Dear Liz, I divorced my husband six years ago when I realized he was having an affair. My ex’s family remains close with me, so I was invited to a family member’s wedding. I went to the wedding and avoided my ex, until he decided to introduce his wife (the mistress) to me. We already knew who each other was because we saw each other at a concert early on during the separation. She asked me about an old pet I had gotten during the divorce, which she should never have seen had she and my husband not been together in my home while I was married. Needless to say, it reminded me of their adultery in my own home, so I curtly said, ‘He died,’ and walked away. How should I have handled such an awkward situation?
Hi, thank you for sharing your experience, I’m sorry, this is truly difficult stuff. The truth? I think you handled it just fine. It’s nearly impossible to imagine that in this situation, face-to-face with this particular woman, that anyone might be able to refrain from displaying some sort of reactive emotion. There is no right or wrong, or good or bad. Your reaction and your behavior are, and should be, driven by the truth of your emotions.
There are many many, many things you could have said that are far worse, more offensive and uncontrolled. I say congrats for maintaining your truth during an impossibly difficult experience. It’s really to draw boundaries with this type of person, and you did just that. You wanted her to know that, no, she cannot make small-talk with you, that you will not engage.
That’s what you did intuitively, and that’s exactly the right thing for that moment. Bravo! And, in the future, I suggest you stay true to yourself, your feelings, and whatever may help in moving you though all the emotions on a road such as this. Decency is a word you might hope to maintain when around this woman until you genuinely feel that you would like to make it more than that. You have a lifetime to heal, to ponder and to prepare. But, it sounds like, for now, this is what you were ready to give her!
Don’t even think twice. Move on!
Great things for your life- stay strong and keep the faith!