Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Open Letter to Huma: Sooner, Not Later

Rockville, Maryland: I was here on July 24, 2013

Dear Huma,

I’m writing to you as a Mom, and as the former wife of a troubled person. I am aware of the conventional propriety and feminist wisdom that is being invoked in regard to your current…domestic Situation. I suspect that this is a tough time but I hope you consider a few points of admittedly unsolicited advice:

 — Anthony Weiner is not likely to give up sexting. If you’re OK with that, then OK.

His career path to date, though, is in conflict with that particular kind of personal expression, as it upsets much of the public, which in turn raises legitimate questions about Anthony’s judgement.

Compartmentalization is acceptable only within limits, where elected officials are concerned.

 — Your child is on the cusp of seriously bonding with Anthony Weiner. Absolutely, it is sad in many ways that your (shared) child has a father who is apparently experiencing impulse control challenges. And true, it is doubly sad that you, the Mom, are in the position of being the primary caretaker/protector of your child. But — if you intend to stay married to Anthony it will probably be to your benefit as family unit if Anthony doesn’t remain in any race for an elected position. And if you do not intend to remain with Anthony, I respectfully suggest that you separate relatively soon from Anthony, as it will be significantly more difficult to do so in the future.

 — Anyone who “blames” you if you decide to pull the plug on your marriage at this point is full of shit.

 — Anyone who advises you to consider “your own career” above your child’s needs is full of shit.

— Should you pull the plug now or in the near-future, you can still be friends with Anthony Weiner, and indeed, your child should remain in limited contact with him,the better to healthily know him as a Good Dude. Finally: I am completely aware that I do not know the first thing about the intimate details of your marriage, your love for and friendship with Anthony Weiner, or your vision and values, in regard to a romantic partnership. I am writing this based on my own experience, which admittedly is not at all comparable to yours’, in terms of the high-profile aspect or specific familial shadings.

 My 11 year-long marriage went on for a few years longer than it should have largely owing to MY desire to hold onto the “optics” of a “successful postmodern marriage,” and my ideals about the importance of having a two parent-home for our two African-American children. I also quite unconsciously willed away what were in hindsight (now crystal clear) signs of major disconnect in my then husband’s behavior: a deep chasm between his public persona, pro position, stated goals and values…and his private conduct.

And in the aftermath of my divorce — six years on, now — I am here to report that being divorced from a…Narcissist with whom you share offspring is really, really hard. It is especially hard if the child or children you share retain memories of a bygone era in which “Dad” lived with them as a member of an intact family.

Based purely on what I’ve read in the media, it appears that you have a solid family. You also have close, caring friends and network of supportive colleagues. Please intake their observations carefully — not lightly or unduly heavily; please measure the input of those who’s opinions you TRUST against your own heart, mind and spirit. In the end, you do have the power, no matter which direction you take. I’m writing this because I spent a long time with someone who — in much less spectacular fashion — made choices that were wickedly destructive to himself, to his family and to his career. I looked away from the signs for a long time, then made excuses.

But there is no ‘do-over’ for your child’s formative years. A child’s perception of herself is linked, for better or worse, to the earliest intimate role models that she will encounter daily.

That is no small thing.

All things considered, I wish you and your family the best.

Yours Truly, Amy

(Cross-posted at Medium)