10 years ago I married a well-known and very successful older man. This was my first marriage and his second. I don’t want to say where we live but believe me, he is a big deal in our city. I became friends with his close friends’ and business partners’ wives, and we often shopped, traveled and socialized together.
6 months ago my husband announced he no longer loves me and wants a divorce. After some investigation, I discovered he has been cheating on me with a woman from work. You would think all my girlfriends would be supportive of me, right? Wrong. None of them are returning my calls or checking in on me.
I am 37 years old and have no children and apparently no friends. I have nobody to lean on and I am very angry that these women have abandoned me. I have been considering writing them all an email asking what the hell is going on, but my mother advises against it. What do you think?
-Down and Out
Dear Down and Out:
First things first: open this link in a separate window and listen to this song while you read my advice: Eric Clapton: Nobody Knows You
OK honey, I’m going to give it to you straight: these women were NOT your friends, they were business associates. They humored you because as I found out from our text exchange on Sunday, your husband is the boss.
You told me you’ve been reading my blog for a few months, so you must know this is coming: you are spinning the yarn with which you will knit your sweater of loneliness. Stop it – you can’t possibly be surprised at any of this. If you took a trip back in time you would see how utterly predictable all of this was.
You were honest with me and told me you met your husband while he was married to his first wife. I won’t go into the details of the affair and subsequent divorce, but your two problems (your straying husband and lousy “friends”) shouldn’t surprise you one bit, especially since you told me you weren’t his first side piece and that these women dumped his first wife when he hooked up with you.
You remember the fable of the scorpion and the tortoise? If not, please Google because I’m in a bit of a rush this morning and don’t have time for summaries. In a single sentence: cheaters cheat and disloyal friends are disloyal. Expecting people to change their patterns because you think you are special is an exercise in futility and frankly, pretty arrogant.
This is not to say that people cannot change: they can and they do. However, you should have been able to see this coming and prepared yourself accordingly just in case. Since you didn’t ask for advice about the divorce, I’m going to give it to you anyway because that’s just how I roll:
1. Get a job. You quit your up-and-coming position at a major pharmaceutical company one year after your marriage, even though you knew you weren’t going to have kids because he didn’t want them. More on that later.
In the interests of brevity, I’ll spare you the lecture about women who stop working when they marry and the resulting disadvantage they put themselves at if the marriage ends. Just go get a job and you can thank me later.
2. You told me you signed a pre-nup but your lawyer is advising you fight it because your husband has loads of money and you signed the pre-nup just two weeks before the wedding. My advice? Don’t. You made a deal with the devil so don’t try to renege just because you were too naive to believe he’d act in a devilish manner.
Your lawyer doesn’t care about you: she cares about churning the file and making herself a big pile of money in a likely hopeless bid to undo your contractual obligation not to be a gold-digging bitch. Appreciate the fact you had a free ride for all these years and adhere to the promises you made to your sugar daddy.
As for your “friends,” I agree with your mom. There is absolutely nothing good that will come from confronting these women because simply put: they don’t give a flying fucking rolling donut hole about you or your problems.
These were situational and shallow connections based upon money, power and social standing. To confuse them for friendships is like confusing Sarah Palin for a statesman. Stateswoman? Ah, who cares?
You told me you lost contact with your high school and college friends after your marriage. Gee, I wonder why? It sounds like you dropped them when you married the old rich dude and started hanging out with the Cuntry Club Crowd. Bad move, but not irreparable.
You need to make amends with your old friends, admit you were an opportunistic asshole, and hope they can forgive you and be a part of your new life. I also recommend you start making some new friends, but choose them carefully and for the right reasons.
Don’t be surprised if you are met with a cool indifference by some of your old crowd, as you will be rightfully perceived as crawling back just because you were kicked out of the viper pit and have nowhere else to go. Keep trying and be sincere.
I have one more observation based on the messages we shared. It’s the corn nugget atop the shit sundae that is your life right now: you agreed not to have kids even though you wanted and still want to have a baby.
In essence, you subjugated a primal urge just to make a man happy and to live a life of leisure. I’d take a good hard look at that decision with a licensed therapist, because it reeks of low self-esteem and malleability.
I’m not saying you should have a child, but if you truly want one you need to find a partner who feels the same way and then get on that project ASAP. Your eggs are fast approaching their use or freeze-by date, so do one or the other if you want to replicate.
It’s not too late for you to do a complete makeover of your life, but it is going to take some Level 1 navel gazing and work for you to change your outlook from “entitled user” to “worthwhile friend and independent human being.” I can tell from our conversation you are ready to start a new journey on a more substantial path.
(Quoting Mandela makes this blog classy and shit)
You are at the threshold of a new life. This divorce from your husband and his friends is an opportunity to slough off some useless people while you forge a meaningful existence that includes independence, self-sufficiency and the development of deep and real relationships.
In business terms (those terms which you USED to live by): it’s an acquisition as well as a divestiture. Next time you will conduct proper due diligence prior to marriage and building friendships.
Now go forth and prosper, and remember always: whether it’s a purse or a friend, you always want the real deal. Fakes are worth nothing in fashion or friendship.