It happened last Friday, the day I’d been dreading for a while, but somehow hoping it would never come. My divorce decree arrived and with it the return of my title of Miss. Miss Ashton, single mother of two.
Now as much as I know this was the only possible outcome, it still hurts to the very core of my being. You’ve failed Miss Ashton, and here is the certificate to prove it. “When is the divorce party?” I was asked by a wonderfully insightful lady who has been divorced over forty years.
I treasure this woman’s advice, she fled domestic abuse to raise and family on her own and is now reaping the rewards of great-grandchildren, but a party? To celebrate my failure? The breakup of a family? I just can’t comprehend the flippancy of a society where such things are encouraged. This is the man I loved and here we are at the end and no one is better off. And the worst part? It’s all my fault.
I could have forgiven him. Of course it hurts to be the victim of infidelity, there’s no denying that.
But it is nothing compared to the soul-crushing feeling of despair as you look into the eyes of your children knowing that they don’t have the life they deserve. A stable life with both parents putting in their all to achieve the best possible outcomes for their children. And why? Because their mother was too stubborn to forgive, too pig-headed to listen to the pleas for forgiveness through his sobs.
Too obstinate that I must punish him, myself and our children for a mistake he made at the height of a stressful period. As I have shared my story of betrayal with the world and his dog, I have opened my vulnerable heart and in turn people tell me similar stories of their heartache and I am forever saddened by the ones who pulled through, knowing that could have been me.
There is the story of the husband who embarked on a six-month affair with his brother’s girlfriend. Both couples would dine together every Wednesday after watching their sons play footy, the affair took place under the noses of their unknowing partners. After the affair was dramatically exposed, the couple sought counselling, eventually reconciling, and are now enjoying the family life once more, sharing the highs and lows of child rearing together.
Listen: Relationship psychotherapist Esther Perel explains why people cheat. (Post continues...)
There is the couple now in their sixties enjoying their empty nest together, no one remembering the ugly time thirty years ago when he left the wife for his 19-year-old secretary. Their family has grown, they are expecting their first grandchild and are so so happy together, his infidelity being just a blip on an otherwise happy marriage.