I am 18 months out after discovering I was a chump extraordinaire. After uprooting our family of four for a new job that required I sacrifice a tenured faculty position at a major university, all while leading a double life, I found out about the OW — also married with a child.
He tried to keep both bags of kibble until I made him choose, and he chose her. Kids went into a downward spiral — straight-A student starts smoking weed all day and almost loses her college scholarship, 16-year old girl starts hanging with the wrong crowd and self-harming. None of this is due to the upheaval of the family, according to him because — “all kids do crazy sh@@ like that” according to him.
So 18 months later, we’re divorced and we have a custody arrangement with set visitation and my daughter is performing in a show at her school. I always go to both performances — something I did all the years he was missing performances trying to juggle his two lives and something I still do.
He texts me today asking, “For the show this week I wanted to ask you if we could trade off days?” And I respond with “??? I always go both days. I don’t care if you go also.” He responds, “I ask because I want to bring a date.”
He is referring to the woman with whom he carried on a 4-year affair while missing birthdays, recitals etc. and while uprooting his family and sacrificing my career.
I respond, “I have no response to that. You want me to change my plan of watching my daughter’s performance to accommodate the woman who broke up our family? Astounding.” He responds, “I don’t mean to be upsetting, just wanting to try and work things out ahead of time. Thanks for understanding.” Wow. A master of passive aggression he is. I start to lose it. “What you did and she did is wrong and it will never be right. Flaunting your irresponsible behavior is a selfish move and it’s for you, not your daughter. You say you don’t want to upset me? Really? Then don’t bring her.”
He has mastered acting surprised in a condescending, “look how polite I am” kind of way. I wish there was a way to publicly humiliate the two of them. Anyway, that’s some pretty Stupid Shit Cheater’s Say. Asking the scorned ex to accommodate his need to bring his affair partner to your child’s performance. Wow. Just Wow.
First, some strong hugs. ((((((Madkatie)))))))
Second, drop the word “scorned” from your vocabulary. You aren’t scorned — you were defrauded. Conspired against. Mindfucked. Used.
Scorned is a mindfuck itself — it means to be contemptuous of, to bitterly reject. Famously, “a woman scorned.”
It implies that you’re haughty, irrationally bitter, and hate for the sake of hating. It transfers sympathy to the object of your derision.
But you’re not in the power seat — you’re the person who was rejected and abused. You have every right to be angry, and absolutely fractured with hurt. That pain is not scorn. It’s the lucid response to being betrayed.
You may think I’m picking you apart for word choices, but you need a clearer look at the power dynamic going on here. “Scorned” — the mindfucks of “It’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it” aka “I fail to understand your hostility” — is reversing victim/offender roles.
Why, he’s just a poor misunderstood sausage who wants to attend his daughter’s recital with a date! And you’re the bitter, scorned ex who just denies him, because you can’t get over the Wonderfulness of Him, and you’re taking it out on The Children, whose needs are always foremost in his mind, the tender sugarplums! It’s tragic the way you’re so fixated on him. Isn’t she, Schmoopie? So scornful. (Schmoopie hands him a tissue.)
That’s the bear trap of dysfunction you just stepped into. You want REAL power? You want to model mighty to your daughters and leave fuckwits in your dust? You do this:
He texts me today asking, “For the show this week I wanted to ask you if we could trade off days?”
(It’s a complete sentence. If you’re feeling generous — you offer more information, but it’s not a starting point for debate. “I’m going both days.”)
He responds, “I ask because I want to bring a date.”
You: ******** (stops texting… goes and finds an improving Netflix series.)
No response. Because you conveyed the important information in this exchange — you will not change dates, and you will be attending all concerts. Because YOU Madkatie are doing YOU. His plans are irrelevant. (Even if they feel like terrorist attacks.)
He baited you into the Pick Me Dance and damn if you didn’t fall for it.
You want me to change my plan of watching my daughter’s performance to accommodate the woman who broke up our family? Astounding.
Madkatie — your ex is the villain here and she’s his fuckwit co-conspirator, but if we’re denying people attendance to concerts based on their home wrecking proclivities, he’ll never make it past the coatcheck. Ever. Anywhere.
Look, I know it’s unjust. If a person stole from you, defrauded you out of a tenured job, sexually humiliated and harmed you in CIVILIAN life? There’d be lawsuits and jail time. But because you bred, instead you get the pleasure of sitting next to the perp at choral concerts.
The whole set-up is UNJUST. And he LOVES the power inequality of it all. If he can’t have old cake, he’ll have new cake in a high school auditorium. You enraged by Schmoopie. Schmoopie unnerved by you. All centrality on him. He goads you, then looks on with innocent Bambi eyes. (Then he goes home and goads Schmoops too, telling her you’ll be there, so she falls into apoplexies of pleasing him.)
You say you don’t want to upset me? Really? Then don’t bring her.
You don’t control if he brings her. That’s a cold, hard fact.
He’s a fuckwit who delights in hurting you all (kibbles! centrality!), so he WILL bring her!
You tell him where your pain points are? You’re guaranteeing her attendance.
Ignore them both. But stand up straight, walk into that auditorium, and applaud your daughter on stage. It’s her day, and you’re there to support her. Never lose sight of that mission.
You’re on stage too. A method actress in badass.
Don’t let them break you. You’ve got this.