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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been a long time. She was a close friend of mine, and he left me for her (though he wouldn't admit it at the time, and perhaps still won't).

It was very painful for me that she betrayed me. I haven't worked through it -- I've just successfully avoided her all these years, and it's pretty clear that she and XH helped maintain those boundaries.

She never tried to make things right with me, though I did tell her not to contact me ever again, so I suppose I set myself up for that.

I would prefer to never face her again. But DS16 has a show this evening (one performance only) and I just found out she'll be there. Great for DS, right? She's basically his stepmom. I bet her kids will also be there, and they are like my kids' stepbrothers. XH has been living with her for over 5 years.

Anyway, I've managed to avoid coming in contact with her for 5 years. I've been very clear that I have no wish to have any relationship with her or any contact with her.

They are coming by the house to pick up some of the kids to take them to the show. I asked him what time, so I know when to disappear, though I'm going to have to make an excuse to the kids at home for why I'm headed out early. I'm picking up the other kid from an activity and bringing her to the event separately. We'll be late, so hopefully I am pretty well positioned to not be surprised by the GF.

I just hadn't expected this and I didn't expect to need to be ready with 10 hours notice.

Add that to the fact that my grandmother died last night, and I really don't even want to give any of my limited processing bandwidth today to the GF situation. But I think I don't have a choice.

I'm remembering that this issue came up last year and I freaked out and then their plans changed and I was safe, so I conveniently forgot that it would come up again.

I imagine from the outside it would seem unreasonable for me to still want to avoid her completely after 5 years, but I know you guys understand. Sheesh. She is a total bitch and I still have a lot of anger toward her even at this point in my process.

I blame her for how poorly XH handled things with me when he left, because she didn't stop him, and she didn't stop herself, and she was my friend, and she behaved like a terrible enemy. It was way worse than it could have been, in great part because of her.

I prefer to avoid XH whenever possible as well. But I can at least deal with that, and our relationship has evolved to the point where we are all business and that's fine.

The only time I crossed paths with the GF was a year ago when she attended another kid's performance and tried to cheerily greet me across the room. I turned my back and ignored her while quickly walking away. I probably won't have that option this time, so hopefully she learned her lesson and will refrain from such ridiculousness.

I know this is not ideal for the kids, but how it went down is NOT my fault and my discomfort is also not my fault. I will NOT put on a fake happy face. I will restrain myself and avoid contact of all kinds -- I can find a way to watch from the back. I will put on my cloak of awesomeness and get through this. I can't not attend his show, and arriving late means I will see her first and can stay out of the way. But if she talks to me, we may both be screwed.

She is such a bitch. They were in love with each other for about four years, maybe more, before he left me. They were open with me about the fact that they had an attraction (!), and I was very clear with them about the need for appropriate marital and friend boundaries (and spelled out what those were). They continued with an emotional affair for a long time, but because they didn't sleep together until after he left me, he thought they were off the hook and it was totally acceptable. Nope.

So, I never bothered to finish processing that stuff. I now have today to figure out enough of it that I don't reflexively do something stupid or harmful or both when I see her this evening.

I'm just concerned that she will speak to me and I will not be able to help myself from saying something quite direct -- and that, worse, the kids might hear it. I guess I could fall back on a silent look of pity for her lack of clue, and then walking away without saying a word -- or what would you do?

Help.
 

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I am sorry for your loss!!

I know you don't like this opinion, but I really think that after five years of being functionally your kids' step-parent, it's time. It was a major betrayal, and you don't have to be friends, but holding on to that much anger towards her is hurting you more than anyone else. You should be able to look forward to your kids' performances without stressing about whether she'll be there. She'll be at weddings and graduations in the future. It would be a shame to put that stress onto your kids at those major life events I hope your cloak of awesomeness can move past some of the anger. Life's too short to let someone who isn't worth your energy ruin your kids' functions for you!
 

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I am sorry for your loss. That has to be hard on you.

I agree with RCM. Your anger at your once friend is justifiable, but it is past time for you to let go, and move on. You don't need to be friendly, and you don't need to be chatty, but you do need to stop your feelings from controlling social situations involving your children. You have fed your anger for 5 years, and the only person this hurts is you. Time to let yourself let go of that anger. Go watch your kid, and enjoy yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So how do you do that? Just go and be casual? I have no experience with this. How do you let go of anger? (Sure as hell I'm not going to forgive her. ;-) )
 

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I'd just go to the performance, she is just another person in the audience. You may or may not see her, you may or may not have conversation with her about the performance. I've found it takes a ton TON of energy to keep avoiding someone (energy and resources i do not have) when dealing with them is much easier. Honestly, your kids have to deal with 'her'. Surely you can deal with her for a few minutes.
 

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So how do you do that? Just go and be casual? I have no experience with this. How do you let go of anger? (Sure as hell I'm not going to forgive her. ;-) )
Yes, just go and be casual. Realize that she's nothing to you now. She's the one now partnered up with a known cheater. Good riddance! And she'll never be able to feel secure in her relationship because he already showed that he will follow where his hormones lead him.

No one says to forgive her. But she's not worth the anger. How would you treat a co-worker you're not close with? Or a neighbor you didn't have a relationship with. Civil but non-committal. Pretend you don't care.

The only thing that matters is if she is decent to your kids over the past few years.

Until you are able to let go of some of that anger, you probably won't be in a healthy position to try to have a relationship. Do you have a counselor at all? That might be really helpful to talk to someone neutral about moving past it. Even if it were just a few times so they could give you some tools.
 

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I would start by some self examination as to why you care so much about her, why you react to her with such strong emotions. Is there a space in your life left by her absence? Do you still have feelings towards your ex husband? Who do you talk through these emotions through with? Do you have a good friend, or a therapist? Online support is good, but it isn't the same as being able to speak freely or having a friend who's shoulder you can cry on.
 

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That level of betrayal is mind boggling. Not only your xh, but your best friend. Both of them are toxic, and don't deserve your energy. Maybe have some fun with it, and just stare blankly at a spot on her face like its a zit, and look puzzled by her (kidding). Put a whoopee cushion on her seat? This is only designed to hopefully help get a laugh and by no means am I recommending actual passive aggressiveness. In any case, she has no power over you. Poor thing has to be married to the biggest man-baby ever.

But I agree facing it head on is the best way to address the fears of seeing her. You may see a sad tired look in her eyes after years of life with a narcissist, and be able to count your blessings neither are a part of your awesome bubble any more.
 

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Yep, just ignore her. You don't have to be fake nice or fake friendly or even smile.

But for your kid's sake, act like you don't care at all that she is there.
(My dad left my mom for a family friend. My mom handled it badly for 10 years until they divoced.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep, just ignore her. You don't have to be fake nice or fake friendly or even smile.

But for your kid's sake, act like you don't care at all that she is there.
(My dad left my mom for a family friend. My mom handled it badly for 10 years until they divoced.)
Yep, I'm being super matter of fact about it, and let them know I heard she was coming so they would not be worried for me if they saw her before I did.

I appreciate the advice very much. I am thinking if she tries to talk to me, I will either give her a stare and not respond, or say quietly, "I am not interested in connecting with you" and walk away. No drama. Hopefully she is smart enough not to try. I certainly have laid out the territory over and over.

AG's comment about her having to deal with a narcissist and being stuck with a man-baby are spot on.

We'll see how it goes. Time for some valerian and rescue remedy and other helpful tinctures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I went. I hid. Coward. I couldn't face her.

I got there at the last minute (shooed the kid who rode with me toward her dad) and my dear awesome circus friends upgraded my seat to front row VIP. I was SO badass confident, but I could not turn around to look at her or him or anyone with them. I don't even know for sure who was with him; maybe she wasn't even there; I have no idea.

The show was fabulous. At the end, DS headed toward his "other family" to greet them first, so I took advantage of the open exit door and made a beeline out of there. I am sure he has enough of a clue that he will not take it personally, but I'll message him just in case. I headed straight for my car...nearly there and DD13 came running up to me for a goodbye hug (they're going with their dad for the weekend). Busted. She is ultra-perceptive. Oh, well. Said goodbye, shooed her back, and took off.

Now I'm home, drinking. I was in tears when I walked in the door, and now I'm just angry.

I wish I could stop carrying around this heavy burden, but I don't know how. Maybe counseling is in order, but I always balk at trying to find a good one, because I've had some less than good ones (and fired my last one after a long time with her).

Anyway, I appreciate all the advice, and I look forward to when I am somehow able to not care when I am around her.

I hope I didn't scar my kids by running away.
 

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Hi Worthy,

I hope I can offer advice without being too obnoxious about it because I have been in a similar situation. It is my opinion that you need to and CAN get past this. I've read your amazing posts over and over again on this forum and I am 1000% sure you are capable of what it takes to put your anger at this woman to rest.

It totally sucks that this woman was once a good friend of yours. That definitely makes it harder - but not impossible to forgive and forget. One thing that always strikes me is that there are SO many situations that are just ridiculously awful. Mine, for instance, was that xh was having an affair with our housekeeper and I GAVE her an apartment to live in for free while they were having an affair. (he's with someone else now but also had an affair with her.) My current BF's is that his xw was having an affair in their own bed, in their own home and the guy would drive over there and W would see his car driving there knowing they would be doing it -in W's own bed. My former nanny moved to another country with her husband and a "friend" who turned out to be her lesbian lover whom she was already cheating with not only when she got married but also when all three of them moved to an island together - her husband only found out after packing up everything and moving to the island. She had even tried to get an apartment for all three of them to live in together but luckily her gf was wise enough to get her own place until the s..t hit the fan. The list goes on and on as to which story is more hurtful than the next. But that does not mean that these people can't be forgiven or even necessarily that they are bad people. And maybe knowing that there are stories "worse" (more shocking?) than yours out there, but yet people forgive one another, can give you some hope or perspective.

I had the same mental block as you for a long time. W has it still for his xw's boyfriend. And I think it is VERY hurtful to W's kids that he's unable to get over it. I see it plain as day -(and healthy for my own kids that I'm over it.) W never outright says anything about the guy (call him R) but his lack of words, lack of asking his own daughters about their life over there - very obvious dislike and inability to talk about R. If the girls mention R he will pretty much ignore his own kids so as not to have to speak about him... not healthy, not healthy for those girls - -putting them in the middle (albeit in a passive way). He deals with his xw pretty well but he cannot get over his negativity for R. (and the above story about sleeping in their bed gets repeated over and over and it W's mantra against R and it's part of his mental block) But remember it was W's xw that promised to be faithful to him, not R. And the bottom line is that your marriage was likely failing long before the affairs started. Mine certainly was (I didn't know it or see it for a long time though) and now that I know W really well, I'm certain his was too. I now see it more clearly than ever in my own case. I think my xh is a narcissist. I think that I was no longer "in love" or the way I look at it now, I no longer offered him any narcissistic supply. See, I dealt with him fine - so I didn't have a great amount of negativity (which would have given him supply) and I didn't act in awe of him as I had when I'd met him. I just went about my business, had fun, raised the kids and enjoyed my life and generally he still was a small part of our lives but I had learned to just live with him and so he received no negative supply and not much positive supply and so... he dumped me on my rear end for someone that gives him his supply. It's not HER - it's him that is the narcissist, it's him that needs supply, it's me that wasn't providing it and if it wasn't her, it would be another her and eventually when she catches on, it will be. I'm just grateful she came around when she did and not a second later. Not only do I not dislike her, I am thankful to her. I feel bad for her. XH is narcissistic, blaming, critical, condescending, angry, bitter, entitled, unable to apologize, always right, above the rules, horrible, terrible, awful with money, horrible terrible awful with kids, ugly (he is lol!!) and he smokes which I find disgusting. And that is only the start of a list that would be pages long if I had the time. So why should I be angry with this person for taking him off my hands?

But that is not really a nice or even correct way of looking at it. I would recommend reading John Gottman's chapter in What makes Love Last on why affairs happen (I can find the chapter and page numbers if you want) and detailing a bit why he does not believe that people who have affairs are inherently bad people. Also try http://www.noonesthebitch.com and the corresponding book. And also on that topic think about how women in our society are pitted against one another. Why should I be pitted against my xh's gf over HIM? No frickin way. Also the conclusion I came to on my own after perusing a bit the no one's the bitch website is that of thinking of his GF as a sort of aunt to my kids. Meaning, no bad feelings at all - She loves them like an aunt, they like her like an aunt. It is honestly preferable to me that she is there than if she wasn't there because I do believe she is responsible in terms of taking care of kids. She is an extra set of eyes and ears to keep them safe. My xh is beyond irresponsible - he lives in a big city and won't hold their hands crossing streets (he's completely self absorbed and walks really fast ahead of everyone, including his kids and gf.) So his gf watches out for the kids. Just that alone makes me glad for her existence.

So I'll also tell you kind of how we broke the ice because . I hadn't really met or spoken with A (xh's gf.) She came to the island one time and their suitcases didn't arrive and she had no flip flops - only boots. XH asked me if I'd lend her some sandals. So I sent the kids over with a pair. Sounds stupid but it was so surreal - but I did it and felt pretty good about it. Then we had no more contact until she left although I saw her in the parking lot a few times. (W was visiting the island at the same time which made the whole thing easier.) Then 3 months later we all (the kids and I) went to Italy and skied with her. We showed up and went straight to xh and her apartment. So there I was, in her home, face to face with her. She offered me a coffee and we just talked like normal people. About the flight over, about the kids, about getting ready to go skiing. And it normalized her. She was normal. She was frankly, nice. And I let that sink in. And I let it sink in that she could be good for the kids. And other than the fact that she "sides" with xh on all his bs, I like her. He is putting me through a lot of grief lately and I'm guessing at some point she will have had enough. Anyway - I went back to my hotel, called some friends and discussed how normal this woman was. I started to see her positive attributes, the positive things she could bring to my kids.

Anyway - sorry this is long and not super coherent. Really read those two resources as another 'ice breaker' to yourself to try to get past this.

Good luck
 

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My xh didn't have an affair per se (just almost...), but I lost my 2 closest friends at the time who essentially sided with him. He worked on them both, and their husbands pretty hard from what I could tell. It really hurt to feel I could no longer trust either if them. Xh has a new GF whom I have met now twice. It's surreal - like I am looking at myself talking to her.

I consoled myself over the friends by knowing kids were safer with xh if he had support ( I am afraid of what he could do if he lost everything), and that they are now in better care when she is around.

Narcissists are horribly angry when they have no supply, so these enablers have at least probably helped prevent our xh's from being as abusive towards our kids as they would otherwise be. Worthy, I think it's still early in healing because of ongoing financial abuse and impacts of irresponsible money management on your xh's part. I can't imagine why anyone would take on that lemon of a man. She must be watching their funds disappear into who knows where.... or will discover it at some point. Probably will eventually leave him or be dumped for someone weaker who won't ever question him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thank you, AG and Rocky (and everyone). Your comments are thoughtful and helpful.

I feel that if she was just some woman he was dating, if I hadn't been such close friends with her, if I hadn't trusted her with a lot of my deep-down secrets, if there hadn't been this horrific betrayal of friendship, I would probably have no difficulty being around her at all. That would have been so much easier for me. But this particular woman *knows* all about me and my history and vulnerabilities.

In a way, I think it's a little like when you sleep with someone, you can't go back to being anonymous. You open a door that you can then always see through (or at least remember what is on the other side of) when you know someone on an intimate level, and you know they can do the same. I didn't sleep with her, obviously, but did the emotional equivalent, yk? I can't hide behind a mask because she's already seen what's underneath.

If that door of intimacy had never opened, I'm sure I would be over this long ago, but we were friends for...let's see, about seven years. I was at her wedding, supported her at the time of (though was not present at) both of her births, cross-nursed her babies on occasion. When she was overdue with her eldest and getting pressured for induction, she called me to help her figure out a plan. When XH and I started having difficulties, she's the one I confided in. So that makes it feel extraordinarily complicated.

It does kind of blow my mind that she knew what she was getting into with him and dove in anyway. I believe they're both broken and deficient in similar ways, so they're probably not noticing what's missing in the other because it's missing in themselves.

It is true that it is a good situation for my kids, and they have known their "step" brothers all their lives. She is kind to them. I do ask the kids about what they did at their dad's, and I never flinch when they mention her, and sometimes I mention her because it's part of the conversation about what they did. I don't talk about my relationship with her.

Anyway, I made an appt next week with someone who can hear what I need and make some suggestions for good therapists. I need help with this one, and a few other things that have come up recently. Summer when the kids are around less seems a good time to do these things.
 
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