Shortly after New Year’s I accidentally found an email in our computer I couldn’t believe at first sight. The 31-year-old woman whom I had lived together with for 8 years, the woman I married 1 year and a half before that D-day, was cheating on me with another married man. He’s 10 years older, a public figure (a politician) that she started working for 6 months before the affair started. He’s got 3 kids, one of them just a few months old.
When I found the email, I was with my wife at home and decided to confront her immediately. She seemed more worried about how I heard or who told me about it, than remorseful. So I immediately kicked her out of home; I didn’t know she wouldn’t ever come back. I was going through a very stressful time at work (and probably an existential crisis) before the cheating, which were used against me by her a couple of times when we met to discuss the situation afterwards.
I now understand that all she was doing was blameshifting and gaslighting. But at the time I couldn’t fight back with good arguments since I was very sad. The funny thing is that we had talked about infidelity many times, sometimes even sharing our surprise of how commonplace it was among some of our friends. We did not only sign a legal commitment on our wedding, but most importantly an explicit verbal agreement as a couple that should we fall in love with someone else, we would tell each other before hurting ourselves harder.
Well, she broke the deal. She had sex with the other man on our couch, in his office, in an apartment… But of course the emotional cheating was the hardest thing. They shared meals, confidences about their marriages, etc. I can’t believe all this happen just weeks after we were talking about being ready to have children and what would be the best time to do it.
We spent Christmas and New Year’s at my hometown and she even facetimed him from my parents’. She pretended with my family as if nothing was going on. She also kept living with me as if nothing was happening. We even went furniture shopping during the affair. But the day I found out about the infidelity she swore she was planning to tell me in two days (after I had finished my Master’s thesis, which she was helping me with). The other man promised her he would leave his wife, which 5 months later he hasn’t done yet of course. Oh, I’d like so much to have a conversation with that woman…
The split-up has been the easiest part. Even though she was extremely hesitant the days after I found out, I told her I needed to know whether she wanted to try fix things with me or divorce and be with him. I needed her to be sorry before I could consider to fight for our marriage. First she told me she wasn’t sure of what she was doing, but when we met for the fourth and last time after the D-day, she told me she was in love with him, so I decided to go the divorce route.
I found a very good therapist who told me he didn’t think I should pursue any attempt of reconciliation, considering her first reaction was blameshifting and not regretting, but instead work on my “Meh”. He shares many views with you, although he strongly believes forgiveness has healing properties. I now don’t need her anymore, in fact I just strongly need to stop hearing about her.
The worst part has been the “no contact”, the legal shit and coping with our friends’ position. Because of my work in media, I must constantly hear of my hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-wife and her lover (and even see him on TV). My co-workers meet with her on a regular basis or talk to her on the phone sitting next to me. This is a small place and both my wife and her lover have an extremely good reputation in the community. Me, I left my hometown where I have all my closest friends and my small family to start a new family with her. I am 5-hours and a border away from my loved ones. Then the Covid-19 started and I haven’t been able to see my family in 6 months. My in-laws, who live close-by, were like parents to me. Now I have only spoken to my mother-in-law a couple of times by phone. She was extremely supportive, but of course, their daughter is their daughter.
Also, there’s the divorce… I can’t believe us, Chumps, have to be the ones to push that agenda. The laws in this country are not the same as in the US. We will save a lot of money, time and pain if we jointly file for the divorce. She agreed to do that, but she asked for time to get “financially and mentally ready”. She’s been very busy with the Covid-19 situation at work and hasn’t got back to my lawyer and me about the divorce yet. So after so many months I’m starting to think about going the unfriendly unilateral way.
So everything feels like a nightmare I should escape from. I have gone through a pandemic living alone for the first time in my life, I don’t have my loved ones here and I now hate my job because of the connection to my hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife. The few friends I have in this place don’t have a problem meeting me and providing activities to do, which is fine. However they feel like “she didn’t do nothing wrong to them”, so they keep also meeting her when they are not with me. It’s all very painful. Why not having a public and unanimous support hurts so much?
Sometimes I feel like leaving my job and going back to the hometown I left 12 years ago, where I still have a few old friends and a small family. At least I wouldn’t be hearing about her all the time. My shrink tells me I should wait, until I feel I am strong again, because now I would be only running away from something and not consciously planning my life. I’m also scared that I won’t easily find another job — considering the financial crisis — and I feel like I will be sadly living again with my parents being jobless at 34.
My therapist recommended watching the movie “Conversations with God” which didn’t help much. I certainly have already had enough but haven’t heard a single word from heaven yet… I really need my Tuesday.
What should I do?
Chump Far From Home
Dear Chump Far From Home,
Tell your shrink it’s OKAY to run away from bad things. Sensible even! If a tornado hit, would he RUN away from it? Yes, there is a pandemic right now, but there’s also YOUR crisis. And some places feel safer than other places. I totally understand why you’d want to be home surrounded by people who truly love you.
Considering a move now doesn’t make you a loser or a quitter. It makes you a man in crisis looking for shelter.
My shrink tells me I should wait, until I feel I am strong again, because now I would be only running away from something
Or maybe you’d be running TO something — authentic people.
Maybe “feeling stronger” right now is having a base of trusted people, instead of having to take your very wobbly post-D-Day self and wade through a bunch of strangers, at your most vulnerable, looking for support.
and not consciously planning my life.
A move is generally very consciously planned. It involves boxes and tape, and cancelling utilities and leases. It’s not something you do sleepwalking.
I’m also scared that I won’t easily find another job — considering the financial crisis — and I feel like I will be sadly living again with my parents being jobless at 34.
Look, you might be living with your parents at 34. The attitude with which you do it (if you do it) is up to you. Sad. Temporarily set back. Liberated. It might be all these things. You have to weigh the benefits (new start around people who love you) with the risks. (How soon until I find work? What kind of work?) But you absolutely do not need to tip the scales with shame and self-loathing.
I don’t know your financial situation, or your particular job skills, but I do know from running this blog and reading hundreds of thousands of chump stories — chumps get up again.
You have navigated the biggest shit show of your life. You’ve been dealt a life-altering trauma. And you’re being amazing. You are FIVE MONTHS out from D-Day! You’re showing up to work! You’re initiating a divorce! You’ve got a therapist! Sir, you are killing it.
You have the grit to take on ANYTHING after surviving this. A move. A job hunt. ANYTHING. Very few things in life will be as hard as what you’re dealing with now. So take comfort from that. Many people are never tested.
So if you want to go, make a plan. Maybe you live off savings for X months. Maybe you go back to school and consider a different profession. Maybe you retool the profession you have. Get a transfer with your existing job? I think chumps will succeed at most things because they are USED to being the Get Shit Done people in their personal lives. They work hard — but they’ve directed their energies to the wrong causes — reconciling with fuckwits.
You’re free of a fuckwit, so chart a new course. That makes you BRAVE. NOT a loser.
I now hate my job because of the connection to my hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife. The few friends I have in this place don’t have a problem meeting me and providing activities to do, which is fine. However they feel like “she didn’t do nothing wrong to them”, so they keep also meeting her when they are not with me.
These people are not your friends. What activities are they providing? Back stabbing? Yard darts?
You do not SHARE THE SAME VALUES. You’ve got empathy. They don’t. They’re getting a contact high from your drama. Cut these people OUT. Don’t sit next to them. Don’t drink with them. What a pack of vultures!
The other man promised her he would leave his wife, which 5 months later he hasn’t done yet of course. Oh, I’d like so much to have a conversation with that woman…
We will save a lot of money, time and pain if we jointly file for the divorce. She agreed to do that, but she asked for time
Oh hey, here’s an idea. Have your lawyer depose (or threaten to depose) her affair partner. That tends to get settlement talks moving.
Get your divorce, and then tell the other chump.
Whatever you choose, wherever you live, you have the tenacity to make a better life for yourself. But first lose the losers. Big hugs (( Far From Home)).