I’m not sure if I have a question here, so much as I’m looking to find out I’m not alone in this corner of Chumpdom. I’m talking about family – or lack thereof.
I’m in my mid-50’s now. I met my husband when I was 26. He was 35. He had two daughters from a previous marriage. At 26, I didn’t know if I wanted to have kids, and he agreed to just be open to the possibility as we moved forward.
I had a VERY small family. One Grandfather, a (divorced) Mom & Dad and a sister. He had his daughters, his parents, his siblings, and an ever-increasing group of cousins, nieces and nephews. His family professed to love me and included me in everything. I loved the feeling of being part of a growing family.
My Grandfather passed away a year before our wedding. My Mom passed away a year after our wedding.
Somewhere around my mid 30’s, I spoke to my husband about kids. I decided I wanted to try for one. He shot me down, telling me that he was too old to start again with a newborn, and he’d never be ever to retire if we had a new baby now.
The subject was dropped until – at 39 – I unexpectantly became pregnant. I was excited, but when I broke the news to him, his face DROPPED like I had told him I just killed a box of puppies. He told me if I had this baby “it would ruin his life”. I’ll never, ever forget that day. It was horrible. I certainly didn’t want to ruin my husband’s life. A few days later we were at the abortion clinic. I’ll spare you the details of that.
It was five years later when I found out that he had been very busy fucking prostitutes during his lunch breaks. Insert trauma here, I don’t need to explain to your readers how finding out about his double life and then going through a year-long divorce process exploded my world.
Once the divorce was final, I had a job offer on the other side of the country. I accepted it and moved.
I don’t know what lies my ex-husband told his family, but NONE of them ever spoke to me again.
Shortly moving away, both my Father and my Sister passed away.
I have no ties left with my whore fucking ex-husband and have been no contact since our divorce 6 years ago.
So. Family. Or lack of it. Are there other chumps who found themselves slow-motion alone after infidelity? I can taste my jealousy when I see other families. I worry constantly about getting old and dying alone. Don’t get me started about how it feels to see a newborn or a child that’s the same age as mine would be now. The holidays are coming, and that increases society’s pressure to be with family about a million percent.
Yes, I have great friends. They are scattered all over the world. None of my long-time friends live in my new city. Yes, I go to social events, meet-up groups, etc., but I’ve yet to find my place here or feel a sense of belonging.
Am I alone in this? If not, how do other Chumps handle this shit?
Thanks for reading my long sob story.
That’s a shit ton of loss and I’m sorry.
I’m going to try and untangle a few threads from your letter — 1.) Never being a parent; 2.) Family deaths; 3.) Family deaths divorce ostracism style; 4.) Awkward meet-ups and rebuilding.
There are many, many chumps who can relate to any one or all of these misfortunes. Especially the familial fallout after investing your life in a fuckwit.
The world is full of lonely people, and the irony is there are so many — a third of adults over 45! says this report. You think you’d be tripping over each other, and yet each lonely person feels like an impenetrable fortress. Take comfort that this is a common problem and there are many, many people in this world longing for connection and who have space in their life for new friends.
Have you considered trying a chump meet-up? Here’s a link to our community page (forthcoming in new site redo, but link is live) that says how you can join the subreddit and closed Facebook group. The Facebook folks often have Zoom calls and meet-ups. I know of a lot of chumps who have met through these and made great friendships. Heck, some of them even road trip together and send me pix. (Note: I do not moderate these groups. They are run by, and were created by, readers of this blog. Just like meeting anyone you’ve met online, use caution and discernment.)
Now let’s work through that grief bucket.
1.) Parenthood. Have you considered starting now? Becoming a foster parent? Adopting? Apparently, there are still avenues to adopting kids if you’re over 50, so long as you’re open to a child who’s not an infant. There are so many kids in this country languishing in foster care who want homes. If being a mother is truly what you want, don’t give up on that dream.
2.) Family deaths. This is just pure loss. You only get a finite set of significant family members. Do you have any extended family you stay in touch with? Who you can share memories with? I recently visited an older cousin of mine, who I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. She’s older and alone now, and we hit it off reminiscing about northern Michigan, my great-grandparents (her grandparents), swapping stories that had some common point of reference. I think it was comforting to both of us to remember departed family members and know someone who knew them.
All to say, you’re probably not the only person missing your sister or your dad. There may be someone in their orbit who would like to hear from you, to whom you’d be a happy reminder of them.
3.) Family deaths divorce ostracism style. Ugh. I don’t have much to say on this topic except it sucks and never hearing from your ex’s family again is usually how it breaks. Most people are clannish and cowardly. It’s probably not even that they prefer your hooker-fucking ex, it’s that they’re stuck with him through kinship. And divorce is messy, and emotionally sloppy and awkward… and oh God, let’s just avoid it and maybe you’ll get a Christmas card.
4.) Awkward meet-ups and rebuilding. Do it. That’s my advice to you. Keep doing it. Put yourself out there. You are NOT the only wallflower in the bookgroup. I know CN may roll their eyes at me, but I recommend volunteering a lot. Is there something about this planet that righteously pisses you off? (I have such a list. I’ll never run out of projects.) Get involved. Throw yourself at something. A political campaign, safer pedestrian crossways, pet adoption. Find like minded people. Heck, you don’t even have to leave home — many organizations, especially now, do things by Zoom. You can try out some groups online before you commit to in-person. Work toward some common goal. Meet a buddy.
Yeah Tracy, but are they going to take me to my colonoscopy appointment?
They might. Build a relationship. I bet you’d do a favor for a new friend.
Look, if the prospect of making new friends or improving busy crosswalks doesn’t motivate you, do it for your HEALTH. Social isolation is linked to serious health conditions. Your brain needs people to talk to. We are social creatures. So, put yourself out there.
Is it fair that you have to go on the offensive here, and invite people over and rebuild? Wouldn’t it be far easier to just be warmly embraced by a group of strangers and find instant kinship? Yes. But these are the shit sandwiches you’ve been served. If you want a friend, be a friend.
You’ve got a 1-in-3 chance that person needs a friend too.
Good luck. And big ((hugs)).