I Cheated: And Now I'm Having To Live With The Consequences!
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By WisconsinLin, Guest Author - January 24, 2016

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I will admit it straight up – it was all my fault. I had a comfortable marriage, young children, and no good reason to complain. And then I cheated. I could try to justify my actions by saying that, out of the blue, I fell madly in love with another man (which is true), that I did not sleep with this other man until my husband knew about him (also true), and that there was something lacking in my marriage that left me unsatisfied (upon reflection, very true), but none of that justifies the lies, deceit, and ultimate betrayal I brought upon my (now ex-) husband. I did something very, very bad. I am embarrassed, ashamed, and often saddened by my own actions.

I could try to justify my actions by saying that, out of the blue, I fell madly in love with another man (which is true), that I did not sleep with this other man until my husband knew about him (also true), and that there was something lacking in my marriage that left me unsatisfied (upon reflection, very true), but none of that justifies the lies, deceit, and ultimate betrayal I brought upon my (now ex-) husband. I did something very, very bad. I am embarrassed, ashamed, and often saddened by my own actions.

Having gotten the above out in the open, the question is, what now? My husband and I are divorced. My affair-partner-turned-boyfriend is also now divorced (yes, he was married too, so I starred in the dual roles of cheater and homewrecker). Obviously, my former spouse and I didn't celebrate the Christmas season together as we have for more than a decade. Equally obvious, I wasn't exactly welcome at my boyfriend’s family festivities, as his extended family grapples with the end of his 20-year marriage. All of this I expected when I contemplated jumping off the cliff into this new life. What I didn’t expect was that I would no longer be accepted in my own family after divorce.

All of this I expected when I contemplated jumping off the cliff into this new life. What I didn’t expect was that I would no longer be accepted in my own family after divorce.

I do not come from a traditional or religious family. In fact, my siblings and I have often joked about how we put the “fun” is dysfunctional. Our parents – both of whom had serious personal problems and lacked parenting skills in the extreme – passed away long ago. Both of my siblings had children out of wedlock with partners who have since been kicked to the curb (thank the Lord above). Both have at times relied on me for financial support and help in raising their respective children solo. So, while I understood that my siblings would be upset and need time to adjust to my announcement that I was leaving my marriage some eight months ago, I took it for granted that they would, as we have always done, tuck and roll with the changes in life.

Both have, at times, relied on me for financial support and help in raising their respective children solo. So, while I understood that my siblings would be upset and need time to adjust to my announcement that I was leaving my marriage some eight months ago, I took it for granted that they would, as we have always done, tuck and roll with the changes in life.

What I didn’t fully grasp is that, even though I am the youngest, I was viewed as the pillar of the family. With an advanced degree, financial stability, home ownership, and a long-term marriage, my siblings saw me as having broken out of the mold. Perhaps they held me up as some sort of paragon – some proof that life can turn out OK and we are not destined for drama and chaos. And now here I am, with my arms full of drama and chaos, and they simply cannot (or will not) help me carry that load.

My siblings have remained close to my ex-husband. This is something I encouraged, but it came to a head pretty early on when he and his new girlfriend (and her children) were invited to the family 4th of July gathering while I was expressly told not to come. 

I spent the holiday alone because it was my ex’s weekend with the kids, and my new partner celebrated the holiday with his family – who did not exile him as mine did me. Partly because of that experience, I pressed my siblings to move forward and accept my new life so we could resume normal, our normal anyway, functioning. My oldest sister refused. She will not meet my new partner, is waiting for us to break up, and until that time has decided to “pass” on being my sister.

Thankfully, my children have not been exposed to the negativity that is in the air. They visit my oldest sister when my ex takes them there. He was with them for a Christmas gathering that I, once again, was not invited to. I try to accept this. I knew there would be fallout for my actions. I knew I would face judgment and scorn. I just didn’t realize it would be friendly fire.

I took out my divorce paperwork today. I carefully reviewed the division of assets and assignment of property but couldn’t find any language on point. Even though the divorce decree doesn’t say it, there is no question that my husband got my family after divorce. If I had known that I guess I would’ve asked for the good china.

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