The other day I was reading People Magazine about how great Jen and Ben Affleck are getting along these days after the whole gambling, alleged sex with the nanny and all around dickiness that Ben engaged in. (He was great in Argo,I have to give him that) And I started thinking about my situation because as a writer I'm very narcissistic. I think all writers are because we write things thinking OMG I am so interesting EVERYONE is going to want to read THIS. Then when people DON'T want to read it, we retire to our beds, start looking on Craigslist for openings at Starbucks, and think to ourselves, "I suck and I'm never writing again." Then we wake up the next day and start a blog, a story, a poem, a book because the words are floating around in our heads and we just know, people are really going to want to read THIS.
Anyway, as I was reading the article I realized it's been almost 5 years since my divorce was final. That doesn't include the two years leading up to it when I was dealing with the fact that my husband had fallen in love with someone else. FALLEN IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE. MY HUSBAND. Easy to say now, but then? The pain of it, Good God. The absolute searing agony of it. The "I cannot go on but I have to make dinner for my kids and how am I going to get from my bedroom into the kitchen" of it. I was out of my mind with the pain.
I have to admit to you that I acted like one crazy b--ch during that time in my life. In fact, I have very few regrets about the life I have led up til now, but my biggest regret, what I wish I could go back and change is how I conducted myself during those years. (Other regrets include not wearing a slip under the black net mini dress I wore this past New Years Eve. An unfortunate choice that ruined not only my night but that of those around me as well. I also regret not finishing college. Pretty much good with everything else) Now, I am going to say something here about someone and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics. NOTHING. Hilary Clinton's husband made a HUGE ass out of himself in front of the entire world, and she conducted herself with dignity through that whole farce. Jennifer Garner is also a class act with how she has handled herself through this whole thing. Now I know you're thinking "Sure, it's easy to be calm and classy when you can just throw yourself back into your multi million dollar acting career," but it still had to be hard. I mean people were sitting down with their morning coffee reading about these women's lives and still these gals were going about their business, apparently showering, getting themselves dressed etc. Me? Not so much.
So, I want women going through it now, to learn from my mistakes. I want those women to know that I KNOW the pain is unbearable, you feel you may die from it but YOU WON'T. And maybe this is the one instance where the passing of time is your friend, because time WILL pass, you WILL heal, and you WILL be okay. Here are a few do's and don'ts that I learned the hard way:
1. Sit at your friend's kitchen table, drink a bottle of Pinot Noir by yourself and start sending your husband emails with the word MO---R FU---R in the subject line. I know, it seems like a great idea at that moment. Please. Don't put anything out on the internet because it will come back to haunt you when you decide to run for county commissioner or something.
2. Drive up to the other woman's home, park in her driveway, leave the car running and bang on her door screaming "I know you're in there open this door!" She will open the door looking calm cool and collected and you look like a raving lunatic, plus your car is running.
3. Listen when people tell you while looking at you as if you're a child who just fell down and got a boo boo, "I saw them out last night...I mean it's just awful, can't believe he is doing this to you." These are not your friends, they are people who are thinking "Better you than me." Don't ask what did she look like, what was she wearing because they WILL tell you and it WILL hurt.
4. Tell the kids, "Your father has left us for a fu-----g whore." Please, the kids will be going through enough. I know for a moment you want them to hate him for what he's done to YOU, but he is their father and they need to believe he's a good guy and let's hope he IS a good father.
5. Make yourself a victim, dig deep and find the strength that is in you. People will begin avoiding you after a while if you don't start pulling yourself out of the depths of your misery. Don't surround yourself with others who act as victims either. Choose your support groups very carefully. You don't want to sit around and commiserate, you want to heal and move on.
1. Take back your bed! You know that flowered quilt you have always loved from Anthropologie but couldn't have because your husband hates yellow? Go get it. And sleep in the middle of the bed. It's all yours, enjoy every inch of it.
2. Find a role model. When I was dealing with my break up Christie Brinkley was also going through a hideous divorce and hers was REALLY out there, what with her husband sending penis pics all over the place. There was a photo in a magazine of her dressed in a pink cardigan and gray pencil skirt walking into court that caught my eye. How elegant, I thought. How classy. I cut it out and put it on my mirror and every day would tell myself, act like a lady, just like Christie.
3. Seek out a trusted therapist, counselor, support group who will give you strength and support while helping you move forward. Your friends will want to help you but in my case they were all happily married and I actually resented their help. They may say, "I can't imagine what you're going through," and guess what, they REALLY can't.
4. Focus on your children. Focus on your children Focus on your children. Can I say that enough? No, I don't think I can. Your children need you right now.
5 Above all and if you take nothing else from this post, remember this: Act with dignity. DIGNITY. Oh how I wish I could go back and erase the screaming fits I had when my husband would come home to get a piece of clothing he had forgotten. The horror and sadness in my kid's eyes. How I wish I could erase the way I behaved at my mediation sessions when I was literally told if I didn't calm down, the police would be called. And the emails? OMG. Somewhere out there is an Icloud full of "fu----g liar" "I hope you die" "I hope she dies" etc. Horrible and now so very embarrassing.
In closing, I know how you feel. I DO. But trust me, you want to look back at this time as a period when you put your children before yourself, and dug deep inside to find your inner strength. Because it's there, ready for you to tap into it. Remember, above all... your children and your DIGNITY. No regrets! To that end you may want to invest in a short black slip...just saying...