Like all other Chumps, I never thought I would be here. I met the love of my life when I was 18 and he was 22 in the most magical, serendipitous way possible. (Or is that the story I tell myself?) Anyway, we were both in college, and 6 months later I was diagnosed with cancer. I moved in with him almost immediately and he cared for me both physically and mentally. I felt like he built me up to be a strong person who wasn’t afraid to pursue her passions. I struggled for about 3 or 4 years with physical side effects from the cancer. At some points I was bedridden. All he ever did was care for me and show me unconditional love.
We were married 4 years ago (and have been together 8 years). Immediately after we married he said he wanted to have a baby. I was a little hesitant — I had just started graduate school — so we waited a year and I got pregnant immediately. Neither of us have any real experience with children but we were so happy. Our daughter is now 2 1/2.
This summer (our daughter had just turned 2) my husband got very sick and had to have a major surgical operation. We didn’t have any childcare over the summer so I spent the summer taking care of our child and trying to care for my husband as well. He could hardly eat and he lost a significant amount of weight. Somehow he would run once a day and drink at night, but then he would be confined to the bed. I believe I did my absolute best to take care of him, while also realizing that he probably has an alcohol problem.
Almost immediately after his surgery he became extremely cold. I was hoping he would be back to his normal, energetic, supportive self. Instead, he asked me not to touch him, he wouldn’t look me in the eye. When I begged him to tell me what was wrong he would cut me off and leave the room.
I booked a vacation to cheer him up. One day into the vacation, he left. We had brought my parents along so I was just vacationing with my parents for the rest of the week. I thought he just felt ill. When I got home, after several hours of him telling me that he didn’t love me any more, he confessed to having an emotional affair with his colleague. He told me that he loves her. He also told me that if I looked at their text messages he would immediately divorce me.
It’s been about a month and a half since he confessed to the emotional affair. Nothing legal has happened yet. I don’t even know if I want a divorce. But I have to see him everyday when we trade off parenting responsibilities. Some days when he drops our daughter off he screams at me. He’s yelled that he hopes our daughter never grows up to be like me because I’m such a spoiled brat. Other days he collapses on the floor, convulsing and crying uncontrollably. Other days he shows up and is so emotionally drained he cannot form words. He tells me these mood swings are my fault, that he only feels this way when he sees me, otherwise he’s completely emotionally stable.
We are in marriage counseling. He told the counselor that he is unhappy in the marriage because I do too much parenting for our daughter. As in I don’t let him do enough. THAT’S why he is unhappy. Because I’ve been too helpful. He had an affair because I’m too helpful.
Yet, I still feel sorry for him. After he told me about the emotional affair I fucking made him a lunch for work. At therapy he told me he’s just biding his time, waiting to choose between me and the OW. And I APOLOGIZED. And he expects me to be more understanding and more compassionate. What do I do? I need a strong dose of badass from this community.
He had an affair and I made him lunch
What to do about what?
That lunch? Cram it down his lying, cheating, blameshifting pie-hole. If he wants to know why you’re choking him with lunchmeat, say you’re having a “mood swing.”
Chump, compassion for his fuckery is NOT what is needed here. Compassion for YOU is what’s needed. Why are you allowing him to treat you this way?
He is a COWARD. An abusive coward.
And you just THINK you need him to be strong, but the fact is, you’re already strong. Let’s count the ways you are strong.
1.) You survived cancer.
2.) After surviving cancer, you had a child. Even though you were afraid at your inexperience, and how much more you could take on with your studies, you took on the enormous investment of raising a child and putting your body through childbirth.
3.) When your husband was sick (self-inflictedly so?), you cared for him and your child and managed to hold everything together.
4.) When he betrayed you, and devastated your world, and threatened abandonment of you and your daughter, you tried to find compassion for him.
You are a GOOD, STRONG PERSON.
Now, let’s look at him.
1.) He’s sick, but he has time to run, and go out drinking. Childcare is on you.
2.) He’s sick, but apparently a-okay with destroying what health he has with alcoholism and not seeking help. (Another way of abandoning you and your daughter.)
3.) He gives himself permission to pursue a new relationship (aka “emotional affair”) instead of ending the relationship he’s in, or working to strengthen it.
4.) Instead of owning his AGENCY, he blameshifts. You don’t parent right. You’re spoiled, etc. He won’t answer questions, he cruelly withdraws and leaves you guessing.
5.) Instead of deciding his life, he’s torturing you to decide it for him, by leaving him, so you’ll be the Bad Guy. (And he’s doing this in front a quack therapist who is LETTING HIM behave abusively! Goading you into the pick me dance! The shrink did not call that out?!)
You need this man like you need a tumor on your spleen. I’m sorry if he was once a supportive, loving partner who morphed into a fuckwit — but you’ve got to deal with the reality you’re dealt. He is a fuckwit. Who is abusing you NOW. Frankly, I wonder if he didn’t prefer you all broken. Because fuckwits are like that. And here you are, so mighty, so he needs a Schmoopie.
Schmoopie lets him feel powerful through triangulation and pick me dancing. Two women to make feel off balance, whom he could abandon at any time. Who “need” him. One gets uppity? Run to the other. Keeps him in cake.
Okay, so you apologized to him for failing to be Worthy of His Indecision. It happens. No one gets broadsided with betrayal and navigates this shit perfectly. When in crisis, there’s fight and flee, but also fawn. You fawned — because you’re naturally, understandably terrified. I’m trying to tell you there’s nothing to fear except wasting more of your young life with a fuckwit.
You have all the strength you need. He does not bestow it upon you.
He wants to abandon your family? The proper response is: “Go right ahead, motherfucker.”
YOU DECIDE. Stop being passive and take back your power.
He told me that he loves her.
Bye, bye motherfucker. Go be with her.
See how that works? All that’s left is logistics. Doesn’t he take a suitcase, or will Hefty bags suffice?
He also told me that if I looked at their text messages he would immediately divorce me.
I don’t need to see your text messages, because your behavior is one big GUILTY message.
See how that works? He wants to tell you this is an emotional affair, but God forbid you question him. That’s okay, the evidence is in plain sight — he’s not invested in his marriage and he’s treating you abominably. That’s either alright with you or it is not.
I don’t even know if I want a divorce.
Do you want to spend the rest of your life making a fuckwit sandwiches?
Please call a lawyer and start protecting yourself today. Get up out of the crouching position and take back your life.
You’ve got this.