Dear Chump Lady,
It’s Linda again. Wow. I don’t know where to begin, but I wanted to answer questions from the comments I’ve received (seriously, thank you). It’s all bit of a nightmare.
I’m no Einstein, but I’ve always done okay spotting filth by doing my research. I work in the online industry and I certainly put my skills to work looking for anything I could find on my ex creep. Nothing. He’s funny, social and loved by friends. Not a heavy drinker, financially independent, chivalrous, likes cooking, golf, taking his sisters kids to swimming lessons, and loves his two Labradors. No red flags there I don’t think other than he didn’t have a Facebook profile.
I wasn’t initially attracted to him but thought, hey don’t be shallow, he’s a great guy who’s 37 and knows what he wants (to introduce me to his mom apparently). He wanted to prove himself… said if it took 3 months just to kiss me then he’d wait 3 months. I had nothing to lose — I made him wait 3 months for a kiss. I know now (mostly) that it was all fake but this is how it started. At work, I wanted to keep our relationship secret at first. I’m degree educated and work my ass off to be judged professionally. When people did start finding out, he wasn’t bothered in the slightest. He was ready to “shout it out to the world,” so no sign of a double life there either.
Thankfully we don’t work together anymore. He’d been trying to get his own business off the ground and once it did, he left the company but our relationship obviously continued.
He lives about 90 minutes away and since I live in the city we would see each other at my apartment. I could’ve been smarter about this, but he hadn’t given me a reason to question anything. He was actually first to bring up going to his place and because of that, I always just felt we’d get around to it. He rarely stayed over because he’d go home to feed the dogs, had appointments the next day, etc. I’d met some of his friends outside work, he met mine and even my super critical girlfriends said “I better treat this one good.” Unbelievable how today, after finding out what’s happened, their faces dropped in horror.
Regarding his phone: He was fine with his phone but back then I didn’t know he had two phones. He’d always message or call me during the day and text me at night. When I’d look away to give him privacy looking at photos on his phone, he’d grab me and say stay as he had nothing to hide. He had photos of me, his dog, family and friends. He did turn his phone off at night though. Said he’d done that since he was 18.
So red flags didn’t really happen until about 6-7 months in. By then I was too smitten to listen to that gut feeling. Things begun changing as his business was launching and I was seeing him less and less. Please don’t think I’m making excuses for myself by saying I was razor sharp and perfect. I’m not. There were times I’d blatantly challenge him, wanting to know why it was so hard for us to have a weekend away together when somehow golf trips, helping his parents out, taking out clients were all okay on a moments notice. He always sedate the situation by being the one to set dates/plans weeks in advance (so of course I shut up) but then he’d have to postpone/broke his phone/was sick/had an emergency but would set another date. I soon felt completely mindfucked by him — accusing me of being selfish and inconsiderate to everything he had going on.
When he confessed about his girlfriend we were sitting alone at my parents’ place. He said that when we met, he was shamefully looking for fun and didn’t expect to fall in love. He was afraid of losing me by telling me the truth and could now because he was in the process of ending it with her, said it wasn’t a loving relationship, they lived like housemates and even though she was a nice person and loved him, it didn’t mean she was right for him.
My head was in a spin. I loved him but knew I couldn’t see him again until it was actually over. As he left, he promised it would be over within two weeks. I suggested he be single for a while because I didn’t want him on the rebound and after a 4 year relationship, there’d be some grieving needed. He didnt want time to be single and “couldn’t wait for what our future held” (based on where I am now, I sure as hell could of).
That same night, one of his closest friends had massive heart attack in front of him on the tennis court (it really happened – was in the paper). It was a traumatic couple of weeks and I couldnt ask “have you broken up yet?” when his mate is on life support and being read his last rites. When his friend pulled through, he said we’d get back on track. We never did.
I played pick me for about two months until I couldn’t do it anymore and went NC for 4 months. I stupidly messaged him happy birthday… it was all civil but inside, I missed him every day. Two weeks later he called and told me he still loved me and thought of me everyday. I tried to play it cool but I missed not having him there to talk to or share stories from my day, so I agreed to be his “friend” till he fixed it. (CL, I was playing pick me, I know).
He’d call almost daily to say hi and see how I was, then tell me his relationship was going well now. (I hated that bit sorry) and he’d finally matured. He said he understood if I was seeing other people but then talked about how sexually we were like nothing he’d ever experienced before. I soon got over our phone relationship. He was getting everything he wanted again and I was getting words (kibbles)… so I lashed out and went NC again.
Two months later (about 3 weeks ago) I was away with my family and he happened to at the same beach for a golf weekend. (It’s a boat trip for him to get there so believe me — it wasn’t planned).
I stuffed up here. I’d just lost a friend to cancer and my defenses were down. We saw each other on the street and hugged so hard I melted. We spent a while together and I didn’t have the energy to talk about “us.” He kissed me and I kissed him back. I wish I’d been stronger and now I’m technically a willing party because we lay on a single bed and cuddled. He tried very hard to make me to stay the night but I got out. He messaged the next day saying how the night reminded him how much he missed being with me, she was moving out (showed me his house for sale online) and wanted to see me before Christmas.
Didn’t hear from him. Five days ago I messaged him to see if he’d lost the ability to pick up the phone. He wrote back saying that he didn’t call because he didn’t know how I’d react to his pending engagement and that’s how I found out.
I flew off the handle hating him/me for falling for it. Told him his since he didn’t have the inclination to think of my feelings, his meant nothing to me and his girlfriend should know everything. That’s when he said I’d cost him the 20k he’d just spent on a ring. I don’t careless about his 20k and told him to jam the diamond up his ass. He threatened to come after me, send my work colleagues nude photos of me (I never gave him any), and would stop at nothing to destroy me.
Do I feel compassionate towards her? Yes. I know how blindingly perfect he can seem. He’ll look straight into your eyes and talk with such conviction, it has to be seen to be believed. Does it help seeing how great and happy they look together in her Facebook profile photo. No. It makes me want to crawl under a rock and cry and throw up till I die. I’ve lost all confidence in the last 12 months, friends have partnered off and say to me “I should’ve known” or that “don’t worry, I’ll get my turn”… I’m alone while he gets to play happy family and have someone to go home to. I hate that he’d go to such an effort to stop her finding out but for me, a text message is a sufficient effort apparently.
I know I only have myself to blame and he isn’t who I thought, I get that. I have evidence that he couldn’t argue his way out of but I feel guilty because I believed in him for so long like she has. I’m already going to be crying on Christmas, it doesn’t seem right to make someone else go through it, especially when its supposed to be the happiest time for her. Do I wait? I just dont know…
I’m not scared of what he could do to me. It’s not because he isn’t capable (he is), but because I don’t feel as though it could hurt any worse that what it already does. I have no delusions of breaking them up so we can be together, if I shut up the drama is gone. If I don’t I have more abuse. But she needs to know… I agree.
The sick part– (no one needs to tell me I need psychological help on this bit, I know). By telling her, there’s true finality… He can’t hide behind anything and I never thought we’d be here and I’d be the one to destroy his world. I say world, not heart because he doesn’t have one. He’s a life support system for a cock.
Sorry this was so long CL. Thank you for your advice and support. I’m so glad to have found this blog.
Thanks for writing back and filling us in.
I’ll write more anon, but wanted to get this up and let other people comment today. (I’ve been on the road, visiting family for the holidays).
Meanwhile, I just wanted to reiterate — PLEASE tell that poor sap of a woman and show her the evidence. You wrote: It doesn’t seem right to make someone else go through it, especially when its supposed to be the happiest time for her.
So what’s the alternative, Linda? Let her live a LIE? One that could give her an STD (guys like this, there’s more than you, I’m sorry, or there’s going to be very shortly)? Children, a mortgage, to trap her with? The mortification of having an ENTIRE EXPENSIVE WEDDING and THEN finding out he’s a sociopath?
Seriously, if you’d rather send me the evidence at email@example.com and let me do it for you, I’d be happy to. Paying it forward. I know exactly what to say to her, because I was her in May 2006.
What you write, I experienced — the flakiness about making plans, the other phone, etc. These are all the tactics of someone VERY experienced in leading a double life.
But fact is, he hooked you. The point at which he “confessed” he had a girlfriend that’s he’s been breaking up with for — what was it 7 months? And then needed more months to do it? That’s when you got soft in the head. Rebound? Take time? WTF? At that point it is blindingly apparent that he’s been eating CAKE! I applaud your instinct to put distance there — but sweetie, you couldn’t do it. And that’s on you. You did the pick me game and the being available to his bullshit and then the fishing by calling and texting and being upset when he didn’t get in touch. The whole come here, come here! Go away, go away! game.
I understand it’s a dating relationship (before anyone comes after Linda with a pitchfork, have some compassion — the assclown isn’t married with children — the stakes are a bit lower in dating, although certainly painful). But you need to shore up those boundaries and that self esteem, Linda. You saw what you wanted to see, that he was “going” to be available (just that pesky girlfriend to get rid of), when the evidence was that he was NOT being available to you. I don’t just mean that in a hey, what are you doing Friday? way. I mean — he wasn’t a good partner to you EVER! He wasn’t emotionally available, he didn’t make you a priority. Even before the girlfriend was revealed, he was blowing you off for golf games. (Who knows what they really were, but you believed golf. And even at GOLF that was a red flag.) A man who is INTO you? He makes time for you. No guess work.
And Linda, you deserve a guy like that. Not a turd that sparkles, like this idiot. You need to believe you are worthy and hold out for that, because when you do — the minute some asshole gives you this kind of run around? He’s done. Next!
But, but! There are only so many perfect successful men with two Labradors! I hear you saying.
Linda, there are plenty of good people out there. You liked the IDEA of this one. The ACTUAL person is dreadful. All this business about everyone partnering up and being alone — RELAX. Love you. Get this shit right. It’s very important that you don’t waste any more of your life fucking up this business of who you let love you. I didn’t get it straight until I was in my 40s (happily remarried at 43, have hope folks).
Spend some time in therapy and reading what GOOD relationships look like and what TOXIC relationship look like. Figure out why you’d spackle or compromise. We all do a little of it, and a little isn’t bad. But a guy like this needs a cement truck of spackle…
Anywho — Linda — please tell that woman. And if that asshole gives you any grief, sic your lawyer on him. (You certainly could if he sent pix of you. The fact that you never sent him any, makes me think other women did and he’s confusing you with someone else.) Remember, I’ll tell for you if you want. She can read this post if you want.
You’re going to be okay. Grieve. Shore yourself up. Trust that he sucks and you dodged a huge bullet.
Linda, you need to tell that girlfriend and you need to do it today. If he does the whole proposal bullshit, most likely with family and friends around, she is going to be even more crushed. Yes, it sucks to do it just days before Christmas but what’s the alternative? As CL said, can you imagine her going ahead and marrying this guy, having kids, building a life and THEN finding out he’s a cheater? Because you know and I know and everyone reading this knows HE WILL CHEAT AGAIN. And she will be even more destroyed if it happens years down the road. How do I know this? Because I’ve lived it. People knew STBX was a cheater his whole life but somehow figured he’s be ‘different’ with me, despite it turning out that when I was first dating him (long distance) he had a girlfriend who was very involved in his life. EVERYONE knew this, including his parents, who completely supported whatever he did.
TELL HER TODAY. Deal with the fallout. It may not be pretty but I’m sorry to say that too bad, you’re going to have to toughen up and accept that you were involved with a man whom you knew had a serious relationship. Them’s the breaks, kiddo, but you’ll survive and hopefully learn a very strong lesson from all of this.
Good luck and do the right thing. That woman will probably hate you but she may get to the point one day where she’ll realise that you helped her dodge an enormous flaming turd bullet.
Linda, I don’t know if my STBX ever cheated on me before the A that I discovered, but what I do know is that he had doubts about us very early on. Twice he thought about D before we had children, and I wish he had just asked for one and let me move on with my life. I would have still been in my 20s, and I wouldn’t be tied to him for life because of our children. The decent, noble thing to do would have been to let me go, but instead, he got a side piece to “meet his needs,” and I got a prison sentence of 14 years (when my DD turns 18) to life.
My point is– you might be able to free this woman from a prison sentence of her own. She’ll hurt, of course, but she’ll be going further into the relationship, if she so chooses, with her eyes wide open. She’ll also have the chance to break it off with him and find someone who isn’t going to treat her like Plan B. Believe me, I wish that I had been given that gift years ago. I might have been able to find a man who truly loved me and not just the ways I was useful to him, and my children might have had a father who was truly excited to have them in his life and happy to be involved in theirs.
Let CL do it for you if needs be– but please, SET THAT WOMAN FREE.
Don’t beat yourself up. Understand what part you played, why you were vulnerable to someone like this find a good therapist who can help you figure it all out and how to forgive yourself for any part and how to move on.
Life can be a shitty deal sometimes.
the best advice i can give you at the moment is that you did almost everything you could do to protect yourself that you knew of.people like him can be like “smart bombs”.skilled at evading our defenses.for now what you need to do is heal..your broken heart needs to heal.Deserves to heal…im sorry you went thru this and please remember that you are not alone also please consider letting CL expose your cheating ex..take care
Linda – PLEASE tell this poor woman. (Or take CL up on her kind offer to do it for you.)She needs to know so that her life doesn’t get ruined years down the line when the stakes are way higher than finding out just before Christmas. It’s kinder to her to be told NOW – believe me.
We all need kindness, every single one of us. We all need compassion. This poor woman needs both. And I bet that every single one of us fellow-chumpers feel compassion for you. You were human and you were duped. Be kind to yourself, but please be kind to her too. By telling her. NOW.
(If only someone had told me. Before we got married, before we had children, before I moved from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere to another country, another continent with him. Anytime, but I sure as hell wish someone had told me. I left my beloved country, my friends and my family. Then I found out. I had children to bring up and protect and to love while I had a shattered heart and my life was in pieces. By then, the decisions I had made in good faith had enormous implications.)
Save her from making life-altering decisons about her future that she is making now in good faith.
It’s kinder to tell her Linda, and it is compassionate.
After you have shown her kindness and compassion then turn it on yourself. Show yourself compassion by taking the time to heal, and be kind to yourself – you were human.
Life lessons are hard. Ask every single one of us.
It sucks now, then it gets better. Way, way better without that turd of a soiciopath in one’s life.
My best wishes sent to you.
Dear Linda, Let CL tell this person…. take care of yourself first – absolutely take care of yourself first. I agree that it would be compassionate to tell this woman but only if it doesn’t mean feeding her a part of yourself that maybe you can’t spare just now – step back, take a breath, several if you can and access what it would take, and if its more than you have to give right now. I think it was Kristina?? who said in one of her comments to me, “step away from the crazy” You have to make yourself a priority NOW. If it’s too much, let CL do it. God, life can be so shitty!
Well said Erika!
Put yourself in the girlfriend’s place. Would YOU want to know? I think having CL break the news will give you time to take care of yourself. She may choose to not believe a crazy woman, which is how the boyfriend will portray you, but if it were I in her shoes, I would definitely want to know!
You can tell the girlfriend, but it will have the same effect it would have had on you if he picked you, and she called to tell you he was previously involved with her. Meaning none. She’ll have to learn the hard way.
The OW’s husband in my case, at first did not believe me, but then woke up and called back to see my proof. There is hope.
Happy Holiday to all my former chumped, chumpling friends.
Wishing all your dreams come true.
How nicely put Sara8!
I echo this – Happy Holidays to all my former chumped, chumpling friends!!!!!!
And CL, thank you for this site, all the hours you put in, the humour, the wisdom you impart and telling it like it is Happy Holidays to you.
Thank you, Lynn
wish there was an update on this…