I can’t really open this post with a salutation of any sort, because I don’t know what to call you. I’ve called you many things in the past six months. A whore. A bitch. Evil. Homewrecker. Trollup (this seems to stick as its catchy and not quite as vile as the others.) I’ve called you PC’s girlfriend and ‘my kids’ babysitter’ and also by your given name, as well. You’ve been referred to as a blight on women everywhere: someone who has taken the moral code of women and friendship and hopped right over the fence like it was nothing. The truth is pretty black and white: my husband cheated on me and you are the woman he cheated with.
But as with much in life, nothing is black and white. In the beginning, I envisioned you as a wanton whore, intent on destruction. I pictured you banging my husband in some dark room while I waited at home for him, innocently binge-watching Friends. I imagined you cackling and sharing tidbits with him on how I had no clue. I envisioned you playing footsie and stealing secret glances when we were all in public together. I have no way of knowing if any of those things happened, or how they happened. Maybe he lied to you (all signs point to a big, fat YES on that one). Maybe you were lonely and he promised you the world (familiar with that as well). Maybe he told you things about me that caused to think you were only playing a part in a marriage that was doomed anyhow. I just don’t know.
You, yourself had your world flipped upside down by a homewrecker. You, Trollup, spent months singing the blues of a woman scorned. I think this is the part that perplexes me, the part that makes me question your moral code. I just simply cannot imagine, knowing how it feels to be betrayed on so many levels, that I could or would ever even allow myself to get close to something like that. What made you do that? Are you truly an evil person? Did you simply not care how your actions would affect me? How many ripples of consequences would stem from your decisions? Was it your way of getting back at the world…someone betrayed you, so you did the same? Or, as I suspect, did he twist your mind into believing that it was black and white; that what the two of you were doing was not the same as what your ex-husband and his mistress did? I just don’t know.
But here’s the catch. Here’s what I want to say to you.
I see you now. Because we talk. Because we have to, and without that communication the days my children spend in your home, with you and PC and your daughters and this fun new family unit he’s made you think you are creating—I would be filled with anxiety. Because PC is a goddamn asshole liar, so I’ve resorted to communicating with you about my children. Pretty ironic, huh? Handing over the most precious jewels of my life to someone who literally blew up my family.
But, you are kind to me. I am not naïve enough to believe it is kindness from your heart. I think it comes from your own naitivity—your own belief that you’re helping PC, being the good girlfriend and a good mom by taking care of his kids. Maybe there’s some manipulation, I couldn’t say. Maybe he’s telling you to suck up to me to keep me compliant: but I don’t think so. There have been group texts between the three of us and you have been witness to his vicious slinging of insults and his style of fighting, which resembles that of a toddler.
You’re seeing this, and it makes me wonder what else you’re seeing. Is he a dick to you too? Probably not yet. Or, if he is, he’s quick to apologize, quick to blame it on me, quick to blame it on stress, quick to tell you he needs you. But still, you’re with a man who treats the mother of his children terribly—the mother being someone who, by all counts, has done nothing to deserve it. No one deserves to be treated poorly…and therein lies the catch.
Part of me wants to be a bitch to you. To remind you, each time you apologize to me for his words or inability to cooperate, that you played a part in this. Part of me want to send you the 122 screenshots of text conversations in which your boyfriend says things to me like you’re dead to me and go fuck yourself. Part of me wants to make sure that you know that he told me he’s glad he’s with you because he doesn’t have “to deal” with being married to someone with a disability anymore. That this man is the one that you moved into your house, that you’re raising your children around, and that I imagine you’re pinning your entire future on.
And of course, I’m no saint: part of me wants to tell you everything just to watch this facade that PC has built crumble around him. I want to see you break his heart just like he broke mine, and I want him to be completely fucked. But.
You, the woman who slept with my husband, are also a person who sits with my daughter and paints her nails. You bought her a fidget spinner and you launder my kids’ clothes and send them home folded neatly. You send me texts that my daughter made it to ballet on time and photos of my kids at the craft fair. I don’t know why you are doing this: because you genuinely care? Because you’re trying to impress PC with your amazing mothering skills? Because you want me to like you so that you can absolve your own guilt? Or, as I suspect, because you don’t have a choice?
Guess what, Trollup? It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter to my daughter why you’re painting her nails and why you play games with her. It doesn’t matter to my son why you gave him a Penn State ball cap. They like you, and if you were not engaging with them no one would be, because as I know you are realizing, PC is in the running for president of the Deadbeat Dad Club.
And sort of like a fault line cracking or the earth shifting, PC and all of his drama (well most of it) shifted from me to you. From my life, to yours. I will not say that divorcing a narcissist is ever going to be easy, but my day-to-day life? Its peaceful and I find myself more and more feeling the sense of me returning and guess what…she’s happy. She’s at peace. A huge cloud of toxicity just picked itself up and left, settling with force and power, I’m certain, on your doorstep.
What I have left to say is not being said in a jest, or as a way to try to make lemonade out of a rotten, molding lemon. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s something you read about, something you find memes on Facebook about: how forgiveness lifts a huge weight. I am not sure I will ever forgive PC for the things he’s done to me. And I don’t have any illusions about the fact that you and I are on opposite sides of the camp. You aren’t even close to being cut from the same moral fiber as me.
But honey, you’re with PC. No matter how it ends (or doesn’t) your karma is jagged and strong. There’s simply no need for me to hate you. I don’t have to like you. But you’ll be punished enough. My hatred towards you means nothing to you, it only serves as a remaining sword of negativity in my life. So like I said, I’ve been thinking about it. And I’m just done.
I forgive you. Not for you, but for myself.