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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Sorry, but not that sorry. You made your bed, so to speak, so now it’s time to deal with the consequences. My ex-husband had an affair. I got the kids (he wanted one, not the other) so I have both. I got the house, and the new-ish car. BUT, I also got two of his three siblings. The two that are on “Team Elizabeth” can’t STAND him or his girlfriend. They chose me (and they’re both divorced so they have eyes wide open). He got his parents but he can have them.
I’m curious, Elizabeth, does his suffering the loss of friends and family take away or lessen the pain of what he did to you? Or, does it just help you feel good? Because, if it makes you feel good, it’s only a temporary feel good. Taking pleasure in punishing someone for hurting you makes you no better than the person who hurt you. I find the pleasure you take in what all you got, distasteful. And, I was cheated on. Thank God it didn’t turn me into a mean spirited woman.
Amanda–Actions have consequences. After months of his lying and cheating and his siblings (who are divorced) suggesting that he join me in counseling–it doesn’t make me feel good or bad that they are DONE with him. It is what it is and it was totally their decision. Frankly, I was surprised when his older sister told me she wasn’t going to meet the girlfriend. I had no idea. And I don’t think you get to call me “mean spirited” based on one post. I got what I wanted–the kids and house and he got what he wanted–his girlfriend. I don’t wish him ill. I just don’t want him around me.
The topic says it all, Live with the Consequences of what you two have done. Not only did the two of you betray the people you made marriage vows to, You betrayed your children, Family And friends! You have several options besides cheating on your spouses! Cheating shows a lack of both honor and character on the part of you, And the person you are having the affair with! No sympathy form me…..
Have you ever really thought about what your ex-husband lost? Really thought long and hard about how he will struggle the rest of his life with what you did to him? What about your kids? They will find out one day…you are eventually likely to lose much more than you already have…
This article is so painful to read. The hurt and trauma caused by your actions is unimaginable. Divorce is always hard on everyone, but cheating adds a whole other layer. I don’t care that you didn’t have sex with your guy until your husband knew about him, it doesn’t lesson the horror. I can’t say I blame your family for cutting contact with you for the foreseeable future. After all, who wants a cheater around?
It is also note worthy to tell you, The vast majority of Marriages between affair partners, Don’t make it past five years. Something to look forward to maybe???
Wow- some of these comments are brutal. Look, people make mistakes, this was a biggie, but to lose her family?? Family should be by your side no matter what. Shame on them! Standing beside you through a hard time doesn’t mean they approve of or condone the behavior, but for Christ’s sake- you’re family! To the writer: You’re human and made a bad choice, I’m sorry people are making you pay so dearly for it. What they don’t understand is that you’re much harder on yourself than they can imagine. Try to make peace with this and forgive yourself. It’s hard, but you still deserve happiness.
First, This was not a mistake this was a choice! A stupid mean and unfelling one, But a choice just the same. She and her partner had several options other than betraying their marriage vows! And yes loosing her family and friends can be a result of her cheating, This is something she should have taken into consideration before she did what she did! But I don’t think she has lost them forever, I am sure they will come back into her life in time. But this should be a lesson for anyone planning on cheating. Your choices are often far more reaching and harmful than you think. A lot of what you and your affair partner have done, My not truly be felt for years to come….
The Late Brew says
This is a very interesting article and I feel horrible for your ex and your children.
My ex has had a similar experience after leaving me for another man.
I gained a few of her friends, friends she had before her and I were together. I was told that she had blamed me for her unhappiness and that when she finally left, she’s still unhappy…
Many of our friends don’t see her anymore and the only friends she has are two moms that used to take their kids to her dayhome and her new bf’s friends.
I do agree with some of the other people here, that there are consequences to actions, and sadly your siblings choosing him are part of the consequences. If you’re going to rock the boat like this, you need to be prepared that things like this might happen.
A friend of mine said it best, You are responsible for your won happiness. No one can truly give or take that away form you….