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Dear Chump Lady, I feel like a sell out

Dear Chump Lady,

So here is my story:

  • 20 years married, two almost adult kids
  • Husband emotionally abusive, alcoholic NPD
  • Demanded sex once every day, then twice, then wanted 6 hours on the weekend and then complained because I wasn’t “passionate enough”
  • When I went back to school the drinking increased and the resentment (less ego kibbles and attention). Drinking escalated to a DUI that he blamed me for… HUH?

4 weeks ago
Final straw.. after having been yelled at while I was trying to sleep, the next morning I got a text from his affair that had started back in June. In July I had had some recurrent vaginal infections, No STD but amazingly they went away after he had no more access to the skank. I NEVER get infections.
That day I went and saw an attorney. I have some rights. YEAH! I am in shock but feel some control.

3-5 weeks
We have it out, he cries and apologizes, thought it was over between us when he had the affair because I was so passionless and distant (I went to school).

3 weeks ago

  • I am feeling guilty, about my contribution to our dysfunctional codependent relationship
  • I see a therapist who advises me to suggest a 3 month “truce” with conditions. My guilt feels consoled and I write up a truce with conditions…

2 weeks ago

  • So far he is holding up his end of the bargain, no drinking, no outright abuse, but walking around with a sour expression on his face.
  • Tells me I shouldn’t go to the company annual party because he is going to be drinking there and won’t be dictated to
  • Continues to blame me for everything in the marriage. Zero personal responsibility.

1 week ago


I realize I am an idiot. I deserve better than this. I didn’t cheat. I wasn’t abusive. I have no income, he has income, and my attorneys have advised me not to leave the home as my teens need stability. 80 percent of the crap in the house is his and now I have this STUPID truce and wish I had stuck to my guns! STILL stuck with him in the house. Now if I throw papers at him I am going to feel like I lied to him about the truce.



Dear Feelinglikeasellout,

These gypsies came to my door and wanted to repave my driveway. They said they needed $2,000 for supplies. So I gave them $2,000. We signed a contract. They show up last Thursday to pave my driveway, but with no supplies. I’m like “Gypsies! Hey, WTF?!” They’re like, oh, we need another $2,000. I’m like “But I gave you $2,000.” They’re like “shit happens and we’re really going to pave your driveway, but we need money. Are you stupid? Don’t you know tar costs MONEY?” Now I don’t want to hire these gypsies. I think they’re bad people. But they won’t get out of my driveway. And I feel guilty, like I should keep working with them because, you know, we have a signed contract.

Uh, Feeling — your truce doesn’t mean shit. If you want to serve him divorce papers, go right ahead. He broke the terms of the contract — your marriage — not you. You are not obliged to stay in an abusive relationship. He also broke the terms of your truce, if by truce you mean he quits drinking and quits being an abusive dickhead. You just wrote that he intends to go to a holiday party without you so he can drink. (Gee, don’t you want to be the marriage police AND the booze police?) Continuing to blame you for everything IS emotional abuse. So he’s a loser on both counts.

There is NOTHING here to feel bad about. Get unstuck soonest! If you’re married, half of his income is your income. Whatever was purchased while you were married, half of that is yours. Do what your lawyers advise to get out of this marriage safely and legally. But he has a DUI, I would think you could convince a judge you had to leave.

Please, please, please don’t feel guilty. If he’s a drinker, have you tried Al Anon? This whole cycle of not leaving because you feel responsible for them is common with chumps and codependents of addicts. (I’m sure there’s a lot of overlap in our ven diagrams.) He’s not your responsibility. YOU are your responsibility — you and your kids. Time to emancipate yourself.

Looking over that list — when did you feel the best? When did you write YEA!? When you stood up for yourself and saw a lawyer. Encourage that woman. Feed her. Quit feeding him.

You don’t have a contract, or a truce. You have a mean drunk who won’t even take his wife to a Christmas party. He can’t even sustain two weeks of “good” behavior. What do you think the rest of your life is going to look like? Please go. And don’t look back.


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  • I’m so glad that you’ve found this safe place – there is so much wisdom and compassion here. Soak it in, turn off HIS words, and think for yourself – you can do this.

    What strikes me so often here is that “we chumps” – after all the cheating, abuse, and lies – still hold ourselves to a high standard of honoring our word (this “contract”) and our vows, even when our partners have completely sh*$# on everything sacred. Hold on to your integrity, but realize HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY. He’s already broken the contract – more than once. He will continue to lie, blame you, pout, and drink. And it will be a beautiful kiss of fresh air the day you realize –
    1) You can’t change him
    2) He doesn’t want to change
    3) None of his issues are your fault or responsibility
    4) You have a whole new life waiting for you.

    You can do this.

    • I think one of the reasons we hold ourselves to the high standards, is the hope that our partner will see that, and do the same. Chumps are eternally hopeful. Sad truth, we can model upright behavior forever, and the cheater/addict/Narc won’t pick up on that and do the same. I’d say in my case, he must have felt it gave him the right to be an asshole, and I was going to take care of doing the right thing!

      • PattyToo,
        Exact same thing happened to me. My boundaries kept on moving until they became non-existent. A man of the cloth told me to leave him but added, “If you decide not to, please have higher standards.” And I just told him my story during one meeting! He saw clearly the crap I could not see for years in less than half an hour. This from someone who is supposed to encourage “standing up for your marriage.” I bet he has seen enough of the destruction that infidelity causes that he pretty much told me to run.

  • FLIS,

    Welcome, and sorry you had to join this sucky club.

    Look, reconciliation is a gift. Always, and in all circumstances. You *never* owe it to anyone, and you can’t *contract* your way into reconciliation anymore than you can contract your way into true love or being able to flap your arms and fly.

    You gave reconciliation your best shot. You tried. It didn’t work (largely, it appears, because your cheater isn’t truly remorseful). You have no duty to continue to suffer. There’s no shame in reconciliation not working, anymore than there is shame in being unable to swim to the Philippines and rescue victims of the Typhoon. What you were attempting is really kind of superhuman and very risky to your health.

    Listen to CL. Save yourself. Go find the better life that’s out there.

    Wishing you strength for the journey.

    • I agree with all of this Nomar.

      My “reconciliation” was a farce. He was still cheating. At first I thought that if I tried harder, it might have worked. I was doing all the work and he was deciding if I was worthy.

      IMO, therapists need to catch up to the reality of the devastation cheating causes. We still have therapists who “protect” cheaters because they are legally obligated to confidentiality and yet, we, the betrayed, are denied the right to truth. This is a system that needs to change. If he or she hit you, or caused you any other type of injury there would be an ethical and legal obligation to disclose this, but somehow the emotional abuse of infidelity is held to a different standard. The MC “therapy intervention” is skewed in favour of the cheater. “Give them (the cheater) time.” “Accept they (the cheater) don’t want to talk about their transgression over and over.” “Consider why the relationship (blame you much?) was vulnerable to an affair.” This approach has to change.

      • The MC that the ex and I saw after his first affair had a great confidentiality agreement, especially considering she always had 1 meeting w/each partner separately near the beginning of therapy. Anything you told the therapist alone, either in that individual session, or in a phone call or whatever, was kept confidential. BUT if there was anything disclosed to the therapist that she saw as a major impediment to progress towards the stated goal of the therapy, she reserved the right to simply stop therapy, declaring only that a major impediment had been disclosed.

        And she made it clear that she wouldn’t do couple’s therapy while an affair was on-going or there was contact w/the affair partner, or if there were any other major lies going on (hiding financial issues etc),or untreated addictions, or any kind of violence.

        She was good! Too bad the ex declared after 5 or 6 sessions that he ‘couldn’t stand it’.

        • My MC was the same way! He was awesome. He saw that my STBX was still balls-deep in his affair, and told us therapy was a waste of time.

          And……despite the confidentiality agreement….When I was on the fence of whether to leave or stay in the marriage (this was after my STBX was no longer welcome in therapy because he was still boinking his AP), my MC told me “Of course, I could not disclose anything that your STBX said to me in private, however, *if* you knew for a *fact* that this cheating has happened more than once, would it make a difference in you deciding to leave?”

          Yes, as a matter of fact, it did. That MC was a god-send.

  • Al anon changes your life.

    Choose sanity! At the moment? Your life is unmanageable and you are not sane.

    You are trying to heal something and it is not even your disease! GIVE UP! At that moment of surrendering all attempts to manage the unmanageable is your first moment of freedom and the path to serenity.

    Al Anon is FREE, you are surrounded by people who know your story (they have lived it too) and you are not alone! They understand insanity, I promise you.

  • Sounds like he is exactly what you describe him as : an NPD, alcoholic and since you started going back to school he is feeling threatened and therefore causing havoc to distract you from your school. He wants to keep you in the ‘down’ position and dependent on him and feels like he’s losing control of you….poor baby! Wow! You know, my father wasn’t alcoholic but I saw him do this to my mother over and over again. There were no affairs either, but it is definitely a control thing. Funny how history repeats itself ! Anyway, listen to CL! You owe him nothing at this point….he broke your marriage contract which is legal and ethical, and sounds like he broke the ‘no drinking’ contract too, or is intending to. The ball’s in your court!

  • My guess is the “truce contract” is not legally binding. Show it to your lawyer, see what they say. My bet is the only binding part is that you always stick to your word. We chumps always do.

  • Feeling,
    Nomad put it nicely, reconciliation is a gift, one that your husband does not seem to deserve as he does sound truly remorseful.

    What got my attention is your comment about the infections. That is your sign: he does not care about you. He put your health in jeopardy, and did not care.
    My exH did the same, but I was too naive to realize it. Around the same time I accused him of an affair, 4 yrs into the marriage, I also had some vaginal infections. But you see the commercials, you think it’s normal, everyone gets them at some point….
    Uh, no. Finally found out 13 years later, yup, that was an affair, although they were “only physical once”… Uh, huh.

    It was horrifying realizing that our daughter could have been born with birth defects because I did not get tested for STDs, and got pregnant about 6 months post first DDay.
    Back then there were no tests for HPV, so I will spend the rest of my life wondering if I had an infection without symptoms, and will have to get yearly tests.

    Truly, Feeling, we all feel your pain.
    My suggestion is to file, and begin to rebuild your life.

    Please keep us informed.

    • Mine said the same thing when I thought I might have an STD. He said that he had only slept with her once and the timing didn’t jive. Asshole!

      My story is that he announced one day that he didn’t want to be married anymore, no discussion, nothing. He told me that he was happiest when he was single (he was single about five minutes since I was the third wife). I asked if there was someone else. He, of course, said no. Then he had the audacity to say we shouldn’t tell anyone because if we didn’t separate, there would be nothing to tell, and if we did, we should only announce it when we have a plan (Can you say hedging your bets?). Nine days later I found out about the cheating. This is how stupid he is, he left an email from her on MY computer. The first thing I did after confronting him and finding it had been going on for two months, was tell the whole fucking world. The next morning was when he told me that the “timing of the infection wasn’t right”.

  • These last wo articles, this one and the “She Knew It was A Dealbreaker” ones, I think, exemplify what happens, over time, when one is involved with an abusive, personality disordered spouse. Imagine, years ago, before you were beaten down by the NPD, if he had behaved like this right off the bat, before kids, before mortgages, before you became so dependent on him. You would have run like the wind and never had any doubt about not having any obligation to stay with anabuser.
    But, these folks ramp things up gradually, and, almost always, after significant enmeshment. It’s the old Frog in the tepid water raised to boiling combined with big time entanglements deal.
    I went through this. I lost who I was. I was so intent on making things work, to abiding by my committment and keeping things stable for my kids I took tremendous abuse. I was no longer the strong, easy going, confident person I had been. I had heard so much negative crap about myself for so ling, relentlessly, that I just got worn down. I fought it, initially, but the price for resisting was long term silent treatments and more abuse. So, eventually, I just stopped sticking up for myself.
    These assholes hold you hostage, especially if you are a man with kids who you know will be given to the mom.
    Any man, these days , that even thinks about marrying needs his head examined. And, for God sake, never go along withthe stay at home mom deal or you will be screwed.

    • Arnold,

      I know exactly that long term abuse you are talking about and I suffered it too, until I felt so beaten down that I had lost myself and my personal power.

      I just wanted to address that last comment of yours about Stay at home Moms. I understand you are saying that if you find you are married to one of these NDP abuser types, that it’s a real big mistake for them to become a SAHM cause then you end up paying for them . I just want you to realize that not all moms who want to stay at home and raise their own kids are like this though. I was a SAHM for years and now I see my choice to do that as something that was part of the whole scenerio with my ex narc. We met at University, were both well educated and had our separate careers, that being we started out as equals. He never gave me any credit for my career, didn’t even want to hear about any of it ever…cause I worked in the medical field and that sort of stuff turned him off his dinner, so I wasn’t even allowed to discuss my day with him, but I had to sit and listen to his every night.
      Then when we had a child, he did not do his part so I was very drained trying to look after the child, keep up with my career, housework etc. and keep up with his constant socializing and entertaining which he always insisted on. He travelled a LOT with his career and so I was basically functioning as a single parent most of the time anyway. Yes, it was my responsibility and choice to give up my career to raise my kids as someone needed to be there and frankly I was so exhausted trying to do it all.
      When I did give up my career, I took on EVERYTHING on the home front so he could concentrate on building his business. I eventually went back to my career, which was really difficult as by then he was used to not doing anything on the home front and I got very little support with that. Anyway, my point is that there is another side to this too….that often these NDP types like their partner being in a dependent position and want them to stay at home. Just my 2 cents.

      • That’s pretty much me, movingon — except that early on the ex was all warm and fuzzy about our family unit. The kids did so much better with a mom available at all times it wasn’t even funny. We did lots of things together and I have many many fond memories.

        But then the hard work of getting them through the teenage years descended and he started looking to bail out. That’s when I got a lot of pressure to get back to work because “you have so much to give the world”. The kids didn’t count anymore. It was all a calculation to minimize the amount of support he would eventually have to pay. Money was more important to him than the welfare of his kids. Of course, he denied that, saying that if he was going to have to pay, he should be the one to get to raise them. (along with the new kid he was having with the whore — the custody mediator had a lot to say about that)

        I’m just as jaded as Arnold but from the opposite direction. My recommendation for women wanting to be a stay at home mom for some guys kids and caretaking the whole ball of wax just like you and I did, is that they get paid a decent hourly wage plus overtime to do it. We voluntarily made ourselves slaves, and that’s exactly how they treated us.

        • Yup, we demoted ourselves ! But I have no regrets. I put my time and energy into the people and things I loved best and I enjoyed it and am internally richer for it!

          • Yes, I don’t have any regrets either, because the kids turned out great and that’s worth any sacrifice – financial or otherwise.

            But as a practical matter, if I had stayed in my career and we had farmed out the childcare, it would have been a job that paid minimum wage at least — and he got it for free.

        • Exactly right. The SAHM takes a huge risk, as well. Marry a lying, cheating asshole. And then get screwed for not having a career.DO NOT DO THE STAY AT HOME DEAL IN THIS DAY AND AGE.

          • Nope, do not. Always have at least some little thing going on that you can turn to and build on. And build a secret egg’s nest. I have learned my lesson the hard way: middle age, no career and busting my ass to put things back together. It’s not easy and I see a very financially tenuous future for myself.

      • Me too, moving on. I practiced law full time and did all the child rearing for years in my first marriage. One son had down syndrome and autism, a heart defect and need a nissan procedure to keep food down. If you were to get his volumes of medical records, where, on each visit they record which parent accompanies the child, I would appear on almost every single note.
        My Xw was too busy with her career and affairs and drinking to help. I was exhausted, worn down to a nub and got asked to leave the firm as I could not keep up with the other young lawyers who had decent wives and healthy kids, in billable hours.
        Here is my point, though. I realize there are good, decent women out there who will not shaft you like this. But, women initiate 70% of the divorces today. And, there is a 50% overall divorce rate.
        So, if a young man or woman consents to the other spouse staying whom, he os she could be totally hosed when the divorce comes. There is absolutely no accounting for infidelity or abuse of any kind in a court awarding alimony. All they seem to look at is the length of the marriage and the earnings of the respective parties.
        It would be nice if we could go back to a time(in some ways(( not if you are gay or a minority etc)) to a time where the risk was much less in allowing a spouse to stay home and not earn $$. Those were the days of fault divorce and ,if one spouse breached by , say, infidelity, the court could take that into consideration.
        But, if your H stays home or my W does, these days, and fucks the pool boy or gardner, and decides , upon being busted, to mess with you, you have given him or her a loaded gun to use against you.
        Why do it? Many, many men are paying the price for not realizing this is no longer Ozzie and Harriet’s world. And, yes, some arrogant types do view their spouse staying home as some weird sort of statuts symbol.
        But, the vast majority of spouse who consented to this did it in good faith, thinking it was best for the kids or made sense to the family etc. a fair number of these folks get the crap kicked out of them financially by a cheating stay at home parent.(Notice i was pretty gender neutral her. Truth is, I think, there are way more dim witted , naive guys out there playing white knigth, doing this. But, whichever spouse doe it, they take a big risk.

        • Arnold, my ex husband tried to get me to pay alimony. We had no children, he lost his job due to drinking but blamed it on mental health issues. I just want to tell you that this shit is happening to women quite frequently, it’s not mostly men any longer.

          Flip side, when you are talking about a stay at home parent screwing the spouse that worked it is going to happen more often to men for the simple reason that men out earn women and so a married couple is still more prone deciding the woman is the one who gives up her career to stay home. Until women’s earning power is more equal AND husbands make this choice to be the stay at home parent as often as wives, the stats are not going to change. It has nothing to do with men being more gullible or women being more rapacious, it’s cultural and societal. Hasn’t got shit to do with white knight syndrome or men being easily duped. I think that’s damn insulting to men.

          • I just no a shitload of guys who buy I to the whole chivalry deal. It is cultural and it is antiquated and no longer viable( if it ever was in the first place).

            • Arnold, I agree! No one in this day and age should sacrifice their careers to stay at home with kids. Just too risky. Too bad for the kids! I tell both my daughters this too. If they want to spend more time raising them, then consider part time work but never give up your career like I did!

              • If I hadn’t been working throughout our marriage we would have sunk. No home, no life, no nothing! Wondervwhy I am better off now he’s gone!? Might have liked to spend that ime with my babies though!

            • Don’t forget there is a whole lot of women who likes to play the docile housewives as well until they can’t take it another reason for women initiate divorces statistics..

        • I really dislike the “women file for divorce 70% of the time” statistic.
          I am one of them, only because my cheating husband was too lazy to do it himself. I also found him a place to stay that would be suitable for the kids, and close to the family home. He was too busy with OW to both to do it himself.

          I think this is one statistic we should avoid on this website.

          • Yes, I think I must be the only woman here who managed to maneuver her cheater into manning up and filing for divorce if he wanted a divorce. And that was only after a consultation with our pastor who said “This is a spiritual matter for XXXX, and if XXXX wants a divorce, I suggest you let him file.” After seven more months of fruitless negotiations on a settlement, I finally said it was my right as a church member to enlist the help of his men’s group members to get it over with. Rather than have his good guy cover blown with his buds, he filed the next day. The actual court case took a year and a half, and I was the one accused of dragging it out!

          • Arnold you really hit it with this: “Imagine, years ago, before you were beaten down by the NPD, if he had behaved like this right off the bat”

            I cannot seem to explain to anyone well enough to get this across. In my case it wasn’t cheating alone, there was emotional abuse that would have escalated to physical long before if I hadn’t been so cowed until my ex cheated. The slow crossing of boundaries, the insidious way that you are made less than without even realizing it’s happening. Until one day you wake up and realize how bad it became. And in my case the awakening was when the ex cheated. When I did wake up he escalated to physical violence because the old ways of getting me in line no longer worked. First he threatened to kill himself, that worked for a while, got worse after that.

            • Yep, it is insidious and relentless, dat.
              Man, I knew nothing about these disorder types until the infidelity.
              Then I researched the hell out of them.
              I would not wishbone of these types on my worst enemy.

            • Dat,
              That’s some scary stuff. I would almost think you were in my house writing this. Add on his PTSD, off his medication, and he’s now in possession of 2 custom built AR15s–yep you would be at my house. Sadly, the only thing that scares me at this moment is that I may run out of chocolate before the night is thru. It is frightening what we become accustomed to.

          • I, too, filed for divorce, because my STBX husband wouldn’t have done it. He was wayyyy too happy fucking his AP and eating cake.

            Also, I’m paying for the divorce….which will end up costing more than the wedding.

            • I filed for divorce. Ex said he wasn’t sure he wanted divorce, even though he was telling me over and over how he had never loved me, never should have married me, blah blah blah. To say nothing of all the fucking other people.

              He never got an attorney, and did whatever he could to slow down the process, thus costing me more money. Then he never once paid what he had agreed to pay, leaving me not only holding the bag on raising our son, but with his foreclosure and bankruptcy on my credit rating.

              There is not one way my ex did not fuck me over. But he makes me out to be the bad guy because I’m the one who went through with divorce.

          • That’s true,in my experience no matter how bad the marriages is,whether due to infidelity or abuse on any sides, men are too passive to file for a divorce,so of course when the women takes the step,they would make it as if their wives fault for not wanting to work on the marriage.

    • Me too, Arnold. I have realized that I gradually morphed into someone who would put up with extreme negativity, neglect and bad treatment. My self-esteem just eroded with time. Had X been like that when we were young, I would’ve told him to hit the road.

      I also stayed because of my deep sense of commitment and our long history together, thinking he was in a midlife crisis and would come out of it. DUH.

      Sadly, I wonder what this kind of modeling has done to my kids.

      • In my case, my ex told our adult son that I used to be fun. This was one day before DDay. Son was shocked he said that. Turns out it was ex’ sway of justifying his actions. I used to be more relaxed until I got the full-time job of marriage police. Glad I resigned.

        • My kids were told, 3 days after dday, that final OW was a lot more fun than me. Well, yes, she was also 20 years younger and fresh out of school with no real responsibilities in life. Meanwhile I was and am a grown woman with responsibilities, problems and worries that sometimes get in the way of me being full time fun – although I am actually great fun and the funniest bit is that since I kicked him out and started putting my life back together I’m enormous fun again. He was the drain and he was the fun-sucking turd in the equation. Odd, that, don’t you think? 🙂

            • Yep, I’ve been told by so many people I’m back to being the person I was years and years ago. This despite having serious money worries…I’m me again. He’s still him as well: pouty, miserable, doing what he needs to do to keep the kibbles coming from what he considers teh best source at that moment.

    • Arnold, you’re very right about them amping up the abuse the more entrenched you get. It’s a drip, drip, drip thing and my therapist did use the boiling frog analogy, pointing out that as he sucked more and more of the life out of me his behaviour became progressively worse. I was a shell by the time the big old dday rolled around but I’ve slowly put myself back together, to the point that when I was told yet another story of his cheating recently, one I hadn’t heard before, I was pissed for a day or two and then felt very meh. All it did was confirm what a douche I married and it actually finally brought the picture into very clear focus: I married a guy who didn’t give a shit about me, about the kids, about anything we had together. Getting attention, taking incredibly dumb risks, behaving the worst way possible…that was all just another day at the office for him. He simply did not care and it was all my fault for not giving him 150% of myself 24/7…which I actually tried to do, despite having two kids and other things that needed attention. I consider my ex just a really gross guy with serious issues that are thankfully someone else’s problem now.

  • You are not selling out, you are saving yourself. The only one served by your agreement is your cheating, alcoholic husband, because he knows YOU are honorable enough to stick by it, although he clearly does NOT intend do, as shown by his going to a party and announcing he isn’t taking you.

    He sounds like a horrible man. He is not going to change. The odds that he will stay faithful are close to zero. He blames YOU for his own bad behavior. That is the mark of a disordered person. They do not change, they do not get better, they usually get WORSE over time.

    If I were you, I’d be making some calls to an attorney.

  • Call the attorney, but don’t tell your cheating, abusive STBX.

    Look, your STBX has just told you that he wants to drink at the company party, and drinking goes against that truce. This tells you that you’re not bailing on the truce; he is. That tells you something else–that he’s not really interested in curbing any of his behaviors. Rather, his behavior tells you that he feels entitled to indulge, when he feels like it.

    If he were really serious about his drinking problem, he’d be in AA or some other form of treatment. If he were really serious about his infidelity, he’d be in counseling. He’s in neither, so he’s not.

    Talk to the attorney. Even in community property states, you may be entitled to some spousal support, even if only on a temporary basis, due to the length of the marriage and that you have not been in the work force in order to raise your two children.

    Get a therapist who has experience dealing with infidelity/abuse. Go read some of the previous blog posts. Therapists who tell you that you are partially to blame for the cheating are the same people who’d tell you that you’re partially to blame when you’re physically abused.

    Check out Al Anon. I have had friends and colleagues who’ve had alcoholic parents and partners. They found Al Anon a real source of support, since everyone there knows what it’s like to cope with an alcoholic.

    Dump your cheater. He’s a jackass. You’ll feel free.

  • I’m with everyone else. You’re not a sell-out. You’re what’s called an “adult” and the fact that you’re willing to adhere to the terms of a verbal, non-legally binding contract with such a lecherous fool says a lot about your devotion and how you honor your commitments.

    Sadly, like all of us Chumps, it’s directed towards the WRONG person. Please heed the advice written here because we all know from experience how manipulative these Cheaters are.

    Side-note. You wrote: “So far he is holding up his end of the bargain, no drinking, no outright abuse, but walking around with a sour expression on his face.”

    OMFG! I swear CL should do an entire post examining the time during Reconciliation when Cheaters mope around the house like punished children who just had their xBoxes taken away. I think we’ve ALL experienced the mopey, dopey Cheaters who are so passively-aggressively angry and self-pitying that their con was exposed and now they have to pretend to be adult spouses again.

    Poor babies!!

    • Yes! The STBX cried and threw a tantrum, like a little kid.

      And to think at the time, I was worried he was having a breakdown.

      • Mine did the crododile tears. I felt bad for him until i realised that they came and went like a light switch being flicked, depending on what he thought was needed to garner sympathy in the moment. What a shallow douchebag I married.

        • “But I love you….please don’t ask me to go. What will I do? Where will I go? Waa waa waa”. God I was stupid! Those bloody tears!

    • But if he’s going to the company party, where he intends to drink, then he’s not “holding up his end of the bargain, no drinking….” He’s already said that he plans to drink, and that he doesn’t want to be “dictated to.”

      This tells you all you need to know about his desire to give up alcohol. He lacks that desire.

      I have a lot of respect for people who struggle with substance abuse. The difference is that these people want to break away from the substance, not excuse themselves for whatever party happens to be going on: Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc. One of the first recovering alcoholics I met was a young man studying for the priesthood. He had been drinking a bottle per day before an older priest sat him down and started getting him to go to AA. He’d been sober for over a year, and he said giving up alcohol was the hardest thing he’d done. That he was still a student, and singing in a choir that routinely had parties with alcohol present really meant he faced a LOT of temptation.

      I just don’t see the commitment in this case. Instead, I see someone who thinks he’s entitled to drink when he thinks circumstances are right–just as he’s entitled to cheat when the circumstances are right.

    • OMG!! The moping around… That went on for almost a year after d-day. Then again I feel he did not put much effort into reconciliaton. The I don’t knows were plentiful from him. Poor me, poor me is all I saw. I couldn’t stand it. He was the one who brought all of this on himself, not me. You are so correct about the passive aggressive anger and self pity. D was final about two months ago, I won’t talk to him, but he carries himself like he did nothing wrong. He is a cop and is so fucking arrogant. It just blows my mind. What a fraud!! Thank you for pointing out the pity party that I too endured.

    • That behavior was such an insult-to-injury experiene for me too. Once my husband finally gave up his affair partner for the sake of our infant son, he was stuck in one of two modes for months: either he was moping around, a million miles away, lost in the misery of all he’d given up, or he was transparently hostile because I’d taken his fun away. And my reaction was pure chump– nervously taking his emotional tempertaure every 60 seconds, doing whatever I could to be supportive and distract him from his loss, dutifully respecting his “right to grieve” as our marriage counselor and my MIL had advised. Chump chump chump chump. When I think back on those days now, and the all-consuming blackness of my own agony during that time, I cannot believe how much energy I spent trying to ensure his emotional comfort so he wouldn’t decide to leave. And I cannot believe how fine he was with that. The whole thing was and is so unhealthy.

      • oh yes the sulky moping, I’d forgotten about that. As you say Bec, we were stuck in the all-consuming blackness of agony and on top of that we had to watch them pine for her and what they had to give up to be with their family. oh boy did I do the “pick me dance” a lot then; trying to woe him to me, for a whole bloody year I might add. It was utterly soul destroying doing that dance whilst being the marriage police. I remember sobbing to my friend that this was never going to go away. I’d found a phone bill where he was continuing to be in contact with her. So I somehow found my self respect, and finally left. They are still together after 5 years.

  • Thank you guys all so much, Your comments are like a breath of fresh air. I am so glad I found this site and wish I could “mind meld” with all of you. I will absolutely check out Al-anon. AND call my attorney to see whats up with the papers. I love the Kick in the pants that CL gives, and while I have come a long way in my thought evolution the blog is cementing and clarifying a lot. When this is all over I am going to change my name to a more productive handle!

    • Good luck, Feeling, let us know how it goes.

      This is an aside, but has anyone watched the show on TV called ‘ the Mistress?’ There’s a woman who was a mistress herself for 15 yrs and goes around helping other mistresses to quit the affair and chose healthier relationships. It’s very interesting in that it opens your eyes to the type of woman who allow themselves to be the OW, but most of all to the manipulation tactics if the married man. They con not only their spouse but the OW too!
      Chump Lady you should consider being the helper to the betrayed spouse and have a show to go around getting them to kick their cheater out!

      • As the old WC Fields’ movie said ” You can’ t cheat an honest man.”
        None of those OWs were conned.
        They are predators, just like the me .

    • Feelinglikeawinner sounds good to me.

      Please heed CL’s and everyone’s advice. It’s spot on. It’s extremely difficult to see the truth of what’s happening when you’re in the thick of things. I’ve been divorced for 7 months now and I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. I’d rather be alone than be with the serial cheater ex.

  • FLASO,

    I grew up with an alcoholic father. After I figured out my STBXW of 20 years was doing drugs and guys I decided to leave. I spent my childhood with and addict father and I sure as hell wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life with an addict wife.

    When I found out about the drugs, I went to nar-anon and listened to stories of families that had their drug addict family member go in and out of rehab over and over and over again. It takes one year to successfully go through rehab. It takes on average 7 attempts at rehab to be successful. The addict has to want to do this every time.

    This is no way to go through life!

  • Feeling,

    You may feel like an idiot (I sure know I did when I got dumped by my XW for the AP), but you are NOT an idiot. It’s the tactics of the cheater – to manipulate, to get what they want (at your expense), and to play the mind games to keep you thinking there is hope when they’re off on their affair. Cheaters know that chumps see the positives in things, and they can turn that on its head and turn your life into a complete mess. As long as they’re the one in love, it doesn’t matter what you’re losing or feeling.

    It needs to only be up to you how you will handle the rest of your life. Being cheated on, in my opinion, is in many ways like being bullied, and the only way to deal with a bully is to take control of the situation. Take control of your life and get him out of yours!

  • Yep, my kid is a heroin addict. 4 treatments so far.
    My dad never had less than 32 shots a day, he told me. Quit cold turkey and was sober for 25 years before he died.
    Weird deal this substance abuse. Tied in very closely with NPD.

    • Arnold, this is interesting because I’ve come to the conclusion that addicts are BPD or NPD or some combination of mental illness and they use alcohol or drugs to sooth their problems and it does not work. I think that as they age it works less and less and the symptoms of their mental illness get more obvious because filters are not in place. My former MIL was convinced if my ex quit drinking he would be fine. I could never convince her he was far more dangerous when he was sober. When he was drinking he made mistakes, he showed what he was really thinking and was obvious in his manipulations. When he was truly sober his manipulations were much more covert.

      • Original Quote from DDW…..”

        My former MIL was convinced if my ex quit drinking he would be fine. I could never convince her he was far more dangerous when he was sober. When he was drinking he made mistakes, he showed what he was really thinking and was obvious in his manipulations. When he was truly sober his manipulations were much more covert.


        Well said DDW.

        My STBXW became incredibly verbally abusive when drunk. But all of her cheating,
        the constant lies to my questions about the truth, happened when she wasn’t drinking. The booze doesn’t make them the monster. It just breaks down their facade of the perfect person they pretend to be.

      • DDW,
        My X is on crack. Blamed me for it because I threw him out. Now wonder how long he was doing it because all the AP’s are on it too. Had a detective show up at my job the other day after questioning my neighbors. I told him I was NC, and was SO proud to be able to say it Thanks to CL and all of you!! NC was a Godsend in more ways than one in my case!

    • Arnold I just want to confirm that: addiction and narcissism are VERY connected. As my addiction specialist IC says:

      ‘of course narcissists are addicts. You can have an easy relationship with a bottle. Bottles (needles etc) don’t have needs’.

      He said: addicts have a narcissistic construct (but only the sociopaths cannot be helped, he will not touch a psychopath) but they are very exciting and rewarding to work with.

      He follows the same approach as George Simon: has there ever been times in your life where your inflated opinion of yourself has caused you problems?

  • I have gained so much from my al-anon group. I highly recommend it!! It is amazing to realize that you are not the only one dealing with this. Alcoholics and cheating pretty much go hand in hanf. Not a question if they will cheat but when. Go to an open AA meeting too. They all pretty much have the maturity level of a 15 year old.
    I have learned so much from the program but the 3 C’s – you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t change it – really lends itself to healing over infedility too.

    • Do they drink because they are selfish assholes or are they selfish assholes because they drink? Chicken or the egg deal.
      Bottom line :they abuse the hell out of people.

      • And in the end it doesn’t matter WHY they treat others so badly. It just matters that they DO, and they have no intention to stop, and no follow-through if they do declare they will stop.

        So no matter the reasons behind their being so messed up, we HAVE to stay away from them. It’s not a poisonous snake’s fault it’s dangerous, but you don’t take one into your home and your bed!

        • This is so important, KarenE – love the snake analogy.

          For me, it was a real breakthrough the day I realized, “It doesn’t matter whether he CAN’T treat me with kindness and respect, or WON’T treat me with kindness and respect. The end result is the same: my being hurt.”

          They really don’t change, so the “why” ceases to matter. That’s just the skein, which CL so wisely advises us to put down and walk away.

  • Feelinglikeasellout, just a note – my ex was really big on ME keeping my promises, never lying to him, etc. He knew he was not doing it, by turning the tables on me he made himself feel better. I never lied to him until the very end to save my own life, but he was constantly holding me up to a very high standard in order to beat me over the head with it. Projection. It’s a thing, he would accuse me of every thing he ever did, he was drunk all the time? He’d say I was a drunk if I had a beer. He’s cheating? He would accuse me of doing the same. He lies to me? He accuses me of doing the same. It’s utter bullshit gaslighting crap.

    The agreement you made, been there, done that at the behest of the MC he insisted we go to. I bought it and he bullshitted it.

    Any of this sound familiar? “I have a right to my privacy”, “you drink, you have no right to tell me I can’t drink”, “it’s your fault XYZ happened” and when you object you get a convoluted reason why it is still your fault. Your fault he got a DUI? I’ve been there, when my ex got his DUI, he blamed me for that too, just as your husband is doing. Did it matter he almost shot me? No. Did it matter I called him after I got away and told him not to leave the house because I was calling the police? No. That he was drunk driving and had nearly shot me were not important to his world view. I called the cops so it was my fault he was busted for a DUI, even though I warned him via phone I was doing it and he should not drive because he was drunk. He was adamant that I put him in jail.

    Maybe I’m wrong but I believe that I had taken care of him so long and lost so many boundaries that he truly believed his actions have no consequences. He was, is, and always will be, the MARTYR MAN, the poor soul who always TRIES SO HARD and always somehow FAILS because someone else fucked him over.

    You see, he wouldn’t have been drunk if I hadn’t insisted on divorcing him, my fault, he wouldn’t have pulled the gun if I hadn’t fucked him over, my fault, he wouldn’t have been arrested for driving drunk if I hadn’t driven him to drink, see above. Circular logic but not really, in his mind I am responsible for everything he does. I’m sure that now I’m gone, his new woman is the one who is to blame for his FAIL.

    • MARTYR MAN!! Yessssssss! That’s such a great image. I’m going to design a suit with a cape, and give it to him along with a great big wooden cross he can climb up on and nail himself to.

      • Dear Feeling, I think this quote applies here, “It’s not your job to be the moral compass for someone who doesn’t have one.”

      • As recovering alcholics (and, yes they call themselves that ALL their lives–even if it has been 50 years since they had a drink) in AA are famous for saying to other alkys who are acting the all-victimized martyr:


    • Dat, my X might have the exact same disorder as yours, WhateverTF that is! It’s his own problem now (he’s currently hinting that he’s going to do himself in, because I left). All I know, is that he was only close to happy when I was jumping through a thousand hoops to take care of him, and I had zero left for me or anything else. SO dysfunctional, and I can hardly believe what I did for him, now that I’m away from it all! It all seems like a crazy dream, already.

  • My cheater drank a lot. He denied he was an alcoholic but he sure was an asshole. Not sure what came first, the asshole or the drinking but I do know that the cheater was in him all along and it just waited for an opportunity to strike.

    There is no reason a cheater is going to stick with some MC script without a whole lot of remorse and compassion. I’m not feeling it here. I love the “pouty” comment. So true. Forget it. See a lawyer, get good advice and get out.

    Save your sanity.

    • “He denied he was an alcoholic but he sure was an asshole.”

      Is there another kind of AA – Assholes Anonymous? Because my STBX could sure use a few meetings of that….for the rest of his life.

  • Hey FLASO,
    If you feel like a sell out that makes you a sell out. You don’t have to feel that way, that’s the beauty of feelings. You can control them and change them and decide what you want for yourself.

    You clearly know you need and want change by writing to us all. So, the next step is to make those changes for yourself and don’t be a sell out any more. The only one who is getting sold for less than value is YOU and you can set your price!

    You bought low, sell high and take the profit and run!

    That’s all I have to say to you. I wish you the change you want for the better and you have the power to make those changes.

    It is hard at first but Damn it does get easier with time and work and I really swear that one day you will look back and laugh at what you were thinking then and now that may be holding you back. You will say WTF was I thinking then.

    Really you will.

  • It’s tough, I know, but ultimately the question is….”who do I love more – myself or him?” If you answer “him” you’ve got some serious work to do! It’s a wake up call, we have been conned into thinking the sun rises and sets with these NPD’s. They’re good – they have perfected emotional abuse to a science. Don’t let them steal your soul.

    My last straw (after 6 months of the “pick me dance”) was when he pulled out a loaded gun, stuck it in his mouth, and said “You caught me, mid-trigger pull” as I walked through the door. I took the gun away, unloaded and hid it. I called our friend, who is a psychologist and asked him what I should do next. He suggested going downstairs and checking on him again. When I walked back through the doorway, he had gotten a shotgun and was threatening to shoot himself yet again. I also took this gun away. When the sun came up, I loaded all weapons into the trunk of my car, moved out and have never looked back. Needless to say, NPD that he is, he is alive and well, living with my former best friend! I got rid of both of them at the same time!

    Life now is wonderful. It takes time and distance. It also takes personal self-love and respect. You will get there. Keep logging on here – it keeps you sane in transition.

  • My XH, is an alcoholic who cheated, lied, had difficult time holding a job, was incredibly charismatic, good looking, and could sweep anyone off their feet…

    When I’d had enough and he really knew I was really to walk out, he reformed. Beautifully. He became the person I’d wanted him to be – he Quit drinking, became very attentive and devoted. For.About.One. Year.

    Then the replacement addictions kicked in – the excessive shopping, the out of control hobbies, weird obsessions – and ultimately he resumed cheating. I really don’t think he relapsed into active alcoholism for several years after we finally split, but whatever the trigger, it manifested differently but just as horribly.

    He was never willing to get meaningful help or do hard work. He is a therapist too (go ahead and laugh) but his failure to do whatever it took to work on himself – despite KNOWING the need to – told me everything about who he really was. Wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

    Today he’s had at least two additional marriages/divorces, fathered a child with a GF who ultimately disappeared with infant after filing restraining orders on him , has never mpaid to support my two now adult children, had parental rights severed on his other child, falls down drunk in the streets of the town where he lives, and I still get bill collectors calling my house 15 years after we split. BUT HE ALWAYS HAS A GF and people who don’t really know him think he’s a great guy…!!


  • Update. He is finding a place! I already am feeling so much better thanks to this site. RUN RUN RUNNING! I started keeping a journal with dates and abusive situations from as far back as I can remember. 20 YEARS of abuse.. Its crazy to see how I allowed myself to be treated so poorly.
    Now of course that he has to find another home, he is remorseful, “lost.” Grieving the loss of all the “wonderful memories” Sheesh. I am sure it will turn to blame and anger. Oh and he also wants to go see a counselor about his issues…
    NOT fooled. All I have to do is look at my journal to remember WHY I am done.
    I changed my name ^ and am thanking God everyday for allowing me to see the light.

  • Progress…
    The day he was going to sign the lease I got a job offer in another town, full time, medical dental, vision and PERS.. retirement.. I went to the town, found a house in one day.. and am moving in ONE WEEK! I am feeling so free. He has agreed to all the terms of the divorce. Its sounding like this may have been an exit affair.
    At one point he begged me to not give up. I realized at that point that what he did is like a murder.. You can forgive the crime, but the consequences are still there. He murdered the relationship with years of abuse, and the final affair. Regardless of how remorseful he may be, the damage was done. I forgive him, but I will never ever forget, and I will never pretend like this has not happened.
    Anyways, I wanted to post because my new life is happening in 6 days, I have 5 days to pack, and I wanted to let everyone who has been cheated on that there is SO MUCH more out there! LIFE can actually be about LIVING!

  • Last and final update.
    Life is so good, I left the cheater, got a job, moved to a new town into an adorable little house. I am poorer, but SO much happier! The divorce will be final in about a week and I am taking back my maiden name. After 20 years of abuse I am FREE!
    YES, leaving was scary, or should I say the anticipation of leaving was scary. The closest thing I can relate it to is when you are on a rollercoaster going up that enormous hill and waiting for the drop. Once the drop happens, the ride is VERY short and you are completely present for it.
    The last weeks in the house were very difficult, when we both knew it was over. He tried every trick in the book to get me to change my mind, but thanks to a great therapist I knew that I wanted to get healthy, and that staying in the relationship was detrimental.
    I don’t know a single person in this town, but have joined a gym, am already losing weight (had put on 70lbs), and am looking for a church.
    I think one of the biggest challenges for me has been to figure out what to do with all the time that I have. I used to spend so much time worrying about him, his moods, what would set him off, looking over my shoulder, jumping up from whatever I was doing when he would walk in the door, that I am almost uncomfortable at times when I sit down to read a book. I am learning to be comfortable with myself and recognizing that I don’t have to be busy ALL the time.
    Thank you so much Chumplady for helping me see through the skein and set it on fire!

  • Update December 2017… I first contacted this site in november 2013… I Still have no regrets leaving my cheater behind… and have had 4 years now of a REAL LIFE… I HAVE NO REGRETS STILL.

  • FeelingLikeaWinner,

    Thank you for coming back to update us. I’m so happy for you! You really dove in and took control, complete with a beautiful ending.

    I’ve been so inspired by every single person who’s shared their stories here.

    Chump Lady is the best. You’ve, along with Chump Nation, truly saved lives, and the sanity of so many.
    Thank You, a million times over.

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