It has been 9 months since D-Day #2 and today would have been our 9th anniversary. A few days ago my STBXH made a public social media post about his mental health — admitting contemplating suicide, being in counseling and on meds — even (and this made me sick) making a vague reference to being sorry to those that he has hurt.
His struggles are well known to me, but I have been extremely careful not to tell our mutual friends about his fuckedupness and the role it played in destroying our marriage because it didn’t seem fair. I spackled for years and tried to support him with his problems. He was never cruel or abusive, but frequently checked out from me and our life together. He had two online affairs that he has admitted to, but I have good reason to suspect something happened IRL too — he was a champion breadcrumb-er. I learned early on that he needed frequent ego kibbles and would not tell me when something had happened, but go straight on social media for attention instead. He finally left me to the tune of I’m-unhappy-and-you-deserve-so-much-more — I do deserve better, but I still loved him and would have tried anything to make it work (classic chump).
So what has got me so frustrated is that this public post has had the desired effect and gathered him a lot of sympathy — including from our mutual friends. My problem is, in grade-A chump style, I was very sparing with the truth when I told our friends about the split — I know he won’t have told anyone the whole truth either. So here are our mutual friends knowing we have separated, but not that ‘separated’ actually means: he cheated on then dumped me when I dared to be upset, quit his job (essential making me homeless), and has been pretending I don’t exist for the past 6 months! I am worried that what they see is “oh poor him what a thing to go through alone, I bet the separation has done this to him!”
I was sooo very tempted to address this narrative on social media today (being our wedding anniversary), but at the same time, I don’t want to go around trying to destroy his friendships or just as bad destroy my own by seeming spiteful. Do I trust that friends will see through the woe-is-me victimhood or am I going to look like the heartless bitch who left him at his lowest? By keeping quiet am I still trying to protect him in other people’s eyes or just trying to avoid my own shame that I was a chump for so long?
Your blog and the stories you share have been a lifeline for me, I am working hard to stop trying to untangle that skein and finally reach ‘meh’ and that wouldn’t have been possible without your wisdom that there was nothing I could do to make things play out any differently since Cluster-B will be Cluster-B.
Thank you, best wishes in this weird time,
The truth is not “spiteful,” it’s just the truth. He cheated on you and dumped you. That’s the truth.
Who you choose to tell the truth to is YOUR choice. There are a few good reasons not to emotionally vomit raw honesty over everyone after discovery (although I’m convinced this part of chumpdom is pretty inevitable). Those reasons are: your own dignity; discretion that could favor you in a divorce settlement (if he were screwing a co-worker for example, and you needed a settlement before he got fired for it); your children’s feelings.
Out of those three examples, I’m still in favor of telling the truth. It’s all in how you deliver it. Example 1 — you can tell your story without embellishment. “Why are we divorcing? I didn’t like his girlfriend.” Or whatever pithy one-liner you’ve got. Example 2. Divorce settlement? Lower the boom when you’ve got one. (Tell the other chumps.) Example 3. Tell children in age-appropriate ways without editorializing so they’re not gaslighted, lest they think people just “fall out of love” and break up families for no reason.
Not a single of these examples is the truth being delivered “spiteful.” (And when it comes to infidelity, I’d still take spiteful truth over no truth. I learned I was a chump from the OW — and she wasn’t nice about it. I’m still glad I found out.)
Your ex fired you from the job of keeping his good opinion alive when he cheated on and abandoned you. You’re not his PR agent. Please tell the people closest to you what happened, so you can have their support. Outer rings of social media “friends” are not something I would worry myself about now.
I have been extremely careful not to tell our mutual friends about his fuckedupness and the role it played in destroying our marriage because it didn’t seem fair.
Being cheated on and abandoned is not fair. I don’t see your STBX tripping over himself concerning himself with a fair narrative.
You’re divorcing and there will be no “mutual friends”. I’m sorry. There are the people who know what he did and are okay with it. And those who know and are repulsed and support you. People who are okay with your abuse, being defrauded and abandoned, are not your friends. At most they are former social acquaintances.
I don’t know how close you are to these people, but if you can’t tell at least one of them about the most significant, awful thing that ever happened to you, I don’t think you’re that intimate.
The problem is, you’ve unwittingly abetted the campaign against you by staying silent. Fuckwits abhor a vacuum. So, he’s filling in his own self-serving narrative.
this public post has had the desired effect and gathered him a lot of sympathy
He cheated his way into this mess, and would like sympathy for his nebulous crisis? Poor sausage. Do you see the manipulation here? Misfortune has just mysteriously descended on him, like a bummer cloud. He suffers. He hints. Maybe he’s hurt someone? People jump on that grenade. “Oh no! I’m sure you’re okay. Staunch the flow of suffering at once!” He is absolved.
Much different than the TRUTH. I left my wife after she asked too many questions about my cheating. Then I quit my job to voluntarily impoverish myself before a divorce.
Much less sympathetic. See how that works?
Do I trust that friends will see through the woe-is-me victimhood or am I going to look like the heartless bitch who left him at his lowest?
You know what’s worse than being perceived as “heartless bitch”? Being fucked over in a divorce settlement. He’s already quit his job and abandoned you. Reach out and GET HELP. To a lawyer, to your family, to a legal aid society. Build a support team. Who cares what his friends think?
I wonder if you feel like you can’t speak of what happened because you think you can “nice” him into a fair divorce. You cannot. Forget HIS feelings — he didn’t consider yours! — forget his friends’ feelings — and PROTECT yourself.
He was never cruel or abusive, but frequently checked out from me and our life together. He had two online affairs that he has admitted to, but I have good reason to suspect something happened IRL too
Cheating is abuse. It’s risking your health and well-being. It’s financial abuse. He quit his job before the divorce. That’s all abuse.
By keeping quiet am I still trying to protect him in other people’s eyes or just trying to avoid my own shame that I was a chump for so long?
You have NOTHING to be ashamed about. He treated you appallingly. You’re divorcing. Be mad, grieve, cross-stitch “fuck” on to throw pillows — do anything, but don’t carry HIS shame.
Freedom begins with telling people what happened. You told us. Now tell the people who can support you (family, lawyer, those closest) and liberate yourself from Mr. Sadz today.