My husband of 28 years gave me the speech 5 years ago. He loved me, but was not in love with me, he wanted his freedom and he needed his space without any responsibility. Of course there was an OW. When I found their itinerary for a romantic beach vacation, I, or should I say, my oldest son kicked him out of the house. He went to live with his mother. And he is still living there at present.
I did the usual — begged, pleaded and pretzeled for 3 very long years. We went into marital counseling and I was under the impression (per his promises) that the OW was out of the picture. We would see each other and talk frequently during this time, and I really thought that our marriage was on the mend. Boy, was I an idiot, and a very mighty chump.
I was a complete mess. Lost 50 pounds, went on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, diagnosed with PTSD, lost interest in anything and everything except playing the marriage police. I became obsessed with my husband and OW. It was truly the darkest period of my life.
Fast forward to today. I have been divorced for a year and a half. My adult kids and I are happy and thriving. I am dating a really great guy which I have loads of fun with. I have found myself again, and have learned so much from this whole experience. I know I will never be chumped again. I have reconnected with family and friends. Right now, life is pretty darn good. I still have my WTF moments, but overall I feel like I am really close to being totally healed.
Recently, my ex and I had to spend some time together due to our oldest son’s engagement. I was civil and talkative and had very little anxiety when around ex. This was a good thing for me because it helped me realize that I have finally achieved MEH.
Now for the fun part. My youngest son recently moved out of my basement, and I am now living on my own for the first time in 30 years. Since I saw my ex, he has been sending email’s requesting that I consider allowing him to move back to the family home with me to rent the basement. He is making all kinds of offers of help around the house and paying a large amount of rent if I would let him move in. He even had the nerve to tell me that I could “come and go as I pleased.”
I am just floored. What is wrong with him? Is this f’d up or what? I have absolutely no intention of letting him move back into my house. I just can’t wrap my brain around what he is thinking.
Thank you Chump Lady.
What is he thinking?
He’s thinking you’re still of use. He misses cake.
He had a glorious cake situation before — you there begging, pleading, and pretzeling for the awesomeness of him. And he misses that kind of power and centrality. Romantic vacations with the OW, you at home sweeping up the dust bunnies and keeping the refrigerator stocked. Don’t you want that back?
Heck, Ruggermom, he’s SWEETENING the deal! He’ll pay you RENT! And he promises to not be the boss of you! You can come and go! Yes, you will have your freedom because he said so. Isn’t that special?
God, if anyone ever wanted proof that cheating is about narcissism, this is it. The idiot still thinks he’s a prize.
Dude, you LIVE IN YOUR MOTHER’S BASEMENT.
And that, I’m sure, is not the status the OW was going for. And I don’t know about your ex-mother-in-law but I would guess she probably has curfew, being a person of advanced years. And she is probably not cool with the comings and goings of a grown-ass man. Hell, she might even expect rent, or things done around the house.
But you? In his eyes, you’re still a chump. You’ve fallen for his promises before. Why not again? He can promise you whatever. Insinuate himself into your life and deliver on none of it.
But that’s okay, he would be there embedded in your house — broadcasting to the world (and your children especially) that what he did Was Not So Bad. He could control your world again. Put a stop to this ridiculous man who courts you, finds you attractive and worthy of respect. Because nothing creates relationship awkwardness like your ex-husband living in your basement.
Yes, to a dim-witted, narcissistic FW like your ex, this all seems like a very splendid plan indeed.
What’s in it for you?
Absolutely NOTHING. There never was anything in it for you, just like the good ol’ days.
You need an ex in your basement like you need an infestation of raccoons in your chimney. Actually, I think the raccoons do more around the house than cheaters. And raccoons are always cool with you “coming and going as you please,” as long as you keep the trash cans accessible.
Ruggermom, congratulations on your mightiness. You have truly gained a life — successfully divorced, no more anxiety, a relationship with someone who treats you right, healthy kids, independence.
Tell him to go blow an air mattress.. elsewhere.
And tell his mom — no tag backs.
This column ran previously.