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The Fear That They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else

I get the same letter here at Chump Lady over and over again. It goes like this:

I know he’s a liar and a cheat. He did 14,357 unspeakable things (all described). I can’t let go because I know if I do, he’s going to change and be different for the other woman! And after all this work I’ve done, all this history we have, I will miss out! I wouldn’t be able to bear it — the two of them together being perfect while my life sucks! Help. 

(Forgive the gender pronouns. It works in reverse too. Men have the same fears their wives will be fabulous for the other man.)

I suffered from a bad case of They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else myself. Which, when I look back on it, was pretty delusional. I was wife #3 and all the marriages ended over his infidelities. Years later, I got the validation as well that he’s still the same old scumbag when someone wrote a profile on him at, saying he targets single mothers. (I was a single mother. The OW was a single mother… with his kid.) Oh, but at the time of the marriage, I was truly stricken by the thought that I was going to miss out on something wonderful if I got Mr. Cheaterpants out of my life.

Because, you know, he did the “remorse.” He did the therapy. And the problem was, I wasn’t patient for the results. Or so he told me. It didn’t seem to be sticking, all that insight and sorriness. But when I thought that the OW would get him? Suddenly I could imagine him 100% new and improved… for her.


What is going ON here?

A few thoughts.

1) You’ve bought into the idea at some level that the problem is you. You’re not special. You’re not worthy. They only act this way because you are lacking in some fundamental way. The Reconciliation Industrial Complex bombards chumps with this message too. What was missing from the marriage that made them cheat? And cheaters are so very good at the blameshifting, sending you the same message, that hey you suck, you didn’t do enough to keep me satisfied. All you know for sure is that you aren’t enough. Then they try to keep you off balance so you’ll do the Pick Me dance so they can keep eating cake. It’s all very natural to wonder if the other person isn’t the magic elixir that will make them happy.

Because that is what’s important here — their happiness. You’ve bought into that too.

2) You’ve been on ego kibble starvation rations. When you’re with a cheater narcissist, you give an infinite number more kibbles than you receive. We all need some kibbles, especially from our partners. But when you’re on starvation kibble rations, those kibbles take on an inflated value. Every now and then, your cheater will sparkle, just enough to keep you hooked. And being at the center of the laserbeam of sparkles is addictive. So when you see your partner turning on the sparkles for someone else? You turn into Gollum. My precious kibbles! My precious!

They like it like that. Keeps you dancing for them. Keeps them in cake.

3) You have tunnel vision because of the sunk costs. It’s galling and depressing beyond words to consider the wasted time and energy spent on a bad relationship. You want something for your investment. You’ve been putting fistfuls of quarters into that slot machine and now it’s going to pay off for some other idiot? Hell no!

The house always wins. Your cheater is keeping the quarters. They already spent them. Sure, they might spit out a few here and there to keep you playing. But please just walk away. Let the next sucker play the rigged game.

4) I believe in miracles. Let’s say they change. Does it really change the 14,357 unspeakable things they did? I had to get to the point where I didn’t care anymore if he was Mr. Perfect for someone else. He wasn’t Mr. Perfect for ME. Those unspeakable things were deal breakers. I couldn’t trust him again. It was destroyed. I had to walk away from my investment.

Chumps need to trust that they suck. Could they be better? I suppose some of them could, sure. But they CHOOSE not to be. Put another way — they’re really good at selling, but not so good at sealing the deal. Who doesn’t love sparkles? You did. The other person does, now, at first. But for whatever reason, these people don’t enjoy commitment, they enjoy selling. They’re snake oil salesman. Like all salesmen, they project an air of exclusivity — act now! This is very, very special! But it’s rubbish, and then they’re on to the next town.

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  • Well CL, you went and did it again. You’re spot on with yet another post.
    Thank you – you verbalized my feelings/torments perfectly.
    You’ve pointed the way to help me change my perspective on this – I have grown more and come to terms with so much in the last 10 months or so since I found your site. Another perspective to work on my way to attaining MEH!!
    Many thanks to you and all on this site.

    • I agree, CL, I could have written Lynn’s post word for word, except I only found you 6 months ago. Wish I had found you right after D-Day almost 1 1/2 years ago, but finding you when I did (3 months after my divorce was final) was still a lifesaver for me in every way. I still tell myself “trust that he sucks” when I feel myself succumbing to the unicorns…..YOU ROCK!

  • CL, you are brilliant! I’ve struggled off and on w/this, and the ex said a few things that fueled that ….

    I think there’s another factor adding to the fear that he’ll be better for the OW; maybe, just maybe, losing his kids, his home, his friends, most of his own family, and his wife (after having lost his previous 10 year rel in a similar way) was the wake-up call, FINALLY. Maybe it was the last straw that opened his eyes to his stupidity, and will cause him to do the work required to REALLY change, become a better person etc.

    But first of all, that is never going to happen. When the ex tried to come back around Xmas time, we talked about some of this, and he showed a flash of insight. EXCEPT, he’s shown that same flash several times before, and NEVER did anything about it, and never retained that insight. I hear from him that now he’s trying to be less negative and mean, because he’s recognized what a problem that is for him in any kind of relationship. But I know that isn’t going to work either, because a) he’s trying to do it alone, through sheer good intentions, and we all know where those lead, and b) he’s not addressing in any way the central entitlement that creates ALL his problems, the meanness, the cheating, even his being boring (it’s other people’s jobs to make his life interesting).

    And secondly, as you said, he can’t undo what’s been done. He can’t unfuck that woman, or unbreak his kids’ hearts, or undestroy the trust I had in him to care for and protect his family. If he became Mother Theresa tomorrow, in that gorgeous bod of his, I could still never again feel safe and loved in his arms.

    • I feel the same… That if ANYTHING is going to cause him to change his ways it will be the fact that he lost his “perfect” family and half his assets and has to pay out child support and spousal.

      BUT while he’s even told me (when i’ve been so dumb as to ask him if he’s even learned anything from this) that he’s learned “you don’t do anything that screws up the family”, the most that could mean is that maybe there is a chance he will be better behaved for someone else, but he still wouldn’t be doing it for the right reasons. He hasn’t become a better person. So, while on paper he might have become “better” (maybe!), but deep down he is still be a selfish dude who is never satisfied and makes others feel less-than.

      • And because of the central selfishness and inability to be satisfied, he’ll never even be able to sustain the behaving better.

        • Agreed. Right now Ex is going overboard playing super partner but he did that with me as well (found out long after we got together that his GF before me dumped him after finding out about his cheating). It lasted for a bit but little by little he went back to his old ways. I see it now, looking back, but at the time I had no clue. Sure, there was a night we got in a huge fight because he was flirting outrageously with two other women while we were out and I stormed out of the bar but it never occurred to me that this was normal for him. I thought he was drunk and being stupid. There were other incidents that I now look back on and realise it was him slowly crossing that line again, seeing how far he could push it. And I spackled, never dreaming that I had a serial cheater on my hand. I had never seen on before and had no clue what I was dealing with.

  • Thanks for this post. This is a big problem for me. Guilty of #1 on the list. I really thought my wasbund was a great guy. I loved being married to him. I thought he loved being married to me. We had a lot of fun until we didnt. In fact, to my knowledge, he IS a great guy to everybody but me (and the OW. He married somebody else, not her) Indeed, his new wife is really impressive, she really is, I am sure I would like her if I didnt know her husband. So, it MUST be me! That is how the Bad Thought Process goes. I struggle with it. I am long past #2 and #3, and #4 is my mantra. It doesnt matter if he is a good husband now, he sure treated me badly for the last few years and thank goodness I am away from THAT. But that takes me back to #1….

    • I know Violet, sometimes just like you. Which also circles it back to the idea that if he was really that bad, shouldn’t cosmic Karma have gotten him by now? I keep waiting for Karma to bite him in the ass (I sure as hell want to witness it and know I DESERVE to witness it!!), which of course brings us to a different CL post….. Anyhow, we just have to get to Meh and move on. Usually I’m there.

      • Yup, Kelly. No cosmic Karma! It is so disappointing! Maybe someday. But I think Meh is better. I am there much of the time too, but not always.

        • I agree – witnessing some form of karma would be awesome! What a dream!
          But back to Meh and changing that perspective. I have really struggled with this whole aspect.

  • Are YOU me, CL ? I have been struggling with this issue. Thank you for articulating it and giving workable ways to overcome these obstacles. Keep up the fantastic work CL and thank you to all contributors. You are helping this chump chomp through the last bits of a huge shit-sandwich.

  • I struggled with this issue as well, until I decided to just wait it out and see for myself. I was so wrapped up in the whole business of “I stuck with this dope for decades, I helped him build his wonderful career, I’m supposed to be the one reaping the benefits now” that I was oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t going to change, and the OW probably wasn’t going to benefit from all those long-awaited rewards. Well, from what I can gather, not much is different with THEIR relationship: she is providing him with a place to dine and sleep at night, and there are a few cheap dates of movies and inexpensive restaurant meals thrown in occasionally, but there still doesn’t seem to be any deep, long-term commitment on his part. More like “any port in a storm.” I feel sorry for his current companion, since she seems to be a nice person who has set herself up for the long, sad, sorry ride of hoping he’ll change and that there will be some benefits thrown her way occasionally.

    I struggled for a long time with “the fear that he was going to be better for someone else” until I realized that he was never going to change. It’s all about him, it always has been, it always will be, and he’s just going to keep moving from one ego-booster to another, because he doesn’t have inside himself what he’s so desperately looking for: approval, acceptance, and peace.

  • OMG, CL, so spot on, I am speechless!!! But thanks so much for the great post, more than I can say!!!

  • I have struggled with this as well. Just today, when my kid came back from his, I was thinking about the fact that now the final OW gets to do all the fun stuff we used to do, sometimes with my kids, and it sucks that I am not there enjoying those good times. But then I realise that he is, according to the kids, sucking OWs ass 24/7, doing anything and everything to make sure this relationship works, mainly because I went super public with what I found out and he naturally has to prove he’s not the world’s biggest dickbag. But I know that he will tire of this, he will tire of his family circling the wagons, once again ruling his life, sucking her into the family when they don’t particularly like her (they liked me very much and have told the kids their thoughts on OW) and it’s still all about him, him, him.

    I actually hope she smartens up sooner rather than later. Otherwise she’ll end up in my shoes: kids and years of wasted time on a guy who ultimately will never put in the work to make the relationship truly work. Kissing someone’s ass isn’t going to do it and it’s exhausting – but he did that with me in the beginning few years, when my gut would scream that something was off and we’d end up in huge arguments as I tried to figure things out instead of walking away. And he would placate me to the ends of the earth and I truly believed he loved me more than life itself. But he was probably cheating on and off even then. He certainly was by the time we had kids. And it went on, on and off, for years, even with people I knew who had been in my home.

    So intellectually I know that it will be same old same old in the end but I do still struggle with thoughts sometimes that this time he’ll get it right and then people will believe it really was me that was the problem.

    • I would imagine 99.9% of us chumps have dealt with this issue. I believe it’s just part of the process.

      Curious about “I went super public with what I found out” Part of me still thinks about this.

      • I told all my friends, more or less, that it wasn’t just the affair with final OW but that I had discovered years of cheating, including with a close friend of mine, whom had the audacity to get angry with me when I told her to fuck off out of my life. She was shocked! All those who screwed him were very upset that I spilled and the funny thing was I had no intention of doing that because I was embarrassed. But then a very good friend and my therapist said to me within a few days of each other that if I wasn’t honest with those who cared for me about what had actually happened I would be continuing to live a life of lies and I would also be allowing him to continue to control the narrative of my life.
        So I slowly started telling people and each time I did my load got lighter because it was incredibly validating to see the shock on their faces when I told them the truth: I really wasn’t crazy to have completely lost my shit when I found out what had been going on for years, I was not wrong to be absolutely furious and hurt and in horrible, horrible pain, unable to ‘get over it’ in a few short months.

        And now I no longer have to explain things to anyone. They get it. And the few who didn’t? They’ve been relegated.

        • My cheating wife was very upset when I spoke to OM parents. and pissed off when I told my brother and his wife. We live in her very small home town (pop <800) where she is a teacher. So yeah things will get ugly once it all comes out. Chances are most likely many people already know.

        • I so agree with you. I have started telling people and the funny thing is… I am starting to feel better. It is his bag of shame to carry not mine. Why hide anything? Isn’t that part of the reason we are in this situation in the first place?, The secrets – he hid so much. Who am I protecting by keeping my mouth shut? Yeah, I decided that I need to stop worrying about the gossip. There will always be gossip. Maybe they can get it right, the gossip that is. LOL I just know that even though I struggle with it some days, it is not my shame to be burdoned with. HIS actions, HIS consequences. I was also amazed at how much support I have received once I opened up to people. That has been the blessing in all of this.

            • Bud – This is the worry that I have as well. I do not have children with my STBX, but I became the primary parent to his 3 daughters during our 7 year marriage. These are three girls that his ex and he adopted. He adopted them “for her” as he never wanted children, and as far as I can tell, she has been clinically depressed since long before the kids came along and was never able to properly care for them. I fell in love with those kids and it was an impossible decision to leave knowing that I would have to leave these girls in the “care” of these incredibly incompetent and mentally ill people.
              When I made the decision to leave, my Narc Husband forbid the children from having any contact with me. His ego required that the children “choose” him and he knew the only way for that to happen was to forbid any further contact with me. So, already a difficult situation. But, I am also being encouraged to share the truth more publicly. The truth being that I discovered my “pillar of the community” husband was frequenting seedy massage parlors all over town and when he traveled. To the tune of 3-4 times a week. Sometimes 3 times in one day. How did I find out? Opened a credit card statement. Why would he be so obvious? He wanted to get the points on his credit card. I learned this behavior was going on for 4 years of our then 5 year marriage (or so he says). And by “pillar of the community” I mean a prominent organization just gave him a crystal trophy for being “Man of the Year”. So, how do I go public and not harm his three amazing teenage daughters? Its a conundrum.

            • Bud, I completely understand. I have two sons both were in elementary school at the time of disclosure (1.5 years ago). I told them the truth and will continue to do so. It was their choice and their right to know and if they wanted to say anything about it so be it. Lies are destructive. My oldest told me that he did tell some adults at school that “my dad was having sex with another woman”. Again, not my bag of shame. I was age appropriate with them as best as I could be. After all, I am only human and given the fact that my parents divored at a young age due to the exact same thing, I sure as hell am not going to lie to them and jeopordize their trust and protect the piece of shit that did this to our family. The OW was arrested recently and made the front page of the paper for her dui and hit and run. The boys have also had the opportunity to see what a piece of shit she is as well. Nice photo shoot! LOL Bottom line is that they deserve the facts, at least that is my opinion, otherwise things have a tendency to be lop sided.

              • I just don’t want my kids to start lying for anyone – myself included. The truth will set you free. 🙂

          • Yes, the support is enormous when you come clean and it really is his/her bag of shame, not ours. I think my ex counted on me keeping his secrets. He even said at one point he didn’t want people to think he’d been out screwing around all the time. But he was! And wasn’t he proud of this behaviour? I only wish I had done it earlier. At hte end of the day, when I stopped following his script and started writing my own he was PISSED. And remains pissed. And continues to lie about what happened, basically telling me that what I found out wasn’t true. Don’t believe your own eyes, Nord. What a tosspot.

            • If there is nothing wrong with what he did – if it was all because of his dysfunctional parents or his crazy boss or his cold wife – then why should he be ashamed?

              • Well, there you go, GreenGirl…despite him and his family enabling his shit, saying ‘these things happen’ they know, deep down, that it’s not acceptable behaviour and they are very angry that I’ve told the truth. How dare I tell the truth about my life! No dignity! What a load of shit. There is dignity in being truthful and this whole ‘keep things quiet behind closed doors’ shit is just another form of control. Fuck that.

            • I have been keeping all the dirty little secrets hidden from everyone except for my daughter and two or three very good friends. I needed their support. I am saving the texts, emails, chats, etc. as a final chip when I dump him. I want the new house without him in it…all for the price of my silence. There will be some added conditions of course, such as, if I hear ONE, only one, person tell me he is telling a different story, the deal if off and I WILL send copies of everything to every member of his family, his friends, our friends any and everyone he would NOT want to know what he has done. Now then, if I can just get him to buy it.

        • “So I slowly started telling people and each time I did my load got lighter because it was incredibly validating to see the shock on their faces when I told them the truth: I really wasn’t crazy to have completely lost my shit when I found out what had been going on for years, I was not wrong to be absolutely furious and hurt and in horrible, horrible pain, unable to ‘get over it’ in a few short months.”

          Nord, this is all so true. I love how you say it…it’s validating and important to speak the truth, and not continue to lie for our abusers. We can only find our power, I believe, when we expose their evil and no longer allow them to control the narrative and manipulate us and our children, which is just another form of abuse, IMHO (i.e. “I did unspeakable things and they were so unspeakable it is worse for you to say them than for me to have done them”). See, we chumps just really screwed up by TELLING…..

          • Love that: ‘I did unspeakable things adn they were so unspeakable it is worse for you to say them than for me to have done them’.

            That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? I told the truth about what happened and I’m a terrible person. He screwed around for an unknown number of years with an unknown number of people (although I knew some of them) and that was just his ‘unhappiness’ and ‘these things happen’. Well, telling the truth happens as well and if he thinks it’s ok and his family thinks it’s ok then they should proudly tell the world that the ex banged a lot of people during his marriage to me and they fully support that. Hell, take an ad out in the local paper if they’re so bloody proud.

              • Absolutely it’s on them, and their saying it’s wrong that we TOLD about what they DID just makes it still clearer who they are!

                After his first affair, when the ex and I chased that unicorn (or rather, I chased and he made little chasing motions that allowed me to keep chasing and spackling!), he was resentful that my closest friends and family knew what had happened. I was very clear that in such a difficult and painful situation, I had the right to support and caring from others. And once affair #2 started, it was no holds barred!

        • As you know I told everyone with a very short period time ( over a couple of days) and Groceries and chainsaw man hit the roof. I mean they were fuming and very very pissed off.

          That wasn’t the reason though. I underestimated how pissed they would be. I really wanted the truth out there. I did not want people to think this relationship somehow began legitimately. The real worry was how the boys would feel. Groceries and her patents never wanted anything out there and always used the boys as the excuse.

          In fact the boys are comfortable with it all. It is what it is. If I cheated om groceries I would expect the same.
          To the boys they see it in sport and its one way of teaching them about consequences. Our football stars and sports stars are accountable to the fans. If they get drunk and get into trouble there are consequences and sometimes can be career ending. The boys are learning important lessons. Cheating is wrong. It’s abuse.

          If the cheaters are pissed or can’t live out their fantasy- TOUGH TITTIES!!!!

          • My kids are pretty ok with things as well. I didn’t tell them the whole truth at first but they kept asking and they finally reminded me that I promised to never lie to them. So I told them very briefly that their dad dated while married to me or something along those lines. they ask more questions as time goes on and I don’t know if it’s better to have them find out little by little or if I should just sit them down and tell them the whole truth. I’m leaning towards the latter at this point. I do not want to screw up their relationship with their father but then again he lies to them all the time about our marriage and I just will not let them think that their family fell apart for any reason other than their dad likes to screw around and I finally figured it out.

            • I forget how old your children are, Nord, but I am a firm believer that if you don’t tell them the truth (or whatever version of the truth is appropriate for kids their ages), they sense something is “off” and “wrong” with the narrative they’re being fed, they feel unbalanced about it, they don’t quite get it, they have that feeling of “what’s wrong with this picture?” but can’t quite put their finger on it.

              Ummmm…., hey….wasn’t that how we chumps felt when we were being gaslighted, lied to, and betrayed? Didn’t we say that is crazy-making and abusive treatment? I’ve seen friends’ kids re-write the narrative in their own minds to try to make it make sense and blame the chump, or come up with some other fantasy to explain the discordant things they are seeing and picking up on, or refuse to believe the real story after they’ve been lied to for so long. These children have lived the lie with us, and they too have to move on in life and have adult relationships and marriages. I shudder already that my children are entering this phase of their lives with the burden of the lies and betrayals, and the “example” their father left behind. We can only fight the evil by naming it and facing it, and helping our children face and learn from it. The only thing worse would be to try to pretend it didn’t happen….that’s what our exes did to us for decades, and you see how well it ended for us.

            • I think telling them the facts at a age appropriate age is the correct path.
              The boys are coping really well. Both are having the best footy season they have had in many years and my youngest son is just received a great end of term report. He fills the house with music practicing and learning new songs on guitar and piano. Now don’t get me wrong, this has taken some time and the three of us had a shit year last year. This year is just a better shit year.

              We are all learning to cope with chainsaw mans present. None of us have met him but he takes up most of mums time so we all have to manage that.

              Because this cheating is happening everywhere the boys receive their counselling from their mates and mates parents. They learn to cope and help each other out.

              I just hope it doesn’t effect them too much later on in their own relationships but I kinder think they will be better equipped to chose the right partner.

              What really blows me away is the self entitlement shown by the cheaters.

          • My cheating wife gives me the “Don’t use the kids against me” crap. I tell her I was not brought up to lie. And not telling the truth is not good. Again shitty choices get shitty consequences. Of course I need to be reminded to make sure what I tell them is age appropriate but bottom line is, I’m not into lying.

            • Bud, I told my youngest who was 12 at the time that “Daddy has girlfriends and we are getting divorced.” He accepted it, understood it, and moved on. He actually told me to get a divorce, that he wanted me to, and it was clear that he already sensed something very wrong with his father and had an instinctive idea of the truth anyhow. I didn’t have to feed him the dirtier details at that point: unprotected group sex, 17 year affairs with two co-workers who are best friends, co-workers my son thought were family friends while he played with their children or we visited their homes and vice versa, sometimes sex in our home with my children and me sleeping upstairs…. you get the drift. But my son knows enough. And if one day he asks for more information, I will tell him more.

              • Mine was a bit more subtle in that I told our 18 Daughter “Mom has a boyfriend” and I told the 11 yr old was told “Mom doesn’t love Dad anymore.” Middle son doesn’t want to know anything right now. He and mom are tight and has some emotional issues that we need to work around. These came out early on when I was very upset. Big drama now is that we have a family wedding coming up and since Brother and his wife are the only ones on my side of the family that know what is going on she doesn’t want to attend because of the uncomfortable feelings. Of course if she doesn’t go everyone else will wonder. And she wants me to come up with something to tell everyone else why she didn’t come. That’s messed up.

              • I am still stuck about what to tell them about one of my friends who banged the ex and I obviously cut out of my life. The kids ask every so often where she is and luckily she was away for work for a period of time so I could use that excuse. Now I suppose it will come out eventually, but I’m avoiding it as long as I can. This woman was so close she spent many Christmas Days with us, I was the first person she called when she split with her longterm partner and in the months running up to dday (after she had already banged ex) she and I were messaging every night while she was lonely on a month long work trip. I was there for her because I am such a chump and so clueless. I even know the night it happened, because he told me he had run into her at an event and ended up having dinner with her. she was a close friend so it never occurred to me that she would bang my husband. And after I found out? He was texting her telling her to say it was just a kiss. It wasn’t just a kiss. Gross.

            • Ah yes, the old ‘you’re using the kids’ bullshit. Yes, well, I actually kept fairly quiet except for the final affair but hte kids aren’t dumb and knew somehting was off so they now know that there were more, butno details. I told them they know enough by now but this is why mum was so traumatised…I found out that this had been going on for at least a few years and it hurt me very, very deeply. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do but in the end I promised i wouldn’t lie to them so I give them the most gentle version I can come up with that will let them know that this was not a case of ‘the marriage was crumbling’ but a case of their dad not being very good at being married or being a husband.

              • Actually Nord you have me thinking. Maybe it’s best not to tell the kids about the friend. It’s enough fir them to process what dad has done.
                I struggle to process the cheater with the bf. I have three friends going through this. One only in last few months and the other two over years.

                The children really struggle with it because the bf is like an aunt. In the latest case everyone has turned on each other. It’s a total mess and the children are deeply effected.

                I know it’s incredibly hard but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. I know in the early days you were very supportive of our situation and really put things in perspective for me.

                Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing

        • For 31 years I kept the things he did that hurt me to myself. I wanted to believe his explanations and trust that he was a good person. Occasionally I would tell a trusted friend about an episode, but I never broke down and told anyone the whole story. I was ashamed and didn’t want people to know what our marriage was really like, I thought if I just tried harder I could get him to change. It was so gratifying to finally be able to tell people all the things that went on and hear them say I had a right to be upset. It’s like I coped by wearing blinders so I could focus on the image of a happy, normal family. It feels really good to take the blinders off and acknowledge the whole picture. I still struggle with thinking that I wasn’t enough and he’s going to be a lot happier with someone else, though. Thanks so much CL for this post.

          • Yes, it is really important to tell the truth to people who care about you. I didn’t believe this at first but now I do and fuck anyone who doesn’t agree. It saved me to finally tell people what I had found out and although some people didn’t want to hear or were uncomfortable I don’t care. I had to do it and once I started I didn’t stop until I was emptied of this entire bullshit story.

          • Well, Lyn – we have the same name, the same number of years, our loyalty and love the same. Our shit sandwiches are very similar.
            Pleased to meet you.
            Wish it could have been under happier, luckier, circumstances.
            Best wishes.

            • Nice to meet you too Lynn! BTW, CL – I really love the metaphor of Chumps playing the slots hooked on the hope that they’ll win, with the cheater owning the house determined to NEVER let it happen. That was a very enlightening way to put it and something I’d not considered. My ex was definitely all about being in control and I was hooked on those starvation kibbles he threw out every once in awhile.

          • If this is my wife the things she says on here must have not ben that bad tho she did leave me and and screwed some other guy then came back to me I my self have stayed loyal took her back and yet again I’m the one wondering weather she is faithful her family has a cheating record .

        • Thanks nord. This really helped me today:

          But then a very good friend and my therapist said to me within a few days of each other that if I wasn’t honest with those who cared for me about what had actually happened I would be continuing to live a life of lies and I would also be allowing him to continue to control the narrative of my life.
          So I slowly started telling people and each time I did my load got lighter because it was incredibly validating to see the shock on their faces when I told them the truth: I really wasn’t crazy to have completely lost my shit when I found out what had been going on for years, I was not wrong to be absolutely furious and hurt and in horrible, horrible pain, unable to ‘get over it’ in a few short months.

          And now I no longer have to explain things to anyone. They get it. And the few who didn’t? They’ve been relegated.

          I received a text from the woman that SW slept with prior to our marriage and I’m pretty sure during as well. The condescending text was about the fact that I DO tell the truth about what happened and it’s gotten back to her and caused her problems at work and with her boyfriend. I don’t give a fuck. I’m under no moral obligation to lie or sugar coat what I went through for her, SW or any of their group that supports her infidelity and betrayal. SW made a CHOICE. It’s not a mistake and she has to live with her choice. Right now she is on her second guy and lives in a mansion with a millionare. If you are young, hot, amoral and a BPD/NPD I guess you can manifest your “dream” life. I just need to get to meh soon and hope the karma train does it’s job. I have a hard time trusting she sucks still.

  • Luckily, I think I don’t have this problem. My ex-wife could go on to have a fabulous life, and that would be perfectly fine with me. May wonderful things happen for her.

    I think the odds are probably against the transformation needed to make that happen actually happening, but what the hey? Sometimes people do change, and some times somebody wins the lottery too, and it’s OK to be happy for those lottery winners in my book.

    I think the odds were even worse for her if I was there as some sort of chumpy safety net because where’s the incentive to change then? So… here’s to good things happening for her at no cost whatsoever to me.

    • “The odds were even worse for her if I was there as a chumpy safety net because where’s the incentive to change then?”
      True. Why would he change, if you stayed and thus showed him it was basically okay?

      I feel the same way in my case. My ex *may* change for someone else. Not likely, but maybe a 10% chance. But there is 0% chance he will change with me. If I stay, he has no incentive whatsoever. None.

    • I get this, TimeHeals! Last summer, a few months after DDay, I suddenly had a thought;

      Maybe he’s right! As unlikely as it seems, maybe he really was that unhappy in our relationship, maybe he was attracted to the OW and that made him stop and really think about his life and what he wanted and needed, maybe he weighed everything up, made a decision, and maybe he will actually be happier, and therefore a better person, with the OW!

      And ya know, I felt MUCH BETTER! Because that would have meant that his destroying our life together wasn’t for nothing, his breaking up his kids’ family wasn’t for nothing, his creating a million practical and emotional difficulties for all of us wasn’t for nothing. He did it in a nasty and messy way, but maybe in the end it will all serve SOME purpose. Maybe he could have done it more honestly and caringly, but maybe this is what needed to happen!

      But nnnnoooooooo. 8 months after DDay he’s back, trying to convince me to reconcile. and it becomes clear that he didn’t think or make a decision about anything at the time of this affair (any more than he did for his first affair 6 years previously), he just wanted what he wanted and felt entitled to it. He never thought for one minute about his kids or me or about his own long-term goals. Even from the beginning he didn’t think of the OW as long-term material, and he’s NOT any happier than before, or any wiser, or on the path to either.

      It WAS all stupidity and selfishness. ALL of it was for nothing. Sigh.

      It’s little consolation that he’ll keep on repeating this pattern with different women, moving on to a new one as the previous one wises up. I just hope and pray he doesn’t have any more kids! And I sure wish I had given my kids a better father.

      • Agree with you on this as well! When my ex wasn’t willing to do what I needed to work on reconciliation (ie fire his assistant/AP for good) because she was just a Really good assistant! I would have much rather he claimed he loved her than that he destroyed his family for an employee!!! And that really is all she is. Well, I don’t delude myself enough to think he’s not still at least occasionally fucking her, but they really continue to work together and she is not his girlfriend at all in real life. He just keeps using her for what she’s good at, passing him instruments and maybe screwing in the back of his truck, but he’s got to find someone more respectable to have around the house. So yeah, I do still think if he dumped me or something because he was “in love” it might at least indicate he has some feelings or is a better person or something.

        • This is specifically difficult for me. I’m 24 and was with my ex fiancée since I was 16. I can honestly say our relationship was heaven or hell. And when it was bad it was BAD. I didn’t understand or listen to him, he needed to find someone that did; he would cheat and then come back because they didn’t have everything else I had. I kept trying because to listen and to understand him sounded so easy to make all the problems go away. How come I can’t do it??

          Skip 7 years, roughly 16 girls, and an STD later, he called off the wedding. I still did the dance of pick me. That was about 8 months ago. Which leads me to now. He broke up w me again and met a 31 yr old therapist a month ago and they are already living together. He tried to come back to me and packed up all of his stuff from her house and was coming back to me. I later get a call she said she’s pregnant.

          He always wanted a kid and it bothers me because that was supposed to be me. He said that if I will take him back he will leave her tomorrow but if not he’s going to suck it up and stay with her. He says he does not love her and she is identical to him and how she deals with things and he doesn’t like it. I guess when she doesnt want to talk you cannot talk, shes not affectionate, and its a problem when hes the chatty one. He says he loves me.

          I know it sounds crazy but do you think a baby will change him and he will learn to be faithful to her? He said that he will learn to love her but the “in love” aspect isn’t there and he’s learned his lesson a sped as sucky as it sounds it’s me or her.

          He sounds so sorry this time and I know it sounds super selfish but if he’s going to have learned his lesson I don’t want it to be with her. I have no clue what to think anymore.

          • I think there are plenty of people here who can personally testify that kids don’t guaranty fidelity.

          • “He said that if I will take him back he will leave her tomorrow but if not he’s going to suck it up and stay with her. He says he does not love her and she is identical to him and how she deals with things and he doesn’t like it. I guess when she doesnt want to talk you cannot talk, shes not affectionate, and its a problem when hes the chatty one. He says he loves me. ”

            Yeah, and I guarantee you he is saying all those things to HER, too, about you. Triangulation is the mark of the predator. He gets both of you to play the pick-me dance, how fun!

            “I know it sounds crazy but do you think a baby will change him and he will learn to be faithful to her? He said that he will learn to love her but the “in love” aspect isn’t there and he’s learned his lesson a sped as sucky as it sounds it’s me or her. ”

            Hahahahhahahahah! Sorry, it’s not funny at all, I know. NO, A BABY WILL NOT CHANGE HIM, EXCEPT MAYBE TO MAKE HIM EVEN WORSE.

            Count your lucky stars you are young, did not marry this sorry loser and did not have a child with him. Ugh, he is crap.

            • I know I’m smarter than this but there is something about him I cannot shake. I have no clue what to think about the situation.

              The fact that he is having a baby with a 31 yr old therapist and is living with her is hard to swallow.

              I’d like to think the act that he’s trying to come back to me right now is a preminition

              • That he is going to be like this with her forever and it wasn’t just to me. He says that he does not love her and is only staying with her because of the baby.

                Is it terrible that I don’t want them happy even though they are having a baby?

                He tells me how similar they are and how bad of a match they are and how much better we were. I don’t know why I’m not pissed. I know that I’m lucky I didn’t marry him at this point but it’s very nerve racking he’s going to get that instant family he always wanted and maybe then hell be happy and content with life and stop all of the things he does.

              • He tells you they are a bad match and he doesn’t love her, but you think they will be happy together? Kristina, believe me, and everyone else here. He’s not going to be any different with her than he was with you. The very fact that he is living with a woman having his baby, yet he is telling you how he doesn’t love her and wants you back tells you right there that he hasn’t changed a bit. And I can guarantee you he tells the new woman that you were a crazy bitch, and everything that went wrong with your relationship was because of you. Then he subtly lets her know he still discusses their relationship with you, or that he saw you, or whatever, because triangulation is the name of the game.

                Why would he be happy with an instant family? Far likelier he’ll resent the baby for the attention it requires and cheat even more. Either way, he is shit on the bottom of your shoe. Scrape him off, and keep walking.

              • Oh he refuses to tell her about me… That much I know. He doesn’t want to piss her off because he’s afraid of her getting an abortion which he is very against. The problem went wrong when he told her last week he wanted to be with me and she kicked him out and then told him she was pregnant a few hours later so he dare not bring me up.

                But you’re right, that proves he is doing to her what he did to me. I just always thought babies bring people closer because you have that bond. He tried to change it again and said he can’t put me through this and he’s so sorry.

                I have no clue why he would come back NOW that she’s pregnant and living with her. I suppose they always want what they can’t have.

              • “Oh he refuses to tell her about me… That much I know.”

                I’m sorry, but unless you’ve put bugs on him and have begun monitoring every email and text, you can’t know. You only know what he tells you he said or didn’t say. You have to trust that he’s telling the truth. And you can’t.

              • That’s true. He claims that he’s not sleeping with her and sleeping on her couch right now because of all of the drama going on (she claims she hasn’t spoken to her ex when she has so he wasn’t sure if he should be considered the father either) plus they just don’t have that connection.

                That’s probably a lie too. I know it sounds awful but I really don’t want him to work out with the woman he left me for. I don’t want that happiness for them when I have suffered so much. I know I shouldn’t care but it’s way too raw right now.

    • TimeHeals, your last paragraph is brilliant. We have to deal with what happened in our marriages – not what could have been or what happened after.

      • “…he just wanted what he wanted and felt entitled to it. He never thought for one minute about his kids or me or about his own long-term goals. Even from the beginning he didn’t think of the OW as long-term material, and he’s NOT any happier than before, or any wiser, or on the path to either…It WAS all stupidity and selfishness. ALL of it was for nothing. ”

        TimeHeals, that is so true! I tried to think the same way and at first I felt somehow better—maybe he just somehow really “loved” one of his affair partners as he claimed shortly after D-Day, and for whatever f-‘d up reason was unable to come clean to me or leave for the literally decades that this went on, and now he will be a better person for it, etc etc…..NOT. Within months of our D-Day I learned he was out at bars picking up all sorts of other women and cheating on the AP, sometimes still with her best friend! You’d think in a way I’d be happy when I heard, but I was hysterical. It was all all all a lie, even the narrative he attempted to spin after D-Day about his “love” for the other woman, who he will now use and abuse till he yet again finds someone else to keep him “safe” financially and otherwise…..sigh….

        And oh yes I blame myself too for not giving my kids a better father. I chose quite poorly.

  • Brava! You are spot-on, once again! I struggled with this forever and a day….and I would be lying if I said it doesn’t sneak its ugly face in now and again. I just gave myself time…I talked myself out of feeling this way…other wonderful people who knew me talked me out of feeling this way too—thank God for them!

    I DID believe the problem was me…he also told me all sorts of stuff I bought into initially…fuckwad. I did believe I wanted SOMETHING for all the time I had invested into him and the jacked up relationship (aka my marriage). I was galled that I had wasted my entire fucking time.

    I thought the OW would be benefiting from all my hard work with him. How delusional was I?

    I had to accept that they were PERFECT for each other…and he was Arsenic for ME. He sold her on his dog and pony routine…she thinks she has a PRIZE…She even has referred to him as her “Precious Husband”…that was classic! I almost feel sorry for her. ALMOST. Then I remember what a mean bitch she is and it immediately disappears.

    All of you going through this right now and for those of us that, once in a blue moon, go back—KNOW THIS: YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS. IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. You tried your best, gave it all you could, however, you cannot jump off that bridge because, well, that is just plain dumb. And that is a good thing you don’t want to jump off either. These fuckwads want to keep us in this holding pattern. They like it. They want us to stand on that precipice shouting words of love and forgiveness for all their shenanigans.

    I finally exorcised that devil out…it was hard and it took more than a few attempts (and even so, like I said, it peeps out very occasionally like an unwanted pimple on your ass)…this shit builds character.

    You WILL be stronger because of it. Take yourself back and tell the cheater to piss off. Get that creepy Wizard of Oz monkey off your back.

  • This is my biggest struggle. Partly that he will be “better” with someone else, but even more than that, that he will make it big, become the successful actor/writer/singer/dancer/motivational speaker he considers himself “destined” to be. And then, like he always told me, it will prove that I was the fool who didn’t stand by him and believe in him.

    Of course I know intellectually that is insanity. He is remarkably untalented, not ONE SINGLE THING he has done has worked out in the past three years, and he is unemployed, bankrupt, lost his house and lives in his sister’s spare bedroom while driving an 18 year old car. Not the picture of success and not likely to be in the future.

    Yet I struggle. Wonder if I really WAS the one to blame, as here I am still alone (our divorce was final over a year ago) and he has 5,000 “friends” on Facebook. He has no OW at the moment, as far as I know, and in fact, I suspect he is living an entirely gay life now, while still pretending to be straight.

    He cheated on me beyond belief, lied constantly, bullied and abused me, left me financially devastated and owes me tens of thousands in child support. Yet I still wonder if this prince of a man (snark) will magically become “better” someday with someone else. While I’ll still be alone, struggling and feeling like the boring, nothing he always told me I was.

    It’s insanity. Yet still I struggle to choke down the shit sandwich and move beyond caring to that precious destination, meh.

    • LOL – My FB friends list is down to 16 (and may grow smaller as I just don’t care about half the stuff people post on facebook).

      I think if you have one real friend, that’s better than 100,207 facebook friends 🙂

      • I agree with you timeheals. I closed my facebook account down after I found out about my husband’s affair. Someone asked me today how I keep up with all my friends if I don’t have fb anymore? I said if they’re my real friends, I actually speak to them or see them, I don’t need fb to work as the liaison.

        • Thank God there are other rationale people put there. Fakebook is just that, fake. Your real friends are, well, REAL !

    • GIO; Trust yourself knowing that he will not be better anywhere other than in his own mind.

      There was a recent article that pointed out the having lots of Facebook friends is a sign of Narcissism. Sounds like the shoe fits here in his case.

      I truly believe that in life we only have 2 or maybe 3 REAL friends. the rest are just people we know. What does suck is that one of those friends I thought I had and counted on and trusted to the ends of the earth, cheated on me, lied to me, over and over and over and over and over…………

      • Heh…final OW has over 1000 FB friends. WEirdly, she has few real life friends. Neither does Ex. Poor things. At least they’ve got each other. 🙂

        • hee hee, ex’s OW/current fiancée had over 850 FB friends when I tried to figure out who she was. (She tried to Facetime me when ex and I were in thapy, before he admitted to the affair).
          Told me all I needed to know about her right there.

          • My H’s OW listed her interest on facebook as MEN until she decided to go after mine.. When I asked him about it he said it was a joke. Someday I hope the joke will be on him!

      • I am down from 2,500 to 1,500… because I used to play Mafia Wars.

        Does this make me a big Narcissistic poopyhead? lol 🙂

    • If he is “discovered” and becomes fabulously wealthy and successful he would have probably dumped you for a 20-something gold digger. If he does become famous and wins the heart of America, then you can write a tell-all book and get cash.

      Look at it that way.

      • Yes, you got THAT right! Hey, even Dr. Phil had a first wife. As I recall she was a cheerleader when he was the big football star. She NEVER disparages him publically as far as I know. I am thinking that there just ‘might’ be a handsome, post-divorce agreement with a non-disclosure clause in place with her where she gets some money or something in exchange for her ‘silence’. He is worth A LOT of money and after you hit it big from getting your start with Oprah you need to maintain this image, do ya think?

    • Glad, even if he DID, by some insane miracle, ‘make it big’, what does he REALLY have? A corrupt moral meter, a shallow, vapid life. Let’s take a look at the facts, shall we?

      General all-around scum-bag
      Deadbeat Dad

      Chump (I mean this in a GOOD way)
      Great mom
      Financially responsible

      Remember, his is SPARKLY….or at least he WAS. He is nothing but spackle with the sparkly wearing off in major spots! I mean, how ugly is that?

      Sweets, you may FEEL like you are ‘boring’ when you are dealing with all the mundane things like raising kids, paying the bills and cooking dinner, but you’re not. People who need the high of life at every given moment are well, a little un-hinged.

      You are LIVING. Sometimes that can be less than exciting but you are building something for yourself, your kids. You are showing your kids that despite the shit sandwich their sorry-ass dad has served you, you have MOXIE and you will MOVE FORWARD.

      Sugar his ‘better’ will never be enough….it will never be what you deserve…and you, my dear, deserve A LOT.


      • Vali, thank you for your kind words! I needed to hear them today.

        I know that even if the ex somehow became the most successful actor on the planet, that wouldn’t change his disorder. He is a complete con man, phony, liar.

        I also know that when he came back wanting to “reconcile,” that was actually a con game, too. His plan was that I would work full time and support him while he did whatever he wanted to do. Looking back, it’s clear to me he was cheating during that time, and he certainly blamed me for everything. He apparently tells people now that I “made a deal” with him to work and support him, and my “reneging” on that deal and announcing that I wanted a divorce was so devastating to him. All lies, of course. He uses that story to get a lot of pity. I am certain that he planned on chumping me to support him for a couple years while he continued to cheat like crazy, then he was going to dump my ass anyway.

        THANK YOU GOD THAT I GOT OUT WHEN I DID! The ex has been spiraling further and further into delusion over the past couple years. The stuff he is doing is so bizarre. His family are complete enablers, so he continues to sink deeper into disorder while they support him now.

        • My ex inlaws are complete enablers as well. they will do anything to try and make the world think they are the perfect family and that anyone who questions their behaviour is the issue. Good luck to them with that.

  • Yes, I’ve struggled with this right after dday. Immensely. Within a few months, though, I realized that the OW wasn’t any better than me, so that helped. I was hoping (read: hopium) that he would change, and that things would get better. But that faded after we entered marraige counseling and he continued to lie and cheat.

    I’m still devastated about the sunk costs. But not because of any OW. I’m just dissapointed that I spent so many years with him, and made the poor decision to have kids with him. All the money wasted…..can’t even count it. All of the tears I wasted. (Makes me think of the movie “That Thing You Do” where Liv Tyler’s character leaves her POS bf and says to him “I wasted so many kisses on you.”) Not to mention years of my youth. Opportunities missed. Friendships broken, indirectly, and hearts of me and my family (and some of his family, too) broken over the fallout to the kids. I am still not meh about this. However, that being said, I am not about to stay with my cheating-narc on account of sunk costs. The only thing is to cut my losses and move on.

    I would add a #5 to the list, in my case….. I was emotionally stuck on The OW Stealing My Life. It seemed like she wanted everything I had worked so hard to achieve. My husband, my house, even my kids. That’s what really did it. I know my husband is no prize – she is gettnig a narc-y, cheating liar. But my kids are a different story. They are wonderful. The thought of her fawning over my kids and showing them off to her sick bunch of friends……burned me up, made smoke come out of my ears. She had already met my kids on a date with my husband (classy, no? Taking your kids on a date with the OW?) so that thought alone made me want to puke.

    Thankfully, the OW seems to be gone, and so has the “sting” of the OW getting my kids.

    I think it will still be hard to see my STBX’s next booty call having access to my kids, but it won’t sting as much as the OW. I am thankful for small blessings.

    • I have to deal with my kids around the final OW. It sucks, basically. One refuses to see her anymore and the other puts up with her but doesn’t like it. And OW is always going on about love and ‘when people are unhappy’ and that sort of thing, which naturally pisses me off but I pretend it doesn’t and ignore it as best I can. It sucks though. It really, really sucks to lose time with my kid to this young bit of nothing who got involved in my family.

    • I agree with you Duck,

      Ithe OW is harder than anyone that may come after her. Unfortunately, the OW (after knowing her for only a month) is pregnant with his baby. He still says hell leave to come back to me but who knows. He says he doesnt love her and is only staying because of the baby (he was obsessed with having a baby even though we are only 24). I know she only has 25percent of her cervix or something like that so he is concerned anout that. I think that makes it hard to keep a baby? Very hard to swallow.

      I know there is a baby involved but it still doesnt change my stance that I wish them a life of misery together. I just pray that it’s not true that he has learned his lesson and he is done messing around and will suck it up with her for the baby.

      • Kristina L, you can be SURE he has not learned his lesson, and that’s for two reasons;
        – he’s still doing the exact same things he did before – lying, cheating, playing one woman off the other, trying to make you long to have him back, then backing away.
        – this is about WHO HE IS. And that really really doesn’t change without long years of intensive therapy w/a specialized therapist – which most people like him would never actually do.

        It can be really helpful to make a list of the bad, immoral or uncaring things he’s done, as many as you can remember, and look at it from time to time, add to it. That’ll help you keep in mind WHO HE IS, and that getting him back could be the worst thing that ever happens to you.

        • Thanks Karen,

          I know you shouldn’t wish bad on anyone but I really want misery for the both of them. Especially after everything I’ve been through.

          He already says that they are way too much alike and realizes the issues we had were because of him because she does the same thing to him, if you ask a question and they don’t like it the Convo is over, cold towards the other person, not affectionate and not talkative. It sounds like they are already having problems but who knows. All I can do is hope.

          I just don’t want him to end up happily with her and this instant family he wanted.

          I admit it is hard to stay angry because of whatever reason, perhaps because he never lost his sparkle. I will definitely try and list 🙂

  • This was great! Thank you Chumplady, as I run down the final stretch, all I want is to look forward, and not waiver. Everything you write on here I’m devouring and it’s like superfood!
    I think I did believe in miracles, and he played on that. He always kept me hoping that things would get better, giving me those tiny kibbles, just barely enough. He also was a master at putting me in the old ‘doghouse’, and then I’d be falling all over him just trying to get out of there!
    I actually hope he does OK, if he stays with his across-the-street mistress, I know shes more insane than he is and he def won’t be happy. At this point I just hope he doesn’t drink/Xanax himself to death, a real possibility. I DO struggle with guilt, though, I don’t want him dead, but I work daily on not owning that if it happens.

    • Please don’t feel guilty about choices he makes. He needs to own his choices.

      Bit of a different situation but when my best friend committed suicide 3 years ago I felt some guilt for not helping or being more available for him. Finally it came to me that I couldn’t control him. HE made the decision he made. Just like your spouse has control of what he does and with that he needs to own his choices.

      • Thanks, he is in charge of what he does, but he just makes such horrible decisions all the time! That OW is so psychotic, has tried to off herself with pills when he and I reconciled (Blech!) one year ago. Who signs up for that in your life? Oh yeh, my husband.
        He does have a couple of brain cells left, so I’m hoping he tries, if only for our three sons (who turned out great, and just shake their heads over him). I stopped drinking and smoking the day I moved out, and am doing infinately better without him, I am who I take care of now.
        I know he has to take care of him. Thanks for your kind words Bud.

        • If it helps PattyToo, my ex threatened to kill himself, is an alcoholic who also did Xanax while drinking. When he pulled a gun and nearly killed me he was drunk. What I saw in his eyes that day put the lie to the suicide threats. My point is, abusers use these pity parties where if you don’t do XYZ they will be so hurt, they also often use suicide threats to keep us in control, to keep us with them. YOU are not responsible for some one killing themselves ever, your love doesn’t make you responsible, you leaving and saving yourself doesn’t and will never be a reason for your ex’s problems, not even if he drinks himself to death. If my ex did that I think he’d save his current woman a great deal of pain, I’m way past pity for him.

          • It helps very much, because what my marriage turned into has made me feel crazy! He told me a few times- you watch, if you ever leave, I’ll be dead in a week.
            Now I know, I did everything for him (Chump), so that felt true! He would fall apart. This was before I found this place, and got EDUCATED.
            But I think I’ll always have a mooshey center, and worry about his well-being. I loved him for three decades, but, he didn’t treat me right. And thats a huge understatement! I had my own Damn Wolf.
            Thank you, very raw right now because I might get my divorce decree any day.

  • I don’t need no stinkin’ therapy! I HAVE CHUMPLADY!

    Seriously, Tracy–your words HEAL, because they are at once so insightful, so thought-provoking, so timely! You articulate feelings that were just lurking and waiting in dark corners of my mind–not sure what to do with them nor where to put them–you’re helping me to dust them off, analyze them, and put them away neatly. I am SO grateful to you, you have no idea!

    Oh, to be an OW whose legacy is one of pain and destruction–or, to be a chump like CL, who shares her wisdom within a community of folks like us who help each other to heal. When you contemplate your life, Tracy, rest assured, you will KNOW that you brought comfort to so many people, and helped us to find our happiness. THAT is a legacy of honor.

    I so needed this column today. OW has pictures of her and xH on FB that display her stunning beauty and their life of recreation. Yesterday I felt so defeated. He finally did find love and happiness with someone else. His destruction IS worth it. He and she ARE happy, and She Is Better Than Me.

    I was able to remind myself (for the millionth time) that happiness comes from within. I’m not a slavemaster, I’m not hideous (I can be, but not generally), I’m not abusive. He had a good life, by the looks of it–good job, great kids, a decent wife. (I’m better than that, really, but for the sake of argument….) Still, he was Unhappy. To quote CL–Poor Sausage! :'(

    Enter OW. Instant happiness! She is available at any time anywhere to HIM–no kids, no career, marriage over. AND, she is pretty. What a trade-up! But look at what he gave up to get it–could it really be worth it? I would not give up my kids for ANYTHING nor ANYONE, no matter how sparkly and bleach blonde their hair is!

    And YOU, CL, you cut right to the heart of the matter! You are SO right! Those pictures, even with the insight I do have as I describe above, still get to your first point–they PROVE that I am not pretty enough, not spontaneous enough, not easy-going enough. They PROVE that I am, indeed, the problem.

    AND, they will confirm what The Other People might think–there must have been Something Wrong In the Marriage, It Takes Two, You Know, and, look–WOW, did he get a good one! She’s hot!

    I needed to see that for what it is–thank you for point #1–I STILL consider that the problem is me. That’s what makes us chumps, isn’t it?

    #2–ego kibbles are sparse, true! But last night a man I respect told me I was “smokin’ hot.” And so THAT felt good. Also true of a lot of chumps.

    #3–tunnel vision. We WERE getting to the part of our lives where WE could be spontaneous and free, after the extremely (for ME, anyway) satisfying hard work of raising our kids. But he gave that reward away to her, and that really, really hurts, that I am without a companion (other than my kids, who mean the world to me) and THEY have each other! But they CHEATED! NOT FAIR!!!

    #4–he might change. He takes pictures of her–he never took pictures of me. He moved far away from his work, yet he told me repeatedly we could not move to a nicer home 10 minutes away from his work because he would not be able to walk/bike to work any more. Now he lives an hour away…. He’s happy now, right? (He never looks happy.)

    So, maybe they are happy–but he’s paid a HUGE price for that, mostly in respect and honor, and he used his kids’ security and emotional well-being (some of it) as a very large down payment on that happiness. (He ALWAYS looks miserable whenever I see him. Old, ugly, miserable.) One day, I will believe my eyes and my brain and trust that he sucks.

    He is NOT right for ME. He may be right for her, but he is not right for ME.

    Thank you SO much, CL!! I am 50 steps closer to meh.

    • Take a break from FB. The OW and your X will always post their most sparkly photos (taken out of context, often, and probably posed) to show to themselves and everyone else how “happy” they are. Doesn’t make it true.

      Facebook is not a documentary of your X. It isn’t a reflection of his actual life. He doesn’t post photos of his lying, cheating self, or statuses of how he messed up his kids’ lives, or how he hurt people along the way. He only posts what *he* wants to post. The stuff that makes *him* look good. So don’t buy into that without remembering the nature of FB, and your knowledge of who he is, and the inevitable downfall of your X and his OW’s relationsip (based on cheating and lies).

      • BTW, I’m not down on FB at all, I’m just saying take a break from looking at your X and the OW. Because it’s all false advertising and not emotionally helpful when you’re trying to heal.

        • Unfriend and block your ex and any OW’s, friends who side with the ex, family of the ex and anyone else toxic to your health.

          I blocked my ex on FB. Now, even when he comments on our son’s posts, I cannot see his messages, pictures, likes, etc. And I assume he is unable to see anything I post on our son’s page.

          He does have several public fan pages for his various insane projects, but I just don’t look at them.

          • I did the same early on and he was furious. And ‘hurt’. Couldn’t believe I didn’t want to be his FB friend anymore. Then I dumped a bunch of other people connected to him off FB and he was even more ‘upset’. Still brings it up every so often and tries to say I’ve ‘ruined’ things with people who ‘care very much about you Nord’. Yes, they care so much they met final OW within 6 weeks of me kicking him out, before we even filed for divorce. That’s caring for you.

      • Just a comment on fb. During the darkest days of my marriage to stbxh, I used to feel almost sick with jealousy when I saw the posts of certain friends and family. One SIL had as her profile shot a pic of her and her husband kissing on a beach at sunset. Another SIL would post nearly 50 photos a week of her and her fiance embracing each other at one fabulous party after another, or one exotic vacation after another. Lots of “To my wonderful perfect darling Love” kind of posts too.

        Come to find out, the sunset beach SIL actually wishes her husband dead during public screaming matches. They go long angry weeks without speaking to each other, while living in the same house.

        Party SIL just called off a sham wedding (a ceremony but not legally binding – no one in the family knew this little detail!). The story goes something like this; she and fiance had an “open relationship” and mostly had three-way sex. As the “wedding” approached, SIL thought that they should have sex, just the two of them. Fiance wasn’t in the mood. SIL ran out in anger, and came back home hours later to find him getting a naked massage from one of their three-way friends.

        Now, when I see a big show on fb of how fabulous someone’s life and love are, I am very suspicious. It is usually a very bad sign.

    • Cheaters aren’t happy, ever. Seriously, you screw someone other than your spouse, you accomplish this trick by lies, deception, and manipulation which everyone knows is wrong (except if you are a sociopath — if this is your cheating spouse, proceed directly to “meh”), and then you handle the resulting shame and guilt by gas-lighting, blame-shifting and re-writing the marriage to make your loyal spouse an orge.

      Furthermore, you forever condemn your kids to a lifetime of wondering if they will either cheat or be cheated upon in their future romantic relationships (Wow, cheater mom or dad, thanks for the great example about how to live an honest, purposeful life!)

      So if your cheating spouse is not a sociopath, then they aren’t happy with themselves or their AP. It is impossible despite the HuffPo crowd’s PC stance and the cheater’s lame attempts to prove otherwise. It is their burden to keep, not the chump’s.

      The chump’s only burden is what CL describes in her post. Cheating is on them, not you. It is never on the chump. There’s an old saying that it takes two people to tell a lie — the person telling the lie and the other person believing it.

      None of the cheater’s tricks work if you don’t believe them. So that part is on us chumps. Don’t believe they are better than you, that the AP is better than you, that the cheater is going to be happy without you. Once you don’t believe any of this junk, you are free!

    • Stephanie, you’re right when you say number one is the reason we’re chumps. We seem (or seemed) to have taken on the whole load of the relationship. If we were ‘better’ or funnier, or sexier, or thinner or fatter or taller or whatever then this would never have happened. But it’s not that way. We were not perfect and our marriages were not perfect – no one has a perfect marriage – but we were in it to win it, so to speak, and we probably put up with a lot of crap that we should not have, because we’re the types who see things through and deal with problems by NOT running away or turning to other people, but by facing things and figuring out how to fix problems. The cheater does the opposite. The cheater looks for something to make themselves feel ‘better’ and doesn’t do what it takes in the marriage to put it back on track when things get to a low ebb.

      They’ll do the same with the next person and blame that person for not doing the ‘right’ things that they needed to not stray.

      • Unhuh, they were always ‘looking around’. Couldn’t you just feel it? Never completely there or on your side.

        • Yes, that’s what I felt. Like he could never give up the attention from other women because he enjoyed it too much.

        • A friend of mine who went through this said she knew, deep in her heart, that he would not be there for her if something awful happened, like she was in a car accident and ended up in a wheelchair. That’s a horrible feeling to live with and I actually believe this about ex now. he would have bailed at some point.

          • The way I think of it was that there wasn’t a ‘we’ for him, never had been. When I realized that I was just soooooo sad!

            • When we were at the height of our fighting post-dday ex said ‘there is no we so stop acting like there is’. This was maybe two weeks after dday. I was still in shock and thought he would be there for me.

  • This hit me like a ton of bricks. ” But for whatever reason, these people don’t enjoy commitment, they enjoy selling. They’re snake oil salesman. Like all salesmen, they project an air of exclusivity — act now! This is very, very special! But it’s rubbish, and then they’re on to the next town.”

    It boils down to that. All the junk associated means nothing, it is simply, he is a snake oil salesman and I bought love drugs from him. The bottle became empty and he could not sell to me any more, so he found another customer. Nope, not buying it any more.

  • There was a someecard I saw on Facebook and saved. It says: “Sometimes I wonder about my ex, and what his new girlfriend has that I don’t. And then I realize, probably herpes.”

    Love that 🙂 And how true…. lol

    • That actually happened to somebody who married one of my ex girlfriend (way back in my early 20s–she cheated on me too). The guy she married (about 5-6 torrid love affairs down the line) got herpes from her. Schmuck decided to stay with her, but she ran off with somebody else anyway.

      Some folks don’t change much.

        • True, and if stay with my cheater-STBX I bet that would happen eventually.

          Already, I’ve had enough. Waiting in the Dr’s office for my STD test results was enough. Results were clear, but it could have easily gone the other way (thanks to my cheating spouse). Not to mention, I was breastfeeding my current baby and pregnant at the same time as well. So any STD might have also affected two children. Not cool.

          I dodged the STD bullet. But I’m not sleeping with STBX again. Not worth it.

  • GREAT analysis. The fear of a cheater upgrading from a chump is an irrational one, but as CL points out, it’s grounded in rational emotions, especially in the immediate fall-out of our relationship trains sailing right off the tracks.

    I think ALL of us chumps have experienced most (or all) of the 4 thoughts/emotions that CL listed. My own experience has been with all four.

    1) “You’ve bought into the idea at some level that the problem is you.” — I think we ALL blamed ourselves for our cheaters’ cheating. Plus we’re so ingrained with the Dr. Phil-esque “What was your part in this?”, that we immediately look inward.

    Plus I think there’s a small part in all of us that’s deeply insecure. Getting chumped only exacerbates those feelings. We’re frumpy, we’re boring, we’re not good enough in the sack, etc.

    My cure for this was to work on myself, physically and emotionally. Not for my ex, but to work on my sense of self-worth and to learn how to NOT rest that on someone else’s words and actions. It was the hardest one on this list to work on, because like all chumps my self-esteem was SHOT. This one takes time but it’s totally doable.

    2) “You’ve been on ego kibble starvation rations.” — Naturally. You don’t realize how co-dependent you are until you’re depending on your cheating ex for your own emotional survival. It’s absolutely devastating to be hooked on a drug that’s so unbelievably toxic, but I’m Guilty As Charged on this one as well.

    The ONE upside from this ego kibble rationing, although I didn’t realize it at at the time, is that I was sub-consciously being weened off the kibble supply he had so graciously fed me during our years together. Even though DDay and Reconciliation were emotional mindfucks wrapped inside a hallucinatory fever dream, once the smoke cleared I realized how much of my own inner-strength I had been building up the entire time! Suddenly I was self-reliant again and I had no idea where this strength was coming from!

    3) “You have tunnel vision because of the sunk costs.” — Not sure if CL meant “costs” figuratively or literally (or both), but this is a very astute point. I can’t speak for any chumps who were bankrupted (or taken to the cleaners) whilst legally extracting themselves from their cheaters or simply pissed away a lot of money supporting and building a life for their cheaters during the marriage. But I’m curious if the sunk emotional costs cut deeper than the sunk financial costs, or vice versa.

    4) “I believe in miracles.” — CL is of course referring to the miracle that our cheaters will Come Out From The Fog, that we’ll pick right back up where we left off, driving our Unicorn-Shaped Convertible down Amazing St., crossing over He’s Changed Blvd., then making a sharp right turn onto Marital Bliss St.

    I prayed for miracles and ended up getting two unexpected ones:

    a) That my runaway train crashed and burned before I invested even more years of my life loving and caring for a person who was only slowly drifting out into a sea of toxicity and and trying to drown me right along with him. It took a year’s worth of heartbreak to realize that the relationship blanket he knitted for us was actually his own spider web of dysfunction that he inadvertently cut me loose from. I sure smacked the ground HARD in every sense of the word, but the motherfucker should did me a favor.

    b) That he completely and utterly DOWNGRADED with the OM and that theirs is a relationship only more toxic and more dysfunctional than ANYTHING he and I ever had. This is all based on pure gossip, which is best to be avoided (as we’re not here to dissect our ex’s relationships with cheat partners, post-us). But when people ask me what I’ve heard about my ex and his cheat partner, I say: “I’ve heard enough.”

    And I have. You can tell how someone feels about himself or herself by the company they keep and the relationships they stay in. I’ve heard just enough gossip where my brain hit the Pause button and said: “It’s HIM, stupid!” Plus, does anybody REALLY think that a cheater’s primary goal in cheating and exploding a relationship is self-actualization?! LMAO!

    If my ex’s goal was to be a better person, then he would’ve worked on himself while we were still together. Instead he cheated on me with and dumped me for someone that only brought out the worst in him, the liar, the cheater, the manipulator; a side of him I never knew existed. Self-destruction that’s beyond self-evident. (“Cheer me on while I completely fuck over my ex and piss away my long-term relationship. All for you! Here—have a kibble. Good boy! Now dance, motherfucker!”)

    Anybody who would call that kind of fuckupedness “better for someone else” needs to come see me. A sobriety test is definitely in order. Or perhaps a lobotomy.

    • Chris, you said “…we immediately look inward.”

      True! Inevitably, we consider if the problem is us. That’s what chumps (and other conscientious people) do. We look inward. We try to rectify our part in the situation. We do more. We work harder. We do our part.

      Entitled people do *not* look inward at all. That is part of the problem. And why it’s unlikely they will change, because they look *outward* for the problems.

      Us chumps could spend more time looking outward (for a change) and less time looking inward. Don’t oversteer, but finding a balance there.

    • Chris, I really love what you wrote here- it pulled a deep laugh out of me on a really crappy day. You wrote:

      4) “I believe in miracles.” — CL is of course referring to the miracle that our cheaters will Come Out From The Fog, that we’ll pick right back up where we left off, driving our Unicorn-Shaped Convertible down Amazing St., crossing over He’s Changed Blvd., then making a sharp right turn onto Marital Bliss St.

      Endless ‘Hopium’ is my problem definitely- always hoping that he would just stop being a major a–hole to me, my daughter and my family if I loved him enough!

      I am saving what you wrote here in your post to read and re-read. Well-done!

    • Chris, I love this post – wish you lived near me cos I’d be really happy to have you as a friend.

    • Chris-

      Great post! I love this line: …… does anybody REALLY think that a cheater’s primary goal in cheating and exploding a relationship is self-actualization?! LMAO! Mine STBXW hooked up with her second guy a week or so after I moved my things out and was in Hawaii with him just a little over a 100 days from our wedding. Not a lot of self actualization going on when you go from a marriage, an affair, and a second affair partner AND change jobs in this time frame. (this was about a 6 week time frame outside of the 100 or so days). Wherever she goes she is still there with all of her shit and toxicity that will destroy whatever she touches.

      My hope is that I can see the same two miracles. Its a horrible shit sandwich right now but I’m slowing realizing she sucks and the pain, hurt and embarrassment of a 49 day marriage is nothing compared to a lifetime of being next to her dysfunction. A shitty tasting favor but a favor nonetheless.

      It helps that she downgraded as well. It was a hit to my ego (I’ve been on starvation kibbles!) that he has a bigger house and more money but he sucks. I try to stay away from the gossip but when I’m out and I run into a woman that he works with (who hadn’t put together that his new girlfriend is my STBXW) and she describes what a horrible, narcissistic, abusing, cheating, alcoholic, swinging POS shit he is, well I’m not proud of it, but its a schadenfreude moment for me.

  • #1 used to be my big problem, but I know I did cause it in a way because I no longer said “how high” when he said “jump”. I honestly got to the point where I was so over his shit that I just didn’t play into it much anymore. Not to say that I didn’t suffer withdrawals from him, I was definitely hooked on the poisoned sprinkles.

    And the WAY he did it hurt me so badly I never thought I would recover. But if I had known years ago what I know now (6 months after DDay), how good my life can be (for no special reason other that my regular positive happy self is back), I wish it would have happened then. Life is so good to me now, I appreciate the littlest things, and the big ones too! Hang in there everyone, it gets better!

    As for the OW and him, they fight all the time and have already broken up twice. I am actually hoping it does work out, although he is (not too) deep down just a miserable, bully son of a bitch, she can have him – shit sprinkles and alL!

    • I think I got to that point towards the end of my marriage as well; I just couldn’t play his game anymore but didn’t recognise that I was empty, so instead went into a bit of a depression for about a year. Ex, instead of noticing that there was something gong on with me and perhaps reachign out to me and helping me figure it out, took it as it being all about him and me not giving him what he needed. It never occurred to him that I needed something, anything, to get myself back on track. If I wasn’t giving him enough attention or love or whatever then I was the problem. God forbid I need some support or love or someone helping me figure things out.

      It took me a long time to face that and really believe it but damn, when I did I turned a corner. I too should be able to expect support and love when I’m at a low point, just as he was able to have with me. I always helped him, always figured things out, always noticed when things were wrong with him. When things were seriously wrong with me he went from having mere side pieces along the way to finding a new source of kibbles because I didn’t have any to offer him at that point. And he never thought, even once, that maybe he needed to forget about himself for a bit and put some focus on me.

      That will be something I will never forget: after two decades of me being there for him through everything the one time I truly needed him he bailed. That makes me realise what an absolute shit he is.

      • Nord,
        ” When things were seriously wrong with me he went from having mere side pieces along the way to finding a new source of kibbles because I didn’t have any to offer him at that point. And he never thought, even once, that maybe he needed to forget about himself for a bit and put some focus on me. ”
        That’s is EXACTLY!

      • I could’ve written it myself. On top of that he expected me to be “happy” and see him as a good husband, even if he had not been. It made him quite angry that I dared to be angry with him. I was to be absolutely delighted being with him.

        • Yes, I was told that my anger was destroying two decades of good times and memories. Erm, no. Finding out about the many affairs is what destroyed two decades of good times and memories. I’ll never forget finding out that he had a fling right before a Christmas that I considered one of our best and most memorable. And when we returned home from that Christmas he tried to turn the fling into an affair. Reading those emails crushed a lot inside of me, because it made me realise that he could act like everything was perfect and great but still be screwing around on the side. How sad that all those great times are now played out in my mind against a backdrop of multiple affairs. I sometimes wish I had never read his years of emails to other women. It makes it hard to smile when the kids talk about ‘the good times’.

          • Nord, it absolutely broke my heart (and moistened my eyes) to read your post. When I say I feel your pain, it’s not an exaggeration. I’m right there with you.

          • I’ve heard people say that the duplicity hurts worse than the act it was intended to cover and I think I sort of agree. That disillusionment is all but unbearable. It’s like someone has stolen not just my present, but also my past.

            • Yes, looking back at things and realising that that vacation we took with the kids, where we laughed and joked and had such a great and unique time was played out against the backdrop of yet another affair…or that time he brought me home a fantastic present from a business trip as a thank you for always being there was played out against a one night stand or that time we were at a party and he was telling all the other husbands what a great wife I was, how I was always there through thick and thin and I was so fucking PROUD that night…and he was screwing my friend and the final OW at that point. It makes me look back and wonder if ANY memory is untainted. But then again, my kids say he wasn’t around that much so most of their memories are with me. And now we are making new, fun, great memories that are pretty awesome and hilarious. He’s not doing that and he will lose in the end because while I can say to my kids ‘remember that time’ and we can laugh, he will never have that with them without me somehow connected to it. And he’ll never have that with them and OW because they don’t have any with her that arent’ connected to the pain of their family breaking down.

              • Ah yes, the memories of time while he was screwing her… my birthday happened during the middle of his affair. . I know how inconvenient and selfish of me!!! Anyway, the card I received from him spoke something like this… “you know that thing you do, that awesome thing you do, putting up with me. Well keep on doing it.” Really??? That is the card you pick out for your wife while your screwing someone else??? I look back at that and am disguisted and appauled. What a douche bag! So now my past memories are now linked to him being a p.o.s.that just used and manipulated. Fucking asshole!

              • Our wedding anniversary fell slap bang in the middle of his affair, I had to work that day. He sent a dozen red roses to my work. A beautiful card accompanied it saying how lucky he was to have a wonderful wife and the many great years together (I think it was year 27 or so). I was touched beyond words, my co-workers commented on how respectfully and affectionately we spoke to/about one another. Considering this was the first time he had sent me roses like this I was over the moon.
                Turns out, he spent most of the day with OW – our kids were playing lacrosse in another town, so they snuck off somewhere during the game. He came home to a fabulous, romantic meal I had cooked for him and told him what a fabulous husband to me and great Dad he was taking the kids to their games, being so present with them.
                When I found out about the affair a few months later and did the math, I took that bunch of roses which I had dried, put it on his side of the bed and stomped (I mean really stomped) it into the sheets/pillow and promptly fell asleep on my side of the bed. He came home late after a”lacrosse meeting” (she was in the lacrosse association at his invitation) and tried to slide into bed in the dark unnoticed.
                His shock was quite funny (if it wasn’t so sad) when he switched on the light. I think he got some thorns stuck on his ass when he sat down on the dried flowers and stems. Boy, did that feel good!!

              • Great story! I know it could not come close to the pain he has caused, but those little moments of sweet revenge stay sweet on the tongue long after the deed is done. Relish in it.

              • Also, he is never without OW now. Never. My older one finally refused to see her and will only see him if she’s not around. He still invites OW, apparently, but OW resents my kid of course so demurs with a pout (according to younger kid). So he planned his summer holidays and yep, they’re all with OW. He told the kids ‘you can come along if you want’. Nothing for them, no special times with them, nothing.

                So I’m planning something small and cheap to a place we went to last year and loved and we will have an absolute blast. The kids are excited and you know what? All these new memories we have are awesome and very special and we have some great new routines or some re-worked old routines that we’ve made special for us.

                And the funniest thing? the dink takes stories the kids tell him about what they do with me and tries to copy them with OW and the kids. Not even kidding. We did something very silly one day and laughed for days after about it. Younger one told Ex and the next week he literally tried to recreate it with OW and younger kid. Sadly, OW wasn’t interested in playing so it was a bit uncomfortable for all involved. 🙂

  • I thank all of you for all your words of wisdom. Today I really needed this post. I have know about the x’s affair for almost two years..she lived out of state.. they saw each other 4 times but talked everyday on the phone..They knew each other when they were 16 and reconnected on FB!!! Today I put my boys on a plane for 3 weeks to visit them. It hurts that they were excited to see him after he left us about 5 weeks ago. He promised them the moon and stars to come visit them. What 8 and 13 year old want to get gifts and go to fun places? He has not seen them in almost 5 weeks and took the OW to pick them up!!! A knife to my heart. The last month he has called late at night..told me he loves me..wants to be my friend. Today is the day I really feel like she is better than me!! Help!!

    • Need Help, hold on and keep going NC on him! For 2 plus years he lied, cheated, manipulated you and your kids. This is just absolute crap he is dishing out to you, mind fucking you. He wants to be your ‘friend’. Why?

      Things are probably not SO great as he imagined with the ol’ high school girlfriend. She blew hot air up his shorts and he felt so GREAT that he left 5 weeks ago running out on his kids and you. But you know what, he probably has seen something or experienced something to give him pause about the ol’ girlfriend . . . . So what is he doing now? He wants you to do the “Pick Me Dance.” He wants YOU to say, “Oh Honey it’s OK, I still LOVE you!!” If he can keep you on the string he’ll come RUNNING back to you if things don’t work out- THAT is what is going on here. Let her have him!

      If you take him back you will affirm for him the following: I am SO great, that I can fuck around on my wife and kids, get away with it, and my wife will take me back! WOW!! I AM a GOD!! I AM SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!

      I mean if you ex wants to be your ‘friend’- who needs enemies because you have devil just wanting further kibbles and affirmation which will further elevate his head and his opinion of himself into the stratosphere.

      • You are right..I so want to send the OW all the texts from the last few weeks but now my children are there..I keep having to remember silence is golden!!! I just want to show her all the texts but I also want to show indifference? Thoughts?

            • unfortunately, yes, it will. she won’t believe you. she’ll think you have a nefarious agenda. He will be enraged and you’ll just end up with a clusterfuck on your hands.

        • I say SAVE the texts and hang on to them for your divorce attorney in your divorce proceeding. You will likely have a guardian ad litem appointed in your case depending on what state you’re in since there are children involved. These texts are evidence of an unstable personality disorder and they are relevant to visitation, parenting ability and ‘may’ result in certain restrictions that the court may impose.

          Any OW who steps into a relationship with a married man is committing what I call a “hate” crime. They hate you, don’t care, and want your life. If you get into it directly with her it will just fuel her and she may get super stalky and jealous of any contact the kids might have with their Dad because she’ll fear he’s interested in you.

      • she blew hot air and continues to…he always told me I never put him first?? Kids then him and she tells him how she is the mother and kids listen to her!! And her two kids are juvenile deliquents to boot!!! Told him everything he wanted to hear on the phone…now she has to live up to it!!! I have heard that he is not working, she pays for everything and now she has my kids to watch … I love reality!!!

        • Put your energy into getting documentation that her kids are juvenile delinquents. This will help your attorney in fashioning a visitation/parenting schedule where OW’s kids have limited and or supervised visitation around your children. The courts are going to make decisions under the ‘best interest of the children standard’ and juvenile delinquent step or future step siblings may be limited for the sake of your kids so they don’t end up like them!!

        • Need Help, please get a lawyer asap if you don’t have one. Don’t do anything without checking in with the attorney cos I worry you could cause yourself issues. Depending on your state you may want to file for cause (adultery) to help you with custody. Get attorney help asap.

          Don’t let your pain mess up your divorce.

    • Much of your story is very similar to mine, like finding the once-16-year-old ex fuck-buddy on FB and leaving your wife and kids for her. That part we have in common.

      You know what? Any OP is NOT better, just by virtue of the fact that they are deceitful and have no morals and settle for cheaters. It may take a while to see that mask of theirs slip off, but they are not lovely people. Quite the opposite. And, a cheater has no capacity to understand true love. Someone awesome would not settle for a cheater, and a cheater would not go for someone who isn’t flawed in a major way. Believe it. Be patient–it will reveal itself.

      Please work on YOU. Yes, in between my home improvement projects and times having fun with my kids and friends, and traveling and when I’m not working at a job I am proud of and love, I’ve been known to, you know. check FB, and some nice people here have advised against it. OW in my case is really pretty, at least on FB, but I do know the truth about her. She is a manipulative, conniving sneak who hurts innocent children (my kids) and their mother (me.) NOT better than me. Focus on YOU. Who do YOU want to be? What do YOU want to be good at? Yes, I spend too much time worrying about OW and an xH I do not want back ever (ULLLGHK!!) but I also have a good, solid, happy, fulfilled life outside of that, and it brings me a lot of relief. Do you want to join a club, take a class, learn how to do something, volunteer, get in shape–what is it that you would do to feel pretty proud of yourself and not feel less than a slut husband poacher?

      • Thanks Stephanie for your advice.. my OW on FB is really pretty as well but your right..would not a real woman tell the man go spend time alone with your kids you have not seen in 5 weeks…my son just called and told me it is annoying how much they kiss and tell each other they love each other!!! Great job teaching your 13 year old what real love is douche bag!!! He told them the day before he left he needed to be happy!!

        • Yeah, yeah, the old ‘I need to be happy’ crap. I think everyone gets some version of that, with the cheater never realising that happiness doesn’t come in the shape of a bimbo/mimbo who is content to bang a married wo/man and fuck up people’s lives. Happiness, we all know and have heard a million times, comes from within and anyone thinking a replacement is the key to their happiness is destined to be unhappy once again as soon as the sparkles and honeymoon phase wears off.

          Sadly for me the final OW is not terribly attractive, which is almost worse. She’s got nothing on me, that’s for sure, other than her extreme youth. She’s not even funny, which really pisses me off, as being funny is awesome.

          • Nord, right on as usual! My ex actually said to me, during DDay discussions, on the ever-popular topic of ‘I need to be happy’;

            ‘I know I see everything in the most negative light, that I’m critical and hard to get along with, that I’m never happy with anything.’

            And I thought ‘wow, he gets it! Too late, but he gets it!’

            Then he completed his thought with;

            ‘So what I need is a woman who doesn’t bring that out in me.’

            I just remember looking at him as if he’d sprouted a second head, and forcing myself not to burst into laughter and ask him if he didn’t realize what an idiot he sounded like. (Didn’t laugh my head off because he’s a volatile guy; I was already having all such conversations w/him in public spaces, because he’d been physically threatening in the past (hard to pay child support from jail). I didn’t want him arrested, I just wanted him OUT!)

              • Mine said exactly the same!!!! He loves his kids but he only has 20 years left or so and needs to be happy!!!

              • Ya know, there are people who are very unhappy in their marriages, and that’s not good for their kids, so their getting out actually has to be a priority. Of course, that means FIRST trying everything they possibly can to make the marriage better, and SECOND, leaving in an honest and straightforward way that protects the kids as much as conceivably possible.

                Narcs will take that ‘I need to be happy’ thing and just twist and twist it to justify their own completely unjustifiable behaviour.

                People do need to be happy. But for these snakes, their own happiness is the shallow one built of kibbles, and that’s their ONLY concern, ever, and their highest happiness is cake. Very sick indeed.

              • I get how it’s easy to hate the OW if she knew about you but what about if she didn’t? Me and my xf were trying to work on things about a month ago when he met her. Cut to. Ow he already moved I with her and she’s pregnant ( she’s a 31 yr old Thera
                It’s and he is 24). She definitely knows about me now since he went to leave her to come back to me and she told him to get out. Three hours later she calls him to tell her he’s pregnant . Says he’s still in love w me and if I don’t take him back he’s going to suck it up and stay w her for the baby. She apparently is just like him which does not work for him. Idk I cannot get this nauseous feeling out of my stomach. I know I’m young but I’ve been with him for nearly a decade and just can’t seem to move on. It doesn’t help that he is the only person I have ever been with.

            • Kristina, I have absolutely nothing against the OW. I figure he probably lied to her as well, and she doesn’t realize what she’s gotten herself into. She’ll figure it out soon enough! The other possibility is that she’s as selfish as he is, and didn’t care she was sleeping w/a married man. In which case, what is the point? But I bet for #1; the ex’s picker works just fine!

    • OMG Almost my story except H won’t leave. Can’t figure it out. Go NC get a lawyer and let him find out how much his midlife crisis is going to cost him!

      • Mine would not either until I made him leave…my parents do not like him over the past 15 years he showed who he really is well they came to visit and he quit his job and did not want to hang out with them for 10 days…so he said he was going to visit his parents but went to see her ..did see his parents as well…on the last two days of his trip he sent me love notes called early morning to profess his love…when he came back I told him I was done…he went running back to her!!! He had no other choice is what he says…midlife crisis for sure he hits every mark on the list!!!

        • Hahahaha….my poor kids got some speech a month or two after dday from ex, where he said something along the lines of he had to make it work with final OW because otherwise he had no one. Great lesson to the kids: grab whomever is most available to avoid dealing with yourself. Have I mentioned before he’s a git?

          • Nord! That totally happened to STBX! He blubbered about how he “had nobody,” and when I said he had the OW, he repeated that he “had nobody.” STBX is CLEARLY sticking with her and marrying her because that’s true– he really doesn’t have anyone. My friends and family are completely disgusted by his rush into marriage and the message that sends to our kids. Did I happen to mention that he’s making our kids and her kids witness this sham of a marriage? Ridiculous.

            • He also told the kids that he knew final OW wasn’t all that but he screwed it up so thoroughly with me that he had no choice but to be with her. I hear this crap and I realise how pathetic he is.

              • God, it is SO inappropriate to be talking like this to his kids! It must kill you! I hope your kids can see how ridiculous it is, and not feel emotionally blackmailed into feeling responsible for his happiness. Sheesh!

        • Need Help, commenting on your above post because it’s so similar to what ex said to me: basically that knowing me his whole adult life meant he needed to see if he could have a different life that didn’t include me. I was being replaced with a new model. Like a car.

            • Karen, I hate the crap he and his family and even OW say to the kids. It’s so wrong and destructive and I swear I spend half my time trying to subtly guide them away from the disordered thinking. The sad thing is that the kids are fed up with their grandparents and the rest of the lot because of the crazy stuff they say. Their grandmother will tell them she doesn’t think much of OW but then gush over OW when she’s around. Talk about confusing. And talk about figuring out where Ex got his manipulative ways. I wish I could get the kids away from all of them so that they don’t pick up on those fucked up ways.

    • When I was in your shoes, i.e., went on for two years, they were together 4 times, talked on the phone every day and evening, he told me all the good things about her. He said she was smart, had a great job and made a lot of money “More than we ever have”. She owns a beautiful home, and on and on. I too, began to believe she was better, smarter, etc, than I was. There was no way I could compete with her in a pick me dance. I was devestated.

      So, I got rid of her. Haven’t heard from her since. But this is the odd thing, I began finding out that she was NOT all he had led me to believe. She had a government job, been at that public trough for decades, her family had money, she did not and her husband, to this day, still lives in the beautiful home “they” own.

      Lots of little things came to light and I found out she is not a very nice person. She is someone who is always looking out for herself and not others. In other words, she is not the kind of person I ever want to be.

      I imagine the OW you feel you are competing with, is also not what you think she is. After all, she can’t be very respectable if she is an OTHER WOMAN. That is just for starters.

      • I figure the OW is either as big a narcissist as he is, and so didn’t care that she was an AP, or, more likely given the ex’s tastes, a bigger chump than I am. It would have been fairly easy, since they met while he was working 4 days a week in another city, to tell her that we were separated or ‘all but separated’, etc etc. But she was 49 years old, if she believed that, she deserves whatever she ends up with.

        • Final OW ‘felt bad’ about hurting people but the love was apparently just too strong to resist and whoops, sorry people got in the way. I still can’t decide which of them is more shallow.

  • Cheaters in most cases are proactive in securing a soft landing. Rarely does a cheater leave a marriage without someone on the sideline. A cheater is cheater, and as statistics prove second marriages end up in divorce at a higher rate than first marriages and the stats are even higher if the marriage is with an affair partner.. It’s counter productive for a betrayed spouse to fear losing their cheater who goes on to a “better” marriage.

    When a person jumps directly from one marriage to another marriage that in itself is indicative of a repeat offender who when the going gets tough it’s time to jump ship and look for another soft landing on the sidelines.

    I think those that have been betrayed need to trust that they know their cheating spouse better than their cheater knows themselves. That the cheater will f*up whatever next relationship they have sooner or later.

    • I sure hope it is sooner than later with this OW..She is relentless and has been for the last two years. She is financially supporting him and paying for everything!! I pray nightly that she is not his “Angelina Jolie” and they will live happily ever after.

    • My lawyer said flat out that men never leave unless there’s another woman. In my case she said she’s surprised he ever got caught since I was so clueless.

        • Mine was such a wuss that when I told him to leave he left exactly when I said he should. Naturally, he stood at the door, waiting for me to rush over and tell him ‘no, stay! I love you!’ and part of me wanted to but no, I didn’t do it. And that turned into him saying ‘you just want me to come crawling back to you’. Well, no, I didn’t. At that time I wanted him to realise how fucked up he was and to get help. then I realised nothing would help him, most likely, and gave up on the whole thing.

        • Once I saw the ex’s ridiculous reaction to my asking about the second affair (which I had clear evidence of), I informed him I was leaving, would have an apartment within a week and would move out. He insisted I stay in the house, because he was still going to be away 4 days a week for a couple of months, and that would be easier on the kids. He would be the one to move out. Fine by me.

          2 months later, after much reminding on my part, I had to go out and find the apartment for him, then take him over to sign the lease, then insist he actually live there, not just sleep there and spend all the rest of the time here ‘to be with the kids’.

          Walking back home after he signed the lease, he says to me ‘this is just temporary, right?’ and I, idiot that I am, thought he was saying he wouldn’t be living in a 1 bedroom rented apartment for the rest of his life, said ‘right’. Took months to realize that he thought he’d be coming back. WTF?

      • Cheaters hedge their bets, most prefer to cake eat and if the betrayed spouse kicks them to the curb the affair partner is their default option. In cases where the cheater actually leaves for their affair partner many cheaters continue to give their chump spouse mixed messages as a ploy to keep them dangling with false hope. The cheater is arrogant and expert in blame shifting and are confident that not only will their chump welcome them back with open arms, they will take full responsibility for causing their cheater to cheat.

        A cheater grooms their chump, subtly and many times cruelly, setting them up to never be good enough for them. Sadly, no matter how smart you are, how successful you are, no matter what you look like, you will never measure up to their expectations.

        The best thing a betrayed spouse can do for themselves to reclaim themselves and send their cheater packing. Cheaters are emotional vampires who suck the blood from your soul. There is no “better” life for a cheater, only a reputation of their dysfunction in their next relationship. To think otherwise is to continue being a chump.

        • Typo correction

          There’s no “better” life for a cheater, only a repetition of their dysfunction in their future relationships.

        • Yep, the Ex tried to keep me hanging with mixed signals and it nearly worked. I was in such shock and so destroyed by what I found out that I literally could barely function. Not hard to manipulate someone in that state, that’s for sure.

          Now I’m all ‘fuck off, dude’ and he doesn’t like that but tough shit. My strength is returning and no way is he ever going to play me on anything ever again.

          • Nord, you and p.f. really have me going back in my mind, through the years and what surprises I have found. He finally gives me a wedding ring after 30 years of marriage? I should have known that was a cover up. He always brought me presents when he went to visit his sister. Sister? Oh, suuuuuure. Out of character and inappropriate timing, but I never put the two together until now. Thanks alot, now I’m pissed all over again. LOL

            • Yeah, it kind of stinks when the pieces fall together from the past and you have one of those ‘aha’ moments. Suddenly you realise what such and such an event was really all about and yep, I get pissed off all over again. Now, though, it passes pretty quickly. I just think of it as one more piece in the puzzle of his fuckedupness and leave him to it.

              He plays a lot of similar games with current side piece and she’s lapping it up like a newly trained puppy. Poor thing. There go her twenties…poof! 🙂

              • I really don’t want to totally put all these things out of mind, because when I do, I forget what a snake he really is. So hang on to the big ones, just as reminders so I don’t end up giving him any sympathy. No more kibbles from me.

  • I actually don’t think about this with my cheater ex. I think about this with someone I did date once, but a long time ago, and recently decided I can’t be friends with.

    We dated for almost a year, and it ended pretty badly when (it seemed to me) he just decided he didn’t care anymore (which were his words anyway so…) He was dating someone else within a week and it looked like he hadn’t been effected by the breakup at all while I was a total wreck.

    A few years after the breakup, he told me that he was hiding his feelings and he actually felt like shit. “Not caring” anymore was the total opposite of how he felt about it. He said he’d made a big mistake and the truth was there was a really jealous friend of ours who wanted to date me who had been actively trying to (and successfully) sabotage our relationship.

    By the time he told me this, I was in a relationship with someone else. (Who turned out to be my cheater ex…but that’s beside the point.)

    Anyway, my friend was with some PSYCHO girl who wanted to control every aspect of his life. Who he hung out with, who he talked to, where he went, EVERYTHING. Turns out it was because he cheated on her. She was playing the relationship police. Purgatory of the Damned. The extreme version of the PICK ME dance. And he would give in to all of it. He missed every single performance I had of every single theatre production I was in for two years. Ditched them because she told him to. (Mind you, I was NOT one of the people he cheated with. Ever.)

    So he finally dumped her and we caught up over some drinks. Then a mutual friend of ours died and he went to the funeral with me for moral support since my fiance was out of town. I figured I’d had my friend back.

    Nope. He’s got a new girlfriend who is just as distrusting and controlling as the last. And he HAS NOT cheated on her. Her ex did. But still, she’s policing who he talks to…just like before. We had been chatting for a few days after the funeral and suddenly he just tells me he can’t talk to me for a while because of her. Because he wants to make it work, and he wants to find love and gaining her trust is more important than any friendship right now.

    I was pissed. And for weeks I stewed. WHY HER NOW AND NOT ME THEN?!?! WHY are you making all this effort for someone who makes you responsible for what her EX did? WHERE WAS THIS ENTHUSIASM WHEN THAT JEALOUS JERK WAS SABOTAGING US? HUH!?!?! What the hell is SO SPESHUL about this girl that you have to abandon me (oh, and 19 other friends) to make it work?! Why does SHE get the best of you when I know I DESERVED IT MORE?!

    And I realized….I don’t want that. I don’t want a guy who does that. I don’t want a man who abandons 20 friends just to make it work with someone who is definitely NOT worth it. And it became obvious where his priorities are. Where they have always been. If abandoning friendships is the best of him, then I’d rather not be part of that.

    He never cheated on me, but it’s the same concept. The anger and fear of him being “perfect” with someone else. Even though on closer examination, it’s far from “perfect” and definitely not something I’d actually want.

    • No offense, but male-female “friends who used to date” doesn’t work for me. I’m too old for all that drama.

      • Well, I’ve known the guy for 7 years and we were best friends before we dated. Really close. Which is why it was so hurtful that he cut me off like that.

      • I have a couple of friends who I dated when I was really young. The relationships ended but we stayed casual friends. Never have I ever had anything happen with them, probably because we dated, realised we liked each other as people but not potential mates, so stayed in touch here and there and carried on with our lives. Never any drama with any of it. We catch up if we’re in one another’s city and bring along our significant others and it’s all fine.

        • Nope. Wouldn’t work for me anyway. I have firm boundaries when it comes to exes. No problem being “friendly” if I accidentally run into them, but “friends”? Nope, not interested, and I wouldn’t be interested in somebody else who collected exes as friends either. No point. Most people don’t do that, so why deal with somebody who does?

          • I think Nord is saying that they would all meet up (including sig others) in a group setting, every *once* in a while, *if* they all happened to be in the same city.

            This is totally different than meeting up one-on-one, just the two of you, with your ex, and being emotionally intimate with each other, being there for each other when you need them. Totally different thing than the above scenario.

            Personally, I am okay with the first scenario. Not the second.

            • That’s exactly what I meant. I’m a very open person so when I would hear from an old friend, ex boyfriend/dating partner or not, I would always tell ex right away and fill him in. It never occurred to me to not do that. I had nothing to hide, there was nothing untoward going on and ex met anyone I was meeting up with. I*m not a terribly secretive person.

              • Yep, but it would still be a red flag for me.

                Just so you know, many if not most folks would consider that unneccessary baggage if not poor boundaries .

          • Thanks for the implication that I collect exes as friends and have poor boundaries. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to my life and who I talk to.

            It is possible to be friends with an ex and have it cause no issue. My fiance is friends with some of his exes, and they are now my friends too. Nothing inappropriate has happened and I trust my fiancé completely.

            I haven’t dated the man I’m talking about since 2006. In that time, we have not returned to a romantic relationship. At all. He’s dated other women, and now I’m getting married (next month, btw) to someone else.

            Just because you won’t be friends with any of your exes doesn’t mean that no one else can and it doesn’t mean that people who do have “baggage” and “poor boundaries.”

            • I have absolutely 100% of an idea about what I would allow in my own life though, and I think that is a widely held view, and especially what anybody who has dealt with infidelity might be thinking about people who are ‘friends with exes’. I don’t see an upside.

              • So, essentially you are implying that since I’m friends with this guy, or tried to be, that I’m being dishonest with my fiance and will eventually cheat on him or that my ex wants to cheat with me. Or that he will cheat on me with one of his exes. Despite the fact that, while yes, you have 100% of an idea what goes on in your life, you do NOT have an idea what goes on in MY life.

                You’re forgetting that I’m here for the same reason everyone else is. I, too, have dealt with infidelity. Infidelity that was done to ME, not me to someone else.

                If you don’t want to be friends with your exes, you don’t have to be. But you do not have a place to be rude or judegmental to others who do and have not had issues from it. You especially don’t have the right to imply such rude things on a blog where you are fully aware that all the members are at for the same reason with very similar experiences.

                You have knowledge and control over YOUR life ONLY. Not over everyone else’s and speaking like you’re the authority on the subject is not appreciated.

              • No Kara,

                I am implying that we all get to decide what our own boundaries are, and for most people, those include not being buddies with exes because it’s not our first rodeo.

                If you want to be friends with your exes, that’s not a boundary you share, and that’s fine. You can keep little scrapbooks of all your former beaus and even keep trophies of all your former conquests if you want, and it doesn’t affect me or any of the people who will not date you once they discover these things. If your values are different, that’s fine, but you can’t expect others to share them, and most don’t.

              • I’m with Kara.

                I don’t keep any “trophies” of my exes. No scrapbooks, no “tie he wore on this night”. But there are pictures featuring the two of us with the rest of my family. My guy now has no problem when he enters the house and sees a picture of my grandmother’s birthday party with my ex in the shot.

                I also don’t have problems with exs being friends. It becomes a problem if:
                You need to hide the relationship from your spouse.
                You feel closer and more connected to them than your spouse
                Your spouse feels uncomfortable with the relationship

                But the same rules could apply to people that you could meet at the gym or work with every day.

              • Yes,

                I am sure you are both much more enlightened than most of us who have firm boundaries against this. Like I said, if you don’t have those boundaries, you don’t have them.

                You guys and Demi Moore and probably a few others 🙂

              • I don’t think that we’re more “enlightened”. I think that we’re more “meh”. We don’t feel anything but friendship for old exes, so don’t feel worried about spending time with them. We have let go of the damage and don’t feel the need for cheaters to twist how we look at relationships. We can be smarter without letting paranoia control our lives. We have can have good pickers, without letting the cheater destroy new relationships or how we see the world.

                Why do I get the feeling that you’ll be bugging the phone of any new person you date?

              • Okay, TimeHeals, you are starting to be incredibly rude here. And you’re making me more than angry.

                You are ABSOLUTELY implying things about my faithfulness to my fiance and his to me. What makes you think I keep trophies or scrapbooks or anything else you just said? And what makes you think I’m still dating? Did you completely ignore the numerous times I said that I am engaged? Getting married NEXT MONTH? Do you think that my fiance doesn’t know about this guy or something?

                I already said that if you don’t want to be friends with any of your exes that is fine. That is YOUR choice. No one is saying you have to. No one ever said you have to. No one said that your experiences are not valid. Your experiences are your own and you make your life choices accordingly.

                But do NOT come here and sling accusations at others about “poor boundaries” and “baggage” and talk about “people who have experienced infidelity” as if you think you’re the only one. This is a blog for people who have been cheated on. EVERYONE HERE is someone who has “experienced infidelity.”

                GreenGirl is correct. It is only a problem if:

                “You hide the relationship from your spouse”
                -I do NOT hide ANYTHING from my fiance. He knows this man, he knows everything that goes on about him. I know about all of his exes. I frequently talk to two of them and they are my good friends now too.

                “You feel closer to them that you do your spouse”
                -This is clearly not true considering I have made the decision to stop being friends with this man. I am not choosing to stop being friends with him because of infidelity or romantic feelings. I am choosing to stop being friends because he isn’t a good one. I think you also ignored the part where I said I was not the only person he stonewalled. He cut of 19 OTHER PEOPLE. Then said that this new girl (who doesn’t trust anything he does or says anyway) is more important to him than ALL of those friendships. I am cutting off contact because he has been a shitty friend.

                “Your spouse feels uncomfortable with the relationship”
                -My spouse has been nothing but supportive, loving and trusting. He understands my intentions to be friends with him were nothing but platonic. He also understands how painful it is to lose a friend, especially when it was someone you used to be close with. Regardless of whether or not he is an ex.

                GreenGirl is also correct in stating that I refuse to let a cheater ruin my life and my ability to trust. I refuse to let him have that kind of control over me and my relationships.

                Every single person who posts on CL is a “chump.” Someone who has been cheated on. Whether recently, or years ago. And while our experiences share similarities sometimes, occasionally SHOCKING similarities, our experiences are still different and our lives are our own. Coming here and talking about infidelity like your experience is universal and slinging backhanded, snide comments at people who’s experiences differ from the boundaries you’ve set for yourself completely detracts from the atmosphere of support and encouragement that is this blog.

                You do what you want in your life. But I do NOT appreciate the more than rude and extremely arrogant assumptions and stabs at MY life.

              • So you’re not more “enlightened” but you’re just “smarter”, and most people are just “paranoid” or “twisting” things.

                ROFL. If you say so.

                But here’s the thing. You don’t get to choose what other peoples’ boundaries are anymore than they get to choose yours, and if that’s a boundary that people have and it’s firm, you can’t shame them by calling them “paranoid” or claiming they are “twisting” things and talking about how much “smarter” you are because it won’t matter.

                That’s the thing about having firm boundaries: if yours are firm, they aren’t debatable.

              • I don’t mean I’m smarter than you, I mean someone can be smarter about picking relationships. Not falling for the sparkles.

                You’re right, we don’t choose other people’s boundaries. Which means you should stop insinuating things about people who have different ones.

                I’M the one trying to shame people? Someone get this woman a mirror. I only got involved because of the way you were treating Kara.

  • I so needed this post today CL. I know it’s early for me in my recovery but I get soooooooooo stuck on this possibility however remote it maybe and it causes me a great deal of wasted time and energy on someone that doesn’t deserve any of it. But I’m somewhat haunted by this. SW was great (mostly) for 9 months and next week is the anniversary of our trip to Hawaii with my dad (I’m his legal guardian, it was his bucket list trip) and it was really the height of our love and relationship with each other. I knew I wanted to marry her and spend the rest of my life with my dad. She was so kind, so caring to him……….But 3 weeks after this the wheels came off with drinking, money, sex etc. I was so in love with her and the kids that I just went flying past the red flags right into a 49 day marriage.

    I hope that I can find my peace with this soon. This link helps. It’s a site for men and it’s an article about us men chumps that married or dated NPD/BPD women so it’s written in this voice but if you just insert the name of your NPD/BPD husband or boyfriend I think it’s an appropriate message for the topic.

  • Nice Freudian slip on spending the rest of my life with my dad instead of SW. I’m multitasking at work. Not really, mostly ready CL posts.


    • I thought the slip was funny Eddie :). Don’t worry, she won’t be better with anyone else, be happy she showed who she was quickly, I spent many years with my ex and regret half of them, look at it from the perspective that you didn’t waste years of your life with her.

  • Nice post, CL.

    I still get bogged down occasionally about the what-if aspect. I dragged exH to therapy when he wanted to end the marriage just like that. Finally, 2.5 months later he admitted the current affair, and the one from 13 years previously. That was the time he lied, and spent 7 months in therapy lying.

    Over the last 12 months I have had a few of those moments of ” why did I work to heal him for someone else? Why is he finally going through therapy for HER, but was not willing to do it for me and/or the kids? Why did I sacrifice the last year of the marriage so he could take his dream job? …. that is how he met the OW.

    But, he continues to lie, both straight out and by omission.
    12 yr old daughter asked if current girlfriend has anything to do with the divorce, and he denied it! She is the OW.

    So, he still provides examples of how I can “trust that he sucks”, but it is still galling sometimes that his new wonderful life was provided by me! I made it happen. He admits it. The new life with a fiancée 12 yrs younger than me, with baby in the way.

    When it was finally decided to end things, my official parting words to him were “all I ever wanted to do was make you happy, and you did not permit me to do that.”
    He never said the same for me. On our 18th wedding anniversary, which was 2 weeks after the final divorce decision, he sent me an email thanking me for the kids, and for the support of his career. Nothing about thanking me for being there for him, for all the love, etc.

    So , for those still feeling the fear that the ex SO/spouse will be better with someone else, trust that they suck!
    The odds are long that they will pull it off.

    Happy day to all!
    It DOES get better.

    • hon, he’s going to therapy “for her” because you got used to his fuckedupedness over YEARS and she is not used to it so she likely told him to fix it or get out. trust me, he isn’t actually doing therapy, he’s just going to keep his new woman happy. sort of like how he went to marriage counseling with you hoping he could keep his marriage and the OW. It’s a game.

      I have posted far too much on this thread, sorry ya’ll!

  • You know maybe they will be happy for awhile.My H and I were happy for years (I thought) but he is a narristic sociopath and I fed him tons of ego kibbles and put up with alot. Will the OW once she realizes it is all about him. I don’t know. Will I be happier without him most likely. Could I have done more to make him happy? No my life was dedicated to making him happy because I loved him but nothing makes him happy in the long run. Oh he will be happy with the OW for awhile but then the newness will wear off or the flaw he cannot accept will appear.

    • Bingo. One can only maintain that high maintenance level of adoration for so long, then real life settles in, we get distracted by this, that or the other thing and while we still love them and give them attention it’s not the ten thousand love notes a day type of thing because, you know, we have jobs and stuff. And then the cheater will feel neglected and look for secondary kibbles elsewhere while trying to maintain the primary relationship. OW in my case would do well to remember that she wasn’t the only one he was screwing when I found out. I don’t think she wants to believe it but deep down she must know this is true.

  • I had to LOL at this one, because it is oh so true! I had envisioned his life with the OW to be the relationship that he finally had wished for and now had. So many events have taken place since then, and I am confident there is NO WAY that his life has become better. What goes around comes around 🙂 Manipulative people are NOT fun to live with.

  • Sparkly turds. But the sparkles are so pretty. And there’s so much potential in those pretty sparkles. What could have been. That’s when I remind myself – in the words of the great CL – trust that they suck. Underneath the sparkly, a turd is a turd. And I’m getting better. To that place where I can say, “Really, it’s not me. It’s you.”

  • Wow I needed this post today are you a fortune teller CL? If so do you know the power ball numbers? We could all share! I think the fact that my ex and his AP are sharing everything I ever wanted from my marriage and never got drives me crazy, It is almost a year since my divorce, he moved her into my house 3 weeks later. I could never get him to do anything around the house and now they have repainted and remodeled every room, He would never hold my hand, barely even walked next to me in public and the two times I have seen my ex and the OW in public they were glued together, I will keep plugging along with all your help and tell myself the spackled SOB I wasted my life on deserves to be with a serial cheater (he will be husband #4) They can both roll around in the gutter of infidelity together where their kind belong. Thanks again CL you are the best!

    • Yes Lyn, I know exactly what that feels like, because he cheated directly across the street. He would be walking so close, he told me she held his hand all the time in public, he laughed with her-everything she does is oh so great and funny!
      But hes also sent me texts where he said – she’s crazy, I cant stand it/her, please come home.
      So, trust that THEY both suck, that their supposedly perfect relationship is built on lies and plates of shit sandwiches. It’ll probably crumble, at least we can hope. But sometimes I think it comes down to he didn’t understand you, he never got you and what you had to offer. I think we have to go find that person who does, they are out there.
      A few people have told me this week that I look happier, more fit, and more attractive now. It’s because he’s not knocking me down every day and I’m loving myself
      She can have him.

  • Dear CL,

    Love love love this site, it has been a goodsend to me!
    Thank you for helping me see the light that a serial cheater will never change…And the only blame I’ll take is I should have gotten out much sooner… I won’t own any of the other crap about ‘his needs’ not being met.

    • The ex and I saw a therapist after his first affair, and there was mention of his ‘unmet needs’. Took me several years more to figure out that;
      a) his needs were completely unmeetable. No matter how well things were going, how much love and attention he got from me, the kids, and anybody else around, no matter anything, he seemed to block a lot of that out, and was always focussing on the negative and unhappy. And of course, felt entitled by his unhappiness to be unpleasant and mean (and then cheat again).
      b) there was NO attention being paid at all to meeting MY needs. Hey ref, that’s not fair!!

      • You know, Karen you hit it on the head, I sometimes wish I had looked at my ex 10-13 years ago when I suspected he might be having an affair but he convinced me otherwise (in reality, he had been, two actually, including group sex with co-workers etc etc), and I wish that I had said: “we’re done, buddy, maybe I can’t prove you’re cheating on me, but you suck as a husband, a friend and a lover, actually you suck as a human being, and I deserve better and I’m out of here….” and kicked HIM to the curb. I’m so so so exhausted that it was always about him during our marriage, and now it’s still all about him (how to get over him, how to survive his crazy mindfuckery, how not to think about him, how not to let him control the narrative….you get the idea). What about US????? Why didn’t anyone ever say, “Karen, is he meeting your spiritual, familial, sexual, and wifely needs? Of course not, because apparently we’re fucking invisible or something. Geez, I just realized I’m mad as hell……..

        • Right there with you. I was always the strong one, always taking care of him, the kids, his family, all events, everything. And no one was taking care of me for a long time. But it happened so slowly that I barely noticed. Until I fell into a depression and then I was barely getting of the sofa to cook dinner and that is the moment he chose to not just screw around but to ‘fall in love’ with the final side piece (whom he was also cheating on with others). He would never have stopped cheating but he certainly would have not ‘fallen in love’ if I had been on my game, meaning if I had been able to carry on with taking care of every single bloody thing forever and ever

          And yes, I’m pissed, because after all those years the fact that he could’t lift a finger to be there for me still can piss me off. Mildly piss me off these days but still, what a total git.

          • Same narrative Nord, I know we’ve said this before. He had been cheating on me probably all during our 25 year marriage, certainly cheating on me with his group AP’s for 17 years. But then I got deeply depressed in the last 5-8 years, was barely getting out of bed and was “hiding’ in my tunnel vision of a life, and it was then that he claims he decided he finally “loved” one of his affair partners “more than” me. Still he didn’t tell me till I caught him last year. I have moved on, and have a great guy in my life. As soon as my ex was gone and I was over the initial horror of the discoveries and divorce, I was back to a self I did not know existed— no more depression, no more panic attacks, more productive at work, I look 20 years younger, you get the idea. But I still know that he deserves to rot in hell, I wait for karma to bite him in the ass, and I insist that I want to be around to see it….all while I go on with my wonderful life, which I should have had decades ago, the bastard.

            • It’s weird, isn’t it? How we suddenly become our old selves again? I was this bubbly, bright, fun and attractive girl when he met me and I had a really fun, good life. Of course he was attracted to me: I’m essentially a pretty great person with an extra dose of caring for others. Perfect for his needs. Until he sucked all the life out of me, of course. In the last 18 months I’ve gone from a depressed, lonely, slightly too curvy middle aged woman who looked like hell to a nicely curvy middle aged woman who enjoys life, laughs a lot, has loads of friends that I see often, new people all around, slowly putting my career back together and other than some bad dreams I still have I’m pretty relaxed and back to my cool old self. My kids have even noticed, telling me a few weeks ago that I am more ‘me’ and have so much confidence and am so loving these days.

              I’ll figure out the career stuff (anyone want to help, let me know 🙂 ) and it’ll be ok – because my life overall is so much better now and I am so much happier. I hate what he did to our kids and how he still tries to fuck with me regularly and takes pleasure in finding petty ways to stick the knife in (less and less since I ignore him) but other than that I don’t care…although I do want the karma bus to run him over a few times. I figure it will, since he is a natural born fuck up and now that I’m not around to fix things I doubt he can count on the young thing to do it for him. 🙂

              • Haven’t got to where you are Nord. I know it’s there and I’m close but I’m not there yet. It will be on a Tuesday though!!!

    • I have a weird time with the serial cheater never changing. On one hand I hope he does because I’d like the kids to not see their dad for the gross cheater he is and always has been. On the other hand yeah, I really would like to see the OW have a taste of his special brand of fucked upness. We’ll see how it plays out. Whichever way it goes I’m just getting on with my kids and my life.

      • good for you!!! I am still in the karma phase and so wish the OW gets hers and quickly!!! Keep getting on with your life !!!!!

        • Yeah, well, I wrote that yesterday and was feeling all full of love and warmth towards the world. Today I woke up from a dream about his sorry as and now I’m all for karma kicking it. And I’m laughing at my ability to switch back and forth on this in a nano-second.

  • Like others have said, this post came at a good time and I am grateful for the forum. I really don’t expect anyone to read all that I am about to write, as it will be long and rambling, but hopefully cathartic. 🙂

    Even though I logically can see the reasoning in everything written; on an emotional level, I’m still stuck at number 1, and wonder if I will ever be able to truly “move on” and get to “meh”.

    It’s been almost 2 years since D-Day (as I matter of fact it the anniversary is in 11 days) and even though I am better than I was in the beginning, I’m still in a lot of pain. (AS I am writing, I am drinking a glass of wine and tears are streaming down my face. 🙁 )

    He took off with her (to what was supposed to be our 4th of July camping trip) the day I confronted him, and moved in with her upon returning. He came home and “told me” he was leaving me.

    {Really asshole??? I thought that we had already covered that the previous Friday morning, when I told YOU ( after I was aroused by YOUR cell phone (the one I paid for which was in MY name) at 4 am s from an “unknown” caller; which led to me doing some investigation on THAT same phone and via the online account for THAT phone, ALL confirming your secret life) I was done. Considering we were living in the house I OWNED, with MY kids (and YOUR daughter) I kinda thought it was a given YOU were leaving.}

    But I digress, I know I don’t choose men, or friends for that matter, particularly well. I DO realize I am co-dependent and have a lot of issues. (I did the therapy thing, and I completely agree that most of my issues stem from a very emotionally unavailable and somewhat emotionally abusive mother; as well as much older siblings who looked at me as a “nuisance”, as they were forced to take care of, since my mother did not. They were all teenagers when I was born and they were just like her. They all made it very clear during the whole of my childhood that they resented me and wished I was never born. They said it often; it wasn’t by no means subtle. To be honest, they aren’t any better toward me today.)

    I have spent 40+ years trying to find someone to love me, to no avail. And HIS shenanigans seemed to be the confirmation (in my mind) that I am not worthy. It’s me.

    Before him, I was married to the first man who paid attention to me. Age old story, I got pregnant and we got married. By the ripe old age of 23, I had a husband, two children, a mortgage and a mini van.

    My mother died the same year my first child was born, I was 21. I married my ex husband shortly thereafter to appease my mother’s ghost. She was mortified those last months of her life that I had a baby out of wedlock. I figured marrying him would make me “acceptable” to my family. As usual I was wrong.

    My children’s father is not a bad guy, truly. He’s just as messed up as I am, but he and I really did not belong together. We were too young and our marriage was based on the fuckedupness of both our lives. WE both had gone through a lot ( some really weird stuff) and we drifted toward one another as a result. He couldn’t be good to me or I to him. WE just had too many other big issues to contend with; if I told you all the whole story, you would think I was making it up! It was really all that crazy…soap opera crazy. I look back at it all now.,..and I am still WTF????

    After 17 years, he and I divorced. We tried the best we could and we had two great kids. For that I am grateful. They are both strong, independent, self sufficient, young adults now, both attempting to live their dreams (one on the East Coast, the other the west). Maybe their Dad and I did something right, we let them be them. 🙂 However, he and I were like oil and water. WE didn’t agree on anything, we were both unhappy, it was a miserable existence for all of us, the kids included, they couldn’t wait for us to divorce. He is re-married now, and seems truly content now.

    Back to the Asshole…I am not sure if he is just an pathetic asshole or a complete and utter narcissistic scumbag, but he really played a number on me. When I met him, I was about 4 years post divorce and had just ended a relationship with someone I had been seeing for about 3 years (somewhat seriously) who in turns out was a serious alcoholic. Yet, I was SO smitten by the guy I was dating, he was handsome and charismatic. SO sexy and such a bad boy. WOW. The physical relationship was amazing…such chemistry. But he wasn’t really a “relationship” kinda guy…he was a guy to have fun with, nothing more. I, of course, didn’t get that at the time. THE hurt from that relationship WAS 100% my fault. I was naive (as I never had dated or played the field, AND was a bit of a romantic). I wanted the Hollywood…”good girl meets bad boy” and they fall hopelessly in love story. OY! What a fool I was! Thankfully THAT relationship ended without too much damage. The best was yet to come….

    So, after that stupid relationship came to it’s forgone conclusion, a girl friend of mine thought it would be a good idea for me to meet this guy she knew from work. (I should have known better… this friend of mine is as bad as I am when it comes to having a good “picker”.) I agreed. When I met him, I thought he was a “good guy”. He wasn’t particularly physically attractive, but he was funny, and had a sad story to tell.

    The story he told, was a good one. I felt for him and bought it hook, line and sinker. According to him, his ex wife left him for his best friend, she got everything; their house and all it’s possessions, the kids, everything, he got nothing. He claimed that she had an advantage in court because she worked in the family court system and was well connected due to her position. He said she used her connections to take advantage of the situation to her benefit. It actually was very plausible considering her job, of course HE did leave out a lot (which I found out MUCH later).

    We went on a couple of dates and I wasn’t really feeling anything for him, as a matter of fact I found him somewhat annoying and he kind of gave me the creeps. However, EVERYONE I knew told me, that i was being “too picky” and should “give the guy a chance”. (Especially after people learned HIS story). Something about him always seemed a little off, but of course I IGNORED those RED FLAGS, because I was being “too picky”. So I continued, until I eventually fell for him. He moved in with me and I thought he was it, I thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. WAS I WRONG!

    WOW…he must’ve thought he hit the jackpot. I was the perfect “dupe” and man o’ man, did he take me for a sucker. I was played, emotionally, financially and physically. I really believed all his crap…I thought he was my “good bad boy”. LOL

    By the time we ended 5 years later, I was a shell of my former self. I looked like crap, I was so depressed all the time and my career was in the toilet (another long story) and I was broke. It took all I had to keep my house and a crappy car.

    So…now it is today. After d-day I accepted a job (a very good job, I might add) 2 plus hours away from home, at the headquarters of a fortune 300 company that is located in the middle of nowhere. My children moved to fulfill their dreams (one to LA, the other to NY). He married the OW.

    I am financially in a much better place, I paid off a lot of debts, I saved the house and bought a new car. Yet, I don’t know anyone here, the town is very small and very conservative. It’s a nice place to raise a family…and that IS just about all there is here. I don’t know how to make friends here and there truly isn’t much here to do and to meet people. I wish I was exaggerating.

    I am finally finishing the degree I started years ago, which is a good thing. I have a roof over my head ( I rented out my house back home to a family that needed it) and rented a house here. I have a dog. But I am 45, and very lonely.

    He, on the other hand, is not. He has his new wife and her family. His son doesn’t speak to him but his daughter still tries to have a relationship with him. I am still somewhat close with her, she and I talk regularly. He also has his family. He doesn’t have many friends…but than again, neither do I. His new wife just bought him a motorcycle. He seems much happier than I am.

    After all this went down I found out who my real friends really were, and who I had in my corner, and it turns out, there aren’t many I can count on. So that was another disappointment. My family as usual, weren’t there and have been far from helpful.

    So here I am, alone, not really datable, and feeling really, really down on life. As far as I can tell, it is me. I can’t blame anyone else.

    Thank you all for the forum to write all this. I know it is a rambling mess…but I just needed to get it all out.

    WOW…I just read what I wrote, and boy to many I’s…but wasn’t that the point…to tell my story? Sorry!

    • Hang in there, Abbyrose. I’ve rambled many a time on this site. It helps to process it, I think.
      You’ve got a lot going for you even though it may not seem like it. It takes a lot of guts, grit and determination to do what you’ve done. You should feel proud of yourself, sister. Gold stars!

  • AbbeyRose: I read your whole ramble. Quite frankly you don’t sound all that bad. The wine may not be helping your frame of mind throwing you into pity party mode. You are only45! You probably have 30 good years left. Maybe he is happier than you are right now. I’m not going to try and be a Pollyanna here but I’m afraid it will come out that way. You sound like you have alot going for you, better than most. Why are you undateable? Why do you want to involve yourself with a man right now. If you have 1 or 2 good friends that is all you really need. Family well you don’t get to chose them. Do you like your job? Do you like your hair? Get a good hair cut. Take a vacation to someplace you always wanted to go. Count your blessings I bet you have many. My life is falling apart, my H of 23 yrs wants a divorce so he can marry his Facebook girlfriend. I am 63, fat and sad but I am blessed with a good job and co-workers, 2 great sisters 1 or 2 good friends a church family, good health a car that runs and a small amount of financial security. L:ook at the positive!! Ok enough

    • Janet
      Thank you for your comment. I DO realize I have to focus on the positives. But the loneliness gets to me.

      I guess, for me anyway, I never wanted my life to be about work…and right now that is all I have, so it makes me feel like a failure. I don’t have any friends at work, my work life is a bit odd, The company is located in a very small town, it’s very cliquey
      I don’t really like my job, but apparently, they say…I am good at it. Hence my dilemma. I realize now, that all I ever really wanted from life was was a real loving family life and enough money to pay the bills and have a little left over for some extras.

      At this point, I have the money to pay the bills and a little left over for the extras, but no one to share it all with. That’s what got me so down. I appreciate your comment, and you are right, I need to focus on the things that are all right. I just wish the loneliness would go away.

      You are fortunate to have your sisters and friends. Embrace them! Good luck to you!

      • Abby, please see a therapist, I never thought it was needed but I did it and it helped a lot. Sometimes you need it, especially if you are isolated. hell, worse case is you have someone you can say anything to without worrying about hurting their feelings or that they will give you shit. Try it.

          • Agreed, therapy helps. Personally, when I felt down, I cut out all alcohol 100%, even wine, for awhile, and it helped my mood in the long run, without a doubt. I wasn’t drinking much (a wine with dinner) but it still helped to cut it out. I was more positive, my head was more clear. Just a thought.

            • Agreed DLU. In fact, now that my ex is gone, I have little taste or desire to drink any sort of alcohol.

              • I drank wine coolers in the evening, and rum occasionally when he was here. When DDay happened I didn’t drink at all. For one, he told everyone what an alcoholic I am (he’s doing drugs with OW #1 now)) and 2. I didn’t want my emotions to be worse than they were already. I think going through the awful pain with a clear head was the best thing I could have done. I experienced every second of it and somehow I knew I needed to if I was serious about ending it. Was not a time to lose control and possibly call him or succumb to his trying to slither back!

      • Abby, do you have to live in that town? Can you perhaps move to a city, even a small one, 30 – 45 minutes away, where there will be more options for you socially? it would be worth the commute, I think. And yes, I would suggest therapy. Sometimes it seems hopeless but really, it’s not. If you knew my whole story you’d be thanking your lucky stars! NOt to get in a pissing mathc, by the way, just want to say that it’s all very tough but you will make it.

        • Also, about drinking. When I was very down and depressed I was drinking a lot. And after dday I drank too much, mainly so I could sleep a few hours each night. Then the kids mentioned it and I stopped. Now I’m a wine with dinner once in a while kind of lady and rarely get drunk. In fact, a few weeks ago I had a few drinks for the first time in a long time and got absolutely rat assed. And made a fool of myself, so realised that it just isn’t fun anymore. I think I drank while with the ex because I knew something was very wrong and was trying to block it out. Now I just don’t feel the need to do that.

      • Abbey,
        I finally got to therapy and the first therapist leaves for the summer so I saw him twice and now see a woman he referred me to till he gets back. First time in the office with both of them I cried the whole 50 minutes. I have never felt so relieved in my life! After the first times I could talk, and I wish I had done it from Day 1. It’s time to take care of US and this was a big GOOD way to start. Best thing I’ve ever done…we would do anything for our N’s start doing something for YOU for a change! ((((Hugs))))

        • Toni, I’m jealous, I wish I could cry. I think my abusive x just made me build a huge wall around my heart that I have to take down brick by brick. I have such a good therapist, the state is paying for me to see her for a whole year for free (because I was emotionally abused). Therapy is really helpful, and necessary for all of us who’ve been lied to and worked over.
          Abby, I hope you go to see one, you need to find yourself again, or even be reborn. Sending you love!!

          • I wish I could cry, too. I did an ocean of crying right after dday. The really deep, gutteral cries, where you can’t breathe. After a few months of crying for a few hours each day (before the kids got home, so they wouldn’t see), the tears just stopped. I haven’t cried since. It’s been 6 months.

            Considering all of the anxieties of being in limbo, I should be crying (not to mention just average day-to-day things), but I’m not. Not a single tear. I think I am in “go mode” and my emotions are just too focused on getting out.

            When I tell him I’m leaving and the divorce process is underway, I hope I can cry again. I don’t have any more tears for my STBX. But I sure do for my kids and the broken family they will endure. Plus, I’m hoping if I can cry again, maybe it will help me feel better.

            • Sounds like you are literally getting all your dicks lined up. Me too. It takes so much energy to make and carry out plans. Hope I am not just putting off inevitable, second crash. The initial one drains everything right out of you. Wrings every emotion dry. I hope once I am free of him, I can keep going.

              • Hahaha….I know it was a slip but too funny with the ‘getting all your dicks lined up’. 🙂

              • Nord, that is hysterical! You are sweet to let me in on it, or I never would have caught it. Wish it was a freudian slip, but it is really just a typo. Monday is moving day and I am exhausted, physically and mentally. Unfortunately, the old ball and chain is going there too. Still to weak to kick him out.

              • Thanks for the chuckle……… Freudian slip? Sorry, but that really gave me a good giggle!!! OMG, I do so love y’all!

              • Glad I could provide the days entertainment. I swear, I laughed harder than anyone. When I was in undergrad school, had a female poly sci teacher who made a similar blunder in class. A student said, “Freudian slip?” The teacher, under her breath, said, “I think I am wearing one.” Brought the building down.

              • Haha – thanks for the great giggle! OMG I love y’all! Best chuckle I’ve had for a while……………

              • Lynn, you are totally welcome, at my expense. It sure beats a river of tears, doesn’t it?

  • Great comment, CL. There is no point in looking backward and hoping that it’s worse for the one who abandoned you. He/she will probably bring their same dysfuctions to the new relationship (eventually), but why even wait around to see? You are free, and that’s what counts.

    Again, I so much admire your ability to put these issues in amazingly plain yet effective language. You definitely have a gift. Thanks!

  • This is a great post and wonderful thread. I have heard this worry from other people quite commonly and its a reason that some people STAY in a bad situation, unfortunately.

    This is what I think. You will know if your was will have even the remotest possibility of changing into that really great person you always knew he or she could be if he is doing this one thing– (and sincerely).

    Is he/she remorseful to YOU?

    is heshe? Has he/she made amends to YOU?

    hmmmm??? well???

    If the answer is anything other than an emphatic yes, then there’s no snowball’s chance in hell that he’ll be better with the next one and how have I deduced this? I think this because in order for him to change requires a TREMENDOUS amount of introspection and the ability to admit FAULT. If he/she is still minimizing, blaming, and not accepting full responsibility for his actions, then he/she is not really getting better.

    He has to fix the old issues before starting a new relationship or he’ll just keep making the same mistake over and over… because it will NEVER be his fault!

    but… can he do that? very unlikely. not without a tremendous amount of work and even then, maybe not.

    People with personality disorders (and most cheaters fall on some continuum of a personality disorder) do not have the capability to change because they TRULY (even if they say otherwise) do not believe that there’s anything wrong with THEMSELVES. How can a person change when they don’t see that there’s anything that needs changing in the first place?

    Now, things may appear to be better. I know someone with a notorious tempestuous temper. (classic narc. very talented, however.) I also know his ex-wife and she cheerfully says that his new wife is much better suited to him. She said that this woman doesn’t MIND being a human punching bag and getting beaten up, maligned, cheated on… etc. Of course, in public, they look so, so happy, but I have looked more closely and when she doesn’t think anyone is looking… I have noticed a lot of pain in her eyes, but some people LIKE to be in pain. THAT feels normal to them. Of course its not healthy, but some people have a very high tolerance level and that doesn’t mean that we should!

    Point is… let them be… wish them well… and yeah… it wasn’t right for US and that’s all that matters.

    • Looks like my ex will be cheating at some point then as he blames me, is hateful, takes no responsibility, lies about what happened, and is generally a giant ass. I don’t know how I feel about this.

  • If you are suffering from #1 please read this:

    Cheating is abuse, and in my case emotional and physical abuse came when I tried to divorce. BUT, my ex did everything he could to keep me in the marriage while continuing the cheating. That link is from Lundy’s book and I hope will help others who are not past this part.

    CL, excellent post.

  • Now that I’ve thought about this a little more, I did feel like this for a bit after the initial Dday. And a few months after. When I found out about her, I asked him “Have you f*cked her?” All he could say was “That doesn’t matter. ”

    Which told me he did. A lot. A LOT.

    And I was so angry. I looked at her profiles and thought, “WTF is so special about her? SERIOUSLY! She’s a whiney little crybaby who thinks her shitty life entitles her to f*ck someone else’s boyfriend.” I saw all the fancy, sweet, loving things he said to her. All the praise he gave her, and all the stuff she did for him that he bragged about. Love-bombing to the max.

    And I remembered how he basically didn’t want anyone to know I existed. Posts about his birthday included his friends, but no mention of me. Posts of going out places looked like he had been out by himself. He even posted about a car accident we’d been in, not saying I was even with him. He made it look like he was the sole person in the car. (And of course was the only one to get any sympathy…)

    I was angriest because I never got treated like she did. Barely a comment about me, but pages and pages full of lovey-crap about her. There was even pictures of them in matching Halloween costumes (vomit). I had to fight him to get him to agree to do that.

    Then…then I met one of the OTHER girls he cheated on me with. Even before this one. She did not know I existed. It was by chance that we met in class. She opened my eyes. (We are good friends now.)

    All that love-bombing? That’s all it was. Bullshit love-bombing. He lied to her just as much as he did to me. Lied to all the other people he banged as well. Nothing but bs comes out of his mouth.

    Part of me knew that, deep down, but after Dday, it was hard to hear the voice of reason over the sound of the betrayal.

  • My now ex-husband did major blameshifting on me when we were coming to the end of our 19-year marriage. This was when he was already well embroiled in his second (exit) affair. I hadn’t yet discovered it, and I was practically killing myself trying to do ANYTHING that might engage him to join me in saving our marriage and not blow up our daughter’s life. Here’s the sad laundry list:

    Long-term therapy for myself. Marriage counseling for us, including switching counselors several times because he complained that the last one was once again biased toward me. Dozens of books from Amazon. Suggestions of marriage workshops, weekends away just the two of us, date nights. Nooners. Sitting in a room with him for hours, patiently and actively listening to him tell me everything I did wrong in the marriage. Poring over “save your marriage” forums for advice. Writing letters that were honest about my share of the problems as well as including tactful but honest language about the things he brought to the unhappiness we both felt. Other letters that were my attempt to see things from his side of the relationship, to own my part in it. Funny, loving, sexy posts to his Facebook page. A yearlong email campaign, where I sent him a specific “Reason a Day” why I loved him.

    For three solid years, I tried all manner of things, none of which had any effect at all on him when it came to his willingness to meet me halfway.

    He told me I was emotionally abusive to him for most of our marriage. That he withheld information from me because “You made it impossible to talk to you about my feelings.” I took a hard look at myself, and saw that I did have an anger issue stemming from childhood. I worked on it for a year with my therapist. I overcame it.

    I also saw that there were legitimate reasons why I might be angry with some of my husband’s behaviors. He was immature. Couldn’t be counted on. I witnessed him lying to others. And his career took him out of town 6 months of the year and 70 percent of all weekends, while I was home raising our young daughter and handling everything else by myself. For 10 years we lived at the poverty level on what he earned, and with no health insurance. But I was responsible for communicating with him about that, and I hadn’t.

    Like I said, nothing I did to try to improve things or make amends made any difference with him. He was just a mass of resistance, complaining, withdrawing and saying “I don’t know” to every question I would ask about us.

    One day I decided to trust my gut about his ambivalence and look at his credit card statements. And discovered his latest affair. The one he started during those years I was working my ass off to become a better person, a better wife. The years I was living in totally mindfucked anguished that he seemed unable to make any decision at all when it came to us.

    When I confronted him, he at first lied his ass off. Then, when I finally got him to admit to it, he showed no remorse about the affair, no concern at all for my feelings. He was upset that he got caught, because now his life was about to get a lot more complicated and a lot less secure.

    We’ve been divorced for six months now. And all the things I was doing to become a better person and wife? They worked. I am a better person. I will be a better wife. Just not to him. In almost every way — except, of course, for the appalling thing we had to do to our daughter when we split — my life is far sweeter without him in it.

    He’s still with the affair partner. They’re trying to make a long-distance relationship work. I have no idea if he’s happy with her because I don’t waste my time snooping into his personal life.

    But I do know one thing for sure: He’s still a liar. He’s a nationally touring stand-up comic, so he has videos of himself on YouTube. A friend told me about a podcast interview of him, and suggested I might want to watch it. My now ex-husband was onstage with a club owner, being interviewed about his life in front of the audience after one of his shows.

    The ex was, once again, lying his ass off. Stupid lies, too, about how his father was a Broadway entertainer (he wasn’t), his mother was a singer (she told me herself she can’t carry a tune), he was offered a six-month engagement at a club (nope) after winning his first open-mic contest, and other assorted lies.

    What a maroon. Good luck to his cheater partner. She’s in for quite a ride. Then again, she signed up for a relationship with a married man. She must prefer rickety rollercoasters.

    • Geez RS, are these guys ALL the same?? My ex is a “motivational speaker” and business and life coach, and there are videos of him on his website where he talks about “passion,” integrity, blah blah blah. He cheated on me for 17 years, he brought his APs into our home while my children and I were here, supposedly as family friends, and our beautiful successful children will have nothing to do with him and have not seen him in a year and a half since D-Day. Hilarious really. And I was told recently that he was drunk in a bar and impressing the crowd with talk of the “two” vacation homes he owns, one in Cape May NJ and one in The HAMPTONS…..none of which is true!! Good luck to him and his AP’s, they’re all, quite literally, nuts.

      • My XH is a business coach! Never run a business himself, mind you. But tells other people how to do it. See my eyes? They are rolling. He writes a business blog and “passion” and “integrity” are big buzz words for him too! Maybe we were all married to the same guy! Or maybe there is some kind of We Are Borg thing going on.

      • My ex has dozens of his “motivational” videos on YouTube, where he discusses living your dreams, following your passions and above all, admiring him for what a courageous, inspirational role model he is.

        Of course, he also paid thousands of dollars to a vanity press to publish his book about how motivational he thinks he is, and he also paid thousands of dollars to make videos of himself dancing in a halloween costume while singing really bad songs he wrote himself. That one was guaranteed to make him hugely successful. He actually has a website selling bobble heads, underwear, mugs, tee shirts and mousepads with his character on them.

        Those are just a couple of highlights of his “career” in entertainment. Not even getting into his gay cheating, affairs with married women, orgies, threesomes, and of course, the absolute financial catastrophe he created.

        • I’m curious to see some of the “motivational” stuff these guys put out? Could you give a link – or would that have the unfortunate effect of giving cheaters publicity.

        • HeHeHeHeHe- dancing in a Halloween costume, and selling underwear with his face on them? He needs his own (lack of) reality show!!! Too funny, thanks for the laughs!

  • Replace that fear with your own personal GOAL of being better got someone else. I took all the complaints my ex has of me to heart and have become a better man. .. for my new girlfriend.

  • Just an interesting thing – the desire to not cut your losses after you invest a lot is a general human one.

    • And the worst part is, when you have already had to put up w/a lot, sacrificed more than usual in a marriage (ie because you’ve already forgiven an earlier affair, or because you’re the one who makes the money that supports the house, or because the person has not been caring or responsible or fun to be with but you put up with it), then your sunk costs are greater, and therefore the reluctance to walk away even greater!

      Is that sick or what? But, as you said Black Iris, very human.

  • Interesting that I don’t fear that he’ll be better for someone else. Maybe. In the future. After he’s had a long session in therapy that will work through the process of why he chucked in a 25-year relationship with a sane woman to chase after a woman with a history of cheating relationships, terrible financial decisions, and significant personal drama. That’s not trading up.

    I have every confidence that any kind of long term relationship with OW is doomed. He’ll hate the drama, and once he has her, he’ll stop the love-bombing and start wondering why his meals aren’t on time, why the house is so messy, why he’s the one making the mortgage payment and her car payments while she spends money on booze and frivolous stuff. She’ll hate that he’s so controlling. She’ll cheat. Or he’ll cheat again. Life will be hell.

    But that’s not to say that I don’t think he’s capable of being better off with someone else. He’ll have to do work. More power to him. He has potential. He’s a smart man. Those were two of the qualities I found attractive.

    But I have to trust that he sucks. Even though my STBX may not have had affairs prior to this (though I’d bet he’s had at least one), he still sucks. He has the potential to be good for someone, but that someone is not me. And he won’t be good for anyone until he faces himself. That won’t be fun.

    Me? I’m in my early 50s. I have over a decade of professional life left to me, possibly longer, as I come from a long-lived family. I will not only survive, I’ll thrive.

    And once I reach “meh,” I won’t care what happens to him.

  • Hey, has anybody been listening to, or has anybody’s kids been making them listen again and again to the Bruno Mars song ‘When I Was Your Man?’

    My daughter loves that one, has been playing it for months, and it was on my son’s fave radio station constantly until recently as well.

    I think Bruno wrote that song as a theme for my ex, and I had to keep hearing it to remind myself that ALL this was on HIM. Check it out!

  • Glenbert: There is something so satisfying about an improvement in your life based on hard, honest work. Not a shortcut. When you’ve earned that change through the sacrifice of time and effort, through the willingness to be uncomfortable for awhile, it feels solid.

    Our cheaters, who think they’re getting whole through an affair, are doing the equivalent of building furniture from particle board, glue, and walnut veneer and then trying to pass it off as an antique. It’s laughable, and it pisses off the folks who know what the real thing is made of.

    Trouble is, sometimes that walnut table looks pretty nice when it’s new. But give it time.

    • We often look at things from different perspectives. My bedroom highboy is walnut and was manufactured in the 1930’s. To me it is a thing of beauty. Every time I polish it, my love for its history, functionality and classic grace resound with pangs of pride at my ownership. Wish people were as true and long lasting.

      • Some people are, Yoder! And that includes us! Just need a better picker, so next time we can see the quality work underneath the polish, or sniff out the particle board and walk away from that!

  • I just found out that his ex-fiance ended their relationship because she caught him cheating. 20 years ago. I can only imagine that all of the girlfriends between her and me “dumped him” (his words) for the same reason. So I guess I can rest assured he’s not going to change and his new girl will eventually get the same treatment I and so many others got.

    Red flag: He never wanted to talk in any depth about past relationships. He *did* fess up, at one point, that he would treat women badly enough to get them to break up with him. Just like I did, except it was a divorce with a child involved.

    He always characterized himself as the “poor dumpee” in past relationships, when the truth was he likely always the same: he was a cheater who got caught. And, although I got my validation, which was comforting at the time, I feel shittier in some ways that he fooled me for 12 years. Or, more accurately, that I gave him the benefit of the doubt, spackling for his obnoxious, narcissistic behavior all that time. My young son didn’t deserve this loser for a father.

    Time to get back to focusing on me and what I want out of this life. Thanks, CL, for yet another brilliant post and to all of you on this board for your insightful responses. I swear this place has saved my sanity.

    P.S. Love the comparison to a snake oil salesman. I’ve actually described him that way, too.


  • It sure does Yoder! I just read the post again this morning and had another good giggle. A nice start to my day.
    It’s so great to share our tears and our giggles with one another.

  • OMG! I feel like everyone that has commented has been writing about my stbx! NPD and all… I’m 9 months out from D-Day and to be honest I have been struggling with this particular issue full force the last few days. I’ve been feeling like a total failure because I can’t help but to think that there could have been something that could have saved our marriage. And then I read through this blog and realized that I couldn’t have done anything at all to make things better unless he also wanted to make things better. Unbeknownst to me he was already checked out long before he met skank-girl. The sad part is that I’ve been playing the pick me game lately too and didn’t even stop to think (until I read this blog!) that he has been doing to her exactly what he did to me. Ha! I succomed to his BS about a month ago and because I was feeling super vulnerable I let my guard down and slept with him. It went on for about 2 weeks and about a week into us starting again she dumped him for the umpteenth time since they started up last October. And to surprising at all, she texted him 3 or 4 days later to apologize and bam! he was back with the bitch. The funny thing is that he begs me not to tell her about it because he knows that if she finds out that he was back with me that she would drop his ass in an instant. So now he wants me to be the secret. Ironic isn’t it? Needless to say this sordid twist ended right away when he went back to her but it boils my ass to hear him ask me to keep his dirty little secret as if I’M the affair??? The sad part is that since we stopped hanging out I have felt like I am back to square one in my healing. He originally moved out last December and begged to move back home so out of my desperate need to save my marriage I let him move back home in February. He moved back out by the end of April. I was left in our one with our son for 2 months then finally moved into my own apartment by the beginning of June. I was on my way to healing, albeit very slowly. But I did feel progress. Then I let my guard down and for the last few days I have felt so terrible. I keep asking myself why this man is unwilling to hold on to his wife that has been by his side for so long. Am I just not worth the effort? Feeling completely useless… I try to imagine myself in one of those kinds of relationships where the man adores his wife and dotes on her and I have a hard time seeing myself in that picture. I don’t even know what that would be like. So I guess I can rest assure that if he couldn’t do that for me then he’s probably not capable of doing it for his OW who is a serial cheater and suspected murderer of her deceased husband who died under suspicious circumstances. But why can’t I stop hoping that he will one day want to be a better person??? Ugh!

    • Hey Newlychumped,
      I just discovered this blog a couple of days ago and have spent hours reading older posts. God I wish I had found CL last April (my D-Day was on my birthday 4/22 – happy birthday to me). Before that we had what I thought was a solid marriage – I never suspected a thing. XH had gotten into body building with mega steroids, testosterone etc. He has always exhibited NPD qualities but I had never met anyone like that before so I had no clue. The drugs and body transformation brought out the NPD full force. His AP was the whore who did his body wraps before a competition on 4/15. My guess is she wrapped more than his mid-section. I did the Pick Me dance for a while then planted a digital voice recorder in our business office (yep, we own a plumbing company together) and busted him saying sweet nothings to her each morning like, “Wish I would have woke up next to you this morning”. Talk about a kick in the gut. I spent the next month planning my exit (draining his IRA, etc.) then the afternoon he was leaving for his birthday weekend (he lied and said he was going to Atlanta to pick up new equipment with his trainer but I had the recording of them planning their trip to New Orleans to “explore their bodies fully” as they had been fucking in his work truck, yuck) I confronted him and told him when he got back from his fuckfeast with his whore all his stuff would be in the yard and he could pick it up then. Poor thing had to delay his trip by a day in order to find a place to live. Then I did the “untangling” thing for a while then progressed to the fear he was going to be better for someone else. Like you, I reconciled the end of September (that wouldn’t have happened had I known about this blog) but knew immediately it was a mistake. Found he still had his secret love phone then discovered he asked out a family friend via Facebook. The best think I ever did was leave FL and drive to CA to stay with my brother for two months. What a life changing time that was for me. Fast forward to the present. Our divorce was final on May 1st and that very day he announced his engagement to a chick (not the whore) he had only know for a couple of weeks. Then they “secretly” got married on May 25th which he denies even to his Dad and sister. Words cannot describe the happiness I felt when I came across the emails he recently sent to, you guessed it, the 1st whore!! Here is one excerpt: “You know we will always be more than friends. And for the married thing. Well it’s not doing to well. We will probably call it quits soon. Anyway. I texted you my number. Hope to hear from you and your voice sometime.” Plus his prior trainer who was also his best man at the “wedding” called me last weekend to let me know XH was also texting one of his married female clients. Married for two months and already trolling for new supply. So, I agree that they will never change – they are incapable of loving anyone but themselves. He admitted he “has to be with someone”. They always has a backup supply which is usually the last supply because they like to go back to what they know – much easier.

  • The house always wins. I think this line just quietened my thoughts about what will happen of he changes for the other woman. Golden this, truly. Moving towards healing because of all the help and perspective. Thanks Tracy 🤗

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