My beautiful, intelligent daughter has now joined the ranks of lovable trusting Chumpdom. She’s a Chump Off the Old Block. I left her father 10 years ago after he cheated for the umpteenth time. I did the “let’s wait and see” for years, which is exactly what she’s doing now. I’m not sure what to say to her, but I did give her your book which she hasn’t started reading yet. Not sure that she will.
Her boyfriend of two years and her BEST FRIEND hooked up. All three of them were at his place watching TV and the friend and boyfriend were drinking. My daughter went home around 10 p.m. because she had a job interview the next day and her friend, who was already drunk by this time, stayed there. The friend and boyfriend drank even more and ended up in bed.
The following week the friend dropped the bomb on my daughter. The friend is blaming it mostly on the boyfriend whom she says pressured her into it. While the boyfriend is blaming the friend for plying him with drinks and crawling into his bed. And of course he says he can hardly remember anything about that night (insert eyeroll).
My daughter has pretty much decided it was the friend’s plan to do this and screw up her relationship because she’s always been jealous. Which may have some truth to it BUT the boyfriend participated! “But he was drunk and didn’t know what he was doing,” says my daughter, “so it’s not really cheating.” And now she wants to excommunicate the friend and MOVE IN with the boyfriend. He says he’ll stop drinking and go to counseling. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, her father.
She has no kids with this guy or financial entanglements, other than both of these bottom feeders are on my daughter’s phone plan. She is gorgeous, kind, and generous. She deserves way better! I don’t know how to get through to her and I blame myself for not preparing her for this kind of garbage, plus setting a bad example by staying with her father for so long. What can I say and do? Feeling useless.
Dear Chump Mom,
Sometimes the best teacher isn’t mom, but life. Mom lectures, life kicks you in the teeth.
My great-grandmother had a saying (probably harsher in its original German): “If you do not listen, then you must feel.”
Implore all you want, she’s choosing to feel her lesson. Garbage Boy stays on the phone plan.
She’s making a mistake a lot of chumps make after discovery — she’s blaming everyone but him. (And of course, he’s probably blaming everyone but him too.) It’s the Other Woman’s fault. She was jealous! She seduced him! It’s alcohol’s fault. Gosh, if we just address the drinking problem, we’ll solve the fucking around problem too!
No. Garbage Boy made CHOICES. He has agency. It wasn’t alcohol that made him forget he had a girlfriend, it was his shitty character and sense of entitlement. He felt entitled to stay and party after his girlfriend left, he felt entitled to keep drinking, and he felt entitled to fuck his girlfriend’s best friend.
Of course, connecting those dots — that he CHOSE to harm her, it wasn’t a Thing That Just Happened Because Reasons — is tremendously painful. So best to think he didn’t deliberately and with aforethought devalue her. Too scary. And what do chumps do with scary things? We try to CONTROL them. So, she’ll drag him off by his hairy ear to therapy.
And now she wants to excommunicate the friend and MOVE IN with the boyfriend. He says he’ll stop drinking and go to counseling.
Yeah, funny how he’s not the one excommunicating the “friend” — she is. There’s your sorry. He’s not invested in fixing this, SHE is. He “says he’ll go”? Wow. Big heavy lift!
First off, even if he was interested in getting a handle on his demons (he’s not, see lack of remorse above), a person struggling to get sober is NOT an available partner. Addiction is their partner. It’s a messy break-up. (But more likely, a continuing on-again, off-again passion). The chump is peripheral. Healthy people don’t stay with UNAVAILABLE unhealthy people. Wish him the best with his recovery, go get a new life. If you’d like to revisit this decision in, like, 5 years and see how that sobriety sticks? Okay, but I doubt you’ll want to.
Mom, I totally understand why you want to stop her. And I totally understand (even if your daughter doesn’t) that modeling chumpdom set a family dynamic of Love The Loser, and Make Your Needs Microscopic. She’s reliving that shit with Garbage Boy only THIS time, she’s going to WIN the pick me dance. Tragic, but remember, she’s CHOOSING this crap. She’s knows what he is. So, she’s no longer a chump, but a hopium addict chasing a unicorn. Don’t blame yourself for her shitty choices — remember you also set a GOOD EXAMPLE and left your cheater. So, hopefully at some point, so will your daughter.
Remember, we don’t control other people. Just ourselves. You can speak your truth (“I don’t like Garbage Boy”), you can enforce your boundaries (“Garbage Boy isn’t welcome in my home, but you are”), you can change the subject (“How are your peonies?”), you can remind her of who SHE is, (“You’re so great at growing peonies!”), you can let go and Let Her Feel the consequences of her decisions, (“Cool. Bummer. Wow.”) and you can be there with the station wagon and hugs when she inevitably moves out.
On the off chance you show this letter to your daughter, the rest of my advice goes to her:
Dear Chump Chip,
Check your cell phone plan. Could it be that Garbage Boy and former BFF have communicated beyond that a one-night drunken stand? You have the receipts.
Please get an STD check. If your boyfriend forgets where he puts his dick, then he can’t rightfully tell you if he’s ever done this before.
Alcoholics make terrible partners. So do people in recovery, because breaking up with addiction is where their energy needs to go. Not you.
Beautiful and intelligent you deserves better than these loser “friends.” Ask yourself why these relationships are acceptable to you? Frankly, even if you’re moronic and leprous, you deserve better than these loser “friends.”
You’re probably going to choose wrong. (BTDT, wrote the blog.) We’re here for you.
I never learned much from listening either. The shit-kicks from life’s thug-booted mistress though?
Hope you’re a quick study.