Sue Mittenthal and Linda Reing did a little of both. They each ended their respective marriages, then collaborated on a snarky, irreverent narrative detailing what every woman needs to know to get through a divorce.
The result, Still Hot: The Uncensored Guide to Divorce, Dating, Sex, Spite, and Happily Ever After, reveals that you can survive the split with your sense of humor and your self-esteem still intact.
In an email interview, the authors answered seven questions about infidelity, divorce, and dating again with a mixture of good advice, edgy wit, and tales from the sisterhood of newly single women.
A lot of women go through their marriages with blinders on. Like the military, they practice a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. So how bad - or how obvious - does a husband's infidelity have to get before they rip off the blinders and scream, "Enough is enough!"
When you've trusted your husband for 20-odd years, it may take being hit over the head with a sledge hammer to jolt you into reality. In an extreme case of complacency, our friend heard her husband's Blackberry buzzing by the bedside at 3 a.m. Reluctant to wake him up, she checked it and read, "I love you baby." Her reaction was to worry that some lunatic was stalking him, rather than suspect the truth -- that the lunatic was his girlfriend!
Technology is the big giveaway these days: his suspicious new screen name, a telltale email, or you find him crunched in the closet, whispering on his cell phone while pretending to select a tie. Once you're on your toes, you'll notice charges to 1-800-FLOWERS on his debit card statement, or large cash withdrawals from the bank account, or that he's on a crash diet and suddenly uses hair volumizer and Crest whitening strips.
So many of the mid-life 'self-improvements' a man undertakes when he's trying to find himself seem laughable. What equally dumb things do women do when they're in the same circumstances?
Women may overdo the Botox, and they often start dressing like their teenage daughters. Our newly separated friend got decked out one evening in an Abercrombie mini-skirt, tank top, footless tights, and platform flip-flops. Her teenage son sized her up and wisecracked, "Is there a dance at the middle school tonight?" Bottom line: You've gone waaaay far if your 18-year-old daughter yanks on the belly chain you bought at Claire's and says you look like a skank.
Two years ago, when an old friend from college was contemplating divorce, she gathered evidence and shared it with a couple of select friends for moral support. In a sense, we were her benchmark for normalcy; she showed us what her husband was up to, and asked us, "Is this weird or acceptable behavior? Am I making a fuss over nothing?" (Trust me, the stuff was pretty creepy.) Do women contemplating divorce typically do this - enlist friends for guidance and support?
Once you find incriminating evidence, you need support, reality-testing, and legal advice. Most women turn to their sister, a few trusted girlfriends, or a chat room. But it's important to choose the right confidante, and we underscore this in our chapters, "Give this girl an A," and "Give this girl an F." For instance, the A girlfriend will never leak your secret suspicions. But if you tell the F girlfriend, she's likely to block your cart at the Stop and Shop and bellow, "How humiliating! My heart bleeds for you!"