Dear Chump Lady,
Situation: I had a feeling that my husband of 8 years messed around with my best friend on New Year’s. I was smart and didn’t confront him. Instead, I gathered info, texts, found a timeline of events that didn’t make sense, and last found “remnants” of her “juices” on the front of my husband’s pants that he wore on New Year’s Eve (fucking classy!). I made a joke about his pants and two days later… they disappeared. I called him out as if he thought that my best friend confessed (damn, I’m good). Low and behold, it wasn’t a one time thing. It had been going on since Halloween. 94 pages of chat history, 37 pages of talk history, 40 pages of video/image exchange via Snapchat. Yeah, people think that Snapchat communication immediately disappears, but not if you were a prior marine like me and have computer contacts in Quantico!
Anywho, I have them both by the balls because I have enough evidence to get them both fired. She’s trying to mend things with her family, I give her credit. My husband is living with his parents about 8 miles away.
But, my man has confessed that he did it because he could, and because he liked the attention. He hasn’t even asked to seek counseling together or to give him a chance. Maybe, I should be happy that he’s being honest. However, two years ago, he messed around via social media and I caught him. THAT TIME he was super sorry, scared, and begged me to give him the “rest of his life to make it up to me.” So, I guess he just is admitting that he’s an asshole and he’ll never stop.
Last night, I picked up your book (Leave a Cheater, Gain A LIFE) and omg…. so much is making sense. Although he’s not trying to woo me back in, he’s doing other things:
~ we got a ton of snow on Saturday and he came over and shoveled driveway
~ my daughter’s truck was stuck and he went and pulled her out (I have two children from a former marriage, but they are still devastated by his bullshit)
~ he dropped off food yesterday for all of us
~ Saturday he came by to fix the blinds in two rooms
~ he’s sending texts like, “Heading to bed. Hope you finally get some sleep tonight. Hope it was a better day. I will check on you tomorrow. Good night.”
I haven’t responded to any of his texts since reading the first 8 chapters of your book (so f*cking helpful!!!). But, my question is: what is he doing? He’s been gone 7.5 days and now he’s being super-husband and super-dad. You mentioned that when they do that it’s because they want something. It could be that he only has work clothes and I still have all of his shit and/or he’s still worried I’m going to get him fired.
Dazed & Confused
Dear Dazed & Confused,
What’s he doing? Normal Husband Things. Which, I imagine, in your kibble-deprived, post-D-Day chump state, you’re interpreting as Significant.
Snow shoveling? Food? Roadside assistance? These are the things ordinary people in caring relationships do.
Two problems — he’s pretending to be ordinary. And he’s pretending to care.
Problem #1. He just told you he’s okay fucking your best friend “for attention.” Whiplashing into Ordinary Partner mode after that bomb drop is just a mindfuck. Pay no attention to my devastating betrayal! These blinds need adjusting…
The healthy mind thinks: WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! Touch my window treatments and you’ll pull away with a bloody stump! THERE’S A REASON YOU DON’T LIVE HERE.
The chump mind spackles. God, I JUST WANT AN ORDINARY HUSBAND WHO CARES. He sort of looks like one, there in your kitchen dropping off a casserole. Perhaps he’ll do. Just spackle over the unsightly abuse. Return to “normal.”
He’s testing to see which one you are. Someone who will rug sweep and spackle after some Basic Husband Gestures, or a fiercer opponent with boundaries.
You chumped before after a little kabuki sorry. Why not again?
Problem #2. He’s pretending to care. Except that people who fuck your best friend don’t care. And… he explicitly told you he doesn’t care.
But, but! Snow removal!
$200 bucks buys you a snow blower with zero bullshit.
But, my man has confessed that he did it because he could, and because he liked the attention.
Wonderful. He can take his radial all-wheels, snow chains, and flaming hot dish to someone who gives a fuck.
He hasn’t even asked to seek counseling together or to give him a chance.
Why would he when you chump so well? See Problem #1, he’ll just pretend everything’s normal and you’ll get over it. Saves the co-pay.
Maybe, I should be happy that he’s being honest.
Maybe he should be happy you haven’t gone full Marine on him and Semper fi-ed his ass.
However, two years ago, he messed around via social media and I caught him. THAT TIME he was super sorry, scared, and begged me to give him the “rest of his life to make it up to me.” So, I guess he just is admitting that he’s an asshole and he’ll never stop.
He won’t admit that, but that’s what his ACTIONS say. You gave him a chance and he just took the cheating further, by fucking your best friend. Nothing to work with here.
what is he doing? He’s been gone 7.5 days and now he’s being super-husband and super-dad.
He’s hoovering. A little impression management and voila! You’re back. He’s back. Cake is restored.
He isn’t “super” anything. Unless SuperFuckwit is a new Marvel comic.
You mentioned that when they do that it’s because they want something. It could be that he only has work clothes and I still have all of his shit and/or he’s still worried I’m going to get him fired.
Enjoy the power of his fear, and pass the leverage on to your attorney to play with.
Dazed & Confused, don’t wonder about him. That’s untangling the skein. Protect yourself and go no contact. He wants “attention”? Don’t give him any.
P.S. It’s also time for a new “best friend.” Be sure to tell her chump husband what’s going on.
P.S.S. You’re a Marine. You can do this. Adapt and overcome!