Seeking your advice on the following:
Background, was with partner for 16 years who decided the grass was greener with a married work colleague with 2 young children. She blamed her actions all on me and said that she’d been unhappy for 10 years of the 16 years and nearly left me 5 years before D-day. (Fairly sure there were other affairs now).
In terms of the relationship, I know I wasn’t perfect, but neither was she. She was the sort who would send cards with ‘Thank you for the best x years of my life’ right to the very end, as if marking each year was the true measure of our relationship. Went through the pick me dance for 3 weeks after which she left accusing me of making her homeless.
Anyway, her family were very good and supportive to me at my darkest hour and were not at all impressed with her. Whilst not in each others pockets, I was close to her mother (fellow chump x2) and her brother (fellow chump x1), so we stayed in touch, having a common experience probably helped.
Ex partner tried hoovering me after 18 months, turned up on two holidays I was on during that time, and then married her affair partner after 2 years of us separating. Have remained no contact since the separation was legally settled 6 months after D-day (thankfully no kids). Like everyone on this site, I was devastated at the time and it took a long time to get to Meh/Tuesday.
Fast forward circa 20 years and I have been happily married for 6 years of a 12-year relationship with a wonderful woman who is everything I didn’t realise was missing from the previous relationship. She makes me a better person and I hope I do the same for her.
I have recently been thrown by one event and subsequent responses.
My ex-partner’s mother died recently, she was a lovely giving woman who I miss greatly. Given that we had remained in touch and how good she was to me during all the years I had known her, I asked ex-partner’s sister if I could attend the funeral to pay my respects.
The sister and brother were fine but they got back to me to say that my ex-partner did not want me there as it would be ‘too upsetting for her’. Her sister, brother and myself were gobsmacked that after 20 years she could not just move on and let this be about remembering her mother. I had only intended to sit quietly at the back and then disappear immediately after the service. Her siblings thought she was being childish. With reluctance and in respect of not wanting her to cause a scene at what was a day to remember her mother I did not attend. Still not sure if I pandered too much to my ex-partner, but for me it was about her mum, so I sent flowers instead and ex-partner’s sister thanked me for being such a gentleman and understanding.
So what threw me….. Well, as her brother put it ‘You would have thought she would have moved on after 20 years, particularly after she had done the cheating’. So it just got me questioning after all this time as to why she still seems to hate me when I don’t particularly have any good or bad thoughts towards her? Why couldn’t she move on and put her mother first?
Secondly, when speaking to a colleague at work, they asked if ex-partner was still married to the affair partner after 20 years. When I replied yes, their comment was “Well, she must have made the right decision (to cheat) as she has been with him longer than you!”
To be honest I did really know how to respond to that without sounding churlish or having to justify myself, so I said nothing. But how do you answer that? I have never judged a relationship on the number of years, but clearly a lot of people do. It just reopened the whole untangling the skein for me so any advice would be appreciated.
Thrown by comments
On the funeral situation, I think you handled that like a champ. You were sensitive, you asked in advance — so you probably sensed it might be fraught, or you wouldn’t have gotten the all clear first? I think you ate that proverbial shit sandwich with grace, by sending flowers.
Should your ex have been the bigger person, and been okay with your presence? That’s not who she is. And that would upset her narrative — that cheating on you was your fault. That she’s the wronged party in this. Also by asking (which I think was polite), you put her in the power seat to deny you. And that’s an irresistible kibble.
Funerals are for the living. And most people have their reasons (some justified, some dunderheaded) for not wanting their exes at their family funerals. That’s harder to understand when you’re the injured party, but yes, she’s underscoring that you’re not her family. Now, if the services were open, and all were invited to the memorial, but you were deliberately excluded? Ouch.
I still wouldn’t go where I was unwanted though. So good call on not attending.
So it just got me questioning after all this time as to why she still seems to hate me when I don’t particularly have any good or bad thoughts towards her? Why couldn’t she move on and put her mother first?
In fairness, she just lost her mother. However shitty she was as an ex-partner, her feelings matter more than yours do here. Even if we judge those feelings as uncharitable and wrong, it would not be right to insert yourself. Her mother is dead, so there’s no putting a dead woman first. There are just the survivors. I’m sure your ex’s siblings thank you for your thoughtfulness and your kind memories of their mother.
Even years after a break-up, it can hurt to be excluded, or cast as the villain. Why does she still hate you? If she’s left you alone for more than a decade, I doubt she does. Hatred needs stoking, and she stays out of your life, right? She’s not suing you, or plotting revenge, or popping up on your holidays anymore. My guess is she’s asserting her narrative that She Did Nothing Wrong (aka “you made her cheat”) and she enjoys some extra drama and self-pity at your expense. #impressionmanagement
You were useful. And you’ll go right back to not mattering shortly.
Now than, that co-worker…
when speaking to a colleague at work, they asked if ex-partner was still married to the affair partner after 20 years. When I replied yes, their comment was “Well, she must have made the right decision (to cheat) as she has been with him longer than you!”
Wow, your colleague just told you they’re a cheater. I wouldn’t put this person in charge of the petty cash, or corporate secrets. Anyone who thinks abusing you is the “right decision” is someone who needs a water cooler dumped on their head.
Nigel: Why did you dump a water cooler on my head?!
You: Felt like the right decision.
Anyway, both of your questions are untangling the skein issues. Why do stupid people say and do stupid stuff? This is unknowable. We only can guess at the origins of their vapidity. (Too many water cooler head injuries?)
Longevity doesn’t mean healthy. We had slavery for 400 years. Lots of shitty things endure.
Your colleague isn’t someone who possesses a lot of critical thinking ability. Your colleague has biases. Good information to know. Avoid this person. Keep your eye on the petty cash.
Thrown, what matters here is that you rebuilt a great life for yourself. Don’t let a couple of fuckwits give you a case of the wobbles. As you were.