I have a pretty straight forward situation.
I was dating a man for about 8 months. I thought it was hands down THE BEST relationship I’d ever been in. I find out he’s cheating. Turns out he locks his phone with his birthday…idiot.
I unceremoniously dumped him. It was fairly clear to me that I wouldn’t be his first teary-eyed confrontation and since I was frankly tired of being lied to and gaslit, I sent a simple text stating I didn’t see a future with him and went cold, dark no contact.
He was very unhappy with that. Very unhappy. What can I say? I gave him the same amount of respect he showed me, ZERO.
I will tell you that it broke him down pretty hard and within five weeks I had a grown man openly weeping to me in a crowded, Manhattan bar on a Friday night, twice. He’s a NJ guy with a machismo chip on his shoulder, so you can imagine my surprise there. I decided not to try again, I’m not going to get over it. I only mention all of this because this method turns out to be extremely effective. I would suggest employing it to anyone who knows that their cheater actually loves them and wishes to extract maximum damage on the way out the door, while retaining the ‘take the high road’ approach.
Enough about that. Here’s my real problem. When I search for help with my feelings about this, and there are many, I’m not finding information for people like me. Hundreds and thousands of articles have been written to help married women with children but not women who date.
They’re are articles to help women leave, an ocean’s full of articles helping them to stay, and plenty of articles deciding ‘why he did it’. What I don’t see is help for single, non married people who end up in this situation.
No I didn’t marry the guy, but I did commit to him, I did trust him implicitly, I did love him, I did think there was a real possibility of marriage in our future. And now what I’m left with is twinges of bad self-esteem, major trust concerns, a great deal of wondering how I can be this savvy and not have seen any of it coming. I’ve got that lovely voice saying, ‘all men are pigs’ chiming in my head. Feelings of losing, not the someone, but the something I thought I had. Wondering if/when I’ll be able to start again realistically. And right now all dating sites make me want to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.
These things break you down. I wake up every day knowing this had NOTHING to do with me, but it doesn’t change the whirlwind of emotions you experience when you’re made a fool of.
Why is there so little support dealing with the actual feelings you need to comb through inside yourself when this happens to you, when you’re not reconciling, and when you’re not married with children?
I can’t be the only one going through this.
Chumped is chumped, (as I often write here “This is not the pain Olympics”), however, the sunk costs are often very different. Losing decades to someone, breeding with a fuckwit, having your savings obliterated — is a different magnitude of suffering. Suffering you AVOIDED with your glorious decisiveness and iron-clad boundaries. What a bazillion chumps wouldn’t give to be you — clear-eyed, escaped, wit intact.
Okay, but for the crushing disappointment and broken heart.
Look, the advice I give here on chumpdom is for everyone. It’s a Rainbow Nation, married, unmarried, gay, straight, monogamous, poly (yes, even polyamorists can be cheated on — if there were agreements, and someone unilaterally changed those rules to benefit themselves without your consent, that’s cheating). All it takes to be chumped is a trusting heart. Intimacy makes us vulnerable. And betrayal hurts like a motherfucker.
And now what I’m left with is twinges of bad self-esteem, major trust concerns, a great deal of wondering how I can be this savvy and not have seen any of it coming.
Don’t beat yourself up. Fact is, you DID see something coming, or you wouldn’t have thought to crack the code on his cell phone. Is that typical dating behavior for you? (I hope not.) Or did something tip off your spidey senses that he was being shady? Once you verified that he was cheating, you ACTED. You shut him down. And you didn’t fall for the later sad sausage act. WELL DONE.
That took guts. To go beyond what you wanted to believe and accept what it was — he’s a rotten person. The trust issues, the beating yourself up, the wondering how you got duped — that’s the pain of accepting that terrible people exist. I mean, we know they exist — theoretically, or perhaps even tangentially (see also “When Bad Things Happen to Other People”), but must of us live with the fallacy that we’re immune. That we have safeguards. Filters. Good mojo. A lucky rabbit’s foot. We all do mental gymnastics to live in this world, otherwise we’d be hunkered down immobilized by all the threats.
(Speaking of which — everybody, DO wash your hands. Corona virus is no joke.)
My point is, you don’t go around projecting Terrible Outcomes. You allowed yourself to be optimistic about someone, happy, forward-looking — and instead of a beautiful future, you got humiliation.
It hurts. What he did was transgressive and wrong. So were his operatic bar antics. To essentially publicly pressure you into taking him back, to make you seem like the cold, unforgiving creature and him the sad wretch. All WRONG.
I’ve got that lovely voice saying, ‘all men are pigs’ chiming in my head.
No they’re not. Don’t go there. Don’t try to comfort yourself with the thought that the game is rigged and an entire gender (race, political party, religion) are evil. He was ONE BAD ACTOR. Are there others like him? Sure. But there are also a bazillion compassionate, good people out there. He was a fuckwit in a people suit. He’s not representative of men, or the state of New Jersey.
Intimacy always comes with vulnerability. That’s the price of admission. All you do with the “men are pigs” bullshit is self-isolate and comfort yourself with fake “security.” If you never love again the menace is contained! That’s a ridiculous way to go through life.
I only mention all of this because this method turns out to be extremely effective. I would suggest employing it to anyone who knows that their cheater actually loves them and wishes to extract maximum damage on the way out the door, while retaining the ‘take the high road’ approach.
No contact is about NO CONTACT. It’s not a tactic to get cheaters to notice us. (See “pick me dance.”)
I’m sorry, but you have not hurt him. He was never invested in the first place. His tears were as fake as his “love.” If he truly loved you, he could not have conducted a double life.
It’s a bitter pill, but cheaters don’t “actually love” you. They use you. You can’t con a con.
Wondering if/when I’ll be able to start again realistically. And right now all dating sites make me want to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Take some odd comfort in the fact his behavior had NOTHING to do with you. You weren’t unlovable, you were unlucky. Be open to the world, to dating, to other sweet talkers from New Jersey even — just arm yourself with boundaries. That’s all we’ve got — our own discernment. Heal up, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there again.