Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wake up! I'm the woman who's about to steal your husband.


On this blog, I’m going to call myself Ridley. I live in poverty in a dystopian universe maybe a couple hundred years from now. (I haven’t decided yet.) The man in question is Chi, and his wife will be known as Rory. 

(No, I haven’t gone crazy just yet. I don’t want to finger anyone in real life. The names are characters in a story, an allegory I’m writing about the trouble I’ve seen. Who knows if it will ever see the light of day. It’s a futuristic, dystopic, Hunger-Games-like thing. I have never known anyone with these names in real life, so I think I’m safe with these. I may write in character a lot in here. Then again, I may not.) 

You see a lot of advice online, about affairs, about getting over your breakup, about repairing marriages. I’ve been around the web and read just about all the advice.

(You do that when you’re crying your eyes out, when you can’t think about anything but the guy you lost, when thoughts of him are so constant in your mind that the one time you forgot about him in an entire year and a half, you remember very clearly because it was for only four hours one day last July.)

Over and over I read, “Forget about him.” “End all online stalking.” “End all thoughts of the person.” “Get out there and do something else.” “Move on.” “List all the things you didn’t like and recast the person as a bad chapter in your life.” “Get busy with friends and hobbies.”


I could never accept this advice. For one thing, I’d been through a very rough time the past several years before Chi and I got together, and my six or so months with him was the one time I was happy in quite a long while. My husband, Simon, had died a year before, and prior to that, I’d put away many plans for my future to deal with two elderly, handicapped, mentally-not-so-well relatives who’d fallen into my lap and pretty much stolen all my dreams.

For another thing, I think that if you take this “FOGEDDABOUDDIT!!!” advice too strongly to heart, you miss out on all the deeper reasons your issues with this person happened, you don’t learn anything, and you run a most terrible risk of having it all happen again.

We’re in life to learn: this, I know.

As an example, let me pen to you the letter it occurred to me many times to write Chi’s wife, Rory, while her husband and I were falling in love. You find this kind of advice on the net a lot, and there’s truth in it…but it’s not all the truth. Just the same way that, if you take some people’s advice and write out all the things you hated about the relationship and the way you were treated, finding a way to turn it all negative in your mind and distance yourself from it, you ARE discovering some truth, and putting it in black and white in front of you where you can see it, feel it, and digest it. 

Just not all of it.

Dear Rory,

You don’t know me. You have heard of me, but you’ve never met me. Yet I am closer to your life than you know. 

I’m the woman who’s about to steal your husband.

I don’t feel very good about this. It’s something I swore to myself for many, many years I was not mean enough, not nasty enough, not low enough, to ever, ever do.

In fact, I’ve tried to send him back to talk to you for the past month. You don’t know about this. You probably wondered why he was acting so weird when he started trying to cuddle you and nuzzle you last Sunday as he was making your breakfast. That was me. You might have wondered when he started making vague comments about how he felt he wasn’t pleasing you lately or making you happy, and trying to talk to you about your (nonexistent) sex life. That was me, too. I told him he needed to talk to you.

I’m sending him back to talk to you instead of just swooping in to get him, and, for the past month, that’s made me: Your New Best Friend.

I’m going to try to send him back to you again in a couple of months, too. Your behavior is distressing to him, but it’s appalling to me. I HAD a happy marriage, which means I know how to conduct myself in one. 

And I want you to know that on my worst day, I always treated my husband at least ten times better than you seem capable of treating your husband on your best day.

Chi feels demoralized by how you treat him. You don’t talk to him. You never show any feelings. You don’t share. You don’t cuddle on the couch and watch movies. You don’t want to go on vacation with him or spend any special time with him. You are sharp-tongued and nasty. Although you call him the perfect husband and tell everyone about your perfect marriage, you have had sex with him all of three times in the last year.

What you don’t know is that Chi had a rough childhood and has terrible self-esteem. Although he’s tall, sharp, smart, funny, handsome, very fit after he lost all that weight trying to interest you more in sex, successful, creative, and absolutely adorable, he thinks he is repulsive to women, and an awful lot of that is due to the way you’re acting. It stabs me in the heart to see this, because I’ve known your husband since I was thirty and still unmarried, and one of the first things I thought when I met him was, “Why does THIS guy have to be married??” 

When I finally told him how I felt about him, I had a stack of reasons on the left hand why I shouldn’t, and a stack of reasons on the right why I wanted to. The straw that tipped the whole thing was my knowledge that he knows me—he’s seen me with Simon for the past eleven years. He KNOWS I’m a good woman, and if I told him how I see him, I know he’ll believe me.

But still I’m going to try to send him back to you. He tells me what you do, he tells me how you act. And in a couple of months, you’re going to tip your hand. You’re going to say one thing that tells me what’s really going on. And I’m going to try one more time to send him back to you.

But for now, let’s stick with the superficial.

Rory: If you would do just three things (well, there’s a fourth, but the first three are essential), you would have no problem keeping your wonderful husband away from me or anyone else.

1.)    Have SEX with him. At least once a week. I know we’re all getting older, but if you have desire, pain, or response problems, medical help exists for these. You have health insurance courtesy of your wonderful husband. Go to the doctor and avail yourself of this help.

2.)    Let Chi be himself. Stop making fun of hobbies and other things that mean something to him while you insist he do yours with you.

3.)    Keep a civil tongue in your head. If you would not use those words or that tone of voice to a stranger next to you on the bus, under no circumstances should you use them with the person who means most to you, whom you want next to you in life. There are ways of getting things said without sarcasm, contempt, or belittling. Find a few.

4.)    Help out. You work one day a week. Your husband is bringing in all the bacon, doing all the yard work and way more than his share of housework.

Your attention in these matters would benefit you immensely and keep people like me out of your life indefinitely. He does not want to leave you. He works with me because you won’t work with him.

Ridley Faircloth.

Is there more to it than this?

Oh, yeah. Way more. This is the kind of advice you see splashed across the cover of women’s magazines, next to the photoshopped picture of the scantily-clad actress du jour. And the magazines are right, as far as they know. Like those lists we make of Why We Hated The Relationship, and those daily counts of how long we’ve stayed away from our ex on Facebook, we could stop there and say we’re done, we’re over it.

Oh, but would we learn anything? Really?

Stay tuned.

Welcome to "All Too Easy"

If you’re reading this, chances are you have become, or are considering becoming, one of us, um… Undesirable Third Parties. The harlots…the Jezebels…the Other Women. If you’re married, feel free to throw eggs. 

But y’all might want to listen to me first. If you are considering your first tentative step into “harlotry,” I’m going to give you some advice on exactly why this particular road to happiness, which is looking SO easy to you right now, might not turn out that way.

And if you’ve just found out your husband is, pardon the phrase, “screwing around,” I’m here to give you the Cliff’s Notes on how to keep your husband.

So, you might not want to throw eggs just yet.

But, first, can I say a few words about our current political situation?

We have an election in two weeks, of which everyone, I’m sure, is totally sick of being reminded. But I’ve noticed something curious.

I was among a group of women at the hairdresser’s this week, and the conversation turned to whom everyone was going to vote for. And everyone said she would NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton, because she should have divorced her husband!


In Family Values America, where conservatives value Marriage Above All, why is it that each and every time a woman in public life finds she’s been cheated on, all scorn is heaped upon her if she doesn’t dump the dude? Look at the Anthony Weiner scandal. How many people thought she should have dumped him long before? Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley…you get the idea.

And yet. When it emerged, as I’m sure it eventually did, that the second love of MY life had at least considered carnal relations with me, what was the consensus? There would have been such a great hue and cry if that marriage broke up that it scared him right back into it. Despite some wifely behavior I really need to give some of you ladies the Cliff’s Notes on, and which, as it often happens, no one knew about.

Think about it. You find out your dad has a lady on the side. What’s your first reaction? "Dump her and get your ass right back to MY MOM!" The neighbors you have known and loved for years suddenly split up. It emerges that there is a third party. How do you feel? Shocked and aggrieved. When you and your hubby sniped over the housework every weekend, these were the marriages that looked so good. The ones that gave you faith that somewhere, for someone, it really does work out happily ever after. Maybe you even introduced these people, or it’s your sister and her husband. Maybe your kids have played happily together for years. And now little Johnny’s over at your house crying because his dad moved out last weekend. 

Why is it that people all but demand that, if you know and like the couple, they should stay together and repair their marriage, perhaps even “in the eyes of God,” but when Hillary Clinton does the same thing, you don’t want to vote for her because she should have left the guy?

Wouldn’t you want to keep your husband if it happened to you?

Isn’t that why you’re reading this?

More later. Welcome to the blog.