Dear Chump Lady,
I have been married to my husband for 10 years, together 14. At the beginning of this year we lost our home to foreclosure right around the time a big job he was waiting on came through. (He’s a contractor). My dad died a couple years ago and my mom didn’t like living in the big house alone and had been planning to move in with us, when we got a new place. So we were all going to stay with her awhile until we got everything together and she was going to sell her house.
Soon after the job started he began not coming home some nights. It wasn’t unusual for him to stay out late working, but all night was not normal. He’d say he worked so long that he just stayed over in one of the rooms, (it’s a resort), with the guy who was working for him. Yeah I know.
The place was 5 minutes from our house. So between the moving and him being gone so much, I asked him what was going on. If he was going to be moving with us or not? To tell me now when I could handle it. He said he’d thought several times in the past it wasn’t working (never mentioned anything to me) and he wasn’t sure we were compatible, etc. So then I said in a moment of anger — fine lets get a divorce. So of course he starts not coming home at all and is all hurt.
Over time we talk and I say I’d like to work on things but he is just not sure what he wants and is going through “emotional trauma.” He starts bringing up all the apparently awful things I’ve done in the past most of which are more than 5 years old and he’s so angry about it all. But he still said he wants to work on it too.
The job is long over now and he’s moved in with a friend. At first he said he was living with a different friend, but when I pressed him for the street name he said he didn’t know it and then confessed to living with a different friend.
I guess my problem is for awhile he was acting so hurt, angry, sad, confused, nobody cares about me, you never loved me… Now he seems fine but still on the fence. I asked about other women and of course he denied anything going on and I wanted to believe it. He seemed so traumatized after all.
Two weeks ago he came and picked up our 7-year old to go play tennis “at the park.” Turns out the park wasn’t shady enough so he went to…. the resort. Yep, the resort where he’d worked, to play there. What I thought was going to be a 2-hour trip turned into 8 hours. He comes back, drops him off and we talk for a bit. I ask about him seeing anyone and again he denies. But this time he says he “talks” to “people” all the time but no dating, just friendly stuff. And he can’t remember the last time he hung out with a girl “friend.”
He leaves and my son goes on to tell me about everything they did, including the girl they brought with them to dinner, and how they drove her back to the resort, where she also works, before coming home — all in my car.
Husband’s excuse is he wanted to tell me that she was there but it was awkward. And they are just friends. Why would he do that knowing our son would most likely tell me?? He says it was wrong and apologized, blah blah. I asked how he like it if I took his truck and picked up some dude? He says, “I know, you’re right.” But he still acts like it was just bad judgement and that she’s nothing, so it’s no big deal.
Sometimes he invites me to do stuff with our son and him, last night it was a sunset cruise?! Yes, I went. It was freaking weird, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing there.
He’s not even come close to trying to have sex with me. I’m just starting to work so I don’t have money he wants, what the heck? I know the cake thing but it really doesn’t seem like he wants to come back, even as a back-up plan, so what is he doing? He never seemed like the kind of man who would get off on playing anyone. Could he be that sick that this is just fun for him? Ugh. My head knows this is messed up, it’s over, he’s screwing other women, but that Hope still gets me.
You’re letting him eat cake. Stop this at once. Quit focusing all your mental power on what is he thinking and what is he doing? And start putting the focus on yourself. Is it acceptable to YOU, Peaches, that your husband live with a “friend” and not come home nights? Is it acceptable to you to be married to a man who doesn’t want to have sex with you? Who lies and minimizes and gaslights you about his OBVIOUS affair?
Are you cool with being his occasional plus-one whenever the fuck he feels like throwing you a bone? Are you okay being married to a guy who does the mental calculus of “I wonder what kind of special treat I can give my wife so she’ll keep letting me fuck other women? Oh I know! Sunset cruise! I me love a shrimp buffet!”
Do you want to spend two nanoseconds with a man who abandons a SEVEN-YEAR OLD boy and yet wants to talk about HIS “trauma”? What trauma is that you fucktard — the trauma of resort life?
How about the trauma of watching your father date another woman when married to your mother? Of leaving you to probably play games on your iPhone while he helps Ms. Resort in her room for hours. Does the magnitude of that harmful shit register with this asshole?
Apparently not, so Peaches, if you want some respect, you need to start living with respect. Lawyer up today and change your locks. File a motion for temporary support. Let the courts know he abandoned his family and make him pay.
Why does he act like he wants you back, but not really? Why does he whinge about how hard done by he is, but doesn’t do jack shit about therapy? To avoid the consequences, that’s why. To keep himself in cake. To continue the charade that he’s a married family man, but no one is the boss of him, no sir. He can have a girlfriend and an apartment and a family when he feels like it! It makes you the bad guy, the Big, Bad Meanie who is going to divorce him, when gee whiz, he’s just so confused.
Let a judge help with that confusion. Let support orders elucidate him. Go model good things to your little boy, that real men don’t pull this shit, and real women don’t sit back and take it without a goddamn fight.
Give him HELL, Peaches. Stop hoping he’s someone else and take a good hard look at who he is — a man who walked out on you.
You want to have hope? Put that faith in yourself. That you’re better off without this disrespectful, horrid man. Hope for a better future for yourself. YOU control that. You cannot persuade this man with your hope. You cannot hope him into a better person. He’s showing you exactly who he is — a person who does you and your child a grievous harm and then feels sorry for HIMSELF. Not you. Not your son. HIMSELF. And I don’t even think he feels bad at all — it’s totally to snow you into paralysis and second guessing.
So smother hope with a pillow, Peaches. Call the lawyer.