#5 Sidestep friend's divorce questions with humor / Humor masks anger, perpetuates blame

Dear Abby: After 34 years of marriage, I learned that my husband was cheating with a woman three years older than our son.

The hurt was terrible and the embarrassment was horrendous. Not as much for me, but for people who did not know how to console me. With a death, friends can be sorry and there is closure. With a divorce, people do not know what to say.

My method for dealing with this was humor. People were well aware of my hurt, but when I replied, "He's got the bimbo; I got the tractor," they were able to laugh and their discomfort dissipated. My advice is to find a catch phrase that lightens the situation. You'll still hurt and mourn, but your friends will be much more comfortable. The sooner you laugh, the sooner you'll heal. MERILYN IN HOLLY, MICH.

DEAR MERILYN: Wise words indeed. —ABBY

Gabby's Response

[ top ]

Gabby’s Response:

Hi Merilyn: Humor can support healing, however, if it badmouths another, "bimbo," and if it covers up resentment, anger, and blame, it generates non verbalized pity, and, it postpones accepting responsibility.

Communicating responsibly, from cause, is a prerequisite to healing and happiness. Ironically, your "humor" enrolls your audience (your gossip condoners/intenders) in remaining unconscious, thereby postponing their own awakening. Misery loves company.

A part of the uncomfortableness with your friends is that at some level the divorce reveals their cause in the matter. It allows them to see that they were just as unconscious as you were during your marriage. Like yourself they too were not the space for your husband to tell the truth. In other words, he mirrors for them their own cheating and lying, perhaps with different issues, but they all cheat, lie and withhold thoughts as did/does your ex. Put another way, cheating and deceit cannot exist for long in the space of a person who operates from integrity.

By you denying your experience (uncomfortableness and embarrassment) and interrupting theirs (by helping, instead of supporting them in experiencing the uncomfortableness) you make it more difficult for them to experience that they are in fact co-conspirators in your divorce. Ergo, they also will have to learn the lesson all over again.

Friends of a couple having problems intervene, and using their leadership-communication skills, facilitate difficult conversations through to mutual satisfaction; those who act like friends unconsciously use their leadership-communication skills to empower abuse (read Wedding Guest Vows).

Find the incident, it's there, in which something was going on with you, something was bothering you, and you stuffed it. Hiding begets hiding. You hid your stuff and then he hid his stuff. He hid his dissatisfactions or upsets or perhaps, he hid the thought, "I saw a woman today that absolutely turned me on." Such thoughts withheld can end up being dramatized (acted upon). In every case of cheating (one partner hiding something from another) the other partner began the deceit by hiding something at the beginning. Withholders attract withholders; there are no exceptions to this phenomenon.

Choosing to withhold a thought causes a breakdown in communication. Your partner doesn't know exactly what's being withheld, just that there is something in the space; the thought occupies space. Space is required for communication to take place, for an experience of communication and love, else, all that happens is but talking; talking causes problems to persist.

That you let a night or conversation go by instead of finding out what was going on with your husband, is your cause in the matter. It's your pattern to shut down, put up with and communicate your dissatisfactions non-verbally. Such a communication model always drives others away. Your use of the word "console" reveals you are coming from victim. You are stuck playing victim so that you don't have to look at the fact that you masterminded the cheating and the divorce, for whatever brilliant reason (in support of your quest for enlightenment). Thank you, Gabby

Comment Box is loading comments...

Upon pressing the Submit button the page will refresh as though nothing has happen. It will take a few hours for the comment to appear.

To receive feedback about your comments or to post a question please use our Dear Gabby Forum (free - registration required).

Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 2/8/15)

[ top ]


If you liked this letter please press the "I like" voting button. Upon pressing the button you'll be taken directly to the index.

[ #6 Husband - son communication problem / Lost ability to communicate with my husband ]  

[ top | back to list of letter topics ]