Advice From The Comic Hack 170 – The You Got To Know When To Hold ‘Em (When Your Man Screws Up) Edition

Aug 19

Advice From The Comic Hack 170 – The You Got To Know When To Hold ‘Em (When Your Man Screws Up) Edition

Rebel, rocker, original and genuine bad-boy, Sex Pistol – punk rocker, host, author and (by vote) one of the 100 top Britons –  John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon once proudly proclaimed “I’m not here for your amusement. You’re here for mine.

I intended to take a hiatus two weeks ago – and I did.  I intended to return with this column last week but was felled by what I am POSITIVE was Ebola but my editor insists was merely a summer cold. Intentions are funny that way. Editors; not so much. But really? Just a cold? Not a life-threatening plague of Biblical proportions? One of us is wrong. Dead wrong! (editor’s note: it’s you dummy) In today’s only-slightly-germy return to banging out the Ol’ Advice Column for my dedicated followers A Darling Reader wants to know when-and-if she should pull the plug – metaphorically – on her dumb-ass husband gone astray.  I suspect you can tell from the preceding sentence how this is likely to go. I’m not going to ask you to LIKE or SHARE this post – You haven’t read it yet! But I AM going to ask you to SUBMIT questions for future columns to advicequestions@comichacksguide.com.  Do it for the amusement of BOTH of us. 

Me too Johnny, Me toooooo!

Me too Johnny, Me toooooo!

 

Hi, Mr. Comic Hack! 

So!  My marriage has been having a rocky time for several years.  Last fall, as the culmination of a sudden and stunning series of events and revelations involving infidelity and mental illness (on his part), my husband of more than a decade moved out-of-state, leaving myself and our son.

Needless to say, I got myself into counseling.  He and I kept in contact.  We agreed that I would attempt to finish my current college course (estimated 2 years to completion) before we made “any Major Decisions” regarding our relationship.

He completely broke my trust – destroyed it, nuked it from orbit, if you will.  Since moving away, he has done nothing tangible to rebuild that trust.  While he seems to be doing well materially for himself now, he does not seem to be doing anything more substantial than making noises about our relationship.

I am a compassionate, giving, loving, patient kind of a person.  As of six months ago, I would have said that while we had our issues my relationship with my husband was solid – that he was trust-worthy, and that I meant something to him.  As of five months ago, I could and did honestly say “what the bloody hell just happened?!”  As of now …..

I realize that if he cannot or will not put forth the effort to keep me, then I need to let him go.  I know that many women wouldn’t have allowed the situation to continue as long as it has.  I know that I will continue to love him regardless of what our long-term status is.  That’s what I do.  It’s who I am.  That does not mean that I roll over and allow them to abuse me and mistreat me.  It is possible to love someone very deeply and still tell them to GTFO of your life.  No one ever said it was easy, however.

After what feels like an excessively long back-story (sorry ’bout that), here’s my question: I believe I have come to my long-term decision already.  Do I hold the thought in my heart and wait until the appointed time has passed out of the respect and love I have for this broken man?  (Yes, I do still respect him in certain ways.  Weird, huh?  I ascribe that to my personal sense of morality and “rightness”.  We should respect our fellow beings.)  This choice could mean that I miss out on one more opportunities for new potential relationships myself in the meantime… NOT that anyone is waiting in the wings, but I’m trying to account for all the possibilities that I reasonably can.  Do I go ahead with gently but firmly telling him we’re done?  This choice would put more stress on him at a time when he, too, is extremely vulnerable and confused.

 And finally, how do I explain any of this hot mess to my (8-year-old) son??? 

How many times have I used this photo? What was the last time?

How many times have I used this photo?
What was the last time?

 Wow, what fun. You’re a nice lady – maybe too nice. I see a lot of that reflected here in what you’ve written. First: don’t apologize for the lengthy back-story you’ve submitted Tolstoy! I like getting real communication from my darling readers and the history – as well as the way you choose to relate your story – reveals a lot about you. It allows me to better assess your mental and emotional state so I don’t have to take a shot in the dark when answering these questions.

I took a “shot in the dark” once – guess what it got me!

I took a “shot in the dark” once – guess what it got me!

One of the things that seems pretty clear is that you’re too nice and not honest enough with me or with yourself. You are being too conciliatory, too concerned for this man who has wronged you. As my totally fictional homespun granny would say “You’re too sweet by half!” AND you’re hedging. You’ve built ‘weasel words’ into your description at one point you even write “if he cannot or will not put forth the effort to keep me”  but I don’t want you to think IF I want you to know that the correct sentence is “SINCE he cannot or will not put forth the effort to keep me”

The IMAGE SEARCH results I got for "Sexy Granny" horrified me. Please enjoy another photo of Johnny Rotten, himself now ot (at least) grandfather age!

The IMAGE SEARCH results I got for “Sexy Granny” horrified me. Please enjoy another photo of Johnny Rotten, himself now of (at least) grandfather age!

You have my respect. I want to be clear you have my suspicious, concerned; one might even say “cynical” respect. I cannot blame you and I can understand and admire you for loving this flawed man. You’ve shared your life, your heart and your bed. It speaks to your kindness and your spirit that he still holds a place in your soul. But – and it’s a big but. And I LIKE big butts and I cannot lie – You’ve already given him more consideration than he deserves. I don’t – and I want you not to – give a damn how this affects his fragile little ego moving forward.

Yes – I applaud you for loving this man but you have my concern and wary, rueful scrutiny when you show such care for a man who clearly does not deserve you and definitely does not deserve such thoughtfulness.

How much is it you being sweet, and how much is it just you being timid, overly mollifying, and self-denying? Some folks wrongly feel that it’s easier to procrastinate than to do the hard work. You’re not alone. Many of us would rather weather a sad situation than face the toil and the heartache to fix it. Avoidance is a mechanism to – well – avoid pain. Even though it’s short-term and doesn’t address the root problem – some folks will turn a blind eye rather than face the truth even though they know – it’s going to get better – after the suck. Not his little black duck. You want easy, I want easy. Hell I’ve dated easy; sometimes in groups of three or more… But what you’re doing to yourself is not the kind of easy that you want. It’s not going to help you.

Has anime EVER answered any "real life" problems?

Has anime EVER answered any “real life” problems?

Respect? Perhaps your respect should be saved for those that deserve it. I don’t blame you for respecting what this man was – or what you believed him to be. Respect what he once meant to you. Respect what he has potential to be or what he started as but it’s also time to take a long hard (giggity) look at what he IS, what his actions show him to be NOW because it is now time for you to go. Now it’s time for SELF RESPECT.

There are couples who put the pieces back together after an infidelity and go on to have a stronger, richer, better relationship thereafter. But in my less-than-humble-opinion this demands that both parties: offender and offended against, work hard and show commitment to heal and grow stronger. From what you say here – you’ve done the work and he’s done nothing but lip service – and not the fun kind of lip service you can purchase in Thailand.

My editor wouldn't let me post the image i wanted for THAT one...

My editor wouldn’t let me post the image I wanted for THAT one…

Perhaps I’m being too harsh, I don’t want any of us to lose sight of the big picture which is – You were wronged, and you know it. You were brave and strong and committed enough to give him a chance to show he wished to salvage what you once shared. HE failed. Not you. You took your time coming to this decision out of a sense of honor, obligation, and  hope for what you built with this man. But now this thing is over – and you know it. All you’re really asking me is how and when to end it.

I’m a “Rip the Band-Aid off fast” guy. You’ve done your part. You gave him more of a chance at redemption than most would. You have certainly gone above and beyond – but your heart has decided and (again) you know it. Why bother prolonging it at this point? Why proffer false hope –for either of you? Again you have my begrudging respect for caring how this will affect him. Brava! But me – I’m an asshole and I hope this breaks him. I wish him well, and eventual happiness. I hope he learns from this mistake and grows wiser and stronger. I hope he makes better decisions next time. I’d even write him a response for this column if he writes a question to me – but today; I hope he drowns in his own tears. It serves him right. He threw this away. You no longer owe him anything.

Truth!

Truth!

That being said – expect a backlash. Expect recriminations, accusations and vain (both definitions: useless and conceited) attempts to “win you over” or “get you back.” My instinct is for you to tell him to pack sand up his ass (with the proverbial steam shovel) when he does – but that’s for you, and your battered heart to decide. I hope you make the decision – Whether it’s to give him the allotted time or to be firm in your resolve to move on now – from a position of strength and self-confidence. But be ready… it’s very likely you’ll have to address this response when you drop the hammer.

Might I suggest...

Might I suggest…

Sometimes people write me when they’ve already made up their minds. They’re not-so-much looking for answers as they are looking for my “blessing” or my insight on the decision they’ve already made. You have asked me if it’s time to move on now – and not wait, not miss out, not play out a futile time limit out of a sense of care, and obligation. You have my enthusiastic benediction You have my blessing. Brilliant, dapper, author, activist and civil-rights icon W. E. B. Du Bois tells us “The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” It’s time for you to take the plunge.

Then there’s your boy-child, your progeny, your future, your son. Let me reassure you – divorce just isn’t as shattering as parents fear. With over half the marriages in the U.S. failing – I imagine you’d be hard-pressed to not find tons of stories of 8 year-old boys who survived a divorce just fine. I suspect a significant portion of your son’s friends and classmates are from what we euphemistically called in the 70s “a broken home.” Half of your son’s classmates, most of his teachers and many of his idols and heroes are in the same single-parent  boat. Just be honest, open, and frank  when you tell your son what’s going on. Try to do it without demonizing your ex. Be civil and let the boy love his father and make sure his father shows the same back. They’ll both recover. In her book Fly Away Home Jennifer Weiner (giggity) wrote  “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”  The kid will be happier with one functioning, actualized parent than he would have been with two dysfunctional people in a farcical relationship. He’s been granted a front-row seat to a painful but necessary life-lesson. It’s not a tragedy; it’s a pain-in-the-ass teaching moment. Talk to him, listen to him, trust him – maybe even get him some therapy if he’s struggling but never doubt: You’ll both be fine and you’ll both be stronger in the end.

Just slip out the back Jack...

Just slip out the back Jack…

So that’s the proverbial “ThatDarling Readers. I’m really genuinely curious if you would have advised this woman with the same words, plan (and cynicism?) as I did. If you have other ideas let me know in the COMMENTS section below. AND HEY!!! Submit questions. Submit questions submit questions! This column can only continue if you keep sending me fun, exciting and challenging questions seeking my advice. I don’t want to run out. Email them to advicequestions@comichacksguide.com. I also want to ask you again to LIKE and SHARE this column on FACEBOOK – it’s the best way to get it noticed. Tweeting couldn’t hurt. So… Tweet! Toodle-oo!

17 comments

  1. Your Humble Comic Hack /

    As always I wanna know: Was it funny enough? Was I direct and cover her answer? Did I steer her down the right path? What would you have said? Keep the comments and questions for future columns coming!

    • Windyfairy /

      Of course your answer was right on target! The only thing that I would have added, given her conciliatory tone, would have been to not let him off the hook when it came to financial matters. Any debt that they occurred together should be both of their responsibility, not to mention the fact that he needs to support their child 50% in every way possible, both time and money wise.

  2. Valentina /

    Yes, end this sooner than later for both you and your son’s sake. I stayed wayyy to long in a bad marriage. Though my daughter saw her mother strong enough to finally leave she saw too much of her mother turning a blind eye to things that were unacceptable and I feel guilty when I see her suffering in relationships.. I set a bad example.
    When I finally saw that I did not deserve this way of life, I emotionally and physically cut myself off from his BS, moved, had no contact, got divorced and yes, my world was ripped apart and things sucked but I felt the ground firmly under my feet and that is a GAIN that I won’t give up ever again. I hope this helps and I wish peace and happiness to you and your son as you move forward.

  3. Pam Greenway /

    Wow, I could have written that letter fifteen years ago! And from that perspective I can absolutely say that sticking with the original plan doesn’t really do anybody any favors. There will definitely be pushback, (my ex blamed me for not “giving him a second chance,” when all the choices up to that point had been his,) because there was no logic in the first place but it’s time she gives herself the chance to grow. She owes nothing to “the past.”

    • Your Humble Comic Hack /

      I almost wrote – I’m sorry you had to go through this – but look how it made you stronger!

  4. Kat d /

    The only thing I would add is get yourself tested for ANY possible STDs. If he cheated, you really need to do this

  5. Veronica /

    I think you said the right things. This zombie of a relationship needs to be shot in the head and buried…

    • Your Humble Comic Hack /

      *Bang*
      But people make a lot of bad choices during a crisis… can you really blame her for hedging?

  6. garbski /

    Oh yes, great advice as always! The hardest part is trying to explain to the kid without using words like “useless asshole” and other such terms but never should you say “daddy left us”. Because that ends up with years of therapy. Say “Daddy and I decided it wasn’t working out and he loves you very much.” Then run, don’t walk, to a divorce lawyer (I did the employee crisis helpline at work), and work out something where you get full custody of your child and work out some kind of visitation arrangement on your terms. Trust me, it’s tough. But he’s not coming back. And you’re being WAY too nice about it.

    • Your Humble Comic Hack /

      Don’t say “Daddy left us” Brilliant and poignant.

  7. Sharon /

    I got the feeling that she knows it is over, however once she speaks her decision into reality she is “afraid” of the consequences of her decision. It almost seems that hanging on to the worthless somebody is better than having to say she has a nobody ….possibly even a bit of let me be the passive aggressive martyr and accept no blame for the demise of the relationship. It takes two to make or break the relationship. She mentioned that she had gotten counseling and for that I am glad, as there are some of her own issues that she needs to address, acknowledge and begin the road of working on herself. Once people learn that life is to be accepted on its terms, growth and healing can begin.
    I wish them all peace as they move forward along their life’s journey.

    • Your Humble Comic Hack /

      let’s not say “Not accept blame” because let’s face it HE was the cheating asshole who’s doing ZERO work. Let’s say “She doesn’t want to have to make the decision” put the nail in the coffin so to speak.

  8. Moira /

    I agree…too many times I tried to make it work for some self-serving ass only to be the only one to be trying. She already knows what she needs to do. I just hope she does it for her kids if not herself.

  9. Mama Bear /

    I am glad I just read this. Going through a similar separation. 4 month into it, couldn’t be happier… but couldn’t be more unhappy. I think it really takes time when you are in a co-dependent relationship. You can only break trust so many times before there is really nothing left in the relationship. Hmmm, this might have even inspired a question to submit?

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