So I chucked out my ex after D-Day 2 a couple of months ago (although D-Day 1 was technically affairs…. I also suspect there have been more).
We have been together 22 years, married for 13, and have 3 young kids. I had to be the one to end our relationship despite the fact he was still in a relationship with OW this time and continues to be so.
I am coping ‘ok’ mainly because for the most part I am able to remember what a sparkly turd he is — he has never been financially stable or held down a job for more than a couple of years, he has no friends, he has lied to me lots over the years (not just about cheating) and he actually started his last affair when I was caring for my adored father who was dying from cancer. Real charmer….. However, I was with him for over half my life and have 3 kids with him. I now realise I was the Queen of spackle.
What I am struggling most with though is getting over the injustice of the whole situation. It is so much sometimes it literally burns inside me — I am a GOOD person, proved through the fact I have lots of (amazing) friends who are helping me through this. It is so so unfair that he is a complete shit and yet I am the one suffering as a result.
I am so tired from dealing with 3 incredibly damaged children and yet hate being parted from them and missing out when he has them to stay. I am having to hold down a job despite the fact I want to curl up in a ball and not do anything. I am having to give him some of the inheritance I got (because of my beloved dad dying) as we are married and he is due 50% according to the law in the UK. I literally want to stamp my feet and shout ‘it’s not fair’!!!!!
How do I get over this feeling??
Queen of Spackle
Dear Queen of Spackle,
You feel it. Because it’s not fair.
And you keep living your life anyway, and persevering, until your new life fills in and your old life fades. However, it never stops being unfair. But it’s bearable because you’re not continually surrounded by a fuckwit and all their chaos. It’s now a finite chapter in your life, and you’re creating much more interesting chapters that aren’t fuckwit-centric.
Right now, you’re in the middle of the suck, having ridden a long trajectory of suck — 22 years with a lousy partner. He’s financially unstable, emotionally unsupportive, and deceitful. Your suck-free life is just theoretical now — but I promise you, it’s out there.
I can’t do anything about your sunk costs. We all have them here. However, you can stop being among the damned souls who keep in investing and spackling over the losses.
Here’s a few things that have helped me with unfairness.
1.) Perspective. It’s appalling that you’re going to have cede half of your inheritance to a fuckwit. (The U.S. laws here are different, btw, generally inheritances are yours in a divorce.) And the years wasted on a fuckwit hurt like a mofo — look around you — you’re in very good company.
You probably think I’m going to go with “Someone Has It Worse” (someone does). My actual point is — this injustice is VERY common. Other people have survived it, and you can survive it too.
Also, you don’t control him and you’re not responsible for what he did when you were an unknowing, trusting partner. You brought your A game. You invested. You loved. That’s what good people do, so yes, don’t delude yourself about spackling, but also recognize that YOUR life was not a lie. HIS life was a lie. Be proud of being a faithful, loving partner. Even if the object of your trust and love was utterly unworthy of it.
2.) Activity. Fight the injustice, that will keep you busy. You can’t do anything about time lost, but you can go forward as the Sane Parent to your kids. You can model resiliency. You can be determined to not let a fuckwit steal your joy.
You can also change the narrative around infidelity. That’s what I did with my particular Suck, but I don’t do this work alone. Comment here, in a few years, pay it forward, help another friend going through this navigate their way out.
Or take on a bigger injustice than being chumped — set your sites on larger bastards. Take on city councils or climate change. Get out of yourself and see how much horrible injustice is out there. It’s all hands on deck! We need all the good souls we can get.
3.) Gratitude. I’m not talking about the toxic positivity shit that’s in your Facebook feed, that exhorts you to be grateful for a fuckwit and friends with your ex. (For The Children!) We should never have to be “grateful” to people who abuse us.
As part of that perspective exercise, note what’s in your Plus column and be thankful. Do you have your health? Good friends? A paying job? These are your tickets to a better future. Invest in these things. Cherish them the way you used to cherish an undeserving idiot.
4.) Acceptance. His cheating and thieving are unfair. He will enjoy the profits of his cheating and thieving. He will most likely go on to cheat and thieve someone else. (Let it be the latest Schmoopie, please.) Accept the reality of who he is and what happened to you. Trust that he sucks.
To not accept these truths is to be continually broadsided by pain.
Were you expecting him to abide by his agreements? Find a job? Call a friend instead of you? Oh that’s right, he DOESN’T DO THESE THINGS, because THAT’S WHO HE IS.
Expecting him to be who you want him to be (a loving, invested person) will keep hurting. Accepting who he is (based on 22 years of experience with him) saves you a LOT of grief.
Accept it, wash your hands of it, and keep your side of the street clean on the parenting. It sets a great example for your kids, who are going to have to work out their relationship with him on their own. When you get frustrated and hurt by that, realize how long it took YOU to stop spackling and see the truth of him. Kids love the other parent and that’s their right, but they also don’t have the adult life perspective to fill in the picture.
Queen of Spackle — it gets better. Stay no contact with your ex (or as grey rock as you can with 3 kids — scheduling software is your friend). Start filling in the new life, and feel ALL the feels. That’s grief. It passes.