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Ridiculous New York Times Essay

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Althea posted 6/14/2013 11:29 AM

So I don't know how many of you have seen this essay that appeared in the NYT, but it is worthy of a giant eye roll. Basically one woman's tale of denial that her husband was cheating and how she loved him back and then they rugswept the whole thing. Here is the link:

Now for the funny part (in a totally not funny at all kind of way), in the comments is the following absolutely perfect commentary on this ridiculous article:

"And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. We had make-up sex. And now I have herpes."

sailorgirl posted 6/14/2013 12:19 PM

That misleading article has been around for awhile, and helped me convince myself that WH was not having an affair.

He was doing the things the author's husband was doing and she labeled it for me: midlife crisis. Word to the wise-- I've never heard of a midlife crisis that makes you rewrite the marriage history and be an asshole to your wife. Maybe her husband is some rare exception. He said ILYBINILWY, stayed out late for months, blew off his family to go to "parties", lashed out with no mercy, but actually he's a faithful guy who's just a little lost. ?!

Like the author's husband, mine came back to me and our family, and began to appreciate us again. Not because he had "found his lost pride" or decided to age gracefully. Because had finally stopped f@cking the OW! (d-day came two weeks later because I was unwilling to rug-sweep and kept sleuthing)

I like when the author tells her kids, "Daddy's having a hard time". You bet he was having a hard time in bed with other women!

twodoves posted 6/14/2013 12:29 PM

There's all kinds of crazy in the comments to that article!

JanaGreen posted 6/14/2013 12:59 PM

LovesLaboursLost posted 6/14/2013 15:25 PM

I've read the fact she wrote a book on it. She did consider that her h was cheating, but decided it didn't matter and sure might push him further away if she pursued that line of thought.
I always wondered if people really act that way for any reason other than an affair....

Ladyogilvy posted 6/14/2013 16:22 PM

Wow! The responses to the article are shocking. A woman doesn't yell and scream and cry and throw things when her husband wants to leave her and she's called a controlling shrew? So what does it make her when she yells and screams and cries and throws things? And what would she be called if she had calmly filed divorce papers? These people make it sound like there is no way to not be the bad guy when your WH is off having sex with OW. She pretty much said, go ahead, have your cake and eat it too and people think she was a controlling, manipulative shrew? Just wow.

sisoon posted 6/14/2013 17:35 PM

Sounds like she bounced immediately to a version of the 180. She did her thing and invited her effed up H to join them, but the bottom line is she lived her life and took care of herself and her kids.

She's apparently healthy enough or oppressed enough not to want or need any info about what her H was doing when he was away from home. She decided that cheating would not make what her H said and did worse, and that seems OK to me - probably not the way I would handle the sitch, but so what?

Alex CR posted 6/14/2013 21:07 PM

Have to agree with sisoon.....

I think she did a form of the 180 ...told her H what she thought and that was it.....sounds like it worked for her.

We all have different roads to follow...

Althea posted 6/14/2013 21:40 PM

Sisoon, I agree with you absolutely in terms of the 180. My issue with this is that it SCREAMED affair, and she decided to let that go. Mostly, I take issue with the fact that she seems to be advocating loving back a spouse who is so deep in the fog that he can't see two feet in front of him, while not being conscious of the fact that she was essentially doing the 180.

Truthfully, I didn't read all of the comments. Someone highlighted the herpes one for me, and I just found it so perfect in the summation of the danger of just accepting a spouse back who has behaved that way.

sailorgirl posted 6/14/2013 22:01 PM

We all have different roads to follow...

Of course everyone's different. But does the 180 mean you let your spouse live at home while they lash out at you, ignore your birthday, refuse to look at you, break promises to your children, and stay out to all hours without any explanation for four months? Yet you do not investigate, question or stop doing everything you normally would as their spouse.

If the author told her story on SI, I don't think we would commend her for remaining ignorant about her husband's activities. I doubt we would advise her to believe him when he says he's not having an affair and keep having sex with him.

She decided that cheating would not make what her H said and did worse, and that seems OK to me - probably not the way I would handle the sitch, but so what?

sisoon, do you mean "so what?" as in why would a BS be upset by this woman?

If so, the root of what upsets me is that she is so smugly sure that she did the right thing. Her attitude is that she is superior to all the weak spouses who drive their WS's away because they get emotional about wayward behavior. If only they could just trust their WS and choose not to suffer. Everything would work out great just like it did for her and her marriage.

[This message edited by sailorgirl at 10:04 PM, June 14th (Friday)]

sisoon posted 6/14/2013 22:52 PM

I guess I don't like to push far beyond the facts at hand. Clearly her H was going through some type of crisis, and I agree that the author's H might have been - maybe probably was - cheating, but I think the evidence is weak. Of course, My W spent a lot of time away from home with ow, and I was shocked when she said she was having sex with her....

My 'so what' was only in reference to the author's right to make her own decisions. Many of us, perhaps most, would have made different decisions, perhaps, but some BSes have said they don't need much info, and they get support - rightfully, IMO.

I read some smugness in the article, but it didn't bug me much.

Alex CR posted 6/15/2013 04:31 AM

I didn't see the writer state her husband was cheating and I don't assume he was.

If the writer showed up on SI asking questions, she would have heard a variety of opinions, but she didn't. She wrote an article about a period during her marriage and what worked for her. We've all seen so much pain here and the end of relationships with people and children struggling. I personally am rooting for any couple/family that can survive this and be happy.

aesir posted 6/15/2013 04:48 AM

I remember when this article was new. It was used as a good example of an accidental 180 to manipulate a WS back into a marriage.

Of course, understanding of the 180, it's purpose, implementation, and actual effects have evolved a lot since then.

At one time, it seemed that even a thread about a spouse hanging the toilet paper incorrectly if posted in JFO would get several responses of "time to read up on the 180".

[This message edited by aesir at 4:51 AM, June 15th (Saturday)]

circe posted 6/15/2013 06:09 AM

Part of the article I rolled my eyes at, but it was mainly the part where she defends herself about perceived weakness by saying she can use a chainsaw and give birth naturally - those have so little to do with willingness to stay in a marriage or not that I'm not sure why she even stuck that in there.

But the rest of it I just thought was 180. In a way what she was saying was that she was doing what we would call the 180 in order to give her H time to fight his issues out without getting to use her as an emotional punching bag, and that's a good, solid, positive benefit to the 180 if not the main point as we talk about it here. On the negative side is that as far as she wrote in the article, she wasn't using the 180 to get her personal happiness and ducks in a row, but as more of a holding pattern waiting for her H to decide if he wanted to participate in their marriage again. Well, that's probably pretty close to what the 180 looks like in most cases, regardless of the ideal intentions anyway.

If he was cheating, I envy the seemingly non-dramatic end to the affair, as it seems it would have to have ended without an insane OW showing up with gifts for their kids while he was painting the porch, claiming to be pregnant or something.

stronger08 posted 6/15/2013 06:41 AM

To each his own I guess. But I feel that just because you close your eyes and turn your back. It does not stop that speeding train from running all over your ass. Sometimes you just have to jump out of the way.

Althea posted 6/15/2013 07:22 AM

I really appreciate all of the different comments and takes on this article. I wonder what is making some of this essay resonate so strongly and negatively in some of us while not others.

I went back through the article and realized that for me it is the message of "I chose not to suffer." Her husband started treating her like dirt, rather than looking for the reasons or demanding that he do so, she instead writes: "My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer." She decided to turn a blind eye, and pretend like it wasn't happening. Then she talks about him being irresponsible with their children's emotions. I just wonder how it felt for those kids when their dad disappeared for the summer? Didn't show up for dinner or come with them on family trips? Was it responsible for her to pretend it wasn't happening?

I don't know. Maybe if there was more of a epilogue indicating that he worked through these issues in some kind of a meaningful way and that HE at least had an understanding of how he could treat his family that way, I could feel better about being happy that things worked out for them. I just can't help wondering, what happens next time he goes through something?

I can actually relate to the choosing not to suffer mentality, it has kept me from feeling the need to remain a PI for the rest of my marriage and replaying mind movies, etc.; but I feel like this is different than just choosing not to look at what was really going on.

Alex CR posted 6/15/2013 08:11 AM

I don't know how I would've reacted to this right after Dday....but now almost four years out and living with my H almost 40 years, I read this and thought the writer did a 180, set a time limit of six months and kept her life and her kids going in spite of her husband's issues. She didn't make any life changing decisions right away but it sounded like they would be out there in six months.

There are a lot of unanswered questions, but in the end all that really matters is despite the difficulties the family sounds happy and is moving on.

I also think the different viewpoints are interesting and appreciate your posting this......each situation is like a Rubik's cube and the turning and clicking of the same story can give one a different view each time.

sailorgirl posted 6/16/2013 08:53 AM

I also find the different reactions to the article interesting. The strength of my reaction is hard for me to understand.

It's probably the similarities between my situation and the author's that resonate. I also did a 180 without realizing what that was. When I got ILYBINILWY, I told WH, "I'm the same woman that you married. We're still right for each other, and your misery is not because of me or the marriage."

Like the author, I asked him if he was having an affair. He said no and I believed him. It's a lot easier to be all zen and detached from suffering when you don't realize that you spouse was naked in someone else's bed hours ago, and will be again soon.

I went to IC, trained for a half-marathon, volunteered to coach soccer, bonded with my friends, and gave extra to the kids to make up for WH's impatience.

WH realized more and more that all he wanted was his wife and family. He only spent about five months in the blame shifting stage. Then, he spent a year trying to extricate himself from the affair. Of course, he could have just ended it, but he wanted to avoid consequences. (OW was threatening to tell.)

Finally, he got her to agree to stop the A but keep it secret. What if I had continued to do what the author did and just refused to suffer over what had happened in my marriage? No wondering, no sleuthing.

I could have avoided the BS agony of d-day and beyond. I wouldn't have to deal with the fact that WH risked my health by having unprotected sex with both of us. I could still wear my wedding ring and talk about what happened as WH's "mid-life crisis".

That's what this author advocates doing. She went on to write a whole book about it. That's absolutely her right, but I think it's bullshit advice.

I could have HIV and not know it. WH would be a ticking time bomb for another A, or something worse. He wouldn't even be in counseling, which he desperately needs. Plus, our marriage would be crippled by untold secrets and hidden lies. Or am I wrong about this. Maybe I should have let it all go:

There are a lot of unanswered questions, but in the end all that really matters is despite the difficulties the family sounds happy and is moving on.

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