Yesterday I was speaking with a friend of mine who is now 82 and she mentioned she had moved to the nearby senior citizen home to take care of the person who had abandoned her for another woman. The abandonment took place over 30 years earlier.
I wouldn’t be wondering about it, but this is now the third time I have heard about this from friends/acquaintances.
The first time was someone I see about every 10 years, so I don’t follow her life closely. She told me she had left her husband for beating her and cheating on her, but her kids were now trying to get her to return to him after a 20-year absence. He was now sick and dying and since she was retired … could she find it in her Catholic heart to forgive and move back in to care for him in his dying days.
The second time was a co-worker. We were discussing retirement since we were both over 65. She mentioned she had allowed her cheating ex to move back in with her — again because he was dying and she had forgiven him and felt she had to take care of him til ‘death do us part.’
Do I just have unusual friends/acquaintances or is this more common than I thought?
PS: I am now old, but I read your forum because it has given me more understanding of so much in my life.
Dear Emma C,
I can recall one person on this blog who did this, but I hope to God this is a generational thing and the Must Change the Bedpan of the Man Who Beat Me mindfuck goes extinct.
Oh wait, the Senate is trying to ram handmaiden Amy Coney Barrett on to the Supreme Court. So, alas, vicious misogyny is alive and setting court precedents for another generation. (Chump Lady excuses herself to go pour herself a tumbler full of vodka. At 7 a.m. No, not really. CL doesn’t drink. But she is considering it, along with immigration to Canada. Any sponsors out there?)
Back to caretaking cheaters.
Is this a Thing? Yes. Should it be a thing? NO.
Abusers have FIRED YOU from the job of caretaking them. When they cheat, hit, abandon, the contract is BROKEN. You have ZERO obligation to uphold a broken contract with someone who harmed you.
But, but Jesus!
When Moses led the exodus out of Egypt, he didn’t circle back 20 years later so Jews could return to slavery. HE STAYED GONE.
I understand the chump mindfuck completely. Be the Bigger Person. Through the love and care you are showing this shitty person, they will see the light. They will appreciate you and you will be the Saintly Person whose goodness overcame Bad Things. The narrative is rewritten. The Bad Things ended on a devoted note of reconciliation and Above-It-Ness.
How could you fear the shitty person now? They are so fragile. So weak. So vulnerable. There’s nothing to fear! See what a silly goose you were.
Yo! Caretaking chumps everywhere! THEY DO NOT APPRECIATE YOU. THEY ARE USING YOU.
You were of use as a spouse appliance (until you weren’t) and now you’re of use as a caretaking appliance. When you were vulnerable, how did they treat you?
Do you know how much money is saved by family caregivers? BILLIONS. It’s money the state is not spending on indigent care. Oh, the children encouraged it? Of course they did, that’s time and money THEY are not spending. If you modeled chumpdom to them for decades, well, there’s probably a reason they feel entitled to ask.
This is why the Gain a Life portion of the Leave a Cheater message is so important. And maintaining utter NO CONTACT. You don’t need the validation of this horrible creep to know you are a good and worthy person. You have a LIFE. A precious, rebuilt life. And when you are 60, 70, 80 time is a very precious commodity. There are a BAZILLION better things you could be doing with your time. More worthy causes. (Picketing the Supreme Court comes to mind…) More worthy people to caretake! If you’re trying to earn points with Jesus, choose another sick and dying person to help out and leave the cheater to the NATURAL CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR CHOICES.
Pity the sad sausage. Is there no one to mop your fevered brow and pay your hospital bill?
Oh right. That’s because you chucked your faithful wife and mother of your children for a cheap pussy buffet.
Did Schmoops not hang around for this part? You chose shallow. Examine that with your God as you lay dying.
Back to you, Emma C.
I think your friends are tragic. And if they were my friends, I’d give them a bitchslap. Caretaking abusers does not make them admirable. It makes them objects of pity.
You’re never too old to reject the mindfuck.
Or a needy cheater.
I hope they start today.