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Dear Chump Lady, What part of her withering assessment of me should I own?

snow-queen-01Dear Chump Lady,

I have serious question that I have been wrestling with. I know my cheating ex-wife is a narcissist and tried to put all the blame on me. And yes, good riddance of her. What’s tough to swallow, and this is a serious question, is that on the surface the new guy is better looking, taller, and has more hair than me. Isn’t there something to just realizing this fact and moving on?

I wrestle with it, since I am dating as well, and yes there are some girls I am attracted more to. But trust me, I value character, integrity, and morals. My ex obviously didn’t.

She didn’t love me. How I looked. How I spoke. Everything. I snore. I know about the skein of fuckedupness….. that tangly mess. But isn’t it okay to own some of this? Or is it buying her shitty bill of goods?

Happy New Year,

Steve

Dear Steve,

Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist and orator once said:  “A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.”

Which is just a more erudite way of saying: Consider the source.

A person who loves you will not insult you. And a person who does not love you, cannot insult you. Not really. They can’t really land any blows on you, because they’re not intimate with you.

When you love someone and commit your life to theirs, you make yourself vulnerable. One of the ways we make ourselves vulnerable is believing what our intimates think of us. You spend a lot of time around this person, and they mirror back to you every day if they’re pleased or displeased with you. If you’re with someone who is constantly and forever displeased with you (and then replaces you with someone younger and hairier), it’s hard not to take that personally, to internalize the message that gosh, you suck.

But consider the mirror. It’s in your cheater’s best interest to reflect back to you that you suck, because it absolves them of personal responsibility (at least in their fevered, little minds). Your snoring, less-than hirsute ways make you simply intolerable, so screwing around on you is something they were driven to do.

Did you ever read Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”? It starts out with the tale of some evil goblins, who have created a mirror that reflects everything into something ugly. They’re flying over Scandinavia one day, carrying the mirror — and it drops and shatters. Fragments spread across the land in tiny pieces. Anyone who gets a shard of this glass stuck in their eye can now only see ugliness where there is beauty. The little boy in the story gets a piece of glass stuck in his eye and leaves his good friend Gerta to go live with the Snow Queen. (A fable for infidelity if ever there was one.) HCA writes about the mirror:

When we are at the end of the story we shall know more than we do now, for he was a bad goblin. He was one of the very worst, for he was a demon. One day he was in very good spirits, for he had made a mirror which had this peculiarity, that everything good and beautiful that was reflected in it shrank together into almost nothing, but that whatever was worthless and looked ugly became prominent and looked worse than ever.

The most lovely landscapes seen in this mirror looked like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or stood on their heads and had no bodies; their faces were so distorted as to be unrecognizable, and a single freckle was shown spread out over nose and mouth. That was very amusing, the demon said.

Your ex has a piece of goblin glass stuck in her eye. I’m sure you do have a freckle or a paunchy tummy or a balding head, but these things have become distorted and seen out of proportion to what is true and good — that you’re kind and faithful man who is worthy of love.

It’s good to be self reflective. It’s a quality that sets you apart from the disordered freaks who have no empathy or powers of introspection. It’s great to want to improve yourself, whether that’s being a kinder person or a less chubby one. But the people who love us, who truly get us, look past our imperfections. We’re all imperfect. We all snore. It’s only narcissists who think they deserve special, super-human perfect people to feed them kibbles. You were once apparently an acceptable supply of kibbles, until you weren’t. So, really it’s nothing personal.

You need to value relationships with people who don’t traffic in kibbles. I’m not saying physical looks don’t matter. We should all strive to look as spiffy as we can manage, but you only have yourself to work with. No one can make you taller, and who gives a flip really? Just like you’d like to find a woman with good character, there is a woman out there who wants the same. Who will likes you for you. Who delights in your idiosyncrasies and ignores your freckles. As you do hers.

As for your ex and her hairy companion? Practice “meh.” Who made her judge, jury, and executioner? Why are you giving her that power? Or as the shrinks say — “Don’t internalize the judgement.” Why would you look to a cheater freak for validation? You may as ask your local tinfoil hat schizophrenic for his opinion.

Surround yourself with the people who love you. Internalize that love, and you’ll attract the right people. Examine your values — are you buying into the narcissist bullshit? That you’re only worthy if you look a certain way or earn so much money?

Don’t date the goblins, Steve and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Steve:

    A narcissist will always attack physical traits that can not be changed, because that’s what they do.

    An NPD person thinks they are better than everyone else, no matter what they look like or act like, and they can be charming for awhile an lure in people but they can not keep up the act.

    Marriage is supposed to be about Marrying someone you are attracted to physically and emotionally and whom you are willing to grow old with and age gracefully with…..together.

    We can look at infidelity as a case of a spouse leaving the injured spouse or we can look at it as the cheater spouse setting the injured spouse free.

    They hurt us first, but they set us free by opening our eyes to their inner ugliness.

    • You wrote: “. . . or we can look at it as the cheater spouse setting the injured spouse free.” But at first I read, “. . . or we can look at it as the cheater spouse setting the injured spouse on fire.”

      A bit of truth in that. I think that the crazy-making behavior of the cheating spouse (lies, checked-out behavior, withholding, etc.) does tend to drive the betrayed spouse in unattractive directions. Who is their most attractive when they’re stressed, devalued, denied affection, etc.?

      • Nomar:

        I agree.

        And, I think they did hurt us by setting us on fire metaphorically.

        Yes, I was acting ugly and angry, and behaved in all manner of ways unbecoming to me and very unlike the normal me.

        The pain of infidelity does that to people. I have been told it is normal to act that way after being stabbed in the back by the one person in the world you entrusted to watch your back.

  • Boy CL, this one cuts close to the bone for me. And it helps – make no mistake. Sometimes you get cut and you bleed precious blood. But sometimes you take a cut – say – right above the snake bite, and you bleed venom…

    I think this post addresses the major issue I still struggle with the most. It’s been much easier since I found your blog – to be angry. To start seeing a shit sandwich when it’s on my plate. To start letting go and trust that she sucks – untangling the skein – practice the beginnings of meh and blame myself less. Yes, I left my cheater and we are past two years of divorce. But for how many of us was that truly the end of how we felt? You don’t just sign the decree and instantly get a new life complete with crystal clear understanding of who the fuck you are…

    I think I’m like so many chumps – or at least – like the way I have begun to see us chumps as I read your words and the comments left by fellow chumplings. We are easy marks, like you say, in so many ways. We try to be good, upstanding, moral, loyal – to a fault. Only people like us who have been hurt in such a shitty way as being cheated on really understand how it feels and so we re-double our efforts to be kind to others so we don’t get taken for being hurters or actually become ourselves. But it’s part of what makes us chumps. I remember an episode of “The Flintstones” where Fred kept chanting “nice guys finish last…” Is that us? Is it unavoidable?

    I still spend too much time thinking about how I sucked. How I deserved to be – well, not cheated on, but dumped. I think she could have done the dumping without cheating, but I was a very decent, (boring), guy to her… And a good dad to boot. Maybe she did have to cheat so she could be sure she’d get away from me? Thanks to this chumpmunity of good folks here sharing wisdom, I get to see that all the: “It’s good to be self reflective. It’s a quality that sets you apart from the disordered freaks who have no empathy or powers of introspection. It’s great to want to improve yourself… is still all to the good – but it just needs to be directed in healthy ways…

    Why do I waste time owning my sucktitude in the same breath and reflective moment as I think about how it affected her? What does it matter anymore how it affected her? How did it ever matter? She dumped me because our personalities were different? How right she was! And how blessed I am to be myself and not her. Stuff like this has been occurring to me regularly this past short month that I have been lurking here.

    I’m going to keep examining my values. I’m going to seek validation – from ME. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing my “it’s better on the other side” story soon. No hurries though. It does but only get better…

  • CL, I’ve been thinking about this lately. I certainly was willing to concede that I was not perfect in the M. However, I also look at our M and see how crappy my STBX could be in various ways before he had the A. In several ways, I was probably even the “better” partner– very supportive of his career/schooling decisions, accommodating when it came to his hobbies (which sometimes involved travel), shouldering most of the parenting responsibilities, and pretty good about taking care of my appearance. He was… not super great with any of the above… but then he’s the one who goes and has the A.

    Do all cheaters view themselves as the better spouse, even if they’re not personality disordered? Do they all see themselves as being bogged down with a nice but boring partner, and so they must go off and seek what they feel they deserve?

    I don’t know if the answer to that really matters. I don’t want him back. It’s just something that’s been rattling around in my head; I admit that I have recently wondered if he’s relieved to no longer have to be with me. I find that both ironic and infuriating– that he would view ME as the lesser being, the burden, when he’s clearly the one who is screwed up.

    • don’t know how they all are, but I know mine (who I don’t think is a sociopath or anything, just a garden variety narcissist) definitely thinks he’s better than me. I always felt that somehow. Like a tiny little nagging in my head. It didn’t take the cheating to make me feel it – though sometimes I did think I must be imagining it. I don’t know if it came from how we got together (I guess you could say I pursued him), or what. Even though I knew it wasn’t true, it is still annoying that someone you love and that you believe loves you, might still think that YOU are the one that is lucky to be with them. I assume in a healthy relationship you both feel lucky.

      The fact that I have lived with that nagging little feeling for such a long time makes it hard for it to go away now. Even if you know intellectually that it isn’t true, sometimes it feels true. Especially since he still believes it, even after what he’s done. Like, you won’t believe how he was when I asked him to even say one way he could have been better in our marriage. I admitted to my failings, but he is still clueless as to his. I’m not joking when I say he has told me what he did wrong in the marriage was not communicating to me all the things I was doing wrong! Can you believe that?!?

      My problem is that I believe our respective members of the opposite sex (and society in general) will view him as a better catch than me. Because I can’t go and paint a scarlet letter on his chest 🙂 It’s the double standard that feels like it’s biting me in the ass now. I feel like he’s going to have a bunch of young girls throwing themselves at him because he’s a successful good-looking guy, whereas I don’t see a lot of guys lining up for a 34 year old mom of two. It’s not even that I don’t think I’m a bit of a catch myself at least for my applicable dating pool, but just that my pool is like a tiny little puddle.

      But I would rather be alone and happy than with him and miserable. I can see where it is annoying to think he might be relieved to be without you. But he probably isn’t. Because you were the one taking care of all the crap, it sounds like. And now he has to do it himself. I know I DO feel relieved that my STBX is gone. And that feeling is how I know I made the right decision.

      • Erica, you may be right. Several of my family members often commented on how he seemed to behave as though he were “superior.” One relative in particular commented on how she felt that he acted like he was smarter than I. I never felt that– I have always felt comfortable about my balance of intellectual strengths and weaknesses– but from the outside, others saw it.

        The thing is, aside from the fact that STBX has family money and is quite good at managing that money… well, that must be his lure. He doesn’t have much else going for him. He’s not conventionally attractive– I fell for his mind/humor/talents way back in college when I was “in love with love.” I think that explains why I had the blinders on for so long. He doesn’t have the best personality. Another person in my life thought he might be bipolar– this person told me after I announced the end of our M that whenever we’d get together, she “never knew which STBX [she] was going to get.” He could be friendly and outgoing one night and introverted and grumpy the next. I spackled the hell out of that, of course.

        But NPD or other personality disorder? He doesn’t seem to fit the bill when I look up the traits online. For some reason, though, he does think he’s better than I am. Oh sure, I got an “apology” and some blather about how he hoped I’d find someone great some day because I deserved it (bullpucky to help him preserve his “nice guy” image in his own mind), but ultimately, he got annoyed when I wouldn’t “admit” to how I shoved him into the OW’s arms. I was clearly supposed to take the blame (or at least a good helping of it) because he’s better than I am… deserving of more… I wasn’t giving him enough… etc.

        I just don’t know where the hell that comes from. He’s not the perfect package. He’s a skinny, unattractive, socially-awkward snob. Maybe it’s a FOO thing– he’s more of a spoiled brat than I realized he was.

      • Hit the nail on the head, erica! I have the exact same nagging voice of being the lessor person in the R for YEARS, and 2 years past divorce, i still struggle to minimize it.
        The only thing my X ever admitted to as a fault of his was being : “too good of a husband and provider so I was too dependent on him” . Um, No. He was a control freak who only liked things done a certain way or would be hyper critical to the point where i was too afraid to make a move without consulting him. Whatever.
        Love finding my inner anger. I had “welcome” tattooed across my forehead for far too long.

  • I love this: ”A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.”

    But someone else wise once said, “Trust that they suck.”

    You can worry that she’s found true bliss, but trust me on this, she sucks. And one of two things is true: 1) He sucks, too, or, 2) He is in for a ruuuuuuuuuuude awakining, just like you were. Personality disordered people are often initially shiny, shiny, shiny, and very attractive, but only superficially. They’ll either eat each other alive if they’re both like that, or she’ll chew him up and spit him out, the poor bastard.

    Either way, count your blessings and consider yourself lucky to be freed of such a shiny on the outside turd.

    I have to keep reminding myself of that. My exH’s OW is really pretty. He must be really proud that he landed such a beautiful woman. Except I think he’s not that proud of her, actually. She’s shiny on the outside, but an alcoholic parasite on the inside. She’s a homewrecker and she hurts children and wrecks families. And so does he. He was crappy to me for a long time, and then I ran out of spackle when the cracks broke wide open.

    Trust that she sucks, bro. Just do what is right for YOU and stay the eff away from her. She hurts people.

    • Sara and Stephanie & others……

      Thank you all so much. You all are right and she does suck. It was an eye opening experience, where I have found out what she is really like on the inside and its not pretty. Borders have been placed, that’s what you do with a narcissist. Fences are erected. We co-parent that’s it. Strictly business. Here’s to finding and deserving reciprocal love.

      Thanks again,
      Steve

    • Stephanie-

      I really connect with your comments. You are so insightful and spot on with your observations. SW, my STBXW is a parasite. She is a beautiful woman that uses her shiny, super sparkly superficial self, to seduce, capture & destroy all the while creating a scenario where she is the victim. She is a borderline that wrecks families, uses her children for her cover and is an substance abusing sex addict. It doesn’t matter how big the house she lives in now is or the new car that she drives around town in to justify her entitlement and behavior. She sucks and will suck the life out of this guy and many more to follow.

      Thanks again for all of your great comments.

  • Steve, I asked my husband for his take on this, as he’s experienced something similar and he wrote:

    Dear Steve,

    Should you “own some of this?” Depends on what you mean by “this.”

    If you mean the cheating? Then, hell-to-the-no. Cheating is a choice. It was your wife’s choice, made without input from you, in violation of your wedding vows, and contrary to your core values. That shit is on her, one hundred percent. Your ex could’ve been driven by snoring or thinning hair sleep in a separate room or buy a gift membership to Hair Club for Men, but no one is driven to cheating.

    If the “this” you mean owning is a personal flaw, especially a cosmetic one? Then, sure. Go ahead. An impulse toward self-improvement isn’t a bad thing, especially around the New Year. But bear in mind that we have such flaws, the happy and unhappy alike. And snoring? As a flaw? Are you kidding me? I don’t know how old you are, Steve, but in the mid-life world where I reside, that is NOTHING. I have an ex business partner who’s been married seven—SEVEN—times. I had a family member who went more than a decade without paying income taxes. I saw a picture of the class officer’s from my 30th high school reunion a year ago, and it looked like a casting call for a remake of Cocoon. Except everyone was fatter and had blotchier skin.

    But I would strongly urge you to avoid making any connections the first kind of “this” and the second. That is, between the Cheater’s cheating and your own superficial flaws. They may exist at the same time, but they have nothing—NOTHING—to do with each other. It’s like blaming global warming on, say, Honey Boo-Boo. Honey Boo-Boo can be blamed for a lot of things, Steve, but global warming isn’t one of them.

    My shrink told me that the hardest thing for a betrayed spouse (especially a co-dependent betrayed spouse, which sometimes seems redundant) to accept is a lack of control. We want to think that we have it in OUR power to keep our spouse faithful. But the simple fact is . . . we don’t. All we control is ourselves. No amount of diet, exercise, Rogain, Viagra, youth, flattery, money, or hair can guarantee that our spouses will be faithful and loving. The only thing that will do that? Is character.

    My own sense is that many cheaters play up the faults of the betrayed the spouse. For some it’s premeditated, a form of gas-lighting, a way to keep the betrayed spouse off-guard and working on themselves rather than placing blame where it’s deserved. For some it may be done at a subconscious level, a way the Cheater justifies to him or herself the shitty treatment of loved ones to whom they are supposed to be devoted. Either way, it’s wrong.

    In my case, my ex-wife’s complaints about me escalated as her serial cheating became a larger and larger part of her life, over the course of at least a dozen years of a 22-year marriage. It was small things that made her roll her eyes (hey, I like Tex-Mex food and polka music and sentimental movies like On Golden Pond), but also big things. She indicated vaguely but often that I was hard to get along with. That I was too strict as a parent. That I made people unhappy everywhere I went. And you know what? I bought into that shit. For years I made lists of resolutions and beat myself up and generally Tried To Do Better. Even after the first D-Day. I clung to the idea that I might be able to keep my family together, if only I could change.

    And when I found out she was still cheating, even while we were supposedly in reconciliation, it was a hard and painful blessing. A two-by-four square across the jaw: This, I could not fix.

    Now, nearly four years later, I am happily, happily remarried. I could fill my own blog with all the differences between my old life and my new life, but the one that’s relevant here is this: She doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. Smelly food, dissonant ethnic music, my doughy paunch. These things don’t bother her. Some I think she’s truly come to find amusing; some I suspect she indulges because they make me happy. The thing is: I can’t tell the difference. I just feel loved. And I feel the same way about her. I can’t tease apart the parts of her I love more and the parts I love less. They’re all wrapped up together. I love . . . her. And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

    So go for a brisk walk, Steve. Eat more vegetables and buy some snappy new clothes if you’d like. But don’t think that has anything to do with what you’re worth or the treatment you deserve. Get your ex and her toxic criticism out of your head. The truth is that what you didn’t deserve was your ex’s abuse. You didn’t deserve the mindfuck. You didn’t deserve to be cheated on. No one does. And your ex? With her younger, hairier affair partner? She is clearly and dramatically trading down. As is he. Because the flaw that’s most worth hating in a partner? Is the heart of a cheater.

    • Wow….who says prayer doesn’t work. What’s funny the OM is older. Chump Lady’s cool husband- Thank YOU!!! Wow…..you hit a lot of my stuff squarely on the head. The eyes roll I had a ton of that crap. It was a lot of toxic criticism. The gals that I have recently dated are just frustrated with it (they want to slap me up side the head)….because they are beating down the door to get to me- a great guy with character and I have some great life pursuits, but I still drop self deprecating comments about myself. I know I have to shed that crap. You have given me great perspective to move through my wall of shit- and you can come out on the other side. Certain friends get so frustrated with me at times, but shedding the mindfuck is tough task, especially when you co-parent and you have a front row seat to her and her special friend (don’t worry CL…. Meh!). The heart of a cheater great comment- trust me that’s why I never ever take her back. Seriously. Some wise lady once told me “you don’t share the same values”. I also don’t believe in unicorns. And yes I am figuring out all her venom laced rants to me, especially in the end of marriage was looking at me as a mirror….I was a walking reminder of what was really in her heart which was lies, betrayal, and disception. YES- it was damn wrong…my fellow chumps.

      But back to your great post…. your joy and happiness is great inspiration to all of us. I will go forward work out (for me and my health) and look for someone who will accept me for who I am and love me for the kind, trustworthy, stand up guy -that’s me.

      Happy New Year,
      Steve

  • Chump Lady,

    In citing Frederick Douglass, you are pointing to one of the greatest of Americans. Here is a guy who was born a slave and wound up a major historical figure, an Abolitionist leader and ultimately our Minister to Haiti. Tremendous person. And a person who had to learn to turn off all the negativity beamed at him. Slavery was institutionalized narcissism for the large slaveowners. And everyone else — their wives, poor whites and, most of all, black people — got beamed constant messages about their own inferiority/guilt/etc.

    I continue to find that your message, which is mostly directed at betrayed women (probably the majority of victims), has relevance for many others. There are Chump Ladies, but there are also Chump Men and Chump Kids. Once the child of a narcissist fails to supply the “ego kibbles,” as you so nicely put it, then that kid must be rejected. The N-person is like a vampire. He strikes a victim, drains them, and then moves on. Along the way, he (or she) will show some occasional kindness, since, if you are a manipulative person (and you intend to be successful at that), there is no point in being rotten all the time. Such people also often provide some benefits. They may be rich or physically attractive. But, deep down, they are trouble. And they are looking for us Chumps. And, what’s more, they do a kind of “head jujitsu” on us. They take one of the nicest qualities of Chumps — our tendency to forgive, to want to see the bright side — and turn it against us. In the end, they are a bit like feral animals, like a cute little fox cub that someone might adopt. In the end, they will always bite. It’s their nature. They are quite empty. In the end, they will face their Maker very alone.

    But we also have to learn to write them off. To write them off as losses. The father with the new trophy wife who won’t support his kids (to cite one example), his money isn’t just GONE, it never was there. His love for his ex, for his kids, was conditional. So, afterward, his ex wife and his ex kids (and often they do become ex-kids), has to write him off. This was a sunk cost, an investment based in illusion. There was NOTHING they could do to have made it work. Time to move on. We’d like to think that El Senor Abandoner would get his comuppance, maybe a rare African disease that causes constant psoriasis itching in the groin. But that may not happen and it does not matter! In the end, the ex-Chumps have learned hard lessons and have moved on and are benefiting for themselves. I do believe that negative type people will continue to work their negativity magic on their subsequent partners. I also think that they will feel terribly sorry for themselves in the end, as their lives draw to a close, since their legacy will be so grim. But we Chumps can’t wait to see all that. (What’s more, the exes will do all they can to try to look happy, to project some kind of validating happiness about their abandonment-decisions to the world.) In the end, however, Chumps are not Chumps. they are CHAMPS! And they should celebrate the hard lessons they’ve learned, the successes that they will have earned and owned as they move down the road. A former Chump that now has her own job, her own little house, has more to celebrate than a chained-and-still-chump in a mansion waiting for partner to come home and keep them locked up in a state of semi-abuse.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. The STBXs out there can be ex-parents, ex-bosses, ex-a lot of folks. Us Chumps have the stuff to be Champs. And never look back, over your shoulder, at what they offered us (money, looks, “excitement”). It was never really there. That says a lot that’s bad about them. And as soon as we take our good instincts and stop building illusions about the unworthy (and invest that generosity into flawed but real relationships that work), we’ll be so much better off that it won’t matter what happens to them. Let the exes recede into the rear view mirror of life!

    • Hey David, you’re pretty cool if you’re a Frederick Douglass fan too! My FAVORITE FD quote of all time is “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer… until I prayed with my legs.”

      That just sums up chumpdom — all kinds, for all people — pray with your legs. Leave them and get the hell out.

  • You know, Dear Chump Lady, it seems to me that in my post above, I simply said in more words what you say in the title to your blog. “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.” I speak from the perspective of a Chump Son rather than a Chump Lady, but it ain’t all that different. And “gaining a life” might mean paying for college yourself, getting a job, living in a smaller house, but it will all be yours, and not something purchased at the expense of stolen dignity. In the end, I also think it likely that most Chumps turned Champs will actually do better in life. We often do better when our values are aligned with our actions than when we are getting some benefits in return for a corrupt bargain that degrades us an undermines us emotionally.

    Anyway, gain a life. Learn to write off the sunk costs that a narcissistic relationship entails. And take away the best thing a narcissist can give: the life lesson that it’s important to build strong boundaries/keep distance from certain kinds of people. If you want to “forgive” them, well, that’s OK. But it should be a damned cold forgiveness, more like a recognition that the ex (ex-whatever) is a broken toy with sharp edges, so you don’t want to play with that toy any more. Just not safe. Just not approved by your own, brand new and enhanced internal OSHA.

    Or, as they say in Star Trek, “Shields up, Mr. Sulu!”

  • This hit home.

    The ex said to me in 2009 (and these were her exact words) “…and I know this is mean but you’re not attractive at all.” I tried not to internalize it but I did. In some ways I got some good out of it- I lost weight, put on some muscle, started dressing better and cleaned up my diet, and felt better. But to this day every time I put on a few pounds or I simply don’t feel or look my best I hear those words running through my mind in the background.

    • That’s horrible! Operafaust — I don’t care if you’re a cyclops, there’s someone out there that loves cyclopses. Fuck her! Really, I think with these nuts, it’s projection — SHE is not attractive. Cheating is not an attractive quality in a mate (heck, in some cultures they stone you for it — being ugly? Not so much.)

      Purge those words from your mind. Be healthy for YOU — and for the next lucky person in your life.

    • I heard all through our marriage that I wasn’t sexy enough. That I was too fat. Always tried to “trick” me into losing weight. Bought “us” a treadmill. Told me when I sprained my ankle it was probably because I needed to lose weight. Toward the end of our marriage, I was even told that he wasn’t attracted to me at all. That he may as well be gay – that was how little attraction he felt toward me. He left me for someone who is at least 75 pounds heavier than I. After the relationship was revealed, he resorted to telling me that I didn’t appreciate him enough. That I never thanked him enough for all the projects he’d done around the house, all he had done to help me with my musical career, etc. etc. His assessment of me still sucked. But it changed to suit his need to have validation for leaving me.

      As CL says – consider the source.

    • Let me retook you about my (current) experience: while my STBX was tired of me not providing kibble because I was unemployed, she made it very clear that I was no longer attractive at all. What’s more,I was beyond not attractive, I was a turn-off.

      I did all that CL described in the humiliating dance of Pick me!, and more. I lost weight, primped and preened, bought clothes, the works. I still felt unattractive and like shit.

      Then I did the “Passive Aggressive Dance of Fuck You I Don’t Give a Shit” (http://chumplady.com/2012/11/deconstructing-frumpiness/#comment-2057), letting myself go, and then moved out.

      Now that she wants my kibbles, I am hotter than Brad Pitt, even if I haven’t shaved in a week and have drool crusts. I am a bit ashamed to say that I have had breakup sex and given her some kibbles, but it has done wonders to my self-esteem to see her doing the dance of pick me for a change.

      I’ve been lucky to be in a situation where I’ve had a chance to stop measuring my lovability and self worth by how attractive I may be. Therapy has also done wonders. 🙂

  • Operafaust:

    Your story is so sad. It says a lot about your wife too, none of it good.

    One of the men I dated and fell in love with was not a very attractive guy. All my friends mentioned this. But I liked his personality. That is what i fell in love with. His looks were superfluous.

    Alas, that relationship was doomed from the start because he was on the rebound from a broken relationship.

    He was very upfront with me about his relationship and broken heart over it and warned me several times that if she changed her mind, he would get back together with her.

    I should have run right then and there, but I didn’t expect her to be back and he had a lot of good and kind, and sweet qualities that I fell in love with.

    Long story short, they got back together about 8 months later, and well, poof, he went back to her like an abandoned puppy.

    They stayed together about a year, and she again, gave him the boot, whereupon he wanted to get back together with me.

    By then, though, I didn’t want to risk it with him. And, I learned a valuable lesson. That being never date a guy on the rebound.

    But, my point is that I initially fell in love with his personality, despite the fact that my friends did not consider him very attractive.

    I dunno’ isn’t that what real love is. Loving the inner person and their good qualities and traits.

    But here is the really really frightening part…..I fell in love with my husband because he had so many good traits, or so I thought. I guess I did a lot of spackling because obviously being a cheater, he is not a very good or kind or decent person.

    So now, I can’t truly trust my judgment anymore. That’s one of the worst things about being cheated on, IMO.

  • Well-written piece, but I think this is the ONE area of Chumpdom where I managed to dodge the bullets. Partly because of counsel with a good friend (more on him later) and partly because of vanity.

    I was lucky in that I can’t find a single person, straight or gay, who thinks my ex’s cheat-partner-turned-bf is attractive.

    And by all accounts, the bf is weird, clingy, needlessly cocky, and has a rather deplorable, off-the-boat grasp of the English language as it’s traditionally written and spoken, despite being a natural-born American citizen.

    The above paragraph was basically my pretentious way of calling him a hick…

    Anyway, a gay friend put it best when he said: “Chris, I can name at least 10 guys who were crazy jealous of him [[my ex]], just because he was with you! Now look who he’s with! How many guys do you think are jealous of him now?”

    I was never one to believe in “competing” with the Cheating Partner, because not only are you sinking to your cheating ex’s trashy level, but you’re also doing the Pick Me Dance postmordem, which is just a waste of time. Like any dick-measuring contest, literal or figurative, knowing you’re the winner brings you, at best, a few moments of ego-inflating bliss, followed by the inevitable comedown.

    My friend and I had the idea was to take the competition and flip it on its head. That way it’s not a matter of: “Ha! His eyes are brown and mine are Paul Newman blue!” or “He’s only 5’6″ and I’m 6’2!” That’s a maze you’ll quickly get lost it.

    Solution: Take that momentary burst of confidence/cockiness and say: “I will no longer compete with [insert name of Cheating Partner] because there is no competition to be had and never was. He/she is nothing like me and my cheating ex will never have the kind of relationship he/she had with me.”

    Then take that new-found self-worth and bring it into a new relationship with someone who not only deserves your gifts but will give them right back.

    Side note: That friend I mentioned at the top of this message is college-educated, successful, loaded and best of all. Like me, he got cheated on and left for some trailer-trash dirtbag. My friend was obviously crushed, his self-worth shot to shit, and the subsequent months involved lots of spackling, Pick Me Dancing, feeding the cheating ex her Ego Kibbles, before she finally left him for good….once again for the trailer trash boyy.

    My friend applied the formula I described above and in the process went from benig the King of Pain to the King of Meh.

    The last text converastion he had with his cheating ex included the following exchange:

    HER: “He [trailer trash boy] is everything you’re not!”

    HIM: “…I sure fucking hope so.”

    • I sure fucking hope so — brilliant!

      Yes it helps to be pretty Chris, and it helps when the fuckbuddy is plug ugly. Although then you have a different sort of humiliation — like, THAT person? WTF? Really?

      Absolutely do not compete. Good words of advice Chris!

  • [quote]HER: “He [trailer trash boy] is everything you’re not!”

    HIM: “…I sure fucking hope so.”[/quote]

    Boy, isn’t that the truth! I’m gonna keep that in the forefront of my mind–she’s nothing like me. Thank God. She’ll never be as good as I am. And I think he knows it.

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