Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

C: Two in One Day

Yesterday brought in two women clients who had some things in common that I am seeing over and over.  The fact that I have two new clients in one day with this common problem set me to puzzling:

  • They both have long standing marriages (27 years and 35 years)
  • Both have children, just now grown (college age) and have described their husbands as totally-devoted, engaged fathers.
  • Both have church as central to their lives
  • Both described their marriages as “happy,” one of them said “solid.”  They were blindsided by what brought them to my office.
  • And here’s the common trait that has me so thoughtful: Both their husbands have left them for much younger women and have unabashedly moved in with their girlfriends.  In front of God and everyone, as it were.

Whatever happened to slipping around, hiding one’s sin—or trying to? When did we come to the place that otherwise decent men just don’t seem to think anything about publicizing their betrayal in broad open daylight?

Oh, I see the traditional “no-tell Motel” trysts still, but more and more I am seeing women shocked by husbands who just move right in with a lover.  No shame at all.

This has lots of ramifications, for lots of folks:

  • In one case, the affair is a workplace affair.  It brings into the sordid circle all kinds of folks who know both spouses and are forced to make a decision about how to act in dealing with the wife as well as the girlfriend (with whom they work).
  • It is in-your-face to the kids.  None of these barely-grown children will accept the girlfriends yet.  One of the things they are having to cope with is the fact that their previously-devoted fathers just don’t give a rip whether their actions hurt their children or not.  Both fathers have told their confronting children, “I have a right to be happy.”  In other words, “You and your feelings just don’t rank in importance alongside my lust. “
  • The third ramification is mine to use: neither of these men can get an immediate divorce in our state.  If they had slipped around, making adultery hard for me to prove (you know, the traditional way of 25 years ago?)  they might be able to manage a quicker divorce.  As it is, I have no proof problem.  I can hold the divorce off for a while, which is not my ultimate goal.  The goal, instead, is to use that pressure to get my clients a better settlement.  They’re both gonna need it.

Both these husbands are—by far—going to fare better financially than are my clients.  National average: Divorced women suffer a 40% drop in standard of living after divorce.  Divorced men, on average, enjoy 104% of the standard of living they had prior to divorce.  Not fair.  Not fair at all, but it is reality.  Both these women will have to sell their dream houses (one of them is paid for completely).  Both these women made the early decision not to further their education or career development in favor of raising children and supporting husband on the home front.  It is, for them both, a costly life decision that they now have no chance, given their ages, to recover from. (A whole ‘nother rant comes to mind here, but I’m restraining myself.)

Here is the other reality: Both husbands are now experiencing a temporary social, “bump” to get over in their relationships.  There is a ripple of shock over the waters of their circle of family and friends right now, but this time in two years I bet life is chugging along swimmingly for them, with girlfriends accepted in every niche, including by the kids because they crave a relationship with their father.  Notwithstanding the devastation husband/girlfriend has caused to a blameless, devoted wife. 

It is the wives’ lives that will never return to normal…they will have a much, much harder time in the last decades of their life than they deserve.  With little chance of recovery from the blow they have been dealt.

So, the point of my rant is: Why have we no shame any more?  Why doesn’t society help us protect our families?  Where has the concept of decency gone?  C

PS – See, I told you in my last post on writer’s block that a rant was surely just around the corner.  Little did I know…

13 comments:

Vee said...

I highly recommend that you purchase multiple copies of Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan for your clients in these awful situations. It speaks so beautifully to this very issue. The moral of the story is that the best revenge is a life well lived. I do hope that each of these ladies will pick up the pieces and move on. Neither of them deserve such cads.

Oh but the question is why no shame? I think that it means that both of these men had an incredibly superficial relationship with his God as well as his wife.

A bird in the hand said...

Generally there is no shame any more. All you have to do is have a look at one of those so-called reality shows. What you described happened a year ago to a friend of mine.

I also wonder about the "other woman". How dow she live with this? And does she realize that chances are he will do this to her too?

Vickie said...

Happened to my sister, happens all around us everyday. It's not fair. My sister is my hero. She went through it, held her high, depended on the Lord (and He took care of her every need), did not bad-mouth him to their almost grown kids.

Fortunately and by the grace of God, she remarried 4 years later a wonderful Christian (widower) man who worships the ground she walks on. She will actually live out the rest of her life in much better circumstances.

Not many are that lucky or blessed. Vee's book sounds good - I think it may have been written by my sister! ha! She's had a Godly kind of revenge on her husband and his affairs have not worked as he would have liked - he has since regretted his choices but it's too late. Revenge...

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Yep, it happened to my sister too and my best friend! I do believe the level of selfishness and shallowness with no true remorse is a sign of the times, but there will always be a faithful remnant.
V.

Threeblindsheep said...

Thanks to you and your hard work on my behalf, I'm not the average divorced woman. Within 2 years of my divorce, I am out earning my ex ( even his best year which was years ago) He too had no shame and insisted to me and his children that he was finally 'happy' As if a child ever worries about the happiness of a parent! Keep it up C- you are changing lives one at a time

KathyB. said...

This is so sad and tragic. I have a friend who's husband left her and their 5 kids, some not even out of school yet, for a young woman who attended high school with his oldest daughter. He seems to be doing fine now, has had 2 children with younger hussy/wife, and my friend, well, she and the 5 kids do fine now, but it was and is a struggle. They see the scoundrel a lot, and it just plain hurts.But they have respect and admiration, no one I know has any respect for him, even his new wife's family. Although respect doesn't usually come in dollar form, it is priceless.

I agree with all the other commentators.One look at most of the reality shows and what people adore about Hollywood celebrities answers the question about shame. Shame...what's that? Vee's answer strikes me as the best and that is very sad.

Keep up your rants, they are productive, thank-you very much.

Ayak said...

This really is a very familiar story for me...having experienced it with my first husband after 20 years of marriage. But this was quite some time ago..not so common then but sadly more so these days.

Without wishing to sound anti-male, it seems to me that men don't put as much effort into making a marriage work as women do.

Oh and yes...of course within a relatively short time the "new model" will be accepted in social circles....sickening isn't it?

Laura said...

If your blog posts could hit any harder to home for me they would kill me lol!! I often find myself at a loss for words because it is to hard to talk about the whole mess that I currently find myself in, all I can say is keep on writing, you have no idea what good therapy it is for me to know that there are other strong women out there in simular situations. I have been separated for over 2 years from my husband of 28 years, I can't wait to be on the other side of this looking back.

Joy said...

The voice of wisdom speaks... I couldn't agree more with all your points. I did 'suffer' a 'decline' in life-style after my divorce--much lower on the income scale--still am, but you know what? I don't even care... I'm so much happier. I know we all need money to live, but I still have plenty of food, a cute little house and more clothes than I can wear in a season. Besides, I've got Jesus, and I didn't have Him before. I can see so many blessings in my life. I don't care that I have to pinch pennies now, and can no longer shop at 'Needless Mark-up' (Neiman Marcus). All that stuff is just stuff. Good post, though. All correct. I'm ready for the promised 'rant'--bring it on. I agree on the 'no shame'--- I've thought the same MANY, MANY times.

oldgreymare said...

Been there- went through that..

Might I recommend
Alice Peacock "You Taught Me well"

To be sung at the top of your lungs while driving or raging.
The power of forgiveness, the power of grace....

That song was my lifeline.

Suzan

carla said...

Why no shame?

Because our lousy "enlightened" culture no longer believes in sin or right and wrong. Everything is "judge not" and not John 3:16.

I read awhile back that young people (even Christian youth) did not know that living together before marriage is sin. !!!??

Now we're having Donohue-Sally Jessie Raphael - Oprah parents: "my happiness is supreme. Nothing else matters, no one else matters." Years ago, as a society we bought the garbage that a happy woman/man makes a better parent and that no one should stay together for the sake of the kids.

And there's something else I've thought of each time I've read about your clients (although I'm sure it's not true in every case): how many of these adulterous relationships started at work or traveling for work?

My dad and brother traveled extensively with their construction business when I was a young teenager and I hated it. I absolutely hated it. So when Joe and I married, we made a deal: neither of us would travel alone. He doesn't go off on alone on business trips (I have had some great experiences going along) or on buddy trips; and I don't go off with friends or family.

No male/female lunches either.

Now before some gets upset with me let me say that no way do I believe that everyone who travels without their spouse then cheats. But the stakes are very high, so why gamble?

When cheating starts, it starts small. The extra friendliness, the animated conversation, the lunch, the business trip.

The Bible tells us to guard our affections. Human hormones are not trustworthy. We have become a world of adolescents with very few grownups.

carla said...

Why no shame?

Because our lousy "enlightened" culture no longer believes in sin or right and wrong. Everything is "judge not" and not John 3:16.

I read awhile back that young people (even Christian youth) did not know that living together before marriage is sin. !!!??

Now we're having Donohue-Sally Jessie Raphael - Oprah parents: "my happiness is supreme. Nothing else matters, no one else matters." Years ago, as a society we bought the garbage that a happy woman/man makes a better parent and that no one should stay together for the sake of the kids.

And there's something else I've thought of each time I've read about your clients (although I'm sure it's not true in every case): how many of these adulterous relationships started at work or traveling for work?

My dad and brother traveled extensively with their construction business when I was a young teenager and I hated it. I absolutely hated it. So when Joe and I married, we made a deal: neither of us would travel alone. He doesn't go off on alone on business trips (I have had some great experiences going along) or on buddy trips; and I don't go off with friends or family.

No male/female lunches either.

Now before some gets upset with me let me say that no way do I believe that everyone who travels without their spouse then cheats. But the stakes are very high, so why gamble?

When cheating starts, it starts small. The extra friendliness, the animated conversation, the lunch, the business trip.

The Bible tells us to guard our affections. Human hormones are not trustworthy. We have become a world of adolescents with very few grownups.

carla said...

V - don't know how in the world I posted that comment twice. Please excuse my gaffe and delete one + this comment.

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