I’m reading your book, follow your blog and Facebook page religiously, have a local tribe of chumps for support, I attend therapy weekly and exercise like it’s my job. I have a full-time job and a part-time job, I have a lawyer, meditate, do yoga, pray, I’m in the process of adopting a puppy for my two children and myself. I’m doing everything that I can to help myself.
However, I still love my husband. The man that abandoned our kids and me to stick it in some cheap tramp from his office (a.k.a. sewer rat). I’m a good mom, a good wife, I’m educated, I’m cute, I’m fit, I don’t have any addictions, my house is clean and tidy, all the bills are paid, we have savings, careers, my credit score is 805, no criminal convictions. I’m a good cook, have good manners, travelled and have healthy and satisfying sex life. Our home is happy and have good, smart, beautiful kids. I don’t understand what have I done to deserve this.
See Tracy, I’ve been chumped twice. FW1 cheated on me with the office tramp, I dumped him quickly and swiftly after 7 years of marriage. Then FW2 cheated on me with the sewer rat ending a 13 year marriage, 16 together. They both were military men that are used to high octane action and with delusions of grandiosity. They both had everything at home, yet they threw it all out for a cheap piece from the office. Both had apologized. I never took FW1 back, FW2??? I took him back just for him to ditch me again 2 years later because “he is never going to be the man I deserve” and he feels “guilty and ashamed” and that “he deserves happiness and so do I” and that “ I’m the best woman in the world, and want to remain friends” and a bunch of other dreck. I’m embarrassed that I will soon be two divorces down. You can ask both FWs and they will tell you I was perfectly fine, fulfilled my all of my duties and that it was actually them, so why did they cheat on me? The common denominator is me.
For the last 3 weeks FW2 has been spending most of the weekend with us being Mr. Wonderful. He buys me gifts, takes us out, fixes stuff around the house. He bought a bunch of stuff to start a garden. I now cook for him, we have sex and then he leaves until the next weekend. The days in between are unbearable, I don’t text him or call him (I’ve only called him once in 4 months for a child‘s medical emergency). So the ball is always in his court for him call, text and visit.
We have to wait a year in my state to file, so I’m stuck here in the land of limbo, toking the pipe of hopium, hoping for (another) reconciliation. He texts me here and there, but nothing romantic. He said that he loves me a couple of times (I said nothing back), he compliments me too, but we have not talked about where I stand. To be honest, I’m afraid to ask and I’m burying my head in the sand not wanting to know where he is at or with whom to protect not only my mental health, but also my stupid irrational hope. He is doing better lately and I am thinking that perhaps he is slowly re-introducing himself back into our lives. I don’t see why would he do any of this otherwise, and I do want my family back. Is he an unicorn? or malignant narcissist? Please help me Chump Lady!
Regards from purgatory,
Queen of Chumps
Dear Queen of Chumps,
It doesn’t matter what he is — a unicorn, a malignant centaur, a left-handed Presbyterian — it matters what you’ll tolerate.
Apparently, he can cheat on you, be forgiven, do it again, abandon you — and still come back for home-cooked dinners and sex. This is working for him. Your agony is beside the point. He’s got cake.
And you’re either okay with that, or you’re not.
I’m doing everything that I can to help myself.
No you are not. You’re allowing him into your life. No contact is the #1 thing you can do for yourself that you’re not doing.
However, I still love my husband.
And your husband loves your husband. And that OW. And the one before her. And you love him. How wonderful to be your husband.
Look, I don’t mean to be flippant (it just oozes out of me naturally, like pus), but no one here partnered with someone they hated. You have a 16-year investment with this man and two children and a big chumpy heart. Of course you love him, you bonded. You built a whole life around this person. I’m not asking you to do a simple thing (leave a cheater, gain a life), I’m asking you to do an essential, life-saving thing — love yourself more than this person who keeps hurting you.
Think about this — you’re knocking yourself out at being practically perfect in every way — and he has not one IOTA of shame coming back after he abandoned his family. Hey, pass the mashed potatoes, he’ll have a second helping. He feels absolutely entitled to sit at that table, physically and metaphorically.
Is he racked with self-loathing? Second-guessing? Anxiety at what you’ll do next?
No. He’s in the power seat, secure in the knowledge that you still want him.
I don’t understand what have I done to deserve this.
You did nothing to deserve this. And your perfect credit score, fit body, and tidy house have nothing whatsoever to do with why he cheated. Those things don’t protect you. We are all vulnerable in love because we do not control the investment of the other person. He had it good, and it wasn’t enough. He thought he deserved more. That’s about HIM and his entitlement. Some people don’t have it good. They have messy houses and fat rear ends and frizzy hair and it’s enough. They’re loved anyway. I’m sorry about the injustice of that, but there is no CAUSATION between imperfection and being chumped.
And who the fuck is he to set the measure of your worth? Why would you give him that power?
I’m embarrassed that I will soon be two divorces down.
Don’t be. We don’t control the investment of another person. We don’t control their sanity, their sobriety, or their penchant for office mates of loose morals. We just control ourselves.
People who are judgy about divorce? Fuck them. My feeling is, get your card punched as many times as it takes to find a worthy partner. You don’t divorce a cheater because you don’t value marriage. You divorce a cheater precisely because you DO value marriage — and you refuse to live a sham.
There certainly are people who should feel ashamed about their divorces (people like your husband), but they don’t. Given that the world at large doesn’t care to get into the messy particulars, why does anyone judge divorce? Why should you?
You sound like a hard-driving, achieving sort of person and I understand not wanting to fail at something. And I’m sure FW#2 knows this about you, and that works for him. You’ll try harder. You’ll stick it out. That’s your go-to move for life’s adversity. So, let’s redirect that impulse. Try harder at YOU. Commit to you. Don’t fail you.
FW2 has been spending most of the weekend with us being Mr. Wonderful. He buys me gifts, takes us out, fixes stuff around the house. He bought a bunch of stuff to start a garden.
Raise the price on your self-worth beyond a flat of geraniums. If he left a CHILD, he can leave a garden.
we have sex and then he leaves until the next weekend. The days in between are unbearable
This is the pick-me dance performed naked. Please, please stop. It’s unbearable because you’re making it unbearable. I know that feels harsh, but you have a choice. You don’t have to keep rewarding him for his intermittent, shitty attention.
He texts me here and there, but nothing romantic. He said that he loves me a couple of times (I said nothing back), he compliments me too, but we have not talked about where I stand.
He doesn’t care! He knows where you stand — there in front of the stove cooking his dinner. And then fucking him nicely afterwards.
He is doing better lately
What? I’m sorry? Did he have a crisis? Did the poor boo have a hard time torn between two lovers? Is he a sad 70s song?
I am thinking that perhaps he is slowly re-introducing himself back into our lives. I don’t see why would he do any of this otherwise
Uh, to keep you as Plan B? To avoid an expensive divorce and child support? To wet his dick? I can think of a hundred reasons he is doing this.
Also, he’s not slowly reintroducing himself into your lives, you’re there cutting the ribbon, having a Grand WELCOME TO OUR LIVES opening. Self-esteem 70 percent off!
I do want my family back
Of course you do. And you can have it back. The price is this — a cheating husband who could leave you at any time. (Oh, and actually does Monday – Friday.) And you can make your needs itty-bitty and get that credit score up to 806. And do the mental gymnastics to live with someone who shatters your world and thinks he can buy it back with a luke-warm text message. What’s for dinner?
And you can win that. You can imagine he’s a unicorn, or a man of integrity, or a flying wombat. You can project all your hopes and dreams on him. He’ll still be a fuckwit at your table.
Your choice whether or not to serve him.