This column goes out to JB from yesterday’s post. Who seemed to be suffering a bad case of Bargaining Stage of Let’s-Be-Friends grief. What’s in it for cheaters to remain friends? A lot. You? Not so much.
Dear Chump Lady,
My husband has said that he cannot bear the thought of never seeing me again after our divorce.
He wants to remain friends and still visit me. I said his OW, who he admits he might marry one day, and who he is living with now, might not let him. His reply was genuine surprise and he said well I was friends with her before the affair. How nuts is that?
I think his ideal world, the roles would be reversed but with me being the Other Woman. Although I don’t think he would want sex with me as he told me that he didn’t enjoy sex with me anymore and didn’t enjoy kissing me as my mouth felt strange. The truth is I always thought he was a lousy kisser too, but unlike him I am too kind to have said anything.
What goes on inside their head Chump Lady? Are they delusional or just insane?
They’re narcissistic. Which is a kind of delusion of grandiose centrality.
The answer to “let’s be friends” isn’t “your mistress won’t like it” but “HELL NO. My friends don’t cheat on me.”
(Although I’m presuming you just mentioned his OW to poke at him and see what nutty thing he’d say next.)
Why does he want to be friends?
1.) Kibbles. Narcissist need supply, what we here at Chump Lady call “ego kibbles” (or Narcissist ego chow). Once you realize this, their behavior starts to make a weird kind of sense. Ah, they’re trying to maintain kibble supply. The OW is supply, you’re supply, and the rest of the world (and all his invariable dating profiles) are potential supply.
When supply is threatened narcissists get ugly. Remember they have three channel settings to get what they want — rage, charm, and self pity.
Rage: You won’t give me kibbles? YOU SUCK. I’ve always despised you and the way you kiss. HA! I didn’t want your kibbles anyway! My OW kisses better than you do! (Don’t you want to do the pick me dance now?)
Charm: What will I ever do without you? I can’t imagine not seeing you any more! Gee, all those memories…
Self-Pity: Can’t you see how this Hurts Me Too? It pains me that you won’t be my friend, after everything we’ve shared together. You shouldn’t be so angry and bitter. I still love you, just not in that way. This is so difficult for me.
You threatened kibble supply. He needs your “friendship” to get kibbles back.
2.) Impression management. Narcissists care how they are perceived. (People won’t give you kibbles if they don’t like you.) If you’re friends with him, then what he did wasn’t so bad! Why don’t you eat the shit sandwich for his sake?
3.) Setting up the new hypotenuse. As you rightly pointed out, he’d like to line you up as a new OW. Cheaters are lazy, they’d rather go to old kibbles sources than scout new supply. That’s hard. They have to sparkle and give people attention and shit. It’d be much nicer if you’d do the pick me dance to keep him, and just be there for sex. You don’t have any needs or self-respect, do you? You’re not a person with agency. You’re just an extension of him and his needs, so of course you’re on board!
So anyway, Denise, to answer your question — Yes, delusional AND insane.