Hi Chump Lady,
What is an “exit affair?” I think I might be on the receiving end of this but I’m not sure. He left during a trial separation where he swore there was nobody. There was…the whole time. He returned home saying I was his “soulmate” and then when things got difficult again he sex texted her. Again, he denied anything physical had occurred. It had…most of the time. He finally admitted it all. I asked him to leave and am filing for divorce.
It really hurt me and I’m having difficulty moving on. He seems quite well and fine. In fact, he’s not with his affair partner but has a new girlfriend. (The ink had barely dried on our separation papers and they are taking a vacation together.) I haven’t even been able to catch my breath. Do most women really want to date a cheater? What’s up with that? Can you shed any light on that?
What do you make of this? I know it’s not good but he said that he felt unappreciated and unloved. I had NO idea. Why didn’t he say something??
Dear Confused Chump,
Hmm. You filed for divorce? You asked him to leave? While he was calling you his “soul mate,” he was cheating on you? I don’t think that’s an exit affair. That’s your standard cake eater.
Exit affairs, IMO, happen when someone wants out, but is too colossally immature to just own it. So they blow up their lives in some dramatic fashion and the “drama” ends the relationship. But here’s the difference between an exit affair and cake eating — someone in an exit affair actually ENDS it. They leave. It’s definitive. They don’t waffle. They don’t come back. They don’t engage in goading the “pick me” dance.
Is it shitty? Yes. But to me, cake eating is shittier, because cake eaters inflict a whole other level of mindfuckery. They steal your time. They encourage you to make terrible investments in them. They plead for more time to decide, or they pretend they’re all in when they’re not. They’re the cats that don’t kill the mouse right away, they torture the mouse. Which, if you’re a cat, is the most enjoyable part.
Cake eaters want both. And when they’re discovered they want more of your attention, your best behavior to court them back, and all of your patience.
I’m glad you threw him out. That forced his hand into an “exit” affair. Here’s the other thing about exit affairs — they often turn out not to be exit affairs. You find out later that there were others, and you were with a practiced cake eater all along. I do think exit affairs exist, someone is in until one day they’re not. And if they never said boo about their “unhappiness” — that’s on THEM, not you. But — not that I have any numbers on this, just observing from time on boards and letters here — exit affairs are the rarer breed. Cheaters prefer cake. Leaving comes with consequences, so the cheater has to be pretty high on sparkles to take the plunge and lose shit. Much better if you just accept less, and they can eat cake indefinitely.
As for do most women want a date a cheater? No, of course not. But do women want to date a lost puppy dog who was so mistreated by his ex-wife? Sure. Lots of women date that guy… and live to regret it.