IronyPosted: July 28, 2012
I decided to have a look through my drafts, to see what needed to be finished and published. I found this, from June 15, two days after I started this incarnation of my blog.
- If only everyone wore signs, like ‘God’s planner’ or ‘poor advice giver’ or, rarest of the rare, ‘will support you no matter what.’ It’s impossible to judge how people will react to your bad news. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if there’s an opportunity to recommend a course of action, you will get recommendations. That’s not the bad thing in itself, it’s when you follow the course that you do choose it will inevitably be the opposite of what some think to should do. I isolated myself by staying married, from almost everyone, including my husband, because so few truly understood how I felt about what had happened.
I left the title; I don’t remember where I was going with this, what the irony was, but it stays.
Yesterday Mo posted her return to Group Therapy Thursdays. The last submission, about infidelity and wanting to make a marriage work, obviously struck a chord with me, so I responded with my take.
Later, there were a few more choruses of, as I expected, ‘leave him.’ But one was a little more vehement than most. And I was deeply offended.
I was offended because she made those generalizations that I talked about the other day, but this time, I bit back. Respectfully, because I don’t want to be that girl, especially on Mo’s blog, but sincerely, because I felt like her words were a personal attack on my choices.
I chose my marriage. I chose my husband. That’s not just saying I chose marriage over divorce, or Ian over anyone else.
I chose my marriage over my family’s objections. Thankfully, the ones I care about have accepted that, and Ian and Abby, with open arms.
I chose my marriage over my friends’ objections. I can safely say that I have exactly one friend left.
I chose my marriage over my job. A job I loved, but I went through hell every single day because of the choice I made. Since all three of us worked for the same company, and I was the only one left there after I found out, everyone knew. At first it was just ‘other fish in the sea’ comments, but when they found out about her pregnancy, I became an idiot, completely undeserving of sympathy or common courtesy.
Ian made the same choice, and in some ways, has suffered a lot more. His mother refuses to speak to him because she thinks I don’t want him to have anything to do with Abby (serious WTFs going on there). He doesn’t go hang out with friends like he used to. And it’s pretty hard to find a job when your former boss has been doing this for twenty years, knows everyone, and gives a bad reference out of spite.
My point is not ‘oh, feel sorry for me.’ My point is that this choice is hard enough to make. Being bombarded with ‘it’ll never work’ and ‘he’ll just do it again’ only makes it worse, because nobody knows whether or not it’ll work. Nobody knows whether or not he’ll do it again.
The question isn’t ‘do I want to make this work?’ The question is ‘how much of my old life am I willing to lose, since I’ve already lost the marriage I had?’ But it’s still a very personal question, that only one person can answer.
When someone asks for advice, it’s because there are choices. Just because you have advice to give doesn’t mean you’re aware of all the choices. Just because you have one side of the story doesn’t mean you know everything about it, or even enough to make an informed decision.
When someone asks for advice about a situation as horrendous as this, choose your words carefully. If you advise leaving and she stays, you can’t take back calling her husband a cheating piece of shit. You can’t take back ‘bastard doesn’t deserve you’ and ‘you can do better.’ If she stays, your negative words reflect on her. It’s one thing for me to scream them at Ian, but another for you to tell me I’m making the stupidest mistake of my life.
And you know what? I did scream those things, and I meant them, and look at us now. We are the cutest couple alive. We are happy, we are in love, and we value and appreciate each other. So much for ‘it never works.’