Dear Chump Lady,
I have experienced infidelity three times in my life. The first time happened when I was 12, I helped kick my father out of our house because he was a serial cheater. You can only imagine the emotional shit storm that followed as a young boy.
My second bout of cheating happened to me with my long-term girlfriend in high school/college. I caught her fucking her art professor in our house. I left immediately.
The third and most recent has involved my wife of 10 years. She told me on April 20 of this year that she was pregnant and she did not know who the father was. She confessed to having a one year affair with a former coworker and since D-Day has made every effort to put this affair behind her in order to move on with her life, and she wants me in it.
I have heard every textbook answer to why she did it — needs were not getting met in the bedroom, she felt wanted and alive during the affair, I was grumpy. She has also shared with me why I should forgive her — she says she has forgiven me for mistakes that I have made in the past, she says she made a mistake and she will never do it again it, it wasn’t worth it, it’s not that big of a deal that I’m making it out to be, etc.
I believe that my wife is truly remorseful and I do think that reconciliation could be possible. I’m seven months past D-Day and here’s my problem, my wife knew early on in our relationship that infidelity has created emotional scars almost my entire life. She knew that cheating was my one “thing” and she made the choice to fuck her coworker anyway.
I have made the decision to wait and see if reconciliation is even possible. Am I a chump in the worst way?
By the way, my wife had miscarriage in May. I will never know if that child was mine or her coworkers!!
So let’s recap. She cheated for a year. She blames you for not “meeting her needs” in the bedroom and for your crime of grumpiness. She feels entitled to your forgiveness because “you make mistakes too.” And for our crowning indignity, she says getting pregnant and not knowing who the father was “is not that big a deal.”
And you want to know if reconciliation is possible?
How exactly do you think she’s “truly remorseful”? Because she said her affair wasn’t “worth it”? Does any cheater ever think that statement actually makes chumps feel better? Implied is it that could be worth it. She tried it, and naaah, it wasn’t worth it. But she was totally cool with gambling with your well-being to find out.
She’s not a wife, she’s a horse trader. This concept of “love” means you’ll do unless she finds a better deal out there. Wouldn’t you rather be loved for who you are? Even if your stock falls? Even if you’re grumpy? “It wasn’t worth it” is all about HER. The fact that you had a painful history of chumpdom didn’t even enter into her thoughts. Really, this is the best “sorry” she can do?
Look, even if she was sorry (she’s not) you still do not owe her reconciliation. You are entitled to your deal breakers. I think this is very hard for chumps, the idea of boundaries and enforcement. You CAN say NO. What happens then? Well, she’ll probably cast you as the bad guy. That weighs on you. She knows that. That’s why her “remorse” is pretty sloppy.
Your wife wants this false equivalency. She should be forgiven, because you make mistakes too. She wants reconciliation and you’re the bad guy if you don’t give it to her because, hey, she’s SORRY.
How about humility? How about you don’t owe her forgiveness or reconciliation? Cheating is about entitlement — and it never fails to shock me how cheaters after committing the most entitled of acts, infidelity, then go on to feel entitled to reconciliation. Well OF COURSE I deserve to be forgiven. OF COURSE I can have my old life back without consequences.
What are her consequences? Having to do the kabuki theater of her remorse? Living with a guy who is probably a hell of a lot more grumpy now? Oh, and by the way, naming your “grumpiness” as a reason for cheating is an implied threat — if you’re grumpy now, oh boy, watch out — she might cheat on you if you don’t keep that grumpy thing on a leash.
What’s missing in her “remorse” is humility. An acknowledgement that she doesn’t control the outcome. That you would be perfectly within your rights to dump her. That this isn’t your fault. That it’s not equivalent to anything you did or did not do. That getting pregnant, or possibly pregnant, with another man’s child is a fucking deal breaker. It’s BAD. “Wasn’t worth it” does not begin to convey that her vicious gut kick of betrayal was BAD.
You can’t reconcile with this. You can wait months for the unicorn to appear, but you need to realize this is who she is. This. Is. Who. She. IS. A narcissistic cheater who only feels sorry for herself.
DNAchump — IMO, you need to find a good therapist and work on your FOO (family of origin) stuff and your picker. This is not your fault, but I worry that maybe you’re drawn to narcissistic people given your history with your serial cheating dad. That this lack of reciprocity, this air of entitlement somehow feels natural to you. Chumpdom is NOT a permanent condition. Don’t worry that you’re doomed to a life of it. There are good people out there deserving of your love, who will reciprocate in kind. Your wife is not one of them.
Please do what your 12 year old self did — throw the bum out.