Your Ex Married the Other Woman and Now She Wants Your Child

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MistressI’m sure I’ve confessed this before, but I’ll admit it again: I’m addicted to crime shows. Aside from reruns of King of Queens, Seinfeld, and The Golden Girls — and my other indulgences, Lie to Me and now The Walking Dead, which I’m somehow brave enough to make it through — my TV doesn’t stray far from the channels that pump out Deadly Women, Forensic Files, and 48 Hours Mystery. I love sitting through the process of investigating the crime. When it’s condensed into an hour-long airtime, anyway.

But my favorite is Snapped. As the narrative voiceover is explaining the back story behind the final showdown that usually ends up in a murdered husband, I’m thinking about how I would’ve handled the situation. In one case, a woman was furious because her man had left her and married his mistress. Bad. But the homewreckin’ hussy wanted their children to call her “mom.” Worse. 

Now that’s the kind of scenario I try to put myself in and all signs point to somebody going down, though I don’t have the cajones to snuff somebody all the way out in real life. I dare say there will never be a Janelle Harris episode of Snapped (at least I hope — from my fingers to God’s ears, just in case). But that doesn’t mean I don’t empathize with the offended mother’s outrage and anger and even understand that moment when she just, well, snaps.

It’s one thing to betray the sanctity of a marriage by stepping out on your spouse. That’s a violation of the entire household, not only the relationship, because the family has been built on the vows that those two people have taken to be faithful and honest and monogamous. So diluting those promises by stepping out with another person and redirecting your affections to them is already foul.

There are as many reasons to cheat as there are folks to cheat with, but most of the time it just boils down to the fact that the marriage or partnership no longer works and both parties need to move on. Cheating, in my book, is not only a waste of everybody’s time, since it indicates that somebody in the mix ain’t happy. It’s almost impossible to bounce all the way back from and still operate normally.

Trust is a fragile thing and rather than trying to move forward with that little voice of skepticism screaming, “Yeah right. You’re going to play ball with the guys/get a haircut/go to a meeting in Chicago with no access to a phone,” it might be best to cut losses and go back to being single. 

But to bring the kids face-to-face with the person that you cheated with takes nerve. And it takes even more audacity to want those children to give your harlot-turned-housewife a title. (And it’s even more crazy for her to expect one.) I can’t even wrap my mind around that kind of disrespect but I do know that it happens, and not just in the land of reality crime television.

Sometimes the poor kids don’t know any better and go along with getting to know the former mistress. Sometimes they root for the home team, pledge their allegiance to their mama, and give the new chick on the block the blues in the process. Either way, that’s got to be an extra sharp dagger through a woman’s heart to know that her ex is herding her kids into the same space as the woman who played a starring role in breaking up her relationship.  
 
We all know how the woman on Snapped handled it. She offed the dude and that kind of made it an end-of-story situation.

Is it wrong for an ex to introduce their kids to the used-to-be mistress (or, in some cases, the mister)?

Image via Ken30684/Flickr

cheating, commitment, divorce, exes, marriage