About a year after my divorce from the cheater, I was driving past my old house. (Not an uncommon occurrence as it was on a main thoroughfare…) And I saw a young-ish woman working in my former garden, planting flowers and pulling weeds. It was a beautiful sunny day and I looked in the driveway — and didn’t see his car.
There she was — the new chump.
Doing the yard work, investing herself in this Grand Home of Potential, getting muddy — and he was absent.
I knew the scenario very, very well. I had been that weed-pulling, chump laborer myself once. He’s “at work” and she’s there believing everything is fine in her world. Hostas or day lilies? Annuals or perennials?
I felt a desperate urge to pull the car over and shake her.
RUN LITTLE FLOWER GIRL! RUN!!!
Tell her that he’s been divorced at least three times for being a serial cheater. That he has a double life that spans decades. That he’s abusive. That’s he’s a gun nut, and check the wheel hub of his BMW for that hand gun. That he’s got a long-term OW and here is her name and number.
But I didn’t do it. I kept driving.
Was I a coward or was I being sensible?
I knew I wouldn’t be believed. He’d gotten to the narrative first. I’d be the crazy ex-wife. (Maybe I’d lead with that. I’d played this scenario out in my head many times, “I know you’re going to think I’m the Crazy Ex-Wife, but I think you should know something…”) Explaining my sudden departure, he had already told my former neighbors that I cheated on him. (He told me the same story about his ex-wives — they cheated on him. The one I spoke to thought that was hysterical.)
But I had proof! Should I give her the hundreds of emails I saved, and my lawyer’s number, and the Other Woman’s number?
I didn’t do it. Because I weighed no contact with him over warning her.
That might be the right answer, but I’m not sure. A bunch of you aren’t sure either, because I get the same sort of question — Should I warn the new one?
I’m still on the side of no contact and practicing meh. You can’t save everyone — and that impulse I had to yell RUN! FLOWER GIRL RUN! I channel into this blog every day. Maybe I can save a few other chumps. On the other hand, not telling the next one also goes against my golden rule about telling in general — wouldn’t YOU want to know if you were being chumped?
Unless this person is a pedophile or has some other sort of criminal record, I’d probably leave it alone. You don’t know if your ex is currently cheating on them. (Or maybe you do?) And you have a vested interest to protect your own sanity and maintain no contact. Also, if you have kids together you don’t want to do anything that could be construed as harassment toward your ex.
And finally — this person is your EX. Would you want your ex to talk to whomever YOU are dating and “warn” them? How is anyone to know who is really a batshit crazy, character assassinating wing nut and who is telling the truth? They don’t (unless you present them with proof). So they’re going to weigh on the side of Sparkles McGee.
I drove past the Flower Girl. But I still wonder about her. I hope she got out okay.