Dear Chump Lady,
You wrote on your post Ego Kibbles that:
“Part of that problem is the cheater – they’ve got a hole in their soul where empathy and connection should be.”
What puzzles me about my cheater’s situation is that she won’t stop her affair because she has found a “deep connection” with the affair partner. She doesn’t feel that level of intensity in connection with me and hasn’t for a while (together 8 years). So does this mean I am inadequate and unable to connect as deep with her?
After eight months of affair-ing, is it possible she has confused “connection” with something else, like infatuation? Or is eight months enough time to know?
My wife is about to lose her spouse, her home, full time with her infant son, a large number of our mutual friends, dignity, etc., to go after this connection. Sometimes I worry that she’s found the real thing (otherwise why risk losing all the things she admits she still loves?) and, if so, where does that leave me?
Devastated New Mom
Dear Devastated New Mom,
I want you to reframe this. For 8 months your wife ATE CAKE. She was on an 8-month sugar-coated kibble high. She had you fully invested in her (we’re going to have a baby! Ooh, extra kibbles!) and she had Ms. Connection Von Cheaterface on the side (I’m an International Lesbian of Mystery! Ooh, secret kibbles!) — and she had NO CONSEQUENCES.
I know it’s hard to imagine the machinations of the disordered, but to your wife, this was winning. It was a blissful kibble buffet.
At some point in this shit show, you found out. This exposes your wife as the sort of horrible person who would cheat on a vulnerable new mother. The kind of scumbag who would let another human being invest deeply in her, while dealing her dirty.
What’s a narcissist to do? Rebrand.
It’s not an ugly affair — it’s a “deep connection.”
Yeah, it’s apparently so “deep” that she came home and slept with you for 8 months and probably wallpapered a nursery. I’m sure Kay Jewelers makes heart-shaped pendants for exactly that kind of special connection.
Again, think like a narcissist — after exposure you can only go a few ways:
1.) Try to maintain cake by goading your chump into the Pick Me Dance.
2.) Find humility and beg your chump to take you back, and recommit to the marriage. (Probably a ruse for #1.) Or..
3.) Choose the Schmoopie. Tell everyone you’re not an asshole, you’re someone overcome by a Love Bigger Than Us Both.
From your wife’s perspective her choice is you — an angry new mom with vomit in your hair, probably functioning on less than four hours of sleep — and Ms. Connection Von Cheaterface, who is in the pick me dance to WIN IT (having been sidelined for 8 months). Cheater needs kibbles? Ms. Connection is flinging them by the fistful. “It’s LOVE! We have a DEEP CONNECTION! Come live in my double-wide trailer/mom’s basement/sad cat-filled bedsit and I will RESCUE YOU from that evil, vomit-stained new mommy!”
What’s the easy choice here? (Cheaters love easy.) The Schmoopie.
You’re probably demanding accountability and remorse. And help with that baby. Schmoopie demands nothing. (Not now, anyway. The trap is set.)
My point is New Mom — It’s NOT ABOUT YOU. Your wife’s affair has ZERO to do with how lovable you are or are not and it is EVERYTHING to do with what kind of person your wife is — someone who would cheat on her partner when she’s the most vulnerable and invested.
You’re buying the spin. You’re agreeing that New Coke tastes better than classic Coke. Stop it.
My wife is about to lose her spouse, her home, full time with her infant son, a large number of our mutual friends, dignity, etc., to go after this connection. Sometimes I worry that she’s found the real thing (otherwise why risk losing all the things she admits she still loves?)
Because she is an IDIOT.
People do stupid shit Every. Single. Day. They trade their bags of gold for useless “magic” beans and run off with the swindler.
Stupidity is REAL. (Look at the newspapers.) You assumed the person you chose as a life partner was NOT stupid, and you assumed wrong. Join the very large club.
Where does that leave you? Without a toxic person in your life. With a beautiful new baby and a better new life. (I know it doesn’t feel that way now.) It leaves you with OPPORTUNITY instead of sunk costs. It leaves you wiser.
You’re going to be okay, New Mom. And the super shallow kibble freaks won’t be. They never are, because they don’t have the raw materials to be contented and connected. They act like it until the next shiny kibble source comes around.
There’s always a new shiny.
You, however, are gold. You aren’t inadequate, you’re just materially different.
Hang in there.