Dear Chump Lady,
You probably don’t remember me. I was at your book launch and had dinner with you and about 20 other people in DC back in May of 2016. I’m the one who told the story of putting in an insanely expensive inground pool only to find out six days later that my husband was cheating with his cousin. The cherry on top was when I admitted I knew he was fucking her and about 30 minutes later he texts me, wanting to know if I’m still making spaghetti for dinner that night.
I’ve been a faithful reader pretty much since the day I found out he was cheating. I’ve taken careful note of your advice to find someone who reciprocates, someone who gives just as much as they take.
As fate would have it thanks to my own blog I met an amazing man. Our stories are very similar, although she didn’t leave him for her cousin. He was a volunteer firefighter instead. In my first comment to him I told him that our exes could be twins. Both of us had long marriages (20 years for me, 25 for him). Both of our spouses moved out without saying a word. Both abandoned their kids (2 in my case, 4 in his). They also both love to play the victim.
When I met him he was still in the “I’ll love her forever” phase. I quickly pointed him in your direction and eventually loaned him your book. He is now a convert.
Sadly, he lost the book. Or it was stolen by an entitled cheater who did not think he should “leave a cheater, gain a life.” He contacted you to get a copy of your book for me for my 50th birthday to replace the lost/stolen one.
Not only did you sign another copy of your book for me but you also drew me a cartoon and sent along a birthday card. Inside the card you had written that he was a keeper. I like to tell him and everyone else that he is Chump Lady approved.
You have no idea, Tracy. This man has been amazing in our short time together. He writes love notes on the sidewalk in chalk for me. He read my list of 100 things I love, studied it, and bought me numerous items off of it the first time I drove down to his house. He listens to me talk about my job. He’s been there when I’ve complained about my life. He once listened to me intricately explain some of the finer points of Candy Crush. He bought us matching sequined elf slippers with bells on them, telling me that now we would always know where the other one is. He is incredibly romantic. He’s a fantastic father. He laughs at my jokes. He’s funny and he’s charming. He greets me with “Hi, beautiful,” or “Hi, cutie,” every morning. He’s even buttered my biscuit for me! Did I mention he cooks me breakfast? He has been so incredibly supportive. I finally know what it’s like to have a real partner. But all of that pales in comparison to what happened to me last weekend.
We are a long distance couple and we usually meet somewhere in the middle. This past weekend we decided to take a bike ride because he is really into bike riding. About two miles into this ride I feel a “growling” in my bowels. I’m two miles from civilization with only my legs to power me back. We had passed a port-a-potty a mile and a half back and once it became apparent I really needed to use the bathroom we headed back.
I made it to the port-a-potty and was silently thanking my lucky stars. I stepped off the bike. As soon as I did I felt it hit. I shit my pants. I wish there was a better way to say that, but it’s the God’s honest truth. I stepped off and my bowels had a mind of their own. I paused a moment, thought to myself, “I can save this situation,” and tried to get inside the port-a-potty. Before I could take another step I shit again. By the time I actually got inside and locked the damn door, I had pooped myself three times.
I was absolutely mortified. Horrified. I’m trying to clean myself up. I’m trying not to cry. He asks me how I’m doing and I tell him I am horrible. He inquires as to why. At this point I have to admit what has happened.
He could not have been more supportive. He assured me that if we needed to turn the bikes in it was no big deal. We’d just turn them in and go back to the room so I can clean up. We were 20 minutes into this two hour ride. After I told him I didn’t think I could even sit in the car and ride back to our Air BnB he asked me if I wanted him to see if there was water anywhere.
This amazing man looks around and finds a community garden with a water pump. He brings me a watering can filled to the brim so that I can rinse my underwear out and he offers to rinse out my jeans for me. That’s right. He took my shamefully shitty jeans and washed them completely out for me. He even accompanied me over to the pump so that I could rinse my underwear completely out and then found a plastic bag for me so I could throw them into it.
As I’m telling him I’m so embarrassed and thanking him profusely for rinsing my jeans out he tells me not to worry about it. “I’ve got four kids. I’ve changed plenty of shitty diapers,” he assured me.
“Were they 50 when you did it?” I asked.
Keep shouting it from the rooftops, Tracy. Leave a cheater, gain a life. I can’t imagine the ex in my situation ever doing anything like that for me. It was all about him. I was the giver. I was the caretaker. I once called him at work to ask him his opinion on two different expensive surgery options for our dog. His response was, “Why are you calling me at work about this? Isn’t this what I pay you for?” Another time our daughter smuggled her guinea pig into a restaurant in her little Dora the Explorer lunchbox. He freaked out, swearing up and down they were going to shut down the entire restaurant. We were going to have to pay the fines the health inspector would levy. We were going to have to pay for everyone’s dinner. I can only imagine what would have happened if this had happened with him. In his alternate reality we would have to buy the bike we rented (if not the whole damn bicycle shop), and our afternoon would have been shot.
In my new reality I put on my wet, clean jeans and we finished our 12 mile bike ride. After our bike ride we went to one of our favorite wineries and shared a bottle of wine out on the deck. We went to dinner and then came back to the room where I showered and changed into my jammies. We ended the evening watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. Ironically, she is yet another woman cheated on by her husband who decides to leave the cheater and gain a life.
Thank you. Thank you for your website. Thank you for my book. Thank you for advising people not to make their needs smaller and smaller while they serve partners who keep demanding more and more. Thank you for talking about reciprocity and how important it is in relationships. And thank you for recognizing I have a keeper. He is henceforth known as The Marvelous Mr. Mobster.
P.S. Hey, Mobster! You challenged me to write a post about our past weekend. Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished. You’re welcome.