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Dear Chump Lady, Complicated love rhombus…

Dear Chump Lady,

I had a partner of 12 years, Kathy. We had a house, two dogs, joint checking account, and we did grow complacent — I can see that now.

She met a “player”, in every bad sense of the word, where she worked. This woman lived just a few miles from us, with her partner of 15 years — Bev. Bev had stage 4 breast cancer at the time of the affair.  She was looking okay, but her cancer has since returned, and now it’s terminal. Bev and I have become very good friends and have helped each other through this mess. I will stand by Bev through her cancer and anything else! She is a wonderful person.

This is the first experience with infidelity ever in my life. Bev has experienced this with “Player” on more than one occasion. Kathy and Player don’t like that Bev and I are friends. We found out between us the many, many lies they told about us. They said really awful things about us. I’m not a perfect person, but I was a good partner to her. Maybe too much, as I lost myself. But I really did love her.

I wanted to ask your opinion — Player and Bev have never really disengaged from when all this happened a little over a year ago. Bev busted them at my and Kathy’s home one day. Bev told Player to “get her shit and leave.” Within a few weeks afterwards Kathy and Player both got an apartment together. Keep in mind they had known each other all of 4 months by then!  

But Player and Bev have continued to talk on the phone from the get-go. Even when my dumb-ass ex went to stay with a friend for a few days and Player was over there, she would call Bev from there. There would be times I would be at Bev’s house and Player would call whispering! Calls continued, not every day, but continued, and frankly never stopped — and now that Bev is very ill, she calls two to three times a day.

Bev’s sister who is currently staying with her gets so annoyed. As far as my ex, she has been strange about things too. I lost the house, (she got mad and said I should have told her because there were things she still wanted) had to file bankruptcy. I got my own place with the dogs, made fresh starts with friends I had given up, got into some new and fun things. After counseling, the best thing I did was getting out of the house we lived in.

My ex found out where I live — and she has done drive-by’s. I saw, she denied. She won’t call, but she will text. I don’t answer at this point. She caught me off guard again in this last text a week ago when she said “It’s been about a year since we have seen each” I’m surprised she even remembers quite frankly. I was afraid she was going to ask to see me.

If things were going so good between the two idiots, they wouldn’t need to contact us. Bev does talk to Player, I don’t talk to Kathy — but she continues to send these texts, usually a couple of weeks apart; “how are the dogs?” or things about Anne Hathaway (I’m a big fan).

What do you think of all this?


Dear MJ,

I think you need to block your number and go NC with Kathy. Yeah, you’re not calling her, but you’re reading the texts. Kathy’s clearly on your mind, and a subject of conversation between you and Bev. You’re giving these two yahoos way too much mental real estate. As wonderful as Bev is, and as terribly sad as it is that she has cancer, your friendship with Bev means being in the orbit of the woman who broke up your relationship. Which isn’t good for you.

And it’s not good for Bev either. Sounds like she’s deep in the humiliating dance of “pick me!” Send her over to Chump Lady. We’ll set her straight.

It’s hard to dump a cheater, and I imagine it is exponentially harder when you have terminal cancer. But it sounds like Bev has been a chumpy chump before you came into the picture. This wasn’t player’s first rodeo, and they were still together. Player still wants what all players want — cake. And she’s not above getting her ego kibbles from a woman dying of cancer. Sicko.

So that’s what Kathy “won.” A serial cheater who’s enmeshed with her ex and cake-eating. I’m sure Player makes her feel very unbalanced and unsafe in the relationship. So that’s why Kathy pesters you — you’re plan B. Nice to keep you on a back burner should something happen with Player. And meanwhile, the cake is tasty.

You cannot control Bev. Just support her in her illness, and try to talk about the other things you have in common, other than infidelity. Take about Anne Hathaway. Take her out to see Les Miserable. Shut her down when she goes on about Player.

As for you? Just keep building that new life without Kathy. NC, NC, NC. I’m sorry you suffered so much loss, but it sounds like you’re bouncing back. While you’re recovering, take back your mind. Those squatters Player and Kathy have been taking up too much living space. They have each other and that’s punishment enough. Be there for Bev and forget those jerks.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • MM,

    I read this somewhere,

    If you lose your mind doesn’t mean you can borrow mine.

    That’s what Kathy is doing with you.

    Don’t let her


    • MJ,
      I saw an elderly friend of mine yesterday that was a great source of comfort to me many years ago, when my husband passed away…I brought her up to speed about my life, including the nightmare of the past few months……when I was talking about NC she said good, and added….”When someone hurts you, even though they do it because they are sick – you DO NOT make them Chicken Soup”

      Hang in there! XO

  • You had the courage and strength to get on with your life after such a terrible betrayal. Go no contact; block that # and mean it. You are her plan B I am sure that after a year she is seeing the other side of “Player” and figures she can play you for a chump and you wil take her back. Just feed you some ego kibbles once in a while to keep you in the loop. Sadly, she will only use your kind heart to get what she wants!

  • Toni, thAt line about chicken soup was fantastic.

    I can say this with utmost assurance , that most of us here , after D Day , yet felt that only the cheater can somehow assuage our pain.We went to them for , call it what you may, comfort, understanding, reassurance, validation, security etc etc.

    Hence our attempts at reconciliation, however short lived they may have been.

    We all have travelled down that road, expecting the one who decimated us to heal us.

    We kept triggering and triggering till one fine day we realized that it’s not the hotels or the locations or the venues or the words that are the triggers bit its the cheater that is the biggest trigger.

    We may go NC but it tok a while to block their numbers completely because any overtures from them did make us feel that we are being missed.

    Which only prolongs our healing.

    We can heal only once we stop thinking of them as chicken soup and start thinking of them as a bowl of poison.

  • I am starting to realize we are chumps because we think that they think like us.If I am kind and loving I will be treated the same. Chump thinking. I can’t fathom how they think and I know I am wasting my time here even trying.

    • We chumps can’t help that we have at least a shred of humanity in us. I think we think that others will treat us the way we’d like to be treated/the way we treat them because to think otherwise of people, to think that they can do what our ex’s or STBX’s can and have done to us, is to take a bleak view of humans and the world. After having gone through what we have gone through, we need to be careful, but all these nasty, disordered cake-eaters out there should not be allowed to so overwhelm us that we think no, everyone out there is looking to take advantage of us.

      If we think the way those who have cheated on us do, then everyone out there is either trying to take advantage of us, or is there to be taken advantage of. I REFUSE to think like that, because I REFUSE to degrade myself to a cheater’s level. I know I have to be careful, but I also know there are good people out there. That is not naiveté; that is thinking the best of humanity. We can’t let cheaters’ messed-up ways of thinking infect our own.

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