I feel like I’m asking a stupid question, but at the same time, it’s like I don’t understand my own mind.
Some background — my asshole had an affair last year. I did not dump him on D-Day. I did stop sharing my life with him, full 180, but I am still in the same house. I will leave him soon (I have to move for a new job), and divorce him too, but for us that’s just paperwork.
I’m not accepting what he did, CL. I love him and I would dream of reconciliation, but this shit is not for me and that is why I am leaving. However, I wonder how will I know I am done? He sent me horrible emails two days ago — when I told him I was going to expose him and the whore to his family — when it’s time to say goodbye.
He went ballistic. That’s when he told me I pushed him to have an affair because he was so desperately feeling not wanted, that his low self-esteem feelings were my fault because I made him feel he was disgusting and a bad lover, that he needed to feel desired. (My sin? I never started sex, because of issues I have worked out now with my therapist. But I did all the crap he wanted, anytime he wanted it.) He thought I was going to be okay with his affair because our relationship was “beyond that” and that reaction was a matter of being constricted by my Catholic education. (Not that it matters, but I am not Catholic anymore.) Before that, his tune was that I did nothing wrong. Oh, boy, in his nasty emails he tells me we are doing what’s “expected from us”, and that he stopped doing that a few months ago, and he is now a better person, he has learned so much about himself and life.
After some thought, I can see what he is saying. Monogamy is not something he wants, it’s something expected of him. He went ballistic with me because he claims I will be slut shaming the whore by exposing her to their family. (However, as someone at Chump Nation said, I am not shaming her for her sexuality, but for her lack of humanity.) But he can slut shame me?!
Rationally, fuck that shit. I keep thinking that this is a chasm absolutely impossible to bridge. Actually, it’s not even the fact that he fucked someone else that’s keeping me obsessed. It’s this kind of behavior. Who the hell is this asshole I’ve been living with? For the record, I haven’t been able yet to see his entitlement or mistreatment of me before D-Day. But I do not subscribe to any fog theory. If anything, it’s smog: man made.
But I am not done, CL. Or I don’t think so. I just don’t know. How does it feel done? I am leaving. I am divorcing. I am planning my life without him. Probably I’ll never come back to this city. How will I know I’m done?
Bon Voyage Chump
It’s totally normal to not feel “done” in the beginning. After all, this guy is still your husband, you live with him, and you haven’t launched yourself into a new life yet. The important thing is to ACT done — the feelings will follow. It’s a classic case of listening to your head (which is rational and self-preserving) over your heart (a stupid bastard). With some time and no contact, your dimwitted heart will catch up with your head.
Leaving a cheater is a matter of deprogramming yourself. In fact, I could argue this entire blog is Chump Re-education Camp. The deprogramming process is why chumps need so much support, especially from fellow chumps — you’re rewiring your brain from caring to not caring, from believing the bullshit, to calling bullshit out as BULLSHIT, from focusing wholly on your cheater’s drama, to focusing wholly on your new life, from believing you’re a horrible failure, to believing you are MIGHTY and will survive this.
And Chump Lady is your friendly cult leader. Breaking the hardwired bonds of love is hard work. Unless, of course, you’re disordered, in which case it’s a big shrug. Swapping out a partner is like swapping out an air filter… Whatevers… But for chumpy hearts? It takes a lot to un-bond. For me it took four D-Days. Another kick in the teeth? Sure, don’t mind if I do!
The deprogramming process is also why people on the outside looking in don’t get it. She treats you like SHIT, why don’t you LEAVE?! Good question, except those outsiders aren’t bonded to the fuckwit. They didn’t have five children with the fuckwit, or pay off her student loans, or nurse her mother through gout. Those people have zero sunk costs. It’s easy to judge.
Same goes for the Unicorn brigade who demand reconciliation. They aren’t the ones getting their teeth kicked in. No, they’re on the sidelines snorting hopium and rebranding a kick in the teeth as Unconditional Love.
The point is, BVC, don’t expect to feel done. You haven’t mastered the deprogramming work yet. You get to decide what is and is not acceptable in your relationship — no one else.
Here’s the other reason you don’t feel “done” — he’s mindfucking you and part of you is falling for it. That smog is messing with your head. Let’s UBT some of this shit.
I will leave him soon (I have to move for a new job), and divorce him too, but for us that’s just paperwork.
Uh, whose line is “just paperwork”? Sounds like the sort of cake-y thing a cheater would say. Hey, it’s just paperwork, you’re still my favorite source of auxiliary kibbles, let’s stay friends! Friends let friends keep their 401Ks!
It’s not just paperwork. It’s a new life. Without him. See a lawyer and be highly suspicious of his “paperwork.”
I told him I was going to expose him and the whore to his family, when it’s time to say goodbye.
Rookie chump mistake. Don’t tell him ANYTHING you’re “going to” do. Not about the divorce. Not about exposure. Nada. You do you, and let him suffer his well-earned consequences. There is no achieving consensus with a cheater about their cheating. This is a stupid thing chumps do. “We’ll tell everyone this is your fault, okay?!” Expect that he’s already got his narrative out there (you’re batshit crazy, sexless, and deserved to be cheated on). Tell your truth to whomever you want to. (Although I’m in favor of pithy brevity to those who ask, over 4000-word email blasts to all of Christendom).
Oh, boy, in his nasty emails he tells me we are doing what’s “expected from us”, and that he stopped doing that a few months ago, and he is now a better person, he has learned so much about himself and life.
How nice that betraying you was a personal growth experience for him.
Monogamy is not something he wants, it’s something expected of him.
No, monogamy is something he AGREED to, and a rule he let you play by, but then he unilaterally changed the terms of the relationship agreement. That’s a character problem, not a monogamy problem.
BVC, you’re going to be just fine without this creep in your life. Focus on getting a fair divorce settlement, enjoying that new job, and getting far, far away from the mindfuckery. Your heart will catch up in time, I promise.
This one ran before.