I am about to embark on a separation, which most of the time I feel is leading to divorce (I live in a state that requires a one year and a day separation before legal divorce).
About 6 months ago, my husband went on a cruise with a couple of his dude bro pals (ugh, red flag ignored). When showing me his pics from the trip my gut started slapping me in the face saying, SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT HERE. Well, a few weeks later, after doing some detective work and finding a full-frontal nude photo on his phone (which wasn’t for me — I’ve expressed in the past that wasn’t really my jam), I found out he hooked up with (but he SWEARS he didn’t sleep with her!!) this drunken fart brain and continued carrying on a “friendly” relationship with her afterwards.
The next several weeks consisted of trickle truths (new to me) and therapy and soul searching within myself and eventually I decided to try to make it work… he was talking to me more, we began communicating better, having sex again, he was empathizing with me more, he even read, digested, and made references to an article on emotional labor that I sent him!!! Holy shit, I started to have hope that this really COULD morph our relationship into something better than it was before!!
Theeeeeeeeeen I found a condom in the washer. It took two therapy sessions and me saying I still don’t believe you to get the truth out… he had gotten wasted at some bar with his dude bro friend again, his uber was late, so he went back into the bar and some drunk girl was all over him, her friend slipped a condom in his pocket and invited him to their place to hook up with said drunk friend (who has friends like that?!), he got into the car with them, and then had a “wait I’m about to fuck up again” moment, and got out of the car. All of this bullshit within 5 months of the last episode.
After much deliberation and buckets of tears, I have decided to call it. He said he would do what it took to keep me, until I decided not to stay, then self improvement or addiction counseling is no longer a priority or pressing issue for him. I have worked through most of what I need to with him. I thought I had firmly decided that I was no longer going to allow this in my life. That, even though my cheating/lying husband story isn’t as extreme as others’ stories might be, that this behavior isn’t okay with me. I CAN’T trust this person anymore, no matter how much I love him or cherish our bond — the trust is gone, and I don’t want to play detective for the rest of my life. I came to grips with this, and it hurts SO.FUCKING. BAD. But I know it’s what I need to do.
Enter the parental units — both sides. Without going into all details of the conversations I’ve had with them, let me just give you the gist of how I feel EVERY time I talk to one of them about it. That I’M not doing enough to keep it together. That I’M quitting. That I’M giving up too easily. That this marriage deserves more than this. That if he puts in the work, then why can’t I give him another chance — give our marriage another chance.
It’s got me all fucked up. It hurts and infuriates me. I told my mom I feel like she’s disappointed in me, she said she is disappointed in US. She believes that family and friends have a responsibility to speak up for their loved ones’ relationships. Am I giving this feeling of the parent’s opinion of my decision too much weight? or anyone’s opinion that doesn’t match what I think is best for me? Why am I seeking validation anyway, when I’ve already, finally, made the decision to not put up with this shit anymore?! Why do I have to be the one to “think about everything that we could lose” when he certainly didn’t think about that when he was cheating or lying?
I want to feel confident in what I’m doing and that this is the right path for me to heal. Does that confidence ever really stick?
Fuck your mother. Oh I know I’m supposed to defer to her age and wisdom, and tut-tut how lamentable it is that she can’t understand your point-of-view. She’s Only Trying to Save Your Marriage! I should give her a break because she’s just spouting the accepted Reconciliation Industrial Complex wisdom — that it takes two to break a marriage, that you’re a reflection of what your husband does, that really if you just tried harder and put on some lipstick, Chumpcat, you could win this dreamy drunken douchebag back!
Perhaps she’s still thinking of what this wedding cost. Perhaps she was looking forward to grandchildren. Perhaps she thinks your divorce will reflect badly on her. Maybe she thinks you do something that compels your husband to get wasted and fuck around. Whatever it is, Chumpcat, WORK WITH IT, fold your needs into tiny origami shapes and store them there in your purse, next to your lipstick. Now comb your hair, sit pretty, and wait for your husband to come home. Don’t be a failure, Darling.
I’m sorry you got that mother. (And father, and in-laws…)
I’m imagining a new mother for you. Let’s call her Boudica. She’s one part Celtic warrior queen, one part Aretha Franklin, and several parts avenging angel. Oh, she’s waiting for your husband to come home alright… so she can cave his head in.
(Douche stumbles in drunk…)
“DID YOU HURT MY DAUGHTER?!” shouts Boudica, unsheathing her sword.
Douche stares at her blankly, then stumbles towards freezer for a Hot Pocket.
A mistake. In one swift movement Boudica is at the freezer before him, has the Hot Pockets, and has knocked Douche to his knees with the flat side of her sword.
“SPEAK!” she commands him. “DID YOU HURT MY DAUGHTER? WHO IS THIS FART BRAIN WITH WHOM YOU TEXT?”
“We uh, hooked up. But we NEVER slept together! She’s um, ah friend.”
Boudica slams his face into the frozen box of Hot Pockets.
“SAY ‘FRIEND’ AGAIN. SAY IT!”
Boudica crushes his head again into the frozen snack treats. “DO YOU NEED TEETH TO SMILE FOR FART BRAIN, OR DOES SHE LOVE YOU FOR YOU?” Slam!
“It didn’t mean anyfwing!”
Douchebag is prostrate on the floor. Boudica is standing over him with her sword, boot on his neck. “YOU HAVE BROUGHT DISHONOR ON THIS HOUSE. THE PENALTY FOR HURTING MY DAUGHTER IS DEATH, BUT BECAUSE BOUDICA IS MERCIFUL, SHE WILL ALLOW YOU TO LEAVE AND NEVER RETURN.”
Boudica gazes down upon the vanquished Douchebag, his face a swollen mess of sinew and pulverized Hot Pockets, and takes a picture to upload to Douche’s social media. Hashtag #dontfuckwithmydaughter #Boudicadoesntplay
More like that, Chumpcat. Less Nancy Reagan Stepford wife, more avenging mother who will burn Londonium to ashes for harming her children.
WTF is wrong with your mother that she can’t see your value, that she thinks a drinking, womanizing douchebag is all you deserve, and worse — after he’s humiliated you, that you should FIGHT to keep him? Where is HER fight to protect you from harm? Shame on your mother!
I’m sorry she can’t be Boudica. So, here’s what every daughter must do in your situation — be your own Boudica. You get up on that horse and YOU lead the liberation campaign. Does Boudica do consensus studies? No, she does not. I’m sorry your family doesn’t approve of your decision to remove yourself from harm. That’s fine, they can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the spackle — you’ve got a war to wage, called divorce.
You don’t need their validation that leaving a drunken man-child is for the best. This is YOUR life. Warrior queens know their worth.