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Dear Chump Lady, Any advice for the spineless?

Dear Chump Lady,

I too am a chump. I discovered my husband of four years, partner for nine total, had had several affairs during our relationship. His sexual extracurricular activities included prostitutes, interns at work, acquaintances, and I don’t know what else since typical to a cheater, as I’ve learned from you, he has only copped to the dalliances I know about for certain. Yes, he’s a narcissist and the signs have been there all along. I just chose to ignore them.

I left his sorry ass in a couple months ago, leaving my entire life behind too, but have had a hard time letting him go for good.

True to cheater form, he’s not truly remorseful. He’s apologized, sure, but has not done anything to make the situation better, like therapy or even a superficial display like love letters or flowers. He makes weak, halfhearted attempts at getting me back but mostly we fight on the phone.

From my parents’ basement a few hundred miles away, I have been agonizing about him since leaving. We talk every day and when he doesn’t call I get withdrawal-like symptoms and can’t eat. I know I should be off celebrating that this loser is out of my life but I just can’t get up the strength to do it.

I had wanted our time apart to prove to him that I’m not a chump, that I won’t put up with his nonsense, and that he can’t live without me. Well, none of that has happened. He can live just fine without me. It’s me who has the problem now.

I thought I was stronger. I really did. I am a feminist. I like to even think of myself as a major hardass. I don’t put up with crap from anyone … except him.

Now I’m stuck in limbo. Every time he pulls away, I ramp up and chase him down again. I just can’t stand the thought of letting him go for good, even though I KNOW going back would only end in disaster. I’m simply delaying the inevitable because I don’t feel strong enough to do the right thing just yet.

I see a therapist. I’m on antidepressants. I’ve given this a lot of thought. In fact, this is all I do or think about. I can’t figure out why — even though I know for certain we’re totally wrong for each other and that he’s a major douche — I can’t let go.

I just feel old. I’m 36. I want kids. And I can’t stand the thought of this successful and handsome (yes, he’s both those things) man replacing me with the sexy 23-year-old girl of his dreams while dumpy old me is watching reruns of Law and Order alone on a Friday night.

Truthfully, there was never anything good about our relationship. He is dreadful in bed. He spends his money faster than he can make it. And he’s a narcissist with serious rage issues. He has zero communication skills and freaks out anytime I bring up anything he’s done wrong. He looks awesome on paper and is a huge charmer and flirt. But behind the facade he’s a monster.

Still, this all feels so hard. I’d have to get a divorce, find a job in my new city, find an apartment, make new friends. The list feels endless and I’m too depressed to tackle any of it. I’m so disappointed with how my life has turned out.

I know I could go back and pick up where we left off. But I was so miserable with him. I don’t know what’s going on in my little screwed up brain. Intellectually I know he’s a horrible bad person and that I’d be much happier without him. My heart just hasn’t got the message yet.

Reading your story, I know you hung on for another year after you learned your partner had been cheating. I’m sure every day you wish you had that time back, that you’d left sooner. I know one day I will too, that I will look back on this and question why it took me so long to do the right thing. Until then, I’m hanging on like the chump I am.

Do you have any advice for a pathetic, spineless person like me?


Sad in Seattle


Dear Sad,

Yes — stop thinking of yourself as pathetic and spineless. You LEFT him — that’s a big start. Do you know how many chumps die by inches in limbo for years? Most of them, I reckon. Some never leave. When I was leaving my scary, serial cheating narcissist I had not one, not two, but SEVERAL protection from abuse orders. I’m a smart woman. I’m worldly. I’m educated. i’m a feminist — and I took that abusive bastard back more than once, Sad. It’s completely mortifying, but it’s true. And when I was in the throes of the fear and the mortification, my very wise, bad ass publicly appointed lawyer told me that it takes women an average of SEVEN times to leave an abuser. SEVEN. I felt pretty good I got in under the average (four).

Narcissistic rage? Been there, done that. Mine told me that if I told anyone about his cheating, he was going to “hunt me down” and burn down my house. He wished his ex-wife dead for speaking to me. He wished her baby dead. He was going to “piss on her grave.” He told me if I left him, he would join forces with my son’s father to take custody away from me. (A threat he later made good on, but it failed.) He use to call me 24 times a day. My lawyer didn’t even believe me until I brought in the cell phone bills. He constantly monitored my whereabouts. When I got a PFA, that bastard came home and ripped it up in front of me while I called 911 — when the police showed up, he flipped his sociopath switch to “charm” setting and acted like I was crazy, and didn’t understand my hysterics. And then they found an unregistered hand gun in the wheel hub of his car — Sad — YOU feel pathetic? I took THAT guy back. So don’t try to out-chump me — I own the title.

That nightmare feels like another life time ago, another person. The best I can tell you, is you’re under a spell. This idiot has you beaten down and feeling like he is the be all and end all, and you’re nothing without him. The first thing you MUST do is STOP SPEAKING WITH HIM! You cannot heal until you go completely and utterly no contact. You are kicking a drug, and you MUST go cold turkey on this. Block his number, his email, give your parents your cell phone and  tell them to not let you have it — whatever it takes. Every bit of contact is poisoning you and poisoning your resolve to move forward — so STOP it. No contact is the single most important thing you can do to get over him. If you do nothing else I advise next, do no contact. Focus on it completely, and the rest will follow. If you get weak, post here, and your fellow chumps will bolster you. But do NOT talk with him!

Next I’m going to outline your Get Out of the Basement and Back Into Real Life plan. A step-by-step guide to leaving this fucktard.

1. Get a lawyer. You need a plan and a lawyer will help you with that. Don’t tell me you don’t have the energy or are too depressed, because nothing will give you a bigger boost than talking with a lawyer and taking a little of your own power back now. Knowing your rights and your options is liberating. You need someone to fight this fight for you, and that’s what your lawyer is for. Get that paperwork going ASAP. The best way to deal with a narcissist is GO ON THE OFFENSIVE. Don’t discuss, don’t try and get consensus, just sucker punch him and get started.

You’ll need a lawyer too to help you tie up the loose ends back where he is. As it dawns on him that his kibbles are escaping, he’ll want to be in touch about some stupid domestic detail — all communication needs to be via email through your attorney. Email is important because it documents your communication and it’s much harder for him to manipulate you. (Just hit the delete button.)

2. Consider a new shrink. I don’t know if your shrink is helping or not, but I’m a bit concerned that you’re on anti-depressants, are still talking to the fucktard, and have not moved forward with a lawyer. People may weigh in on the anti-depressant issue, but personally I’m against them. You need to FEEL this to move through it — and I know it’s overwhelming pain, really I get it. But you need all your wits about you, so to be chemically numbed may not help you. I’m not a doctor, and I know a lot of people are helped by anti-depressants — I’m just asking you to consider that part of your sluggishness might be chemical. When my husband went through this in his first marriage, his mom, an RN for 50 years, told him to stay away from the anti-depressants and get a sleep aid like Ambien instead. It made a huge difference in his ability to function.

On the therapy side — you want a shrink who is compassionate, but who is going to be BRUTALLY honest with you. You also want someone versed in personality disorders and infidelity. You cannot move forward unless you take a very hard unvarnished look at your narcissist husband and at yourself. You don’t want a shrink who is just all sympathy, you want a shrink who is going to make you squirm, who is going to challenge you too.

3. See your husband for who he IS not who you want him to be. You keep talking with him, because you’re in the bargaining stage of grief. You’re like one of those grieving parents who keeps setting a place at the table for when their dead child returns home. You’re expecting the mirage to return — the sparkly hologram of who you thought he was. The myth you bought into so completely. That’s your drug. He’s going to explain this, he’s going to be really sorry this time, he’s going to validate that you MATTER.

Stop looking to him for validation. Start seeing him for who is IS. You do matter. You are lovable. You are someone to have a family with — but he is NOT that man. And the longer you stay tangled up with him, the more time you are wasting moving forward finding someone who WILL treat you right.

You invested heavily in his image, that he’s handsome and successful and looks good on paper. And the narrative that you were the lucky soul able to snag such a prize. He is NOT a prize — he’s a freaky, rage-filled narcissist who fucks prostitutes. You do not need the reflected glory of the Myth of Him. You need to start focusing on yourself — on who YOU are without him. Your values, your career, your interests. Do you want to be a kibble machine for the rest of your life? Do you want to be used and abused? Because THAT is your future with this creep. Thank the dear Lord you did not have children with him.

4. Dream new dreams. This is a hard one, but it’s the most important lesson. We don’t get the life with thought we were going to have. And that can be such a blessing if you’re open to it. Be open to it. My marriage to a serial cheater failed. I finally left him. The marriage I invested in,  the future children I thought I was going to have, the house I bought, the garden I planted, the money I threw at all of it — LOST. WASTED. GONE. I get it, Sad. But if I had not lost those things, I would not have the life I have today — which is peaceful and so much happier. If I hadn’t been cheated on, I would not have met my husband today – our lives would not have intersected. If I hadn’t been open to dreaming a new dream, I wouldn’t have picked up stakes and moved to Texas — a place I could never, ever imagine living. I would’ve lost out on so many blessing that were waiting for me, if I’d stayed stuck on those old dreams.

Imagine new things, Sad. Be open to the different ways of getting the things you want. Children and family are out there.  They may not be as you envisioned they’d be — the life you’re grieving now, what you thought it would be with your husband — but they’re out there if you move toward them.

I have several friends who adopted children in their 40s. One friend went to Vietnam and had TWO failed adoptions. They put a baby in her arms TWICE and told her this was her child, and then the adoptions fell through and she never saw those babies again. All that after failed fertility treatments and a miscarriage. She didn’t think she had the strength to face it again — but she did. And she and her husband adopted a little girl from Azerbajan — who is the loveliest girl imaginable. It’s many years later and they’re all so happy. That was the girl meant for them. They can’t imagine any other girl being their girl.

Was this the family they imagined a decade ago? No. We don’t always get the life we think we’re going to have. But that often works out just beautifully, if you let it.

Let him GO — and work hard at your new beginning. You’ve been living a nightmare — don’t cling to it. There’s a good life waiting for you — start moving towards it. You can DO IT!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sad, there’s not much I can add to what CL has told you about no contact. We’ll all tell you that it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. You may wish for kids, and if you had them you would not be able to imagine life without them – but in your case, be glad they are still in your future. No contact will be much more doable without kids…

    About getting a lawyer? Let me give you a piece of advice that was given to me that made all the difference. “You’ll never remember in ten years what you paid your attorney. But you will remember the results of a bad settlement forever…”

    On shrinks and anti-Ds? Yes. A good counselor will not sugar-coat anything for you. Also, look at anti-Ds the same way you might look at a pain killer. Pain killers should help you rest better, not perform better. If you need to continue to move around on a bum knee, you need to feel that pain – listen to your body. It’s telling you what your limits are. Anti-depressants mask pain, and it’s possible that you are doing more harm than good. Of course, results may vary… But if you want to truly learn from what your mind is telling you…?

    About seeing your (hopefully) STBX for what he really is? Try to reach a point where you know as much about him as you need to know. Then stop – and spend that energy on knowing yourself better. We all go through that stage where we want to figure this other person out 100% and then get “the answer” that will allow us to go in and fix them. Dear heart, it can’t be done… What can be done is the work of fixing ourselves. You need to begin to look at yourself and start seeing yourself for who you want to be…

    “Forty is the old age of youth, but fifty is the youth of old age…” Sad, you’re still a puppy! You have so much to look forward to. So many dreams to come true! Stop looking back. That’s not the direction you are going. Listen to the chumpster. Listen to the chumplings that will chime in. Most of all, listen to YOU and start healing. Good Luck!

    • Lots to think about … but I wanted to address the anti antidepressant rhetoric.

      Look, I’ve been clinically depressed for decades. Off and on antidepressants. They have saved my life numerous times. I feel like this is the one thing I need to challenge in response to my letter. Everything else I agree with.

      Unless you are a doctor, please don’t dispense uneducated medical advice. Antidepressants aren’t about “not feeling” or masking the pain. They are about me not shooting myself in the head and being able to get up in the morning.

      Depression is not a choice. Antidepressants are serious medications for seriously ill people.

      • Regarding the drugs. It’s not uncommon for Betrayed Spouses to become depressed enough for their doctors to prescribe meds. However, these are not people who’ve suffered for years from clinical depression. Clearly, if you’ve been battling depression for years, the drugs are a life-saver. I’ve had close friends whose lives have been devastated by depression, and the drugs give them energy where they had none before.

        But it also may be the case that the added stress is making things worse, so you might want to talk to your doctor and your therapist about your sluggishness. Your meds may need to be adjusted.

        I agree that a good lawyer is essential. I also agree that time is critical. He’s been gone 2 months. Divorce is the death of the marriage. Like death, you’re going to mourn the loss. However, the person you’re mourning is the mirage, the potential. I know that when I finally am in the position to divorce my cheating husband of 15 years, I will absolutely mourn him. The little things he does, the small daily rituals, knowing that I can ask him to look in on things if I have to work late–I will absolutely miss all these. I wish that we could roll back a few years before he became what he is now, but I know we can’t.

        I’ve already started to plan my hobbies. I suggest you do, too. I used to do a lot more social stuff, but I stopped after I got married because my STBX is a workaholic, and would never do anything on any night but Friday or Saturday–even something so small as to go out to dinner! I will likely start up my social calendar again. I used to like to work out. I stopped in order to spend time with my STBX. I would like to start up again. I hope to be able to afford the house. There’s plenty to keep me busy there. I’d like to entertain in the house–something we’ve not really done save for the first couple of years.

        Being busy, especially at this time, will help you out. It takes your attention away from you and your situation. You get to be around people who live normal lives, and it will bring you closer to the kind of life you deserve.

      • I agree with Sad.

        Anti-depressants are diagnosed in two different scenarios.

        The first is generally your medical doctor, to make you “feel” better; to “take the edge off”, etc. This is the very definition of prescription abuse.

        The second scenario is to treat a medical condition diagnosed by a mental health professional–usually over several sessions in order to make the diagnosis; usually after several months of therapy, and a referral to a psychatrist, who does the initial prescribing. You continue seeing the mental health professional for months, usually for years, sometimes for life; you continue seeing the psychatrist for months, sometimes 18 or 24, in order to find the right class of medication, and then the right medication.

        However, Sad, if you are taking your medication and seeing your therapist, and still feeling this overwhelmed, it might be time to discuss increasing your dosage due to the increased stress in your life.

        I’ve been taking SSRIs for almost half my life; 15+ years now, and was in treatment for major clinical depression for close to 8 years. The only flare up I’ve had in 10 years was during pregnancy, when I went off medication, and after 4 months without meds it was severe enough they put me back on medication, feeling the risk to me and the baby due to depression was greater than the risk due to medication.

        When my husband’s infidelity came out, it was the closest I’ve ever come to my depression slipping out of remission in ten years. After discussion with my medical doctor and my therapist, we doubled the dosage on my medication—which increased it to just the minimum standard dose. I’m extremely sensitive to medication. We did this in order to get the mood swings under control, which had started spiralling all over the place.

        The other thing my doctor did was a one time prescritpion of an anti-anxiety, just to help me sleep through the night. He prescribed the lowest effective dose, and I was cutting those pills in half. At the time I was waking up every hour with panic attacks. The medication helped me to sleep 5 to 6 hours at a stretch. Don’t underestimte how much impact sleep has on your ability to function.

        Your life circumstances have changed. The stress your body and mind is under right not should not be underestimated. It might be worth have a conversation about dosage with your psychatrist or medical doctor. You can even decide an arbitrary date in the future at which to re-evaluate if you want to drop the dose again.

        You and I both know what a mental health illness feels like. The symptoms you are describing, and more specifically the tone of your description, sounds like you might need some additional help.

        Big huggles. Feel free to message me on FB at Blue Eyes and Bruises if you’d like to talk.

  • What weird timing this is today. I, for whatever reason, when out driving and running errands, was actually missing STBX and going over it all in my head again: how COULD he fuck my friend, my co-worker, his co-workers, anyone who was willing, then blame me and tell me that the twenty-something at work is his one true love? How? How can anyone behave that way and still actually live?

    And the sickest part? I was missing him! Over a year since I kicked him out and I was missing him today!

    Sad, you’re only a few months out, give yourself a break. Get off the drugs, find a therapist who will say something to you like mine said to me when I was wobbling, ‘How in the world would you ever be able to trust him again?’ and ‘He’s toxic, he’s bad for you, you deserve much better and you know it. YOu WILL fall in love again and he’s lost the best person he’ll probably ever meet’ and ‘stay away from his friends, his family, anyone who makes you miss your life. It’s time for YOUR life’ and ‘stop living lies, stop protecting him, tell your truth and don’t be ashamed, You’ve done nothing wrong other than not being perfect, just like everyone else in the world’.

    You know why you need a therapist like that? Because when you have days like I’ve had today, where I feel a bit overwhelmed and realise it would be so much easier to just sort it out with him and not have all these problems your therapist’s words will shout inside your head and you will resist the temptation to contact him.

    Now stop talking to him, stop feeding his overblown ego. Stop letting him feel like a stud because his wife is so hooked she can’t tell him to FUCK. RIGHT. OFF. Go on, Sad, tell him to FUCK RIGHT OFF, pick yourself up piece by piece and rebuild your life. YOu deserve a man who adores you, values you, who understands that we all get attracted to others as we go through life but has the character and integrity to see it for what it is: just a normal part of life as we cross paths with various people. You want someone who doesn’t act on it, someone who doesn’t think it’s ok to bang someone other than their spouse.

    It’s not going to be easy but get up, get going and remember that each day you work at your new life your old life gets further away. One day it will be in the misty past and you will be happy. Him? You probably won’t give a shit but, frankly, it will most likely end with him unhappy and alone. Or not. Who cares. Forget him, he’s a piece of shit.

  • Dear Sad – think of this as one day at a time….. all you have to do today is NOT TALK TO HIM. Do not answer his calls. Make him leave messages…. tell yourself you have to wait 24 hours before you listen or respond. Talking to my guy was the real hook for me – I realized that it was absolutely essential to stop TALKING to him – it just blew my mind every time. So take it one step at a time, just for TODAY, don’t talk to him. If you don’t do it today, you don’t have to do it tomorrow or the next day and the days add up. Oh, and I’d change you’re cell right away…. get a new number – and if you break no contact and give him the number, get a different number again and keep doing it until you stop giving him the number. I know this sounds absurd but its something I’ve done……

    You can do this. Just for today.

  • Do listen to Chump Lady. You need to go no contact. You need to start a new life. One area I disagree with and you may too is the anti-depressant advice. I got on anti-depressants because I could not calm down, for three days in a row I didn’t sleep at all. One month in to understanding what had happened to me, I got very, very angry. The anger turned into this horrible fear. A bear was chasing me constantly. I could never outrun the bear and the bear could never outrun me. NOTHING worked to stop the bear feelings. Nothing. I’d never been on anti-depressants before. I went to my doctor. She prescribed the generic for Celexa, Citalopram. I was able to think clearly, very clearly. I could sleep, very well. I stopped focusing on FEAR and sadness and began focusing on me. I am six months into discovery, after 33 years of marriage to a man who does not have a personality disorder, but fell into sexual compulsion. I have filed for divorce. I would not be where I am in this process today, were it not for the anti-depressants. Naturally, this is not everyone’s experience, but you know by now what the side effects of your anti-depressants are for you. Sounds to me like you are still feeling and thinking plenty well. I would not recommend Ambien without looking thoroughly into what Ambien does and does not accomplish. I was very unimpressed with what I read about Ambien. I would never take Ambien.

    • I truly believe Ambien may have saved my life. After D-day I went nearly 5 days without sleep. Was hearing things. If I’d have had a gun in my house, I would’ve shot my teenage son who I heard downstairs one night but who I thought was an intruder (in my sleep-deprived mind, even perhaps my ex wife’s latest affair partner).

      I took Ambien for 3 weeks. Always got a solid night’s sleep with no bad dreams at all. Not one. The rest I got allowed me to think clearly and push my divorce through in less than 90 days. I was able to stop taking the drug with no side effects.

      I would only consider anti-depressants if getting solid sleep for a couple of weeks didn’t make you functional. Remember: functional is the standard. The standard isn’t happiness. If you’re going through a healthy grieving process, you’re supposed to be in pain.

      • Again, antidepressants have saved my life. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Why is this issue the one that is being picked out by everyone?

        Please, unless you are a doctor, do not dispense medical advice on the Internet. You wouldn’t tell me how to manage my diabetes or cancer, would you?

        Like I said, if I wasn’t taking antidepressants for the chemical problem in my brain, I would be dead by now. I have been on them on and off for decades. This is the least of my concerns but the ignorance about it is overshadowing all of the other advice.

        • I didn’t realize from your letter that you had clinical depression that pre-dates your relationship. Yes, of course none of us are doctors and depression is real.

          Please consider that ADs are also prescribed to people after infidelity who have no history of depression — that’s where I was coming from, and it’s not your situation.

          I’m glad they help you. I think getting out of a toxic relationship could do wonders as well.

        • ETA, Preya was actually agreeing with you, and has found ADs tremendously helpful. I would say, take what you need and leave the rest. I hope you won’t discount the heartfelt concern and advice of others because we were unaware of your history of depression.

          Depression and bipolar run in my family. I know it’s real. My cousin was recently hospitalized for mental illness, I get it.

          I also feel there are many paths to wellness. Some of them are chemical and some aren’t. My brother (a diagnosed manic depressive) used to be on a slew of ADs and went off them. For him sobriety and 12 step was the answer — he speaks quite eloquently about drugs masking pain.

          OTOH, my cousin who was hospitalized? He could not function without psych drugs. Period.

          • Thanks CL. I’m gonna go back to working on “mehown” problems. Sad, please accept my apologies… and Good Luck.

        • I’m glad these medications have worked for you. My advice was given based on my experience. If you re-read my post, I don’t think I was “dispensing medical advice” and the only reason I displayed “ignorance” of your pre-existing depression is that you didn’t mention it in your letter.

          I wish you peace and strength.

          • Thanks, everyone. I guess I’m just very sensitive and defensive about my depression. I was functional until recently. And, I was even off the medication until last July when I lost my job in layoffs (the second time in 5 years.) Oh, and had another failed round of IVF. So, perhaps my depression is in large part situational?

            Thanks for all the kind words. This has just been a really sucky time.

            • Situational? Yes, you’re grieving EVERYTHING! That’s a lot to hit anyone at once! A cheating husband, infertility, and job loss! No wonder you’re depressed. Sucky is an understatement. Grieving is hard work.

              But don’t stay stuck. Try and think of this as the universe clearing the decks for a better future without that fucktard in it. Focus on rebuilding, getting out of the basement, finding a job, a volunteer gig, anything that gets you out each day with something to do and someone who needs you.

              Being with a narcissist is so draining. You’ll find when you give your energies to yourself and good people, that’s going to come back to you with dividends. People will appreciate you and value you — gotta put yourself out there SIS.

              • CL is correct. Just get out there, even when it’s the last thing you want to do. It really will help things…not right away, but over time, little by little. Trust me, I’m more than a year out and today was the first time in ages where I actually missed the peckerhead…but it passed fairly quickly after I reminded myself just what a cheating, lying asswipe he was and still is.

                You too will get to this point. Just work at it, one step at a time.

          • SIS,

            “So, perhaps my depression is in large part situational?”

            … And I’m hoping very much for you, your depression lifts greatly simply by being out of contact with your POS cheater. BTW, I well know the ravages of long term, serious depression. My STBXWW thinks depression is only “real” for folks who have seen combat, extreme traumatic assaults, etc.

            She would tell me depression was a crutch for “woe is me”, “pull yourself up by yer bootstraps, “you have nothing to be depressed about, you have everything (wife, kid, roof over my head)”, and “you are so smart; if you cared about your family, you would have not let it happen”… I’m not kidding, she really believes/said this, as does her mom… Like you, there were days when eating a bullet seemed a pretty good idea, and unless someone has been there, they have no idea.

            I feel so much happier just thinking about a future w/o a crazed, lying, BPD/NPD psycho cheater in my life, and if you allow yourself the same, it WILL GET BETTER! Best of luck to ya SIS; everyone’s pulling for you!

  • S-I-S,

    You have to un-entwine your life from his. Moving away physically is a good start, but if you’re communicating often you might as well be in the next room. You know how you hear all the talk about enforcing a boundary? Well, this is a boundary, an important one. The boundary of communication. Enforce it. Only communicate by email and only about logisitical matters (e.g., “Please send me my W-2 form that my employer says was mailed to your house”). You should be able to handle 98% of the communications with ONE SENTENCE. No greetings, and no sign offs: just message and your name. And limit yourselft to 2 or 3 of these brief messages a week at most.

    Also, look into getting out and about. A windowless basement is not where your head needs to be right now. An old life dies off when it is crowded out by new life, the way weeds are crowded out of a lawn by healthy grass (yes, your husband is a WEED). Book a trip to JazzFest in New Orleans (coming up soon!), volunteer for Meals on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity some similar helpful outfit, or join a couple of groups at You might not feel like it, but it will do you a world of good. You will be dancing in a second line in NOLA, or helping paint an old person’s house, and someone will smile at something you say, and you will remember, “Oh yeah. THIS is what it feels like to have a life, to have a bit of joy in my day.” And that will give you the push you need to move forward. Less weed, more joy.

    Good luck!

    • No contact. Living with an NPD such as your H can really cause/exacerbate depression.
      My XW is NPD or some combo platter of clusterB’s and my life is so much more peaceful now that she is out of it.

  • Dear Sad in Seatlle; You have taken a big step but you now need to do more. Read Chump Lady. I would think the next order of business is to get a job. Any job just to get you out of the house and talking to people. That will give you some $$. Find a support group. STOP TALKING TO HIM! Go cold turkey. Stop dancing the pick me dance. I have been married for 23 years when my husband announced he was “in love” with an old girlfriend onFacebook. After the initial shock I have slowly worked to organize a flanking movement. I have not moved out. I see a therapist but chose not to get anti-depressants ( I do have a script for .5 mg Adavan if I get overwhelmed) I am fortunate to have a good job, good friends and supportive siblings. A church family. I could not see him for what he is (a cake eating entitled narcissist with serious rage issues( (I cut and pasted that from your letter). Chump Lady and her community has helped me feel my anger. On days when I waver I try to touch that little glow of smoldering rage. You are not spineless but just so sad and confused and hurt. Don’t use negative terms to descibe yourself. At this point for me my husband keeps talking divorce but doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. I have seen a lawyer; am organizing all my finacial records. Enpowering myself for the time when he either decides he is ready to move on or I decide I’m tired of doing this anymore. Have you seen a lawyer? if not you should do so immediately (but don’t tell him!)

    • I strongly agree with the get a job suggestion. You’ll feel better, more productive and in control. Failing that join a gym, a knitting club, a soup kitchen. Anywhere where you need to do something and can meet other people. Being alone with the TV will only make you feel more alone and long for him back. Get busy living and the dream of what you had will start to go away.

      • Sad in Seattle:

        I agree that a job will divert your attention from your cheating husband.

        However, please talk to an attorney first to ensure it won’t adversely impact your alimony.

        You should at least get rehabilitative alimony.

        But, I agree, you need to get out of that basement…. volunteering at a charity or joining an organization or a club will take you out of the house and your mind off the cheating spouse.

  • Sad:

    My deepest sympathies for the nightmare your ex has caused you. Sounds like you’ve indeed lost EVERYTHING over the course of this fever dream, which is the worst kind of break-up imaginable.

    As stated above, please use this site as a resource whenever you’re feeling lost and alone. The worst part about these breakups is the intense and unrelenting mental and emotional toll that they take on us. That, in turn, can trigger serious physical consequences.

    Worse yet, we think nobody else understands. We can’t even fathom somebody else having to endure this type of hell. After all, we wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, who else besides us chumps were unfortunate enough to fall in love with these Assholes in the first place?

    But having read your letter a few times, it sounds like you’re already making progress, whether you realize it or not.

    You write: “Truthfully, there was never anything good about our relationship. He is dreadful in bed. He spends his money faster than he can make it. And he’s a narcissist with serious rage issues. He has zero communication skills and freaks out anytime I bring up anything he’s done wrong. He looks awesome on paper and is a huge charmer and flirt. But behind the facade he’s a monster.”

    I must say that perspectiev is admirable, and a far cry from chumps like me, who spent months idolizing my ex and placing him on a giant pedestal. I blamed myself for EVERYTHING he did, the lying, the cheating, the sneaking around, treating me like shit, leaving me homeless, etc.

    Sounds like you’re already seeing your marriage for the toxic relationship it was, and seeing your STBX for the raging, unfaithful, profligate spender he is. You may not realize it now, but that’s HUGE. Usually us chumps make excuses for ALL of our exes’ shit, blaming ourselves for their decadence. I know I did.

    The only real piece of advice I can offer you from my Chump Experience is to try and find some comfort in your loneliness. That’s the only thing that got me through my runaway trainwreck of a break-up. Yes, my friends were a great support system, but I was still sleeping alone far away from home while my ex already had someone else sleeping next to him. Even if our exes were the worst people in the world, THAT shit hurts.

    When I lost my relationship, I remember lying on a friend’s couch shaking like a leaf, unable to sleep. I was TERRIFIED…but of what? My life wasn’t in danger. I wasn’t sick. My ex didn’t have a contract out on me.

    Now I realize I wasn’t just missing him but I was scared of my own loneliness. But then I found comfort in it. Don’t feel like a loser cause you’re home alone watching CSI on Friday nights. There’s a safety and comfort in being alone with your thoughts and keeping yourself company. You’re actually showing that you’re comfortable enough in your own skin and that you don’t need constant chaos/companionship 24/7 like your ex. You may not realize it, but you’re also building up an internal strength and resilience that you’re going to need to get you through the next steps of this very difficult process.

    But don’t just stare at the four walls and binge on cop/lawyer shows. Get introspective. Start a journal. Write down your thoughts and feelings, however unfocused they might be right now. Your letter above shows that you’re eloquent and not scared of the blank page. So write.

    Even if you’re dripping tears all over the notebook pages (or the laptop keyboard) and even if you’re hating his guts on Monday but desperately pining for him on Tuesday, believe me when I tell you that that contradictory flood of emotions is SUCH a therapeutic release to get down on paper (or screen).

    Whatever you do, don’t stay in the bitterness. If you put that energy out into the world, you’re gonna get it right back. You’ll be amazed what the Universe will bring into your life if you put positive energy out into it.

    Another thing I did to cope, and this might sound a little bizarre, but I did nice things for other people. If a friend needed to talk, I was there to listen. If another friend needed a babysitter for their kids, I volunteered. If another friend needed gas or cigarette money, I’d slip them $20.

    Looking back, those little Pay It Forwards had a two-prong effect on me: 1) It allowed me to put my post-breakup misery on hold and put some love back out into the world. My cup may have been empty and bone-dry at the time, but you better believe that cup filled back up A LOT faster once that good karma came back at me; 2) I was able to prove to myself that I’m STILL an awesome guy, even if my ex made me feel like an utterly worthless piece of shit.

    If you were amazing before your ex, then you’re still amazing now, and you’ll still be amazing once the smoke clears.

    Keep us posted! 🙂

    P.S. You’re totally still young enough to have kids. It took actress Geena Davis four husbands before she finally started a family, having her first child at age 46. Diane Keaton never married, but adopted her first child at age 50.

    • Yes, fear is a big part of things, I think. You have this life planned out and then poof, suddenly it’s gone and my god it’s so scary.

  • Dear Sad in Seattle,

    You’ve already taken a giant leap by moving out. That takes incredible strength even if you don’t feel like it did.

    My advice? Take some baby steps now.
    -Take a walk around the block to get some fresh air. If that’s too much, open the door and take a deep breath.
    -Read the stories on this site. You will feel less alone and take some comfort that shitty narcissists are alike the world over.
    -Talk yourself through the hard days–Yay me! I took a shower!– Treat yourself like you’d treat a friend in the same situation.
    -Try to go no contact. I was the worst at this. That send button is so easy to push. Even though he fucked prostitutes, gambled, spent our assets, he was the one I considered my comfort. I thought I’d die if I didn’t hear his voice or get a message from him. I”d rage at him and describe his behavior in the most vile terms. Later I’d send an apology for “hurting his feelings” which is almost funny. One thing that helped, although not all the time, was something my therapist said. She said I needed to think about what was healthy for me now. It wasn’t healthy for me to continue contact and it wasn’t healthy for him either. My being in contact with him was a way of telling him that what he did to me wasn’t that bad and that if he thought his behavior wasn’t that bad, then he would have even less chance of changing and living a life that he could be proud of. (That’s not going to happen!) Eventually, it got easier. I’d think of something else he had done to me and instead of writing a mean email to him, I’d rather not bother. I know it doesn’t seem possible, and I felt like that too when I first found this site, but it happens and it will happen to you, just not yet. Do you know the singer, Deb Talen? She has a line I repeat to myself–“Time heals all wounds, just not yet.”
    -Get yourself a theme song and a fuzzy blanket.

  • SIS – We Chumplings feel for you in this horrible situation you find yourself in.
    No wonder you feel as you do – if you take a step back and look at how many losses you are enduring. You are mourning everything indeed.
    Throw clinical depression into the mix on top of the situational feelings you’re experiencing. I totally get it. Glad to see you’re assertive about it – it’s no diffeerent to taking meds for diabetes or your thyroid, etc when it’s Clinical. When others on the site responded negatively about it, guaranteede it was not realizing it was pre-cheating Clinical depression. Totally different situation to taking meds to mask the pain and numb one.

    I can only echo some pointers from other fellow-chumpers. As Chris points out, your perspective of the relationship is admirable – at the moment you don’t realize how HUGE this is. I spent years not being able to see what my exH was and is – I couldn’t let go of the image he projected of the happy, devoted and loving husband and father while behind the scenes, he was a lying cheating piece of low- life who would without conscience cheat with anyone who had a pulse. Your perspeccive is truly admirable. It’s a great focus to build on.
    No contact, however hard it seems now, is the only way to go. Same as getting a good lawyer, sooner rather than later, and don’t tell him – let your laywer do the contact thing. Keeping contact with him is hazardous. Get rid of that cell number and get another one so that he can’t contact you.
    Journalling is a great tool. You can pine away, get really angry, cry, rail how unfair life is, bemoan your situation, but IT HELPS in processing this shit. As they say, the only way out of this mess is to go through it. Trying to go around it keeps you in the mess. In a year or two, read your journalling and it will be marvellous to see how far you’ve come out of the darkness.
    Starting with the very basics is so important too – Good sleep, regular eating with lots of protein and some form of exercise in your day and focusing on attaining that in your day can do wonders for perspective. I knew that, but I kept on forgetting how important it was.
    And you are not spineless. You’ve been chumped. As Janet says, you’re sad, lonely and hurt. We can all relate to that on this site – keep in contact with us, keep reading.
    If at all possible, try focus on how you want your life to change. Your life right now feels shitty. How do you want it to change? Make a list of what is shitty , what can you do to make it feel better instead? Then it’s one step at a time. This may sound like a cliche, but this attitude helps to not stay stuck like I was (said with much mortifaction).
    Also, isolation, as I’m sure you know, is bad news. There are meetup sites springing up all over the world. Try googling and seee what is on offer in your city – it’s a great way to meeting people who are making posive changes in their lives and trying to be more soical. Even if it’s one event a week – taking in a movie, playing pool, dancing, whatever they offer.
    I send warm wishes to you. We’re on this site to vent and offer our experiences of this terribly painful part of our lives. We’re there for each other. Chump Lady and people on this site have helped me tremendously. I can’t thank you all enough.

  • “We don’t always get the life we think we’re going to have. But that often works out just beautifully, if you let it.”

    Beautifully said, CL. I think I’m going to post that in my classroom.

    • Thanks MO. 🙂 I don’t know how profound it is, but it’s been true in my life.

  • I just don’t feel ready for all this no contact and lawyer stuff. I’m paralyzed with heartache.

    I’ve been wondering whether giving myself a month back together could help me see the truth. I imagine it will be awful and maybe I need to see that again … the loneliness, the fights, the suspicion. Maybe that’s the wake-up call I need.

    Please don’t be quick to judge. Who amongst you didn’t waver? Who just cut the cord and moved on?

    I left in such a hurry that I left everything behind … my papers, my cats, my clothes. I could at least organize everything. And now I have some perspective.

    Also, I’m thinking I may need a stronger prescription to get me through this. I’m on a super-low dose of antidepressants and would need to see my shrink for an increase. That means I’d need to go back. After reading that NY Times article you’d posted, CL, about inconsistent love, I wonder whether, due to my illness, whether the effect is heightened in me. All my life I’ve been in variable reinforcement relationships. I wonder if I’m habituated to them. I wonder if my brain chemistry is making things harder for me?

    I feel like I need some closure. I know that probably sounds ridiculous. But I need to have the chance to be heard, and validated by a therapist, for my feelings in front of my STBX. I want to be able to tell him everything he did to me. I know he won’t care, that it will never matter to him. I just feel like I need the chance to do that. Isn’t that part of the reason you all stayed so long? And yes, in time, you all figured out that it was pointless. But I left on DDay. I packed my stuff and haven’t been back since. And while I feel great about that part — since I’m living with integrity — I just feel there are some things I need to do before I can totally end things. Maybe that’s why I’ve been hanging on, that I’m not totally ready to let go yet.

    Yes, it’s probably stupid. And yes, I KNOW the answers to my questions. Yes, he doesn’t deserve my time. And so on and so forth. But I feel like I need closure. It will probably just be a frustrating, unsatisfying dance and I risk being pulled back in but I don’t see any other way.

    • My first husband was physically abusive to me. And of course I went through the whole stupid gammit of I brought this on myself. I moved out once, twice and the 3rd time for good. Personally you should really get a lawyer, yes you are ready to do this. You go for a consultation they will explain your rights. Information is power! It doesn’t mean you start proceedings it just means you gather information. You won’t believe how much you can get from the bas—rd. Write him a letter if you have to damn him. Go back to the house when he isn’t there and get your cat and papers. He is enjoying your weakness and pain; makes him feel all powerful. You are living with your parents but you don’t say if they are supportive or what. Please don’t go back you are playing the choose me game. He is not going to change. Do you want to live like that. You are so young. your 30’s! You have so much wonderful life ahead of you. I would never go back to my 30’s again (honest) my 40’s and 50’s were wonderful. 60’s are ok . Do you have a good friend that will help you?

    • SIS, Wow! You left right after disclosure? Good for you. After 30+ years of divorce from a cheater, my sister-in-law says she wishes she had stayed around long enough to understand exactly what was going on. She needed more closure. Kind of what you’re talking about. I agree, it takes a lot of us more time than we ever would have imagined to leave. If you go, try to stay connected to a world that will tell you the truth about your husband and what you need to ultimately do. I’m worried about you because you stayed so long already, knowing what a monster he was. If you go back for closure, will you have the strength to get out?

    • Dear Sad,
      It’s easy to say no contact but hard to actually do it. I wasn’t able to and spent time hoping we could work it out but after an hour with him I would realize he still blamed me for everything, could not think of even one tiny way he could could have helped the relationship…I’m dumb enough that I did it over and over again. Then the phase began of telling him exactly what I had figured out that he had been doing for 15 years–reclaiming reality. Now I consider emailing him and telling him something else I figured out but don’t feel the urge to actually do it. That’s taken a year.
      There’s no easy way through it whatever you do and you can only do what you can do.
      I’ve been on antidepressants for many years for family of origin issues or genetics or just fucking bad luck. When I’m feeling stress at work during busy times of the year, I increase my dosage. I’ve had to increase it since D-day. It just is what it is. I would have killed myself a number of times before I even knew him if I didn’t have it, so I understand what you mean, Sad. Some of what you described sounded like the depression–not being able to take care of small tasks. Compound that with leaving your home, your kitties, friends and things–that’s an incredible amount of stress.

      We’ve all made mistakes and you’ll make yours but you sound smart and strong and you’ll find your way. Best and warm wishes to you.

      • Duped, I get what you’re saying. I had a very hard time with NC and for awhile, even after I handed him divorce papers, was in that phase of figuring him out and when we would engage I would throw new info at him, thinking he would suddenly get insightful and understand just how fucked up he is.

        Here’s the rub: he doesn’t want to see himself, he wants to be this person–and even if, deep down, he doesn’t, he still isnt’ strong enough or smart enough or whatever enough to sort himself out. Most of us are fixers and we think we can guide them towards being a better person, or show them badly they hurt us and that they’ll then have an epiphany and suddenly become a better person. It won’t happen. They are who they are. Trying to get closure is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube: impossible, because they will always blame us for how they’ve behaved, they will always have excuses and every time we put ourselves in the position of listening to those excuses we hurt more, we’re beaten down more, we slow down our own healing and our ability to move forward towards OUR futures.

        • Yep. I thought if I just used the right words and said it the right way he’d get it. Never worked. He either couldn’t see it or admit. Only a few times did I hear him come close to admitting he was wrong but it was as if the monster turned his attention away and the person trapped inside spoke. It lasted less than a minute or so and then he retreated, either to afraid to escape or benefitted from the symbiotic relationship. It’s a frightening feeling to see the one you love and who swore he was in it for the long haul really is part monster.

          • Wow Duped and Nord! You are articulating so well your experiences. The monster stuff is gripping, Duped.

        • Nord, my husband did a disclosure with his counselor and my counselor present of his sexual impulse crap. It was stunning information. Stunning. His counselor made my husband sit with this information for over a month. They worked on the disclosure for several sessions. My husband now says it was that process that really woke him up to who he was and how he didn’t want to be that person. He looked in the mirror and really didn’t like what he saw. He was losing his whole family because of his out-of-control behavior. I so understand your words of sorting himself out. They are just lost souls. Lost souls. I found the information that led to this much deeper disclosure that needed to happen and be examined. What’s the difference between my STBX and yours? Maybe amount of time in the behavior? Who knows? Blessings on you, as you move toward YOUR bright future.

    • Hey there fellow chump – No condemnation here, whatever you do. This shit is hard. I’ll just give you some observations and my two cents, fwiw.

      As for validation: recall that many therapists will actually advise you to assume some of the responsibility for the infidelity. That is complete bullshit. Do not expect to get some pronouncement of justice from the therapeutic community. But from us? YES. You have every right to feel like crap. You were absolutely unjustly abused and betrayed. You are completely normal for feeling bewildered, paralyzed, despondent.

      I agree heartily with the advice to take a friend to help you collect your things. You are probably not thinking as clearly as you could be. None of us would be.

      About being heard: Telling him how bad you feel ultimately makes him feel better (see below re: assholes), however, if you really feel you must talk to him, tell him how bad HE is. That’s what really will make YOU feel better. Don’t argue facts of his behavior (who did what when, etc.) – because he can totally win this. He’s an expert. Lying is a way of life for him, but suspicion and paranoia are NOT your natural state. Instead – tell him he is a lying, cheating, cowardly, pathetic excuse for a man. That does make an impact. Narcissists care very much what other people think of them. But his response will not be to look within himself and change … I’m laughing just thinking about it. These douchebags just don’t do remorse. He’ll just call you crazy or hate you. Good. Take both as a compliment.

      As for closure: you will get this. But not from him. It comes from within you. Just sorry to tell you that it takes some time. You’re too devastated to let it come yet. You do have some work to get there, but you will. I realized that I did have to forgive – myself. For exposing myself to it for so long. But you know what? It’s okay. I wasn’t stupid or weak. I was strong and patient. I just chose the wrong husband to use these gifts on. I made the ultimate chump mistake of thinking he was an actual decent human being somewhere inside. My bad, but hey, we’re told that our whole lives. You know, that everyone is basically good, and that their bad actions are the result of their own insecurity or stuff that happened to them. BULLSHIT. Some people are just ASSHOLES. And when that finally dawns on you, closure will come. Trust me.

      I am wishing you well on your journey. Your day will come.

      CL – can’t thank you enough for this site.

      • You could send him a text telling him what a sh–t he is then change your number.

      • Ananda, you are so right about so many things. I agree that if you need to say something to him tell him that he’s a bad person. I got to that point…eventually. First, shortly after dday, i wrote him a very long, heartfelt email about my pain and thought he would understand. He didn’t but he sure did love the validation of his wonderfullness that that email provided. I felt dirty after seeing how he reacted and never did it again.

        Now, if he wants to start up with the ‘this is why I had to cheat innumerable times’ discussion I don’t usually bother engaging. If he really gets to me I simply write back: there’s nothing to discuss. You’re a bad person.

        And yes, some people are simply assholes. We can slap any sort of label we want on it, diagnose it from our armchairs, read and read until a lightbulb goes off and we say ‘aahhh…he’s a sociopathic narcissist with mummy issues’ but you know what? It doesn’t make one jot of difference; the end result is that you’re dealing with a prize asshole and you and me and everyone who has dealt with one of these losers deserves better.

        Fuck closure, get on with life. Easier said than done but start today with one little step, SIS, and you’ll be that much closer to detoxing from his assholishness.

    • Cheaters don’t give you “closure” — they give you more pain. You get closure with time, and distance — LOTS of time and distance. Two things you’re apparently dead set against giving yourself. He can’t give you closure — that’s an excuse to take another hit on the crack pipe of hope. Hope that you can salvage this.

      Every chump writing to you is telling you what WORKS. Not what is EASY, but what WORKS. No contact. Period. NO CONTACT. They applauded you for doing that hard thing — leaving — and you want to reverse that? We tell you that the best thing you can do is focus all your energies on no contact and your response to that is, hey, I’d like to go back into the belly of the beast? Seriously?

      “Help you see the truth”? WTF?! I would think the truth of prostitute, acquaintances and intern fucking were quite enough truth to make a divorce decision on. What part of his lack of remorse, serial cheating, and narcissistic rage do you think is salvageable?

      Think I’m being mean? Unsympathetic? I don’t understand how you suffer? What helped me most when I was being a chumpy idiot were 2x4s up the head from the people who loved me. From people online who’d BTDT. From exasperated lawyers and shrinks. It sunk in eventually and I hope it does for you too.

      But know this about these freaks, Sad — when you go back? You’re giving him a shit load of kibbles, and he’s not letting you get away so easily the next time. Oh no, he’ll up his game — tearing you down, building you up, giving you those little honeymoon highs, and then the raging lows. He’ll hide his affairs better. He’ll gaslight you better. And you’ll let him, because you’re sick on hope.

      I created this site because I feel the perverse desire, years out of this shit, to yell at the sidelines of other people’s lives — DON’T BE A CHUMP! GET OUT! SAVE YOURSELF!

      You don’t want to save yourself? That’s your business. I can’t help you. As my trial lawyer husband likes to say: “I can explain it to you — but I can’t understand it for you.”

    • You left at Dday? WOW! You are to be commended for that.

      I too disappeared on DDay, even though I had nowhere to go. The ex broke up with me out of nowhere the night before, giving me the usual: “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I’m not happy with where I am in life.”

      Almost believed it too….until the guy he had been cheating on me for three weeks blew up his phone at 1 AM.

      My ex was so far gone into the pathological lying, claiming that the cheat partner was a “friend” (whom I’d never heard of) who was merely “drunk dialing” him (….at 1 AM on a Tuesday night, the same night my ex was ending a three-year relationship).

      I packed my shit into my car and got the fuck out of there the next day…with nowhere to go.

      A voice inside my head was telling me to “GET THE FUCK OUT!” Good thing I listened to that voice, because it turns out my ex and his cheat partner were at MY apartment packing up our things (we were in the process of moving in with his family).

      If I hadn’t bounced, my ex would’ve walked his cheat partner RIGHT THE FUCK UP in the house, right in my face, claiming that he was just a friend.

      Believe me when I tell you that you don’t want to go back. You’re only going to see first-hand, whether it’s random calls or texts, or drive-bys, and it’s going to be so much worse than the nightmarish scenarios you’ve spent the last month imagining.

      Please read and re-read what all the other chumps are saying. The only part where I digress is the characterization of cheaters as schizotypal vampires who feed off your tears and misery in order to feel better about themselves.

      I think of them more as self-hating addicts. Not sure if anybody close to you has ever struggled with a severe addiction to drugs, but you’ll find that addicts keep very, very strange company. Without sounding all high and mighty, they usually surround themselves with the absolute dregs of society; bottom-feeding street urchins with whom they have NOTHING else in common except addiction to drugs.

      You don’t have to be shooting dope to be an addict. Self-destructive behaviors like having affairs and destroying marriages is also part of the package. Whether you unload on him with both guns blazing or you give him a piece of your mind with a calm and measured authority, either conversation is going to have the same effect on him…he’s going to feel like shit. Feeling like shit is going to make him want to “use”, in this case, go running back to his piece(s) of ass to blow his already deflated ego back up.

      See how that works? Your husband’s self-worth is so low that he needs cheap attention and sex to feel better about himself. If you think YOUR dosage is low, just imagine what your husband’s going to do when you start coming at him with all these grown-up issues that he clearly has no intention of facing head-on. Trust me. He’s only going to cling even more to his side-piece(s).

      ….Do you REALLY want to see that happen right in front of you?

      True closure comes when you forgive yourself for the breakdown of your marriage. Whatever problems you two had, he chose as a solution something that only created more problems.

      Those problems are now his to own. He can’t cling to 23-year-olds forever. And like all drugs, the aroma of 20-something whores and the “high” they give him are going to stop working. Then he’s going to be stuck with himself.

      Meanwhile, you’ll be moved on and more than likely in a REAL adult relationship.

      Keep us posted! 🙂

      • Chris, you’re so right about the addict thing-my therapist told STBX this flat out, that when he feels down instead of reaching for the bottle or a drug, he reaches for a woman–that’s his drug of choice.

      • Wow Chris Thanks…sounds like you were living the life I’m trying to get out of. Chills from your post…I’m in so much pain but this site is giving me hope, just the realization that I’m not crazy (?) is helping alot.

    • Hi, S.I.S. I didn’t cut the cord right away. We did in-house separation for longer than I care to admit due to finances and our children. And you know what?

      I envy that you could leave. I think it’s great that you’re hundreds of miles away.

      Because sticking around with my STBX who was still with this OW (not shoved in my face, but I knew it was taken underground once I found out and said I wanted a D) was death by a thousand cuts.

      I had emotional setbacks. Seeing him every day, especially on days when he’d act like everything was back to the way it was, was draining and horrid. He would try to hug me, put his arm around me, say that he wanted to stay “best friends” and that he’d always love me, and yet…

      Yeah, and yet. And yet he slept with a woman he’d met on the internet, didn’t use a condom, and after three MONTHS of being with her, wanted to be with her because she was also his best friend, and he also loved her.

      Believe me… NC is for you. Because he will never change. You will not get closure. Any “I’m sorrys” you get from him will not be true remorse– they’re only regret that you’re spoiling his fun, that you’re telling people, that you’re shattering his Mr. Nice Guy image that he projects to others. He’s sad that you won’t play along, being the dutiful wife who carries out her wifely duties (including sex) while he enjoys his piece of tail on the side. You were supposed to turn a blind eye to that, and you haven’t, and that’s what he’s sorry about.

      You’re not stupid. We’ve all felt that– we wanted the true apology, the moment when the sun beams down and the epiphany is had by the cheater. I was a horrible person! I will change! If she doesn’t want me, then I’ll still spend the rest of my life proving to her that she was right, and I was wrong!

      Except that never happens.

      No one is judging you. See the lawyer. Find a close friend or family member to provide moral support while you get your stuff. Try to get it when you know that he’s at work and not expecting you. Seeing him again is not going to make you feel better or provide you with an epiphany of your own: “He really is a douchebag!” You already know that. Seeing him again will provide you with another emotional setback. Your heart will break all over again, and instead of beginning the journey up and out of the misery, you will slide right back down into its pit.

      I finally stopped crying at night when I moved out. I finally moved into anger, which made me behave more productively when I physically left him.

      Again, you are not judged here. We just don’t want you to make the same mistake that some of us have made. There is no going back. There is only forward from here.

      • ” NC is for you. Because he will never change. You will not get closure. Any “I’m sorrys” you get from him will not be true remorse– they’re only regret that you’re spoiling his fun, that you’re telling people, that you’re shattering his Mr. Nice Guy image that he projects to others. He’s sad that you won’t play along, being the dutiful wife who carries out her wifely duties (including sex) while he enjoys his piece of tail on the side. You were supposed to turn a blind eye to that, and you haven’t, and that’s what he’s sorry about.”

        This is exactly it. They will start to rage and be absolutely beyond furious when you don’t go along with your usual protecting of him, boosting of him, making excuses for him. The Nice Guy Image will get blown to pieces and he will be ENRAGED. Trust me, I’ve dealt with many months of STBX’s pure fury at me telling the truth about him being a serial cheater. He HATES me for being honest, BLAMES me for his reputation taking a big old hit. I doubt he’ll ever forgive me. Do I care? Nope. And nor should you.

        This person stuck his dick in a bunch of other people, not thinking about you, about how this would hurt you, impact your life, etc. Fuck him. Live your truth, stop trying to get anything from him and let the fucker go.

    • I think”closure” is a bullshit, new age concept. You have a good head on your shoulders. Fuck “closure”. Fuck “soulmates”, “Connection”, “new monogamy”, forgiveness and all the rst of these whacked concepts that are out there.
      Your H has no love for you. Dump his sorry ass, like yesterday.
      You are smart, Your writing demonstrates this . Time to man up, grow a pair, whatever. Get your head out of your ass.(and I mean that in the kindest way)

    • Sad in Seattle:

      Your statement abouting needing to be heard, is valid, and I think it will be helpful.

      If you can get your cheating spouse to a Marriage counselor……do it.

      In my first few sessions, I took all the blame, But it wasn’t until one counselor emailed me and told me that I needed to tell my side of the story that I felt closure.

      So next session, I went and just babbled incessantly. I would not let my STBX get another word in because prior all he did was blame me for everything.

      This session, when he tried to counter my side of the story, I told him his blame was blameshifting bullshit and there were two sides to the story.

      I told the therapist and my STBX everything, just the way you told us in this letter about how selfish and self absorbed your husband is and…….afterward it felt good.

  • S.I.S, if you were an alcoholic trying to recover would you go to the bottle of alcohol to give you closure as to why you got addicted?Or to the joint of meth? or to the powder if you were sniffing some?

    These men are exactly as emotionless and even more lethal.

    I am not condemning nor am i going to suggest things for you to do to come out of the pain>

    Because , i had been in the exact same place as you in my journey, with the exact same emotions.

    I will post in detail later, but just want to say this that afetr walking out and staying NC for 1 month i too went back telling myself that i was doing so because i wanted closure(want him to know what i have gone thru, want to tell him exactly all what i found out so that he doesnt think i am stuoid, want him to get tested blah blah blah).

    I got sucked in for another nine months before i got out,8 of which i had also spent just talking on the phone.

    After subjecting myself to harshest self introspection i have realised that i wanted to go back coz i couldmnt stay away though i also said the same things you are saying about your H, maybe even more.

    I just did not have the strength to keep away and though he disgusted me i couldnt let go, so i told myself that i was going back for closure.Fact is, at that point i wasnt ready to let him go and i wasted further nine months .

    And closure from him? What closure?

    There is never ever any closure, coz they dont want to close anything .They want to collect women and never end anything so that they can dip into their kitty and come up with one when they need one.

    they want a harem, so you will never get closure ,not unless you step out of that harem , completely and absolutely

  • SIS, you can’t get “closure” by opening up old wounds.

    But please don’t mistake unambiguous advice for condemnation. Everyone here spent longer on our cheating asshole partners than common sense would’ve dictated (Me? 22 years with an ex-wife who cheated with 3-6 different married men, some of the affairts lasting more than a half-dozen years). But you’re going back that this meatgrinder with full knowledge of what you’re getting. Keep your eyes open. will be here when you figure it out.

    God bless.

  • Sad in Seattle… I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I know the words you are reading in these responses seem harsh, but believe it or not, they are full of support. Only you know what you will do. And if you have already made up your mind to go back, then no one here can change that for you. You will go back, as virtually each and every one of us has. And you will get another lesson in chumpdom, as each and every one of us has. I continue to rack up my lessons… I have told myself all kinds of things about my jackass in order to allow the chumpness to continue… and each time it is proven again, that I am only fooling myself. This is a very, very unpleasant journey, but you are on your way. Going back will be a step backwards… but when you realize that… whenever that is… we will all still be here with open arms. Without any “I told you so’s”. We just want to support you. You are a chump, just like us.

    I live in Seattle too… Don’t let the ridiculous fog we have been socked in by recently keep you in the house. The fact that you are here might mean that you are more isolated than before, if you left your old life/friends/support behind. Starting over in a different city can be exciting, and also very lonely. That’s a tough pill to swallow when you are already grieving. And the Seattle winter sure doesn’t help. On Sunday, after I went to the gym and after my workout I sat in the sauna and cried, and was warm, and cried some more (thankfully, no one else was in there). And you know what… feeling warm while mourning really helped. Seattle is wet, foggy and cold these days…. and it doesn’t let up. I have lived here for 20 years and I still am not used to it. Go find some way for your body and your heart to get warm. Really, really warm. It will help!

  • Chump Lady is right on that distance leads to closure.
    A pivotal moment happened when my (amazing) therapist suggested that if I was unsure about leaving my ex-husband, then I should date him again, to “get more data,” and be sure. I felt physically sick. My blood pressure when up. I started to feel fight or flight right there in the office. At that point my “NO” was loud and clear, at last, to myself.
    It has been distance and no contact that has brought me closure, and ultimately joy and peace, all the way to–years later–a happy marriage and 2 adopted kiddos. That dream of being a mom finally came true and just at the right time too. (I’m 41) Oh and SIS, I had some anti-depressants along the way too. Whatever it takes! 🙂 I fought the battle on many fronts and needed all the help I could get. I think you are doing GREAT!!!

  • He’s been gone 4 weeks, but this weekend was the start of no contact. It’s very difficult to just stop talking to someone thats been with you for such a long time, but I push forward because I know it’s what will help heal me. Lately, whenever I get anxious about missing his sorry Ass, I think of them together in bed, and remember that he wasn’t home with me then either. CL you are a genius with the whole cake concept! I truly would have been suckered into more wasted years with him. He told me a few weeks ago that we should have done things differently on DDay in August. I asked him “like what?” “We went to counciling, spent time together, and I tried not to cry, talk about it, and we had lots of sex.” All I wanted my STBX to do during that horrible pain was hold me, tell me he’s sorry and that he loves me. He couldn’t even do that, he shakes his superior head yes. During that time he would pat me on the head like a dog, and I would take it, because he had me so under his control. Now, I know that the thing he would have done differently is dig his affair in deeper so I wouldn’t have discovered it again 5 months later, because this divorce is costing him big bucks, and I have been playing him for the Fool he really is.

  • Spam Alert! Spam Alert! Delete! Delete! Delete!

    In all seriousness, this is where we come to share our stories, bandage other people’s wounds, and get support. This is not where we come to have people sell us things. Not spy wear to figure out if our spouse is cheating.
    Not books on how to save the marriage.
    Not articles on how to affair proof a marriage.
    Not websites we need to subscribe to so we can work from home.
    Not special berries to help us sleep.

    Go away. You are unwanted.

    • I killed it. My spam filters are pretty good, but not perfect. One slips in occasionally.

  • I love this site. I just filed today. My fucktard wife cheated and then wouldn’t cut off contact. We did counseling for almost a year and on my 50th birthday she gave me exactly…nothing. That was the last straw. It was in August. We tried mediation toward a divorce settlement and she wanted money. Well screw you honey, how about a divorce complaint? How does that taste? So if she doesn’t want to work out a settlement, fine. Let’s go to court and I’ll file the 30 pages of emails between you and your boyfriend that document how you contucted your affair in front of our 10-year old daughter. Can you say “unfit mother?” Thanks ChumpLady, your site does a great service for us chumps and the fabulous future life that lies ahead for all of us.

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