Originally Posted by greenirene
I don't want to do a lot of explaining - but anybody have general advice for me? I'd really love to hear from mommy's who have experience with this. I need advice.
It's ironic that someone has brought this up today, since I was just thinking about it! I suppose I, too, "wear the scarlet letter": I met my husband and
we started dating before his divorce was finalized. (Is that what you meant? Or did you mean you
aren't divorced yet? Of course, both situations are essentially the same, it's just a matter of which party you identify with.)
Most of the time, I feel no sheepishness over this. I am 100% confident I did not cause the breakup of their marriage, nor did I distract them from a potential reconciliation. They filed for divorce and began living separately years before my husband and I met, and things went on between them that are hard or impossible to forgive, and certainly irreconcilable. (Of course, having read their entire case file, I feel like the worst behavior was on her part, but I'm sure she would tell you the opposite.) The fact that it took such an insanely long time for their divorce to be finalized is, IMO, a failing of the legal system that did not take decisive action to end some of the shenanigans, but instead scheduled hearing after hearing to revisit issues, as though my husband and his ex had money trees in their back yard and felt better if they donated it all to attorneys!!
HOWEVER, since their divorce did take so long, plenty of people in their lives met them after
I entered the picture. Of course
his ex took every opportunity to tell those who didn't know better that he had "abandoned" her and their son, for me! Although people felt comfortable gossiping
about that, they seemed to feel it wouldn't be polite to actually bring it up with me
and give me the chance to correct the misinformation. Quite frankly, if I HAD been given that chance, I would have just sounded like I was making excuses, or covering, or inappropriately sharing the details of their divorce, which really weren't any of my business. People are usually going to believe the 1st version of a story that they hear, anyway.
Last night at the grocery, I ran into one of the people who believed I broke up their marriage. She was surprisingly friendly and seemed genuinely happy to hear that things are going well for us. But it was really awkward and I found myself feeling
like I had something to be ashamed of, just because I knew she thought
I did. Silly, right?
Not knowing any details of your situation, I guess my advice based on my own experiences would be this:
- Try your best not to let other people make you feel guilty, if you really don't have a reason to.
- Try to be empathetic with your boyfriend's ex (or with your ex, if you're the one who's still married): Divorce is hard enough, without witnessing the fact that you can be replaced. Even if you've concluded the person you're divorcing is a jerk, it might soothe your ego to imagine that they
will still pine for you
. When they start dating someone new, that fantasy flies out the window.
- If you did
break up someone's marriage, or distract another woman's husband when he might have reconciled with her, or if you broke up your own marriage for another man, it may be too late to reverse the damage, but it would still be awfully big of you to own the fact that you hurt people and did something you would not like to have done to you. Especially if there are kids involved, an honest, "I'm sorry. The way I went about things was not right," could go miles toward making communication and custody-sharing easier and less hostile, in the future. Admitting you were wrong doesn't make you a worthless, unforgiveable person. Everybody does things wrong. Apologizing takes more guts than a lot of people have.