My story as chump began last December when I received a letter from my husband informing me that he had developed feelings for a close family friend and that they wanted to explore these feelings but only with my consent. He wouldn’t, of course, want to harm our family or me!
Now this doesn’t sound so terrible right? Kind of sounds respectful(-ish). Oh but there’s more. My reaction was devastation. I had noticed that they were texting like A LOT. She had been my friend and we all hung out a lot — her husband, kids and my family — so it was a bit weird. But my husband has always had a lot of very close female friends (cue red flag) that I had grumpily accepted. I mean, we’re talking female friends he would lend money too, drive their kids places and even once went on a trip with. Yes, I know I’m chumpy.
Well, I felt guilty not letting them have their love affair, but I said that given how he had romantically and sexually ignored me throughout most of our marriage that it didn’t seem fair for him to put energy into a new relationship when he should really be redirecting that into ours. He felt bad. He gnashed his teeth. He kept obsessing about her and how society and its norms were just so unfair. So I finally gave in. Stupid. Stupid me. Nearly immediately, I said hold up, I retract my consent. I feel replaced. I am not okay with this. You are hurting me. I get you might need this, but if so count me graciously out.
And then I started to snoop on his media… turns out my consent was never part of it. They were in deep emotional affair from the moment she told him that she had feelings for him. Conveniently he doesn’t believe in emotional affairs. Whenever I tried to bring up my concerns, boundaries, my pain, etc… he would go full stonewall for days forcing me to take care of the kids/household (not actually a new situation as his sad sausage game is strong) and just wonder if he would be able to get out of bed at some point.
I suggested no contact. No go. I started to notice that he would tell me one thing and her another. In fact, he seemed to lie about even little unimportant things. I started to wonder what else he had been lying about all these years. I realized that probably the only reason he told me about this OW was because she had an ethical bend and insisted upon it. Then she suggested no contact because she was just so ‘deep in love’ that she couldn’t ‘possibly be just friends with him’ as I insisted upon. Their two months of close time was enough to make lifelong commitments that threated my decades long marriage with 5 kids.
But no contact was ‘too hard’. He continued to lie, text her with ‘You will always be with me’ and other such drivel.
I started to feel like a horrible person keeping these two clearly star-crossed lovers apart, snooping on him (I feel really guilty about this) and generally crying so much that I caused inflammation on my face. I told him to just be with her but he doesn’t want to. I even asked the OW (who was one of my best friends) if she would like to be with him because I will happily step out of the way and she said “no, he’s abusive to you and once the shine wears off, he’ll probably be like that with me too.”
I kept giving him chance after chance after chance guided by wreckonciliation and hopium. But after every chance he slides back into communicating his undying love to her or trying to goad her into communication; they both do. I have started to make an exit plan because not only has he forbidden me from talking about this ever again but because I can’t believe a word he says.
Stop being so fucking gracious.
These people are emotionally stubbing cigarettes out on your face and you’re like, “Um, excuse me? I would not want to interfere with (stub, stub, sizzle….) your right to smoke (stub, stub, sizzle…. ), but you’re hurting me! (stub, stub, sizzle…)
it was a bit weird
I had grumpily accepted
I felt guilty
I finally gave in
I get you might need this
I started to feel like a horrible person
I will happily step out of the way
CCC, you’re reacting to their ABUSE with attempted, inauthentic “understanding” (you are not “happily” stepping out of way, you’re fucking devastated). Also, you mistakenly think demonstrating your pain will motivate them to stop.
Stub, stub, sizzle…
THEY DON’T CARE. THEY GET OFF ON IT.
The proper response to someone emotionally stubbing a cigarette out on your face is to (figuratively) get a threaded pipe and shatter their kneecaps.
No, I’m not suggesting actual violence — I’m saying find your inner Hells Angel and PROTECT YOURSELF. You fuck with me? You’ve fucked with the wrong person.
You want to try and humiliate me with your continued affair? Goad me into a pick me dance? Pretend to be my friend while screwing my husband? And then have the unmitigated gall to commiserate with me about it?
Whenever I tried to bring up my concerns, boundaries,
You don’t bring up a boundary — you enforce it.
You tried talking about your concerns and the answer was…. stub, stub, sizzle. More of the same abuse.
I know it is painful — incredibly painful — to connect the dots that their continued shittiness means THEY DON’T CARE AND THEY GET OFF ON YOUR PAIN. And you made terrible investments in terrible people (we’ve all been there. Millions of us, if blog numbers are to be believed.) But it comes down to YOU — are you going to continue to tolerate abuse, or are you going to put an end to it?
I know. It’s not fair and you have deep sunk costs. Long marriage, five kids.
Still the same question — is this acceptable to you?
I have started to make an exit plan
Excellent, but it sounds tentative to me, because this entire letter was couched in “Well, if you don’t mind” chump-speak. Well, I’ll enforce this boundary only if it works for you, could we calendar Wednesday? Does that work? No?
Boundaries do not require consensus. They are YOUR BOUNDARIES. You get to have them! Really!
Now, you’d be a bit of a diva if your boundary was over the wrong sort of mineral water. But even still, that would be your boundary. But you really, REALLY get to have a boundary over your fuckwit husband torturing you with his undying love for your former “friend.” No one is shoving that shit sandwich down your gullet without a fight.
He kept obsessing about her and how society and its norms were just so unfair.
Oh, so he reads Esther Perel, huh?
His can find it all “so unfair” bravely on an air mattress across town. Paying support. Divvying up the 401K. I mean, the man should be out there living his ideals, not bound by convention. Oh? That costs money? It would deprive him of a wife appliance? Funny how this now becomes YOUR new norm — his entitlement is natural and you should cater to it.
I received a letter from my husband informing me that he had developed feelings for a close family friend and that they wanted to explore these feelings but only with my consent. He wouldn’t, of course, want to harm our family or me!
UBT: She was going to out the affair to you. It was never about your consent. Please do not inflict consequences on them. You wouldn’t want to Hurt The Children!
Chumpy you thought you were part of the equation. You were never part of the equation. Nor was her husband or both sets of kids.
I even asked the OW (who was one of my best friends) if she would like to be with him because I will happily step out of the way and she said “no, he’s abusive to you and once the shine wears off, he’ll probably be like that with me too.”
UBT: He only treats you like shit. I’m far too special to be chumped, but I will happily play Fabulous Muse He Can’t Get Over.
CCC, slap the burning cigarettes from their hands. Step out of this Twu Wuv triangle from hell and save yourself.
It doesn’t get better.