Hi Chump Lady,
I’m very confused whether I should keep dating my boyfriend or not. He’s still in mid-20s and very close to his mom. I’m in my late 20s and we’ve been dating for a year. He’s a very attentive and sweet guy, but about two months ago I found the other side of him that I considered a waving red flag.
I was invited to his mom’s birthday party and my boyfriend and I had a nice conversation. At some point it turned into a more serious one. He said he intend to “take it to the next step” sooner or later. I was happy and his parents gave us some advice and said that marriage is hard and it takes a lot of commitment to make it work. When I asked them what is the biggest challenge of their marriage, she admitted that it was the time when she had an affair. Before I knew the truth I’d never have thought of her as a cheater. From the outside she’s a smart independent woman with nice sense of humor, she’s also devotes her time to two charities.
She said that it was difficult time because she was the only one who supported the family while her husband had an addiction problem. Her affair partner was husband of her friend. They met from Craiglist and he invited her to his house and get to know his family, she later befriended his wife. She said that she was a “bitch of a wife,” but a great friend and mom. Apparently not great friend enough to stop her from fucking her husband for 1.5 years.
After the affair was uncovered, my boyfriend’s mom reconciled with her husband. But even before I knew this story, she never really looks happy with him. What makes it even more insane is the husband DIDN’T blame her one bit for her affair and said that it was 100% his fault! He’s a cheater enabler! They didn’t even bother for counseling
When I was alone with her, I approached her to gently dig more about her affair. She said that she’s sorry BUT her husband was absentee anyway and her “friend” was a crappy wife and that’s what made them do it. What surprised and disgusted me most was when she said that she’s sorry that her husband and his wife got hurt, but if she could turn back time she’d do it again because it was the happiest time of her life. WTF?? It’s like someone saying “I’m sorry you got burned, but if I could turn back time I’d light the fire again.” I don’t know whether she’s a sociopath or miserable or both.
She kept trashing his wife and mentioned how they (she and AP) were in love with each other. When I asked her to describe her bitchiness, she said that one time they had dinner party that her AP planned and his wife didn’t even lift a finger at all, she said that he did everything while his wife just sat on her ass. When I asked “not even to clean the table,” she later said his wife got a fractured wrist. She tried to demonized her.
I talked to my boyfriend and he knew about the details of her mom’s affair. He said that it’s okay because his father and the AP’s wife were such a bad spouse and not meeting those cheaters’s needs. When I said that what’s the point of having commitment and vows if the person is going to break it anyway? He said that no one is perfect and it’s a mistake. I was so perplexed that he was so relaxed about an affair AND supports it.
They have close relationship and I don’t want to compete with her. He never cheated (that I know of) but the fact that he’s a cheater apologist really bothers me. What should I do ?
Dear non apologist,
Short answer? Dump him. He’s never cheated that you know of, but he has a great ready-made excuse to do it if he wants to. In his moral universe, all you have to do deserve getting cheated on is not “meet his needs.” So you better stay on your toes to keep him satisfied.
Of course with cheaters the “needs” are unstated. “I want an endless smorgasbord of pussy” is not the kind of unvarnished honesty that trips off their tongues. No, it’s shit like “You didn’t clear the dinner table with your broken wrist.”
Like all disordered people, they make up reality to fit their desires. That woman and her creepy Craigslist friend had to demonize their spouses to justify their affair. That’s pretty standard cheater operating procedure. But reality only bends so far. “You suck as a spouse” might alter perception to the point of an affair — I’m not clear how it alters it to the point that you’re inviting your chumps to dinner parties. Would you like your humiliation before or after the soup course? That’s just sick. There is cheating and then there is sociopathy.
I’m sorry your boyfriend’s father had addiction issues, but the last time I looked at the Al-Anon lit, there was nothing in there about supporting your spouse’s sobriety through Craigslist hook-ups. How does that work? Take another drink or I create a profile! These people are locked in some major dysfunction.
So yeah, do you see these people as future in-law material?
You build a life with someone, you’re having a very long conversation with them and that includes their family. When I go to my in-laws, my father-in-law holds court about obscure World War II battles and the public transportation system in Chicago circa 1945. And by the way, on the very slim chance you know anything about these topics, don’t try to get a word in.
When we visit my parents, my mother tries to dress everyone, including my husband. “Make sure you wear a pressed shirt. No, not THAT.” And if you meet with her approval, she’ll beam and say, “That looks smart.” And if you don’t meet with her approval? You attempt the wrong sort of casual sportswear? You won’t make that mistake again. Not unless you want a 72 year old woman dragging you by the ear to outfit you, so she can be seen with you, and do you just dress that way to ANTAGONIZE her?
Everyone’s family is crazy. There is crazy you can deal with, and then there is toxic crazy. When you’re young and you’re shopping life partners — find the benign crazy that fits your crazy. Don’t match for toxic crazy.
Non, you’ve got your head screwed on straight. You know Mrs. Future In-Law is a wing nut. But the problem isn’t really her. Wing nuts can be contained if you know they’re wing nuts. The problem is your boyfriend doesn’t know mom is a sicko. Of course, that’s a bitter pill to swallow, so he just goes along with the abusive narrative — Dad deserved it. Mrs. Broken Wrist deserved it too.
You say this guy is “very close” to his mom, and you don’t want to “compete” with her — that tells me he’s more than a little pickled in her dysfunction. It sounds like he was raised with some kind of emotional incestuousness — it’s you and me against your Bad Father. And when someone is raised to turn against people who love them? To punish them in secret when they’re displeased with them? Who defends such actions?
How can you ever feel safe with such a person? Please move on. You’re young. You dodged a bullet here.