Dear Chump Lady,
Please chump some sense into me. I separated from my soon-to-be-ex-husband almost 2 years ago… following so many D-days that I won’t even bother quantifying them. He cheated A LOT and I chumped just as much. We were together nearly 12 years, married for 5… and, hindsight being what it is, I now believe he was cheating in some capacity the entire time. Alas, as many serial-cheaters are, he was as charming and convincing, as he was manipulative and selfish. So, during our last couple of years together, I *thought* we were in a much better place and were even trying to start a family. However, while I was still mourning my 2nd miscarriage, I was contacted by a new OW. My world shattered, again, but it was different… being cheated on while being pregnant AND while grieving the loss of those pregnancies flipped a switch and gave me the courage I needed to pack up and leave. And that I did.
I moved many, many states away for a fresh start… and eventually began settling in to my new life and home. Meanwhile, the ex was doing all he could to reconcile, repent, and beg for forgiveness… too little, too late (asshole), yet his sadness devastated my heart. It took me about a year to finally commit to transitioning my separation to a divorce… although, our assets and prenup have drawn out the process, which is still ongoing. That said, I also began dating around the time I initiated the divorce (I was ready to move forward and, apparently, not getting younger). I started seeing a wonderful man who had also experienced divorce hell and was very supportive and understanding of what I was going through. We kept things low-key, but did establish that we were exclusive. Cool. What we did not expect was an unplanned pregnancy (yes, while I was ON birth control). I’m 35, very financially secure, and want a family, so — after the initial shock — I welcomed the pregnancy with an open heart and joy. Luckily, my then still-new boyfriend agreed completely. Needless to say, it catapulted our young relationship to the next level (or levels, we skipped some).
This turn of events ALSO forced me to hit the accelerate button on my divorce. But since we don’t live near each other or see each other, the ex has no idea I’m pregnant (I don’t do social media and have been pretty hushed about it)… luckily, the pregnancy would have no impact on our divorce legally, but it sure would put an end to any “amicability” with the ex. So here’s my problem… I’m almost 6 months pregnant and terrified of my ex eventually finding out. I’m very aware that he’s struggling with our divorce and still wants to reconcile (and REALLY wants children). What I don’t understand is why (WHY?!) do I feel so sad and guilty about this?! Why do I care about his feelings and why should his pain hurt me? There’s no question that I want this divorce and that I love my current partner… so why do I feel so sad about the end of my marriage and my ex?
We have mutual friends. He will find out eventually.
I welcome any insight or tough love.
Expecting the Unexpected
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Here I was all ready to bounce on an entirely different set of concerns, but you want to know about the cheater’s feelings about this? He’s many states away and has zero claim to your uterus. You don’t need his permission to move on with your life.
He certainly didn’t ask your permission when he was fucking around on you. Why would you feel guilty? Because he WANTS things? People in hell want a cold drink of water.
I’m sure you wanted things too — like a faithful husband, like not having your health constantly endangered by his serial cheating (STDs can cause miscarriages, btw). And not only did you WANT these things, you invested deeply in them, at great personal risk to your mental health and future fertility.
Leaving him, divorcing him (while in process), are long overdue consequences. Do you think you were supposed to wait around as Plan B?
I’m very aware that he’s struggling with our divorce and still wants to reconcile
How do you know this? You should be totally NO CONTACT with this person. Only speak through attorneys. If you know through mutual friends, tell him you don’t want to know about him. He’s your painful past, and you’re focused on the FUTURE.
(and REALLY wants children)
Does he? Or did he tell you that to keep you around as his chump? Seems to me he’s spreading his seed pretty freely, I’m sure something is bound to take. He’ll get a notice in the mail from Child Support Enforcement. Mazel tov.
People who love you, and want to have babies with you — hell, people who love BABIES — don’t act with reckless abandonment. People who want families, VALUE families. And we know this from their ACTIONS. They spend the weekend child-proofing the kitchen, they work their less-than-stellar jobs for the health care, despite the poop and the vomit, they want to BE AROUND their children, they would stand in front of a moving train to protect you and your pregnancy from harm.
People who love you, don’t troll around for strange pussy while you’re PREGNANT. This man abuses your vulnerability — the LAST thing you should do is give him MORE investment and centrality.
So, Expecting, fuck him very much. He wants… he wants… he wants… NO. He lost his chump. His dick is why we can’t have nice things.
Now, to the concerns I have. I hope you have this very tied up with the lawyers and he can’t fuck with you about this pregnancy. What do you mean “amiable?” If you’ve been in touch with him, because you think he’ll be nice in a divorce, you are VERY mistaken. Pregnant or not, he’ll be a bastard in a divorce, because it’s not what he wants. (He wants MORE kibbles, not fewer.) So, you leave all that to the lawyers.
I’m sure you being pregnant is not what he wants either, but you can’t hear his screams because you’re no contact, got it?
Now then, to the nice man who knocked you up — I’d consult a lawyer about this too, on visitation and child support. Don’t rush into a permanent relationship just because you got pregnant. You’re financially okay, you’ve got your own job. Just as if you were dating, I’d say take it slow and date for character. Make sure you’re exclusive, because fucking around can endanger your pregnancy.
The hormones are going to make you wobbly, don’t make major relationship decisions right now. If he’s as wonderful as you say, he’ll stick around. I’ve had two friends go through similar situations — the first knew that she wanted the baby, but didn’t want to rush into a serious relationship or marry the father, who was a friend. (He wanted to get married.) They stayed friends, and have a great co-parenting situation. The dad recently got married and she’s thrilled for him, and went to the wedding.
My other friend, left her husband when she found out he was a serial cheater. It was extra traumatic because she’d just moved overseas for him. They separated and one night she met this interesting Scotsman… events conspired… and shockingly at 44 years old, she got pregnant. (And yes, still not divorced from the serial cheater.) She’d given up on having kids, because the cheater never wanted any, and she was thrilled (and terrified) to be pregnant. She’s divorced and still with the Scotsman, and their kid is ADORABLE.
All to say, life can be messy and we rarely get the lives we plan. Often our worst tragedies lead to our biggest blessings. You have literally gained a LIFE! Kicking there in your belly right now! Give that little dumpling all your love, and middle fingers up to your ex. May the law move swiftly on your divorce.