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I’ve gone back and forth on whether to chime in…but…I’ve decided not to stay silent.
Mighty, not only do I believe you are absolutely right to be angry at your ex telling your daughter “Things didn't work out with your mom and me” but I believe you should address his comment with both your children.
I have a problem teaching children they should “share” responsibility for another person’s bad choices..which is what I believe your ex just did.
For a moment I will completely agree with your husband. I will agree to any argument he could give for how unpleasant life was with you. If he says you were the meanest, most unsupportive wife that ever lived. Okay. I agree. If he says you could have been more attractive, more loving, more agreeable, and more pleasant. Okay. I agree. If he says, you spent all of his money and never made him feel validated. Okay. I agree.
He still choose to leave the sanctity of the marriage bed and place his penis inside another woman. Not only did he place his penis inside another woman but he did it carelessly. He did it so carelessly that she got pregnant.
When your ex said “better or for worse” what did he think “worse” was? Moreover…what did he expect of you…as his wife…when he heard these words from you on his wedding day? What did he expect you had to put up with when you said “worse” in your marriage vows?
Did he expect you to remain in the marriage when he was mean, unattractive, unsupportive, unloving, disagreeable, and unpleasant? Did he expect you to validate him no matter what HE did? Even if he spent money on things you didn’t agree with?
And if you were unfaithful and allowed another man to place his penis inside of you…did he see himself in a dual role as “working it out” with you? What if you had been careless with your vagina and allowed yourself to get pregnant? Would he have remained in the marriage?
Would he have seen himself with the dual responsibility of “working it out” with you?
I agree that no marriage can be successful unless we learn the art of compromise and learn how to work things out. Your daughter should know this.
But! And this is a huge BUT!
Your daughter should also know there is one thing that will never be her fault!
And that is infidelity.
Infidelity is a choice by the person who cheats.
Millions of married couples are unhappy because they believe their spouse is mean, unsupportive, unattractive, unloving, disagreeable, and unpleasant.
But despite their unhappiness, they do not cheat. That is a line they do not cross--because they understand infidelity is wrong. In almost every society—infidelity is wrong.
It was your ex-husband’s responsibility to “work it out” once his infidelity came to light and you agreed to remain in the marriage. Any reaction you had to learning that your husband had left the sanctity of your marriage bed and carelessly place his penis in another woman’s vagina was justified.
Did you get angry? It was justified. Did you demand things from him? It was justified.
And was it his responsibility to “work it out?”
Mighty—His infidelity was never your issue and, I believe, your daughter should know this.
Because, I believe, she should know that no man’s infidelity will EVER be her issue. And therefore—She should NEVER tolerate infidelity in ANY relationship she has.
I believe your ex-husband has set a dangerous example to your children for relationships and marriage. And I would take a stand—AND LET HIM KNOW I TAKE THIS STAND.
If he doesn’t like your stand…tough. He made the choice to engage in a societal taboo and he can defend it…if he wishes.
But! You owe no one (especially him) any justification for believing infidelity is wrong and teaching your children this belief. And maybe the next time he will take a moment before placing blame on you for his bad choices (Things didn't work out with your mom and me.)
NO—Things didn’t work out because your father placed his penis inside another woman’s vagina and did it carelessly. This exploded our marriage to bits and he refused to rebuild it. And I never want my children to think this is acceptable behavior.
Of course you will say it more gently and with love and tenderness.