Dear Chump Lady,
Help!!! In a few days I’m scheduled to go to court to start divorce proceedings. Lately I’ve been receiving dating site subscriptions, job site subscriptions and the latest one a profile sent to my email using OW’s personal data with my old Facebook photo? I’m forwarding this garbage to my attorney but my question for you — “Is this type of OW stalking normal?” I did a background check on this person and there is a history of mental illness. It really pisses me off that he can screw this random vagina but I’m left with the consequences. Any advice?
Pissed off and waiting for this to be over!
No stalking is normal. It’s what untethered, controlling people do. Most of us are probably guilty of some cyberstalking of our exes or the affair partners, especially in those early un-meh days. It’s morbid curiosity, it’s trying to convince ourselves that yes, these people truly suck, or that karma has bit them in the ass. Or it’s self torture — oh look! They really are more fabulous than me! (At least on Facebook anyway). Hopefully this is a behavior chumps grow out of, because it just sets you back. You don’t control them or their narrative, this person isn’t part of your life, and best to move forward.
This urge to check up on, compare, self-torture, and hope for karma isn’t confined to chumps alone. Affair partners, especially ones deep in the humiliating dance of “pick me,” also cyberstalk. Cheaters mindfuck them too, you know. You’re the Great Obstacle to Their Happiness. Your ex has most likely demonized you to the affair partner. Part of the deliciousness of their triangle is how horrible you are, how you’ve made their schmoopie suffer, and how you thwart their true love. Most affair partners are going to go with that narrative of course, because you sucking is what makes what they’re doing Not So Bad. Really you deserve it. So maybe they’ll pull up your Facebook page and make fun of your haircut. It gives them that frisson of delight — “I’m the one he REALLY loves!”
But I would guess for other affair partners, they check up on you because they feel off balance. They don’t really trust the cheater either. They’re searching for clues — exactly how committed you appear to the world. Could it be that… he’s lying to the OW? No! Better check again. Maybe this is all part of your evil scheme.
Jinx, you don’t seem to be dealing with your average affair partner. You drew from the pile of flaming crazy. It’s one thing to cyberstalk. It’s quite another to cross the line into punishment by harassment. This is the bunny boiler line. These people, IMO, are mentally ill.
Look, to knowingly be an OW, you have to major issues. These people aren’t the most secure, well-balanced folks to begin with. But if you take someone who is bipolar or borderline and you fuck with THEIR heads (as cheaters do)? Now, you’re playing with fire. And as you point out, who suffers from that crazy? You do. (Hopefully, in time your ex will suffer too, but right now you’re the enemy, not him.)
Jinx, I had a very similar thing happen to me with the long-term OW in my story, a bipolar alcoholic. She signed me up for dating sites, writing insulting tag lines, but in super creeptacular fashion, using personal details she wanted me to know she had — where I lived, my birthday, where I went to school, etc. I got signed up for magazine subscriptions, political campaign subscriptions (for the party I don’t vote for), junk mail, religious brochures, etc. It was adolescent and angry — and the message was clear — “I will NEVER stop fucking with you until you LEAVE.”
I suggest you do what I did, have your attorney send her a warning letter — send copies to her home, her workplace, and cc local law enforcement. Explain in the letter that this is the first step before formal harassment charges are filed. Do exactly what you’re doing — document the harassment and forward it to your lawyer or the police. If she trespasses, if she does drive-bys — call the cops immediately.
Do NOT try to get your soon-to-be-ex husband to curb his dog. Appealing to him to reason with the OW, or call her off, just gives him kibbles. He is LOVING the pick me dance she’s doing. So don’t reward him. Besides, he can’t control crazy either, he just loves provoking it.
You’re divorcing him. She’s getting exactly what she wants — you out of the picture. Hopefully, she’ll back off when she realizes the divorce is going through. (I never heard from the OW again after I divorced my cheater.) Stay no contact with the both of them, and enforce your boundaries by law if you must. Unsubscribe from the online sites, report the profiles to their fraud units, report them to your internet service provider as well. And while you’re cleaning up this mess, remember — you’re not the hypotenuse to their fucked-up love triangle any more. All her crazy is HIS crazy soon. And all his crazy is HER crazy. There is no more fitting punishment than letting the wing nuts have each other.
Stay the course, enforce those boundaries, and get free of them both.