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Part Two, When They Look Good on Paper

Today is part two of How Not to Get Chumped Again. Yesterday we discussed reciprocity, today we’re going to examine compatibility. I have to give my husband credit for this nugget o’ insight. He noticed the expression coming up again and again “Well, he looked good on paper…” People fall into this trap all the time! he said. (Uh.. he fell for it, as he’ll tell you.) Chumps do a kind of mental shorthand that leads to drawing greater conclusions about someone’s character and compatibility. When really, what they look like “on paper” is just a list of random attributes that don’t say anything about how this person will treat you or if you can tolerate spending five minutes with them in a taxi queue.

For example, on paper my ex looked like someone you would want to date. I drew conclusions from his resume that were completely false. He worked 20 years for the government (stable! boring! financially secure! The truth? drama! chaos! debt-ridden!) He was well traveled. (He must be curious about life! Truth? He was a crashing bore.) He owned a lot of sporting equipment. (He must be outdoorsy! Truth? It collected dust in the garage.) He subscribed to the New Yorker. (He likes to read! He’s verbal and literary! Truth? Maybe it was a gift from an OW or a decoy to lure “arty chicks.” I never saw him read one, ever.)

But see, all these “clues” led me to construct this viable, wonderful partner for myself. He looks like the sort of person I see myself with. There is a vanity in this thinking that’s embarrassing to admit. The “paper” him looks enviable. And narcissists are very good at projecting holographic images of who you want them to be. They sparkle! They think they’re fabulous! Don’t you feel very lucky to be with them? Because, as they convey constantly, to feed such a personage ego kibbles is a privilege! You’re in the cool kids club!

The lesson here is:

2.) Pay attention to who they really are. NOT what they look like “on paper.” Yes, this is just another way of saying, listen to their actions, and not the image they present.

The flip side of this is — know who YOU are and what kind of person you really jive with. Some self knowledge is required to choose well and EDIT well.

There are all sorts of people in this world we think we should be compatible with by virtue of shared history or interests, that we really don’t have jack shit in common with. I think this is a mistake we make especially when we’re younger. It doesn’t take much for someone to be our friend. We lived in the same dorm room with them. Our kids go to the same elementary school. Our cubicles are adjoined. For whatever reason, you think there is a bond there, when it’s just geography.

You spend enough time with someone, your spouse say, and you’ve invested in that history AND they “look good on paper” — it’s hard to back off and say to yourself “I can’t stand them.” But… you’re SUPPOSED to love them! Look at how much you have in common (on paper)! So many people would love to be YOU — married to the doctor/lawyer/trustafarian/chick with big tits. What’s WRONG with you?

Truth is — they suck. If they cheated on you, hey, they suck. You clearly don’t share the same values with this person. Bad fit. Don’t mistake accomplishments for good character. Good character is shown over time, through kindness and reciprocity and has nothing to do with SAT scores or how many unread New Yorkers are sitting on top of the toilet tank.

Chumps? You ARE the cool kid. And not everyone can be in your club. Be choosy. You’re worth it.



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  • Oh my God did I ever get into this trap. Mine was amazing on paper — public figure, six-figure salary, well-educated, popular. I remember telling my mom that it felt like I was dating the football captain in high school, I was soooo lucky.

    Boy did he sparkle. Ironically now, looking back, one of my good friends at the time used to call him “Mr. Sparkly Pants” because he was so astonishingly outgoing and dashing. I think it was a little jab at him, though too, since this was the friend who’d I complain to about those first red flags. He wouldn’t include me with his friends, or he was selfish in bed, or he seemed to have money problems. Fuck, was I stupid for not listening to my gut EIGHT YEARS AGO, before we were married and in this terrible mess of lies and betrayal. Now I’m on the psycho roller coaster ride of narcissistic rage and I’m trying so hard to get away.

    I love your blog, CL. It’s helping me get through the early stages of the end of my marriage. And now when I look for a new partner in a year or two I’ll know at least exactly what I don’t want, though sparkly is so hard to get over. How will an ordinary guy ever measure up against blinding sparkle? My picker is broken, just like my self-esteem. I suppose time and space will heal them.

    • Thanks Sad. Per sparkly? Ugh, get over sparkly. Sparkles suck. I used to be a big sucker for sparkles too. But now I see it as a big warning flag. I don’t like people who try too hard to “charm” me. Makes my personality disorder spider senses go tingly.

      Look, there are good people who are accomplished and interesting and aren’t sparkly turds. But they’re more… well… wholesome and self deprecating. Which I find endearing. Think of it like… you’ve been eating chocolate eclairs, which is fine as a treat, but you know it’s not REAL food. Sparkly people are fine in small doses, but they aren’t nourishing. You can’t live on them, or you’ll get sick. Sparkly people belong in the pastry box, with the other sugar confections. Kick the sugar habit.

      Attraction to sparkles has a lot to do with our own narcissism and lack of self esteem. They seem to have it all figured out! I want that reflected glory!

      Nah. Invest in yourself, forget Mr. Sparkly Pants.

        • Yeah, it probably has a lot to do with my low self-esteem and identity issues. I was depressed as a kid too and always needed to be validated by external sources.

          I would pretend to be low-key about who I was dating/married to but I loved when people would find out, to be quite honest. It was so validating for me, evidence I was a worthwhile person and not the loser who was going nowhere fast.

          This was especially true after I was laid off from my dream job and only had him to hang on to.

          Even though our relationship was a complete disaster — honestly, there was nothing in terms of the fundamentals of a relationship that were redeeming, from bad sex to money problems to narcissism to no communication to exclusion and compulsive lying and infertility that he did nothing about — at least I felt OK because he didn’t reject me, though he actually did every single day.

          “Sparkly turd” is such an evocative and appropriate term. I imagine a cat turd with children’s rainbow sparkles glued to it.

          • Dear Sad – Actually, what my adorable kitties leave in their litter box have more integrity than the X did – and now, I’d sooner have a relationship with the cat box and its contents than him anymore – I’m so sorry for what has happened to you, for myself, I KNOW what a mindfuck it is but I’m still in pain – and damn, its hard!! Now its between me and me. But I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel – I can see it and you will too. But the only way out is thru and it is painful and there’s no way around that. Try and create a little more NC everyday, or every hour if necessary….. find the little successes so you know what it feels like so you can repeat it. Hang in there!!

        • PS – I never felt like the cool kid. But I suppose this isn’t high school and those superficial things aren’t the only thing that matter anymore. Being the cool kid now for me is about integrity and authenticity.

          And yes, cheating made him a sucky loser. All the propaganda out there that “all men cheat” or would cheat if they could get away with it is hard to see past. I’m not in the market right now but yes, someone I can trust, who reciprocates (seriously, how many “I love you” emails have I sent over the years to never hear back? WTF?), and who lives with integrity would be a nice change.

          He did make me sick. I’m living proof that living on sparkly, unnourishing love can practically kill you.

          • I gotta say, often when I see a woman with a sparkly man, I wonder if she’s aware that there is a strong likelihood of him cheating. That’s what I wonder. Yes, I might initially wonder, “What does she have that I don’t have?” But I really wonder if she worries, or if he’s cheated already.

            Find a guy who will bring out your true sparkles. Go find your solid self, the woman you’re proud to be, and then go find a cute guy (not the MOST gorgeous guy in the room) who is funny and genuinely sweet, and you will shine for real.

            I read somewhere in one of those fashion mags once, an essay by a real guy who said that there are two types of women: the kind who are immediately beautiful, and everyone knows it, and then the type who just get more and more beautiful to you every day. Awwww!! I think the same can be true of guys.

            Go find true love, and reVEL in it! I know you can. You’re smart and light and strong. You’re normal. You have insight, and you’re gaining more with every passing day, most suredly with this horrid experience you’re working your way out of. If you were married to a sparkly narcissist, odds are that you are beautiful on the outside, too. You have a lot going for you!

            You got this one.

        • “Oh, and how will a “regular guy” measure up? Really WELL because he won’t be CHEATING on you!”

          Yeah that! I went through this phase comparing my relationship with H to Dr. Douche. We were Romeo and Juliet after all. To young lovers that were torn apart by the fates. He said (NOT KIDDING) We were Winnie and Kevin from the Wonder Years. He gave me a list of about 30 love songs he said he had on a CD with my initials on it and he always played it over the years and was all about us and our true love. VOMIT BLECH UGH! I told a friend about this and how my H never did things like give me love songs, she said, “Well yeah, he doesn’t think he has to, you’re married to him!” She didn’t mean this in a “He’s done having to do nice things for you kind of way” she meant you’re his wife, courting is over. “But this dude is playing you and you’re falling for it” and she was right.

          In reality we weren’t lost 2 lost lovers, we were to big assholes. He was and is a much bigger one though.

          It took me a while to get out of the fog and get my feet back on the ground.

          But yeah, if you have any relationship that is like The Notebook, or any other romantic mind fuck love bombing that just seems surreal, run – like the wind!

          • BTDT – he had 20+ years to just invent/reinvent me out of whole cloth. In the end he wasn’t actually all that interested in who I was….. on so many levels I’m just relieved – altho I thought the grandkids were fun – the other relationships were just kinda work – but, like you SIS, this late in my life, I wanted “a place to call home” too. Irrationally so as it turns out.

      • Sad in Seattle I am just where you are right now and a lot of stuff you post I read because you so say what I’m feeling. You remind me that I am not alone in this. And every single thing you mentioned about your husband is the same as mine. They just rip at your self esteem and your very core of womanhood all because they are empty and dont know how to love and be loved. I have decided yesterday to not respond to any more of his communication because it only leaves me enraged…as I’m sure is the purpose. But yes I too know real well that “psycho roller coaster ride of narcissistic rage”. He’s in counseling (I refuse to go), he keeps calling and stalking me. I gave in yesterday to see him only for him to tell me the reasons he cheated on me so much and for all these years is because: I don’t dress sexy, I don’t have sexy underwear, I don’t wear stiletto’s, and I’m not exciting in bed…really how do I achieve these things with someone who cant last more than 30 seconds. Well in true self over inflated style he says I only have this problem with you and no one else. Really because I read your mistress complaining that you don’t satisfy her and yeah she’s angry because she paying for a Prostitute who doesn’t deliver. By this morning 5 messages about being sorry. But I do know how you feel Sad in Seattle but it’s like a line I read in this book called the Dirty Girls Social Club…I don’t mourn the loss of the person, place, or thing…I mourn the loss of a dream.

        • Yeah, classic NPD move — come here closer so I can slap you.

          Don’t listen to his garbage about how you dressed! And as for the sex? Forget him! He’d be laughable, if he wasn’t so disorderly scary.

          • Yeah everyone is scared for my safety because he does get aggressive and pushy. My office building has an alert not to let him and if he shows up there calling the police. But CL I have to push that fear aside because it’s that fear that kept me with him so long. He is very scary and while he is provoking me into to anger he remains very very calm. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, SOCIOPATH!!

        • Me too! I was thinking that very thing this morning … that this is not actually about him. This is about my dream of family and love and a place to call home. I will have that one day, just not with him.

          I was lying in bed and feeling lonely. But then I remembered how I would often wake up alone anyway as he’d fallen asleep on the couch yet another night to avoid intimacy.

          When I feel so bad lately that I spend the whole day in my PJs and phone doesn’t ring once, well, that was par for the course when we were together too. He’d be out working out with friends sometimes until 11 at night. Then he’d just eat dinner and plop down in front of the TV, ignoring me.

          Am I missing sex? WHAT sex? Like you, SUZYOH, it was perhaps 30 seconds and so utterly selfish when it did happen. We never ever had that connection.

          It’s funny how we imagine what we had with them. I remember praying, begging God, to get me the hell out of there no matter what it took. That was last summer, just a couple months before DDay. Now my mind plays tricks on me and I look back fondly on things that were horrible.

          Even when we saw each other for a couple days over the holidays it was awful. I felt so lonely with him. He wouldn’t touch me or hold me, he wouldn’t comfort me or respond to my tears. Nothing had changed. Nothing will ever change. He was still lying and playing games and withholding. And that was when he had promised to do whatever it took to win me back. He couldn’t even play along for four days.

          It occurred to me for the first time yesterday that all the truths that I think I know about him are lies. He never really came clean. He only copped to what he knew I knew. OF COURSE THERE’S MORE! I counted up the infidelity he’d admitted to and it’s a minimum of six other women. That’s pathetic. That’s a serial cheater. He sucks.

          Sorry about the rant.

          • SIS – I love that you are ranting… keep it up. Get it out. Put in on paper. It helps! I would often catch myself doing these same things in the early days… wistfully thinking of how wonderful our life together was… Wishing I could go back in time to when we were happy. But honestly, like you, I was begging the cosmos to get me out of this situation. What I refused to acknowledge then was that it wasn’t up to the cosmos… It was up to me. But I wasn’t brave enough. I didn’t want to be a single mom. I didn’t want to break my daughter’s heart. So I sat by, limply waiting for something… And then I got my something in the form of a text message to my husband’s phone. He was in the hospital (drank himself into a bout of pancreatitis) and I was helping his text his boss because his head was too “swimmy” from the pain meds to function properly. And I saw the text I needed to see in order to finally be done.

            Keep it up SIS… you are doing great, even though I’m sure it still feels like you are in hell. You are still here, you are still getting the support you need. You are on your way to the amazing life you will lead without his chaos, lies, and withholding.

          • OMG Sad – there is no lonely like the lonely of a bad relationship!!! It is like my worst nightmare. You can do this…. You can.

            • Thanks, Erika, CL and SUZYOH.

              I’m feeling very wobbly today. But what’s helping me is the number. I’m focusing on the fact that he has ADMITTED to cheating on me with six other women. That’s just what he’s copped to. Holy fuck. I counted it up for the first time last night and it just blew me away. I don’t believe the math of course, don’t get me wrong. But even admitting to that many is astonishing. Once, OK, you screwed up and will never do it again. Twice, that’s dicey. But SIX?? Six times? Why am I feeling so wobbly for a six-time loser?

              • I can’t wait for the day I file my papers and press “Send” on my email to our friends about our breakup. I’m going to nuclear bomb his reputation the way he did my life.

              • SIS.
                Emailing friends isn’t about revenge. It’s about telling the truth. The truth sets you free. Some will still support the ex and say you are bitter etc. who cares.
                What’s important is that you get the truth out there.
                They can’t hide from the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. Ouch!

  • CL this is the best post ever and I tell my 2 daughters the very same thing all the time. When I met my husband he had a book shelf full of women self help books (he understands women and will protect and nurture, wrong he preyed on them and secretly have range and anger against them oh and forces sex when you dont want to be bothered), he was dedicated usher at church and never missed a Sunday ( morals, grounded, and God fearing…he prostitutes himself to the anyone and is a spirit/joy killer), and the biggest of all is he was an elementary school teacher (pre-school and kindergarten) who also babysat his students when parents needed a break, ran a Saturday class teaching pregnant and unwed mothers prenatal care and child rearing classes (family orientated and adored kids…he made me have 2 abortions and lived a single). He belonged to Masons, and Fraternity (which he just joined in 2010 at 40 years old) and Men of the Nile mentor program to uplift and serve ( a sense of community and wanting to help…use these groups to party and meet more women to screw). He won scholarships and had tons of awards but clearly a whole lot of other folks was drinking the “wow Black man doing great things and is exceptional” koolaide just like me because they just kept passing him and giving him degrees, when it was very clear that he was dumb as nails, couldn’t spell or put a paper together, and has taken the teachers certification test over 20 times and still cant pass. Just had a thought perhaps he should let his “other head take the test” since that’s the one he uses so much!!!

    • It boggles the mind the lengths they will go to deceive, doesn’t it? It so hard to spot them at first because they seem sooo normal on the surface. But it is always just a cover, a ruse to lure in the chumps.

      One of my favorite pretend parts of my STBXWH’s persona is that he loves to read. When we were dating he loved to tell me all snooty like, how he only read biographies, history and other non-fiction.

      When he moved in he brought exactly 14 books with him. 8 of those were “how to” books about plumbing, how to pick wine, make a cocktail, karma sutra sex positions, etc. The others were biographies of various famous musical people and such.

      In all the years we were married, I have NEVER seen him read a book.

      Just one of the many layers of lies he told to trick me into thinking he was something other than he really was.

      • But you know whats hurts most is that we are almost wiling partcipants. Willing ourselves to ignore all the signs, the gut feelings, the sleepiness nights. When my we first separated and I took him back I was sleeping sounder however I started to experience night terrors and really bad nightmares. I just keep asking why me and why did I stay with this pycho for so long

  • Such good advice, CL. Have you heard of or read the book Greg Berendt authored, “He’s Just Not That Into You”? Great read, so true. There was a chapter on cheating. Basically.. If your BF/spouses cheats.. Conclusion? He is just not that into you.. Not your problem. Dust yourself off and move on. He had his own talk show for awhile too.
    I would say, you are hitting a big market in helping us chumps. You lived it. You overcame it. You have inspired so many to be stronger and wiser for it. If there are a lot of marriages that end because of infidelity, there are many of us that have picking issues, chumps issues, boundary issues. In order for us to succeed in our future relationships, with ourselves, and our families, we need to examine why we are in this situation in the first place. Fix it. And how to avoid them in the future. Thank you for speaking the truth, for the guidance, and incredible advice. After you leave the cheater… The most important aspect is gaining a life.
    The advice about what to look for in a potential partner is so spot on. For everyone. Singles, divorcees, young and older. Heck CL, if you chose to author a book, I think it definitely will be on the best sellers list. Your humor, wittiness, and smarts makes getting hit with a 2X4 of truth really cool and actually pleasant! Ha!!
    Berendt’s book was extremely popular about 9-10 years ago and women across the country loved it.. Movie was cute too.
    Enjoy reading your blog posts. Purchasing my spackle mug today. We need to support you any way possible. You need to be out there helping others chumps.
    Thanks again from the bottom of my heart!!!

      • Dani and suzie I wish I had ur courage.I confronted him.he flat out denied any liasons. But honestly I think he’s harrasing his co worker.I specifically saw the mess where she said “why u messaging me?stop messaging me!”He says his fone is accessible to anyone.I just don’t know.having sleepless nights.I went home once- to visit my parents.he stayed at home.when I called the home fone it just rang.then I called his mobile.he answered-said he is in the toilet.then I called the home fone after 20-30 just rang.I called his mobile again-he say his mums home alarm went of and he went to check.
        With the baby here I’m hoping he will not do his I in denial?

          • Melanie – Yes, denial is running the show for you right now. You are probably tired and wounded and looking for a way for this truth (he is cheating) to not be the truth. He is cheating. He will keep cheating. You will be living with a man/husband/father that you cannot trust. Don’t do that to yourself or your baby. Melanie, don’t give me too much credit. This was DDAY number 2 for me. He did this to me 10 years ago also. Don’t be like me. Don’t wait another 10 years with him only to find out that what he is now is exactly who he is going to be 10 years from now. He will not change. He is broken. Get away from him.

            I am 5 months away from DDAY #2 and that is the only reason I sound like a reasonably intelligent person. I was a wreck. Sometimes I am still a wreck. But I am happy to be moving away from the chaos.

            Focus your time, energy, and love on yourself and your beautiful baby. Put him in the rearview mirror. And keep coming here and getting support. This website SAVED me.

              • He did eventually admit to it, but he danced around it for a LONG time. It was pretty undeniable. And I was a mess. We agreed that he should move out and when it came time for him to go, I was a wreck and begged him to stay (CHUMP). I have a daughter who is 7. She is not aware of any of this. She thinks he moved out to be closer to work. And he was a GREAT dad. Now he is a mess and not that involved. Maybe he will get his shit together so he can be there for her. But if not, its my job to be the stable, loving, healthy parent she needs. And I can’t do that if I am stuck on him.

                Don’t admire me. I am still struggling in this as much as anyone. I am just farther away from the trauma that you are. I am here to tell you that it will get easier AFTER you get away from him. Do you have a support system? Parents, friends? You need them!!!! They need to know what is happening.

        • Denial. FAce up, PLEASE, and remove yourself from this toxic situation. Take the pain hits now…I promise that if you don’t you’ll be on here writing again in 6 months or a year or two years or however many years and you will be more enmeshed, and in far more pain, because you’ll realise just how many years of your life you wasted when you KNEW he was a bad egg. You’re young…go get that life you deserve.

          • Yes please leave as soon as you can get things lined up.

            Don’t waste anymore time than you need to.

            He will do it again. Next time you may not be in a good situation to cut him loose as quickly. The longer you stay the more entangled.

            I stayed many years after the first DDay. You know what it got me? Wasted time, a drained bank account, more drama, more debt…and oh yeah more wasted time.

            It’s sooo hard to admit you made a mistake in picking him. But don’t let that be one of the things that keeps you hung up, throwing more good years of your life after bad. Admit it was a mistake. Dust your shoulders off, and scoot.

        • Dani:

          Yes, dear Melanie it is highly likely that you are in denial about his cheating. Like 98 percent high. There is a very teeny weeny tiny chance he’s telling the truth, but then why is he acting so odd.

          Melanie, can you borrow money to hire a detective to follow him, after you once again arrange to see your parents?

          Having a detective or friend that he won’t recognize tale him while you are away or watch the house for women going in, is the best way to catch a cheater.

          • When I mentioned the shame and humiliation that I feel a few post ago is because my husband has had approx. 20 affairs that I know of in the 5 years we were married (through my own detective work). And each time he would confess (yes confess) then the never again, I love you’s, and the gifts (some delivered by mail some by him). And each time I would cry, scream, gain weight by eating and drinking my pain away. Praying this was a phase that would pass. It didn’t. And the crazy thing is he would confess and throw in a few unknowns for good measure.! So when I went on my detective hunt on January 13th because we were agreeing to a 6 month separation I needed to know why he was so agreeable. And there in over 20 emails was the proof of (1)a3 years relationship with one, (2) recent one with another, (3) 3 month relationship with a well known married minister and principle! I cursed him out that night but didnt say a word as to what I found out. I refuse to take any calls the attire week. On Martin Luther King Day I filed divorce papers with a lawyer and packed all his shit and put them in storage. He has called me 8 times today begging for forgiveness and change, MC. all that. I called my lawyer this morning who will be emailing him divorce papers today and if he doesn’t respond…he will be served at work. I think even calling him a Cheater is too decent. I call him for what he is every time he feels the need to communicate with me “PROSTITUTE!!! TRICK!!” The humiliation shame comes from every one knowing and seeing him out with other women, neighbors and parents who live downstairs in my 2 family home seeing the 3am and 4am return home, the constant going out all dressed up without me and blaming all on frat meetings or other. Each time I found out about an affair I would cry to my friends and family only to ignore their advice (and some I had the nerve to get mad at and end the friendship), and go full speed ahead with big changes in my heart and soul only to be humiliated.

            And to add salt to my wounds this man would sleep with these women and bring homes their panties (some with bodily stains on them) and hide them in our closet in the tip of his shoes!!! yes all of this and I stayed. But something unleashed it self on January 13th (exactly 7 years to the date we had our first date), and I have not wavered to get this garbage out my life.

            Oh it hurts and there is a battle going on inside telling me that I’m not going to find any one else to love me, look people are laughing at you so just take him back, neighbors are whispering, he’s harassing and embarrassing me, it would be easier to just take him back. He was my partner, and dinner/play date and all the fun stuff I enjoy. OH wait no he wasn’t that’s my made up version. HE IS LUCIFER!!! And then I start to re-read all those emails I forwarded to myself between him and all those women both recent and over the years, I take myself back to the raw emotions of being betrayed, I look at all the pics I’ve saved of him with other women or out with his friends and his ring is off…and I get REAL ANGRY!!! And I let that rage guide me.

              • THANKS CL YOU MADE ME LAUGH. But I’m beginning to think I will never be free from this man. GOD please help me today was a really bad day.
                My lawyer is such a fuck up I just want to scream! When I met her I didn’t have agood feeling about her again I ignored my inner voice. This asshole filed divorce papers with not only my name spelled incorrectly but gave my husband a whole different first name and when I pointed it out to her she tells me she will have to file an amendment but then ask “are you sure that’s your husbands formal name”? Is she fucking Kidding me right now. Why would i give her nicknames for a legal document. And the fact that shes was suppose to email him this 2 days ago. Had i not followed up wither and told her i needed a copy of the summons i would have never known the names were wrong and that she never got an email confirmation so she had to send the (of cousre she resent them to him with the wrong fucking names. This is already so stressful for me and now have to worry about an incompetent lawyer who cant even pay attention to the details of at least getting the parties names spell correctly. And I gave this idiot from day one an entire fact sheet with both of our informations. I am so angry he’s probably laughing his ass off saying this is not me! WTF I paid this woman .$1300 and she can’t even file papers correctly or get the names right. And just when I thought the NC was working he texted me about spending an entire day together and see how I feel about us after! Why can’t he just go away? I feel myself falling I don’t want to be a CHUMP AGAIN FOR THE SAME MAN. this is so exhausting….I’d stop drinking for new year but over the last two days I gone through 2bottles of wine. And then throw in the threats of suing me….I’m so scared, list, and alone.

            • Be strong, Suzy. If you take him back, people will know you are weak. Worse, YOU will know you are weak.

              Let him go make an ass of himself all on his own. You’ll be able to hold your head up with dignity and say, “Don’t look at ME! He’s no longer MY ass, he’s just an ASS on his own!”

              Seriously. He is ridiculous. Don’t let him stain you.

              • Arnold, from what I understand MLK was a serial cheater. That made me really sad to find all of that out. His wife Corretta Scott King was really BEAUTIFUL and courageous. When I think what she must have gone through with an NPD mand and then lived in fear of having her family and home fire bombed etc., it is all very depressing. . . .

              • Yes, Arnold, MLK, was serial cheater.

                Like Hope, it made me really sad to hear that. A man who wanted to stop people from being abuse, was emotionally abusing his own wife and children.

                His wife Coretta was beautiful. So sad.

            • SuzyOh:

              Your husband sounds like a true sex addict, if her brought home the affair partners panties and stuffed them in the tips of his shoes.

              Don’t blame yourself. You tried. But I am glad you finally reached your limit and breaking point.

  • Narcissists are like advertisements that come on the TV. It’s wonderful! It’s new! It will change your life! Everyone will admire you for having one!
    And when we’re young we can listen to the TV telling us this new toy is absolutely necessary or our lives will be ruined by uncoolness forever if we don’t have it because our parents controlled the credit card. When we’re in middle school it’s fine to go crazy because that guy/girl from high school just talked to you.
    But when we get older we have to not pull out our card for every new revolutionary wrinkle cream/Tupperware/car. We need to look beyond the commercial that promises us a closer shave and find out what’s real. We need to look beyond the man/woman who looks great and find out what they’re really like.

    • Well said!

      Except the Ronco Narcissist doesn’t really deliver on the advertised promise (whereas I am assuming Ginzu knives really cut). It’s a shiny box and you open it up and discover cat turds. Plus shipping.

      • Can you loose ten pounds in ten days by sticking to this diet or that one? Sometimes the best case scenario is that it doesn’t work. The worst case is it actively harms you.

          • I was considering losing some weight just before Dday. Then, once Dday happened, I joined in with my family’s “we’re losing this stupid weight we picked up because we were too damn lazy to watch what we eat” support group. I love it that I’m 30lbs slimmer and look GREAT in my professional clothes.

            I love it even more when I know that my STBX is banging a woman who not only is 3 inches shorter than I am, but outweighed me at my heaviest by 10lbs. When I serve him, and when the divorce is final, it’s going to be oh so sweet to know that people are going to wonder why he picked the other woman over me.

            You can always lose weight, but you can’t lose the cheater badge.

  • SIS.
    you wobble away all day. You make the rest of us look like chump amateurs. Holy shit I don’t know how I could cope with your exes admission.
    It’s people like you that give me so much strength. You must be one hell of a woman!
    The loss of family is the greatest loss for me. I’m so so so lucky to be close to the boys. I have a friend that sees his boys every second weekend. I often have the boys together and virtually every night at least one is here so not alone much but don’t have any drama being alone. But the loss of family dinners etc is huge.
    I’m going to go outside the square here and I might get shot down.
    My ex has wonderful traits- integrity, love of family, honesty , hard working, respectful, all that good stuff. Mayb a little self centred but that’s ok if it doesn’t define you.
    She just turned all that stuff off to be with chainsaw man.
    I’ve read this cheating shit is like a drug. The affair is the cocaine hit and the loving family back home is heroin hit. The cocaine is the big rush, the other all warm and fuzzy. Sorry don’t know as I’ve never tried any of it but makes sense to me. It fucks you up all the same just like any drug
    I reckon I have just about got the affair ( and I have been told of another in the proceeding year but no hard evidence) pidgein holed so I can just put it in a box and stick it in the cardboard. Never to be opened again but never forgotten.
    From what I can gather been on here not many of us are dumb. We’re just chumps ,well intentioned loving humans who trusted someone and we got it wrong. The cheaters own their shit. We don’t define them by who we are. We are all defined by our actions not our words.
    Interesting g day yesterday but my oldest done tells me mum is moving into a rented house at the end of the street. At least she has the boys best interests at heart but wow too bloody close for my liking. Thank god the street has many exits. Have to take the long way home some nights. Still in NC.
    The loss of family though is one of the hardest challenges. The dream wiped out.
    Thanks for being an inspiration SIS

    • You gotta rethink your ex-wife, Baci. She’s not a good person turned bad because of Chainsaw guy. She had issues to do what she did — to walk out on you and her children. That’s NOT integrity. People who have their shit together do not become addicts — that’s not how they cope.

      At some level, she thought addiction was an okay way to address her problems. She thought she was entitled to cheat and eat cake and have both for awhile.

      • Baci, I agree with Chump Lady — you’ve got to rethink your wife to get a truly clear picture of her. I’ve just been through my second D-Day with my serial-cheater husband of many years, and I always thought he was a great dad as well, but as I am re-assessing my relationship with him, I realize that he cannot have been the way he has been with me, and on the other hand be totally there and engaged and loving with our boys. And he hasn’t been, I realize now. No, as he lied and cheated on me for years and years (and I spackled), he also lied and cheated on them, because we are a family. It was OK because neither I nor the boys knew…

    • Baci – Sorry you are having a tough day. We all have them. Take care of yourself. I HATE that I lost my family. I mourned it every second of every day for a long time. Now it comes less often… but it still hurts when it does. Hang in there!

    • Baci, BTDT. What often appears to be a good spouse turning bad is really just our view of the spouse changing as more reality is uncovered about them. You know, the Wizard of Oz didn’t turn from a powerful wizard into a small-time carnival huckster; it’s just the the curtain fell away, and he was revealed for what he truly was all along. Cheaters are usually just hucksters standing behind curtains.

      • Too true, Nomar. I know how Baci feels, though. It’s hard to let go of that illusion we have of the person we loved. And it’s even harder to let go of the family we valued so much. And then the rest: the dreams, the hopes, the future.

        But you know what? I truly do believe we’ll all be fine…probably better than fine, once the dust settles and we reconfigure our lives, OUR hopes, OUR dreams. It just takes awhile, particularly when children are involved.

        • Yeah, it’s hard. But setting things straight in the future requires a clear view of the person we’re dealing with, especially where years of co-parenting lay ahead. You’ve got to ignore the booming voice telling you to disbelieve your lying eyes: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

          And, yeah, most of us will be fine in the end, or better. Like Dorothy, who traded up from black-and-white to life in technicolor.

    • I love the affair is the cocaine and the family is the heroin. I miss our family unit the most. It’s even strange trying to grill something, because that was his specialty. If only he could see and feel the pain he has caused, but I think he’s just like an addict, he won’t SEE until he’s hit rock bottom. The kids and I SEE, because we have hit the bottom and are swimming towards the shore. It’s a big ocean we are trying to swim across full of waves, scary creatures and darkness, but together we will make it.

      • The worst is that he’s unlikely to ever hit rock bottom. He’ll just go on switching women every time the previous one(s) start to see through him. Will never live up to his sparkly potential or anything, but as for having to really live w/the consequences of his behaviour – nah. It’s us, and their kids, who have to live w/those when we’ve been in a relationship with a Narcissist.

  • Yep. Yep yep yep. STBX looked great on paper– smart, accomplished, member of academic societies, etc. He was also talented in other ways, and top that with the early days of wooing and romance when he reeled me in, I was all ready with the jar of spackle once the facade starting chipping away. Because look at his resume– how could I think he was anything other than great?!

    p.s.– Dear USPS, bring me my spackle mug. Thank you.

  • It’s amazing how invested I was in the “She Looks Good on Paper” story about my ex. Even more amazing (and sad) because even that wasn’t a very good story. We met in college, and I was really impressed when she told me she was a National Merit Scholar. I clutched that fact and ignored that she was failing courses never studied and only graduated because for two years I took classes with her, helped her outline term papers, and then typed them so she could turn them in on time. Then I clung to that fact as some emblem of how great she was for DECADES. As late as January 2009 (D-Days 1 and 2) I told people she was really an amazing person and cited as evidence the fact that she’d done well on the PSAT . . . in 1982. Gah!!! Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid. Now I know why people looked at me so quizzically when I said that all those years.

    Shortly after D-day, when I was talking about all this with a friend and referenced my ex’s acccomplishments to incluse her National Merit status, she stopped me dead in my tracks by saying, “Yeah, well, so what? What has she DONE in the 30 years since then?” And in that moment I realized: not much. The bare minimum all virtually all aspect of her life, other than having affairs and maxing out her World of Warcraft characters. I often wonder why I couldn’t see this non-accomplishment for myself years earlier and saved myself a world of grief.

    • I can top that: STBX is a high earner but he kept losing contracts once they were up for renewal. I would re-do his CV, write his cover letters, make lists of people to contact, etc. and he’d get a new job. Now he has the balls to tell me that he ‘carried me for years’. That dumb fuck, he wouldn’t ahve gotten any job without me writing his bloody CV for him.

        • She can write all the words she wants–the reason I could write such great cover letters and such is that I had listened to him talk about himself and his work for so many years that I hardly had to ask for more than particular dates to write the stupid things. Yes, the man really did like to talk about himself. A LOT.

          • Sad fact- but Nord- this is actually funny! Gee maybe all of us chumps could write wonderful CV’s because you’re right: we chumps have our NPD SO’s image of themselves ingrained in our heads and brains all too well! Heck, we could all work in HR writing CVs for the NPD’s everywhere. TOO DAMN FUNNY!

            • Apparently there’s also actual research showing that NPDs do great in job interviews. You know, the calm confidence, the self-deprecating references to their amazing accomplishments, the sense that they’re special and YOU are special too because you GET them!
              But as mentioned, often that contract doesn’t get renewed ….
              My ex, smart as he is (who the heck has a Ph.D. in plasma physics? I don’t even know what that IS!), and as good as he is at the technical aspects of his work (moved into I T ’cause he ‘hated academia and the research world’ meaning he had screwed up too many times there) had, now that I stop and count, 6 periods of unemployment lasting at least 3 months each in the 13 years we were together. Now, some of that time he was doing contract work, but still …. He would be sure he was doing great at a job, then be laid off, or he’d be sure a contract would be renewed, but it wasn’t ….. People find that self-centered negativity annoying after a while, eh? He’s had a job that looks great for the past 2 years, but I see he’s sending out CVs again (using the ‘home’ e-mail we use to communicate about the kids – I guess to avoid using work e-mail for that). Always dissatisfied, and hasn’t yet figured out the common denominator.

              And now there’s isn’t me to step up and carry the bills while he’s not working …. I hope he’s more careful now, because he wanted the kids and I to stay in the family home (unclear why, although initially I think it was because he thought he was coming back. HAH!), and I can’t afford to pay for it alone!

  • My ex was “wonderful” all the way up to DDay (24 year marriage). Day 2 after DDay I found out he was cheating – he would only admit to it as an emotional relationship. He was gone in less that 3 weeks. I felt that this was something out of a Depression-era movie – husband runs out on family never to be seen again. But no it was now my life. He moved to an adjacent county so no one would see him & ask him the questions he didn’t want to here. Except for meeting with attorneys we have/had no contact.

    When I say “wonderful” he was just like my father: intelligent, patient, good to my friends & family, did volunteer work, gardened, could cook, traveled for work, was handy around the house, made a great salary, etc. He even opened my car door to get in every single time we went somewhere. Brought me coffee in bed every morning. I just loved him to death & was living the dream. My ex would call me several times a day from work just to chat. My biggest fear was that he’d die before me. Well, I ended up being the one who almost ended up dead – literally from 2 nervous breakdowns. The disbelief was disabling.

    By the time I found this site I was already divorced. My beliefs about cheating are re-enforced every time I come to this site. Like every one here we didn’t deserve what has happened to us. Although I didn’t find evidence of his cheating until much later, it still stung.

  • One theme that comes up a lot is folks saying, “Why did I put up with this?” “How did I get fooled?” I see this coming many times from women who got stuck with an N-man. I have some thoughts on this. I think our culture sets us up for these kinds of things. Here’s some suggested adjustments to radar:

    1. Hes perfect. Don Juan. The wedding was beautiful. Etc.

    Yes, he’s perfect, but if you question/go off the reservation in any way, he hits you with a flamethrower of anger. If this happens, this is bad. Real bad. The message is: You get this (seeming) perfection, but dare you venture off and…Whammo! The massive retaliation of the narcissist makes you want to get back to happy as fast as you can, to scurry back to that nice place. Don’t just accommodate this excessive anger. Ask yourself, what’s going on here? Why did I just get flamed? This should be a big warning sign, anger all out of proportion. Someone with that depth of anger is not OK. Moreover, Chumps (read: nice people) will also ask themselves, “Maybe I did something wrong?” If you are with a person who accepts some mutuality in a relationship, this is good. If you are with an N-person, then there is no mutuality, and your accepting a smidgen of responsibility is the hole in the line that they drive a Mack through, blaming you for everything. Time to “hit the silk” as pilots in WWII used to say…..

    2. With guys, watch “hobbyholism.” Guys like to be Geeks, doing things like collecting baseball cards and comic books. That’s OK. In fact, Geeks can make good partners. There are some guys who, when they tell you, I’m going to play “Axis and Allies” with my friends/I’m going to the comic book-stamp-coin convention, to the WWII re-enactment, they really are! But there’s also another kind of guy who is really a hobbyholic, someone who has an obsessive interest in something that puts everything else to the back seat. Beware!

    3. Kids. Some N-Men look like good fathers, particularly when the kids are little. They are very attentive, they enjoy the admiration and helplessness of small children, and they adore the seeming plasticity of little kids. You might think, “Larry can be a bastard, but he’s such a good father, so attentive to little Larry, Jr.” Be careful. N-men as fathers are really not looking to have CHILDREN. What they really want is a clone. For this reason, you will often see them cherry-pick among their own kids, usually picking out a favorite who is closest to them in gender, appearance, interests. Frequently, the N-Dad’s idea of spending time with his son (for example) is taking/teaching his son to do something Dad likes. Does Dad take spend time with his son during his son’s interests? If Dad played football and son plays the violin, does Dad go to the violin recital?

    Moreover, if you read up on the literature about children of narcissistic family systems, the reports are clear. The adult children recall being doted on as little kids, but once adolescence/individuation starts, the N-parents can’t handle it. In fact, I think many affairs take place just as the kids enter adolescence. The N-Man seeks that adoration that he once got from spouse (early on) and from a small child. Adolescents are challenging, and these dudes aren’t up to the challenge, so they look elsewhere for that admiring gaze…..

    4. In addition, if he’s difficult at home, he’s probably difficult at work. So, when you hear that his ex, his co-workers, his boss, his whatever are all “idiots,” beware. If he says of an old girlfriend, “Well, it didn’t work out. She was terrific, but we were too young,” that’s a good sign. If he trashes her…. Well, what does that say about his judgement?

    5. Finally, don’t fall for the uniqueness angle. “He’s unique, tragic, a victim, works so hard, does such fantastic things…” True N-men fall into very predictable, prescribed patterns, which is why CL is doing the world heroic service with this blog. In my life, I had experience with an N-father (I’m “Chump Son”) and observed another N-Man in a relationship I knew quite well. It amazed me that some of the lines these two N-men would use on their wives (“I’m the engine of this family;” “I’m nothing but a donkey” etc.) were almost word-for-word the same, though they two did not know each other and they were separated by generations. N-men are not interesting. They seek doe-eyed brides and wide-eyed little kids, and when the eyes of those people fill with something other than admiration (something like recognition), they seek out other admiring eyes. And they then denigrate what they leave behind.

    Sorry to make this N-man/nice-female oriented, but those are the cases with which I’ve had the most experience. It saddens me sometimes to read posts where folks are too tough on themselves, saying, “Why did I not see it?” You didn’t see it because you were a positive, hopeful and responsibility-assuming (“Maybe it’s my fault?”) person. Yes, your radar could have been better. But nothing about you was bad. You just got caught in a relationship that turned virtues (acceptance of mutuality, humility, a desire for peace) into vices.

    My two cents.

    • David, other things I could add to your list in terms of watching out for a narcissist partner. Some of these behaviours didn’t come out till about a year into the relationship. Others were apparent on the first date …

      6. If you constantly feel he is up to something, your gut is saying something is wrong — as in cheating, constantly looking at other women, communicating inappropriately with female coworkers, etc. — but he doesn’t do anything to reassure you, stop the behaviour, or quell your fears, and then blames you for being suspicious and calls you crazy and says you have “trust issues”, maybe he’s a narcissist.

      7. If most of the times you try to bring up a concern it turns into some crazy screaming fight that lasts several hours and you end up apologizing and wondering what the hell happened, maybe he’s a narcissist. They love drama and they hate to be exposed as having done anything wrong. Do this at your own risk. Expect bizarre shouting matches that make no sense at all. By the end you feel crazy and so just want it all to stop that you no longer care about that teensy, easily resolved concern you had originally hoped to discuss.

      8. If he has a million admirers and acquaintances and not a single close friend, maybe he’s a narcissist. I remember watching my STBX playing piano at a resort with about 75 people gathered around. It was so ridiculous. He was always on. The first up at karaoke, the true performer who loved the adulation. But he did not have a single real friend — no one he could call at 3 a.m, for help, no one he could talk to — at our wedding.

      9. If he has zero interest in reciprocating in bed despite demanding special treatment from you, and you KNOW he has a sexual appetite (one that he’s meeting elsewhere), but he avoids intimacy with you like the plague, maybe he’s a narcissist. Sex with my narcissist made me feel like a hooker or blowup doll. It was weird and one-sided. I understand this is a common experience. This was apparent from our first night together.

      10. If he lets you buy him a $600 camera for Christmas but doesn’t get you anything or even remember your birthday, maybe he’s a narcissist. My narcissist always needed the best of everything while I went without. We couldn’t go to a 4* hotel, it had to be a 5*. And when we were dead broke after buying a house and just paying $10,000 for a round of IVF, he used his overtime to buy himself a fancy tailored suit. (What a fucking douche!) He’d have major pity parties for himself, complaining that he never got to spend any of his money when we were so leveraged that everything had to go to debt (his doing). My my, did he feel sorry for himself.

      11. If he keeps secrets, excludes you, doesn’t let you come to work functions, tells you you’re crazy when you confront him, denies there’s anything going on at all, and denies that you’re even being excluded, maybe he’s a narcissist. They like to make you crazy. It means they win. And you’ll have to devote so much time to working on the relationship, and suffering the consequences of the constant stress, that you’ll eventually be isolated and depressed and your entire life will revolve around him. By then, you may be permanently trapped unless you have a good friend or family member to rescue you.

      12. If he shops for a Mercedes, despite $100,000 of consumer debt and a house he can’t afford the mortgage on, he’s probably a narcissist. This also goes for people with debt collectors on their asses despite six-figure jobs. Everything was always for show. He had zero concept of money. He wouldn’t pay his bills, even the ones he could afford.

      13. If he yells at waiters, hotel staff, parking garage attendants and other people in the service industry when his needs are not immediately accommodated, maybe he’s a narcissist.

      14. If his mom is a batshit crazy narcissist, he may be one too.

      15. If, at the very second his romantic antics melt your heart and you decide to give him another shot and, he suddenly decides he doesn’t want to give things another go after all, he may be a narcissist. He just enjoys the chase, winning is all the narcissist cares about. You probably noticed this throughout your relationship too. Did he say “I love you” freely when you did? Did he intentionally withhold affection he knew you’d wanted? Was he especially busy during times you needed him the most? Once you need him, it’s game over. You’re no longer interesting and there’s no more game. It’s all about games for the narcissist. There’s no logic, no reciprocity or love. It’s a game that will make you crazy.

    • David,

      Wow. Well my STBX definitely had #2… ugh, he expected me to just want to sit there and listen to him play guitar like forever. Which of course he only started to play in order to impress chicks. Um, how much am I supposed to sit there and admire your guitar playing and for how many years? And he would want to do it while hanging out with friends… kinda hard to talk to people when somebody is playing guitar 2 feet away. But yes, he wanted his audience. And they seemed much more into it than me, which would make me feel bad. But then they didn’t have to be there for every “performance”. And don’t get me started on how many guitars he needed/wanted to buy. Another hobby is soccer. Which even though he misses our kids SOOOO much, he can’t even skip a game on the weekends he has them. Or perhaps just join one of the 3 other leagues that are on different nights? ugh. He does not understand the concept of changing his schedule for them… everything still needs to revolve around his.

      I worry about #3. Just last night he texted me about our sons (it was his night with them), comparing them to himself. How our oldest has this trait of his and our youngest is just like him in these other ways. It was very annoying. I don’t know how he looks at them and only sees himself. I see THEM. I will have to be as vigilant as I can. It just pisses me off that now that I know who he is I have to worry about what this a-hole might do to our kids. Because I DO NOT want them to turn into him. And if he fucks with them anywhere near what he did to me…. grrrr… don’t know what I will do.

      • This is interesting. My husband says the same thing about our daughter. But I have never really minded, because she actually DOES look more like him than me (she is mixed race and I am a blondie). HOWEVER, what I do notice is that my MIL has done this FOREVER and she is a big fat does of NPD wrapped up in a little Korean body. She is constantly crowing over any of her children or grandchildren, and how much that quality is exactly like her. Unless she notices something she doesn’t like, then it’s the other parent’s trait. My husband always found this annoying, but now that my daughter and I are less a part of his life I see him doing this more. So weird!

    • You are so correct on so many points, but the one that stands out to me is the adoration stuff:

      STBX loved that I thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread, that I positively glowed when he was around…or even when I was talking about him. I loved HIM and that’s what was important. Then our relationship grew to include kids and adult sort of stuff and there were times when there was conflict and/or problems. This is when he wasn’t so keen.

      Same with the kids: loved when they were little but when they started to be actual seperate human beings with thoughts and ideas of their own he couldn’t deal with it. His mother is the same way with him: wants him to tow the line with her and fulfill her image of him.

      The funny thing is that as we grew together and I saw more of who he really was I would call him on it but I still loved him. I considered this part of a long relationship: you see flaws in the other person and you still love them, maybe love them more for seeing this and knowing that they’re still lovable. He saw flaws in me and the lack of perfection (how dare I!) as something horrible and awful and the fact that I no longer saw him as this perfect being was intolerable to him. So instead of having side peices here and there he found a new, young thing who thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and only sees perfection in him. She’s already spackling some of the uglier stuff and I have reached the point where I simply feel sorry for her, because she’s armed with much more info about him than I ever was but is under the N spell and won’t get out until it gets truly ugly.

      N’s are scary, scary people and it’s difficult as hell to detach from one because I think we still, deep down, sometimes believe their bullshit.

      • Nord:

        Look at the bright side, his need for a new young thing is going to be his downfall.

        Her sex drive is likely higher than his and she will get bored with sex with him and well……she already thinks it’s okay to cheat?

  • I really don’t have much to say except THANK YOU all from the bottom of what’s left of my heart. And Wobbly sucks. Just stopped reading to call a family member for support, then resumed and scrolling down further is helping. S in S…he told me it had been pretty much from DAY 1. That’s 12 years. WTF??? Why do we create this fantasy? Anyway..XO to you all, never looked forward to getting up and going to work in the AM so much in my life…

  • Dear Sad in Seattle,

    Those are all great additions. I agree with every single one. Particularly the drama-blowup part. In my role as Chump Son, I recall that one well from when I was a kid.

    I think the fear of intimacy is a critically great point you raise. There is a real fear, a real discomfort, in getting too close to anyone for the N-person.

    I’d also like to put in a plug for guys who are Geeks. I’ve noticed, for example, that Gamers are very friendly (as in board games, role playing). Of course, all groups have their problematic people, but I think that we are often too conditioned to respond to glitz/fancy schools/hotshot professions, and that we may miss the human components that are just going missing in some pretty or impressive-seeming people.

    In any case, don’t be sad in Seattle. You are empowering yourself and teaching countless others with an insightful and eloquent post. It’s good meeting you!

    • If anything, my STBX has single-handedly turned me off to hot shot professions. I now think the more successful the guy, the more suspicious I will be that he could a selfish, entitled narcissist.

      And I for one am totally looking for a nerd. I am a nerd myself. My friend told me I’m looking for a hot nerd… and that they would be very hard to find. Ah, well, can’t help it if I’m picky 🙂 She said I’m looking for Clark Kent. I was like, who wouldn’t go for Clark Kent? She said she’d be more into Superman. I get what she’s saying, though I don’t remember if Clark Kent had much of a sense of humor, did he? (I’m more of a Star Wars nerd than comic books). I need a sense of humor.

  • Yes. look beyond the superfical stuff, if you can. But, be aware that , in courtship, they wear masks very well. It can be very tough to discern.
    One reason to go slow on the sex deal is that once you’ve got those bonding chemicals flowing, it makes it even tougher to discern. No third date in and the sack deal, or you run some big risks.

  • CL,

    This good on paper stuff is why I can’t do the internet dating thing. I even tried for a month. Of course I am the opposite of good on paper right now… a 34 year old SEPARATED woman with two kids. I don’t even have a job I can talk about. Maybe I should have at least waited for the divorce papers (but I was looking for a “fun” distraction during the holidays). Or SAID I was divorced… stupid chump! 😉 I did get contacted, but yes, I found myself being extremely picky about superficial things (because that’s all you really have to go on) in a way that I don’t think I would be if I actually met these guys in real life. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready. Or maybe both.

  • Lots of good articles out there if you Google “divorcing a narcissist.”

    So proud of my CL mates!

    KEEEEEEEEEEEEP going! You can DO IT!

  • My computer was down and had to be repaired so I am catching up on your 4 part series this AM. They Look Good on Paper. My husband (before we were married) attended church services with me every Sunday even though I told him this was not neccesary and I would not respect him if this was a ploy. He convinced me it wasn’t. We moved right after we were married; he never went to church with me again.

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