A few nights ago, a male friend of mine was moaning about a predicament he had got himself in.
You see, at the ripe ol’ age of 58, he was running around after two toddlers. His toddlers.
To cut a long and slightly complicated story short, five years ago he left his wife for a younger woman. Yes, all very scandalous.
He already had two adult sons and was happily heading towards retirement. That was until his younger woman heard her fertility clock ticking, and after a passionate plea, he begrudgingly agreed to try for a baby.
Jump forward nine (or so) months, and the couple welcomed twins to the world.
Over the next couple of years, he watched on with envy as his ex-wife retired, settled into their dream country home and jumped on multiple flights overseas to explore the world – while he pushed back retirement due to the expense of raising a new family.
As he was having a proper vent, something dawned on me. His ex-wife won.
Yes, that sounds petty, but there’s no denying it – she won.
And the funny thing is, when he left her for this gorgeous young woman, many people felt sorry for the ex-wife – oh, the embarrassment of having your husband trade you in for a younger model!
His friends were clapping him on the back, perhaps wishing they were being greeted home each night by Miss Legs Eleven – but if you look at the long-term results, it’s not all swinging from the chandeliers having wild, passionate sex. Oh no.
It’s attempting to keep up with two very boisterous toddlers. Changing nappies. Tripping over toys and heading off to work each day, constantly worried about how he is going to pay expensive school fees and stay virile for both his younger new wife and children.
He was moaning to me: “This is not what I signed up for”. He even admitted to telling his grown-up sons to stop telling him where their mum was off to next. The jealousy was oh-so-real.
So sure, we see men like Mick Jagger, Alec Baldwin and Al Pacino strutting about town with younger women, but guess what their age-appropriate ex-wives are doing while they’re bearing more children?
They’re having a bloody good time. They’re settling into the golden years of their lives with less responsibility, lovely adult children to visit and grandkids to play with when they like. Oh, the joys of handing a child back to their parents – I love this for them.
And don’t even get me started on what it’s like for the younger woman he dumped you for. As someone who has been the younger woman dating an older bloke (thankfully not married at the time) I can tell you what it’s like from the other end.
We’re hearing him whine about the arthritis forming in his knees “from an old footy injury” while pondering if it’s too late to jump back in the dating pool and find someone who is still years away from having that health issue.
We’re hearing about how the ex-wife made the “best” lasagne while looking at Uber Eats options because we never really got into cooking.
And we’re watching him fumble with the washing because his wife used to wash his clothes. It’s not cute.
So once again, who is the winner here? The ex-wife.
Sure, she may have a year of gut-wrenching insecurities to deal with post-dumping – I spoke to a former wife about this, and she said for months she wondered if it was because her boobs were getting saggy, or her butt didn’t sit as high as it used to. Spoiler alert: No. He was just a shallow dude who wanted to look cool in front of his friends with a young chick.
But with the right support group of friends and a healthy superannuation fund, she said she really did come out of it on top.
So the next time you see a “scorned” woman who has just been dumped by her husband for a younger model, let’s give it less of an “oh, that’s a shame isn’t it” and more of an “oh girl, let this play out – because trust me, you’ve already won.”