“A wife, if she is loving and smart, will get her husband back every time . . . if she doesn’t get him back, it’s because she’s lazy, blind or doesn’t want him” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl (1962)
This isn’t exactly ladylike, but it’s still early enough in the project to be a little coarse:
I hate Helen Gurley Brown.
She goes on in the chapter to say that it’s perfectly fine to date married men. Their wives are horrible and stupid, so why shouldn’t you savor their company?
But Helen never mentions the kids.
This is the part of this project where I get all confessional and weepy. My stepdad, who helped my mom raise me for 15 years (not that I didn’t have a dad, I did, he just didn’t live in the same house as us but was and is still awesome), who fathered my extremely awesome sister Beth, cheated on my mom with a nurse he worked with. Apparently, my mom, who is awesome and funny and smart, “wasn’t loving” enough to “keep her man,” so he had to take up with some skanky nurse who still reads Twilight and cheats on him all the time
with dudes who would make Jimmy Buffet say “Whoa there on the pencil-thin mustache.”
When he left, our family fell to pieces. I reacted by shutting myself off from everyone except Geena Davis in Earth Girls Are Easy. We’re only now really getting ourselves back together, but the pain is still there, every single day. One of my parents abandoned me. His marriage didn’t work out, whatever, neither did my mom and dad’s, and both of them raised me just fine, stayed active in my life, loved me to pieces and, with major kudos, sat through way too many terrible high school musicals. But this guy, who coached my softball team, who helped me move into my first dorm, who I welcomed into my life even though I already had a dad, I just wasn’t “loving” enough for him to keep around.
(Mom, Dad, I love you. Thank you for everything.)
That shit doesn’t stop hurting, ever. And this is the first time I’ve ever been able to write about it, four years practically to the day from when I got that phone call saying that he’d walked out. So thanks, HGB, for making me hate you so much that I was able to finally direct that rage.
I was in college when my father walked out on my mom (he had been having an affair with an old girlfriend). She reacted much as HFB suggests, trying to win him back.
I reacted, I think, in the way you did. It’s hard to throw yourself on the floor when you’re 22 years old, but I sure tried.
John–that’s a drag, and I’m sorry you had to go through that. But for the sake of science (and to tell HGB to bite my butt) did it work?
My behavior post-divorce was delightfully appalling. One of my finer tantrums, I must say.
It did not work for my mother, but I succeeded in not speaking to my father for years afterwards.
Not to get all support group on you, but- you’re entitled to that tantrum. It just doesn’t do anything to salve the wound. A drag is the perfect word for it.