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Dear Chump Lady, How come he waited 20 years to blow up my life?

Dear Chump Lady,

I know that my ex probably has NPD, but why didn’t I see any of this in over 27 years (believe me I’m not blaming myself, just inquisitive)? Like many of the chumps here, my ex turned on a dime into an evil warlock the moment I questioned him on suspecting an affair. The spewing of lies and rewriting of history — (I’ve previously mentioned that he yelled that he didn’t like crab cakes for Thanksgiving when he was the one who brought the meat home and made them)  — bewildered me into a state of shock that kept me disabled me for a long time. One time as I lay on the floor sobbing he stood over me and said that he couldn’t stand to see me like that. WTF! After Dday, he was gone in three weeks and filed two months later. I went no contact to save my sanity and pretty much never heard from him again. His family dropped me soon after I told them he had filed.

Why does it take these asshats 20-25 years to implode? Why didn’t he cheat 10-15 years ago (I know he didn’t)? How is it that they are able to keep their disorder under wraps for so long? Why do these men/women wait until we are at the point of seeing retirement on the horizon? Seeing the mortgage finally paid off?

Why is it that the comfort and history of a long, healthy life shared together gets tossed into the wind for the unknown? He didn’t have any childhood issues that I can think of, excelled at his career, and loved spending time with friends and family (although I wouldn’t say he had one really close male friend). I also had no idea that his family would also drop of the radar screen.


Dear Hurt1,

How long was his affair? If he was cheating, you caught him, and he walked out and filed? I would guess that he had an exit affair. Obviously a shattering experience, but he was at least definitive about it. Doesn’t sound like he pleaded for more cake, or mindfucked you into a false reconciliation. I don’t mean this in the “Thank God for small mercies, count your blessings” sense, but more as a diagnostic to figure out what kind of cheater he is. IMO, the toxic NPDs live their lives to maximize kibbles. That’s why cake is so very wonderful — the marriage AND the screwing around. And the manipulation to “win” you back, or bully you into staying, is all part of the fun for them. They dig the game playing, just not the consequences.

What you’re describing is someone who probably checked out at some point, didn’t tell you — or tell you vociferously enough — trumped up his charges against you in his head — and gutlessly ended the marriage by detonating it with an affair. A passive aggressive, shitty person, but not necessarily an NPD.

I’m only surmising here, but if you could be sincerely happy with him for 27 years and he displayed empathy and compassion and good humor for many years, I doubt he’s a narcissist in the true sense. Cheating IS a narcissistic act, IMO. It’s rooted in narcissism — giving yourself person to do selfish, destructive acts for your own gain. But just cheating doesn’t make someone an NPD.

NPDs don’t keep their “disorder under wraps.” Oh no, it’s out there waving its freak flag every day. It’s just that we chumps spackle and excuse, devalue ourselves, and have our minds colonized into believing yes, they really are more deserving. Yes, they’re smarter/prettier/more clever than me. We don’t question the lopsided nature of these relationships, and we take sparkles and starvation rations of kibbles from them instead of healthy mutuality and respect. We crave their approval. Gosh, if we just try harder, maybe we’ll get better than a C+ this time! Oh, the NPD is there, it’s just that we’re such experts in accommodating it, that we act blind.

So either one of two things is happening. Either, you were living with an actual NPD and you were just too chumpy to clue in, OR you were living with a guy who was a pretty good guy (albeit passive aggressive, I’m guessing), and he gutlessly ended your marriage with an affair. NPDs have zero empathy. So when he saw you crying and said HE couldn’t stand to see you like that? Selfish. Stupid. But implicit in that is the message that your grief upsets him.

An NPD? They stand over the carnage, shrug, and while you lay prostrate sobbing, they say: “Gosh, I feel like a Hot Pocket…Yumm.” Then they step over you, microwave a snack, and then go sleep the quiet, restful sleep of the sociopath.

So look back on your long marriage — how long was he indifferent to you? Friendless? Selfish? Blame shifting? Always? Or just since the affair?

And Hurt1, does it matter? Do you feel like if you gave him the NPD stamp you could say — Oh thank God he’s not fixable, because otherwise this thing stood a chance… and I blew it? Because we don’t control other people (well, especially NPDs..) He wasn’t a good partner for you because whatever his malady, he was capable of disconnecting from you and betraying. Whatever his “unhappiness,” he didn’t speak up! He just walked! And his family suck too — but that’s usually the way it is in divorce. Blood is thicker than water, and it’s all very awkward, and so they circle the wagons and don’t reach out. If he’s truly a personality disorder? He’s been maligning you for years as well, telling them it’s All Your Fault, and that’s also why they’re quiet. Ooh… don’t touch the Crazy Ex-wife!

It’s totally UNJUST, whatever name we give his narcissism. Asking why he did what he did, when he did is just another way of untangling the skein of fuckupedness. He’s fucked up. That’s all you need to know. The GOOD NEWS is now you’re free of him and his crab-cake hating ways. Paid off mortgages aren’t everything. A new life is worth a LOT. Make it a good one.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Same sentiment here. Half of my life was devoted to building a life with STBX, and in an instant it was GONE. I would have rather known about the cheating when it started (halfway into out relationship – I think – and at this point I don’t care to know if he was cheating all along) and ended the marriage then…but then, he wouldn’t have had his cake.

    How come he waited? Because it suited him. Because he felt like it. Because lying and keeping the peace was best for him. Because he didn’t was anyone to know who he really was. Because he COULD.

    We here at Chump Lady deserve, and can do, much better.

    • that’s exactly right. Mine meets the criteria for passive-aggressive personality disorder to a T. He just wants “peace” but also doesn’t care what he’s done to me.

      anyway, I don’t care what we call it.

      its just fucked up, that’s all.


      fucked up personality disorder.

      • I’ll run with that one 🙂 FUPD 🙂 Mine wasted 30 years of my life. She wanted a meal ticket to be a stay at home mom raising our two girls. 2 weeks after the youngest started college she bolted. I later found she was having an affair for at least 2 years and probably the whole marriage. My gut knew she had checked out right after the vowes were given. She is the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. I am a proud Chump in this chump nation.

      • Mine too Linda he’s a passive aggressive, from a very fucked up toxic family and all the red flags were there but I chose to ignore!

    • Mine waited 25. His reason, saying it in a mechanical dead voice, with suddenly dead cold eyes (we’re they always like that, why didn’t I see those chilling eyes before?)–“because I always thought we’d be together”… Non-personality ordered translation-“I never thought I’d get caught”

      • Exactly Kelli mine was so ashamed he couldn’t even look me in the eyes he stared at the ground I’m just glad to be rid of the toxicity he is from such a NEGATIVE family!

  • CL does it again. She is the Ninja Master of Blunt Trauma Therapy (BTT).

    And I mean that as a compliment.

    We chumps tend to turn these things over in our mind, trying to figure it all out. Why? We want to believe, deep down, that other folks were all right. Many times, we are more comfortable finding fault with ourselves than with others (or in recognizing the limits of our ability to do good). The enables the “mind colonization” that CL describes in her reply.

    From your note, maybe he was NPD. Maybe not. Either way, he didn’t value what you had nor did he communicate that. I tend to think that CL’s speculation — that he was kind of cowardly, was unhappy, and then used the affair as an escape detonator — might be right. But either way, the dork is gone and you are a nice person, free of him, a person capable of reflection and self-improvement, and you have a lot to offer. So, it’s time to focus on doing much better/on finding another nice person (and filtering out the bad ones) and getting the relationship you deserve. Onward and upward!

    Now, I have to say, I should talk. My last post (in the previous thread) has me wondering about a former friend of mine, one who went from friend to horrible narcissist. What went wrong? When did it go wrong? Was he always off? I guess we will ask these questions, but we should do it more scientifically. In the main, the challenge for chumps is movement onward. That’s the best fulfillment or, if you want it, retribution.

    I think this story falls into the category of the “surprise abandonment,” which probably reflects the gutless-person that CL describes. Well, time to move on. You will do well!

    • I found this particular entry last night and it resonates so well . I have read about all the rage, abuse etc ; the pick me dance, terrible things people experienced and my situation didn’t quite fit. That is not to say that I am not traumatised and in shock, have experienced profound grief. etc.
      I saw a counsellor today, a new one, who said it sounded like my STBX is a passive narcissist, and definiely avoidant. He has all the behaviours discussed in this post. Lacking in courage, lying by omission, sneaky, entitled, self absorbed, unreliable, focussed away from us and on his work, shallow, easily flattered. …You probably wonder why I was married for 29 years before I discovered the affair. He had many good qualities also. But the sudden rush to exit the family knocked the wind out of my sails and left everyone around me in shock.

      I have since read articles that suggest you look back and see that the behaviours were there, and of course they were.

      I asked my counsellor if somewhere in there he could still love me, as I can’t understand how you can turn off like that. However apparently people like this don’t ever fully love and can shift their allegiances quite easily. Shocking, hurtful. But facing that does help to accept it in my head and eventually as I often read here; the heart will catch up.

      One reason I am writting here, is to see whether anyone on this post has moved along, reached meh and could share that.

      We all need hope.

  • It’s difficult to not try and figure it out. I was with STBX for 20 years and it turns out he was cheating for much of that time, yet says he loves final OW. So was it an eit affair? Did the rest not matter in his mind? Does it matter?

    At this point, yes, I’m pissed he wasted all those years of my life but there’s nothing I can do about it other than move on and build a great life. OW has a used up older guy whose wandering dong has been seen by far too many women. Be grateful you’re free and you don’t have to worry about tis nonsense ever again.

    • Exactly Nord mine had his first affair in the dirt bag motel down the street from my kids elementary school and never even used protection. He was gone four long cold nights, two kids crying I’m scared to death and this woman was running from a drug problem!????

  • Some people look at retirement approaching and say, “ahhh, all my hard work is finally paying off.”
    Some people look at retirement at and, “no! I’m still young!”

    Sometimes this means buying a new, flashy car (harmless it you can afford it). Sometimes it means going to the gym or saloon to improve their look (good for you). Sometimes it means dumping the spouse they got old with to prove they can get someone younger who will make them feel younger (I shouldn’t have to tell anyone this is bad).

    • STBX told me that I had been a part of his whole adult life and every memory he had was connected with me.

      And now he wanted to live a different way, which seems to be re-living his 20s with a 20 something girl and all her 20 something friends, most of whom are just out of university. I can’t imagine that being fun for long but pffft…he’s the one who has to be older guy at all their parties. 🙂

    • Green Girl makes a great point. But there’s also another way to look at it, a way that chumps can borrow and use for themselves. They deserve this!

      Some folks wind up on the chump side of a broken marriage. When that happens, they can say, “Hey, I’ve got my life back. I’m done with someone who didn’t appreciate me/couldn’t communicate with me/didn’t have the guts/decency to warn me what was happening/was deceiving me. Now I can go out and [in CL’s words] start to be awesome.”

      Chumps were being exploited by their former partner. Now they are free of that dead weight. They will do well, will soar. Try new things. Meet new people. Take up painting. Blog. There’s a bunch of great stuff out there.

      • You got that right! I’m so grateful to have a second chance in life! I get a do-over. Yes, I’ve had to go through Hell to obtain it, but I have it now. No more wasting my life & my energy trying to keep my dead marriage alive. I can again live fully and be the positive member of society I was meant to be.

    • funny, when I hang with my girl friends who are all older than I am, it makes me feel younger. but then… I’m not having sex with them, nor am I putting my entire identity into being able to get a hard on.

      • I have friends of lots of different ages but can’t think of any in their 20s. Oddly, though, I was at a wedding last summer and was talking to a group of girls who were all the same age as OW. We were all drunk and somehow got to talking about why I was getting divorced. When I told them they were all shrieky girly, saying ‘ewwww…’. And the thing is they were nice girls but SO YOUNG and so at a different place in life. I can’t imagine hanging with that full time. Even their boyfriends, who were young and cute, were still just way too young.

  • 23 yrs married, wasn’t a great marriage but chump that I am I believe in for better or worse. I thought we shared the same goals and after all these yrs of hard work we were about to reap some rewards. My sister says that he got to this point that he thought would make him happy and guess what it didn’t. Why isn’t he happy well it must be his loyal loving wife’s fault! Except in my case he says he loves me, doesn’t want to work on it but doesn’t take the next step. I still don’t want to be the one to do this (the divorce)at least not yet. Damn he asked for the divorce now go and do the work!

    • Sounds like my husband of 17 years. He first cheated 3 years ago (a warning shot, he called it) and started another affair last year because he just wasn’t happy and “our marriage is boring.” He moved out in January after I busted my chump ass to make him happy for nearly a year and is still with his “everything.” In February he informed me he had moved on and I should too. It’s April and he has yet to file for divorce.

      I agree that he should do the filing. I am too busy taking care of two kids, two dogs, a cat, everything in the house, working two jobs, and pinching pennies so he can live in his three bedroom townhouse (where the kids have never stayed). I don’t have a minute or the extra cash to file for the divorce he so desperately wants.

  • Hurt1, I’m sorry you went through that. I too was blindsided by a spineless coward after being married 17+ years and knowing him for over 30. Mine also changed into someone I no longer recognized. What I have come to realize is these people are truly gutless. They lack character and integrity. Not only him but the married OW he took up with. Talk about a dog turd (without any sprinkles). But the best revenge is to succeed, and live a good life. I’m slowly getting to meh and am realizing that life is good.

    I would rather be alone than with someone I have to respect for. There are so many good people that have been through the same thing we have. Real men who don’t run away and abandoned their family because they didn’t have the balls to have conversation about any “unhappiness” they were feeling. Funny thing is that no matter where he goes and who he’s with, there he is. He is the problem. Not you. These people are incapable of being happy because they lack inner peace. They will do it again to someone else when they realize they are still not “happy”. Pathetic really.

    But be glad you are rid of him. He doesn’t deserve you. He deserves the nasty skank he hooked up. They are exactly alike and in time will realize how bad they really screwed up. But by then, you’ll no longer give a shit. You will be living your awesome life without toxic waste (both he and his family). Good riddance. In his quest for “happiness” he has set you free. It feels good!

    • Your “ex” must have a doppleganger somewhere because he sounds exactly like my “ex-husband”. This sorry piece of shit had an affair with a married woman who has 4 sons. Her husband divorced her rotten ass and she had to get a “real job” to support herself. (she was her ex-husband’s office manager at the company he founded). She tried to convince my ex that they should move in together and later on “walk down the aisle”. Needless to say, my ex-husband dumped her immediately after her divorce was finalized and “took up” with a new and younger “side piece”. I am thoroughly convinced that people like our “ex-husbands” definitely have personality disorders, and we’re blessed to finally be rid of them.

    • You and me both Disappointed I would so rather be alone than with a lying, cheating POS! Funny thing my dad WARNED me about a week before the wedding! I quote, “Carol don’t marry this guy unless you can afford the divorce”, lol! I’m so eating those words 25 years later

  • “Real men who don’t run away and abandoned their family because they didn’t have the balls to have conversation about any “unhappiness” they were feeling.”

    I hear ya honey. After I found the cyber sex in 2006, I did have several of these convos with him. I initiated all of them because I was absolutely miserable. A man who loved me would WANT me to be happy, no? although he believes that HE is incapable of this. (he says) Who cares? I would pour my heart out to him, my most intimate and vulnerable feelings and thoughts and he just sat there… MUTE.

    It was his chance to come clean. Oh, he had so many chances. so, so many chances… how can a person be so completely devoid of a spine?

    He has told me since that he thought it was ALL hopeless. WHAT was hopeless??? I told him its only hopeless when you are dead.

    actually, I’m beginning to realize that he IS dead…the living dead. brainless, soulless, loveless, negative, passive, hateful man. Really sad. He was my prince who turned into a frog!

    • There were times when I wasn’t very happy and I tried to talk to him but he always blew it off or made assurances of various kinds, which kept me calm and spackling away.

      Even in the weeks leading up to the mother of all ddays I sensed something was up and kept asking what was going on. Nope. Nothing. So he had every opportunity to speak his mind but chose not to. Instead, over the years, happy or not (and he admitted that some flings happened when he was perfectly happy at home) he cheated.

      You can’t work with someone who won’t actually talk to you.

    • Laurel,

      His hopelessness was the worst. No matter what I did to shore him up and be supportive is just never ended. I am learning so much about myself, and I know I became a pretty bad partner , because I just gave up trying to reach him. I was the happiest upbeat person…always, then I became more and more like him. He became very flagrant in his cheating when I started to disconnect. I know he wanted me to fight for him, and I think he was really shocked that I didn’t. I watched the whole thing come to a head with a kind of horrified fascination, knowing if I tried to stop the decline I would be killing myself in the bargain. It was crazy. I don’t think I even looked him in the eye for the last year…there was nothing there….

      Mine wouldn’t talk either, and in the end, when he was caught red handed more than once, all he said was that sex never meant anything to him, and he had never really felt “satisfied” with anything in his life. I believe him, I’ve watched him for years and started to suspect a long time ago that there was more to it than being quiet. I’m so very sad and it’s hard to get out of bed everyday, or get back my spark, but with all the reading and reading and reading I’ve been doing I’m finally coming to the conclusion that even though I always sensed this about him…and I feel sorry for him, I can’t fix him, and he can’t help that he has nothing inside of him resembling any kind of Human feelings. The rages were scary, that’s why I never pushed it…I’m hoping that facing it in my mind finally and accepting this helps to let go…It’s really quite scary. My God are we all crazy?

    • I will tell you mine also was a spineless coward but his father is also a spineless coward therefore I know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! The POS even abandoned our beautiful dog for the other woman, I have him!

  • Oh, and the inlays? Mine, who kept telling me after dday that I was family, a daughter, blah blah blah, ditched me as soon as they realised it was going to be divorce.. It’s like 20 years of history mattered naught. And it didn’t…not to them, not to STBX. Only one SIL kept in touch but I have backed away simply because I dont want to hear about him at all.

      • haha! I love “inlays!” perfect! But, all is exactly the same with me! I would ask my h point blank what was going on and he’d mock me or just shut down completely.

        After my big d-day in august 2011, his sister very kindly told me that I could “talk to her anytime.” (I did have the presence of mind to not do that, however) my MIL passed away six months later and I couldn’t make it to the funeral which I understood, but also wasn’t allowed to come to her unveiling six months after that.
        but… you see… my h and I were SUPPOSED to be friends and my sister in law had INVITED me, and then she uninvited me. Nothing had happened, other than she spoke to her brother who was “uncomfortable.”

        dumb shit. isn’t he uncomfortable whether I’m there or not? But that isn’t the point. It was a good way for him to stick it to me again, in passive-aggressive fashion.

        That was when I knew that I had to be outta there.

    • Agreed Nord I found that with divorce most of the time the inlaws are toxic as well I just wrote mine off altogether

  • Hurt1,
    I think most folks here know how you feel. We try to understand, what happened to the person that I loved and cared for? How can they say such awful things to justify their actions? How can the person we love truly be so selfish, lazy, and cowardly?

    And I am totally with you on the why not sooner part. In my case, I confronted my ex about a possible affair (17 years ago!), we went to counseling, etc. Ex denied it was an affair, just infatuation. Chump that I am, I believed it. We’d only been married 2 years at that point. 6-8 months of therapy, along came child #1. Life rolled on.

    Them boom, over. Now, all these years later. I thought ex was honest in therapy, so I actually thought we were safe. We had gotten important skills in therapy, so ex would bring up issues before they festered. But, no. Divorce. and as you say, it could have happened when I was younger… And to make me feel even better, yes, turns out, another AP at the end, younger than I am.

    I spent a lot of time still grasping, trying to still see the good in my ex, for the sake of the kids. And dealing with the feeling of regret. Turns out, since ex never admitted that old affair, I never truly had the opportunity to work on my marriage.

    But, I have finally accepted it. That person, the person I fell in love with, is truly gone.
    Ex is actually a lying, lazy, selfish coward. Ex never understood, life takes WORK. It’s not “happily ever after”. And true love isn’t about yourself, it’s caring for otbers.

    The entire siutation makes my heart ache for the kids.

    So, chin up, for you and the rest of us. We all know we are not perfect. But we know marriage is about commitment, and we held up our end of the bargain.
    And knowing that will make things easier in the end.

    Best to you.

    • I agree with most of what you said but I would like to say ‘effort’ rather than ‘work’. Because making an effort should be a good thing and a positive thing and should be done willingly.

    • Agreed but the problem is in 2018 morals and commitment are gone! My ex husband was working as a mechanic with all divorced men, liars, cheaters, dopeheads and alcoholics and if your y are so insecure about yourself you look up to these types then the marriage is doomed! These types of men and women never matured!

    • Wow! I never dreamed there could be so many people who have lived my story.

      I have no idea when he “split” but I’m finding out more and more that was happening behind the scenes. To my knowledge, I was married to a sincere Christian man. I had a career early in our marriage but after adopting 2 special needs foster children, we decided I would quit and homeschool our children. I became pregnant soon after that (after trying for 12 years) and thought I was living the dream. I had everything I always wanted. I was still homeschooling my younges, our birth child, when “it” happened. I believe something inside of him broke and he could not be the exemplary Christian husband any more. Without a warning, I was blindsided to find out that I was married to a man I never knew. Over the next several months, as I tried EVERYTHING to save my marriage, he decided to show me part of the ugliness he actually was. We had been married 27 years and as we approached our 28th anniversary, I had had enough. I kicked him out. After he packed to leave, we held each other and sobbed. I could not understand how he could be the monster I had seen him become.

      He moved away several months later into his new girlfriend’s house and filed for divorce. I accepted that he had found someone else and had fallen in love again.

      Fast forward 6 years, she called me in tears. She found that he had been cheating on her. She began to dig into his life and found a whole other side of him. He had girlfriends all over the country. He had a “special” one that he traveled with. He was traveling for work for years, and apparently much of it was with this woman. But this was not a love connection; it was a deviant sexual partner with whom he went to sex clubs to watch and participate in every type of deviant sexual behavior there is. How do I know this? Out of the blue, this woman calls my ex’s girlfriend that I knew about, and spills everything, or almost everything. She’s on her deathbed, dying of cancer and something else she would not reveal. Girlfriend and I have now become friends. She was lied to as much as I was, not as long but still enough to hurt and mourn. She told me everything she knows.

      I am once again blown away.

      Apparently he is now moving again. He has nothing in terms of possessions. He left everything except his tools. He makes about 5 times what I make and is wanting to take away my alimony. Because he has nothing. He has to rent a furnished room at 53.

      For a long time I mourned for my marriage. Now I thank God every day that I don’t have to deal with the deviant narcissist he is. I wish I had seen it sooner. But I cannot look back now as what I thought I had was all in my head. It was never real.

  • I am new to the site. I am not yet hip to the acronyms. Is there an index or definitions section.
    But now I am hip to my dirt ball husband’s narcissim. After 30 years, he is just not happy with me.
    He blames me for everything. What a self centered jerk. I guess I am just realizing that I been had.
    Yes, magic, another woman. I now think he has been living a double life. With lots of other women.
    Wait till his new woman or women lives with this self centered middle aged needy hypochondriac.
    Now, I am going to walk away with my head held high and move forward.
    Our 26 year old daughter is so creeped out by her dad.
    BTW, I made alot of $ as a corporate attorney, while his career was mediocre.
    Can hardly wait for his whinig during the divorce.
    What is npd?

    • OMGOMG…I have been reading up on this stuff for almost 2 months Bostonrisher..but never even looked at Wiki..Thank you, this should be added to the forums ….

  • Your husband/wife can be self absorbed, no matter how successful your career may be.
    I am in a better place than most wives. But it still hurts.
    I thought we were a team. Not so much. He is his own team.
    Sometimes, it is difficult to understand how a husband can turn his back on 30 years.
    He said he was not happy in the marriage. You could have fooled me and everyone else around us.
    I guess one of my miscalculations was listening to his critique of the marriage.
    None of us will ever understand the justifications of a self absorbed cheater.
    So, do not listen to them.
    Hurt1, take care of yourself and relegate him to the dust bin.
    So, Hurt1 take care of yourself and move on.

    • Welcome Boston, be careful in divorce – my ex husband tried to get alimony from me, we have no children but you know he had mental health issues…

    • Welcome Boston! Great site! wonderful people here!

      My h said that “marriage didn’t turn out the way he expected.” My answer?

      “I’m not marriage. I’m Laurel and I’m a person!”

  • Yes, it would seem that if he was truly NPD, there would never have been 27 years of a good marriage. These folks are monsters and one could never have contained himself that long.
    I wonder if, when you get more distance from this, you may recall other events similar to the crab cake deal, which would indicate some form of a personality disorder.
    Once I got out, things came back to me that I had repressed or something.
    But, in no way, prior to my discovery of the cheating, was I in ahappy, healthy marrige. I was walking in a minefield, daily, for years.
    Many of these cheaters are either personality disordered or major conflict/passive aggressive type, which is , itself, hell to deal with.

    • I had several “crab cake” type incidents myself…then the craziness and rage would go away and there was “my Love” again…..What I can’t figure out is why even though I know this, and I mean some REALLY bad stuff happened I still miss the bastard? AAAAHHHHH!!!

    • How about after 50 years you ask her to attend a cardiac resesation course with you as you are now on nitro, And my loving wife answers, ” I just am not into that kind of stuff” It is a lot different n ow as I have turned off and am just waiting my time!

    • Bingo I know exactly and mine would turn on a dime especially after a night of heavy drinking he loves his rye

  • The mystery of family abandonment, sudden family abandonment after decades, is truly interesting I’m very attached to my children, so this is hard to fathom. But it does take place, and the folks who do it have earned counter-abandonment (which is to say “moving on” from the spouse/kids that they have left behind).

    Maybe we can figure this out as we all converse on this. CL has created a great data base on relationships!

  • By the above, I mean to say that chumps abandoned with kids should feel free to move on to the awesome post-separation life that CL recommends. They deserve it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life gets better after the uncommitted leave. At least that’s what I’ve seen.

  • When it comes to NPD, CL nails it:

    “An NPD? They stand over the carnage, shrug, and while you lay prostrate sobbing, they say: “Gosh, I feel like a Hot Pocket…Yumm.” Then they step over you, microwave a snack, and then go sleep the quiet, restful sleep of the sociopath.”

    Laughed and cried a little on that one. The Walking Dead do exist – and they are not zombies.

  • My ex isn’t, as far as I can tell, NPD, but he is seriously passive aggressive. He acts like things are great. Never has a complaint. He says things are great. But when he’s caught doing something he shouldn’t have done and he can’t explain it away and appease your concerns, suddenly, it’s your fault he screwed up. I went from being the love of his life to the horrid wife who caused him to cheat in less than five minutes, literally.

    It feels like emotional whiplash. It IS emotional whiplash.

    • Yep, been there. Everything great until they get caught out and then we are the devil incarnate. If I ever encounter a blame shifter again I won’t even argue. I will simply walk away and never look back.

  • I really like CL’s idea about “untangling the skein of fuckedupedness.” It’s natural and normal to want to know, “What happened?” or “Why?” But really the main thing that we can know is ourselves. Likely those who were chumped were people-pleasers, natural peace-seekers, and optimists about human nature. We don’t want to abandon all that, but it’s probably necessary to trim it back and develop better narcissism-radar. All that is worth discussing/thinking about. At the same time, a chump can waste too much time trying to figure out a narc. How could they leave 25 years and their kids behind? I guess this reminds me of the story of the scorpion and the frog. A fire is approaching and the scorpion convinces the frog to take him across the river to safety. The frog makes the scorpion promise not to sting him. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog says, “You idiot. Now we will both die. Why did you do that?”

    “It’s my nature,” said the scorpion.

    I guess there are people like that. They live in the present. They invest a lot in fantasies. In their minds, the universe revolves around them. They fear mortality a great deal and reach out for any Fountain of Youth. They might be mean, putting on a great “game face” to the world. Or they might be very passive and never want to rock the boat (only rocking it suddenly when they leave). But they are, in the end, out for themselves. And, in the end, we are better off without them.

    In any case, those are some thoughts that I offer. Not as a particular reply to the above, but just as a general reflection on this great website, created by CL.

    • Love that tale, I use it when explaining NPD and sociopathy to my students (college teacher). The story exists in many languages and cultures, sometimes a snake, sometimes a fire or a mountain range instead of a river ….

      But the best last line is ‘You knew what I was when you picked me up.’

      Well, most of us didn’t know, but now we do. They are a whole different kind of person, and we have to learn to recognize them, and NEVER EVER pick them up. No matter how caring WE are, these are not people we should care for or about.

      Working towards ‘meh’!

  • Sorry, mistake in the above. It should say “That might mean” where I wrote “They might mean.”

    Got to check more before I post!

    Chump Son

  • Hmm…just spent the afternoon with a very good friend whom I’ve known for eons. I saw her through a divorce (non-cheating) a number of years ago and she, in turn, has been a great support.

    She said to me ‘stop looking at this being about how many years you’ve wasted on someone who didn’t deserve it. Start looking at it as being now you’re free of him and you’ve got all these years left to create your new life. Your time with him will become a chapter – a long chapter – but still a chapter in your life.’

    I adore my friend. She always says the right thing and her words are spot on. I refuse to any longer look at what he took away and instead look at what I’ve got, mainly me and I’m actually pretty awesome most of the time. And every day that he’s been gone I get better and better.

    • Nord,

      totally agree! We can’t keep looking back, gotta move forward into a better life! It’s important to not rush things and spend some time grieving, learning, etc., but we can’t get stuck there.

      It’s hard for me too sometimes. Sometimes it can still feel completely unfair… but even in my worst mood, when I feel the most like my situation is unfair, I’m still much happier in my current (alone) situation than I was for many many years with him. And I did also grow as a result of dealing with this crap… I feel like I am a better, stronger person now. And I also know I wasn’t so bad beforehand either… that was just the way he made me feel.

      So, yep, every day I get stronger and better as well!

      • Let’s not lament the “lost years.”

        We are not “years-counters.” That’s what folks with NPD do. They count the years, get nervous, and then run off with someone in the hopes of re-acquiring their youth.

        Yes, we got hit hard, as chump spouses or as chump sons. But we also had some good times, and we learned a great deal that we can share with others. And we can be part of something bigger, part of a counter-narcissism counter-culture that will stand up and say, “Stop!” “Be honest.” “Be transparent!” Look at CL! She got chumped over, but the chumped-over experience created this website. I’m not saying that everything turns out as it should. But creative, smart, energetic people can take adversity and turn it into something good. So, resilience is key, and we can do it.

        The chumps who write here are not chumps. They are champs. And I admire them for that. Go out and make a great life!

        Chump Son.

        • I agree, DAvid. My many years with STBX were not all bad and although I didn’t know about the serial cheating we had good times and now that’s over and it’s time to make the future fantastic.

          Here’s the thing: I’ve learned a lot from this and many of those lessons have been beyond painful but I’ve gotten through them and as I move forward I’m more sure and strong than I’ve been in years. I am divesting myself of some of my patterns and habits that haven’t done me in good stead, and I’m building up the stuff that works.

          I wish I could not give a shit if STBX has learned from this or not but unfortunately he still impacts my life and very much impacts my kid’s lives so him basically being the same twatface he’s always been means that while I’m growing and moving forward he’s stayed the same, and that is not great for my kids, although they’re learning.

      • Omg agreed Erica the grieving is huge I have spent a year already, he on the other hand just bulldozed through onto the next affair typical narcissist!

  • I used to be angry about losing the years also. But as I heal, I see it in a different light.

    Those years were good when I was living them. He can’t take that from me. I feel good about who I was, and my part in those years. He can’t take that away from me. I was THERE, fully invested, healthy, and I don’t have any regrets. They were good years when I was living them, and his actions don’t change that.

    I did the absolute best I could do with the knowledge and understanding I had. I am not ashamed that I loved and trusted him. If he didn’t deserve it, that’s on him. I was acting in good faith.

    I think that the good years were really good. I think he got lost and made a seriously bad detour. But that doesn’t change all the good that came before. I am sad that he couldn’t be man enough, courageous enough, to just accept responsibility for his crappy choices and try to fix the mess he made.

    • Carol,

      I think that the good years were really good. I think he got lost and made a seriously bad detour

      That’s where I want to be……I can barely wait to get there.

      • I was just talking to someone yesterday about this very thing. How I regret all of the time that I could have been “7 years ahead” had I just recognized the problem for what it was, when it began. But, it doesn’t get me anywhere but depressed. I liked Traci’s blog post on “Get a Life”. Letting go of all of it, keeping an eye or an ear on him, what he’s doing (his fabulously fabulous life without me, yeah, the one that we could have had but didn’t….oh yeah….that’s right….because he was interested only in his own selfish desires and couldn’t see my needs)

        Although these things are learning experiences—I really, really wish that they didn’t have to be so……painful.

        • Yes, but the thing to remember is that we are healing and growing and learning….they most likely are not. They are carrying on with their disordered ways and will most likely destroy more lives as they move along.

          The way I see it I can only learn and get stronger and protect my kids from my disordered STBX. He has shown already that not one thing has changed: he still lies, he still gets enraged when his lies are exposed, he still runs to the easiest place and to those who enable him. He’s not healthy and I doubt he ever will be. The only thing I can do is stay away from him and just get on with my life.

          I feel sorry for anyone who has him fulltime in their lives.

          • Well, I sure as hell don’t feel sorry for the OW who has him full time. She chose the circumstances. They’re both fucked up.

    • Carol,
      You speak for me so eloquently. I couldn’t have expressed it better myself. What an awesome site this be amongst folks that have lived this and truly empathize with the issues, the aftermath, and the recovery.
      I love the attitude that irrespective of the number of years that have passed, they don’t define your future. I love how you’ve put your history in proper perspective. This is an awesome way of clearly remembering your past, appreciating it, and allowing him to stand in the mire that he has chosen. Althewhile, you still have choice. The choice to continue your life and now with clarity, authenticity, love, and peace.
      We’ve all come a long way…for me it’s been four years since he left. Married 24…took a long time to get through an insane divorce…turned so evil and nasty. Truly completely changed into someone that I didn’t know. Once I stood up to him, he became enraged. As long as I appeased him and played nice, he was civil but selfish. All the classic signs – and he couldn’t give her up…they’re still together. Both of the same cloth…luckily they have each other because once they’re back in a dating scene and they start discussing why they ended their marriages, the dating resume won’t be too impressive!!!
      As for me…just living it day to day now. Waiting for the right opportunity to meet someone new but I’ve got some clear lenses now. There are a lot of wounded bears out there…but who doesn’t have baggage and history…at this age, if you don’t, one has to wonder what you’ve been avoiding all these years.

  • Hmmm. Interesting about the exit affair idea. I’m just wondering if it really IS NPD–because narcissists hate nothing more than exposure, right?

    Mine threatened to poison me, and then once he said something vague about “I wonder if anybody would hear a gunshot over the fireworks?” (it was 4th of July)—he never openly threatened me, but he’d say these oblique things that made me feel crazy when I’d say them to someone out loud.

    But when I finally did just start telling everyone everything, all the time—he backed off significantly—retreated to his office for hours on end—and then I threw him out for hitting our new puppy with the leash (all of 3 months old) for not “heeling” properly. Granted, it was a small thing, but indicative of the underlying issue.

    Do you think perhaps you were of use to him the whole time, and for some reason (the affair being exposed, as opposed to the affair going on unbeknownst to you)—some catalyst made him crawl back under the rock from which he came? Mine liked my money and the financial security we had, but when his socially unacceptable behavior became known (whether or not anybody believed me, he couldn’t take that chance)—he chose divorce rather than face up to anything.

    • I think you’re on to something. There were little things, little signs along the way but basically I was a good wife, a good partner, someone whom people liked and he felt proud of and who made him look good, along with being his biggest support.

      Then I needed to figure out my life and find things for myself. So his many affairs suddenly became more frantic and he ‘fell in love’ with one of them, who makes her whole life about him. He found a new source and my exposure of the affairs when I found out made him hate me. It didn’t make him feel badly or contrite, it simply made him hate me and be full of rage.

      • Nord,

        Yes! The whole “made me look good” thing…he used to say that. He even had a list—“The 10 things Required to Be with Phil”. (true story) It ranged from being able to hold my own at a party without his “help” to “makes me look good -attractive” and “digs Phil”. He couldn’t hold his own anywhere, he is socially retarded. He’d fly into a rage whenever I would talk to anyone but him, because he couldn’t talk to anyone but me.
        I have a friend now who is going through this mindfuckery–(i love that word, btw. i need to find a way to use it in casual conversation) where he has these serial “flings”, whether they are emotional or emotional/physical–the easiest “out” of his poor, dismal, financed life. He is like my ex–likes the fact that his bills are paid for him, he has complete autonomy–and flies into a rage whenever anybody tries to pin him down on anything. Vagueness. Misdirection. He thinks it’s cute.

        So, I do think Hurt1—he’s probably got a nice dollop of NPD going on there…you had been a good wife, like we were—and the entitlement he felt went on without you knowing it—until you did know it—and they just hate that bright spotlight. They go crazy—I know mine did, during the divorce—he got frantic (good word, Nord) and would flit from mutual friend to mutual friend, trying to control the narrative.

        Honestly, I told this guy’s wife—I would rather sleep under a bridge in a box, on welfare—before I would submit to that bullshit again. Just make sure you GET A LIFE—so that you aren’t sleeping under a bridge, in a box, on welfare. 🙂 That’s the most important thing here, I think……TAKE CARE OF YOU.

        • I think that you guys are all talking about the same thing, but are thinking in NORMAL terms. The anger, rage, retreating, controlling behaviors are because THIS is his comfort zone. He is not TRYING to hurt you and its not that he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know not to care. (yes, yes… I know… your mind is going WTF is she trying to say?) That’s just it. We are often trying to make rational sense of the irrational and I’m afraid that we will find ourselves going around in circles like a caged hamster on one of those wheels.

          You see in his fucked up mind…

          You discovered his dark, dirty secret and then you did the unspeakable and done shown him who he is— who he REALLY is, behind his narc mask, and he cannot handle that. He does not want to know who he is, he can’t fathom it and you are a stupid bitch for trying to make him “look bad.” (this is his worst fear and he cannot handle anyone putting him down for ANY reason.) You stopped being the dutiful wife who made him “look good.” So, if you can’t make him look good AND there’s no other compelling reason, like progeny that he needs to control by keeping them close 24/7, then he will dismiss you, otherwise, if its the former, he will reel you back in… (albeit temporarily until the smoke clears)

          It truly sucks to realize that after umpteen years, he thinks of you as nothing more than an object; a piece of property. but… it is NOT personal. He would behave this way with any wife who dared show him who he really is… and yes, there ARE some women who are willing to walk on eggshells or look the other way, or any of a number of other soul killing behaviors, that they must adhere to in order to keep the peace. Affair partners already know this rule. (or else they will be dismissed as well)

          Its HIS way or the hi-way… and it doesn’t matter how much history you shared or about the good times. He lives in the moment and at the moment, you suck. (from his standpoint). He does not think about the past OR the future and he wants what he wants and knows how to get it.

          he thinks.

          and yes, NPD is on a continuum. Of course, they can show empathy. My autistic son can show empathy, but not all the time and only on his terms. So, if you accidentally hurt yourself, he has learned to say, “are you alright?” does he care? sure, he does. but when it comes to your heart and soul, he cannot FEEL your pain. He doesn’t understand it and furthermore he doesn’t see the need to feel any other way or why you can’t just let it be and go back to being the dutiful wife.

          • Laurel, your take on discovering the dark, dirty secrets and subsequent behaviour is spot-on. You described it to a T.
            It’s a Verkakte way to be a human being.

  • I truly don’t know what category my stbxw fits into, we were together for 24 years, married 22 with two kids 19 & 13. Things seem good up until the last six months or so of our marriage, then she became withdrawn. I asked what was up and she claimed hormones and that “we”re good” , hot flashes were beginning to kick in , so I wrote it down to peri-menopause.

    Things got worse and my guts were telling me something was off, so I set aside some time to talk to her, sent the kids away overnight and ended up getting the “Speech” , “I’ve been unhappy for a long time, I just want out”. When I asked her what was making her unhappy she couldn’t come up with much worthy of even an argument let alone a separation. She wasn’t interested in marriage counseling or any other sort of working on things, three days later she was gone, left me with the kids, took just her computer and suitcase of clothes. Four months later I found proof of an affair with some guy she’d met online, the affair beginning about the time her behavior changed.

    The strangest part is she didn’t tell anyone she moved out, I had people coming up to me who had regular contact with her through her employment still asking after her two months after she moved out when I bumped into them. Her boss, who is also a family friend of us both had no clue anything was amiss, until I told her almost a month after my STBXW had moved out. My X just carried on like nothing had changed at all in her life, her contact with our kids for the next year amounted to an hour per week, dinner or lunch then home.

    She now lives with the OM 100 miles away and by all accounts acts like the last 24 years never happened. According to what the OM has told my daughter, my X has never mentioned any reason to him why she left me or what any problems might have existed to cause the breakdown of our marriage. She’s also changed her entire personality 180 to fit the OM’s preferences, My kids when they come bacxk from visiting claim they don’t even know who this woman is anymore.

    So I’ve no idea if this is just another case of a midlife crisis on her part or some underlying mental issue that has been brewing for years. The only other clue I have is I found out recently she did the same thing to the guy before me ( they were not married) . When I met her I was led to believe she was a free agent, once she figured she had me bagged she packed up all her stuff and left him one weekend when he wasn’t home.

    • Duncan, I completely relate to your story. Mine also re-wrote history to justify his actions. First he was “unhappy” over the summer, then it turned into 1 year and then 5 years…. you get the picture. Horseshit. They do this to relieve their guilty about cheating and it’s easy to blame us because they are not going to blame themselves for their lack of morals.

      Like yours, mine had no specific reason either. The only thing he would say was “I feel like I lost my identity” or “I want to focus on my career and I can’t do that being married” WTF? It would be comical if it wasn’t so painful. Some of the shit that came out of my ex’s mouth just left me speechless.

      Of course their was never ever a conversation about any “unhappiness” until D-day…. And counseling? Forget about it. When they already have someone else, it makes walking away much easier. You cannot compete with a fantasy… The mindfuck is the fake reconciliation that throws you for a loop. After the first one, I was done and filed for divorce. Disappointed don’t play that shit. You want out? Let me get the door for you.

      I think the midlife crisis is a mental issue. They wear the mask for a long time and then something happens and they snap (some sort of ding to their ego). These people are emotionally stunted. I really think they are very insecure and lack some serious self esteem. A healthy individual does not behave this way. I would never have hurt anyone like this. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

      These people always hurt the ones that care about them the most. They need external validation from some nut job because if it comes from someone who truly loves them and has their best interest at heart it must not be real. “You’re married to me. You’re supposed to tell me those things.” Good look with getting GENUINE validation from the OW/OM when the shiny wears off. The day will come when the unicorns and rainbows will disappear from Fantasy Island. By then we will no longer care….

      • yes, they both sound mentally ill to me. How sad. sorry excuse for a mother too. (in Duncan’s case) I have said this before. It always takes me completely by surprise when I hear men talk about their wives doing this sort of thing. Its not that I don’t realize that women also behave in this piggy, avoidant fashion, its just not my experience.
        I was unhappy in my marriage, but I discussed it with my husband, many times and I told him what was wrong and what I needed. and it was like talking to a blank wall.

        In his case, I would say that he took a perverse pleasure in knowing that I was miserable, all the while putting on a great show for all the world to see, doing just enough to make it look like he was a dutiful husband. (not) He is primarily passive-aggressive, but also has some narc traits such as extreme selfishness.

        I just want to add… despite what it may appear, these two women are miserable wretches. I know how much it hurts, though. For me, its the deception more than anything else. That is a disgusting thing to do to someone you claim to “love.”

    • Duncan, mate you’re not alone.
      Similar here. Wife just moved on to new relationship. Not as bad but spends minimal time with similar aged kids to you.
      Maybe there’s guilt and they just push it all into the too hard basket. Maybe in future we might get the full story but I wouldn’t wait around for it.
      I think they say thanks very much but I have this new relationship and you can go stick the last twenty years up your arse. They expect us chumps to except this stupidity and move on. Bloody hard.
      Anyway all we can be is good fathers. Be emotionally availed fir the kids. They’ll be good days and bad days and as CL says we’ll get the wobbles sometimes but hopefully everything will be ok.
      Duncan they do have to make the new relationship work so don’t expect them to come grovelling back. In the meantime we have to remain steadfast and strong.
      Good luck. You feel like crap now but everyone keeps telling me there’s a silver lining- just haven’t found it yet

      • Agreed I haven’t found the silver lining either all my ex and I have is DEBT, it’s horrible and already he’s shacked up with the new supply it hurts but I’m strong

    • You just described exactly what happened to me. I knew something was off for 30 years but it never effected me so I suppressed it. Then two weeks after our youngest leaves for college she says the exact same things to me. A month later was d-day. She never wanted to tell anyone of the pending divorce, even her parents. My oldest said she was not the mother she had grown up with. She basically went chasing her youth and let her mask fall away for me. Everyone else still gets the fake image. It just hurts so badly because I saw the red flags and didn’t know what they meant.

      • Me too my dear I saw a 100
        Red flags and I too ignored all of them. I so loved and respected him and his career, I was proud and he threw me away like an old dish towel!

  • This one really resonated with me, CL.

    I gotta say that I think my ex has NPD, but I think it’s on the way low end of the scale. He’s not a sociopath or anything. I believe he is capable of some empathy, he has shown it some (most especially with things he said about watching the birth of our first child, and even with some of the things he said regarding the affair). But I do believe his capacity for empathy is way lower than a lot of people and he is way more concerned about himself than “normal” people. If he has a freak flag he flies, I do think it’s pretty low.

    When you describe how Narcissists make us feel worse than them, that is where I really relate. I never really accepted it… but I knew he always felt like he was just a little bit better than me. It was just a feeling I got… but I could never point to anything specific. Even though I didn’t accept it, really, and in fact a few times over the years I did literally tell him that it bothered me that “he thinks he’s better than me”, it still made me feel like shit about myself. I would doubt myself and my worth. I guess if I’d given in all the way, worshipped him, totally spackled, maybe the affair wouldn’t have happened. Or maybe would have just happened later. Maybe it was because I fought back, that I knew I deserved to be treated like an equal, that bothered him so much and was why he took up with someone else that would give him his ego kibbles.

    P.S. that date I went on… the guy is now ridiculously into me and it’s pretty freaking awesome! 🙂 It’s nice to get some ego kibbles myself for once.

      • I guess I’ve become jaded now. (I guess that’s better than naive), but I would question why someone would be suddenly sweeping me off my feet. I’m sorry, honey, and please, I HOPE that I’m wrong, but it might very well be a red flag. Certainly enjoy the attention, but I would also be a bit weary. Narcs are notorious for coming on VERY strongly in the beginning. Remember, shiny? :[ I guess none of us will ever be the same again. Hey, maybe that’s a good thing!

    • YAY!!!!! So good to hear that the date went well. Isn’t it nice, after feeling so wretched for so long after Dday for someone to say and do wonderful things; and to be able to enjoy it. So excited for you Erica! I say, enjoy every second of it!

  • Another Erica,
    My husband thought he deserved better than me. I did not recognize his entitled attitude throughout our marriage. I thought he was just a difficult man. But now I realize only to me.
    Now it is crystal clear to me. He has little empathy for me. Mr. Self absorbed. And does it get worse as this man ages.
    I had to be perfect, while he was imperfect.
    Was it because his dad deserted the family (serial adulterer) or his mother used him as a surrogate dad to the other children? So why didn’t he get even with his parents with his criticism and snottiness ? And it was me he blamed for his unhappiness. His serial adultery and general unhappiness are my fault. I am moving on, thank goodness. This site is a great find for me.

    • I do agree mine hated his mother for years just a toxic BITCH, nobody likes her and everyone told me when you consider a serious relationship look at how the man treats his mother. I learned that 24 years too late

  • Boston,
    As weird as this might seem, sometimes instead of getting BACK at the perps of his dysfunction, he may RECREATE his childhood hurts as means of healing or getting even or something that’s dysfunctional. So, YOU might very well become the parent he’s trying to fuck over. uh huh… scary stuff, I know. He turned you into his dysfunctional parents through HIS own behavior. My h also did this to me.

    You see… we are doomed from the start. Programmed to self-destruct sooner or later.

    Of course, you know that his unhappiness is not your fault. My unhappiness wasn’t my husband’s fault either, but then… when I found out WHY he was such a fucktard of a husband and the reason was that he was busy, busy, busy entertaining OTHER women instead of figuring out how to support his family or make love to his wife or go on a vacation and all the rest that he lead me to believe would happen… it was just all too much.

    Of course it is!

    • Excellent Laurel agreed I should have realized something was amiss sooner as mine lost complete interest in sex but I just figured we were getting older. Not the case and he wasn’t man enough to open up!

  • This mid-life abandonment after many seemingly happy years together, without a second’s glance back, is actually a phenomenon that has been studied at length by a psychologist in Canada after she was a victim of the same scenario. Married decades, blissfully happy, husband had just said she was his “world” – and two days later he went Hyde to his former Jekyll and told her he was leaving and there was another woman and he’d not been happy for years.

    The book is called “Runaway Husbands”, and the author is Vikki Stark. It was the only lifeline I had during the worst of my situation that kept me from thinking I was losing my mind and that I wasn’t alone. It is a definite read for any woman who thought she had the perfect marriage and the jackpot husband only to find out it had been a lie for years.

    I agree with CL that what Hurt1 has described is more in the “runaway husband” category than the cake eating a-hole – but there is a lot of room for overlap. My STBX and I were truly happy, cuddled, held hands, great sex, laughed at the same things and adored having a family. Then one day (totally without my knowing) – he decided that he wasn’t as happy as he should be. And the heaping of blame began – again – all without my knowledge. Then at least two affairs – the last one of four-year duration – and the only reason he exited was because I caught him red-handed. So I feel my ex is a combo package – part WAS (wife abandonment syndrome, which is what Stark calls that multi decade, seemingly happy marriage than men – and she said it is a largely men who do this) and part cake eater. Either way – there is a total lack of value placed on the wife and the family and total value placed on “happy” for the abandoner. They don’t want to exert any effort or work to save something so valuable because in their own minds and hearts they don’t value it at all compared to whatever need drives them currently.

    The book is a great eye opener – and I’d say that it does qualify as a syndrome worthy of further study. Between that and what I’ve read here at CL – I’ve had two lifelines to pull me to the shore from the sinking wreck of my marriage. We are all survivors.

    • Thanks for sharing about the book Char – I will check this out for the info.

      Just to share something with you all. All of a sudden I realize that I seem to be getting “unstuck”. Not sure how this happened, but it has!
      I spent such a long time trying to understand WTF happened, trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I unknowingly lived with a man who had no conscience and could lie so convincingly while being really happy with me and our family life.
      I was stuck, knew I was stuck, but couldn’t seem to dig myself out.
      All of a sudden, I feel free! Genuinely happy to be where and who I am. My perception of being on my own has changed – I get it – I finally get it! I’m starting to get what you all say about finding awesomeness. I am happy to go to bed on my own, I am suddenly sleeping well and restfully, I wake up and the crushing loneliness is gone. To-day is an anniversary – I left him (I hesitate to tell you all how long it’s really been) and it was always tinged with sadness. To-day, I woke up and realized that I am celebrating this anniversary instead of mourning the losses. I spent so much time on wondering how he could do what he did, how he could move on so quickly, as if our 31 years together had never happened and how I had wasted all those years. How his RAGE at me doesn’t make sense and how can all this be possible?
      Now, the whys and hows of it doesn’t really matter. It happened. Nothing I can do to undo it. I’m not trying to work it out anymore.
      Now, suddenly, I realize that our years together that I thought were good, really WERE good – I was a good, loving wife and mother, I did the very best I possibly could with what knowledge I had. I know that I am a survivor and that I am strong. I am proud of my sense of self and that I wouldn’t accept his behaviour once I found out.
      It just took me longer to get there – I didn’t have this site the first years and I have witnessed a definite growth since finding this site. There’s finally an acceptance of the end of my marriage. That it is indeed just a chapter of my life, a happy chapter, even though the end of it was so shocking, painful and so very sad.
      I recently dated a nice man for about 3 months and it was fun. But my radar was working and I ended it when I saw the signs. And I was ok with it. Felt quite lonely for a bit, but I learnt from it.
      Not sure what the shift was, but it’s dramatic. If I work it out, I will happily let you all know what it was. I think it’s all due process, time (- too much bloody time, but that’s it – and I ain’t gonna waste any more time wondering why it took me so freaking long………….) and reading Cl’s posts and all your comments.
      I’ve started working on a 5 year plan and have taken the first steps of “un-isolating” myself and finding my awesomeness…………….. Can’t tell you all enough what a lifeline this site and all of you have been.

      • It is a roller coaster to be sure, I’ve been through a couple of bouts of “I’m fine at last”, only to crash when triggered by something. By the time you get to the two year mark things seem to level out, especially if you have been working on yourself.

        • Duncan – Yes, it IS a rollercoaster.
          By the time I reached the 2 year mark, I did reach a certain level of acceptance – by the 3rd year it was even more so. The triggers would send me crashing down and it’s hard pulling oneself out of it again. I was stuck and I stayed stuck for a very long time. Like years.
          I was feeling pretty hopeless for a while, I just plodded on, day in and day out. Not even remotely understanding what this awesomeness is about, the “joys of being single” and “finding” yourself. Hell, hadn’t I just spent all these years facing my loneliness, trying to accept it all, trying to move on?
          I posted this because I truly am celebrating this day. It’s not a sad day anymore. I thought I would never get here, couldn’t imagine ever feeling this way or that it was even remotely possible . No doubt, I will still have many ups and downs – it’s not miraculously over because somehow I reached another corner.
          I’m celebrating – it’s all about taking baby steps – 2 steps forward, 10 steps back, a few baby steps, 4 steps back, more baby steps, a jump now and then, 2 steps back, some more baby steps – but it’s progress out of this mess and we can all do it. Most of you just won’t take quite as long as I did.
          And that’s a very good thing.

      • I should go back and work on my 5 year plan or something similar. I did step back and think about the big picture probably 9 months or so ago, but I need to revisit since I’ve accomplished some of it, forgotten about some of it, and some of it is probably just wrong now.

  • Husbands actually “Run Away” less than wives these days, we are living in an age right now of “Eat, Pray Love”, but their actions are very similar. One forum I’ve visited has almost 20,000 posts now from husbands who have experienced this same entitled behavior, mentioned about husbands here, which seems to kick in about the same time as peri-menopause for women and androphase for men.

    I believe now there is sometimes a hormonal aspect that tips the balance in these people, they can deal with what ever crap they may have gone through in their lives before they met us, until hormonal changes at mid life trigger this need to rewrite their lives, blame everyone else for their choices and run.

  • Not sure about the “runaway” syndrome. But, with women who cheat and leave, I think Hypergamy is a big factor. Read up on it. It fits with a lot of men’s situations.

    • I’ve done a lot of research on this, just to clear up my part in it all and find some sort of closure. There are a lot of ideas thrown around, but in regards to long term marriages where there has not seemed to be any serious issues or infidelity in the marriage, peri menopause seems to be a common factor. The sudden 180 behavior changes many women mention in menopause forums and journals indicate a serious switch is flipped in the early to mid 40’s, among many symptoms is a desire to attract the attention of other men. Whatever the cause, the result sucks in so many ways.

      • Duncan, welcome to the blog.

        Hey, I’m in my 40s, and my hormones can’t make me cheat. It’s a matter of character. And a lot of feminists get pretty hot under the collar (it’s the estrogen) when you imply that our hormones make us crazy. I would never attribute men’s cheating (as some do) to high testosterone levels. Which implies, btw, that faithful men are less macho or some such bullshit.

        Cheating is about entitlement. Period. She cheated because she gave herself permission to cheat. Her mid-life hormones didn’t give her that permission. Wanting to feel attractive and seduce men who aren’t her husband isn’t about the death of progesterone in her monthly cycle. It’s about narcissism.

        • Cheating is wrong no matter how you look at it, but for some hormones do come into it big time. I realize bringing this up is generally the “third rail” as far as feminists are concerned, but I’ve simply seen too much evidence of this to discount it as not being a factor.

          From what I’ve read in some menopause forum journals you can actually read where they go from being being upset they’ve been “short” with their husband, who did nothing more than say “Good Morning” to inside of six months can’t stand to be in the same room as him and want him gone. There are men’s forums full of guys saying they don’t recognize their wives anymore and are sleeping in separate rooms to maintain the peace. Now not all women are going to have the same symptoms or problems going through menopause, but enough of them do to make it a contributor to the end of long term marriages where there has not been any of the tradition causes of divorces, such as addictions, abuse or infidelity by the husband.

          As for husbands, they do get less “Studly”, studies show most men experience a drop in testosterone when they become fathers, further drops in test by their 40’s often cause depression, ED and lack of energy in men, triggering their own midlife issues.

          • I agree with CL that the hormone excuse is complete BS. Hey, maybe the reason the wives are unrecognizable is not hormonal but simply that they have finally seen the light and just don’t want to take any crap any longer and are not afraid to say it like it is.
            That’s not hormones, its just maturity!

            • Like I said, it’s the Third Rail, the “Elephant in the room” . Nobody wants to touch the topic because it offends the notion that hormones do not effect our actions and judgment. When chemical and hormonal imbalances are referenced in terms of causing forms of mental illness, nobody bats an eye, but even mention menopause could have anything to do with the breakdown of stable marriages and it is immediately dismissed as a form of “BS”.

              I don’t think it is any form of maturity at all. When you have wives reporting they loved their husbands for the last 20 years on menopause forums saying they are getting to the point they suddenly can’t stand them after they begin to hit peri, there is more to it than suddenly deciding you never liked the way he loaded the dishwasher, talked with his hands or the way he told jokes.

              • Do hormones make them less culpable for their choices? How do you explain women who remain faithful to their husbands, despite hormonal surges or imbalances?

                I do think brain chemistry effects us. I think the irregular hits of unpredictable love can be addictive (science points to this). I think sociopaths and narcissists don’t have empathy synapses. There’s some wiring issue. But I still think they know what they are doing, and know moral right from wrong. They CHOOSE not to do the right thing, and cheat.

                Lets say hormonal changes in mid-life make you reject your husband. There’s an honest way to go about that — hey, Bob, I don’t want to be married anymore. I’m sorry. Commence with the fucking around.

                Perimenopause doesn’t take away your moral REASONING. They may take away your sex drive, or make you horny for some strange. But they don’t effect your ability to discern right from wrong, and act authentically, IMO.

              • From the stuff I’ve read on it, “The Crap ” comment is pretty common, some women hit menopause and suddenly decide they’ve put everything into their family and nothing for themselves, MLC and affairs often follow. In the book, “the Female brain” by Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, she says the nurturing “Mommy” hormones begin to shut down in peri and brings about this feeling of being hard done by their family and more importantly their husbands. It’s not the same in all women, some go through a midlife transition, go back to work or school if they were SAHM’s, or if they worked, change careers or quit work. On the other end of the scale they mentally revert to about 22, dump hubby, kids and run off with a bass player .

  • Not sure of the validity of Michelle Langley’s take on this, Duncan. But her theory seems to be that the female cheating in their late 30’s and early 40’s is the result of both biological factors and the way women were broguth up in our society.
    In a nutshell, she seems to think that as estrogen diminshes and the balance of hormones in a woman approaching menopause tips in favor of testosteron playing a greater role, women’s sex drive increases.
    So, wome become more driven sexually and atracted to men other than their husbands more strongly than they have in the past.
    She then throws in som stuffa bout how girls are raised differently than boys as regards how they are taught to deal with their sexual urges. Essentially, she claims that girls, unlike boys, are trained to believe that it is wrong to be sexually attracted to a man uness there is “love” involved, whereas boys are taught that attraction does not equal ove.
    Thus, the now hornier late 30/early 40 year old woman mistakes her new found horniness for love and abandons her husband for her “new love”.
    Just an interesting theory from this Langley woman.
    I think the bottom line for all this is that people should just never marry or should do so with full knowledge that it is a really bad bet to last.
    I am much happier single and I doubt I can be hurt again because I no longer believe people will remain faithful. I just have much lower expectations, and , truthfully, I am not at all sad about that. I resisted this notion, for a while. But, now that I accept it, I can embrace it.
    Life has so much more to offer than what can be found in a romantic relationship. For me, there are places to see, golf course to be played, experiences to be had.
    If I wind up alone (well, having my kids does provide a lot of joy) , I am sooooo okay with that.

    • maybe the problem is… we’re actually not really supposed to be living this long? lol

      but guys… if you are still reading this… paleeeese… stop it with the hormones. okay? The sad fact is that most men stop romancing their wives and that is a huge mistake. That is what we crave! We want romance, we want to be adored and if my husband had done that, I would’ve responded in kind and we could’ve been very happy together. I tried, but got nothing in response.

      But, he was busy pursuing new and (very) strange (and waaaaaaaaay beneath him too. easier to have them submit and stoke his non-existent ego). He felt that he shouldn’t HAVE to do anything special for me. That is SHOULD just come NATURALLY. But those are just the lame excuses for the lost and entitled, aren’t they?

      but, yes… if we’re not being pursued like you did in courtship, (why oh why did you stop? Did you think because you got married that that was it?) then yes… we may find ourselves attracted to the advances of someone who does look at us with a lustful glance.

      Is the reverse true? to some extent, absolutely… with a but.

      Did your wife get down on bended knee and propose marriage to you? Did she hide a diamond ring in your mashed potatoes?


      the romance needs to come from you… you need to keep chasin’ your woman!

      Now, I am absolutely NOT making any excuses for piggy behavior because I do believe that cheating is always wrong and if a woman is unhappy, she should make that known. And even if she’s not getting lovin’ from her h, she can go out with her girlfriends, do volunteer work, take up a new hobby, join a book club… lots and lots of stuff she could do that won’t fuck her h over. in my case, I had resigned myself and made do… but then came Dday #1 and then off to hell in a handbasket! In reality, the marriage was over, but I just didn’t have the guts (then) to leave. And kids were young teens then. very bad time!

      but lets not blame it on hormones. I think it may just coincide with the kids getting older and then she looks at her half-dead husband, snoring away on the couch at 9:00PM on a Friday night and thinking… there has to be more to life than this. This is the time they should be getting out and having more fun. right?

      It does take effort. It takes BOTH parties making an effort.

      • Sorry Laurel, but hormones play a huge role in every part of a relationship, It’s well researched that the ones that bond a man and wife together take a nose dive in women at middle age. Quite often the only way she can get that rush again is with a new man, as her husband no longer triggers it. Women often associate this deep feeling of attraction as “Love” and end a good marriage over it, most men see it as “infatuation”, a temporary insanity. This oxytocin rush of “true love” seldom lasts more than about 18 months, at which point the damage that has been done is often beyond a chance of reconciliation.

        • I think that there’s some misunderstanding. I absolutely agree with all of that about the love hormone which is not confined to middle age. I thought that we were talking about the hormones associated with menopause or perimenopause which is not the same thing. And that is absolutely true about limmerance. My mom’s a shrink and I’ve learned a lot from her about this sort of thing.

          but…. again, where I disagree about the husband no longer triggering it is that in my case and in many, many cases… he did absolutely NOTHING. no romance. no sex. hardly ever went out. no vacations. nothing. got things like a toaster or an orthopedic pillow for my birthday. Ignored me. Looked at me with disdain, not love. And it wasn’t that we were fighting. We had problems but they were not US. We have two extremely difficult kids. We needed more help than we got. He was out of work. He’s passive and internalizes his feelings. I tried to communicate but he just shut down and all the while was looking at a LOT of porn and then that morphed into chat which morphed into affairs with multiple women that he claimed that he did not love. The only woman he loved was me.

          how obvious. :/

          He did disappoint me over and over again, in many ways… but Duncan, that is not hormonal. It is behavioral.

          It takes effort to sustain a love affair. Perhaps it coincides that after 15 or 20 years or so… if there isn’t enough to sustain it that a woman might look elsewhere.

          My husband left his cyber sex open on my laptop for me to read several years ago. Then, months later, after me telling him how unhappy I was… he asked me if I wanted to date. It took me months and with the encouragement of my therapist I decided to give it a try. Big mistake. HUGE. But, I also told him everything he wanted to know. I just thought that he was impotent and embarrassed about it. I had no idea. no idea. He lied to me the entire time. I did not know the truth about HIM and what he was up to, despite my asking him repeatedly.
          Finally, I found out.

          I am sorry that you had a woman who fucked you over like that. Its certainly shallow and selfish. I do understand that rush of feeling and how it feels like love, but it is not. Since you are here, I have no doubt that you were an attentive and loving husband. I’m just not sure that its the lack of estrogen that’s causing this.

          • I just want to add a thing or two if anyone is reading this.
            There are conflicts and problems in EVERY relationship. Relationships require care and feeding. They require honest and open communication.

            but if one of them is not doing anything and has a secret other life going on… the marriage has no choice but to die, unless the other party is going to sell her soul. and some do that!

            We can sit here and go it was hormones that made her/him do it. He lost his job. He was depressed. She lost her looks… we can go on and on and try to make some kind of rational sense of the irrational NONSENSE, because in the final analysis, that’s what it is.

            We loved our spouses and in many cases, (and BTW, I am waaaaaaay past pause o men! lol) have had an extremely long, long unions. There’s a lifetime of shared memories and then we go back and find out that just before a big special event, like the time I was to receive a civic award for some volunteer work, I found out that my h actually placed an ad on craig’s list looking for a “friend.” (for what was missing… in his marriage..hehe) I fucking BEGGED HIM to come to that dinner with me. He came begrudingly. He was looking for a friend????????? I was looking for MY HUSBAND, god damnit!!!

            that is not hormones. That’s just fucked up. I was so traumatized after discovery after discovery and the realization that he was someone who I had no idea who he really was or what he was actually capable of doing… I think I nearly died that night.

            I just want to say guys… that most of us are of that age and WE are the ones being cheated on… So, doesn’t that blow that theory out of the water? I’m past it. waaay past it. lol Sure, I had my attractions—Everyone does. This is NORMAL. I never ever even thought of acting on any of them. In fact, what I thought was that my husband (who was fucking around left and right unbeknownst to me) would be DEVASTATED and that was enough to stop me straight in my tracks.

            So, please… it is incredibly upsetting to be INFORMED that it is absolutely HORMONES that made your wife CHEAT. Hormones did not make her cheat. She cheated because she’s an entitled, fucked up asshole. At least that’s what I think and I am so not a feminist. I don’t give a rat’s ass about that. I think that men should be men and women should be women and they are not exactly equal– at least not in every way. (another topic for sure)

            I do so understand the NEED to make some kind of sense out of the incomprehensible. I totally do and I totally understand that a woman might THINK of cheating. That is okay. She can fantasize until the cows come home.

            But if she loves her husband… the man she vowed to love and cherish for the rest of her life—then, reneges on that promise, she’s just one sad, sad unfortunate being.

            okay. I got that out. :] Doubt anyone is still even reading this. but its out there. thank you for letting me express my views and g’nite.
            love and peace to all! ~ L

            • A big hug Laurel.
              I can relate to the long union and the devastation of finding out that the person whom we loved was capable of such deceit and could check out so completely. What is worse, is that they have no idea how traumatizing it is for us, nor do they care.
              It is particularly more difficult I think, when one is in your 50’s or older – picking oneself up and moving on is more difficult when we have spent the majority of our lives with our husbands/wives.
              However,we have to forge ahead, onward and upward. There is no alternative.What keeps me going is the determination that I am no longer going to be miserable about where I am because of his verkakte choices and behaviours. It’s up to me to lift myself out of the mess he caused and do what I can to live the best life that I can, even though I am now in my mid-50’s and financially, I’m somewhat strapped.

            • I’m still reading! This is what I need to hear. Yes we had issues, but she was the one who never talked or even tried to see there were problems. I tried so hard and then in the end gave up when she completely disconnected. She bailed out on me. I agree that hormones may have triggered feeling, but unless it also caused her to totally lose her logical mind, I think the Narcissitic entitlement have her the permission to act on it. She dropped our 30 years together as if I never even existed. She reneged on our vows and will always be the sad, sad being you describe. To me she very well may just be a parasite (covert/inverted narcissit).

              The Posts, though old, ate so true to me. This is exactly my case. The surprise abandonment. Thank you all and especially CL for this wonderful support.

  • Thank you Chump Lady for answering my question and thank you to all the folks who chimed in. My ex was the best & I would often thank my lucky stars that we were together. I used to think that when people got divorced it was because they didn’t have a wonderful marriage like we did. Now I know I was in a dreamland.

  • Arnold,
    I have seen ur posts very often and liked them a lot. However, there is a feeling of “not getting into it all again” in last few posts. While, I think u were trying to find or had already found a good female companion (if I remember correctly, what u told in some last posts)! Pl. do not think that I am intruding.

    But, this feeling – of not getting into the rut again – seems to be prevalent in most of us chumps. Combined, the load of cleaning out all the mess and carrying all the loads of previous marriage – all alone. Add to it the fact that it all becomes worse cos u r fighting with these character disordered guys in society, at work and in courts as well? Do you see things how they appear from this vantage point?

    I would like CL to comment on this.

  • Hi, my ex told me told me six months ago that he thought he wanted a divorce, and this was out of the blue. I thought we were finally getting to a place that we could begin to relax and spend more time together. Things had not been terrible, but our lives had been taken over by work. After his announcement, I said I just didn’t understand and that I would do whatever I needed to do on my end to make it work. He told me that he didn’t want to discuss it anymore for a month. When I tried to bring it up, he reminded me that I had agreed to give him this time and asked me why I was going back on our agreement. Well, I had pressed a little because I had some plans hanging in the air–I had received a scholarship to attend a five-day conference and needed to know if I should even accept it or not. But he wouldn’t tell me. Instead, he said that I should go ahead and make my plans. I took this as a good sign, that he was rethinking the divorce and wanted to work things out. Three days later, after I had purchased a non-refundable airline ticket, he told me that he “wanted out.” He also had the divorce papers already printed out. So, he had led me to believe for a month–we had gotten along well and had fun together–that he was going to give us a chance. He had told me and texted me that he loved me and seemed just as concerned as usual about my well-being. However, I had noticed over the previous months that he had become more critical of me. Small transgressions seemed to make him just disgusted with me. I had become so self-conscious and stressed out over what his reaction might be to almost everything. He then laid all the blame on me; he did not want to take responsibility for anything that had gone wrong with us. I asked him why he hadn’t told me anything or tried to do something before it was too late, and he said he had tried, but when I pressed him for specifics about that, he refused to answer me. I ended up having to remain in the house for about two weeks before I found an apartment. He wanted me out the next day, but it just couldn’t happen. One day, I just couldn’t take being in the house with him. I couldn’t stand packing my stuff up and needed to get away. My home was no longer my home. I told him I was going out, and he accused me of having a “hot date.” I laughed it off like he was ridiculous and then told him that even if I did it was no longer any of his business. I was seeing no one, but I didn’t feel like he deserved an earnest response from me. It was the day before my birthday, so I thought I deserved a day away. Hell, I deserved a lot more than that for having to put up with behavior like this around my birthday. So, I went to see a movie–the first one I had seen without him in 15 years. When I got home that afternoon, I was in a good mood. I was in a safe bubble of feeling like I would be able to manage my life without him. He, apparently, could not stand to see me in a good mood, so he started to accuse me of seeing someone while I was out. He told me I should have been at the house packing my stuff up even though I had no place to go yet. He went on and on until I was feeling so bad that I cracked and began sobbing. I told him that he was the only one I loved and wanted to be with. After that, he seemed satisfied. He said he knew what was wrong with him–that he had been looking at old photos of us and that that was what was wrong, that he wasn’t genuinely jealous. He “apologized” for upsetting me, but it wasn’t the least bit heartfelt. I think he was very satisfied with himself. He has said passive-aggressive things to me since then, and it always blows my mind. I just can’t believe someone could be so cruel.

  • ‘I know I became a pretty bad partner , because I just gave up trying to reach him.”

    THIS. This is when the cheating started. I beat and beat on that brick wall, and there was never any reciprocity. He never met me half way. When I think of all the energy and obession I spent trying to explain things to him, get him to ‘see’…

    Then I gave up and withdrew, and he decided I didn’t love him anymore, so that meant he didn’t love me either, and he was ENTITLED…

    Yup. It was there all along, I just sparkled and starved on ration kibbles.

      • Yup. Now we get to live our days super strong while being super broken. I am glad to be out of it now but still grieve what should be. Moving on…

      • You hit the nail on the head bingo dispisable society and that’s what it is today! Not everybody but s lot of people

  • You know.. I am power house strong but if this doesn’t hurt I don’t know what does. 25 years and I have no idea who he is. Someone I was so devoted to to live a secret life and when it blew up the god awful things he said… the bizzare behavoir. There are moments after two years that the pain floods in as raw as D day. What a waste of life. What a mind blowing thing. And then meet this great guy that knows all this and turns out he is married. Omg. In all of this I lost my hair. Trauma triggered Alopecia.

    But i love my wig, my new everything and still being me. I am better, safer, more at peace than i ever could hope for. Then…. therr is all the mind blowing pain.

    • So sorry to hear that. A married liar. The worst. You’re on this site with so many who have also lived your pain. The mindfuck, as CL labeled it, is awful. Hang in there and keep reading and writing to CL.

    • Yup, been there, 25 years also. Mindfuck is the only word that comes close, the sense of having allowed them to waste so many years of our lives is horrifying,mwhose we thought they were someone else. The only way I get through is thinking that I can’t let him waste even one more da. Put him in your rear view mirror Jackie, as far as you can.

  • Yup…. thanks for the support. I found this site by Googling why did it take over 20 years for my husband to blow up. It is always there, it is a part of me now. The worst of it is me. Now that I am removed from it, I wonder how I could not see it. I should have had my boundaries and I would have left him the second year in. The entire relationship foundation was me. Crumbs.. I understand it all now. I don’t think that way so all those flags, who would know? It wasn’t until her seemingly had a mid-life that it all just blew up in our faces. NPD are far more likely to have a mid-life crisis than transition. I was only 23… I couldn’t have known. Now facing my 50’s I am more solid and better looking that I have ever been. Yes, I look my age but I mean I feel like not having all that stuff anymore has actually made me glow more. I am definitely in a better life now BUT… it is ALWAYS there. Grief, sorrow, pain, kick myself in butt moments, and pure hurt that someone I was so close to it no one I know. I have no choice but to deal.. But my god… I could have done without it all. It never goes away.. it lingers. Sometimes it feels liberating and sometimes I just cannot breathe. I am very strong, very independent, I am a good person all that crapola. None of that undoes all of this.

    While it oddly feels better to know there are others just like me.. it actually sounds like we are all talking about the same exact man/women. It is unreal. But while there are so many of us and that gives me same sanity, I find it so sad all the same.

    I wonder of all the seemingly good marriages out there that we all deep down envy, how may are in a stage we were in when it all seemed okay. How much time before that one blows up or that one?

    While I know women do it too, I cannot help to see that it is mostly men and while not all of them is that only because it just hasn’t happened yet? Is it because of lack of opportunity?

    I am okay with being single like forever.. but If I did land a healthy relationship… how many years into it will I again be looking back at omg not again! I mean, come on, 25 years it took this one.

    Do you know if he would have died before the blowup I would have went to his funeral and there would have been like 30 women there! I would have found out that way. Do you know the danger he put me in? Anyone of these women could have nutted out on me, the house.. whatever OR what if one of their husbands came to my house looking for him!

    Well I may be boring and all that stuff he said, they all say.. but at least I am real, true, and sane. I guess when there is no drama these folks are bored. there just seems to be so many of them. I wish I was attracted to women.. what a wonderful marriage that would be, lol.

    • Jackie, I disagree. There may be slightly more men then women that are disordered, but I think it’s equal. It takes two to cheat, and in most cases they are both in on it. I think the difference is that most men won’t talk about being taken advantage of. You just don’t hear about it as much. But, it really doesn’t matter, it just matters that you can see the disordered around you and avoid them. They all work from the same script, which really is freaky, but once you see it you know what it looks like. Think of them as zombies, and run away when you see one.
      Take time to fix your picker, as CL likes to say. It will always hurt, just give it time and it will become less painful.
      Be strong for you. You may want to subscribe to her blog if you haven’t already.

      • Yes, I guess you may be right.. May be just as many women and the men they wound just aren’t verbalizing like we do. I do see men posting. Right now, the stage I am in I just.. Aside from my father dont know one good man.

  • Don’t worry. I feel the same about the available women. I’ve only put my toe in the dating pool and what I’ve seen scares the hell out of me. I may be over sensitive, but I see narcs everywhere. I don’t know if I’ll ever find someone to love. But I keep going. Good luck and don’t give up.

  • I reread this part over and over of CL’s response to post
    ” Do you feel like if you gave him the NPD stamp you could say — Oh thank God he’s not fixable, because otherwise this thing stood a chance… and I blew it? ”

    I look back and think did I blow it? What if I did? What if these mess of my history going up in smoke IS all because of me? Maybe I was not “fun” enough, maybe I wasn’t “pretty enough” maybe I wasn’t “sexy” enough all that stuff. Maybe I could not hold my man because I did not hold my end of the bargain?

    I think back and what I do see is he always neglected me. I think back and I do feel today that he lied by omission our entire relationship. He was cold but kept kibbles coming. I feel like I worked my fingers to the bones on our business, house, planning, caring for us as a unit. I feel like I paid him attention, I feel like I was always considerate of him when I did my thing. I feel I was not needy and independent, I feel like I was attractive even some of those years when I did not tend to it the way I could have. I am an introvert, I am fun within my circle but not outgoing. I exercise, ran my business and his. I cleaned, cooked, washed, food shopped, furnished house.. you name it. I TRIED to snuggle and make love but was always rejected. He assured me it was him and not me that he loved me and he seemed to so I accepted him for him. What I could not know is when he was not present he may not have been doing what he said he was for 23 plus years not just the affair year he admits to. I feel like he lied about everything even when there was nothing to lie about and gave no detail on anything so there was nothing do pull apart. BUT am I making this all up in my head now because of the horror it ended in?

    He gave me 5 days to leave. In those days he searched for a replacement of his AP via dating sites.. I later found out he dabbled in Ashley Maddison type sites. I later found out about another AP. He left me with nothing. I was in such shock I took only my clothes. I lived on air matress for 1.5 years. While he found a replacement after I left, he tried to apologize, cry and get me to come home. My family got on him and I started getting monthly checks that he said would continue for 2 years. He honored my wishes for no contact but that last contacts he made he had girlfriend while saying he would wait for me. It is like he went KOO KOO.

    Could I have made HIM this way? Could it be me? How on earth do I know? How do I get any closure without knowing what it was, where it turned and how.. what I missed? It is going on 2 years since Dday and while I am strong by nature this PAIN is just so much to bear. I feel like unless I get a grip and make some sense of something that I can’t get grounded. How could I be with this man who had this double life. It has to be my fault for NOT seeing it.. for being there to have to experience all this. I cannot believe I find myself here with this history that is so different than what I thought I lived while living it. I cannot believe the truth, it is so far from what and who I am.. but I must be this loser because here I am, right?

    • This recent post is what battles my strength. My brain says the logical.. being beat up by what I write here today. OMG. Just Wow.

  • Don’t beat yourself up. As chumps, we need to find a reason. Since we can’t even imagine that a human being can act like they did, we look for a reason within ourselves. Don’t do that. You were caring, they never were (they can’t). Trust that they suck and accept that you will never have closure or a reason. It’s an injustice of biblical proportions, and it totally SUCKS!

    • Thanks, feeling twisted today is all. LOL. This post helps a bit.. (they all do really)

      That is how it is my fault I was there to have it happen. Old saying no one can hurt you without your permission… When it was lopsided early on.. I should have exited. Instead I plugged on. When it was sexless, I should have exited. When I was working at life so hard and he was not, I should have exited. When he said cruel things… when he did not share, when he did not care, when he did nothing to deserve me at all. That is what I get twisted with.. But then I think what if I am not seeing it for what it is? OMG. WTF. At the end of the day, my life is exactly the same.. my routine, who I am, what I do.. how I do it… my everything is same just in a different place with all new things.. and without the big let down at my side. I feel happy but then twisted at same time. Okay, going to go get busy and not let this get a hold of me anymore today. At the end of the day, it was ALL my fault. I should have not been with him to have all this happen. It is my fault for not respecting me enough.. Funny I see it now but when living it … with him not so good but I was always good.. happy.. I guess when he “went out” I enjoyed the escape of him.. He was out the entire relationship. Just a sick thing all the way around. I only wish if I went back to 23 years old again I just would have went to school, worked, stayed with mom and dad, and went out with the girls.. Funny I now envy the plain girls they got to do that.. being good looking at that age is NOT always a good thing.. Having your pick of the wrong men, the wrong attention, the wrong everything while being so immature.

  • Are you subscribed to Chump lady dot com? If not, do it. We all saw the red flags that hit us in the face, but being chumps, we spackled over the flaws and stuck with it. 28 years married here and I kick myself every day for sticking with her when it was over and done 27 years before. I love the person I thought she was. Reality was quite different.

    It’s not your fault in any way. We are only human. We can’t imagine monsters controlling us, but that’s exactly what happened and there is nothing you could have done about it!

    Be strong and know there was nothing you could have done about it. Look forward and keep going.

    • Thanks, Marked711, for reaching out to me as you have done before. I am sorry for you as well, 27-28 years is such a lifetime to devote to the right thing to have it all go wrong. Who knew, right? At 23 I would never know these things were in people to do such terrible stuff to themselves and others.. especially when all you could ever want is right there. Some people never get so lucky and to have it all and have nothing is the worst luck of all. I know I am “normal” but this really rocked me. Not knowing what was real. Not understanding how I did not see what I do now and how I could have loved him and been so devoted etc.. but was I? See, that is my struggle now. It is going on 2 years and I know the answer does not exist because if the answer was there I would have got it by now. I do know, I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry he is such a sad sack. And while he destroyed a large chunck of my life, I wonder if he can ever really experience a good life at all be capable of such things and incapable other so many others. Somewhere in there was a man I loved and I want him to be okay, peaceful and happy even though I am broken from it. I met someone over the past summer only to find he was another of my ex.. someone elses sloppy leftover. I did not want to date but he had this hold on me. I now know the hold. that familarness to him in that he was like my ex.. all that I know. even in looks, lol. It is really nice going at it alone now but sometimes the pain swells up and really takes my breath away.. like today.

  • Be strong and read on chump lady’s forums. You’re not alone. Exactly the opposite. There are soooo many of us out there. Survivors! Read. Others can help as well. Be well and don’t even think of him. You loved and are concerned about a Mirage. He’s not a real person. Good luck.

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