It’s been roughly 6 months since finding out the love of my life was screwing around with her married co-worker. While the decision to end things was made slightly easier by my ex’s “I think this is for the best”/”you deserve better” lines (funny how it’s an exit affair when they notice you won’t be the usual doormat), it was still a rough time in the beginning. Had to go through a joint custody case, the typical blame-shifting, gaslighting, mind movies, etc. All the usual stops on the chump train. Now things have calm down. I’m in individual therapy, doing little to no pain shopping and no big fights for almost a month. While her cheating has no excuse, I’ve accepted my role in the dysfunction and know I’m not some helpless victim when it comes to the actual relationship. I finally feel some control over my circumstances.
However, I’m still struggling with the emotions. Mainly sadness and anger…..mostly anger. Anger as in it’s a fine line between shouting into a pillow and punching the wall. There’s a ton I’m pissed about, but it really comes down to the feeling that she got away Scott free. I never really found the “Yeah we knocked boots” smoking gun but it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to see that something was going on. Not much room for interpretation with a phrase like “I haven’t been with him since September” in a conversation between her and another co-worker….who happened to think it was amusing that a woman was cheating on the father of her child.
My ex still gets the benefit of the doubt.
She will only admit to an emotional connection and hanging out….wait no. I did eventually get a “we only made out” (rolls eyes).
She still hangs with the Other Man’s wife and kids. Still brings our kid around them. When I told the wife, she went into denial. (They were “open” so I often wonder if she was in on it too……or just stupid.)
She still got her own place while I had to move back with my mom.
Her coworkers, friends, family pretty much are okay with it. Her mom even admitted to me that she knew what was going on and co-signed the “I made her unhappy” narrative.
It just feels like she actually ended up with things going her way. Singledom with the occasional break from motherhood. How the hell do I stop being angry over this? Being angry that she doesn’t really think she did anything wrong and that I didn’t do enough to make her happy.
Sometimes I get the urge to post a long rant or one of your articles on Facebook to let people know what happened, but I know all that does is make me look bitter and cause conflict. I don’t owe her any protection for her reputation, but it just seems like nothing will really hurt it. Seems to me her charm and my lack of hard evidence will always make it seem like what I thought happened, never happened.
You know, there’s a difference between rejection and deception. Rejection is a motherfucker in and of itself, but deception? That’s another magnitude of pain.
And yet people confuse these two things, even chumps. So what does this have to do with your anger? You’re being framed for a crime you didn’t commit. The narrative she’s peddling is one of simple rejection — that you Mr. Chump, aren’t taking this sad, inevitable ending in the proper spirit. You’re a Bad Sport. It’s a case of sour grapes, and you can’t get over the Wonderfulness That Is Her. Relationships end, don’t be a bitter bunny, accept and be happy for her. And really, isn’t this rejection partly (okay, mostly) your fault? A new start is all for the best really!
Meanwhile, you stand in the wreckage, with your 50/50 custody and half of your shit. It doesn’t feel very just or happy, as she skips into her new Schmoopie life.
But the truthful narrative isn’t one of simple rejection — that ALONE would be hard — the real narrative is that she defrauded you. She didn’t have the decency to honestly END things and reject you. No, she extracted value from you, lied, had an affair, and ONLY when you would not roll over and go along, was it an “exit affair.” She was quite content to eat cake, until you took away her fork. THAT is the core of your rage, Sir.
Oh but rejection is rejection — who cares why she ended the relationship? People fall out of love!
Let’s use another example to drive this home. Imagine you had a job in a widget factory and you don’t particularly enjoy making widgets. In fact, sometimes you make a few mistakes and widgets come down the line wrong, but overall you’re a good employee. You’re reliable, and you work widgets to put food on the table for your family.
One day you discover that Widget Incorporated is embezzling your pension fund. Widget Inc. is quite happy to keep extracting value you from you (“more widgets! faster! faster!”), but they’re stealing your profits and security. So, you blow the whistle and report them for pension fraud — and they retaliate and you lose your job.
In the legal world, you’d have a case for wrongful termination.
So how much sense would it make if the people in your life were saying, “Hey, it’s just a job! Find another one! Get over it.” Or “You weren’t great at widgets anyway. It wasn’t the right fit.”
NO — the point is, you lost your job because you wouldn’t accept unethical behavior that was HARMING you.
AC, you lost your marriage because you would not accept unethical behavior that was HARMING you.
You have every right to be pissed off about that. It’s unjust. If it was just a case of simple rejection, things weren’t working out, you deserved the dignity of an honest goodbye or a chance to put things right. Losing your marriage and intact family is a lot to grieve, but being utterly fucked over and chumped is never okay. The deception is all on her. Don’t own that, or confuse your part in this.
So, about that anger. It’s early days — you’re only six months out. SIX! You’ve been incredibly mighty so far. Most people are quivering, weepy blobs at six months. You’ve already had a joint custody case for Pete’s sake!
Here’s the deal to get past this crap — you have to eat the shit sandwich of injustice. You were chumped. It happens. Look around you at the thousands of other people here this has happened to. Life goes on — but it’s a sweeter life without a cheater. Leaving a cheater is addition by subtraction. This person is not in your life mindfucking you, or making you babysit while they go out on dates.
Cheaters have crap life skills and they take those crap life skills with them, because true character growth is painfully hard, whereas entitlement and kibbles feel awesome. So, she’s still a shitty person in a lousy apartment playing sex satellite to a married couple. Hollywood isn’t writing biopics on her life, AC.
You’re a solid guy with a witty turn of phrase, a faithful partner, and your stock will trade highly. Give this some time. (People with crappy life skills usually nosedive.) But don’t make what she does or doesn’t do contingent on your healing. Be all about YOU and your kid. Be the sane parent. Go invest in yourself and direct your energies there. The anger fades as your new life fills in.
The injustice isn’t never going to sit right with you, but it’s not going to consume you either. You’ve got better things to do. Get out there and do them! Stay mighty, my friend.