I remember how awkward I felt telling family, friends and acquaintances I was getting divorced. At first, I wasn’t sure what to say so I practiced my lines. I didn’t mind people knowing I was getting divorced but I wasn’t comfortable discussing all the ins and outs so I tried to prepare myself for the questions. Knowing how I felt, I wanted to know how Debbie felt about having to tell people that her husband was a pedophile. Who did she tell? How did they react? Here’s Debbie:
I told my family immediately and they have been nothing but totally supportive. The day I found the list of names on the computer, I called my dad and took my son to him. I took out half the money from the bank account. I just went into survival mode. I was on a mission to figure out what I needed to do to keep everybody safe.
I think my professional background played into it a lot. I called people. I called my investment advisor who had known and worked with my husband, told him what was going on and asked what I needed to do. He said I needed to talk to a lawyer and told me who to call.
I think because I had the evidence and that it was so clear-cut, there wasn’t a fallout of ‘he said, she said.’ My husband’s best friend however, believed everything my husband was saying and we didn’t talk for probably a good year and a half. My ex is dead now and it was after his death that we reconciled. We started talking and pieced it all together. He and his wife are my son’s godparents, so I’m thankful we’re back in each other’s lives.
I am not saying I was the perfect wife. I made mistakes but I never cheated, I never lied. I was critical and I could have been a better wife but I did nothing to deserve this. My ex had said to me,
“You made me lie to you.”
But I wasn’t falling for that. I wasn’t going to let him blame me and that was thanks to support from friends, to who I am and to therapy.
I was afraid of people finding out what my ex had done and it reflecting badly on me, either because I hadn’t seen it or that people would think differently of me for having been married to him. I think because of that I didn’t tell many people. I was very careful about who I told. Sometimes I felt like I would blurt it out, like sometimes you’re standing there and you say things and you’re wondering what in the world is coming out of your mouth? I blurted it out to a neighbor once and I don’t think our relationship has ever been the same again!
I did a lot of therapy and after a while, I just realized that,
I was not going to keep his secrets.
That’s been part of this process of my sharing this story and starting my blog; I’m not going to keep his secrets. This is not a reflection on me.
The Divorce Coach Says
OK … hands up ladies, if your husband told you he was doing something because of you? Debbie is definitely not alone on this. My husband tried to blame some of his behavior on me because he said, I was making him unhappy. He may have been unhappy with me but he could choose how to behave. And same is true here … And like Student Mama said, she would take responsibility for her own behavior but she wasn’t accepting responsibility for her husband’s affairs because he could have dealt with their issues differently.
The most powerful part to this segment for me, and possibly for the whole of Debbie’s story, is the “I’m not going to keep his secrets.” There’s very powerful healing in that realization (more on that to come) but then as Debbie says, that doesn’t mean you have go telling the whole world. It’s up to you to use your judgment about who needs to know the details and what details they need to know.
Debbie mentions above that her ex is now dead. The next post, is that story.