Tag Archives: marriage

Don’t You LOVE When Things are Black & White?

There are so few things in this world that are so completely cut-and-dried as domestic violence = WRONG.  But over at the Brazen Careerist, queen of TMI (she once live-tweeted a miscarriage and talked about checking her cervical mucus during a job interview) Penelope Trunk has added domestic-violence apologist and victim-blamer to her resume.  In her latest post about the immaturity and selfishness of those that choose divorce, she jaw-droppingly equates divorce with mental illness and for those that choose this path due to domestic violence she posits that they just suck at drawing boundaries because it “takes two people to fight.”  Scoop your jaw off the floor because the worst thing about this is the fact that she has admitted, and has blogged extensively about being the victim of physical and emotional domestic violence in her own marriage, even going so far as posting images of her bruising at the hands of her husband.

“I am at a hotel. I think I’m dying. I have a bruise from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post…The Farmer told me that he will not beat me up any more if I do not make him stay up late talking to me.”

I think that her premise, that divorce is too often entered into for reasons that are perhaps capricious and that people don’t work hard enough at making their marriages work, has a lot of merit.  My parents’ divorce is a shining example of this.  There was no “good” reason that it couldn’t have worked out except the two of them were miserable and refused to really work at it.  I admit, there are times, even though they are both much happier than they were while married, that I secretly judge them for divorcing.  There were no special needs children.  No homelessness or joblessness.  No illnesses to overcome.  No overt abuse.  Staying together for the kids only works if you do it happily and willingly.  Hanging on in silent but obvious misery until most of your kids are out of the house however, is not.  For situations like this, I fully understand why one might not be willing to give the parties a “free pass.”

However, it is inconceivable to me that someone like Penelope, who is in such a dire situation, who almost nobody would fault for ending the relationship, instead digs in ever harder and doubles down by calling the rest of us that bailed on abusive marriages selfish, immature, mentally ill, child-destroying shit-disturbers that are at least 50/50 to blame for our own abuse.  What her husband did to her was wrong.  I don’t care if she spit on him, called his mother a whore and set fire all his worldly possessions.  I don’t care if she is an impossible nag, or won’t put out, or calls him names.  There is absolutely NO GOOD REASON TO HIT YOUR SPOUSE.  Full stop. That’s it.  Period.  End of discussion.  Lest you think I am only talking about man on lady violence, this declaration is gender-less.  There are plenty of men out there that are hit, struck and abused by their wives.  That is so NOT ok either!  (This is a whole other blog post, but I almost feel WORSE for men that are victims of domestic violence because of the shame surrounding them from a cultural perspective).

I understand the need the people have to justify whatever fucked-up situation they are in.  I know because I myself was a domestic-violence apologist and a victim-blamer.  Now I can’t get into the psychology of why Penelope Trunk not only allows herself to be abused but also defends her abuser, assigns the blame for the abuse on herself and subsequently slams anyone that chooses to leave their abuser.  I’m sure it has something to do with her childhood of heartbreaking, breathtaking sexual abuse.  However, the fact remains that it is 100% OK to divorce an abusive spouse.  Black and White.  No apologies necessary.

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When a married man cheats, is the “other woman” more to blame than he is?

I will start of by answering my own question – no.  100% NO.  Unless, of course the lady in question tied him up against his will and forced him to hide the salami in her…pantry.  In which case, that’s just plain-old rape and not cheating.  But I digress…

Bizarre Love Triangle

The other night I was watching the news with my Mom and counting down the minutes until Jeopardy started (because I kick her ass EVERY TIME) when the nightly Herman Cain story came on.  For those that have been living in a cave, or, you know, have an actual life, Herman Cain is one of the long-shot candidates vying for the Republican nomination for President.  He has had some, er, lady troubles as of late of the non-consensual kind but it had recently been discovered that he carried on a 13-year relationship that may or may not have included sex (yeah, right.  And I have a lovely bridge to sell you) but did include meals, cash, and stays at posh hotels.  Putting aside the fact that we don’t really know what happened (and my god, I don’t even want to imagine these two naked) and that we have no idea what kind of marriage/arrangement he has with his wife, it appears to be another case of a married man cheating.

When a picture of the lady in question flashed on the screen, Moms practically spat. “Look at her. She is SO disgusting.”

After a beat, I responded “Well, so is he.”

“But,” she sputtered “she’s MORE disgusting.  Because she knew he was married.”

Unable to wrap my mind around this logic, I pointed out the obvious – that he knew he was married too.  And I’m pretty sure he was aware of that fact long before she was.  Add to it that they are both consenting adults that carried on a relationship for over a decade and I fail to see how either one of them could bear more of the blame than the other. Now, I’ve known Moms for well, my entire life and I understand her better than anyone so it was no surprise that she would, in effect, place a disproportionate amount of blame on the woman vs. the man in this situation.

But her reaction isn’t really all that different from I suspect a good number of women’s reactions would be.  Have you

This makes me sad to be a girl

ever seen Cheaters, or Maury, or Jerry Springer?  Plenty of scorn is heaped upon the man who cheated but how many times have the women gone after (literally and figuratively) the other woman?  Pulling hair, calling her a cunt and home wrecker (is there even a male equivalent to that term?), blasting her for not staying away from her man all while he sits there, sheepish and in some cases enjoying himself.  I’ve never seen a study done on this subject in particular, but I’d be willing to bet my firstborn (and believe me, she is far too helpful at this age for me to part with her easily) that on the whole, more blame is put upon the other woman.

This misguided notion that women “should know better” and that men “just can’t help themselves” is shitty on so many levels and is, I think, very insulting towards men.  They are just not capable of being adults and making good decisions.  They are just powerless when faced with pussy.  Poor dears – how do they get anything done surrounded by all of those boobies? Really people, this is just another form of slut-shaming and you know how I feel about that!

To my knowledge, I’ve only been cheated on once by my high school boyfriend and it wasn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy feeling.  (I dumped him, promptly and without argument.  Sigh – sometimes I wish I had that uncompromising you-fuck-me-over-and-you’re-gone attitude back in my life). However, I’ve seen first hand the devastation and fallout that occurs when adultery tears through a marriage.  So I don’t minimize that this is a serious issue.  But let’s not kid ourselves and think that keeping your man away from other sexy, sexy ladies is going to keep him from taking the old skin boat to tuna town.  And if he does let her ride the bologna pony, it’s a CHOICE that he made.  He’s a shithead.  She’s a shithead. End of story.


How I Got my Groove Back or Becoming a Cliche

Close to a year ago I found myself, for the first time in my adult life, single.  It wasn’t a total shock.  I had been preparing myself mentally for months, maybe even years but when the blessed event finally took place I didn’t realize that I would feel  so unmoored.  This man who had been my life, to the exclusion of all else in the world had been my anchor.  Cutting that line freed me, but also set me adrift into the unknown.  How would I steer the ship?  Where would the currents take me?  Why could I only think in maritime metaphors?

I wasn’t someone’s wife anymore.  Sure, I had my kids and my family and friends.  They were invaluable during this time but how long could I call them, day after day, wailing and sobbing at the indignity of it all before they got just as sick of me as I was of myself?

So I did what any woman, descending rapidly into her mid-thirties and single for the first time since the Clinton administration would do – I took a lover.  A young one.

Just six weeks after the end of my marriage, I was on my way to becoming that which I had relentlessly mocked and scornfully derided.  My timing was impeccable, as the older woman/younger man dynamic had reached a cultural critical mass.  The term “cougar” had become ubiquitous.  How convenient for me to have a brand new label to try on.

It all happened quite by accident.  There he was, fumbling for his keys on the doorstep of my friend’s apartment building in the small, ugly hours of the morning, unable to insert key into lock and make the half-turn necessary to get inside.  And there I was, fresh off an evening of vodka and sorrow and the heady intoxication of a freedom I never imagined I’d possess again.  Of course I had to help him open the front door.  That’s where my assistance should have stopped.

I’d love to blame the vodka for following him up to his apartment and into his bedroom, despite his insistence that he no longer needed my help.  I’d also love to blame the vodka for flirting so shamelessly there in the dark that he felt obliged to kiss me and ask me for my phone number, which I gave to him without hesitation.  But if I’m being honest (and why wouldn’t I be, safely ensconced in the anonymous arms of the internet) it was just the catalyst, the truth serum I needed to admit that I wanted to dive right into the dating pool.  I just didn’t realize I’d be wading waist-deep in the kiddie pool my first time out.

Imagine my surprise when the next day, as I watched my kids cavort in the actual kiddie pool in the front yard,  my phone made a strange, short beeping sound.  What was this envelope icon flashing on the screen?  A text message.  Up to that point in time, I had maybe received a dozen of those.  It was my first indication that I was embarking on something I was woefully unprepared for.  In broken, abbreviated English, which I would later figure out was a function of text-speak and the fact that he was from another country, he let me know that I had left my sweater in his room, no doubt on purpose, and would I like to come by to pick it up?

For four weeks I deliberated and tortured myself. Should I text him back? Or would a call be better? What do I say? Should I have my friend that lived in the building get it for me and forget any of this happened?  As maddening as it all was, he was able to do for me what nobody else, despite their best efforts, could.  He distracted me, almost completely, from having to think about the painful reality of my disintegrated marriage and the fact that I was now a single mom with a special needs child.  That psychic space was such a relief and allowed me to function when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, eat ice cream and watch Hugh Grant movies.  After all, I was now solely responsible for the two little people who I had brought into this world.  Their father drifted in and out unevenly, wrestling with his own issues.  I had to be the rock, the stalwart.  Hard to do that when wallowing in self-pity and misery is your first and overwhelming instinct.

And let’s not forget the flattery angle.  I was nearly 10 years older than him, slightly overweight, and convinced that my best years had already passed me by.  Abused emotionally for years by a cruel and unrelenting alcoholic, my self-esteem was non-existent.  Yet this young, cute European boy, with the sexiest accent I had ever heard, saw something in me, even if it was on a very superficial level, that made me take another look at myself.  He said those three little words that I didn’t even know I had been needing to hear – I Want You.  I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had wanted me for my physical attractiveness, instead of for my intellect, or my kindness or for my paycheck.  Against all my hard-wired feminist ideals, I was a sex object.  And I LIKED it.

I was no stranger to being wanted.  In fact, I was wanted on nearly a 24/7 basis by my kids, my husband, and my psychotically demanding job.  Sometimes simultaneously by one or more of the dependents in my life.  But this kind of want, the kind that was free of obligation, just a reciprocal exchange of one want for another was wholly new to me.  New, scary and unnatural as hell.

The first time we had sex was comically tragic.  At one point, right in the middle, he stopped and asked me, half in jest and half in seriousness if I had ever done this before.  By this, I knew he meant sex but for me, in a lot of ways, I could have answered no.  No, I had never done anything remotely like this before.  I wasn’t even sure if I could go through with it.  But in that moment, the horse, as they say, was already out of the barn.

I will spare you the intimate details, but suffice it to say that by the next  morning (yes, I slept over which presented a whole host of new awkwardness to deal with) we had it mostly figured out.  And now, after almost a year of doing whatever it is that we’re doing, we have become experts.  But that is a story for another day.