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Dear Chump Lady, I still love the stupid fuck. Help.

Dear Chump Lady,

So, I have been divorced now for a month or so. My ex-husband and I separated in February and he had a girlfriend with a few weeks. Wow, what a shocker. Oh, but they never cheated, and they were just “friends” before. The whole time we was basically trying to have his cake and eat it too. He would tell me that he loved me, and never really wanted to get a divorce. He always seem to withhold the truth from me.

See, he’s in the Navy, and we lived apart because he traveled so much with the navy wrestling team. So I was never around to really know what was going on. He finally told me the truth in August after playing me for months. He said he did love her, but he was still confused about us. He said that he still loves me and hopes we can work it out someday. What kind of crap is that?!

I finally had enough and divorced him. It was so hard. Recently he came into town to take care of business before he was deployed to Japan. He got into contact me and asked to “apologize” in person for all the pain he has caused. He still swears up and down that he never cheated, but I know that he did. I am having a hard time of letting him go. It’s been a struggle because he still tries to contact me, and tell me all this crap.

The crazy thing is that he’s still in a relationship with this girl and broadcasts it all over Facebook. About how they are so in love, but yet, he’s telling me he loves me too. I’m so tired of the manipulation. I realize what he is doing, yet I still let him get to me. I need someone to smack me upside the head. I know he’s a narcissist. But yet, I still love the stupid fuck.

He keeps coming at me that he just wants to be friends, and that I’m still his best friend and blah blah blah. I just would like to know your view on this. And I need someone to tell me the harsh reality of it all. Thanks so much for your blog. It does help. I can’t believe there’s so many awful people in this world that like to hurt people. Thanks for listening.



Dear Natalie,

Choose your weapon. What would you like me to hit you upside the head with? Last Sunday’s New York Times? A wet mitten? (I just got back from Minnesota. It was snowing. In OCTOBER.) A muddy boot? These are the things I have on hand. Thwack! Consider yourself smacked.

Okay, now that I’ve smacked you, I’m going to hug you. ((((Natalie))) This guy IS a stupid fuck. Worse, he is an ABUSIVE fuck. Cheating is abuse. And yes, he cheated. Of course. And he’s cheating on Miss Fabulous Facebook chick too. (I’d say tell her, but he’d probably explain you off as his bat shit crazy, jealous ex. Still you might want to consider forwarding any incriminating emails about his “love” for you.)

He doesn’t love you. Healthy, loving people don’t behave like this. This is not a “love” that is good for you. I know that hurts. And I know that you hunger for those words of remorse, for apology, for him to explain himself. You need to let that shit go. Because you know what? He’s manipulating you with it. It’s ego kibbles for him. It’s a GAME. Every time you respond to him, you’re feeding him. He feels centrality, that he matters. That he is winning some sicko game that only he knows the rules to.

You have to stop participating. It’s like kicking a drug. You have to go total no contact with him. I hope you don’t have a kid with him, because that will make it harder. But NO CONTACT. (And if you do have a kid, email contact only and it’s about finances or kid logistics. Nothing else.)

The longer you stay no contact, the stronger you’re going to get. Little by little, day by day. And when you feel weak, I want you to reach out to a SANE person. A friend, an online support group, post on this blog, go for a walk, eat a cupcake. Do SOMETHING ELSE, but do NOT contact him.

Change your number, block his email. If you’ve got divorce logistics to work out, he can contact your attorney (yes, the billable hours are worth your sanity).

You need to detox from him.

I get how sparkly narcissists are. And I understand bonding with one. I did it myself, and thus, Chump Lady. But the next thing you need to do Natalie, is have a hard look at yourself. A kind, but hard look. Why is the sparkly narcissist guy appealing to you? Do you buy his bullshit that he’s really All That? Do you? Do you need to be with someone so uber confident and arrogant? Do you get some contact high from that? I did. Mine was like that. Baffles me now, but I once thought he lit the moon.

The way past that is self knowledge. Know yourself Natalie. Know what your values are. You value honesty, love, and a true commitment and that is why you divorced that douchebag. He’s not someone you can EVER be compatible with, because he’s not in your league. You don’t share the same values. You’re not being unforgiving of him (assuming his remorse is real. It’s not, obviously.) He is utterly incompatible with you.

When you focus on him, you’re taking focus off of yourself and your healing. You’re giving energy to him that could be spent elsewhere. On someone better than him. As the song goes, he’s taking up another man’s space. Better than a wet mitten upside the head, I’m going to leave you with a great Aretha Franklin song. Listen over and over, as needed.

Dump him for GOOD, Natalie. You can do this!

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  • I was practically cheering when I read this.

    My own STBX narc was professing that he still loves me and wants me back and “I will meet a few bastards then want him back” (yeah, right) last Monday. Tuesday night he was trawling sex dating sites again.

    And still everything is my fault.

    Natalie, you will feel so much better when you get to the place I am in. The place where there is no way back, not ever.

    Best of luck.

    • Good for you Red. The “I will meet a few bastards” line is classic. Mine used to say “Hey, I’m a good catch!” (For STD pathogens, but whatever.) They’re delusional. They really do think they are all that and a bag of chips.

  • Natalie,
    When I read your letter to CL, it reminded me of times when I would contact my friends when I knew, deep down, that his behavior was hurtful and selfish — but I still needed a little backbone reinforcement. So I applaud you for seeking reinforcement for what you KNOW is the right thing to do for you.

    Do not doubt yourself – go back and read your own words: “I realize what he is doing, yet I still let him get to me.” You don’t have to welcome this crap into your life. His actions are NOT matching his words. He “broadcasts” his love for this girl on Facebook (which clearly gets him ego kibbles from this chick), but then privately says he loves you (hoping to have a secret-stash of backup ego kibbles from you too?). News flash: He doesn’t love her. He doesn’t love you. But he really likes stuffing his face with ego kibbles – it doesn’t MATTER who it comes from.

    He is taking what he can get, anywhere he can get it. And you already know this – you got out of that relationship for damned good reason. His behavior is childish, lacking in integrity, and selfish, but sometimes this crap can still hurt us when we interpret it as someone’s rejection of US. And if they would just come back and validate us, we wouldn’t feel the sting of rejection anymore.

    But here’s the thing – when you stood up for yourself and your values, you wisely rejected him. To paraphrase another fabulous blogger for situations like this (Natalie Lue over at is also wonderful and I adore her posts): He isn’t rejecting YOU. He’s rejecting the fact that, in order to be with you, he would have to be trustworthy, be reliable, be emotionally available, be respectful, and he would have to be willing to love and to think. That’s not “high maintenance,” that’s what’s considered NORMAL for healthy, well-adjusted people. But for him, that’s a really tall order and he’d rather find an easier source of ego kibble than make a basic effort to be a decent person.

    You already made a very smart decision and recognized that he is severely lacking and you rejected him. Don’t go looking into his life for signs of validation – they just aren’t there. Keep working on you, your self esteem, and keep focusing on the good things you bring into your life.

    • Great reply BB. You make a good point — just because this idiot doesn’t love you, does NOT mean you are not lovable. It’s that you’re setting the bar too high for someone as cretinous as him to reach.

  • Many of us doubt our lovability in the aftermath of this. We question our attractiveness, our sexual adequacy, everything we liked about ourselves. And, believe me, these folks capitalize on that and heap blame while we are in such a depleted state, we often believe it.
    It is one of their many cruel talents. Thye lack empathy.

  • Thank you all so much for the wonderful, kind words. It really helps. My ex called this weekend. Guess what! I ignored the call. First time I’ve done that in a long time. I didn’t feel sad about it either. He will let his ego-pride take over for a while, and I’m sure, not call back for a while. It’s been really hard getting away from that manipulation. But, I know I can do it. I look forward to the day when he doesn’t cross my mind, and I am not sad anymore. I know there is good people out there, and I just need to continue to work on myself. It helps to know that there are so many people that have experienced the same unfortunate events that I have and have came out stronger, and better for it.

    • Yea Natalie! Every time you resist that urge to answer, you get a little stronger. The spell weakens. It really does, until one day you just arrive at WTFever, and you won’t care if he gets run over by a bus. (Karmic or otherwise). You’ll arrive at the state of “meh.”

      Hang in there!

    • I know this was posted 5 months ago but I was scrolling through the archives when I happened on your letter. Men are just like this. You must be a fabulous lady. If you were such a bitch ect.. whatever excuse he used why would he come back sniffing around? It has been my experience that men break up with you yeah they are free and immediately start trolling for their next sex partner. You grieve. 6-8 weeks later you start feeling better and bam they call or show up “Oh I missed you. You’re the only one I can talk to” Well of course I am a fabulous woman and you let me go. Right now I am in the beginning of a very painful break-up with my husband of 23 years. When the time comes that we are living apart I WILL NOT SEE HIM. Why? I love him and I know he could just break my mending heart all over again. We don’t have children so that helps. I am taking the dog. His Facebook fuck can get him a new one! Hope this finds you stronger ( and stronger with out a man because a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle)

  • Natalie just read what you have written….” I love this stupid fuck”.

    Now reread what you really mean……”I LOVE THIS image that I have of him…BUT in reality he is a STUPID FUCK”.

    I am 6 months out and I too struggle at times but I know one cannot really love someone whom you call a stupid fuck.

    You are healing…divorcing him..thinking him and calling him a stupid fuck are huge huge steps towards claiming yourself back.

    Keep going, Natalie.

  • Just reading this now, and I wanted to post a possibility;

    – maybe when in these kinds of states, we need to stop asking ourselves ‘does he really love me?’. Because that is the WRONG QUESTION.

    My first ex husband, the alcoholic, really really did love me. My second ex, the more recent cheater, really really did love me. But they are pathetic, fucked up people who are incapable of loving in a HEALTHY way. Incapable of having HEALTHY relationships, w/all their ‘normal’ problems and normal solutions, honesty, and thinking of their partner as well as themselves.

    And the ‘love’ question leads to other questions; are they really remorseful? will they really try to change? ….

    These are all irrelevant questions that lead us astray.

    So the question has to be ‘is this relationship AS IT IS and AS IT WAS healthy for me? And is it realistically ever likely to be healthy for me?’

    And for that one, as usual, we have to stop up our ears to their words, and look at their actions. Every time I do that, the answers are SO clear to me!

  • PS; ‘do I still love him/her?’ is also a totally irrelevant question, BTW.

    And we need to teach this to all the young people we know; the measure of a relationship isn’t whether there is love, but whether it is a healthy one for BOTH people involved.

    I blame fairy tales and holiday movies for making the ‘love’ question so central. Ah, if only love did solve everything ….

  • This is like reading about my STBX. He started resenting me around “4 years ago” or so he says, which is shortly after our second child was born. We had a 2 year old as well at the time. And the kids took up a lot of my time and concentration. I still stroked my husband’s ego, but it wasn’t as much as before, because, kids. And I worked damned hard to be a good wife and mother. I saw him slowly detach himself from me over the years, and I tried making amends. Was I perfect? No, I’m human. I suffered from guilt about having another c-section, not being able to breast feed, and I had a wonderful daughter, who hated leaving my side. She still is very shy around new people. I also had post-partum depression. My parents, who live on a different continent and only see me via Skype saw how horrible I was feeling. My self absorbed husband only worried about how I was no longer feeding him ego-kibble. I tried talking to him, I even suggested counseling. But he did that once, 15+ years ago, with an ex girlfriend, so he didn’t believe in that stuff. So, I took it upon myself to feed him ego kibbles. I would do loads of stuff to make him feel better and to let him know I loved him. But even so, it wasn’t enough kibble. And he went and got ego kibbles from someone else.

    Now that we’re in the middle of our divorce, he wants us to be “amicable”. He wants to be able to be on the phone with HER all the time, or run off for a quick fuck with her, and to have me perfectly ok with that. I have been more than fair with what I’m suggesting as a temporary separation plan to get him out of the house. So he can go feed on the kibble with his married girlfriend. And he wants more, more, more. He could go an entire week without seeing the kids, and now he wants more time with them, than I’m suggesting. And I’m the bad guy for suggesting him only getting to spend 1 or 2 afternoons in the week with the kids. And since he’ll be living at his mother’s house for a while longer, while his girlfriend divorces her husband of 10 years too, he’ll be seeing our kids every single Sunday. But no! He wants MORE! Because he wants to also “move on with his life” and “have a life”, so spending time with his kids is a second rate priority if it’s already going to happen. But him having practically an entire day free with the kids, then he doesn’t want it. The amount of selfishness on his side, is mind boggling.

    Sadly, because we have kids together, I can’t block or ignore him, but I certainly won’t be responding to texts or e-mails unless they’re about the kids.

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