Dear Chump Lady,
My D-day was August 27th, 2017. He just came up to me out-of-nowhere once the kids were in bed and said that he wanted a divorce. Exactly one week prior we were at my family reunion making plans to visit family out West next year, and exactly 2 weeks prior we were discussing our future together and what we were hoping for in retirement. We are both 45 years old, have been married for 15 years and have 12 year old twins. I thought we were finally reconnecting now that the twins were getting older and more self-sufficient.
I was totally blind-sided and a friend convinced me to look at the phone logs. I typed into my phone the phone number he had been calling most, and up came the name of one of his co-workers whom I am professional colleagues with. I’ve helped her get jobs before, so I had her number in my phone. I have always felt he had a crush on her; turns out A LOT more was going on than just a crush.
She is 11 years younger, and married with young boys who are 2 and 4 years old. I was able to get her husband’s phone number through a mutual friend and told him. I begged my husband to shut it down with her and to go to marriage counseling, which he did, but he just went through the motions.
I had my second D-day in February and discovered he was still talking to her outside of work. They had been seen at a restaurant together and my husband had been seen buying 6 bottles of wine. I also found a Valentine’s day love letter to her and discovered this affair had been going on for a long time. I confronted him and he said, “I didn’t cheat because I checked out of our marriage a long time ago. I haven’t been happy and haven’t loved you for years and you should’ve known. You are too busy with the kids, cooking, cleaning, working, and exercising and she listens to me.”
I begged and pick-me danced my ass off stating that I would give him more attention. I stopped cooking dinners and bought frozen pizzas. Our sex life had always been great (which he even stated in counseling), but I spiced it up and bought sex toys, etc. He still told me he wanted a divorce, stating that he was in love with her and she was planning to leave her husband, too. I filed for divorce the next day. (PS. I did have all the STD testing done after I read the love letter to her stating she was his greatest lover).
He refused to move out of the marital home, so I have been living with a cheating spouse for 6 months now. It’s been pure emotional abuse, and I have a panic attack every time I hear his phone ping or when he comes home late from work. My lawyer called the county clerk’s office a few months back and no divorce has been filed for her yet, but I honestly have no idea what is going on with that as my STBXH would just lie to me if I asked anyway. I cannot get him out of the house unless there is physical abuse.
Our pre-trial conference is next week and he was told by the judge that he has to have a plan to move out by then. He bought a 5 bedroom house about 2 miles down the road and closes at the end of September. Our trial is October 23rd.
Everyone says to me, “He will regret this and realize what he’s lost, but by then it will be too late and you will have moved on.” I will not take him back if this does happen, but I seem to be obsessed with hearing those words from him. It makes me feel better to say to myself that he will regret it someday for my own vindication.
He is nothing but happy right now and has told me, “This is the happiest I have ever been.” He dances around the house singing, joking and laughing, while I go to my room and cry. My family has just been detonated and I have absolutely no control over it.
He has been incredibly mean to me saying things like, “I haven’t had feelings for you in years. I think of you like the babysitter. To work on our marriage makes me feel sick to my stomach.” For the most part, I trust that he sucks, but yet can’t seem to move past my need for vindication that I don’t.
I am doing the best job that I can with no contact living in the same house. I told him that I would not be mind-fucked anymore and to only speak to me about the kids. I’m hoping that once he moves out next month, I can start to get some clarity and possibly healing will come. I would love and appreciate some advice from chumps who have been where I am at so I can start moving forward.
Thank you SO much for everything!
You’re about as far from meh as anyone could be, what with your tormentor right there every day rejecting you to your face. Meh — or any healing — is impossible in these circumstances. The suck is finite, but I’m sure that’s cold comfort to you now. He can’t move into his shitty McMansion soon enough.
I realize many people find themselves in this situation for economic reasons, but that doesn’t explain your situation — if he can afford a 5-bedroom house, he can afford temporary lodging. (May I suggest a sleeping bag under the nearest overpass?) I think he stays because he’s a total asshole.
Let’s review what he is NOT.
He’s not sorry. He caused this divorce and instead of being sensitive to your feelings, he’s enflaming them with insults. He’s not removing himself from your life — no, he’s continuing to extract value from it. You’re the “babysitter.” The Maytag wife appliance. And you’re kibbles. The pick me dance was nice, more sex! But now that you’re no longer dancing, your misery will do. He matters! You cry! More of that. Let’s tell you how HAPPY he is! Got any tears?
He’s not considerate. If he intended to leave, he would get the fuck out. He’s a cake eater. And he’ll be goddamned if he gives up cake one second sooner than he has to. Do you know how hard it is to line up another chump?
He’s not a good parent. He’s allowing his children to live in ambiguity and confusion. He makes a shattering decision that affects their lives and it’s STILL all about HIM. He treats the mother of his children with contempt, sows chaos, and continues his affair while living in the family home. He may as well take a shit in the center of the living room and ask everyone to live with that too.
So how do you cope?
You don’t cope. You endure. You do everything in your power not to take his bait. You don’t rage at him, you don’t escalate anything (for all you know, he’s trying to bait you to get some kind of leverage in the divorce settlement). You stay out of his way.
You don’t do for him. You cook? You cook for yourself and your children. NOT him.
You don’t play family with him. You don’t confuse your children. He wants a separate life? He gets it, starting now. There will be no cake served at this party.
You don’t show him your emotions. He feeds on it. He provokes it. He is not a safe place. You find a safe place for your grief with your support system there, and with friends online. You don’t have a single kibble for fuckwits.
Do everything you can to put distance there. When I lived this, many years ago, I spent a lot of time at a coffeehouse that stayed open until 11 p.m. I’d go draw or read, and come home when everyone was asleep.
Start communicating about the kids only through email and scheduling software. You need to DOCUMENT what you do around parenting, so begin now. Don’t talk to him — he can’t be trusted to stay on course and not insult you. Don’t give him that opportunity — stay very, very busy.
You’ve got to tough this out for a month or two. If it’s possible to escape with the kids for a bit with family, before school starts, I’d do that. (After you get all your valuables and paperwork out of the house first. These freaks lift stuff.)
Hang tough, AlmosttoMeh. The healing starts soon.