Joining the club.

by mssinglemama on December 16, 2008

She’s been my best friend my entire life.

And now, she’ll be a single mom.

Her boyfriend of six years and the father of their four-year-old daughter is moving out – the catalyst – an affair he’s been having with a young co-worker. On Saturday night she called me, her voice hushed and fringing on frantic.

His moving out had been unfolding for over one week now, the details were intermittent and things were still so unclear. And up until a few hours earlier, she had hope that maybe he would come to his senses and stay.

“I need to drop off a piece of furniture, can you open your garage?”

“Of course, I’ll be out in a minute.”

After we unloaded the dresser, we walked toward my apartment. The kids were already inside playing, her daughter completely unaware of the pain ripping through her mother’s heart. Before we made it to the door she just started sobbing, “there’s someone else. He’s seeing someone else.”

Her voice broke into sobs and I grabbed her in a tight hug, the only thing I could do. I’d never seen her like this – ever. She had been working on their relationship for months and months, seeing a therapist on her own because he refused to go, doing sweet things for him, constantly optimistic that he would “feel better” soon.

I wanted to kill him, to march right over to their house and cause him some kind of pain or hurt him for breaking my best friend’s heart. Not just for breaking it but breaking her – a woman who is absolutely gorgeous inside and out, the kind of woman every woman wants as a best friend, a sister or a mother.

“You’ll be better off, you will.”

“I know. I know I will. But it hurts. It hurts so badly, I’ve never felt this way before, this angry.”

I gave her every piece of advice I could muster from reading so many of your blogs and in writing my own. But this was her… my best friend, the girl I used to play with every single day in elementary school, the teenager who gave me my first beer, the young woman who taught me how to put on my make up and the young mother who has been here for me since day one of my pregnancy and of my divorce.

And now here we were. Both of us single moms. One stronger than the other in this moment, but both just little girls grown up with our fairy tale endings completely shattered. We popped open a bottle of red wine and commiserated, just staring into each other’s eyes and shaking our heads – at a complete loss for words, a rarity.

“How am I going to tell her?”

“She’s four. She’ll bounce back,” I run off some other positive advice. All of it sounding like crap.

“She is always asking me, ‘will daddy move out like Benjamin’s daddy did?’ And I always tell her, ‘no’. What is she going to think? She’ll think I’m a liar.”

“You know what. We can not protect our kids from everything – we just can’t. And she can see that Benjamin is okay, even though his dad moved out.”

So… she’s been reading divorce guides and the how to tell your kids books. They’re all telling her what not to say, but none are telling her what she should say.

What are the words?

How do you explain to a four-year-old that mommy and daddy are breaking up, divorcing or separating?

There will be more on this later… she, obviously, has always read this blog. I just never thought she’d have to use it. Damn him. And what kind of a man – by the way – actually cheats on his family. Ugh. The worst of the worst. And what kind of women cheat with them? What is wrong with people?

——

To catch up with Mia’s Story:

Related posts:

  1. Daddy! Daddy! Daddy?
  2. Momma Cum Laude’s daughter is here!!!
  3. When is daddy going to bail?
  4. Single Mom S.O.S.: Her ex wants full custody!
  5. Deal breakers

{ 7 trackbacks }

A Letter To the “Other Woman”:
December 23, 2008 at 1:41 pm
Mia’s Story, Part I
January 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm
Mia’s Story, Part II
January 29, 2009 at 1:50 pm
Mia’s Story Part III
February 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm
Fiesta, Fiesta!
March 22, 2009 at 6:03 pm
The Easter Man
April 12, 2009 at 5:08 am
Single Moms and Married Moms
June 30, 2009 at 4:41 am

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin December 16, 2008 at 9:16 pm

This makes me so sad to find out. I went through the same exact thing except my daughter was 2 months old. I’ll make sure to send some positive and healing energy her way. The worst of the worst is right, good thing there is a thing called Karma.

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mssinglemama December 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Yes, karma is a bitch.

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Valerie December 16, 2008 at 9:53 pm

I am a therapist for children. I am glad my son was 6 months old when my ex left, although, I wonder what he will go through later. I use this book with older kids (7+ years), but there is some helpful stuff in it.
When Mom and Dad Separate: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief from Divorce (Paperback)
by Marge Heegaard (Author)

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k December 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm

that made me so mad and sad reading that. My heart goes out to her. I know heartbreak from not long ago, as we all do. Just remember to breathe. That’s all any of us can do in the beginning.

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The Dumbest Smart Girl You Know December 16, 2008 at 10:07 pm

I don’t have any advice here (my kids were young enough that I didn’t have to explain)…but I know what your friend is going through, right down to the younger co-worker. I’m so sorry anyone has to feel that pain. She and her daughter are in my prayers!

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Tricia December 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Steer her over my way…I’ve been there. I’m three years out from my whole world crashing down just like that. Now I haven’t come out smelling like a complete bed of roses…yet. But I’m figuring it all out, one thing at a time.

But oh my…that pain she’s feeling now. There are no words.

Hang on, girl. You can do this. You can.

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SnowWrite December 16, 2008 at 10:16 pm

As a single mom to six I’ve been through this scenario way too many times. It hurts like hell and your friend is lucky she has someone like you to be there for her during this tough time. Trust me when I say the little one will bounce back. Do not try to make up for this “break up” by coddling or buying your way out of the guilt.

We, as women, beat ourselves up so much more than we should because society looks at the single mom and assumes that it is our fault we are in this situation. Some of us are door mats, some of us expect more out of a relationship than the male is willing to give and many of us have been cheated on again and again. Oh yes right, it’s all the woman’s fault.

It doesn’t matter how attractive you are (I always thought the really pretty ones didn’t get cheated on) if he is an @ss he will eventually cheat and justify it to everyone around him.

It’s your job now to suck it up and move on ladies. Grieve, scream, cry and curse to the high heavens at what a low-life this man is but for the sake of your child get it out of the way and move on. And you know what, it’s ok for your child to see that you are sad. It’s ok to tell them that even though you care for her dad that you just can’t live together anymore. I really do know where you are coming from and my heart aches for your friend and her little girl.

Let me tell you a quick story:
When I was in my 20′s (I’m almost 45 now) and pregnant with my 3rd child I had a childhood friend that I ran into working at the local mall. She was pregnant with her first child. We exchanged phone numbers and I went on my way. That night she showed up at my door, her boyfriend had beat her and she refused to press charges. I was shocked especially since she was about 7 months pregnant. She came to live with me for about a month, on Mother’s day she went back to him. I could never understand why (I mean I know all about not being able to leave a man, but the way he beat her I would have run the other way, especially while pregnant).

So many of us put up with stuff we shouldn’t have to save ourselves from being alone or dealing with raising a baby alone.

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T December 16, 2008 at 10:26 pm

My oldest daughter was 4 when her dad moved out. We both sat with her and told her that we were not getting along… fighting too much… and that we decided we shouldn’t live together anymore. He said he was still going to be her father and that he was moving in with his brother. She said, “forever?”

*sigh*

The day he was moving out, I told her that we were both sad. I told her that after he left, I would probably cry. I wanted her to know that it was ok if she wanted to cry too. We’d told her that he and I would be friends but that we just were having too hard of a time living together. We said we thought we’d be happier and be better mommy and daddy to her if we lived in different houses.

So, he told her when he’d see her next, said goodbye and walked out the door.

I lost it.

And my baby girl? She hugged me and said, “That’s ok Mommy. You can just marry someone else.”

It was an adjustment but she sees that we’re both happier this way. And I know from having parents who were miserable together, that happy parents make a happy child. Even under two different roofs.

((hugs)) to your friend. I’m sorry it turned out this way. But you are showing her proof that she will be ok.

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PT-LawMom December 16, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Oh boy, this is soooo hard. :( I bought the KoKo Bear and Dinosaurs Divorce books for Pumpkinhead, who was 4 when we filed for divorce (now 5). He seems to have taken it in stride, but then his Dad disappeared for 5 months (big chickenshit). Who knows what will happen in a few years as he continues to process it, which is what both my therapist and his say will happen. One thing that has been super-helpful is that I got us both into a divorce recovery group. We are going to DivorceCare (DivorceCare.org), which has a companion group for kids. They watch videos and discuss all sorts of scenarios. I liked that the videos showed all types of single parent families (father-run, deceased parent, etc.) and kind of focused on the “it takes a village” message. Pumpkinhead begs to go to group now.

Good luck to your friend! Speaking from experience, the cheating makes you feel sooooo deficient, especially when you feel like even though you tried so hard, it wasn’t enough. :(

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sortasinglemama December 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm

She will find words in time for her daughter. Take it from someone who has been there and back: CARING FOR YOURSELF IS THE FOUNDATION OF CARING FOR YOUR CHILD. Children learn a lot more through actions and example than they do with words. Please encourage your friend to focus on self-care and she will find caring for her child much easier.

My husband’s affair was the most painful thing ever in entire world, and I would say most of my friends consider me pretty strong and well put together. I have always had my own job, my own friends, etc. and am very independent, but it still hurt like hell. I don’t know WHY affairs hurt so bad, but you can only truly know that pain if you’ve been there. She needs support from others who have had cheating partners. This group helped me heal a lot, I hope your friends finds some solace there as well. Good luck!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/surviving_infidelity/

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Julie December 17, 2008 at 7:37 am

My heart breaks for your friend. I went through the same thing a year ago. The pain is almost unbearable when you find out the person you loved has been cheating on you. Nothing will make the pain go away. Nothing anyone can say will make it better. The pain your heart can feel is unbelievable. I didn’t eat or sleep for two months. I think I was in shock. The only thing that kept me going was my daughter.

The only thing I can offer is the hope that it does get better. One day it stops hurting so much. It took 11 months for me. One day I just realized the pain was less. There was no one thing that changed. It just took time. And knowing that the pain will lessen eventually doesn’t make the pain she is feeling now hurt any less.

My only advice is to surround yourself with family and friends. You need to them now more than ever. I don’t think I would have survived the last year without my friends. I wish I knew what to tell her about what to tell her daughter, but my daughter was too little to know what was going on when he dad left. The only advice I have is I believe that how we as parents react to a situation significantly impacts how our children react to a situation.

I’m so sorry for your friend that she has to go through this.

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Wyliekat December 17, 2008 at 7:41 am

Mm. I’d go for the simple. Mommy and Daddy love you very much and they always will. Daddy will have a new house and you’ll see him there and he’ll be very happy in his new home.

Extremely basic, but it’s a starting point. It tells no lies, but doesn’t get into details or negatives.

It sucks so much, because it just seems like some men cannot handle the transition to parenthood. And even if they can manage it for themselves, it’s like they can’t forgive their partner for becoming a mother.

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Dawn December 17, 2008 at 8:43 am

I totally respect you for describing your friends situation so clearly. And for calling the boy who ran off a ‘man.’

Friendships like yours with her are golden. Listening is a lost art. Forget the advice. Be there, repeat to her what you hear tumbling out of her heart. It’s the best medicine in the world. Soon she’ll be flying, making plans of her own … like he didn’t exist.

Children are wise to who loves them. Like a cat who comes home to the owner who feeds them. That’s all children need. She’s got that down, and that’s the end of that worry.

She’s better off without the stress of wondering why there was no reciprocity. Not married? Lucky girl. Who wants to fight over the child created, whose best off in the hands that held her best interest from day one. (nine months prior)

It’s a magical story.

Listening is a gift. Hearts are brusied but they never do break.

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delex February 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

i need serious single mother for serious relationship and long term relationship….age does not matter.

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Dawn December 17, 2008 at 8:58 am

In reading a prior post, I was reminded of a time when my daughters were questioning if I would get back together with their dad. I just moved out. I said I was divorced already. There was no point to them traveling the three years ahead I battled it out. The next question was, are you going to marry anyone else? I said I’d thought about that long and hard. I said I found the perfect person I’d like to spend the rest of my life with. And they looked at me with great interest and said “WHO?” I said me. It made sense, I totally loved me, approved of all my decisions and I gave myself all the attention I needed. I told them I was going to marry myself. They asked me how I would celebrate and I told them I was going to make cookies. They asked me what kind. And that’s the end of the story.

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littlemansmom December 17, 2008 at 9:01 am

Great big hugs to your friend!!! I’m so sorry that she is having to go through this. She will be ok (after all, she has you to lean on) and he daughter will be just fine. You’re right, kids do bounce back and they get through just fine with love and support.

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Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) December 17, 2008 at 9:46 am

Unreal. I hate this for her but I know you will be a good friend with words of wisdom to continue to share along this journey.

The daughter will be ok, she will continue to ask questions, as mine still do after 5 years, but she will adjust and do ok. My daughter was four when I left their dad, and ours was quite the dramatic ordeal as we had to deal with protective orders and the like because of his violence… but now all this time later… they both are wonderful children that have a relationship with both of us.

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Wyliekat December 17, 2008 at 9:52 am

Oh and one more thing. Please tell her this important message:

It may feel like you cannot possibly survive this kind of emotional heartbreak. But you know what? Each time you get up in the morning, each time you put one foot in front of the other, each time you hug your child – you’re doing it. Your’e surviving. You’re coping. If you have not fallen down dead, you’re doing exactly what you need to do, in order to get past this.

For some reason, this concept was enormously comforting to me when my marriage fell apart.

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Julie December 17, 2008 at 9:58 am

One more thing, and this may be the exception to the rule. When my ex was living with us, he did not help with our daughter at all. He never fed her, bathed her, put her down for naps or bed, or even played with her. He had very little contact with her when we were living together. When he moved out, he didn’t know what she ate or what size diapers she wore.

Now, he is the exact opposite. He has become a very good dad. He isn’t perfect, and he still does things that I do not agree with. But, he has stepped up as a father. He is doing much better as a father not living with us than when he was living with us.

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Jaelynredwolf February 5, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Julie,____My ex is the same but with emotional abuse thrown in for good measure too. How did you learn to trust him with your child? I am struggling with that ALOT right now. The court wants us to have overnite weekend visits for my 2yr old son, my EX doesnt have a clue, I am just worried that my son will suffer for it.____Jenn

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shani December 17, 2008 at 11:12 am

Well, i have only read this blog a time or two. and I dont believe I have ever commented. However, this particular subject is near and dear to me.
About 11 years ago, after 9 years of marriage, my ex husband/father of my children left us for his old high school girlfriend. My children were at the time, 7,5, and 4.
I was, as your friend, working through a depression and abandonment. However, one day, about 3 months after the separation, I decided it was up to me, to comfort and talk to my kids.
I sat them down, said that this choice, although hard for us all. including me ( i felt it was important for them to know i was hurting too). how much it hurt us all, that we were in this together, and we would be just fine.
I have been a single mother now for 11 years. there have been men come and go in my life, and the children over the years have embraced them with me.
Thier father has not been a large part of thier lives since the split- his loss. But I still tell friends, I think that the sit-down so many years ago, is the reason that my kids and I are so close today!
hang in there, this too shall pass.. my kids and I found the most strength in each other.

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K December 17, 2008 at 11:32 am

First off I guess I should give the disclaimer. I haven’t had to deal with this personally and I am married.

That said, I was 10 when my dad packed up and left (the week before Christmas). I just wanted to say that kids really do bounce back. I am okay and so will the other kids experiencing this stuff.

The near term will be hard, but with time it really will get better.

I vote for telling some simple version of the truth to kids. You know your childs and you know how much info they can handle.

Good luck. I’ll send postive thoughts your way.

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Angie December 17, 2008 at 11:35 am

My heart definitely goes out to her. This is going to be a horribly trying year, but at least she has you by her side.

{virtual hug}

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Candy December 17, 2008 at 11:46 am

That’s great! You can enjoy this.I know the first and largest dating site for Cougars and Young Men … Sugar Mommy Match.C o m … where cougars and young men seeking love! That’s cool!

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Petula December 17, 2008 at 11:50 am

That is so unfortunate. I am sorry for your friend. I have been separated from my husband for a year and a half and are going through a divorce. We have three children together (I have four altogether). The three youngest are 1, almost 4 and 5. I don’t have any fallout, so far, with the 1 year old because I was 8 months pregnant when it happened. The other to were 2 and 3 and I just explained to them that sometimes mommies and daddies can’t be together, but that we both love them. Most recently I’ve talked to them again. When children are young it’s going to be an ongoing conversation. As they get older they’ll need reassurances and have different memories and concerns. My 3 (almost 4) daughter doesn’t remember us being together but she wants us to be together because of a “feeling” she has. (I actually wrote a blog post about this) and the 5 year old remembers and wants us to be together. That doesn’t change either way, but the kids just need to be reassured on a regular basis.

Sorry for the ramble… I am so touched my your friend’s situation and hope that the healing begins soon. Tell her to take her time and take care of herself and her daughter as best she can until she becomes stronger. She is lucky to have you.

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mssinglemama December 17, 2008 at 11:58 am

I just wanted everyone to know that she is reading and says your advice is already making her feel better – less alone…

Keep them coming. And if you have a blog post you’ve written about this same subject before – by all means, please leave the link.

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Petula December 17, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Hi again. Here’s a link to the post where I highlighted part of the conversation with my daughter. http://www.petulaw.com/2008/12/stylin-talkin.html… Like I did in this situation (talking to my daughter while doing something together), your friend can try the same thing. I actually had a similar conversation with my 5-year-old son last night while I was giving him a bath. It may help to for your friend to be somewhat busy during the conversation so she can remain less emotional during the conversation. My beginning conversations were quite difficult. I’m glad she’s feeling less alone – we all have to ban together and support each other.

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Wyliekat December 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I actually wrote one on the subject after I read this post. It’s full of vitriol about men who leave – which may or may not be your friends’ cup of tea at the moment.

http://www.wyliekat.com

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Pam December 17, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I must say I actually cried for her as I read this. I was crying for her and for the girl I was 7 years ago when I was in the exact same spot. Counseling and trying while he was running around behind my back! Bless her heart, I know how badly it is broken right now. She will be fine! She is better off because he is a slimy, low down, scum bag and no matter who you are, you deserve better than that! And her daughter deserves better. I read a great book with my daughter who was almost 4 when this happened in our family : Boegehold, B., Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. New York: Gold Books, 1985. There are MANY options to choose from, just have her check the library or local book store. Good Luck to her, she is in my thoughts and prayers!

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O Solo Mama December 17, 2008 at 2:15 pm

So very sad. It feels like you cut off your arm even if the person isn’t especially good for you and you know you’ll make it through. Tell her not to guilt-trip herself over what to say to her daughter; the words will come. Also she’s entitled to feel as bad as she needs to. This is never an easy thing. I’m so glad she has a friend like you. I’m so glad she’s rid of the ding-a-ling she tried to make better too.

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Cheryl December 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm

I don’t even know her, but darlin’ I’m sending your BFF some serious HUGS and love right now.

We single mama’s (regardless of how we “got” this way) need to stick together!

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LTP December 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I think your friend will be amazed at how resilient children truly are. I think, at times, that I’ve been way more emotionally wrecked that my two little boys–over their dad and I no longer being together, over the loss of a serious boyfriend following that, etc.

Reading books is always helpful…Dinosaurs Divorce (which someone else mentioned) is a little hokey in my opinion and honestly at the time, it was just too much for them to really grasp (Henry was 4, Will was 1). In the past couple of years however, we’ve read others and just talked openly about it–which I think is the best way. Henry has asked me several times if we were going to get back together–and I told him ‘no’. The first year was hard–and he cried on occasion–when I would tell him that–and believe me, it broke my heart–but I knew eventually he would heal–and he did.

He doesn’t ask me anymore…his dad has a very serious girlfriend (that I think he’ll probably marry) and he knew my now-ex boyfriend quite well. I think Henry is okay–he knows our family is “different” but that’s okay. There is a support group at his school for all the kids who have divorced parents…and that has helped, too.

Your friend is crushed….I think we can all identify with that in whatever way that we can….but she’ll survive and so will her daughter. We just have to remember to stay strong for our kids–no matter how horrible we feel on the inside. Children need us to feel safe and secure–that they won’t be abandoned. Books are good, keeping it simple even better.

To end on a light note, Will (my almost 4-year old) informed me the other day that I need a new boyfriend. When I asked how I was going to get a new one, he suggested maybe Santa would bring me one. I had to laugh…I love the innocence of children. : )

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Amber December 17, 2008 at 4:27 pm

READ THIS:

This situation is absolutely IDENTICAL to my own. BF/fiance of 6 years and I have a baby. When baby is 2 i can tell something is “wrong” with BF. So i shower him with love, affection, SPACE to figure out what he needs. And come to find out he has been cheating on me from you guessed…someone from work.

You are so right, the pain is unlike anything you will ever feel in life. You are feeling pain for you and your child. It feels as if nothing could possibly make the horrible feelings go away. I am telling you now that you will feel better. But you have to give yourself time to heal emotionally. Which is something i struggled with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You seem to have atleast one person in your life that you can go to for anything, and she knows almost exactly how you feel (another thing i wish i had while going through it). Know this…there is nothing you could have done to prevent what he has done.

Pretty soon you will be able to wake up without him and his short commings being the first thing on your mind. And then the bad days will be fewer and farther between.

And as for your daughter. She has a mother who would give anything, her life, the world to make her happy. Which is so much more than many have. You be there for her an be honest with her. Not only will she survive without any scars, she will THRIVE, bc she has you. Do not bad mouth him as much as you might like to. Save that for your BFF’s.

It is a small man that cheats on his family, but an even smaller woman who can do such a thing to another woman.

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Leah December 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm

I can’t think of anything to add to add to this but my sympathy for your friend’s anguish. I know the only thing that helped me when I was going through the initial shock was knowing I was not alone…

Your friend is so lucky to have your love and support during this difficult time.

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Sheila December 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Sending your friend lots of love and support. I hope she knows that she is doing the right thing. It is scary and nothing is “certain”, but she will make it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and know that there are many women out there who have gone through the same thing and who can nurture you through this time.

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christine December 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm

its both horrifying and reassuring to see all the comments from women who have gone through such similar things. three months ago, my husband told me he didn’t want to be married anymore, and he couldn’t stand to even fake it one more day. turns out he met someone else when he went away on business the month before. we have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and at the time of his announcement, i was 7 months pregnant. i moved into my mother’s house, and gave birth to our second daughter jut last week. these past months have been some of the most painful of my life, but i am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

it makes me so angry that women do this to other women–this woman he is involved with, by the way, is a single mother to two girls herself–you’d think she’d have a little more compassion, especially since she considers herself to be a radical feminist sort of woman. i don’t understand any of it, really, so i just keep telling myself that my daughters and i are better off now, even when it feels most bleak.

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Dawn December 17, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Amber has a really GREAT point:

It is a small man that cheats on his family, but an even smaller woman who can do such a thing to another woman.

Wish women understood this type are apt to leave them to, wish they would look and see what a ‘prize’ of a man they really caught.

Be happy life delivered you from even one more day on that road you’d been on.

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Star December 17, 2008 at 11:20 pm

I’m in month two of this same horrible situation with a 2 year old and a 2 1/2 month old baby. I tried so hard to fix the problems in my marriage too and found out he was having an affair. He is such a liar that he still claims it was nothing, just a one night crossing the line with a friend and in my heart, even though our marriage was over and I knew he had to be lying, I wanted to believe it until I recently found a itinerary receipt in his email for a trip to Hawaii for Christmas for the two of them with their names listed together. We’re in the process of divorce right now. Meanwhile, I take care of the kids all but 4 hours a week and he hasn’t paid a dime of child support since he left and yet he calls me money hungry and a bad co-parent and rude. I’m also trying to figure out how to explain all this to my two year old. He’s smart and observant and keeps asking me who is making me sad and why I am crying. I have started to be say that I’m crying because I’m sad that Daddy can’t live with us anymore too, just like he is. I feel for her and understand the hell that she’s in. My parents have basically taken over with the kids and money and it’s really tough to have to be at their mercy again after so many years and have the battle where my mom wants to spank my two year old even though she knows I don’t believe in it and I do time-outs and she has even told me over the years that spankings never worked with my brother…it’s also hard to stay with your parents and try not to let a two year old ruin their house and drive them nuts. I can’t think of any other option at this point though since my baby is so young. My husband is letting me move back to the East coast to be closer to my parents but only after I give up rights to my spousal support. How do you explain that Daddy only sees you every once in a while now because he sold you for a price. That money was more important than spending time with you? It’s so hard to support your “coparent” when they have such little interest. I am also struggling with the X-mas present thing because I’m trying to teach my 2 year old about X-mas and the joy of giving. Also hard because my husband’s parents send the kids presents to my husband…like he sees them barely at all. He doesn’t even have a place for them to visit him at. He also has a drinking issue that he doesn’t acknowledge and it’s scary to think of some day when he’ll want to take them for a few days on a whim. I can understand your friend’s anger…it’s so hard to spend your life slaving away and dealing with tantrums and changing diapers while your ex is living the high life with twice as much money as he had before, partying it up, taking vacations with some chick, having great sex, and taking a party bus to a football game with friends for his birthday instead of doing his scheduled visitation with his sons. I’m also having a hard time dealing since I’m also adjusting to having two kids and starting over with a newborn again with my body, my sleep, my energy, and my lack of personal time. Please tell your friend I am sending good thoughts and that it could be much worse…

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Sarah December 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

My parents separated at the same age as this woman’s daughter. At the time, I was devastated and there were days I cried out for my father. But to this day I’m so grateful that my mother was able to leave him. She was so unhappy and he was a pretty selfish guy. He doesn’t mean to be, but he just is. Your kids will be fine. They want you to be happy. Trust me.
And if it makes your friend feel any better- I have some stepsister’s whose father left their mother for my mother. (They have been happily married now for 14 years today!) And though I thank my lucky stars for my stepfather, my stepsisters never really forgave him because he left their mother. So though it’s not great in my case, but he’ll get what’s coming to him. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for and they won’t let him off the hook easy.
Stay strong.

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Jim H. December 18, 2008 at 10:41 am

It’s too bad we can’t tell kids the truth.

Like I know we say “Mommy and Daddy love you very much”, but obviously one parent loved their own pleasure and happiness more than staying together to give their children a LOVING two parent home.

Really, that’s what it comes down to – the cheater put themselves before their family. This, to me, is the epitome of selfishness.

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Amber December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm

….And don’t feel like you wasted your time on him. Because once you get back on your feet you will be able to say that you did everything to hold your family together and he most certainly will not be able to say that. I am a firm believer of karma and one day he will get a taste of his own medicine. Hang in there girl. Hang onto that friend of yours, shes helped us all through some rough times!

PS~You have the best part of him already, and she’ll love you forever.

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Wondermom December 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Squirt was almost 4 when my Ex and I split up. I wanted to talk to the kids about it together but Daddy of the year just told them he was going on a trip for work and walked out. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for…that night before bed, Squirt said “Daddy’s going to live in a new house, isn’t he?” and I figured honesty was best so I told him yes. I told him that we would be living in a new house soon too but that we both still loved him very much and would still be his mommy and daddy. He cried a lot that night. Once he calmed down a little and was able to talk, his big fears seemed to be 1. I don’t want him to live in a new house because he’s my daddy, not someone else’s daddy (I reassured him that he is your daddy and not anyone else’s). 2. Daddy’s going to be lonely in a new house all by himself and he’ll miss us (I told him Daddy will surely miss us but sometimes grownups have to make hard choices and we made the choice that we will all be happier if we don’t live together anymore) For the first few weeks, things were pretty rough. When he said he missed his daddy, I told him that I miss Daddy too but I know this is what is best for us and then tried to focus on the good things. He asked his dad one day if he missed us and Ex said he missed the boys but he didn’t miss me. Squirt got furious and threw the phone down and refused to talk to him the next few times he called. No matter how hard it is, take the high road when it comes to the kids and do not bad-mouth their other parent. They’ll figure things out on their own soon enough!

A few weeks after we separated, Squirt asked me one night if Daddy and I have to live apart now because we were fighting too much. I told him that there were a lot of grownup reasons but yes, that was one of them. He got really quiet and then said that sometimes we fight when he doesn’t clean up his toys or eat his supper or when he picks on his brother…does that mean that we’ll have to live apart and then who will he live with. I just about lost it that night. The good news is that a few months into the separation, we were watching Nemo one day and he just out of the blue said “You know what, Mommy? You were right…it is better that Daddy has his new house and we have our new house. We are happier now…but I still miss Daddy.”

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pixiemama January 2, 2009 at 1:02 am

I still have to take a deep breath when I remember the pain. It gets better …then worse …hen better… but slowly the weight lifts and your heart can beat calmly again… That i know.

As far as what to tell the kids. My son who was 5 at the time asked why is daddy not going to live here anymore and I used the same words i had used a year ago about a boy that was giving my son a hard time in KG. I said do you remember your friend Joe.. Remember how he was not able to be a good friend to you and you staid away from him for a while. Well daddy and I are unable to be good friends to each other and we are both feeling better staying away from each other. and the question repeated over and over over the next 6 month and the answer was always the same. Now it is a matter of fact.

I think the struggle comes in the fine line between shielding him from the asshole that his father is capable of being but also not playing the martyr and letting dad walk away with the sun setting down on him every time. So when Mr dad let us wait in front of his new Pad for 45 minutes when he was suppose to have the kids for the night. I drove away and when my little boy asked where is daddy. I said you know, I really don’t know honey… Doesn’t he know we are coming he asked and I said yes but he is not there and it is time for us to get to sleep….. and nothing else.. no excuses made or judgement passed.( at least not loudly)

I think with children of that age.. the simpler the explanation the better. Fewer words. And the hardest part is don’t let them see you fall apart. Yes you are human but for the time being you are also their world and it has to stay safe… but that is what makes us the strong women we can be.

I am glad you have a good friend to stand by you ( with obviously a lot of great advise) I owe where I am now to my good friends and my Yoga…. yes it centered me when i would loose my balance.

You and your little one will be ok.
Much love and good vibes sent your way

PXM

and now i better go to sleep.. in just a few hours 4 little feet will be all over me. ;)

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Mia's sister January 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm

“Letter to the other woman” was written by my sister. We have not always gotten along, ironically, though, we are far more similar than either of us are ever willing to admit. Frankly, we are both viewed as strong, intelligent, outgoing women with a great deal of savvy when it comes to knowing people…

I know my sister. I love her more than she will ever know. Her pain is implosive; she would never subject her daughter to the FEAR she feels at this time. Sydney has never had to know fear or uncertainty until her callow father made this poor decision. But even fear and extreme sadness is a part of life and a part of evolution. It is how we choose to react to them that matters. I trust my sister one thousand percent in this arena.

But we ALL need to keep in mind that HE is a human being and fallible as we all are. I realize, to some, this may appear to be a defense on his part. It is not (I’ve never even liked him, and it’s pretty much common knowledge). I am furious and astounded at his behavior… and equally (-as unpopular as this will read-) empathetic toward it. Because I have been a woman that was not always “certain” and I have been a woman who has even loved a married man –with a family, I feel a tinge of hypocrisy in joining the “hate brigade” against him. I am angry at the 24 year old girl who is seducing him and then I look in the mirror and see my past haunting me. Whether one acts on such desires for a married person isn’t always the point; we are burdened by the feelings themselves more than the decision to act upon them or refrain. Love is selfless and, yes SELFISH too! When you are in love with someone, you cannot help but want that person at any cost. Is this the case with them? Who knows and I don’t really care. They mean nothing to me, my sister and niece mean everything. BUT: It’s easy to assume the culprits of her heartache are devoid of guilt, shame, fear and pain… while most agree those are deserved consequences, it isn’t popular to think about the other side’s turmoil. (I might be giving this woman too much credit…)

Again, this is not a defense of them. But I refuse to reduce the father of my niece– the man who proactively helped mold her into the amazing little girl she is, as an insidious, heartless bastard. It is not that simple. If this were true, my sister would never be with him to begin with. It belittles her to make him into a lump of garbage. People’s lives are shaped by the comprehensive amalgamation of choices. This is a VERY VERY bad choice, granted, but he is not a very very bad man. He is and always was a lost boy. It’s
up to him to find himself, and sooner or later, he will realize it cannot be done through other women or affairs or even long-term relationships (–another topic I’m familiar with).

Love, like my sister wrote, is not ever neatly packaged. It is easy to assassinate one’s character and defile the cheaters’ worth with “morality” propoganda. The truth is an elusive thing. It’s hues, however bold or undeniable, DO blend over time with shades few people choose to recognize in full spectrum. Nothing is black and white. Do I think he is WRONG in his choice? Hell yes. Do I think he will regret it (-sooner than later), definitely. Do I begrudge him? Of course. I want to punch him in the groin! But I do not want my sister living with -let alone FOR- a man who does not live for her. She deserves more. She deserves the best. She has men lined up wanting to be good to her.

People change… sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. I believe, in knowing my sister, she will actually flourish from this. A Lotus Blossom is created in the mud. This beautiful, fragile-LOOKING flower, in all it’s serenity and wisdom, if you will, is begotten of the earth’s deepest staining residue. When you look at this rare, stunning flower, you see the blossom, not the mud. She is made for greater things and her personhood -her motherhood- will be strengthened by her will to continue to love. She will not lose love for her child and I hope not herself. She will one day see his departure as her blessing– not because he is a snake, but because she outgrew the mud. She can be one day thankful for what they did have, what they created and what they spared each other.

As far as HE goes… Wherever he takes his affection, he most likely will always be somehow colored by my sister’s undulant grace, compassion and beauty– the hues of her life have visibly rubbed off on him and are indelibly a part of his greatest creation: their daughter. I personally feel, if he ever finds serenity, he will have to thank my sister for showing him how to recognize it. She is the Lotus Blossom… he is the mud, but not filth. Time will tell what he molds into or if he continues a path that just stains.

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Foui January 10, 2009 at 5:05 am

And what kind of a man – by the way – actually cheats on his family. Ugh. The worst of the worst. “”"”

It depends. All you have is your friend’s version. My girlfriend, a single mother by choice (she dumped the loser), works in a business where many of her clients are newly moms.

She listens to them and she tells me so often that many of them think that having a baby is their ticket to paradise and they don’t have to work on their relationship anymore. These women often complain that their man requires too much attention.

More often than not, the man leaves. It’s very sad.

I know there are assholes out there, but I’m just trying to give you the other side of the story. It’s proven that men don’t see other women because they are just pigs. Just like women, we see other people when our relationship isn’t fulfilling anymore, in every aspect.

Children can be very hard on a relationship if both parties don’t communicate well. Remember, children only live with their parents for about 20 years. Getting married is suppose to be for life.

People, especially young moms, often don’t realize that it would be much easier for everyone, including the kids, if they worked on their relationship instead of giving all the attention to the children and then end up in a broken family.

My gf’s kid used to suck up all the attention from her (and me). I couldn’t bear it anymore until I imposed her the condition that her child needed to have the role of a child. meaning : obey and get affection when we give it, not demand it.

In the beginning, he felt a little abandonned but our couple is doing MUCH better and guess what, he’s now the happier i’ve never seen him cuz he finally lives in a really family where has his place, as a child, not mommy’s second boyfriend.

Anyway, I’m wandering a lot, but remember that there a lot of sides to a story. The man is to blame for not communicating his feelings and she is to blame for not paying attention to the obvious signals of someone seeing someone else.

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Josiane January 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

I was her daughter. My mom, back in 1991, got an anonymous letter telling her that my dad was cheating on her. And he was. He had been for a whole year. They weren’t fighting. They were fine, he was working a lot. HA. Working, right.

I remember very little of my life before the divorce. But I remember vividly the day she packed our light blue suitcase and said “we’re moving to memere’s” (I am, by the way, French-Canadian from New Brunswick. Don’t hold it against me, Quebecers are MUCH bigger A-holes than we are lol ;)

My dad tried his best. We saw each other every other weekend and he really tried.

The first year was tough but I had an awesome mom and still do! My mom is my rock and I am hers. Then we found an apartment and started our life as mom-and-jo. Maybe it was because my dad was pretty absent, but it was no big deal. I missed my paternal grand-parents more because my dad was an ass and refused to let me see them after the divorce but that’s for a whole other day.

I grew up to be fine. I found the letter myself in an old purse of my step-mom’s (the other woman. whom I now adore.) when I was 14 and I realized what kind of man my father was and still is. We go out to dinner once in a while, my mom, step-mom and I and joke about my dad and his craziness.

My mom keeps saying that it took her 5 years until she was ok with it. It took me 1. Because of her. Your friend will be fine. Tell her to curl up on the couch with her daughter, watch a movie and eat popcorn. She’ll realize that it will be ok. Because you can watch a movie without dad. And you can do anything else with dad too.

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Tina January 30, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I commented on the posts from Mia to Mia.
But I just wanted to tell you that YOU, Single Mama, are an AWESOME friend.

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Jaelynredwolf February 4, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I sooooo feel for her, though my situation is different. He was emotionally abusive to me and my son (2yrs old) and I left him before it could escalate to something even worse. Now he is acting like the perfect dad and wanting lots of time with my son. I DON"T TRUST HIM but the courts are loving that he wants to see his child, My hands are tied unless I can PROVE he abused us (HOW?????) my boy is only 2 and I don't know how much of all this he "gets". I am sure the questions will come later. I just hope I can explain…But I know the feeling of wanting to hurt him bad, just wish Karma or justice would prevail.____:-( Jenn____http://www.huntinghorsefeathers.blogspot.com

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NotADad April 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Ok so I continue reading back into this blog for some reason posting things nobody will ever read. Dust in the wind. Anyway, on some tangent or other …

I found Mia's comments about the slightly nightmarish quality of her ex's previously innocuous objects (computer chair, old sock etc), having perhaps the spooky quality of an abandoned fairground, strangely but inversely resonant with my own experience of after my ex left years ago. A different kind of spooky. To unpack "inversely": Without me really noticing, she had already moved out a lot of little things that I had become accustomed to in the environment. Things that were hers but that had that quality of being shared about them, of being ours. Such was the efficiency (and slyness?) of her move. Sea horse ornaments. A particular nondescript cooking implement. An ashtray. I'd only notice these were gone when I'd go to use them, or something near where they had been. Each new discovery was another loss, a piece of us vaporized. I'd stare immobile at the spot where it had been for a while, sometimes a long while. These things had trickled down the drain of our lives and now were floating out to her vast open sea somewhere, I was stuck back on that islet of memory. Me and those absences that felt like she had stolen them, even if she hadn't.

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abrookshire June 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm

How did I miss these blogs?

I can totally relate to Mia except, fortunately, it wasn't with Ty's genetic donor, even though it was with the guy that was there during most of my pregnancy, as well as in the OR during my cesarean. Thankfully, Ty was only a year old and was too young to know what was going on.

And this guy never had the nerve to actually admit his behaviors. Even after pictures showed up on his (other) girlfriend's MySpace site. He still, to this day, denies it, which made it difficult, the not knowing.

Anyway, my heart goes out to Mia, but we both know that the hard times always work out and pave the way for great and wonderful times. This pain she's feeling right now is actually quite the blessing in disguise. My thoughts and prayers are for her and her little girl.

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riyah December 27, 2009 at 5:10 am

I can relate to Mia. You know what’s the saddest part of being a single mom is that when your little girl will ask you “where’s my dad, why other children have why not me.” Sometimes no matter how you’ll try to be stronger but when this kind of situation that strength that you have will suddenly change into weakness.

Why is it that, there a man in this world can move into their lives wherein there’s a kid out there longing for their love.
With my experience, one of the most painful is that when the father of my baby denies that he is the one. I am so angry at that time wherein I want to kill that damn man most especially when I found out that the reason why he is leaving me is one of my friends, how painful right.

But now, I have move in that dilema, my little baby girl and I are so happy with my family. There’s a saying goes, “There’s always a rainbow after the rain”.

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Rena August 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I can relate some what, i have been with my boyfriend for 11 years and have a handsome son together, i just found out the man i love cheated on me with a girl that is saying now that her 2 yeard daughter is his this girl knew he had a family and didint care. what i am going through is hard but we are working things out well trying, how can someone cope with that i don’t know. i want to write a letter to her but what do i say.

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My heart is hurting December 20, 2012 at 8:25 am

Just recently my husband of 30 years had sex with our friend. I have chosen to forgive him, but I am having a very hard time getting visions of them having sex out of my mind. Hubby is being very patient but he doesnt understand why I cant just drop it. If I cant let it go it will destroy us in the end. I really need help, because now I hate this woman so much. We have been friends since high school and worked together for 20 years. I think she is dispicable for chasing a married man and manipulating him to have an affair. She is a lonely homewrecker who is stilll living with her mother and does not know what it is like to have a long term relationship, because in her life when the going got tough she just left or threw her mate out. I could not see myself handing over my husband to her. He claims to love me , but I feel he treated her a whole lot better and I am having difficulty getting past it. Dont know what to do

Paulette

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Jessica Myers September 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

This piece is powerful and moving. Telling a child that their parents are splitting up is never easy. I know when I had to tell my son, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I feel in the long run, happy parents apart are better than miserable parents together. Being a single parent isn’t easy but neither is staying in relationship that is not healthy.

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