Dear Chump Lady,
Can I still be in the CN club? Do I still get to hate my husband as much as everyone else here gets to hate their crappy spouses even though he was “a moral cheater”? Mine didn’t want even want cake….ghosts don’t eat cake.
We were married for 5 years, with two littles and my husband came home from being off at college for 10 days and we had to have a talk, that night, can’t wait. (We were supposed to have sexy time and I couldn’t figure out why this had to be discussed right then). Apparently, while he was gone, he just RANDOMLY, OUT-OF-THE-BLUE, BY ABSOLUTE CHANCE happens to mentioned to his mom that he was planning on finding a new job in another state in June when his contract was up (he hated Florida). He was literally just going to take the job in another State and THEN tell me. I would have to decide to stay or go in a matter of days or weeks with no notice or input. Too bad for him, his contract got extended another year and now his plan to ditch me got foiled- oh fooey! His mom, being the awesome woman she is, told him he should tell his chumpy wife about his plan to ditch us so we can have an honest discussion about it. (Honest discussion-hahahahaha)
So here we are sobbing together on the couch about how we love each other so much and I’m telling him “I’m glad you brought this up, let’s go to counseling and sort out our marriage!”
Here are some phrases that were uttered during this honest conversation:
Him: “You’re still hot, you can totally find another man.” #TRUE but besides the point.
Him: “I don’t want to sleep with you (even though I’ve been gone 10 days) because I don’t want all the love hormones and feelings to get in the way of our decision.”
Big sobby alligator tears
Me: Did you cheat on me? Him: “No”.
Me: Do you still love me? Him: “Yes”
More snotty tears and hugs.
Him: “Our marriage isn’t bad, you’re easy to love.” #ALSOTRUE
Over the next few days he became more and more distant. I found in his car, a couple wedding bands of different sizes he had just purchased from Amazon. When I asked him about them, he told me he decided to upgrade his ring (he had never gotten a new one in 5 years and got the same exact one that he already had). Maybe he didn’t need an upgrade….maybe he needed to replace a LOST one!!! Interesting to note that he purchased them while he was gone and they were not delivered to our house. So chumpy of me to miss this red flag omg.
Now he starts sleeping with his phone and carrying it around with a portable charger in his pocket.
He would take his phone to the bathroom and come out 15 minutes later without flushing the toilet–three times an evening.
Now he is extremely mean which is so out of character because he is such a respectable, good guy.
He wouldn’t have sex with me still. (moral cheater, can’t cheat on the OW with his wife–that would be soooOooo wrong.)
Thinking back, for about six months before he used to put his phone upside down on the counter when he came home (no big deal, just an emotional affair but he would NEVER cheat!) I see it all now but he was so “honest” for all those years. He’s so moral that he wouldn’t even sleep with his fucking wife after he cheated on me with some cheap college ho!!!!!! And you may ask, “how do I know he cheated?”. Because he did this to ex-wife #1. He moved out of town a few weeks before she was to follow, cheated on her (it just happened), called his ex-wife and told her he wanted a divorce, filed the paperwork and NEVER looked back. NEVER. And never confessed to cheating, no apologizing, nothing. Never spoke to her again and treated her like shit via the few texts they had. (Not overtly though, remember he’s a nice guy). And it was all justified to leave her because “she was so manipulative and controlling and he only stayed with her through all of this because he’s just trying to do the right thing”. (I know, I know, red flags. Didn’t see ’em)
Back to present…. So out the door he goes, within days of coming back from college (but not before throwing a super admiration-worthy birthday party for our son so he could show off his bbq skills–remember how awesome he is?)
So here I sit, being the newly chumped wife #2 with the nicest, most moral cheater in existence. He had to leave because his newly chumped wife is now suddenly “so manipulative and controlling and he only stayed because he was trying to do the right thing for the kids and stuff” Gosh those words are so familiar? Divorce papers filed within weeks of walking out. Non-stop filing. Wants this divorce over “as soon as possible”.
So CL, help me out here? Is he a nice guy who just couldn’t find his words to tell me he wants out? Oh and he couldn’t find his words to tell ex-wife #1 he wants out either? He is obviously so over it by the time he cheats, that he doesn’t even glance back over his shoulder (but he was a really good faker of still being in it). Is he really a nice guy trying to do the “right thing by staying as long as he could stand it?” Or is he just so selfish and entitled that he has to monkey bar from one to the next? Or is he just a really smart narcissist always doing the “right thing”? (impression management). Or is he a crazy sociopath with no empathy willing to walk, correction, run as fast as Usain Bolt away from both of his wives and two kids? So many questions.
Help!!!! It’s all just so confusing because he doesn’t go back and forth and eat cake and he doesn’t need a hypotenuse and he’s not leading both of us on so is he just NOT THAT BAD of a cheater?
Anyways, he’s gone…. poof! Ghosted.
As I sit here wondering WTF just happened……
Dear Haunted House,
Yours is a question that comes up here perennially — what’s worse, being abandoned or being deceived for cake? Is it better for the cat to kill the mouse, or just play with it and torture it first? Answer: this is not the pain Olympics. It all sucks.
Better answer: Once you realize you’re not a partner, you’re prey, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.
People who abandon are stone cold. Lake-Michigan-in-February-ice-ice-baby COLD. It takes some kind of sociopathic superpower to throw a birthday party for the child you’re about to permanently leave. How do you explain the mindfuck of “Here’s a roasted weenie, don’t call me”?
I don’t have an explanation for it, but the last thing I’d call it is “moral cheater.” You are projecting your values on to this freak. You imagine he’s got some weird set of ethics that prevents him from sleeping with more than one woman at a time. No.
How about all your shiny has worn off? He’s done with you. Next shiny thing! You’re in the discard pile. Sorry you don’t know it, but that’s really not his problem. Discarded toys don’t have feelings. And if they do, whatever. You can’t hear their sobs when you’re a hundred miles away.
Oh right, but he’s a “nice guy.”
No he isn’t. Nice guys don’t let people invest in them and make babies and throw birthday parties before they walk out for the latest fuckbuddy. Nice people write a thank you note first. No, Haunted, not really. Actual moral people do a lot of reckoning before they break up with someone. There’s honest conversations and therapy and deal breakers and discussions and most of all, fair settlements. Anyway, how to properly break up with someone is a column for another time. My point is, THIS IS NOT A NICE PERSON. This is an ice creature. A ghost from the Edmund Fitzgerald. Do not mourn this ghoul.
The point isn’t to hate him, (although feel free) — the point is eventual acceptance, or what we call “meh.” Not accepting what he did was okay — no, it’s totally fucking WRONG — but accepting what sort of thing we’re dealing with here. You loved a fraud. A person who doesn’t bond like normal humans. Someone who casually discards and betrays, and then goes and files his nails, ho hum. Hate him? You may as well hate a radiator panel. The radiator won’t care.
Getting caught up on Is He THIS Kind of Cheater or THAT Kind of Cheater is untangling the skein of fuckupedness. Is he moral? Is he nice? Is he a sociopath? (I’d put my money here) are all questions focused on HIM. Why did he do this? You will never know because you don’t have the emotional depth of a radiator panel. A better set of questions is: How am I going to protect myself? What next? What were the red flags? How do I find a kickass lawyer? How could I ever love someone so unworthy of me?
The only skein we can really untangle is our own. Know your values, know your deal-breakers, know your worth. This is really important work when you’ve bred with one of these freaks. (Ask me how I know…) Because you need to teach your children it’s not them either. They’re not unlovable. It’s not something they did or didn’t do. Their father’s behavior is no measure of their value.
Don’t try to explain his actions, they’re inexplicable. Who knows the ways of ghosts? But YOU are there. You’re not an apparition. You’re real. Let your children know they can count on solid, sane you.
Oh, and don’t let that freak of yours go poof. Call Ghostbusters. Get an attorney, press for a good settlement, and enforce child support. Good luck, Haunted. We’re here for you.