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Dear Chump Lady, When does it stop hurting?

Hey CL,

You mentioned in one of your comments that your DDay was in November of 2006 – how long did it take for you to stop hurting? I know everything with Mike is hopeless and that there’s no going back. I’m moving on with my life and I’m NC but I hurt, still. I cry, still. I’m 53 days into NC (the second round) and I still have this hole, this void, right in the center of my body. I know that Leah and Mike are probably doing mondo bondo now and everybody is being their best sparkly selves and I know, “who cares” anyway. But I hurt, I just hurt.

How long did it take for you for this to just go away? I feel like I’m doing all the things I should do…. connecting with friends, dancing (again), I’m going on 20 pounds down… going for 25!!! which will be great! Teaching, volunteering, but it’s like I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and I spend a lot of time on the verge of tears. When I catch myself obsessing, I make myself think about what I want from my life and would I really want the same relationship back? And the answer is emphatically NO! I know that in my logical mind. I know it! But I miss him terribly, at least what he was while we were together. That sparkly Mike. The relationship….. not so much. I know its fucked up.

I guess the holidays don’t help so much…. When does this go away?


Dear Erika,


I don’t know which Tuesday, but if you need a definitive answer — Tuesday.

When does the pain go away? I couldn’t say. It’s entirely up to you. It’s such an individual thing. For some people, especially those who have children with one of these freaks, probably never entirely. Every time you have to co-parent, or your kid lies to you and does something familiarly shitty, you’re probably reminded of what youthful riches you wasted sharing your life with one of these wing nuts. The pain isn’t acute, it’s just a dull throb. A reminder. A bit of shrapnel from a faraway war that’s lodged in one of your vital organs. You’re going to live, most days you forget it’s ever there, and then some days something aggravates the injury and you remember.

But trust me, the whole choking grief, missing them, sobbing crap — that goes away in pretty short order. You’re a couple months in. I’d say it’s still acute, by 6 months you’ll most likely be all better and have forgotten what the hell you ever saw in him. Your new life, over time (dreaded time), just eclipses your old life. Do you remember the joys and sorrows of the fourth grade? No. Exactly. It’s not really relevant to who you are now, a lot has happened since then. Your job is to FILL your life in. Don’t be passive in the face of this grief.

It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. You need to trust that if you keep doing them, you’re going to heal.

When did I feel better? It was gradual. Some days in the very throes of it, I felt almost delirious. Like I was in a free fall. A sort of — I embrace the chaos! Music was more meaningful, colors more intense, kindness was deeply, hugely appreciated. I don’t know, I was probably in shock. Everything was just very, very intense. I remember that.

It was a slog, I made a lot of stupid, chumpy mistakes (the wisdom you see compiled before you today). But really, I didn’t start to truly heal until I moved out on him in 2008. Divorce, separate space, no contact. Even then I fucked up a couple times, but I got back on the wagon. Really, I needed distance to heal. I had a very full life. I was a single mom, with a full-time job that had me traveling quite often. I had friends, I did art, I had freelance writing. Busyness helped. Dating after divorce helped some.

Getting out of a bad relationship is really like kicking a drug. The irregular rewards of being with a sparkly person is addictive to your brain, there’s science on this. And there is your own fuckupedness that keeps you stuck. You think this person is the best you can do, you loved the myth of them, you were abandoned as a child, whatever. You probably have something you need to do some therapy about — and I encourage you to explore what that something is and work on it HARD.

Other things that help? Exercise. Oh that’s so boring, everyone says that. But it’s TRUE. MOVE YOUR BODY. Go for a walk. Dance. Take a class. Just get the fuck out of your head. Also, when you miss sex, work up a sweat some other way.

Perspective. Mike is a shitty person and you wasted a couple years with him. Epically tragic in the face of other tragedies? No. Employ shame. Are you Catholic? You’ve got a head start on us if you are. Do a little monologue (imagine a stern nun) “Who do you think you ARE, Erika? There are orphans in Tanzania with REAL problems. Mike is luxurious, first world problem. Mbeki should be so lucky as to have a problem like Mike. Mbeki has no drinking water, can’t go to school, and his mother is dying of AIDs.” The nuns would say suck it up, Erika. Or give it to Jesus and pray. Maybe it’s the same thing.

Take inspiration from people who’ve survived much worse things, and gone on to kick ass. Nelson Mandela did 27 years of hard labor on Robbin Island. When did the pain of being unfairly imprisoned go away? Oh who the hell knows, he got out and became PRESIDENT.

Yes, you don’t have to be as saintly as Nelson Mandela, but my point is, he didn’t waste a lot of time on self pity. He was working. Making a plan to be awesome. Transitioning a nation to democracy.

Feeling terrible about Mike doesn’t hurt Mike (or Leah his next willing victim). It just hurts you. Yes, you have a right to hurt, and you’ll grieve, but don’t lose sight Erika that there is WORK to do! Work on yourself, work on getting that great future together. You have to will yourself to turn your energies towards yourself now and do that work. With any luck, over time, you’ll lose yourself in it. And one day — it will be a Tuesday — you’ll wake up and realize you don’t hurt any more.

Finally, I leave you with the erudite Stephen Fry. A man for all his fabulous success suffers from manic-depression and had a suicidal break down years ago. I very much like his take on self pity. Watch, enjoy, let Mike and all those other sparkly turds go — and Merry Christmas.


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  • Yes, that’s so true, about 6 months and things will be better! I’m going on 6 months now and I don’t have the same feeling I did in the beginning. So much insecurity and feeling hopeless. But now that my mind is in a better place and moving forward with the divorce (I had doubts for so long) he’s actually pissed off that I don’t give in to him anymore! He calls me cold hearted and that I never loved him. I’m not feeding into that guilt trip anymore! Even with the holidays around, I haven’t let it affect me. Just to know I never have to pretend I like his family ever again, makes me enjoy it, even if I spend it alone!

  • I think, for me, that “self pity ” was (is?) a stop on the way to “moving on”. It’s not something that I want to wallow in but I need to acknowledge that I went through a very rough time. Because I was in denial for a long (long, long) time, I was putting a positive spin on aspects of the relationship which I now see as horrendous red flags. I’m also acknowledging to myself that, in the big scheme of things, my miseries are not insurmountable and, actually, in many ways I’m pretty damn lucky.
    I wish this site had been around when I was going through the worst as it would have helped validate my essential survival skills. I go through different aspects of the grief stages in a sort of spiral but there is a moving forward and I’m grateful for it. Live the best life you can.

    • Self pity is definitely one of the stops, but ultimately I agree with Fry. It’s destructive. It doesn’t help. It’s different than compassion for yourself — chumps need a lot of self compassion. We got chumped, we applied good impulses to bad people. Self pity is returning to your pain, letting it paralyze you, giving it centrality. It keeps us stuck.

      I read somewhere that one of the things that makes people vulnerable to narcissists, is this idea of avoiding your own gifts. It’s easier to shovel kibbles at them (they need them sooo badly), organize their lives for them, reflect glory at them, to put yourself in their service, than it is to focus on ourselves. What do *I* want? My career? My dreams? My selfish interests? It’s the codependent thing, living in service to others, trying to control, hoping we’ll be “appreciated” for our efforts.

      Self pity is a similar trap — it takes the focus off — what about ME? What do I want? What’s next? And instead stays focused on the injustice and the pain and the unfairness. It happened. Infidelity, emotional abuse, whatever shit you stuck around for — it happened. You can’t make it UNhappen, you only get to ask yourself, what next?

      • Self-pity. This is an amazing little bit of insight here Chump Lady. And it seems like you just jotted it off from the top of your head. STAGGERING!!! Of course I think this is the origin of Tuesday too? Powerful stuff.

  • I agree with that. I think it’s shifting to the fact that it wasn’t personal personal. He would probably have acted the arse with whoever was decent with him. Perhaps I’m thinking about self-compassion more and in a detached way. I think I use the self-pity aspect as a terrible warning not to go there. Doing the best for me has a knock on effect of benefiting others.
    It is a painful time but it can also be a time you try out lots of new things. I’ve been abroad alone, tried new hobbies, joined meetups and volunteered. I feel more curious about interesting ways to live and other people. I don’t have the illusion of “certainties” with him. Ha! The more non-contact distance I have, the more I realise what crumbs I was living off. I’m amazed at the friendships that have developed in a way which wouldn’t have been possible if I was still worshipping at the altar of Prof. Imustbeappeased. He was a prof too!

    • I’ve had this experience as well. All of a sudden I have loads of new friends, have re-kindled old friendships and am so much more relaxed and interested in people and the world. It’s weird that I put so much focus on him–something I’d never done in a relationship before, but mines a serial cheating Narc so I got totally bamboozled.

      One funny thing struck me today: he had once said, shortly after I found out about all the cheating, that he didn’t like the way I argued (meaning I got increasingly shouty over the years). I thought about this for some reason this morning and I realised I had never been like that in a relationship until him–and I’d been in a number of long-term relationships before him. So why did I get so angry with him and not others? Most likely because my inner warning bells were ringing like mad but I was ignoring them. And yes, he was tossing me crumbs and I was perpetually hungry for more but unwilling to recognise it consciously. So I got frustrated and would lash out.

      So when it all fell apart I went through a HUGE period of self-pity, a real ‘how could he do this to me and our family and all that we built?’ phase. I just could not understand it and felt so sorry for myself, as well as my kids, that he could not only toss us away but treat us like absolute shit in the process. 20 years together and suddenly I’m a psycho liar who has huge issues? Really?

      It took a lot of therapy, reading, talking and just thinking so realise that he’s the one who needs pity because he’s royally jacked up. I’m free and that’s awesome for me, no matter how scary things are financially (I’ve been a SAHM). I’ll survive somehow and will love again. He won’t because he is a Narc and thus will always be empty.

      Sorry, feeling a bit vent today. Kids celebrating xmas right now with him and his family: first time I’ve not seen them open all their gifts since they were born. Yuck. Not a fun day.

      • Have you got something special for yourself? I’m volunteering for a group today as neither of my lot are with me. We had “Christmas” early so I feel slightly out of sync with the universe.
        Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
        Chapter 1

        I walk down the street.
        There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
        I fall in.
        I am lost… I am helpless.
        It isn’t my fault.
        It takes forever to find a way out.

        Chapter 2

        I walk down the street.
        There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
        I pretend that I don’t see it.
        I fall in again.
        I can’t believe I am in this same place.
        But, it isn’t my fault.
        It still takes a long time to get out.

        Chapter 3

        I walk down the same street.
        There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
        I see it is there.
        I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
        I know where I am.
        It is my fault.
        I get out immediately.

        Chapter 4

        I walk down the same street.
        There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
        I walk around it.

        Chapter 5

        I walk down another street.

        I’m planning to move! Merry Christmas!

        • Yes! Walk down another street! In another city, in another state, in another country…

  • I have to admit, I wasn’t hurt so much by my divorce as I was by the heart breaking relationship that followed it. That was when I went through the stupidity of push me pull me and made some stupid choices along lines of: “let me get you sorted out so you can then appreciate me.” Very bad form, indeed.

    But that’s where my real heartbreak came. And honestly? If that relationship had launched, no doubt I would have ended up in a situation similar to my marriage. Because I choose emotionally unavailable men because of who I am. Not because they trick me, but because I did not have enough sense of self to understand what I was doing badly.

    That situation stopped hurting probably 4 months in. My analyst gave me some great advice during that time, because the pain was awful (just to give a frame of ref, that was about 3 years ago now, and I can’t remember the actual pain, I just know that it happened, if that makes sense). He said to me: It is like a crying baby, the pain. If you’ve ever held a crying baby who won’t be consoled, the best you can do is just hold it and let it melt into you and just rock it soothingly until it stops. You can’t shake it, or force it to stop crying using reason or logic, you just have to allow it to cry and tend to it gently. And for me, that visualization worked.

    But the best thing I did, the thing that worked wonders for me was consciously withdrawing my projections from him and forcing them back onto myself. I’ve said this to you before, and I know you’ve mentioned working through this. But when I thought: “why did he??” I stopped myself and I said: “Why did I?” Because the hole you describe feeling, that’s nothing he could fill up, even if you were with him. That hole is something you have to fill up. Otherwise you will end up finding a man like him again, and you will try to repair what happened with him. Learn about yourself, make yourself stronger and the pain will go away faster.

    Also, something I did quite frequently, and this may sound bonkers, but it was analyst sanctioned so I didn’t feel totally crazy doing it: I had “conversations” with him while I was driving distances or working around the house or whatever. I would say both sides of these conversations and that told me a lot of what I was feeling about myself or things I was hiding from myself. So, hahaha, early on when he would “talk” to me he would say: “I realize I’ve made a mistake and I really miss you.” Hahaha. Silly. But that was MY projection of what I was feeling, you know? I missed him. So I wanted to put my feelings in his mouth. But then the me side of the conversation would be: “Why do you miss me?” And then back and forth until I would come to a conclusion. And the conclusion was always about me. It was not about him, or what a fuckwit he was, because frankly, I don’t know what he was. He was the sum-total of my projections and that’s all he ever was. I think you will find, Erika, that once you get some distance and really heal yourself, Mike was never who you imagined he was.

    The more we get in touch with what’s going on with us and begin to be able to make choices that actually honor what we want and need and value, the better we feel. Honestly, the more self aware you become, the less you will hurt.

    • Kristina, excellent advice! Wow, I really like what your shrink said about soothing the crying baby. I had a similar thing said once in shrinkage… I was very sad over a friend’s suicide and I thought months later I shouldn’t be cracking up over it, and the shrink simply said “Well, you feel things deeply.”

      Maybe that would be banal to someone else, but it was ahah for me. It’s okay to feel things deeply. That’s the kind of person I am. I’ll feel it and then it’s going to heal eventually. Just like that baby is going to fall asleep at some point!

      Also very interesting about projection. Yes, that’s so true. They aren’t who we thought they were. Some of that is definitely on us. And some of that’s on them, many of them being such good charlatans.

    • That’s an excellent way to put it, Kristina. They are the sum total of our projections of them. I’ve often explained it as they are the holographic projection, but really it’s very much the other way around. We project THEM. We fill in the blanks, create a narrative. They just excel at being sparkly and rather vague about things. We want to believe. And they’re invested in us believing, until we ask for real tangible things that projections can’t provide. Figments don’t traffic in real things like love and intimacy.

    • I went into group therapy around the time I was noticing that things were wrong, and she was gaslighting me. That is where I learned, as you did, the self-conversation techniques, allowing myself to feel, and ultimately making it about myself, and not about others.

      Besides working as a balm to make me feel better, doing all that has helped me start to grow out of my codependency.

      It took me about three years to get to the point where I can’t evoke the unfathomable pain anymore, but knowing it was the worst of my life. But I’m slow; most people work through that in less time.

      My therapist actually told me that the blessing I brought her as a client/patient was patience: she sometimes wanted to just shake me and tell me to “move it!” so many times. But she learned with me that waiting until you’re ready is the best and healthiest way. When do you know it? When it actually comes. As long as you’re letting yourself feel, being compassionate to yourself, and knowing you’ve done as well as you could (and therefore, you’ve done awesomely 🙂 ), that time will come.

      At the beginning, I felt it would never pass, that I had no chance of joy in my future. I sometimes wish it would have taken less than three years, but I know deep inside that the time it took was the time it needed to take.

  • Chump Lady, What do you mean, “the irregular rewards of being with a sparkly person is addictive to the brain. There’s scientific research on this.” I have a sparkly husband I am in the process of divorcing due to major infidelity. How do I find this research? What disorder is sparkly under?

  • Honestly CL et al, I never really thought about it as self-pity, I’ll have to consider that…. I guess I thought it would be more like a broken leg. I’ve done that (twice!) Actual physical pain. And surely I (thought) should feel like way better by now…. after all, I did things really differently this time, I chose my pain, I left someone when I felt like I still loved him at which point he progressed to some seriously weird shit, I was so completely unprepared. After only a week I went NC. I walked. I’ve never done that in my life. I guess I just kinda thought it would go away sooner, like 60 days was a magic number.

    I got enough self-pity from Mike to last me a lifetime – as near as I could tell, it would seem it was the ONLY thing he felt and it was truly nauseating to me – I don’t want to be that. It is truly grotesque.

    And I remember all the “children are starving in Korea….” or maybe Vietnam…. (more my time) – I work at a food bank and I know people who work full time and still run out of food every month – I still thought I’d feel better by now – all the tragedies of the world, hell, in my own community, notwithstanding. I guess I spent the 8 years or so before he came back to the scene just sort of coasting thru my life – and I let it get upended so easily. Well, actually not that easily. I guess you can’t know until you know. Its still so hard to believe that I let myself in for this. Seriously.

    • Look the pain is real, but Mike is not. You loved a mirage. When you really trust that he sucks, really internalize just how horrible and messed up Mike is, and get angry about that? Then there is no one to miss. He’s NOT missable. What you’re missing is what you thought you had, the potential, how you like yourself better coupled, or whatever it is you thought you were getting from that relationship.

      Okay, so if you’re missing the concept of a relationship — clear your life, your mind, your way to get to a new relationship. Which is difficult if you’re still mourning Mike.

      You just maybe need to cry it out like Kristina says. I’m just saying, don’t stay in the sad place too long. Fight very, very hard to not give Mike centrality. It’s not good for you and it can slop over into self pity.

      We all go there, it’s part of the process, but I find it’s good to give yourself a shake. One way to do that, yes, is to consider folks less fortunate. An even better way is to volunteer, or help someone else out. That’s great about the food bank! And I love how folks here on CL help each other out. There’s lots of good ways to get out of your head.

      I know you’ll get over Mike. Hang in there!

  • The healing process is so difficult and we are fortunate to be going through it. Fortunate because we have CL and others here and fortunate because our x’s will never go through it and never grow. I found this woman, Brene Brown, just when I needed her and I listened a couple of times a day in the beginning just to get me through.

    One talk is about shame (I don’t think you can be betrayed and deceived without accruing a great deal of shame) and the other is about vulnerability.

    I’m so proud that I walked into the arena and took a chance even if I got hurt. I hope these will help someone as much as they did me.

  • Advice from the author of “Chump Son,” contributed a while back.

    CL, you are a genius, no doubt about that. You put the necessary lethality into therapy. Sadly, our culture causes nice folks to want to forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t have to be sappy acceptance. It can be a recognition of the fact that some folks are, emotionally, a bit like feral animals. They will always bite. It’s their nature. They may seem nice (like a fox pup), but in the end, they bite and do their own thing.

    To Erika, I wanted to say that the pain dulls considerably once you accept reality, which at first seems worth than you think and then is better. The tough part is that this significant other — be they a former husband or parent or whatever — was just a broken toy. They may have seemed exciting or interesting, maybe because they were broken and then were able to make excuses for themselves (so much flawed greatness! so sensitive! so insightful!) and turn their lives more dramatic, and yours, too. But in the end, these roller coaster highs and lows become a dreary routine, and your role in their lives was minor. While they were important to you, and you felt like you were a good person accommodating/helping them/feeling sorry for them (your self-created ego-kibbles?), they really saw you as something like a replaceable battery. That’s a bitter realization, but it’s quite liberating.

    Then when you see the world (and them) for who they are, it is still further liberating. Why should I miss someone who was so crippled and incapable of connnection? He was a plug made that was missing a prong connector (or two?) Maybe missing the grounded prong.

    Now, will the hurt ever go away? Not completely. Nor should it. But it won’t hurt. It’ll become resolve and you’ll give better advice to others, be a better model for your kids and be far happier. There are actually good people out there, and your radar will get adjusted to recognize them. My bet is that, emerging from this, you’ll look more widely for partners, be more tolerant of some small things, and focus on the important good things that you deserve in a partner. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never make this mistake again and your kids are less likely to as well. And your friends. So hang in there, exercise, and let the lesson sink in. What you miss was what you projected onto too this person. Many folks with NPD “hire” a partner to help them be normal. In a man, this means finding a partner who keeps the house, takes care of the kids, makes Christmas happen, etc. This is so His Eminence can “outsource” all that stuff. The partner-person tries and tries to make things right, and it works sometimes, but it’s never permanent.

    One more thing about manipulative people and the danger in remembering “the good times.” They are always going to be nice some of the time, otherwise they couldn’t succeed as manipulators.

    Anyway, Erika, CL has got it right. You were hooked up with someone who was such a dork that he treated you like a replaceable part. You can do much better. And you will!!!!!

    • A replaceable battery – that is how it felt and its a good analogy. I guess the most difficult part for me was I wasn’t even looking for a relationship and I was very resistant to getting back into it with him to begin with. Bottom line was, I knew he was a cheater and I knew that statistically speaking, there was a very high probability that he was always going to be that way. That’s why it took me 7 months to agree to finally go out with him again. I made the mistake, ultimately, of thinking that he’d changed. I really thought that I had thought this thru….. to use CL’s language “mindfuck” – that really kinda sums it up – it is exactly that. Seriously, I thought I was smarter than that. I don’t know why, but I did.

  • Erika,

    Enough of being hard on yourself! Giving someone a second chance — one that they did not deserve — says good things about you. You will give second chances in other cases where appropriate. In any case, what’s done is done and let the little toy that needs new batteries waddle on his way. He is only a toy that needs new batteries. You deserve more than that.



  • By the above, I meant that there will be other times in life where folks (children and teens who make mistakes, for example) deserve a second chance. Big hearted folks are good for that. You’ll also recognize the toxic types who don’t deserve a second chance, even a second look. It will all work out and you will find people who appreciate your compassion!

    Just wanted that to be clear!


    • Dave, You were clear and I appreciate it! It’s so hard to wrap my brain around, still – Its so hard to wrap my heart around, still. Thank you for your kind words. He really is a total tool.


    Erika just print this in bold lettered and put bit up all over your house your office your car and wherever possible.

    I have been through some major major shit myself.will put up my story someday.I have been the chumpest of chumps.I am a highly highly qualified professional I earn more than a million dollars go after fraudsters and scamsterrs in my work life and I got taken in by a man.

    What do I call myself ..a betrayed person or other woman?

    Knowing very well about my views on relationship with a married man , moral ethical practical and all, I was shown fake correspondence with the lawyers, fake filings, a separation for 2 years ( which actually turned out to be living in a separate city from his wife on account of his work but portrayed to me as a legal separation.

    Constant feeling that no divorce can take so long especially when I was told that the wife to wanted it and constant requests to tell me if he had reconciled so that I could move on only brought tearfulness and pleading that I was the only person he had in his life and in the past few years he had given up on every other relationship just to be with me ( yes we live in separate cities but talked for 3 to 4 hours everyday and texted continuously even through the night.

    I was guilted into not breaking off.

    Finally when there was too much divergence between words and actions and I knew I would never get the truth and I knew I was so enmeshed and so deeply in love that would never be able to walk only on basis of doubts that somehow I hacked into his emails..

    Wel a pandora’s box.

    I found no traces of divorce, in fact found purchases of bigger house, bigger cars, jewelry,birthday gifts etc etc( all this when he had told me he doesn’t live with his wife but his teenage daughter lives with him and hence he did not want me to visit tillnthe divorce…how he managed to talk to me in the night or text me thru the night even while living with his wife I don’t know)

    He had told me his sister who lives in another country had called him and his family to her home for a few days to try for a reconciliation between him and his wife and he said he had to go but nothing would come out of it since both he and his wife wanted to go ahead with the divorce.he said his brother band his family too would be joining them.

    Right thru those four days inspire of different time zones we were talking and testing even thru the night.he told me every single thing that was happening and how he had stood firm in spite of all the pressures. He texted about the fights his wife and sister were having..he texted about his nephews friends..about every meal his sister cooked etc etc.

    In his emails I found he had in face been away for a holiday with just his wife and daughter and the asshole went to a country in the same timezone as the one his sis lived in so that he could keep a routine with regards to mealtimes , nights etc.

    It was a full fledged family vacation.

    That was the least of the betrayals.

    I found texts and calls to plent of other numbers some right thru the nights, pics of other women, charges on credit cards from some sites etc etc. When I asked him he explained everything away with stupid stories.

    But I was so weak and so deep into him that a part of me was scared that he would walk since I had hacked into his mailbox( yeah yeah I was that weak and gone )

    But a part of myself my usual self the woman I otherwise am was alive and kicking..I was mad and I new I had to find the truth coz only then I would be able to heal.I did things which were wrong but by then I was so mad that I didn’t want to think that he had any rights to privacy at all.

    First of all I put a PI on his and his wives tail.when he was supposedly visiting his in laws in another city to ” work out the final settlement for my divorce” he was actually there to attend his wife’s cousin’s wedding( this , when he had told me that he doesn’t go to any family gatherings on his wife’s side in view of the impending divorce).

    He was testing me about what his mom in law was saying and what his FIL was saying about the alimony when my PI was on the other phone telling me how he was at that time at the wedding.

    I asked him tom click a few pics as proof and he said they were actually staying at a hotel . The next day he went for a couple of client meetings and the PI sent me pics of his wife coming to see him off right to the car.I of course did not tell the asshole that in was having him tailed.

    Once I got to know that the divorce story and the papers and the separation was all a sham I got down to finding out about the other women.

    Well he was sleeping around for the entire 6 years we were together , chat room pick ups, profile and pickups from adult friend finder, false profiles on every networking site possible, and the final icing…calling hookers to his hotel room (he travelled 15 days a month).
    It took me six months to completely find out everything.on confrontation there were the usual tears and apologies.

    I told him I want answer to only one question….you knew my views about cheating in a marriage and how I hate it( I had told him at the outset when were just friendly that I don’t believe in a relationship with a married man coz themn I would always be a part of a group and I hate that ) then why did you do this..why this total fabrication and so much deceit…he yellowed and tells me ..goddamit why can’t you understand that I love you and you are my anchor but I can’t divorce my wife coz my daughter won’t let me and I can’t think of a life without you and I knew the minute I told you that there can’t be a divorce I would lose u…and he is shouting and screaming that I never understood his love for me.

    I quietly asked him about the other women and he says theyball mean nothing and they are all stupid anyways !!!!!

    Even after all this I was so mindfucked it took six months for me tomstop seeing him and another 9 months to stop the texts and the phone calls.

    Someone here was saying , head case I think , that how is it possible to be duped like this?

    Yes I agree there was something that was a part of me which let that happen but then what do you do? Call upmthe lawyers tomask them whether the papers he showed me were genuine?how do you wonder if the man spends weekends with you talks with you at 11 in the night and texts you thru the night.

    On constant requests to be told the truth you get tears and are asked is it that you have met someone and want to break off under some pretext?

    What would ever lead you to think that a man would lie so much so much about everything every damn thing ? For what?

    For the time you gave him..3 hours everyday..but then most of what he talked about was lies anyways.

    For the sex….well if a man can have sex with hookers why does he need a woman to whom he has to lie to about everything?

    About the wife…from whatever scattered words he sometimes let slip I think she had caught him with somebody and has decided to stay..this all I could piece together only once I found out about his true self.

    The only thing I am grateful about is that he did not divorce his wife to marry least I could walk away.

    Totally shattered and broken at having wronged the wife unknowingly and having been wronged but what do you do?

    Considered telling the wife but I think she knows about him so what difference would one more name make?

    And I just wanted to be away from their crazy world.

    I have broken down, contemplated suicide, counseling , anti depressants have gone the whole hog.

    Just one thing hel me thru..he will not win.

    And gratitude to him that he did not leave his wife.

    • This guy sounds like a psychopath, to be honest. That’s one messed up story. As far as the wife, I would tell her. Send all the evidence and let her know what she’s got on her hands. While it seems cruel it would actually be an act of kindness. She could pick up a disease from him, at the very least.

      I’m sorry you went through all of that. My STBX is also a serial cheat. They are a rare and especially crazy breed.

      • You do need to inform the wife.

        Cheating once may be forgivable, but serial cheating is not.

        She needs to know so she can make an informed decision. Obviously he is mindfucking her too.

        I agree that he sounds like a man who has no guilt or remorse and is totally self absorbed.

        I am sorry it took so long to get over him, but he was so good at the mindfuck. It totally understand.

    • “What you put up with, you end up with” — excellent motto. Really, I should have that tattooed somewhere on my chump rump…

      I’m so sorry you got tangled up with a sociopathic freak. I would tell the wife though, poor woman.

  • Nord I was totally not clues into all this cheating and infidelity business…I have had issues , some major, in my earlier relationships but infidelity was never one of them.One does hear and read about such things but you never ever imagine it could happen to you.
    The first time I even connected the word psychopath to him is when my psychiatrist mentioned that in my second session with him
    A psy usually doesnt state such a thi ng in so short a time and that too without having met the person or even knowing the full story.I had recounted only a few things but I guess what compelled him to make such a diagnosis is when I told him that when I started insisting that I be told the exact status of the divorce this asshole comes up with some story about some legal issues and tells me that he is scared he would lose me and then says” I think I should kill you think I would get caught?”

    I knew he would never do it but just to think that he could say this and think that This would show how much he was into me just creeped me out.I then asked him to come to my city since I wanted to talk with was an extended weekend , Friday being a holiday.he agreed to come to me on fir morning and spend the weekend and sort out things. He was on work travel and was to join me on Thursday night.that evening he calls me and tells me his wife has had a cardiac arrest and she has been hospitalized and is in the ICU and is critical.he says his sister will be coming and living at home .all thru the three days he talks and texts about the hospital visits, charts, ECGs,medications, tests etc etc.Monday he is back in office and when I asked him how could he leave her alone in the hospital he tells me she is going to be discharged during the day and his sis would take her home and then tells me he doesn’t care and he was just at the hosp for his daughters sake and then tells me that he was sorry he couldn’t fly down to be with me during the weekend and he would fly down and spend the next two days with me.

    He expected me to feel thrilled that he was so serious about me that he would leave his wife who he is supposedly divorcing,in such a condition and come be with me.

    What an asshole and what a fucked up thought process.This , on the contrary, sent alarm bells ringing that something is amiss , awry .

    That is when I kept all ethical issues aside and hacked into his mailbox.I knew something was off but never in my wildest thoughts could I have imagined what I just cannot comprehend what drives a person to weave such a web of lies.

    The wife was hale and hearty, over the weekend they were visiting the wife’s parents who lived in another city..yeah yeah the same wife with whom the divorce was coming thru anyday and the same MIL and FIL with whom he wasn’t talking much coz they were pushing his wife not to divorce or at least ask for a very very high settlement.On the day she was supposed to sat in bed the whole time to recover from her”cardiac issues ” I found mails from her to the guys building their new house and her site visits on that day.

    Yes , it’s impossible to believe that there can exist a human mind as that.

    His reason for these yarns…” I didn’t want to lose you”.

    At being asked what about me and my life and my feelings..” you will never ever meet anyone who loves you as much as I do and we are connected at some karmic level”.

    He turned the whole thing around..the more outrageous the lies the more it showed how much he loved me ..the more atrocious the deceit the more it showed to what extent he could go to keep me in his life.

    Beyond insanity, this.

    Beyond psychopathy, too.

    That is when I started browsing and reading ..and that is how I could connect a lot of things that had happened.

    • beyond insanity:

      When he joked about killing his wife, that was the time you needed to seriously start contemplating putting on a good pair of running shoes and fleeing the scene.

      That is not something any person should ever joke about.

      Well, next time you know.

      With that said, my STBX said some really stupid thing, not as bad as murder, but things, that when called on he charmed his way out of and I was asinine enough to buy his lame excuses.

      I am glad we both wised up.

  • Yes CL I have made that the motto of my life..I visualize my two guardian angels flying ahead of me with a banner with” WHAT YOU PUT UP WITH , YOU END UP WITH” printed on it in boldest of bold letters.

    This not only goes for serial cheating assholes but for all other relationships as well.

    But you know what , these words strike a very deep chord only with people who have left the cheaters.Mention this to people who have stayed back don’t much like these words .And we all know why.

    Sara it’s when he said those words( it certainly was not said in a joking way…it was a lie of course but said with somberness and enough seriousness as if to convey to me the extent he could think of going to be with me……and most of all how much he hated the wife …that’s the way their mind works and they think so does everyone else’s) that I said to hell with what’s right and what isn’t, to hell with snooping, to hell with his rights to privacy and I hacked into his mailbox, put a PI on his and his wife’s tail(he always had this arrogance that his wife cannot find him out because he carried on all his shenanigans in cities other than that they lived in and she can’t land up there’ he must be feeling the same way about me too and then when I told him I found out about all the different women he was seeing in different cities by putting a tail on him the look on his face was worth every single penny I spent ), got his phone records for as far back as I could, got locational details of his cell phone , hacked and locked his other secret mail ids, acesed all the other sites he was listed on and checked everything.

    Yes I knew it was unhealthy , my psy was aghast when I told him and adviced me strictly not to do it but I am one headstrong woman. I knew that I was so much in love with the persona he had created and I had to know as many gory and sordid things as possible to give me a chance to get out of the total brainwashing he had done. Oh, walking away would have been easy at that moment but I was worried about being able to stay away .I did not want to fall into revolving door pattern of leaving and going back.this asshole had taken away enough of my life so I guessed a few more months were ok if I had to give myself a chance to completely get him out of my life.

    My psy advises complete NC right away but I knew that was not for me…I had to gradually wean myself away and plus after knowing everything I had to understand how he functions .Not being able to understand and comprehend how a person who appears so honest , so straightforward so pious, so into his daughter could be so diabolical was not allowing me to for sometime I continued the texts and phone calls even when I always knew I sure I am going to leave. I of course let him think I believed in all his recovery jargon, sympathized with him when he talked abominably about his wife, let him think I bought him when he said our love transcended everything and there was very deep spiritual bond which kept us together inspire of whatever happened ( yeah yeah all his words which I think he believed because these people know they are evil , they do not want to change but even. Then they want that one woman who will love them irrespective). I didn’t much like being dishonest but then I thought well he could prey on me only because I am a conscientious person( CL , I read dr George Simon as recommended by you and it struck such a chord ) and I felt I didn’t owe him anything.(in any case he wasn’t losing anything , he was outed, His false divorce story was out in thte open, he could talk openly now about being with his wife and I was still with him so he wasn’t being hurt by my deception.)

    I believe that when , in the garb of being a friend, a man barges into your house , you give him everything ghat you have and then suddenly he turns out to be a machine gun grenade holding terrorist am sorry guys I will not let him talk about his human rights when I hit him to protect myself.

    In those few months that I was with and observing him post discovery I realized one thing with certainty…these men will NEVER NEVER change…not because they can’t but because they don’t want to.after a couple of months of expresing remorse and making changes he was back to connecting with hookers, not from his cell phone but other medium which he thought I wouldn’t find out.

    This is why I tell the women and the wives who stay back that you are living in Utopia.I have observed such a man closely, more so than most wives would know their husbands, I know how je operates , what he thinks about the wife and most women, why he never leaves the marriage and why he begs the wife not to’s all bout what he wants.

    As about telling his wife, she knows he has had affairs, watches porn , has sex with hookers, she may not know all the gory details but she knows but is one of the ‘stayers’…for the money( yes he is way high up in the corporate world and she is a homemaker), for not letting him get away and set up a life with someone else, for the sake of their daughter, etch all the reasons normally given out by spouses who stay.she apparently has carved out a life for herself using him as he uses her.She has found her own place in that relationship and I see no point in talking with her. She would probably label me as a troublemaker and think I am making trouble because he doesn’t want to leave her for me.yeah yeah I have seen her closely and now’s like I will not let any other woman have him as if he is a prized catch. I come from a very different place and would want to know but if she knows and has yet decided to stay it just doesn’t make sense to talk to her.she isn’t happy makes life miserable for both of them which is perfectly understandable but yet doesn’t want to leave for the benefits she gets from staying with him.
    Theirs is a crazy world beyond my comprehension and I don’t want to be a part of it and thought it best to get away from the drama.

    One more reason Why I advocate women/ wives to leave…when these people lead a double life they lie buy into their lives for sometime because this type of personality is beyond your comprehension.this makes them think you are idiots.

    Yes it’s really so strange.he constantly kept telling me his wife is stupid for this reason and that.I kept saying she isn’t.I kept arguing how can she be when she sings so well, paints excellently, choreographs dances , does interiors of her own homes, so what if she doesn’t have much head for finance doesn’t make her stupid.he kept insisting and in one of those unguarded moments let it slip that he can get away wih a lot of things with near and doesn’t that make her stupid!!!!!!!..can you believe that??????

    Similarly, he had promised that he would break contact with all the otger women since they were the root of his problem ( I told him even I was a part of the problem not part of the solution and he should go NC with me too he says no..these are all other are the only woman in my wife is there just because my daughter doesn’t want to be a part of a broken home* rolling eyes *).in scattered conversation he called all these other women stupid , or idiotic barring one.when I dug deeper , I found out that though he became friends with her in a chat room she had not slept with him and he said she smart !!!!!! So , to conclude any woman who bought his yarns and liked / loved him enough to get involved with him and sleep with him is “stupid” and that includes the wife because she stayed back.

    Sso when people talk about how sad these people are and they need love and care and forgiveness to get them back on the right track, and how wives should stay back and help their husbands with their recovery and be kind and forgiving I say BULLSHIT.they know exactly whAt they are doing.

    CL , you are one of the very few , very very few people who have called them out.CAKE EATING ASSHOLES describes them to the T.

    Did I mention that once when I told him ! Pre discovery, that I was sensing something was off with his divorce and somehow I got a feeling that his wife was not consenting, he rushed to my city ,came to see me, went down on his knees, read out marriage vows, gave me a ring to wear in a chain around my neck , broke down completely and made me promise that I would never ever leave him and putting his hand on my head made A solemn promise that the divorce would be thru in a few months, sobbing all along that he cannot think of a life without me.

    Mindfuck ?



    Or just plain selfishness and arrogance and sense of entitlement, irrespective ?

    I have concluded its the last one.

    They are not insane , they think we are stupid.

    • Sanityregained:

      You absolutely did not do anything wrong by needing to do what you did to protect yourself from your cheater. It was only normal and intelligent to inform yourself of the truth in any way it took.

      I actually was told that by a counselor.

      Your counselor may have been concerned about the illegality of some of the things you were doing, because your car or computer were not marital assets.

      Putting a var for example on a car owned by both people is not a crime. Snooping into a computer that belongs to both people is not a crime.

  • The PI mentioned to me in his report that the wife was an extremely aggressive woman, he witnessed her picking upma fight with their neighbors and he said he has never heard anyone go all out like she did. He was present but didn’t say a word and the PI said he vey rarely spoke anything when his wife was around.I always wondered about this but then on reading about the equation between a cheating husband and a wife who has stayed even after knowing I guess this is the norm.

    It would be impossible to stay with a cheater and be a calm and peaceful person.

    One more reason why I stayed outbox their lives.

    And looking at the way my life is going and the way I see the lives of women who chose to stay it just reconfirms my belief that I have yet to meet a woman who regrets leaving a cheater and a woman who is happy at having stayed with one .

    • SanityRegained:

      Good point. It would be difficult to stay with a cheater and be a happy calm person, hence her anger all the time, maybe.

      As for her being stupid for staying for his money. …..maybe, maybe not. If she’s happy, has a low sex drive or maybe cheating on him, too, maybe she rules the roost and he is the one being controlled and mindfucked.

      I hope so, cause even though I hate women like that, the way this guy mindfucked you, I figure a guy like him deserves a controlling conniving wife who is only using his cheating lying deceptive, butt.

      Maybe the cheating asshat has perfectly constructed his own personal hell on earth. I sincerely hope so, in his case.

  • Most of any pain I felt was due to worry about my kids. To be honest, when my PI confirmed my XW was cheating, I was elated. Not only did it confirm that I was not nuts or paranoid, but I think I realized this was my get out of jail free card.
    On some level, I knew that a man claiming that his wife was an abuser and thus he was divorcing her, would not be readily accepted in this climate where few realize that there are just as many women abusers as men. But, I knew that folks would readily accept serial infidelity as a legitimate reason for divorce.

  • Sara, you are one smart woman.This is exactly what he told me…that my life is hell on earth…and then tells me that’s why he stepped out.he said she would never divorce him, never let him see his daughter and even if he somehow managed one and set up home with me she would be at our door everyday creating massive scenes. He said he would have peace only if one of them died.

    But then I thought maybe it’s a chicken and egg situation…which happened first..his cheating or her behavior patterns?….we all know what living with a cheater can do to a person…so who knows…maybe her aggressive trait got aggravated by his cheating…I would never know since I could never trist a word he said.

    And then I asked ..your wife aside, why did you cheat on me ?

    He had no answer to that.
    But you are right Sara, he did say inspire of having everything in terms of houses cars etc etc he was the poorest man on this earth.

    Irrespective, as far as I was concerned he was a married man and a cheater to boot so I was out.

    I wanted no part of their sick world.

  • Two years. That seems to be the average for feeling REALLY ‘normal’ and like yourself and happy consistently after a major relationship ends. That doesn’t mean two years of horrible pain, fortunately! I agree w/CL that the worst pain and emotional rollercoaster is a 6 month thing (as long as we’re not chumping and ‘trying again’), and from there it’s all uphill – but a wavy uphill. Some days better, some worse. Fine for a while, then sobbing into our pillows. Great, then furiously angry. Barely thinking about them, then obsessed again for a bit.

    Then you start to notice the sad/angry is coming less often, is less intense, and goes away faster. Bit by bit, then you’re OK, REALLY you are. More careful, we all hope, but really fine.

    We can’t get closure from these people (although sometimes trying to do that is very enlightening, it allows us to see them without spackle for a moment – horrors!). We have to hold that crying baby ’til she’s done crying, let ourselves feel what we feel (even the self-pity for a while, just don’t stretch it out!), talk to people who DO care about us, write down all the things we’d like to tell the ex (TRYING not to give them the satisfaction of showing them our pain and anger – it really really is satisfying to them, major ego kibbles). All this while getting a fabulous life. Soon the fabulous outweighs the bad/sad stuff, and then one day, all there is is fabulous, and ‘normal’ life problems.

    Ah, bliss ….

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