Monday, April 21, 2014

Apparently, I'm a home wrecker… (old post from 2010)

I originally posted this on Epinions back on New Year's Eve, 2010.  I'm reposting it, because Bill and I were talking about his planned trip to see his father next month.  I will not be going with him because someone needs to take care of the dogs and because, frankly, I don't really feel that welcome there.  Although my father-in-law and his wife intensely dislike Bill's former wife, they still kind of treat me like an interloper, even though I have been married to Bill longer than she was and I treat him much better than she did.

A lot of people seem to think that if you are a woman who marries a man who has been married before, somehow you've wrecked a "happy home".  This piece is about my thoughts on the subject of home wreckers.  I have never thought I was one… and even if I were a home wrecker, the blame shouldn't be placed entirely on me or any other woman.  Most men are not weak willed idiots.  They have a say in what they do or don't do.

Personally, I'm kind of sick of the idea that men are immature kids who can't control themselves.  I have a wonderful husband who is good to me.  All he asks from me is that I love and respect him, which I am proud to do.

When I was getting my teeth cleaned the other day, I remembered an incident with a dental hygienist I ran into in Georgia.  She asked me if I was married and had any kids.  I said, "No, I don't have kids."

"Oh, I guess your husband is childish enough for you, huh?" she said with a smile.

"No, actually he's a great husband."  I said, kind of shocked that this woman would say such an unprofessional thing as she was x-raying my teeth.  I'm guessing the lady had a bad experience… as many women do.  But a lot of men have childish partners as well.  Reverse that situation and see how even less appropriate it would have been had the hygienist insinuated that my husband was married to an immature woman.

I told my hygienist in Texas about that and she was shocked… especially when the Georgia hygienist later reprimanded me for saying "Damn" because the x-rays hurt.  Despite popular opinion, I have a small mouth.  ;-)

Apparently, I'm a homewrecker...

Dec 31, 2010 (Updated Jan 3, 2011)

The Bottom Line Imagine me, a homewrecker... perish the thought!

In my last writer's corner piece, I lamented that the last days of 2010 were shaping up to be very strange indeed. Well, it is now New Year's Eve and I've only been awake for a few hours, and yet some weird things have already happened today.

First of all, I had a very strange dream this morning. I wrote about it in detail on my blog, so I won't describe it in detail here, except to say that the dream had to do with a crowd of people getting the wrong idea about me and treating me with a lot of hostility. All the while, I was trying to call my husband, Bill, on my cell phone for support or maybe an escape route, but I couldn't reach him because my cell phone wasn't getting service. There was only one person in the crowd who seemed to take a neutral, advocate-like role and seemed ready to help me. I woke up just as I was about to face some silly judgment hearing.

I don't know if it was my subconscious preparing me or what, but this morning I got a very strange comment on a champagne review I wrote for Associated Content last June. Bill had bought me a bottle of my favorite bubbly, Taittinger, for my birthday and made me a gourmet breakfast. Right after I posted that review, someone commented that I've got myself a keeper of a man. I commented that I had actually thanked my husband's ex wife for divorcing Bill. After that, not a peep from the peanut gallery, until this morning.

I guess people are looking for champagne reviews for New Year's Eve... Someone, who signed themselves "Bills ex" [sic] left the following comment:

"One woman's trash is another woman's treasure, homewrecker."

Excuse me?

I feel pretty certain my husband's ex wife did not actually leave that comment. For one thing, it's much too articulate. For another thing, as a "devout Mormon", I doubt she would be looking for champagne reviews on New Year's Eve, and certainly not for a champagne like Taittinger. And finally, even if ten years after their divorce my husband's ex wife were going to leave a nasty comment to me, I think she'd somehow want me to know that she was the one who did it. That's the type of person she is.

In any case, I decided to delete the comment, since I didn't feel it had anything to do with the original article. But then I started to think about the term homewrecker and what it implies. And now I'm not sure if I should feel insulted or gratified. The term "homewrecker" implies that I'm some kind of devious vixen who stole my husband away from his ex wife. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I'm not very vixenlike at all. I hardly ever dated before I met Bill. I was a virgin until two weeks after our wedding. A sexually adventurous temptress I truly am not.

While the term homewrecker implies that I broke up my husband's marriage, it was already irrevocably broken well before I came along. All I did was marry a man who was legally divorced. Though we did meet online a couple of years before we met in person, Bill had been divorced for almost an entire year before I met him in the flesh. In fact, I talked to him online for months before I even knew anything about his ex wife, who, by the way, was by that time already shacking up with her third husband.

My initial conversations with Bill were entirely platonic and based on our mutual love of travel. I had never asked about his life offline and he never volunteered the information. Didn't think it was any of my business to ask and certainly never thought I'd ever meet him in person, let alone marry him! He eventually told me about his first marriage only when he decided he liked me and wanted to get to know me better. Even after he told me about her, he kept his conversations with me platonic until he was divorced.

One thing I've noticed about the term "homewrecker" is that it lays all the blame on the other woman. Let's face it. Most people don't accuse men of being homewreckers, right? But a woman who comes along after a man has made a commitment to marry is called a homewrecker, ostensibly because she has somehow lured this guy away from the loving arms of his ex wife. It's as if he would have stayed faithful to the marriage if it weren't for her. It paints the marriage as some sacred, idyllic institution, ruined by some trollop who came along and sullied it with her sordid treasure breasts of lust.

Wow... I didn't realize I had that kind of power! Even if, in our situation, I had been a so-called homewrecker, I am not the one who committed to being married to my husband's ex wife. When it comes down to it, single women who hook up with married men (and vice versa), whether they know he's married or not, are ultimately not the ones who strayed. The married party is the one who made the commitment. So why does she automatically get all the heat? Frankly, even if my husband were the type of person to cheat, I would probably be more inclined to feel sorry for the next woman. Because if he'd be willing to cheat on me, he'd likely be willing to cheat on her, too.

Now, if she happens to be a married woman who knowingly cheats with a married man, that may be a different story altogether... But I don't think single women who have affairs with married men, or vice versa, should be the ones who get the lion's share of the blame. People may refer to them as "homewreckers", but I think the reality is that most women who end up the "other woman" don't have that kind of power. Ultimately, the only reason they have any power is because it's somehow been granted to them.

Anyway, I really do think it's laughable that anyone would refer to me as a homewrecker, even in jest. I'm just not very sexy. I'm basically a fat, almost middle-aged, overeducated housewife who walks around in sweats and bare feet and doesn't wear makeup. After eight years together, Bill and I are still in love and get along famously. But it's not because I'm some kind of tawdry tramp who rocks his world in the sack so much that he'd just up and decide to dump his first wife for me. It's because we really do love and respect each other. It would have been a lot easier had I come along first but, probably because I'm eight years younger than he is, I didn't.

Besides, for the record, it was she who dumped him... and, once again, I thank her for it. I don't know why that's inappropriate. I would be grateful to her whether I liked and respected her or not. If she hadn't decided to dump Bill, he might still be married to her. And if she hadn't married him, some other woman would have and likely would have treated him better, meaning I'd probably still be a lonely, single virgin. Whether my husband's ex wife meant to or not, she gave me a gift. Why is it wrong to be thankful for a gift?

I really don't know who left that comment or why they felt it was appropriate. Perhaps, for some reason, they were trying to upset me. Perhaps they're alone and bitter on New Year's Eve and lashing out. Maybe it was just someone looking for a laugh. At least it gave me something different to think about on the last day of 2010.

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