Their split, and the revelations that have followed, keep me up at night. This is a family that my family has spent a lot of time with — and we’ve discovered that my friend’s ex had an entirely secret life for the duration of the friendship. He cheated on his wife and kids, but he also cheated on our friendship as well.
I immediately took sides when I found out they were getting divorced, and proclaimed I was on her team. “He’s not welcome in our home anymore,” I told my husband. “She can come with the kids or he can drop them off,” I said. “But I’m not spending time with him anymore. I just don’t want him around.”
My husband agreed, though he was less vitriolic than I was. In his opinion, it’s not our place to take sides. In my opinion it is. If I had been treated by my husband the way my friend was treated by hers I wouldn’t want to feel like my friends were spending time with him which, I think validates his bad behavior. He chose to be a cheater. He could have made a different choice.
But as time has gone on, it has gotten harder and harder to fully cut him out. The dinners between the four of us are obviously a thing of the past, but our children are quite close. They play on the same basketball team and have the same group of friends. Unless I’m never going to show up for practice or birthday parties, I’m going to have to see her ex. And that means I’m going to have to be polite.
There are other complications as well. Going forward can I really say to my friend that she’s allowed to bring the kids to our home, but if her ex-husband has the kids they aren’t invited? Their dad was the cheater, but it feels like I’m making his kids suffer. That hardly seems fair at all.
So out of respect for my friend, or any friends in a similar situation in the future, I’m on my friend’s team. I’m not inviting her ex to a grown up event nor am I going out of my way to spend time with him. But when it comes to kid events, I’m going to soften up and realize that sometimes her creepy ex is going to have to be around so that his kids aren’t left out. Because even though it feels like her cheating ex was cheating on all of us, I don’t want her kids to suffer.
How have you handled it when your friends have gotten a divorce?
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