Last night we had dinner with people we've known for 4 years. Let's call them Deb and Ken.
Mr. HBH and I already knew Deb had been M before, and that her M to Ken is her 2nd M, but we didn't know all the circumstances around their "courtship" which was at least 13 years ago.
Deb and Ken also know about Mr. HBH's EA, and they have known OW for many years, but are no longer friends with her...though their friendship ended for different reasons. I think they feel "safe" with us, because of our own past experience with adultery.
Shortly after I met Deb, she cried to me that she had lost custody of her 3 oldest children years before (with her 1st husband) and missed them terribly. I didn't want to pry and ask why she lost custody of them, but I just consoled her. Since then Deb has told me little bits and pieces of her story, which the more I learned, is sordid. She left her 1st H to M Ken. She has 5 children with Ken and is working hard on their M and really regrets some of her past decisions (even thought I didn't know exactly what she regretted) and so I tried to accept her in the present.
Last night, after dinner, Deb and Ken started talking about Deb's children from her 1st M, and how they were estranged for years because of her D from their father many years ago. Deb complained her XBH had turned her children against her. Deb and Ken shared with us that they are happy they are slowly getting closer to her children now that they are getting older and are living on their own.
Deb said that when her oldest son was a teenager and began acting out after the D she wanted her XBS to take him more than his 50%. XBS said, only if he could have 100% custody of all 3 children. Deb gave up custody, because she was already starting a new family with Ken, and because her children from her 1st M "were not being nice" to hers and Ken's children. I felt badly for all the children involved, including her oldest son who was obviously in pain at the time.
When she said this, I was thinking, "Yeah, XBH. You didn't let WW, Deb, yank you and your children around. Good for you!"
Deb then said her XBS didn't date for 6 years, and she and Ken asked Mr. HBH and I "Isn't that weird?" I said, "No. He should date when he is ready, there is no time table." Even though I've never met the guy, I respect him for focusing on his 3 children instead of dating. I didn't put that thought into words to share it with Deb and Ken. I wish I had.
Deb then said XBH is engaged to someone who is younger than their oldest daughter who is in her 20's, and their daughters are upset by it, as is she. I told her I didn't think the age of her XBH's fiance is a problem either, especially if he took his time finding Mrs. Right.
My brain was saying, "You're just a jealous XWW, because your XBH is not pining away for you. You are in an unhappy M, have 5 children, and you look old and haggard. Your XBH is not only getting happily M, but she is much younger, and probably prettier than you. You are green with envy."
By this time, I was steaming inside, but trying to be polite, since we are guests in their house, and all 4 of us were sitting together during this conversation.
Deb then said that Ken didn't believe that the first time she phoned him while she was M to XBH she just wanted to apologize for things that had happened while they dated, and to wish him well.
At this point, Ken told her, "Do you mean to tell me that you wanted to apologize to me and thought about it for a dozen years until you called me? I think there was something else going on." When Ken said that, Deb got on her soap box, saying "I was raised differently than you. I was raised to apologize and make things right. That is the right thing to do...blah, blah, blah." She was visibly upset and emphatic, not looking anyone in the eye, and had a tone in her voice and a hard expression on her face that I hadn't seen before.
While she was talking, all I could hear in my head was, "You are so full of shit....you are so full of shit. You were fishing when you called him, and he took the bait. He knows what you both did was wrong and he is trying to get honest in the M, but you keep wanting to lie to yourself and him." My head was screaming, and I was worried I was going to say it out loud.
Another thing that made me want to throw up is that she she said that her and Ken's marriage was "Deeper and meant" to be because she had known Ken when she was in high school.
She also tried to paint Ken as a better dad than her XBS because the first time Ken met her children (while she was still M to XBS), he took them to a park.
Deb has told me, and Ken has told Mr. HBH that he (Ken) has concerns that their M of 13 years is not solid, and that he has concerns Deb could take off. He knows their M started in A, and even though he was a part of it, she started it with her fishing.
Ken and Deb are desperate for friendship, and as we were leaving their house last night, Ken asked if we would like to get together once a month for dinner. My mind said "NO!!!" but my mouth said, "Sure, we'll see." Although Ken and Deb know a lot of people, they told us last night that no one calls them and they only see people at organized functions. They were rejected 13 years ago by friends and family because of their actions, and people are still rejecting them....because they are still a trainwreck.
Mr. HBH and I won't politely listen to Deb's lying about her infidelity again. Mr. HBH is planning to have lunch with Ken and tell him that while we really don't care what happened in their lives 13 years ago, we can't listen passively to Deb rewrite her marital history, because it is a huge trigger for both of us. Unless she gets honest, we won't continue the friendship with them.
Deb's rewriting her marital history, and her WW blathering makes me sick!!! She is still a selfish person, she has not changed from when she was actively cheating so many years ago before I even knew her. I do not want to be friends with a person like that. I can't play along with her lies, now that I know she is lying.
I had to take a sleeping pill last night, because I knew I wouldn't be able to get to sleep, being so triggered.
How would you handle this? I never want to speak to her or have anything to do with her again.
headdesk, You made me laugh! Toxic hit the nail on the head, though...but we were in their home. We should have taken a shower when we got home.
LeopoldB Mr. HBH and I liked that idea, but with winter coming, and all her young children, we're not sure of an activity....we'll be thinking. Yes, after this dinner together, Ken came off as sincere and really wanting some healing and honesty. Since I have known her she had me convinced she was a victim of his meanness. She just wants to rug sweep, and rewrite history, and his quest for truth throws her in the "poor me, I'm the victim" mode which is all I had seen before last night.
LifeisBroken, I'm right there with you. I have a hard time having any empathy for them, especially Deb, now that I know more of the real story.
Infidelity does not just go away. The repercussions go on for a LONG time.
I agree with jjsr: let them know why you don't want the friendship to continue - I think transparency in all relationships even (or maybe especially) 'dying' ones is important.
I don't think the current attitudes of Deb or Ken are abhorrent in and of themselves - after all they are in-line with much of the public take on affairs; if they haven't been lucky enough to discover SI then the continued denial, blaming and re-writing is understandable and all too normal. Still, that's not your responsibility so do what's best for you.
I told her I didn't think the age of her XBH's fiance is a problem either, especially if he took his time finding Mrs. Right.
Huge age differences with someone in the 20's younger than his own DD is SO CREEPY to me.
Now as for Deb, I don't think I could stomach another day with her after her proclaimation she "needed" to apologize for something that happened in her high school days...12 years later. She probably convinced herself that was "true" but what a load of crap. I sure hope she called all her elementary and junior high female friends as well (12 years later) to tell them she is sorry she did them wrong on such and such a day, or days back in school). Of course she was fishing, and part of the reason it worked is because Ken immediately knew she was fishing and he was flattered, and it took off from there.
And I am betting that both Deb and her XH both happily used their kids as pawns in their D divorce. She selfishly gave them up to start her new life, and he selfishly and successfully turned them against their mother more than was necessary. So far the only one in this mix I might have any empathy for would be Ken.
I guess the advice already given is best. If it was me, I'd tell her (Deb) straight out that I could overlook the fact their relationship started as an A but I can't overlook the fact she still justifies and defends her actions regarding all that, and sees herself as some sort of victim, so noble for wanting to apologize to old bf 12 years later. It reminds me of the two "noble" women who used or tried to use my H's DD's death and their "sincere sympathy" as ways to put themselves into his life. It is definitely a load of crap to make themselves look like such good people while in reality they are fishing and chasing married men.
Ken was really in love with her in high school. They were engaged. Right after high school, he broke it off and moved to another town, but within 3 months he called her to say he made a mistake. She said she laughed at him and told him, "Well too late, I'm engaged to marry someone else." (Whom she says she didn't love.) She says she always loved him....then why did she get engaged within 3 months and follow through with the M????
Ken said when she called him 12 years later, unhappy in her M, he wasn't about to lose her again. He still loves her, he is just beginning to believe he was played, and he participated in something terrible: breaking up her M, and hurting her children and her XBH.
I hate even caring about what happened in their lives...it is not my business, except that she made it my business when she told me and twisted things around to try to not make it look like it really was.
Last year she came to my house distraught. According to her, Ken was saying he didn't think she was all in the M. She told me she felt really badly about what she did to her XBH and that he was a good man, and she wished she had stayed with him. I told her she had to put those thoughts out of her mind, to focus on Ken and her 5 beautiful children. She didn't call me for almost a year after that, and I had hoped she had gotten her head on straight. I didn't tell Ken anything, because I felt he knew it all and that is why he was reacting the way he was. I felt that to go to Ken would have been meddling, and I'm not comfortable talking with a guy (other than my own H) about personal things.
I don't like superficial friendships, but this friendship is just too close for comfort, with all I know, and her lying.
If I were a good friend, I would tell her my honest thoughts. But I know that she would not hear my words, but would railroad me just like she did Ken the other night.
My own conflict avoidance makes me want to just never return a call, and if she catches me, to be too busy. I don't owe her anything, and I'm sure her counselor, and people who have known her longer than I have told her everything already.
I need to take a shower to get this off of me.
One thing I'd caution you though is feeling like you understand Deb's xH. Could be the guy is nothing like what you're imagining. He was clearly the victim of Deb and Ken's infidelity, and for that you can empathize, but beyond that you have no idea if he was ruthless in using his kids as pawns, if he was abusive (or not) or mean (or not) or kind of creepy and issue-filled for marrying someone with such huge maturity and power differential. I don't mean to presume any of those negatives are true, but just that only knowing that someone was the victim of infidelity doesn't tell you the rest of their story.
Back to Deb though, it's sad that she's so many years removed from her infidelity, has actually lost relationships with her children, and still doesn't seem to have learned any lessons. That's really sad.