When you discover cheating, how do you break the news?
I’m a strong person. I help domestic violence victims, I have an answer for everything. I don’t know left from right today.
Today I’m rereading emails my other half sent to a woman he believed was a Craigslist honey wanting to get naughty with him. ( I made an email address and messaged the Craigslist ad I suspected was him and low and behold….)
I took the opportunity to gently quiz him about his past with Craigslist, so “I know what to expect when we meet and am waiting to hear back what his sexual limits for the meeting will be” and he described other sexual adventures he ran off on while I was sitting at home 2 years ago pregnant and thinking I had this great future ahead of me with him.
The above mentioned time period is where I used to reflect back, to remind myself that he once loved me when I don’t understand why he’s indifferent and withdrawn. He’s withdrawn because he’s focused on porking pigs.
I am braced for the retaliation and epic smear campaign that is going to happen when I approach him. I’m just not sure how to break the newsflash to him.
Thank you for all your writings. They have helped me wrap my brain around this situation and lace up my F.U. combat boots.
Oh hey, why don’t you “break the news” to him in the kind, gentle way in which he broke it to you?
Sucker punch him.
Line up your ducks and see a lawyer, so you can hit him hard and fast on your way out the door. Unfortunately, that means being a very good actress for a little while.
The first thing you must do is disabuse yourself of the notion that you’re going to have a nice chat about his Craigslist adventures, and he’ll see sense and recommit to his marriage and family. That’s not going to happen. (And on the very small chance you could have a unicorn, it’s not going to happen without severe consequences.) Start lining up the consequences and PROTECT YOURSELF.
You already seem to know what you’re dealing with if you think he’ll react with a “smear campaign.” All the more reason to prepare carefully.
A) Don’t confront him. He will just take his affairs underground. He’s demonstrated how deceptive he is. All the Reconciliation Industrial Complex advice aside, having an “honest conversation” about his extracurriculars, “Hey honey, tell me how your needs for stranger sex weren’t being met…” — is setting yourself up for MORE manipulation.
Manipulation has been his strategy all along. Why would he change tactics now when so much is at stake? His goal has been cake — his affairs and his chump. He will cycle through the three channels — rage, self-pity, and charm — to keep you in your place.
B) Know your deal-breakers and grieve later. Don’t get caught up in who you thought he was, or who he could be — deal with WHO HE IS — a man who is brazenly cheating on you, and risking your health. (And who risked your health while you were pregnant.) It’s normal that you’ll still feel some love for him and raw emotion that your family life, as you thought it was, has died. Don’t let those feelings paralyze you or get in the way of you protecting yourself. It’s time to be a field marshall. You can fall apart later, in safety.
C) Get your finances in order. While you’re lining things up, make copies of all your financial documents. Run a credit report. Figure out your debts and your income. Do some sleuthing if you suspect he’s been siphoning off funds for his double life. Sadly, financial abuse often goes hand in hand with infidelity. These are monies you can ask for back in a divorce. Check out Vickie Adam’s blog My Divorce Financial Planner for more guidance.
D) Get a support network. You are dealing with a monumental shock and you need all kinds of support now. Get some IRL support — your own therapist to help you enforce your boundaries (not a marriage counselor), a trusted friend or family member(s), a church community, if you’re religious — it’s okay to lean on others now. That’s how you get through crises. Do NOT, however, lean on your husband. You will fight an overwhelming urge to seek comfort from the person who hurt you — resist those feelings. They make you vulnerable to more manipulation, the consequences of which could be very costly.
E) Get STD testing. Cheaters live in a magical reality. Don’t trust a cheater to have safe sex.
F) Be the Sane Parent. When the going gets tough, focus on being strong for your kid(s) right now. Model self respect and resiliency to them. Don’t model codependent chumpdom. Their dad is checked out of family life — you can’t afford to be. They need you to have your wits about you.
Jenn, I’m sure Chump Nation will weigh in with more suggestions. But, for now, I hope these help you lace up those Fuck You boots and march forward into a new, cheater-free life. ((Big HUGS))
Happy Memorial Day weekend, CN! Your Friday Challenge is to share your best exit strategy advice.