Dear Chump Lady,
I am trying to overcome my Chump title and to divorce my husband of 37 years after his two affairs. He had me convinced this was my fault and he was broken and I didn’t respect him enough and so on. Seeing that I was not the first chump who got this story made me realize it was time to get gone.
Anyway, here is my current problem The guy lies. He lies about big things and he lies about small things but it is making the day-to-day planning of housekeeping items difficult. For example, he tries very hard to hide when he is with his mistress though we are now legally separated. He was scheduled to be in the house next weekend to take care of the dogs for 2 weeks as I am leaving to visit my sister. I have been watching the house and dogs for over 2 weeks when he was on a ski trip “with the boys.”
Here’s the problem. When he agreed to this arrangement he must have forgotten that he is actually with his mistress on the ski trip, and that means that he is not returning to our home city on that weekend, but is instead flying to mistress’ city a few states away and has to drive home. In other words, he won’t be back in his own home city until much later, which means I need dog care for a day. Now a non-liar might just cop to the scheduling error. Not this cheater! So how do I handle this? Call him a liar? Ask him to show flights? Ask why he can’t honor his original calendar commitment to watch the dogs?
I don’t know why it bothers me so much that he continues to lie. This shouldn’t be news to me now, right? But it makes it harder to handle simple everyday tasks at a time when I am already running on empty.
How do you handle this? With a call to a kennel, that’s how. If he can afford ski trips with fuckbuddies, he can afford doggie spa. And you can afford the peace of mind that comes from competent adults being in charge of your fur babies.
Little separation/divorce primer for you — HE’S NOT YOUR FRIEND. Don’t do him favors. Don’t ask him favors. Don’t loop him in. Don’t expect consideration. Expect NOTHING.
You are cutting this person out of your life precisely because he is a liar and a cheat. Because he is selfish. Because he is unreliable and misrepresents himself about matters large and small. So why would you expect him to keep his word and do you a solid?
You do you. He does him. Welcome to divorce.
I know, I know. Divorce is nothing like all those aspirational articles about being Friends With Your Ex and braiding each other’s hair. I suppose some minority of people achieve pleasant coexistence. The rest of us are stuck with fuckwits we wouldn’t trust to frost a cupcake.
(Okay, and I know where at least half of you are going with this — BUT THE COURTS LET THEM CO-PARENT OUR CHILDREN! I know, it sucks. I send you all hugs. Please lower the bar. There were days I sent my son to his father and thought, “Just please let him come home alive.” Somehow I survived it. You will too.)
So, back to you. Every time you ask a narcissist to do something, you hand them power — power they will abuse.
You’re thinking like a chump. But’s it’s Fluffy and Buster! Surely, he won’t be horrible to them! If it interferes with something he wants (extra day in Fuckland)? If it torques you? Fluffy and Buster who?
Don’t beg. Don’t cajole. Don’t twist yourself in pretzels to accommodate. That’s kibbles to the freak. You do YOU. You take care of what needs taking care of, and go find some non-barbed wire monkeys to fill your life. Good people upon whom you actually CAN rely. I’m not telling you to be an island, I’m telling you to make better people investments. However, do work from the assumption that in most things, you’ll be doing it yourself. (That way it Gets Done Right… I’m a control freak, can you tell?)
Cut the fuckwit out. The dogs will thank you.
And… it gets easier, promise.