To be chumped is to be conspired against.
Does that sound paranoid? Over the top? Like I’ve got a tinfoil radio transmitter in my head?
To change the narrative, we really need to get straight on this part, people. To be chumped is to be conspired against. Actively and with aforethought.
If you’re super lucky, it’s just a conspiracy of two — your cheater and the affair partner. More likely, however, it’s a wider conspiracy. Friends, neighbors, in-laws, co-workers knew of the affair(s) before you did. In the worst cases, your children knew.
D-Day is a continual horror show, often because you discover the betrayal goes so much deeper than just your partner. There’s an entire cabal of people who knew and didn’t tell you. Some for enjoyment, because they think you deserve it, some to snigger, because others’ misfortune is entertaining, some for lofty notions of amoral superiority “Who knows what goes on inside a marriage?” (except you’ll later find that half of that mystery is your fault), many with discomfort (“Should I tell? I don’t want them to kill the messenger!”), and some carry this shitty cheater secret and it’s traumatizing them.
How do I know? Because they write to me.
“My mom is cheating on my dad. Please help. I can’t say anything because my younger brother has suicidal depression and I fear my parents divorcing will push him over the edge.”
“Help. I just discovered my dad is cheating on his girlfriend. She’s really nice, but she doesn’t know and I feel bad because they’ve just moved in and I like her son. But when I think about telling, I remember how scary my dad can get…”
I get a lot of sad letters. These are some of the saddest. And the point of view of the kids is never told in the infidelity narrative, except to say “It’s not your business what goes on in your parents marriage.”
(In a recent letter, a therapist had told a young woman this, in re her mother’s continual cheating.)
I’m sure that therapist thought she was being neutral and fair-minded.
Bullshit. Inherent in this advice is — the mother’s entitlement is more important than the harm she is inflicting on the father, the letter writer, and her siblings.
When someone asks you to keep their secrets? Or emotionally blackmails you into keeping a secret (If you tell TERRIBLE THINGS WILL HAPPEN THAT ARE ALL YOUR FAULT!) — whoa, IT. IS. YOUR. BUSINESS.
They just fucking made it your business by involving you.
I told that girl, the issue is not about the private sanctity of your parents’ marriage, it’s the position that your mother’s dishonesty put you in — a position of conspiracy against your dad. Drop that burden. Tell him. AND LET GO OF THE CONSEQUENCES.
“It’s not fair that you’re in the position of conspiring against your father by keeping your mother’s cheating secret. For THIS reason, I would tell. It’s not a fair burden. When you tell, you DO NOT CONTROL what your dad does with that info, or your siblings for that matter. You are telling for YOU. Because fuck the secret, fuck the conspiracy, fuck the unfair burden. If it’s not too awful to do, it’s not too awful to talk about. Your dad might reconcile, he might leave. Not your problem, your fault, nothing. YOU matter! And part of mattering is not carrying secrets that hurt you.
Your family might be mad at you. Okay. They’ve got to work out their lives for themselves. That’s easier with the truth than without it.”
Let’s change the narrative. Stop the secrets. And shame on any parent that makes their kids carry them.
Every time you support Chump Nation on Patreon, the Yellow-Bellied Bullshitter moves closer towards the Endangered Species list.