Dear Chump Lady,
First, let me just say that I love your blog! I just discovered it (via Huffington), and it came into my life just at the right time. My ex and I had been together for 14 years – the last year and a half were after I realized my partner had betrayed me. He’s a professor. She’s his Ph.D. student. (I think the only fling more clichéd would come from a Mad Men episode!) For 18 months I danced the “Pick Me” jig and dutifully read the reconciliation blogs and books, in search of the sparkly unicorn. His cake wasn’t sex – we didn’t have any after D-day. His cake was probably the comfort of a “dancing” partner cooking, cleaning and creating a Martha Stewart home to win his affection. I woke up. A month ago I finally moved into a new apartment and I’ve cut all contact, which is final as we have no children.
My question for you is –Do I tell his parents what their son did?
The letter has been written and I’ve reread it a thousand times. The gist is to thank them for their kindness and generosity over the years, but to tell them the truth about the end of my relationship with their son. I tell them how much I loved their son and wanted to work through things, but that his solution to his unhappiness was to have an affair. In the letter I tell them that I’m not writing the letter as revenge or to gain sympathy, but to simply let them know the truth – that the end of our marriage was not a mutual decision or simply two people drifting apart. That our long-term relationship was in a natural and temporary lull, and that their son sought a temporary fix in the fantasy and excitement of an affair.
After much thought, I think I basically want to send this letter for two reasons. 1) I can’t stand the idea of my ex getting away with having an affair with none of his family the wiser. 2) I want to identify his affair partner to his parents in hopes that this will, for a variety of reasons, lessen the chance that my ex will end up with that hussy. (Or at the very least leave an indelible mark in the back of his parents’ minds that this woman is a home-wrecker.) At this point I don’t harbor the desire for reconciliation. I’ll eventually (in a loooooooong time) be okay when he finds someone else; I just REALLY don’t want it to be HER!!
Should I send it, or just suck it up and be on my merry way?
P.S. My contribution to “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say”: “My relationship with her has nothing to do with our relationship.”
Sure, go ahead and send it. But do it for yourself, to thank them for being in your life, to explain your absence — I’m assuming it will be too painful to continue ties with them — and leave it at that. Don’t send the letter expecting that it will affect your in-laws in any way. That they will reject their son, or reject his fuckbuddy. They might at first, but eventually they will probably relent, because they want a relationship with their son. People tend to eat shit sandwiches if it means seeing their children.
Also consider the sad fact that he’s probably gotten there first. He’s probably told them how sexless and awful your relationship was, how you drove him into the arms of the student, blah blah fuckity blah. Cheaters spin, that’s what they do. Don’t expect to win the propaganda war. Have your say for your own peace of mind, but remember that to your in-laws the only thing that really matters is the reality that you are no longer in the picture and he is.
I would keep the letter brief. Be classy, be dignified. Be succinct. Inform them of the break up. Inform them of the affair. Regret their absence in your life. Thank them. Let them know that you are focusing on your healing, and to do that you must remain no contact with their son and with them. One short paragraph. Two, tops. Beyond that, do not tell them gory details about the affair, about your pain, about what a narcissistic asshole your ex is. They will have to draw their own conclusions about their kid. The other woman is probably not the first or the last starry eyed Ph.D. candidate they’ll have to Thanksgiving dinner.
And really, she sucks, but she’s not the problem. The world is full of winsome Ph.D. candidates and most people are immune to their charms (such as dominating the conversation to discuss Gramsci’s critique of materialism). If she isn’t dumped in short order, karma will visit her when she attempts to find a job with her Ph.D., only to discover her only offer is teaching apathetic undergraduates at a third-tier junior college in Battle Creek, Michigan. As an adjunct.
The problem is your cheating ex. Try to practice “meh” — indifference. Pretty soon it won’t matter who he is with, you’ll just feel sorry for her. He’ll be trying that line: “my relationship with you has nothing to do with my relationship with her” on the next one. Or his parents.