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While having lunch with a good male friend of mine, who happens to be divorced, I asked him questions to see if I could satisfy my curiosity as to why after a breakup, couples turn against each other. At first he didn’t take me seriously and his answers were more of a comedy routine than a serious interview as I intended it to be. Here is what I managed to get out of my wannabe comedian friend:

Me: At what point did you know divorce was inevitable?

Friend: When she found out about the affair and hit me with the frying pan.

Me: How did she find out?

Friend:  I told her via text message.

Me: Did you regret the affair when she found out?

Friend: Nah, I was glad I was busted; I was running out of lies every time I went out.

Me: What about the kids, did you think about how this would affect them?

Friend: Crap, I have kids!?

Tired of his stupid attempts at humor, I shared my point of view about breakups, divorce and the change in couple’s behavior towards each other after they split up and something must have hit home with him because he paused, stared into space for a minute or so and told me his side of the story.

He didn’t plan on having an affair, no man plans ahead of time to cheat on his wife or girlfriend it just happened he said. Yes, likely story you’re thinking just like I did. I’m a pretty good judge of character and I could see the pain in his eyes and hear the regret in his voice. After several years of marriage and the constant complains from his wife that he didn’t pay her enough attention, he should lose some weight, why doesn’t he dress better, why can’t he be like so and so’s husband and do more around the house etc. etc., he began to feel like no matter what he did it wasn’t enough for his wife.

The constant bickering was beginning to annoy him and he knew she was right about a few things but she didn’t let up.  It wasn’t all her fault; he blamed himself for not paying her much attention and for not being as loving as he should have been towards her.  He claimed she needed to take some of the blame for their failed relationship as well since all she did was complain and nag and rarely had a kind word to say. His attempts to do more couple things together was also shot down by excuses that she had to visit her mom, sister or go to church, do her nails or whatever it was she did which didn’t include him.

What drove you to have an affair? The fact that someone else accepted me for who I was and exactly as I was. She didn’t see my lack of fashion style, she didn’t see my hair was thinning, she didn’t see my abs were not rock hard and she didn’t mind I wasn’t as handsome as George Clooney. She saw me, plain old average me and we talked, became friends and that’s all it was for the first few months.  She was someone I could talk to, not about my personal life, I never discussed my wife and kids with her and I never complained about the things that bothered me because it had nothing to do with our friendship. We had so much in common and it was nice to be around someone who actually listened to me.

At what point did you become romantically involved with her? I don’t know I wasn’t looking to become involved with her it was more of a friendship then one day it happened. Don’t ask me how, it just did. I felt guilty when I got home that day and I felt like a dirt bag about it. It was not something I wanted to continue doing and we didn’t meet up again until a month later. I can’t recall how I managed to get away with being out late and all the excuses I made when getting home late it was so easy and after a while it became a habit and I just went with it.

Weren’t you afraid your lady friend would turn fatal being she was single? Not at all, she knew my situation and we never discussed my leaving my wife or us being together. As far as we were concerned, it was one day at a time with no commitments and no promises. She wasn’t looking for a permanent relationship at the time either.

What happened when your wife found out? It was tough because I knew I was wrong and I knew I hurt her but the worse part of it all was hurting my kids. I was hurting when my kids avoided me and their mom didn’t help matters by turning them against me with lies and God knows what she told them about me.  My biggest regret during the whole situation was having to face my kids and seeing the disappointment in their eyes. (I felt bad for him at this point and the hurt he felt was evident)

Did you learn anything during this whole mess?  Yeah, don’t get caught…seriously, I learned a lot I rather not get into it because it’s still hurts when I think of all the pain I caused. Don’t get me wrong, I regret what I did and sometimes I don’t, it’s hard to explain. I look back at my relationship and wonder if there was anything I could have done to make it better without having the affair and I don’t think there was anything I could have done. It takes two to destroy a relationship and she will never admit she was part to blame for our breakup, but I will take sixty percent of the blame.

What is your relationship with your kids today? We talk, we spend time together and I don’t want them to hate their mother or take sides, I don’t defend myself or justify what I did. As teenagers, they ask a lot of questions and I answer them as honestly as I can but it’s still a little rough for us and I’m working on rebuilding our relationship.

How was it during the divorce process? A nightmare. You women can be vicious and spiteful, damn. She wanted to hurt me and began running up the bills, bad mouthing me and talking about our relationship with her friends and family I mean did she have to go there?  I deserved it but not to the extent she took it to. Overall I gave her what she wanted and didn’t feel the need to defend myself because the damage was done and nothing could have changed a thing.  Shit happens and sooner or later we all make mistakes we regret.

I’m not defending his actions or agree with what he did since he has to live with regrets for the rest of his life. The sad part of it all is when there are kids involved, they are the ones affected more by a broken relationship than the adults because to them, we are the ones who they look up to and to see their parents breaking up must be a hard thing for them to accept.  There are no comforting words to take away the hurt we cause our kids during a divorce but as parents I guess the best we can do is be there for them, talk to them and reassure them of our love for them. 

Life is all about learning from our mistakes and trying not to repeat them.