How to be at a social event with people I’ve dreaded seeing for the past ten years?
April 25, 2012 7:28 PM Subscribe
I am attending the wedding of dear friends at which I will have to see my ex-husband and his new partner—a one-time close friend of ours with whom he cheated while married to me. I am now very happily married to someone else, in a relationship far better in every way than my first marriage. Nevertheless, I absolutely dread seeing my ex-husband and my old friend, and the prospect of seeing them is something I’ve dreaded since I first learned of their, erm, relationship. At the same time, I’d REALLY like to be to defuse the emotional power this has over me, and simply enjoy the wedding and the get-together with many other old friends that comes with it. How to work through this? Any advice from people who have navigated these turbulent emotional waters successfully?
More detail: Ten years ago, my first husband and I divorced, in a way that started out amicable but ended as anything but (typical enough, I know). In the process of the divorce it came out (through a third party, ugh) that my husband had been having a relationship with one of our roommates (who was married to another one of our roommates—double ugh). There were many levels of betrayals and lies here, and the situation was a pretty traumatic one for me (and for her husband as well, needless to say).
I have managed to avoid them both for the past ten years. In that time, I met and married a wonderful man, had a child, began a new career, and am much happier in every way than I was in my previous marriage. So things are going quite well, and when I think about it rationally, I am actually grateful that the horrible things that happened happened, because it allowed me to move on to a much better phase of my life. But at the same time the prospect of being at a social event with them makes me anxious; it’s something I’ve dreaded for so long. So my questions are: What do I say? How do I act? For some reason I feel a profound sense of shame about having been (double?) cheated on. How can I finally stop feeling bad about this, or at least good enough to enjoy the wedding? Anyone have inspiring stories of having made it past a similar situation? [I was in therapy during the divorce, so I'm no stranger to it, but I doubt I would go into therapy again to deal with this at this point in my life.]