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Owning Your Chumpiness

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Did anyone read the Modern Love column in this last Sunday’s New York Times– “Friends Without Benefits”? It’s the overwrought tale of loving an emotionally unavailable man, or what we here at Chump Lady would call a mindfuck. To wit:

He pulled me into his world only to discard me any night a pretty young thing showed up for the taking, knowing, I think, that I had fallen in love with him and that I was only waiting for him to realize I had been there all along.

Years later, he would confess to having loved me all along. But while I stood waiting for him to happen to me, he was always looking for the next best thing. I apparently made too good of a friend for him to justify anything more significant, which my young brain could interpret only as a criticism.

To me it felt like a matter of time. He would come around. I pushed hard against the girls he brought home. I slept on his couch and in the morning shouldered angrily past blond college students who did not understand my rage.

It goes on and on in this vein, until yeah they have sex, and yeah he’s “confused,” and yeah he marries someone else but still stays in touch to discuss his conflicted feelings — but really he loved her all along! — you know the type chumps — a cake eater. He’s not one bit seriously interested in this nitwit, but she spackles on, seeing intent and purpose where there is none.

I groaned as I read the entire thing, revolted at her oblivious chumpdom. It’s the recitation of a decade-long dance of “pick me” — only what makes the story particularly chumptacular is that she spackles without the facade of a commitment, she never gets more than peripheral status. It’s not a story about infidelity per se (although her mindset sounds a lot like that of OW, which you could argue she is, seeing as she’s discussing their love while he’s married to someone else), it’s a story about being dumb. It’s a story of spackle.

Although I doubt it’s intended that way. I imagine to the author, she is in fact starring in her own star-crossed romance full of pathos — “I let him go, dear reader!” I cannot hazard a guess as to what the editors of Modern Love in the New York Times were thinking, because it’s a pretty dreadful bit of writing.

Anywho, reading this story last weekend coincided with being on HuffPo again and getting the usual comments of “what did you do to make him cheat?” and “how are you accountable?” (which I’ll take over the “You must forgive, it is ESSENTIAL” sort of drivel). And finally I thought, hey, I do have something to say about my accountability — I must own my chumpiness!

Yes, I put the chump in Chump Lady, folks. There have been challengers to the title, but I don’t know if you could out chump me — four D-days, four false reconciliations before I packed it in (and I wobbled after the divorce too…cringe). I am only able to groan at that stupid Modern Love column, because every chumpy bit of spackle the author indulged in, I did too.

Here are some common chump blunders I shared with the author of “Friends Without Benefits.”

1. Failing to realize that a mixed signal actually is a signal. Actually, it is a flaming beacon that says “I am fucked up, steer clear!” Healthy people know their minds. They don’t spend a lot of time (say a decade) “confused” about their feelings or why they do the things they do. Willful “confusion” is the tactic of manipulators and cake eaters. Oh, they need time. Their feelings are very, very fragile. They’re very stressed right now and they’ll get back to you. My ex made a lot of pronouncement that saving his marriage was very important to him, but did nothing that resembled saving a marriage. He spent a lot of time in the “I don’t know” forest.

And I accepted that. Sure I pressed him and asked the questions 17 different ways to get an answer, but when the words and the actions didn’t align (mixed signal) — I failed to get a clue.

2. That people who love you ACT like it. The guy in the Modern Love story tells the protagonist that he “loves” her but spends a lot of time courting other women, and eventually marrying someone who isn’t her. But she clings to his words that he loves her. She gives that meaning, when his actions are very clear that she is not a priority in his life. Similarly, my ex told me all the time that he “loved” me, and he also was unwilling to stop cheating on me. It took me too long to come to the simple realization that he did NOT love me. He’d never loved me, because people who love you and are invested in you cannot treat you with such blatant disregard. His “love” was a con, and I was a chump because I wanted to believe it. I hung on to the vestiges of what that faux love meant — he married me, gave me a ring, introduced me to his family, etc. Surely that must signify love? No, it signified cake. I was of use to him.

The woman in the Modern Love story was of use to that man as a source of ego kibbles. Nothing more.

3. Thinking that sticking around will improve the outcome instead of prolonging the pain. Chumps are patient and long suffering. In fact, I don’t think you can really be a first class chump unless you’re willing to have faith in improbable outcomes and wait devotedly for them. He is going to get better. He is going to come out of the fog! He will wake up and value me! As the author of the story said “I felt it was a matter of time. He would come around.” I think chumps feel there is some romance in this. Penelope waiting for Odysseos to come back from the wars. I’m true! I’m here! My faithfulness will inspire you! When they wake up out of that fog/coma/concussion from the tornado — you’ll be at their bedside and they’ll awake from that dream and realize there is No Place Like Home!

It’s the stuff of storybooks. We eat it up. The author of that story spent a decade seeing herself as a heroine in a dramatic romance, instead of the more humiliating reality that she was a side dish fuck at best for a narcissist who didn’t care for her, but was happy to have her around as kibbles.

I spent over a year trying to rewrite my disaster into a happier ending — I told myself I just had to stay the course! I listened to those idiots on reconciliation boards say, oh it takes 6 months before they come out of the fog, don’t do anything rash. I failed to realize too late into the game that sticking around meant one thing — more pain. My pain. He was quite happy to keep doing the limbo rock.

The person who had to wake up out of the dream was me.

 

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • CL what would I do without your daily posts?? Your words are exactly what I need each day to stay the course and leave the fog!! He sends me texts that give me small hopes, but in the mean time, our divorce day gets closer and closer. I take big breaths, listen to family and friends who say get the hell out, and read your articles and posts over and over again. I will be strong!!

      • Why have texts become the favourite mode of communication for cheaters? Because it’s like twitter: quick messages that can be cute/funny/easy…just throwing a bone and keeping you on the hook.

  • I know teenagers more realistic than that. I have to believe, for my own sanity, this woman stayed with this guy because of all the time she had already invested in him not because she believed that it was true love. That she “deserves” him. Otherwise a grown woman believing this for decades minus the ring or any formal sign of commitment makes this world a sadder one.

    Listen to Dana Gilmore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aSPYcjspgk

  • i want to thank you. you say the things i was thinking. i felt bad because i would think and say them but everything i read said i shouldn’t feel or say them. that it was wrong of me.thank you, because by you saying it for me, i now see more clearly what my life with him was. it was a charade he was playing for 29 years and i was his cover, which makes his daughters part of the cover too. i now know he married me to cover the image he had at the beginning of his career. that a good soldier marries and has kids, it shows he stable and dependable. he gave the illusion of being a good father. the expensive gifts he bought me were payment for a good job done, not because he loved me. it explains why he was always telling and showing those gifts to our friends/family and his supervisors. and why he choose to set in motion the start of the end when he left the military, we no longer had a value after his career ended. so he choose to discard us. it saddens me that soon his daughters will see this too. thank for voicing your words and feelings because it allowed me to say them and feel them too. i now am moving on, optimistic of my future, happier and more at peace.

  • Excellent post, CL. I hope that you get more and more attention because people really need to read what you have to say. Honestly, it was like this huge mantle of guilt was lifted off of me when I started reading your blog: “But the KIDS!?!? Did I try hard enough? Maybe I should have given him a second chance!?”

    I don’t have those thoughts anymore. STBX played the (1.) “confused” game with me (gee… do I pick the woman I’ve spent almost two decades with and fathered three children with, or do I pick the online va-jay-jay I’ve been sneaking away to boink for three months?), and though I didn’t have your blog then, I did listen to my gut and say that we were through.

    Sorry, but none of us are either back-up plans or “choices” for our SOs. We aren’t their soft places to fall, and we aren’t their dutiful maids/cooks/nannies, keeping the home fires burning while they go stoke fires of their own in someone else’s bed. I want more people to see that and to have more respect for themselves than that. Having an A isn’t an accident– it’s a planned, pre-mediated sleazy act that screams, “I have NO respect for you, BS. In fact, I’m not even thinking about you; it’s like you don’t even exist.”

    As ever, keep up the good work, CL.

      • Yeah, when I first found out STBX said he ‘needed time, need to think’. I just sat there, then called OW’s partner and told him what was going on. STBX FREAKED OUT, saying I had ‘ruined everything’….so I kicked him out.

        Now he’s got a twenty-something needy little girl and he’s a middle aged father of two. Hahaha…poor sod, he’s miserable.

  • Nailed it PERFECTLY again!

    BTW “Four D-days, four false reconciliations before I packed it in (and I wobbled after the divorce too…cringe)”
    Snap
    Owning My Chumpiness too 🙂

  • Oh hooray!! This is a very good article for me to read. As I’ve said before, my biggest pain is not the fact that I was cheated on and divorced (that marriage was over but for the crying and his passive aggressive way of ending it was just what the doctor ordered). I’m not an infidelity chump, because it broke the deal for me right away, but I AM an emotional nitwit chump. Oh boy oh boy. Am I ever!!

    Susbsequent to the separation as I waded back into the dating pool, I realized that I was just repeating the same mistake. My karma, in other words, was NOT being cleared; I was still seeking the same kind of guy — motional unavailables (like my husband) although they never looked the same and didn’t all present the same kinds of signals, so they initiatlly SEEMED different. Because I’m not a willing spackler (or long-term spackler) as soon as it becomes too frought and deep into the “I love you, I love you not…” path of self-deception and push me pull me game playing, I get out. But still, those are always the dopes I find compelling at first. *rolling my eyes at myself*

    The latest and greatest in this stupidity enterprise for me was a guy with whom I was set up by my boss. Everyone just LOVES him, but the reality is, he is TOTALLY fucked up. He was a betrayed spouse whose wife divorced him (so we had that in common), but he’s still trying to control her and being controlled by her. And he dithers about trust and fear and blah blah blahbity blah. Meanwhile, he was trying his darndest to engage me in a FWB relationship. Not happening, so we ended up in a stalemate because I just am not that sort of chick. So, as much as I could see his potential (and honestly, that’s the buy in for me — the “potential” with these idiots), I knew that the reality was grim and grimmer. So I ended it after a few months of game playing of the highest order.

    Yet he has lurked in the periphery (often using work as a means to contact) for over a year now. Just last week he sent me a message asking: “do you still hate me?” But of course I don’t hate him. I don’t actively think of him anymore. He wants to be wanted, he just doesn’t want to be had and that’s just wacko to me. It seems most important for him to think that I’m prostrate with grief over the loss of him, or actively gnashing my teeth in hatred/revenge-filled fantasies. Either way, it is ALL about him. No. Thanks. No contact is the savior and power position.

    The thing is, they paint a pretty picture sometimes. As you say elsewhere, CL, they are often quite sparkly and they often sketch a picture of deeply profound romantical romance, replete with lengthy separations and coming backs and star crossedness and obstacle-strewn etc. etc.. “Oh, if only I could be with you… you are so wonderful/beautiful/perfect and I’m so frightened to get hurt again…” But they aren’t authentic, they are just all persona and no self.

    The shiny lining is: once a person learns how to identify a big ego vs a strong sense of self, it gets easier to see the ego and steer clear. Moreover, if I arm MYself against emotional nit-wittery, i.e., “own” my proclivity for emotional-unavailability chumphood but then also fix the things about myself that lend themselves to that chumpery (perhaps a tatoo that says: “I do not spackle”) then those sorts of dudes will not get near enough to even ask me out.

    Natalie Lue, a former other woman (so that may be triggery for some of you), is really bright about this subject. I love her Baggage Reclaim Blog. Great stuff about no contact and emotionally unavailable people. Because I mean, let’s face it: One of the things that almost all cheaters have in common, I would guess, is emotional unavailability.

    Great article CL!! Thank you so much for this!!

    • Perhaps we can get matching “I do not spackle” tattoos, Kristina.

      I think it’s human nature to like a challenge. To have to work a little harder for things. The problem with these emotionally unavailable people is that they love the little lion tamer game of making you jump through flaming hoops. Fuck that shit.

      One of the nicest, most refreshing things about getting to know my husband was, he was just consistently interested and reciprocal. He pursued, I responded. It was all very mutual and comfortable. And still exciting, but not that unpredictable slot machine excitement of randomly getting a pay off from the Unavailable sorts.

      Healthy love is where it’s at!

      • Perhaps another cartoon in the making ChumpLady!!! Rosie the Riveter with rolled up arm sleeve… Showing off her muscular arm with a tat that says, “I do not spackle!” Slap it on a tee shirt and mug? I want one!!!

    • Ah yes, the potential. The potential for a good marriage, the potential happily ever after, the potential of this man/woman to be so much better to me than my spouse, the potential damage done to your kids if you divorce. It’s all about potential with these people.

      Potential is great for starting a business. It is great thing to have potential when dating in high school and college. But there needs to be reality. Telling the bank, “this could make money” may get you the first loan, but you can’t give the same pitch five years down the line and expect them to still give you money. Same thing with relationships, at some point the potential has to realize.

        • Well, yes it is, I think that’s absolutely right on. Look, something that is important to note here, and I mean we throw around a lot of terms to describe cheaters, like narcissists and sociopaths and all the rest as absolute malignant personalities. And when we talk about those of us who are codependents, it is sort of seen as something pretty benign, as in: Oh, I’m a codependent and I’ve been taken advantage of by a narcissist. The thing is, codpendents are NOT benign. They are, themselves, emotionally stunted and they too have a problem connecting emotionally with others in an appropriate way and so they are also controlling in their relationships in an effort to feel safe. Tons of literature on this on the web.

          • Well, yes, . . . sometimes. But I think it’s a mistake to pathologize everything that caused us to fall prey to sociopaths. Trusting your spouse? It’s a good thing. So is believing the best about them , and getting behind their hopes and dreams, and cutting them slack from time to time, and on and on.

            Many behaviors that might constitute co-dependency in a bad relationship can be healthy and healthful behaviors in a good relationship. They are good impulses that we directed at bad partners. Specifically, takers.

            Personally, as the middle child of 5 and an adult child of an alcoholic and a guy who is just kind of wired for sentimentality and optimism, I don’t see myself every eliminating these tendencies. Nor, at 49, would I want to. They are part of the fabric of who I am, and they often bring me great joy. The joy of receiving a great Christmas present can NOT compare to the joy of giving a great Christmas present.

            The key to managing these issues is, I think,. . . finding another “giver.” Or, another co-dependent, if that’s the language you prefer. That is, find someone who also wants to give, to encourage, to trust, to do for. That can lead to the kind of reciprocity that is the hallmark of sustainable relationships.

          • See, Nomar, in my mind there is a different between being a “giver” and being a codependent. Givers get reciprocity naturally; codependents try to negotiate and maneuver reciprocity, which of course means it isn’t reciprocal.

            So, okay: Codependents give with strings attached. Givers are truly altruistic.

            There is nothing wrong with trusting your partner, you should do that, I agree. There is something wrong with NOT trusting your partner, but trying to manage your partner’s boundaries for him or her so as to make yourself feel comfortable and then calling that “trust”. Trust is there and it is earned, or it is not there. If it is not there without having to manage someone else’s boundaries, then it is not trust. For me there is a distinction.

            Codependents are famous for loving, so they say, unconditionally. Healthy people understand that all love does and should have condition attached to it (“condition” here should be read as “boundaries”).

            Codependents don’t have the first idea about what makes them happy, they were never allowed to learn that about themselves when they were youngsters, so they do for others in the hopes that the others will make them happy in return. Giving people know what makes them happy, and giving is a part of it.

            For example. I love to cook. I will feed anyone who walks in my door. It is something I do because I enjoy it, I do not do it to please anyone other than myself. I don’t expect kudos for the food I provide, I don’t need to be told that it is delicious and no one has to rave over it. I know I like it, and that’s what matters to me. My former mother-in-law, a raging codependent, feeds people in order to gain praise. So when she cooks, you have to constantly be giving her praise and saying: “Oh YUM, this is so delish. This is the best thing in the world! I’ve never eaten such manna from the gods.” If you do NOT do that, she will say things like: “I guess this isn’t very good. Well, I’m never cooking again.” Hahaha. It is a funny example, but I think it works.

            What I do think is important is, as the title of CL’s posts says, is to own the things that we do bring to the table. Not the things that CAUSED the betrayal, I’m not saying it is the codependent’s fault that he or she was cheated on, I’m saying to own the things that opened us up to the hurt in the first place. The way I navigate it (and this is just me, I’m not saying it is right or wrong, just sharing my path) is to say to myself: “what about me made me vulnerable to this, and how do I change it so it doesn’t happen again?” I am not a victim, I was not duped, I made choices that put me in the way of someone who was not on the up and up. That’s what I can manage. If I’m a “victim” or if I’ve “fallen prey” to someone, then that’s me in a reactive stance. I prefer being proactive.

          • I totally get your point about the danger of buying into the Myth of Unconditional Love. What a load of clap-trap, and a scam I had run on me by my ex-wife. I guess I just shrink from any characterization of open-heartedness as a character flaw. I think that’s overcompensating and runs the risk of allowing the cheaters to steal from us not only the years in our past, but our futures as well.

            While self-examination is generally worthwhile and can decrease the risk of bad choices, I also accept that love-done-right will inevitably make it possible for your partner to cause you great pain if they are so inclined.

          • Ouch, Kristina. Emotionally stunted? Hey, we are all doing the best we can to deal with the depth of betrayal we’ve been through. Let’s not add to others’ pain by using negative labels for each other. I don’t visit this site to hear from people who have it all figured out themselves and imply others don’t. I come to this site to feel less alone, drain some of the poison from my wounds and for clear eyed compassion.

          • We’re all just sharing ideas, opinions, etc., duped. You don’t have to take any of it personally. You can disagree, but I feel Kristina has been very considerate and thoughtful here. She has, even in this very threat, shared that she feels she has improvements to make in her own life and is working through that.

            Chin up!

          • A man should not be blamed for getting robbed. It is all on the people who took his stuff. On the other hand it might not be a good idea to leave your front door unlocked or walk down dark alleys with bills spilling out of your pockets.

            I’m saying you have a good point. This is not a site which blames the victim like other sites do, but everyone should be aware of what they can do to make sure they don’t get targeted again. Not “cheating-proof your marriage” but “recognizing a mind fuck and learning what they exploited so that it worked on you.”

            Again, not saying it was the victim’s fault they got robbed, everyone has a right to feel safe in their own home. But if the crooks got in unnoticed because there were bushes covering the windows, maybe it’s a good idea to start trimming.

          • Duped, I’m not implying that I have it all figured out and others don’t. I’m sorry that you felt that way after reading my thoughts.

    • Love Natalie Lue. Found her right after D-day. Even though she is a previous OW, I think she is one of very few examples who has changed, owns her behavior and knows that she would never do it again. That is really a minor part of her blog. She rocks the topics of emotional unavailability and boundries. Great reading for anyone suffering the after-effects of a traumatic breakup.
      I spent a LOT on therapy after my multiple (Chump snap!) d-days.
      Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has been more healing for me than this website and a far away 2nd, Baggage Reclaim.
      Highly recommmend…

  • I have to say, the longer I get away from this, the more stupid I feel. I feel so stupid and so angry – I have fantasies of all the things I’d say knowing, if I ever had the chance, he wouldn’t hear any of it anyway. If and when there was any future contact with me would be towards the end of proving that he’s a “nice guy” just a “normal nice guy” who “wasn’t looking” and “it just happened” and anything I would say or do that is not consistent with all that…… I’m guessing that he would just walk away.

    Stupid stupid – the whole relationship was a con…….

    • Erika: “Stupid stupid – the whole relationship was a con……”

      Yep. It was.

      Now, Erika, what are you doing to make sure you don’t get conned again. Because that, my darling, is the ONLY thing that matters. Take something positive away from the con. Learn how not to allow yourself to get involved in something like that again.

      🙂

      • true that K! I guess all I can say for now is I’m NC – I’m not out sleeping around, or dating inappropriate guys…… I dunno – when you write about this shit it makes so much sense – damn you’re good! As for me, working on 90 days – beyond that….. 120 I guess – don’t have much vision at just this moment. Saw a robin today – seems early but looking forward to daffodils….. I’m sorry all this shit got in the way of planting more…. going for that Dr. Zhivago field of Daffs look…..

        • Erika, you’re doing great! After the stuff you’ve been through with that nitwit ex of yours, one day at a time is just the only way to get through it all.

          I feel very happy for your continued no contact success. It really is the path to healing.

          I love Dr. Zhivago! Beautiful cinematography.

    • Gotta agree with nomar re the overuse of the whole “co-dependent” concept.
      I read some stuff by a fellow naked Richard Skerritt. He was married to a disordered woman for years and it really affected him. So, now he writes about it.
      Anyway, he feels that “codependence” is way over used as a label. A normal, healthy person can be duped by the mirroring and masking a BPD or other cluster B uses during courtship. Often, the mask does not come off until after one is really entangle, like with kids, marriage and mortgages etc.
      It is very normal to, for a while, trust your partner and to think that maybe you have things wrong or that the partner is having a bad day or something. You cannot just walk out on your kids.
      But, the woman in this case had no reason to stay other than her own issues.

      • Arnold

        That is so true, and more importantly even some psychotherapists can be duped by a person with a personality disorder.

        That is why it can take years to diagnose one, and why many psychologists refuse to treat people with NPD…..they can actually mind fuck a psychologist or psychiatrist.

        How scary is that?

      • I agree with you, Arnold. I do think someone can be duped by a bad person without being codependent. The difference is, a healthy person who is duped by a bad person gets away from that bad person; I mean, it may take a while, because all of the sudden the mask comes off and that’s startling and upsetting and confusing and that takes time to process, but if you’re healthy you eventually get away. A real codependent tries to fix the person who is hurting them in the hopes that they will stop hurting them. That’s a huge difference.

        This woman in the article really does seem to have something wrong with her if she willingly lingers in the background waiting for this guy to come in and out of her life. She’s not being duped by someone she’s duping herself. He is who he is, he has told her who he is, he has shown her who he is. SHE is the one who hoped that suddenly he’d become who she knew he could be.

        I wonder if all the labels are overused, honestly. Your post has made me think about this, actually. I wonder if we use labels to make sense of the senseless? I wonder if labels help us to feel more in control of a situation that is fundamentally outside of our control.

  • The woman in the storymust really have some issues. Her tale is pathetic.
    I settled for crumbs in my marriages. I will never do that, again.

  • Some of the terms used to describe cheaters behaviour simply are too soft. “Cake eating”.
    While its happening to you ,you don’t know it’s happening to you.
    BUT when you resize what has happening its more A kin to been smashed over the head with a base ball bat- one of those aluminium jobs that makes a ping when the cheater smashes you over the head. Cake eating is simply to kind analogy to the destruction going on around us.
    How could we be so stupid to trust, blindly trust? How could we have loved these cheaters so deeply that we would take a bullet for them in a New York second.
    Maybe simply we have a different value system. We value love, trust, family over career, fucking and instant gratification!
    And maybe we know what the word Consequence means. In some societies if you get caught for adultery you die! Plain and simple.
    Wonder what our society would be like, what our family values would be if the consequence for adultery would be death.

    Of course they never think they will get caught!

    I have been told over the years and read in magazines etc about others effected by this cancer called cheating but like many things in life it’s impossible to truly feel and understand it until you been hit over the head by one of those aluminium base ball bats.

    Chump lady, you wake us chumps up to reality and often it takes some expressive language to knock our thoughts and emotions into shape but its effective. You work. . Thank you

    • So are you saying I’m hitting you over the head with a baseball bat? 😉 Yeah, I know cake is a soft term, and a silly one. But having your cake and eating it too is part of the lexicon.

      Although “cake” signifies something that is not too substantial, “pleasureful” in the moment, but really not very good for you. So… it sorta fits?

      • I like the term cake eater for the reason’s chump lady gave.

        Cake is junk food and most commercial cakes are “frankenfoods” if you read all the preservatives and chemicals that are in the cake which kind of makes it not really like cake, but a fascimile of the kind of cake Grandmama used to make.

        But you are also right, Baci, that finding out the spouse you trusted so much is/was cheating on you is like getting hid in the head with a baseball bat and then an alien comes and sticks it’s hand in your chest, rips out your heart and starts munching away.

      • Actually cl not a base ball bat. You’re more like throwing a ice bucket of freezing water over us and waking us up to reality. That’s why you and the people here are so refreshing and honest. You’re real and say it how it is. Down under people like you are called fair dinkum.

  • I read the linked Article.

    This women is not a chump, she’s delusional.

    It is obvious the entire relationship was manufactured in her own demented mind, and he simply had sex with her because she obviously wanted that, and well….she was there….right in his bed.

    I had a friend like this when I was single. She insisted some guy, a similar type, was looking at her with love, when I thought he was nearsighted or had some other kind of eye problem. This went on for years until he finally married.

    My friends used discuss he delusion and we gently tried to show her what we saw, but she wasn’t interested.

    This lady is not so much a chump as a poor deluded fool and a bit of a stalker, too.

    A chump is someone who is in a marriage that from the outside looks good, but on the inside the spouse is deceiving the loyal spouse.

    This guy was very upfront about who he was, and from day one. She just refused to see it.

    • My God. The woman is an absolute idiot/nutcase. Sara is right, this woman is nothing like a betrayed spouse/chump.
      My main concern would have been that she reproduced, thus watering down the gene pool further, such that “Drs” , like that Wendy person(the crazed , illiterate claiming to be a physician), were the norm.

    • Oh I think he was a bit of a mindfuck, the whole “I love you” schtick. Clearly he liked the ego kibbles and the attention, without effort. But yes, she is delusional. And published. Does ANYONE see this story as romantic? I didn’t get the sense she had clued into her chumpiness. It’s “her” decision to let him go, versus, uh he was never there to begin with.

      • Well, CL, I think, in the end, she STILL thought he was actually interested in having a relationship with her.

        Yes, he was mind fucking her with the “i love you” stuff, but he was so clearly and blatantly showing her who he really was by dating her best friend and other women, knowing she was looking for a relationship with him.

        Then again I say I love you to my brothers and I don’t want to marry them.

        He obviously didn’t love her in the biblical sense.

        A lot of the people who have been cheated on have a spouse whom everyone sees as a nice person and who for the most part throughout the marriage acts like the responsible loyal spouse, until one day you find out that spouse is eating cake and maybe always was eating cake.

  • Thanks for your words of wisdom and hilarious wit ChumpLady. You are a true gem and you are definitely helping me to stay strong while keeping a sense of humor to boot.
    As far as the article written, FW/OB, I feel so sad that this woman wasted 10 years of her life pining for a man that treated her so badly and she was only a filler for his needs. At best.
    In my own experience, I desperately wanted to believe after the affair was discovered that the STBXH really loved me truly and he was a good guy that fell into helping someone and the OW took advantage of the situation. That was the story he was selling. Yet, I had 3 discovery days in a matter of two months. With the help of good therapy, family, friends, and listening to my own intuition, I came to the full realization that he is really the monster. And no. He did not love me. His actions spoke otherwise. Loud and clear. The back and forth, he needed more time, his fragile feelings, his confusion. Him, him, him. My feelings, I stifled… The crumbs he threw my way, I grabbed. So sad. I finally dug deep inside myself and had to remind me of my worth and value. I refused to tolerate being treated so poorly anymore. I wanted to desperately believe STBXH. I thought the The man I married and loved, and “knew” would reappear.. The Twilight Zone moment for me was coming to grips with the fact: He finally appeared and THIS is the REAL him!!!! Why am I going to stick around and wait for that purple unicorn???? I am only hurting myself. It was so painful, terrifying, sad, and traumatic to say ENOUGH!!!! But I had to. To save my sanity. And to be a strong role model for my daughter.
    My marriage made more sense to me when I saw the reality of what is. I had been emotionally abandoned for most, if not all of my marriage. And there was nothing I could do, but walk. And empower myself by leaving.
    He is a fucking prick and I let him go. Good riddance.

    • And shockingly Carrie ends up marrying him!!!! So many women in our culture look to the four women characters snd their conquests, partners, and relationships as a guide on how to navigate dating, relationships, and marriage. Scary.

      • Rose, that’s so right! People are conditioned by media to believe that it is possible to “change” a person or that a person will suddenly come to his/her senses if we just hang in there long enough. I mean, Carrie got her man, why can’t we all get our men (or women, I suppose, if the chump in question is a male)? It is just so darn romantic. And Mr. Big is the ultimate example of emotionally unavailable turned good. I loved Big, honestly. Preferred him by far to Aiden. Which I know is wrong. I know it. Because it is an impossibility in real life. But oh boy did I ever buy into that romance.

          • Yeah, and remember the last episode where he shows up in Paris and does that whole rap about “Carrie, you’re the one….” isn’t that like the MOMENT that somehow makes all her chumpiness worth it? I totally remember seeing that the “first” time – says something about me I know…… sort of the modern version of what’s his name showing up with a glass slipper…..

      • I used to love Sex and the City for the funny situations. But I hated the Big storyline. Yeah Carrie ended up with him, but he was still an asshole. She settled for the crumbs he was willing to give her after he had exhausted himself with all the other women. What Carrie got was an old, used up playboy, who only wants to sit around and watch TV and can’t even be bothered to participate in the fancy wedding she wanted. Now she, the fun dress up girl must sit at home on the couch with him. Didn’t look like a happy ending for Carrie to me.

    • Well, I am not familiar with that show. But, if Carrie is played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and if Big comes by his name for the reason I think he does, they have something in common: Both resemble horses, in some fashion.

      • I remember the final episode as well and everyone was crying. Something inside me went ‘ewww’ and I suddenly went off the show. Can’t watch it to this day. But Chris Noth…phwoar!

        • SATC gave me many, many laughs over the years.. And it still does. It really is hilarious, but very unrealistic. So many women believe this modern day fantastic fairy tale. I too was one of the people that cried when Big pursued Carrie all the way to Paris after 10 years of tossing her around like a rag doll. How romantic!! But that is not reality.
          In real life, the Bigs of the world are a dime a dozen. And no magic wand is going to turn them from being emotionally unavailable to turning into POOF!!!! The knight and shining armor we have so desperately wanted… And get the to live happily ever after. Not in this life. Actions speak louder than words. So does consistency.
          BTW, I agree Chris Noth is sexy as hell. Love a man in a suit too!

  • I have heard of a marriage where the departing and straying man suggested that reconciliation would consist of his building a separate part to his house with his own entrance and exit!

    Nice model for the kids!

    Thankfully, it was never considered.

    I believe that was what our friend CL calls “cake-eating.”

        • Yes, he really said that. It’s on my list of top 100 dumbass things he said to me. I believe that one currently stands at #38.

      • I nominate that for Stupid Shit Cheaters Say. Though I also like the idea of a coffee mug that says, “Maybe we can be together . . . when Hell freezes over.”

      • Mine told me she has these thoughts of us remarrying in Bali on the beach. Too much Eat. Prey. Love.
        Anyway I’m going to live on Maui.

        • Forgive me for being out of the loop on this, but why do we not care for Eat, Pray, Love?

          I mean, besides the fact that her prose is not tremendously engaging? My problem with her story is that it was kind of inaccessible to normal people healing from a divorce. Not everyone can drown their sorrows on a year-long sojourn all around the world.

          But I think you guys are suggesting that she’s a narcissist, and why is that? Because she divorced her husband?

  • CL, I wish you would write an article on why all these recovery sites claim such high rates of success. The most obvious answer is $$, as they ask you to pay for their “programs” etc.
    But, really, the stats they cite are just so incredible. You know, the 85% success rate (not to mention claiming “better marriages”)etc.
    I think these sites do a terrible disservice to betrayed spouses and the owners are mercenaries.
    My therapist( I needed one for a while after this) told me in no uncertain terms that he does a ton of marriage counseling and the vast majority involves infidelity. He told me that he had no more than a 10% success rate. I think he is honest and ,probably, just as good as any other “counselor’.
    Look at the marriagebuilders site owner’s claims of 100% success.(that’s right, he claims if you work his program, ti NEVER fails). What garbage.
    But, if you dare question this guy , his legion of brainwashed minions attacks the hell out of you.
    Anyway, I think many of us succumbed to chumpdom due to the nonsense we read on these sites.

    • Oh god, yes, I read every single one of them in the early days. I desperately was searching for spackle because I really didn’t want to face the truth. Then I faced the truth and those sites really lost their allure. Desperate people looking for help and being sold snake oil.

      • There is some sort of weird James Jones deal going on with the Harley followers, particularly one woman there who is dumber than a stump and a bullying ass.
        One would think Harley would have the good sense to distance himself from her, despite her allegiance to him.

        • I was lucky. A few days after dday I posted on there and I got maybe one answer. then my post sort of got lost as more people posted (pre-Christmas Holiday Rush) so I was off searching for other sites to help me. I found one that told it to me straight but I wasn’t ready to hear it so found one where they encouraged me to ‘understand’ him, which kept me in limbo for a month or two, until something snapped inside of me and I had to say ‘fuck this shit’.

        • I still poke my head in every so often and then get irritated to read yet another story of ‘he won’t tell the truth! She is still fucking OM! Dday #438! What am I going to do????’

          And then the troops show up and say ‘well, set your boundaries about what you’ll accept!’ when what they should be saying is ‘get down to the courthouse tomorrow and FILE’.

        • Who in his or her right mind does a “Plan A” to regain a cheater? It is the “pick me dance”. F that. I have too much self respect to reward a cheater with a “better” me.
          How incredibly F’d up the advice on marriagebuilders is. I am not spending15-20 hours a week of alone time with a cheater. I do not give a shit about meeting a cheater’s needs. I am not giving up opposite sex friendships, since I did not cheat(and , by 58, if that was going to happen due to an opposite sex friendship, it would have already((when my testosterone was a helluva lot highter)).
          I am not going to just let it go and be satisfied with no apology. I could never do the not mentioning it again deal. Hell, anytime I was chastised for forgetting something, I would throw it in my wife’s face. I would, I just know i would. And, she would deserve it.

    • Arnold, it took me a few months to work out that reconciliation was a bad idea. I was still in love even though I’d been smashed with a base ball bat or the analogy of cl been thrown done the stairs.
      But my therapist who took a number of months to finally get me to discover it was actually my beautiful wonder best friend ex wife who chose to wreck our family and it wasn’t all the other wonderful man. I felt I was going mad. However my therapist who is a wonderful woman said many times there’s more material to work with in the ex and particularly the OM as this is multiple times for him.

      • YOu just can’t beat a great therapist. Mine, when I was wobbling at one point, said to me point blank, ‘Do you actually think you could trust this man every again?’ Of course I couldn’t but I was having a hard time seeing that.

    • I so drank that kool aid for so long. They virtually guarantee they can save your marriage. My first instinct was to kick him out and move on. Those websites and ebooks (and yes i bought the ebooks, the cds and the online courses) convinced me that I could change the situation. I jumped through every hoop, did every dance and drank every glass of koolaid that was offered. Putting that much effort being the one to fix the marriage and be the spouse whose husband wanted to come back to made me lose confidence in myself and unable to tell what was real and what wasn’t. Taking the advise and being the understanding compassionate spouse despite being lied to and disrespected-what a mindfuck!!!! I always thought that i would regret not trying to reconcile. In hind site, i regret trying to reconcile. I regret not calling the ow husband. I regret not telling friends and not exposing the OW to the charity that she runs. (if anyone wants a good laugh, the OW is on the board of a children’s charity that is supposed to represent their interests. clearly she didn’t represent either her kids or my kids interests while she was fucking my husband). I genuinely think I would be better off right now had i not tried to reconcile My point, I suppose is those websites, suck, don’t work and do significantly more harm than good. Sorry for blathering, I am definitely feeling the blues tonight.

      • I bought an ebook and it was so crap I sent a letter to the author telling them they were scamming people in great pain and good luck in hell.

      • The OW in my case, would get lap dances from men and women at strip clubs and was addicted to porn….She taught Sunday school classes and through her church she mentored 14 and 15 year old boys.

        Ironically in one of the email to my STBX I read, she said she didn’t believe in all that church stuff.

    • Ha,
      We went to counseling when hubby decided he didn’t know if he wanted to be married any more. Unbeknowst to me, the reason for his change of heart was that he was fucking another woman. Went to several vomit inducing sessions where my marriage was eviscerated by my spouse (despite thirteen years three kids) who said we should never have gotten married or had kids. Therapist basically told me to try harder if i wanted to save my marriage. After affair came out therapist told me he was sure husband was having affair. Never once did he even ask him about this or call him out on his behavior. how the man could sit there and watch me go through unmasked heart wrenching sorrow and know that my husband was lying and betraying me is beyond comprehension.

      • You’re not alone Pearl. The first therapist my ex and I went to but independently told me OM wasn’t in picture. Spent three months spinning wheels. At last I said fuck it and gathered emails and messages and showed him and it was only then that he realised the truth. He still,is ex therapist but I moved on to a new therapist and she is awesome. If the CS is feeding shit in to the therapist you get shit out and go nowhere.
        My ex told my oldest son she should never have got married. Dumb.
        I’ve seen it time after time on numerous sites. They will blame everything on you and I mean everything until they take ownership of the consequences. They have to justify their affair. Their fantasy.
        I don’t know where you are and it could be cold- bloody hot down here as it is summer but go connect with nature even if just for 30 minutes.

      • It think an inexperienced infidelity counselor can re-victimize the traumatized spouse.

        I think no counseling is far better than inexperienced counseling.

        • Well, I am heading for the Tammy Nelson sessions. She’s a PhD and a “relationship and sex expert”, doncha know.

  • I am a chump. I fell for all of it. And I can’t practice NC as we have three small kids, run a business together and have significant joint financial holdings. (ok maybe i could do NC but it would be extremely difficult right now for many reasons particularly the kids. IF not for them I probably would have picked up my shit, moved to alaska and become a short order cook just to escape). Can someone please tell me when it stops hurting so much. Been over a year since Dday, 6 months since he moved out and it still hurts like hell. I can’t stop mourning my family and feeling bad for my kids. I try to practice “meh but at least every other day I get a case of the “mean reds” (yes I am a holly golightly fan) and feel hopeless.

    • Dear Pearl – I sympathize – I feel like I really shouldn’t say much here because I got to just walk away – I don’t have to see or speak to this person ever again in my life and I still feel alot of pain – in fact I had a weepy day today WTF and I don’t even know why…. Its not like I’d want him back, whatever there was has been thoroughly and forever poisoned…. but I feel your pain – hang in there – we’ll all hang in there with you and together. You can do this.

      • When kids are involved we can’t walk away. Birthdays weddings just feel ascifvthey are going to be so uncomfortable.
        We don’t want these cheaters or OM/OW in our lives so why do we weap. Why do we even care. Sites like this help just in knowing there are others out there across the world going through the same shit.
        Erika is right- you can do this. – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Easy said
        You are all wonderful sport for each other

      • thank you for your kind words. I am having a very weepy day too 🙂 must be something in the air. I wish us both a “happy nonweepy” day tomorrow.

        • Pearl:

          Weep if you want to. It’s healthy to have a good cry, now and then.
          Some research shows crying clears stress hormones.

          From Wikipedia:

          [Emotional tears are composed of more protein-based hormones, such as prolactin, andrenocorticotropic, and leucine enkephalin (a natural pain killer), which is suggested to be the mechanism behind the experience of crying from emotion making an individual feel better.

          The third category, in general, referred to as crying or weeping, is increased lacrimation due to strong emotional stress, anger, suffering, mourning, or physical pain.

          It does not occur during the brain’s fight-or-flight response because the sympathetic nervous system inhibits lacrimation. This practice is not restricted to negative emotions; many people cry when extremely happy. In humans, emotional tears can be accompanied by reddening of the face and sobbing — cough-like, convulsive breathing, sometimes involving spasms of the whole upper body.

          Tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make-up than those for lubrication; emotional tears contain more of the protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller) than basal or reflex tears. The limbic system is involved in production of basic emotional drives, such as anger, fear, etc.

          The limbic system, to be specific, the hypothalamus, also has a degree of control over the autonomic system. The parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system controls the lacrimal glands via the neurotransmitter acetylcholine through both the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. When these receptors are activated, the lacrimal gland is stimulated to produce tears.[4]]

    • Pearl, I’m screwed to about the no contact. He’s my boss. I can work in the out lying areas, but its still like being with him. The OW also works at the main hospital. My 2 kids are finishing up high school. I have 3.5 years before I can leave this area. We were seen as the most amazing couple, and our colleagues adored us together. Now everyone has been hurt by his infidelity. It’s like seeing pain everywhere and I can’t even escape.

      • Getmeout:

        Those type of people, the people that everyone thought were perfect for their mate and had a good marriage, are the people who wake up two years after the divorce and have some serious regrets.

        It happens when the affair sex fizzles, if the affair is still going on or if the affair is over, once the afterglow of the affair sex fizzles.

        But sadly by then it’s too late for the cheater

  • Chump lady said last week it ends on a Tuesday but she is unsure which one. I’m with you Pearl. Fortunately I can go NC but its very challenging. It does get easier but I’m with you. If it wasn’t for the boys I think I would be out of here. How will I cope if he moves into family home. Thus far one year out my sons refuse outright to meet him. They know. They understand. They know the truth.
    I can’t stop mourning my family. It’s now changed forever. The boys want to live with me so I see more of them as much as 90% but what does that say about their mother I think she just wants access to them so she can live the glamour life with chain saw man. A life without the day to day stuff which to me is what it’s all about. The sport, the after school stuff. So maybe she is the one that’s really missing out.
    Everyone says it but just stay strong. It’s ok to be angry – just do it away from kids. Everyone and I mean everyone says we will have a better life. It’s just that people like you and me can’t see it yet because we still have a shit sandwich and we’re only half way through eating it.

    • God bless to all of you that have gone through this. Relieved you understand that even if I can see that I a now better off without the spouse, my family as I knew it no longer exists. I loved that family. And while I can maybe find a new husband, there is only one father of my children and he will never be my husband again and we will never be that family again. I think I can live with the rest but the pain of losing the “family” just won’t lessen.

      • Pearl it sounds like you are very proud and grateful for your family. I am too. I don’t resent one day before D Day. I thought my ex and I were best friends and all the stuff that goes with a loving family. I draw a line in the sand right there. Sure she betrayed me for years but she and chainsaw man own that.
        I lived my marriage and my life ” do un to others as you expect to be done to you”.
        Sure I’m pissed off what happened and the way we have treated each other since d day but I know during the marriage I lived a proper life with the boys and ex. Sure things were not perfect but cheating wasn’t the answer. For the first time in a long time I’m beginning to realise that she may be more on a slippery slope. Live for today 🙂

        • Baci, you’re like the male me…I know the marriage wasn’t perfect but no, I didn’t cheat, I valued my family and I acted on that. He didn’t. It sucks to lose what was so important but I also see STBX is on a slippery slope. It’s not pretty but whatever, he chose this path.

    • Baci, she really is the one missing out. I, too, am the main caregiver, to the point that STBX told one of the kids he could stay with me the other night so he could do his homework. I said no way, learn how to do his homework with him.

      I too mourn my family and I mourn what my children have gone through. i hate that they went from having what was a seemingly stable, happy life to overnight being shuttled between homes, having to deal with OW, seeing their grandparents stop talking to their mother, dealing with the embarrassment of their father…it all sucks and I hate that they had this crap visited upon them. They didn’t deserve it and it’s changed them.

  • I could only think the Modern “Love” column author needs to get herself a copy of the book, “He’s Just Not That Into You” and read the title to herself over and over.

    I wonder if she has ANY friends left. What a bore she’d be.

  • One thing I have learnt..when the shit frost hits the fan leaving is very very difficult and staying is easy but more over time if you have left leaving becomes easier and easier and if you have stayed it becomes harder and harder.

    I have yet to meet a woman who is happy if she has stayed back with the cheater or a woman who has regretted leaving the cheater.

    On various boards if I talk against reconciliation I get sermonized for not believing in god and forgiveness and taking away peoples faith hope etc.This even from women whose husbands have had a history of years of sex with hookers.it boggles my mind that they think a man can ever give up the habit of this fast food version of sex.

    I too was the chump of the century but once I knew about all the murkiness I knew things can never work.

    As about forgiveness, meh.

    As about faith..a bigger meh.

    I think when you forgive a cheater you enable him.

    If people on the whole were less forgiving maybe we wouldn’t have as much cheating.

    If the society as a whole was more condemning of cheaters and we did not have a whole industry making money out of recovery and reconciliation maybe we wouldntbe needing this industry at all.

    • It’s funny but as I was reading all these posts I was thinking the same thing. There is BIG ‘business’ in marital counseling, disfunctional relationship workshops etc., etc. If everyone just read this blog here at CL when they are with cake eaters and said- NO MORE BULLSH*T pal and lived it-imagine how many ‘therapists’ would be out of a job!

      I agree that society shouldn’t be so forgiving about cheating and that some more condemnation is definately in order. So, do we bring back the scarlet letter and pin it on the adulterers’ foreheads? No, probably not but if Dr. Phil and everyone else would just say maam he’s cake eating NPD and your just giving him kibbles and saying ‘pick me’, pick me! Dr. Phil’s TV season would be short and sweet that’s for sure and I think adulterers might rethink their cake eating because there would be no one next in line feeding them their kibbles.

      • To all the people out there wondering about websites and therapists, I shall temporarily rename myself conspiracy nut on the level of those searching for a birth certificate and trying to calculate how the Twin Towers fell.

        The original websites were actually created by cheaters. That right, cheaters create those websites and send in people prepped with stories. That way if their spouse ever discovers their side dish the Betrayed Spouse will stumble across those stories and stay longer. The only people on those boards are chumps trying to reconcile and cheaters laying the ground work in case they are discovered.

        Boom!

      • I also can’t help but notice how many of the ‘big names’ in the Reconciliation-Industrial-Complex (which one of you geniuses coined that?) are former (?) cheaters.

        They dribble on about, “when I was having my affairs, my wife was x, y, z. Now look at her, better than ever!”.

        There is something really gross and distasteful about having a cheater try to brainwash betrayed folk into accepting cheaters back into their lives and beds.

      • Problem with Dr Phil is that he is a misandrist. He might be willing to say a amn is NPD, but, since most of his audience is female, I doubt he would ever label a woman an abusre.
        I saw a show where the woman was abusive as hell(physically). The guy merely held her off, and Phil claimed women cannot be physically abusive.
        Check out the video of it on Shrink4men. It is amazing how sexist that charlatan is(BTW, his credentials are suspect and he cheated on his first wife).

    • Same is true for men. Very few, if any, let this go, ever. There are some guys claiming they are past it and happy with their whore wives. I do not buy it, unless these guys have been castrated.

      • I think that there are people that do believe that they are happily reconciled. And I suppose perception is reality.

        The thing I always think about the “reconciled” or those trying to reconcile, is that they are people who just so enmeshed with their spouse, or so hung up on having the identity: “Married” or “Wife of…” or “Husband of…” that they have completely lost track of themselves as individuals. As a result, they make massive compromises in the self esteem department in favor of bolstering their egos, which require the aforementioned labels.

        I believe at a certain point they just tell themselves stories about “beautifully reconciled” or “Happily reconciled” or whatever it is that they say they are, and that too becomes a label for them. As in: “We had a rough patch, but our marriage survived and we’re stronger for it.” So then not only is that person “married” or “wife of” or “husband of” but the ego now absorbs “savior of marriage” as a necessary component of their being.

        In the end, if they feel okay about it, then so be it. Where I run into a problem with these people is that they preach it as if it is the best option, reconciliation I mean, when in reality it is probably the very worst option for a person’s self esteem.

        • I agree Kristina:

          I am okay with people who reconcile and maybe their reconciliation is real or maybe it’s a fantasy in their own mind. I am not going to judge their perception of their own reality.

          It’s when they start preaching EVERYONE must forgive, like Amplexor one of the moderators at TAM.

          What kind of rainbow turd pie is that guys wife eating.

          But I do think in some cases the cheater may have learned a hard lesson, I just think it is rare and maybe can be forgiven if the person who cheated was in a sexless marriage, one in which no illness of the spouse caused the refusal to have sex.

          Most cheaters don’t cheat because of lack of sex, it’s more about ego strokes and a sense of entitlement. In those cases the cheater will likely not reform because it shows deeper issues.

  • Kristina brilliant, really brilliant.

    ” he just wanted to be wanted he didn’t want to be had”

    Describes the mind heart should and body of every fucking serial cheating who ever walked this earth.

    Mine wanted to be wanted by hookers too and then was sobbing why I wanted to leave ” you always said you will be with me forever and now you want to leave so that makes you a liar ”

    Yeah yeah..fucking unbelievable.

    • Yes, mine, at one point, said that what destroyed our marriage was ‘his neediness and my reaction to it’. Huh? I was kinda, you know, PISSED, when I found out he was a serial cheater…and that was just not appropriate…perhaps even more inappropriate than his cheating.

      • Mine told me our family was destroyed because I left him. It was ALL my fault. He didn’t want the separation and I had spoilt everything by investigating a little deeper after one very public affair and discovering his “deepest, darkest secrets” (his words).
        This was after I found out he had asked many of our female friends for sex, had several affairs, was very active on a swinging site and had oral sex with guys in our house – he was bi-curious and “couldn’t resist the urge when it overcame him to be with other bisexual men”. And I should just forget about it and forgive him and let’s not discuss this anymore because my talking about it was just calculated to try make him feel guilty.
        And why was I so angry anyway? He told the counsellor my anger was what I needed to work on, and HE WAS NOT, REPEAT NOT, A SEX ADDICT (this last part shouting at the counsellor. His solution? He wouldn’t think about sex anymore.
        Yeah, I sure spoilt it for him.
        What a bitch I am.

        • Lynn
          You will be proved in the future to have done him a big favour if he changes his behaviour.
          I don’t think me ex will cheat in the future but you never know and not my problem.
          We can’t save them now.
          You guys that deal with this multiple affair stuff amaze me how you are still sane.

  • Dear Chump Lady
    I want to personally thank you and all the online ladies that comment on your site for collectively giving me the strength to file for a divorce today. I’ve be married to a sociopath for 5 years and out of the 5 years he has had a long standing affair with a slut for 3 years that still is ongoing as I type this. We have been separated for the past 6 months (weve had a total of 3 separations that last 6months to a year) and has begged me to take him back, when I agreed he then came up with well before I do we need to discuss what you willing to allow me to do. He has an apartment around the corner from where this AP lives. I found out last Saturday after checking his Ipad that they are still seeing each other, every single thing he is telling me he’s telling her. But what kills me is I knew of this woman 2 years ago when I found an email from her and I addressed her. She called me his “wife” desparate, little woman, and would do anything to keep a husband that doesnt want me because I’m boring and dont know how to satisfy him. He swore to me it was over. This woman went on to set up fake facebook accounts, stalk me on my life, and send m fake emails. Fast foward 2 years later I’m reading her emails (2-3 a day) where she is cursing him out and crying how she borrowed $6,000 to pay his arears on his apartment (had no idea he moved back to the apartment, thought he was staying at his male friends house), bought him an Ipad, and and Iphone (which is the phone he comminucates with her on) and she pays the bill every month, she got him his job and is some how connected to his boses. and the list goes on. He takes her no place and only uses her for sex and money, while he “cheats on her” ad after all these years she has eeraned the right to be number one (her words). WTF is she serious, and know fully well he is still married to me because she mentioned it through out some emails. I saw where he told her he is not cheating on her nor is he involved with me and the he is the man for her (true statement in my opinion like trash to a garbage can)I’m 41, he will be 42 next week, and she is 50. And even after being confronted about the emails he is still talking about repair and yesterday sent me a email about a counselor we should go see. I have cut all commuincation with him since Monday and refuse to cave. He showed at my job and I pretended to be out. I AM THE ULTIMATE CHUMP!!! This man has humiliated me, from bringing home his “conquest” panties (and socks), condoms, naked pics of other women dating online, seeing several different women, sex tapes of him and other women, when confronted about her a few months ago he became violent. and too many others to even say. I was pregnant last year and miscarried because an STD was present along with the extreme stress. And again the never ending promise to to change. This website along with all I know help to fuel my rage and anger to to file for a divorce today and I feel nothing but relief. Thank God we have no kids together (I have 2 daughters 24 and 17 old enough for me to start living again once this nightmare is over). I cant believe how long I stayed in this while everyone was teling me get out and could not believe I took him back after he got me arrested on a false charge because he wanted to proof of abuse to get a greencard. In the end it was dismissed and I forgave hmi and still made sure he got it. Who the fuck treats people this way after all of this???!! Then blames his miserable childhood and being sexually abused by his male cousin at 17 (his cousin his only 2 or 3 years older so go figure). Did I add he got a car from an ex girlfriend and never told me it was from her I found out?! And then he gets angry! Tells me I’m snooping thats why we cant be happy! I have to get out because my dauhters,my parents who live
    downstairs , my neighbors, friends have all beared witnes to all this humilitauin (he hangs out with his frat friends and comes home 3 and 4 am). Well I could go on and on and sorry for rambling but I;m venting because I never thought I would ever get the strength to file but I did and I oew it all to you guys. THANK YOU! PS> I will have to update you because he has no idea he still thinks Im the same CHUMP justt going through a time out periods and all will be well. Good Riddance to my inner chump!! The only thing I am battling is contacting her and rubbing her face right in those emails she sent!

    • Stay strong SuzyOh…. You are on your way to a much better life! As ChumpLady would say… Addition by subtraction!

    • Don’t contact her. You are too goo to speak to her. She sounds likes lunatic ad anything you say to her will be wasted. Good riddance to that skank and your husband. Now that they are stuck with each other. Karma will step I

  • Baci and Pearl.
    CL is so right. On Tuesday it REALLY will happen. You will wake up one morning and that awful crushing black hole where your heart used to be will not be as crushing for a little while. It comes back to crush you, but then it lessens again, bit by bit. The grief and mourning of your lost family, your best friend and love is by far the most painful thing one in that position has to bear, but hang on in there. Tuesday it gets better. Really.
    My Tuesday came – I think it took that long to come because I had not found this site until recently, I beat myself up because of the forgiveness thing and being in another country and a different hemisphere with no family here impeded my healing. But heal I did and still am. Addition by subtraction indeed – it does get better!
    And Baci, say hello to that beautiful Southern Cross for me – how I miss seeing it. Canada is fucking cold!
    My very best wishes sent to you.

    • thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate them greatly.
      I have to tell you i feel like its monday and i can feel tuesday coming. One of the hardest things for me has been comparing myself to the OW. I somehow thought everyone would think she was prettier or “better” or that somehow they really had a special “connection” that I could never compare to. And because of my kids, I had always kept my dirty laundry to myself. While i knew it was somewhat public knowledge, I did not discuss the affair or the resulting shitstorm with anyone but very closer friends. Again, not judging how anyone handled their situation, I sometimes think we would have been better had a taken out a newspaper ad, but it was simply not the route I chose.
      Anyway, I spoke to a close friend today and she revealed that she had spoken to two of his closest friends and their comments were real eye openers for me.
      One told called the OW the unattractive and disclosed that she had an affair with a local businessman and was always “throwing herself all over him” but that hubby didn’t know. Hubby’s best friend said he was ruining his life and that the other woman was whore (not sure if he used that word exactly but you get the point). I can’t express how this has set me free.
      For so long, i believed he cheated because she was prettier or better than me and that somehow that is what everyone would think . And i tortured myself with this.
      And I don’t know that i have a point except to say I feel like a weight has been lifted.
      I don’t have a point but I guess i needed to vent I feel like a weight has been lifted.

      • Dear Pearl,
        Even if you thought she was “better or prettier” than you, that’s impossible. No one who would do what she’s done can truly be better or prettier than someone who was faithful spouse who took their promises seriously.

        I was feeling like shit–ugly, unwanted, broken, beyond repair emotionally and sexually. I found one of his prostitutes on Facebook-about 25 yrs old, would be considered pretty (can’t even say that she is because the whole thing sickens me). I’ve seen the photos he marked as “favorites”, while we were still married, on his flickr account. They were women, who are 40 years younger than he is, take and post self portraits of themselves in lingerie or less, posing provocatively and photoshopped to perfection. (There are a lot of unhealthy young women out there in need of attention and getting it from old men who view and comment on their photos. Gross.) My ex never paid any attention to my body like he does to these young women even though I am slim and tall. What was wrong with me? Reading about objectification of women helped a lot and could stand to lose 25 pounds and is losing his hair.
        I never worried about our 15 year age difference but now I wonder if that played into his Narcissism.
        Anyway, these fuckers do such damage to us in so many ways and it takes so much work to work your way up through it back to reality.

        • Duped and Pearl
          I too fear the OM. He is the CEO of a large Swedish company based next door to my exes work. In reality she spent more time thinking and drinking coffee with him and so these things begin. He was over his marriage ( I SUBSEQUENTKY found out from his wife that she caught him having two affairs in New Zealand and my ex was probably the third. If they ever overlapped he must have been a busy boy.
          He being the CEO scared the shit out of me when I first discovered but now I see him for the lowlife he is.
          What annoys me is I have been replaced by an arsehole who left 12 and 16 year daughters in NZ with their mother while he came to Australia to develop the business. Now his youngest daughter is experiencing serious substance which is so sad. If his leaving the family has contributed to her issues that is in crinkly sad for her. Fortunately her mother is one special woman. I have spoke with a close friend of hers and she is mother of the last 4 years material- just unselfishly lives in the best interests of the children

          • Sorry was accidentally posted early.
            Anyway I thought this jerk would take everything away from me. He can have the ex wife because I now realise it wasn’t just him but she is simply a walk away wife.
            It doesn’t change things for any of us if they fall on their arse or end up fighting etc. the damage is already done to family and friends.
            I never experienced some of the stuff others in this site has experienced. Some of it is just plain sick.
            I thought my ex and I would be best friends for life. Never could I imagine the betrayal. We are like two dogs after a bone now.
            I feel a bit sorry for OM. He is in fantasy land. I have all the email exchange etc for about two- three week period. My ex is 13 years younger than him and is beautiful in every way. I thought my replacement would be a handsome, athletic guy but this guy is the opposite. Sure he is in a powerful position but he is desperately holding on to ex. It’s like 16 year old all over again. It’s Justin Beiber stuff. If wasn’t so true it would be funny.
            I waited some time before I blew up the affair but when I did it blew up big time. They hate it when they lose control or you question their morality. They think they entitled to some form of special treatment. They want everyone to think their relationship began as friends and they were already separated.
            Welcome to reality!
            Hopefully in the meantime we can all build a better life for our kids and selves and meet someone in the future that loves us for who we are. I’m going to be very careful about committing to a new relationship. I will never be codependent again.
            Duped I too was undervaluing myself with all the thoughts you had. However when you look at yourself with some perspective you will be judged at your funeral by your children and family and that judgement will be based purely on how you want to live with them from here on out.
            To quote you these fuckers think they do so much damage to us but how about looking at the damage they do unto themselves- now that is really sick behaviour.
            Thanks for listening.

          • I used to dream about revenge. But you know what, the fact that they are such pieces of shit who have fucked up their own lives is revenge enough.

          • Thanks, Baci. Honestly, most women think an attractive man is one who does his share of the housework, is involved with his children and can talk about his feelings-not an entitled cheater who abandons his girls.

            This week has been the best since before D-day. Just last week I thought I’d never get any better-had reached my limit. But in these last few days, I’ve felt more like myself, actually happy for moments, no interest in writing another raging and unsent letter and have gone longer than a few minutes without thinking about the situation. Instead of listing what I should be grateful for, I actually do feel grateful for a break in the clouds and a robin in the yard. What a relief. There are sure to be drops but at least feeling better is possible.

            Regarding what we leave behind, I feel some compassion for my ex because he’s concerned about that. Who’s going to go to his funeral? What is he going to be thinking in his last days? Do you know Raymond Carver in Australia–an American short story author and poet. His poem has been going through my head recently because I’ve been thinking of my ex’s life work and his talk about social justice, feminism and being a good liberal (Labor in Australia?) is all for naught.

            LATE FRAGMENTS
            And did you get what
            You wanted from this life, even so?
            I did.
            And what did you want?
            To call myself beloved,
            To feel myself beloved on this earth.

            Thanks to all the people on this site and to CL herself. I don’t know how I would get some through some of these days without the stories and support on this site. Chumplady, call yourself beloved!

  • Hi Lynn
    Thank you for you kind words. Sorry to here it’s cold up there. It’s f…..n hot down here 47 degrees Celsius on Friday.
    The healing just seems to be an ongoing process. The more NC the better but it’s a challenge with kids and dealing with the day to day.
    However what some of the contributors on the site deal with is simply in some cases almost unbelievable but sadly it’s true. The abuse it’s sociopath stuff.
    Just looking forward to every Tuesday now!

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