Logically, I know such a thing does not exist. It is so tempting though to try to convince myself that surely there was something I could have done differently. Or, maybe he is correct when he says (most frequently to my kids!) that we didn’t have a happy marriage, we had grown apart (once we had kids, of course), and my favorite, we just aren’t good together. I will admit that some days I think that maybe he’s a different person with her. Afterall, it was like pulling teeth to get him to even do anything FUN with us most of the time. He had too many “issues” to go out to dinner with his own kids on their birthdays, but he can go out to dinner with no problem with his fake family. He can spend Christmas Eve trolling the mall, spending hundreds of dollars on kids that aren’t his, but he couldn’t be bothered to personally hand his own kids the gift cards he bought them (he left them on the counter with a note) or to text/call them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
I think back to how he told his sister that Harley made him happy. I’ve spent two years stewing over that, asking myself why I couldn’t make him happy despite everything I did for him. Some days I am almost able to convince myself that he is correct and that we were just bad for each other and he now has a chance to be happy. Harley obviously has something that I don’t; she’s his ticket to happiness and I need to face facts that they are a better match.
Then I throw my head back, let out a loud guttural laugh, probably snort a few times, and say, “Wake the fuck up! There is no such thing as a personality transplant. He’s the same miserable person he’s always been and always will be.” That’s the short pep talk. The longer one goes into how he’s traded me in for a much cheaper model with a hell of a lot of more miles on her. That he found and bought her at the impound auction. That she’s already fooled around with other men while telling him he’s her one and only Schmoopie Bear, and that she will continue to do so. That her kids trash talk him behind his back. It’s a very long talk but it makes me feel better.
Here’s the thing: I don’t really believe a leopard will change its spots. I think a person can bring out the worst in you (or the best, to be fair), but I also believe that you are who you are. I may have lost a lot of who I was in my marriage while trying so hard to please him and keep everything together, but I was still me. I am basically a happy, outgoing person. I tend to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. And if that half full/half empty glass is filled with vodka all the better. I try to make the best of any situation I am in; I get involved and try to make friends. Sure, in new situations I tend to hang back and assess the scene. I am often leading the charge, but I’m also perfectly happy hanging back and let others take over. I try to see the best in people- except CF and Harley- they’re lost causes. At the root of it I am a happy person. I’ve heard it said once that there are people who could be happy with their lives even while living in Cleveland and there are those who wouldn’t be happy even if they lived in Hawaii (feel free to insert wonderful destination of your choice if Hawaii doesn’t do it for you). I’m happy in Cleveland. CF is miserable in Hawaii.
Who he was with me is who he’s going to be with her. Oh sure, right now everything is great (except for her sleeping with her husband- allegedly). Add to that the fact that he’s a part time soul mate. I’m sure the drive is getting to be tiresome but hey, he doesn’t have to worry about helping her out with her kids’ homework, or getting them ready for bed, or shuffling them around. He isn’t expected to help out with laundry or the dishes, and if he does it’s a novelty and not something he HAS to do on a regular basis. I’m sure there is still an element of them against me even though I don’t speak to him. And let’s face it, it’s so exciting when you only see a person for 2 or 3 days out of the week. You can pour all of your energy into that person and it doesn’t get tiring at all because you get a FUCKING 5 DAY BREAK FROM HIS CRAZY!!!
If it ever does get to the point where he moves in with her and her brood he will be the same killer of joy, the same soul sucking vampire, the same neurotic mess, the same unimaginative couch potato with her that he was with me. He will eventually revert back to ordering kids out of “his” chair, or “his” spot on the couch. He will eventually revert back to shutting himself in the bedroom and watching tv nonstop. He will eventually no longer find the chaos of four kids charming. He’s not a different person. He hasn’t suddenly evolved into Mr. Personality because he’s finally found the love of a good woman. Oh my God, I think I choked on that phrase! Let me change it slightly. He hasn’t suddenly evolved into Mr. Personality because he’s finally found the love of a gold digging whore. Hmmmm…. can gold digging whores love anyone?
When he gets bad news he will end up lying catatonic on a bed, unable to move and forcing her to take charge and make it all better. When some small snafu hits he will still end up in a tizzy that rivals one of a teenage girl. When he gets sick he will act like he is dying and expect her to drop everything and tend to his every need as proof she loves him. He will never be a full partner or a good dad. He will continue to turn mole hills into mountains and he will continue to see himself as the Great Victim. He might possibly move away from his children and get a new job because he’s so unhappy at this one, but he’s going to end up hating his new job just as much. Why? Because when you get down to it he is not a happy person. He loves being miserable. He doesn’t know what to do if he is happy. His semen demon does not have special powers to turn him into someone he’s not.
I think it’s very important for anyone who is dealing with infidelity to tell yourself this and to let it sink in. Believe it! It’s true.
But they look so happy on Facebook, you may be saying. WHO CARES? Facebook is generally a big fat lie. I can assure you that no one reading my Facebook page would have had any idea of what was going on in my life. Hell, I don’t think most people reading my Facebook page NOW have any idea what’s going on, unless I’ve already shared with them. This sums it up in absolutely the best way: When you compare your life to a person’s Facebook page you are comparing your behind-the-scenes to their highlight reel.
OF COURSE the cheater and the whore are going to be all gushy and gooey and lovey dovey on Facebook. I have had it pointed out that in the cheater’s mind it *must* be true in order for them to justify all the destruction they’ve caused. Who wants to publicly announce they’ve made a huge mistake in tossing aside their wife and kids (or husband and kids for those males who have been cheated on) for some side piece that was a definite downgrade? They are giving you the highlight reel! That’s why Harley might post something like this: Look at all the fantastic gifts Schmoopie Bear gave me! How did he know to buy me a vibrator to keep me “happy” during the week so I wouldn’t continue to screw around with other men??? I am so blessed, so happy! I couldn’t ask for anything more.
What you will never see though is: How in the hell did his wife put up with his shit for twenty plus years???? I ask him to take one kid to soccer practice and you’d think I had asked him to donate his live, beating heart for a transplant! Where is my husband when I need him????
Or: I work full time, too! Why am I the one stuck doing all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and laundry? I feel like I’ve got five kids and not four. Maybe it’s not too late to get my husband back….
Oh this is fun! Here’s another one: I thought I had met my Prince Charming. Well, since he’s my cousin I actually had met him years ago. But I thought once I lured him away from his wife he would be MY Prince Charming finally. He cooked, he cleaned, he bought us lots of shiny stuff, he made pancakes for my kids, he was always up for fun outings. Now that we’re living together he just sits in the bedroom and watches TV. He doesn’t want to go anywhere, just wants to sit around and drink. And since he has to pay child support and spousal support he can’t buy us stuff all the time! I’m stuck doing EVERYTHING. He can’t even run to McDonald’s and pick up a couple of orders of pancakes for my kids now. Boy, did I get fooled!
Similarly, CF will never acknowledge the fact that he chose a woman who is already unfaithful to him while I remained faithful for over 21 years. Or that he chose a woman and children who value him for his wallet and nothing more while he tossed away the woman who spent years following him around the country and helping him to build his career, and the children that loved him and wanted his TIME and ATTENTION.
How do I know all of this? First, I’m really smart. Second, I read a lot. Third, I’ve seen it play out already in his family. But I’ll save that story for another time. Suffice to say, though, that the exact same things that were said about Husband #2 in order to justify dumping Husband #1, were then said almost verbatim about Husband #3 in order to justify dumping Husband #2.
There was no personality transplant. Not for her, and not for him. There was just a cheater’s handbook, and they all play the same game.