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A Chump’s Cautionary Tale

Another inspiring chump letter appeared in my box today — thank you inspiring chumps for filling my inbox this week and doing my  work for me. Giving the floor over today to “Uniquelyme.” 

Dear Chump Lady,

Before I share my cautionary tale, I’d like to tell you that finding your site a few months ago changed my life. I am in a state of complete freedom. Your banner says it all … I left a cheater and gained an amazing life.

For those chumps who are still on the fence about leaving their cheaters, get a divorce lawyer now. Listen to your intuition. You do not want to go through what I went through. A little background on myself – I am well educated, financially successful, a great mom, attractive and have lots of real friends and great family. I was successful in all aspects of my life except my relationship with my serial cheater ex-husband. (Um, how could one have a successful relationship with a cheater?)

Twenty-three years ago, my ex had his very first affair when I was pregnant with our only child. He was drunk when he had sex with a co-worker in his car, but he did go back for more a few weeks later. He confessed to me after our child was born (perfect timing but he needed to get it off his chest – typical selfish, cheater trait) and I went through severe depression for months. The co-worker? She slept with the ex a few weeks before and after her wedding. I called and confronted her when I found out, and I still remember her screaming to my ex, “Why did you tell her?” She was terrified I would tell her H (all about herself), so she told him. He promptly threw her out of the house. Good for him. Chump he wasn’t. They were married less than 6 months at this point.

We worked on reconciliation but it was never the same. The trust was gone. I spent the next ten years being the marriage police, lowering my standards and expectations just to continue to believe that he loved me, and in the process lost my self-worth, self-respect and functioned on auto-pilot. He still had the upper hand because I felt I would not make it without him. I could relate to all that reasons why chumps stay as pointed out by Tracy. Somehow, I managed to stay sane and still be successful in other areas of my life. And yet, I was diminishing as a person while thinking I was making the right decision to stay. You truly do not know what you do not know.

Next affair that I knew of happened 10 years later. This OW was a piece of work. She told me “I know you’ve been married to him for a long time but I can’t help myself.” I threw him out and a year and half later, filed for divorce. He got scared and begged for forgiveness. I had no self-love at this point and was happy to take him back. I became even chumpier than ever. Twelve years after the second affair, he had his third one. Prior to the final affair, I had been going to counseling and working on myself for the past three years, and now I had strength and clarity. I threw him out so fast, his head spun. I went no contact unless absolutely necessary because of the divorce settlement. Divorce was final 4 months after the discovery of the final affair. No energy whatsoever was wasted on contacting the OW like I did in the two previous affairs.

It’s been seven months since I threw him out. LIFE IS FREAKIN’ GOOD! Do I have tough moments? Sure but not tough days or weeks. That is part of healing, but the alternative of spending the next 23 years of my life in pain and suffering (by choice, mind you) makes all the occasional grieving worthwhile. The joys now surpass the pain.

My journey right now is doing deep therapy work to find out why I allowed myself to stay and take the emotional abuse. No, I am not taking the blame for his cheating. That is on him 100%. (Don’t let anyone ever make you believe otherwise.) I take ownership that I allowed myself to be the victim. The answer for me? I did not have self-love. I gave myself permission to lose it while holding on to a marriage with a cheater (a losing proposition, by the way). I am working on truly loving myself and please don’t confuse this with narcissism. Loving yourself means you give yourself the love and respect you deserve from ALL your relationships, and realizing that the best relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. Narcissists don’t even have a clue what true self-love means. With the help of my incredible counselor, my spiritual life, amazing books of authors who have been through a similar life journey and daily commitment to love myself – through my thoughts and actions – I am definitely on a healthy path. I want to be a healthy person who will attract only healthy people, so I am taking my time to love and know myself, so I know exactly what I want in a future relationship. Finding a future partner is not a “must have” but rather a gift. And if I never, ever find a partner who would love me the way I deserved to be loved, then be it. I would rather live alone than in quiet humiliation with a cheater. Even without a partner, I know for sure that I will continue to have a full life as I have today with myself, family and friends.

The ex? He is shacking up with the final OW and supporting her 100%. I didn’t waste energy contacting this OW. (I probably should send her a thank you card, though.) The ex sends me occasional, nice and polite emails to engage me in whatever topics, and I completely ignore them. His letter of apology was deleted so fast my computer nearly went up in smoke. Our adult child has chosen not to have contact with him.

I am not naïve to think that I am fully healed. I am not but I am getting there. The longer I stayed, the tougher the healing. So chumps, call a divorce lawyer today. Cheaters do not change. Don’t take nearly 23 years of your life to figure that one out like I did. Cheating is part of who they are. My ex, on the outside, is a kind, attractive, successful man and I believed he was just “broken”. He’s intact alright plus a jerk in disguise. You know who will get broken if you stay? You. Don’t do that to yourself. As Maya Angelou said, “When people tell you who they are, believe them the first time.”

I look back at my life and instead of being angry why I stayed as long as I did (I had to do work on that), I am grateful for today that I am finally free with an opportunity to have an awesome life on my terms. Please heed my caution and don’t waste another minute of your precious life on your cheater. Don’t join me in the Chump Lady Hall of Fame. YOU are worth more than that. They do not love you. Love does not hurt. The cheater, on the other, truly deserves their affair partner. Don’t think you are hanging on to a prized possession; you actually have garbage in your hands. Discard them. Now.



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  • Wow, that is an awesome letter. So true. Take that garbage to the curb where it belongs and don’t look back.

  • Wow! Just wow! I can relate to you and your post very closely in that I allowed myself to hold on for 10 years to long after my ex showed me who he really was. I only stood up for myself and my self worth 1o years after the first affair (that I know of) when he cheated again last year. I kicked him afterwards (after doing some more of the “pick me” dance…humiliating) and he is still with OW almost a year later. After spending 20 years losing myself and my self love and self worth, I’m slowly beginning to realize all the things you have stated. I am free to live my life as I choose. I am working on giving myself the love and respect I so richly deserve and being a good role model for my teenage boys (their father certainly isn’t.) I love reading stories like yours. It gives me hope and lets me know I am on the right path. The path to happiness, freedom, love and a better life. Your line at the end is priceless…”Don’t think you are hanging on to a prized possession; you actually have garbage in your hands. Discard them. Now.” That’s awesome! Wish I would have realized that 10 years ago. Because I held on to garbage way too long. She can have my “prized garbage.” I no longer want it or need it. Thanks again!

    • OH MY… wasting 10, 20, 23 years of your life ?
      You WERE high on hope… truly a hopium addict.
      I wonder why an accomplished woman like you would tolerate such disrespect ? and for so long .
      I think we as woman are taught to put ourselves last, that is , until we reach an age where the same old shit … just won’t do any longer ! We stand up for what WE need, what WE want.
      Welcome to the other side of sanity !
      Life…..Live… Learn… LEAVE !

      • Childhood issues of rejection that went unidentified because I was accomplished in so many ways – except within. I tend to see the good of people, a true chump if there ever was one. I kept lowering my standards until there was nowhere to go but up. And up I went! I, too, look back and think, “What in heaven’s name was I smoking?” It was/is in going back to myself that I found the truth. Took me a long time to get there, but I’m here now.

  • Amazing and inspirational to all we smart people who feel so foolish for having believed in a fantasy of our own making for so long. Really, really remarkable letter and a grand example that life isn’t over even if you’ve invested decades in a dud.

    Congratulations to you – and thank you for serving as an example of living a great life post-chumpdom!

  • I was definitely high on hopium. And I do think, growing up, we women are taught to put ourselves last. My mother always put herself last after taking care of us and my Dad, making sure we were happy. And as much as I think she was the greatest Mom ever, that example is what I think kept me high on hopium for so long. I worked so hard to make my husband and my kids happy and give them good lives that I was willing to lose myself and my self love…even after my ex showed me who he really was. I needed to be thinking of myself and my happiness too in all of that. I allowed myself to be champed and took 10 years to finally say enough. It’s still incredibly painful (and lonely) 11 months out, but I know I made the right choice for myself. It’s taking some time and alot of work, but I WILL be happy again and I WILL have a good life. And hopefully, once I can truly be in love with myself, I will find someone who will treat me and love me the way I deserve to be and never settle again for anything less than that.

  • Thank you. I have been sitting on the fence for about a year, kind of hoping my H would come to his senses ( and it isn’t even a physical all EA) but in the meantime I have been in theraphy and seeing him as a different person now. So sad.

  • Hi Uniquelyme,

    Thank you for writing such a beautifully written and insightful post. A few things really stood out for me and the first one is about the so-called “self-love” of a narcissist, vs. genuine healthy, self-love which is what we should all aspire to.

    A narc’s love for others as well as himself is FALSE. Its merely a facsimile of the real thing, but on closer inspection it is not genuinely loving because the narc says one thing and does as he pleases. As you said, genuine love doesn’t hurt. Love of self means not allowing people in our lives who bring us down, make us feel badly about ourselves, and who are abusive. And abuse can take on so many, many forms. But giving others our power is not self-love. Self love is giving and loving others. One cannot love themselves without being genuinely loving, gracious, kind and respectful to OTHERS. Self love is accepting who we are and knowing our limitations. Self love is knowing who others are and accepting them for who they are, even if that means cutting them out of our lives, if it becomes necessary.

    The other point was the idea of being able to fix someone else who’s “broken.” I think that this is instilled in most women from the time we are young… we are natural care givers— to CHILDREN, the ELDERLY, or otherwise INFIRM, but something goes awry when we think that we can help “fix” a perfectly capable adult’s “stuff” whatever that it is. That is never on us, but chumps, as a rule, have a tendency to be extra nurturing. Extra loving. Extra accepting. Extra willing to sublimate ourselves to the will of SOMEONE ELSE. And yeah… its usually due to some childhood abuse of our own. How many of us have at least one fucktard parent? huh? raise of hands, please.

    I’ll be the first. My father. Told me that he wished I had never been born. Beat me up, with his belt, capriciously, starting at the age of three. Why, that sets me up very nicely for all sorts of heinous pathologies, doesn’t it? I don’t think that I’m a narcissist. I don’t have grandiose ideas and have waaaaaaaay too much empathy. In fact, probably more than I should have. So, my theory is that the pendulum can swing one way or the other. A narc, or the reverse of a narc— aka: chump. We fit together with other narcs and/or passive types with narc tendencies, like a hook and an eye. But when things start inflating, the hook breaks free of the eye and it all falls apart.

    I know of some women who are staying in some desperately sick situations and even seem to be thriving in them. Note, the word *seem*. The mind is a powerful thing and can create for us, the illusion that things are just hunky dory. We are adept at denial and NOT SEEING what’s clearly in front of us. These are survival tactics, I believe. Our belief is that we will sink like a rock to the bottom of the lake if we LEAVE.

    I also left my h after a long-term marriage, some seven months ago. Like you, I have my moments, but over-all, I have a new found hope; a genuine hope for a better life.

    love to all…

    • Sorry, Laurel, about the little you inside and getting beaten by your own Dad. Very sick. My Dad was an alcoholic, a raging angry one, and I was a small child who felt I had to protect my brother and sister from him. At least I figured out, when I was raising my sons, that no one should ever lay a finger on children, and I found motherhood to be very healing. 40 years later, I made a concious decision to forgive my Dad, so I could put that to rest.
      Anyway, yes, it makes you a chump. I feel now that that’s not a bad place to be, as long as I’m a chump with boundaries, and personal power. Because of listening to everyone here, I’m proud to be a chump now! We’re all in very good company!

      • chump power!!! no wait.

        CHUMP POWER!!!!!!!!!! (with boundaries and don’t fuck with ’em or else!)

        that’s better. 🙂

        and yes, the old axiom does ring so true. “what doesn’t kill you… makes…”

        it was only after I had my own children, both with neurological differences, that I saw how horrifically difficult parenting could be. I was so grateful that they weren’t my father’s kids. He would surely have killed them and I’m not joking. And yeah… he was probably an alky too.

        but everything was beautiful at the ballet… I’m going to be performing that song as a duet soon. something that scares the livin’ bejeebies outta me. (but I figure its hard to be depressed when one is scared shitless. Ever notice that?) However, i was every character in that song. uncanny. I think a lot of us were.

        • Good luck! You’re a dancer, right? I’ve gotten a lot of peace and joy from dance, and yoga I learned in ’72 from crossing paths with a great modern dance teacher in high school! It’s kept me fit all these years.
          Funny how I felt like I was a strong woman all my life, nobody’s fool, but this thing with my cheatin x really dropped me to my knees.
          But, I got up, swinging and ready to go kick butt once again!

          • yes, I am (mostly ballet and some jazz and I did musical theater too) I’m trying to do it more now… and I’ve started taking Salsa too! New York style which is the same as mambo. One of my sources of trauma was that after D-DAY #2 which is almost the 2 year anniversary, fucktard so kindly informed me that he often acted out while I was at my ballet class.

            Thanks so much for sharing shithead. (he only started sharing all of the things “intimacies” AFTER i told him that it was OVER!!!) Learning that bombshell rendered my former source of salvation, joy, escape into a new found source of anguish. I can still hear him shouting out “enjoy” as I was rushing out of the house to my class… (hehe) 🙁

            dirty old man! He acted out— all the time, anyway. I guess the broken ribs are making whacking off a bit more difficult and painful. poor dear.

            its better now, though. I’m getting more rest and am in more of a schedule. Tues and Saturday morning— ballet. Wednesday night— salsa.
            It feels so good!!!

            hold on… not sure if this link will work… but if it does. That’s me! (bad hair day though) ;] This dude was whipping me around all over the floor. fun!


            (if this leads you to see who I am IRL, I don’t care; nothing to hide. I just don’t want the google crawly things to pick up my name, for professional reasons)

            • Laurel, how fun, and u r gorgeous! So funny, cheaters cheat on anyone, as we all know. My x’s AP is an alcky, insane, idiot with a heart condition and a pacemaker. Good thing I stressed all those years keeping myself in shape for him.

              • My wasband’s primary FB is fat, homely and has lupus. He told me that it wasn’t easy fucking her.


            • Laurel–

              Take your dancing back from that jackass. It is yours. It always was.

              Let the fact that, while you were being awesome and sexy and he was rolling around in filth, this is HIS anguish, not yours.

              • Thanks so much guys! Guess what???

                I WENT OUT ON A DATE!!!

                and I didn’t want it to end…


                now… of course, narcometer is set to overdrive. no sign. no flags of any color. no sweeping off feet. no sparkles. just easy convo. laughter. warm. open.

                and a lawy$r… sorry, typo. ;] lawyer. ;] ;]

                calm down Laurel. It was just a date!

                but folks, this is HUGE!!!

                and don’t worry… the narcometer is always on.

                they DO reveal themselves.

          • PattyToo, I completely understand that thing about being a ‘strong woman’. I was always a strong woman and everyone would comment on how strong I was, how I always weathered things so well, how I managed to make it through things without falling apart. But you know what? I was strong for other people, if that makes any sense. I was always there helping and guiding and making sense of things for people when they faced adversity and when I look back now, no, not many were really there being strong for me.

            I remember a couple of very difficult times me and my ex went through during the course of our marriage – nothing to do with cheating – and it was always me holding him together, not the other way around. And when I fell completely apart from finding out about his serial cheating I think people were shocked, didn’t know how to handle me being less than the super strong me and didn’t get that their role might have to change a bit…they might have to prop me up some. And I don’t think some people liked it or maybe just couldn’t handle it so they backed off. Others I stepped away from because I realised they couldn’t be there for me. No judgement, just realised the relationships were not based on a dynamic I now needed.

            • Wow! This has been my experience exactly. My family and friends’ inability to prop me up only made me crumble more. I’m slowly learning to be there for myself, but I can’t tell you how much I wanted someone else to swoop in and take care of me like I’ve done for so many others.

    • “I think that this is instilled in most women from the time we are young… we are natural care givers— to CHILDREN, the ELDERLY, or otherwise INFIRM, but something goes awry when we think that we can help “fix” a perfectly capable adult’s “stuff” whatever that it is.”

      Guys have a “rescue” instinct instilled in them. The hero saving the girl. So they try to save a perfectly capable adult. Goes both ways.

    • Fucktard parent here too — my mother, whose happiness and importance was job one in my family. My father gave his life for her and in return got put-downs, histrionics and two sons who married similar women. Mom wasn’t phyicallly abusive but I lived in fear of her anger, sarcasm and crushing insults. I had the burden of being both the designated family scapegoat and Mom’s confidant about her disappointment with my dad. Now she has Alzheimer’s and I’m responsible for her care and finances. Sigh.

  • This could have been my story except my time frame of being a chump was 33 years. My husband had his first affair when I was pregnant with my fourth child. After I took him back( after a humiliating 2 1/2 years of “pick me dance” ) he cheated again, but this time the OW was single and when she found out he was married she dumped him. Again after being high on hopeium I took him back . I did everything in my power to make him happy even going so far as to trust his sorry ass. My family was my whole life He constantly told me “she was the biggest mistake of his life. Well flash forward 33 years and guess who is by his side again, yup the biggest mistake of his life. He found her on the internet, yeah he went looking for her. She has now left husband #3 (had a child in between marriages with another married man. According to my xh she is the most wonderful wife and mother in the world. I wonder if anyone checked with all the men in her life? My adult children will have nothing to do with them. I had him buy me out of our family home and the weekend after I moved my furniture out he moved her in. He has lost money in the stock market, he thinks he is a big time trader, I took his retirement money as payment for the house, she moved from her home in Indiana to Ohio , our home, so she quit her job. They are living off her social security check .( He is 61 she is 64) They have no money and she showed up with suitcases full of clothes and nothing else. Money is tight for me ,but I bought a condo have made new friends , have a great therapist and all of you chumps ( I read this blog daily without fail) to lift me up. My divorce was final on August 30, 2012 and I couldn’t be happier Thank each and every one of you!!!! CL you were a God send , I wish this site would have been available the first time around ,I would not have wasted my life on a loser. Thanks again!!!

  • You are such a brave woman Uniquelyme and thank you for writing this letter to show that no matter how long you have put up with a cheater, you can get away to a better life.

    • Cindy, it is never ever too late. The tragedy is if one refuses to wake up and still believe the cheater will magically change its stripes. I did that for so long. Instead, my ex’s stripes just multiplied.

  • I am so happy that I found this site! Finding this site (and being in IC) is helping me find my lost self. Uniquelyme, your post and Rebecca’s post have shown me the kind of Recovering Chump I want and need to be. You two are bright lights on a sometimes very dark horizon.

    Talk about a time suck! I knew when we were dating almost 28 years ago, that my STBX was a lying sack of putrid, decayed fish intestines. Why did I keep going back to him (yeah, the pick me dance started when we were DATING!) and eventually MARRY him? Because he had already convinced me that I was flawed (some of which I was already programmed to believe due to FOO issues) but that if I kept trying hard and followed his lead, I would be all that I could be (in his army, I guess).

    I was a good wife, a good mother and for most of the time we were together, I was blissfully unaware that the man I loved, trusted and admired was a lying, cheating, poor impulse control, greedy, grasping pig from the depths of hell. And those are some of his better qualities. Did I mention that I used to be employed as the Assistant Vice-President in Charge of Spackle?

    Uniquelyme, you are an inspiration. You walked through maze of death and came out whole on the other side! Because I still struggle from time to time with coming to terms with the fact that my STBX is such a classic case of NPD and the abuse I suffered resulting therefrom, the ending to your letter will become my new mantra when I feel myself struggling – “Don’t think you are hanging on to a prized possession; you actually have garbage in your hands. Discard them. Now.” As I cycle through this D process, I will do well to remember that.

    Thank you Uniquelyme. I vote you Chump Hero of the Day.

    • here here! and you are so funny Chump Princess! and yes… I started dating my fucktard nearly 27 years ago… and due to my FOO shit. (see above) he insisted that I get my ass into counseling which I did for the remainder of our courtship, engagement, first year of marriage, pregnancy to son #1 and his first year of life and then we moved to the ends of earth… (well, one of them)

      he broke two of his ribs in a bad bicycle crash last weekend and a part of me… still… wants to take care of him…help him… be there for him… the other part… hopes that one of his lungs collapses. Neither is meh. They’re just flip sides of the same fucked up coin.

    • I knew my ex was a liar when we were dating too. He told outrageous lies for no good reason. It’s not like he lied to get out of trouble, just lied to make his past more interesting. For example, he told me he got a back injury from playing sports and spent two years in a wheelchair. He told my brother (who knew him before me and was the one who set us up) that he previously drove a brand new mustang but he totaled it and was waiting on insurance to pay out. My brother caught on real fast, confronted him “family meeting” style and I effing stood by my man. I knew he was a liar. I just thought the way he lied was innocent and he only did it because he was feeling like he didn’t fit in. Isn’t he cute, the way he lies about irrelevant things? I’m gonna fix him by showing him that he doesn’t have to lie, that I accept him just the way he is. Smh. Boy, was I a bonehead!

      • MIne was a liar by omission. He would do things without saying a word and because it wasn’t outright lying it seemed…better. His whole family is this way. They secretly make a decision and execute it and then act shocked when someone says ‘what they fuck? you did xyz without saying anything?’. This would be, of course, how he acted when I kicke dhim out. He seemed very shocked that I didn’t let him eat cake for as long as he wanted while he ‘figured things out’.

  • Uniquelyme,
    The time does not matter. You can stand tall. You finally made the move, that is what matters.
    We chumps are special people: we see the best in people, and we hope for the best.
    Do not lose that.
    Things are the tough now. I know, I have been through it. But just as you trust that he sucks, trust that life gets so much better.

  • Uniquely me,
    Stand tall. Do not agonize over the years. It is the present and future that matters.
    Here is a quote/hymn/prayer that I had read at my wedding, from the Sanskrit:

    Look to this day for it is life; the very best of life.
    in its brief course lie all the realities and truth of existence–
    the joy of growth,
    the splendor of action
    the glory of power.
    For yesterday is but a memory,
    And tomorrow is only a vision,
    But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory
    of happiness,
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    Look well therefore to this day.

    On a side note…. I hope this goes through. My posts from today do not seem to be on the blog.

    • zyx321.

      Thank you. I am standing tall. As a wise woman said to me once, “The past is over. What matters now is that you are in a better place.” I took her words to heart. I love the prayer that you shared.

  • If sharing my story helps just one person, then I am happy. Why waste suffering? I will remain a chump, but a chump with lots of self-love and clearly defined boundaries. The boundaries will come automatically if self-love is in place. Being a chump is wonderful. The cheaters who take advantage of the chumps are the losers. Let’s not forget that.

    Laurel, if my ex gets hurt, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Take care of him? I’d rather swim with crocodiles. I have more chances of coming out whole.

    • sometimes when I read OTHER people’s stories… I think… hold him down… I’ll go get a bat and break the rest of his ribs for you.

      but the sharing… is also why I’m here… the learning curve takes a while for a lot of us.

      helping is healing.

  • Wow! Uniquelyme:
    You are amazing! I am so happy for you! I hope my divorce can go as quickly as yours. Ever since I had him served on July 24th at 6:15am, at his hotel room with mistress in his bed – I have never been happier! Each day I wake up happy and I sleep more deeply than I have since before I had my first child 17 years ago. I am so thankful that I have stopped hanging on to that pile of garbage and I can see a happier life ahead of me. The adjustment for my kids has been a little awkward. But, they are going to be much better off not living with their narcissistic, control freak, ridiculously insecure father with an outrageous temper. He has made all of our lives miserable. Always walking on eggshells and never knowing what would set him off. GOOD RIDANCE TO HIM!
    I am actually disgusted by him now! There is something really wonderful about having that feeling!
    Fellow Chumps – Please take it from me and Uniquelyme… Reconcilliation does NOT work! They don’t love you! They are just using you! There is no such thing as unicorns! Run away from the garbage! Make a happier life for yourselves (and your kids if you have any)! You cannot maintain a marriage with someone you cannot trust! Give yourselves the gift of a better life without shit sandwiches and wondering what they are really up to! Being cheated on, betrayed, lied to, and manipulated is demoralizing and humiliating! Put a stop to it and save yourselves!
    Best wishes to all of you! I hope you can all find the strength to get off the crazy train!


    • Rebecca,

      I, too was shocked my divorce went as fast and smoothly as it did. Someone up there was definitely watching over me and probably said, “Finally!”

      I’m glad to hear that you continue to do well. The freedom of not caring what they are up to is priceless.


  • You are truly inspirational. You did what you had to do to get you to the point you are now. Way to take that garbage out!!!

  • That was a really great story. For all you woman out there, that have been cheated on by your ex-husband narc’s… know that there is men here as well, that got fucked over by their ex-wives. Know that there are men that would otherwise be perfectly happy in a nice, simple, committed monogamous marriage. Personally, I was content… two great kids and a “wonderful” wife. Everyone thought (including me) that I was “lucky” to have her. Well, not so much. All that glitters is not gold, and all that sparkles might just be unicorn fart.

    I read once, “All that shit she says about me, well it might be true. Then again, it might be just as fake as she is”.

    Stay classy, Chump Ladies and Chump Fellows. No matter the gender that you or, or the gender of the selfish ass wipe that fucked you over, stay classy and find your way back to reality. I’ll see y’all there when I make it myself. Every keystroke is one step closer. CM.

    • This is also one of the great gifts of ChumpLady, learning that it isn’t true that ‘all men cheat, come on now!’
      Women are kind of scared that that might be true, so it’s a relief to connect with the men here, and know that there are truly faithful guys. You guys rock!

    • Chump Man,

      Thank you for confirming that indeed there are still good men out there with integrity. When news of my divorce started leaking male friends were disgusted with the ex’s behavior and they all assured me that “Not all men are assholes.”

  • Uniquelyme I am going to disagree with one thing you wrote: they do not love you.

    I think they do – in the limited way they are able. The whole point of cheating is to distance – wife AND OW at arms length.

    It is more: are we prepared to live with someone who is unable to have an intimate relationships (knowing themselves and sharing that with someone valued), and live that life of lonliness and frustration, cheater or no cheater?

    I don’t want to demonise my husband. He has some good points. I want to recognise very clearly his character disorder (he cannot take responsibility for anything and he doesn’t know what a feeling is) and very clearly not want to get involved with such a hot mess again. To have a schmoopie co worker AS important as your wife and family in your list of priorities? That’s sick and I don’t want anything to do with someone that limited.

    That way, I can stay kind but firm.

    • Patsy,

      I hear you. I acted with grace and kindness throughout the entire divorce process and that really threw him off. I practically disappeared from his life overnight. My ex, too, has a lot of good points. Unfortunately, integrity is optional to him. I gave him one too many chances to my detriment, and like you, I don’t want anything to do with the likes of him.

    • I agree that I think they do “love you- in the limited way they are able”. Obviously we deserve to be loved by someone who actually CAN love deeply and who realizes you need to treat the people you love WITH love and not with disrespect and betrayal.

      I think realizing that major character flaw- that they are actually incapable of real love – is very hard for us chumps to accept. The fact that someone might really be practically empty inside and not even able to have the depth of feeling we had for them, and thought they had for us, is actually further heartbreaking.

  • Loved this post. I am so angry at all the time and effort I spent on my cheating ex-bf. He is one of the most disgusting human beings I have ever come across. Such a lying deceitful person who has stolen everything from me. My dignity, my self-worth, my desire for love and life… Everything. Just because I was honest and trusting a good. I want to be free of this. Free of feeling this way. Last night I went out and had a few drinks – came home feeling angry and bitter for all he has put me and my daughter through and sent him a nasty email. The funny thing is I know it doesn’t even bother him a bit. He has no heart or soul – that’s why he is capable of the things he does. It makes me so angry!!! I know I have to go no contact but this feeling of wanting to lash out at him has not subsided. I don’t know what to do anymore. Why did this have to happen?

    • Hi NYC123,

      I’ve sent my was hundreds of nasty emails. (not for a while though). After about the 300th one—- I finally realized that I was wearing away the keys on my ‘puter, for nothing.

      One thing that might help is to write an anon blog and get it all out there. Say everything you need to say…Tell the entire story. Tell how he swept you off your feet and how little by little you came to see who he really was, that at first you couldn’t believe, like a distant pool of water in an infernal never-ending desert. If you find other people with like blogs and comment on them, they will read yours and respond in kind… It is THERE, that you will find your vindication. (and here too). Never with him.

      BTW— I live pretty close to you in southern Westchester.

    • NYC123,

      I understand your feelings. I’ve been there, done that. You know how you stop feeling like that? Stop putting your focus on HIM and what HE did to you. It isn’t easy, I know. You are going to have those thoughts – you can’t help it. You will have to practice re-directing them. A good friend gave me some advice when I was beating up on myself. She kept telling me to stop focusing on him – he wasn’t spending any time worrying or focusing on me. He had checked out. It was true. Any time I texted him, or responded to a text from him, or called him in anger? Kibbles! He was enjoying it, enjoying my distress. He liked the attention. Another form of cake-eating with lots of icing.

      I spent YEARS being emotionally abused by my STBX. I am suffering from PTSD symptoms. I am in IC. I KNOW this is not easy – but it is not easy for anyone who posts here. There is a Chump spectrum and we all fall somewhere different on that spectrum. We are all, however, working toward the same goal – a sane and better life.

      The most peace I’ve had? GOING NO CONTACT. Finding this site. Reading everything that Tracy has posted and all of the comments. Sharing my experience with others and at the same time trying to offer them encouragement. It is a long road, but I believe we will all get to a better place.

      The moment you go no contact and begin to focus more on you than him and what happened (in the beginning you will have to force yourself – come to this website every time you feel the need to lash out) is the moment you will start to release those feelings.

      Hugs and strength to you NYC123. I believe in you.

    • NYC123, a trick that has helped me not contact my recent ex and get rid of a lot of the “ruminating” has been to replace those thoughts with another ex that I broke up with because of his temper and have never wanted anything to do with since…kind of like, switching the guy in my thoughts makes it easier to see “why am I wasting time thinking about an ex? any ex?” I immediately replace thoughts of the recent with thoughts of the old one I got over easily and it almost makes me laugh sometimes. I’d tried tons of things and this one has really worked! Good luck!

      And also, just remember that he sees every message you send as attention that he desperately wants from whoever will give it…go NC (I call it Radio Silent) and he won’t know what to do.

  • NYC123,

    No contact is the only way to go. And as Chump Princess pointed out, you need to redirect that focus from him to you. You cannot stop your thoughts but you can redirect them. Here’s a technique that has worked for my friends and me:

    In my case, I would write long, nasty letters to my ex, but on a Word document so there was no chance whatsoever of my subconscious taking over and sending them. So easy to make a “mistake” (read temptation) if already on a draft email with his email address on it.

    I know it’s not easy, NYC123, but the more you engage him, the longer time you will take to heal. You could call him the worst names ever but nothing would matter. It won’t make him a better person, it won’t magically transform him into a person who will treat you well. I used to scream expletives at my ex in the privacy of my car or when I worked out at home. Did I wish I were saying that in front of him? At that time, yes. Looking back now, I am glad I didn’t. But I didn’t deny my angry feelings either. I gave permission to myself to vent them safely. I owed that to myself. In time, I got bored with it and decided to use the energy to take care of myself. By doing so, I practiced self-care. If I can do it, anyone can.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I too recently found this site, and it has been a transformational discovery. I was duped, and it wasn’t my choice or fault. That alone has been a burden off my shoulders, allowing me to move onward and upward.

  • ChutesandLadders,

    Like you, before I found this site I was buying into the popular notion that I must have had a role in his cheating. Today, I don’t think that at all. When I think about it, I was probably more miserable in the marriage and yet it never crossed my mind to cheat.

  • I have really enjoyed the wisdom that comes from this sight. I wondered if I could ask a question that I cannot answer. Is every cheater a Narcissist or a BPD? My husband cheated but doesn’t seem to fit the mold as I see described here for N or BPD. I guess I am wondering if there are other categories of cheaters besides those that have personality disorders. If I had to guess I would say my husband might have an addiction to sex. He had always thrived on adrenaline, adventure and enjoys living life to the fullest. He is a pilot and that seems to go along with his personality as well. I would really appreciate any input you all might have.
    I may have posted this in the wrong place but am not sure about how to navigate this site just yet so forgive me!

  • Merry,

    I, too, struggled with the NPD and BPD categories because my ex did not fit the obvious molds. But then I read one of the books that Chump Lady recommended (Why Is It Always About You?) and realized that there is indeed a wide spectrum of narcissists and my ex exhibited a few of those traits but on the low spectrum. I analyzed myself, him and his cheating, our married life together ad infinitum and realized that was a complete waste of energy. I will never reach a place of understanding someone who is wired completely differently from me.

  • well, there are sites where you can report cheating anonymously, and the top site is interesting because they get pushed up to page one of google searches on a persons name….don’t ask how I know that, just sayin…

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