My husband and I were together for 8 years. We moved overseas together shortly after our wedding 2 years ago, so I could attend graduate school. He found a job in the new country and I thought we had a good life! Then, COVID happened, and since he was an essential worker, he began to get very stressed out and came home grumpy every night, using me as his personal therapist. My classes were completely online, so I took over all the housework, cooked all his meals, and just tried to make his home life as comfortable as possible.
Three months ago, he blindsided me with a phone call while I was out of town. He had spent the night in his coworker’s bed and even though “nothing happened but only because she didn’t want it to,” it made him realize that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. I booked a flight back to my home country that week so I wouldn’t be stuck with him during the second lockdown. I’m slowly but surely rebuilding my life and I consider the marriage over.
We talked a few weeks later and he revealed that he was now dating this coworker, and then insisted that I take 50% of the blame for our relationship failing! And that I’m responsible for not keeping our breakup amicable! He thinks that because he didn’t physically cheat on me before asking for a divorce, that he’s the good guy!
Why is he angry with me and shifting the blame? I am trying to take the high road since we can’t file for divorce for a year, but I really just want to put him in his place and make him see this from my perspective. Will he ever realize this on his own, will karma come back to bite him, or will I always be the evil ex who ruined his life?
Moved on but he’s stuck
Dear Moved On (but he’s a fuckwit),
Who cares? Sorry to smack you across the screen with some early morning flippancy, but really who cares what he thinks about you? He can think you’re the Duchess of Mountbatten. He’s going to think it on the other side of an ocean and out of your life inside his vacuous cranium.
Will he ever realize he’s the villain in this story? That he enjoyed your emotional support and hot-cooked meals while cheating on you with a co-worker and then ending an 8-year marriage with a cowardly phone call?
No. That’s highly doubtful. And it doesn’t matter, because he is your EX and his revelations (OMG, hot buttered toast!) are irrelevant.
I really just want to put him in his place and make him see this from my perspective.
You can’t. He has a vested interest in not getting it. Why should a splendid person admit fault? That’s a bummer, and he’s on a high right now with Lusty McCoworker. Also, to see things from your perspective would require empathy, which is exactly the quality one lacks if one fucks around on one’s wife.
The good news is, however, that you can put him in his place. With a divorce summons. And you’ve made considerable progress on this front — you left him and flew to another continent. Well done.
But you must let go of trying to make him see he’s a fuckwit. Remember the Dr. George Simon axiom — “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”
He had spent the night in his coworker’s bed and even though “nothing happened but only because she didn’t want it to,”
You realize that’s total bullshit impression management, right? Either he’s having a consensual relationship with his coworker, OR he’s in her bed and she doesn’t want him there and he’s a predator.
I sincerely doubt he’s copping to being a predator. He just wants you to believe that horny co-workers lie in bed chastely and read each other Winnie the Pooh bedtime stories. Because if you believe that line of undiluted nonsense, you’ll believe he’s Not The Bad Guy.
You want to convince him he is, because you don’t like being gaslighted.
He’s gaslighting you because HE KNOWS HE IS WRONG. Confident, truth-telling people don’t need to gaslight.
Look, in matters of politics, science, global climate change and what have you, it’s important to call out bullshit to the bullshitters. In your love life, however, GIVE UP. Speaking truth to stupid will make you crazy, and it’s exhausting, and that’s energy you need to build a new life and finish your degree. Trust me on this, he’s not going to repent. And if he did (he won’t), it doesn’t matter because what’s done is done.
As to your subject header, why is he mad at you? Being angry and blame-shifty at people you’ve wronged is as old as time. (See “Holocaust deniers” or “Jim Crow reconstruction.”) It’s also strategic. If he can get you to believe this is your fault, or as much your fault as his fault, then you won’t be demanding in the divorce settlement.
Collective eye roll here, from anyone who has ever divorced a narcissist, they’re exceptionally demanding and obstructionist during a divorce. But you, the chump, must know your place and not question the entitlement.
This is why we have lawyers. And a block function on our phones and email. Get your divorce. Don’t pull your punches on whatever you’re legally entitled to. And don’t waste your precious mental energy untangling his skein.
Finish your degree and invest in your new life. I predict your ex will be platonically cuddling another coworker before long, or my name isn’t Winnie The Pooh.