Dear Bethenny,

I have watched your story unfold for years now. I feel strangely connected to you because our stories mirror each other in so many ways. I met my husband in New York City around the same time you met Jason, and we both got engaged after six months. I married Alex when I was about six weeks pregnant and a few months later I watched you marry Jason while seven months pregnant. My son and your daughter were born a couple of months apart. We both come from complicated homes and complicated pasts. We struggle with how the past has shaped us. We’ve worked hard to become independent and successful (although my company has not yet sold for 100 million). We both hate our birthdays because we share it with our mothers. We are the same age, love our dogs, and talk like truck drivers. I watched eerie coincidences unfold time and again on your show. You discussed drawing up a will within a few days of my husband and I having that same conversation, talked about your Costco love affair just a day or two after my husband witnessed my Costco compulsion, and the list goes on. Alex and I watched your show religiously and dissected it as if we were in a book club.

Your fights were my fights: interloping in-laws, work/life balance, a new marriage, and adjusting to life with kids. Because we tell it like it is and have potty mouths, we are always the “bad guys” and our husbands are perfect in everyone’s eyes. Maddening, I know. We’re strong-willed women in a society that expects us to be meek, and that sometimes interferes in our relationships. The truth is, we are not perfect nor are our husbands. Let’s face it, men can be insensitive jerks. Not just your husband, but mine too and most others as well. And because we love them so much, they can hurt us more than anyone else on this earth. I am deeply saddened that our stories have recently diverged. We both found a man, had the kid, and achieved success within the past few years. But while I am pregnant with twins and building a future with my husband, you are getting a divorce.

I know that I don’t know your whole story. I only know what you’ve shown on TV and what’s whispered in the tabloids. And although you are in the public eye, so much happens behind closed doors in a marriage. So please forgive me if I’m way off base. The thing is, I have a sixth sense about people, and I also really like you. So please also forgive me for trying to give advice to someone I like.

I think there’s a time and place for divorce, but I have the feeling that Jason and you could still have your happily ever after. I don’t think that happily ever after means you have to actually be happy each and every day. Frankly I think that’s impossible, but we should wake up each morning ready to try. It took you years to achieve your financial and professional success, and you didn’t give up in spite of all the obstacles in your way. If you put in half as much effort, perseverance, and above all, humility, as you did into your career, I have faith that you could make your marriage work. I won’t put this all on you. That’s not fair one bit. I watched Jason treat you like a Grade A asshole and his resistance to going to therapy just screams to me that he needs it badly. Even my husband wishes he could talk some sense into him. You’re a funny, vivacious, and attractive woman, and we’re disappointed that Jason didn’t want to at least try therapy (as far as we know).

I can tell that you and Jason have fantastic chemistry. Beneath all the gripes and resentments I think you still have so much love to share with each other. I suppose that filing for divorce means you think it’s too late to reconcile and resuscitate your relationship. You may have already suffered too many wounds and can’t imagine they will ever heal, nor believe that you can ever trust and love each other again. That might be the case, and I can respect that. On the other hand, no one calls their reality show “Ever After” unless they believe in fairytale endings. No fairy tale would be complete without a conflict in the story, but in real life you have to take the story into your own hands. Only you and Jason have the power to create the ending you want.

Besides, you know as well as I that the dating scene sucks. When you’re fighting and bickering with your husband the single life may seem glamorous and romantic, but that’s wishful thinking. Because you have a daughter together, Jason will always be a part of your life. You’re going to have to learn to live with him one way or the other, and being a single working mom might just be the most difficult role on earth. There’s no easy fix for an unhappy marriage, but you’ve got to realize that your “happily ever after” doesn’t just affect you any more. It affects your daughter, it affects your friends and families, it might affect your image and career, and it will certainly affect the millions of women, including me, who admire you.

You’ve always been a fighter, and it’s hard for me to accept that the fight for your “happily ever after” is over. It makes me question my own life story. Is my marriage on shakier ground than I thought? Is it impossible to create a sustainable relationship with someone when you meet later in life, have a baby, and get married in a whirlwind? My husband and I have had our share of conflicts as well, and seeing you and Jason together was a source of affirmation for us. Now, not so much. Maybe I’m being selfish when I want so badly for you to have your happily ever because I somehow feel it’s connected to my own.

Regardless of how things turn out with Jason, I know you’ll be fine. You are so resilient that when life hands you lemons you squeeze out the sugar and sell it back as a skinny lemon. You and Bryn are welcome for a playdate at my house any time, and feel free to bring Jason along too. My husband might want to have a few words with him.

Love,
Cara

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