Dear Chump Lady,
I just found your blog today and I am really like your simple, no-nonsense style. I found out my husband was having an affair almost about a year and a half ago.
I am a stay at home mom and did everything *I* could to save my marriage. My story played out exactly the way you describe it can through your posts. Gaslighting, chronic lying, gambling, cake-eating, the “pick-me” nightmare, and endless hours that I won’t get back living in the SKEIN of why???? Yes, I read every book on infidelity and HIGHLIGHTED passages for him to read. I AM the stereotype. If I heard one more time…”It’s the way she makes me feel…”
Character, character, character. He has none. The more money my ex made, the more he pushed boundaries. Now that he is making $2 mil per year, things are so out of control.
Here is my question…I still think so much about this. He is still with the OW (she is his customer, she WAS married, too, but now both original couples are divorced). I am SURE they will get married soon (he does NOT want to parent alone).
I am having trouble moving on. It bothers me so much that she gets to enjoy my children after breaking up our family. It is very difficult to parent a now 2, 4, and 6 year old children alone. I feel like they aren’t getting the best of me because it is JUST me…and I will need to go back to work soon. Even though he makes a TON of money, I didn’t get that much in the divorce because he gambled it all away. But THEY are living the life. I realize that life with him isn’t living….but….how do I move on from this place?
My first thoughts for you are financial. He makes two million and screwed you over in the divorce? Really? Talk to your lawyer, but child support is renegotiable until your kids are 18 — and even beyond that if you want to push for college costs. I would ask him to provide all his financials for a child support hearing and hold him in contempt if he doesn’t. Get those numbers up.
Next, if he’s a gambler, makes a lot of money, but cannot keep it? Do you think the OW has a miracle pussy that transforms gambler cheats into honest men? She doesn’t. Just because they may have the illusion of wealth, doesn’t mean they actually have wealth. (In fact if you’ve ever hung around super wealthy people, and through weird personal experience, I have — they tend to dress rather shabby and drive 1974 AMC Rebel station wagons to horse races. Point being, they don’t flaunt it. Nouveau losers like your ex flaunt it.)
You need to learn to feel a big MEH toward your ex and the OW. Work towards indifference. And be grateful to the universe that you didn’t waste another moment of your life tied up with him. A man who can walk out on three small children is a pathetic loser, I don’t care how much money he makes (and you shouldn’t either). A woman who would break up a home with three small children is a heartless, amoral, sugar-coated dog turd.
These people are not to be envied. Karma comes in its own time and Karma will make mincemeat of them — but by that point, you’ll be so moved on and out of this, you won’t care any more.
But how do you move on? Well, here’s a couple of tricks.
1. Take up welding. Or something like that. For me, it was welding, for you it might be sky diving or needlepoint or volunteering at the League of Women Voters. Master something and make it your own. Get outside yourself, meet some new people, and make sure it’s a bit scary for you. Melting steel with a plasma cutter is terrifying — but totally kickass. You need to find your plasma cutter.
Why? Because this is your chance to invest in your best self. To reinvent. To heal, your NEW life has to eclipse your old life and what good is a new life if it’s just full of Netflix, wall staring, and diaper changes? New life needs some awesomeness. Go be awesome.
2. Know who you are and what YOU value. Because when you know that, all the shit about your ex won’t hurt you any more. Did you want to be the enviable spouse of the guy who makes $2 million a year? (Even though he is a cheater, douchebag gambler?) Did you like those perks? I’m not judging you. (I was married to a patent attorney, cheater douchebag.) I’m just saying, you’re better than that. Wiser. Those materialistic trappings should not matter to you now because you know what heart of darkness lies in the glove compartment of his BMWs. Don’t wish your new, integrity filled life away for the misery that is life with him. He is no prize.
Why is he no prize? Because you VALUE faithfulness, honesty, and commitment. Because you are an awesome mother modeling self respect and I don’t take this cheating shit! to your children. You don’t trifle with assholes like your ex. He is a bad partner for you, because your values do NOT match.
3. Realize that the OW is now living your nightmare. I wrote this in my last letter, but when cheaters marry, it just creates a new vacancy. She will never feel secure in that marriage. She is living the devil’s bargain. Don’t envy her. I’m sure life with your ex is no cake walk. Will she enjoy your children? Maybe. And I know this is hard to hear, but it’s better if she’s (superficially, barf inducingly) kind to them, instead being all Wicked Stepmother-ish. She isn’t you. She can never be you, because of points 1 and 2, and because you are their MOM. No one usurps you. No ONE.
Single parenting is a tough gig. (I know, I did it for many years.) But it also rocks — you get to be the primary, go to parent, the one who instills her values. The safe one your kids will look up to in years to come. They’ll figure out their father (and the OW assuming she sticks around, or isn’t replaced, a big if).
It gets better each day. Move toward your brighter future and don’t look back at gambler, cheater assholes and their cohorts, okay?