I love love. I am a published romance writer, I have loved the gooiest love stories since I could even understand them, and I had been in love with one man devotedly for 11 years before he cheated on me. And I’m only 28. We had four kids together right off the bat. Our honeymoon phase seemed to go on and on. I got a degree in marriage and family relations, and I knew how to work things out. We communicated well. We were so happy. SO GODDAMN HAPPY.
And then he just…threw it all away. It was so fast. He met up with his ex girlfriend, and within a month he cheated, told me right after, and left. Boom. Life destroyed.
Now, I am a chump in a big way, but I did leave right away. I took our kids, got custody right away, got child support, and moved 2000 miles away. I really went for it. Divorce was filed as soon as I was considered a resident of the new state. I know my worth, and I wasn’t about to beg.
Here’s the problem: He was perfect. He was selfless and loving, and even though I was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, he always helped with chores and the kids. He was very involved as a father, and we lived for each other. We didn’t have many friends outside our relationship, and mostly just wanted to be together every night. That’s all we ever wanted, and we were best friends and lovers since High School.
Per your advice, I have not tried too hard to untangle the skein, but I’m struggling with getting over him. He left the OW about a month ago, and has been very sad and remorseful. I know this is sadness over consequences and not empathy…I KNOW that…but I miss him. I can’t imagine anyone being as doting on me as he was. He practically worshipped me…until he suddenly didn’t. And now we’re both left looking back on a relationship that was so solid, so happy, and so blissful. Like two people looking through glass at a play they used to be the actors in. I know he misses it. I do too. I know I can’t go back, but it’s so infuriating that we just have to let that stay in the past.
I don’t know how to get over him. I miss him. And I hate myself for missing him.
I recently found myself beginning a new relationship (I know, pretty soon to be doing that when we’ve only been divorced a short time. It just kind of happened), and I keep comparing them. My ex was so good at being a life partner. What am I missing here? I have followed your advice very closely, and still I want him.
Yeah, I always move 2,000 miles away from perfect people.
What am I missing here?
Uh, that whole abandoning four children thing? The cheating? The letting you invest so deeply in him — and create four children — only to walk out on you all? For his ex-girlfriend?
He was perfect.
Define perfect. Because my take on the word is without blemish or fault. Divine. It takes a shit-ton of spackle to find this guy perfect. You THOUGHT he was perfect. You thought you were loved. You thought you were SAFE. And he pulled your world out from under you.
He was selfless and loving,
Selfless people don’t proceed with their ex-girlfriends. They don’t green flag the lunch, the Facebook messaging, the hotel hook-ups, and the fully executed plans to leave a wife and four kids. People who love you — who are invested — don’t just one day SWITCH-O-CHANGE-O! decide they don’t love you. Or that four kids don’t need their dad.
Besotted, he didn’t even STRUGGLE with this decision. Let the ice-ice-Lake-Michigan-in-February-COLDness of that sink in.
He did not hesitate. He did not spend years in counseling with you. He did not read a self-help book. He did not spend a single anguished night confessing his unhappiness to a priest, his mother, or a shopping mall psychic. Nope. He bailed.
That’s his character. That’s who he IS. A person who is capable of casual abandonment. And once you know it, you can never UN-know it.
You can spackle it, you can write a Harlequin romance about it and script a happier rom-com ending where he sees The Error of His Ways and joyfully reunites with you all (we’ll call it The Fuckwit Returns!) but you CANNOT change the TRUTH of what he did.
Look, I get happy endings. Every day I rewrite the ending I wish I had to my infidelity story. The one where no one does the pick me dance, where everyone is mighty, where no one is puking their guts out with grief, playing marriage police or cross-referencing the secret cell-phone bills. The whole point of this blog is — Don’t Do The Stupid Chump Shit I Did. Heck, I’ve even created a persona — Chump Lady — who is fiercer and wiser and funnier than my actual self. (Tracy, by contrast, that wobbly, pathetic creature, had four D-Days.)
Besotted, instead of using your imagination to create a perfect, sorrowful ex-husband — why not imagine yourself having a better life without him? Because you control those raw materials — YOU. You don’t control him. I can imagine Donald Trump is Justin Trudeau. Doesn’t make it so.
Every single chump here understands missing the lie. And we also understand the bargaining stage of grief where you measure all those “selfless”, seemingly invested family moments against the weight of One Mistake. Maybe he wasn’t that bad. Doesn’t all that PERFECT happiness count for something?
It does to you. It didn’t to him. He was not bonded to you the way you were bonded to him. I’m sorry. It hurts like a motherfucker.
He left the OW about a month ago, and has been very sad and remorseful… And now we’re both left looking back on a relationship that was so solid, so happy, and so blissful. Like two people looking through glass at a play they used to be the actors in. I know he misses it.
STOP TALKING TO HIM.
You know he “misses it”? HOW? He told you? Someone else told you, via him? SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN.
The reason you can’t move on, and worse, compare the abandoner to Mr. New, is because your ex IS STILL IN YOUR LIFE — and you’re welcoming him there. You’ve keep the portal open. You’ve been really mighty so far, and now you’re faltering. STAY NO CONTACT. (And don’t date people if you can’t give them your full attention. It’s not fair.)
Did your ex tell you he left the OW? Uh huh. Isn’t that special? Pick the shiny toy up, put the shiny toy down. Sniffs around for Plan B.
I know you want that break-up to be evidence of his deep regret for All He Has Lost. It isn’t. He’s still someone who left you cold and didn’t even flinch.
You can either live with that, or you can’t.
I suggest you don’t.