“Trust that they suck” is a mantra that bears repeating. It’s so easy to fall for the propaganda. You see your ex, tagged in some mutual friend’s Facebook page laughing uproariously at a party. The children come back with tales of Shiny New Things. People who were your family for decades now exclude you. It sucks. It’s hard to remember the suck belongs to them and there’s not something wrong with you.
“I get the nagging feeling that he and the OW have a fulfilling fairy tale relationship. So please, please beat me over the head with a refresher on ‘trust that they suck.'”
Trust your senses, chumps — they suck! Some pointers:
1. All that shitty stuff they did? The affairs, the gaslighting, the character assassination after the fact, the denial, the neglect? THEY DID IT. Yes, pinch yourself, it really and truly happened.
2. Connect the dots. If all that truly happened… you don’t want this person in your life, right? It doesn’t matter how wide screen their television is, or how fabulous their vacation pictures on Facebook, how sparkly they seem — YOU DON’T WANT THAT, remember?
For the affair partner to get the goodies, they have to endure — or will soon — the cheater’s true nature. That’s not going away. Your cheater didn’t get a character transplant. All that entitlement, all those crappy life skills — they’re still there. It’s a package deal.
If there’s been a binge of shiny new thing shopping it’s generally to salt the mines. You know, make a commodity appear more valuable than it really is. Crappy people need hooks. Cheaters are to sparkles what Bernie Madoff is to promised dividends. Any “reward” of their company comes with a very steep price tag, eventually.
3. Let’s say for the sake of argument, that they did have a character transplant, they are magically no longer their crappy selves, the affair partner brings out their very best self. They are now 100% sparkle, no filler.
They still cheated, abused, and gaslighted you. They still destroyed your trust. They still destroyed that relationship. This isn’t a person you can feel safe with. Maybe someone who never knew the old them will be able to do that, but you will remember. Those things happened, which caused the relationship to END because of their infidelity. Their new life is no longer your concern. YOUR new life is your concern. Treat their success as you would a stranger’s. This person has no connection to you.
4. You don’t share the same values. If you feel like the break up was forced on you, that you didn’t want it, that there is something to miss — change your focus. You can’t be with your cheater because you aren’t a good match. You don’t share the same ideas about love, family, and relationships. To be with them would be squelching a fundamental part of yourself — the person who demands reciprocity, honesty, and fidelity in marriage. In a way, it’s nothing personal. You are just two people who have nothing in common except shared history.
Let ’em go, chumps. Trust that they suck.
This column ran previously. I’m the guest on a podcast this morning — Choose To Be Curious! Which will air in July. More on this soon!