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Part Three, Your Mother Was Right

Part three in our installment of How Not to Get Chumped Again is — reconsider arranged marriage. Oh, okay, not really. Seriously, if my mother had picked out my mate, I’d be some broodmare to a Ford Motor Co. executive living within a five-mile radius of all her living relatives in Detroit. In other words — she would’ve chosen a lot better than I did.

Fact is, I had nothing in common with my first two husbands. Zippy. Sure they liked me, I liked them. But in terms of anything a proper yenta would consider marriageable? No, it was not a match. First one never finished college. He was 10 years older than me, his parents were World War II vets (meaning, the same age as my grandparents). He didn’t have a passport. He’d hardly traveled. He didn’t read. He liked a lot of crap I did not like — old cars, junk yards, computers, fast food. And he didn’t talk much. But what the hell, I was in my early twenties and I was an idiot. The fact that he was NOTHING LIKE MY FAMILY seemed like a plus. I still didn’t know who I was, and so I was defining myself against what I knew. He had garbage strewn around the yard and a Buick door on the dining room table? How refreshing! My family were such uptight, house proud, clean freaks my mother told stories about scrubbing stairs every week as a child, and my grandmother would counter — oh that’s nothing, my mother use to wash the WALLS each day. Everyone maniacally gardened. You couldn’t sit comfortably on the upholstered furniture.  My grandmother redecorated houses (she had more than one), the way other people buy a new outfit. It was all very intimidating. How so? The first words every toddler in my family hears are — “Mommy’s pretty — DON’T TOUCH!”

So yeah, I married a hoarder.

Second husband? Oh, I thought I was doing better. He traveled. He had three advanced degrees. He claimed he read and liked the music I liked, and the art I liked (hey, he’d say anything turns out). But the things he truly liked were — fucking around, riding motorcycles, and shooting things with guns. His father was a coal miner (which I thought was heroic). His parents didn’t even have middle school educations. And while his family were lovely people (I feel sorry they got saddled with him), they rarely left western Pennsylvania. His mother, each time she met me, would always ask “So, what are your people?” And she never got the answer she wanted (Polish Catholic). Instead I’d give her a confused look and answer “Midwesterners? WASPs? Caucasians?” I was an alien to her. I’d never had a wedding in a fire hall. No one in my family had ever climbed down a mine shaft to earn a living. I didn’t go to Mass. She was a very nice woman (with a dreadful son), but I should’ve taken the clue — You’re not one of us.

So what’s the lesson here?

3. Find someone you have a lot in COMMON with. Someone who’s one of your tribe. Yeah, your mother was right. Now, I’m not saying someone from your background doesn’t have the ability to be a total douchebag. I’m talking not just about the superficial similarities (which I’ve discovered are surprisingly important!), but the shared values. Find someone who is a lot like you. IMO opposites do not attract — similar people attract. Chumps? Find a fellow chump. (And let the cheaters pair off with each other…)

My husband and I have quite surprisingly similar backgrounds. Our parents are very much alike. They’re all from the Midwest. Our fathers are both uber-nerds (his dad is a physicist, my dad was an engineer). Our mothers had health care careers (dietician, nurse). They value education and went to good schools. They have work ethics. They’re house proud. They’re religious. They’ve both been married for decades to their college sweetheart. They raised their kids similarly — very suck up and deal, be independent, don’t whine. Everyone in our families are verbal gerbils — we talk, we emote, we debate.

Sure, there are some differences, but the big picture, background stuff — the family values (sorry, to use a vomit-inducing right wing phrase), are there.

As basic, common sense as this sounds — I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be with someone who likes to do the same sorts of things I like to do — reading, traveling, gardening, listening to roots music. We both suffered in our former marriages with people who thought we were dorks, who didn’t get us, who left us alone to our activities (while they fucked around). It’s a lot easier to go through life with someone who takes an interest, because heck, they already share that interest. It’s not… okay [huff! sigh] I’ll let you drag me off to antique rose show — but you OWE me!

I’m not saying you have to be in lockstep with everything your partner might like (I can’t warm to Willie Nelson, I’m sorry). Just find someone who is not only open to your interests, but shares them. Who is a lot like you. If you’re a dork, find a dork. If you’re an introverted Catholic who enjoys Jesuit retreat centers, find a former nun. If you like sci-fi, apparently there is a Star Trek dating service.

If you’ve survived infidelity, you sure know yourself a lot better than you did before. It’s valuable knowledge. Don’t reject who you are or what your values are — go find someone who gets you, and values those things. They are out there, just waiting for you to say “OMG, you like farming ephemera and polka music too? Where have you been all my life?”

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dear CL,
    Your site and your insights have made such a huge difference in my life and my outlook. It has helped me laugh again in the midst of the horrific wreckage left behind by by cheater husband. Yes, he still is my husband because this process is taking forever.
    My sons and I have moved on and I am rebuilding a life that I want filled with a great job, great kids, great friends and an amazing therapist. No money, but that is another story….

    I eagerly read all 3 installments of your guide to not becoming a chump again. I am glad that worked for you. I found a guy who looked good on paper and was able to actually appear like the same person in real life. We came from very similar backgrounds with seemingly the same ‘values’. We seemed to be the couple you could always count on to help, always agreed on how to handle the kids and did projects together as a team. He was a very skilled manipulator.

    I think that is why his parents still love me and tell me I deserve more in life than their son. They are ashamed of his cheating and lying and were stunned when I told them.

    I realize now that it was just like the saloon on a movie set. The perfect front with nothing except a 2×4 holding it in place. Tiny little lies to other people that made perfect sense in the beginning became masterful, cunning lies that took advantage of the best parts of me. The parts about trust, devotion, partnership and those vows I took.

    In retrospect, I should have seen it coming over the past 12 years but, before that, I’m not so sure. In the early years I thought we were compatible and very happy together. I now know that he cheated at various times before, during and certainly the last 12 years. She was part of our lives and everyone always thought she was a closeted lesbian, which would explain why she never dated. Well, she was dating; it was just with my husband.

    All this adds up to not being sure that someone can really see a true sociopath. I hope I would now.

    I am almost in the land of ‘meh’. It is a very long, hard road but well worth the effort. I am starting the look ahead. Swinging a cat in a bar isn’t my style and dating on the Internet had turned up so many men that lie (their age, the number of marriages, their interest, their photos!) that I have become an expert at meeting them and extracting myself quickly at the first lie.

    The one thing that I do agree with is that chumps should get together with other chumps. We understand each other – the fear, loss, anger, sadness and rage – all of it. I have been wondering why there isn’t a dating website for those of us chumps. CL -perhaps this is your next career! A matchmaker for chumps.

    • Rebecca, I also have wondered about the matchmaker for chumps concept.

      I tend to agree with you: the really, over-the-top deranged, scary-messed in the head—I’m not sure there is a way for a lay person to identify them.

      Your story is my story.

      My (then) husband actually sat down in advance and decided he wanted to get married, and that it was perfectly okay to “tell someone what they want to hear” in order to accomplish his goals. Then he met me and decided I would be his wife.

      In other words, he decided in advance to lie and manipulate his victim into marriage.

      The lies are shocking in their depth and their frequency. As I compared notes to friends (whom he had driven me away from and cut me off from) I discovered they could hardly believe some of the things he had told me, as it was so far outside who he identified himself as for so many decades before I met him.

      These are people who’ve known him decades longer than they’ve known me, and almost entirely, they have come out disgusted by his behavior. I’m not saying they’ve all come down on my “side”; I’ve tried very hard not to put anyone on the spot, but some have told me how frustrated and disgusted they are with how he treats other people, themselves included.

      I am truly starting to wonder if he actually is a psychopath. Of all the people I know, (and several of his friends agree with me) he is the most likely to kill someone in a moment of rage, feel really sorry about it afterward, and still have a reason for why it is not his fault.

      It is disturbing and at moments terrifying.

    • I am all for the matchmaking for chumps! However, I think in order to do this you might need something more old- fashioned where the matchmaker picks potential dates for you. When I look at the problem is it lets the fake, sparkly NPD types suck innocent people in. How about a site where someone like CL looks at your story, views copies of your divorce pleadings, hears your values and heartbreak and matches you up with formerly married other chumps who are decent, good people? I think it could work! CL what say you?

      • I have my hands full writing, but maybe I’ll start a place for it on the forth-coming forum. Hmm. My only fear if I created a chump dating site would be that it’d be such great pickings for narcissists — one stop chump shopping! All the best kibbles here!

        As nomar said earlier, NPDs do screen well… only the hardest working, most trusting, good hearted folks for them. The best marks have good consciences.

        I know several chumps who married fellow chumps after infidelity — all quite happy today!

        • NPD types would absolutely LOVE to be looking us all over. That is why it would be crucial to screen for the NPD types and weed them the HELL out! I would suggest that you be a Yenta to divorced and/or burned chumps. It is only going through the fog and emerging that one can look back and see how we fell for the NPD types and all. It is soul searching stuff. Your site would appeal to people who have lived and learned that ‘all that glitters. . . is not gold.’ You wouldn’t appeal to the young inexperienced people with stars in their eyes and unicorn dreams. draws people in because you post pictures of yourself and then you submit your profile and/or ‘stories’. The problem is that it lets the NPD types submit THEIR glittery pictures and write THEIR narratives and not necessarily what is true. Seriously, I think you would have a site service that no one is offering and very unique!

          • How would she check every chump on her site is actually a chump and not a cheater pretending to be a chump? Hire an army of private detectives?

            • Well, actually a small army could work. Im my State there is a lot of information that you can glean on a free website that links you into the court system. It’s awesome – you can see if a person has ANY infractions and/or any other court activity including divorces. I am an attorney and I am frequently on the site screening potential clients, witnesses etc. when I’m digging for information. As long as I have a true name/ I.D. on a person with only a couple clicks of the mouse I can see any red flags that might end a chump running in the other direction before he/or she could lace their sneakers!

  • I first met the man I married at 16; he is now 52. The majority of his life-long friends were stunned.
    What mystifies me the most were the handful of friends, and one relative, who knew what was going on; helped him to lie, cheat and manipulate money for many years. They kept silent and still do to this day. How did they face me and my children?
    But, then again, I still don’t understand why and how the crazy bitch (sorry, she doesn’t even deserve being called an OW) could tolerate being at family functions and all the times we were together and I was the wife?
    There are LOTS of seriously ill people out there.
    Hence the desire to date a fellow chump.

  • Hahaha..yes, be with someone like you makes sense: STBXs father was a cheater. OW’s father was a cheater. They are both cheaters, ergo they are made for one another. 🙂

    I am so looking forward to finding a bookish, beach-loving city dude who likes wine, fireplaces, silly times with friends, cooking and food, and enjoys a good mountain hike every so often.

    There’s my dating profile. Come on, boys!

    • Nord!! I love it!! Hope you and a cool city guy cross paths one day, when you are ready.. You deserve it!
      We all do! 🙂
      Agree with CL. Values must be in in sync.. I too thought the wasband looked good on paper. Thought we had very similar value system. He told me lies, lies, lies.. Thought we had similar interests. (The ones he and I both liked? Yes.. Boxing, college sports, but anything beyond his narrow and obsessive hobby list?? No. Nada. Never took part in ANY of my various hobbies.) Selfish tool.
      His value system is based on money, status, greed, getting ahead. His sense of self is wrapped up in what he has, he was a charmer… who can he impress.. Complete opposite of me. I work to live. I value myself based on living authentically. By who I am. Who I aspire to be. My faith. My family. Friends. I have a large family. And enjoy spending time with! I value loyalty. I value integrity. I value character. I value friendship. Laughs. Living.

      Won’t fall for sparkly turds again. And I definitely do NOT spackle. Not ever again.

    • I don’t know Nord, your dating profile would pretty much fit my STBXH but if you weren’t looking carefully you’d miss the important underlying details. He is all that you described EXCEPT following my divorce filing he: 1) bailed out of our home state to live in his hometown on the beach in sunny California, 2) lives in his mother’s home rent-free because he screwed up our finances so badly and is dodging repaying his former MIL HUGE loan amounts 3) left me to raise our two teenagers, but tells everyone the narrative that he moved back home to help his poor mother out. She by the way is being taken care of 24/7 in a group home and of course she is paying for all of it! Yeah, he’s one sparkly turd alright so be sure to skip over him if you ever run into him. . .

      • I don’t want to live at the beach. Been there, done that. But I do like to visit the beach here and there, whist living in the city. I like to walk my area, not drive, if I can help it.

    • Well my father and other men in my family were cheaters. My H’s parents were both cheaters. They were both married to other people when they met.

      As far as I know Dr. Douche’s parents weren’t cheaters, but I could be wrong. They never divorced though and seemed like a healthy close knit family. His doting mother had a bit of problem with me coming from a “broken home”.

      But they most definitely raised a narcissistic serial cheating son. So go figure.

  • …”I was an alien to her. I’d never had a wedding in a fire hall. No one in my family had ever climbed down a mine shaft to earn a living. I didn’t go to Mass.”…

    Well, if you didn’t eat pierogies with every meal, pick blackberries from jagger bushes, and think Isaly’s “chip-chop” was manna N’at, you WERE an alien!… Yeah, I’m from hubby #2’s neck of the woods, maybe the same cahny, and there really is no place rilly like it. Getting any PTSD flashbacks hearing the native tongue, and dialect spoken again? (smile).

    Your story made me chuckle, as it was the complete reverse with my STBXWW; she was from where the Midwest meets the middle south, and “her people” might as well have been from Mars, but generally treated me very well for a firriner. Your post rings so true, and something I will live by in the next life post divorce. Thanks!

      • Ahh, you have already forgotten CL, which is great!…. It’s Yinz, and yes, arn=iron, as in arn City beer sucks! Actually, I do know where the Deer Hunter was filmed (at least part of it), but the hunting scenes were Soooooo wrong; terrain and deer species are about 2000 miles due west.

        That movie absolutely perfectly encapsulates the area, the mood, the grittiness, grayness…. Oh, and the wedding scenes; absolutely a spot on representation of Polish/Slavic nuptials, and I’m sure you can relate. Keep up the great, insightful work CL!

    • Oh too funny! Really great description Jay. Especially the blackberries and jagger bushes! I grew up in W. PA. Somehow the dialect of the Yinzer nation eluded me. But my mom always “warshed” the clothes and picked up the “mell” at the post office. I went to Isaly’s every Sunday with my grandma. Never went to Mass since we weren’t catholic.

      H is from Philly suburbs, it really is like a completely different state on either end. I still remember the first time he heard someone say to him, “Watch out the roads are slippy’

  • Thanks for the morning inspiration!

    I love it!

    Come to think of it, we DID always do what xH wanted to do, unless I did what I wanted to do…on my own.

      • I just wonder if its not better to stay for the sake of your child?yes he’s cheating.he lies but at least your child has a mum and dad?is it not better to turn a blind eye?

        • Hell no, melanie! Your kids still have a father if you leave his sorry ass. He can step up and pay child support and have court ordered visits. That’s a LOT better than modeling the dysfunction you’re living with. That’s it’s okay to lie, and cheat, and disrespect (read: abuse) people.

          Do you want to live this way? A martyr to this marriage? I think the kids are often an excuse to not act in your (and their) best interest. Because busting a move is HARD — at first anyway.

          Find your self respect, get angry!

        • no Melanie, it isn’t. You do not want to be a martyr living a lifetime of misery for the kids. Pretty sure that won’t be doing them any favors. Think I already told you this but I feel so strongly that you leave I will repeat myself . I was close to where you are… found out about the cheating when my kids were 8 months and 2.5. I will admit, I gave him a chance. But he failed at doing even the most basic prerequisite to work on our marriage (cut her out of his life completely). So I packed his shit. And yes, I lost my dream of what my family was going to look like. And they are going to live their entire childhood shuttling between “two homes”. The positives are that my kids were so young that they made the transition so easily and they didn’t even notice mommy was a freaking mess. They, unlike me, never had any shame about the situation… excitedly telling strangers at the bookstore “we’re going to daddy’s house!!” while I tried to melt into the floor and hide. Yes, I know people do it everyday, it happens to 50% of married couples. But, of course, I wasn’t going to be one of them!!

          But time passes and I am 95% over any shame about my situation. I assume the last 5% will be gone in the next year 🙂 I can honestly say I am much happier. Much happier than I was probably during at least the last 5 years we were together as well. I have new dreams and plans for myself and I don’t mind so much that I don’t know what my future looks like. But I know it is a scary scary thing at first.

          You deserve more than this!! Your kids deserve more than this! But you need to recognize that, not me.

          • Nord cL and erica u are so right.I think I just find it so hard to believe that there are people out there that don’t think twice to lie.Nord I’m very much real but u right I sound pathetic.this guy is a fucking arsehole.he sent the same collegue flowers and guess what??she is not to blame.she was blowing him off as well.its him.a compulsive bloody cheat.its doesn’t sound like its in my head when he says he’s driving and he’s probably not.yes this collegue may be telling him to beat it but the next??its a matter of time.I can’t carry on like a naïve fool.I have to respect my self as painful and hard as it is.

            • married 6 years when we separated… but I’d been with him since I was 19… we dated 7 years before tying the knot. Hmmm, inability to commit maybe should have been yet another red flag?

        • No, it’s not better to stay married for the kids’ sakes. Check out some of the comments on the earlier blog posts. We have comments from those kids. Their take is that staying married is a bad thing to do.

          Also, my STBX is a product of a cheating marriage. He originally hated his dad for cheating on his mother, for moving out of the house when he was a teen and his younger brother was just beginning grade school. He hated his father for being away when they were growing up, and he hated his dad for making his mother’s life miserable. He hated that his father and mother lived in different cities, and that it was well-known that his father had a long-time mistress with whom he’d rather spend his time than his wife and children.

          At the same time, he always hero-worshipped his father. Everything his father said was golden wisdom, spun by a folksy man with little formal education but a lot of street smarts.

          Fast forward to when his mother dies. The parents had stayed married, and in his mother’s last weeks of life, her wayward husband was there. He sat in the hospital room both day and night in her final illness. My STBX looked at his father in a new light: his father was good to his mother. His father must have had feelings for his mother. About a year or so later, we met the OW. She’s a nice person, but my STBX’s father still hadn’t married her. He didn’t even introduce her as anything more than “my very good friend.”

          Sometime in that time, he reconciled with his father. He spackled over the fact that his father waited until 2 weeks before he died to marry the OW, which meant that they hadn’t been married long enough for her to collect his pension, his social security, or any of his military benefits. Also, it turned out that his father had borrowed over $10,000 total from this poor woman, and never returned it. In other words, his father was a real narcissist, a taker who had his cake and kibbles, and surrounded himself with chumps.

          My STBX never learned how to resolve conflict. Arguments at his parents’ house meant that his father just left early to go back to his mistress. Today, if I have even a slightly different perspective on an issue than my STBX, he goes ballistic, saying that I don’t support him, I challenge him at every turn, etc. Heck, he says that when I agree with him, but for different reasons!

          And the hero-worship of his father, while initially dampened when he discovered just how selfish his father really was, has reasserted itself. His father is now practically sainted.

          On a different, yet related note, one of my colleagues is married to a sorry excuse for a man who cheats on her, is regularly unemployed (yet spends the little she makes on expensive hunting vacations and trucks), and verbally abuses both her and her sons. The older son, who used to be so sensitive, has followed the footsteps of his father, and now treats her like crap. The younger son, who applauded her when she moved out of the house for 2 weeks about 4 years ago, is now treating her like crap.

          You do your children a favor if you can get them out of toxic family dynamics and give them a healthy environment. They will thank you for it.

        • Melanie…. I struggled with the sentiment you are struggling with too. I didn’t want to lose my family. I didn’t want to be divorced. I didn’t want to make my child be one of “those” kids who has to split her time between two houses. Also, I didn’t want to lose the partner that loved my daughter the exact same way I did. I cried about this for WEEKS… but I did it anyway. Because my daughter needs to see that her mother is a strong woman. I would never want her to be in a relationship where she put up with someone treating her the way my husband was treating me. So, I have to model that for her. I have to show her that you have to stand up for yourself in this world. You cannot accept being treated poorly. I would never want that for her.

          And you know what… when my husband moved out… she didn’t bat an eye. She adjusted just fine. And she is doing great. I am slowly giving her appropriate information about her father, as it comes up. Kids are amazing. Give your baby the chance to be amazing by being a happy, healthy Mama. If you deprive yourself of happiness, it will hurt your child.

          Move forward… YOU CAN DO IT. I promise!

  • Unicorn Wife and I are from similar backgrounds. My mom, her mom and dad all retired from the same company (Lucent). So did my grandfather (It was Western Electric back then). My dad was in High tech. They were blue colar workers. We share similar interest, both love hockey (I still play) Love the Boston Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox. We are both educated and have professional jobs. Hell my Linkedin profile is always at 100%. For 17 years of marriage everything was good. At least so I thought. Unicorn Wife is a classic rugsweeper. That is until the perfect storm of mental dust gets too overwhelming. Good sound decision making of her first 37 years of life gets thrown out the window when fucktard bread guy says she is “hot”. Spends the next 4 years pursuing this guy for the classic ego kibble. You don’t need the sex details because it is the same shit for all of us. I don’t know what snapped her out of it, maybe it was me finding her OM’s limp boner on her cell phone or when she looked in the mirror she couldn’t stand who she had become. I will say though she has faced her demons head on and beat the snot out of them. Good for her. I will say though had she not faced those demons within 10 days of me finding out we would be divorced.

    New Hampshire has some pretty bad divorce laws if you are a male. I was talking with one of my office mates who is also a chump. His kids have not turned out well in large part because NH family court gave 75% custody to is cheater XW. Long story short this certainly factored into my decision to R. I always evaluate that decision and it is a long road. I have been lucky to have caught the unicorn….For now.

    Note the “for now”. So CL, your chosing a mate while sound doesn’t always yield a happy life. It will always be a crap shoot. The person you should be picking first is the person who is looking back at you in the mirror when you step out of the shower. As long as you don’t betray that person you will alway be whole and never looking to fill that “void”

    • I agree it will be a crap shoot, though with more knowledge about ourselves and what we want and expect we should be able to hopefully be able to prevent a future chumping.

      I think she’s just trying to give us all a little hope in future relationships, but we all know there is no guarantee. I actually get a little annoyed at how many people just seem to assume I will get remarried. They make statements like it’s a forgone conclusion. I guess maybe they are just trying to be hopeful as well? But I need to be happy with myself and my own life without relying on another person to give that to me. I’m not looking for someone to “save” me. I don’t want to be alone forever, but I will not settle just to have some company.

      • Completely agree. I may want to be in a relationship again but not right now. At this moment I would be happy for a fuckbuddy but nothing more. I want to rebuild me and my life so that if and when I meet someone I am whole and healthy. I see STBX clinging to OW, who is stupidly young, and desperately trying to make like all is ok. But he’s an angry, angry guy and has done nothing to rebuild himself or take stock other than join a gym and hang out with younger people.

        Me, I’m just all about my life and will be until I feel more or less put back together. I’m getting there but know I’m not quite there yet. I don’t want to be saved, I want a partner next time around.

        We’ll all find our peace, one way or another.

  • Jeepers, CL. Are you psychic?

    My family DID NOT like STBX. They did not tell me this until I announced the D. Then, it’s like the floodgates opened. They felt that, even though he and I graduated from the same undergraduate school, he looked down on all of us. He also hated moving to where I’m from, which is decidedly more blue collar than where he grew up. He was very snobby about the upper-class, metropolitan area where he was from and how my diddly little small city/surrounding burbs didn’t measure up. My mom even wrote me a letter where she gently tried to tell me how needy he was and how that neediness would probably get worse once we had kids some day. Talk about why one should listen to her mama. I wish I had.

    We seemed to have things in common, but I think it’s more that I learned to appreciate what he liked. He definitely groaned whenever we’d do something I really enjoyed, and it got to where I made those plans with other people and told him that he didn’t have to go anymore. Last year, I went to a fall festival with my kids and a GF, something I’ve been attending every year for probably about ten years, and we had a blast. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact that STBX wasn’t there to act bored and irritated. I can’t tell you the number of concerts and movies I sat through that he liked, and I did my best to find a reason to be interested in them. To be fair, some were interesting, but a lot of them I could have passed on.

    Spot on, CL. Opposites might attract, but IMHO, not for long. Once the novelty wears off and the differences become apparent, it’s over. I think that truly opposite partners in a successful couple is a rarity.

    • Moving On,
      I think opposites can attract if they are both givers/supporters and have the same value system.
      I too was married to a man that was a little baby bitch about doing anything he did not want to do. Temper tantrum. Pout. Moan. Whine. And be irritated when he spent time with me, his wife, or his family. After awhile I stopped asking him to do things with me and as a family. He would not even take me out on a date the last 2.5 years of our marriage. I did a lot of my own hobbies and fun events with girlfriends, his family, or my family. At first I just thought he was under a lot of stress… But no. He is a selfish person. Our daughter used to be so hurt when he would say no to going places and doing things with us. And the hurt and disappointment on her sweet, little face still makes me so sad and angry! After “working” some long hours or golfing all day, he would come home. Close the curtains and flip on the TV for endless ESPN, sports, and cooking shows. And on his phone 24/7. Stopped taking me anywhere. Stopped doing things with his family. It was always all about him. What he wanted to do.
      So IMO, I don’t mind in the future if the man I am in a relationship with has different interests and hobbies than I do.. Value system must be similar. Just be a good friend, husband, life companion and share in my likes and hobbies too.. Joyfully.. As well as be excited to spend time with me and our family. As I would him and our family.

  • I thought we had similar backgrounds… we met at the same small liberal arts college after all. But I was also 19 and mostly just thought he was cute. I wasn’t planning to marry the guy. We were friends first as well, so we must have had stuff in common. Like we both liked to hang out and drink beer on the weekends 😉 I do remember, though, after we got together that I did find out he smoked A LOT of weed, which is something I hadn’t known about before and I did kinda have a problem with. He grew up up in a rural area on the water, I am from the suburbs of big cities. I knew that, no biggie. Oh, his parents are VERY Christian and don’t believe in evolution. It’s okay, he doesn’t have the same beliefs. His mom speaks to him in a baby voice and his dad openly ogles women on TV. Huh. That’s weird. Oh well. I grew up middle class, he did not. His narcissist father had quit his job to start his own business for 7 years! and his 3 young children were forced to help work on the water and had to be on the free school lunch program because the family didn’t earn enough money. I didn’t find out about that last one until many years into the relationship (when I met the family his dad had had a “regular” job for several years and they were doing fine). He was ashamed of growing up poor… and I just don’t like that story because it is an insane example of his fathers selfishness.

    Yes, he was trying to drag me back to his town. He wants to live on the water there. I “forced” him to compromise and live in a more suburban area nearby. But it was understood that we would move to the rural area once we could afford some nice waterfront. Since the separation I have learned my parents did always say it was “his show”. I noticed all these things as they came along… I just didn’t think it was that big deal. We would just compromise. I would move where he wanted, quit my job as he wanted, etc., and he would compromise and let me pick the TV show we watched sometimes and occasionally let me stop him from making ridiculously extravagant and selfish purchases.

    We LOVED each other after all. I couldn’t even picture being without him. Really, he was just my first love. And I was his. My first love where nothing big ever went wrong enough to break up, just a lot of seemingly little things. Then the bigger problems like where to live, careers, and money cropped up. But at the point I was so invested it never entered my mind they could be unfixable problems. Until the really big shitty thing he did that really drove the point home that we just weren’t meant to be.

    • I don’t buy it. It’s a publicity stunt, a way to drive traffic. It will be back up and running in no time. If he really wanted to take it down he would do it today, not “over the next few weeks.” I know how blogs work. It takes one second. It’s BS.

        • Reread my comment. A new website, new url, new everything, will be up. It doesn’t matter what happens on that site, there will be a new place for cheaters to meet. This is the internet, nothing goes away for good. Ever.

        • thos people make me sick.

          maby that kind of thinking was useful for humanity during the paleolithic age but i think it spells doom for civilized society.

          i just posted a response to one of those abominations .

      • After reading that post, the administrator there realized s/he had to take a stand on what he believed to be right, morally. And after really looking at what was being said in these forums, he/she could not face himself/herself in the mirror anymore. The website is “no longer a safe haven” for cheaters, affairs.
        I am sure another website will pop up to take its place. Hopefully not manufactured by the administrator of doccool, otherwise, taking the moral stand s/he did would be pointless.
        However, it sounds like the administrator is unsure of what to do w the site. I think if s/he can use it for the greater good, s/he definitely took that U turn, and should be applauded.
        Since the adminstrator reads here at Chump Lady, do us chumps have any ideas to help turn the site around?

    • Wow! I am happy to read that! Hope doccool does more to expose the ugliness and devastion affairs cause for marriages, relationships and families.

  • gotta tell you about my best friend…

    She just got engaged. She’s 34 and I would say she’s never really had a serious boyfriend before this guy that she started dating close to 3 years ago. Probably nothing that lasted longer than 3 or 6 months. I think she just has a really good picker. And maybe had a little bad luck (or… maybe turns out it was GOOD luck).

    My friend is 6′, red hair, Irish Catholic, was a naval officer and now has an MBA. She has a huge Irish family up in Mass. Her new fiance is 6’4″, red hair, Irish Catholic with an extended family up in Rhode Island (or something like that). He’s currently in the Army and will be getting out just before their wedding, probably to go back to school.

    Talk about similar backgrounds! I look forward to meeting all of their ginger babies 🙂 And I actually do think waiting to get serious about someone until you really know yourself can help prevent some of the shit we (Chumps) are currently experiencing.

  • Do your reaearch on prospective love interests; There is lots of good advice out there re what to do and how to do it. Even if the person has similar interests, she or he can be disordered.
    Look at her/his family. Watch the relationship with the parents. Look at the parents and how they relate.
    Ask around. See if you can inquire of folks that knew her/him before you were on the scene.
    And, listen to your friends and family. Ask for their honest opinions.
    My first wife’s sister came to me when my wife was cheating. She told me I needed to get out and that as I walked down the aisle with her sister(my then wife) she had turned to her husband and said ” I hope this poor guy knows what he is getting into”.
    Many people will keep their mouths shut for fear of offending and alienating. So, inquire and let them know you want an honest opinion.
    It is amazing what you may find out. Folks came forward with info after the divorce that i wish they had told me before.

  • On paper we looked good: age difference: 5 yrs.. education: post college, same field. similar tastes in travel and ideas on politics . . . 25 years together, 3 kids. . . .. .but, as he told me “WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON”. Which is true- the only thing you can have in common with a flaming narcissist is THEM. And when they cheat and you stop supplying the kibbles…nothing is left.

    The OW: 18 years younger, education: high school & some classes at the community college, never traveled, no kids .. .”but they have everything in common”. Of course they do . . .she supplies ego kibbles and he gives her (viagra) sparkles. Any bets on how long this will last? The wedding is this summer . . . . .

    • I remember hearing someone say once, many years ago, when a guy was cheating and saying that he had nothing in common with his wife anymore, that ‘you have your life, your history, your children, each other, in common. What in hell are you talking about?’

      I think it’s a fair point. After a couple of decades how can you say there’s nothing in common? What it really is is that someone wants something different and they’re willing to chuck away all the history, etc. so have a do-over at some point.

      I say let ’em. I like who I am and have no need to re-invent myself at this point in my life, other than as a divorced woman.

      • Nord,
        There are many great sadnesses (my word) in this process. But an overwhelming one is the loss of shared history and the fact that it can’t be recreated with anyone else. I don’t think about it much, as I actively try to avoid it, but every once in awhile I am reminded of some event and in that moment I think “remember when?!” and the person who is suppose to laugh back and say “oh yes!” is utterly gone.
        And you know what? On any level that just sucks.

        • You get to create a new future, which will be a shared history, with someone else. Someone who won’t torpedo it.

    • skatergirl, your first paragraph could have been written by me, but we were together for only 20 years. Everything else is exactly the same.

      We did everything HE wanted to do. A lot of it was very fun, too. His hobby lost us a breathtaking amount of money, however, and I just ran out of hope about it.

      Then he up and left me for a woman older than me, an alcoholic who finished a licensing program at her local community college, but who has no career ties (and the finances to show for it) but also no kids. She supplies ego kibbles.

      I trust that they both suck, except to people who are fine with what they’ve done to my family. I don’t know if they’ll get married; it would be the second stupidest thing he’ll ever do. He’s also a majorly begrudging cheap-skate.

      I’m keeping the good memories, and the bad ones, too, for they made me who I am today. The good memories are heartwarming, and the bad memories make me glad he’s gone. In my case, the final betrayal was just the most glaring evidence of his cowardice. It opened the gate and allowed me to escape, and now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I’m finally able to put the spackle bucket down and see him for who he really is and was. Cowardice, betrayal, and abandonment don’t just occur out of the blue. A man who did what he did to his family is a disordered person, and it was not fun living with him, I now can admit to myself, without dread for a forever future with him, barring a lot of spackle. But spackling is hard work and it is lonely and the spackling cracks anyway.

      Sayonara, sailor!

      Yes, in the end, I got the “We have nothing in common” speech, and he meant it. Yes, it was a total mind fuck. Now, he has his ultimate companion, and she is free at a moment’s notice, and he has taken on her hobby and they are living quite happily, or so it might seem. He paid quite a price for his happiness, by stealing a large amount from my children and from me. I don’t actually believe he is truly happy, however. Nobody who does what he did is truly happy. Nobody who is so thought and character disordered is truly happy.

      And life goes on. I, on the other hand, am pretty darned happy.

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