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.