Of Mad Men and Mania

8 Apr

I love(d) the show Madinfidelity_think_twice_roger_sterling_mad_men Men.  Before Green cheated it was a show we watched together.  Since my teen years I always admired all things 60’s – I dressed as a mod when I was in high school and college (yeah, let’s agree I wasn’t very popular.) but I fit into a group of friends who admired the era, and it was, and has been a bright spot in my life.  Appreciating that era makes me feel special.   In college I dated boys who rode Vespa’s and could dance to Northern Soul.  Now I work in civil rights, the era for its politics and push towards social justice has always had its own appeal to me as well.  Over the years, I collected closets full of vintage dresses, housewares and handbags from the era.   My home is decorated in mid-century modest – some vintage and some replicas.  Long story short, when Mad Men debuted I was enthralled and in love.

I think Green liked the way the men carried themselves on the show.  Cool, fast talking, smoothly shaven and handsome.  From the beginning I was shocked at how infidelity was so common on the show. It seemed every married man was getting some on the side and every secretary was giving it up.  I found it gross, but it was, oddly entertaining. I mean, the scandal! How would it disrupt their perfect, vanilla world?  I mean, why not, what’s the harm? it was innocent fun…. they aren’t real people anyway.

And then I got cheated on.

And the affair partner was my husband’s assistant. 

And she 15 years younger than me.

When confronted to choose between his whore and his family – Green left us for her.  It was as if my life had plucked out of Mad Men.  Stifled, repressed and cold Betty Draper who I previously found no connection to suddenly became someone I could identify with.   Her plunge into bitter angry depression and their eventual divorce was a depressing future that I saw myself plunging into.   I even developed the same hand tremors she had!  I knew I was cracking up.    In the time before I threw Green out, and he was gas-lighting me about the affair, I would literally sit on the couch balling my eyes out while he cooly text-ed his whore on his phone next me.  It was (and is) full of triggers for me.

I wondered if Gw4h-infidelityreen had found inspiration in that cheating secret life these men had. Perhaps he felt entitled? After his hard work and new found status in his profession… did he think he deserved to have a mistress?  Green is a dandy – he loves sharp suits, cufflinks, martini lunches and cutting deals.  (Hell, who doesn’t like martini lunches?! I know I do!)  Looking back, I feel played, I feel like when he watched that show with me he was planning, thinking, admiring these men… while I admired their clothes and mid century furniture.   The show, with its fancy awards and dashingly handsome men but compelling characters was yet another reminder of how stupid and naive I had been.   These married men were unfaithful, selfish, and narcissistic jerks.  Just like Green.  I had been taken in by what I wanted to see and what I had failed to tell myself was really happening.

This weekend Mad Men premiered its new season.  I was torn to watch it.  Now that Green is back home  its something we have attempted to do, catching up on past episodes of the season prior, when I stopped watching and when I threw him out.  Much like our sex life… the attempts at it haven’t been that great.

The whole thing is full of triggers – every-time I see another lecherous male partner gaze longingly at new hot secretary I think, and I have said to Green, “So is that how it was for you and the whore?” or  “Is that how you hit on your whore? You went in for some grab ass at the copy machine?”   Gah.  Yes, I cringe when I think of saying those things out loud.  Then and now, Green would sigh, and answer, “No cookie.” And I would get mad, “Oh really, you just fucked her on your couch in the middle of the work day? Or did she require a cocktail lunch? Oh wait, that troll Maria’s a cheap whore so I am sure it didn’t cost you much.”

Long story short – there aren’t enough martini’s in the world to keep me sober enough and polite enough to endure it – so we didn’t watch it.   We watched two – we only have one more to go before we can watch the new season premiere. It was Green who called off the Mad Men Marathon… he said he was tired. Not of my snipping but he was just tired and frankly, I was too, as we had spent much of that Sunday at Disneyland with Ditto & Dot.  Bless his heart, I know I was driving Green nuts with my constant commentary and Green tried his best to not lose his temper.  In keeping with the swinging cocktail theme he sweetly made me spicy bloody Mary and we both collapsed to sleep.

I hope we can do that tonight.  I am tired of denying myself of things that entertain me because my head internalizes the images into scenes of filth between Green and the Whore.  These manic phases of up and down, hate and disdain, loathing and self-loathing are exhausting. Sometimes it takes all my strength to be nice Green and not spew up some horrid comment.  I’ve only recently restarted going to individual counseling perhaps I can talk to Doug, my therapist, about getting some tips on how to quiet the manic triggers or at least deal with them in a way that doesn’t take away the little joy I had left.    Can’t I just watch some tv – admire a nice wiggle dress, a well poured martini and tall dark and handsome man for an hour without giving in to the dark thoughts and heartache?  How does Green do it? He says he feels bad and that the show makes him feel bad too.  So how does he watch without flipping out like I do? How does Green just bury it all?

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10 Responses to “Of Mad Men and Mania”

  1. Still Loving Him April 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    I can identify with so much of what you wrote here. My husband sashayed out of the house everyday in thousand dollar suites and took clients to high end restaurants in the evening for dinner. Everyone looked up to him, the women wanted him, the guys that worked for him wanted to be him. His main AP was a sales women that worked for him. Unlike your situation she was 8 years older than my husband, he had mommy issues and she reminded him of his Mother, yes sick I know and a whole different set of issues…

    But the fact of the matter is most affairs begin in the work place. Men and women working closely together with the men more often than not in a power position, the women wanting that man and the power and money that comes along with him. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    As for Mad Men, it’s a show… who cares, let it go. Your marriage is more important than a TV show. If it triggers you don’t watch it or don’t watch it with Green.

    As soon as my husband got sober he told me he no longer wanted to watch Californication, we’d been watching since season one. The main character is a sex addict, alcoholic who constantly messes up his life and then tries to fix it. My husband love the show, he loved the drinking and the sex in it, he could identify with it. While I miss watching the show I was proud of him when he said he no longer wanted to watch it, he had identified for himself that it was inappropriate content for him to view.

    We actually saw the last 15 min of the season finale the other night while we were waiting for Shameless (another show about drunks, but it’s very different) to come on. My husband barely looked at the TV, I asked him if he wanted me to change it, he said no it’s fine since it’s almost over. Even in that last 15 mins I was reminded why he can’t watch that show, sex, drugs, and most of all because of the womanizing.

    I think, and this is my personal belief, No person who has been unfaithful has any business watching TV that romanticizes infidelity, PERIOD. It’s not healthy.

    We also used to watch the movie Badder Santa every year at X-mass, my husband told me about his affair in Nov 2011, in Dec he told me he never wanted to see that movie again. The drinking and sex was to much for him to handle. Again I was happy that he was able to identify this for himself.

    My advice to you is to find a new show that you will both enjoy together. HBO and Show Time have several great shows to chose from. Do some research before you pick one, make sure it won’t cause triggers. Let Mad Men go,,, leave it in your past with the rest of the crap you’d like to never revisit.

    • Flaca April 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      @SLH, your probably right. I had to stop watching that show ‘Snapped’ when I first suspected the affair because my life resembled it so much. I swear that show IS MY LIFE. Especially the lady who put her husband through law school only to be abandoned for the whore assistant? Well except I didnt kill them. Yikes. How many times would I came very close to doing something really violent and bat shit crazy?! That show scared me and in the end, just made me sad.

      I agree – tv romanticizes infidelity and its really tragic. Its not all sexy romps, decadent thrills and excitement. In the end for ALL involved its just not worth it. What tv infidelity doesn’t reveal is the tremendous pain, wasted money and wasted time. Green’s whore actually reveled in the term ‘mistress’ – i mean, really?! what a f’g loser. she liked proving she could ‘steal’ men. what woman with any dignity is proud of getting another woman’s scraps?! Of being hidden? Not good enough to be seen in public. Jeez and I thought I was a headcase.

  2. thiswillnotdefineus April 10, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    My husband and I had just started watching Mad Men before I discovered his affair. We’d been given Season 1 and we both had been looking forward to watching. We watched almost the entire season and then never found time to watch. I remember making comments about Draper and his affair to my husband–all the while not knowing I was being cheated on. I asked him if he ever internalized my comments and felt like an ass when I would comment on cheating husbands on tv or movies. He said he never thought about it while he was with me… I’ve called bullshit on this so many times but he insists he never thought about his AP while with me or at home.
    When I discovered the affair I also realized he had told his AP that we were watching Mad Men. Her immediate response was: “Oh, I heard that show is good and I think I may like it too. Do you think I could borrow your Season 1 dvds?” My husband ignored her and never responded and when I brought it up after d-day he didn’t even remember this email from her. Did that whore really think that she could borrow something from our house? REALLY?!
    I haven’t been able to watch another episode of Mad Men since D-Day. I know it will trigger me and make me sick to my stomach. I did enjoy the show–but now? No way. They treat affairs on that show like catching a common cold. It sickens me and any woman who comments on how sexy Draper is sickens me too. I can’t look at him without thinking he’s a cheater.

    • Flaca April 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      I agree – the show does make affairs seem like frivolous and lighthearted romps. i too used to make unsuspecting comments about Draper, Sterling, Campbell (too many cheaters on MM to name) on the show & how they were all unfaithful. At the time I remember saying to my H, ‘damn, is there anyone on this show who isn’t cheating on his wife?’ My husband like yours says he never thought about it as it related to what he would later on do. I still am left wondering if the show made it seem cool. Who knows. I do for a fact my H was thinking about the whore while at home because he was always texting or emailing her – thats why we eventually stopped watching it. My husband is not an addict but he was acting like one. His whore was a fix that he could never get enough of. Just thinking about it angers & pains me. I am not surprised the AP wanted to borrow the DVD’s – whores have no shame. whores have no boundaries. that’s why they engage in affairs. my husbands whore had no problem coming to my house, eating my food, using my amenities and taking advantage of my friendship – whores are turds who have NO RESPECT for anyone. not themselves. or anyone else.

      • thiswillnotdefineus April 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

        You are right–I shouldn’t be surprised at all she would ask to borrow my DVDs. Thank goodness my husband had (some) sense to disregard her request. My husband’s AP NEVER contacted him when he was not at work. She emailed him but knew he would not respond because he was with me. He never emailed, texted or called her while we were home or on vacation. I find that odd–because how are you proclaiming your love for my husband but you never have any emotional needs that you want him to fulfill? I recalled to him how when we first fell in love and he was working a million hours a week at one point in our relationship. I would call him and page him (YES, in the day & age of pagers!) at any time during the day and night. I would tell him I needed to see him ASAP. I am not needy but when his work load increased and our personal time was affected–I reacted emotionally. So how could his AP be with him for a full year but never feel the need to contact him while he was at home? Not even one text? She was very comfortable with her role as his mistress. Too comfortable. Part of me thinks that she was so calculating that she knew that if she asked for more he would leave. He told her over and over this was never what he intended or wanted. But she needed him because her life was such a mess… Jeez. I don’t know how he even tolerated her BS. I guess because they don’t look at their APs as actual mates–just whores.

  3. Comfortably Numb April 10, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Damn these TV series! lol My husband and I used to watch Dexter and I too wondered if he watched it because he could relate or if he had copied it from the character (not the murdering side of things the emotionally numb side) I dont know how I would feel to watch it with him now I know his secret :/

    • Flaca April 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

      hah, Dexter was a favorite show of ours too! i told my husband that i thought he was a sociopath like Dexter. that he lacked an empathy or sensitivity. he was really hurt by that. i was shocked. i mean really yes Dexter is a murderer but my husband murdered our marriage. they aren’t too far off in my opinion! :/

  4. pabloswife January 16, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Have just started reading your blog. I used to love The Good Wife, I loved Will and Alicia together… now not so much. it seems infidelity is everywhere on the TV, you just don’t notice it until you have been touched by infidelity yourself… now its all I see!

    • Flaca January 20, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

      Right?! It seems like our culture almost makes a mockery of how hurtful infidelity is because the juicy gossip and drama is so ENTERTAINING. It’s pretty gross when you think about it. I had to stop watching some shows because it was such a huge trigger to me. It’s getting better. Time does heal… but honestly I wish society would focus on shows with more positive messages and less about hurtful and cruel behavior just for the sake of high ratings.

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