We Interrupt This Break…

If there are still any of you out there, I apologize for my long absence. I’ve been trying to write some posts and it’s just not flowing freely.

I’m doing well. I love my new job. Today the two supervisors in the office left Easter eggs all over. I was told that one Christmas they gave everyone stockings to decorate and then left a different gift in it every day. Plus, they seem really laid back and put a huge emphasis on family first.

All gushing about the bosses aside, it keeps me very busy. We have deadlines, which is new for me. One of the reports I will be doing next month has a 9 a.m. deadline, and most others have a 2 p.m. deadline, so we keep busy in the morning and have a little more leniency in the afternoon. There is certainly a lot to learn but I’m enjoying it.

My mom just got home this week. She’s off to Hawaii in late May and is heading to Orlando with me and Rock Star in early May for the last cheerleading competition.

Speaking of cheerleading competitions we went to one last weekend and the mobster and his daughter joined us. It was a delightful weekend. It was so nice having someone there with me. It was nice having someone else drive and figure out parking. It was nice for Rock Star to have multiple people cheering her on. It was a nice weekend all around.

We went out to eat and we did a little shopping. We watched a lot of cheer. My favorite part, though, had to be after Day 1 of competition. We asked the girls where they wanted to go and they both shouted, “Build a Bear!”

So in we went with two teenage girls- one who had just turned 17, and one who is just over 2 months away from her 18th birthday.

Let me tell ya- I don’t know if this is true of every Build a Bear store but at this one they got the full treatment. It was adorable watching them touch their nose and put their hand over their heart and all the other things they do with the younger kids to bring the bear to life.

They both loved picking out clothes and Rock Star took hers over to the “bath” to fluff her up. After dressing them they both made birth certificates for them.

Of course, the next place they wanted to stop was Pink for new undies.

Picasso is struggling somewhat in high school. I don’t know if it’s lack of effort or if he’s really having problems. I know he doesn’t have any friends. His friends all went to the other high school so he’s had to start over. He’s shy and an introvert so it’s tougher for him. I’ve got a plan though. Most of my plan involves him coming up with a plan, but I’ve got some ideas of my own.

I’ve got approximately two months until my daughter turns 18 and graduates from high school. Time has flown by.

We go for our college visits next week. We’ll be out in Utah and meeting up with some friends when she goes to visit the first college. I’m looking forward to it. Cafe Rio, here we come!

Two weeks after that we have U.S. Finals for cheerleading. This was a shock to me because I thought once they won a bid to Summit they would decline their bid to U.S. Finals. Apparently not. Making it even more of an adventure I’m not completely sure where we’re going for U.S. Finals. They are all over the country. I think they’re being held somewhere in Illinois but I’m not sure.

And as I said earlier we have a trip to Orlando planned in early May. Her team got a bid to Summit at the next to last regular meet of the season. This is a team that placed dead last at their first two competitions. We honestly thought there was no way they were going to get a bid, but they improved over the season and it looks like we’ll be visiting Mickey.

The mobster continues to be fantastic. We’ve been very fortunate and have met up every other weekend for the last 6 weeks. We won’t get to see each other for 3 weeks this time. It still beats a 5 or 6 week stretch!

I had a half day at work today so once I got off I went Easter basket shopping. I was joking around with Rock Star and told her she was too old for an Easter basket. I swear the kid turned into Linda Blair in The Exorcist! Nooooo!

That’s my life in a nutshell right now. I’m going to try to get my butt into gear and write some more. Until then, take care and Happy Easter!

The Irony of the Happiness Argument

This comment from a reader over on Chump Lady pretty much sums up how ridiculous the argument, “He/she deserves to be happy!” is:

Weird, isn’t it, that in this view everybody except the betrayed partner and the kids “deserves to be happy.” Cheater gets happiness. AP partner gets happiness. Their families, friends, colleagues, and eventual wedding planner get to be happy about their happiness.

Actual spouse and kids? Weirdly, the happiness train does not stop there. Of course, the kids can ride every few weeks, if the cheater has time, if the AP doesn’t object, if the betrayed spouse drives them to the station and pays for the tickets, and if they are not old enough absolutely to reject the whole idea of playing along with the rules of bizzaro world.

And when the chump finally gets it, escapes from that train wreck, and goes totally no contact with cheater and cheater’s weird world? Why, there’s the evidence that chump is anti-happiness, which is considered overwhelming evidence of why cheater needed to cheat.

Hmmm. Pretty brutal, this “happiness” thing. I’ll pass.

When your happiness is achieved at the expense of others you aren’t pursuing your own happiness. You’re being a selfish, entitled, spoiled nitwit.

Beyond the Grave & Other Exciting Tales

I had a weird thing happen to me last week. It was either the day of Tammy Faye’s funeral or the day after. I was going through my old voicemail messages. I had something like 40 of them I hadn’t listened to so I figured I should clear some of them out. I came across a number I didn’t recognize. Curious, I played the message.

It was Tammy Faye. It was from February 16th, less than a month before she died. It was a pretty brief message: Sam, your number popped up on my phone. I was calling to see if everything was okay.

She sounded sick and frail.

Here’s the weird thing. I don’t have Tammy Faye’s number in my phone. I deleted it. Months, if not years, ago. There is no way I could have accidentally air dialed her. Believe me- my phone has a mind of its own! That is a very distinct possibility. My kids couldn’t have used my phone to call her unless they had her actual number. I even checked the call log to see if perhaps one of them did plug in her number on my phone for some reason. Nothing.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter why my number popped up. I’m more freaked out about the fact she still had my number in her phone. Why?

Bob messaged me to let me know CF saw his condolence message but didn’t reply. What a surprise. He told me he hoped that some good could come of this some day. I don’t believe in fairy tales and am getting a little tired of his excuses for CF so I was a bit feisty when I replied:

What good could come of it? I’ve been left in poverty, depending on his support payments which he makes when he wants and just bounced a check. I live with my mom and sleep on the couch. My kids have lost their dad. They’ve lost having a mom who is home and available for them. Rock Star is screwed when it comes to paying for college. She missed out on graduating with her class from her original high school She hates it here and suffers from anxiety. Picasso seems to be okay but who knows. The only people prospering are Harley and her kids.

#truth

His response was that the only good that could come of it is that one day CF and the kids would once again have a familial relationship.

Bob, I love ya; I appreciate the support you’ve given me since this shit storm began, and I realize you consider CF a friend (even if he no longer considers you one), but you’re stupid. In what world can a father abandon his children, play Daddy of the Decade to kids who aren’t his, and the great equalizer will be him reconciling with his kids so that they, too, can eat his special blend of shit sundae?

I don’t think it has ever occurred to him that maybe reconciling with their deadbeat dad is NOT in their best interest. He hasn’t done a single thing to try to make things right with them. He continues to ask Rock Star to pass along messages to her brother because he doesn’t have his number. Hmmmm…. if only there was a way he could get that number. If only he knew someone that might actually have that number. This is his genius at work, ladies and gentlemen. Stymied by not having his son’s phone number which has never changed, and forced to ask his daughter to pass along the message.

He continues to begin every message with: I know you hate me but… Can the man be any more of a victim?

Maybe she needs to begin replying to these messages with: I know you’ve already replaced me with your whore’s kids but… Or, maybe: I know your whore will always be more important than me but…

I’m kidding, folks. Don’t bombard me with messages about how no contact is the best tactic. I know that. She doesn’t generally respond.

A few days later Bob contacted me again to ask if the kids had heard from CF since the funeral. Nope. I did tell him, however, about my message from beyond the grave. He told me it was too bad I didn’t get the message earlier because maybe I could have reached out and we could have cleared the air. In turn, I told him that honestly, even if I had received the message the day I got it I wouldn’t have called her because I had nothing to say to her.

Death brings out the sap in most people and I’m trying hard not to get sucked in. She chose her son and his whore and her four kids over her own flesh and blood. The twenty years I spent as part of her family meant nothing. I was quickly tossed aside and discarded. She was happily skipping off to funerals with her precious baby boy and his cunt face cum dumpster. She couldn’t gush over her enough. So, she got exactly what she wanted. Her son and his whore were there at her funeral. I’m sure the whore’s kids made an appearance as well. Have to keep up the image.

Rock Star and I had an interesting conversation about this as we drove to her latest cheer competition. She pretty much admitted that if they had ever apologized or tried to make things right with her she probably would have reconciled with them. They never did. There was never an apology, never an acknowledgement that any wrongdoing had taken place. Tammy Faye could post comments to her on Facebook but she couldn’t take the time to text her or call her and have an honest, one-on-one conversation with her.

She never bothered to call her or text her when Rock Star first found out about her dad and I getting a divorce, finding out her dad was having an affair. Rock Star had called her dad and demanded her grandmother be put on the phone because she didn’t believe him when he told her he was with his mom. Once Tammy Faye got on the phone she said she didn’t want to do this anymore and threw the phone down, hanging up on them. Not a word.

That was her chance to tell Rock Star she was sorry about what had happened, sorry for her part in it. That was her chance to act like she actually gave a shit about what was happening to her and her brother.

Where was she when we were forced out of our home? Where was she when Rock Star and Picasso were forced to leave behind their school and their friends yet again, thanks to their father? Where was she when Rock Star found out she couldn’t get her license and would have to have yet another learner’s permit for 6 more months? Where was she all those months when Rock Star was hating life and feeling like a nobody thanks to the move forced upon her by her dad? Where was she when Rock Star was dealing with anxiety?

I’ll tell you where she was. She was up her son’s ass, gazing at him adoringly, and gushing over his whore, telling her how pretty she was.

My mother looked up her obituary. Curiosity meets the cat. It said she had four kids. Understandable, I suppose. They included her two stepsons whom she had helped raise. CF and Harley were listed together. Naturally. And then it listed her as having 18 grandchildren.

I have no idea where they came up with that number. Jezebel has two kids plus her two step kids. That makes 4. Her oldest stepson has 5 kids; the youngest has 2. That brings the total up to 11 and leaves only her son. He has 2 children which brings the number up to 13. Even counting Harley’s kids that only brings it up to 17. Maybe somebody has a kid that I’m not aware of. Nonetheless I find it appalling that those idiots could actually list Harley the Whore’s four kids as her grandkids. She’s been “granny” to them for a whole whopping two years and almost all of that time has been while he was married to me. At the very least take my two kids off the list. She chose Harley’s brood over my two.

I know. I can’t control what goes in her obituary. It’s also over and done with now. Plus, the very wise advice: No contact is the path to enlightenment. So very true.

It just goes to show you what a dog and pony show death and funerals are. Everyone is celebrating her as this wonderful person who loved everybody and was so sweet. The reality is she had no problem with her daughter cheating on her husband. Either of them. She had no problem with her son cheating on his wife of 20 years; in fact, she encouraged it. I guess she just didn’t correctly anticipate the reaction of my children. Unfortunately for her our memories are long and are not softened by death.

In Memoriam

Tammy Faye died last night. Bob let me know. He was appalled that no one had bothered to tell me. I had to remind him that I don’t count. I never counted. I was simply an appendage hanging off of CF. “But there are rules of decency!” he cried. Sadly, Bob does not get it.

Rock Star’s dad did text her to let her know that her grandmother had coded earlier in the day and that the doctor’s were saying it was just a matter of time. That’s what Bob told me anyway, and when I told my kids my daughter informed me that she already knew all of that. I’m assuming her dad told her the same thing that Bob told me.

Neither of my kids seem too broken up over it. I thought maybe since this was death, it was permanent, they might have some remorse. I thought that since there would be no do-overs and no second chance to try to set things straight they might be a little teary eyed. Instead, Picasso told me that he might have been sad at one point but since she “decided to back young CF” he wasn’t. Rock Star reiterated that actions have consequences and you don’t get to play the victim all your life. She made reference to the fact that her grandmother had helped her father leave her.

I won’t continue to push or get them to talk about it. They both seem to have made their peace with it. It’s a precarious spot to be in.

On one hand I don’t want people to think I’m letting them swing wildly in the wind with no guidance and no care for their mental health. On the other hand if they really are at peace with it me demanding they talk about it and feel something they don’t isn’t going to do them any good.

I did tell Rock Star that if her dad started guilting her to pass the texts along to me and I would handle it.

As for me I find it to be an almost out of body experience. For one, I never expected her to die. I have heard for years that she didn’t have much time left. Years. And yet every year there she was. It got to the point I figured it was CF playing the drama card. So first hearing that she had been admitted to the hospital, had coded and wasn’t expected to make it was startling. Then to get the news less than an hour later that she had died… I didn’t know what to feel.

I shouldn’t feel anything. This woman knew her son had cheated on me and continued to interact with the other woman, whining that she was family. When my husband was so sad and upset she urged his former whore to call him and rekindle things. She sat in my kitchen in April and told me she wanted us to get back to where we were, that she loved me and I had been her daughter-in-law for twenty years. She let me and the kids spend the night on our way back home from Utah when he was already involved with Harley; I know she had to have known at that point and yet she let us stay and kissed us and told us she loved us. We went out to eat and I hugged and kissed on the new baby and believed that things were getting back to normal. And all the while he was giving the whore money and making plans to be with her. She supported him leaving me and leaving his damn kids behind. She showed up to a funeral with CF and Harley, never pausing for a single moment to think that that situation was all kinds of fucked up. I know how she was when it came to her son; I don’t believe she ever spoke up and told him to make amends with his kids. I know she never told him he was wrong or that she didn’t support what he was doing. How could she? She encouraged it.

And yet I have twinges of sympathy for her when I think of the Christmas cards she sent both kids this year. My mother always likes to point out she could have come and seen them but she chose not to. She could have called or texted, but she chose not to. I, however, almost feel sorry for her and see the woman who wistfully told Picasso she would love to see him again. The woman who asked Rock Star how she was liking her senior year and told her she loved her and wanted so much to talk to her.

There is a part of me that remembers the woman I knew years ago. The woman who called to talk to me when CF let her know he was getting married, and ended up talking for over an hour. We would call each other and talk for an hour or more all the time. He used to joke that I talked to her more than he did. I remember feeling so lucky that I loved my in-laws and that we all got along so well. I remember the woman who said that she loved me and would tell me that she couldn’t have picked a better daughter-in-law if she had picked one out herself. I remember the woman who was so happy and accommodating at our wedding, who spoiled us with gifts and money. I remember the woman who loved my kids. I remember many trips to Kentucky to see her and the rest of the family, and how I would say that I could see us moving there and being around family.

I realize that person ceased to exist years ago. I’m sad about that. I’m also a little sad and maybe a little frustrated that, even though the possibility of it happening was remote, I will never have the chance to confront her. She will never see the damage she did. She will never get to witness the fallout of CF’s and Harley’s joyous union.

In those early days when the pain and humiliation were fresh I envisioned myself having a chance to spit out, “You traded your own flesh and blood for a whore and her four kids. Every time you look around your table at the holidays and see that my kids are missing you just tell yourself that Harley and her kids were worth losing them. And know that when you die your own two grandkids won’t be at your funeral. I hope Harley’s four are there crying for you, because my two won’t be.” I probably never would have said that given the chance. Sadly, what I fantasized about saying is now a reality.

Also sad? I’m sure I’ll be blamed for it. The story will be that CF’s kids weren’t allowed to come to the funeral; their mean, awful mom prevented it. I know it doesn’t matter. I don’t know most of those people. But who really likes having lies about them out there, especially when those lies make you look like a monster?

I worry, too, that with my kids not going that will be the so called final straw. I know his family has pretty much written them off anyway but at least in public they act like they are torn up about it. I hope there isn’t actual backlash against either of them because they chose not to attend. I’m sure in their grief all they can think about is how Rock Star and Picasso didn’t even care enough to show up for her funeral. They will completely sidestep the fact that none of them has cared at all about what they’ve gone through these last 2 1/2 years.

In the end none of you need to worry that I’m going out of my mind with grief for Tammy Faye. As my kids would say, she chose her path. It does make me a little sad to think of how things once were and to see where they ended. I’m sorry it ended this way with her estranged from her grandchildren. Yet on some level I know that I’m more regretful about it than they are.

Real Remorse

Recently I touched on the difference between real remorse and fake remorse. Actually, what I recommended was that you go read Chump Lady’s excellent post on the same topic. But I realize some of you won’t do that so I thought I would demonstrate what real remorse looks like.

As many of my longtime readers know I am dating an amazing guy, aka, The Mobster. He’s a pretty funny guy. He’s sweet and kind, makes me laugh, takes care of me, does romantic things for me, and goes on epic adventures with me. The only negative to our relationship is the distance. We live 10.5 hours apart.

In the beginning we saw each other approximately every 2-3 weeks. We (mainly I) got by on very little sleep while talking late into the night/early into the morning. We had one weekend where we were so eager to see each other we both got up at 4 am (this was on one of my few days off from Target where I regularly got up at 3:30 in the morning), drove to a destination that was a midpoint for both of us, spent the day together, and then drove home. I think I got home around 11 pm and had to go into work at 4 am the next day.

Then September rolled around. Taxes were looming for him. He owns his own business and had filed for an extension. School was in session. Kids made demands on our time. We saw each other Labor Day and the very last weekend in September. October was more of the same, with the added little twist that we would make plans to meet up and then those plans would be scrapped for one reason or another.

Finally there came a time when we were going to get together and he had to cancel on me again. I was so disappointed. Instead of talking it through with him I turned inward and I let all my fears and disappointment rule me. I asked myself if this was a relationship that was ever going to last. I wondered if we really had what it took. Were we no different from people in affairs? We met up on weekends. We had no responsibilities when we were together. Most of the time we didn’t even have our kids with us so we weren’t playing mom and dad. It was all about us. I started convincing myself that our relationship wasn’t real and we were just fooling ourselves. He was never going to move up here. Or if he did he may be very disappointed considering he would have spent something like a grand total of 30 days with me before selling his home and his business and moving 600 miles to be with my crazy ass. I was spiraling quickly and by the morning I sent him a text that basically asked what we were doing. Eventually we talked on the phone and I was thisclose to ending things with him. I still remember him saying to me, “This isn’t going to work, is it? Dammit, I really wanted this to work.”

At that moment I snapped out of it. What the fuck was I doing? I shifted gears immediately. I apologized. I promised I would call at lunch and we would talk. When I had a chance I texted him and I apologized again, profusely. I told him how wrong I was. I asked for forgiveness. Several times since that incident I have apologized. He has told me repeatedly that there is no reason to do so. I, however, won’t let myself off that easily.

I hurt him. I will spend the rest of my life apologizing for that, if I must. I don’t ever want to be a source of pain for that incredible man. He spent years with a wife who caused him immense pain. I don’t want to do that. He doesn’t deserve it.

We talked about this again when we were together over the New Year’s Eve holiday. I told him, as I’ve told him before, that I was incredibly wrong for doing that. I was petulant and bratty and insensitive. I was throwing a tantrum. I apologized again. His response was that I was a woman who knew what I was willing to deal with. I had boundaries and deal breakers and he was glad. My response was that I was an idiot. I was stupid to be willing to throw away what we have just because we went six weeks without seeing each other.

I’ve since told him that I would rather see him once a year than see anyone else every single day.

I told him about Todd that weekend together. How I met this fantastic guy back when I was 17 years old and I fell madly in love, and then he died. I told him how I sometimes wondered if I had met the love of my life when I was 17 and only had him for a few months, and that was it for me. Until he came along. He made me smile all the time just like I did when I first began dating Todd. I told him that he had made me happier than anyone else I had ever dated (or married) in the last 30 years. I would never leave him and I was a complete idiot for even considering leaving him for such a stupid reason.

That’s a lovely story, Sam, although truthfully you sound a bit psychotic, but how is that any different from cheating spouses who swear up and down that they are sorry and they’ll never do it again? The ones that swear on a stack of Bibles and their children’s lives that their spouse is the love of their life and they were an idiot to throw it all away?

Aside from me saying I’m remorseful I act remorseful. Perhaps, “behave in a remorseful manner” would be a better phrase. I begged for forgiveness, even though he was more than willing to forgive me without the begging. I told him weeks later how sorry I was and how wrong I was. But even more important than that were the things I didn’t do.

I didn’t blame him. I didn’t tell him that if he hadn’t done x, y, or z that I wouldn’t have been a crazy loon.

What did you think was going to happen when you canceled plans on me yet again? If you had just stuck with our original plans I never would have gone all batshit crazy on you! This is ultimately your fault.

No, I took responsibility for my behavior. I owned every bit of it.

Similarly I didn’t tell him that if he had done a, b, or c, then I wouldn’t have done it either.

I also didn’t stop with merely saying the words, “I’m sorry.” I’ve demonstrated it. I’ve done better. We’ve had our share of hiccups along the way. Try being the sane parent to abandoned kids. It’s full of unique pit falls. We’re each single handedly raising our kids with no help from the other parent. We’ve had to plan a lot of things around kids’ activities. Recently he was going to come up here for the first time in almost 6 months but things with work got crazy and he wasn’t going to be able to make the trip.

Instead of getting upset about it I told him I would meet him halfway. I would even go further than halfway if he needed to work later on Saturday. We would miss out on Friday evening together but we’d have most of Saturday and half of Sunday. It would be better than nothing.

He actually thanked me for that. He told me that this time around he was the one falling apart and ready to call off the whole weekend and then I offered to drive and meet him halfway. I was the one that pointed out spending half the weekend together was better than spending none of the weekend together. “I’ve come a long way since October, haven’t I? Aren’t you proud of me?” i joked with him.

While he never holds it over my head I can tell you that if he brought it up 9 months later and told me that he felt hurt by my behavior, or something I did recently triggered that memory and upset him, I wouldn’t tell him to get over it. I wouldn’t call him names. I wouldn’t say mean things to him or use his insecurities against him. People who are truly remorseful don’t do that. I would apologize yet again. As I said, I will apologize for the rest of my life if that’s what he needs. Because I love him and I want him to know how truly sorry I am that I behaved like that. I’m sorry because I hurt him and I don’t ever want him associating me with hurtful memories. I strive every day to do better and to show him how much I love him and appreciate him.

I want to address this notion that people act like assholes because they’re ashamed of their behavior. I am very ashamed of the way I behaved. I do not act like an asshole. That is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

I’m so ashamed of the fact that I went off and fucked a whore for three years; I lied and cheated and I am so ashamed of that behavior that I’m going to call you names, degrade you, refuse to tell you the truth, make you beg me for answers, and in general, act like a fucking asshole. I only do it because I love you.

Quick question. If your “ashamed” spouse punched you in the face would you still be telling yourself he or she loved you and was just acting out from a place of humiliation?

People who are truly remorseful and not simply trying to avoid consequences behave remorsefully. They are humble. They look to change their behavior and their responses. They apologize. They are understanding. They don’t put time limits on your anger or grieving. They realize that you are in charge and it doesn’t matter what they need; it matters what you need. They own their actions instead of putting them off onto you. They tell you what you want to know; they don’t make you beg for answers. They don’t keep secrets. They realize “trickle truth” isn’t any kind of truth at all; it’s lying by omission and trying to keep control over the narrative. They don’t try to keep you off-balance. They support you. They have your back. They realize they are not owed forgiveness or reconciliation. They focus on you; they put whatever injustices they feel they have experienced that led them to fuck someone else, on the back burner and concentrate on your feelings of betrayal. They keep the focus on what they have done; they don’t hand out false equivalencies or attempt to point out all your faults. They don’t act like an asshole and then try to justify it by saying they feel shame. They don’t rage at you or tell you to get over it already. They don’t call you names or say mean things. They don’t act like they’re the victim, or like whatever faults you may have are equal to them cheating. Above all, they want to make it right. They take ownership. They show humility.

Folks, here is the ugly truth. Cheaters don’t like consequences. Many times they will avoid them at all costs. They also love the idea of people fighting over them. It keeps everyone off balance and gives them centrality; they love the so-called “pick me dance”. As painful as the truth may be you need to figure out if the person who betrayed you is showing real remorse or if they’re simply trying to avoid consequences. Once you figure that out you may realize that while your unfaithful spouse is more than willing to stay in your marriage, they are not at all willing to do the work to reconcile.

Talking ‘Bout Boundaries

I was reading a reprint over on Chump Lady last week or the week before. It was How To Save Your Marriage After Infidelity. She was messing with her Google analytics really, knowing that that is the question so many people want answered after finding out they’ve been cheated on. I know many people, especially those who wish to reconcile, are not a big fan of hers, but she actually gave some great advice.

#1- Recognize that it’s dead. That’s a step most people don’t want to take. I get it. The reality though is that when your spouse cheats on you and betrays you you can’t trust them. You shouldn’t trust them! You probably don’t feel safe with them. Here’s the important part of that piece of advice though: We don’t control other people. The only person you control is you.

This is both good news and bad news. It gives you agency. You decide what you’re willing to put up with, what your deal breakers are. At the same time, if your cheater violates those deal breakers then it’s up to you to decide what to do. Because you don’t control the cheater. You control yourself. So, you tell your cheater you want access to all of their social media and you don’t ever want them around the AP again, and they violate that. Now it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to put up with that, or if you’re going to walk away. I can’t make you show me your Facebook/Instagram/text messages, or make you stay away from your AP, but I can leave you if you’re not willing to do those things for me and for our relationship.

#2- It’s not your fault. If you take only one or two things away from Chump Lady please make sure this is one of them.

Pay no attention to the blame-shifting. You didn’t hold a gun to their head and force them to create dating profiles. You might actually suck, but you did not make your cheater cheat. That’s completely on them. People have agency and many options, including therapy, divorce lawyers, and honest conversations. They cheated because they wanted to. It’s that simple.

They don’t cheat because you were too fat, or too skinny, or played too much Candy Crush. They didn’t cheat because they’re in a fog or having a midlife crisis or because you didn’t understand them. They cheated because they felt entitled to cheat. They wanted to and they did it. You’re not the boss of them!

Her third point was talking about the importance of having boundaries in the midst of infidelity, especially if you are planning on reconciling. Folks, as I said above if you only take one or two things away from Chump Lady make sure this is the other one. If you have any hopes of saving your marriage after infidelity you need to be willing to walk away if those boundaries are violated.

I am guilty as charged. I was petrified at times. I didn’t want to upset the apple cart. If I’m a good little wife and I keep everything perfect then he won’t be upset or leave. You know what? It didn’t help in the end. He cheated with the exact same person and this time he actually left. Or at least was making plans to leave until I found out and hightailed it to a lawyer’s and filed for divorce myself.

So, if one of your boundaries is your cheating spouse needs to give you details about what transpired? Then cheater better ‘fess up. If one of your boundaries is telling you who the AP is, cheater better ‘fess up. If one of your boundaries is letting you see Facebook, text messages, emails, etc.? Cheater better be showing you everything. If cheater hems and haws, does “trickle truth”, or just flat out tells you, “No.”? Then you need to be prepared to show Cheater the door. If you don’t? You are telling this person who has already horribly betrayed you once before that you are willing to put up with anything in order to keep this person in your life. You’re letting them know there will be no consequences for their atrocious behavior. They can abuse you again and again because the most important thing in the world is that they stay. You’re willing to put up with whatever in order to make sure they don’t leave you. Put another way: They’re the ones that cheated and you’re willing to let them call the shots on how reconciliation will play out.

Again, I get it. Sticking to your boundaries is scary. Truthfully, the cheater might leave. They’re not known for doing the difficult things. They like easy. But is this how you really want to live?

I didn’t stick to my boundaries. I didn’t realize they were being violated actually. But I recall that October back in 2013 when I found messages between him and his nephew and he was telling him how he was going to bring her with him and he was going to marry her one day.

I was so pissed and I refused to come home. He threatened to kill himself, which I later learned was a form of manipulation. We talked a few minutes about those messages but then he made his plea to give it a rest because he was “so anxious and stressed” and he just wanted a day to not talk about it. We never talked about it again. Until he tried to keep me off the deed to our new house when we moved.

I confronted him, asked him if he was moving me out there to divorce me. Once again he had the tears going. “How could you think that? I don’t know what that person is doing and I could give less than two fucks about them!” That was the end of it.

You all know how it played out. Approximately four months before D-Day #2 I was recording messages for my loved ones after they found my body. That’s how crazy he made me. That’s how desperate I felt during that period.

That’s not even mentioning the lies he told or the way he disrespected me the entire summer as he lied and handed money over to his whore bitch and her kids. I jumped through hoop after hoop trying to help him and make him happy and my payback was finding out he was fucking his cousin that he swore up and down was the worst mistake of his life.

I’m not saying that if I had been more confrontational all would have been well, but I know when we set boundaries and they step a toe over that line that’s not respect and that’s not how you behave when you are truly remorseful and wish to reconcile.

Tracy has this fantastic post called, Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse? that should be required reading for those who want to reconcile. As much as it sucks you better be able to suss out whether they’re genuinely sorry or if they’re simply trying to avoid any harsh consequences.

I will say this much for myself. I told him back in 2013 when I found out about Harley the first time that I would forgive him this time but if he ever did it again there would be no second chances. I would leave him and I would cut him off at the knees. I found out on a Monday night  and I was calling lawyers the next day. I hated it. I hated the fact that I was in this position. We had been in our new house in a new state for a year at that point. I had a brand new pool that had been filled for six days. I had new furniture and a new car. The last thing I wanted to do was file for divorce. But I knew there was no going back. He knew what my boundary was. He didn’t care. I guess he thought I was prepared to put up with anything in order to try to keep my cushy life. Cheater found out the hard way that was not the case.

It Is Time

I’ve been mulling this idea over for a few months now. I know I write an awful lot about my own circumstances, especially since my life took such a drastic turn back in 2016. When I started this blog I really wanted to expand beyond my own situation and offer some sane advice to others who are dealing with this, whether they are in the discovery phase, the reconciliation phase, or in the middle of a divorce. I was reading Chump Lady one day and she said something to the effect of, “I’m only one voice. I can’t do this by myself.” And this gave me hope because I do want to add my voice to hopefully turn the tide on how we look at infidelity. It kills me when I read blogs by people who are going through this, hoping to reconcile, and their spouses are being absolute shits, refusing to give them answers, treating them like crap, blaming them. I want to scream out, “It’s not your fault!” I want to tell them cheating is an entitlement issue, a character issue. I want to point out that if sad little spouse cheated because he/she was unhappy, you were in the same marriage and yet you didn’t cheat. How could that be? I want to tell the cheated on spouse all about the blame shifting mindset of, “It’s not what I did; it’s your reaction to it.” I want to point out all their false equivalencies. Yeah, I cheated. But YOU never put the lid back on the ketchup. You never wanted to play golf. You snored. Or even better, the sneering, “Oh, you’re so perfect. Sorry I’m not perfect like you!”

Really what I would like to see, what I hope eventually happens in all this claptrap of open marriages and polyamory and how humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, is to see people no longer tolerate infidelity. I’d like to believe that the tide will shift, like it shifted for domestic abuse and rape.

I know; I know. Neither of those examples are without fault. There are still travesties of justice. But as a whole we no longer tsk tsk and ask what the wife did to make her husband so mad. We don’t ask her to take responsibility for him shoving her down a flight of stairs or knocking her head into the wall or punching her. It is not perfect yet, and there will always be those who excuse it, but we are less and less likely to put the onus on the abused spouse.

Similarly while examples abound in the news of men getting a slap on the wrist we are making strides in getting the message out there that rape is not about sex. It’s about power. It’s about having control over another person. It’s not because a girl wore a short skirt or had too much to drink. Hell, men get raped as well. We are putting the responsibility back on the person who is actually committing the act, and not asking the person who was violated to take responsibility for that person’s behavior.

There is a woman on another board I frequently read and she does not like the idea of self-defense classes for women at college. She thinks it puts the responsibility on the female to not get raped. And yet this same woman has said about cheating, “It’s a symptom, not the disease. It is an indication of a problem in the marriage.” She would never dream of telling a young college girl that it was her fault she got raped, but she has no problem with distributing the blame in a marriage when one part of that couple cheats.

I have hope that one day instead of blaming the betrayed spouse we put the blame where it belongs- on the person who cheated. I have hope that one day we won’t ask what the spouse did to cause their partner to stray. We won’t look at the woman who has gained weight since the wedding day and cluck disapprovingly, “Well no wonder he cheated; she let herself go!” As I’ve pointed out many times beautiful, thin women get cheated on all the time.

I want to believe as more voices start rising up that we will combat this insane idea that only those who are “perfect” don’t cheat. Or that being unhappy entitles a person to destroy their spouse.

I long to see the day where people recognize that cheating is an entitlement problem. It is a character problem. I was not a perfect spouse but I sure as hell didn’t deserve what CF did to me and our kids. I didn’t deserve to be cheated on. He had a plethora of decisions he could have made instead of cheating. You don’t need to be perfect in order to have a faithful spouse.

I have hope that people will be called out when they toss out such stupid remarks as, “Life is too short to be unhappy,” or “We live in an age where we’re not forced to remain in unhappy relationships.” Yes, by all means, seek out happiness. Don’t remain in a relationship if you are unhappy. But don’t cheat either! I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise to many cheaters out there but you can actually file for divorce without having another person in your bed! It’s crazy; I know!

When people yammer on and on about how monogamy isn’t natural I look forward to people informing those idiots that antibiotics and other medications aren’t natural either. Indoor plumbing and electricity aren’t natural. And if you want to go all, “In nature…” on me. Well… in nature a lot of nasty shit happens, like the weakest of the herd being killed off, or killing the offspring of the former alpha so the females will mate with the new alpha, or starving to death. Cheaters aren’t usually big on consequences. Then again they usually think they are the best in show and above all the rules.

I hope that one day, instead of going back to, “Infidelity is a private matter between two people,” or “Cheating is a symptom and not the disease,” people start to look at what toll infidelity takes on everyone. That is one of the reasons I was upfront about it on Facebook once the divorce was finalized.

Cheating is romanticized and minimized. But it’s not romantic and the impact it has on everyone in its wake can be devastating.

Look at the kids whose lives have been upended. Look at displaced stay at home moms who are suddenly thrust into the workforce making next to nothing. I was lucky; many states don’t have alimony. Look at men who have to paternity test their children, or who lose everything in a divorce to their cheating wife.

My kids and I lost our home thanks to my husband’s cheating. My kids were forced to change schools and move out of state. I worked two jobs to make ends meet and still didn’t have much while CF and Harley lived it up. My kids suffered. I’m no longer around and available for them like I have been in the past.

I also realize I had it easy compared to some of the stories I’ve heard. College funds drained. 401ks liquidated and spent on Schmoopie. Hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on gifts and trips. People losing everything in their divorce- their house, their children, their business. People who have only been with one person in their entire life finding out they have an incurable STD (or even a curable one). Women losing babies or babies being put in the NICU because of STDS. In some instances lives were threatened, poisoned, and even ended. Those stories need to get out there.

I know. It’s not fun and exciting. It makes people uncomfortable. Especially if they truly believe it when we tell them it’s a character and entitlement problem because that means there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening to them.

I want to believe that at some point we stop acting like we owe nothing to another person. So many people want to minimize cheating, want to minimize what role the affair partner plays. They want to be seen as sophisticated and edgy and nonjudgmental so when they hear of someone having an affair with a married person (or just hear of someone having an affair) they play it off as though it is no big deal. Or, you know, they didn’t owe anything to anyone.

No! You do owe it to others in society to be decent. It is not okay to fuck another person’s spouse. It is not okay to lie and deceive another person. You don’t have to owe them anything in order to not do that to them. It is a bad thing. If you are perfectly willing to fuck another person’s spouse because “you don’t owe the spouse anything; you didn’t make vows!” then you are a shitty human being. Those things need to be said. People who do crap like this need to stop being given a pass. It isn’t edgy or hip. It is destructive. It hurts people. It hurts families.

The good news is more of those so called sophisticated articles romanticizing affairs are being called out. People are pointing out that cheating is not your only option. Commenters are stressing character. They’re not buying the bogus excuses. They’re not allowing the wool to be pulled over their eyes.

Yes, I’m still going to be offering up recipes, ranting about random things, talking about my mobster, and chronicling my “adventures” with CF, but I’m also going to stick around so that I can continue to call bullshit on the people who say it’s no big deal and that it’s a marriage problem. No, it’s a character issue; it’s an entitlement issue. I’ll say it over and over again until it sticks. I’m going to continue to call bullshit on cheaters who offer up lame excuses, defend their atrocious behavior, and try to tell cheated on spouses how to behave. Yes, because if I’m going to take advice on how to improve my marriage I’m definitely going to listen to the lying cheater. What’s that? I should fetch him his slippers and draw him a bath and fuck him wildly several times a day? Tell me more! I’m going to continue to call bullshit on the mistresses who say if they had to choose they’d rather be the mistress than the betrayed wife because they get all the great parts of the relationship and none of the mundane shit, or they’re free to walk away and get on with their life while the wife has to deal with the aftermath. Or the ones who preen around, who tell everyone they’re not doing anything wrong and they don’t have a problem with being the mistress. I don’t give a crap if you didn’t make vows to me, slut-o-rama. Are you married to my husband? No? Then don’t ride his dick! I’ll continue to call bullshit on any of the dumbasses who defend them and the people who tout an open marriage as the best way to combat infidelity. When a person cheats they get off on the fact that they are deceiving their partner. They know something you don’t know! An open marriage would never fly. There’s no fun in that when you’re allowed to do it. They also certainly don’t want the other person off having a little fun of their own. Hey, that’s my spouse appliance. No one else gets to play with it. Hands off! I’ll continue to call bullshit on the reconciliation industry which preaches forgiveness at all costs, and tells a person who has just been knifed in the heart that they need to own their part in this. Fuck that! I keep going back to this: If I couldn’t make him eat a damn turnip then I don’t see how anyone thinks I could have made him be faithful.

Ultimately, I will continue to hope that more and more people join in and spread the word.

 

#ItIsTime #RiseUp