Dear Chump Lady,
I am a long-time Chump Nation member, and I THOUGHT one of the older and wiser ones. I was divorced 6 years ago from a lake-erie-in-winter-ice-cold-cold, shark-eyed sociopath. When caught cheating, ex was one of the ones who just walked away, never glancing back at our 25-year marriage or three children, and went straight into the waiting arms of his decades-long group sex partners and women we thought were just co-workers and family friends.
It was hell, but I maneuvered an advantageous and quick divorce (I made lots more money than him), protected my children and got them through high school, college and beyond, and kicked ass at my job. Ex abandoned our children and does not see them at all, and I “finished” raising them all on my own (which includes me paying for their education as Pennsylvania is a state where ex cannot be required to pay past 18). Oh, and I also met the true love of my life and married him a couple years ago, and we now have what I laughingly call the dysfunctional Brady bunch — 3 children each (the youngest of whom are now both 18), 3 dogs, two homes, lots of moving parts — you know, all the “mess” the personality-disordered leave behind for us to take care of while they reinvent themselves.
My ex eventually married one of his group sex partners and moved several states away. He has nothing to do with our 3 children, who have had to navigate a world where their father is suddenly gone and they realize their life with him was a lie. And we have been doing pretty well — the divorce and its hurts made us closer than ever.
The reason I write to you?? One of my sisters, who has always been way too curious, started idly researching to see what was up lately with my ex and his wifestress. And mentioned it to me. And I broke No Contact to google. Because I was sure the karma bus had to have FINALLY hit (MF karma bus). And I found out that this man and woman who never had much more than two pennies to rub together bought a million dollar mansion in Rhode Island.
AND I LOST MY MEH. It hit me like a ton of bricks, like I was driving down the highway and suddenly ran head first into the bridge abutment. I was stunned…they both must have been stealing money from me and OW’s ex…..they are in the financial services industry and must be stealing from their clients….THEY REALLY DON’T SUCK AND IT’S ME THAT SUCKED ALL ALONG AND HELD HIM BACK FROM FABULOUSNESS…
I know, I know, I know. These are the evil little doubts that get to crawl out again, once NC is broken. During the divorce I would tell myself over and over, “it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” AND IT DOESN’T, and I know it. But boy did it set me back.
For me, Meh has been like grief, it is not a linear process and I can cycle in and out of it depending on my circumstances. I’ve learned the hard way that I can (temporarily) lose my Meh, and the easiest way to lose it is any sort of contact with or about ex.
it is so easy to tell ourselves lies about why we NEED to break NC–> I just need to look to confirm the karma bus’s arrival, I just need to look so I can accept reality, I just need to look to prove that I am over it, I just need to look so I know how to protect myself or my children. The reality is that we lie to ourselves– we look because it is like an addiction, and because looking may give us the only real contact we will have with someone we used to love and who doesn’t love us any more. It’s like watching a train wreck, over and over, but we are the ones who end up with the mangled limbs and bodies and hearts.
I’ll be better in a few more days, ex and his schmoopies will be themselves for the rest of their lives. I know that. So kick my a** Chump Lady, I’ve done myself wrong. I am here now to try to help my fellow chumps. DON’T give in to the temptation to break no contact, DON’T think you have to try to witness the karma bus running them over (a watched karma bus never arrives). And for the love of God, DO NOT GOOGLE THEM.
Wasn’t it Lot’s wife who turned back to look at the city of Sodom burning and was turned into a pillar of salt? Back then in Biblical days, God punished chumps for failing to grasp Trust That They Suck. Now, apparently He rewards Sodomites with McMansions in Pawtucket. Probably puts them on HGTV. (“OMG, the walk-in closet is MINE, Cliff!)
Look on the bright side, Kelly. You aren’t a pillar of salt. You looked, you got wobbly on the Meh, and regrouped. It happens.
They still suck. How could they not? Hi, I married my group sex partner and abandoned three children is not an enviable social ice breaker. It doesn’t matter how fabulous they appear, (or in CN parlance, how sparkly the turd), it’s what’s underneath the sugar sprinkles that counts.
They abandoned children. They defrauded partners (romantic and business). There’s no dressing that up. Whatever comes next is impression management. For many years you bought your then-husband’s holographic projection of a Decent Person, until you learned the truth. He’s not going to stop projecting faux “decency” because you’re gone. He fronts, he fakes, he deceives, and once confronted, disappears into a cloud of sparkles.
That’s his basic operating system.
None of this has anything to do with you. You held him back from fabulousness? NO. He held YOU back from fabulousness. You have a new life! You have the kids! You have an honest, loving partner! Someone who shows up for his children and is raising yours! You WIN THE FABULOUS SWEEPSTAKES!
But you don’t have granite countertops? What the fuck is wrong with you, Kelly? What are your values? You don’t care about those things, do you really? It’s just that HE has them and YOU don’t.
You’re suffering under the Just World Doctrine — that Good Guys are rewarded, and Bad Guys are punished. Ergo if something bad happened to someone, they deserved it. Versus the chaotic and unjust way the world actually works — innocent people suffer unjustly. And its corollary — and total rat bastards walk free.
A fuckwit walks free and you think — that’s unjust and I DESERVE IT. I must’ve been bad.
Maybe the consequences just haven’t come due, plus interest yet, Kelly. Because I don’t necessarily believe in karma, but I DO believe in the natural laws of consequences.
You don’t invest in people? They don’t invest in you. His children want nothing to do with him. He dies alone, unmourned. CONSEQUENCE.
You abuse people? They leave you. Now you’re scrambling for a new host and can’t find a quality chump. CONSEQUENCE.
You’re kinda parasitic and don’t want to work that hard. But you can get financing on a huge house. (Maybe someone died. Maybe the mortgage lender was drunk that day.) Can you maintain it? Can you make the payments? For YEARS? Are you going to be paying on this mortgage FOREVER, sucking out all the equity to finance affair partners, and die broke? Are you going to stiff a new chump with the note? Or is some Schmoopie going to play you first? CONSEQUENCE.
All you see is “new house.” You don’t see any of the shitty life skills behind that purchase. No one got character or maturity transplants. Give it time.
Consequences arrive on their own schedule. But if you borrow against consequences, the interest compounds — and that’s a bill that can kill you. Eat a solid diet of ho-hos, that heart attack is waiting. Not paying taxes probably feels great in the short-term, until the IRS finds you.
All you see is the BEGINNING of some new impression management, and not the arc of the inevitable consequence. Fuckwits do not live in an alternative universe, even if they imagine they do. Gravity is a motherfucker.
Kelly, you’ve been incredibly mighty. Celebrate that. Don’t waste your precious time setting Doomsday clocks for fuckwits. His punishment is being him. Your reward is being you. Hugs those kids. Kiss that sweet husband. Maybe a sinkhole will swallow Rhode Island.