Dear Chump Lady,
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Why? Because reading your words and reading the words of others have finally given me the kick in the ass that I needed.
I’ve been married for 2.5 years — second marriage — and it’s been one thing after another. We separated after a year of marriage, then reconciled. It was all rainbows and sugar cubes for about seven months post reconciliation. It was soooo sparkly that I wasn’t as careful as I should have been with birth control and I got pregnant. When I was five months pregnant, I discovered his emotional affair. Ha! Snort! Sorry, laughing at myself!
I did the classic chump stuff — cried, asked what I could do to meet his needs so that he didn’t go outside of our marriage, kissed his ass…and of course he said he was sorry and would end things. Like a chump on hopium, I believed him. A few weeks later, on the fucking morning that my dad unexpectedly passed away, my jackass husband decided to tell me the truth, that he was still “talking” to the OW — because she had acute renal failure and was going to DIE!!! Needless to say, I didn’t respond well. My dad had been gone for 6 hours. I was kinda in shock.
Fast forward a month. I let him know that if he was going to continue this relationship, I would file for a legal separation. He “ended” it. Yep, it went underground. But like a stupid chump, I believed him!
I went into labor a month early and had an amazingly healthy son! My jackass was there at the birth, and I would find out later, was texting the OW. He sent her pics of MY son!
A month later, I got a screenshot text from OW. She said she was tired of living a lie. The screenshot was a conversation detailing what he wanted to do to her in bed. He had just left for a weekend trip. I told him we would talk when he got home, but that I didn’t want to talk to him until then.
It’s been 8 weeks since that weekend. For a while, too long, I did the pick me dance. I tried to prove my undying love. And he still couldn’t end it, because he wasn’t sure he could “trust” me. If he gave her up, how did he know I would be the wife he needed me to be? Holy shit. Writing that makes it real — he is so delusional! I spent a lot of time being angry. A lot. Our marriage counselor told me I was going to push him straight to OW.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I opened my eyes and looked at him. The hopium was out of my system and I saw him and our marriage for what it was—not a sparkly unicorn, but rather a dirty jackass with a carrot duct taped on his head! And that same day, one of my close friends told me to take a step back—that if this were happening to any of our friends, I would be telling her to get the hell out and/or laughing at the melodramatic acting going on! She was right!
Since then, I’ve embraced meh dom, read Chump Lady religiously, and am getting my ducks in a row. I have three children—two from my first marriage and one from this marriage. I used to be a teacher, but quit at his request to be a SAHM. I was afraid of stepping out on my own—37 years old, no job, three kids, one an infant! Screw that! I applied for public assistance, got a part time job cleaning houses, and am stashing money aside. I consulted a lawyer and filled out the paperwork. I am saving for the retainer fee. I have detached from jackass, which is driving him nuts!
Oh, and did I forget to mention that a week ago, he went to OW apartment up take her flowers, and walked in on her fucking someone else!?? So now he is scrambling and wants me to agree to work on our marriage—while he still tries to salvage things with her! But I no longer feed him kibbles, and am moving forward with my own life. This is killing him, but bringing me so much strength.
Please let the other chumps know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to get on with their lives. Reclaim who they are. Rediscover who they are. Laugh daily. Take a step back from the drama, and breathe. After they’ve started to reclaim themselves, they can put on their attitude boots, and walk away from the fucked up mess that their cheater made. It’s not the chump’s mess. It’s not up to them to clean it up for the cheater. Walk forward and don’t look back. Don’t. Look. Back. There’s nothing behind you but a huge fucking mess that you did not cause. Whistle a little as you walk away, and know that better days are ahead!
Oh, and I recommend putting “Bye Bye,” by Jodee Messina on their playlist, and singing it daily, loudly, where the cheater can hear them!
Thank you, Chump Lady, for your wisdom and insight!
Jenette ( a classic chump)
You are MIGHTY! Boy, you navigated yourself out of that mess admirably. I know you’ve got a ways to go still, but such moxie! Your letter illustrates so perfectly the “fuck it, I’m done” moment. When you’ll do whatever it takes to get that new life. Go on assistance. Clean houses. Suck up another divorce. ANYTHING. Your bravery — and your anger — will serve you well.
Speaking of anger — a POX on your marriage counselor. Your “anger” is going to drive him to the Other Woman? What kind of toxic blame shifting crap is THAT? It’s NORMAL to be angry at someone who has betrayed you — and confesses to it on the day your father died, no less! That MC should have his head examined. A proper MC would’ve asked you what your anger was telling you. What it meant that warning bells and sirens were going off in your head. Not shamed you for it, and threatened you with it. Oh, if you feel anger he won’t Love You Any More. You bad girl! Get back in your place! Bow and scrape for his love. Don’t get uppity.
It’s a classic case of the mind fuck It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction to It. Shaming chumps for being angry at being betrayed? FUCK that noise.
And what IS it with men texting their mistresses in maternity wards? I keep reading this over and over again. Is there some hidden epidemic of douchebaggery? Is it just the ultimate kibble fest and pick me dance opportunity? Kibble fest in that “Hey look! I fathered a child! Aren’t I special on my special day?” and pick me dance as in “Oh, I had a baby with her, yeah, we share that. But you’re special too, because I’m telling you about it! And your vagina is very special and not all stretched out and gross like hers is. But, we still have this bond, you know. Yet, alas, my family needs me.” And Mr. Cheaterpants pretends to vacillate like Hamlet. Woe! This blessed birth. Woe! My obligations. Meanwhile the OW is having to congratulate him, yet feels threatened as hell. Huge shit sandwich for her. But she gets kibbles, because they share a SECRET. And she’s really special, because even while his wife was giving birth, he was thinking of HER, the OW, the whole time!
Ugh. They each deserve 5 inch episiotomies performed with rusty scissors. You may point out your cheater lacks the proper anatomy, but his head is stuck so far up his ass, they could improvise. Maybe use forceps to remove it. No anesthesia, of course. Just tell him to BREATHE.
As for telling you about his affair on the day your FATHER died? Unbelievable. I suppose in his warped way, he figured this bought him some cover. Well of course she’s upset — her father died!
But really the most stellar of mindfucks in this letter is:
For a while, too long, I did the pick me dance. I tried to prove my undying love. And he still couldn’t end it, because he wasn’t sure he could “trust” me. If he gave her up, how did he know I would be the wife he needed me to be?
Right. You’re the problem. How untrustworthy you are. How can he be assured you will continue the pick me dance with renewed vigor? How will you be the wife he needs you to be if you’re all ANGRY and shit, insisting he keep his commitments?
Jenette, I cannot wait for you to be free of this asshole. There’s a special place in my heart for second marriage chumps, because I was one. It makes infidelity extra painful, because you really do not want to “fail” at two marriages. You “pick me” dance with more gusto, because failure is not an option. They know this. They choose well, those cheaters. He thought he had you stuck. He sold you a bill of goods — be a stay at home mother! We’ll be a family! You bought into this dream, you accepted this vulnerable position and he took it as carte blanche to fuck around on you. IMO, this abuse is deliberate. It’s predatory. That’s why I caution all the single moms out there to fix those pickers as best you can. There are cheaters who prey on single mothers. We’re usually a vulnerable, chumpy bunch.
I fell for one of these sparkly assholes as a single mom, you did too. I also handed mine his ass in a divorce, and you will too. And I gained a life and eventually found real love. And I bet you will too.
Thanks for writing your words of encouragement for other chumps, Jenette. Keep us posted on your progress!