20 Feb
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am going through a divorce, and it was a mutual decision at first. Then, however, he changed his mind and now says that he will do whatever it takes to win back my affections. He started going to anger management class, being super nice to me all the time, making an effort to come over and help with the kids, and buying stuff for the house without being asked. (He doesn’t live here but we are keeping it casual for the kids so he’s over often.)  He texts me saying things like, “Have a fantastic day!” and has just been generally really awesome.

Before the split, he was always a huge ass, so this is very alternate-universe for me. I am intrigued by the change I see in him, but cautious. In the past he has “changed” for the better for a short time and then gone right back to his old ways, and I don’t want to play the fool again when I finally mustered up the strength to walk away!

Then there’s this other thing.

I met another guy. He’s older than me, and he’s so perfect and amazing in every way. It’s just casual, as he is technically married still as well. I’m falling hard for him and can see us having a wonderful future together some day, and I’m not looking for anything full time or super serious right now so it’s convenient. He’s everything I want in a partner, everything I thought my husband would be when we first got married.

I’m so stuck and confused – my husband is making an effort, and I did make vows to him, but this guy is a dream come true. How do I decide what to do?!

Signed,
Stuck in the Middle

____________________________________________

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

Well, hot damn girl. Sounds to me like your problem is the kind of problem to have, if you know what I’m saying. (And what I’m saying, is, I guess you’re not into threesomes?) But really, you appear to have two fine (ish) young men before you, begging for your affections, and as I sit here folding my husband’s socks while he takes a his SECOND motherloving nap of the day, I’m GREEN with envy, I tell you.

If this were the 19th Century, I’d suggest that you have these two suitors duel for your love. Or maybe they jousted? Whatever it was, it was probably super sexy and romantic, but also didn’t come with the potential of landing your behind in the slammer for negligent manslaughter.

So, for a more modern and practical solution, you could consult a psychic or one of those Magic 8 Balls. Or, you could do some hard work and serious thinking and sort this all out. I think you have some really tough questions to answer for yourself, and no one can really tell you what you need to do. (That said, I think you need to dump the new guy regardless, and here’s why:)

1. If you’re just ending a serious relationship–and in fact, are still in the process of ending it–you’re not in a good position to start something new. And if your almost-ex was as bad as you say, nearly ANYONE is going to seem like a real charmer in comparison, even this “technically still married” stud. You need some space and perspective and you won’t be getting that wedged between two men. (Metaphorically, of course. Ahem.)

2. I’ve never been divorced, but it seems to me that your hesitancy may be a sign that you haven’t exhausted all your options with your husband. Have you tried marriage counseling? I’m not saying you should get back together with him, but I do think you should be absolutely certain that you’re ready to move on before you do so. Seeing a therapist individually or as a couple will save you from beating yourself up further down the road or accidentally having sex with him or something after the divorce is finalized. (It happens on the Real Housewives!)

3. Take care of yourself. (And, according to my therapist, this does not mean “eat a bunch of Ben & Jerry’s and watch marathon TV,” but what does she know anyway?) Do some soul searching or yoga or whatever, and decide what’s going to be best for you, rather than going with what feels fun or good at the moment.

(Though, if you’ve already bought the Ben & Jerry’s, just send it over to The Mouthy Housewives clubhouse and we’ll totally take care of that for you. Because we’re here to help.)

All the best,
Kristine, TMH

14 Responses to “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

02.20.12#1

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I thoroughly agree with Kristine; plus, if this new guy is all you thought your ex husband was before marrying him, it seems to me you are idealising him just as you did your ex husband.

And if the new guy is “technically married still”, you are being unfair towards another woman, who is also “technically married” to him.

Try some counseling, because you have lots of things to sort out.

Good luck. :-)

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Meredith L. Reply:

Absolutely. As a divorced friend of mine put it, if the other person keeps making promises just to save the marriage, you’ll always be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And as I counseled a recently-separated friend, couples therapy is always good, because if nothing else at the very least maybe you can take away some objective life lessons on how to avoid making the same mistakes with new partners in the future…like potentially hooking up with a still technically married guy while you are sorting out your present issues.

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02.20.12#2

Comment by Plano Mom.

Excellent advice. I want to say that I was in the same place with my husband (no other man, darn) and he really did change. The old husband came back, still does, but the huge difference is now he works really, really hard to squelch the asshat whenever he does show up.

Give hubs a try. But keep him separated until you’ve come to understand yourself a bit better, only then can you stop thinking of someone else as “perfect.”

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02.20.12#3

Comment by Amy.

As someone who has divorced parents, I have to stand up for your kids here. If there is the slightest possibility that you could reunite their family and work it out with their dad, you owe it to them to try with all your heart.

People always say “kids are resilient” and that “kids are better off being from a broken home than living in one,” but the fact of the matter is that divorce is DEVASTATING for children, and that my parents’ divorce is still affecting me on a pretty much daily basis even 24 years later (I’m 35 – I’ve been with my husband almost as long as my own parents were married).

My parents’ divorce isn’t over for me. It happens to me again at every holiday, at every one of my kids’ school functions, at every wedding, at every baby’s birth, at every funeral. Any time the whole family gets together and I have to deal with trying to keep my parents, who can barely stand each other even now, apart, it happens to me again. It affects me because I’m insecure in my own (objectively wonderful) marriage. I’ve spent years and years and years just waiting for my husband to leave (probably because I never knew that there was anything wrong between my parents until my dad left – it was like a bolt out of the blue – so I expect my husband to leave out of the blue, too.)

I don’t mean to turn this into a therapy session for me, or to guilt you into staying in a horrible situation, but seriously. If there is any love left in your heart for your husband, you owe it to your kids to do everything you can to work it out.

[Reply]

Hmmm Reply:

I think you do need a therapy session. You and your whole family. It’s not your responsibility to referee your parents. You are all adults, it’s time you started acting it. Get some counseling and work on your insecurity and divorce problems. It’ll help your marriage, your kids and most of all YOU!

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02.20.12#4

Comment by Angie Uncovered.

I think Kristine nailed it already, but I just want to reiterate that “technically married” is still so very married that you are likely setting yourself up for heart break.

You can see how your husband is now working to get you to take him back, so you must understand that your potential beau will likely be going through the same process. To be fair to his “technical wife” you should remove yourself from the situation and allow their relationship to either thrive or fail without you as part of the equation.

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02.20.12#5

Comment by Just Me.

I think that if you are unsure whether or not your husband is authentic, you owe it to him, to yourself, and to the kids, to take whatever time is needed to figure that out. Don’t move back in together, but at least try. You need to be sure of what you are doing before you end something.

As for your married friend? Bad idea. VERY bad. Take off the blinders and accept that Mr Perfect wouldn’t be cheating on his wife if he were Mr Perfect. He’d do the honorable thing and make things happen in the RIGHT sequence.

As you should. End things first. Take time to heal and find yourself ON YOUR OWN. And THEN look for someone new.

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Ace Reply:

“…accept that Mr Perfect wouldn’t be cheating on his wife if he were Mr Perfect.” … Couldn’t have said it any better myself! Amen!

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StephanieG Reply:

Best comment. EVER.

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Yeh, THAT Mom Reply:

Totally agree. “Mr Perfect” is a cheater and I bet if you swapped places with his wife, you would be seeing him without the rose colored glasses as well. I think marriage counseling is in order. Not necessarily to get back together, but to know that you are making an informed decision, and not being played by Mr “Changed”.

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02.21.12#6

Comment by Lisa.

One warning: The classic cycle of abuse is terrible behavior, followed being wonderful and “making up for it.”. The being nice phase is essential to the abuse, because that’s how an abuser keeps his victim around. Without it, the victim would leave.

We don’t know from what you’ve written if your husband is emotionally abusive or just a jerk. But you have said he has cleaned up his act before, only to go back to his old ways.

You need to wait. You need to get rid of Mr. Feel Good because you are no judge of character right now. Focus on yourself, untangling your own contributions to the state of your marriage – like what signs did you ignore? – and help your kids.

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YES! Reply:

Yes, I agree with you completely. You made a very valid point about the cycle of abuse as well. I didn’t even know I was a victim of domestic violence until my husband and I sought out counseling. The cycle of abuse is so clear to me now that I can’t believe what I put up with all those years.

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02.21.12#7

Comment by Oyza!.

Seriously, get rid of the cheater. You seem to pick horrible men. Get some counseling to figure out why that is. Stop chasing men around and figure yourself out. Be there for your kids.

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04.20.12#8

Comment by Is it So Wrong to Threaten Our Child with Divorce? | The Mouthy Housewives.

[...] of my son’s friends come from divorced parents and he’s old enough now (9.5 yrs) to begin noticing the effects. We’ve had to discuss [...]

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