My sister is a chump, she actually sent me to your site years ago when she still seemed to have some sense. I still read your articles (as I love your humour and spot-on advice) — but she doesn’t read this blog anymore as she is a firm unicorn believer.
So, it’s been 5 years, she is still pick-me dancing, and still crying on my shoulder every time her husband spends time/calls/mentions the OW (these crying/screaming session happen about once a week).
I love her, but I think she’s going overboard being a chump. It’s like it’s her mission to be the BEST CHUMP THAT EVER LIVED. What are your thoughts? Is this normal chump behaviour? I’m worried about her. I’m supporting her, but I have made no secret of the fact that I believe she should LEAVE THE TURD. I haven’t seen him in years as he stays away from us (his in-laws) as he knows we loathe him.
- She knows her husband is having an affair (5 years now) but still wants him back.
- She firmly believes the OW tricked him, seduced him, and he was a helpless victim.
- She is still sleeping with him (not using protection for STIs).
- Oh, I should mention THEY STILL LIVE TOGETHER but he often sneaks away (even on weekends and she’ll have no idea where he is).
- She has been to three different therapists (alone) and gave up on all of them as they all told her to get a divorce. She then sent letters of complaint to all these offices, complaining these therapist were on the OW’s side and not on her side.
- She recently had their wedding rings re-polished.
- She drives him around for job interviews (in the OWs town)
- She has started making great lunches for him and visiting him at his work to have lunch together.
- She has a tracking app on his phone. When he turns his phone off she jumps in her car and goes looking for him.
- Their teenage kids want nothing to do with him, but that is not opening her eyes, she’s setting a terrible example and not protecting her kids from this abuse. They have screaming sessions at home in front of the kids, and she is teaching them it’s ok to take back a cheater week after week (this point bothers me the most). In fact their oldest daughter is now also in therapy because of this fucked up situation.
- She’s turned into a woman who is constantly crying/screaming and extremely hurt. She thinks the OW will go away one day and this will all go back to normal.
- Neither of them wants a divorce (yeah CAKE CAKE CAKE).
- She’s doing things for him she never did before — fixing ‘her’ mistakes of the past (this includes bedroom antics).
I think you get it… I could go on and on. What do I do? Is there anything I can do about this trainwreck? He’s not physically abusing her or we would have dragged her out of there and locked her up with us to keep her safe.
We’re living through a pandemic. Actually he is risking her life every time he goes out and fucks OW strange and brings it home.
But yeah, my advice is still going to be the same, Marg — no, you can’t do anything about this train wreck. We don’t control other people. If we did, your brother-in-law’s dick would behave like an organ grinder monkey.
It’s absolutely awful to love someone who behaves self-destructively. My heart goes out to you. You want to save her. And clearly that’s part of the dynamic with your sister and her fuckwit — she deludes herself that he needs “help” — not that’s he’s making CHOICES. Oh, the Big Bad OW is leading him down the path of perdition! When nope, he’s tra-la-la-ing there quite happily.
Your sister is making choices. They aren’t happy choices, they’re shitty ones. There’s no furtive orgasm at the end of the rainbow, but there’s the illusion of Controlling Scary Things. She’s hooked on hopium.
It’s one thing to be chumped — you’re unknowing. It’s another to continue to volunteer for this shit.
I understand the siren call of reconciliation — most of us here do. It’s one thing to try with someone who is appearing to try, or jumps through a few flaming therapy hoops. It’s quite another to “reconcile” with a cheater who is demonstrably, unashamedly still cheating. That’s a five-year-long pick me dance. It’s a daily kick in the teeth. And apparently, she needs a few more kicks in the teeth to understand this is broken dental work, not winning.
What can you do?
Every time she slops her grief on you, stop her. Kindly. Remind her she is choosing this. You can state that a variety of ways. “You are choosing this.” You can put it back on her. “Is this relationship acceptable to you?” (No.) “What are you going to do about it?”
TRACK HIS CAR!
“No, sis, I mean about yourself. You can’t control him. You only control you.”
Next, reiterate that you believe in her. Not in her superpowers to control the wandering dick — but in her powers of resiliency. “I absolutely believe you can do it on your own. I absolutely believe you’re mighty. You are stronger than a couple of fuckwits.” I think a lot of what keeps people stuck is the terror that they can’t do it alone. If there are economic vulnerabilities, encourage a new job, education, a life of accomplishment that doesn’t revolve around a fuckwit.
Okay, being the cheering section to a hopium addict can be exhausting. But I do think it can help, if you can find the strength.
My next suggestion is detachment with superficiality.
I know, you want a close relationship with your sister. Where you tell each other everything. You don’t have that relationship now, because your sister is an addict (to hopium) and addicts are not available for relationships. Not deep ones anyway. It’s all about the latest installment of What Fuckwit Did Today. No one’s got time for that shit. We all see how that story ends.
So, flip the channel. When she starts on about him, “Is this relationship acceptable to you?” and “You’re making a choice to continue it.” AND CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Refuse to chase the unicorn with her.
“Hey, how about those peonies!” or “What’s (niece) up to right now?” or “Did you see my puppy meme?”
Light. Shallow stuff. Keeps the lines open, but doesn’t exhaust you with fuckwit drama. And bonus, it reminds her that there’s another world out there.
There’s also the hard line of detachment. “Sis, I can’t continue to watch you do this yourself and put your kids through this.” Don’t pick up the phone for the daily debriefing. It’s totally okay to hit “pause” for as long as you want.
It’s not your job to save her. (It’s noble and controlling the way codependents are.) Let’s pray she saves herself.