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Sex Addiction Is a “Blessing”

I thought I knew what a blessing was. The birth of a healthy child. An unexpected gift. Clean water. Good friends. Democracy. My husband bringing me coffee.

Yet, I have managed to get through 46 years of life and missed one of the greatest blessings that could ever be bestowed upon a marriage — sex addiction.

Yes! Sex addiction. You know, where your spouse (usually a husband), takes up with lots and lots of hookers. Spends tons of money. Courts venereal disease. Then gets caught, at which point it is decided that he suffers from “sex addiction.” (The affliction formerly known as “fucking around”.)

Has this happened to you? Were you devastated? Horrified? Scandalized? Numb? Wrong! You were BLESSED!  — you need to stop and “reframe” it as a blessing. That according to Michael S. Broder, Ph.D. in an article on Huffington Post divorce entitled “Is an Affair the Disease or Just a Symptom?” He writes:

My wife, Dr. Arlene Goldman, is also a psychologist. She specializes in couples and sex therapy and treats many couples in the aftermath of an affair by one partner. Her approach, even when one partner is clearly a sex addict, is often to help the couple reframe their crisis as a blessing that triggered the help needed to mark the beginning of a much better relationship on many levels. To do this, however, she emphasizes that the partner who had the affair needs to accept responsibility for the pain he or she caused the other, and both partners need to acknowledge their roles in creating and maintaining the climate that existed before the crisis escalated. This has been my experience as well.

Yes, he has a book to sell you too, so you can “acknowledge” your role in “creating and maintaining the climate that existed” before they cheated. He doesn’t call it cheating, however. He calls it a “crisis.” Don’t you want to pay $16.95 for that?

This shit is Orwellian. I thought a crisis was something like the bombings in Boston. A hurricane. Cancer. Sex addiction (assuming it’s addiction, and not just gross over indulgence) is a choice. It’s a series of choices that are self serving and secretive. It’s not a cry for help. If the addict wanted help, they’d get help. If they wanted a “better relationship” based on mutuality and respect, they’d have one or they’d get out and fuck around honestly as a single person. No, the “crisis” is that they got CAUGHT. They wanted an unlevel playing field by which they could get what they wanted at their chump’s expense. They wanted cake.

And let’s say it is an addiction, do we hold the partners of alcoholics responsible for “creating a climate” that makes someone drink? Are you going to “acknowledge your role” in making your kid a junkie? NO. We tell those people to go to Al-Anon, detach with love, and stop being codependent chumps. But it’s fucking around disease? Oh hey, that’s different. Now it’s your fault!

Funny enough, I said exactly that in a post I submitted to Huffington Post entitled “Rethinking Infidelity.” And it didn’t run. Well, it ran sort of. I guess I’ve been spoiled because everything I’ve sent to date has been featured as the lead story on Divorce, except one blog post on compassion. But the post where I call out crap like Dr. Broder’s as being part of the blame the victim Reconciliation Industrial Complex — that one winds up in HuffPo purgatory. You can only read it if you check my archive or I provide the link for you. No one else is going to read it.

The culture is very much tilted toward blame the chump for cheating. I’m not imagining it, this crap is out there and it sells. And IMO it’s a poisonous mindfuck, just like blaming schizophrenia on frigid mothers or autism on bad parenting or all the other shameful blame the victim shit PhDs have spewed in years past. We have to speak up and call the Dr. Broders of the world on their shit. It’s not going to change until chumps raise their voices in protest.

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  • paaaaaleeeeease… I’m gonna toss my lunch. :/ I could write a book about this one, but blessedly, its parent’s weekend at my son’s school. Love your response, as always. (of course! we were separated at birth– 10 years apart) haha!

  • Well, yes, I guess I could call the ex’s “sex addiction” a blessing, since along with his diagnosed NPD, it’s what got me THE HELL OUT OF THAT MARRIAGE AND DIVORCED.

    Ex NPD monster had hundreds (by his admission, so in reality probably around 1000) of sexual encounters with men during our marriage. Of course he blamed me for that, saying it was because he “didn’t feel enough passion” for me and never should have married me to begin with. Ya think? He ended the marriage by having two simultaneous affairs with married women as well as threesomes and orgies with married folks.

    I’m not sure what my contributions to creating and maintaining that climate were, other than being so stupid, I was easily fooled over and over and over again by his lies and gaslighting.

    I know he loves to blame me for the demise of our marriage, but I’m not buying into that delusion. As for bullshit authors peddling their crap books that blame the noncheating spouse, well, they are con men as well.

    • True. They are modern day con men who shill snake oil to unsuspecting people. It’s a pure fraud, and a harmful one at that.

    • I agree, in that way it is a blessing, if it gets you out of the marraige. For me, my husband’s cheating was a wake-up call to how bad his behavoir really was, even the day-to-day behavoir was horrible around the house. The cheating was an obvious deal-breaker and for that I am thankful. Otherwise I probably would have stuck around much longer.

  • Okay, “Dr.” Broder, so was my serial cheating ex-wife also lie-addicted, financial irresponsibility-addicted, and ripping-off-her-business-partners-addicted? Because as long as we’re relieving her of responsibility for her selfish choices, we ought to go ahead and bundle them, don’t you think?

    BTW, the creepy shilling weasel can be seen here:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think his weird hand movements look like someone else is standing behind him with their arms around his abdomen and gesturing? Perhaps an elderly woman? Hm. Very strange.

    • “Stage Climbing”? WTF. Did anyone else think of Richard Dreyfus in “What About Bob?” He had some fucked up self help book entitled “Babysteps”.
      Yjos guy looks like Wallace Shawn on steroids.
      BTW, Wallace Shawn is really quite good.

    • LOL – That’s because there’s this pesky problem with lack of empirical data to support “sexual addiction” as a bonafide, stand-alone addictive disorder.

      It’s like the Mid-life Crisis: it lives in peoples’ imaginations more than in reality, and empirical studies to try and confirm their veracity of the phenomena turned out to be unicorns.

  • NO NO NO NO!! Why do we chumps have to pretend that we have any fault in causing these people to be predatory evil monsters? Why do we have to accept that our cheaters are anything other than just pieces of crap? We all know the truth, we chumps know, our cheating spouses know, and these “experts” know. It’s just another mind-fuck so these cheaters can go on victimizing us over and over and over again. Seriously, I am currently banging my head against my desk in frustration. I’m convinced these “experts” are dedicated to helping deranged POS’s keep hurting us cause hey, these chumps aren’t quite dead yet. (And by the way Nomar, yes, there is something very very wrong with this guy, I watched that video).

    And this “crisis” is a “blessing”????? Have you ever been there asshole? Have you ever felt your whole world drop out from under you when you realize that the best years of your life were wasted, spent on a cheater who lied and manipulated for kicks and never really loved you? Have you ever seen the look in a BS’s eyes when she realizes the breathtaking depth of the betrayal and realizes that her and her children’s world is falling apart and will never be whole again? Ever see the BS sitting at work pretending to stare at his computer screen while he cries and wonders how he’ll survive one more day, let alone be there for his teenage daughters? Ever have to explain that to your children, your family, and yourself? NO?????

    The answer has to be no. Because if you ever did, you would never NEVER call it a blessing, and you would not blame the victim in any way. NOT. EVER.

    (Whew, sorry for the temper tantrum guys, this just put me over the edge!!)

      • Hey HB, as you can probably tell I was thinking of you in my last comment, sorry to bring you to tears. What I’d really like to say to Dr. Broder, getting an idea from Kay H below and her reference to the movie ID4, is—-UP YOURS!!!!

  • Chumps united! Let’s take down that idiot! My husband must be trained by him, he spouts shit like that quite often.

    Chumps battlecry – “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” (Any Will Smith/Independence Day fans here except for me?)

  • You’re preaching to the choir…let our voices be heard…we are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more! Whew! CL, you sure can build a fire.

  • You know, some people used to use that same logic to justify domestic violence, rape, and all kinds of horrible things. When you look at what adultery is at its core – lying, betraying, violently attacking the very fiber of someone whose primary offense was trust – how can you find any mitigating circumstances? Why would you even look? Broder seems to focus on the sex; but, that neglects a big part of the story. Like other traumatic things in life: if you haven’t been through it we can’t explain it to you, and if you have we don’t need to.

  • Any pleasurable behaviour can become compulsive, but to combine that w/ ‘both taking responsibility for the climate ….’ makes me want to HURL!!! We would never tell the spouse of a compulsive gambler or someone w/an eating disorder or someone who plays WOW for 18 hours a day and loses their job/family/house to take responsibility for ‘their part’. And those compulsive behaviours actually do LESS harm than serial cheating . SICK SICK SICK
    I am marching right over to HuffPost to rant!

  • Dear Chump Lady – I’ve never posted to a blog before and I’m not sure if what I’ve written belongs here as “response” or if I should have sent as a letter to you. Please forgive the newbie, if I’ve posted in the wrong place!

    Dear Chump Lady – I’ve just found your site within the last week and I’ve lost a few hours here and there when I should have been sleeping or working as I’ve read through your past posts and articles. I am SO thrilled to have found you. As many have said, you so clearly and passionately express what many of us seem to be thinking and feeling. One thing I was noticing was the lack of/or limited amount of comments about “sex addiction”.
    I learned I was a Chump in May of 2011 when I opened my STBX husband’s credit card statement and found charge after charge after charge from a wide variety of seedy massage parlors. I knew immediately what was going on here as during our courtship, during one of our deep heart-to-hearts, in response to a question like “what was the wildest, weirdest thing that you’ve done or experienced sexually” he told me of a time he got a massage and when he got “excited” the “massage therapist” massaged that part as well. He said it was the only time that ever happened and yes, I’ve admitted it already, I am a Chump, and I believed him.
    My father was a recovering alcoholic and had founded a rehabilitation center for alcoholics and drug abusers during my childhood, so I was brought up around the 12 steps. When it was determined that my STBX was a sex addict, I knew what I was supposed to do. *Don’t make any big decisions for a year. *Separate the person from the disease *Attend Al-Anon to get to work on detaching with love, focusing on my own inventory, etc….
    I kicked him out immediately, but agreed to work through the process. He found a place to stay with a friend, started with a Sex Addiction therapist that included individual therapy as well as a group therapy session once a week, and also started attending SA meetings 3 times a week. I was already seeing a therapist and additionally, we started seeing a couple’s therapist. Seriously, we could have bought a vacation home or put a kid through college for the amount of $$ we were spending on therapy.
    Is sex addiction a “Blessing”? God, no! And although I did feel some relief upon discovery, that had everything to do with KNOWING! I had FELT for a long time that something was very wrong in my marriage, I knew they were my husband’s issues, and I begged him to get help for whatever was going on with him. He wouldn’t, so I did. Ultimately, I could never really buy into the addiction part. I don’t know if my STBX has been officially diagnosed as NPD, but I believe he is, absolutely. So much of what I have read on your site rings SO true, so familiar.
    We lived apart for the summer while his 3 daughters from his 1st marriage (my step-daughters for 7 years) went to stay with their grandparents at a summer home. We kept from them that we were having problems. When the summer was over I allowed him to move back in the house when the children returned, as I wasn’t ready to disrupt the kid’s lives. And he was making a good show of “looking” like he was “recovering”. But, in January 2012 he came home from a group therapy session that focused specifically on his work and he explained to me the exercises he did to “explore his rage” towards me. Um, what? Excuse me? You’re rage towards ME? After all, I was the one who “betrayed him first”. Whoa, wait, what? How did I do that? Well, I “chose the children over him”, is what I did. Oh, my God, I’m such a bitch. Are you talking about the time I told you that you really can’t call your children idiots and morons? Or was it when your first XW brought the kids to our house and the oldest had a black eye and fingernail scratches down her arm and I suggested that maybe she should come live at our house full time? You know… the decision we discussed with a counselor and made together as adults in the best interest of your oldest daughter? Is that where I “chose the children over you” is that how I “betrayed you” and drove you to prostitutes for happy endings (And who knows what else)?
    … I left my home that night and never went back. BUT-! I had committed to work the process and not make any decisions for a year. And so, from the safety of a friend’s home, I continued to try to work through the 12 Step process. In May I moved into my own place, and in early October 2012, I realized it was over. I don’t see “recovery” for this man I married. What I saw over the 7 years I was married to him was not an addiction problem, it was a character problem, it was an integrity problem. The man has no moral compass and I found myself saying over and over, I cannot be your moral compass. You have to reach down between your legs and see if you can find your big boy moral compass.
    For the record, I believe in the 12 steps. 25 years after my father passed away I had some of his first clients come up to me and tell me that every day when they woke up they had 2 thoughts, the first was, “I want a drink” and the second was “Your Dad and the work we did in those rooms, and I stay sober one more day.” I just think sex addiction is different.
    I cannot speak to the validity of Sex Addiction overall, I can only say, in my case, with my husband, I think it’s bullshit. And it looks like my STBX agrees, because now it’s just called “dating”. M’kay.

    • FLBright,
      Wecome welcome welcome. It has been a few months for me and I am so glad you posted because you are just what I need to hear and this site and CL and the men and women on it have quite literally saved my life. Our stories vary yet are all SO similar, and I actually have physical scars from when he and I were first “together” and some “crazy woman” showed up at our door claiming to be pregnant by him, clawed my face and of course I believed him. That was 13 years ago….shudder.

    • Hey Toni,

      Welcome aboard. You’ve come to the right blog. Many of us here have experienced trauma just as you have, and it has been a comfort to me to hear everyone’s story and get reassurance for everyone – you will too. My XH cheated on me with prostitutes for 10 years, spent between $800 and $2K every month on them, and never once had an STD check, such a considerate family man.

      “What I saw over the 7 years I was married to him was not an addiction problem, it was a character problem, it was an integrity problem. The man has no moral compass and I found myself saying over and over, I cannot be your moral compass. ”

      Your quote above is spot on. That’s what it all boils down to, and I’m glad you’ve recognized it and didn’t get sucked into the “I’ll save him” and the “I’ll police every move he makes the rest of his life” modes. You’ve saved yourself from a life of despair. Welcome back to sanity.

      • Dawn, thank you. The site and everyone’s passionate stance is a breath of fresh air. My STBX actually prides himself on the fact that he has never in his life used a condom. (He’d had a visectamy) When I utterly flipped out on him about how he had been putting my health at risk he looked at me dumbfounded, deer in headlights, the thought had simply never, ever occurred to him. It became clearer and clearer that *I* simply didn’t occur to him. It was all about what he wanted when he wanted it.
        Anyway, good to be here 🙂

      • Dawn, your last paragraph really hit me. When discussing R, my wife (can I say soon-to-be soon-to-be ex? I want to save the term STBX for when I snap out of limbo and actually file) threw out two conditions: she wasn’t going to beg and she wasn’t going to live under a microscope (true remorse right?). At the time I thought about it only from her point of view. Who WOULD want to live under a microscope? Does anyone else do that? What’s wrong with me?

        Now looking back I’m thinking “What about the chump who can’t ever relax because they know it never ended or it’s going to start again?” I don’t deserve a “life of despair.” That’s not what I signed on for. I adored my wife, thorns and all, but this is what Arnold calls a “breach of contract.” “Welcome back to sanity” indeed. Now I just need to learn my way around again.

        • you are not alone, my ex wanted to reconcile but was adamant that he deserved his privacy, oh, and he read the books, he kept saying “transparency means you put me in prison and treat me like a child, I’m not your child”…no shit Sherlock, wish I hadn’t taken care of you for years as though you were…

          • I foolishly did try to reconcile with the ex. From the start he was telling me that he had already forgiven himself, so if I couldn’t forgive him right away, he didn’t see how it could work. He also told me that the months we were separated while he was carrying on TWO affairs with married women were “very hard on him” and that he “cried a lot.” Boo hooo hooo, my heart just bleeds for him.

            This is the guy who 1.5 HOURS after walking out of our home on dday sent a mass text message to all of our friends and family informing them that our 20 year marriage was over and asking everyone to wish us well. I only found out about it when a close friend called me up in tears.

        • I got that too – my xh also threw out 3 conditions to me in R. He wasn’t going to beg, he could not live under a microscope (the exact words – which book did they both read?) and I had to forget about the whole thing, because when I brought it up, I was just trying to make him feel guilty.
          That was after I confronted him when his GF joined us at our campsite with her son on our annual family vacation. I only found out about his vast history of dark, dirty little secrets 2 years later.
          He had forgiven himself and I needed to work on myself by forgetting about it. And I loved that man??!!!????

        • I also heard ” i will do anything but i am not going to beg” and ” you need to get past this.” I was also not going to be told what the “this” was that I needed to get past.

    • yes, a hearty welcome, FLBright and thank you for sharing your story! I think its a perfect example of WHY a life with a whatever you want to call it, is a one-way trip straight into a never-ending hell.

      After-all, it was YOU, you horrible person who put your children ahead of your husband. HOW COULD YOU DO SUCH A DESPICABLE THING!?!!? I hope that you’ve taken a moral inventory of that one and will make amends to…

      hmmmm… wait.

      That’s your mindfuck and its a doozy, ain’t it! Its NEVER (all) his fault. And since its not (all) his fault, it must be YOU. You, started it. If you hadn’t, he NEVER, EVER would’ve strayed. honest!

      Its truly heartbreaking, but the only way to escape the crazy… is well… to escape.

      the real tragedy, however, are the multitude of so-called professionals who spew out utter crap about how its a ‘wake-up’ call… and if you will just… just what? turn somersaults, while making a lasagne, nursing the baby, and giving him endless hours of head, simultaneously—everything will be hunky dory???

      NO, it won’t. Because he will still NEED something new and exciting and that can never be the same old meat and potatoes wife!

      but damn it… now you’re onto him and he doesn’t want to lose that normal thing he has going on too… so, he plays the game of “recovery.” and its a sick game at least 95% of the time. All it does is suck the partner in deeper and deeper into the abyss. Its a trap like none other.

      so, the professional has the power to actually make a horrific situation, even worse! scary doesn’t even begin to cover it! BTW, a lot of these schmexperts are “recovering” sex addicts.

      ’nuff said.

    • Just came across this site today and I have to say it was “fate” that I saw your post FLBright! It has been 1 year and 3 weeks since I found out my husband is a “sex addict”. I use the quotations because I’m still unsure if I truly believe this or not. In some ways to believe would make it easier than believing he is just an ass that hurt me terribly! We have been married12 years and together 17 so we have a long history. He says it started as looking at tons of porn everyday then to chatting online to the first time he CLAIMS he cheated when he met a stranger online in a neighboring city. He says it’s only happened with 3 women, only one with the first 2 and twice with the last. We have been going to counseling for the past year, and at first I was hopeful. Then I just asked him one day about a month ago if he had looked at porn (no porn if you are a sex addict right?) and he admitted he had but hadn’t told me. He knows that is something I don’t like and if he does have a problem it could lead to other things. So I decide to check his phone and he had looked at porn again! He STILL can’t be open with me! I just worry if I’m being a fool to think he’ll never cheat again and it does piss me off to see on other sites that somehow I share responsibility for what HE did!!! The have been little things over the years, like finding emails from an ex saying she didn’t mind being a homewreaker or him inviting another to our home while I was visiting HIS mother with our daughter! I just don’t know if he’ll ever really understand the damage he caused. Thanks for your post and I hope I can be as strong as you no matter what the outcome!

      • sorry Grover, but there is no “only” Only 3 women? or THREE HUNDRED?

        Words like “only” “two times” “a couple” “only once” are signs of a lying, cheating, whatever you wish to call him. I say sick individual who most likely will not BE ABLE TO STOP. Its all semantics to me. Sex addict is not a free get out of jail pass. its just saying that this person is screwing around left and right and its messing up his life– big time.

        You’re not a fool, however, he’s clearly not on the up and up— and no, of course, he can’t watch porn… but it doesn’t matter. Its BURNED INTO HIS FUCKED UP BRAIN! But studies have shown that porn viewers are far more LIKELY to act out than in men who don’t. So, porn isn’t a palliative meant to replace acting out, but actually the precursor to it.

        Finally. you do not share ANY responsibility for what he did unless you held a gun to his head and said, “go out and have sex with skanky hos or I’ll blow your fucking brains out.” I trust you didn’t do anything of the sort. Therefore, there is nothing you could’ve possibly done to make him go out and break his vow to you.

        When my husband didn’t touch me for years, (before I found his cyber sex left open on my laptop) I simply conceded that I was going to have a sexless marriage and there were worse things– after all, he was a very devoted husband in other ways. right.

        horrible what we will settle for. i have since left. 25 year marriage. kaput, but I really, really tried and I’m sure that you and everyone on here also did, or we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

  • This goes along with society’s selfish, “It’s Not My Fault” way of life. “I have issues because my parents were mean to me… I was abused, so I have no choice but to perpetrate that abuse on someone else… I’m entitled to be happy, so I had to (fill in the blank).”

    We’re all about instant gratification and not taking responsibility. Of course we want to call heartlessly screwing around “an addiction.” That takes the onus off of the cheater and puts it on this random force that he/she has no control over.

    What makes me feel so sad about that is how willing people are to do what feels good in the moment instead of having the willpower to control themselves and do what is right. We simply don’t behave like grown-ups anymore. If my STBX wanted to leave me because he wasn’t getting (insert complaints), then he could have. We could have had a very painful but honest conversation and then dismantled the marriage with fewer hard feelings. But, in true Veruca Salt fashion, he wanted what he wanted “now,” and he wanted it to be easy. So, he found his online trash, lived in the moment with her, and kept me around to do the heavy lifting of everyday life. What’s not to love in that selfish arrangement? Who wouldn’t want the maid/cook/nanny/errand runner taking care of the boring stuff while the sidepiece is getting him/her off? Why have the difficult conversation and the honest approach to finding a new partner? That’s just too darn HARD. Wah.

    That’s what we promote in our culture because we are the culture of “feel good now, worry about it later.” The loads of credit card debt on unnecessary purchases that people carry is further evidence of that. The fact that adultery is not punished in any way in our culture (like the betrayed receiving the lion’s share of the assets) and is, in fact, romanticized by books, films, and TV shows demonstrates how much we’re in love with the thrill brought on by that rush of adrenaline– whether it’s while cheating, shopping, or binging (on whatever)–and shows how much we’ve infantilized our culture by embracing immature behaviors and turning away from adult ones like self-control, delayed gratification, and hard work.

  • ” demonstrates how much we’re in love with the thrill brought on by that rush of adrenaline– whether it’s while cheating, shopping, or binging (on whatever)–and shows how much we’ve infantilized our culture by embracing immature behaviors and turning away from adult ones like self-control, delayed gratification, and hard work”

    Lord, yes. I’d add to that the whole “Law of Attraction” that states you deserve to have whatever you want right now just because you want it, the overwhelming message that everyone should “follow their dreams” without ever listening or believing anyone who might recommend caution, the whole “self esteem” movement and a society obsessed with instant personal gratification and entitlement. Commitment, self-control and sacrifice are dirty words these days. Instead, the mantra is, “I’m special and I deserve to be happy.” If that happiness means someone else suffers, no biggie.

  • I spent months and months looking at my part in this “blessing”. I was so down trodden and depressed that I believed the garbage creeps like this spew, and therein lies the problem. My cheating POS X told me he needed me to be more jealous, to not trust him so much, to (get this) not be so attractive (because he always wondered what I saw in him). I read so much garbage from people like this dude that I actually started to believe all the crap the X was spouting. The blame shifting (it was my fault for not stopping him) somehow fed right into what a good thing it was that “our issues” came to light, via my X’s zipper. Who knew he had a flashlight in there!

    But not for long. Luckily (and this wording IS SO ironic) I was also physically abused, which society for some reason allows us to properly place blame for. How sick is THAT!

    I wish people like this Dr/book seller would realize just how much damage they can do to people that are already vulnerable and confused. Pisses me off, and makes me glad for sites like this.

  • Home from work so got to see with my very own eyes what the fuss is all about.

    Self promotion 101 – website, video, book, bad lighting, bad sound, bad message…checkcheckcheckcheckcheck.

    Will I help the idiot of the week by giving them any more “clicks” ?


    I wish we had a video of this big band wagon they are all jumping on and tumbling off of – this week, after they have scraped up that x amount of money from x amount of persons that got caught in this go round of suckers. Wow….just…..Wow. I wonder if they even break even? But either way, how sad that people are buying it, not just with actual cash, but in believing they are even partially to blame… Of course they will try and “brush you under the rug” CL…….sound familiar?

  • Been there, done that. I thought the second time around after our first big split meant our marriage would surely survive and we now finally understood each other. Sex addiction/cheating for sure is NEVER a blessing, just a way for the narcissist to suck more of the life out of you until they find someone else just as narcissistic as they are to take your place. Mine told me that I did not have enough feelings in the relationship and that he was not being honest with himself about who he really was. It took me forever to get over the crap that he told me, really felt like it was my fault, but I am totally over it now. I now realize that if and when I ever decide to be in another relationship, they only get one chance!!!

  • I think that “sex addiction” is a euphemism for NPD. It would do both chumps and their cheaters a huge service to call it like it is.

  • My XW : ” I don’t feel “”connection””
    Translation: ” I want strange dick, the dick I meet in bars at night.(Must have made a helluva “connextion” picking up strangers and banging them.
    Now ,she blames it on alcoholism. The woman is a total phony.

    • I got the connection line, which essentially meant that he wanted to feel that zing you feel when you’re first attracted to someone…and after twenty years it’s not going to be all pitter patter of the heart when you think about sexing it up. It’s more ‘shall we try that thing we haven’t done in awhile?’ and things like that. Sure it’s nice when you first meet but there’s another kind of joy in the comfort of a long relationship-

      • I couldn’t agree more Nord. I took my wife out for a glass of wine last summer after our family vacation just to get some couple time. She brought it up the other day and said that it was so awkward. We just sat there and didn’t have anything to talk about (i.e. she didn’t get butterflies on our date). It’s so funny, I remember sitting there at that wine bar thinking how good life was. I’ll take trust and comfort over butterflies any day. Do I just have rose colored glasses on?

        • He and I were going to see his Mom, at least a 12 hour drive. Beforehand I said that I was really looking forward to it, being able to be alone with him because we hardly ever saw each other. He asked me why? I said to be alone with you, I love our drives and we always travel well together….He just looked at me really strangely. I just pulled my (turtle) neck back in. I didn’t know then that he had starting seeing the girl he fell in love with, who by the way he broke up with already because she’s a “Fucking Bitch and a liar”. I always felt comforted, safe and secure when we traveled, he just saw it as a duty and time away from his “love”…Trust and comfort indeed…

          • What a thing to do to a person. What hurts so deeply is that you were genuine and sincere while he was conniving and deceiving. It makes me so bitter to look back at the times when I didn’t know what was going on – the things I said and did out of naïveté. I feel so gullible.

            • Well HB, I feel for you, and I’m getting pretty Meh but some things really hurt me, like that one. But with hindsight being 20/20 and all I believe he just used me to show his Mom what a “good man” he’s become. You see, he has gotten a lot out of her in the time we were together, before that he hadn’t talked to her in 20 years. And she’s older, and he wants the house. He also took his brother for quite a bit of cash, a “loan” for a destined to fail business that any idiot could have told him would fail. Of course I supported him and was loving and supportive and throwing the little bit of money I made into it too.

              I think I knew all this all along but wanted to believe he loved me. Funny thing is his Mom wants me, not him, she’s really broken up over this whole thing but she’ll probably cave in the end. I’m staying out of the whole nasty business and have actually apologized to her for what I feel is my part in reuniting them. I’m NC with her as much as possible but talk to her occasionally because I DO love her, and she has been really good to me. She’s being punished/hurt too, but I have to take care of me first, and she agrees.

              God these people are F – ing ruthless……It really makes me sick and I just want to be rid of this sick situation. Which I mostly am now just have to get on with life. Easier said than done sometimes…really grateful for all of you.

              • Dang Toni I hadn’t even really thought about that yet. I’m really close to a lot of my STB STBX’s family. I’m so crazy about nieces, nephews, and cousins of various generations. Her brother is like a brother to me. On the surface this adultery/divorce thing seems really rotten but underneath that heartless exterior lies pure evil. Do you ever stop peeling back layers of pain?

        • Don’t feel bad. I spent a couple of months before dday constantly counting my blessings, as it were, because we had been through some rough times career-wise (him) and I was so happy things were settled and even a bit grateful things were a bit boring and dull. I was tired of upheaval and drama. He, apparently, thrives on this stuff so needed to stir the shit, bless him.

    • I was told over and over again that XH didn’t “feel passion” for me, and that was why he needed to have hundreds of sexual encounters with strange men in gay bathhouses, as well as look at gay porn on the computer, and also have threesomes and orgies with married couples and affairs with married women.

      I told him the only way he was capable of feeling “passion” was if he was having illicit, forbidden, “dirty” or dangerous sex, and in a rare moment of honesty, he agreed.

        • GladIt’sOver,
          I’m seriously beginning to wonder about mine too. Some things really didn’t add up and now that he’s out of here there have been some things that have happened since that just make me scratch my head.

          If he’s as bad (psychopath) as I suspect then a lot of things that would baffle me would make sense. A lot of things you have said have really made my intuition kick in and Lord knows I just ignored it in the past. I actually have the utmost respect for all lifestyles but would find it almost funny. I mean it sure would explain his raging homophobia and the bile he would spew about ALL gay people.

    • It always struck me as “funny” how my ex’s justifications changed along the line… all were lies of course, but I just thought “why not pick one and stick with it” rather than changing it all the time.

  • It sells like crazy because so many chumps want to feel in control of the situation. That they can change and it will make their cheater see the light and become a normal human being. Of course, that’s not how it is, but many chumps are already co-dependent, so by telling them this kind of BS, it’s a guaranteed way to sell a lot of books/seminars/whatever.

    If you ever read reconciliation forums, there’s a sick, high percentage of betrayeds who blame themselves and are losing weight/having more sex/opening up their marriage/not nagging as much/etc. in order to keep their loser cheater.

    • I don’t think I could’ve gone that route long term. Something died inside of me when I realized that this wasn’t an accident, that she meant to do it and meant to keep doing it regardless of the consequences. All the same, I’m really glad to have found CL. I don’t know how long I would have hung out here in limbo by myself.

      • I flirted with the idea of R for a few days, and even when I went to my first lawyer interview. At that point, I wanted to believe that since he was wondering if I knew, he’d break it all off. At that point, OW was all “I know your life is with kb.” Well, now OW is all “I believe in US. Then you treat me badly, so you can go back to kb if that’s what you want. I have this VISION of us together.”

        Once I realized that STBX really meant to have an affair, and that he really wanted to keep up the affair, then reconciliation wasn’t an option, and really, it never was. It’s not as if he can unfuck her, after all.

        • KB, the last of your comment, “…Once I realized that STBX really meant to have an affair, and that he really wanted to keep up the affair, then reconciliation wasn’t an option, and really, it never was. It’s not as if he can unfuck her, after all.”

          That is a HUGE realization and when that hit me in my own situation, it was the game changer. When h said, a short time after D day, “I’ve almost gotten her out of my mind.” I knew it was not a “mistake” he made, or a “fling” or any other excuse. He really did know exactly what he was doing and had no intention of ever being true to me. It was over, we could never “work on it,” no way he could ever un-fuck her. The damage was done, water under the bridge and I immediately knew I had to make plans to move on.

    • Ahh yes, the various online “marriage” forums that deal with infidelity… mostly populated by:

      1. The codependent.
      2. The obsessive-compulsive.
      3. The walking wounded.

      Any way you look at it, they’re stuck mostly, and they are self-reinforcing each others’ stuckness for the most part.

      IMO, people who aren’t stuck usually move on from those places because they are just depressing.

      • For me, part , if not all , of the reason this still bothers me is that it offends my sense of justice. I really feel the need to impose some severe consequences on the cheater and, so far, the opportumity has not presented itself.
        Oh sure, I exposed and my kids know and think less of their mom, I expect. And, the exposure killed the affair.
        But, I am talking about serious consequences that really hurt my XW ,such that she is really messed up.

        • I’m with you Arnold on the justice part. I know everything people say about wanting revenge only hurting you, that it keeps him/her controlling you, it lets him(or her) live inside our heads, that forgiveness is the best revenge, and that karma will get them one day, etc etc. I know, and I get that intellectually. But our exes betrayed, humiliated and abused us and then went merrily on with their lives. And even though their lives are now pitiful and suck with their stank AP’s (my children do not even see their father at all), our exes don’t know that their lives suck so it’s no comeuppance in my mind. I think my mother verbalized my own honest feeling on this– shortly after D-Day that she would like to see my ex destitute and homeless on the streets of our town begging for a handout, and she would happily step right around him. I haven’t figured out a way to get it, but without retribution I feel like I can’t fully move on.

        • You might be surprised at how “messed up” she already is. Arnold, I don’t think you’re ever going to scratch that itch short of doing something stupid that hurts you and your kids as well. If you think about it, doing something stupid because it felt good and damn the wreckage is exactly how your wife started this whole mess. I’m absolutely no one to give advice but I hope you can focus on your kids and yourself and trust vengeance and justice to karma or other mysterious forces (God and I are taking a break at the moment).

          • You may be right. My Xw has lost the respect of all her family for doing this.
            Problem with these sociopaths is they do not seem to care about that type of thing.

            • True confession with a dose of TMI: one of the first things I did after d-day was to go get a complete STD screen. It had been several months since we had sex but I still don’t have good information on when she started cheating. Blech… Anyway, the test results came back clean, but I realized that part of me was hoping for some disease that was treatable, but serious enough to trigger an embarrassing CDC investigation where you have to list and notify all of your sexual partners. I also fantasized about an “anonymous” tip leading to them getting arrested for public indecency in her car in the gym parking lot (all I asked the PI for was a simple yes or no but he insisted on giving details, at least I never watched the video). I think I’m already meh about that part of it but it could just be numbness that will wear off.

              • Oh no HB just saw this, so so awful. I used to wish I got an investigator 14 years ago when I suspected something and he assured me that he was the most loving and devoted husband and I believed him like the chump I am. But having that on video must be god-awful 🙁

              • Are you paranoid in your new relationship? Is the betrayal always right there or are you able to trust. I assume we’ll never be quite the same as before but is it ok?

              • HB, I couldn’t answer your question whether I am paranoid in my new relationship below (no reply button), so I am putting it here and hope you see it.

                I decided shortly after D-Day that the last story in my romantic life was not going to be the sickening tale of what my ex did to me. I have to admit though that it was initially hard in my new relationship. I was so sure that one day my boyfriend would see whatever it is that I was lacking that allowed my ex to it lie to me, betray me, and not love me, and he’d leave too. I’ve always thought I was confident and independent, so that was a tough feeling, but I just gritted my teeth and waited it out. It’s like you intellectually know you’re worthy, but your gut (or your broken heart) is telling you that you’re not. Eventually it passed. But my boyfriend was a chump himself (he was divorced 6 years ago) and so he understands a lot, and he was very attentive and so easy to talk to.

                Some people have questioned how I could ever trust again, but I do. I know now that if someone chooses to look me in the eye and lie to me every day, there is not much I can do about it. But that is not looming over me, it’s just something I know.

                Also, shortly after we started dating, I could see subtle but obvious differences between my boyfriend and my ex that made me realize that this was real and my ex was just playing at having emotions. That was probably most stunning. Since my ex and I were married fairly young and so long, I never realized how shallow and stunted his emotions were, how little he really shared and how little he even really felt.

                HB, I know you are in the early and terrible days, but trust me on this one. You are intelligent, kind, responsible, funny, successful, and a good father (hey you can use me as a reference when you start dating!). You will be in extremely high demand whenever you are ready. Quite the contrary of what I thought, my experience has made me more certain that good people exist and that we chumps can and will find them.

              • That’s quite likely the most comforting and uplifting thing I’ve ever read Kelly. I’m smiling through the tears and preparing to grit my teeth.

      • Preach!

        You are spot on, TimeHeals.

        I can understand maintaining the status quo in order to get things in order for the end of the marriage. That’s not “stuck” that’s planning and strategy. But those people aren’t trying to spice of the marriage or monitoring their cheater’s whereabouts, those people are completely done but for the filing.

        But “stuck” is just a co-dep who says he or she is planning but really isn’t. He or she is really just hoping that if he or she holds on long enough they will be able to fix the cheater.

        It is a all a game of control. The cheater wants control and the co-dep wants control. They just go about getting it in different ways. What kind of fucked up dysfunctional relationships are those?

  • Yeah, but it takes a while. You make it sound like “stuck” is something to be ashamed of. Sort of like “bitter” and “judgemental”. Since whne did normal reactions become something to be ashamed of?

        • Arnold, “Stuck” is where I am, but using the time wisely to decide which way to go, how to go about it, plan, scheme, and as you said, contemplate. Stuck I am, but not for long.

          • I’m with you on the sense of justice I feel. It bothers me a lot. I had this belief that Karma would get him by now, but it appears his address has been lost and he has gone merrily on his way and feels no shame or has no conscience about it all.
            I have been stuck for too long. I also felt like it was as if an accusation was being levelled at me or that a judgement was being passed about me being stuck – it was a natural reaction to the devastation and shell-shock of the wreckage around me. But I do agree with TimeHeals that you can’t get that time back – it’s a waste – which offends my sense of justice even more.
            I was stuck for 6 years and couldn’t get myself out of it no matter how I tried. All this time, his life apparently moved forward without a backward glance. The only sign of the 31 years together with me is his anger at me. (I guess I shouldn’t have left him and involved a lawyer to represent me when I found out about his serial cheating with my friends, 3-somes and encounters with other men.)
            I bought into the whole thing with books telling me I had to take ownership for the part I played – WTF!!!!!!!! and that I was somehow not a good person because I was angry and couldn’t forgive him. It added to me being stuck because I tried so damned hard to move on and continued being in immeasurable pain.
            I wish that Karma would get him – it would make my moving on a little easier I think. I did somehow turn a corner recently and I find I am more detached about it all. But my sense of justice remains offended.
            I dated a man for about 3 months a while ago, and I found I was wonderfully detached from Mr. Fuck-em-all. It’s the loneliness that gets to me and then I tend to think about the whole situation more. I can’t get that time back that I grieved and processed and remained stuck. I know that grieving and processing is an integral part of healing. The shame is on him, but he did no grieving and moved on without a backward glance. But I was stuck and it’s a waste of my time.

            • Lynn, six years? I don’t know how you did it! I’ve been in limbo, “stuck” is the right word, but has a different ring to it, just for six months and I am batty. It is not easy, but I truly believe that taking the slow, carefully planned way out, is the way to go for me. The time has given me the opportunity to build my new community of friends, quietly. Getting these connections (some business), set up will keep me from falling down a ravine without support when I do leave. That will be big enough leap on its own. I simply do not want to sit, lonely in an empty house, apartment, motel room…anywhere. I am thinking of a reasonable sized city, where there is something to do every morning, afternoon and evening, 7 days a week. Then, when I get more accustomed to being alone, I can decide where I want to light, permanently.

              • Yoder, I got out within 7 months of discovering the extent of his infidelity. I asked for a separation and for him to leave the family house, which he refused to do because “separation is for 2 people to agree on” – he wanted me to forget the whole thing and carry on our marriage. So I planned my exit carefully. I filed for separation, found a townhouse for my kids and I, and proceeded to split everything in half. I had an exit strategy I worked on.
                My being stuck revolves around not being able to move on post moving out. The enormity of it all hit me after – especially when he met someone the week-end after I moved out and she slept in our family home that week-end. He was instantly detached and distant, as if our 31 years together had never happened. He filed for divorce 4 months later because they were going to get married. His anger at me started when I went to a lawyer and has increased in intensity over the last 6 years.
                I processed and grieved, I was obviously depressed having no family in this hemisphere and trying to show a brave face and be strong for my teen-age kids. I couldn’t get past it – I was shell-shocked. I lost motivation and inadvertently isolated myself.
                I read a pile of books and tried so hard. But I stayed stuck in my pain and reading all that shit only made it worse. All that bullshit just traumatized me even more than I already was. I kept on going round in circles – I felt like a gerbil on an exercise wheel.
                Seriously, this site helped me to realize why I was at odds with myself – it was all bullshit! Suddenly I found some clarity regarding forgiveness and having the support of this community of good, heartbroken souls that we are has been my lifeline.

              • Lynn, what an ordeal you’ve been through. In my case, we are quite civil to one another, but I no longer have passion, just COMpassion for his poor health. I treat him as a patient and that is all. I go through the process of caring for him, but there are no especially kind words. This morning when I weighed him he had gained a whole pound. I stayed cool, calm and collected, but in my mind, I was shouting, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • God Lynn, you just outlined my worst fears (limbo, isolation, gerbils (or you know… the treadmill, gerbils are ok), loss of motivation, conflict, all of it. Has anyone been able to maintain an amicable relationship post-adultery/divorce? I don’t want to be at war with the mother of my children.

            • I’m really confused on this vengeance/karma thing. It really pisses me off that my wife is the only one left in family not in therapy. She sleeps through the night without any apparent care in the world. It’s enough to make Ghandi or Buddha want to scream.

              • “It’s enough to make Ghandi or Buddah scream”

                HB, that is hilarious! But seriously, your “STB-STB” ex wife is a female version of my ex-husband. Too bad we can’t get them together and keep them from inflicting themselves on any more decent human beings for a while.

                My ex has not seen our 3 children (ages 24, 20 and 13) since D-Day over one year ago. Old enough to understand to varying degrees the betrayal and deception their father engaged in, they are understandably disgusted with him, and my ex has not tried very hard to see them either. My ex asked me in January what I thought he could do to see our children, and I suggested he go to family counseling in conjunction with them, whether our counselors or a new one. You know what I heard back from him on that? Hear the crickets chirping?? Not. A. Word. My daughter recently told me that she is much happier without him in our lives, and as far as she is concerned, her father is dead. Meanwhile, he goes about in his consulting business as an inspirational speaker, business coach and mentor. His
                co-horts in that business…. you guessed it, his group sex partners, and the people he cheated on me with for 17 years. You can’t make this shit up.

              • That’s so funny Kelly, I had the exact same thought about our ex’s the other day (right down to sparing society their depravity)! I can’t figure out what makes people tick. I would slit my own throat with a car key for my daughters and this guy can’t even be bothered to lift a finger. I would drop dead of heartbreak if my daughter said she was better off without me. If he put 1/10th the effort into his relationship with his children that he must into his circus of a sex life, he could be father of the year. Priorities huh?

              • The thing is Hearthbuilder, I didn’t have this site until about 7 months ago. So I muddled through it on my own with those stupid books spouting out all that bullshit. And I tried to process from that point of view, which just simply didn’t compute and I was at odds with myself.
                If this site and community was around then, I wouldn’t have been stuck for so long.
                Secondly, having no family around – they’re in another hemisphere they’re that far away – was another huge factor. Because I moved to Canada with my xh and we moved around a few times, I had no real support system to help me through this.
                If you have family and the support of friends, use them to help you through this.
                You have this forum, we’re a community and the CL’s posts are exactly what one needs to get through and out of the blur of pain.
                Trust me, it does get better. How long were you with the mother of your children? My union with my xh was 31 years. It’s harder when you’re married for that long a period, especially if you met when you were younger. We were both 19 when we met. In addition, my son (my youngest) also left home to go to university 4 months after we moved out. Not having my children near me so soon after the separation was a double-whammy.
                Don’t take my experience and timeline as a snapshot of what life has in store for you. Fear of the future, together with the unspeakable heartbreak can so easily blur one’s perspective.
                Hugs to you!

              • We started dating when I was 20 and married when I was 24. My 20th anniversary is in about 2 weeks. Fear of the future and sadness beyond what I formerly thought I had capacity to feel are definitely keeping me in a fog. I’ll add one to your list of aggravating factors that make this so fucking excruciating (sorry, polite words just don’t come close). My wife is only the 3rd serious relationship I’ve been in. I had two long-term girlfriends in high school and that was it. I don’t have anything against casual sex between two free and consenting adults, I’ve just never done it. I love sex but for me it’s always been a product of love and intimacy rather than a trophy or a standalone end. My brother told me over a beer last night that one of the things he most admired about me was that I was frugal with love; but that when I gave it, I gave freely. That’s the second nicest thing any adult has said to me in a long time (Kelly is still holding at number 1). I think that’s at the heart of why I can never wrap my brain around what my wife has done and why the betrayal hurts so profoundly.

                Lynn (or anyone), did you find a way to deal with the loneliness and isolation? It’s really hard me to walk through my mind and sort out my emotions. This hall is dedicated to sadness , that way is the humiliation wing, and over here is my loneliness exhibit. My point is, I don’t think I know myself well enough at the moment to solve much but I know that just being around people isn’t nepenthe for me. I was more or less coherent when I started writing this – I’m not sure what happened. Fog.

              • HarthBuilder, Loneliness is the worst of it because it lasts so long. The initial Dday shock is devastating, but with time you adjust to the knowledge. You go through so many stages, anguish, anger, and loss of a life that will never be the same. When you become grief stricken, nothing makes any sense, no answers. Then if you are very, very lucky, you find Chump Lady. Piece by piece you begin to find answers and sometimes the answer is, “It just not make any fucking sense,” because, it never will completely make sense. Once acknowledgement of the fact that you are again, alone, sets in, so does its result, loneliness, which lasts a long, long time. I have, in my mind, handled all of this as well as I might suspect. Even though I have planned a new life with new friends and acquaintances, lots of places to go, things to do, I am reserving judgement on how well things go until I am in my own new place, which will not seem like “home,” when something on tv will make me say, “Did you know….” and remember no one else is there, and it will all flood back, I am alone. I will have to let the fog roll in sometimes, probably at night and I must face the empty pillow beside me. Have have been told to read a lot, watch tv, get out and take a walk, go to the mall, be with people. They have got to be kidding, I would still be with me and all my misery. Read a book? I can’t focus on a phone book long enough to remember a number to call someone. I misplace may cell phone at least once a day. I can’t remember to put the trash cans at the curb on Wednesday. Loneliness is consuming, it envelopes you entire being. Hopefully, little distractions at first, help to alleviate the 24/7 loneliness and as time goes by, a little at a time, those distractions become many and last a little longer, eventually becoming pleasurable moments which essentially form the foundation of your new life. It seems there is almost always someone here on Cl to talk with. Comment as often as you need to and I think everyone would agree, we all need some bolstering, real, real, often.

      • HB.
        The only way to deal with the loneliness and isolation is to surround yourself with the people who care about you.Keep posting on this site. Keep on reading CL’s posts – over and over again. What she says makes sense and it’s totally true that there is a better life out there for us all. The loneliness you’re experiencing is all part of the shock and devastation you’re experiencing. I think there is no doubt that we experience Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after separation.
        You’re still in the very early stages and there is no other way to say it, but it sucks. I’m sorry you’re feeling this intense pain. It sucks big time. The pain DOES lessen – one Tuesday you’ll realize that your day was actually great and the pain wasn’t crushing you where your heart used to be. Those days get more frequent and you’re moving on, one step forward and half a step back. But take comfort that it does happen.

        What I get from your posts is that you’re quite funny with a great sense of humour. You’re obviously intelligent. You care a great deal and when you love, you love with all your heart. You’re an awesome father, loving, responsible and you’re there for them. Your values are what any decent woman would be looking for. You’re a faithful soul, a decent loving man. You’re only in your early 40’s I think. Now, the way I see it, you have plenty of time ahead of you and you are not going to be alone for too long. What decent woman wouldn’t want to share her life with you?
        You’re a prize and for a woman who has been chumped, you are the very essence of goodness and decency.
        Stay strong. The grieving and mourning period you’re in now is all due process in getting to the other side of it. It sucks big time.
        Read Tracy’s posts again, take one day at a time, share with us.
        Hugs and more hugs.

        • 🙂

          All I can say is thank you. I’ve been in too much of a funk to write much over the last few days but I read every cleansing word over and over. Due process… I can do that.

          As I read the stories of TicToc, AnyBee, and dozens of others, my greatest hope is that one day I can help someone get through a day the way that you and Kelly and Yoder, Nord, Bud, and so many others have done for me. Pay it forward. I’ll never again underestimate the magnificent, beautiful power of a kind word.

          • HearthBuilder, don’t forget to include yourself in those lists. We are all helping each other. There are days I comment little and days when I can’t seem to spew out enough. It is the roller coaster we find ourselves riding every day and night.

  • I’m frequently reminded of the 1968 quote by Eldridge Cleaver – “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”

    CL – Your “Reconcilation Industrial Complex” term says quite a mouthful.

    For one thing, it says that people like Michael Broder and his wife Arlene Goldman are part of the problem, and most definitely not part of the solution. These people only set out to suck people dry. And, in doing so, they must set up their own validations for their game. So, they tell victims they created the problem. They let cheaters off the hook by calling them sex addicts.

    Screw them and their game. Being part of the game only perpetuates the damn game. I’m so pissed off after reading that bullshit.

    • These people have co-dependents and co-dependency figured out, they know exactly what it is and how harmful and futile it is to the BS, and yet they encourage BS’s to sink into that pool of despair. Sick! Seems like a violation of their ethical obligations as mental health care licensed “professionals”

      • I think I would have been very vulnerable to their message if I hadn’t found you all first. XOXO

        • I was horribly vulnerable to all that and it added to my pain and torment.
          It was only when I found this site about 7 months ago that I could see what utter bullshit it all was. Sheesh, it makes me mad at how much time I spent at odds with myself about forgiveness and “my part in his fucking around”.
          This site has helped me immeasurably.

          • Lynn, I have found strength I didn’t know I had, until I was allowed to “spill my guts,” and I have, to Chump Lady and all her followers. I don’t know why, but I thought no one else would ever understand the anger and resentment, inability to just “let go.” Those first few days and weeks were insidious. About the time I found CL, I was beginning to work out of the hole h had dug for me. There are days when I think I will never get through all of these damn steps, but like a baby, I have to take every one of them and always, just one at a time. At least I am no longer crawling.

            • Yoder, you’re so right. I have indeed found a strength in me that I never knew I had. Not having this site in those first years led to my sense of isolation and aloneness as well as the loneliness.
              Now, having access to this site, it “gave me permission” to say I will never forgive him and feel absolutely fine about it – I have a certain detachment about it all. Realizing I wasn’t the only one who felt the pain and devastation as deeply as I did, and hey! I wasn’t first in line for being the Chumpiest Chump in the Whole World. Maybe 2nd place.
              The important thing to remember is that every baby step we take is a celebration – we may only be taking baby steps but we’re no longer crawling. The shell-shocked state we’re in when the bomb drops is so encompassing and only those who have experienced it can understand why one would celebrate a day without pain, or a deep-belly laugh, or waking up happy one day, or even being able to read a book again.

              • Lynn, something that disturbs me is having one of those “good days” and I did, yesterday, then waking up this morning and falling apart…for no apparent reason. When this happens (I know, a half step back) I feel as if I was sucker punched, never saw it coming.

                Can’t depend on my emotions from one moment to the next.

                I keep the following where I can see it, often: Forgiving you is my gift to you. Moving on is my gift to myself.

          • I was vulnerable as well. Even though I threw him out I was still half-heartedly dancing the pick me dance for a bit, mainly because I couldn’t wrap my head around who he really was. Just did not and could not believe this was myhusband. So I downloaded a bunch of expensive and useless books, bought a slew more and eventually read one that offended me so much I wrote a letter to the author telling him what a load of crock his book was, tossed them all out and got serious about divorcing. STBX was a master at trying to eat cake and was nice to me right up until the day I would no longer serve it up. Then he got nasty and has become more and more nasty as time passes and he realises I think he is a useless piece of shit.

      • I’m not sure one has to be codependent to tolerate these folks, at least initially.
        I think codependency gets overused. It is vague, nebulous concept.
        In reality, often, these monsters do not rear their ugly heads until one is enmeshed , with vows, kids , mortgages etc.
        So, one cannot simply cut the chord immediately due to certain obligations.
        Also, typically, the abuse has been gradually ramped up to the point one is weakened. Often one is isolated.
        Codependency vs taking a while to figure things out, get a plan etc.

  • Ah damn, don’t know what happened to my post! I was just suggesting that we might have a page somewhere to post about the things that REALLY are blessings in our own lives, through these difficult times. ‘Cause I know that sometimes I need cheering up. (Reading CL’s happily-ever-after tale and that of your aunt are great for that!).

    In my life right now, two true blessings that jump out at me are
    – my friends. God, I could never have gotten through this without them. People to rant to, to call when I’m feeling crappy, to go out with to have fun times …. I try to spread it around, so as not to be a burden, but my friends both near and far, close and less so, have been amazing!
    – our two black kitties. We had just gotten them as kittens, a month or two before the ex started cheating again, and their incredible adorableness, zaniness and love have been so helpful to the kids and to myself. Instant cheering up, and instant calming down too.

    • Great idea Karen! One of the reasons I spend so much time here is to find little bits of anecdotal evidence that this horror show may someday get better.

    • Karen, our friends were mostly “his” friends because he did not care for mine, so I have had to start over and begin building new relationships and if that were not enough, HIS cat bites me when I walk through the house. LOL

      • Poor Yoder! Sometimes our whole environment conspires to make life suck – for a while! Hope the new friends will be helpful and caring, we deserve people in our lives who are as nice as we are! (BTW, gradually getting you to ‘drop’ your friends is a CLASSIC abuser behaviour – and they’re often pretty subtle about it.)
        But maybe a neighbour has a garden that’s just now filling w/flowers that make you smile when you pass???

        • Karen, looking back, I can see now, that he purposely selected our social group. I am looking through my living room window at the house and yard across the street. There is a lilac bush blooming and my mind goes back to May baskets. We picked spring flowers and put them in a home made little basket, placed them at someone’s front door, rang the bell and ran away like crazy. Sometimes we would put a piece of chewing gum inside, or little candies. I remember that lilacs were always in bloom on May first so that is why they reminded me of May Day Baskets. Thanks for a sweet memory and a very good distraction.

    • Excellent idea Karen.
      Before I get up most mornings, I have started making a point of listing 5 things I can be grateful for. They always include my amazing kids, having good health, a roof over my head, a job, and then it turns to things like having access to clean running water, living in a great country, the freedom to vote……………..the list goes on – and the pain of paying whatever bills hit me this month is not quite so bad, the grey skies are not all that grey, things look better for my day when I do that.

  • Guys… reading all this… I see a constant thread and I totally get it because I share in the notion of wanting him to suffer as I did– at his hands.

    But that is impossible. Its no more possible than asking a quadriplegic to run a 5k. impossible, but we are seeing our X’s through HUMAN terms; a whole person, complete with a HEART and a SOUL.

    but there is none.

    For me, I find I actually feel much better when I think of him as a mental case out on a day pass from the psych ward. I need to treat him with kindness and patience, because he really is not all there. and it doesn’t matter if 99.999% of the rest of the world thinks he walks on water… I guarantee that if WE do anything, and I mean anything at all, to create any small amount of drama, then it is WE who are deemed the crazy psycho ones, so please… learn from my mistakes. Don’t do it!

    The point is… I feel that by continuously wishing that they will get what they deserve we keep ourselves in that painful place and it truly does give them the upper hand.

    Take control and i believe that the way to do that is to treat them like the fragile pieces of shit– I mean mentally deformed creatures that they truly are…

    and don’t be afraid of that next step.

    After all, weren’t we fine BEFORE we met them? Did we have fun? Did we have friends? a life? of course we did!

    I moved just over four months ago… and I am so lucky! I love my new place and am fixing it up just the way I’ve always WANTED to, but never could (even though I’m a professional interior designer) because we had no fucking money!!! cause brainless fucktard was too busy looking for his next score to figure out how to contribute to the household funds!

    There is always a way out. I do believe it. Yes, its phenomenally scary, but not half as scary as living with a brain-dead, soul-less freak!

    love and hugs to all!

    • I agree with you – but it’s hard to think of my ex as someone out on day release when what he did and how he did it was incredibly well thought out and calculating.

      In any event … yes occasionally I picture him now or years from now. He has little relationship with his (lovely) family, no friends (seriously, none), and no woman worth her salt will ever stay with him for long.

      So his ultimate fate is alone – very very alone. I wonder if he ever thinks on that.

  • I really do not like the Huffington Post. They had an article in there today – ‘Why An Affair May Not Matter In Your Divorce’. ” It said, “However, it’s important to remember there are two sides to every coin, and while a no-fault divorce may not seem fair, it works both ways.”

    Really two sides to every coin? Unless one of those sides involves my husband being hypnotized which forced him to slip his dick into another woman, I don’t want to hear that excuse. I really wish I did not live in no fault state. It makes me so angry.

    • I read that too – and I also resented that thought process! lol

      My ex deliberately moved to a no fault state so that he could get away with it…

      • In Arkansas, you MUST state reason for divorce when filing, they accept infidelity (there we are), impotence, and some others. So ladies in Arkansas, file before he does and when you state the reason, EVERYONE will know that your STBEX is an mean, ugly cheater bug and you can’t wait to squash him.

        • I’d love to live in Arkansas. How much does the reason matter there? Do you get more for custody or support? Or does he have to pay a cheating penalty? That would be great.

        • Ok Yoder, Kay H sorry to butt in.

          I have the option to file “at fault” but I plan to file “no fault.” My state has a collaborative divorce process that I think is my best shot at 50/50 custody. I really don’t care about money as long as I have enough to set up a safe, wholesome place for my kids. I hope to arrange it so that one of us can stay in the current house (I don’t care who) for at least 2 to 3 years to soften the blow for my girls. The way I look at it, my STB STBX quit her career 15 years ago to stay at home with our kids while I went and got a graduate degree and a great career. As much as I hate her recent behavior, I honor and value what she has done as the mother of my children. I know… she f-ed it all up for them at the end, I get that; but if I can be broke for 5 years and buy her time to update her job skills and get a career going, I’m fine with that. Am I screwing up here? Am I playing the chump still? Kelly, I’d love your opinion. Am I just too sad to think straight and later I’ll be even more bitter and resentful? Is there a right and wrong here?

          • Talk to your lawyer, but I’d say FILE FAULT. You can pay support for, I’d say a year, two years, to get her on her feet, but part of cheating is consequences. The woman can go back to the work force and your CS will be measured accordingly. I was a single mom with a full time job — my kid is fine. Honor roll even. But consider if she remarries or moves her BF in. Do you really want to pay alimony then? You need a contingency for that. You need to talk to an experience family law attorney.

            • I’m just over a month past d-day and 2 weeks shy of my 20th anniversary. I must still be somewhat psychologically trapped in the role of protector (a valiant-sounding euphemism for codependent enabler?). I clearly need to think this through some more before I do something stupid. I do have a great family law attorney but I’m mostly glad to have you, CL, and this community you’ve created.

          • HB, I am screaming NONONONO, don’t go over that cliff! You are still (understandably) delusional, probably still have Stockholm Syndrome, and smelling the intoxicating whiffs of hopium. And believe me, I get it. I went through the SAME THING, telling myself my ex still loved his kids and would always do the right thing for them, that I still wanted him to “be ok” financially, that we could rely on him to help us, etc. I was dead wrong. He took the kids’ college funds when I wasn’t looking, re-routed our tax returns to his account, spent the money he got from me via our property settlement agreement before our divorce even was final, and is generally off with his APs enjoying a new, skanky and family-less life. It’s like invasion of the body snatchers, so get ready, the woman you knew is (very likely) gone.

            Your kids have one responsible, non-sociopath parent, and that is YOU. Your primary job from here on is to protect and provide for your daughters, not to help your ex wife move comfortably into her skanky new lifestyle. And don’t fool yourself, that’s exactly what she is going to do.

            Sit down with your lawyer. Find out what you would be required to pay, and agree to pay that. If STB ex does not agree you go to court. YOU keep the house and make it a wholesome and safe place for your daughters. I also think you should consider requesting primary custody or at least equal custody with your STB ex. You can’t protect and provide for your daughters if you impoverish yourself, and give your home and all your free cash to your STB ex- a woman who so blithely blew up their lives. You cannot give a stable environment to your daughters if you see them every other weekend and Wednesday nights, while they live with their mom and her boyfriends or god forbid new husband. Don’t fool yourself into thinking any gracious extras you may be momentarily moved to give her will actually be used to benefit your children as you may intend. They will be used to benefit her own interests and the person she cares about most in the world–herself.

            Full disclosure, I filed for a no fault divorce and told my ex if he didn’t come to a reasonable agreement I would amend the filing to a fault divorce (we can do that here in PA) and put him and his AP’s through hell. Then I dangled some up front cash to get him to sign the property settlement agreement. I got him to give up spousal support that way. The best advice I got is to get them early while they still feel guilty (or shamed, or distracted, or afraid, whatever narcissists actually “feel”). We were divorced in less than 5 months from D-Day.

            But I think you should file a fault divorce, and this is why: you’re a man, and as such you are behind the 8 ball when it comes to divorce, alimony and custody. Your wife does not work so you are going to pay something for spousal support and child support if the kids live primarily with her. You need to be in the best bargaining position possible. She can go back to work just like everyone else.

            HP, you are the person who went to school, got your degree, and worked hard everyday, to provide for your family. You gave your wife and children all you had, and you did it out of love. And in return you and your daughters have been betrayed, misused, and your lives forever altered. There’s no way to salvage the wife you used to have, you can only protect and care for your children and yourself. The cold hard truth is that from here on out, it’s gotta be “just business” with your STB ex.


            • This is very well put forth and the only thing I might add, is that if you reach a point where you have the opportunity to pay alimony/spousal support or a lump sum of some kind, realize that support to her (not child support) you do not pay taxes on that SHE does. Lump sum/cash directly to her in the settlement you pay taxes on that. Over a period of years the tax saving could become substantial. The second thing is that support for her was designed to assist the spouse only in a temporary way, so that she can up her skills, further her education, or in some way, get her life positioned so that she can take care of herself and provide for her family. Even child support is usually temporary and can be reduced due to certain circumstances on your or her part. One or the other gets a better job, for example. And insist on the clause, “…and said support ends upon her marriage.” Just some things to ponder.

  • I agree completely. This Dr. is smoke, mirrors and a lot of bologna. Sex addiction is bologna, too.

    I can see why it sells, though. People are desperate. Desperate to believe that their marriage isn’t completely ruined, that maybe it can be salvaged, somehow. If they have to take the blame for their spouse’s cheating, then so be it. If it saves their marriage, if it saves their family/kids, and their life. If it means that they can still believe that the last 15 (or __ enter the number of years of marriage) weren’t a total fraud/waste. If it means that their partner really *loves* them and didn’t completely betray them and throw them under the bus. If Dr. Bologna is the straw of hope that they have to hold onto, I can see why it would be a better option than admitting the above things.

    I am betting that quite a few of the people who try these methods actually don’t really believe it themselves, deep down……they are just desperate for hope (hopium). They are, as someone termed, the walking wounded, and I understand the mental mindset (desperation + denial) that it takes to entertain this type of nonsense.

    I don’t judge these walking wounded. When my dday happened and my world was collapsing around me, I clutched at all sorts of things to try to save it. I personally didn’t believe this brand of bologna, but I do understand why some people do. When you are that hurt, betrayed, and desperate, you will take almost anything. Even if you don’t really believe it.

    As long as it sells, Dr Bologna and his counterparts will keeping hawking it.

    But I’m not buying!

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