I was wondering if you could write a post dedicated to people who got abandoned. Sometimes I read your blog and feel like a lot of the “pick me” dancing, implementing No Contact and such are things I can’t do because he just picked up and left after I discovered he was cheating and confronted him about it. I realize there are benefits to this, but could you perhaps discuss the layers that make this so hard and how to deal specifically with the abandonment?
In light of grief
Dear In light of grief,
I’m sorry, that’s a suckitude of a different kind. This column rerun goes out to you.
A lot of the advice I give here is on no contact, or gauging the sincerity of a cheater’s remorse, or of decoding the mindfuckery of a cheater after discovery. But what about the ones who just go without a fight? Who just abandon? Who never come back?
There’s no need to go no contact because they never contact you. Instead, you live with another kind of mindfuck — you weren’t even worth fighting for. One day you’re living in what you thought was a secure reality with this person, the next day they’re gone without explanation. Without remorse.
Maybe you got a blank stare. A vague excuse. A lawyer’s letter.
As someone who got operatic remorse, crocodile tears, and a stalking freakazoid who wouldn’t leave me alone, I want to be flippant and tell you guys you got the better end of the deal — the cheater who just left. The cheater who didn’t play you for more D-Days, who didn’t toy with your heart, and get a kibble contact high off your grief. Nope, you got a tidy little sociopath who recognized that the jig was up and it was time to move on.
Which is worse, really? Hard to say and this isn’t the pain Olympics. But I do have some thoughts on the abandoning cheaters who just go poof.
1. Take it as a perverse compliment. Seriously, all you people who were abandoned, I want you to reframe this. Your cheater knew they couldn’t keep chumping you. They sensed your strength, and being the lazy, cheating fucks that they are, they needed an easier source of kibbles. You weren’t going to be that person. You were going to put up some resistance. They anticipated that and took the path of least resistance — a cowardly exit.
I can see how you would take it as you didn’t mean anything to them. You weren’t worth so much as a goodbye, but that’s not it. Disordered people don’t connect. You never meant to them what they meant to you.
They knew that they couldn’t keep extracting value from you with the same ease. And that’s because you’re not as chumpy as your average chump. Manipulators suss you well — they assessed your moxie, and they scampered away.
2. These people are really lazy. Cake is so nice when cake is undiscovered. All the control! All the perks! But once that nice situation is blown to pieces by the truth… fuck. They need to do some mental calculus. Work really, really hard at mindfucking you back into complacency, do the “sorry” kabuki theater of long emotional talks and therapy, give you some kibbles for a change to win you back… or… they could just exit for their soul mate schmoopie, find another hypotenuse, and have the joys of undiscovered cake again.
Which is easier?
3. These people are really entitled. You don’t deserve an explanation because it was never about you. Surely, you must know that the Most Important Thing Is Their Happiness? They’re happier over here in this new place. You? You have a mess to clean up? You’re heart broken? God, that’s a buzz kill. They don’t have to listen to you whinge. They’ll just set your volume to “mute.”
4. These people are really cold. Not that the operatic remorse, crocodile tear cheaters aren’t cold too, but the abandoning cheaters are polar-vortex-Lake-Michigan-in-February-ice-ice-baby COLD. I know you see this walking out with no remorse as a big fuck you, a huge rejection of the wonderfulness that is you, but that would be assuming that they give a shit. They do not. It’s not personal. These people are COLD. You mistook this ice cube for a human being. It happens. Maybe you bred with the ice cube. I’m sorry.
But they seem so warm and human for other people!
Yes, of course they do. See item #2. They need new undiscovered sources of cake. They will appear all nice and human-like until their cake situation is restored. Then what does the new person get? Laziness, entitlement, and ice ice cold baby.
What do you get?
A new, improved cheater-free life.