Dear Chump Lady,
I was hoping at some point you could write about another dimension of the Chump experience — one that seldom gets told — and that is the impact of race.
One thing I love about ChumpNation is its diversity. Despite the fact everyone uses pseudonyms when commenting (myself included) you can tell Chump Nation is a Rainbow Nation representing all genders, sexual and cultural identities and ages.
Over the course of the year, I could not help but notice that some commentators draw attention to the race of affair partners. A recent example that really stuck out to me this week was a fellow chump talking about how triggering Asian women were to her, as the OW in her case was of this ethnicity.
I think what I found most jarring about that comment was not the fact I resemble the remark (being an Asian chump) I felt a great deal of empathy to the poster, because I myself could very much relate to her feelings.
The affair partner in my case was a young white woman. When D-day hit, I began a self-destructive examination of how we were different. She was thirteen years younger than me, had never had children, could party and socialize and spend without care. She even has a better job than me (she works at Facebook, or as I call it, FAKEbook: the ultimate online image management tool.)
Perhaps the most blatantly obvious difference between us was our race. It triggered some very deep-seeded feelings of inferiority that I had carried most of my life as a marginalized person. My skin was too dark. My eyes too slanty. I had never resembled the norms of beauty in our society, and my ex’s choice in OW was one more example that I was less than and would always be.
One of the first products I purchased after D-day (in addition to many affair-proof books on Amazon) was whitening cream.
I look back to this time period in my life with disbelief now. It’s taken a long time for me to realize that — actually — my ex’s choice in affair partner actually has NOTHING to do with me. His affair partner could have been a Bedlington Terrier for all I care. My mind, my heart, my skin, the fact I eat kimchi with my scrambled eggs were not the reasons why he cheated. He cheated because he has (as you say) an empty elevator shaft where a soul should be. Cheaters cheat because to them love is only skin deep.
Thank you Chump Lady!
Love to Chump Nation!
Excellent discussion topic — thank you!
Yes, chumpdom is a rainbow nation. All it takes to be chumped is having a trusting heart.
But on the flip side, cheaterdom is a rainbow nation too. If we’re going to work from the democratic principle that women, LGBTQ, or minorities are fully human — then they can be shitty people too. Humans often are.
Abusive power dynamics are universal in human relationships. No one has the market cornered on vice or virtue.
I’ve always tried to write about cheating as a character problem — a human problem — and keep things here gender and orientation neutral. (I confounded my book editor with the singular “they.” IT’S ACCEPTABLE USAGE. His/hers is the most awkward. construction. ever. SINGULAR THEY. ACCEPT IT.)
But I think chumps — in their righteous anger at being chumped — should remind themselves that it’s not about “trannies” or “Asian whores” or “white trash” — it’s about some human being’s lousy character. To be an affair partner is to be used. Cheaters use everyone. People are interchangeable — the real currency is kibbles.
When D-day hit, I began a self-destructive examination of how we were different.
Which is just another way of blaming yourself. If you’d only been thinner/bustier/Asian/not Asian/Californian/Serbo-Croatian/Methodist… This compare and contrast bullshit is soul sickening. It keeps you in the pick me dance. It’s a mindfuck.
Oh, and PC tangent here — there are societal mindfucks as well as personal mindfucks. Are brown people supposed to be in some eternal pick me dance to be whiter? WHY IS WHITENING CREAM EVEN A THING?!! Must women constantly pick me dance to be found worthy? I don’t know if I can put you on the evening news and let you expound on an opinion Mindy, not until you lose 30 pounds and blow dry your hair. Why do all the women news commentators — not news readers — the EXPERTS THEY ASK TO TALK on TV look like they could bench press me? With their ropey little 20-year-old arms of steel? Why are they all wearing the same tight dress? Why are they all in profile? WTF NEWS MEDIA?
All this pick me dancing, all this pointless gyrating to be found worthy (and failing), benefits someone — the person sitting at the top of the heap. The person for whom entitlement is working just fine, thank you. Self recrimination shuts you up. Try harder. Over there… you missed a spot.
I had never resembled the norms of beauty in our society, and my ex’s choice in OW was one more example that I was less than and would always be.
Iris, who among us represents the norms of beauty in our society? Would all the 6-foot-tall-120-pound-34DD-chested-natural blonde-body-hairless-flat-stomached-glamazons please stand up and announce yourselves?
No, not you in the back. Bad hair day. SIT DOWN.
Fuck the “norms.” Could we all please stop doing this to ourselves?
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
(Of course she was a rich, white woman with thin thighs, but I think she had a point.)
Everyone — stop the self-hate. Start the self-love. Dump the cheater — and forget their Schoompie flavor of the week.
Iris — you know what makes you beautiful? Your soul. Your ex? Last time I looked, there was still an empty elevator shaft.