Mercy or Merci

What do you do when the woman who had an affair with your husband and currently lives with your ex wants to sign up for your blog?

I happened upon this fact a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to determine why my website email capture form wasn’t connecting to my mail chimp account based on a comment a colleague made when she didn’t get my blast about NYFW and had signed up. There was the evidence blaring, like a pimple filled with puss and ready to pop, the woman’s email address. I don’t personally know her email address, but I assumed it was her since it included her first name and part of her last name. According to the reporting function, she went out to my website on November 29, 2017, signed up and confirmed her desire to follow me. It made me think, “why would someone want to follow the woman her live-in boyfriend was married to?” And, since she “opted in”, do I ask her “why?”

Could it be because I’m SO absolutely fabulous and graceful?

How about the fact that I have a huge heart and I truly look for the good in everything and just get excited by life?

Or maybe because I’m a pretty damn strong and independent woman?

After pondering this thought, I had the sneaky suspicion none of these were the case. As I analyzed the “why”, as I do with everything, I ultimately decided to write about it. To put my thoughts on paper or type them into my blog; this is cathartic for me. I also know, as much as I think I’m the only person in the world that has dealt with all the adversity I have in the past couple of years, I know I’m not. So, if this provides a safe space of resonating for someone else out there then once again I am happy to share my experience to let that person know that they are not alone. It was also important to call out the big ass elephant in the room.

I don’t know this woman. I met her for the first time at my son’s graduation party in May 2017 although I recently learned she had a relationship with my children’s father since the year before. She was his soccer team manager. We were married 22 years and he coached soccer for 17 of those years. I was never jealous of him working with soccer moms, because I trusted him. While we divorced in December 2016, records indicated they had something several months before when he started buying her flowers, Coach and Victoria Secret. Most men don’t do that for their soccer team managers. I only found out about her and their relationship 8 months later, two days before the graduation party when I was traveling to Austin, TX for a runway show and I received a text message from him saying to check my email. The email said:

“I wanted to give you a heads up and wanted to confirm you’re ok with this

Im bringing my girlfriend and her daughter to our son’s graduation party this Sunday.  I cleared it with him weeks ago and asked him again yesterday just to be assured.  He’s met her before.  I just need to ensure you’re ok with this even though it may be awkward and uncomfortable for you and I don’t want you or i to cause a scene.”

What was interesting about this message was that two days before I received this email, at our son’s honor assembly, we discussed who we were inviting. He had the perfect opportunity to tell me then and still took this honorable and respectful approach (yes, that was sarcasm). I also loved how he said he was doing me the favor of ensuring I’m okay with it even though it may be awkward and uncomfortable for me and insinuated that I would cause a scene. Really quite kind, right?!? Then, things started to click. When we got a divorce, it was mutual dissolution. We were on different paths. In fact, while we were going through mediation, I wrote him my last love letter. In this letter, I shared my hopes for him in finding someone that loves him the way he needs to be loved. I continued through the process making the commitment to be open, honest and to treat each other with respect. This was the first time, I thought, he disrespected me openly, but it wasn’t just me. It was my son and my family. He made the day more about himself than who should have been the center of attention. They made it a show at the party running around the room and at one point, people brought it to my attention, that she was sitting at the table crying. I couldn’t fathom what kind of selfish people do that?

After that day, the real story started to unfold and for the next 8 months were things that happened that I knew in my gut were off or flat out lies, but it wasn’t until I received financial records that I found out how true, and in some cases, how manipulative, and wicked they were. After the divorce was finalized, I moved on–my focus was me, my children, my career and those important in my life. I was sincere when I said I would be open, honest and a friend to him if he needed it. On the day that our divorce was finalized, he was asking me what I wanted for Christmas, and yet, celebrating in Durango, CO, properly prepping for the trip with Victoria’s Secret purchases, women’s salon and nail appointments. Two weeks later, I learned based on an internet post (that he wrote to show the team’s volunteerism) that he took this woman and the team to decorate one of my favorite non-profits–the non-profit organization that I served on the board for and took him to for 15 years to decorate every Christmas.

Less than a month later, I took my son to Universal Studios for his birthday in January 2017. The kids’ dad offered to house sit to watch my pups. As we hit the road, he talked about his depression, and so badly at one point, that I offered to turn around and take him to California with us. He said he’d be fine but throughout the rest of the weekend he talked about his depression, sadness and being alone. I offered to talk to him, as a friend, when I returned. He said he’d like that. Then on the night we were returning, I asked him how it was going. He mentioned sleeping on the couch because sleeping in my bed with my scent would have messed with his head and I understood that. However, that next day, according to what I later learned, he went and spent a good sum of money at Bath and Body Works. Now, after everything, I can’t help to think  it was to buy items from the Sensual line, but they weren’t for me. He didn’t take up the offer to talk through his depression either. A week after we returned, he asked me how much the tickets to Universal Studios were and how long the drive was. Thinking how awesome it was that he was going to take the kids to California and spend some time with them, I happily responded with the information. After talking with the kids, he didn’t offer to take them and then seeing the financials, there was a charge for our favorite restaurant in Santa Monica. I don’t understand why, if you are trying to move on you’d go back to the same place of memories. Without knowing this trip occurred, I received a text message from him telling me he was having a bad week, so I asked him where his “landing place” was—the place he could go to when the world was falling apart. He told me it was the family trip we had to Florida. That it was perfect, and it the happiest he’s ever been. Throughout this time, I told him I felt that he needed to talk to a therapist because I was concerned with his depression based his comments of, “being tired of living”. As much as I tried to be there for him, he obviously didn’t feel comfortable talking to me. Then a week or so later, I received a message that I didn’t understand where he was coming from. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I now have a better understanding as to why I received it.

Just before bed on April 24, 2017, I received a message from him asking if I was awake. I responded that I was heading to bed but asked if he needed something. He went on to ask me if I’m happy. I responded, “happy with what?” He explained with my life. I responded that being happy is a choice you make and it’s hard work but no one else can do that for you. He went talking about his guilt and all the bad times he brought in my life and how he never wanted to hurt me. He talked about no matter what, “how I’ll always be his true love…and how his heart and chest hurts from sleeping alone and being alone in this world.” He continued on to tell me that he wished “we could leave this crummy place”. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where this was coming from. And all the actions he had shown me was that he was wanting to move on. I told him to get some sleep and to think about what he’s saying.

The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her. Bob Marley

It was when I received the text message to check my email about bringing his girlfriend to the party that I had the “what the fuck is this person doing” moment. After the party, I sent him an email telling him how slimy it was for him to send those messages to me because he obviously wasn’t sleeping alone and I’m sure he wasn’t telling her that he did this, and that it was plain cowardly. He could have responded with “you know you are right, I was confused and I was trying make a mends with my past” or “he could have said that was an asshole move and I apologize”. Instead he said, “you’re right. I don’t deserve to be happy.” It wasn’t until I returned from NYC this February that I realized the real reason behind this message. Three days after I received the stream of text messages, I found there was a charge to Curtis Boyd MD. I googled this name and came to the conclusion that it was one of two things: 1) after 24 years of knowing each other, in his darkest time, he couldn’t even be honest with me about what was going on and ask for a friend; 2) or, it was manipulation and he was deflecting what was really happening. Why should I expect to be told the truth by him? Physical abuse is easy to identify, the scars appear on the surface. Emotional and mental abuse are not apparent on the skin and they scar deep down. I do not use this word lightly. I set boundaries after our divorce, yet my kindness and who I am was manipulated and abused. I also get it; it’s spite, “look, I’m doing better without you”. That’s fine if that’s what gets you through the night. Sadly, it was not just me.

On January 27, 2017, my son split his thumb open so I took him to urgent care. I immediately informed his father of this. His response, “please keep me posted, I’m in freaken Santa Fe”. I said I would and paid the copay. However, his financial records show he was in Albuquerque spending hundreds on dinner, and shopping that day. When the urgent bill came, three months later, I agreed to split the charge and paid my share to him immediately. In May, the bill was now redirected in my name. Nothing had been paid toward the balance. I questioned him on it. It came again in my name in June. He said he couldn’t afford to pay it off and said he contacted the billing department to make the change. He paid a small amount to the balance, not the half I had already given him and he changed the responsible party, not to him, but to our son because as he stated, “he is now 18 years old”. For the next 4 months, he made no payments toward the bill putting our son’s credit at risk with the past due amount that was now over 120 days old. Knowing he had no desire to resolve the issue or protect our son, I paid the balance informing him that he now made a profit off our son’s medical bill. Then and only then, did he pay me back. For a good majority of the year there were excuses for missing major events in the kids lives, shaming them for asking for help, telling me and them that he couldn’t afford to provide support and that they were old enough to support themselves, borrowing money, and over-drafting my son’s account. Yet month after month, there was no problem spending thousands on eating out and retail sales, and nothing was for them.

In August and October, my daughter was in two car accidents. Because of the shape of her vehicle after the 2nd accident, law enforcement had the vehicle towed to an impound lot even after I had requested to utilize my AAA for the tow back to her house. However, they could not release it to us due to protocol. Knowing the costs associated with getting a vehicle out of impound from a recent news report I saw, I asked her to contact the lot and find out the amount and how we get it out. She did but she also decided to reach out to her father for help. The cost ended up being $205 and since the vehicle was in his name, he had to be the one present to have it released. He told her he could not afford to get it out. He also told her he could not help take her because he was at work and couldn’t cancel soccer practice to go with her. Extremely upset, she called me back not sure what to do. I told her to breathe; we’d figure it out. I informed my employer of the situation and left. I pulled the money out of my IRA and contacted the impound lot. I called the representative and they confirmed that it needed to be the owner of the vehicle, but then she paused and asked why he couldn’t do it. I took a deep breath and said, honestly and openly, “because he’s an asshole.” She laughed and said she knew a few of those and stated if he could send an email releasing the vehicle to my daughter, with a copy of the title, registration and driver’s license of the owner, they would release it. We followed those instructions. I called AAA and we had it towed back to her house. He didn’t have time or money to help her, but he was able to scrounge up $350 for a limousine the next weekend for his girlfriend’s daughter’s birthday. He also paid for a rental during that same period, but not once offered to get her a rental car while hers car was out of commission.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. Dalai Lama

After I wrote the blog, Who Knew, about my mother’s death, I received a response from a friend that leads the local grief center, informing me that “so many neural connections are being formed until the age of 25, even though kids in their early 20’s are technically “adults” – biologically they are not – and trauma and loss experienced at that age impacts their life-long development”. I believe in similar impact my kids faced with the trauma they have experienced from this hurt and betrayal. This trauma has the power to change their brains and every day functioning. My fear is that they repress their emotions and not have a positive outlet to discuss how they feel, or they act out in unhealthy ways and risky behaviors. This is what keeps me up at night. No one should have that power over someone else, especially someone you love and thought loved you. My goal is to ensure I provide the best support to my children to help the lead healthy, happy and productive lives and I will be damned if I let him continually lie to and hurt them.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Elie Wissel

I’m tired of being silent to hide this behavior. I will no longer be disrespected and allow my children to feel that they are unworthy, being lied to and being disrespected with the carrot being over their head, that his love is conditional if they question him on being accountable and being lied to. And I’m so FUCKING tired of not being left alone to live my life. Every time my life is at the pinnacle of happiness and success, this person has to inject his callous and malicious behavior in order to cause havoc in my life. This is not okay. And now his girlfriend wants to follow me?!?

So, I decided to respond to her “opt in” to my blog and here’s what I have to say…

What would you do?

What do you do when the woman who had an affair with your husband and currently lives with your ex wants to sign up for your blog?

I found it interesting that I stumbled upon your email address when I was exporting a recent sign up sheet from my website. And I’m curious about the posed questions but also, I want to know why you are interested in learning more about me? Did you want to find out for yourself whether all the horrible things, I know he has said about me, were indeed true? Do you have a sense of insecurity about your relationship?

I’m going to give you some unsolicited and unapologetic advice and state some pretty clear boundaries.

I don’t know you and I have no desire to ever know you. What I do know, is that you are a cliché. As a mother, one would think that you’d have ethical boundaries to not get involved with someone who was still married and moreover, would find it acceptable to have hierarchical working relationship with someone you are intimately involved with for an organization whose focused goal is “creating a strong, complete soccer player, coupled with the instillation of high moral value and character…” Maybe you didn’t read that when you signed up to be part of this club? What a wonderful role model for the team and organization you are.

You came to my son’s graduation party, shook my hand and looked me in the eyes, saying, “pleasure to meet you”, knowing you had been having an affair, had been providing him advice on how to move forward with the divorce and had been deceiving not only my children but your own child on your indecency. You’ve got to know, a relationship built on secrecy and deceit only evolves into more secrecy, distrust and deceit. Maybe that’s why you feel you have to follow me? If you are wanting to follow my blog because you are insecure in this way and think I want anything to do with him. Let me make this perfectly clear, I DO NOT. My eyes have been completely opened by his actions in the past year in and a half. The only reason I even communicate with him is because of my children. I only communicate with him through email because what I have found is that he is a compulsive liar. He is manipulative and shows no remorse for his actions. He has hurt so many people I love, who have not only loved him but have done all they can for him. Yet, he still deflects everything to everyone else, playing the victim. When I called him out on sending me messages–being his true love, wanting to runway with me, telling the kids that he doesn’t support you or your daughter, and the house he bought on his own is not yours–while having a relationship with you, his response, “you’re correct. I don’t deserve to be happy”, not an “I’m sorry this was a shitty thing to do”.

I also understand that you are glad that his attorney “is attacking me at my throat”. Why? Because I’ve had to seek representation to ensure he keeps his legal obligation since he has chosen not to keep his commitments and lies at every opportunity? Or is it because I want to ensure my kids are cared for, since he can’t do it on his own? I’m sure I can guess the real reason. As an opportunist, it cuts into what he can offer to you.

Continue to work on your “struggle of keeping your mouth shut” when it comes to my kids. I also understand that you were mad that he was helping his son with a car after it was totaled in a recent accident–an accident he was so fortunate to walk away from without any injuries?!? Why? Was it because my son questioned him about his lies just weeks before the accident (but I’m sure you weren’t informed about that) or was it because it put a pause on the Land Rover or Mini Cooper you suggested he buy your daughter? Treat my children with the respect that they deserve. You are the adult coming into their lives. You are the one that had the affair with their father while he was married to their mother. Because of that, you need to earn their respect. It is not given. Be the adult and don’t whine if they don’t jump at your feet. They will know your insincerity. Focus on your daughter. I’m sure she’s dealing with her own issues about your relationship and latest pregnancy. As much as you may think you can, you can’t buy love. Having a child with someone doesn’t mean they will be committed to you. I would have thought you would have learned that the first time around. These are realities of life and will repeat until you learn those lessons.

Maybe your ego believes this won’t happen to you, but honey you’re in the honeymoon phase, where he’s trying to impress you and make you think he has more than he does. What happens when he’s no longer able to afford the monthly nail appointments, shopping, trips, and eating out all the time, and he starts complaining about having to work all the time and paying for all the expenses. Ask him at what age he feels his financial responsibility ends and makes his love conditional as he’s done to all his children? This is his pattern of behavior. I met him when he said he no longer had a relationship with his first son’s mother. Yet, after we were married, I received a call from his son’s mother informing me that he was lying to me and that they were still sleeping together. His response was that she was crazy. As I look back and after all he has said and done, I have no doubt that she was the one telling the truth.

So, what I am saying is don’t follow me. The only thing we had in common, I’ve happily let go of.

This may seem harsh, but enough is enough. Live your life. Stay out of mine.

Merci,

Dara Sophia Romero

4 thoughts on “Mercy or Merci”

  1. You shared your vulnerability and strength. I know this included some real soul searching. I applaud and thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing Dara, your stronger then you know. Going through this injustice made you a wonderful person for the rest of us.

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