Dear Chump Lady,
My story is a bit screwed up. I was dating a guy a few years ago. We were taking it slow, because he was divorced and I have never been in “real” serious relationship before. But we both agreed that we would be brave when we started dating. But I never listend to myself, when warning bells went off. I was so naïve, I thought this is it — two people meet, hit it off, date, and work through whatever issues may arise for the happily ever after.
Well, one day I checked his phone. There was a text message from another girl, who apparently was drunk and at his house. The text message went on to explain how they both regretted stopping before they actually had sex. I was devastated, especially because a week later, I lost my virginity to him. And he never told me. When I read the text message, I passive aggressively asked him what was going on. He claimed that he was not seeing anyone else. Ended up being mad at me for two days about it. But then things blew over. We broke up a few months later, and in my hurt, I asked him directly about the text. He claimed it was all the other woman. That he put an end to things, and turned the blame and anger around on me. That he was being blamed for doing the right thing…that they didn’t have sex. He put a stop to it. I was the horrible person who violated his privacy by going through his phone. And I bought it.
I felt horrible that this person I cared about was so angry at me. Who cares that he lied to me, hurt me, and broke all of his promises? He was angry at me, and I was so remorseful. I couldn’t sleep, eat, lost weight and suffered from anxiety attacks. Well eventually, he claimed to forgive me, but I still wanted us to be together. I didn’t want to be wrong and I cared for the fool. I tried so hard to move past the distrust that for another year and a half, we would talk about possibly getting back together and working through all of our issues. Well, things became toxic during that time. We were always fighting, having long discussions about trust and what I needed to heal. He kept gaslighting me; accusing me of being too pushy. So this fall, I stepped out of the mess. I stopped texting, calling or talking to him.
We work together…in the same department too, but I managed to step back and focus on me. I even started seeing a therapist. When I walked away, I was happier, but he kept coming around. We talked and finally it seemed like things would be different this time. So I let him back in. We agreed to take it slow. We were hanging out, sleeping together, talking. Well, around the holidays, we slipped back into the old pattern. He was pulling away, and I was trying to figure out what was wrong. I kept being stonewalled. I realized there was someone else. So I asked him point blank, if he was seeing someone else. He admitted, he was. He claimed it was so easy with her, that here is someone who wanted him for him, and that it was too much work with me. That he was at an age where he wanted to settle down, have kids, and didn’t have the time to wait to see if I would forgive him. So I asked for no more contact. He tried to contact me afterwards; on my birthday and when my uncle died.
I told him in both cases that this does not change anything. I need time to heal. I changed my phone number and email address to reaffirm my decision. There are times when I don’t feel like I am doing the right thing, that I am actively choosing to love myself. My therapist says it’s a journey. Now, when I see him in the hallway at work, I look away. He retaliated (or at least that’s how it feels) by removing all of the knickknacks I gave him, avoids me and even moved to another floor. Today, I found out through another co-worker that the person he is with, was the same girl he messed around with when we were dating. They were dating and I was the other woman! I was her this time around. I feel horrible and like all of my progress to move forward went out the door. I want to tell her. But I don’t want the retaliation, and I don’t want this to be a scenario, where I push them together in hating me. I want him to be miserable. How is it he is able to move on while being a horrible person? What should I do? Should I tell her? Does she have a right to know?
Yes you should tell her, but I think you’re unclear about your motives. On the one hand, you’re all “I don’t want the retaliation” and on the other hand you “want him to be miserable.” From your story, it isn’t clear if this woman ever knew about you. For all you know, she also found evidence of his cheating, and like you, was the chump who believed his lies. Go ahead and tell — but let go of the outcome. Making him miserable. Making her leave him (please put that one out of your head, I know it’s in there, because you’ve taken that idiot back before).
When you tell her, do so kindly, with compassion. She is a fellow chump. She may not believe you, she may be angry, humiliated. She may believe about you what he said about her — that it’s all your fault, that you were the instigator, the pursuer of him. How she reacts cannot be your concern. Tell her because it’s the right thing to do. Without knowing about his two-timing, she may make a terrible decision to marry him. Give her evidence, answer her questions if she has them, but please tell her. As I’ve written here before, I wish I had known. There were people who came to my wedding who knew my now ex was cheating on me. (One was one of the OW herself.) Ghoulish. You have the power to spare her that — do it.
Now then, you Sara, need a primer on this No Contact thing. It’s great that you changed your number and email. But I’d advise you to look for another job or take a transfer. It’s going to be painful to be around him and work near him, whatever floor he’s on. The fact that he threw away the knickknacks and distances himself is a GOOD THING. You’re doing no contact for YOU — not to get a rise out of him, make him come to his senses (he has no senses) and realize you were the love of his life. I read your no contact attempts as withholding ploys to get his attention, which apparently has worked for you. You say “no, no” but your actions say “yes, yes” — you tell him “this changes nothing” after one no contact spree. Sara? You know what says “this changes nothing”? SILENCE.
Stop engaging with him. Your therapist is being a bit too squishy for my tastes — It’s not a “journey.” It’s a road block. STOP. Get off the crazy highway, exit at “sanity,” turn right at “self respect.”
Tell the other woman. Then shut this shit DOWN. Have your lawyer send him a no contact letter. Tell your human resources department about your relationship and ask for a transfer or to have no dealings with him. Look for another job pronto. Shore yourself up, and consider this mess some painful lessons learned. There are better people out there, good people to have a relationship with. He’s not one of them, so don’t give him any more of your energy. You said you were happier when you last broke up with him — hold on to that feeling, and build more fucktard-free happy time into your life. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.