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Don’t Be Bitter

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aliceThere was an insipid article over at HuffPo Divorce recently, by Marina Sbrochi called “Signs You Make Your Divorce Bitter.”

Flippant and jokey, it actually advises divorcees to “turn a frown upside down.”

Now, I am not arguing in favor of a bad attitude, but I wonder if someone would give that advice to the recently bereaved? “I’m sorry Bob is dead. But geez, lighten up a bit! You’re such a bummer to be around.”

Divorce is a loss too. Only it’s often, especially in cases of infidelity, a loss with a shitload of injustice. And people don’t bounce back as quickly as some of the non-grieving might like them to. Not only did you lose your spouse, probably your financial security, and time with your children — you’re dealing with betrayal. And that hurts like a motherfucker. It’s injury AND insult of the most humiliating, intimate kind.

Grieving after betrayal is very Alice in Wonderland. Things are not what they appear. Who can I trust? What’s real? What’s fiction? Who is my friend? Who is my enemy? Who’s that crazy lady in red screaming “Off with his head!” and why am I at a tea party?

The last thing a person in that bewildering state needs is for some jerk to tell them to quit being a buzz kill. Which is really just another way of saying It’s Not That Bad. Expecting someone to be buoyant and positive after such a tragedy is minimizing their grief and really, denying their reality. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said on the subject of forgiveness, that the depth of our anger reflects the depth of our love. Chumps love deep. Not only did we lose, we were played. It’s a very angry grief.

I get that some people don’t want to be around it. Makes them feel powerless and frightened. Gee, if this can happen to you, maybe it could happen to me. I’d rather feel smug and safe, so clearly You Did Something To Make This Happen to You. You know what tells me this is your fault? Your bad attitude!

I’m not arguing against resilience. I think everyone should face adversity with a kick ass attitude. I think on those hard days, yes, count your blessings, will yourself to function, and be as positive as you can muster. Have faith it WILL get better.

But I don’t think you get there without grieving. And IMO what propels you towards acceptance and “meh” faster is the acknowledgment that what happened to you was unjust. That it was devastating. That doesn’t mean you get to skulk around being “bitter” forever. It means a terrible thing happened to you, and you’re gathering your strength to rise above it. But it’s work. And it hurts. And no one would like to be further ahead in this grieving shit than you, the chump, and not Miss Norman Vincent Peale there with the platitudes.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Hear, hear!

    Divorce is a sort of death. Of death of dreams, for many of us, a death of who our belief systems, for our children – so much more. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it certainly doesn’t deserve the flighty “buck up and move on” sort of chatter that often accompanies it.

  • I completely agree. I have found, almost without exception, that I get no understanding from a person who has not been through this. Not that they are bad or insensitive. It is just too much for them to understand and, as youmention, they fear the whole thing.

  • This concept of their fear hadn’t entered my mind before. I “broke up” with a friend recently because she kept pushing me to “get over it” and think about what I may have done to cause my H to lie, cheat, and run away from home. He, on the other hand, is dancing around like nothing ever happened and won’t admit what he’s done. I’m sure that’s a lot more fun to be around than someone who is in pain and turns to you for support. I may clip this article and send it to her in the hope that it provides some perspective…

    • The fear motivation is very real, Suzanne. I experienced it, also, when my first sone was born with Down syndrome and autism. Some folks needed to we had done something to cause it.
      People really fear infidelity and need to believe that if they touch all the right touchstones, it will not happen to them. It is much safer to believe that the betrayed “must have done something to cause it”.
      You will , generally, find that many of these people with this belief are not well read, or very bright. Kind of like that Pat Robertson fellow.

  • For the first 8 months post D-Day I tried to “buck up” and move on and not be bitter or angry or ugly (god forbid). And I just kept cycling through the stages of grief, over and over and over, at record speed. Then I found CL and realized what it was that I had suffered… I had been played, used, betrayed, abused…. the ultimate mind fuck. My future as I had known it was gone in an instant. But not only that, my past, all 25 years was gone as well. What was “real”? Probably not much, but I couldn’t be sure. The mind and soul reels after such a blow. It is almost impossible to explain or put into words.

    When I found CL, I realized it WAS very very bad, and I was allowed to be furiously angry, desperately sad, bitter, etc etc. In fact, I’d be crazy if I wasn’t. So I was. I called him out on his shit to anyone who asked, I cried, I screamed sometimes, I accepted I had been used and abused and much of my youth and “best years” wasted by a monster.

    And you know what? As soon as I accepted that, and let that all out, I was able to move on, at least as much as I think I can. I still have days when I think, “what the fuck WAS that?” and feel sad and robbed of my youth and intact family. But I am stronger and better than ever in so many ways– and it was because I didn’t try to pretend it away– I accepted that it sucked, that it was desperately awful and a complete travesty, a life-altering and terrible tragedy from which my kids and I will always carry scars.

    My life with my ex was, apparently, one big lie. I refuse to continue to spackle and deny the terrible and chilling reality post-mortem so everyone feels better.

    • Kelly, my experience mirrors yours except that I cycled through my grief way longer than you did until I found CL. This site has saved my sanity.
      You’re so right when you say that my kids and I will always carry scars. It took me a long time to come to terms with the terrible realization that my life with my ex was a lie. All 31 years of it.
      Yes, I am way stronger and I both my kids have told me how proud of me they are that I had the sense of self to start over without him. And since then, though I have dated on and off, I won’t settle for less.
      The hardest pill to swallow is that he has no concept of what he did to us.
      Do I wish that Karma bus will mow him down, you bet I do. But not bad enough that he can’t pay me spousal support while I try and get to meh.
      Thanks for a GREAT post CL.

      • Yup Lynn, I pray for karma to get him and I wait. Meanwhile I go on with my pretty awesome new life. But I’ll never forget or forgive. And you will find someone wonderful if you choose because you’ll never accept less again. And yes, my ex also has no concept whatsoever of what he has done. One of his (ex -) friends said to me one day, “he doesn’t get how bad this is, does he?” No he doesn’t, because my ex has lost everything except the only one that really matters to him –himself.

  • I read the HuffPo article. Ugh. It comes off as flippant and seems to dismiss divorce as not really a big deal, so get over it. When there’s cheating and betrayal involved, it is quite a big deal. Not to mention broken hearts, financial upheaval, and kids who will suffer from the fallout. Yeah, divorce is generally a big deal, thank you very much.

    I agree with CL, we need to grieve first. Then, after we’re done greiving, we can work on our “positive attitude”. After all, we are aiming for meh. Cool, as HuffPo puts it. But grieving is essential. The alternative to grieving would be to stuff our emotions; denial. Not healthy. Emotional constipation never ends well. Or, hide the emotions with alcohol, drugs (legal or not), compulsive shopping, over or under-eating, etc. Also not healthy. Better to admit the grief, and deal with the emotions. Then when you’re done grieving, you can move on.

    The Huffpo article sounds like a fair-weather friend who just doesn’t want to know how you are really doing. Who’s being uncool now?

  • I read that article and I got so mad that I had to walk away from my computer. If people tell me to get over it, I don’t talk to them about it anymore. I don’t need someone making me feel guilty about how quickly I should be recovering. I’m the one living this story, not them.

    • Thanks for the great tagline: “I’m the one living this story, not them.” Very helpful to remember!

      • Kay H.

        I agree!!! I tell them I lived this life b/c I loved him. I was married for 13 years and it was ALL a lie. Don’t even know what was real…he moved on before he moved out…she has no kids, and well he has no responsibility. That’s all on me

    • Kay H.

      I agree!! I tell them, I lived this life because I loved him. The whole 13 years of marriage was a lie. I’m still grieving. It’s the worse feeling. I also am sick of hearing it get’s easier…..sure it does for him…he has no responsibility!!!!

    • That’s such a good line, I hope you don’t mind a guest quote on my page.

      I’m not generally a violent person, but once or twice I’ve wanted to slap someone for *asking* me how I was doing, and then not liking the answer, & trying to guilt me into a different answer.

      Asswipes.

  • The quote from “Archbishop Desmond Tutu” on the subject of forgiveness, really helped me today understand why I still hurt. “The depth of our anger reflects the depth of our love. Chumps love deep.” My spouse was the only woman I ever truly loved for the past 20+ years that we were together. So the pain is still there. Grieving takes time and we’ll be over it when we’re over it. I don’t think it’s a matter of me being patient waiting for meh but ourfriends and family that we speak with need the most patience.

  • CL – The Alice in Wonderland (or through the sharp shards of the looking glass) analogy was too funny and tied to the first piece of jewelry I bought post D-day. It was the White Rabbit on a pendant. It was lovely, unusual and I thought captured what I was going through – some sort of bizarre tumble down the rabbit hole into a world turned upside down from my own.

    Yes – the Bishop Tutu quote says it all – I have learned to tamp down and hide my anger and actually am starting to be happy or at least neutral most days – but it only takes the trigger to flare the enormous anger back up from deep inside my heart. Because – sadly – that’s where I’ve buried the all-consuming love I had for my ex – so deep that I can exist and function and live. But it’s still there, and so then is the anger. Getting to “meh” takes time and – for those who truly do give their hearts and believe in forever – it’s like deprogramming to even think of feeling that way again for anyone else. But please God it will happen. I’d hate to fill that part of my heart with feelings for someone who is the least deserving of all. Until then, though – the buried system seems to work, the deprogramming continues slowly, and hopefully I find my way back to a whole, uncluttered heart.

    • Char, thank you for perfectly expressing where I am too. It is like deprogramming, I think that is a helpful way for me to think of it. Thanks.

  • “Grieving after betrayal is very Alice in Wonderland. Things are not what they appear. Who can I trust? What’s real? What’s fiction? Who is my friend?”

    One year and eight months out from D-Day and one year from divorce from NPD. I was doing fine this spring until there was a shake-up at work. I spent two weeks developing conspiracy theories, convinced there were ulterior motives, wanting to talk about it constantly, wondering how other people saw it and weeping over it every night. It felt like a version of D-day and the rug had been pulled out from under me again. WTF had happened!?
    Now? Not such a big deal. It will be fine. I am now looking forward to a new challenge.
    That’s the damage I live with because the husband I loved so much fucked around behind my back for 15 years. He’d say I was playing the victim. I say I’m still grieving.

  • I’m new to this site, but like so many of you, am so grateful I found it. I check in everyday, and reading CL’s posts and everyone’s discussion has helped me in ways therapy has not. I’ve always thought of myself as a strong person — able to bounce back after hardship and forge ahead. But I have been completely sidelined after being blindsided after almost twenty years of marriage by a husband who announced “his” decision to leave and just left — with not one backward glance or emotion that I can see…..moved into a beautiful apartment complex, bought all new stuff (furniture, clothes, car, etc.), left even personal items like diplomas behind for me to deal with. I feel as though I don’t even know this new person. I have never felt this level of devastation — even after the death of loved ones. Our teenaged daughter (the apple of his eye) is devastated as well, even though she’s trying to maintain her relationship with him. We’re just shell shocked, I think. Even after three months, I can barely get out of bed, get to work, and function. Some friends are sympathetic, but others can’t understand why I’m not getting better faster, and to be honest, sometimes I lose patience with myself. But CL’s words in this post have helped clarify for me how big of a deal this really is. I’m having to question what was real for the past twenty years, and having to face a future that is very different from the one I imagined for a long, long time. This is hard.

    • Hang in there MaryLou, these are terrible early days for you and your daughter. My ex did the same, left without a backward glance (after I found out he had cheated for most of our 25 year marriage, lots of horrible betrayals, etc). This is despite the fact that right up to D-Day he acted like he absolutely adored me and our kids beyond measure. He also left everything, barely even took half his clothes, it’s like we were dirt on his feet. Our beautiful children do not want to see or have a relationship with him anymore and have not seen him since D-Day 14 months ago…. and he really has not tried very hard to see them. It truly is Alice-In-Wonderlandish. This site helped me more than anything on that bewildering road to meh. (((Hugs)))

    • Amylou,

      If it makes you feel any better, I spent months sleep-walking through a surreal haze. I went to work, shopped for groceries, and paid bills, but it was like having an out-of-body experience the whole time.

      I handed out candy on Halloween, fixed myself a tiny Thanksgiving dinner (because my family is in another state), and even put up a Christmas Tree, decorations and lights. Just me and the dogs.

      I walked those dogs twice a day just so I didn’t collapse into some sort of catatonic state. I became an expert dog walker. My dogs and I walk 3-4 miles a day, every day.

      I don’t know why, but walking the dogs seemed to help, so the only advice I have is “start small”. Find something you can do (preferably that doesn’t require too much thought or create too much stress), and do it regularly, and meanwhile… know that a lot of us have been there too, and we got through it, and so will you.

      • “I spent months sleep-walking through a surreal haze”

        Me, too. Haze is still here, but not as thick. I’d call it smog. Looking forward to coming out of it completely.

        Good reminder to “start small”.

      • TimeHeals,

        This is good advice! I too find myself having no clue what to do and not even being present in life, but I do love my dogs, and Im sure they wouldnt mind.

        Ill be doing this tonight 🙂

    • AmyLou,
      ((((((((((HUGS)))))))))). There is a path forward, take our hands and we will all stumble along together, taking turns leading depending on who’s strongest on any given day! The leaving things behind (everything) baffled me too but now that I’ve gotten rid of most it I’m starting fresh too, for ME! We didn’t have kids but I’m pretty sure this is what he did to the 2 he has. SCUM in my opinion. Kids are innocent, and they deserve to be loved. You all are very lucky to have each other. XO

      • Many thanks to all for the hugs and support!! I feel less alone today than I have in quite awhile and cannot thank you all enough. I think my dog is going for a walk tonight!

        • Welcome to the site AmyLou! It’s a great bunch of folks here. Big hugs to you and your daughter. I hope you’re getting her some therapy — to have her father just walk out on her that way… poor kid. And I’d say poor you, but I honestly believe that ultimately you’ll be better off to be rid of someone capable of such cruelty. I know it doesn’t feel like that right now… you’re grieving. But better days ahead, AmyLou.

        • Sending warm wishes AmyLou – it’s a tough place you’re in. Hang in there.
          We’re here for you.
          Hugs.

      • “There is a path forward, take our hands and we will all stumble along together, taking turns leading depending on who’s strongest on any given day!”

        Beautiful, Toni, that brought tears to my eyes and is so true!

      • Yeah, weird how they leave everything behind. Mine took his clothes and a few other personal things but that’s it. Now that I’m moving I am going to tell him that I’ll take what I want and he can come take or get rid of what’s left. No way am I going to deal with getting rid of 20 years worth of crap on my own.

        • Nord,
          Wish I could have moved! What a pain the the ass! More crap on top of everything else he did to me, THAT pissed me off big time…

    • AmyLou: Are you seeing a therapist? You should it is a safe haven to talk about this and gain insight. One for your daughter too. Have you (or he) filed for divorce? You should talk to a lawyer. Get rid of all his personal stuff; if it wasn’t important to him it sure isn’t important to you. A big box and just dump it in. Mail it or leave it with his new apt manager. Or donate it and give him the receipt for taxes! My H announced he was in love with an old girlfriend he met on facebook. 23 yrs of loving him and taking care of him POOF. Of course 10 ms later he is still here and seems to be no closer to moving on. I have gotten alot of my personal stuff organized to be ready to move out. And I have started to have “meh” moments. I told my therapist yesterday I just didn’t care I just wanted him to do something towards ending this; take some responsiblity for his actions.

      • Dear Chump Lady, thank you for the warm welcome. And thanks to so many others for your support and insight. My daughter and I both saw a therapist for awhile but financially were not able to continue. We’re looking for one that takes my insurance — they are hard to find in this small southern town. Therapy did help us a little, but I think a lot of therapists just don’t understand the kind of devastation that all of us here are all too familiar with. It’s grief for sure and also more than grief — just kind of like a complete loss of identity or spirit or something. The more I learn, unplugging from a narcissist is not an easy thing. My daughter said something profound last night: that in my attempt to please him and make him want to stay all these years (after spells where he cheated, gaslighted me, triangulated me with other women friends on Facebook, revealed without batting an eye his porn habit, etc., etc.) — that I essentially became broken myself…lost myself…so there aren’t a lot of reserves of strength to draw on right now that I need myself most. I guess when I expended so much energy stuffing down emotions, walking on eggshells, trying to control every aspect of every day so that he did not rage at some perceived slight, then there was not a lot left over for myself or really anybody else. That’s the big lesson I’m trying to learn is how to take all that effort that I expended on him as I tried to keep the dysfunctional relationship intact at just about any cost to myself, and then truly believe that I am worthy enough and entitled enough to re-focus that effort on me — and then when I am whole and healthy again– on my daughter. And I think a little righteous anger would help, too! I’m going to get there! Thanks again to you all.

  • This is one of my biggest fears about the whole nightmare that I went through. That I am left bitter and unable to get over it. I feel like I should be past it by now, it’s been three years since Dday, two years since bogus reconciliation ended, one year since divorce was final. And yet I still think about the ex and the terrible things he did to me, I still feel angry about it sometimes, I still feel sick inside when I remember he never loved me, and I still dread the inevitable day I hear from our son that the ex is with someone else.

    I know most of my friends and family think I should be over it by now and they don’t want to hear me talk about it. They tell me to let it go, to accept it, to move on. And I WANT to do all that, I really do. In fact, I have started a whole new career over the past two years, I have my own apt with my son, I have friends and go out and do things to have fun. But I still think about my ex every day, I still care WAY too much about what he is doing and I still find myself thinking “What the fuck happened?” way too often.

    My therapist told me I have a form of PTSD from many years of abuse and dealing with the bizarre things ex did and still does. She said it might never go away entirely, but would fade over time. I hope she is right.

    • One of my many fears too GIO. Everyone says you’ll be trapped in the grief cycle until you confront or deal with the emotions but I’m not sure how to (or even whether or not I am dealing with the emotions or just repressing them).

    • Many partners are diagnose with PTSD. It is very real. Especially prevalent when dealing with serial cheating and the whole long term marriage being a lie. It does get better if you are treated as a trauma survivor instead of a vindictive spouse….. Hang in there. many women have had success with somatic therapy and EDMR. You may want to ask your therapist about it. 🙂

      • I have said on here before, EMDR was a life saver for me. I felt different after the first session, went to 4 sessions in all. It was amazing. I would not have believed it if someone had told me, it sounds so weird, but it really worked for me. I only went because I was totally desperate to stop the searing pain and looping thought patterns. I would have tried anything. I did try many things that didnt work. I was about ready to kill myself to make it stop. When I say EMDR was a life saver, I mean it.

        • Plus one, EMDR was the only thing that got me past the PTSD issues, both the overt violence and the cheating, to include memory of sex that was horrible once I knew what he had done

          • Me too.. I had other traumas, but what came out was the fear and pain came mostly from dealing with the ex, who is also diagnosed with PTSD. I remember the first time our therapist said “when you’re dealing with two people with PTSD…” I wasn’t able to breathe. I had never even seen a therapist, because all our efforts were focused on him. (Surprise!) This was shortly after DDay, and about 2 years after the other trauma happened. She suggested EMDR, and he went through it, but I never did. I left about two years later (had many legal issues to take care of first, which gave me enough money to start completely over) and finally went through the therapy myself. I rarely have dreams anymore, and when I do, I am incapacitated for about a day, but not the weeks that used to be. And oddly enough, the dreams are all about the ex abusing me, not the other trauma. He WAS the trauma for me.

            I highly recommend EMDR to anyone who is in so much pain that they simply can not function. It is, as Violet says, a lifesaver.

    • Im with you Glad It’s Over,

      I know I was not married and had kids with my spouse but we were together for 7 years and were engaged. I have been with him since I was 16. People dont realize how difficult it is but the fact of the matter was that I never grew up by myself; I have no idea who I am as an adult.

      I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to make him stop cheating. First it was that he had Mommy issues, then it was he got scared of being happy, then it turned into I didnt understand him or listen to him.

      I never really went out because he didnt particularly like to. When he would leave for someone else (usually for only about 2 weeks he would actually leave but he usually started fighting or was unhappy about 1 month before then) I would find someone else relatively fast but I was just buying time til he would come back.

      Before I knew it I was 21, finished college with a Major in Business and Minor is Psychology and was still hung up on him. I would cook him dinner and lunch every day and bring it to him, I would do anything he wanted because I so badly wanted to be what he wanted. When he finally bought his house I moved in and was taking care of the house and cooking everynight. We got engaged about a year ago and 4 months in he called it off and kicked me out. I was petrified because I had no idea how to be alone, I had no confidence that I could do anything without him. I did end up surprising myself and getting a nice apt within a week of everything happening. We still tried to work things out.

      Here I am now devastated that 6 weeks ago he met a 31 year old and she is pregnant. He still says he loves me but who the hell knows. I cant tell what is up from down anymore.

      People dont understand that people like this require that you make them your nucleus; so when they leave you lose your center. My self love came from wat he thought, my self hate came from what he thought, what I like about myself is because he liked it. It is hard to figure out who I am at this point because the days of me being my center have been over for quite some time. I obsess about him because that is all I know.

      I dont want to focus on the crappy life they will have together (fingers crossed), I just dont know how to focus on me. He is moving on and I am not. I feel like this is probably an issue that most chumps have. Its even more difficult hearing him say that he still loves me and does not have those feelings for her and is staying for the baby (which ie is excited about the baby, not the situation, which pisses me off). He says that he knows that he will never find someone to love him the way I did and he is so sorry for everything and he really messed up. I actually feel bad for him (riddle me that one)! but then I find out about them going out together and I just get mad and depressed again. I have a hard time not picking up because for whatever reason I still get this anxitey in me that he will get mad at me. Not exactly sure what I am scared of, I mean, what is he going to do? I know the last time I left him beacuse I found out about someone else and I left him a note and left. He has yet to let that go. He said he almost killed himself and could not believe I did that to him. That was the one thing I had going for me and he has never left me like that. I kept trying to prove myself to him. Ive been trying to figure out why Im still worried about upsetting him.

      • KL,
        Go NO CONTACT! And hearing from other people what’s going on with him will just add fuel to the obsession! At first people would tell me things but when I realized what it was doing to me I asked everyone to please not tell me, and so they stopped. Gave me SO much peace of mind, I am very capable of torturing myself, so that cut it down to about 80% of the time instead of 100%! And NC enables you to begin to move on…I often think about his reaction to this or that…It’s just a habit. I’m conditioned because there was so much disapproval from him, and that’s slowly fading too.

      • I second the No Contact. It makes you less crazy, though it’s very hard to do.

        I’m still married to my cheater, but I was obsessed with going through his texts every chance I had. He’s since changed his phone’s password. I can break that any time I wish–and I will occasionally check his email if he’s careless enough to leave it open when he’s away–but overall I feel better that I don’t have a running commentary of their relationship. I know enough to know they have one. I know enough to trust that he sucks.

        So yes, it’s a lot easier to deal with if it’s not thrown in your face every time you turn around.

        If you haven’t yet explored therapy, it’s probably a very good option. A good therapist should be able to help you go through the process. You’re going to grieve, yes, and get angry. A lot. CL says that “meh” will come along some Tuesday, but that Tuesday doesn’t have to be next week.

        • I still check the secret cell phone every chance I get, mostly because I CANNOT figure out what the OW is getting out of this “relationship”. I know my H is getting ego kibbles plus still has me to take care of him (hard not to break the pattern). I have started not to care ( my first experience of “meh” since this whole awful thing started) Therapist says it is all fantasy on their part and infatuation. So sophmoric

          • Most recent email that I read had STBX sending OW a picture of the Book of Mormon, saying that this was his family’s shame. His father was a polygamist, and he was destined on the same path. *gag* His father was a cheater, not a polygamist, and I suspect he was cheating on his long-term mistress as well. Polygamy doesn’t have secrets. Everyone going into it knows about each other. Cheating is, well, cheating. If he wanted to go down the polyamory route, he’d have come clean with me.

            • Stupid is a stupid does. That was such a stupid statement. Where do they come up with theses things?

          • OW gets satiated on crumbs, and/OR is actually doing a “pick me” dance, herself. OR for whatever her reasons, doesn’t feel she deserves any better… or whatever. And God only knows what he’s telling her to keep her hangin’ on. (better not to know, unless one can detach from the dysfunction)

            Narc cheaters love juggling all of their kibbles round and round… “see, how special I am??????”

            yuck.

      • KL,
        Kindly get some PTSD therapy done. There are some self help books like on EMDR by Francine Shapiro. That is the way to go. You need to understand yourself and love yourself first. Only then you can love others or be of value to them. Going this way it seems you don’t value yourself so much…sometimes chumps like us forget how to value oneself. Then how do we imagine others valuing or loving us?

        • At this point no, there isnt much values left for myself. I sacraficed everything trying to fix the one thing that wasnt making me perfect. He always used to say, ” Kristie you are 99% perfect but the one thing I really need is the one thing you are missing… you dont understand or listen to me and they do”. But he would always come back because “they didnt have all of the other traits I had”.

          Its hard to hold onto self value when you are giving up everything for someone else, just to be left and to get someone pregnant.

          Part of me hopes he keeps this up forever so she feels what its like. I know people say I am in a better situation than he is considering he is selling the house because he cannot afford it, he moved in with the 31 yr old, and is having a baby with her after only knowing her for a little over a month; but it doesnt feel like it. I hope they are right? I know I am better than this situation and I cant figure out how it all led to this. I was so much fun and always happy when I was younger, I want that person back.

          • Kristina, I think he’s like a drug for you, you’re addicted to him because he TRAINED you. I do know how that feels. It’s going to take alot of effort on your part, you need to invest in you in an equal amount to what you gave him all those years. Someday you will see through him, when you’re ready!
            At least you’re still pretty young! I know you can do it. Think about attracting truth and beauty to yourself, that’s the good karma, and you deserve it.

          • Kristina L, I know exactly what you mean. I’m trying to unplug from my ex who is clearly a narcissist — with a sadistic streak thrown in for good measure! He used to “grade” me, as you note. A+ on some things, needs improvement on others. He would triangulate me with other women — old girlfriends, new “friends,” even his mother! I was always in anxiety mode — trying to measure up, trying to please, trying to earn more money (which I now know he spent like crazy). He held all the control — did the bills every month, had a whole private financial life I’m discovering (probably to pay the online porn bills and to squirrel money away in order to run away). My lawyer knows all of this, so I’m not sure what I’ll find out in the end. During some of my early investigations into his spending, I found where he shipped overnight to the tune of about forty dollars a package to a woman in Tennessee after charging a purchase costing about $250.00 at Best Buy the day before. She posts on his Facebook page regularly, and I never knew who she was, but now I see….another “friend.” There were always other women — I just did not want to know. I wanted the relationship to work so badly, to have a “normal” family, to be his #1, that I closed my eyes to many things and twisted myself into a pretzel to keep him around. Now he’s just walked out, and I am sure he already has someone else or has for some time….just trying to keep things hidden so my daughter does not find out yet. I’m also sure that he will “accidentally” have children with someone else (this one really makes me sick). He seems really happy and cheerful when he picks up my daughter for the occasional dinner or for the day — has lost weight, stopped smoking, got a tan — it’s really, really hard not to think somehow I’ve failed to hang on to him and that I’ve lost something really important since I’ve been conditioned so for long to believe that he was special (he told me ALL the time) and that the success of the relationship rested just on my shoulders. I feel for you. I know this is hard. I will admit that there are days when I just want him back — even though I know it would be nightmarish again. I think it’s all about the conditioning and grooming they do, with maybe with a dose of addiction that we wind up with. We have to unplug. We will find our fun and happy selves again — I have to believe that.

            • Thanks Amy 🙂

              “I just did not want to know. I wanted the relationship to work so badly, to have a “normal” family, to be his #1, that I closed my eyes to many things and twisted myself into a pretzel to keep him around.”

              I wanted to know and I did (but Im sure not about all of them) but I did the exact same thing. I so badly wanted to be “good enough” for him to stay, because he was amazing when he was happy. And thats what they do: make you responsible fotheir happiness and if they are not happy and happen to do something, you are correlated into it.

              Odd thing is, is that over the years my happiness depended on his mood. Makes you feel that you have all of this control when you absolutely do not! If you want to be happy they need to be happy, so make them happy and then you can be happy. Feels like that but not the case at all.

              Today was our 7 year anniversary, thought I would have heard from him (hoping actually, which I know I shouldnt). Super tough today to remember that he is going home to her, not me. To let go of a life that I lived for so long for many of my important years is incredibly difficult. I just hope that Im not fooling myself and he can actually be happy with someone even though all of the signs say he cant.

              PS that “grade” thing sucks! Let him try that out on someone else and see how many teeth he has left! Part of me thinks that because they got used to treating us the way they did for so long they are going to think its acceptable and I wonder how someone else would react when they do it to them.

    • It is PTSD, Glad, no doubt about it. The experience of having your life, your memories, hell, your entire cultural inventory blasted away in one swoop is very traumatic. It caused me to question everything in my life for a long time.

    • Back in late winter I noticed I was having this strange reaction, I was no longer thinking of my ex all the time, but when I did, my mind would go through this process where I’d have to think: “Wait, did all that really happen? Did he really do that? Could he really have cheated on me for all those years, with those women? Can it be we are divorced and he does not care, and does not even contact our children? It was all a lie?” And then I’d have to tell myself: “Yes, Kelly, it really happened, it’s real, it’s not a bad dream.” My therapist said it was a post traumatic type reaction. My mind just couldn’t process it properly, at least not instantaneously. Sometimes, though less and less often, I find I still go through it. It’s like I have to reason with myself to make myself believe it.

      • My memory is becoming very fuzzy about our time together. I recall things we did and said, etc; but it’s like I’m looking at someone elses life since to me it was all a lie. I can’t even imagine him in MY apt. anymore – or ever again…he doesn’t belong or fit here in this space I’ve recreated… I KNOW we were together all those years but it seems like the very distant past not just six months ago!

        • Toni – what a difference in your posts from 6 months ago. You’re getting to meh!!!
          I remember your posts at the very beginning – your struggles and your pain – look at you now!
          Hugs – so proud of you.

          • Thank you Lynn,
            CL and all of you have been my rock. I have actually gone back and reread my posts from the beginning a couple of times when I was having a really bad day and I’m amazed too! 🙂

  • The injustice has been the toughest part foe me. By the end, I despised my XWs due to their abuse and mistreatment(which was , as we often see, ramped up even further during the cheating).
    So, I do not miss my XWs at all. I do resent he fact that they stole my time here on earth, when they always had the option to just divorce and be honorable about the whole thing.
    Instead, i subsidized the affairs for years, unknowingly. Not only did I support them financially and in other ways, but I, in reliance on our agreement, was forgoing myriad opportunities to be with other women.
    So, had we stayed together, when we got to the end of our lives, my wife would have had many, many more pleasurable, orgasmic experiences than I . Her life would have contained so much more fun and excitement, while I could reminisce about changing diapers and scooping poop out of the tub as I bathed our disabled son each night.
    While she was out smoking, drinking and hooking up, I was home with our sons, taking care of them etc. Nice , equitable deal, eh?
    Thing about time is you can never get it back. I will never look like i did back then , again. I will never have the sexual stamina or drive that i had back then.
    She, on the other hand, while having had all these escapades, will never have the bond I have with my sons. When one of them was hurt or sad, they always came to me. And, unbelievably, this would piss her off, as she needed to portray herself as the saintly, devoted mom. What a fucking joke.
    On that subject, has anyone ever noticed just how adept these folks often are at playing to an audience?

    • Man Arnold. I’m guessing everyone on this site would take the kids over the escapades any day; but, that doesn’t change the fact that you got a raw deal. In fact “raw deal” sounds so one-dimensional compared to the layer upon layer of manure that has been dumped on us.

    • Arnold, our everyday stories are so similar, despite the gender difference. I was the one scooping poop out of the tub while my husband was out drinking, smoking and hooking up.

      I totally hear what you’re saying. Your XW stole *time* from you. Years of your life. Years of youth. Opportunities missed. Not just sexually with other women, but maybe spending time with a woman who actually cared about you (as opposed to your XW). You’ll never get that time back.

      And neither will I. My STBX’s narc-abuse and cheating cast a dark shadow on my early years with my young children. That is something that I may never forgive my STBX for. I can’t get that time back, ever. It’s gone. I think about all the times I was walking on eggshells, stressed beyond belief, crying, and wishing he would just stop, all while trying to enjoy my children, my babies. Him admitting the cheating, packing his bags, leaving. Threatening divorce. Then false R. All that time I spent stressed out, when I could have just been enjoying my kids. That’s the kicker, for me.

      “On that subject, has anyone ever noticed just how adept these folks often are at playing to an audience?”
      Yes, I have noticed this in my STBX. He loves to brag to his friends about how he will take the oldest child to Chuck eCheese, but then leaves out how he wants no part of the child care for the rest of the weekend. To them, though, he seems like a wonderful dad. Always makes sure to dress up the kids to look cute for other people, too, show them off. I feel like screaming at him – “They’re not dolls! They have feelings! ” And they don’t like it when you yell at them and do 154 other hurtful things. But showing them off is his priority. Arrgh.

      • If I had a penny (not even a nickel) for every time my H played “dad of the century” then I could send all of you on your dream vacation and feed all the starving people of the world. I ended that little charade when I discovered the cheating. He could either come clean to his family ….” Oh S… aka goldenboy… is such a great father…puke” or I would tell the kids. He confessed and I have gotten tons of support from my family, his family, and my friends. Yes, I threatened to hurt my kids with his actions. I would have too. I was not bluffing. Do not nominate me for Mom of the Year….I was really pissed 🙂

        • They would find out either way, though, right? If you told the “secret” or if your husband came clean to his family? If the family knows, won’t the kids know, too, at some point or another? Even if they are young now, I bet they will find out when the get older.

          FWIW, I plan on telling my kids in an age-appropriate way. They are too young right now to understand. But I’m not going to lie to them, to cover my STBX’s ass. I’m not going to tell them some nonsense about “oh, we just grew apart”. I’ll probably say something like “Your father broke a very big promise to me, and that’s not okay.” When they get older, I will tell them the jist of it. I won’t give them any sordid details of his late-night escapades, but I will tell them that he “had a girlfriend and a wife at the same time, and that’s not okay.” I just don’t want to lie anymore, and I don’t think it would be healthy for them, based on what I’ve heard from now-adult children of cheaters.

      • Oh Duck, you left me crying at my desk. The hardest part for me too is the price my kids have paid, and the lost time with them. I haven’t been there for them like I want to be. I don’t do so many things with them because I am afraid of him getting mad at me. He has to make himself the center of my attention, so he takes me away from them. I didn’t mind scooping poop out of the tub nearly so much as him standing over us yelling about it. Sorry, rough day for me, feeling bitter I guess. 😉

    • Arnold,
      I’ve been on here for awhile now and every time you talk about your kids it renews my faith in mankind. Much love to you.

  • Divorce is worse than death – they chose to leave you behind. Their departure is intentional, not some bad circumstance of ill health or freak accident.

      • You know Cathy, my ex tried to turn that very thought around. I left him because he is a lying, cheating, abusive asshole. It took me years, and may tries at false reconciliation, but in the end I finally left. He is now, of course, DEVASTATED. Suicidal. Blah blah blah. He was telling me last time I had to deal with him (about a month ago). That all he ever does is think of me, wish I was with him. He then said “it would be different if you weren’t still alive.” WTF!?! I guess if I had died he wouldn’t have to tell anyone he cheated? He could rewrite the abuse? He would be an infinitely more sympathetic, pitiful man so the next codependent sucker would attach a bit easier?

        He was my Freak Accident. He’s a freak, and I accidentally fell in love with him.

    • Then they turn around and blame you for their intentional departure, throwing some guilt on top of the grief…

      • Yeah Bud. Imagine your spouse saying with their dying breath “You drove me to cancer…”

        • And they are getting the backing from their therapist by saying “well that’s why she cheated. He (me) wasn’t supporting you emotionally” I’ve said it before. That might be a reason why someone may want to cheat but it is not the reason to cheat. They cheat because they chose to cheat. They wanted to feel something. blahhhh.

          • My wife’s therapist told her “he took you to the line so he shouldn’t be mad at you for crossing it!” That is such a manipulative minimization of her role that I simply cannot believe it came from a paid professional. This is the same therapist who told me in our one and only MC session that my assignment for the week was to court her, take her out and gaze longingly into her eyes, etc…. That never happened because dday number 2 was less than 48 hours later; but, even my wife said “He’s probably thinking ‘why do I have to court her? She’s the one who had an affair.'” I think the therapy community has some catching up to do. Even my therapist doesn’t seem to get it.

            • My ex lied to his therapists, in fact he ditched the first one because I had a short conversation with her. Remember, they lie, I found out half the crap my ex said was from his therapist was lies, the other Half of the hurtful was because he was lying to the therapist. They only know what the patient tells them

    • We need to come up with a different word than “Divorce” when it happens because of infidelity. The simple word of “Divorce” is not harsh enough.

      The cheating spouses want to make it sound simple by saying something like “we just couldn’t get along anymore.” “I just didn’t love him/her anymore” They hide behind the term Irreconcilable Differences. A HUGE expensive, emotional load of crap is what it is!

      • I agree. Let’s bring back ‘alienation of affection’ while we’re at it, so homewreckers of either sex have to pay for their acquisition. Would she still want him if it cost HER? I doubt it.

        • Haha-we live in Utah and I could’ve sued his sleazy, hippie, pot-smokin, drunk OW! It’s one of the 5 states that have the ‘alienation of affection law’. Believe me, I was tempted because I had copies of her long ‘love’ letters(GAK!) and tons of witnesses. Oooh, the revenge! I think I could have gotten her house, and left her homeless for breaking up my 32 yr marriage.
          But, alas, I have too much class (and Im enjoying just moving on).

      • My ex’s one long-term friend (who we’d had little contact w/for years after he moved out of the country) found out about the separation and called the ex to ask what had happened. His response? ‘The relationship wore out’.

        Yeah, relationships will ‘wear out’ if you do NOTHING to sustain them, nothing to care for your partner, nothing to try to make it work. They wear out if you just sit back and demand kibbles, and get resentful when real life slows the kibble supply, or your spouse’s ability to give kibbles is reduced by the nasty way you act.

        But even if the relationship is ‘worn out’ for whatever reason, you can just be honest and leave.

  • When I realized the marriage was over, I took my wedding rings off and put them in the jewelry box. I never said a word to anyone about the rings. I stayed with him for another year and a half and I grieved while I was still with him. Every little thing he did just pushed me further and further away. I screamed, I cried, I shook, I ate too much, I ate too little and then I cried some more. I went to therapy. All this was done while hiding it from him and the kids. Fortunately for me I have wonderful friends who would open their doors or answer their phones at all hours of the night. I saved and saved. I planned and plotted. He kept pushing me further eating his cake and getting more brazen about it as time went on. Every argument started with this line ”Go ahead and file for divorce see if I care. ” I heard that over and over. One night he pushed it too far. One month later as he read the papers in our living room he had the balls to tell me we should have talked about this. UGH!

    By the time the kids and I left I had grieved quite a bit. Once I was out It still took me at least a year to recover from the lies, the verbal and emotional abuse, the gaslighting, the walking on eggshells and the sheer stupidity of this man. ( I will never be over that one because stupid is as stupid does)

    Two and a half years later I still don’t have a finalized divorce. My life and the life I wanted for my kids is forever changed. But he doesn’t care. The only thing that matters is his life. So I am still angry and bitter. I will get to meh eventually but I am not there yet. One day at a time.

      • Bud – it took about 6 months. Our biggest problem for the entire marriage was communication. Any discussion led to an argument and he would shut me out. He’d leave the house for hours or he wouldn’t speak to me for days, weeks or months. Therefore every issue got shoved under the rug and was never resolved. When I confronted him about his affair, he denied it.I wanted to save our marriage, so I suggested counseling. He told me we didn’t need it. I decided that if I went to counseling alone, I could save our marriage. Counseling opened my eyes. I had no idea I was living with an NPD let alone what that was. He was verbally and emotionally abusing me. I started to see the same patterns in our kids – one behaving like him, the other cowering like me. It truly opened my eyes. When I realized that none of this was normal, I knew it was time to get out and save my kids from the same pattern. On my 45th birthday I vowed to make the next 20 years happier and started planning to leave. BTW his OW married someone else last year and he is still seeing her on the side. He is so pathetic!

  • This post really resonated with me! I have a lot to say and not much time.

    It is BIG! It is DEVASTATING, and it very much feels like you’re Alice in Wonderland, down that rabbit hole. Your whole world gets turned upside down and you question everything and everyone. No one else gets it, if they haven’t experienced it. It takes lots of time, energy and grief to work your way through, back out of that hole and back to sanity. It’s not the same as death…it’s worse! And, yes, there’s scars. It’s very unjust. Lots of smoke and mirrors, and crap to wade through.

    One thing I realized though was that it was all REAL for me. I can’t control how he felt or how it was for him, but I have that and no one can take it away from me. I have moved on and found a better life where I am much more peaceful and have tucked that chapter of my life away. I stay away from him now, very little contact if any. I don;t even like to hear about him or anything in his life. It takes time to get to Meh, and we all get there when we’re ready, however I read somewhere that even when the abuser is gone, we continue the abuse ourselves and that is their legacy. I’m not going to let that happen and do everything in my power to have joy and happiness in my life, every day!

    • Yep,
      I’m in a very good space right now, but every once in a while I’m afraid he’s going to force his way back and ruin it, I even dream about it! Sometimes I feel so happy, and yes Lucky(!) that i’m free I get scared, like I don’t want to tempt fate..and then I say “Fuck Him” and smile again…:) CAN’T let that be his legacy!

  • I cannot tell you how many fucking times I was told to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. Are you fucking kidding me? Yeah, I know everyone is different…and handles grief differently but I, for one, can tell you I was devastated when I found out my ex was having an affair. I could not function or eat…I lost 40 pounds. Hardly anyone understood. The bitches I worked with (who were divorced, incidentally) told me to ‘buck up’ and throw myself into my work to ‘get my mind off of it’. W T F?

    And you know what? Divorce is WORSE than someone dying! When someone dies, that shit is FINAL, there is a certain amount of finality in it, e.g. you’re never going to see that person again. But with divorce, and worse, divorce with a narcissistic jackass, you get to live it over and over and over and over. It’s a like a merry-go-round on steroids. And the damn thing doesn’t STOP it only goes FASTER. You have the joy of conducting the postmortem on a failed marriage that you poured your life into. You get to hear how it was YOUR fault because you didn’t love him/her enough or the way they wanted to be loved.

    And these people want me to ignore that shit?

    You get to know who is your friends are real quick. I cannot tell you how many people just fell off the face of the planet…guess they didn’t want to get the divorce cooties off of me.

    Oh, and I LOVE the folks who tell you to just ‘let go of the anger or you will become bitter’? Really? ‘Cause YOU’VE BEEN THERE? 9 times outta 10 they have no fucking clue. They drive their SUVs or Vans to soccer practice, teach Sunday School and are the classroom mothers. They married their high school or college sweetheart and their marriage is ‘solid’. But they are so well qualified to tell me when and how I should grieve the death of my marriage.

    Unbelievable.

    It took me forever to get ‘over’ it and honestly, I am not sure there is such a thing as ‘completely over’. I think you get to an understanding that hey, this shit happened and I had to go through it and remember to breathe and eat and not drink all the wine in the house.

    • Last week, STBX came home from work and exclaimed, “OW may be badly injured or dead!” Now, he doesn’t know I know that he’s having an affair with OW. I’m sure he knows I have my suspicions.

      My first reaction was “Good. Bitch had it coming.”

      That’s not what I said, though.

      I’m angry enough that if someone told me that STBX died in an industrial accident, I’d probably be relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the property division in the divorce process.

      • But wouldn’t it be great to just say it!

        “Oh, if the shoe were on the other foot, I’m sure I would say something trite, too. But at least you would understand the nature of my pain.”

      • KB, I would be lying if I said that I did not spend many an hour fantasizing about the untimely demise of my piece of ca-ca XH. Ah well…such is life and I truly believe karma is a bitch and he’ll get his one day. And for that matter the OW will too. 😉

      • I’m guilty of the “wish they would die in a terrible car accident while on one of their body exploring trips” fantasy.

    • Typically a spouse doesn’t die on purpose… unlike infidelity, where they choose to shred your soul. Totally different. Even had a friend who recently lost her loving husband tell me that the betrayal I experienced is worse than the death of her husband that she experienced. Her husband didn’t decide to die. I read an article (when I was doing my initial Amazon-type therapy) and the woman wrote about walking down the street as a child, hand-in-hand with her twin sister when a car jumped the curb and hit & killed her sister… right in front of her. She wrote in the article that as devastating as that was, the betrayal of her husband, and the collateral damage of what he had done, was far worse than that horrific moment when she lost her sister. Wow.

      • Wow Nadine, that is a horrific way to lose your twin…but for the author to say that her H’s betrayal was worse…we feel her pain.

        I did have one person tell me that they knew what I was going through was nothing in comparison to their own divorce which was a mutual decision. At least when your spouse dies you have all the good memories…the quirks of their personality or flaws are forgotten for the wonderful memories they leave behind. In betrayal, all there is are bad memories, and for those who have to continue to have contact because of children the bad memories can continue for years.

        So glad CL has a blog and we can lean on each other because , even though everyone has their own version of virtually the same story, we all really understand each other.

  • There is no “over it” – it’s always there. And after you heal, it just becomes a scar on your soul.

    • Bitter? Wtf, i have every right to be bitter, angry and vindictive. 20 years, 2 children and 3 (at least) OW.damn right I am bitter and the fuckedupness of it is I see no meh in sight. Dday was only 3+ months ago…

  • I try not to get too angry when people have a “just get over it” type of attitude toward infidelity. I may have felt that way too before it happened to me. Now I know better.

    Looking back on it, my early grieving process was transformative, unlike anything I have ever experienced. About a month after d-day, circumstances aligned to allow me to quit my job and move in with my parents (2 hours away) until I could find a place of my own. My parents put up a fence for my dogs, and for the entire month of July, I sat in the shady yard processing my loss, while my dogs played and my parents kept me fed. It was like a grief retreat.

    Everyone around me took my loss very seriously (although they could not fully understand how I felt). I feel like this intense period of concentrated mourning and soul searching really accelerated my healing. People kept telling me that divorce is like the death of your marriage, so mourn it like a death. That may be true, but in this time of deep reflection, what I came to understand was that infidelity, as I experienced it, was more like mourning the death of ME. The person who was supposed to love me the most just decided to replace me. I was removed from my own life. I was obliterated. One day this was my life, the next day it wasn’t, and the world just kept on turning. I did not matter. My own mortality was staring me in the face; this was at the heart of my grief/terror/misery/rage. This is some serious shit, not to be taken lightly! This epiphany guided my recovery work, and has transformed my life in so many ways.

    • Two things River:

      First, your statement

      “I was removed from my own life. I was obliterated. One day this was my life, the next day it wasn’t, and the world just kept on turning. I did not matter.”

      really resonates with me. I still feel like an empty shell most of the time. People have described it as an out-of-body experience but I feel more like a body with no spirit than a soul with no body (if that makes any sense whatsoever). Sorry if the formatting is hard to read. I do all my CLing on my phone.

      And second, would your parents be interested in adopting me?

      • HB, yes, what you say totally makes sense to me.

        And as for my parents, they are far from Ozzy and Harriet (more like Ozzy and Sharon!), but they totally hit this one out of the park. I’d love it if I could ever be a resource for someone in need, the way they were for me.

        :o)

        • Uh, CL… I can see a business for you forming here. A “Chump Retreat” where brokenhearted chumps are indulged with spa treatments, the best chocolate, group bitching sessions with fellow chumps… I’d save my money to attend a weekend of that! Just a thought. 🙂

    • Oh River…. I know exactly how you feel. You trust someone with your life and come to find out they could care less if you were dead or alive. They just want their “happiness” right now and will do ANYTHING to get it. Doesn’t matter who gets destroyed or obliterated along the way. Still have days where I sit and cry and say “WTF happened?” Not even the courtesy of a conversation….. just “I’m not happy” of course he didn’t know why, just knew it must be me. Pathetic coward.

      • I completely relate River and HB,

        Like I said earlier, they take your nucleus away from you, your center. You have no idea what you have left. It’s hard to remember who you were without them because they made your life about them. The empty feeling is the worst part. You see them moving on and your sitting there like a hallow shell.

        We just need to trust that they are not moving forward. They are just jumping around because, IMO, they too feel like a hallow shell deep inside just indefinitely. That’s why they keep jumping, but they cannot jump from themselves.

        We are fortunate enough to know this is just a phase for us, not who we are (at least thats what I try to tell myself) 🙂

    • I hope you don’t mind, but your words are really powerful.

      You are getting a guest spot on the blog tonight.

      You have a gift of phrasing some pretty gritty realities in a way that is non-abrasive.

      That is not a common ability.

    • I wouldn’t say I left me behind – I think it’s more that I found a lot of the old me, the one who would never have put up with half of this shit in the first place (before being worn down by the ex). There are good bits of me from my 20 years with him and I don’t want to lose them. But I have rediscovered bits of me that are pre-ex, and I’ve discovered new parts that I didn’t realise I had within me.

      So it’s all pretty much win-win, despite the absolute horror of what I went through.

  • I’m a real stoic, so I can’t say I had this problem. Not that I wasn’t completely thrown for a loop, but I’ve never been one to let other people in on my vulnerabilities. Additionally, the kids would freak out if it appeared I was breaking down and they were definitely not at an age where even frank discussion would be appropriate. I just let their awareness evolve and frankly, his lies were so egregious that putting two and two together didn’t take them long.

    I am 5 years down the road from his moving out. 3 years post divorce, which was brutal and agonizing, intentionally made as nasty as he could make it, when he was in the wrong. That probably hurt the worst — that he wasn’t man enough to up and say “Yup, Me and My Dick, we are the sole cause of this divorce” No. I had to be legally brutalized for his fucking failure. He has soooooo burned every last bridge.

    Now I find I have the opposite problem. Life has been so wonderful for me and the kids, being away from that nonsense, that I keep my mouth shut because I don’t want people to think I’m gloating. It’s Meh times ten.

    I finally had someone ask me the other day: “Are you going to get married again?”

    Hahahahahahhahahhahahhahha

    NO.

    • “I finally had someone ask me the other day: “Are you going to get married again?”

      Hahahahahahhahahhahahhahha

      NO.”

      Amen Sister!

      • Yah. Until they come up with a simple screening test for Restless Dick Syndrome (RDS), I’m off the market.

        • “Restless Dick Syndrome (RDS)”….hahahahahahahahaha

          LOVE THAT TERM!

          We need to start a vocabulary list of IMPORTANT TERMS and WORDS on CL!

  • Yeah, the writer of that article needs some sensitivity training, and–for her sake–I hope life isn’t the teacher.

    What? Somebody broke into your home, killed your pets and family members, and then burned down your home? Don’t be such a Debbie-Downer. Smile more and be cool.

    Good grief. I keep having flashbacks about how tactless that article was 🙂

    • BTW, isn’t Absolute Zero is as “cool” as you can get?

      Blech. LOL.

      I have HP Derp indigestion 🙂

  • CL,

    You do it again. You hit another homer. You hit more of them than Reggie Jackson!

    From a Chump Son perspective, what I found was that NOT getting angry, NOT getting mad really led me to get really mad, really left me in a true lurch of internalized rage. Let me explain.

    I had a father who found ways to “get” to me verbally. His favorite trick, as I have mentioned, was to say, “You know, Yer mudder is crazy…..” Now, as the kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family (narc father, co-dependent mother, I was the older son), I was protective of my mother. So, I would object to my father talking to me like this, sometimes forcefully, sometimes nicely, saying, “Dad, this really isn’t appropriate. Don’t talk to me about this.” My beef was not so much with his assertion after a while, as it was with his total lack of respect for me. I would object, but I never got forceful. And my mother played a role in all this. She’d always tell me that my father was really a good guy, really meant well, that I really should forgive, etc. etc.

    This left me with a lot of bottled up rage.

    Finally, just a few years ago, I put a stop to Dad’s needling. I really shut it down. Once and for all. No yelling, but just a final guillotine drop (which I’ve described in previous posts) on this remark. (Basically, I told the Big Narc I’d never want my daughter to marry a man like him.) And you know what?

    Closure.

    The end of it.

    Now, I lost all feelings, positive and negative, toward my father (because they used to oscillate between hope and anger, but these narc types are good at that. They are skillful at being opportunity-nice just to keep you in contact and in kibble-feeding mode. In my case, my father got amusement at how I’d squirm when he’d hit the exposed nerve with his calculated mother-remarks.) It was a bit sad to see my positive feelings for him disappear, but they were based on a false premise. A person who repeatedly bothers you about something, when you have asked them to leave that topic aside, is not your friend, is not someone who wants what’s best for you. In the end, I got to “Meh,” and “Meh” toward my father, I will tell you, feels a lot better than the old roller coaster I was on. And I got there because I got good and angry and did something about it, and did so without shouting, just with calm, firm conviction. These narcs like it when you get mad at them. Then they can play the victim. But if you just talk to them mechanically or cut them off, they have no purchase.

    My point is that the Road to Meh, in my experience, went THROUGH getting angry and standing up. And doing so, not in the way I had been (by trying to be reasonable and nice), but by simply indicating: “Unacceptable.” I can only say I’m sorry it took me 25 years to do it. A big mistake on my part there.

    So, these folks who want you to “turn a frown upside down” are nuts. Instead, you have to step back from the situation and see it for what it is. Is this person really good for me? Does this person really recognize my feelings as important? Does he/she really listen or is he/she even really able to hear me? If not, then you pick your distance, which could be no contact/limited contact/restricted circumstances. I pulled hard on the cord and shut the aperture way down with my father, never to open it again. We had contact after that, which was fine: polite and controlled. But there was nothing left. That sounds sad, but what had been there was a fantasy on my part. So, you embrace rough reality and you find—that it ain’t so rough! Its not as bad as the previous relationship. It’s not nearly as bad as being addicted to the smoking the hopium. Narcs push their own version of crack, and it creates highs and lows that keep us chumps hooked. Time to kick the habit!

    I think my mother’s efforts to explain all my bad feelings away only made it worse, kept me trapped in a hopium-depression cycle and kept me vulnerable to my father’s manipulations. So, I’d say that the Road to Meh starts with getting mad, starts with being angry over being hurt, with getting those emotions OUT, and then settling on a head-cool strategy for life-change.

    Chump Son’s Two Cents for Today.

    • Dear David: i am so sorry for your pain. Your honest words opened my eyes to what my sons ( early twenties and late teens) have/are going through. I appreciate your sorrowful, but strong message. Thank you.

      • Thanks, Nomorechit. I really appreciate your comment.

        In the end, I know that my mother was always trying to create some sort of short-term peace to shut-up my (often raging) father. But these short-term “cease-fires” came at a long-term cost. I think that if a Mother is dealing with a narc father, a father who is using the kids as levers — (often these narc dads will rage and then that will force Mom to comply, just to rescue the atmosphere-of-the-moment for the childrens’ sake) — then Mom should think about the long-term effects. Just “making peace” in a temporary sense is not always the best option. In truth, I wish I’d put my father in his place years earlier. I don’t think he was some great guy, but he needed to have hard limits set for him. It would have been better for both of us. I’m not saying that I missed out on some great relationship, but simply that narcs need to know very clear, emotionless limits, and then what functional relationship we nice chumps can have with them (if any) proceeds from that basis.

        Anyway, your kind words are much, much appreciated.

        • David: it wasnt, and it’s still not, your job to put your father in his place. Your Mom, although probably a bright, beautiful and loving woman, was weak and insecure. I know this because I am her (figuratively). This is his cross to bear, not yours. I pray your Mom asks for your forgiveness. And…that you forgive her.
          Faith, hope and love, nomorechit.

          • David, thank you. I needed this today. Maybe a bit earlier, because I fell back into this trap, but there is tomorrow!

            • David,
              I remember once my ex was mad at my son for some small thing. He was crying when I reached home. I consoled him. Then I told him to go and ask his father why he had hit him. My son was aghast and plain scared. I didn’t want to come in between and let him have an opportunity to blame me that I was taking sides or teaching rebellion to our kid. But, my son needed that support to counter a narc. So, I told him to be fearless while he asked him this question. I gave him the assurance that I was in the other room and shall pitch in if things would go nasty. I told him to just ask: One, you need to tell me that why you hit me. Two, why you couldn’t have resorted to other means to get your message across me.
              I must say that it was good for the spirits of my son. Probably, the narc got it clear. He understood that there was no wife or son ready to take his shit. I think such measures are important when dealing with such people. Be straightforward. No sympathy, blaming or taking the blame. Just the facts…way to go

              • Anudi,

                It seems to me that you did just the right thing. You didn’t let the “narc rules” prevail unquestioned.

                Well done!

    • David: “So, you embrace rough reality and you find—that it ain’t so rough! Its not as bad as the previous relationship. It’s not nearly as bad as being addicted to the smoking the hopium.”

      Very true. Facing the anger and letting go of the hope – it’s better than being narcified for years, with bottled up anger. I had that, too, with my STBX. Not good. Better to face the reality and then you can release your emotions and call a spade a spade, to yourself and to the narc.

      I feel for you, having to grow up with those kinds of emotions to deal with, from your father.

      • DuckLinerUpper,

        That has been my experience. Better to just accept the reality to put it in perspective and then diminish it. I think that’s a stop on the trail to Meh…..

  • Thank for writing this CL…I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I replied to the article on HP…but I didn’t really get the point across well. You said it much better than I. 🙂

    Having your whole life turned upside down, inside out and twisted into a pretzel, is pretty hard to get over as it is…add to it the emotional devastation of the betrayal, the absolute pain, (that can manifest into actual physical problems), as well as as the confusion of the whole situation…well that can be hard to overcome.

    Until I went through it, I never realized how hard it would be to recover. It will be two years in 5 days since my d-day. I have worked very hard to heal, but it hasn’t been easy and some days and still fall hard. I have tried to make the “anniversary” dates of his and mine, into new better experiences and memories…that helps somewhat. On a positive note, after this year…D-day will no longer be known as D-day…it will be replaced with the day I finished my course work for my B.S. in Economics. 🙂

    I really learned who my real friends were and who truly had my back. I made a lot of people uncomfortable. A few of my old “friends” are no longer my friends. Which is good…I rid myself of a lot of people in the months since. Which was also good…but oh so hard.

    These two years, have been some of the worst of my life and yes I was miserable for a good portion of it, with good reason.

    Its taken a long time to get this point, and there are still many bad days. Today is a good day. I read this site almost everyday…although I don’t actually post often. The last time I posted was a very bad day. The people here and their comments have helped me tremendously. I am forever grateful. It’s good to know you are not alone.

  • “If you find yourself guilty of any of the below behaviors, I dub you guilty of making your divorce bitter.”

    Right, because the author wasn’t married to a cheater / abuser and so has no idea how it is to deal with a dick who won’t divorce amicably. If she’d had a disclaimer about that I might think a couple of her points made sense. But hell no, you bitter ppl suck because you couldn’t control your spouses behavior and you got upset by their shit. “I judge you guilty of divorce bitterness”. Srsly? You can stick your judgement up your ass.

    • Oh, and maybe I should have called and asked you to pay my husband alimony because the poor dear got fired and refused to even try to find a job? Or you could explain why i should be real happy to loose half my shit to someone who fucked me over? Maybe I could just send him to your house, you could perhaps recognize that your experience doesn’t translate to every one that gets a divorce? How nice for you that your 6 yr marriage ended in an easy divorce, that your spouse was not disordered, oh, your a dating coach now? Yeah, i’m so not interested.

    • Yeah.. a little ways into the comments, after she had been taken to task quite a bit, she tried to “explain where she was coming from and said that certain people (CL, is this YOU?) had missed key statements… and she actually reprinted the judging you guilty crap. She ended with “I hope this helps explain where I’m coming from.” Below, is my response:

      “Actually, it doesn’t. How dare you tell me to “turn my frown upside down.” You have absolutely zero idea of why I may be frowning. It will take more than your platitudes to turn that around. I did meditate, as I have for years, just to get through a day, not to “be cool.” When someone you invested years in abuses you, exposes you to STDs through contact with prostitutes, tries with all his might to isolate you from anyone who could help, and generally tries to end your life, at least as you knew it, then yeah, I may be a bit “bitter”. Or, perhaps it’s just justifiably angry and somewhat terrified.

      Oh, but wait, you “hope [I’m not] guilty of any of the above offenses.” Skruw you. You have no right to hope I am anything, and even less right judge if I am “guilty” of something.

      Like Jennifer Ball said above… my anger kept me alive. In my case, and many many others’, quite literally. How do you think your little missive above affected them? Did you even think about that before you spouted off your pollyanna judgment garbage?”

      I was absolutely incensed, had to put the computer down or my response would not have been so measured.

  • The good times never outweighed the bad, but oh how I loved the good times! Mostly, his selfishness infuriated me, his lack of ambition (given his incredible talent) disappointed me, and his neglect for me as a thinking, feeling, sexual, worthwhile woman of substance deeply hurt me. But I had taken vows, and when I discovered who he was behind the mask, I vowed to love him for who (I thought) he was anyway.

    When I found out he had betrayed me, it murdered any love I had left for him, as well as any respect for him as a human being. His cheating and and boldface lies to cover it up killed our marriage, crippled my children, almost financially ruined me, and left us for dead because I dared to question his motives.

    He and his bimbo enjoyed toying with me, using our divorce proceedings as a sick sport. I will never be able to forgive him until he admits to his lies and apologizes for his selfishness. In other words, I will never forgive him.

    I know I’ll get to meh, but I also know I will never get to forgiveness.

    • Wow, Suckerpunched, such a similar story to mine. Your words echo in my ears.

      Depending on how rough the divorce/custody is, I may someday get to forgiveness. But I will *never* forget what he did to us. Can’t forget it. Forgiving and forgetting are different things. His bad behavior will always be on his resume and stamped on his forehead, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Unless you let yourself get mad, good and mad, you can never get over it.

    That’s my experience, anyway.

    Chump Son

    • Absolutely, Chump Son. You have to FEEL all those hard things; the anger, the sadness, the despair, the pain …. And then you have to do them again, and again, at different times, with different triggers, in different flavours. Until you realize those cycles are slowing, there are more good periods, then the negative emotions become only occasional ….

      Can’t get ‘over’ something until you’ve gone THROUGH it!

    • True, David.

      I am worried about the anger inside myself, over this. After dday, I was either at work or taking care of my young children. 24/7, all weekend. When was I supposed to get angry? I didn’t want my kids to see that. I didn’t even let my kids see my cry, I hid that from them (they are babies so they would only have been upset by seeing me cry). I’m glad I protected them from that. But….now I still have a lot of anger built up inside me. It comes out accidentally, sometimes. I want to have some sort of outlet for it. Not sure how. Journaling? That might help. I signed up for a boxing class, but moved cross-country before I had a chance to take it.

      • YOu know, my kids’ therapist told me it was actually good that my kids saw how devastated I was by discovering the cheating and by the need to divorce him. She said that in allowing them to see that (it wasn’t 24/7 round the clock wailing, just that I had my moments of pure rage/hurt/whatever) I was giving them ‘permission’ to feel whatever they were feeling and to let it out. She said when kids see parents act like ‘everything is fine and I’m fine and nope, not hurt or scared or anything’ it forces the kids to act that way and that’s when they bottle things up.

        I have no idea if she’s right so checked with my own therapist, who said pretty much the same thing. It’s all within reason, of course, and with an eye towards moving forward and past it, but essentially there’s nothing wrong with kids knowing and seeing that when someone hurts you badly you ARE impacted greatly by it.

  • I guess that’s my problem. I get mad for the instant that I find something out, but just turn sad. I don’t know how to explain that to people because no one understands it but I envy people who can stay mad because they can hold onto it and use it for Thierry own healing. I’ve never been a mad person, he used to complain about that actually. Said I didn’t know how to deal with anything other than happy.

    Lord knows I have more than enough things to hold onto but can’t figure out how to stay mad!

    • So long as you know you don’t deserve to be gas-lighted, deceived, taken for granted and cheated on, and those choices weren’t yours to make, and people with high-integrity don’t do those things, and you deserve better than that, OK.

      Sad happens too. Sad, disappointed, angry, resentful, afraid,numb, etc;who’s to say what it takes to get to the point where you go, “This really sucked, this person did some sucky things, and this was Real, but their behaviour and choices don’t define me, and I will not be a life-long victim. I’m done with that”?

    • Don’t let your cheater POS put you down for being a naturally happy person! Unbelievable- they’ll critisize anything!
      Too bad you can’t bottle your talent and sell it, lots of us would like to get over being mad sooner. This is a perfect example of negative partner bias. Seems to me you are a kind and sensitive woman.

      • Thanks TimeHeals and PattyToo 🙂

        Of course now he says he misses that about me because the OW is not like that at all supposedly. Funny that what she had when we were still talking was exactly what he needed, so much so that he cut ties with me and moved in with her after 2 weeks or so of knowing her. But now? Now she is monotoned, somewhat blah, doesnt really ever get happy or excited and doesnt show affection well. And the listening thing? That she “kinda” does but he NOW realizes thats not the only thing that matters.

        I saw a quote in spanish and I tried to translate it (not that I know spanish very well), but the jist of it was: ” Do not accidentally miss out on someone that loves you and do not mistakenly love someone who does not care” (them being the first part and us being the later).

  • Hey Kristina L, that is one of my problems too! It’s actually one of the reasons my relationship with the ex lasted as long as it did (14 years). I just can’t stay mad! Can’t hold a grudge. Unable to carry resentment. Terrible at sulking. Very very weak in obsessing about the bad stuff. Who knew these things would work against me!

    At some early point the ex figured out that if he just lay low for a few days, I’d cool off from most stuff, and go on my merry way. I’d yet again feel pretty happy, enjoy the good stuff, see the problems and negatives as pretty small, or even when I knew they were bigger, not be able to FEEL they were major.

    When they found out what things had actually been like in our home, many people were horrified and wondered how I had stuck it out so long. Part of it was my inability to stay mad! (Plus my addiction to hopium, and my desire to have my kids grow up in an intact family (although I did want it to be a loving and functioning one!), and my fear of the 50-50 shared custody that is standard where we live.)

    But after DDay I actually made lists of a lot of the crappy stuff the ex did, and I go back and read them, so that I can REMEMBER that he sucks. It helps a ton.

    • Wow I didn’t know anyone else had that problem! considering most people look at me like I have six heads when they hear my story ( together for 7 yrs since 16, at least 16 girls in between, STD, breaking doors and walls, cutting himself in front of me and saying it was because of us fighting and he couldnt take it, kicking me out, and now getting a 31 yr old pregnant along with a bunch of other stuff). But I have a hard time forgetting the good times (my therapist even said it seems as if I get amnesia when it comes to remembering the bad things done and said, but that’s how I survived).

      I’ve come to the realization that he is borderline and you would think that would make me more than happy to give him over to this stupid 31 yr old but I remember all of our amazing times and get jealous he will be like that with her too.

      He even sometimes has me convinced that I tell our story wrong. What if it’s not that bad? What if it’s really me?? But of course that’s on,y when we’re together. Now that he’s “stuck” with her and now she sucks (so he says) and he understands now what we had and everything he’s done wrong. But of course he’s telling me to move on for my Own good but I have a feeling hell call again. Got texts saying that he still loves me and misses me and is so sorry for all of this in the middle of the night on Saturday while his baby momma was sleeping. Have to admit that I get some satisfaction that he’s doing it to her already. He must not be happy. But then when he talks I feel bad for him. I’m just having such a hard time doing no contact. No reason, just scared of him getting upset with me and there is no reason I should still care but I do.

      I’ve made a list and I try to read it but perhaps I should read it more 🙂

      • What I was doing was every time I missed him I added something to the list but it’s
        Like my brain wouldn’t process it, I have a very hard time understanding that people CHOOSE to hurt people they say they love.

        I remember my old boss used to even call me Snow White. She would tell me I live in this la la land where no one is mean and I need to come to reality and realize that people will do what they need to get what they want.

        Interesting how my ex did the same. He knew after a while I just wanted to be happy again so he knew I would let it go he just had to wait it out.

        I’ve been working on a song list that seems to be helping a lot to listen to. Ever heard of LOve The Way You Lie by Rihanna? Well that was us in a nutshell ( less physical hits and more verbal ones) . Another one is polygraph right now by The Staind Cavas.

        Weird thing is when the Rihanna song came out he pointed out that he thought it was just like us but he also always loved the movie The Notebook because it reminded him of the way we were, constantly fighting but crazy about each other. I guess that’s the Borderline in him… Heaven or hell.

        Just REALLY hope I’m right about all this and the lady will get the same 🙂
        He used to say if I handled him differently none of this would happen… Sure hope that was a lie too.

        • “He used to say if I handled him differently none of this would happen… Sure hope that was a lie too.”.

          Yeah, Marilyn Monroe said stuff like that too about all her ex husbands and lovers:

          “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”― Marilyn Monroe

          How’s that for a manipulative sense of entitlement? Hey, if you can’t deal with my cheating, gaslighting, mood swings, and other bad behaviour, you’re the one who has a problem.

          I get that people aren’t perfect, and they make mistakes. Heck, I have made mistakes, but you know what? I am not entitled to have others spackle it over, forgiveness , or anything else just because I can behaved badly. Where’s the humility in thinking others just have to deal with your crap no matter what?

          • His reasoning behind all that was I pushed him to. I didnt understand him or I didnt rub him enough when he was in a bad mood. If I would have understood the days upon days of very little speaking and somber personality and would have held him more he would have never done what he did.

  • Now that I think about it I guess it is bad when you are upset about something and you know you have to approach the other person in a monotoned voice and are not allowed to raise your voice or show you are upset because all that does is piss them off and then they say that they don’t want to talk about it anymore because you said something wrong that implies that you don’t understand. And if they get out of line it’s because you brought it out in them. I swear I tried everything to not make him angry and try and keep him happy. I always did something wrong. Another thing for my list 🙂

    • Kristina – I was like this with my STBX, too. Always level-headed and trying soooo hard to phrase things in a way that wouldn’t set him off. Only worked some of the time.

      I wasn’t allowed to have any emotions. If I was sad or angry, I couldn;t show it to my husband, or let him see. He would get so mad! Then things would escalate. So I had to stuff my emotions all the time, in order to not set him off. I wasn’t allowed to have a bad day (wheras, he had bad days all the time!). I wasn’t allowed to show that something he did hurt me. I wasn’t allowed to complain about anything. I wasn’t allowed to show that I was worried about our kids, for whatever reason. I was supposed to take care of everything, by myself, and make doubly sure not to upset him. And better not be too opinioned about anything, because that would set him off, too.

      It’s going to take awhile to un-learn this behavior. To learn that I can show my actual emotions without WWIII happeneing. That it’s okay to mention if I get hurt. That’s it’s okay to have a bad day, once in a while. To expect reciprocity. To let myself feel free, emotionally, with someone else again.

    • That’s exactly how my husband is. I am only allowed to speak in an even monotone voice; any show of emotion will set him off and then I am the btch starting the fight. I think this is why when I called the Domestic Violence Hotline they really didn’t get that I was being threatened.

      • Agh, my ex was like that too! He couldn’t stand a raised voice (and I’m a natural-born yeller!), so I learned to speak softly even when angry. But then he couldn’t stand that because, guess what, I sounded angry! Polite, respectful, even quiet, but angry!

        When I realized how bad all that was, I just stopped trying to talk to him about much that was important. I might say something then walk away, but if it didn’t change, I knew that arguing or fighting or trying to get through to him were pointless.

        I was less devastated by the 2nd affair/end of the relationship than many here, because I had learned a lot by the ex’s reactions and lack of repair after the first affair, and had been refusing to be abused for several years (after many years of increasing emotional abuse and few serious physical threats). Probably one of the many reasons he started looking around for a new chump!

        But what makes this such a horrible experience for me is that we have kids, kids who should have had a loving intact family, kids who deserved better than a father who was so focussed on his career and then on his OW that he gave them little time or attention, better than a crabby nasty self-centered person for a father. Sigh.

        • I totally understand what you all are saying. I thought I was the only person who may have faced this. I had to use a certain “voice” to communicate with him. He was always, always criticizing my tone of voice. I had to speak “respectfully” to him. Even as he was demanding a divorce and walking out on me without a clear explanation of why, he refused to talk to me while I was crying. It irritated him. He refused to talk to me unless I spoke in a quiet, “rational” voice even though I felt as though my insides had been ripped out. He physically threatened me one night after I found out he had gone on a date with someone he met from Match.com while still living in our family home (where I was by then paying all the bills) and I screamed and cursed at him until I thought the whole neighborhood might wake up! Did he ever address what he had done? No. He simply raged about my shrieking voice!

  • Thank you CL.

    Nobody can or will ever, ever hurt me as badly as this, ever again. Not because I will close myself off from people, but because I will never give myself away like that again.

    I am learning to be my own best friend, and look after me. The days of mindfuckery, when I think and believe that I am responsible or have a part to play for someone else’s abuse and bad character, are over.

  • PS Nadine:

    Nothing in my life (and I have been in civil wars, and witness death, and had a vicious narc mother) has hurt me like this. Nothing.

    on one forum I was on (midlifecrisis), woman after woman came on and said: I was raped, I was abused as a kid, I lost my child, my mother died, my brother was killed – but nothing has hurt like this has hurt.

    Just wanted to say.

  • I feel that “bitter” is a word people use to attack. “She’s/he’s just bitter” is a big put down used by people who have no idea what they are talking about to denigrate people who have learned hard lessons and have been effected by them.

  • I have been through many, many – TOO many deaths of immediate family members, close friends and mentors. The pain and the sense of loss are debilitating and heart-wrenching. But I have to say, there is something about divorce and betrayal that go beyond even the pain of the death of a loved one. For when you lose your mother, father, sister, brother or friend to death – you still had their love and their desire to want you in their lives. It’s the added loss of the love of that person for you that is so devastating. They are gone, yet they are still here. It’s so much more complicated. And it’s absolutely the case that those who have not gone through it do not understand. Or perhaps I should say those who have not had their marriage/family shattered from the spouse leaving for someone else.

  • You tell em, Chumplady!
    I got accused the other day of being ‘cold’. By my X. The guy who spent hours every night over at his OW’s house while I was in a heap crying at our house. Of course, I never cry anymore, because I had to grow a hard shell all around me and go into survival mode! One of my favorite things you said here was ‘this shit is HARD’, because it is, and for a long, long time. I won’t be right for probably a couple of years, and the good people of the world will be compassionate about that.
    Thank you for standing up for us.

  • As I work my way towards ‘meh’, I get angry and bitter less often, but these days I find it’s the stuff w/the kids that triggers it again. I spent a weekend ranting to an old friend recently, while the kids were away w/their father, to spend a weekend in the city where the OW lives, and meet her, which the kids were not at all happy about.

    And then this week the ex announces that due to a work commitment, he won’t be able to take the kids during the week at all for months, possibly until late next spring. It’s probably coincidental that this work commitment is in that same city where the OW lives, but that sure does make things easier for him, and there was clearly no hesitation about taking it. Way, way harder for the kids (our 12 year old daughter asked me ‘is papa dumping us?’), but when has that ever been a concern for him?

    I like the ‘radical acceptance’ idea, and it’s actually quite easy to do about my experiences w/the ex. But when it hurts my kids, it’s SOOOOO much harder. There’s going to be some bitterness there for a while yet!

  • There have been numerous articles on how in the generation x and y generations, 35 is now equivalent of 25 for previous generations in self Actualization.

    So thus, are we not being betrayed in divorce. What if both parties didn’t know themselves well enough at the time of marriage to present their true selves.

    In my divorce, both my ex and myself were guilty of not knowing what our life’s dream was. And when we figured it out five years after getting married, we realized that we weren’t heading in the same direction. Did we do this cleanly, hell no. He started buying gifts online for another woman and started acting out against me because he felt trapped.

    I sincerely feel that if our society didn’t make people feel like you’re a loser if you didn’t marry by 30 that we’d have the time to find the person that wants what we really want. Ask anyone at 35 if they want the same things they wanted when they graduated college, and I guarantee the two lists won’t match.

    No one knows what we want at 25. Most of us are still dealing with mommy or daddy issues at 25 that we haven’t even started the path to self discovery at that time.

    So why can’t we all say, we betrayed each other. (woman) portrayed myself as a young corporate go getter that wants 4 kids. (male) portrayed yourself as someone that was eager to join me in whatever adventure I choose to pursue, and that you’ll be an involved father.

    Reality, (for woman) corporate work was soul crushing, and I can’t have kid’s. I want to build a restaurant for kids with special needs.

    Reality, (for man) following dreams is too exhausting and I misunderstood what involved means. It means I spend two hours a week with them and you do everything else right? My dream is to make enough I don’t have to leave my recliner once I get home and have someone well enough that they can pamper me. I want a 1950’s housewife.

    • Divorce isn’t a death, it’s the birth of a chance to find the real you and people that want the same things out of life that you do. People that will make you not only feel more lived than you ever have in your whole life, but challenge you to be the best version of you, the you that never would have emerged if the divorce never happened.

    • There’s a difference between realizing that you have changed and no longer have goals you once had, and fucking someone you aren’t married to. No, we don’t all say we betrayed each other, because most of us here ARE here because we remained faithful to our spouses, who went out and fucked other people while lying and manipulating us.

      What you are talking about is quite different from committing adultery.

    • There are so many reasons marriages break down, and divorce is never easy. But it’s a WHOLE other category when you’re dealing w/someone who has cheated for a long time or more than once. It’s a whole other category when you realize that the person you thought you were married to didn’t exist, they were mostly lies and spackle.

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