Dear Chump Lady,
I am sorry to say that I cheated on my wife.
For two and a half years, I was involved with the Other Woman. When my ex found out, I’ll admit I threw every play you’ve described out on the table, and didn’t even realize how much of a cliche I was.
Amazingly, she agreed to take me back. And the next year and a half were really good. Things were looking positive and I thought we were happy.
Recently she told me that that had been the hardest time of her life! That she had struggled with the decision to try and make things work, because she felt like she was betraying herself as much as I had betrayed her. I never knew how difficult it had been for her, and now that I do, I feel even more shame for the hurt I caused. Like I said, things were good for a year and a half or so, and then I gave in to a moment of weakness.
I googled the OW and what popped up was a link to her Pinterest page. I looked through it, and was surprised that there were a lot of quotes and sayings that referred to how much I had hurt her as well. There was a funny meme that I wanted to share with another friend, so I clicked on it to save it to my own Pinterest page.
Did you know that when you do that the other person gets a message telling them what was saved and by whom? I didn’t.
The next day I received a message in my Pinterest notifications. It was her. She asked how I was doing, and why I had been looking at her Pinterest page. I know, I should have just not responded… but I did. I told her everything was good, asked how she was, and apologized for hurting her. And the conversations continued from there. We never met or had sex (and I know that that does not matter at all, what I was doing was still wrong!) We did all of our messaging through the Pinterest app, so there was never a number that showed up on any phone bill.
Then one day I was trying to post a few pictures to Pinterest to show her a project or something, and the app wouldn’t work. So I texted them directly to her… and that was the end of it all!!!
My ex saw the number on the phone bill and a started collecting all the information she needs for a divorce. A few weeks later she told me. Again, I pushed back, but she was pretty solid in her decision, so I gave her what she requested. We went through mediation because I didn’t want it to become a big fight. I didn’t want to put her through more than I had already. We signed the papers today and they just have to go through the court system and be finalized.
She has been setting boundaries and trying to establish her own “space” and her new beginning. I am proud and happy for her. When we started discussing how we wanted this divorce thing to play out, I thought we had said that we were going to try and remain friends. Recently that has been reworded from “friends” to “friendly.” I want to be completely supportive of whatever she needs to be happy again. But it’s becoming harder because what she needs is for ME to go away. And, with the exception of things that we need to discuss about our daughter, I have been trying to give her all the space she needs.
Is it unreasonable for me to hope that someday we might be able to have a small friendship again, if and when she is ready for that. Or am I only going slow down or ruin her healing? I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I want her to be happy, even if it’s not with me. But I still want to be a part of her life. Is that wrong? What else can I do to be supportive, and help heal the damage I’ve done?
Thanks for your time,
You realize they’re going to eat you alive here, right? Of all the infidelity resources on the interwebs, 99.9 percent of which preach reconciliation, conscious uncoupling, and other shit sandwiches — you chose mine. With “LEAVE A CHEATER, GAIN A LIFE” right there on the banner? You want me to help you triumph over your wife’s no contact? So you can be friends? For her healing, of course. I’m sure your intentions were purely supportive and have nothing to do with your whinging brand of noxious centrality. “Whatever she needs to be happy again,” you said.
Here’s a meme for your Pinterest page:
I mean really, Rob. The poor woman invested 1.5 years of her life on trying to reconcile with your ass and her reward is you swapping insta-pot recipes with the OW? You blew her life up for Pinterest? Okay, maybe it was a particularly treacly Pema Chodron quote and you shed a tear for the OW. Whatever. It wasn’t a “moment of weakness.” (Read the not-so-subtle-blameshift there: SHE DUMPED ME FOR A MOMENT OF WEAKNESS!) — it was felony stupid. It was repeated, secret, engaged behavior with someone you betrayed your wife with — for two and a half long sociopathic years.
OW had a sad? That expressed its sorrow to the 178.3 bazillion viewers of Pinterest? Not. Your. Problem.
Instead of cloaking this as Concerned Human Being Making Amends, why not just acknowledge what it really is? You needing a hit of centrality. I hurt her? I MATTER! That seems to be your M.O. — fucking people over and responding with a befuddled “Wittle ol’ ME?” Gosh, tell me more about your shattered heart!
You get off on this shit.
When my ex found out, I’ll admit I threw every play you’ve described out on the table…
So why would she want anything to do with you? You’re a self-professed manipulator. Why would she want to be “friends” with someone responds to accountability with mindfuckery?
I never knew how difficult it had been for her, and now that I do, I feel even more shame for the hurt I caused.
So you felt a feel and now you know how difficult this all has been?
Rob, you didn’t give two shits in a wicker basket about how “difficult” your cheating was on your wife. This isn’t a great nugget of insight — who knew fucking around on my wife would HURT her! — you knew exactly how she would react (likely to dump your ass), which is why you kept your affair a SECRET for 2.5 years. If you thought there was something benign or improving about fucking around on your wife, you would’ve mentioned it. “Running out for milk and a side dish fuck, Honey. See you at 8!”
And note you didn’t mention your shared social media texts with the OW either. After you had all the fall-out from D-Day #1. You got busted. This isn’t an insight problem, it’s a you’re-an-asshole problem.
She has been setting boundaries and trying to establish her own “space” and her new beginning. I am proud and happy for her.
Did you pat her on the head when you said that? Or did she block you with parenting software?
Well, Rob, you worthless dick dribble — I’m proud of you too. And happy for you. That you could sustain 15 entire seconds of shame. That you sat with those difficult feelings for whole simulacrums of time before you felt the need to press your wife with your “friendship.” Keep going, Sport! With practice, you might make a solid minute of introspection!
What else can I do to be supportive, and help heal the damage I’ve done?
1. ) Generous divorce settlement.
2.) Take the full blame for the divorce.
3.) Be a responsible parent.
4.) Pay court-ordered support and abide by parenting agreements.
5.) Leave her the fuck alone.
If you truly care about your wife, you’ll accept the consequences. And you won’t feel entitled to her good opinion of you.
Go earn it. (See 1 – 5 above.) It’s the very least you can do.