A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings #2)(7) by Debbie Macomber

It wasn’t until Jake entered college that I gathered the courage to threaten divorce. I was serious and even filed. Sean knew that I’d reached my limit, and he begged me to reconsider. He swore on the life of our son that he would never cheat on me again. Fool that I was, I took him at his word. For six months I believe he made a sincere effort to remain faithful.

Six months was all it took. Then it started up again and I knew. And Sean knew that I knew. I moved out of our bedroom and into the spare room, and emotionally distanced myself from him. To the outside world I pretended all was well. It wasn’t. My self-esteem was shredded and my pride was eaten up with the acid of my husband’s infidelity. For ten years before the divorce we’d basically lived separate lives, but to our country-club friends we were the same happy couple.

The brightest spot in those years was when Jake married Nichole. She became a daughter to me. As far as I was concerned, Jake couldn’t have married a better woman. Her own mother was gone and Nichole often looked to me for advice. I came to love her, and after Owen was born my grandson became the center of my world.

It wasn’t until I happened to overhear a conversation between my husband and Jake that I learned that my son had followed in his father’s shadow.

“Dad, I have a little problem I need your help with,” Jake had said, keeping his voice low, barely above a whisper. I was in the hallway outside our bedroom, putting away towels in the linen cabinet. Funny how little details like that stick in one’s mind.

I assumed what Jake wanted to discuss had to do with finances. In the early years of our marriage, Sean’s parents had helped us out a couple times. I thought this little heart-to-heart was about money.

I was wrong, so very wrong.

Our son had gotten another woman pregnant. I stood frozen in place, sick at heart, hardly able to breathe, while Sean gave our son the contact information for a doctor friend of his who would perform an abortion.

For days I pretended to have the flu while I confined myself to the bedroom. My mind raced with what to do. I couldn’t tell Nichole. This news would devastate my daughter-in-law. At the same time I couldn’t keep quiet, either. I was consumed with guilt, knowing that by looking the other way, ignoring Sean’s affairs, I’d given our son tacit permission to cheat on his own wife. This had to end, and it had to end with Jake because I refused to let this behavior continue into the next generation.

I knew that Nichole wasn’t as naïve as I’d been. It would only be a matter of time before she’d figure out Jake was cheating. I didn’t want to be the one to tell her, but in the end that is what I did. The price of pretending to not know, of looking away, was far, far too high. For her and for me.

Seeing that Jake had followed in his father’s footsteps, I had to believe that when the time came Owen would as well. My grandson would grow up and think fidelity and marriage vows were mere suggestions rather than heartfelt, meaningful commitments.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was tell Nichole about Jake’s affair. I had to admire my daughter-in-law for the way she took the news. Like I’d been all those years earlier, she was shocked and broken. I watched her crumble right before my eyes. But unlike me, she regrouped quickly.

That same afternoon she’d looked at me and said there was only one thing to do.

Her strength and courage caught me by surprise. How I wish I’d had the foresight to take hold of my life when I first learned of Sean’s affairs. It was then that I realized I wasn’t dead. It wasn’t too late. All that was left of our marriage was a thin shell. If Nichole could take action, then so could I, and I did.

Because of Sean’s repeated offenses, Nichole had no reason to believe Jake could be any more faithful than my husband had been to me. Unlike me, Nichole wasn’t willing to give Jake a second chance. As far as she was concerned, her husband had shattered her trust and there was no going back.

My divorce was smooth sailing. Sean seemed to be expecting me to file. It was almost as if he’d mentally prepared himself for the dissolution of our marriage. He made it as painless as possible, giving me half of everything. I would have no financial worries; he’d been the one to insist I remain at home with our son, and he paid dearly for that. My attorney saw to a fair and even distribution of our assets.

What I hadn’t been prepared for was the vindictive attitude that followed just before we signed the final papers. Sean made sure to let me know he saw me as unattractive and old. He took pleasure in telling me that my sagging breasts and body were a complete turnoff. He’d gone so far as to say I’d gone to seed. Although I no longer loved my husband—he’d destroyed that love when I’d learned about the vasectomy—his words hit their mark. I’d been crushed by his cruelty and found it hard to look at myself. I felt old, dumpy, and past my prime.

Jake didn’t take Nichole’s decision nearly as easily. I had to give my son credit. He didn’t want to lose his wife and son, and had gone to great lengths and expense to delay the divorce. I wanted to believe Jake was sincere and that he would change this need he seemed to have to seek out other women. Sadly, I had no way of knowing if he could. Evidence and experience said otherwise.

At one point, Sean had tried and been unable to change. I had to accept that Jake could take after his father in more ways than appearance.

Nichole and I moved into downtown Portland. The first few weeks we muddled through each day, depressed and uncertain.

One afternoon, in those early dark days when we were floundering in our misery, we wrote up a list…a list to help us move on and make a new, better life for us individually and for Owen. We listed only four items because we didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves. It was one step at a time. One day at a time. It helped tremendously that we were in this together.

  • Stephenie Meyer: Twilight (Twilight #1)
  • Stephenie Meyer: Midnight Sun (Twilight #1.5)
  • Stephenie Meyer: New Moon (Twilight #2)
  • Stephenie Meyer: Eclipse (Twilight #3)
  • Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4)
  • Gayle Forman: Just One Day (Just One Day #1)
  • Gayle Forman: Just One Year (Just One Day #2)
  • Gayle Forman: Sisters in Sanity
  • Charlaine Harris: Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1)
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Abbi Glines: Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1)
  • Abbi Glines: Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2)
  • Abbi Glines: Forever Too Far (Rosemary Beach #3)
  • Abbi Glines: Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)
  • Abbi Glines: Breathe (Sea Breeze #1)
  • Abbi Glines: Because of Low (Sea Breeze #2)
  • Abbi Glines: Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Abbi Glines: Simple Perfection (Perfection #2)
  • Top Books
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shad
  • Elle Kennedy: The Deal (Off-Campus #1)
  • C.L. Wilson: The Winter King (Weathermages o
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Chamber of
  • Mariana Zapata: Under Locke
  • Jane Harvey-Berrick: Dangerous to Know & Love
  • Elle Kennedy: The Score (Off-Campus #3)
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shade
  • Jeaniene Frost: One Foot in the Grave (Night Hu
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Ha
  • Olivia Thorne: All That He Wants (The Billiona
  • Grace Draven: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1)
  • Olivia Thorne: All That He Loves (The Billiona
  • Tara Sue Me: The Submissive (The Submissive
  • Loretta Chase: Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dress
  • Tiffany Reisz: The Saint (The Original Sinners
  • L.A. Casey: Ryder (Slater Brothers #4)
  • E.L. James: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Sha
  • Tiffany Reisz: The Siren (The Original Sinners
  • J.D. Robb: Immortal in Death (In Death #3)