How I wish I had found your book and website before I read Shirley Glass’s sexist, apologist Not Just Friends with him or spent $600 for him to charm a couples’ counselor into telling me that we “clearly share[d] one of the most special bonds” she had seen, yadda yadda yadda. So much pain could have been avoided. Half of these UBT emails may as well have been lifted verbatim from his own missives.
On the other hand, I likely would not have found out the full extent of the cheating, lying, and betrayal had I left on the first D-Day, when the cop was only to “emotional cheating” and a drug relapse. I’m grateful for that because at least I have no lingering thoughts of “what if,” and no one in my life is under the illusion that he’s anything but a piece of garbage and complete scam artist they should not come within a 1,000-mile radius of.
I no longer want to be with him. He disgusts me. I think back to how he used to embarrass me when I brought him around my friends and family with horror. I can’t believe a catch like me ever gave the time of day to a loser like him, let alone years of my life. Moreover, I now understand that what I once missed was the idea of him and the future that I was planning for us when he was bullshitting me into believing we were once-in-a-lifetime soulmates.
Since leaving him (he forced me to be The Bad Guy for my own sanity. Sure, he moved out of our shared apartment without telling me while I was away, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t still date, like we used to), I am so much better off. I’ve gotten professional accolades and promotions, I was in the best shape of my life [before the pandemic], I reengaged in my hobbies, I reconnected with friends and family from whom he isolated me. He actually tried to sabotage my career because he “resented” that I was more successful than he was. I mean, this is not a good guy! As luck would have it, he compromised his own career due to his dishonesty and lack of integrity, and is now in tens of thousands of dollars of debt and being supported financially by one of the Other Women (he constantly threw in my face how she was actually more successful than I, so, by the transitive property, shouldn’t that make him resent her more?).
And yet… it’s over eighteen months on, I’m in a healthy relationship with someone I trust completely (we’re taking it slow), and I am still overcome with feelings of rage about the injustice of it all. Why did I have to spend so much time in counseling, reading books, working out, piecing my life back together, moving apartments, relieving myself of the fault I shouldered for the demise of our relationship, crying in the bathroom at work, dealing with debilitating stress migraines, having flashbacks to his rages, trying to grow as a person, when he got off scot-free? Why does he get to pretend I, and the life we built together, never existed? Why does one of the OW he trashed-talked the entire time we were together get to live without the pain I experienced? Why does she get to live the fantasy? Why do his friends, who were also my friends, not see him for the fraud he is? Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him? Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost? Why isn’t he groveling? Why am I writing to you now, a stranger on the internet, over a year later? I don’t feel Meh about him. I feel like I want him to be strapped to a board with barbed wire and forced to watch everything he loves in the world be destroyed. Because that’s how I felt when I learned my whole life was a lie.
I realize I’m asking you a question without an answer. And I must admit that it felt a little cathartic just to write it all out. I know he doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in my head, or my nightmares, recently. Isn’t there just some magic pill I can take to feel indifference already? What is wrong with me that I haven’t been able to?
It’s Still Just So Unfair
Dear It’s Still Just So Unfair,
At some point you’ve got to decide between justice and meh.
I’m telling you, as a survivor of this shit — choose meh.
Meh is my shorthand for acceptance. Take back your power and decide that this person no longer has the power to hurt you. Be grateful he isn’t actively in your orbit hurting you or those you care about. (People who bred with fuckwits have a MUCH harder row to hoe.)
People who have the power to hurt you are people you are invested in. People whose good opinion of you matters. You are no longer invested in him, and know he’s a fraud, so why internalize a bozo’s judgement?
If you get hung up on the injustice — and it is a real injustice — it’s absolutely traumatizing to be chumped — you will be tethered to a situation you don’t control. A powerlessness that feels a lot like being partnered with a fuckwit, really.
You don’t control justice, unless you mean revenge, which I discourage. And I’m not waving that off lightly. As I’ve written here before, I am peace, love and granola, but I had vivid fantasies of gutting my cheater with a fish knife. Stem to stern.
But why would I throw my life away for a fuckwit? Why should you? Their punishment is being them. People don’t have character transplants. Their crappy character and shit life skills follow them forever. Leave it to the laws of natural consequences — the arc can be LONG, but it’s there.
Focus on what you DO control — you. Meh is something you can strive for and achieve. Karma for fuckwits, not so much.
I don’t know if you ever truly feel indifferent about being chumped (says the woman who’s been writing a blog about infidelity for 8 years…) but you can accept that it happened, and you can rise above it. That’s a battle worth waging — gaining the new life. Meh just creeps up on you over time, as the new life eclipses the old life.
Read here awhile and thank your lucky stars that you don’t have deeper sunk costs. A $600 shrink bill is galling. Try 20 years and two kids. Try being a 50-year-old SAHM trying to re-enter the workplace. Or a man who had to paternity test his children. It’s not the Pain Olympics, but some perspective helps.
Now to your questions.
Why did I have to spend so much time in counseling, reading books, working out, piecing my life back together, moving apartments, relieving myself of the fault I shouldered for the demise of our relationship, crying in the bathroom at work, dealing with debilitating stress migraines, having flashbacks to his rages, trying to grow as a person, when he got off scot-free?
You’re a person of substance who connects. Ergo it’s painful to disconnect. He’s a human ball of dryer lint. He didn’t get off “scot-free”, he has no substance. There’s no pain because there’s no substance.
Do not wish to be dryer lint.
Why does he get to pretend I, and the life we built together, never existed?
He can pretend anything he wants. He can dress up like the Marquess of Salisbury and have tea parties. Don’t concern yourself with what fuckwits think.
Why does one of the OW he trashed-talked the entire time we were together get to live without the pain I experienced?
You don’t know that. She’s trying to connect with human dryer lint. That will either be painful eventually, or she too is human dryer lint and they’re a match.
Not. Your. Problem.
Why does she get to live the fantasy?
Are there scones at the tea party?
Why do his friends, who were also my friends, not see him for the fraud he is?
These people are not your friends.
Why isn’t his mother, who loved me, pissed at him?
She probably wants someone to take him off her hands. And he fucked it up.
Why does he not realize how good he had it and how much he lost?
Because he doesn’t value good people, he uses them. He found someone else to use, so in his world, that’s not losing. That’s changing hosts.
Why isn’t he groveling?
Pray that he doesn’t. If he circles back, he wants to use you. Shut that shit down.
Why am I writing to you now, a stranger on the internet, over a year later?
Well, I’m kinda winsome.
I don’t feel Meh about him. I feel like I want him to be strapped to a board with barbed wire and forced to watch everything he loves in the world be destroyed.
Before you gut him with a fish knife? I’ve had that fantasy.
What gets destroyed? His favorite sports jersey?
He doesn’t love like you love. He doesn’t live in this world as you live in it. Destruction doesn’t register.
Because that’s how I felt when I learned my whole life was a lie.
His whole life is a lie.
He’s never going to be shocked like you were shocked because his whole life is a LIE. The guy is a fraud. He has no world to destroy, because every world he inhabits is FAKE. See point #1 — you have substance, you connect. He’s not you.
I realize I’m asking you a question without an answer. And I must admit that it felt a little cathartic just to write it all out. I know he doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in my head, or my nightmares, recently.
The nightmares often come much later in the chump experience. When you’re safe and can start processing. I still have the occasional nightmare. Just realize it for what it is — healing.
Isn’t there just some magic pill I can take to feel indifference already?
No contact and keep building a new life. The liberation campaign can take quite a bit of time. Sounds like you’re navigating it really well! Excelling at work, being in great shape, taking it slow with a new guy. Great work!
What is wrong with me that I haven’t been able to?
Nothing is wrong with you. Give it time and keep investing in your new life. One day (it’s a Tuesday) the pain goes away. It’s finite. I promise.