Dear Chump Lady,
I’m thinking about just going ahead and divorcing my cheating husband. Really, what is the point of wasting time in limbo? Everyone says you should wait 6 months to make a decision, but I can’t get over the lack of remorse.
Judging by reading on other sites, my dilemma is pretty universal in the betrayed spouse world. When we are a crumpled mass of agony, the cheater seems to put their hands on their hips, surveys the domain, and ponders what their next move should be. Unfortunately, that next move is NOT to run to the rescue of their battered and bloody spouse. We the betrayed, want our life partners, these people we love above all else, to stop the bleeding. We want them to WANT to stop our bleeding. But they do not give a shit about our agony. They do not have our backs. They had a grand life of cake and they want it back — at any cost — and our bleeding simply makes them roll their eyes.
I cannot seek comfort from my husband. So I may as well face divorce sooner than later. I don’t think he’s going to snap out of it. I don’t think I’d like him now, even if he did.
Well, you’ve come to the wrong place if you think I’m going to tell you to “stand” for your marriage. I’m not of the opinion that there is a cheater “fog” and that if you just wait patiently, the cheater will come trotting back to you of their own accord. If they’re going to come back, they have to fear that they will lose something they value. The betrayed person wants to believe that something is them.
But that something could be financial security, their reputation, the appearance of being family. That something could also be cake. You don’t know.
I also think the whole “wait 6 months” to make a stay-or-go decision is nuts if you are dealing with someone who is patently without remorse and/or still in the affair. Living with someone who is cheating right under your nose, or pining for the affair partner, or giving a big shrug to your pain — is living with emotional abuse. I don’t understand why people do not see it in those terms — that infidelity is abuse. No one would say to someone who was physically abusive — oh, hey, stick it out for 6 months and see if he doesn’t stop slugging you.
The terms with which you describe betrayal are pretty graphic — you want your husband to stop your bleeding. Physically abusive people are not known for hitting you and then “stopping the bleeding.” No, they tend to tell you it’s your fault and you asked for it. A lot like cheaters. We tell people, rightly, to get the HELL AWAY from people like this!
There’s a lot of advice out there to “make the marriage an attractive choice” for the cheater, and spruce yourself up, and throw yourself at marriage counseling while the cheater decides whether or not staying with you is worth the terrible price of not fucking around. I say bullshit. File already.
It may have the effect of waking your cheater up, and he has his come to Jesus moment. It may not. (Hey, at least he’s consistent.) But it if does wake him up — why would you want him? Do you really want someone that needs a legal gun put to his head before he’s can recommit to you?
Limbo is for beach parties. Move forward without him.