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Why? Why? Why? Closure!

ZombieclosureI got a really nice letter from a really nice reader “Chump Chap.” He wrote to me after he realized that he’d just gotten a non-apology apology from his cheating ex. But he didn’t realize it was a fake apology until later. And then it was GAH! She’s wasn’t sorry was she? Chumped again!

The non-apology apology is a whole separate post. What I wanted to write about was the grievous chumpy mistake Chump Chap committed — he sought out his cheater to ask her why.

It’s idiotic, but we all do this, Chump Chap. You aren’t alone wanting “closure” from your cheater.

Oh why oh why oh why did you do this to me? WHY?!

Logically, you direct this question to the person who fucked you over — the cheater.

Except it isn’t logical! They don’t have a good reason. And every reason they give you, I promise chumps, is going to piss you OFF.

“I dunno. Got bored I suppose.”

“He had a nice ass.”

It’s worse if they’ve spent any time on infidelity boards. Now they have a whole new vocabulary to mindfuck you with.

“I was broken from my FOO issues. It was the toxic shame borne of hand bell choir and that ugly sweater my aunt knit that my mother INSISTED I wear — I couldn’t bear my uncoolness, and I needed external validation. Lots and lots of validation. So I learned very early to lie to get what I wanted. (A Somalian refugee stole the sweater. I’m allergic to hand bells.) I guess I never stopped. Fucking those strangers on Craigslist was a coping mechanism. But I never stopped loving you, Chump Chap. I suppose a part of me will always love you. But I’m involved with Nigel now — and it’s complicated.”

Why would you stick your head in that blender?

Ask a cheater why they cheated, the worst of them are going to blame you. “I cheated because you’re fat” or “You weren’t meeting my needs.” Or they’re going to wax poetic about their affair partner. “What Tiffany and I have is real. God, she’s so good for me. Look, it’s all for the best! We’re both in better places now!”

Resist the urge for closure, chumps. Relationship autopsies do not bring relationships back to life. And thank God, because imagine the Walking Dead nightmare that would be. (Actually, anyone who has experienced false reconciliation has lived exactly that nightmare.) These things are better left DEAD.

Because when you ask your cheater why — especially after they are your ex — what you’re really trying to do is keep the relationship alive. You need sparkles. Gimme a hit on the crack pipe of hope. You want validation from this person that they Really Didn’t Mean It and have a very good reason for putting you through this hell. You want validation from the very person who just invalidated you. Was I so bad?

Look, cheaters cop to needing “closure” all the time. “I just have to meet her at that hotel in New Mexico… for closure. It just isn’t right to dump her with a no contact letter. What we had, well, I owe it to her to do it in person.” We know what closure means — it means they can’t quit the kibbles.

With chumps though — it’s like we can’t quit feeding the kibbles. Because seeking them out, demanding an answer, is kibbles to the cheater. We are reinforcing their centrality in our lives. It is the opposite of meh.

We may think we’re seeking closure to shame them, or demand accountability. They don’t see it that way. They see it as kibbles. “Isn’t that sweet? Chump can’t get over me. They’re so broken up. God, I’m fabulous. I’m sorry there isn’t enough of me to go around. Well really, I offered you a piece but you wanted the whole thing. Too bad, so sad.”

Closure doesn’t exist. Well, not in the sense that they’re going to give you a reason that will make the heavens part and confer enlightenment. You do the hard work to heal yourself over time and find acceptance. It’s probably never going to make sense to you why they betrayed you. If you’re a good person, it shouldn’t make sense.

Why did they cheat? Because they could. Because they gave themselves permission to do it. They didn’t care about how it would hurt you. Not enough.

Ouch. There’s your closure.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • I am going to repeat a comment that I come back to over and over again. It was posted by Really in March–>

    “Really March 30, 2013 at 11:24 am
    … Half of my life was devoted to building a life with STBX, and in an instant it was GONE. I would have rather known about the cheating when it started (halfway into out relationship – I think – and at this point I don’t care to know if he was cheating all along) and ended the marriage then…but then, he wouldn’t have had his cake.

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

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

    • Love this!!

      And it’s true! They do it because they can. They do it because they are more important than anyone else. We keep feeding kibbles when we still believe that they are more important. We will stop when we finally see that is bullshit and we are more important.

  • “But I never stopped loving you, Chump Chap. I suppose a part of me will always love you. But I’m involved with Nigel now — and it’s complicated.”

    This is exactly what I got the last days. I am happy to say that Im not sure when the last time I did this was, the whole “please tell me why? why her?” I would guesstimate its been about 3 weeks but I try not to make it a point of knowing because whenever I did my mind would see that he wasnt calling and he wasnt there and everything that I went through was working out for them.

    I know my ex went back and forth with the “well Im with her now” and “she is nothing compared to you”. He always stuck with the I will always love you and would get mad if I insinuated that I loved him more or I was willing to do much more than he was for me.

    I do have a questions though: How is the above mentioned comment looking for kibbles? Isnt it just “Because when you ask your cheater why — especially after they are your ex — what you’re really trying to do is keep the relationship alive. You need sparkles. Gimme a hit on the crack pipe of hope. You want validation from this person that they Really Didn’t Mean It and have a very good reason for putting you through this hell. You want validation from the very person who just invalidated you. Was I so bad?”

    I know my ex went back and forth with the “well Im with her now” and “she is nothing compared to you”. He always stuck with the I will always love you and would get mad if I insinuated that I loved him more or I was willing to do much more than he was for me.

  • Ugh, it must be a chapter in the Cheating Creep playbook. I got “You have loved me more and better than anyone” and “there is nothing in the world more important to me than you and the kids.” It took me about two years to translate that accurately into, “I’m just making up more shit because lying and breathing are the same to me.”

    Closure – I’m trying to make my own. I heard a good message this weekend about letting go of dreams that will not be coming true – almost having a little funeral for them, and saying a permanent goodbye. So I’ve had to bury “being married to my father’s children”; “having children with a man who wanted them”; “having more kids”; “retiring somewhere close to my kids with their father”…those things will never happen, and I need to move on and figure out what my new dreams will be – the ones have a chance of coming true. Don’t know if that’s better than “closure”, but I’m sure betting that it’s better than more bullshit.

    • “You have loved me more and better than anyone” and “there is nothing in the world more important to me than you and the kids.” It took me about two years to translate that accurately into, “I’m just making up more shit because lying and breathing are the same to me.”

      Thanks so much, Redefining, for providing this outstanding translation service. Made me laugh and cry simultaneously because of how true it is. Will copy this and read it daily… 😉

      • Thanks sunshine 🙂

        It’s somewhat remarkable how un-original these creeps are – but translating is always entertaining…

        My favorite riddle was figuring out that “I’ve been gone for most of the last year to care for my terminally ill, dying mother” REALLY meant “I’ve set up house with my old HS/college girlfriend who I’ve been screwing our entire 10 year marriage.” That one was tricky, but once again, not so original.

        Oh, and his “dying mother” wasn’t even sick. Loser.

        • Redefining,

          “. . . Lying and breathing are the same to me.”

          If you turn that into a T-Shirt, cap, cup, turtleneck and/or sweatshirt, placemat, tablecloth, beach towel and backpack, I will buy it all give them to my STBX for Christmas.

          So simple, so direct and the perfect description of the disordered Baboon’s ass.

          • Yeah, I really,really like that line about lying and breathing. It is really good and clever as heck.
            Seriously, CL, you should consider cranking out some shirts, hats etc so we can send them as Xmas presents.
            I could use one for my psych NPD sister, as well as the XWS.

          • I said to my completely unremorseful H:

            your ability to lie is terrifying.

            He said: I know.

            • I said to my completely unremorseful X:

              You are such an incredible liar.

              He said: Stop saying that about me. (Did not even deny it)

            • Patsy, I have seen you talk about this before, that is probably the most chilling statement I’ve read here, These guys really are wired differently.

    • RM-the part about letting go of dreams is so true. For me it’s letting go of having a partner to share my pregnancy with, feeling loved while my body changes and having the man I made a child with present at the birth of “our” baby. Or having sex while pregnant.

      Or having the man I made a child with be a decent human being even. Well what the hell. I guess a lot of us find that out just at different stages. (Yes I know, non-decent human being wives too.) It sucks at any time.

      • Kat,

        I understand what you feel you are missing by now having your baby’s Daddy around during your pregnancy and the babies birth but when I stopped spackling and really looked at what my husband did during my pregnancy and the birth of our son he was too selfish and caught up in his own world to really share the pregnancy, take the time to marvel at the changes in my body although he often commented about my weight gain and suggested different diet plans I should try while pregnant.

        He was also not able to be any assistance during labour (watching a DVD in the corner), birth or the recovery after as it wasn’t about him, he did discuss how stressful he found the birth with any guest who visited though! And i am sure you have read enough posts on this site to know how little support he has been with the care of a newborn.

        Please make sure you take care of yourself, marvel in how amazing your body is and have a strong support network for the labour and for afterwards.

        • Thanks TTDB… He always said he was such a great dad/helper with babies (he had two kids from previous marriage). But considering all of the other things he said vs did I’m less apt to believe it. I am much better taken care of where I am at for sure! It just makes me sad. If the bastard had let me go instead of marrying me in the middle of cheating I might have had that chance with someone else. But thank you. This site and the lovely chump nation make me feel better and better all of the time.

          • Hi Kat,
            I also understand and relate to the feelings you describe. My biggest dream was to be a mother and that dream finally came true for me at 43(I was always a late bloomer!). I was totally alone during my pregnancy(he was working overseas) and although my baby daddy/husband was there for the birth it was so different than I had imagined. At the time, I didn’t know he’d been living a double life for years. I felt totally disconnected from him during and after the birth and only discovered why years later. He seemed totally inconvenienced by the whole experience. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s his loss. It is amazing to be pregnant and give birth and to be a mother. I loved and continue to love all of it even when it feels overwhelming at times. Hang in there, mama! xoxox

      • Kat –

        My heart hurts for you. Like others have shared, my pregnancies were very lonely even with ex H there (in retrospect), so it’s very possible that even if STBX was physically present, he would still not bring much joy to this miraculous time in your life. Just know that your precious little one will bring incredible joy to your life – and just soak in that joy. You are braver than you know, and have wonderful, better times ahead of you. Hugs and prayers to you.

    • I’ve sort of done that but with dates. Dday, anniversary dates, anything I needed to make a new memory on i’ve done so it’s not always about the “bad” thing.

    • @ RedefiningMe

      “…I need to move on and figure out what my new dreams will be – the ones have a chance of coming true. Don’t know if that’s better than “closure”, but I’m sure betting that it’s better than more bullshit.”

      Hang in there Redefining because the above is so true. It took me a while, longer than most, and I’m almost there.

      • Thank you Joyce – it was going so well until he popped back up like a foul fungus. I know that peace will come again someday..

  • Expecting closure from a cheater? Might as well expect tap-dancing from a snake. They aren’t built for it. In fact, the exact opposite. They survive by sowing deception and uncertainty. They couldn’t change for you when everything depended on it, and they sure won’t after everything’s lost.

    Better to look for closure to the passage of time, and the new life that must crowd out the old.

      • Thanks! I tend to think that any metaphor that equates cheaters with snakes is apt. Or skunks.

          • Yes! Other acceptable metaphors for cheaters include:

            Dog turds
            Ticks and fleas
            Jeffrey Dahmer
            Pond Scum
            Bernie Madoff
            Blobfish (do a Google image search)

    • Good snake analogy. When I first read the line, I thought you said “lap dancing”.Made me laugh.
      I am pretty certain that my XW did work as a stripper at one time.
      I figured this out when I started looking into her past post discovery.

  • I think the biggest “Ah-ha” I’ve gleaned from this site over the months is that a cheater’s behavior has very little to do with the betrayed spouse. It doesn’t matter if you’re beautiful (Christie Brinkley, Elin Nordegren ), devoted (Robyn Gibson, Elizabeth Edwards), have influence (Maria Shriver, Princess Diana), or whatever, cheaters cheat because they put THEMSELVES first.

    Betrayed spouses put OTHERS first – often going without to make sure everyone ELSE has enough – so it’s really hard to grasp their “me first” mentality. We struggle with it. We try to figure out where WE dropped the ball in the relationship.

    We didn’t.

    THEY did.

    “Why did they cheat? Because they could. Because they gave themselves permission to do it. They didn’t care about how it would hurt you. Not enough.

    Ouch. There’s your closure.”

    ^^^THIS. As painful as it is, it’s the truth. End of story.

    Or, shall I say, end of chapter.

    The end of a marriage is not the end of life. It’s more like a graduation or moving away from home. It’s the end of one way of life and the beginning of another. If you allow yourself to embrace it, you’ll discover a whole new adventure awaits…

    • Well put Red! I like the idea of this being the ending of one way of life. I have always thought of this as a transition. Life is different now. It certainly isn’t worse, it just isn’t what it used to be…. and thank the gods for that!

    • This is good, Red. But sometimes cheaters do put others first. Mine bought me lunch and brought it to my work at least once a week. He went grocery shopping for the family. He picked up my favorite candy bar because he knew I liked it. OK, yes, he often dumped most other responsibilities on me, but he could also be very thoughtful. Just want to remind folks that sometimes the problem is not the little things. The problem is that the cheater puts himself first when it comes to the big things — Cheating, Lying, Abandoning, etc., — which eclipse the little things…

      • Thank you for this Sunshine. I often wondered about this… was he realy that bad of a person? I mean he did do a lot around the house, always made sure I didnt have to carry anything etc. So I wondered if that was the real him and I brought out this horrible person. He was great to others and very compassionate to them (Im starting to think he was that way because it made HIM feel good to get the “youre such a great person” thing).

        There have been comments about splitting and I know my ex did that AT TIMES. He even did it when he spoke about the most recent OW/baby momma. But I wonder, do borderlines always split? My ex didnt do it ALL the time… he did have moments of being a great guy and thats what I held on to.

        I truly believe he wants to be a good person and thats what/who I used to see… the guy he wanted to be. Unfortunately I just dont think he can be a good person for long periods of time.

      • Yep. My ex rubbed my back nearly every night, he never once failed to thank me for cooking dinner, he did things around the house, he bought me nice gifts for special occasions.

        But he also cheated more than anyone I’ve ever heard of, lied to me constantly, gaslighted and manipulated me, financially devastated me and blamed me for the bad things he did.

        • I think a lot of us try to reconcile the good parts of our exes or STBxs because if we admit that they’re all bad then we have to admit that we fell in love with someone who was bad. And then that makes it seem like it’s somehow our fault. As I think Baci said below ” Just remember they own the affair 100% and everything that goes with it.”
          My STBX had some amazing qualities. He did some very sweet things. But he is not a good person. A good person has integrity. And I’d also argue that he didn’t love me. Love is not a feeling. It’s an action. A loving person does not treat another like shit. If you love someone you do not lie, cheat, gaslight, and abuse. A person is not their words a person is their actions.

          “I truly believe he wants to be a good person and thats what/who I used to see… the guy he wanted to be”. No, he wants to LOOK like a good person. Someone who truly wants to be a good person will.

          What did CL say..? Codependency is the addiction to the potential of things. Something like that.

          • This a thousand times, this!!! My STBX did many incredibly nice things. He wants to be loved. He wants people to think he is great. Only I got to see the crappy stuff, but he did just enough really nice and thoughtful stuff to keep me here. We aren’t dumb. They aren’t outwardly monsters. They wear masks really, really well.

            • I agree with the mask bit. It is amazing how when we step out of the situation how much more we see. My mother had cancer, a rare female cancer and battled it for nine years. She died in her late 50’s about 7 years ago. Fast forward four years from her death…. Well XH had a 30 something co worker whom he had worked with for only like four years who had cancer. Boy did XH do everything in his power to boost his own image. I later found out that this was during his affair. He headed up the sheriff’s department coworkers to sponser serveral fundraisers for the coworker and his wife. They shaved their heads for donations, he ordered tons of the rubber bracelets and sold them for donatioons, help set up a bank account for him and so on. Even last year after the coworker passed a bunch of them ran a race in his honor. By all means, I think it is great to help and honor those who have been affected by such horrible disease. My problem with this is that he did absolutely nothing in regards to my mothers/ his MIL’s death. There was no fundraiser to pay her bills, no race in her honor, nothing…..I guess family was not a big enough audience for him and he wanted more kibbles from the outside world. It is really sad if you ask me….

      • Yes, sunshine, mine would do all these gestures too, and then immediately fish for praise. He would send flowers to my work and then want to know every detail of how my coworkers reacted. Once, toward the end, I was sick and he went to the grocery store late at night and practically bought out the pharmacy aisle. Next time I went to the cashier he used she was gushing about what a loving husband I have because he sold himself for praise. I had to tell her we were broken up due to his infidelity. She couldn’t believe it.

        Then there are the times he couldn’t maintain his facade (far more frequent). When I was sick on our honeymoon (throwing up) and he gave me the silent treatment because I was ruining his good time. When I was in a tremendous amount of pain after having our first child (fourth degree tear) and he accused me of milking it and robbing him of happy first days of fatherhood. When I was eight months pregnant and he asked me to carry in his very heavy hockey bag after a game because he was too tired (I literally had to drag it across the lawn. Why did I do that?!). When I told him I was in labor (I have short labors) and he just sat down and started a video game marathon. I guess I could keep going all day.

        So anyway, when I read CL’s story of her current H buying expensive room service tea, I could totally see my ex doing that. Money was nothing to him. He lived like he was loaded. So I have to remind myself of the other stuff to make it all make sense.

        • Mine was the “perfect” gentleman….ran to hold a door, opened my car door for me, stood when I left or came back to the table at the restaurant. And he would regale everyone (and I mean everyone including his hairdresser, the janitor, his business colleagues, casual friends) with how much he “adored” me and our beautiful children. He sent flowers, bought expensive gifts, told me every day that he loved me, always had to kiss me goodbye. Then, when I would run into a mutual acquaintance in our smallish town, I would then be bombarded with how adorable my husband was and how much he loved me.

          Only one problem– he had been cheating on me, including having unprotected group sex, with family friends/co-workers for at least 17 years of our 25 year marriage.

          After D-Day, I could only conclude that these were the gestures of a con-man, gestures that were used to loll me into a false sense of security and keep me from asking questions, gestures that would encourage one and all to believe he was the man he pretended to be.

          But he was not, is not, and will never be that man.

          • But Kelly, would he do these nice things for you in private, and keep his chivalrous behaviors to himself? Or would he brag about how well he treats you to swooning females? See, there’s a payoff. Mine was not the least bit shy about telling strangers what an amazing hubby he was, because he knew it would get him attention. Sometimes he would even make things up to avoid obligations, like telling people I was having contractions and he had to take care of me. He had no shame about doing this in front of me.

            • JBaby– Mostly to swooning strangers….although being that my ex found himself to be the most important and interesting man in the world he also was not above impressing himself (which he did quite often and thoroughly).

          • Kelly, I thought my husband was the kindest most gentlemanly guy in the world for ten whole years. He really did do nice things for me – and he did them when no one was looking. He didn’t do it for cheater kibble, he did for cheater currency. In his mind, if he treated me like a queen, it gave him all kinds of chump change to spend on his ho-workers. He always prided himself in reminding me that he only did “nice” things for me. I think some of these guys compartmentalize so well that they don’t understand why we can’t be the “good” ones and the ho-workers be the “bad” ones. Sick stuff, and not my tribe.

            • Danette, my ex soooo compartmentalized. I never knew what to call it, thsnk you for putting your finger on it. We split after 25 years of marriage, when I learned he had cheated on me for decades, all unprotected sex, affairs and group sex, with co workers and family friends.

              Yet after D-Day, he actually said to me: “But I took care of you and was good to you last summer when you were recovering from surgery”. The summer before I had a hysterectomy, no complications, no big deal. I just looked at him like, what does one have to do with the other? You’re a sick fraud. But he touted this to some of his co-workers and friends as a sign that he wasn’t really such a bad husband.

      • Sunshine, Kristina, GIT, et al. – Back rubs? Lunch dates? Flowers ‘just because’? I’m sorry, it’s like you’re speaking a foreign language to me. My cheater ALWAYS put himself first, so I never got fun surprises, unexpected gifts, or anything else like that. It never crossed his mind to make things easier on me, especially after the kids were born.

        I honestly don’t know what I’d do with a thoughtful, considerate man. Probably spend most of my time wondering when the other shoe would drop….

        • “I honestly don’t know what I’d do with a thoughtful, considerate man. Probably spend most of my time wondering when the other shoe would drop….”

          No shit Red, I’d be doing the same thing.

          • I recently started going out with a man who so far seems to be normal, decent and kind. I totally feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop…… I assume that there must be SOMETHING wrong with this guy, and it’s only a matter of time before I get hit with the whammy…… Sometimes I wonder if I will ever trust a man again, or be able to really let myself be loved without constantly wondering if he’s hiding a double life of some sort. I’ve come to realize I don’t even know what normal IS, and that makes it very scary to date again, after never having been with any man except my ex.

            • Glad, give yourself time, I felt the same way. The one thing I’ve said before here but will say again, is that early on after my D-Day I decided that the last story in my romantic life was NOT going to be the disgusting story of what my ex did to me, that I was not going to go to my grave alone and unloved. So you take a chance you could be hurt again. And there are weeks and months of dating where you wait for a shoe to drop. But after a while, you see the stunning differences between real and fake (and will wonder like me how you were fooled by your con-man ex for so long). There are good people out there and we chumps can and will find them.

        • Ok so my ex was nice but not like any of that! I mean he would change my oil or do things around the house but not dote on me (well maybe in the beginning but very rare after). There was a post CL did I think describing things to watch out ofor or what should have triggered red flags. One of them was gift giving. My ex SUCKED at this (again with a few exceptions). He was good at sending flowers on special occasions but thats about it. He was very affectionate though (on his good days). We did have a preiod that he was trying to do nice gestures for me (but I think it became too much work or something because it died off) but not the whole back rub picking something up for me “just because” stuff.

          Geez after rereading this it looks as though what I thought was so sweet about him was very much the exception… not the norm.

    • I did discover a whole new adventure. After the failed relationship, I didn’t think that I would ever find someone else, but I did. It is possible.

  • My ex-wife tried to give me closure speech. It was word salad, the kind you get at a cheap buffet with a plastic sneeze guard and plastic tongs and fake bacon bits and bottled dressing.

    Within a minutes I couldn’t contain my laughter, I laughed so hard my stomach ached and it was surreal. Well, she didn’t take kindly to my reaction as she believed she was reciting Cheater Shakespeare.

    The only thing that was of any closure was the door that I shut in her face.

  • It’s been so difficult to come to terms with this. I thought he was my best friend and would always have my back. In the end I was sleeping with the enemy and had no idea what he was capable of. It was all fraud. All the love and emotion I really thought we shared was nothing but a mirage. I just keep telling myself he is totally disordered. And I am, even though I don’t feel like it, really fortunate that I found out when I did and never married him.
    After a year he continued to lie to me and still carried on with the AP even though he knew it had caused me such devastation. And he loved me? I will never understand how they can utter those words after knowing what they have done.
    Totally disordered – someone like CL says could never give me any kind of closure just more and more lies and deceit. I don’t know how he looks in the mirror and faces himself…

    • Here’s a perfect description i read of how they can look themselves in the mirror:
      “When a narcissist looks in the mirror and sees something they don’t like, they wash the mirror.”
      Wow. Yes, indeed.

      • Yeah, or they discard us. Once we know their secrets we become uncomfortable mirrors. When we can’t be gaslighted anymore than we become a mirror that can’t be washed either. Frustrating for them when we don’t reflect back their narc sense of self.

          • Haha, yeah in the beginning they’re (the narcs) like …
            “I like me and you like me. You’re my soulmate.” Ha, I get it now. My stupid STBX was in love with me for being in love with him.

            • Yes, thats about it, we’re in their fan club, we’re so smart!
              I saw one of X’s former employers yesterday, and when I mentioned we had divorced he made an unsolicited comment ‘well, it was always all about him, wasn’t it?’. I didn’t know it showed so much to other people! Actually made me laugh later, he wasn’t very good at hiding it after all!

            • A part of me thinks deep down they dont like themselves. Thats why they need mirrors.

    • I feel the same way as you do. Someone I thought was my best friend just turns around and stabbed in the back, all the while planning a dream wedding with me.

      The only thing I keep thinking is, would I prefer living a mirage where I think everything’s great and i have a great love (like the matrix) or live in the real world where I know reality from falsehood even though it’s lonely (at least in the beginning).

      I have no doubt u prefer the reality. Then I smile, try to forget the virtual reality and try to concentrate on getting a good life which is real !

  • This is so true. I decided a long time ago to stop worrying about closure. At some point (a Tuesday many moons ago) I realized that he was never going to be truly sorry and it didn’t matter anymore. I don’t want his apologies. Fake or otherwise. And I don’t care to hear why he did it. Because I already know. Because he could. Because he decided he deserved to. Because he decided to change the terms of our relationship from exclusive to open without bothering to ask or tell me, because he just felt like he was in charge and my feelings didn’t matter.

    Yah, that sucks. It’s incredibly painful. But it’s the truth, and there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it. He is just that full of his own shit.

    But the best part is it’s not my problem anymore. And it was easy to let go once I realized that I was never going to get a true apology. No more than I was going to get a giant, neon green mongoose for a pet, or be 17 again. What’s the point of chasing after something that is simply, straight up NEVER going to happen? It’s such a waste of energy.

    Plus the only apology I would accept from him now is pretty much him getting on his knees in a nuclear waste puddle and detailing every nasty horrible thing he did to me down to the last “Poor stupid Kara” joke. (No shitting. He said that. Often. “Poor stupid Kara.” Seemed like it was his favorite…)

    But I know what I can reach for that WILL happen. And that is to keep having a happier, better life with a better man.

  • LOL.

    That Stephen Benedict-Mason post on HP got me thinking and re-examining the available literature and evidence about pair bonding among humans in general (perhaps I should write him a Thank You note for inspiring a little careful thinking to his insipid post?) and about infidelity among hunter gather bands more specifically and about how long our species has dealt with infidelity vs fidelity, heartbreak, and so on.

    What I got out of that whole exercise is that not everybody pair bonds in the same way or to the same degree, that some people will engage in covert or even overt infidelity, that infidelity often ends marriages and invokes strong emotional responses to the point that sometimes homicide is the result, and this has probably pretty much how things have been for our species for throughout the majority of our species’ existence. BIG DOH! Moment: not everybody is monogamous, some people will cheat (probably even a large minority of people).

    I also came across neuroscience research related to vasopressin receptor polymorphism and the role they play in influencing pair bonding and monogamy among Voles (mice like creatures), so there may even be a biological component that has some role in influencing monogamist behaviors, though the degree to which biology and environment might influence humans is at-best speculative.

    So what does this imply, I wondered, if you do pair bond (and do it deeply)? Yeah, probably should stay away from people who don’t. 😉

    • Bad editing as usual:

      “a little careful thinking [in response ] to his insipid post”

      and “polymorphism[s]”.

      I think that’s it for the corrections 🙂

    • TimeHeals, I loved this info! But the BIG problem we’ve all gone through is that our narc ex’s don’t just ‘not pair bond in the usual way’; they actively look for a partner who does, cultivate that person’s tendency to bond, then take advantage of that bond, again and again. It’s the deception that’s the problem!

      And non-monogamous people who are honest live very different kinds of lives than that, once they grow up. I’m thinking here of George Clooney, who, as far as I can tell, has totally taken on the serial-monogamist life-style. He openly declares that marriage is not for him, his relationships last around 2 years, and then he moves on, apparently honestly.

      But this does make it especially important to figure out whether any potential partner does really bond or not. Can’t ask that ‘have you ever cheated?’ question on the first date, for sure. Only the MOST disordered will be honest about having cheated in the past (because they actually think there’s nothing wrong w/it, or they’ve ‘learned better’ or ‘it’ll be different with you, because YOU I really love’). I’m still working on how to check this one out.

      • My ex cheated on his ex-wife and admitted that when we were dating. I believed him when he said it was because he wasn’t sexually satisfied with her. I was a super chump and believed like you said it would be different with us because he loved me more and we didn’t have that problem. It didn’t turn out that way. He ended up cheating on me a year later. Now he is with the other woman. These people don’t change. They enjoy hurting others and really have no capacity for real love or intimacy. I struggle that he is with the OW every day. It hurts. But then I tell myself she is just the other victim. And she will soon his true nature. I guess I should feel grateful. Working on that every day.

        • Im with you on this one Gotogetbetter. Yes, Im sad about all that has happened to me over the years; but what bothers me most is that he is with her, not that hes not with me. Not sure why, maybe its an ego thing. How could you choose that after all Ive done for you? I know she doesnt do near as much as I did so why her? Just because she “listened and understands” you? I did that too in the beginning, its easy to do that when you dont have background information.

          I do know if she didnt end up getting pregnant we most likely would have been back together, so maybe its a blessing a disguise. But regardless it still hurts that within about 5 months he met her, moved in, got her pregnant, got engaged, bought a newtruck, merged bank accounts, etc. He said he wasnt happy with her (” its not horrible but its not great either. Its not that I treat her great, Im just not bad to her.” Hes her little do-boy and he enjoys having a cushier life with a lot of “stuff”. He likes it because it takes his mind off the the shitty situation, to my way of thinking) But how can you do all of that if thats not what youre wanting?

          He used to tell me She was his karma, because he realized how difficult it was to be in a relationship with himself; I very much doubt that and he could only hope thats all the karma hes going to get.

          • “its not horrible but its not great either. Its not that I treat her great, Im just not bad to her.”

            :/ Yah…like that makes it any better. I wonder what his definition of “not bad to her” means. That just…christ there’s not even a word I can think of to describe that kind of fuckery.

            • My guess is because the relationship is new he hasnt completely fucked her over so everyone in their lives are probably doing the whole, “Look what a great guy he is, hes marrying her, he does everything around the house for her, hes so good looking and hes going to be a great Dad! Oh, shes emotional and complaining about his ex and look at him standing by her side and sticking through her tantrums” (little does anyone know he was coming back the whole time saying she was a bitch, she was no prize, he liked her sister more than he did her, he wanted to come back, etc. Then he would go with the “its not horrible but its not great either. Its not that I treat her great, Im just not bad to her”, we stopped talking, he gets engaged, she still aparently had a problem with me, then they would fight again, she sucks, then she would be ok and bearable and its just the hormones and round and round he went). Everyone is portraying a pleasant mirror for him to look into at the moment so why wouldnt he stay?

              I feel bad for the baby but nothing makes me feel bad for her. For shit’s sake, she has a Phd in psych for drug addiction and in the beginning he was popping so many valuum and drinking it was crazy. She knew it and just hid them. He stopped but for someone that knows a lot about a situation she certainly truns her head the other way for the sake of being “innocent”.

              My guess is “Its not that I treat her great, Im just not bad to her.” Probably in his mind means she doesnt push me the way you did so I havent hit her, screamed in her face, broken walls, dishes , phones, pictures, I havent cut my self in fron of her (although I know he did cut himself at least once when he was living there, but I guess not in front of her) etc. The last time I spoke to him he was apologizing for everything in the past and said that he thinks he was just a bad person BACK THEN. Of course! Now that Im gone youre a better person. He pulled that crap in regards to how he treated our puppies. When he got mad at them he used to hit them so hard and throw them across the floor, over something that did not deserve any of that treatment. I would yell and cry asking him to stop and he would say, “you make things so much worse. Im only this way with them because you let them get away with stuff. I dont even feel connected to them because you let them do what they want!” (not true but whatever) When I moved out and they were staying with him he “felt much more connected with them, they are better behaved and he plays with them all the time (we were still dating and trying to work things out when I moved out). It was all my fault. He even told my that the only issue him and the baby momma have is me. He actually found a way to blame me for is new relationship. Shocker. Im sorry but the fact that you guys arent even in love with each other and talk about breaking up and you say this crap about her? Im guessing there are more issues there. But when I brought that up all of those “bad” things he used to tell me went away and “its only because shes hormonal”. Im their only REAL issue.

              I think the fact that he tried to come back multiple times is cheating in and of itself. It gave me a look into how he probably spoke about me to others also.

            • My ex boyfriend told me that he was seeing someone new and that she liked him and he was emotionally unavailable for her! LMAO

          • Kristina: What bothers you the most is that Dr. Baby Mama has the life that you most likely still want: Engaged and living with your ex with merged bank accounts. Because for some reason you’re STILL emotionally tied to him after everything he’s put you through.

            I’m sorry that he’s still taking up so much of your emotional and mental real estate, but as I (and others) advised you over the summer: You need to cut ALL ties with your asshole ex and go COMPLETELY no contact.

            Your stream-of-consciousness rant that you wrote below suggests that you’re still in the heartbroken, pick-me place. And the fact that you can re-print conversations that you weren’t privy to almost VERBATIM and recall events that you didn’t witness shows that: a) You’re unwilling to Trust That He Sucks; b) He’s content to keep you on the hook and pop back into your life every few weeks to feed you intimate details of his toxic relationship that aren’t really any of your concern (read: hits off the HopiumPipe).

            And like a Chump, you’re (literally) taking every single solitary hint of dissonance that plagues the new Happy Couple as a sign that he Did The Wrong Thing and that you two were Meant To Be.

            Please go back and read CL’s excellent essays on Cake, the Pick-Me Dance, Ego Kibbles, etc. And please re-read the essay above where CL outlines how cheaters thrive on STILL having centrality in their Chumps lives, even months or years after the fact. Can’t you see that this applies to your situation to a T?

            As for Karma—how can you NOT realize that Karma has already come to collect?!?! He’s known Dr. Baby Mama for five minutes and already they’re shacking up AND she’s pregnant with his kid?! How is that NOT a recipe for disaster?

            Yet you seem intent to keep tabs on the two of them and wait for the runaway train to go off the rails, which is the last thing you should be doing right now. Believe me when I tell you that nothing bad that happens to them will ever heal the wounds he inflicted upon you. Whether they Live Happily Ever After or he ends up in jail for spousal abuse or reneging on child support (sounds like he’s capable of both), he’s her problem now, not to mention the fact that you totally dodged a bullet! Would YOU want to be the woman giving birth to this asshole’s kid??

            Kristina, you have to promise yourself that you’re not going to try to untangle his skein of fuckupedness anymore. The way you deconstructed his thoughts below in a first-person narrative AND played the guessing game in the subsequent paragraphs speaks to your shattered emotional state. But you need to pull yourself out of that. Believe me when I tell you that this is a puzzle that you won’t ever be able to solve. That’s what CL means when she says that closure isn’t possible.

            You can’t allow your heart to break all over again just because the bed he made for himself seems way too comfy. I know you think he deserves to feel every inch of the emotional pain he’s inflicted on you, but Dr. Baby Mama or no Dr. Baby Mama, it doesn’t sound like he’s even remotely capable of anything resembling remorse (Kicking PUPPIES?!! Fucking REALLY?!?! And then blaming YOU for it?!).

            We’re all Chumps here. I love reading everybody’s input and offering my own two cents when necessary. So it breaks MY heart when I read about a Chump who seems content to put her life on hold and sit by the tracks waiting for the Karma Train to come barreling through the Sparkly Home your ex has made with Dr. Baby Mama. Karma will get him, all right, but the idea is that: a) You won’t be there to witness it. Because: b) You’ll be out living a happy life and in a REAL (read: adult) relationship with a man who truly loves and cares about you.

            It’s not going to happen overnight, but believe me that Meh is VERY possible. <3 <3

            • Count me in with Kristina I am afraid. Still devastated, so I will read what you write with care.

              I MUST get over this. The land of ‘Meh’ is very very far away.

            • Thank you for the post Chris. Everything you said is basically right except for wanting to be back. Yes, I do constantly question how come it wasnt enough, whey did he choose that path?Before all of this a absolutely 100% (and even a little into this whole messed up situation) wanted him back, I think in some way to feel “good enough”. After this, I dont even think about wanting him back anymore, I think its a hurt/ego thing: why the hell was she good enough and I tried so hard for so long and I was never it (well half the time I was heaven on earth, the other I was a “cancer” to him)?

              I remember speaking to his step mom about his “moodiness” and trying to handle it. Her response to me was, “Thats how the (insert last name) are. when they are in a bad mood or are being nasty you just remove yourself from them and stay wawy from them and lead a seperate life from them until they snap out of it (no offense, but maybe this is easier when you dont have a job, all your kids are grown, and you teach kundahlini yoga at your liesure in your guest house, but when you have a hard day at work or whatever, and you cannot speak to your SO its hard and lonely). If you dont it completely sucks the energy out of you. If you arent strong enough to do that then maybe you are not right for him.” So I kept trying to be “stronger” but if I left him alone, he felt abandoned, if I kept asking him what was wrong I would drive him crazy and make things worse. Either way he cheated. Or I remember when he was upset or told me to leave or get the f out or whatever it was that he was screaming, he told me to just simply and calmly say “I know you dont mean that and youre just hurt” (this took a while to come… thats hard to sit through. If I left he was soo upset and told me that showed him that Im not in it and I should have tried to make it better not piss him off more by leaving). How come no one else has to do that for him?

              My friend and his bf told me the same, “you dodged a bullet!” (cutest couple btw, they are polar opposites but compliment eachother perfectly. I need to find something like what they have). But unfortunately, it feels like a got shot instead, robbed and shot actually.

              I wish I felt like Karma came already… he always wanted a big house, wanted to be married already with kids (hes wanted to to have kids since like maybe 2 years ago when I was 22), wanted a truck. He got all of it, including more. I was left with the mess.

              You are completely right with, “Im unwilling to trust that he sucks”. I try… I have moments of it, but I still fear that maybe he was right and”he wasnt that person”. On all accounts, I look like Im doing good: I go out, putting more energy into my career, taking care of my puppies, eating better, getting back into the non invasive beauty industry (lasers,chemical peels, fillers, yada yada). I dont talk about him all that much and Ive even been out on a date. Its the inside insecurities that I am struggling with. I have moments of stregnth. Ive blocked his number. Im in the process of transferring my email address (my current one has his last name in it). Im one of those people that I can take A LOT, but if you sert off my trigger, you know Im not going to fold. My last interaction was that. Yes, I do like to hear that they are miserable but I know youre right in the sense that will never make me truly feel better about the injustice done to me. I need to get past that. Thank you Chris.

        • “My ex cheated on his ex-wife and admitted that when we were dating. I believed him when he said it was because he wasn’t sexually satisfied with her. I was a super chump and believed like you said it would be different with us because he loved me more and we didn’t have that problem.”

          One of the many myths out there about cheating…that it was justified because there was something wrong with the sex life rather than there’s something wrong with the disordered bastard who did the cheating.

          I think CL should do a common cheating beliefs and myths post.
          Myths cheaters use to justify
          We live in separate bedrooms
          We never have sex
          There’s two sides to every story
          etc… nauseam

          Things we’re told about cheating
          It can make marriages stronger
          The spouse/other partner is at least partially responsible
          Blah blah blah

          • If you are hung up on your ex being with the AP but don’t want him, then it seems to me you are still suffering from the “you’re so special” syndrome. In other words, you internalized the bullshit your cheater gave you about how ze would be so much better with you because ze’s ex wasn’t good for them. Usually the asshole says they were crazy in a variety of ways, take your pick and now they are blaming you in the same way they blamed every other person they were ever with.

        • Yes, I had knowledge that both my XWs had been OWs to married guys before.
          My own hubris played a large role in my not running from them.

  • Ah, yes, the why.
    Well, in the middle of couples therapy, exH finally admitted to the suspected affair of 13 yrs previously. He said “want to know why? We only talked about work, and she was interesting…..”
    Yup, permission to cheat.
    As for the final affair… The marriage was long over, so it is not cheating. Uh, huh. Funny, you forgot to tell me that!

    • I sometimes wonder if the reason they take so long to fess up (or not) is because they really have no reason and their little pea-brains actually take that long to invent one.

      And sometimes, even after 13 years, they still can’t come up with anything creative.

      • Yup, just excuses. Just painful for daughter because it is he said/she said. I say he had a girlfriend before we decided the marriage was over, he said the marriage was already over. (That is basically all I have said at this point). But exH also had her keep a VERY BIG SECRET from me, which adds to the pain.

        As for the interesting part… I have one of the most interesting jobs on the planet (according to all strangers that I meet), he just likes helping damsels in distress and obtaining those strokes.

        • If he had her keep the affair a secret from you, she must realize that he had a girlfriend before you had decided the marriage was over.

          • The secret was trying to move the girlfriend in, pregnant, while I was out of the country for an extended work trip. this while he had sole custody, and our divorce agreement said no romantic partners overnight. This was also before the divorce was official. So, he told daughter girlfriend was moving in, pregnant, and at that point I did know girlfriend was pregnant, nor did I know the kids knew about her, as she lived across the country.

            • Oops, did NOT know about the pregnancy.

              In the end, girlfriend did not move in, and I did not find out for another 6 months that daughter was told to keep this secret.

              ExH is simply clueless about how his behavior affects the kids.
              Kids seem fine, so all is fine!

  • I can’t speak for every chump, and my cheater seems more disordered than savvy, but I sure know what it’s like to seek an explanation from someone who’s not capable of offering one. I played that tape a hundred times, and without fail the justification just left me deeper in the miasma of his fuckedupedness. How do you get closure from someone who doesn’t have a moral compass? Whose victim racket drowns out all possibility of empathetic reasoning? The answer is you don’t. I spent a couple of years trying to talk to (at) my husband, trying to make sense of it all. The hard cold reality is that he despises me for blowing apart his secret life and thinks I should appreciate every time he ever changed a light bulb. On his wacko scale of whodo, he’s the Great Provider who deserved his ho-worker harem – after all, it was just sex, he never changed a light bulb for them!. What more do I need to know? I actually feel sorry for him now – but I will never, ever, ever, ever let him rent space in my heart or my head again.

    • Oh yes the “look at all the amazing things I did for you” entitlement theory. And by “all the amazing things I did for you” he meant all the shit that grown ups are supposed to do… like go to work (as a bartender, where he was able to be super sparkly and fawned over), or taking the trash out (which he barely did), or talking about doing home improvement project (but never actually doing them), or changing a fucking lightbulb (he DID probably do that more than I did). And because I didn’t fall down at his feet every single time he did something that wasn’t on his agenda of eating, sleeping and shitting, he had every right to get his “needs” met by someone who appreciates his grandiosity. Silly me!

      • You mean to tell me that other cheaters want to be held in high esteem for doing basic shit? You mean that the Baboon’s Ass isn’t even original in that respect? Who knew?

        It’s all about a sense of entitlement and creating lowered expectations in us Chumps. It’s just another layer of the abuse. I was convinced but confused as to why no matter what I did it wasn’t anything special and somehow I wasn’t doing enough, but no matter how little he did, it was always so much more than he should have done or been expected to do. I felt like I was living in some type of parallel universe. I knew I was doing a shitload of everything (working a full time job, doing most of the care of the children, volunteering at the kids’ school(s), doing practically all of the housework, sharing the cooking – you get the picture), but he was always very dismissive and asking me why I didn’t do (fill in the blank). When I would explain to him that I really didn’t see how I would fit it into my already full schedule, I would be given the “low achiever” look as if I was a disappointment to him.

        Of course, he felt he should be given an award and I should kneel down and kiss his shoes if he stopped at the grocery store on his way home from work.

        Yep, I was living with a flaming turd from Satan’s ass.

    • Aside from the “look at all the things I did for you”crap, there’s the “look at all the things I don’t do with them! …..but I still need them anyway…” argument.

      I got that too. When I tried to talk to my ex about his porn addiction, I got these ridiculous speeches about how he “can’t tell the porn stars he loves them, can’t snuggle with them or care for them when they are sick!” …So what? Doesn’t make it any less insulting when you tell me you don’t want to have sex because you already blew your load watching porn…

    • AMEN!

      I think you and I have the same disordered cheater, but this is sooo absolutely PERFECT!

      “The hard cold reality is that he despises me for blowing apart his secret life and thinks I should appreciate every time he ever changed a light bulb. On his wacko scale of whodo, he’s the Great Provider who deserved his ho-worker harem – after all, it was just sex, he never changed a light bulb for them!”

      Like hello I took out the trash that one night in February after you harassed me for 4 hours ISNT THAT ENOUGH?????

    • “whose victim racket drowns out all possibility of empathetic reasoning”

      Well said, Danette.

      If this were tattooed on their foreheads, we might put down the spackle sooner. Or maybe not even pick it up in the first place.

    • BTW- How many Narcissists does it take to change a lightbulb?
      One, to hold onto the lightbulb while the world revolves around them!

  • I never really asked my ex why he did all that he did, and I never really had to. He was more than happy to tell me the reasons.
    He never felt enough “passion” for me.
    I held him back from following his “destiny.”
    He had been miserable every second of the marriage (news to me).
    He needed a woman who was “an extension of him.”
    He needed a family “to take to church.”

    On and on, the usual bullshit cheaters say. Just a bunch of glitter on a turd. As others have pointed out, cheaters cheat because that is what they are. There really is no reason beyond that. They have a character flaw, and part of that flaw is an inability to take responsibility for anything, constant blaming of others and an endless sense of entitlement to whatever they want, whenever they want it, with whomever they want.

    But of course, in my case, if I really needed some sense of closure, some explanation of why, I could just watch my ex flit around in that leotard. That pretty much says more than any words ever could about why we are no longer married. ; )

  • This posting reminds me of two things:

    1. The old, old joke: “Why does a dog lick its balls?” “BECAUSE IT CAN!”

    2. When my Ex’s affair was revealed too many of us engaged in the “why?” question (part of trying to untangle the skein). My brother, Paul said about my Ex: “He’s an arrogant, selfish asshole!” And in five magic words he cut to the underlying REASON for everything.

    I’m sad to say it took me far too long to accept that there was nothing really more to it than that: he’s just an arrogant, selfish asshole ~ and this is how they act. Once I internalized it, my Ex became achingly predictable and easier for me to disengage with.

  • Tracy, you are like the wise old man from the 70’s tv show ” Kung Fu” whose wisdom, common sense were rock solid.

    I get from Groceries ” I should never have got married!” ( said quietly) and also sad to our oldest son last year. Or ” I should have left years ago”. In other words when the affair began.
    Never getting married just devalues the whole relationship for everyone including her parents but most importantly our two beautiful boys who have had to witness two adults falling apart. We have both done so many things wrong. The boys have been rock solid. They just seem to deal with it.
    Of course “should have left years ago” only indicates how long the affair has been going- years and years.
    I am only really beginning to undertsand how fucked up Groceries and Chainsaw mans lives are. But they don’t care. They live in a vacuum full of entitlement , selfishness , thoughtlessness. It’s their world.
    Relationships don’t die. They just become ” meh”. Bad relationships teach us lessons. I thought I had the perfect relationship but obviously I didn’t.
    Why do these people that we loved and would sacrifice everything for turn on us. Because as Jack said” you can’t handle the truth!” We want the truth but they can’t handle it.
    Groceries can still look me in the eye as if last week and say” he thought we were separated ” you just have to run away from this or it drives you crazy!
    We chumps get the blame for everything so we have to stick together. The cheaters re write history to suit their fuckupiness. Just remember they own the affair 100% and everything that goes with it. We chumps just need to know we can live a new life without them. ( but when they live at the end of the street it can be a tad challenging!)

    BTW not all Nigel’s are cheaters!

  • First off, the graphic made me laugh out loud when I saw it this morning. Three years of trying to get the divorce to go through, I feel like that zombie looks! I’ve been trying to get away from him, but he just won’t let go.

    When I first left him, all I wanted was a reason. Why would he do this to me? I didn’t want just the affair explained, I wanted to know how he could treat me so badly. All the verbal abuse, all the emotional abuse, the gaslighting. WHY? My dream was to tie him to a chair and make him explain everything, answer every question, leave no rock unturned.

    As time went on I realized that he was the center of his own universe. It didn’t matter to him that I took care of him and the kids, worked 40 hours a week, took care of the house, paid the bills, robbed Peter to pay Paul plenty of months because he was spending money on what (and who) he wanted. I held everything together. Had to put up a good front so the family and friends believed we had the perfect marriage.

    Now, I honestly don’t give a damn about why he did what he did. He’s a narcissistic dickhead. He’ll never explain it and if he does it will be all lies. My friends and family see him for what he truly is because he continues to be a dickhead to me and especially his kids. He won’t take any responsibility for anything. He’s a pathetic POS.

    I have moved on. I continue to take care of my kids and myself. I control the spending. I see a therapist occasionally and I have great friends and family who listen to me blow off steam and enjoy poking fun at him. I have found that laughter is the best medicine. And Karma has shown up a few times to my surprise and delight.

    Now if he would only do the right thing, turnover what he needs to and sign the divorce papers, life would be that much better.

    • Margo:
      I am so happy you are getting closer to the end of being legally married to your dickhead cheating narcissistic ex-H. [I refuse from this day forward to use the word husband in my vocabulary in reference to mine.] They are are from the same planet – Planet Narctropolis! It is a place where the pig-faced narcissistic aliens (a shout out to Chump Princess) live.
      I am sure you feel the same way that I do about this – The deep pain that I felt wasn’t because of the cheating. It was because of the calculated and deliberate effort he had to put in to all of the lies, betrayal and deception. They make the choice to cheat and betray because they want to. And, then they turn around and blame us chumps for the fact that they cheated. It is all our fault to them! They also refuse to admit that they betrayed the kids too. Unbelievable!
      I am only 3 months into my divorce process, so I have a ways to go still. But, I am so happy for you that you are closer to the finish line! Yay!
      Best wishes,

      • I quit asking why long time ago as it just turned into “I wasn’t happy for a long time, I wasn’t appreciated enough, finger pointing, we don’t connect, I’ve changed, I wanted to feel something, etc etc. Blah blah blah. BLECHHH!

        When all along I (and the rest of us chumps) know why. They cheated Because they wanted to, so they did.

      • Rebecca – I’m sorry you endured a marriage to a narc and now you have to travel this road. But the farther you get away from him , the worse his aim is with the sparkle shooter! Believe me, you’ll get to the finish line too – a stronger, happier person. Its good you have this site early on in your divorce process. You couldn’t be in better company and I wish I had found it sooner.
        Everything you said about the calculated, deliberate effort to lie, betray and deceive and then blame us for it all is soooooo true. I wish we could put them all on Planet Narcropolis and let them battle each other!
        Take good care of yourself and if you need me, I’m more than happy to help:)
        Best of luck to you in this process. I’m more than happy to help if needed.

  • First – thank you all for helping me to find and regain a semblance of sanity. I was on an emotional merry-go-round…unable to understand any of the mess my life had become. I was with my ex-husband for over 30 years, put him through medical school, gave up on children because “he didn’t want them, he would be a bad father”, parked my family and friends on a back burner because he resented them and learned how to not have any needs of my own.

    I say: Thank God for the original OW – and for the next OW, and the next…they (in their own fuckedupedness) saved me from wasting the next 30 years on this sad excuse for a human being. (humorous note…the third one was my “best” friend)

    I finally had my AH HA moment when I realized that I had created a fantasy in my own mind about what our relationship and marriage had been. That’s exactly it – it was my FANTASY – not his. His reality was – and is – so much different than mine. Life is so much easier now…

    • I say: Thank God for the original OW – and for the next OW, and the next…they (in their own fuckedupedness) saved me from wasting the next 30 years on this sad excuse for a human being. (humorous note…the third one was my “best” friend)

      This is a great point!! 🙂

      • I feel the same way Kim, I wish the OW I discovered had come along many years earlier but still, she has to deal with my ex asshole now and I am free. And yes, I spackled so much that who I saw bore no resemblance to who my ex was.

  • “You weren’t meeting my needs.” – Sadly, I didn’t need to ask, my X just came out and told me.

    Your litany of reasons starting with “I was broken from my FOO issues.” actually made me laugh. It reminded me of a scene in the Blues Brothers where John Belushi’s character is running off reason after reason (at gunpoint) why he blew off his ex at their wedding, finishing it all up with “It wasn’t my fault, I swear to God!”

  • I never asked my XH “why?”, but he would offer up reasons from time to time as a part of his apology/lets-get-back-togther routine. On the day of our divorce hearing, as I was walking back to my car, he offered up something along the lines of “Just so you know, I have been diagnosed with Aspergers, and the dog’s barking (at the time of his final affair) was really stressing me out!”

    Seriously. He said that.

    For me, closure means only one thing; trust that he sucks. Yes, he truly does.

    • Wow! Barking dogs trigger affairs. I have a very loud coonhound, so no wonder my ex-husband had to sleep with someone else.

    • What do meowing cats do? Trigger extra marital homosexual encounters?

      How about squeaky hamsters? Porn addiction?

      Oh, I could just go on and on with this one..,.

    • My husband has Asperger’s. He’s trying to walk the straight and narrow, but it’s extremely difficult for both of us. Honest to gosh, you might have dodged a bullet with this. They have a very hard time being happy when they have to consider your needs. Does he freak out if he’s the least little bit uncomfortable? My husband tends to do that. He’s making an effort to subvert the freaking out, but I often feel like this is just making him miserable. (We have two small children, so there’s no choice but to consider other’s needs.)

      • Oh, I am certain that the diagnosis is accurate. There is a lot of Asperger-ish behavior in his family, and mine too. He is obsessive and very noise-phobic. He has a very limited range of interests, but is a respected expert on these specific topics. He also had almost no interest in my life or the lives of other people, and had to be coached by me to develop the habit of looking at people (waitresses, bank tellers, etc.) when they talk to him. He has few if any close friends, only admirers. Oh, and he developed a very effective work-around for being easily freaked out by everything: stay drunk all the time!

  • Well, I never thought the day would come that I would be so glad my ex had three affairs (to my knowledge) before I threw him out. No need for closure here after the final OW. He cheated because he can. End of story, no need for further explanation. I found out this week he told a mutual friend that he feels terribly about what happened. I laughed. I wanted to pull out a violin and play a sad song to accompany the rubbish. For those who believe closure would actually bring them comfort, please repeat over and over to yourself, “it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter” because it truly doesn’t. I used this mantra when my mind used to go crazy thinking of what he was doing. It always worked because it really doesn’t matter. Nowadays, I don’t even have to repeat the mantra because I don’t care.

    I tried that closure bit in his two previous affairs – I ended up going nuts because there was never an answer that could satisfy me. Looking back, chumps can’t comprehend because cheaters think and behave differently from us. It’s like trying to understand why some animals eat their young.

    • Well put! I tell my X that I have dicovered I’m sooo much happier and more peaceful every minute I’m away from him. And, the farther away the better, which is why I’m about to move 900 miles, yep, that’s far enough. Just to imagine never running into him, or filthy insane OW, makes me grin!

  • My stbx’s excuse was denial. After I found the list of 17 lovers (in her handwriting), after her attorney called to say it was a list of lovers generated for counseling purposes, she told the court (under oath), and me, that she never had a single affair. And has stayes on that answer through written questions under oath, and her deposition. Fortunately, I stopped asking myself why she did it.

    • Oh, and by the way, one of the 17 signed an affidavit that they had sex multiple time, once ar a Halloween party where I, our families, most of our friends, and at that point, one of our chuldren were present.

  • I have a brilliant set of counter-dates to go by: my ex husband’s birthday is replaced in full by Sinterklaas, a beautiful day for children in The Netherlands. Our anniversary is the same day I celebrate becoming officially resident here. Autumn, when I left him, is my time of renewal – not spring. I often completely forget he existed although he stole 10 years of my life. That misery is behind me. That’s my closure.

  • The non-apology that is disguised is very familiar to me. I didn’t recognize them either at the time. When the person you love is crying you hear something a bit different than what they actually say. So when he cried and said how hard it was and that it hurt so much, I thought he meant he was hurting over what he’d done to me. The reality was that he was hurting because I wouldn’t go along with his affair. He couldn’t have what he thought he deserved.

    And the words “I am sorry, I fucked up” never came out of my ex’s mouth. I thought he apologized without exactly saying any of those words, but in the end I look back and see that he never, not ever, admitted he’d done anything wrong. I’m sorry you are hurt, with a caveat that blamed me for what he’d done is the closest he ever came. Even that was followed with superlatives about how I would like the OW because “she is better than both of us”. The last time he spoke on it he was drunk enough to say: “YOU are 50% responsible for my cheating”. Those were his exact words, I won’t post what followed, I hate the C word and others that shame women.

    • Datdamwuf, my ex sent an apology but I ignored it. It didn’t matter. I knew he sent it to feel better about himself. No response, no kibbles.

      • lol, my ex’s non-apology apology email was not even a non-apology. It was a clearly passive aggressive way of getting back at me for not throwing him kibbles after HE dumped me (after I found out he’d cheated). He told me he was going to Thailand and have a threesome, but implied that he was decent enough not to meet with that girl (the prostitute gf of his) whom I had caught him having sex with… What a POS.

        • Then, after I ignored that email, he sent me a text , telling me he didn’t mean to hurt me, but that he “had told me..” etc. Basically, implying that I had hurt myself with him, not that HE had hurt me.

  • I had my closure when I found out he had cheated on me and had put me at major risk of STDs (he had done it unprotected, with a prostitute in Thailand), and then came back and had unprotected sex with me. I found the pics and videos on his phone. It was nauseating and traumatic. I still have nightmares about them to this day. And an obsessive, irrational need to get checked for STDs every month or so. But, I got my closure: I know what kind of a filthy person he is. I’ve been treated with more respect and care by random men I’ve had one night stands with in the past. Says a lot about his personality. I don’t need to know more as to why he did it, whether it was about me, my muffin top, or my “neediness”.

  • Yes! To paraphrase the Borg: “Closure is futile.” At least when it involves a cheater.

    I don’t know if my XWH cheated on me before the OW he met on Ashley Madison. I don’t think that he did, though, because before he made use of that lovely little website, I don’t think he ever had the opportunity to have an A. He’s not a guy women are attracted to. People wondered why I was with him. I never saw women flirt with him, and I don’t think that most gave him the time of day.

    Enter Ashley Madison, though, and he finally had the means to eat cake. Finally! After all those years of “not having his needs met” (yes, CL, he did use that tired old line), he found someone who willing to have an A with someone, and more importantly, with HIM.

    I think it was something he wanted to do once we started having kids and life wasn’t as “fun” anymore, but he never had the means. The only “Why?” I really ask myself now is “Why did I spackle him for so long?” I’m still thinking about that one.

    • Oh, and I must add this little gem. When he was apparently explaining to our sons why he had an A, his excuse was that “we didn’t communicate well.”

      That’s right, folks. You can have an affair when you’re having trouble communicating with your spouse and THEN use it as an excuse to justify your asshattery to your children!

      And funny, even if that were an excuse, I don’t seem to remember any endless, stony silences between us or ugly fights because we weren’t on the same page. In fact, we were even having sex, so yeah… Daddy had an A because he could, boys, and because he LOVES eating cake! 🙁

  • I tried the closure route too! After a 20 year marriage I was entitled to that at least. I work for the government. So we get free marriage counseling. I gave her the toll free number. She never called even after 2 months. Thats when I packed my bags. What a bitch!

  • I did a dumb thing and asked for “closure.” STBX said I’d need to find it for myself. Finally, some truth but at the time it stung because I thought I deserved an answer. I soon realized I was asking for something that would never happen and ended the conversation. I think it actually pleased him that I was so upset!

    I do remember hearing things like “we grew apart” and “we wanted different things.” It’s the same old crap they spew. It’s pointless.

    Now, 6 months out from Dday, I realize that it was his choice to have an affair, not mine. He was responsible 100% for it and it had nothing to do with me. He wanted to have it and so he did. He lied to me over and over, dismissed me and then blamed me for his unhappiness. And it is a simple fact that the man will continue to lie, minimize and blame. I’m learning to not be surprised by this.

    Closure is having a good life without them.

    • I asked my ex for closure– in the weeks after D-Day he would not tell me or our children where he was or why he did what he did for so long. I was stunned, brutalized by the truth after so many years of lies, my life feeling like it was falling apart and forever ruined. Finally, when I begged for closure, my ex told me he never thought I’d find out and he always thought we’d be together. I suppose that’s the most honest thing he’s ever said to me before or since. It didn’t make me feel any better.

      The bottom line is what someone said above, and you have to tell yourself, “it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter” (three time’s the charm). Because it really doesn’t.

    • thensome,

      I got that too.. the CLASSIC ~ “We grew apart”…the “Marriage wasn’t working”. REALLY, how come I was never informed asshole.

      This is ALL to justify in their sick heads, that it was okay to do what they did. That their not PIGS…Sorry to say, but you ARE.

      And I say to this myself ~ “TRUST THAT THEY DO SUCK”!!

  • Curiously enough closure started for me the day I found out that my husband was living with his OW.

    He’d left ten months before, “because he didn’t like the way things were going”. I was in shock, unsure of what to do after so many years married, but believed him when he swore that there was no other woman, that he just……well, I’m sure you all know the script! I told him to leave, because there was no way I was giving up the house, and he did.

    I arranged for counselling, which didn’t last long, as he just sat there either refusing to say anything or parroting the counseller. Then it was the meetings over coffee, me getting upset, trying to get some explanation, some response out of him, and him just staring at me like a deer in the headlights.

    I finally saw a lawyer, then went about trying to negotiate a separation in a civilized and cooperative manner. That didn’t work too well either. Ten months in I was frustrated, angry, felt like I was being punished for something (what I didn’t know), and called him up. Lots of shouting, pleading, imploring, and not a lot of response. In this middle of this “conversation” some little voice inside me said, “Ask him now”. So I did.

    “Are you involved with another woman?”

    Before he had time to think he said “Yes”. I asked him how long, and there was a silence – I could almost hear him doing the calculation in his head. He gave me a date exactly one week after he moved out of the house. And in that moment it was like a brilliant tropical sunrise lit up my world, and realized I’d been had. And I also realized that all the late nights at work, the “business” trips, the lost afternoons as he “grocery shopped” for 6 hours and brought back a few things we didn’t need, were all him being a goddamned cheater.

    It took me a lot of time after that revelation before I finally filed for divorce (breaking free of chumpdom is still a long, painful process for me) but after that day there was no hope in hell of any reconciliation. My sister was brilliant, laughing when she found out about the OW and saying, “Good! at least now you don’t have to feel guilty that you aren’t taking care of him. He is her responsibility now, and you can wash your hands of him”. And I did.

    There were other affairs, of course, but at that point all I needed was one to start on the freedom road. I’ve never met his OW and have no desire to. Good riddance to bad rubbish – she can have him.

    I made one last attempt at negotiating a settlement without a lawyer, half expecting he would file first (I mean, he left me for another woman, right?). Went no contact, found Chump Lady, filed in August.

    Mediation starts on Monday. I get a weird feeling in my stomach when I think about it, wanting this to be done on Tuesday, dreading that the process will drag on and on. But at least I’ve started on the road to Meh. Whenever I start losing my resolve, I go back and read his e-mails (no apology, never once asked me how I was doing, how the kids were doing, just threats and ME-ME-ME.) The one that really does it for me is a reply to an e-mail I wrote to him after my mother died (six months after he left; she had endured a very long, debilitating illness) letting him know about the funeral. He wrote back saying he wouldn’t come because he “didn’t want to get involved in any family drama” and that darn it, I had to remember that he was really upset about my mum dying too, and that I should understand that it was too emotionally hard on him to attend….this from a man who had not visited her once during the many years that she was in the hospital or the care home.

    And I come here and read and know I am not alone, that it isn’t just me and that there will be a Tuesday. Thanks CL, and all you wonderful, wise, caring chumps. You and your stories are a big part of how I’ve gotten through this last bit with a reasonable amount of dignity and grace, and I’m sure I’ll be reading for a while yet – at least until the Tuesday my closure arrives with the final divorce papers!

    • My thoughts are with you! You nailed it, “threats and ME ME ME”–that is SO my STBX. Just empty stupid threats like “we’ll have to sell the house because rumors are going around about me and [ho-worker] and I’m going to lose my job because of it” and exposing them would be “defamation of character.” Umm, OK dude. Whatever makes you sleep at night!

      • Thanks Dani and Rachel! Writing has really helped me survive this. I raised three boys and dealing with the STBX (oh, how I long for this to just be “X”) is just like dealing with a three year old, I’ve decided. Except he is an adult, supposedly, and on the mortgage and the business and the pensions…..

        I didn’t want to go the lawyer route but I wish I had sooner. It’s like calling in the grownups, and I’m just hoping that he is forced to listen to them. At least I am getting some truth now, like a financial statement that shows he certainly isn’t in the poorhouse, in spite of what he tells me (he only cut his salary the week I filed for divorce; it had been steadily increasing until then, like the revenue for the business – fancy that). Sorry, but his claim for spousal support from me, who makes 1/3 of what he does, not an option.

        I have finally, finally learned that all he has now are empty threats, like you say Rachel, and that he is lying if his lips are moving. From now on it’s documentation and witnesses, regardless of the tantrums. He’s become just somebody that I used to know, like the Gotye song.

  • Saw an item in a store today and thought, “gee _______ would really like that for an x-mas gift”. I am still NOT at Meh even though reconciliation was false (many times) and even after he left the country to “get away from her” because he “loves us” When will I spot a gift for someone who deserves it? When will my “I want to get that for him because he’ll love it” leave me? When will I buy a gift for someone who truly deserves it and and for someone who truly loves me?

    • “When will I spot a gift for someone who deserves it? “.

      My advice: if and when this impulse strikes you, buy yourself something nice if you can afford it.

      Learn to take care of yourself too.

  • Ugh, CL everything you say is so on the money it makes me physically want to throw up! I mean that in a good way. Ha!

    You are so damn clear headed on what it all is about and it’s all true. It is that simple for them despite how much we wish it wasn’t or how simple it isn’t for us.

    It’s funny at times I have to admit to being a little jealous of how easily and speedily they move on without skipping a beat. Board completely erased and then they start the whole same dance over again and nothing changes! That’s where my jealousy stops and I see the pure crazy per Einstein of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results because the person they are with is different and that really is how it works in their mind. Then it ends in the same way. It’s comically retarded and almost like watching a Punch and Judy puppet show over and over again.

    I am going through the touch and go of Meh, some days I am Meh and some days I am angry as hell that I was fooled so badly and some days I am absolutely disgusted about who he really is and what he really does. Some days I am just so grateful he is out of my life and that I am away from that sick insanity and phoniness. Some days I feel lonely and would just love a big warm hug and kiss from someone who really does love me and who I love in return. Today was one of the latter days mentioned.

    But I am hopeful and confident that when I am fully and steadily Meh, I will meet someone wonderful.

    Someone I had gone on a date with a few months ago from a dating website who became a friend on facebook and who wasn’t a good match for me but is a nice man, posted a pic tonight of himself and his new girlfriend who he met online through a dating website and I was truly happy for them both and it gave me hope as well! It was a nice way to end the day.

    To Hope (not hopium) and Meh for all of us!!!

    …..And Goodnight!

    • “It is that simple for them despite how much we wish it wasn’t or how simple it isn’t for us.”

      Wow, Deborah, you said it exactly right. I never thought of it this way but that is EXACTLY it. They just step over our prostrate bodies, yawn and ask for a hot pocket (as CL has said), and slither on their merry way. We can’t believe they don’t care, cause we care so much and they pretended so well. So we keep asking for something, something from them to show they really did or do care….but they simply do not.

      • Kelly,
        They really are deeply, deeply disturbed and I think the meh comes when you finally and totally get that and fully grasp the reality of their sickness and stop comparing what they did to how you feel and what you thought you had together.

        There is no connection there for them at all. Their emotional pool is the size of a small wading pool . No room there for anyone else. They are like a wax figure with the same tape recording that keeps playing the same words over and over again in the same order.

        For me it’s having a hit and run with a psychopath. I can’t explain it any other way. Once the emotionally wounds heal from that realization and you sort it out for yourself and realize you are not part of the psychopathic equation at all (only they are the psychopath), in comes MEH!

        • And don’t forget to not fall for the accusations that you’re crazy too! I was so deep in his soup I was starting to believe that, he’d tell me- you’re as messed up/crazy as I am. It’s just projection, they see the world through psychopathic eyes, so maybe they do think we’re crazy. My therapist really helped with that, I’d tell her what was going on, and she’d reassure me that what I was doing was normal, and I was really coping very well. I couldn’t see it for myself, because of some MAJOR gaslighting.
          Now that I’m well on my way out, I can see how truly sick he was, glad I climbed out of that gutter before it was too late! Getting clearer day by day.

          • Oh yes, PattyToo, been there done that. 15 years ago I was concerned my ex was having affairs with two co-workers, and I just could not shake the feeling for years. In the most “loving” way possible, my ex eventually enlisted my family and some friends to help him convince me I was “crazy”, “insanely” jealous, and that I could trust him. So eventually I did. He continued in the years after to “lovingly” portray me as dependent upon him, “depressed”, “anxious,” and “crazy.” My 20 year old daughter told me she and her brothers sort of believed it after awhile, so good was her father at gaslighting and undermining me while looking loving and concerned.

            Oh, you can guess can’t you, of course he WAS having affairs with those two women, group sex, you name it, and I WASN’T crazy, he did it all along. But I wasted 15 more years of my life with that bozo till I figured it out.

            After I kicked my ex out, he went around telling everyone we split up because I had “mental problems” (project much?). Anyhow, I just told everyone the truth, and the truth won out pretty easily.

            But I will never, NEVER doubt myself and my instincts again.

            • Or your god-given sanity and common sense, something they have none of!
              Glad you escaped intact!

            • It does teach us to trust our instincts!! One of the things that pissed me off the most was that my ex tried to tell others I was jealous. My behavior was mostly me reminding my ex that certain social boundaries and lines were important in regards to how committed people interact with others. I KNEW something was off and kept trying to figure out where that feeling was coming from. My ex gaslighted me so bad I began to believe my behavior was unwarranted jealously. ARghhhh. Every time I had that kind of behavior it was because he was actually fucking around on me. I just didn’t know it.
              After I left the bastard re-friended all of his ex girlfriends on Facebook and told them he’d had to not be friends with them while we were together because I was crazy jealous. I think even in innocent circumstances that there’s no good reason to keep in contact with all of your exes but now after seeing how many affairs start on Facebook I damn sure think it was a reasonable request to leave past relationships in the past.

              • I have learned the value/reasons for social boundaries. Even my (male) counselor said to me, “grown adults should not become close friends with other grown adults of the opposite sex.” I was astonished, I thought I was being enlightened and mature when I believed my ex was only “friends” with his female co-workers, and I felt I was secure enough in my marriage to “allow” those friendships. My counselor looked at me like “how naive can you be???” And I realized I was drinking the KoolAid my ex served.

                Those social boundaries are there for a reason–either you’re playing with fire to form such close friendships with the opposite sex when you are married to someone else, or you are already cheating and hiding behind the “friendship.”

                The ultimate however is when a spouse’s righteous jealousy is used against them to browbeat them, make them (and others) question their sanity, and gaslight them.

    • Probably a little late to this, but I had to post because this is exactly where I’m at right now. I know Meh is on the horizon, but I’m not 100% there yet. DDay was April of this year, he moved out, no pick me dance, he tried to reconcile once and I told him in so many words to die in a fire (pretty sure I posted that here before). All thanks to this website, no joke! I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for CL.

      Anyway, THIS: “Some days I am just so grateful he is out of my life and that I am away from that sick insanity and phoniness. Some days I feel lonely and would just love a big warm hug and kiss from someone who really does love me and who I love in return.” This is EXACTLY how I feel. While I think I’m doing all the right things toward the path to Meh, I get these fleeting moments of sadness and loneliness, and I feel like no one will ever really love me. I know that’s not true but when you’re abandoned like that, it’s just a huge mindfuck.

      So I’m with you Deborah, all the way. Here’s to getting to that great life on the other side!

  • CL, just dropping by to say Happy Halloween. I’m loving the zombie cartoon! *Wants me some brains, brains, brains…*

  • “….They see it as kibbles. “Isn’t that sweet? Chump can’t get over me. They’re so broken up. God, I’m fabulous…””

    Made me think of Chicago. This is what they think of us:

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