I was doing the grocery shopping Sunday as always, when about 50 feet or so in front of me I spotted Sherri, a woman who used to live in our neighborhood.  It was rumored that she and her husband had their house foreclosed on after a particularly nasty divorce. 

I was sure Sherri noticed me as well, but surprisingly she didn’t acknowledge me, smile, or wait for me to catch up to talk.  She just quickly turned around and scurried away.

I thought this was kind of strange.  Now, we weren’t good friends or anything like that, but we would always talk for a few minutes when we saw each other in the neighborhood or at parties and such.  Her daughter played on the same soccer team as our girls did back when they were six years old.  A team that I coached.  I also was at her house a few times a year because I was on a fantasy football league that her husband organized.  So, it’s not like we were strangers and not like we were best friends, but we were always friendly.

So I went about my shopping and a few aisles later, we did wind up running into each other.  We started to talk and ask each other the obligatory questions about how the family was doing, etc., but she still seemed to be acting a bit strangely. She really wouldn’t look me in the eye and just sort of seemed as though she wanted to get the hell out of there. Something was definitely bothering her.

Finally, she said, “You know that Brett and I got divorced.” 

“Yes, I had heard. I’m sorry about that.”  I replied.

The next thing I knew she was going off into a full-blown, semi-emotional explanation of the details of their divorce and what led up to it.

Can you guess what triggered the divorce?  Yep, Brett had an affair.  In fact he had several of them. 

Brett could be an intimidating dude.  He was 50 years old but looked 10 years younger.  He was about 6’3”, muscular as hell and had a shaved head.  He didn’t smile a lot and always seemed pretty serious or angry.  Linda would joke that he scared her. 

He played professional football back in the day and used his semi-celebrity status to open a successful personal training business.   Most of his clients were local high-school wrestlers and football players but he also held low-cost “bootcamps” where virtually all of the participants were women.

Anyways, Sherri went on to tell me that Brett had cheated on her with one of his clients and had moved in with her.  This woman was somewhat wealthy and Brett was doing nothing more than sponging off of her.  She was his “sugar momma” and he was the kept man. 

That’s bad enough, but his behavior caused all sorts of fallout:

Sherri was thrust into a state of pain and disbelief.  Though it was a state she had experienced before.  It seems Brett had an affair with their next-door neighbor several years ago (causing her husband to move out and divorce her), so she was somewhat familiar with the experience.  This time though, it seemed to ravage her more.  She went through a period when she was spiraling out of control, where she was depressed and drinking heavily. Luckily, thanks to her sister’s help, she was able to pull herself out of her depression.  

They had two kids who felt they had to take sides.  Never a good thing when the two parents are pitted against one another and tear the other one down with every opportunity.  As a result, their high-school aged son became very angry and started to really act out at school and at home.  He was a promising wrestler who was headed for a scholarship, but decided to quit.  Their daughter gave up on her college dreams, moved out, got involved with the wrong crowd and got into drugs and partying all the time. 

He moved out almost immediately.  Sherri didn’t say if she kicked him out or he just left, but he shacked up with his AP pretty quickly.  Prior to moving out Sherri said they fought constantly and often the fights would culminate in physical abuse.  Like I said, Brett was a big dude but Sherri is a small little thing.  She was no match for him and he took advantage of that.  And apparently these types of fights were somewhat typical for their marriage the last few years.

They got divorced.  It was apparent that divorce was inevitable and it didn’t really sound as though Sherri fought it at all, but Brett came after her hard.  She wouldn’t get into all the details but it sure seems as though it was a nasty process.  (This was his third marriage/divorce, by the way.)  It left her with much anger and resentment towards Brett, which has affected their current relationship when it comes to agreeing on issues regarding their son.

He discontinued his training business and therefore couldn’t pay the rent for his gym.  The landlord wasn’t real thrilled about that so he initiated legal action against Brett.  Sherri’s name was also on the lease, so the landlord came after her as well.  She wound up settling with the landlord for $30,000 which caused a ripple effect financially and ultimately caused them to stop making payments on their mortgage and let it go into foreclosure. 

She lives with shame and embarrassment.  Sherri went on to apologize to me saying that she didn’t want to talk to me because she was embarrassed.  To me, her ex-neighbor, she was more embarrassed because she let her home deteriorate and be foreclosed on.  To her good friends and family, she said she is embarrassed and ashamed for being cheated on, physically abused and for her temporarily checking out during her depression stage.

But there’s a silver lining.  As we wrapped up our rather lengthy discussion, she told me that she has found a great guy – 7 years younger – who treats her wonderfully and is an honest and hardworking man.  They’re renting a small house not too far from the neighborhood and are enjoying life together.  Her son, who lives with her, is doing better and decided to once again wrestle for his high school senior year.  Her daughter has also turned things around and has started taking classes at a local university. 

Sherri has been through a lot – and then some – but she seems to be doing much better.  I’m happy for her.  As for Brett, I haven’t seen him since all of this went down except for a brief instant when we passed each other driving on the road.  I’m betting his “sugar momma” will soon tire of supporting his butt and gives him the boot.  But he’s the type who will surely – and quickly – find another woman to take advantage of.

 

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    17 replies to "An Encounter with an ‘Embarrassed’ Ex-Neighbor"

    • TryingHard

      Oh boy. What a pleasant conversation for your Sunday grocery shopping trip. Kinda makes one want to have their groceries delivered!

      The sad stories just don’t end. My take away is how do people go through life changing partners like they change their underwear? I’ve never gotten it. As a young women I never understood how long term partners divorce after 25, 30 years. And then low and behold I get the opportunity to experience the same thing at the same age. I often wonder what truly would have happened to my husband had we divorced. Frankly I don’t think he would still be alive. He has said just that. I saved his life. Hhhmm maybe…

      How does one get on when someone is in their life for so long and then they aren’t ? Do you just one day decide you hate them that much? And once that split happens are you truly happier? Is their life better? I doubt it.

      Sherri may tell a story that she’s happy and I hope she is because it sounds like she was married to an entitled narcissist, but never the less she still has to deal with him. Divorce was the only option in her case if simply for her own safety. But I’m quite sure she still deals with the emotional fallout. But he however will go on and jump from woman to woman until one day he’s a sad, shriveled up old man all by himself. How do people get like that?

      • TheFirstWife

        They get like that because men or women will find a sorry excuse of a human who will believe all the crap they are fed. It is always the ex-W or ex-H’s fault. They were mean or horrible or no sex etc. and some idiot comes along and buys the crap they are selling.

        If you give it enough time in many cases you can figure out the lies. But you have to pay careful attention b/c the lies will not add up. But if you are looking at the married person you will only see what you want to see. Or what the cheater wants to show you.

        When my CH’s AP came after me my H was stunned. I did not dump her he did. but she blamed me for it. And when he saw the real her boy was he surprised. He had no idea she could be so nasty. Wake up !! Those rose colored glasses will come off at some point.

        Which is why so many affairs don’t last. It is a fantasy and not reality.

        • TryingHard

          LOL yes I get that TFW..But I’ve seen divorce in my own family and even divorced they still aren’t happy. HHHMMM maybe they buy their own pack of lies as well. It’s all so low life and tacky

      • Doug

        Ha! At 8AM on a Sunday no less. Great way to start the day! I”m constantly amazed how many of our neighbors or ex neighbors have had this sort of thing happen to them. You make some good points and I’m sure Sherri isn’t quite as happy as she’s letting on. It’s not that she wants Brett back or anything, she’s just sad about what happened and who he turned out to be.

        • TryingHard

          Doug
          Yikes 8am on a Sunday morning?!?! Ain’t nobody got the time or stomach for that!! LOL we are still getting coffee and watching the talking head on Sunday morning television at that time.

          It is amazing the sadness of what I’m finding out is most people’s lives. And like Sherri we all wonder WTF happened?? Or maybe we always knew, but refused to believe. Dunno.

          I’ve found I can hardly muster the emotional ability to care anymore. Cheating and the destruction of lives is seems common place. The media certainly glorifies it.

          I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to avoid the splatters of the muck and mud all around me!

        • Tryingtorecover

          Doug… I must say I was mildly disappointed in your response. While I can see where you’re coming from- you were able to rebuild your marriage- where Sherri wasn’t. I agree Sherri may be sad about the past – I believe most healthy humans reflect and consider hindsight and believe they had a perception of “control” over situations that are upsetting.

          However- to be a female – a survivor of the trauma of cheating, abuse, and all the emotional turmoil on our children – one can only rejoice upon reflection when rid of that emotional burden.

          My husband had an EA for almost 10 years, moved out, inflicted physical harm on me… Then wanted to move back in 6 months later…As much as I loved him, missed him, and believed I owned a portion of the responsibility of the break down of our union – I can easily say I live a better life now…alone with my children.

          A year and a half later and I have no partner to live or support me and I still feel a weight lifted. It’s insulting if one states women aren’t as happy as they present… I can speak for myself and possibly Sherri – were trying to be positive, pick up the pieces, see the beauty in our lives, and the cup is half full..

          Doug – one aspect of affairs is spouses see the marriage, their spouse- as half empty.. Not fitting the bill, not that good, having a Defect-
          rather than seeing the beauty, the positive…

          Frankly – this frame of thought in my mind… Only perpetuates affair thinking..

          Congrats Sherri for opening up about the shame of an affair at such a public scary place… I hid for months and didn’t go out!!

          Sorry everyone who thought it was awful on a Sunday… My thought… Have some empathy for this person!!! Stop perpetuating narcissism… It’s not just about us… How scared she must have felt .. Embarrassed… Alone.. Scared… Shame..How brave she was to share that experience.

          My Advice if you still don’t have compassion or empathy for Sherri- volunteer at a local women’s shelter.

          • TheFirstWife

            Very well put. I did not understand some of the reactions to Sherri. She clearly suffered tremendous loss and hurt and shame and betrayal including financial loss as well.

            I remember once my neighbor, who was widowed, telling me once her husband died all her married friends excluded her from the social events. Well that appears to happen to so many women who are victimized by affairs. They lose their life (as they knew it) and their friends and neighbors.

            I would never do that to anyone.

          • Doug

            Tryingtorecover, Maybe it’s because it’s early on a Saturday morning, but I’m going to assume you’re referring to my off-the-cuff response to TH. I certainly have compassion and empathy for Sherri and I’m sorry that my response may have indicated otherwise. I made light of a situation that deserves more serious attention. Point taken.

        • Rachel

          I go to the next town to do my shopping. Sick of the puppy eyes, “how are you”?
          Fortunately the ex’s affair got around town like wild fire.
          But, I am now the bad one because i wouldn’t take him back. And he looks miserable.

          • TheFirstWife

            Any woman who has been in your shoes would know you are not wrong for refusing to take your ex back.

            If that is how he wants to spin it let him. His past choices and future actions will show what he really is.

            BTW isn’t it interesting how for some guys, they always want what they can’t have. He had you and treated you badly. Now he wants you back after you put an end to the marriage.

            How sad for him. He cannot even own up to his actions.

    • Tabs

      I had the opposite happen to me. Someone, who I thought was a very good friend, saw my CH and the OW. This was before I knew about the PAs. Our kids went to the same school, so I thought it unusual that our conversation seemed to be focused on my marriage. It was almost always focused on the kids. She, in a very round about way, told me that she saw my CH eating lunch with the OW. After she realized I knew nothing, my “good friend” decided to cut ties with me. Now when I see her, I get the cold shoulder. I’ve actually seen her do a 180 just to avoid me. It truly hurts to see the toll my husband’s affairs had on my friends.

      • Doug

        Hey Tabs, So she cut ties with you because she was embarrassed or what? Affairs do indeed take a toll on friendships. I know that in my brother in law’s situation, he has lost many friends over his affair and subsequent divorce. But he doesn’t seem to care – at least outwardly.

      • TheFirstWife

        She was probably embarrassed and felt bad giving you the bad news. Some people would rather run than face the truth. How unfortunate. I always maintained I would rather lose a friend than know the H or W was cheating and not say anything. I would never want to be in a position where everyone knew about the affair except for the spouse

        I had a relative who married her high school sweetheart. He ended up cheating on her. It turned out all her neighbors knew, his co workers (police officers) and their wives – basically everyone but her. She was devastated! Her whole world turned upside down. He married one of his girlfriends after the divorce and had a baby. And then started cheating on that wife. What a shock (not really).

        So your “friend” who told you may have deep regrets and feel embarrassed and will avoid you like the plague. What a shame it has to end that way. But in times of trouble you find out who your real friends are.

    • Tryinghard

      Tabs
      I don’t get it. This chic tells you about seeing your husband with a woman eating lunch, which did she know he was having an affair with her ? She must have known something to make a point of telling you. So then you find out about the affair not from her right? Then she avoids you? That is so weird!!! Friends like her who needs enemies??

      But sometimes people don’t know what to say and they also sometimes feel insecure in their own relationship so they avoid us. Fuck em I say, who needs their phony asses

    • Tabs

      Doug,

      I don’t really know why “my friend” cut ties. At first I thought I did something to piss her off. Then, as I began to realize the scope of my CH’s affairs, I figured it was because she just didn’t want to get involved with a possible divorce. To this day, I am still clueless.

      It was her reaction that prevented me from telling anybody about my CH’s PAs. I did tell one friend. But she figured it out before I said anything. Her husband cheated, too. So she took my weight loss as a sign of problems.

      I inadvertently have cut myself off from many friends. I really have to get into social circles that don’t involve my CH. It’s a little difficult where I live – small island with a kind of small populations.

    • TryingHard

      Tryintorecover

      You’re right. Sherri was brave to tell her story. Why should she hide or you for that matter? You or Sherri did nothing wrong and bringing abuse to light whether it’s cheating or physical anise should not bring shame in the victim. And we are victims. Although I refuse to live in a victim mentality as I am sure you do too.

      Point well made. I would love to volunteer at a woman’s shelter. Great idea. Thanks for making me more aware. Very astute of you. Hugs to you. I hope you are doing well and it sounds like you are.

    • TryingHard

      Doug
      You didn’t deride her. I think you were quite compassionate listening to her story. I’m certain you were kind to her conversation at 8am in the grocery store.

      I didn’t think I did either. I am sensitive to her point.

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