’t have ended as badly as this did!

Of course, then I had the thought that most people think when they’re thinking about this. What about the children???? If I never met Cousinfucker then I wouldn’t have Rock Star and Picasso. Practically speaking, if I had never met him I would never have had them and I wouldn’t even know they were a possibility. In my alternate universe maybe I have little Emily and Zachary and I can’t imagine life without them. But, in reality that moment has passed. I did meet Cousinfucker. I did marry him and I did have two children with him. I know them. I like them. I don’t want replacement children. So….

Where do we go in time next, if we can’t prevent myself from meeting Cousinfucker? So many choices.

I could go back to 2002, soon after Picasso’s birth. I’ve got both kids. I’ve been out of the workforce for 2 years, basically. Cousinfucker was making good money. About half of what he currently makes. But, the kids and I wouldn’t have been used to having a lot of money. They would be young; they would have no idea what it was like to have married parents. They wouldn’t be experiencing the upheaval they’re experiencing now. I would be 33, still young enough that I could jump back in to working and possibly even find love again. Bonus, at this point I was only approximately 2 hours away from my mom so even moving back to the area wouldn’t have been as difficult.

I would be the one at fault for leaving in this situation. Looking back though, when your mother-in-law asks you if your second child was wanted or if you tricked your husband into having another one, things probably aren’t that good. CF was acting like a shit most of the time. It wouldn’t have been adultery level reasons for leaving, but I think it would have been just.

Honestly, I was still very invested in my children having a two parent home. Despite any problems I wasn’t willing to leave him. I was going to stick it out. By golly, it was going to get better!

I suppose my most obvious time to change history would have been back in 2013 after I found out he had been carrying on with Harley all summer despite telling me he had ended it with her. Do I use my time machine to go back to that day and end things with him?

Instead of telling him to get his head out of his ass and decide what he wanted I could go back in time and tell him that I knew they were still involved. I could tell him I wanted his pathetic ass out of the house and not to return. That when the kids and I left to go to my stepfather’s memorial service he could retrieve all of his items then and get the hell out. No second chance. No reconciliation. No trying to make things work.

Now, at this point in time I am 44 years old. I’ve been out of the workforce for 13 years. That’s still a huge gap. BUT, I have friends. I have a support network. I could possibly have been offered a job at the school. Several people I knew and volunteered with through PTA ended up working at the school. That could have been an option. I had a friend who was a supervisor at her job. She might have been able to put in a good word for me and I might have been able to get on there. Her daughter also works at a company who is frequently hiring and her daughter seems to like this company a lot. Again, with a good word from her I might be working a 40 hour a week job that pays decently, instead of what I’m looking at now. Or, I have a few friends who work from home for an airline. They were often posting on Facebook about hiring opportunities. Unfortunately for me now, you have to live in that city so it’s not a possibility for me. Regardless, I knew a lot of people so I had a lot of networking possibilities. The job situation would have definitely been better. My kids could have remained in their sports more than likely. I’m almost certain the gym would have worked with me, and I’m pretty sure the hockey team had scholarships available. 2013 would have been a good time. I would have had a lot of support and much better job prospects. Downside? Getting divorced with my family 1500 miles away.

Or, my final destination could have been to the year 2014. Technically, I would have still needed to have gone back to 2013 because that’s when he began talking about moving to Whoreville. Once he was caught and we “reconciled” and things were “better than ever” he offered to give up on his dream job. I could go back to that day and say, “Thanks, sweetie! I’m so glad to hear that because the kids and I don’t want to move.” I could have vetoed the move and also taken steps to protect myself and my kids in case he did it again.

Of all the options that one seems the least invasive. Go back to that day and stand your ground. Tell him you don’t want to move and you won’t move your kids. Tell him to let The Powers That Be (TPTB) know Whoreville is no longer on the table because his wife refuses to go, the first time in his career that she has ever done so. Rock Star gets to continue on with gymnastics. Picasso gets to continue to play hockey and the cello. Hell, maybe once TPTB know that relocating him is out of the question Cousinfucker would actually get a real promotion and not a lateral transfer! Maybe he would have been an area VP instead of what he was offered. At the very least maybe he would have become the GM when they convinced his GM to relocate.

And then go a step further! Insist that he pay for me to go back to school so that I can get a good job. Or, start working again. Use those contacts and get a job. Best case scenario might even be work part-time and go to school full-time. All while insisting he support me in doing so. Not just monetarily, but physically by helping with the housework, the laundry, the shopping, getting the kids where they need to be.

Maybe if all that had happened we would still be married and I would still be happy. My kids would still be happy. The last two years would not have existed.

Would not moving have helped? If we go with CF’s logic that I hated him and his whole impetus to seek out Harley was because I hated him and was so miserable, then perhaps. When I’m bored I have time to think. I had lots of time to think in Whoreville. I had nothing to do. Back in 2013 I had plenty to do. And at that particular moment I was happy with him. Things were going well. Maybe if that had remained the status quo I wouldn’t have written so much on the other FB page. I would have been too busy. There would have been nothing to report back to him. He wouldn’t have spiraled out of control. He wouldn’t have cheated again. He wouldn’t have left me.

But is that true? That’s quite the gamble. I might be throwing away my ticket to change history if that’s where I choose to stop. He lied to me. First it was multiple women. Then it was only her. I later find out there was at least one other person besides Harley. I have no idea if he continued to cheat while I thought we were happy. I’d like to believe he didn’t, but I don’t know that for certain. The only thing I know is that he lies. We were happy as long as I never brought up his affair with Harley. We were happy as long as I focused on the future. We were happy as long as I danced and danced for him. We were happy as long as I was ticking boxes off of that list he gave me. How long could I dance?

No, if I were given the chance to go back and change my history I would go back to 2002, possibly 2003, shortly after my son was born. I would leave him then. I would have my kids, and yes, I might have had to have shared them more than I do now, but it would have been worth it. Honestly, I don’t think he would have taken them. A 2 year old and an infant? Way too much work! He whined when he was left with only one of them for a few hours! An entire weekend with both of them? Don’t make me laugh!

I could have jumped back into the workforce and be making a decent living right now. I might possibly have met someone new and could be happily married now. Hell, it’s a long shot but I might have actually had another child.

My kids would have no idea what was going on. They wouldn’t feel the pinch because the oldest would have only been 2 or possibly 3. They would know nothing else but parents who were divorced.

The way that it has transpired in the year 2015 they were and are keenly aware of everything that is going on. They know what they are losing, and they have lost a lot. They are cognizant of every change. I’m sure that at 2 or 3 they realize something is going on; they just don’t know what. And typically, as long as the sane parent keeps it together and keeps providing a safe, comfortable environment they adjust; they don’t really have a frame of reference. At 15 or 16, they know and they can see each and every upheaval headed their way.They do have a frame of reference and they probably can’t help but compare their two different lives.

Going back to 2013 would be comfortable. It would provide most of the creature comforts that we have known. Our lives wouldn’t change at all. Until he did it again. I could excuse that though and cling to this idea that I had friends out there and job opportunities. Hell, if I actually took steps back then to protect myself instead of believing him when he professed his great love for me, I would have had a job or a better education when he cheated again. But going back to 2013 means I’m still relying on him. I’m staking my future on being able to control his behavior.

That’s why going back to 2002 is the better option. I’m betting on myself in that instance.

1dar8w

Is It Healthier To Divorce?

 

This was a question posed on an internet forum. The situation was a man who was miserable in his marriage; it was killing him. Yet, he stayed for his kids. The debate was whether or not this was healthy.

The person who initiated this debate went on to detail how miserable she had been in her own marriage, how it had been slowly killing her and she didn’t think her husband would ever change. She then goes on to talk about how happy she is now and how good divorce was for her.  She’s remarried. She has 2 more children. She went back to school to get her Masters. She has a husband who makes enough money that he could support her while she was doing this, plus basically support the family because she made very little money at her job. She did say towards the end that divorce was a huge positive for her and probably a little bit of a positive for her daughter.

That was what I thought was so interesting.  The question was, “Is it healthier to divorce rather than to stay for the sake of the kids?” The answer, however, had nothing to do with the kids; it revolved around the parent’s happiness.

Another person chimed in and said she thought it was hard to apply that as a concept to everyone; it really needed to be discussed on an individual basis. She also said she didn’t think kids really gave a squat about parental happiness, so long as it wasn’t in their face. I tend to agree with that.

Obviously if there are knockdown, drag out fights between the parents, or everyone in the house is walking on eggshells it’s not a good situation and the kids would probably rather the parents divorce.  That’s the problem though. So many of these situations are presented as A or B.  Either the parents are living in a tense, hostile situation fraught with yelling, screaming, and potential physical violence, or the parents divorce and everyone is happy with their new lives.

In my situation I wouldn’t describe our home life as tense or volatile. He scampered up to the bedroom most of the time. We occasionally went out as a family and had a wonderful time.  The kids and I were always “allowed” to go into the bedroom if we wanted to converse with him.  He wasn’t angry and hostile towards me or the kids. We functioned somewhat unconventionally but I don’t think my kids were unhappy or afraid.

Another issue that was raised was how children will be happy if their parents are happy. The first commenter thought that it would be very hard to disguise your unhappiness around your kids and that even if you could it could lead to some long term complications where you compartmentalize problems instead of facing them head on.

To all of that I say, “Bullshit!” First, I wasn’t always wonderfully happy in my marriage. I knew that there were things that other couples did that we didn’t do- go to movies, out to dinner, to church, running errands, sleeping in the same bed…  I knew it wasn’t normal to barely spend any time together.  I knew it wasn’t normal to have him forego family outings. I knew that I wanted more and I wanted him more involved but I sucked it up and concentrated on the things I could control. I chose to find things that would make me happy- things like my children, my friends, my volunteering. I didn’t sit back and say, “Oh my! I’m unhappy. There’s nothing I can do besides find a different husband.”

Second, I don’t think my kids are happier now than they were two years ago. I know my kids don’t want to see me miserable or crying; I don’t want to portray them as little sociopaths. But I don’t think they ever thought anything was terribly wrong. Like I said, there was no fighting, no hostility, no violence. Hell, I don’t think they ever even saw us raise our voices towards one another, much less have a fight. The only issues they saw were ones their dad brought to the table and I don’t think the fact that he has a new sex partner is going to change any of those issues. My daughter has said before, “I don’t know how you stayed with him as long as you did.” I also think a lot of that is because he was more willing to let everyone in the family see him fall apart this time around.

I think we fool ourselves into believing that our happiness makes our children happy. Obviously there can be extremes but kids are pretty self-centered.  They don’t like change anymore than we do. I’m pretty sure that if you asked my kids if they were happier now simply because Dear Old Dad is happy they would look at you like you had your brain growing on the outside of your head.  No, strike that.  It would be more like your brain was growing out of your ass. Their lives have been torn apart once again.  It wasn’t enough that we moved across the country and gave up everything for him the first time around. Oh hell no! Now we’re all supposed to be happy because he’s found true love with his soulmate. They probably don’t even think about the fact they are being forced to start all over again due to him. They’ve lost their home, have had to move another 600 miles away from their new friends, and are now residing in their grandmother’s house in smaller bedrooms while once again sharing a bathroom. Character building, my ass.  Fuck that! Their lives as they knew them are over at this point. They would probably tell you that they really don’t give a crap about their father’s happiness, especially when it came at their expense.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that those who extoll the virtues of divorce the loudest are generally the ones who are happily partnered up once again. The first commenter, as I pointed out earlier, remarried within 3 or 4 years of her divorce, I believe. She was also having an affair when she left her husband, although she did not end up with the affair partner and she says she didn’t leave for him. And, from other things she has written, she also had at least one other boyfriend before she met her current husband. Two other commenters who said divorce was better for the kids are also remarried and have at least one more child with the new husband. So far, no one who is not currently in a relationship has chimed in that divorce is just the best! I’m sure if that’s your reality (you meet the love of your life, you go on to have a fabulous new life, you have more children) then you probably do feel that divorce is the best choice.  Of course, we are back again to the fact that divorce ended up being the best choice for the adult and not the child.

What happens, though, if you spend the rest of your life alone? What happens if you spend the rest of your life struggling financially? God bless the second commenter who pointed out that she has seen far too many people who have traded in being married and miserable for being divorced and miserable. Honestly, I think that’s going to be me.

Granted, I wasn’t the one who wanted out. I wasn’t the one saying, “Oh, I’m so unhappy!” I simply saw the writing on the wall and knew there would be no going back. I had already warned him that if he did it again we were done. Don’t get me wrong; I definitely know that I will be better off without him. I don’t know, though, if my kids will. With him we all lived a fairly privileged life. My kids didn’t want for anything. Now? I don’t see myself as having some wonderful career that provides enough for me to support my children comfortably. Oh, I’ll be able to pay the bills and they’ll eat, but I don’t see any extras for them in the future. Get a job, kids, if you want to have nice things because Daddy left Mommy when she was pushing 50 and had no hopes of making serious bank.

I doubt I will ever have a house of my own. He has the VA loan to fall back on so he doesn’t really care if we lose everything on this house. I, on the other hand, will have to come up with a down payment. I’ve already bought houses with him so I won’t qualify for a first time buyer break. Plus, why the hell would I want a 30 year loan when it wouldn’t be paid off until I was around 80? No, Mr. Cheater will go on to buy his dream home with the whore, while I live with my mom forever. That sounds like divorce is really changing my life for the better, doesn’t it?

I don’t see myself finding the love of my life. I think that has passed me by. Honestly, I have no desire to date. I have no desire to let myself be vulnerable.  I will never let myself rely on another man again. Ever. I will not remarry. I will not move in with someone. Even if I did end up one day eating my words how does that benefit my children? By the time that could even happen for me they will be grown and out of the house. It will be too late for them. They will never experience an involved father. My daughter will never have a dad that wants to attend her gymnastics meets and cheer her on. My son will never have a dad that teaches him to shave or plays video games with him or tosses a ball around with him. That has all fallen, and will continue to fall, on me.

Don’t get me wrong. While I am not a fan of divorce and never wanted any of this, I also don’t think that getting divorced is some horrible evil. I’ll be tackling that approach later on this week. What I have a problem with is people, probably like CF, who use their own happiness as an excuse to wreck havoc on the rest of the family. The thinking seems to be, “I’m not happy.  I deserve to be happy. If I’m happy everyone else will be happy.”

I also don’t advocate staying in miserable marriages.  I think you should do everything you can to make your marriage happy. If that means counseling or date nights or whatever the two people come up with then I’m all for it. I don’t believe that you only have two options: Stay or be miserable.  I think there is a third, often overlooked option, which is to work on and improve your marriage. Too often the, “I Deserve Happiness” crowd decides to simply ditch the marriage and start over, usually with someone they have waiting in the wings.

So now the question remains: Is it better to leave? Is it healthier? That’s the trick question. It’s supposed to be a question of whether or not staying is better for your kids. I suppose that depends on what your future holds. Are you feeling lucky?