Hi Chump Lady,
My husband cheated on me for 3 months and D-day was 6 months ago. He’s a doctor and OW is a patient’s mom. Ever since he met her, he completely forgot me and my kids. He already had long hours, added with playing father for OW’s daughter, the only time he was ever home was for bed.
It completely disgusts me how he bought food for them together, how he was the one instead of her to arrived at OW’s girl school when she had health trouble, how he rather spent weekend having a picnic with them instead of spending time with our kids, how he pretend that he was out for golf while really he was helping OW for her kid’s birthday, all the while abandoning me and our two toddlers. OW is a working single mom and made him feel like Mother Teresa for doing smallest things, so I guess it’s easier and better for his ego to play hero and being a father figure for them rather than actually saving his family who’s already drowning. A knight in a shining armor. Only his armor would be his scrub and the sword would be his dick.
Abandon is the right word for how he treated our kids, but he also mentally abused me with gaslighting. I spoke up about his sudden schedule change and he accused me of being too demanding and selfish. I apologized. One day I saw a restaurant bill, a restaurant that we loved to visit when we were dating (fuck him for ruining that!), I asked him why did he go there when I already cooked for dinner? He said that he could find peace there because no one asked him how his day went. It was the first time he ever said that, so I asked him what he meant and he blew up and called me a nag. Again I apologized.
Before I became SAHM, I was a working mom but I quit after I gave birth to my second child. This decision was made after a long discussion between us, he was actually the one who suggested it and supported me. Later he said that I became boring, doing things that don’t really matter (balancing our kids’ nutrition, what to bring to playdate, kids’ birthday party, organizing charity stuff to add their chance to be accepted in prominent school, etc.). He said that I changed a lot and it made him unhappy. I told him that off course I changed — we have two toddlers already! He had none of it and put me as the source of his unhappiness.
I did the pick me dance and spackled his mean words, “oh he’s just tired.” Make sure the house sparkled, cooked French for dinner, buy gifts for him, hired a babysitter for a while so we can have alone time, but it didn’t work. He actually said that I wasted money for it. I wasn’t a Stepford wife who only focused on image, but of course my children who are under 4 years old took a significant portion of my time.
He went away for a conference (real one, OW stayed in this city) for 5 days — our kids didn’t even ask about him once. That’s how far he was removed from our life. When they woke up, he was already gone, when they went to bed, he wasn’t home yet. Small wonder they forgot him.
My friend saw them almost kissing in daylight outside (really, they didn’t give a shit who saw them). After I confronted him he kept denying that something happened and blew up again. “So you’re following me around now? Is that what you’re doing during your free time?” “You suffocate me.” “Why can’t I have some alone time?”
Fucking stupidly again, I said sorry. After that big argument he went no contact with OW, but met her again once for breaking things up and confessed to me. That NC lasted for 5 days, then I started to think he was considering and doing pros and cons about leaving our kids or be the hero for OW? Be a father to ow’s girl and leave his actual flesh and blood, WTF???
He’s been doing everything right after D-day but I don’t trust him. I have always been head over heart person and my instincts keep telling me that he stayed because he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, because wife and the kids are the right things, because he doesn’t want to be seen as a cheater, because he doesn’t want to get the stigma. He “loves” us but obviously he loves himself better.
He said he loves me but I call bullshit on that, he hated me for being a “boring housewife.”
Now 6 months past the shell shock and crying hours for day, my head keeps telling me to run away, but on the other side is my kids. It’s unfair for them to grow up in broken home because of their father’s one selfish action. No more vacations together, no more Christmas morning, no more Thanksgiving dinner together, no more Sunday breakfasts together, etc.
Yet the picture of life as an independent person, raising my kids alone, and having the chance go to work again become more and more tempting for me. I will have the chance to explore my hobbies (that he called things that don’t matter) and joining a club without any judgement or condescending comment. I always picture myself as a happy person in that situation and even imagining it makes me feels damn good.
Am I selfish if I decide for divorce? Am I selfish to want someone who truly loves and cherish me, someone that I can trust, someone who doesn’t look me in condescending way? I feel like if I choose divorce, I’ll be the one who throw my kids under the bus, because he was remorseful, changing his ways and willing to work it out — yet I’m the one who’s being unforgiving. It’ll feel like it’s my mistake for causing them to grow up with single parent.
Please enlighten me.
I was a single parent. It’s not leprosy.
We single parents enjoy the privileges other parents enjoy. We have Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving dinners and Sunday breakfasts. The only difference is that we enjoy these things without the company of cheating fucktards. Improves morale, really, and things are quite pleasant.
Is there a loss of status? Is it financially more precarious? Yes, but there are workarounds. Loss of status? Well, you fix that when you stop associating with idiots who look down their noses at you for being single parent. And you shift your own thinking about single parenting and quit wearing the shame. I’m defective because I’m doing this Herculean job alone? Fuck you. I’m MIGHTY for doing this job alone. I have the strength of TEN! I have self respect and courage. I am modeling awesomeness to my children for raising them without dysfunction! See how that works?
Financial status? You overcome that by getting a job, or training for a new job, or going back to school, and fighting for a fair divorce settlement. You’re married to a doctor and you’re a recent SAHM. I trust you’ll figure out the particulars. Realize that you’re in a better position than most people who divorce every single day under far more challenging financial circumstances.
Are you selfish for divorcing him, even though he is “sorry”? No. You left off the remorse specifics, other than he lasted an entire 5 days of no contact. You drafted a very long letter to me, Java, and yet failed to account for this guy’s “sorry.” Did he sign a post-nup? Did he put his ass into therapy? Did he stop blaming you for his affair? What exactly are you taking as a sign that he’s “willing to work on it”? Because not divorcing you for her is not working on it. It’s avoiding expensive consequences.
Here’s a thought on how to save your marriage — become a single mother! Apparently he finds that shit irresistible.
You know what freaks me out about your husband? He likes his women vulnerable.
This SAHM thing was his idea? And then you do it and he uses that as the very pretext for cheating on you? You’re a boring housewife. Oh, there’s a mindfuck.
While he had cake — he had two vulnerable women in his thrall. You, the unknowing SAHM, dependent on him, ensuring the safety of cake (she would never risk my support or the image of her intact family!) and the OW– great kibbles because she’ll play helpless damsel to his savior doctor.
Here’s what would happen to the OW if she “won” the pick me dance — she’d get to live in your shoes and be devalued too.
But with cake, he gets all the control and all the centrality. He figures you won’t fuck up your secure status, and OW will dance the pick me dance hard because she wants to be you. Of course he doesn’t want a divorce — he wants to maintain his power over you both.
Oh but he broke up with her! Doubtful, Java. And if he did, there’s another OW out there to take her place. Some delusional unfortunate who hears that you’re crazy and separated, and it’s very complicated, but if she’ll just be patient…
You think this is a one off? A brief lapse into selfishness? Or Java — is this his character? He seemed quite okay with gaslighting you and blaming you for his affair. He’s demeaning about your ambitions and your hobbies. You say he is judgmental and condescending.
Ask yourself — is this kind of partner acceptable to you? Would you want one of your children to be married to such a person? Do you really think your values align? Do you want to live with this guy wondering where he is, working those long hours doctors work?
It seems you can only imagine being cherished and trusting again in another relationship. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?
You’re not responsible for this marriage breaking up, Java. He is. He broke it when he cheated, and he continued to pulverize it when he blameshifted his shitty behavior on to you. You’re not obligated to continue this marriage just because he might be “sorry.” Your children are young and don’t even miss him. Can you imagine the sunk costs of raising his kids and then getting the shaft years from now? You think this guy is going to have a character transplant?
Imagine another life.
I always picture myself as a happy person in that situation and even imagining it makes me feels damn good.
Now make that new life a reality.