SL Letter of the Day: Surprise Party Parting


I hope that Mr Exercise dumps that bitch to the curb in a few months!
Great advice. As a child of a similar divorce situation I was told later in my teen years the awful things my Mother and Father had done to each other pre-Divorce. I remember silently thanking both of them for not letting me know the real situation until I was old enough to not hold it against them.
so disapointing! I thought he was leading up to catching Mr Exercise going balls deep on his wife at the party.

My mom did something similar to my dad. Surprisingly shitty of her, normally she's pretty thoughtful. All human beings are horribly flawed.
Dan is totally correct, SIM. If there are children in the picture sooner or later they will realize that your ex wife is a moron. There is no need to advertise that fact in front of them right now.
I have nothing to add to what Cato said. She's lower than dogshit.
Right on the money.
On the other hand, there is no punishment too severe for people who insist on adding an "s" to the word "anyway."
Instead of kids or a dog, what if they share a workplace or even a business? just a thought.
@ #7....

Um, what?... I'm confused... feel dizzy. Did Loves, er I mean Hateschild actually agree with Mistah Savage?

Dan is spot on. If you have kids, please be civil and don't say bad things about her around them (or if they are anywhere in the house), it never helps. If you share a pet - seriously, please get a frackin' life.

As to the party ... I actually had a similar thing happen to me. Parties are frequently social obligations that are more about her throwing the party for everyone who showed up at the party (e.g. relatives, kids, friends) and less about you. But she shouldn't invite a lover to the party, that's just BAD FORM.

I've been there. Please move on, you're not helping yourself or anyone by not moving on.
Dogs do have feelings about these sorts of things, Dan.

You're being a little inconsiderate.
Oh, Baconcat, I want to throw bacon at you.

Uncured trichinosis-laden bacon.

Purr for it, damn you!
Too bad their marriage didn't work out, sounds like they deserve each other.

I wonder what passed in this guy's head for "thoughtlessness." I mean, what was he doing that inspired her to 1) spend all that time w/ her exercise teacher and 2) have them meet using a surprise party as an excuse?

Something tells me it was more than forgetting an anniversary...
The kid angle is great but I'm not convinced his ex is the demon. The party sounds more like a last ditch effort to make it work. Or to convince herself that t might work.

Oh, and heavens! Imagine a spouse not getting attention and home and in turn finds it elsewhere. I thought Dan was all about that.
Did I have a brain aneurysm, or did everybody miss the line "Our marriage had been very tense in the preceding year; she was often angry due to thoughtlessness on my part."

Really...what she did was bitch, but I'm sure what he had been doing was douchy. I agree with Keshmeshi. They deserve each other.
the proper form of address is "'sup, ho?"
Hm, I don't actually see her actions as all that evil. Poor judgment to invite the dude, maybe, but this guy seems to be focusing on this one night out of a slow, two-year relationship crumble (for which he's admitted to some share of the blame). I've certainly heard worse "my ex did" stories. If that's the best he's got, he gets no permission to be anything but cooly civil to her.
@16: "Oh, and heavens! Imagine a spouse not getting attention and home and in turn finds it elsewhere. I thought Dan was all about that."

Yeah, but that's usually after informing the other spouse (the one "at fault"), giving them every chance to redeem themselves, etc.

The letter is pretty ambiguous, so who knows who's to blame, or who's to blame for what? (Although I agree with some that "thoughtlessness" sounds like a giant cover-up.)

I think Dan does some valuable stuff in letting people know that sometimes cheating really is the thing to do, but his advice might be devalued if people keep turning into an automatic "free cheat" card.
The old exercise partner! Been there. Luckily, while there were children involved, they were not mine. I have never spoken to the bitch since, and I never even got a party.

I would get along for the kids, but avoid any unnecessary talk. If there are kids, there is a written custody arrangement. Follow it to the letter. Try to do as much communications as possible by email. If she is contacting you for inconsequential stuff, tell her not to.

One thing I really admire my father for, was after a very acrimonious divorce that we the kids witnessed, he behaved very well. He let mom make most of the decisions, mailed the check, never discussed our mom or the divorce with us, and lived well. Letting my mom make most of the daily decisions just freed him up, avoided confrontation and appeased my mom. Now, my dad would fight like hell for major stuff, but amazingly, little major stuff ever came up. 40 years later my mom and dad live in the same city and seem to like each other. The make a point to invite the other to family stuff, and even hugged the last time we had dinner. And that was a bitter divorce involving late nights, single bars and drinking.
@8 - Amen.
@ 17 -Did I have a brain aneurysm, or did everybody miss the line "Our marriage had been very tense in the preceding year; she was often angry due to thoughtlessness on my part."-

I agree.

His wife throws him a party with all his friends and family, and invites HER lover. My first thought was "what the hell did he do to her to inspire her to humiliate him like that?" My bet is he humiliated her publicly, probably by having an affair that everybody knows about. That whole party with the family-friends-lover is quiet obviously a get even moment.

I hope like hell that couple isn't raising kids.
What's all the hate towards canine-American companion partners?
LMAO @ "If you're one of those batshit modern couples who "need to interact" post-divorce because you're sharing custody of a dog, please go away and bother some other advice columnist." and @12 - his comment and avatar are priceless in this post.
Yes, dogs are affected, and if you have performance dogs (Agility, Flyball...) their performance can be affected--it happened to one of my dogs when a boyfriend moved out, though I really don't know if he was just picking up on my state of mind or actually missed the guy. That said, it's always understood that the dogs are mine (my current boyfriend insists that I told him "they were here before you and they'll be here after you") and they do not NEED to see my exes (because, hell, they're dogs, not children). Plus I think it would just confuse them.

OTOH, if my current boyfriend and I were ever to break up, I think I would let him have one of the dogs, with stipulations...
Good advice.

Get along for the kids' sake, and I think this man needs to take more responsibility for his "thoughtlessness."

Others have suggested it, but I'll add: Spending all that energy on his wife's party/slutty/gaffe, suggests to me that he's trying to find something wrong with her to make up for his own crappy behavior.

It takes two to tango.
#15. Even so it does not mke her any less of an asshat.
People, just because this couple's marriage fell apart and the wife had an affair doesn't mean that one or both of them are bad people. Nobody is perfect and sometimes these things happen. Why are you rushing to judgement? If the husband sounds like a jerk, it could just be because the pain is still so raw. If the wife sounds like a bitch for inviting her lover to her husband's birthday party, it could have simply been an instance of bad judgement that she simply failed to think through- maybe she was just emotionally confused as her former life fell apart- maybe if you asked her, she wouldn't be able to tell you why she did it because she doesn't know herself! Sometimes we do stupid things and then look back and wonder how we could have been so stupid, we aren't bad people, and yet we acted like bad people.

My condolences to Mr. and Mrs. SIM on the collapse of their marriage. I hope Mrs. SIM and Mr. Exercise find happiness together, I hope Mr. SIM finds new love, and I hope their kids wind up with a minimum of emotional scarring- an outcome which will be rendered more likely if Mr. SIM takes Dan's excellent advice.
I think he try's a little too hard to sound like a victim. There are always two sides. Many times people marry without really knowing each other. In fact, way too often. But remaining civil for the kids sake is indeed correct. I personally know of people who put their kid in the middle of their acrimony for each other and their child commited suicide.
This guy is a douchebag. Why encourage him by printing his letter? Let me summarize this letter: "I was repeatedly thoughtless, which made her repeatedly angry and turn to another guy for emotional -- but probably not physical -- support. Then she threw me a great party; that was so nice. But she invited her "friend", for reasons we can only speculate about; that was less nice. Then we broke up. We may or may not have kids, I'll make you guess. Here's some throw-away question for Dan just so I can get my story in his column and feel better about her quasi-bitchy actions."
Look, it all gets down to one thing - he's obsessing on one event and not moving on. This isn't helping HIM.
Dan's advice is 100% right.

But even if kids aren't involved (maybe they own a business together or something), the same advice applies.

I've known plenty of friends who have gotten divorced in my lifetime. It happens, a lot. The people who I respect most are the people who treat their ex's civilly, and move on with their lives. The people I respect the least are the ones who hold a grudge, and treat their ex's like shit for years and years.

Get over it, let it go, and move on.
Wow dude way to fish for validation from Dan. You're still stewing about her lapses of judgment and want carte blanche to treat her like shit for them, but downplay your own contribution to the end of this marriage and don't even properly explain wtf your deal was for an entire YEAR of aloofness?


'we work together' doesn't work for me... if it's oh so, so bad and horrible to see her, then it's probably worth getting a new job. My vote also goes to the he sounds like an asshat side. I'd really rather hear what he did before he gets off playing the victim.
Am I the only one who sees implied passive aggression in his claim that he wasn't expecting a party? Maybe I just have unusually passive aggressive friends and family, but, if one of them said that to me, I'd assume that I'd better throw them a party, or else.
no, you're right, keshmeshi. as are most who pointed out usually both parties are at fault to some degree. but Dan's giving advice to him, and pointing it out doesn't help him move on, which is really what he needs to do.
This guy just wanted some validation that what his wife did was shitty. What the hell was his "question" even about? "What are some appropriate forms of address"? I think he means, "Can you believe my ex-wife? She's a bitch, right? And I'm justified in calling her that, right?" And to make it more likely that he gets that validation from Dan/readers, he conveniently sweeps his contribution ("thoughtlessness"?) to the end of the marriage under the rug and is unclear about the nature of his wife's relationship with her exercise guy. Were they just friends before the party (is that what emotionally if not physically involved means)?

Ugh. I'm not going to condone someone who's had an affair, but it's impossible to tell what really happened from this guy's letter. It does sound an awful lot like he's trying to make her out to be the only bad guy, though.
Man, what a bummer, but Dan's right - take the high road and move on. You have nothing to gain by confronting her.

Gotta say, though, I would have had a long talk with my wife the moment I found out she had a steady male "exercise partner" who wasn't gay.
It sounds like the wife wasn't actually fucking the exercise partner before the marriage ended. "Emotionally involved" could mean she simply knew she was attracted to him, or that they were sharing a connection that was a bit more than friends (possibly due to the neglect at home), but certainly not "lover" territory.

My guess the wife is currently dating the exercise partner, and SIM is ret-conning all the events of the past year into outrage - "She invited her LOVER to my party!" When at the time, excluding one of her best friends from a party that included all their other friends and neighbors would have seemed stranger than just inviting the dude.
I have to say this letter has a "Dear Penthouse" feel to it. There are lots of sesational, titillating details, like the "surprise party" and the "exercise partner," but nothing substantive that would shed any light on the true nature of the conflict. It immediately reminded me of that urban legend about the cuckold and the "special brownies."
Dan, this dog-hating side of you is something I haven't seen before. I just don't know what to think!
40, that's my take too.
Dan, have you noticed a pattern in the Savage Love comments? In the face of an ambiguous letter, women pretty much side with the woman and men with the man.

God help us straight folk.
I agree with comment 44, that the letter writer is probably retconning the surprise party. If he had no idea anything, whether emotional or physical, was going on with the exercise partner, why would his presence be humiliating?
Well, I will side with the man, at least some. His comments about being 'thoughtless' may relate to the self analysis that many decent people engage in after their marriages have failed. His thoughts may, in fact, reflect his attempts to shoulder an equal part of the blame, after being broadsided by the event. Surely rational analysis and aknowledgement of fault should be applauded, not villified? He may well have been a douche- more kudos to him for admitting it. In my experience, people who portray themselves as inoccent angels, learn nothing.
I think he should treat her with absolute icy calmness - that scares the hell out of people, especially if they expect you to behave emotionally.
"....she was often angry due to thoughtlessness on my part..."

What the hell does that mean?

Something about this letter tells me this guy is douchier than he'd like to let on.
Not only that but if you do the opposite your kids will view the cheating wife as the sane one and you as batshit dad. I've seen it a number of times where the cheated on spouse tries to poison the kids against the cheater but the cheater is just like look your mom/dad is going through a rough patch but he/she will make it through and instantly the cheater becomes the sane and good parent. Don't try to poison your kids against their other parent, it is uncool and it always backfires.
Sorry, but I fail to see the issue with her being romantically involved emotionally before the marriage broke up. You're allowed to have feelings for other people when you're married, for crying out loud. If she didn't take it to the physical level, then that was not her lover. Period.
Whores like that will get what they deserve. Inviting the guy she's having an affair with to your party is completely inexcusable. It's one thing to cheat, that alone wont make you a whore, but to flaunt the guy in front of you, your friends and your family is incredibly immature, and I feel like she's reinforces it with being proud of her behavior in this fashion. If the interactions are because of kids, consider fleeing the state. I wouldn't wish such things on my enemies, to have current spouses throw parties and invite people who have defiled it.
I was under the impression that the official Savage Love community opinion on emotional affairs is that they aren't affairs period. I'm sure the exercise guy was just waiting for the marriage to break up before leaping in, but the wife still waited for that point it sounds like. Making her not that huge a bitch. @20, they'd had a tense marriage for the year before the party, so I think attempts at working it out had been going on for some time.
Seems to me that there's too much we don't know here. What exactly qualified as "thoughtlessness" on his part? And why should a single party be the sole justification for anger about a marriage that had been rocky for years? I also don't think it's wise to come to any conclusions about the wife's motives--maybe she thought to bring the guy to "prove" it was platonic, maybe she brought him out of spite/humiliation, or maybe she didn't realize she had feelings for the dude at that point. To me, the guy at the party is the symbol of brokenness, not proof of who's the winner in the victim sweepstakes. If she did bring her lover to your party out of spite, then you're well rid of her. Perhaps that's why Dan stuck to the only thing that's certain--don't take your anger out on your kids.

As an aside, my mother left my violent alcoholic gambling father for another man when I was 12 years old. She and my stepdad have been married 22 years now. Yet, up to the day my father died, my mother was the villain of the piece because she was a whore who committed adultery--never mind that he had cheated on her repeatedly both while they were courting in high school and during their marriage. I deeply resented how much I knew from both of them about their fucked up marriage, but I also have to say that I was happy for my mother when she finally left (it was obvious to me that she was in love) and that it also taught me to be very suspicious of anyone pointing to a single mistake as the one and only reason for a marriage's dissolution. Thus, I'm disinclined (or, admittedly, predisposed) to mistrust an account that focuses on anger about a single event while glossing over an entire marriage.
I totally agree @53; and with those who say this guy is looking for validation- I mean, really, you're writing an advice column for what nasty things can I call my ex-wife when I speak to her?? Sounds like this doucheteroid has more issues than Newsweek. It was ONE NIGHT that happened a YEAR ago!! Get over yourself, for fuckssake!
C'mon, people, inviting to the party the Spare Dick she was keeping under glass for when the marriage failed was bullshit. Whatever he did, that was bullshit.

His response should be to find something hotter, younger and willing to do disgraceful things in a chirpy, upbeat way.

When Spare Dick dumps the ex-wife, he should take the high road and totally not give a shit, because he is too busy getting good ass elsewhere.
Hey #21 gttim. Thanks for what you posted. I'm having problems with the ex... and what you said about your dad pretty much describes me. I'm getting ready 'to fight like hell for major stuff' and reading your post really helped me feel a lot better about preparing to go to court. Best regards.
MAYBE (but not definitely), she invited 'Mr. Exercise' because she wanted to prove to herself that she wasn't interested in him and she had nothing to hide. The writer specified "emotionally, if not physically," which means he has no idea as to how much or how little cheating went on.

But more importantly, he also admits to the fact that, "Our marriage had been very tense in the preceding year; she was often angry due to thoughtlessness on my part." Thoughtlessness on his part. So neither of them are perfect, but neither of them are pure evil, and if they do have kids, they do have to suck it up. The end.