Dear Chump Lady,
My husband told me in November about the affair he’s been having with a former (married-with-two-children) co-worker since September. The affair is emotional, except for one kiss they shared before a change in his career took us to the other side of the ocean from her. Since then, it’s been entirely online, as far as I know.
After my husband told me about the affair, I left him, only to take him back when he showed up on my parents’ doorstep two days later. After we spent a month trying to reconcile, I found out that the affair was still going on. Since then, my husband has all but stopped talking to me, and as far as I know (from reading the emails I initially discovered between the two of them, he is planning to build a life with this woman, whom he has known and has been friends with for approximately four years). I am done trying to save the marriage (as is he), and at this point am just focused on how to move past this.
The part I’m struggling with is accepting the fact that this wasn’t about sex, or some stupid fantasy fling, and it’s not about my husband being a narcissist, or about any of the personality-disorder, relationship-disorder things that affairs often seem to be associated with.
Instead, it just seems like my husband, who had had crushes on this woman for years, was given an opportunity to build a relationship with her and he took it. And it seems as though they might legitimately be in love.
He told me that once their relationship got going, he felt that a life with her was “fate.” Hard as I try, I don’t know how to get past the fact that even though I gave my husband everything—ten years together, three years of marriage, and our little boy—he has fallen in what seems to be legitimate love with this other woman (though I acknowledge that by building this relationship in the form of an affair, it was the worst possible way to build something healthy).
I don’t envy anyone who is dealing with a physical affair or with an insane cheating narcissist, but I also don’t know how to heal from the fact that my husband seems to have found someone he loves, respects, and admires, and it turns out that that person is not me.
How do I heal from the idea that I’m just not “the one” for the person who was “my one”?
Thanks for your help.
Please disabuse yourself of the notion that the OW is special and this is love. Your husband is a cake-eater. He’s not a special case. He can sit shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other personality disordered, narcissistic, cheating losers. He’s not a star-crossed lover who was Fated to Be with the OW. He’s not noble and the OW isn’t noble either. They’re plain, old boring banal cheaters.
But, but…. she’s The One!
Kate, you’re drinking the cheater Koolaid. That your husband and the OW are Compelled By Forces Much Bigger Than Themselves. Four years sneaking around and they only KISSED and he’s promising MARRIAGE? OMG. You believe this? Grown ups fuck. That’s what they do. Men don’t devote four years of attention to women they are not fucking or have not already fucked. He did not chastely fall in love with his crush object over Skype. He’s been having an affair.
And speaking of emotional affairs and Skype and an ocean between them, that IS “some stupid fantasy fling.” Key word: fantasy. She’s married with two kids. He’s married with one child. And they only thing they have is their clandestine life together, spent mostly in front of a computer screen. If that’s not a fantasy, World of Warcraft is real and I’m a druid shaman.
You want me to believe your husband isn’t a narcissist? He’s not disordered like all the other Bad Cheaters? No sir, he’s just a guy who’s spent FOUR years in an affair and THREE years married to you. (Do the math.) A man who made a commitment and a baby with you while he was in “love” with another woman? And now — that he’s moved you overseas and isolated you — he’d like to end the marriage and leave you with a small child, because of a KISS he once shared? He’s a liar. Oh sure, there is nothing disordered, selfish, or fucked up about him. (Rolling my eyes into the back of my head.)
Let’s next discuss how the OW is the special, anointed One. She’s so very special, that when you left him because of his affair, he begs you to come back and reconcile with him. Apparently, OW isn’t more powerful than CAKE. You take him back for a month and discover, hey, he’s still in his affair with her, promising her a life together, while he’s “reconciling” with you. CAKE.
Yes, she sounds really special. Kay Jewelers should make a diamond heart pendant for the sort of special occasion that says, “I like to fuck you, and fuck with your head, but I prefer to do it from the comfort of my marriage.” She must really know how cherished she is.
But now you’re done with him, so — hey! she’s the ONE. It’s really REAL!
Your husband is a piece of shit. He wants you to believe that he’s been “friends” with this woman for four years, but nothing happened back home except a “kiss.” And his “emotional affair” was only two months long — September – November. And based on this 8-week true meeting of the souls, he’s ready to chuck his relationship with you? Well, not really. He wants to stay married and eat cake. Except you discovered him eating cake. And since then, she’s the One True Love of His Life — and you’ll just have to understand that you were never as special as OW is to him.
Kate, I’m sorry. He’s been lying to you. Your whole marriage is based on a lie — and it doesn’t matter now. What matters is getting the hell away from him and stop buying his stupid, self serving narrative. You’ve got the same run-of-the-mill idiot cheater we all got — a weak, selfish, manipulative jerk. He’s not a special case.
So why would he want you to believe that he is?
Because then you’ll absolve him of his crimes and won’t judge his character. You’ll protect his image. And you’ll eat the shit sandwich that this is all nothing personal, you just aren’t The One.
Why would YOU want to believe this idiotic story?
Because if he’s a Good Man whose only crime is his heart wanted someone else, then you won’t feel like a chump. Like you were played by a character disordered asshole. You won’t have to connect the dots that he betrayed you with a lot more than a kiss, that your marriage was a farce, and that you were used. Instead, you were just Not Right for Each Other.
My advice to you is don’t stand in the way of this Great Love That Cannot Be Denied. Call the OW’s husband today and let him know immediately of this powerful force that grips his wife. Tell him to clear the way and let the two lovebirds be together. It’s FATE. And when fate calls we must all answer!
Fate is telling me you must call your divorce attorney. And stop believing in fairy tales. He’s not the “one” for you — and THANK GOD. He’s a cheater. Let him go.