Dear Chump Lady,
My husband confessed on New Years Eve to an emotional affair with a subordinate. I spent 12 months suspecting, he spent 12 months telling me I was delusional and needed professional help. Standard shit, above average mental abuse.
I’m a smoking hot mama, good body, dress like a rock star, stay at home sex machine who writes, paints, works in film freelance. I am cool. (Or at least I was before 2013, now I feel like a pathetic chump). Not needy, independent, never snooped in 27 years. Married 18 years, together 27 (I was 18) and had a drama free marriage. Until we didn’t. There were cracks, obviously, (financial, midlife, teenagers, first world shit) but another woman was not what I thought was going to happen.
Here’s my thang: Dickwad ended this in September, but I have all the emails from 18 months before. It reads like a 14 year old’s love life. She’s my age, a crap writer (judging by the correspondence), she looks like a mouth-breathing catfish. (Seriously. I should totally post her pic here), he never loved her, she never said she loved him, she’s a hillbilly married to an apparently nice guy, they have four kids. She still writes business emails that are too familiar, I get them all, but the contact is just business.
My ass-husband told me once she was in good shape and that was something he found attractive about her. I’m now obsessed with her. I’ve met her once (she dresses like my mother in law, not a compliment) and I saw her another occasion — a funeral where she stared at me non stop (with her mouth open, see above) — this was of course when their romance was blooming. Besides having more sex than we’ve had in like forever, the last 6 weeks have been awful as I try to navigate my next move. I’m on the fence about my future. He copies me on all their emails, she no longer texts. And I’m obsessed with her. This is someone I would have never crossed paths with in a million years, since I don’t RV at Walmart, so why is she taking up the space in my head? Can you please take her the fuck out of my mind? Can I anonymously destroy her? Please?
Oh sure. I have my newly patented ray gun right here. It zaps unrepentant cheaters with a beam of neutralizing ions, freshens and deodorizes too!
Okay I don’t have a ray gun. (Drat.) But if I did, I’d aim at your husband and not the OW. He’s the real problem here. You’re obsessed with the Catfish because in your gut you don’t trust a damn word he says. She’s a threat. We’re primal animals — we can sense a threat.
So they worked together, still work together, it was an 18-month affair (that you know of) and he’s saying it was just “emotional”? Ye-ah. You might want to rethink that. If the emails you have are from his work account, and those are the ones you’re cc-ed on now, consider that they’ve been using another account to conduct the affair, and have kept work emails G-rated (i.e., like a 14 year old’s love life). Grown-ups in close proximity don’t generally carry on in a goopy, obsessive fashion unless they’re fucking. If you only had a few weeks of this, okay, I might believe an emotional affair. But a year and a half? No.
Whatever evidence you have, you need to share it with Mr. Catfish, father of four. He deserves to know what his wife has been up to, emotional affair or otherwise. Tell him because he deserves the dignity of the knowing the truth. And tell him because it rains consequences down upon the OW and keeps her on a shorter leash (if her husband wants to reconcile). If her husband dumps her, and she’s off the leash, that’s good to know too. She’s free and focused on your husband? You’re going to know about the affair, because she will put demands on your husband.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he “confessed” on New Year’s Eve. Affairs are often revealed at the holiday season, because it becomes harder for cheaters to juggle their double lives. He probably wanted to get in front of the narrative to control it. Just an emotional affair. His actions — gas lighting, blame shifting, mental abuse — show that he’s not one bit sorry. Oh, that and the fact that he STILL WORKS WITH HER. If he wants to reconcile with you, dude needs to find another job. That must be on the table. And he also needs a soul — he needs to feel terrible about what he did. Seems to me he’s just really enjoying the pick me dance from you — more sex, you obsessing about the OW, and playing marriage police. OW flirted with him! That wasn’t business! Sends you into a spasm of pick me sex. Win, win for him. You know what else goads the pick me dance? Him telling you how attractive the OW is.
Fuck him. You know how you stop obsessing about the OW? You start trusting that your husband sucks. He’s not a prize to fight over. He’s a guy who dished out, in your words “above average mental abuse.” He cheated and he doesn’t seem terribly sorry. His big concession to transparency is cc-ing you on flirty work emails.
As I’ve said here before — he’s a dog turd. Don’t fight over a dog turd. She wants to fight for a dog turd? That says more about her than the fact that she’s a mouth-breathing hillbilly. It says she’s morally retarded. Be above this shit. Know your worth.
Put the focus back on yourself. Is this treatment acceptable to YOU? Is this the marriage you want? Do you feel safe in this marriage? Can you ever feel safe again? Do you think you’re getting the whole truth? Time to pull out the big guns. As you say you’re already on the fence, go see a lawyer.
You have power here, and your husband needs to understand that. Workplace affair? He’s putting his company in danger of a harassment lawsuit. (Yes, even consensual relationships can be considered creating the wrong sort of environment.) And she’s a subordinate. Your lawyer can threaten to depose the affair partner and anyone else who knows about this workplace affair. I’d say, get out of this marriage before he’s fired for this inappropriate relationship. Use the leverage of exposing this affair to win a settlement off him. Stop taking his shit, and stop pick me dancing.
Nothing like empowerment to erase thoughts of the OW. She’s a symptom of his entitlement. If it weren’t her, it would be another set of trailer park tits. The problem is that your husband thinks it’s okay to fuck around on you and blame you for it. Time to rock his world. And I don’t mean in bed, I mean in a lawyer’s office.