California mom starts blog about her husband’s infidelity, divorce, and starting a new life

|

Who’s the woman behind the His Giant Mistake blog? Nobody knows. (Shutterstock / Jose AS Reyes)

Cleo Everest, 46, was at her home in California’s Marin County when she got a call from her husband who was in the midst of a two-month business trip. He was calling to check in on their two boys and tell her about an important meeting he attended that day. The usual.

Cleo hung up…

Six minutes later her phone rang.

Her husband’s name appeared in caller ID.

“Hello!” she said.

No answer.

It was a pocket call, she assumed. Her husband had unknowingly called her.

Cleo was about to hang up but she heard a woman giggling and her husband’s familiar voice. “We’re interested in a bottle of wine to start here and then take to our room,” he said.

This is how Cleo learned that her husband of 16 years was having an affair. He denied it at first but eventually admitted that he had been seeing someone behind her back for a year. A few days later he revealed that he had been leading a double life for four years. He was vacationing with the mistress, the whole nine yards.

A blog is born

Where does one turn in the 21st century when your marriage comes crumbling down? The Internet.

The phone call happened in early September, and about two months later on November 15, Cleo set up an account on WordPress, created a blog called His Giant Mistake, and started typing away every night after her boys, ages 4 and 6, went to bed.

She started sharing everything in posts with titles such as “The Cheating Husband Returns” and “Time to Tell the Children We’re Divorcing.” If you start from the first post “Love Can Lead You to the Truth,” her blog reads like a story—a harrowing and inspirational tale of a woman getting her feet back on the ground after experiencing deep devastation.

She blogs about sending a message to the mistress’s husband on Facebook and about telling the kids that dad is moving out. Her writing is open and honest, casual and conversational, and especially colorful when she’s writing about her ex. She writes: “I thought I had married a man. Not a boy who was frozen in time at age 14 with one hand on his penis and one hand on his joy stick, concerned not an iota about values, morals, commitments or anything other than me, me, me”

But while Cleo’s isn’t afraid to take stabs at her ex, the blog isn’t about ruining him. It’s more about Cleo finding happiness in a new life.

Cleo Everest is a pseudonym. For now, Cleo isn’t revealing her real name as she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, her children, and her ex-husband who has a high-profile job in a creative industry (although she recently told her ex-husband about the blog). She calls her kids “Sugar Delicious” and Cheddar.” The ex goes by The Genius.

His Giant Mistake goes big time

At first readers were slowly trickling in, which was fine because Cleo was blogging for herself not an audience. She used the blog to sort through her emotions and organize her life and she thoroughly enjoyed it. “It was the thing that got me up in the morning,” Cleo says. “It was the gift that I got. Writing is effortless. It elevates me and helps me recenter myself.”

Cleo told a friend who works for Sirius’s COSMO Radio about the blog and she was invited to be on the “Cocktails with Patrick” show.

The site crashed that day.

More media coverage rolled in. Canadian gossip maven Elaine “Lainey” Lui gave His Giant Mistake a giant plug on her hugely popular Lainey Gossip site. Lainey calls the blog her “current obsession” and recommends “reading from the very beginning. It’s designed to unspool like a story.”

Cleo’s page views increased dramatically, from 100 to 40,000 hits a day. Her site was flooded with comments, and like so many bloggers, who freely share their damaged lives, she found inspiration and hope in her readers.

“People were sitting down and pouring their hearts out in the comments,” Cleo says. “I would sit down and read and sob. Happy sobs. I wasn’t alone.

“My husband traveled so much. I don’t have a gaggle of girlfriends. I remember opening my email and seeing 20 comments. That has been an unexpected massive gift.”

Now that the blog is reaching a wide audience, Cleo is writing for herself—and other women in similar situations.

“It’s stunning how many people are going through the same thing,” she says.

Cleo recently asked a group of moms at her kids’ school if they were happy in their marriages and not a single person said yes. “Women’s needs just aren’t being met,” she says. “We spend so much time giving. We don’t take time to discover what our needs are.”

Finding joy in writing

When Cleo was in her marriage, she says there was no space for her to discover her passions, hobbies, and interests. She remembers once telling her then husband that she enjoyed writing. His response: “What makes you think you can follow your creative dreams when I can’t follow mine.”

Today writing is a huge part of Cleo’s life and she already has plans to turn her blog into a book.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer and now I’m a writer,” she says. “My writing and my blog—it’s a gift. It’s what I got out of this bad situation.”

Cleo’s writing is about more than a broken marriage and navigating a divorce. On a higher level, it’s about digging yourself out of a hole, any hole, and about finding opportunity in a bad situation. She wants to provide inspiration to people who are facing daunting struggles. “A huge percentage of the population is going through the most challenging time in their lives. Divorce, getting laid off, losing a house, Bernie Madoff and it goes on and on and on. This epidemic in our society. It’s like a freight train. How do you see through it?”

Take charge of your life. Don’t be a victim. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. “Don’t just go through a divorce,” Cleo says. “Make it the best thing that ever happened to you.” It’s the kind of advice that you read in self-help books and hear from motivational speakers, but coming from Cleo it’s more genuine because she’s living it.

“I’m not a victim,” she says. “I created this. I plan to take advantage of the opportunity. I’m writing a book!”

Cleo takes some responsibility for what happened. “I should have known this affair was coming,” she shares. “His mom, his dad, his sister, aunt and uncle. Every single one of them have had affairs.”

His mom moved out at one point to live with the landscaper. His sister cheated on her husband when their child was 1 year old.

“He has been desensitized to the traumatic effects of infidelity,” she says. “He doesn’t understand how deeply it wounds someone.”

A new family life

“The Genius” moved out of the house, but Cleo lets him see the kids any time he wants. There are no crazy custody battles or arguments over who gets them on which weekend. “If he wants to pick up the kids and take them to school, I let him,” she says. “It’s important to him to be a part of the kids’ lives and I support him in that.”

Her attitude is impressive, and Cleo says a lot of that has to do with her readers. “They keep me in check. They won’t let me misbehave,” she says.

Comments are closed.