For the past three days, I’ve been staying over at my aunt’s house and helping her out at her office. I originally was supposed to volunteer at a mental health facility, but the person I was supposed to be in contact with is unresponsive, and I haven’t heard from them in a month. So, in order for me to gain more experience in the workforce, my aunt offered to take me under her wing and teach me how to work in an office setting.
Last night, while having dinner with my aunt, my cousin, and my younger sister, we entered a discussion about our family, which eventually led up to my aunt telling us stories from when she was younger, and giving us life advice. My relatives on my mother’s side had a difficult time immigrating from Taiwan to the United States. My grandmother ended up being separated from my grandfather for five years, and waited in California for the rest of the family to arrive. In the meantime, my grandfather and my aunt stayed together in Taiwan, while the rest of the family was either in school or overseas. My aunt then preceded to tell us an incident that had altered my view of my grandfather, as well as my grandparents’ overall relationship.
My grandfather, who was about sixty at the time, had an ongoing affair with a younger woman who was in her twenties. My aunt had uncovered this affair due to my grandfather’s love for writing. She discovered love letters, and had heard my grandfather come home very late at night. She then proceeded to call my grandfather out on his infidelity, and warned him to break it off since the immigration process was almost complete and my grandmother would be coming from the States for the both of them. My grandfather gradually saw the woman less and less, but the woman repeated called the house.
It wasn’t until my grandmother returned that my aunt decided to tell her about the affair. This resulted in a endless fights between my grandparents, which then led to my aunt begging my grandmother to file for a divorce. But because of a couple of reasons, my grandmother refused to separate from my grandfather. My grandmother was very insistent on the idea of “keeping face”, and thought separating from my grandfather would ruin damage the family’s image. My grandmother also loved my grandfather too much to let him go.
When the family finally moved to California, the woman my grandfather had on the side continued to call him late at night, and he would willingly take the calls outside. Once the affair finally dissipated, my grandmother continued to have trust issues, which played a part in the downfall of her mental health.
The ironic thing about this story is that at the time of the affair, my aunt was going steady with a man who was eventually going to be her husband, and the father of her kids. Knowing that he had witnessed the whole situation, my aunt confided in him and hoped that something like this would fail to repeat. Unfortunately, it did. And more unfortunately, it happened to her.
The difference between what happened to my aunt and what happened to my grandmother, was that my aunt went ahead and filed for divorce, despite her husband’s plea to wait it out for the sake of the kids. Despite my ex-uncle’s failed marriage, he stayed on good terms with my aunt, as well as the rest of my relatives. In fact, my aunt ended up sharing a law office with him, which ended up benefitting her in a lot of different ways. Her hours were flexible so that she could care for my cousin’s academic affairs, and she could keep track of the law firm’s finances, with minimal to no complaint from her ex-husband.
The only individual on my mother’s side that was unhappy with the fact that my aunt had this arrangement with her ex-husband, was my grandfather. Personally, I figure it’s because the affair he had with that woman many years ago haunts him.
Now, I’m not going to say what I’ve learned about my grandfather makes me hate him, because it hasn’t. However, it did have me view him in a different light. Plus, there’s no point in getting upset at my grandfather now, since it’s been almost a year since he’s passed on. Although it did resulted in enlarging my sympathy towards my grandmother and all that she’s been through.
After talking to my aunt, I did end up slightly worrying about my own relationship. The affairs my aunt told us about last night aren’t the only affairs that have happened in our family, nor are they the only ones that have happened to other people I’ve known.
Now, my boyfriend’s an amazing guy and I trust him, but because of our issue with distance and finding time to spend together, I figure it would be extremely easy for either of us to give in and have something on the side, and how easy it would be to keep it a secret.
Is it a silly thing to worry about and should I let it go? Or should I bring up this concern with him? I’m pretty sure he won’t be mad, but I don’t want him to think I have no faith in our relationship.