We interrupt the tale of The Dudes, A Ginger and Plumas-Eureka (a phrase with many meanings) to bring you this email from a kitten.
After reading it this morning, and failing at keeping the tears inside as I sat in a public place, I felt compelled to post it. For two reasons:
(1) It highlights the destructive nature of adultery. Divorces are painful and do occur without warning; betrayal inflames, enrages an already terrible, precarious and dire situation. The fact that infidelity is condoned as totally acceptable in divorce, and NO FAULT wipes away any need for accountability for breaking a contract, civil and moral, does not sit well with me. I can be centered and pissed at the same time. I’m pissed about the lack of repercussions for adultery.
(2) While The Genius’ affair was going on when the little dude was an infant, I was not privy to his decision to throw away our marriage and embark on his affair with the Happy Dance Chick. I am certain there are those of you who can comment directly, and with experience, to T’s questions posed at the end of her email. As I stepped inside her I was overwhelmed by the pain of handing over a baby to a person who betrayed me, a person possibly unequipped to deal with an infant. Then to learn that 50/50 custody is being mandated by No Fault states without any counseling requirements or even one lousy required assessment by the court makes me shudder.
I’m posting this now in the hopes that you will offer your guidance. I will post mine as a comment this evening and will reply to some of yours. I hope that our words can help T and all those who struggle to come to terms with the pain of losing precious time with our children as we cope with divorce complicated by infidelity, a betrayal that destroys relationships, breaks hearts and leaves deep scars.
Thank you for taking time to reply to T’s words.
I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago as I was googling divorce & infidelity. I have a 13 month old son, and (back in February) discovered that my husband starting having an affair with his young assistant at work 13 months ago. Yep– he took 2 weeks paternity leave after our son was born, and started having an affair as soon as he went back to work, when our son was 2 weeks old. While I was making my way through middle of the night feedings and non-stop-baby-duty, my husband was “working late” or “traveling”… aka having his affair.
I wanted to thank you for your blog. I am not quite all the way through it yet, as I am reading it whenever I feel I am emotionally ready. I am also taking the time to read every single comment and all of your responses– there are some true gems of wisdom in the comments! But the rawness of your words has struck a chord with me. I find myself with tears streaming down my face, simultaneously nodding my head in agreement with your words. Your blog has made me realize– unfortunately– that I am not alone. So many women (and men) have been dealt the low blow of infidelity. It’s a sad reality, but, like you, I am taking this opportunity to find my way back to who I am supposed to be and to create the life I am meant to live.
I have a wonderful therapist who has helped me recognize his narcissistic ways process his lies and deceit. I feel very similarly about my husband to the way you feel about yours (ex?)– the love died the moment I found out about the affair. I am traipsing through the muddy waters of the start of a divorce right now. My husband and I went to a month of couples therapy immediately after I confronted him about the affair (oh, and my Gen is similar to yours in that he told me the “truth” first– he was having an affair but it was just kissing at work, etc– and then a few weeks later told me the “whole truth” in that they had sex, he stayed at her apartment, etc etc.). If I am truly honest, the moment I heard about the affair, I was done.
Yet I had to try to “pretend” for a bit, as I was not ready to be away from my infant son at the time, and my husband had specifically said he was going to want 50/50 custody. My husband left about 5 months ago– saying he needed a week to really think things through and work on himself. That week turned into 10 days, which turned into two weeks, which has since turned into 5 months. Although I don’t mind– a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders the day he left. The anger he directed at me was instantly removed from my life. I was able to focus on my son instead of trying to deflect my husband’s anger, guilt, etc.
I just filed for divorce last week. I told my SOON-TO-BE-EX!!! husband that I was doing this, yet I haven’t told him that the papers ARE filed. (I’m not having him served because I don’t have a home address for him– I have to tell him the papers are filed and ask for his lawyer so I can send the information to his lawyer.) Simply because I am scared.
In the last 5 months, my husband has come to the house every day to pick our son up and take him to daycare. And he has taken our son on the occasional weekend day. But he has not yet taken our son overnight. I live in a no-fault state and they are passing a bill to allow fathers 50/50 custody unless you can prove harm/endangerment. So I have not told my husband I have filed, simply because I am scared that the moment I do, he will state his right to 50/50 custody and I am not ready to be away from my son 50% of the time.
There are so many things that sadden me & anger me– the fact that my husband “cheated on” our son at the same time that he cheated on me. The fact that my husband spent the first 8 months of our son’s life avoiding being at home so he could be off with his mistress- meaning he missed so many precious moments with our son.
And he spent the last 5 months pretending to find himself while he has really been out hanging with friends and partying, but not parenting. He has never cooked for our child. He has not grocery shopped for our child. He spends one day during the week with him 9-5, so he changes a few diapers and gets him a nap, but that is the extent of his responsibility. He has no parenting “instinct”– although he means well, he knows nothing about raising children and it was fully acknowledged in our relationship that I would be the one leading the way to raise our child. It worries me that our son is going to spend 50% of his time with this liar. With this selfish man.
My husband is a true narcissist and he is doing nothing to change this. So although he will say he wants what is best for our son, I truly believe that he will put himself first. And it makes me SO ANGRY that this man, who has not stepped up in the last 13 months, will automatically get 50% custody of our child, just because he says he wants it (which I believe he says simply to hurt me). It makes me so angry that he decided to have this affair with out the slightest regard for my life or our son’s life. He has changed the course of our lives, and he did not stop for a moment to ponder the consequences of his actions.
I know I have written a novel here. I wanted to write to thank you. To tell you that your words have meant so much to me. They have helped me really step back and think about things– to think about the life I want to create for myself. To think about how I want to “react” to this affair. To think about how I do not want to let it make me bitter. Instead, I want good to come out of it. And I know it will. My son and I will be much happier in the long run than we would have been if we had stayed.
HOWEVER… I also have a question. How do you deal with being away from your children when your ex has custody? HOW do you deal with your children being with HDC? How do you get through those nights? Although I have not spent one night away from my son yet (simply because I don’t want to push my husband to take him overnight– and I can’t as my parents to watch him without first asking my husband.), I feel that I can easily handle one night. Or a weekend. The true burden, for my heart, is thinking about being away from my son for 50% of his life. I work full time, so my time with my son is already very limited. And having to give HALF of that up to this PERSON who did this to us is so very disheartening.
My heart breaks just thinking about it. I have been able to process the affair. I have been able to almost get to a point of forgiveness for the affair. (I haven’t quite forgiven, but I am almost there!) But I am STUCK on the outcome of the affair. I cannot begin to fathom forgiving this man for taking my son away from me. For banishing us to a lifetime of meetings in a gas station parking lot to hand off the most beloved little soul, as if he were a sack of groceries or a stack of library books. I cannot get over this second level of hurt that my husband has caused. The affair was the first level of hurt and pain. But being away from my son for so much of his life is far, far, far worse.
Any words of advice? Any ways you cope????
It may get easier with age, when my son will be able to tell his father what he wants, how he wants it, why he wants it, etc etc. I know my son will get over this mommy stage, and it will turn into a “I would love to go to football games and basketball games with daddy” stage. But it just hurts. my. heart. Any advice for a grieving mom??
Thanks so much Cleo.
Please keep writing. You are helping heal the hearts of so many. You have been an inspiration– inspiring me to find the good in all of this. Inspiring me to find my true self, and to live the life I want to. I will be forever grateful!