Being the sleuthy sleuth I am, I discovered my husband of 15 years’ “emotional” affair (um yeah…her husband hired a private investigator that put that silly belief to rest) within days, since he suddenly went from sending about 300 texts a month to 7000 texts a month. All to my kids’ preschool teacher.
We are now divorced and he is married to her.
I have two questions that I don’t think I have seen addressed before. The first is this: you say Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. And that makes you mighty. But what about those of us who didn’t leave? What about those of us who pick-me danced and he didn’t pick us? It’s hard to feel mighty when you are the one who was left. (That said, I wanted to make him make the decision because it was important to me to be able to say and to know that I did everything I could do save the marriage.)
Also, any advice on Chump/Chump relationships? In my limited forays into online dating, I seem to be drawn to chumps, even before I know they are chumps. Maybe it’s the genuineness and lack of pretense that comes through when someone has had their life upended. But it strikes me that there could be chumpy characteristics that could turn out to be dysfunctional in combination. Any thoughts?
Last question first — to be chumped IS to be left. The cheater checked out on the relationship. Some cheaters stick around for cake, forcing the chump to divorce, and some cheaters leave for their Schmoopies (but not before a big dose of cake). It’s all rejection, and as I frequently say here — this is not the Pain Olympics.
You got left. Okay. That doesn’t have anything to do with your level of mightiness. It’s how you respond now that is the measure of your mighty.
So you pick me danced. (So did 99.5 percent of the rest of us. Learn from it. Burn your tap shoes.)
So you tried to save your marriage. (A noble effort, but wholly impossible when only one person is invested in the marriage.)
So it was all futile because he married the preschooler. Excuse me, preschool teacher. May they enjoy an eternity of Circle Time and soggy graham crackers together. Whatever. The guy is a cheater. He wasn’t worthy of you.
And THAT is where your head needs to be before you even consider dating. Don’t wade into that festering pool thinking you’re less than because you got chumped. Don’t internalize the cheater’s rejection, that life is all one horrible junior high gym class and you didn’t get picked for dodge ball. Loser!
NO. Reframe this. Who the hell wants to get whacked in the face by a rubber ball? Who wants to WIN a cheater?!
You need to be really clear on your mightiness before you date. Because dating is about you and your resilience. I’m sorry to tell you, but most of dating is rejection. Being rejected, and doing the rejection. You are going to go on a coffee date with a man who looks like a boiled potato and he’s going to reject you. A man of dubious employment, who doesn’t read, and who spends most of the date telling you how he lost his thumb in a tragic Dobro-playing accident. THAT GUY is going to reject you.
And he will reject you for reasons you can never fathom. Was he expecting a supermodel? Did I not pay rapt enough attention to his Dobro story? Am I too tall?
And if you are not healed from this chump shit, you’re going to let a thumbless, quasi-employed Dobro player question your self worth. You will go all wobbly. I can’t even attract an over-cooked potato! Aaah!
Instead of waving it off as one weird coffee date, and regaling your girlfriends with the details later. Next!
This whole Gain a Life thing is about YOU and your self-worth. It’s about testing your resilience one brave episode at a time. It’s about filling your life with people who are WORTHY of your investment — people like your kids and friends who supported you through this shit storm. Gaining a Life is about never again being a satellite to a narcissist’s orbit.
Back to dating (assuming you have the time, with all your Mightiness) — no one enjoys rejection. But if you’re a chump? Rejection is your SUPERPOWER. Think about it — you’ve endured pretty much the worst humiliation and rejection life can hand out — and you survived it. What’s Dobro man got?
Dating isn’t about sussing out fellow chumps, it’s about being solid in yourself. Knowing what your boundaries are and what you will and will not accept in relationships. It’s about knowing what sort of people bring out your best self, and what sort of people do not. (Even though they may feel comfortable in a fucked up oh-hey-I-know-this-dynamic way.)
I’ve written more on the subject. Perhaps I’ll rerun one tomorrow. But anyway, suffice it to say, stop feeling like a loser. He left. Yea! This Gain a Life is yours to do with as you wish.