Sunday, April 04, 2010

Clean Break

As much as we might like it, some things from the past refuse to cleave neatly from our lives. My friend L came out of a difficult and loveless marriage with two young children a few years ago.Her ex decided to move back to India leaving L and the kids to fend for themselves here in America. L believes the decision was motivated mainly by the fact he did not want to take responsibility for any of them. They had been married for five years at before the end came and had known each for a couple of years before their marriage.

Her ex has recently remarried and L has a steady boyfriend. It would seem dispersed fragments of everyone's lives have come together after a fashion and there might be peace and renewal yet. There is only one small snag. L has found out from a friend who knows both her and her ex, that he has not told his new wife about the kids he had with L. He has created an alternate reality of his past life with L. According to that narrative, those children don't exist. L's friend wants to know if she should speak up or let sleeping dogs lie. "What do you think I should do ?" L asked me as she struggled between outrage and resignation.

Her kids are too young to have an opinion in the matter and her boyfriend is comfortable with whatever her decision might be. Her family would prefer she moved on with her life and not confront her ex over the issue. They reason, it is only by random chance that she found out about this lie being perpetuated by her ex, so she has no obligation to do anything about it.

Both L and I have experienced the crumbling of marriage and have a keen sense of solidarity with women whose marriages are built on shaky foundations. I fully appreciate her quandary but am hard pressed to recommend a course of action. We both realize that finding out the truth now would be far less damaging for this woman than discovering twenty years later. Does L owe this woman the truth or does she hold her peace and allow her suffer the consequences in due season. She will probably have to end up making peace with her instinct for self preservation being stronger than that of sisterhood with another woman.


silcador said...

In most cases, like this one, the 'right' choice is clear the moment you are true to yourself. The question here is whether we have the courage and dispassion to choose the 'right' course.

Chevalier said...

Unless L is afraid of some direct or indirect negative consequences (e.g. if her ex may be abusive or vengeful, etc.), I'd recommend telling her.

Maybe L should make sure that she has plausible deniability, Dick-Cheney-style.

What goes around, comes around, right? And I'm pretty sure most of us in the new wife's position would rather know than not.

Heartcrossings said...

silcador - So true about needing courage and dispassion to do right.

Chevalier - Unfortunately, L's ex is certain to cause trouble if she intervened directly or indirectly in this case. Her desire to do right by a stranger will need to prove much stronger than her desire to have peace in her own life. It's a tough call.

Anonymous said...

If I were wife of L' ex, I would prefer not to know about the kids. The presence of kids does not impacts her life and would probably not impact in future. So why take away the peace of mind she has.