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My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing…

My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

by Anne Bercht

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I was going to follow my dad's constant suggestion and start reading one of every ten books in German, so as not to lose my German power, and I was going to start doing it with 400, to mark the anniversary.


A year ago yesterday (that yesterday being the day I actually finished this book) I made the worst mistake of my life, and hurt the woman I love beyond thought or conscience. This is a dual anniversary, and the one is a lot more in need of sombre acknowledgement and sober meditation than the other. So this is my #400: My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me, by Anne Bercht. Not because I expect or want my--ukhgh--affair to become the best thing for anyone, in itself--but like Bercht, I hope that the time that has been and will be devoted to understanding why it happened, how it could have been avoided, and where, day by day, to go from here; to rebuilding and sustaining the relationships that deserve your love and protection and letting the others burn; and to creating a better, more honest future for everyone--I hope that this sowing will bring forth fruit.

On to the book, then. I do not like this woman, Anne Bercht. I do not like her in a bar (except she doesn't drink); I do not like her in a car (except she calls them "vehicles"). I don't like her nasty, snotty attitude to people who don't have money, and her pathetic need to distinguish herself from them; I don't like the passive-aggressive judgments she metes out on everyone she encounters; I don't like her twisted attitude to her looks and the things she thinks it's a woman's duty to provide for a man (I definitely don't like how she pushes James Dobson on us); but most of all I reject her because of the way she treats her poor daughter. In no way in the world do I want to minimize the gutting pain that infidelity can cause--and as you'll see, understanding to some degree what Bercht went through, and her bravery in expressing it, is the only reason I don't reject her unequivocally. But when your daughter tries to kill herself three times, nothing else matters. Your marriage, your husband's betrayal--it all recedes so far into the distance. You help your child or you are NOTHING.

And Bercht and her fucking whining pseudopatriarch husband can't get over their own shit in order to help their daughter, and they are all packing her off to live with the pastor and refusing in the midst of all this to drive her to the hospital where her boyfriend's just had an accident, and that is . . . just incomprehensible to me. Your religious attitudes about filial respect and your focus on how you've been hurt are more important than life and death? Just . . . huh.

And you know, maybe I'll leave it at that for the screed, because honestly I could go on condemning the parents all day; and I'll not subject you to the horrible vapid consumerist things Bercht and her husband say, because it's really incidental to my point. The point is that these people are about as different from me as it's possible to get being brought up in mainstream Canadian culture, and pretty damn different too from my sweet girl, despite certain commonalities in upbringing. But their story still hits home like an echoing strike to the sternum.

This can happen to anybody.

And it's still always wrong.

And there are so many moments where I went "(I hate you, Anne Bercht, but) oh my God my baby said exactly, exactly that thing, and her I love." Or "(your helpmeet didn't suit you, so you went out and cheated? Is that it, shitfuck? But) oh my God i remember feeling exactly that pathetic selfish misunderstood way, and my reasons weren't any better, and if only I'd known how to honour the pain and legitimate confusion I'd felt in a less destructive way . . . ."

And while the reasons they reach their facile happy ending are very different for the most part from any that would work for us, it still feels so good to see them reach it--that happy and yes, even facile ending that I still long for for us and hope so much is possible. This is a case study, a deposition, and an inspirational story, from a cruddy old Alberta everythingthat'swrongwiththeworlder whose human pain is nevertheless just like yours and who deserves a happy ending just as much. On some level, we're all still in this together.

God grant me the courage to make it work, the serenity to live with it if it won't, and the wisdom to know the difference. I love you, HJ. ( )
26 vote MeditationesMartini | Nov 2, 2009 |
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