I guess you can say I’m a chump-variant in that I had a runaway cheater. Married over 24 years to someone I thought was my best friend of over 26 years, D-day came the day after Christmas 2009. He moved out within the next month and was gone from my life forever. This was all pre-Chump Lady. I discovered Chump Lady just 1 month after my divorce was finalized. The blog has helped me immensely.
A few years after the divorce, I met a fellow chump who was married 16 years before his own D-day. He has 4 grown children and is a successful attorney.
A few years ago, his daughter who lives 2 hours away and is a single mom asked for his help with childcare. Initially he would go there a few days during the week, but eventually he was gone from Sunday evening until Friday morning. He often came back during the week for client meetings. I was happy he was a developing better relationship with her because he had experienced the alienation of his children after his own divorce. I had my job, house/garden work/hobbies and friends to keep me busy while he was gone.
This past September, he moved to a new apartment. On moving day, in walks a woman I’d never met and introduces herself as his girlfriend of 5 years – I’d known him for 7 years!
I looked at him and said, “you know my husband cheated on me and your wife cheated on you.” The other girlfriend chimed in saying, “and my first husband cheated on me.”
I looked at him and said “what’s the matter with you?” and walked out the door. Outside the other girlfriend and I discovered that she had been told he had to watch the grandchildren on weekends therefore, she saw him Sunday evening through Friday morning. HE NEVER LEFT TOWN. This deceit went on for years and among other things it’s disgusting that he used his grandchild as an excuse for his elaborate lie.
About a 1.5 years into our relationship we broke up for a few months and that is when he started to date her. That’s fine with me but don’t look me up and continue to date me when you’ve started another relationship. She’s a widow and they are both 72; I’m 56. According to her he was a sex addict but he wasn’t like that with me.
Now there were other times when we broke up for a few months & the other girlfriend at times also had some break up time with him. As far as we were both concerned, that is when he could have made a complete break with either one of us but didn’t.
I would even help him pack his overnight bag and put it into his trunk. He would go to his office every day and back to her house for dinner and spend the night. I would spend weekends at his house as he wasn’t thrilled with my cats. When he looked me up during the week (me thinking he was back in town for a meeting) it was because she was either away or had evening plans that didn’t include him – cards, choir practice, dinner with her grandkids, visiting out of town relatives, etc. Also, she never once in 5 years went to his place because he told her it was messy. No, it was because there were the usual signs that he had a girlfriend. Who dates someone that long & never sees their place?
When the shutdown started a year ago he stopped going out of town because his daughter thought he would be safer at his own place. Everyday for the next 2 ½ months I went to his house to make supper & spend time together. At the end of May he resumed his out of town travel. Comparing notes again with the other girlfriend, he told her he spent all that time at his daughter’s house. Remember HE NEVER LEFT TOWN.
Ok, so he is a horrible person and I was chumped. But I have a PhD in Chump Lady Studies and knew what to do and what not to do. I gave the other girlfriend my copy of “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” and for the next several weeks we spoke and texted daily about being chumped.
On many occasions she pleaded for me to let her know if he ever contacted me. On my birthday she stopped by with a plant. As she was leaving she said, she really stopped by because since it was a Saturday, she was sure she’d find him at my house! He did contact me three times about returning some items, but all three times I was BIFF and told him to leave them on my porch when I wasn’t home. I also let the other girlfriend know he had called me.
Well, after as few weeks, she started to ghost me. At first I figured our relationship had run its course, I mean how much more was there to talk about and many times the conversations left me feeling drained, because I thought I had a real relationship after a devastating divorce.
She contacted me to say that he had come over and that they had been talking. I felt totally used by her and told her so as it appeared that she was “babysitting” me with calls/texts and get togethers with her and her girlfriends because if I was spending time with her, I wasn’t with him. I immediately blocked the two of them.
As you and all of your followers know, it feels awful to be chumped and I have to admit it did set me back with my divorce healing. But thanks to your site and my therapist I’m handling it the best I can. My therapist actually suggested I tell you my story as I often bring up the site during my sessions. It sucks that we are still dealing with the pandemic as it keeps me from bumping into others and spreading the word about how awful he is.
Chumpy me thought other chumps felt the same way about cheating. It makes we wonder if he was the cheater in his marriage. I also thought my Chump Lady education would help a fellow Chump but she wasn’t ready to hear the truth.
I’m very sorry that happened to you. Sociopaths walk among us. Along with their entourage of desperate pick-me dancers.
My guess is that your ex-boyfriend wasn’t a chump, he was a cheater. This kind of finesse at a total double life is not a skillset you pick up late in life. It’s the sort of abomination you perfect over a lifetime.
In “The Sociopath Next Door,” psychologist Martha Stout says one tell of a sociopath is that they lead with self-pity. What we’d call here a sad sausage tale of woe. He wasn’t the bad actor. He was acted upon. A victim.
Chumpdom is a powerful card to play with a mark who is, in fact, a chump. Oh look! My experience mirrors your experience. I suffer as you have suffered.
It gives you a shortcut to judge his character. Sociopaths love such disguises. The embezzling Eagle Scout. The sinister minister.
My serial-cheater ex told me he’d been chumped twice. Of course, at that point, I was completely naive, so I took him at his word. Poor man. I’d like to think my experience now as an actual chump would suss him out, but maybe not. (He spoke a lot about not being “bitter.” And was very fuzzy on his timelines. Post-D-day, I questioned his story. Turns out he considered himself “betrayed” because his ex-wives left his cheating ass and later married other men, which incensed him. Real charmer.)
As for the Other Woman faux friend there. Ugh. What a desperate piece of work she is. What you took as solidarity, she saw as surveillance. So she could police your comings and goings. But now she’s won! Her remaining years on this planet will be GPSing his droopy balls. Oh where is my sex addict tonight? Depositions or dating sites? Well, so long as he’s home for dinner.
Thank God you’re not her. Hurt1, you navigated this nightmare brilliantly. The minute you found out, you cut him out. And the minute you discovered her frenemy schtick, you cut her out too. WELL DONE. A+++ on the boundaries.
Please don’t fault yourself for being the good sort of person who reaches out to another in crisis. You assumed she was on the same page. Not everyone learns from this crap. You grew after your divorce. You learned your self-worth and how to enforce boundaries. When faced with another D-Day, you field marshaled yourself OUT.
Frenemy had a D-Day, and faced with a crisis, she didn’t lead with character. She led with weakness. With OW competitiveness. With deceit. It won’t end well for her.
Now then, about chump identity. Is she really a sister chump? What happened to her (and to you) was wrong. She was a victim of his manipulations and double life. She was, in fact, chumped. As we say here a lot, you don’t control what happens, just how you choose to react. And that says a lot about who you are. Frenemy shares your experience, but not your character, or your growth.
I hope that everyone who is chumped becomes more compassionate as a result. Especially towards their fellow chumps. I’ve written that after a D-day, “You never be smug again, and that makes you less of an asshole than 99 percent of the general populace.”
Sadly, some people choose Team Asshole. Some people would rather be a satellite to the narcissist than their own person. Some people don’t grow from the experience.
On the whole, however, I think most chumps are good people, if only because fuckwits choose top-shelf kibble. The person who’ll hold up more, who brings their best into a relationship, who will do all the adulting. Fuckwits believe they deserve the best. Chumps not so much. My work here is usually convincing people that they deserve better than a fuckwit.
Frenemy must feel she can’t do better than a fuckwit. Or a fuckwit is better than nobody. And her character is such that she’ll deceive you to win a fuckwit.
The person I feel sorriest for here is his daughter. She never did get that pandemic childcare.