Keep your big trap shut, GC. You have nothing to feel guilty about. For one thing, even if you can believe he’s telling the truth about not having sex with his wife—which is up to you, but I wouldn’t bet the bank on it—when he left your bed to go back to his wife’s, you’d better believe he expected to. That’s one of the things married people do. For another thing, just because he changed his mind doesn’t mean that when he walked out the door it wasn’t for keeps. The minute he declared his intention to leave, you were free to do whatever the hell you wanted. You were not unfaithful; he was gone. What you did in his absence is none of his business.
Now that he’s back, the only reason to tell him would be to punish him for the pain he caused you. If you want your relationship to stand a chance, that wouldn’t help. You two have enough healing to do right now. And in the overall scheme of things, a little easily forgotten, didn’t-mean-anything, never-to-be-repeated comfort sex is not such a big deal.
My husband and I have been married for six years, and our marriage is good. My husband adores my 9-year-old son from a previous marriage, so three years ago, after the birth of our daughter, he legally adopted him. He said he never wanted our son to feel like he wasn’t as important as our little girl. My husband is sensitive to this because, although he wasn’t adopted himself, his parents blatantly favored his younger brother. They still do, but my husband claims to be used to it and accepts it as just the way his parents are. That’s fine for him, but now they’re doing it to our kids. They show up for visits with toys for our daughter but ignore our son because, they say, he’s “not really their grandchild.” Although our son invited them in person, they claimed to be too busy to attend his grade-school play, but they’re always after us to let them take our daughter to the zoo or shopping. My husband says there’s nothing I can do about the way they are, so I should just ignore it. What do you think?
Mad Mother of Two
At best, your husband’s parents’ behavior is tacky, MMO; at worst, it is cruel and inexcusable. It would certainly be easier for you if your hubby could tackle the issue with them, but since he’s made it part of his life’s work not to react to how they treat him, he’s unlikely to be able to confront them on this. And I don’t blame him. Dealing with deep-rooted childhood issues is a bitch. And since his parents have been getting away with this crap his whole life, they expect to get away with it forever; they will not take kindly to being called on it. So, if your husband can’t do it, unless you’re willing to sacrifice your son’s feelings for the sake of not rocking the boat, you have to.
Try diplomacy first. Tell them you know they wouldn’t intentionally hurt your son, but to be on the safe side, the next time they visit they should either bring gifts for both children or for neither, and that it would mean a lot to your son if they paid him some extra attention on occasion. For your husband’s sake, stay focused on their current role as grandparents, not their past shortcomings as parents. Maybe they’ll see the light, but if they balk, remind them that now that your husband has adopted your son, in every way but a shared gene pool, your son is “really their grandchild.” If they can’t accept him as such, perhaps it would be better if they didn’t visit at all. Good luck.
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