A reader shares her story and words of advice after being betrayed by her husband and former friend – then divorced. Yet she still tries to choose joy.
By Linda & Doug
This article was originally posted recently as a comment to an older post. We felt compelled to bring this person’s story to a broader audience by sharing it as a post.
The reader’s husband had an affair with a friend, they divorced – and now the cheaters are engaged to be married.
We want to thank “jqp” for sharing her story!
Please read on…
Try to Choose Joy
I have recently become an ex-wife whose husband cheated, dated, and is now engaged to a former friend of mine (10 year friendship with my ‘friend’ – our kids are friends – 26 year marriage – 30 year relationship with this man who was once a very wonderful person).
I hope one day we can be friends again, but it’s not today.
I know people always want to paint ex-wives as vindictive and bitter, but if people knew how mind-numbing, devastating and difficult it is to process your spouse leaving you, they might understand the depth of betrayal and rage that accompany your thoughts at least in the early stages – especially when there is a betrayal.
For me it was two fold – I lost my husband and a good friend that I never thought would betray me – they both did and they felt entitled to do it.
There is a great book called “Crazy Time” if you need help in navigating how you feel in the early stages or anger, craziness, and rage. There is also another book to follow up that’s more calming called “From Heartbreak to Wholeness” that has helped me.
I never knew how painful divorce really was, and I grew up in a broken home, but it was happy – my parents got back together after 10 years (I know weird) and are still married – but they were never mean to one another – dated other people, etc.. They broke up for other reasons – no one cheated. I do think this makes a difference..
My marriage had it’s share of problems toward the end – but was happy for many years and I know my husband loved me – more than I probably loved him even – so I am thankful for that.
I don’t necessarily blame “my friend” for my husband wanting to leave, but I do blame her for us not being able to get some space and work it out, because she was already there. The lies and deception are ten fold and I will never know if we could have worked it out had she not been in the picture.
I realized many things after he left that I would not have known had he not gone so I have grown in the process, but it’s been a horrific period in my life. That said, she knew he was vulnerable and took advantage of a situation (of course she knew this because I was confiding in her).
I think a lot of people that are the “Other Woman or “Other Man” out there are trying to justify bad behavior by blaming the left spouse (men and women alike) – and while some of them are bitter and vindictive, there should be some empathy when it comes to “moving on.”
Even the criticism of the author [of the post] has to come into question like she’s a bitter bitch for lack of a nicer word, rather than maybe looking into the situation as it really is – wrong.
Just when I would start to feel better and stronger, I would get another knock down.
Please bear with me. Sorry this is long.
1. I found out that my husband was cheating on me in 2017 – I found out – he did not confess. I asked him again and again in love and kindness just to tell me who it was and what happened.
I most definitely was not innocent in our marital problems but I never cheated. He acted entitled and could barely give me an apology, and I was left to wonder if I was sitting next to this person at the hairdresser, etc.. Believe me not knowing was the worst and I had a very hard time moving on from it. We went to counseling but received some bad advice. I wish I could go back, but we can’t.
2. He left in the meanest way possible about a year later – took only the clothes off of his back – like he never lived in our beautiful home for 26 years. He knew my vulnerabilities so he left me reeling in trying to deal with the finances – which I never did – and he knew it as he was a finance guy.
He would not even explain things to me and would say in the meanest way “Well, just change the name- you need to deal with it” knowing the entire time I was devastated and paralyzed to an extent – but I NEVER stayed in bed, tried to run a business, took care of my kids, my home, my yard, pets, etc.. my responsibilities, and didn’t let anything fall by the wayside.
I was going to try to keep a brave face. I was so devastated that I didn’t tell anyone in my neighborhood until about 3-6 months later. Meanwhile he was announcing our separation to the world.
3. He was rude, mean, angry and unkind to me and I couldn’t understand why? He left and supposedly was ‘happy’ – he could not have been more spiteful and cruel in everything he did. He was SO angry. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t leave him.
4. Then I found out he was on dating sites less than a month after he left – which I now know was a smokescreen. I would go over to his house to drop off my daughter and find her dog there, but because we were mutual friends I didn’t think much of it. This sounds shallow but she is not attractive and overweight and not active (we did everything together – hiking, working out, biking, skiing, walking). So I never suspected, as she was not his type – plus she was still coming over to my house and going to the movies with me – but she was cold and distant. I should have been more diligent.
5. We did our separation agreement and mediation. While my settlement wasn’t bad, had I known it was her I would have held out and been the biggest bitch on the planet. But I didn’t.
He took advantage of my devastation and my false hope that we might work it out. I was a mess – he just sat there. The mediator who didn’t know either one of us commented to my attorney at the end that I seemed like a nice lady and he was a narcissist.
6. Then I found out it was her. He told everyone in town (all of our friends which I’m happy to say are now just my friends), that he was dating her and even told my 18 year old son – asking him to keep it a secret from me. Then he casually told me when I was driving to my therapist’s office (thank god). I almost threw up – especially due to his blase attitude – like he was just telling me there was a sale at the grocery store – no big deal. The ultimate betrayal from a spouse and a friend.
7. Then I found out they wanted to take the kids (hers too because of course my son is the same age as her sons – we met in 3rd grade) to Grand Cayman. Now keep in mind she is pretty wealthy and money was always super important to my spouse. He was always angry I didn’t make enough for him even though I had some high level jobs, but worked part time a lot in order to take care of the kids.
They flaunted their Grand Cayman vacation (probably about 15K) all over the internet – we weren’t even divorced at all. It was just cruel. I didn’t care about Grand Cayman but it was just everything so fast like they were trying to convince themselves if they posted stuff it would be legit.
8. This all keeps going on and so I’m finally coming to acceptance that they’re dating – hoping it won’t work out, but at the same time trying to let go and move on to whatever good things will come my way.
9. Just when I’ve wrapped my head around that, he calls me this summer while I’m on vacation (thanks a lot), to tell me they’re engaged. Once again they posted this and told my kids before me – so I’m in the dark again. I blocked them on all social media, but of course people hear and say things to me – they know this – otherwise they wouldn’t do it.
10. I get back from vacation with my kids feeling a little down, since I know they’re now engaged and I am going to have to deal with her inserting herself into my kids lives and into mine when I want to egg her house and push her down the stairs so she gets an injury and gets even fatter (shallow I know).
Then he tells me they are having a ‘party’ in October and he wants the kids to be available. I ask him politely if this is the wedding. He denies it and says it’s none of my business, and maybe not but I guess I felt that if it affects my kids, then it is my business.
He is a complete ass about it. My son tells me he got fitted for a ‘suit’ the following day (I just bought him a brand new suit). So once again the lies continue, and for no good reason other than to dig the knife in deeper.
Thinking Life Was Over
Soooo…that said, I was so angry, devastated, sad, mean, wanting to die at times, thinking life was over, no future, no hope, opening my eyes every morning to the reality of my life, crying like 4 hours a day in the beginning and wanting her to suffer in some say that would make her hurt as much as I did – not physically but emotionally.
I would teach classes and then cry in the bathroom, teach another class, cry in the bathroom, etc… I couldn’t even wear contacts for 6 months as they kept falling out of my eyes. When I went to join a new gym, they asked me what my goals were and I said not to cry when I was working out or doing yoga.
Everyone told me this wouldn’t last. But so far it has. However, now that they’re getting married the honeymoon stage is hopefully closer. I’m moving on and they can’t focus on my anger and being a ‘bitch’ and being ‘too sad’ about it. I think that’s a lot of what they had in common- being mean, trying to get a rise out of me, doing and saying hurtful things they knew would upset me.
So I’m going to sit back (as a friend of mine said), with a bag of popcorn like you’re in a movie theater, and just see how things play out. Once they no longer have you to hide from, lie to or focus on being mean to, they’ll have to deal with their own stuff.
I don’t see how any relationship built on betrayal (a double betrayal no less – the deepest cut of all), could work out – built on a house of straw filled with lies, hate, cheating, duplicitousness, and just plain cruelty. I am after all still human. They have completely annihilated me.
I am sad for him sometimes because the man I knew was a very good person, a wonderful husband for many years, and a good father. While he still takes care of his kids, he puts himself and her above all of his priorities now. He just does what he wants. Two extremely narcissistic and selfish people. I realize in some ways they deserve one another, but I don’t want to deal with her for the rest of my life, so I can only hope the bloom goes off that rose soon.
I Want to Choose Joy
I’m tired of the flaunting and the ‘other shoe’ dropping. I’m done but I’m not giving up on love and I refuse to be bitter. I want to choose joy. It totally sucks taking the high road and it’s so unfair, but once you get past the gate, the view is awesome.
Here’s to healing – trust me I have been so angry and devastated so I know your pain. It will get better. When people told me that I wanted to tell them to F-off…So I get it.
Go through your grief, allow yourself to be sad, realize that not every day will be a a good one, but your lows will get higher and your highs will get higher. It really does take time.
But in that time you can find yourself and your new life. I am not giving up on love – no matter what. I’m thankful for the years I had and I know my ex still loves me – it’s just buried in anger and bitterness and resentment.
That said, I don’t want us to get back together or anything, I just want him to live a life I can be proud of as an example for his kids, and this path is NOT IT.
Best of luck to everyone out there. Try to Choose Joy – no matter how much it might suck. You’re just hurting yourself. Trust me. I know.