there goes the neighborhood

One day last winter, I logged in to a social networking site to find that a married male friend’s status update indicated that his wife — I’ll call her Sally — was leaving him for another man.

Given that Sally was also a friend of mine, I was a bit shocked by this news.

So I did what women do:  I called a mutual friend and screeched, “Oh my God, girl, have you been on facebook!? Did you know anything about this?!”

This mutual friend admitted that she had heard, just days earlier, about Sally’s blossoming affair. Such drama! And amongst our quiet, family-friendly circle!

“I don’t know what to say!” I exclaimed.

This girlfriend then told me straight, “I think you need to call Sally and tell her that.”

“Good point,” I said. Gulp! Avoiding the impulse to analyze and delay, I hung up and immediately dialed Sally.

“Hello,” she answered, a knowing tone in her voice.

“I don’t know what to say,” I said.

“I seem to have that effect today,” she replied. “Never before have I rendered so many speechless.”

“You beat us to the punchline,” I retorted, referencing the fact that my husband had agreed to move out…but hadn’t yet. And we hadn’t even told the children at this point.

“I’m taking the low road all the way,” she deadpanned. And then she briefly recounted the unraveling of her marriage, the failed counseling, the meeting of her new beau, what they had told the children…promising to fill me in on details at another time.

We all knew Sally and her husband struggled, just as everyone knew that my husband and I were struggling. But I certainly didn’t anticipate such an abrupt and dramatic finale. They had appeared, at least to me, to communicate and relate in a such as way as to have the potential to salvage their relationship…until now, in any case. Sally’s husband’s broadcasting the news via social media was clearly a cry for the sympathy vote, and a rather low one, at that.

The ultimate effect of this drama for me, at least, was that my divorce would be neither the first nor ugliest amongst our group, relieving some of the pressure and fear I’d had about the steps we’d yet to take. I no longer felt so uniquely conspicuous, and my children would now have friends who had experienced similar family upheaval.

Somehow, all this cause me to feel just a little relieved.

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