My beautiful, fabulous, opinionated 87 year-old Mom has arrived in Marin to be with her baby. This is a big deal. She usually only comes west every August to see her sister in Los Angeles. She stays for a month and reconnects with her LA roots, a place she used to call home when it was still fields and farms. And then she jets back home to her nest, rested and relaxed. But she couldn’t wait for August this year. She needs to make sure I’m okay. She wants to be here to support me. To make me feel special and loved. And she wants to make sure I am taking care of myself, I imagine. I am still her ‘baby’ after all. And now I am her divorcing baby.
She never thought that was going to happen.
I picked her up at the airport on Thursday night, along with my oldest brother (Have I mentioned I am the last of eight children?) and we immediately hit up Joe’s Taco Lounge in Mill Valley. I could eat at Joe’s every night. It’s tiny, quirky, the food rocks and they have Jesus and Mary statues everywhere, which really pleases my Mom. (By now you have picked up on the whole Catholic – big family thing, right?) The hot sauces please me and my brother. No offense meant to the religious artifacts, it’s just that I have recently fallen in love with hot sauce. Dr. E. turned me on to it back in the fall, when my world was falling apart, and he came to watch the sun set and the moon rise with me. I haven’t stopped experimenting since. That’s what you do with hot sauce. You experiment. (I’m experimenting with a lot these days, but that’s for a future post.)
We had a curfew of 9 PM because The Genius needed to depart on a 7 week trip the next day. Typically, I get to stay out till 10. Unless, of course, I don’t get my home work done on time or I fail to clean my room. Then I’m grounded. We rushed home in the pouring rain to meet our deadline, but not to meet The Genius, who was spending his final hours with the boys.
See, my Mom hopes to never see him again. Unfortunately I couldn’t swing that. The best I could do was open the garage door and have him walk right in front of my car, right past my Mom and right on out of our lives for the next several weeks. It killed him. But, so what, he almost killed her.
When I called her to tell her of The Genius’ double life she was blown away like a grain of sand in a hurricane. She was altered. On so many levels. She felt betrayed. She was heartbroken. She was angry. She was all the things I was trying to tamp down so I didn’t vaporize. And then she got shingles. The worst case her doctor had ever seen. Honestly, one could argue that she was more upended than I was by The Genius’ affair. The shingles flattened her for two months. We’d never seen her in so much pain.
The fact that his double life (and being very concerned about my health and well-being) had made her so ill, caused her such physical and emotional pain, made me want to rip his face off. But not before I took a nail gun and affixed actual shingles to it. Just to make a point. And so I didn’t have to look at him. And because I could rip his face off one shingle at a time.
The Genius was not comfortable with how I arranged the whole ‘hand off’ experience. He wanted face time with my Mom, and he’s wanted it for a while. He probably wants to apologize to her for hurting her. And for hurting me. He wants to shed some ‘tears’, have her hug him, prey on her Christian values of forgiveness. She’s Catholic, yes. But she’s no Saint. She’ll put off forgiving him like she’s put off mammograms. “At this stage, honey, breast cancer isn’t what’s going to do me in. Why bother?”
Not forgiving The Genius isn’t going to take away her VIP access to the Pearly Gates.
As her arrival approached, I let The Genius know that she didn’t want to see him. She hasn’t changed her mind. She doesn’t want to talk to him either. She has nothing to say. It unnerved him. His mouth got small and tight. His stared at the floor of the kitchen with eyes that screamed, “I cannot have someone think badly of me.”
“She is only just recovering from her shingles and she will have had a long flight. It’s not the time to talk to her.”
I could have added, And that’s just me giving you excuses because she hopes to never have to talk to you. I don’t blame her. She’s 87 and she doesn’t need this crap at this stage in her life. To know that she will eventually leave the Blue Marble and her daughter will be flying solo, well that’s not how she anticipated exiting. Dirt bag.
Oh, and in case you conveniently forgot, adultery is a mortal sin in her world. Not something that you get a free pass on because you just couldn’t help yourself. Worse than that, you hurt her baby. She just feels it’s best to ride out her days without committing a mortal sin of her own: murder.
So stay away.
My Mom isn’t going to give you a hug and say, Son, I’m not happy with what you did, but I’ll always love you. Yea, no. Not happening. She’s not going to scold you and then tell you she’s there for you. She’s not going to enable you to continue to believe you were completely justified in cheating on me and your family for four years because I created a void in you. She’s not going to call you her sunshine.
You don’t want to hear what she would say to you. And you probably wouldn’t listen. But above all, you wouldn’t understand her, because she would talk to you like a mother, and make you accountable for your actions. That’s something that would be foreign to you.
Have a nice trip.
So, for the next three weeks I will take in all the wisdom and guidance and love my Mom has to offer me. I’m sure there will lots of ‘DOs’ and ‘DON’Ts’ to come my way also.
Like how I should absolutely not date until one year after the divorce is finalized. Not one year from the Pocket Call, not one year from our separation. One year from the date upon which the divorce is finalized. And that I shouldn’t have sex until I’m remarried.
This is going to get interesting…
Friday night posting is going to be fun. Fridays are fun. Posting is fun. Doesn’t take a Genius to figure out that the best way to post on a Friday is with a large dose of fun. And pondering the things that drive me crazy is actually fun for me.
You are wildly fortunate to have a mother who has your back. My mother teamed up with my ex-husband and is not someone who would ever support me in any way.
Have a wonderful visit with your wonderful mother.
My mother is your mother. Meaning, you can share my Mom. She is amazing. Endless capacity for love, unless you’re The Genius.
I support you, K. Want to know another little nugget of my life philosophy? Do you know how people often say, We don’t pick our parents? I think we do. I think we pick our parents for very specific reasons. Roll with that idea for an afternoon and see what you come up with. But know that I can handle a third ‘child’.
If I did pick my parents, I must have been high at the time. My mom has suffered from depression and mental illness all her life, fueled by alcohol. She drinks until she falls down, wakes up and drinks some more. Going on 30 years now.
I thought about what you said and what she, if anything, has brought to the table. And it’s this: she taught me how NOT to parent. From the age of 9 (when my parents divorced) until the age of 16 (when I could stomach her no more and went off to live with her parents), that woman put me through things that no one, particularly not a child/teenager should ever have to deal with. I live my life in spite of her.
I also learned, from a very young age, the importance of money (we never had any) and the importance of being self sufficient (because I could never count on her for anything).
I am thinking, though, that I have a bit of masochism running through my veins if I ‘chose’ this woman. Brutal.
Maybe you were high. High up where your soul exists, fully conscious of the fact that our time here is so fleeting, and desiring a journey that truly stretches the entire being. To experience something rich with opportunity to grow and to affect others. It’s a theory I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about. Of course, I won’t know for certain if I am right till I reconvene with my soul to review my report card, but it seems to resonate with me. Yet, when I read your words I can see how my theory can be very hard to swallow.
“I am thinking, though, that I have a bit of masochism running through my veins if I ‘chose’ this woman.” It can sure feel that way, no? But what if the soul does not judge anyone as good or bad, or their actions? What if the soul sees the actions of those who hurt us here on the Blue Marble as exactly what we designed so we could realize our goals?
Heady stuff, for sure. And I have not a clue of I am right. It’s just a theory I ponder a great deal. Thanks for listening.
The fact that the Genius conceives that your mom might want to talk with him, have some kind of relationship with him tells you just how far out in left field this guy is playing in. I hate baseball metaphors and only use them when I am really pissed off. Now I am pissed off at the Genius because he made me drag out the dumb ass baseball metaphors.
That this is his natural path of logic that he could even think your mom would think well of him after he cheated on her daughter and grandsons goes to tell you that this man’s thought processes are completely f-cked up.
Seriously, his ego is what makes him do this. His need to believe that he didn’t do something terrible, that’s why he doesn’t want you writing about it and why he can’t have your mom thinking bad of him. He is self protecting in a way, still building a house of cards to keep himself from facing the total shit thing he did. And guess what, this is a man not capable of growth, of learning from the past. This is a man destined to repeat his patterns. There will be an even happier happy dance chick down the road.
This was not the man for you Cleo. You are an enlightened, intelligent, funny, beautiful soul. You need to be with someone who is not a total dumb ass.
I am glad your mom is there and I hope you enjoy your time together.
“I hate baseball metaphors and only use them when I am really pissed off.” I’m reminded of something Cartman would say but can’t say it here. My mom reads this…
“This was not the man for you Cleo. You are an enlightened, intelligent, funny, beautiful soul. You need to be with someone who is not a total dumb ass.” Yes, but don’t you think he was the man for me for the time he was the man for me? I would not be where I am today without him. But I am SO thrilled to be free now. As usual, the timing was perfect. I don’t even want to throw away the heartache, the crazy crying, the anger…none of it. It’s rewiring me, D. I can feel it in my core.
I am feeling so light today…
I think you are right. The Genius was the man for you – at the time. Maybe his role in your life was to give you two beautiful kids and push you towards fulfilling your destiny as a writer. We don’t pick our teachers or the lessons they teach us. But we do get to choose if we learn the lessons and pass the tests.
How wonderful it would be if the man you have kids with is the one who’s also the right partner for you – for life. But, in your case (and mine too) that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Perhaps through the painful experience The Genius has forced on you is meant to “rewire” you as you say. When the time comes, you’ll be all set for the man that is worthy of your talents, depth and spirituality. Sky’s the limit.
Thank you so much for these words. They have lifted my spirit on a cloudy, quiet day in Marin. Feeling introspective, tender, and tired. But when I read “the sky’s the limit”, I get all excited inside. You’re priceless.
Is he stupid? I’m honestly trying to figure this out . . .it is flat out bizarre that he would need your mom’s approval? blessing? about how he caused the demise of your family. Why would he even think he is allowed to get “face time” with her? Why is that even on his checklist? What the eff is wrong with him? I would never have the audacity to think that I could snuggle up for a cumbaya with my man’s mom after I cheated on him/ruined his marriage/family. Granted, you all were together for 16 years. Longevity of your marriage and consequently his interaction and relationship with your Mom/family is the only reason I can think that he would “owe” it to her. At least in his mind. But, after what he did, how can he even want to show his face? How can he even think he could possibly “explain” what and why he did and after said explanation, your Mom would say, “Ohhhhhhh, okay. Well, alright then.”
Cleo, you have such restraint, control, class. I would be selling tickets to watch my man go up against my mom after he pulled some horseshit like that. And I don’t even know if he’d make it to the meeting because I’d be so damn mad that he’d even have the audacity to want to get “face time” with my side after what he did – like he could offer some explanation that would have it all make sense . . . that by the end of him groveling with an oh so sincere expression, my dad would clap him on the back and say, “well alright, son.”
I have to believe that he literally cannot understand how assanine his need to talk to your family is because he’s one of those people that was always told it was alright as long as he tried, he should deserve to win. That if he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, that it’s not his fault and they should rise above their own pain and understand that while you are hurting, he didn’t mean to so it’s really not his fault. I’m just as much a victim of all this as you are (even more!) and I only want to be happy, is that so wrong?
He certainly didn’t need anyone’s approval while he was doing this – he did it on the downlow, so he knew it was wrong. But, in his mind I guess he was actually the embattled hero for holding it all together? Poor widdow hewo got tiyud wif da facade and just couldn’t do it anymo? Awwww.
A civilized interaction would at least be salvagable if he’d came to you and told you and owned what he was doing. If he was a Man and made a choice. He’s just a sad sack wanting to be carried around.
Damnit. Now I’m mad.
You’re mad and I am rolling on the floor laughing at your comment. I can just HEAR you saying all that, without breathing but once or twice. I adore you.
“That if he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, that it’s not his fault and they should rise above their own pain…” You likely hit the nail on the head. He was never parented. He’s the golden boy who can do no wrong. And if he did do wrong it’s because he had no choice. Why do I feel this way? Well, when your Mom friends your mistress what else am I supposed to think?
I am so grateful my Mom has class. I have many gifts to be thankful for and one is that we moved to Marin. I am an entire country away from that madness. Oh, and I’m tres grateful for you. Thank you.
Yes, he was the man for you at the time and listen, he gave you two beautiful kids and thankfully he is a good father. He did this shitty thing but think of it this way, if this shitty thing wouldn’t have happened you may not have recognized and taken advantage of what a fantastic opportunity this is for you to grow, explore, develop and find what is EXACTLY right for you. So there are gifts there for sure. This is what happens when I am forced to use the baseball metaphors, I go from lemonade maker to vinegar shooter in 4 seconds flat!
Maybe I need to start watching South Park? You reference it a lot.
And one gift you have for sure is your mom and it is so wonderful that you have a man that has your back. I had my troubles with my mom, we definitely had our ups and downs but I was grateful that I was able to embrace the art of forgiveness and that during the last years of her life we really shared something special. Forever grateful for that, and forever happy when I hear that other women have great mom’s. I am trying to be a great mom to my daughter and have her back no matter what.
Hi Cleo’s mom!
South Park is delicious. So very wrong, yet so right. And it makes me laugh like a school girl.
I’m warmed to know that you and your Mom were able to share beauty on the Blue Marble for her final years here. We should all be so fortunate to be surrounded by love and support as we make our way onward.
My Mom, who is tuckered out and sleeping, sends her love. She is so grateful that I have all of you to support me through this time, and to remind me that I am one very blessed woman. I have many challenges ahead, but I am so very happy. Deep, deep happiness.
Thank you, love you, owe you.
a mom that has your back (PTS Baseball metaphor.)
You should hire Andre out – I bet there are a lot of people that would want him as backup. You are a reflection of your Mom. How lovely is that? She is clearly so very proud of you. As am I.
I hope the move is smooth and the new home provides you with a safe haven from which to soar.
Cleo, I love you even more now that you have idolized your mom in such eloquent language!! Obviously, she adores you, too. Otherwise you would not be introducing her into your blog, just in case she would decide to email you her thoughts.
Keep up your good work Ms. C. Those of us who are just getting acquainted with you are loving you, too.
Thank you, love you, owe you. It’s a regular love-in here at Casa Cleo. I’m so grateful to have her with me at this time.
Does the Genius have a pathologically need to be liked? For people’s approval so that other people’s perspective do not come into equation for him? I suppose this is not surprising.
God, bless mothers. Especially Catholic mothers. I grew up with one, and a grandmother who were the voices in my head–for better or for worse, I know they have (had–my grandmother passed away a few years ago) my back.
Is it pathological? I’m not sure about that. I think it’s a self-esteem issue. I have such a hard time reading him…it’s just a guess.
Moms who have convictions, morals, and the confidence to stick with them are rockin’. Love those ladies.
Girl. I am right there with you when it comes to giant Catholic families. Mine is very similar. In fact, our upbringings and certain viewpoints are so similar, it’s unnerving.
Your blog has helped me to continue thinking about things in a certain way – I recently went through a traumatic break-up in which my trust was violated in a massively heartbreaking way. However, I have never blamed that on anyone, because I like who I am today, and without all that happening maybe I wouldn’t be me, right now, happy for the most part, and the Butterfly Effect et al. So thank you for being a dependably life-helping mood-saver. Seriously. Know that your updates are wildly anticipated AND shared AND loved.
Sending good vibes for the next few weeks your way – I know the awesomeness of having Mom there for/with you. I also know that I, along with my siblings and many other Catholics I know, suffer from BCG (***Big Catholic Guilt…for example, “We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed” is an important phrase in making sure BCG is instilled in a young’n), so if sharing your viewpoints with others, even your Mom, turns into anything other than a healing, nurturing thing (which I doubt, your family sounds awesome), rest assured your thoughts are really helping. Enjoy the weekend <3
Thank you so much for your beautiful words of support and guidance. Good vibes taken and cloned. I am so grateful for the support. It helps me to power through the day when sleep has been short and fitful and interactions with The Genius straining.
“So thank you for being a dependably life-helping mood-saver. Seriously. Know that your updates are wildly anticipated AND shared AND loved.” I couldn’t do this without you. Seriously.
My family is amazing. Just as amazing as the family being created here at HGM. Truly magical. The most glorious sunset followed by a full moon rise kind of magical.
Thank you, love you, owe you.
Bravo to your Mom. You are right that anger is not good for the being. I firmly believe it leads to dis-ease of all kinds.
How sad that your former spouse is seeking to heal something yet is only hurting himself more by his behavior. I am glad to now you are living your truth, and that you don’t burden your soul by thinking it had something to do with you.
Thank you for taking the time to share your words with all of us.
friend n sf says
It’s been nice reading your blog. Divorce can be cheap, and easy enough if you agree on terms. Avoid litigation if you can.
I have three words I use to get through tough times. Back up. Simplify.
Please don’t take your mom’s anger too seriously. Don’t foster it by being the go-between, because that’s a kind of protective covering that perhaps you just don’t need right now. It’s her issue. I’m glad she supports you, but you have enough to deal with without orchestrating who sees who et cetera.
Limantour beach is the bomb, but Tennessee is closer. I recommend it for tomorrow. Take a walk with your mom down there if she can go that far at 87. Maybe even go see the cherry blossoms during Sunday Streets in Golden Gate park. Let petals fall on you.
“Let petals fall on you.” Such a simple sentence that carries such beauty. We went to Drakes Beach and climbed the Cliffs of Insanity. Not my Mom, mind you, me and the boys. It was a beautiful day and we may have found a fossilized whale bone! Capped it off with 50 BBQ oysters and copious amounts of vino. A great time had by all.
We will not litigate. It will be simple. It will all work out. These are the mantras I repeat over and over. It’s up to me to create how this plays out and I plan to create beauty, even in the darkest times. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for reading HGM. Your support means the world to me.
Cleo knows me well and I am sure, will forgive this passing of the torch moment.
My mom arrives in three weeks for the second time in a year to support me through the final part of my transition…that is moving out of the marital home into my own home.
Twice she has flown across the world, without any hesitation. I see in you the grace and love my mother has shown and continues to give me. Cleo’s path and mine are frighteningly similar so finding her blog was no accident. You’re a part of my family.
Our mothers are incredible women who have shown us each in our own way that we are brilliant, loving generous human beings who trusted too much. That’s ok, life can do that. What I have learnt from this tragedy to date is this….look around Cleo…look at these amazing incredible friends and family that love us.
We are worthy of this love! That has blown me away. I have come to realise the full extent of my friends and family and their support and what it means. It means people like ‘the Genius’ are not the one’s who matter…I am a beautiful happy woman because I am loved by the most amazing people. I am not scared or lonely anymore.
Cleo, you are going to climb that mountain one day, and I will be there to ra ra you from base camp (sorry honey that’s as far as I go) Cleo’s mom, I hope one day to bore you with physics talk. For now though please know that my Mom and I consider you family and our love and support to you all.
I have no words. You are beautiful. This is for my Mom so I will let her enjoy it without my interruption. Except to say that I’m going to hold you to that base camp trip.
Thank you for your love and support. It means the world to me.
ana cardoso says
I laughed at this blog a little…only so I wouldn’t cry! I hope it doesn’t get as interesting for you as it was for me. When I first started dating after my marriage fell apart my very Catholic dad said ‘in Gods eyes you are still a married woman’! Wasn’t a lot of fun…and I think that my parents often feel that I should have just sucked up the multiple affairs and just shut up and put up! Your mom sounds wonderful!
Thanks again Cleo!
It felt so good to write that post. And I’m very grateful to have such an amazing Mom who, while very strict in her convictions, allows her intuition to guide her.
I stopped feeling married the night of the Pocket Call. Too bad I was late to the party. Unbeknownst to me I stopped being married four years ago.
“I think that my parents often feel that I should have just sucked up the multiple affairs and just shut up and put up!” Yea, cuz that makes sense. Honey, don’t date. You’re still married. But he can date. And you should have to deal with that.
That rationale makes my head hurt. Ugghh!! I’m so glad you have a better sense of right and wrong.
i am so sorry to hear what your mom has gone thru, that is so painful, wished i could have helped. i’m glad her great strength has pulled her thru so she can share her love and wisdom with you. great post, and i can’t say anything more than what dana said above, he is beyond ridiculous and truly believes the fantasy bubble that he keeps himself in. dana hit on a point of there will be happy dance chicks in the future, i’m sure there already are, on in each road trip for sure. god bless your mom cleo, send her my love and please tell her to give you a long hard hug from me to you thru her.
Thank you, love you, owe you. She is a true champion. Such an enormous capacity to love.
Benny June says
I was, sort of, on the other side of the cheating fence. I cheated on my ex-husband who was/is gay. When I married him, of course, I didn’t know this. We rarely had sex. He told me it was because I was too fat. And back then, men married and tried to hide being gay.
And so I tried to ease my pain by reaching out to other men, many men, I am sad to admit. Instead of leaving when I realized we were not compatible, I tried to rationalize my actions by blaming him. Now, I regret my choices.
We eventually divorced, but remain close friends. I feel lucky to still have my ex in my life all these years later.
But, when my mom, who was a strict, fundamentalist Christian, found out about my ex-husband being gay and that we were divorcing (a HUGE no-no for Christians) she said, “Well, he was never honest with you to begin with.” She stuck by me even though her religious beliefs differed from mine.
So glad you have a mom who has your back.
I am sure someday The Genius will regret his actions, as I do mine. We all live and learn from our mistakes. It’s not so important what happens to us, but how we handle what life throws our way and how we grow from those experiences.
All the best,
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Tis a journey rich with opportunity for growth, compassion and love. I really respect you for remaining close friends with your former spouse. And I appreciate your words of guidance. So glad to have you here at HGM.
I’m so confused. He has this big humongous urge to want to say sorry to your mom but doesn’t have the same urge to say sorry to you? He wants her forgiveness but not yours? There are so many words that describe the Genius at the moment but I’ll just keep them to myself.
Your mom is awesome! She reminds me of my mom (a Catholic mama bear who would rip you to pieces if you every harm her cubs and will give you a lecture as well). I hope she feels better soon!
He already said he was sorry to me so now he’s moving on to try and repaint the image that my family has of him. Somebody should tell him it’s not going to work. I have to find a way to forgive him for the sake of my children. (I have no freaking clue how I’m going to pull that off.) But my family doesn’t. Can’t? Oh, they are just so disgusted. We will flow through this together.
God bless your mother. I will happily relay any messages she has for him to him. Of course, I get to throw in my two cents. Enjoy your visit.
You are so sweet. And spicy! Thank you.
Hot sauce? Then you must go with El Yukateco. The green bottle. I just upgraded to this from Tapatio.
I am all over the El Yukateco. If its an upgrade from Tapatio, I’m in! I wonder if woman can live on tacos alone. I’m doing my best to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!
Robin Bendig says
Cleo, Thank you, for being brave enough to share your story. Reading your posts and the comments, has given me an inexplicable sense of not going through this nightmare alone. “The-Genius”, is an idiot and, I will probably be dating him. Oh, wait, “The-Genius” is not a fixer upper and I am not the “Bob Villa” of relationships !
“I am not the “Bob Villa” of relationships!” This, m’lady, is my new mantra. I cannot express how necessary it is for me to embrace this notion fully when/if the time comes for me to feel safe enough to explore emotionally intimate encounters again. You are not alone. We are in it together. Thou shall not date The Genius. This is a Genius Free Date Zone. Thank you, love you, owe you.
“I cannot have someone think badly of me.”
Maybe this is something he should have considered before he put his wayward penis in a stranger?
Just a thought.
More importantly, I am not entirely sure your ex-hubby isn’t a sociopath; incapable of empathy, remorse or guilt. Stubbornly self centered. Incredibly stupid. That last part was my own.
You, my dear, are handling this with more grace and loveliness than I could ever manage. EVER. I don’t even know you and I am sitting here cursing him in two languages and verbally ripping him to shreds. I can’t wait to see all that grace and loveliness come back to you in even greater measure.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope for the sake of the boys that he is simply frozen at age 14 and will work on getting himself on solid moral footing. But, I can’t rely upon that so I shall focus on me so that I can be a solid role model for the boys. Your support is helping me do that! I won’t let you down…
I have read all your posts and I’m truly sorry for what you and your family are going through. I do not want to pass judgment on anyone or any part of your situation, but I think your path to self-discovery should start focusing on getting rid of your anger. It is unhealthy for you, for your children, and apparently for your mother. See, you take aim at your ex for shifting the blame for his affair onto you, but you want to blame him for everything that has happened since. It seems to me your mothers illness was a response to her distress for you, not hatred of your ex. I am very close with my mother, but I try to spare her the pain of seeing me in pain, because seeing your child suffer is absolute torture. So stop making this a battle. Learn to forgive. As much as it may disgust you, you should learn to feel love for your ex again, because you are connected to him forever through your children. Any hatred you have for him will run like a current through them. Divorce is most damaging to kids when there is contempt between their parents (same goes for parents–like mine–who stay married in spite of the contempt). I hope that one day you will move on from the resentment of how all this affected YOU and start to rebuild your family. I don’t mean not following through with the divorce, but reopening lines of communication and being able to spend time together with your children.
Your marriage ended for a fairly common reason, adultery. And I think you are avoiding the true pain of that betrayal. He didn’t stray because he’s a walking hard on, as you have insinuated in older posts. If that were the case, there would be many different women. He was drawn to one someone else, and had a long affair. And maybe that hurts a little more. Because maybe he is not just a terrible, manipulative cheater. Maybe there was just something in that other person that made him feel special and happy and loved. Maybe this is hard for him too, and maybe he doesn’t deserve to be treated like he no longer has a soul because of it. You’re not the better person just because he cheated. You’re only the better person if you forgive him. It’s also the only way to be free.
Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Not all of it felt good to read, but it is worth pondering.
What hurts is the deceit. What hurts is the fact that he didn’t respect our relationship enough to put an end to it before betraying me. He’s not a walking hard-on, but he is a seeker. This is not the first time he has cheated on me. And it’s never right simply because another person makes one feel special and happy and loved. Instead of putting energy into an affair, he should have been putting energy into the marriage he was living in.
I used to think it was an asset to be able to make like everything was okay. That I was the strong one that no one had to worry about. And that’s exactly what I did for my Mom. From the time I told her of the affair I kept my spirits high for her. But she knew – how could you not – the pain that I was experiencing inside. Yes, she was distressed for me. But she will say that she was betrayed by The Genius as well and that hurt her deeply.
I agree that I need to process the anger and pain to come to a place of peace. I am working diligently toward that end. In spite of the fact that The Genius is most concerned with how people perceive him instead of the damage he has done to his family. But to work toward having love for him? No can do. Not now. And likely not ever. It’s not like he stepped out on my on occasion. He put our entire family at risk – the children included. I don’t respect him and that make loving him impossible.
But I’ll work on all the other stuff!
Good article about forgiveness and boundaries that was originally in O magazine and really helped me with setting boundaries with my mother (or at least justify the boundaries I’d already set). I had already managed to forgive my ex although there wasn’t cheating involved. You may not be ready to forgive The Genius yet, but it might help to start on that journey or at least look at forgiveness as a possibility for some future date. It feels like a bombshell that he had cheated on you before.
Thank you for sharing this. I NEED this. Love you. Owe you.
Your mom sounds like my whole family.
Dad wants to meet DA and tell him what he thinks of him.
Mom (all 5’1 of her bold self) wants to take him down with her handbag.
Brother wants to show him what a p*ssy he is, unfortunately, knuckles and facial bones will be involved.
And all I want is to Live, Laugh and love life.
Thank you for sharing this. In the past few weeks a couple readers of HGM have shared that their families do not have their backs. I am so grateful that my massive clan is gathered up right behind me, ready to step in when needed. For those who do not have that kind of support when you most need it, I hope that you ask for it. With love and a gentle spirit. And that your wish is granted. If not, come get it here.
Not sure if anyone has asked this before, but how is your relationship with God?
A bit of back story about me and why I ask this question…
I was raised Catholic and never knew God. Never read the Bible. Never prayed.
Our family was shaken (and is still trying to recover) from infidelity. Mine. It’s just awful to think about. I don’t know what I was thinking except for what must have been only me. When everything came to light it was very humbling to have the wife of the man I had been having an affair with pray for me, teach me about God and forgive me.
My husband and kids and I have started going to a Christian church this year. We are strengthening our relationship with God. After all, He is the only one who will not let us down. Every other relationship in our lives will never meet the expectations, wants and desires that we have. We will even disappoint ourselves.
Praying for you and your family!
We are on the best of terms. Especially after yesterday, which I will write about tonight.
“Every other relationship in our lives will never meet the expectations, wants and desires that we have.” I’m going to sit with this one for a while. At first read, I don’t agree. Maybe it’s that I am letting go of expectations because they are restrictive. By doing that I am able to free a relationship from unnatural ties that bind. I’m leaving behind wants in favor of needs. And my only desire is peace and joy. I’m simplifying. And setting boundaries. My hope is that those relationships/encounters I engage in will be free to simply be whatever they are designed to be. And I will not judge them as good or bad, but rather experiences here on the blue marble that I am meant to have so that my journey can be rich.
Thank you for sharing your story with me, with us. It’s inspiring. I know how painful it is to be the one to cause the hurt. I’m happy for you that you have been able to come to a place of peace.
JP D says
I told my mother what my mother in law said (“You’ll get over it!”) and she said “Well, I agree with her.” Needless to say, my mother and I do not have the warm and cozy relationship that you share with yours. But what you described above – The Genius’s betrayal altered HER, caused HER tremendous pain, broke HER heart – that is what I feel for my children about my husband’s betrayal and what I presume I would feel for each of them if their spouse betrayed them. You are so lucky to have had that kind of mother. I crave it and seek it out from older female friends. Not having that kind of support my entire life really placed me in a deficity when the S hit the fan last year. Anyway…great writing. I am enjoying your work. It’s like living in a parallel universe. Somehow comforting in a weird way.
Cleo Everest says
My mom is a remarkable woman. She is a blend of tough love, love and unconditional – always there for you – love. The difference between my Mom and my former mother in law can be best summed up by the fact that my Mom has absolutely no respect for my former spouse and his mother friended his mistress on facebook two weeks or so after I found out the whole truth. So now my Mom has no respect for her either. Loyalty, respect, unconditional love – those traits were trained into us by my Mom and Dad. Neither of them would EVER normalize infidelity. So that becomes one of your goals as a Mom. Don’t normalize infidelity. Preach character. Character, integrity, honesty, loyalty – this is where our attention needs to be placed as we raise our children.
Thank you for your kind words. And for being here.
Suzanne Woods says
God I love this article. You are so funny and truthful.