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Dear Chump Lady, When does it get better?

Dear Tracy,

I am getting a doctorate in public policy and think that is all wonderful. I am also a chump. My husband abruptly walked out with two duffel bags shortly after my first semester in the program ended. That was three days before Christmas. He left everything– his belongings, the house, and me. I was not born yesterday. I sniffed out the bullshit and found out who she was. After the initial shock wore off, I think my intelligence was just as insulted as I was.

I never confronted him. I was in a vulnerable position financially and decided to let my attorneys have a field day with what I knew when the timing was right. Except that I live in a no-fault divorce state who does not like to “punish” offending parties.

My husband was kind of special. Based on conversations I have had with four mental health professionals, all signs point to antisocial personality disorder, that is, he is a sociopath, particularly based on some of the abuses that occurred during the marriage. He also had a past of abruptly ending relationships, but I chalked it up to young immaturity. He didn’t milk this cow for free. He married it.

The crotch jockey thinks she is special. She works in politics in a low-level position that most 21 year olds would envy, except that she is approaching the age where her eggs are starting to shrivel up and she looks like an ill-dressed man. We both know Washington is Hollywood for ugly people (in the word’s of my best friend, a Georgetown alumna, who thought I was being too hard on the “I’m a doctoral student, she’s in politics” pity-party).

I am younger, better educated by a couple of graduate programs, speak several foreign languages, and a hell of a lot more attractive. I also have character and a soul, two qualities that she and my ex-husband lack.

After a hellacious separation, where he broke into our home, played games with attorneys, changed the PSA constantly, pleaded poverty while taking cruises, and “lost” his job the week we should have filed, I finally told him, via my attorney, that I wanted the check he promised me and my car, but that he could take the rest of his “assets” and shove them up his ass. Otherwise, I would see him and the crotch jockey both in court because if I was going down, we all were. The issue was resolved within 30 minutes and 30 days later, we were divorced.

I never quit my doctorate. It has been difficult and some steep obstacles, which I attribute to some of the residuals due to the divorce, but I am still sticking with it. This is a lifelong goal, I work my ass off, and I will never put myself in the position of believing someone when they say, “Don’t worry. I got you covered.”

This week, I marked a high achievement in my career. Not the magical unicorn of having my committee sign off on my dissertation, but a fine milestone nonetheless. I was high off of the travel, praise, and excitement.

Then I learned my ex remarried.

It is not him. It is not her. I reached the point of meh. Their affair, their relationship, none of it has anything to do with me. I learned a long time ago not to take it personally.

But damn if it is not unfair. Neither of them suffered any consequences for their actions. They continued to hump along around the world and in my old bed.

The luxury vehicles, first-class travel, waterfront home, financial security is what you get when you have an affair. No wonder people do it.

Things have not been that way for me. I am the used good. Living on a graduate stipend is painful and the studio apartment is nothing like my warm house. I also have not been able to travel internationally as I love doing. If divorce bruises your ego, working on a doctorate is like drop-kicking it on a daily basis. I am still in therapy working on the trauma of the abandonment and abuse. You’re life changes drastically when you have to sleep with a baseball bat to protect yourself because your nice husband turned into a total lunatic of “Sleeping with the Enemy” proportions.

Cognitively, I know that he is a psychopath who is prepping his next victim. She has absolutely no self-esteem because people with self-esteem don’t fuck married men. They do not matter, they are irrelevant, and it has nothing to do with me. I wanted them to marry. I did not think it was fair that she got to have her fun with him with no consequence. I wanted her to have the full effect.

But I don’t get it. Who does this kind of thing? We’ve been divorced less than a year. What kind of crazy assholes do such a thing? I logically cannot follow.

And damn if it is not unfair. I am so tired of being told “it gets better”. I am tired of being told, “You’re beautiful and intelligent! You have such a bright future.” I am beginning to wonder if I will ever find a job, finish the doctorate, and enjoy some sort of stability in my life. I do not miss him, but I do miss being a Mrs.

It also kills me, just kills me, that she made sure we switched places. That she became me and I became her. That I have to listen to that biological clock getting louder. That I have to walk these mean streets alone. That I have to put my nose to the grindstone.

I was so smart during the divorce. Laser sharp. Did not miss a beat. Maintained an impeccable poker face. Played my hand with perfect timing. But I am the chump.

I am the chump.

Anyway, any thoughts would be appreciated. I should not care. I feel like a total idiot for bawling. It is just everyone keeps saying it gets better. But when?

I still would love to know about think tanks and your path.

Sincerely,

Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump

Dear Dr. Chump,

Think tanks and my path? It was quite awhile ago that I worked at Washington think tanks as an editor. It wasn’t glamorous at all. I edited hundreds of sentences like “It aspires to a position of synthesis.” And when I would query the author, “Hey, this makes no sense whatsoever,” he recast the sentence to read: “It aspires to a position of synthesis with respect to other values.”

Gee thanks, that’s so much better…

Can you imagine the psychic pain of editing reports on the flat tax — or worse, a Newt Gingrich speech in which every sentence began “frankly”? It was on how the CIA needed greater powers of secrecy. My college self would die to know that I got paid to make Newt Gingrich appear articulate.

As for Georgetown, Jesuits pay crap wages. It’s a pretty place to work, with some great students, but the director of our program was diplomat’s son who used to lock himself in his office every day with his cocker spaniel and never fund raised a cent.

No, I don’t miss working in D.C. I like the line about Hollywood as run by ugly people. I’ve also heard Washington D.C. is a town run by first born children and high school class presidents.

Anyway, I was sprung from 16 years of toiling as an Editor of Turgid Pretentiousness, when I married my serial cheater and moved to Pennsylvania. I found life as a ag journalist writing about square dancing tractors and dairy princesses much more to my liking.

But enough about me. I can see how the metro Washington area would be an especially difficult place to be a chump. It’s a city of strivers, of status seekers, of astoundingly over qualified people with impressive degrees from impressive places. It’s also crazy expensive. It would be hard to take an ego hit like infidelity in that place, I get it.

But Doc, you have your studio apartment and your integrity! You’re not comforted by that?There’s no denying that losing a marriage and the financial “security” that goes with it, is a loss of status. But you need to take the long view toward your new life.

When I first got divorced, in the metro DC area as a matter of fact, among the Stepford wives of North Arlington, a dear much older friend took me out to dinner to meet a friend of hers. They had met as faculty wives at Princeton. Both women were super smart and accomplished in their own right, both had degrees from Oxford. But coming up in the 1950s, their “achievement” was to land impressive academic husbands. By the 1970s, they had the life, the children, the homes, the dinner parties. (My friend said she should’ve divorced over the dinner parties alone.) And those men left them for other women.

The loss of status was immediate. My friend went from ski holidays with Richard Holbrooke to raising two teenage daughters alone in a split level. She wasn’t on anyone’s A list.

Her friend, if I recall the story correctly, had it worse. She had 6 children. Her husband was a physicist. My friend’s ex at least had money and she got support and alimony. This woman got next to nothing — with six kids.

Now it was the end of the 1990s, and they were taking me, a freshly minted divorcee in her mid-30s out to dinner. The woman with the six kids? She got a degree in special education and became a world expert on working with developmental disabilities through care of animals. She runs an acclaimed equestrian program for autistic children.

My friend, after kids left for college, sold the split level and moved to D.C. She had a career as an editor, and then retired and reinvented herself as a photographer. She’s the one who just got remarried at 76, whose wedding I attended last Thanksgiving. She met her husband photographing wild life.

I don’t know what happened to the physicist. I doubt his 6 children speak to him. My friend’s ex has been slowly dying of Parkinson’s for the last decade. She says she feels blessed she missed out on nursing a narcissistic man through a long illness.

There are so many ways to have a meaningful, interesting life, Doc. So many ways to succeed without the status of “married.” That woman who “stole” your husband, as you know yourself, got a sociopathic cheater. And I can tell you from personal experience, that men like that are usually hollow cores of “success.” There is never security with someone so deceitful and chaotic.

You have to make your own way. It’s the honest way — and the most secure way to get the success you rightly deserve. You’ve navigated this beautifully so far, keep going. There is NO shame in being a chump. NONE. You’re just grieving the loss of what you thought your life would be. The path you thought you were on, versus the path you have to bushwhack through alone right now.

It can be a really beautiful journey, so have some faith. You might wind up alone writing about dairy princesses, or photographing wild life, or starting an equestrian program for autistic kids. You might find the sort of man who you can really lean back and count on when he says “Don’t worry. I got this covered.” It’s a long road and it’s full of possibilities. You just escaped a sociopath. Time to heave a sigh of relief that the Big Bad Wolf ran after some other girl in a red hood.

When does it get better? On Tuesday. Tuesday is coming. Keep walking.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Dear Dr. Chump,

    It’ll get better. I promise. Just be happy that you didn’t have children with the sociopath. A few years from now he’ll be walking out on her with his next side piece, but she’ll probably have kids with him and will be tied to him for life. In the meantime you’ll have healed from the horror and be off on your next adventure.

    I’ve been divorced from a narcissist for 2 1/2 years after a 25 year marriage. It’s starting to get better, but healing takes time.

  • Doc, I am experiencing something similar and I’m doing it with a couple of kids in tow. Ex is off spending money like mad, buying new places, screwing me out of everything and I have no job and don’t know where I’ll be in a few months if I can’t sort things out. I’m scared like you wouldn’t believe and you bet it pisses me off that Final OW is benefiting from all the years I put in with Ex to build his career. You bet I don’t think it’s fair that she is traveling with him, living in a great place, has all that we had together AND she’s at the beginning of her career so doesn’t have the money worries I have.

    But you know what? She has a serial cheating man who was cheating on her while cheating on me: yep, she was the main girl, it seems, but that wasn’t stopping him from screwing other people while telling her AND me that he loved each of us. How’s that for a prize? He seems to be behaving himself right now but I doubt it will last so what do the OW in our situations have to look forward to? They have being chumped to look forward to. What do you and I and so many others on here have to look forward to? A life lived with integrity that isn’t sullied by the gross that is our exes.

    It sucks, I know and sometimes when I hear about their latest way of spending lots of money while I count pennies I get seriously frustrated and wail about the unfairness of it all. And then I remind myself that I have the love and respect of my friends and family and I have stuck around to raise two kids full time who really appreciate it, despite me being grumpy a bit too often.

    Go get that degree. Build a kick ass career. You don’t like DC? When you’re done with your degree look for a job somewhere you want to be. You will be fine, you will meet someone new and you will have a much better life without the loser ex than you would have had with.

    Keep your head up. You’re doing just fine.

    • Once I reconciled myself that my life was going to be different, less $$ but less stress and abuse; once I got used to sleeping in a couch for three years in a friend’s one bedroom condo, I began to enjoy life for what it should be for me.
      I will be poor for the duration, I expect. But, I am really happy and experiencing so many cool things.
      I think when the rug is pulled out from us, we need to adjust our view on what really constitutes a good,meaningful life.
      Your XH was no good, like my XW. I beg you would have dies sooner if you stayed with him and your life would have been hell.

      • Yeah, I figure it’s going to be a rather different future than I had envisioned but that’s ok. As soon as I figure out more work I’ll be fine. I think that’s what bugs me…I’m scrambling about trying to rebuild a career after years of giving up mine to support his and now I have pretty much nothing to work with. I’ll get there, I hope.

      • I was seriously ill off and on while living with my ex. The stress of living with someone who doesn’t support you, who isn’t there for you and leaves you holding the bag with two sick kids is tremendous. I ended up with thyroid cancer and endomteriosis and stayed sick throughout my late 30’s and early 40’s. Then he wanted to move to a farm with a grand old house 150 year old house. I agreed to go, but it made me sick. The house was full of mold and I had bad allergies. Every day I had a terrible headache. I felt bad most of the time, but tried not to say anything because ex was irritated I was sick so much. I remember tripping out the back door and breaking two of my toes and being so proud that I didn’t go to the doctor, didn’t complain too much.

        It was absolutely amazing to discover how good I felt after moving out of that old house. I’d never gone so many days without a sinus headache! I’d never felt better in my life! The stress of trying to adapt to a life that wasn’t shared, that wasn’t really mine was killing me. I do feel a lot better now being out from under all that stress.

  • Dear Dr. Chump,

    I am also in the same boat as you are. Pursuing a doctoral degree and going through divorce. I was with my XW for almost 7 years. I sacrificed everything for her- family, money, career. She upgraded herself standing on my shoulder- I did so much for her- taught her graduate level courses, did her homework, wrote statement of purpose for grad school application (actually gave her mine, and sent my applications with an inferior one), filled and sent her grad school applications, wrote term papers, gave her my ideas. And what do I get in return? Three affairs and a divorce paper. She is so eager to marry her AP (who incidentally is her immediate supervisor; and they both work in one of the big 5 accounting firms if you can believe it- they are supposed to police accounting practices, but cannot police their own staff from misbehaving!), that she wanted to get done with the divorce in six months and remarry soon after.

    But, remember karma is a bitch. In my home country it is mandatory to have a waiting period of a year before you can divorce. So she has to wait to show AP her true self, in all her glory. And that bastard is up for a surprise. Do you want to know what he gained? He gained a foul-mouth, politically incorrect, angry, racist, homophobic, BPD idiot who cannot even finish a graduate degree but has all the vanity of the world as if she has an IQ of 160 and looks like Scarlett Johansson. What I gained? I gained my life back. It was devastating when it happened, but as I look back now, my time with my XW was a living hell. I always walked on eggshells fearing if my next action is going to lead to an angry public outburst.

    It doesn’t end there. She is high risk for breast cancer. By her mid twenties she already had two surgeries in her breasts to remove lumps. I was there by her all the time, nursing her back to health. Has she told her AP about that? Your guess is as good as mine. Do you think a person, with such feeble moral backbone, who can get involved with a married woman (whose marriage he attended!) will stand by a person in sickness and health, through good time and bad?

    My XW kept saying that she “deserves” better than what I am. Yep, when she was in the gutters, no one paid any attention to her except me, now that she is a ‘sparkly’ princess, I am too worn off for her.

    My parting words for my XW was- “you two deserve each other”.

    I don’t believe in the soulmate stuff anymore. The only purpose of this soulmate idea is to make you happy by giving you hope. But happiness has to come from within. If it doesn’t no amount of sparkle and glitter and butterflies and rainbows can make you happy. Once you are happy inside, once you are content with yourself, you will be able to spot other happy ‘human beings’.

    Good luck! May be we will meet someday, and I hope by that time both of us will reach the equilibrium of inner peace.

    • I hope you take some time to figure out why you would give so much to a woman who was, in retrospect, so selfishly immoral. You have a lot to give, and you have given, but you gave to the wrong person. Why? This alone time might be good for you. This woman has a LOT of content: http://gettinbetter.com/anycost.html

      • I think most chumps are on the highly-caring, highly-empathic, highly-optimistic side, and we DO see the good in people. When you’re with a person who has BPD, the good times are AMAZING, and of course, in the beginning there are lots of good times. And when there’s a bad time, you initially take it all very seriously, and see their unhappiness as due to the situation.

        It takes a lot of years to understand that your partner’s head does NOT work like yours, that they do NOT appreciate what you do for them as you would appreciate anyone who did the same for you, they will NEVER be happy for any length of time, and that they will turn on you really fast. Whether a narcissist, a sociopath or a Borderline, there’s often a real gift for showing and giving people what they’re looking for, initially, and tugging at their heart strings (manipulatively) later on.

        Other than learning to pick better, I honestly don’t think I have to think about why I gave so much, I just need to notice WAY sooner that I’m not with someone who takes as much pleasure in giving as I do, and whether I’m with someone who WANTS a balanced relationship, where each happily gives and gratefully receives.

        • This is something I have to learn, too. I can’t even imagine being with someone who would actually WANT to do something to please me, unasked and uncoached. I’m not sure I would even know what to do in a situation like that. I just expect that with STBX I have to do everything in the relationship or it won’t get done, that there will be no gratitude or thanks, and that he is not interested enough in me to bother to do something nice. I know that this sounds really whiny, but over at least the last 20 years of marriage it was a fact I learned to accept.

          I was out with my sister yesterday who told me a story about her hairstylist, who appears to be a chump, but who learns fast. Three days before Christmas last year her husband announced that he had a girlfriend and that he was moving into the girlfriend’s house – while the girlfriend’s husband was still living with her. Fortunately said hairstylist didn’t fool around; after her husband had been gone two weeks and hadn’t come back for his stuff, she called her dad and they packed it up and dumped it all on the girlfriend’s lawn. It was raining at the time.

          This summer Hairstylist met a nice divorced guy with a couple of kids. She told my sister last week that their biggest problem so far is arguing over who empties the dishwasher – they both want to do it and get upset if the other one does it first! The new fellow is also blown away that she makes him a lunch to take to work some days, as apparently his ex never made him so much as a sandwich, and he did all the lunches for the kids too. It sounds like she has met a fellow Chump and now both of them are adjusting to being cared for by each other.

          This really made me think. Maybe what I need to consider is that someone might be out there who would empty the dishwasher without being asked, and who would make me a packed lunch for work once in a while, and even better would know me well enough to make me something I like. Low expectations, but maybe I’ve finally boarded the clue train.

          • Wow, that touched a nerve! Lots to think about. I, too, have a hard time believing someone would want to do something nice for me. I know why I feel this way, and now I need to be really aware of my actions and feelings in cooperating with people. Hmmm….

            • Stephanie, part of my Great Unlearning this past two years has been not only to take a good, hard look at myself – why I put up with all STBX’s crap, why I didn’t leave him long ago, why I didn’t recognize the slow eroding of my self over these past years – but also to try and figure out what a real, loving, healthy relationship would look like. I wasn’t exactly surrounded by excellent examples of loving adults growing up, and this is my biggest handicap and fear when I even think about going out with someone else.

              And I don’t mean theory here. I mean what does a loving, reciprocal, comfortable relationship look like day to day? Before my sister told me the story of her stylist, it never even occurred to me that it would mean someone to share the chores with, without any direction on my part and without any bitching and moaning and doing the thing badly. I know what I don’t want, but how can I be sure what I do want if I’ve never seen it before?

              • ex, I get where you’re coming from. I felt myself eroding over 5 years. I lost my self esteem completely and put up with terrible behavior from STBX. It just creeps up on you.

                I’m glad you pointed out that in a loving healthy relationship the other person DOES THINGS FOR YOU. I forgot all about that.

      • Thanks Stephanie. I will check it out.

        I know now why I put up with all those nonsense and abuse for such a long time. I come from a unhealthy household with continually bickering parents. I didn’t watch any ideal adult relationship based on love and respect. So my benchmark was really low to begin with.

        It took me some time and introspection to realize what my ‘faults’ were and where I should have drawn the line. Self journeys are the most painful and also the most rewarding ones.

    • You don’t believe in soul mates and I don’t believe in karma. I do believe this path is mine and is separate from whatever they do, thank god, because who wants to be tangled up in that crap? My ex too suffers from a debilitating illness, so she will learn soon enough, as I did, how to grieve alone and prepare for a challenging future that will require significant care taking.

      • I don’t believe in karma either, per se. But a LOT of these narc idiots end up wrecking their own lives, because their entitlement, selfishness and refusal to take responsibility have long-term consequences in so many areas.

        I’m pleased to say that my ex’s father, the tree from which that apple did not fall far, is now old and alone. Three good women who treated him very well for a lot of years have left him, 2 of his 3 children haven’t spoken to him for years, and in recent years even long-time friends have gotten completely fed up w/his irresponsibility and dishonesty. The only women he can get these days are ones who need his money (which he doesn’t even have a lot of, after so much irresponsible behaviour), and the only people who spend time w/him are old drunks who come by to eat his food and drink his booze.

        My ex, who is having a really miserable time, said to me recently ‘but it can’t have been selfishness, wouldn’t I have made decisions that would bring me more happiness if I were selfish?’ But the problem is that at each MOMENT he would make the decision that would either make him feel less crappy right then (like putting others down) or that seemed like it was a short-cut to medium-term happiness, without his actually thinking about the probability it would work (like his two affairs).

        He couldn’t take responsibility for his decisions, and he certainly wasn’t smart enough even to see that, for example, treating his kids well would mean his kids would continue to be around him, or acting honestly would ensure that even when he made mistakes, people might forgive him.

        So not karma in a ‘cosmic’ or destined sense, but karma in the sense that they often create their own disasters. I know not all do, but it’s damned satisfying to watch when that ‘karma bus’ does arrive!

        • That’s how I see Karma. Karma is created by the person inflicting the pain on others because of how they choose to live their lives. If they associate with people who will screw around with a married person, then that means they are associating themselves with someone who has no boundaries. This may mean that same person will screw around on them (married or not). So some would say that’s Karma.

      • May be karma is not real. Who knows. But so far I have seen that crime doesn’t pay and your bad actions come back to bite you in the ass. That is by definition karma.

    • Life101, your marriage sounded similar to mine. I agree that it’s great to find that happiness within and to stop looking to another person to provide it for you! Loved your comments.

  • Doc Chump, you sound like a strong, kickass woman who is going to reach that Tuesday of meh and be so, so much better off than you ever could possibly have been staying married to a loser, cheater freak. I understand exactly how you feel, as do the majority of us chumps, I’d imagine. It HURTS to see the cheater waltz off into the sunset with their supposed “soulmate.” I know that you know your ex is not exactly a prize, the OW is no treasure, and their marriage is almost certainly going to end with a bang (literally, when one or both of them bang other people).

    You are obviously strong and capable, so I know your future is going to be bright. Don’t despair of ever finding a good man, because the odds are that you will. The only thing I can say that CL didn’t say far more eloquently is it sounds like maybe you have been so strong, you haven’t allowed yourself to really grieve and feel the trauma of your experience. If you had a friend who went through a horrible trauma, you would expect her to fall apart a little bit, to cry, to grieve, to process the experience, right? You need to do the same. I don’t mean curl up in a ball and die, or give up, or become bitter, or spend your time holed up with a carton of ice cream. But treat yourself gently. Allow yourself to feel the pain, knowing you will get through it. Let your broken places heal. It takes time, and it is hard and it hurts. Go on with your awesome life into your bright future, but remember to nurse that wound and cut yourself a little slack when the inevitable low points hit. You WILL rise over them and life WILL be better.

  • Dr. Chump, I’ve been there and you are not meh. Not really, I think you still want justice. That was my biggest stumbling block to meh, I suspect we are not alone in this. Chumps are ethical, honest and have integrity. We always try to do the right thing, (including divorce). Despite our logical conscious minds knowing that “life is not fair”, deep down we do expect justice. We don’t need it, at the same time it is really hard to let justice go. But try, stop looking for justice, don’t pay any attention to what or with who your ex is doing shit. The OW didn’t put you in her place, you are giving her and your ex so much power over you.

    Stop and decide what you want and go after it. You are tired of living as a student? You sound like you have enough education to get a job and put the rest of it on hold. That’s not what you want though is it? You want to complete that education, so you are making those choices. Stop comparing your life to some random couple, because that is what your ex and his wife are to you now. They no longer have nothing to do with how you live your life. They are persona non grata, if you must envy someone pick someone else, hell pick Johnny Depp, so you can fanticize about marrying him. Or I dunno, a couple who is actually worth envying, how about Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith or Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

    Justice is for books and movies, in real life if it happens it is unexpected. Let it go.

    • Actually, all those couples have cheating histories (Hanks was married when he met Rita, the Smiths are allegedly both cheaters, and Mr. Depp cheated on Vanessa Paradis). Sorry, but had to point out that because right now I’m looking to couples that are committed in my own world because that gives me more hope that I can find it for myself.

      • sorry Nord, I don’t follow celebrities at all, I just googled a couple of happily married rich stars. Had no idea of their histories.

        • No worries. I have a guilty pleasure in reading about celebs so am sadly up to date on this stuff. Don’t tell anyone. I’m an intelligent woman who relaxes by reading about dumbass celebs.

          • Cough*National Enquirer*cough. With a Fresca on ice on a rainy afternoon, Led Zeppelin on the stereo. My son rolls his eyes and tells me I am too old school, but I find it a soothing guilty pleasure. Elvis is not dead, he has just gone home……

          • No worries Nord, I’m an intelligent woman who has an advice column addiction. Seriously, I read them all, even the ones I despise (Dear Prudence for example).

            Since all my other suggestions were poor, how about Michele and Barack Obama to compare to? I know they haven’t cheated, the Republicans would be all over it, laugh!

            • Let’s go with the Obamas since they seem to have a solid, respectful and loving marriage. And guilty pleasures are the best. 🙂

    • I steamed a lot over the injustice, until I got into the habit of reminding myself ‘it is what it is’, and tried to focus on that rather than on what SHOULD be.

    • “Stop comparing your life to some random couple, because that is what your ex and his wife are to you now.”

      This is so smart, Datdamwuf. I’ve never thought about the comparison issue in this way before. And as for the rest of your post, you’re totally right. Waiting for justice is just another way of giving the cheaters power– and that’s a choice we make.

      • I have some friend who have really tortured themselves by looking up what ex and OW are doing and comparing their lives. One friend of mine was really making herself miserable until she discovered that SHE was the one who was making herself upset by looking at her ex’s Facebook page. Once she disconnected from him and stopped looking, she started feeling much better. She put the energy she spent snooping in her ex’s life into her own and now she’s doing great.

        • Best thing you can do is jsut stay away from anything to do with them online and block block block. I blocked ex within 6 weeks on facebook and haven’t seen it since. If someone mentions something they’ve seen I politely stop them. I blocked his family a few months later and all two of the friends he took with him. There was an enormous relief in doing this because I simply do not hear about him at all, other than what the kids talk about, which is minimal, and the usual email and text bullshit from him.

    • I think you made a good observation with the justice point. I was raised that you want to make things “legal” to protect yourself. I think I am more angry at myself for even caring. My personal philosophy is nothing says “go to hell” in a finer way than indifference. Fail.

  • Dear Dr. Chump,
    I too was with a sociopathic/psychopath for a year and happily left him this past January. thankfully wasn’t married to him or had children with him but have experienced the same insanity as everyone else here with the same lingering fallout after the fact.

    The magic of a sociopathic/psychopath is they are nothing like they pretend to be.

    The magic of reality is that they keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results but in reality the same result happens, they either leave the one they are with or the the one they are with leaves them. It’s only a matter of time before they are caught and found out to be the pathological liar, manipulator, betrayer, predator that they are while they continue to play the victim. The length of time of their new relationship depends upon how long the sociopath feels they need the victim and how long the new victim will accept the abuse and nothing more. Even if the new relationship lasts a lifetime, you can be certain that the same behavior and abuse is going on without a doubt.

    The magic of being a chump is we have already been chumped and know what that is about and never have to let that happen again if we so choose. So we have only up from here to go! We can move forward and never experience that kind of crazy again. The process is at first traumatizing, painful, disorienting and as time goes on the fear and anger subsides and you get to concentrate on what is important to you and makes you happy. It’s a process and not always a linear one.

    The hardest part is letting go of the fact that you were chumped, the fact is that you were. That doesn’t mean you are stupid it means you are a human with vulnerabilities. We all have vulnerabilities (chumps and non chumps alike) which means that we are all perfect targets for mentally unstable predators. Loving someone is not being stupid it’s a beautiful thing and one that should not be wasted on the unworthy. Therefore missing being Mrs. let’s you know you do want someone in your life and that’s a good thing, you just need to get back on your feet and feel a bit more stable and all in your life will start falling into place even the Mrs. part. Except this time you will be with someone worth loving. I think that is something worth looking forward to!

    Being a chump allows you take inventory of all that is important to you, of knowing what you want out of life and relationships. Knowing who is good for you and who isn’t. Allowing you to build a firm foundation upon which to build a stable life step by step. Learning how to walk through the fires of Hell (Fear) to come out the other side.

    For me it’s been a deep and thorough questioning of all aspects of my life that has helped me to heal and learn about myself and about what holds meaning for me and what and who is important to me. It has helped me to see clearly when I go on dates with men what qualities and values are important to me for the long term. It’s made dating so much easier while allowing me to the priority in my life.

    Doc, just continue reaching your goals with your doctorate, you will find work and bit by bit, step by step you will get there. The length of time is really up to you and your mind and body and how you choose to process this event. I do promise that once you accept that you have been chumped and don’t beat yourself up over that fact, it will move forward more quickly. Keep patting yourself on the back for divorcing well and working hard. Don’t focus on anything negative and hopeless and if you go there ask yourself why you feel that? Are the feelings valid or not? It’s sometimes easy to lose perspective and the mind can play tricks for sure or make you think things that aren’t so.

    The indisputable facts are you are rid of a sociopath, you are working toward getting your doctorate, you were smart and sharp with your divorce and you want to be a Mrs., sounds pretty good to me! How does it sound to you?

    • Thanks for what you wrote. And I really like this part (especially the last sentence, that’s what I feel my experience has been like):
      “Being a chump allows you take inventory of all that is important to you, of knowing what you want out of life and relationships. Knowing who is good for you and who isn’t. Allowing you to build a firm foundation upon which to build a stable life step by step. Learning how to walk through the fires of Hell (Fear) to come out the other side.”

    • Thank you for your kind words. I also appreciate your validation. I do miss being married and sometimes feel like a sap for admitting it. I also like that you used the word “magic” of a sociopath. That is *precisely* what it is and when the dream world is over, even if you can cognitively make sense of what just happened, it is still so, so painful.

  • Doc,
    Its true that it sucks. You no longer have the safety and security that you imagined. You have fewer resources and it seems that there are more things ready to use them up. They seem to be happy, have more money, more options. I get it.

    However it simply isn’t true that they are better off. They are living in a metaphorical and literal time bomb. It is only a matter of time before it goes off and one or the other of them blows it all up. Even if they beat the odds and neither implodes, you have to know that each of them has that thought in the back of their minds. “Is this the day that he/she will blow it up?” “Is this the day that I can’t control myself and blow it up myself?” They are living with crazy and you are happily outside of that particular hell.

    Would you really trade places with either of them? Just for trips and money? If the answer is yes there is something for you to explore in therapy. I would hazard to guess that the answer is no. You are just mourning the death of what you thought your life was. That is normal and is part of the process. Try hard to remember that what you thought your life was, was a sham, concocted by someone who chose to lie to you and really didn’t care all that much about the damage it caused.

    That’s the prize she won in this game. Yippee for her! I would rather be in your position any day. You’ll come to that place too in time. Good luck Doc. 🙂

    • Yeah, I really like this.

      I’m not convinced xH would cheat on OW, but she might look for a better opportunity. He might wonder about that. He might welcome it, too. I think in xH’s passive-aggressive Swiss cheese brain, he must realize what a loser he is. I would hate that, as well. I think we spend a lot of time thinking, “Well, it didn’t have to be that way–what if he’d not fucked her, what if he’d valued me, what if he’d been a good husband and father?” But, he didn’t do that. He just didn’t. That’s who he is.

      • I agree, Steph. I have spent far far too much time wondering, what if he’d been true, what if he’d resisted that temptation and not fucked his GF? But he didn’t do that. He chose to blow it all up. And further, I’m guessing she’s not the first and this is just the one I caught him at.

        I hope STBXH realizes he’s a loser but I have no faith in that, either. I think he stuck believes he’s all that. I am wondering how his holidays will go. First ones alone. Tomorrow he turns 55 alone. Son and daughter will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with me. Both are still furious with him (early days–6 months in).

        Anyhow, I can only hope he is miserable as hell, at least for this year. Perhaps next year I’ll be at meh?

  • One philosophical take: it doesn’t get better but it’s YOUR life.

    Two quotes: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” (not sure; attributed incorrectly to FDR)
    “’Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

    It won’t get better because you’re married, or finish your doctorate, or have a baby, or win the lottery, or get an all expenses paid trip to an exotic tropical paradise. They are all wonderful things, but what makes it better is what’s inside you. For me it gets better on the days that I choose joy and gratitude over comparisons, just live MY life and MY story and my ex is just a small pebble on the bottom of the ocean that can hurt my foot if I step directly on it. As I get closer to meh, I have more of those days. And on my bad days, I fantasize about evil things and karmic revenge and the unfairness of life. But I want to go to Meh, one drip of joy at a time. The only thing I can really try to control is my own thoughts and actions, so I’m working on those. Good luck to you!

    • That’s great advice Vivianne. Supposedly one of the habits of healthy happy people is to not compare themselves to others. Of course I have yet to get to meh because anything that goes wrong for my ex still makes me happy.

      Sometimes I think the saying “a life well lived is the best revenge” is a rather high expectation for those of us who have had our world torn apart by betrayal and deception. Sure we’re better off without these guys and gals but it feel like a lot of pressure to get to that place of “hey, I have an enviable happier life now”. The truth is that sometimes it just sucks for a while.

      Dr. Chump I understand where you’re coming from and I definitely understand the biological clock pressure but I will say that I admire you. A Doctorate is no small thing. The other chumps all have wise advice. I can’t make your ex’s life implode or explode although there’s a lot of chump betrayers I wish I could kick in the balls. I can say that all of us, whether we’ve experienced the hit and run of infidelity or not, will have that lost time in our life where it’s not super great. I think it’s part of being human. I hope you and I are in that place soon where neither one of us has our happiness tied to our ex anymore.

  • Dr. Chump, you have had more than a close brush with evil. My counselor believes my ex has ASPD as well. Mine played it very very charming and supposedly adored me till the minute I caught him, after 25 years of marriage and 3 children. Then he walked with a few clothes and never looked back, not even for the children. The mindfuck is incredible, but it will slowly get better. You need to mourn, and then move on, and it is not a completely linear process.

    I am an attorney, so I knew I could live without him financially. You have a wonderful education and career options ahead of you and you will be fine in the end too, and you will remarry and have children if you choose. Remember, you have these options because you were LUCKY enough that the sociopath’s interest was caught elsewhere. I suspect that he may have felt insecure with you, you are probably too educated, successful, attractive for him. These people are poison. They are attracted to your success but then they cannot stomach it. My sociopath slowly tried to undermine and destroy me during our marriage, while acting like the most loving man imaginable, that is how he tried to assuage his ego hurt by my successes.

    Leave your ex and his AP to the life they have chosen, it will not be pretty. Grab life by the ass, thank your lucky stars you are free to live a new life, and move on to that life. Shortly after my divorce was final, I met a wonderful man and am now engaged to be remarried, and am happier than I have ever been.

    You will get there too Dr. Chump. Have faith–in yourself.

    (((Hugs)))

  • Doc chump, you are miles ahead of me in so many regards. However Vivianne’s quote “comparison is the thief of joy” still haunts me. Last year in particular all I did was compare and every time I came up short. It was hell. I beat myself up every hour of every day full of fear. Fear they would be better, wealthier, happy, be able to travel with the boys etc. man was I wrong.
    I wouldn’t have their life I would not choose it.
    At least you are divorced. You’re clear of him and don’t need to have anything to do with him. You can go totally no contact. I wish! With kids some of us have to relive this shit. I have a few friends that moved away for one r two years so they didn’t have to see their exes with their best former friends. I wish, but can’t because of the boys plus I have so much support and love here.
    I actually derive strength from the cheaters. They’re pathetic in every regard.

    To give you an idea how yor life can change I booked on Friday to work in an orphanage in Manila in a couple weeks time just for a few days. I would never never have done this or had the opportunity still married to Groceries.
    I mulled over going but decided I had to step outside my comfort zone. I have no idea what to expect. I will be with a friend whose done heaps of this stuff so that will help and she guide me. If I can make a difference I will be over the moon.

    Life throws up hurdles and if we can clear them we then ave the opportunity to run outside the stadium ( our marriage) and run through fields of new opportunity. A new life and hopefully a better life. For one thing it will be different.

    Vivienne thank you for that quote. Going to store that with ” I am going to ignore you until you doubt your own existence !”

    • I LOVE THIS, Baci!! I’m sure I’ve heard it before, but right now it is resonating: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

      Thank you for that!

      I do look back at all the people I’ve compared myself to over the years, and you know what? I realize that a lot of my anxiety sprung from insecurity. You never know what burdens people bear–only what you see on the outside. (Don’t WE KNOW IT!) Where I can learn a better way from others–that is the good. But otherwise, we all must make our way in the world on our own terms. And most of us do a good job. There really aren’t a lot of people I know with whom I would trade places, though, really. You’d have to take ALL of it, not just the good that they show you.

      Only you know what truly makes you happy. And you can only control what you can. Do that.

      Thanks!

        • But the real NPDs compare themselves ALL THE TIME. This was my ex’s biggest hobby, constantly comparing himself! He’d usually select some aspect in which he was actually better than the other person, then slam them for that (certain person is a super nice guy, great father, happy husband, very successful in career, but he has DANDRUFF! And he sometimes rants about the education system!). Or notice some recognition or success somebody else had and bitterly complain about how unfair that was (the only reason said ‘friend’ is such a success is FLUKE, lots of people start IT companies and it’s just FLUKE that makes one more successful than another, how unfair that HE never has that kind of luck, he’s so unlucky).

          He was the first person I’d ever met who is truly envious, constantly eaten away at by envy of others, and because of that, convinced other people envy him, of course – that would explain most of their negative reactions to him! Couldn’t be anything HE does …

          Blergh

    • And, good for you for booking a life-changing experience. I guarantee you that it will put a lot of emotional distance between you and Groceries. You will care a lot less about her after it. Fill up that space with a principled life and it will become a rock-solid wall. Good on you, mate!

  • You know, you could have the life she has. You could find a well-off (financially, anyway) emotional vampire just like your ex, and seduce him into leaving his wife and kids and live the good life in a big, shiny, warm house, and travel the world with said prick, who would, no doubt, be seriously inconvenienced by your focus on your career goals, which you would dispose of from your vacuous little head, all to hold his attention for as long as you can, until you were abandoned, or, worse, tied indefinitely to him as he ages into a disgusting, self-absorbed, bitter senior.

    I would fucking hate myself if I was like my xH’s twat troll. I lived with him for 2 decades. She can have him.

    I need to have that tatooed on my wrist in some exotic, non-Arabic language, “They deserve each other.” Then snicker every time I read it. I’ll tell people it means, “Hope and love,” or some nonsense.

    I do miss being married, but, then again, I was married to him. There was a lot about him that I found disturbing, but I felt obligated to make it work. I was dedicated to overlooking the hideous. No more. Now, I get it. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. Time will tell. I’ll use the interim to work it out. I was young and needy when I met him, that much I have forgiven myself for. I overlooked a lot of shit. I spread it on sandwiches and ate them until he left, and only well after he was gone did I realize what that nasty taste was in my mouth.

    It gets better. And, yet, it will always hurt, I understand. I don’t think you truly ever get over it. That might be a good thing, learning from your mistakes. But I know enough women who mostly only infrequently dredge up that sludge, cry out in indignation for a few seconds, and get on with their good lives. I’m going for that.

    I know this experience has made me less naive, a little more enlightened and therefore compassionate, and was the free pass from a bad marriage. I get a do-over, on my terms.

    Similar to you, I am biding my time now in a lot of solitary activity–in my case, remodeling my home and yard, so that when I am ready to move into my next life, it will be with all my ducks in a line. Similar to you, I am living a principled life, adhering to a set of values that are important to me. (Like, in my case, focusing on the obligations that go along with being present in my kids’ lives at a time when they really need me, and on taking care of my home and my job, which takes care of me.) I sleep well at night–bar the occasional fear of missing a deadline (goes along with being responsible.)

    It’s not fair. We make choices based on what options we have. Our principles guide us–I would not want the consequences of living like the OW lives–shame, fear, risk of disease and abandonment, living with a fucked-up scumbag, being a fucked-up scumbag, etc. I actually feel really good about my choices. They’ve been made mostly consciously, without the taint of deceit.

    As Tracy says, Keep Going. It will get better. You are paying your dues now, rather than wondering when the piper will demand payment in the future.

    What’s that sound? Is that the Karma bus in the distance? Nevermind, anyway. Ideally you won’t know when it hits them, and you won’t give a damn, anyway.

  • What’s up Doc? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    I think you’ve been incredibly brave. It’s no fun to watch someone you loved go on and have this “amazing” life doing the kind of things you had hoped to do together. But the reality of it is, that life isn’t so “amazing” when you think of who you have to spend it with. It might look good and fun but it isn’t. The NPD want you to believe that because they have to look shiny for their next victim. The truth is, while it might be ok for a few months it will suck in the long run.

    My STBX is off on a grand holiday with his new girlfriend. I’m stuck in the snow. And yes, it hurts me to think they are there enjoying themselves but then I ask, “Would you like to be there with HIM?” And it’s a big fat, “HELL NO.” Think of all the abuse and crap you are missing out on. That is the truth of it. It’s only a matter of time before they show their true selves. And by then, you probably won’t care.

    Keep on doing the good life. Work hard, move away if you need to and believe that you are worth so much more. Life has a funny way of working out and no, it’s not fair but you may be very very surprised at how good your life can really be. Move in that direction. Keep believing in yourself.

  • When this first happened to me a good friend who had been through something similar kept telling me ‘time, time, time’. You may get sick of hearing it (and I didn’t believe it at first) but ‘it does get better’, however we all need to take it at our own pace. I am eight months into separation (filed for divorce last week) and I am still struggling to come to terms with it but have come so far. I bet if you look back at your progress you will have come a long way.
    I still have bad days but like GIO said have learned to allow myself to hurt and not beat myself up about it. Sometimes I think we so want the pain to be over we push ourselves too hard and too fast.
    I also have pointlessly compared myself to the OW and stupidly worried about their wonderful, sparkly life. My head tells me that there is nothing there to be jealous about, he isn’t about to change into the most wonderful man in the world and she will always be a honourless, shameless skank but my heart hasn’t fully accepted it.
    Luckily I earn enough to support myself but I have to watch every penny. The added financial pressure of solicitors bills (it still pisses me off that on top of all the humiliation it is actually costing me money to get rid of him) has meant there is little left over each month for life’s luxuries. My STBXH refused to give me any money towards a joint debt for 6 months as the OW wasn’t working and I had to ‘understand that he was the only one bringing a wage into the house’ (said with no idea of the irony of that statement, I’m still gobsmacked to this day!) but I take pride in the fact that I can manage on my own.
    Doc Chump you will build a better life for yourself but it does take time. May the saddest day of your future be better than the happiest day of your past.

  • I have learned that comparison is a killer. I’d be happily going about my day, and then I compare myself to the OW or their supposedly-wonderful life and then wham, I lose my peace. But why am I even believing what I am thinking? I don’t live in their world, so I really don’t know what is happening. I question my thoughts. I then latch on to what I know for sure – I am out of an emotionally abusive relationship and happier than ever, my ex is with someone who likes a guy who cheats on his wife, and the OW is with a serial cheater. What’s to envy?

  • Chump Son here.

    Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump,

    I, too, got a doctorate. It was tough, and it’s a tough challenge. To be divorced at the same time, in the midst of the ordeal of getting a doctorate, is a tough thing. Even so, you have shed yourself of a sociopath. My God! That’s amazing! This is like getting out of the water just ahead of a Great White Shark! Who cares how he and his next victim are doing? You had a brush with a terrible life and dodged that awful bullet, and now you have much stronger radar against such bad folks, so that’s all good!

    Now, doctorates and dissertations are tough. Believe me, I know! But really, they can be done. Get David Sternberg’s now somewhat dated book, “How to Survive Your Doctoral Dissertation.” It’s mostly a matter of persistence and organization (and NOT asking yourself after every paragraph you write, “Why isn’t this genius?” Just keep writing. Stay organized. Follow one system. And keep writing.) You will do just fine As others have noted, you have shed yourself of a predator — and done it in fine style — and you have done so in the midst of a tough challenge — getting that doctorate. To me, this shows the high fiber character of a winner. Yes, there will be depressing moments of back switching, of sadness. Such is normal. Hell, you are chump! That means that you are a good person with feelings! But the overall trajectory I read is a victorious one. Don’t look back and keep pushing forward. Your doing well. Really well. And be glad that you escaped that Great White Shark of an ex….. Many of us spent far more time trying to tame/bargain/pacify similar creatures, all to no good. Well done, Doctorate-to-be!

    Best,

    Chump Son

    • “…you have shed yourself of a sociopath. My God! That’s amazing! This is like getting out of the water just ahead of a Great White Shark!”

      Awesome David!!

      🙂

    • Thank you, Chump Son. I actually have Sternberg in my little conference tote bag right now. I should clarify not Sternberg himself but a copy that someone lent me. Apparently, it is the bible of dissertation survival and sanity. I appreciate you encouragement.

  • Doc, you have something that many of us here don’t have – time. You were smart over the divorce, and you still are smart – you divorced the SOB before you had children, before he could persuade you to give up your education and your career and become his caregiver and servant, before you reached middle age and found yourself caring for an aging, impotent, no-longer-sparkly narcissist because you had too much honour to leave, or before he left you in your old age to face a drastically lower standard of living alone. You used your wonderful chump skills and stuck with your PhD program through all the crap, found a new place to live, and it sounds like were a success at a recent academic conference. You’ve done a fabulous job!

    I suspect that a post-conference letdown is part of how you feel – it sounds like you might be doing the hard part of the dissertation now, the solitary writing and research, boring and endless and at times seemingly irrelevant and futile. You might be longing to be a Mrs. again because on a grad student stipend there isn’t a lot of extra cash to break the monotony, go out to dinner or for a few beers or to a concert. But you’ve done this before, and you know there is an end.

    Keep focused on your defense date, start looking at journals and dreaming about what your life could be like once you have defended successfully and can move on. With your skills and education the world is your oyster, and damn it, it will get better. Know that I for one am thinking of you with admiration and encouragement, for what it’s worth.

  • To the OP who sent in this letter, you can’t imagine how much I sympathize. While I was chumped by a boyfriend and not a husband and therefore never came to actually be financially reliant on anyone but myself, it still hurt a lot. Financially, he had used me (most of the time, I used to pay for the both of us whenever we went out, etc. — even though *I* was on a graduate stipend and could barely make ends meet while he had a full-time job that paid a decent salary), rather than me being dependent on him in any way. In fact, while I was spending money on him and on our outings, he was putting away that money for his travels to the sex tourism capital of the world, to cheat on me with at least one (or more) probably-std-infested prostitutes (one of whom was his pseudo-gf/escort-gf, whom he told “I love you” via text mssging, and whose pictures and videos performing sex acts with him I found on his cellphone). Anyway, long story short, the relationship with him lasted a year, during which I was (emotionally) abused day in day out — and because of that, for a year I put aside everything, couldn’t get any work done, and became a shadow of my previous self. I am a PhD student as well, and as it happens, in the same field as you, and my self-esteem had hit rock-bottom. The PhD thing is, as you say, bad enough for the self-esteem, but this really was the punch that nearly knocked it out. 5 months post-break-up, I find it hard to move on, though I am at a “meh” stage. I still feel mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from the year-long abuse. I have huge trauma issues as a result of what I saw on his phone. I have trust issues with men, and I don’t think I will regain that any time soon. I think the PhD thing in conjunction with the cheating definitely makes it worse. 🙁 Hang in there. Hopefully it will get better for us some time soon. xoxo

  • I have a feeling that you are alone in Washington with no family around. Thankfully, American Thanksgiving is coming up and I hope you get a chance to be with family. Friends (although they may care) don’t understand the sheer terror, hurt, shame, insecurity and lack of meaning you are experiencing right now. Friends are the ones who say, “It will get better.” You need family, those who are safe to bitch with- those who have as much disdain for your ex as you do and those who truly feel your pain- and comfort food right now, and then you can get back to your studies and BLOW everyone’s lid off with your intelligence. Hang in there.

  • Just wanted to add that two years seems to be a good amount of time, for a lot of people who’ve had a significant relationship end badly. Not that everything’s perfect and you’re completely ‘meh’ at that point, but it’s a turn in the road, where you’re generally satisfied w/your current life, and that past existence no longer seems relevant very often.

    I know it takes longer when we have to remain entangled w/the ex, because of legal, financial or kid complications, or when the relationship was very long or very abusive, but I wouldn’t start worrying about where the heck ‘meh’ is, until at least that two year mark!

    • I agree with this. I purposely didn’t answer your real question as to how long because its entirely subjective. It took nearly two years for me to feel “normal” again. It is now 3 years out and I am truly feeling like I have not only regained what my life was before I met my train wreck, but I am in the process of making it better. Two years is a hell of a long time to wade through this crap and I sincerely hope that you make it sooner, but it really takes time to recover from what has been done to you. People are not geared to quickly recover from the type of betrayal that you have suffered.

      ChumpLady’s answer is as good as any. It gets better Tuesday and Tuesday is right around the corner. Hang in there.

    • We have been divorced for nearly a year, but he left almost two years ago. There was a lot of change this past year– divorce, long-distance move, job changes, etc. The dust settling would be a nice change of pace, but I suspect that is not the path I am on at present.

  • Wow. I am overwhelmed by the support here. What a wonderful group of individuals who have been chumped. Many of you have said some incredibly poignant things which resound clearly. This morning, after I allowed myself a brief cry, I thought the situation over. She apparently quit her job as a political staffer and moved into my old house, located in Podunk, Middle of Nowhere. She looks in my mirror every morning. He did precisely as I predicted and what tremendous downturn she has embarked. In essence, this is precisely what I hoped for, that both of them received everything their little hearts desired. I have no way of knowing how things will turn out, but I am a firm believer that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. But it is all the same to me.

    One piece of information I omitted from my initial letter was that my ex-husband suffers from a debilitating, chronic disease which will eventually take a terrible toll on his body and health. I married him knowing this and was prepared do his care taking if/when this happened. This is no longer my burden to bear.

    For the first time in a long time, I felt liberated. I hurt. I am sad. As many of you said, I am grieving the loss of a dream. But is as though some read the last sentence from the last chapter of a book and said, “Go . It’s your time now.”

    Thank you for all of your kind and supportive remarks.

    • “She …moved into my old house…. She looks in my mirror every morning.”

      Can you IMAGINE??

      Oh, my GOD!!

      The sickening audacity of it all–that she is a parasitic invader–means NOTHING to her, apparently? How do these OP do it?

      Can YOU imagine? There’s no soul in your home any more. Neither of them have souls. It’s not a home. It’s a box filled with props.

      I remember after he moved out, and I was purging, I got rid of our king-sized sheets–really nice flannels, etc. He wanted them, so I put them out on the front porch. This was back when I was still doing the pick-me dance, albeit bitterly and angrily. I mocked him via text–“Guess you two will be snug as bugs in our marital bedding.” I wouldn’t make love to a man in another woman’s bed. But that’s just me, I guess. Well, Jesus–she had sex with him in our family vehicle, probably in our home, too, though the liar coward denies it. She spread her filth all over everything, reached with her ugly tentacles into our lives–invited by him–until she’d squirmed her way between his kids and him, between him and me.

      They both got what they wanted. Good riddance.

      I really don’t know how they do it. They must be some sort of desperate, the likes of which I hope never to be.

      What a shame your ex couldn’t see into his own future, to realize you’d have had loving mercy on him as he struggled with his health. I think he’s running as fast as he can away from the truth. And it will sneak up on him before he’s ready. He knows it if he thinks long enough about it.

      Oh, they’re idiots.

    • “Go . It’s your time now.”

      Dr. Chump- so beautifully and eloquently put. So go, it is your time, and I predict it will be better than you can possibly imagine right now.

  • He is a loser. She is a loser. You protected yourself well through the divorce process. Well done. YOU have a brain. God has a purpose for you. The light will shine even though you have dark days. God has a purpose for you. Look in your new mirror (in your beautiful pad) and see the possibilities…….

  • Dr. Chump,
    Congrats on your many accomplishments. I, too, have a PhD. I cannot imagine working on it while my life was imploding and I feared for my life.

    In many ways, your divorce was so much more painful than mine… my exH did not threaten, etc. He just emotionally retreated, and denied issues, and when he kept claiming unhappiness was work related, I encouraged his going to DC for a year to undertake public policy related work, something he had wanted to do for years. I stayed home with the kids, he got himself a married girlfriend, 12 yrs younger than me. I had to file for divorce; he wanted it, but could not even verbally say it. They married and welcomed a baby within 6 months of our divorce finalization.

    I can empathize with the feeling of unfairness. My exH should have divorced me years ago, after the first suspected/only recently admitted affair. He could have given me the opportunity to find someone who truly cared about me. Instead he waited until I cannot have more children (not that I want anymore, but he did not give me the choice).

    It’s been a tough autumn, as exH moved away with the new family, and I am now a single parent, working full time and struggling to help the kids cope with their feelings.

    Just the last couple of weeks I actually started feeling contentment (mixed in with stress!).
    The kids and I will get through this. ExH husband can have his new life with the new family. He has already missed so much of our children’s lives this fall— daughter happily meeting some actresses, and attending a Katy Perry concert; son completing his first 5km run, and seeing son’s happiness as we read mystery stories before bedtime.
    His loss. One day he will understand what he threw away.

    It does get better. Just take it day by day, and keep your eye on the future.
    Dissertation, job, caring friends, whatever it may be.

    All the best.

    • “It’s been a tough autumn, as exH moved away with the new family, and I am now a single parent, working full time and struggling to help the kids cope with their feelings.”

      God, dang it, this just breaks my heart.

      I don’t even know your kids, but even I can really feel for their pain. What kind of sick, soulless humanoid would that to his OWN kids? What kind of soulless female would do that to any child, and what sort of so-called “man” would love a woman who would conspire to do that to his children?

      WTF?

      I live it, too. My youngest son worshipped his father–still does to some degree, though he rarely sees the “man.” It just is beyond comprehension. I’d trade all of my limbs before you could get me to walk away from my children.

      Jeez.

      • Yes, boggles the mind, doesn’t it?
        You hear about the divorced fathers desperate to get more custody time with the kids, many on this site….and my exH not only left, but decided to get married when the kids had NEVER met her (long story, divorce agreement related). He has no idea how she will treat his children.
        Kids head their way for T’giving (flying alone, gulp). I am too nice sometimes…. But the kids deserve to meet their baby sister (though daughter is torn, she is no longer daddy’s little girl). It is tough to not let the kids see my anger at their father’s treatment of them.

        Jedi hugs to Stephanie, and all the other single parents out there.

        And fairness vibes to all the parents out there trying to do right by their kids, though they are thwarted by vindictive ex spouses.

        • Amen! My DD is self harming, insomniac, and a nervous wreck. Loth to put her on pills, trying to keep it as ‘normal’ as can be. We are leaving to live nearer my family in the New Year, meanwhile she is still working on the Untangleable Skein of Fuckuppedness and I am enjoying the Unending punishment. Sometimes on a Monday night, I feel like it might be THAT Tuesday next time.

          Exact same scenario, OW was Ex’s former sis inlaw, they are shacked up with Dd’s stepsister was cousin, and Aunty is now Stepmum, In less than a year W.T.F.

          Other single parents, what helped? DD has a therapist, as do I, but as we careen toward silly season, to say nothing of dismantling MY 27 year life abroad while I am at it, and Mr Fabulous is cranking the “This is MY last Xmas with you” BS to 11, meanwhile DD is seeing him twice a week, tops. His family have been like something off Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer. On my side, there is just me and some invaluable friends. And you guys…

          I walk the Chump walk, chase no unicorns, and the backhoe I used for spackling has been scrapped. Just every so often, the tide of sparkle-laden sewage rises, and I can feel it hitting my chin now……

          Others further toward ‘Meh’, any help? Or Chump Lady, how about one about, “Oh Fuck, Holidays, back to lalaland.”

          I had PTSD symptoms, but these are now managed. I think DD is having a similar reaction, just delayed by my being a chump, as well as her. She gave Mr Fab the benefit of the doubt, but also felt obliged to keep the OW secret: too much stress for me at 45 never mind her at 14…….

          Going to crank up the PiL and throw books in boxes-because I WILL get the PhD, too!

          Meh

          • I do not understand how the cheaters can put their children be the middle like that; making the 14 yr old cover for him?
            In my case, not quite the same, but similar. I found out six months later that 12yr daughter KNEW of the plan to move girlfriend in, pregnant, while I was away on an overseas extended work trip. Divorce agreement said no overnight romantic partners, he signed it, I had not yet signed it.
            The then STBXH told daughter not to tell me, because I would be angry.
            Ya think?! My poor baby. Moving in the pregnant AP when the kids had never met her, and I was 5,000 miles away. Still boggles the mind when I say it,
            Meanwhile, I found out about the plan from a very dear friend, who risked two friendships to tell me.

            Mephista, glad to hear the PTSD symptoms are under control. I had them, but they were relatively short lived, only a couple of months.
            Also glad you have a good support network of friends. I do as well. No family nearby for me, as we moved to this place so exH could stay near his family (and now he is moving away… Ah, the irony.)
            But, I have amazing friends, and decent former inlaws. Kids and I had lunch with them yesterday, and they reiterated they will help me as needed.

            Good luck with your daughter. I think girls 11-15 have it the toughest, given hormones, self image, etc.

            • Thanks ZX,

              That IS the bright side (re your post below) having an honest relationship with DD that I wouldn’t swap for the world!

              OMFG, your ex, mine and the OW should be dropped on a desert island somewhere.

              What is DANGEROUS, and CL touches on this elsewhere, is how the received social wisdom is two parents, two homes. That is fine, when there are two adults in the picture, or no ‘character disorders’ as Dr Simon says.

              14…. an age when you should still be able to believe in unicorns for a little longer…..and I hear you about all the negative image crap!

              Going for a very angry swim, then movie night with DD. Mean girls for the eighty thousandth time. Paradise.

              Thanks again.

          • I feel you, I became very isolated, I have two close friends, that is my entire support system. I have no children, no family other than a brother who lives thousands of miles away. My first Christmas alone was 2011. I put my tree up for the first time in years (ex always talked me out of it), ended up with my friend next door helping me duck tape the trunk when it split. The cussing we did, but damit I had my tree and it was lovely. Last year my brother came with his wife and two kids to visit his SIL. So I got to have them over one evening to open presents. I really enjoyed that, I gave myself and all of them Star Wars light sabers and we had a few epic battles. I don’t know what I will do this year for Christmas. Maybe I can find some people to feed in my newly renovated kitchen (right now it’s under construction). Or maybe I’ll be reading in front of the fire. One thing I know, I will be at peace. You have a daughter, start new traditions that you both like.

    • I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. I’m sure you know, as a fellow PhD participant, that we have a tendency to over-analyze and over-think things. Sometimes I just want to watch trashy television (I don’t have access where I live– long story) just to do something mindless.

  • “she is no longer daddy’s little girl.”

    My god.

    You can’t explain the pain we witness and feel to someone who’s never been through it. You think you have an idea of what it must be like, until it happens, and you go through it, and you know all the kick-in-the-heart details. Like this.

    • Yes, outsiders cannot quite get it. The entire situation has improved my relationship with daughter, though, so something good has come out of the pain.

  • I read this site most days. My divorce was finalized 5 months ago, but we have been living apart for 2.5 years. I found out he was with someone else 5 years ago and it took me 2.5 years to leave. It took a charge of sexual harassment (from the university where he works) following a string of smaller events (e.g., refusing to leave the door open when he had students talking with him–he is a professor). I had tried to reconcile, to get my head around why he would cheat, to understand this and be empathetic and figure out what I could do to be a better person. This all happened in a country I live in that is far from the US (I am an American). I am also accomplished, with a Ph.D. Sometimes I would literally imagine (I know this sounds ridiculous) an alternative me living in another dimension being happy. Sometimes I would wonder how I could be on my own in this foreign country with two kids. Sometimes I had no idea how to deal with the humiliation of his being accused of sexual harassment following the cheating. I reminded myself (and still do) that I don’t have to solve every problem or deal with every situation. I just have to get through the next hour, the next day. Smart people tell you to live in the moment, live it fully. Enjoy the present moment. The flip side of that, when you are suffering, is that you only have to suffer the present moment too. You don’t have to plan for difficulties beyond that. Dr. Chump, I think this site is so great for reminding you that you are not alone. Lots of fantastic people have suffered as you have suffered. None of us “deserved” this. Justice is not apparent. But we can do great things anyway. The best revenge is living well, as they say. I can feel that you truly are and will continue to live well. Congratulations on a life well-lived now and in the future! To you!

    • Uncertain, I understand your pain… Kudos to you, though, for finally leaving! Reconciling the person you thought your significant other was, to the person they apparently are, is truly difficult. I still find myself stopping and wondering how it happened; it’s been 18 months since I learned of the affairs, almost 8 months post divorce finalization.
      My exH was also a university professor. While I did not have the pain of the sexual harassment issue, there is the colleague who tells everyone they had an affair. Well, it was an EA, but they were soul mates, etc. this woman tried to get him to abandon his family, and then two years later gave me some fake consolation when she heard of the divorce, then the next day threw herself at him again, thinking the divorce was caused by her. ExH has quit and is gone, but I still get to see the maybe affair partner every few weeks.
      A sign that I am still not completely healed, I find myself with a gloating feeling around her. She knowingly pursued a married man, she wasted 5 years of her life in that pursuit, and now how nothing to show for it.
      (Bad of me, I know, as this woman clearly has mental issues).

      I like you comments about living well. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, a proverb for the Sanskrit. It was read at my wedding, and if I ever get married again (though at this point I cannot imagine that) I might read it again.

      Look to this day,
      The very life of life,
      In its brief course lies all,
      The realities and verities of existence,
      The bliss of growth,
      The splendor of action,
      The glory of power.
      For yesterday is but a dream,
      And tomorrow is only a vision.
      But today well lived,
      Makes every yesterday
      A dream of happiness
      And every tomorrow
      A vision of hope.
      Look well, therefore,
      To this day.

      • zyx, Thank you for this. This is beautiful. University professors really have a lot of young energetic students around, potentially idolizing them without some of the caution that comes from older people. The kibbles keep on coming for them! Yes, your poem is one of hope. I definitely have hope, for you, for me, for Dr. Chump, for all of us! The other part, though, is that this is a process and sometimes it takes a lot longer than I was expecting. Sometimes it can become hard again even after it feels o.k. for awhile. It’s grieving who you thought you knew. And grieving cannot be forced into a certain period of time… Thank you again!

  • I don’t know when it gets better because I too am still living this nightmare. The difference is that my STBXH doesn’t act like a typical narcissist. I hear so may stories about how narcissist will make your life a living hell during a divorce, but mine doesn’t act this way. He has practically given me everything and even comes around and takes care of the house while I am not home. He goes above and beyond to help me. Maybe it’s guilt. I don’t know. But he is a serial cheater and has even moved in with his girlfriend and continues to do things for me (even when I try and discourage him). I need others opinions because I don’t understand. My STBXH cheated on me with his current girlfriend for over a year before he left me, but yet he doesn’t act like a crazy selfish asshole while going through this divorce. It’s very confusing. I have to wonder…is he a real narc or are there different types?

    • not every cheater is a narcissist or psychopath or even mentally ill. Don’t try to unravel the skein of fuckedupedness, it doesn’t help. And once your divorce is final, tell him to stop coming by and helping you. That is a way to keep an eye on you and it’s controlling behavior. But wait until the divorce is final so he will continue to treat you well.

      • I feel most cheaters simply have to be disordered to display the level of cruelty and dishonesty that they do.
        In order to do this stuff, they must lack empathy. And, that seems to be the overriding characteristic of all cheaters.

    • Maria, not every cheater is highly narcissistic; read Dr. Simon’s latest book, ‘Character Disorders’ to get a better idea of what might be your ex’s traits.

      But remember too that even narcissists sometimes do good things, for their own narcissistic reasons. My ex has been very reasonable about custody (because he didn’t care at the time what happened w/the kids, and I made reasonable suggestions), and quite generous w/money. He’s paying far more than the law requires, so that the kids and I can stay in our house, and the kids in the only school they’ve ever known. But it’s very very clear why he’s doing this;
      – his mother, one of the few people left on the planet who know him and still likes him, would KILL him if he didn’t take care of his kids.
      – after all the crappy stuff he’s done, he needs to LOOK like a good dad and be able to tell himself he’s still a good dad, he wouldn’t be able to stand to break that image.
      – and most importantly, HE THOUGHT HE WOULD BE ABLE TO COME BACK. This, to me, is absolutely amazing! Affairs after 7 years and again after 14 years together, turning his back on me and the kids, and all this after 14 years of being a crabby, difficult person, and as the icing on the cake, 3 incidents of seriously threatening me physically! And he hasn’t entirely given up on this hope. He tried to convince me to ‘try again’ last Xmas, 8 months after I kicked him out. Then again a couple of weeks ago. So keeping the house, taking care of the yard, these were still investments in HIS future.

      Trust that he sucks, that’s all that matters. Not every serial or long-term cheater is as highly disordered as some others, but they ALL suck.

      • Thanks Karen. Yes, I forgot about image. Maybe he wants to clean it up after the nightmare he has caused me and the hell I am still going through. It’s about looking good to others I guess. Little does he know that he will never be able to make it up to me. I wonder if he thinks he will by his actions now? I guess he is trying to say to me and others…”See, I’m not that bad a guy. At least I am doing things for her and trying to make it up to her.”

    • Just re-read the end of your comment, and it really really sounds like your ex is still getting kibbles from being nice to you. When he can get you to treat him like he’s a pretty good guy, it means he doesn’t have to face himself in the mirror and see the asshole he really is (because EVERY serial cheater IS an asshole, without fail). And he can get some ego strokes from being nice to you. I like Mephista’s suggestion; let him keep ‘helping’ and doing stuff for you, and be polite about it, but don’t provide any major appreciation, smiles or face time w/you. I’m betting he’s getting CAKE here, and will stop all the niceness once cake reduces.

      Alternately, you could recognize what he’s doing, and feed it, as it’s to your advantage! But that can be hard to manage, emotionally; most chumps get very uncomfortable manipulating others (unlike the narcs, for whom that is second nature). And for most chumps, any contact w/the ex stirs things up emotionally that don’t need to be stirred.

      • That’s so true Karen about stirring up emotions, but I don’t want to see him. But, when he does things for me at the house (while I’m not there), it’s like he is saying…see I did this for you because he always tells me what he did and says he did it for me. Example, I brought more dogfood over “for you” and I cleaned your vacuum filter “for you.”

        • Maria, not to be bossy, but that just does not sound healthy. He cheated, over and over, he left, he does not want you. Cleaning your vacuum filter, mowing the lawn, caring for the home, all those little or not so little niceties, are for someone who loves you. Not someone who betrayed you. If he wanted to do those things for you, he should have been honorable and not cheated on you.

          IMHO he needs to be forced to live the life he has chosen. There are relatively cheap repair services and lawn services- I’d rather do my own or let it go, than allow him to come back and do all those things a loving husband or caring friend would do. He is neither. I know when my ex did those things (or still sometimes when he acts like the charming and concerned “husband” I thought I knew for 25 years) it is such an utter and complete mind fuck–“does he still love me? How could he have cheated on me and lied like that. What the fuck WAS that?”, etc. “You know, the age old chump-questions. NC is so important for a reason- it gets you out of the cheater’s world and stops the mind fuck.

          Oh and by the way, my ex was the charming sociopath/narcissist too. Yours is probably getting kibbles and trying to save what’s left of his reputation while keeping an eye on you and marking out his territory all over YOUR home. He may also enjoy keeping his APs off base or explaining why he cannot commit to them (my crazy STBX wife NEEDS my help, she just can’t handle anything without me). Don’t let him get away with it (at least once the divorce is final– I too manipulated my “hero” sociopath/narcissist ex by pretending he was “helping” me through the divorce, and got him to give a lot of concessions because of it). Remember, it’s still not about you, it’s always about HIM.

  • I feel better and validated with every installment of your blog, CL.

    Dr. Chump, don’t despair. Your struggles now will serve to make you a kick ass policy maker, or whatever you desire. It’s your choice now. You don’t have an anchor weighing you down anymore.

  • Hey Maria,

    I am dealing with a narc, and perhaps my radar is set a bit too fine, but I reckon he is getting some ego kibbles out of the remorse.

    My ex comes nowhere near my house, not allowed, and me and DD are better for it. He is your ex for a reason, and there may be genuine remorse, instead of genuine imitation naugahide remorse, but is it really worth testing your sanity to find out?

    You could test him. Withdraw the cake Nd kibbles, see what happens? Mine usually flips out, but we are pretty much no contact except where DD is concerned. It feels better than wondering…..

    good luck and hugs….

    M.

    • Thank you M. I am trying to test it now and I am trying not to thank him as much. So far, he has stopped sending me e-mails for some reason. He was e-mailing me almost every day during the week. I have only heard from him twice in the last 2 weeks. I wonder what it means? Strange.

  • Maybe he is getting cake elsewhere? My sympathies on the constant second-guessing, but ultimately, it is best to cut off contact. Fingers crossed yours is not character disordered: mine makes Voldemort look like an amateur.

    One thing that has helped me, and helped me help my DD is – to treat yourself as if it were your best friend going through it: we Chumps tend to be really hard on ourselves.

    Enjoy YOUR space, i wouldn’t have ex back for the world.

    • “Mine makes Voldemort look like an amateur”

      Ok obviously chumps are the “cleverest” people I have ever seen, hilarious Mehphista!”

  • Hi Mehphista,
    The problem is that I miss him terribly and still cry over him every day. I thought I may not be getting better because he is contacting me. But, now I’m still crying even though he is easing up a bit. It’s been over a year since he left and my heartache and grieving is the same. I feel as if I will never stop grieving.

    • Maria, don’t test him until the divorce is final – let it go for now because you don’t know what he’ll do.

      You still miss and cry over him every day, you need more help than this blog. Have you gotten pissed off yet? I mean really angry at him? That anger is a significant stage in grieving whether the death of someone or the death of the life you were living. Do you have a therapist? If not please try one, if so, it sounds like the person is not helping you, maybe time to find a new one. (jedi hugs)

        • Maria, I’m so sorry. I was with my ex for 17 years so I do know it is very hard, even when he cut me off from sex all my fantasies were with him. I never even thought of anyone else that way, I loved him with all my heart. Maybe I was lucky he escalated to physical abuse, maybe that saved me from some of the grief and allowed me to get to anger faster, I dunno.

          If you don’t have a therapist my advice still stands. Without mine I would have lost my job because I missed him, yes, I couldn’t eat/sleep/deal with the betrayal and that was before he pulled a gun. I just think you need someone you cannot hurt to hear you and guide you through this betrayal so you can get to peace.

      • Yes Datdamwuf, I was angry enough to do this..(It’s a post I made on another article)

        My STBX let his girlfriend put her and his picture up on their Facebook cover only 3 months after he left. I asked him to get her to take it down, because mutual friends were coming to me about it. Each time he told her to take it down, she would wait about a week and put up another one. She also had them in her profile pic a few times. We were married 21 years and it’s just mind blowing to me that he didn’t care that she put this on her profile only 3 months after he left. Well, I decided I was going to fix that bitch so I waited for her to put up another picture of them. Then when about 20 people “liked” the picture, I clicked on their profiles and I sent a letter to each one explaining to them how those two got together and how long their affair was going on. All in all, I sent it to about 30 of her FB friends. This included her son and her ex in-laws. Needless to say I haven’t seen one picture of those two since. lol My stbx even said she is still getting responses from that letter. I’m assuming others passed it around. At least I hope.

        Also,my STBX used to clean the house, he was the cook, he made Christmas special every year and did all kinds of things for me. However, before he left, he had been having an affair for over a year and I didn’t even know it. I have heard of these kinds of cheaters. They are called doting cheaters. He had been doing this for years and I found out he has been cheating for years.

        Please don’t hesitate to expose. If he has a Facebook account, that’s the best way to expose him. All you have to do is explain your story and say that you have kept quiet long enough.

      • And I forgot to mention that I had another Facebook account that I created but never used for the Facebook exposure. The cover and the profile pic is a picture of us together. It’s still up and I will never take it down. If anyone from those FB friends of hers click on it, they will see my STBX and myself.

    • I went no-contact because I knew that keeping him in my life on his terms would literally kill me.

      Sometimes you just gotta rip the band-aid off.

  • This is one of the best descriptions of what these disordered men try to do to successful women. They are initially attracted to the challenge, as it is more fun for them to deceive a doctor, lawyer, a doctorate, ect. As sick as it sounds that makes them feel good about themselves.

    Once you are onto them though the con is up. Or, sometimes their little ego just cannot keep it up as you get more succesful so they downgrade. Either way even though it does not feel like it right now you are super lucky not to have kids with him. Now you can choose a good dad as you know he could not possibly have been one.

    Allow yourself to feel the pain. Don’t run from it like I did or you will be back like me years later trying to sort yourself out. Good luck & big hugs.

    • I think this was totally the case for the ex; he picked an accomplished woman w/lots of friends and a great life, and then couldn’t stand that I knew so much, did so well at work, and had a great life, while despite HIS doctorate, his career floundered, he had ONE friend of his own who was a bit of a loser, and he continued to be the boring guy he’d always been.

      So he undermined my career when he thought he could get away w/it and scoffed at it constantly, put me down every time I did actually know something he didn’t, and made it clear he thought my friends were all undeserving of his attention, therefore of anyone’s.

      They want the successful person, so they can look good. Then, because they don’t want to do what would be necessary to have that same success (like being NICE to people! Liking people! Treating people w/respect!), they can’t stand what they look like, standing next to you.

    • You nailed it. The interested thing is I thought he was so brilliant when we first met, but as I continued through my education, I started to pick up on his bull shit and call him out on it. I also got sick of the condescending way he treated me. I started to think, “You can’t talk to me like that.” Then I started saying it. I think that is when he decided to end it and get his kibbles elsewhere.

  • Been leaning on this site for months. It’s manna from heaven.
    What are the odds of having posters listed by location? This community is full of decent, upright, intelligent people with a common bond. It’s like we all had to pass a devotion and empathy test just to get here, so finding the proverbial turd in the punchbowl would be mighty tough with this bunch, as I see it.
    Heck, I’m impresssed with the quality of writing not only by CL, but all the posters as well.
    Wouldn’t mind having a beer or cup of coffee with a fellow CL follower sometime.
    Just a thought…

  • Just wanted to add – it is a very very good thing you did not have kids with him. Do not regret that. Imagine having to let the psycho take the little people you love for a day.

  • Dear Doctor Chump It seems as though you have come through this all with flying colors! Terrific for you, and I feel you’ve made considerable strides<< CHEERS for that. I was married to a serial cheater also,[He broke my heart in so many ways],when I left him I lived in my Aunt's attic with a mattress on the floor. He could never break my mind or spirit, and never did. I finished out my RN and MSN and PHD an CCCPN.His current wife is fat and very unkempt and never has worked,has no education per se; What my 24 years of marriage gave me was my wonderful children who are now grown with children of their own[current wife went to my children and announced " i am your new Mother" Rudely my children laughed at her.
    $$ was his God and had he only waited just a bit he would have floated in it.Due to my ability to earn. Today i live in a fully paid home, doing pretty much as I please and when I please. I am now retired after an accident, and enjoy photography of my home grown flowers and so much more.
    To all out there my words of wisdom are "just keep moving forward even if it is a baby step at a time" you'll get to where your own heart tells you YOU want to be!
    i find your words inspiring–p-for me2

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