My cousin is very close to me and my soon-to-be-exwife. My cousin was my STBXW’s maid of honor. My 9-year marriage was very rocky and at the end my STBXW cheated on me.
I had a lot of heart-to-heart talks with my cousin about how devastated I was and how I was coping. She was supportive, and said that she wouldn’t go out of her way to stay in contact with my STBXW, but that if my STBXW wanted to see my cousin’s girls (she has two small daughters, my nieces), she wouldn’t forbid it. This didn’t bother me at first, but then it did. I had paid visits to see my nieces about five times this year, and it was great. It felt good to leave my troubles behind and bond with them. But then I found out that my STBXW had also visited them, without my knowledge.
For some reason, I felt hurt. I told my cousin that it hurt to know that they were spending time with my STBXW. My cousin replied that she supported me, and cared about how I felt, and that if I wanted the contact to end, she would end it. She also told me that she disagreed with how my STBXW’s cheating, but gave 6 reasons for why cutting my STBXW made her feel uncomfortable:
- my STBXW was family for a long time,
- my cousin didn’t know everything that went on between me and my STBXW,
- that I was partly responsible for the deterioration of the marriage,
- that the kids enjoyed spending time with STBXW,
- whatever trouble there was between me and my STBXW was none of my cousin’s business or fault, and
- that my STBXW had never done anything personally against my cousin.
I had been making good progress in my healing, but this set me back. I feel a little more isolated now, like nobody understands me. I get the feeling that my cousin thinks I’m being too judgmental or that I should get over it because I brought this on myself. I don’t know. Maybe I’m expecting too much of my cousin. Am I infringing upon her boundaries when I expect her to feel and understand the same rage/despair/injustice that I feel? Maybe I should adjust my healing strategy so that it relies less on seeing my cousin and her kids. Is this what they mean by Switzerland friend? Any advice/insight is appreciated. Thank you.
I’m going to give you 6 reasons your cousin isn’t telling you for why she’s not cutting your STBXW out of her life.
- She values her friendship with the cheater more than she values her relationship with you.
- She’s also your STBXW’s confident. In fact, she probably knew about the cheating before you did.
- She’s all about herself — STBXW likes her? Likes her children? Then she’s in! Validation! Why can’t cousin have ALL the kibbles? “Neutrality” means double kibble portions. If she quits your STBXW, she gets half kibble portions.
- She thinks you deserved to be cheated on.
- You’re not the boss of her.
- She doesn’t care about your pain so much as she likes a front row seat to the drama.
I’m sorry. You probably think I’m saying mean things about your cousin, but I can tell this by what you wrote. Let me put her reasons through the Universal Bullshit Translator.
my STBXW was family for a long time,
Define family. You mean that person you’re divorcing? For cheating on you? Hey, just because she cheated on you, doesn’t mean I have to recognize your divorce. I get to define family on MY terms and I include your STBXW. I don’t find your reasons for divorcing her valid.
Or really, I don’t care. But I’ll say “family” because that sounds more noble than “unsupportive” or “oblivious to your pain.”
my cousin didn’t know everything that went on between me and my STBXW,
There must be a good reasons you deserve to have been cheated on. She doesn’t know what it is, but surely it must be there and that Thing is the Universal Thing that explains why your cousin can do what she wants to.
that I was partly responsible for the deterioration of the marriage,
The UBT doesn’t have to work too hard on this one — she outright says it — she blames you for your STBXW’s cheating.
Excuse me, she blames you “in part” — a spoonful of sugar to “you brought this on yourself.”
that the kids enjoyed spending time with STBXW,
You wouldn’t want to HURT THE CHILDREN would you?!
This is just mindfuckery from your cousin. I promise you those kids don’t care one whit if some ex-aunt comes around occasionally.
And if they do? And everyone is sad that the relationship has to end? The person who broke it is your cheating wife. I’m sorry your cousin is too gutless to say, “You cheated on my cousin and you’re not welcome here.”
whatever trouble there was between me and my STBXW was none of my cousin’s business or fault, and that my STBXW had never done anything personally against my cousin.
Because that’s who really matters here, your cousin.
I’m sorry Prodigal. She’s being pretty clear where her priorities are and with whom. I would distance yourself from her, as sad as that is.
Sure you could ask her how she would feel if her husband cheated on her, and you wanted to stay buddies with him, but that would require empathy. You’d get a more satisfying response if you directed that question to a moldering pile of cow dung.
Yes, your cousin is a Switzerland friend. Which is to say, she’s not your friend at all.