Hi Chump Lady,
I caught my husband cheating with his co-worker, who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend, last fall. We had been married 15 years. I confronted him, he said he was sorry and wanted me and the marriage. He didn’t seem to want to do anything to make up for what he did, especially my one request — getting his ho-worker out of that job. She was just too instrumental to the business, you see. She’d only been there nine months but they couldn’t live without her or replace her and I just had to understand that.
A few weeks after D-day, the whore’s roommate sent me a message saying the thing never ended and they were planning a life together. He denied this and I still resolved I wanted to save my marriage (so chumpy and gross, I know). Anyway, right after Christmas I could tell he had one foot out the door. I performed the pick me dance with the fervor of a thousand river dancers and became the marriage police. It was all so demoralizing. He finally left to go stay with his mom about three months ago to “clear his head.” I filed for divorce.
I have been trying to reason with him about a settlement and using a mediator so we don’t have to spend thousands. We have no children so it should be pretty easy. I have more to lose financially in this divorce so I am trying to not piss him off too much.
Since I have filed for divorce, I keep approaching him about discussing this settlement and each time he gets a little teary and says things like “So, this is what it’s come to? I thought we were working it out?” Like this crap situation was all my idea. He cheated, lied and left. Then we get into some dumb conversation about “working it out” where “it” is all my fault. I hear a list of every petty thing I have ever done wrong. Yeah, sure I have flaws but I have supported this man through 12 years of alcoholism (my chump-in-training days), quitting his high paying job to start a business which was always his dream, subsequently running that business into the ground due to his drinking, and almost dying from liver failure. He has been sober for three years now and thinks he is the sparkliest thing this side of Vegas for beating the odds and surviving. He got in amazing shape. So now that he is sober and has a perfect body, I just can’t measure up to his ideal of perfection. I am too sloppy, too fat, not motivated enough to be perfect like him and yesterday he told me I don’t smile enough. Most of these things couldn’t be further from the truth. After each one of those interactions, I feel so beaten down. Then after I go home and cry myself to sleep, I get a text from him saying he is sorry he hurt my feelings.
And his OW is the most unaccomplished piece of trash imaginable. She was a porn star during her last marriage to save her house from foreclosure, has tattoos of cartoon animals having sex (I wish I was making this up), barely made it through high school, brags about how she won’t cook, clean or do yard work. I have to hear about how much I suck and how she is so great and is getting a certificate from a top business school for her job! (I have a master’s degree in a scientific field). And when I was looking at their FB pages (I don’t anymore), they were putting up feel good posts about how everyone makes mistakes but they shouldn’t have to pay for them forever, they are just human after all! Blah, blah, blah.
In our divorce settlement, he is going to be getting a very good deal. He will probably get to keep the beautiful home that we have lived in our entire marriage and worked so hard to make just like we like it. He’ll probably end up moving his whore in there, which pisses me off to no end but I know I need to let that go. So if he is getting everything he wants — the house, getting rid of his mean, sloppy, fat wife, the ability to do what he wants whenever he wants — why does he feel the need to vilify me and turn me into The Worst Wife Ever? Why is he stalling this thing and saying “I thought we were working it out?” every time I try to get this thing moving and get the hell out of this trashy situation he has brought into my life? I keep thinking the answer is cake, but he himself claims he sees absolutely no benefit to him in our being together.
I know now that I have been used to get what he wanted all these years — the house, the toys, the business. Now that he can have that without me, I’m no longer useful to him. Why doesn’t he let me go? Why does he need to be such an ass on the way out?
Why does he need to be such an ass on the way out? Because he was an ass coming in and before, during, and afterwards. That’s who he IS. An ass.
You say he claims there is “no benefit to him in our being together.” Yeah, he SAYS that — but his actions don’t. He isn’t itching to get divorced because he doesn’t want a divorce. He didn’t file — YOU did. He wanted the pick me dance and the kibbles to go on forever. He wanted to keep extracting value from you as long as you’d let him. (HelloOo — you make more money.) He wants you to stick around and take the blame for his shitty, entitled behavior. Can’t expect an OW to do that, cheaters always want a hypotenuse for that job.
But then you stopped letting him crap on you. You filed. You got uppity when he tried to blame you for this. And when blameshifting failed, he tried self-pity and claiming the True Victim Here mantle.
“So, this is what it’s come to? I thought we were working it out?”
He’s punishing you. He knows you want a divorce and he doesn’t want to give you one. It’s not about the divorce, it’s about control. Control over you. Control over the narrative.
You’re dumping him. OMG, people might construe that he’s a bad guy. (You know, like a drunk cheater. Okay dry drunk cheater.) This whole — Did I hurt your feelings?, you don’t smile enough — is impression management. (See! I care!) Your pain is centrality and kibbles to him. So you need to go TOTALLY NO CONTACT on his ass. You don’t have kids.
And forget the mediator, IMO. You can’t nice someone out of an affair and you can’t nice them into a divorce settlement either. Especially someone so keen to not give you one. I’m sorry, but you need a pit bull lawyer to make his life a bit more miserable now. Why the hell should he get the house? Or a pot to piss in for that matter? I hope you have a damn good reason, like you’re keeping your pension. But if I were you, I’d forget the mediator, only speak to him through an attorney, and tell him he takes whatever (fair to YOU) settlement you offer him, or you’re litigating his ass. You have more money, remember? He’s a flunky with his own start up. Start calling the shots. No more nice.
Doesn’t matter that he doesn’t want you to move on — YOU’RE MOVING ON. He doesn’t own you. Decolonize your mind. You aren’t a kibble dispenser. He wants a kind word? He can talk to his lawyer. They bill in 6-minute increments, I hear.