Monday, May 07, 2007

My Head Is Going to Explode

I found out recently that a friend of mine is separated from her husband. In the version I heard, it is due to a grand passion she conceived for an associate in a project she had been working on. Now, despite attempts at marriage counselling, she is living in an apartment with the kids, having been asked to resign from the project. The status of her affair is unknown.

This has shaken me tremendously, because even though we're not close, I've known this woman a long time. If anyone had ever asked me, I would have been ready to swear on the religious text of your choosing that something like this would never happen. This is a disciplined, focused woman who sets priorities mercilessly. It would have been somewhat surprising to hear that she had cheated on her husband, but that she would turn her children's lives upside-down in this way is inconceivable to me.

She's been quoted as saying "I've never been in love before this." I can relate to that. I know that my feelings for my husband are a quantum leap away from any feelings I've ever had for other men. But the thing is, I was there when she got married. We were working together at the time she got engaged. And she was, literally, radiantly beautiful. Happiness just glowed out of her. I wasn't the only one who noticed it, either.

Since then, she and her husband had settled into a life together. I've seen them fight, and I've seen them make up. I thought they had a good system in place for working things out, and I've always admired their teamwork. There were long periods when she supported the family while he puttered around with various business plans that never really panned out, but recently he's been the breadwinner while she took care of the kids and poured her heart and soul into the project that ultimately cost her her marriage. So in addition to being surprised that she would let her life turn upside down, I'm also surprised that a match that seemed so strong turned out to be so weak.

And this is all none of my business. It's not like anyone has called me to cry on my shoulder; I heard this all in a roundabout way. I can't get it out of my head though, because these are people that I care about. And when some part of my life that seemed fixed turns out not to be, that shakes me up, too; I guess I'm really very conservative at heart. My heart goes out to my friend and her husband, and to their three children.


Blogger Zelda said...

Sorry to hear it. I kind of get it. My friend had an affair and left her three young children with her completely negligent husband (she once came home from work to find the baby playing with the contents of a dirty diaper while her husband surfed the internet). They weren't an ideal family but she was a devoted attachment parenting mom with an advanced degree from Berkeley who nursed her kids until they were three. Overnight she went from that to a bar hopping floozy who moved in with a coke dealer. Hard to deal with. Makes you wonder.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

What's that saying again, marriagne is something or other, you never know what's in there from the outside.

I guess people can all change over time, for good or bad. It would be so much nicer for the kids if the parents are willing to work out their issues. Divorce is so hard on kids.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Know what you mean... I had a friend (we shared a dorm in college) who went from being married to Harvard Divinity Student (they had a son named Wisdom) running off with a 300lb boxer with gold teeth!

You think to yourself..."I thought I knew her." I also wonder...How many steps away am I from the same fate? What made her snap? Are we all that vulnerable?

8:30 AM  

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