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Dear Chump Lady, He has a problem with women… but he’s working on it

Dear Chump Lady,

My boyfriend of three years told me he had a problem with porn addiction and sexual fantasizing of other women back in June. He said he had been trying his best to stop but felt controlled by it. He hated doing it. He felt unsatisfied and empty but he kept going back. Years before, he had dismissed it as “normal” or part of a high libido. Now, he knew it was a problem. He said he needed therapy and that he wanted to get better to “be the boyfriend I deserved”. I was dismayed at this news but I decided to stay because I believed and loved him.

Prior to this, we had discussed marriage extensively and had plans to spend our lives together. He was about to move out to the East Coast in September for a position and I was staying in California for school. We agreed it would be best for him to seek care once he got settled in his new home. Unfortunately, once he got there, he lacked the finances for therapy. He was helping me pay back a loan and we had absolutely no flexibility. We agreed that until we could pay it off in January, he would do his best to decrease his porn usage and continue to be honest with me about it and his sexual fantasies. It was difficult to talk about it when we did. The rest of the time I fluctuated between denial and hope given his newfound honesty.

A week ago, when I was pressing him to share any acting out with me, he cracked and told me about much more than porn and fantasizing. He had had sex with two women over the summer. He had sought sex with another in his new city. I asked him to share all his transgressions, and they are too many to count. He flirted with women at bars, followed women in supermarkets, felt women up, went to a bar alone hoping to meet someone, suggested he was in an open relationship to a woman that knew he had a girlfriend, and more. This had been going on for years.

Over many conversations, he shared every transgression he could remember. When he recalled something he forgot to mention, he brought it to my attention. I was livid, hurt, devastated. I felt used and abused.

He told me he decided to be honest because he wanted to change. He saw other men chasing after “cake” and he didn’t want that. “Having a wife that I cheat on is the last thing I would want. I want to be fully committed to you or I don’t want to be committed to anyone.” Before, he had been too scared that I would leave if he told me, but now he couldn’t bear to lie anymore. I considered ending it then and there. How could he have done this? How could he have kept this from me? I finally told him that we are separated. He should seek therapy if he so desired – or not, but I needed to recover. He could be there with me or he could choose not to be.

He has been there with me. He has found a way to seek help immediately. He has since been to three counseling and group sessions that he has sought out himself. He answers all my questions and responds to my needs. He still struggles with invasive thoughts of other women, but he tells me he is not entertaining them. He has taken full responsibility for his transgressions. And, he has begun to look for positions that aren’t as coveted, but would allow him to move back here. In these short few days, he has reprioritized his life: recovery first, me second, and everything else last. His words of “I love you, I want to get better for a better us,” are finally being accompanied by actions.

I know it’s FAR too soon to see how long this will last. Will he falter? Will I forgive? Will his priorities remain the same? Will I be able to trust? We both understand the gravity of his fucked-up-ness and the amount of therapy he will need. He has faced how much he has hurt me and I’ll make sure he continues to. But I realize he may never get past his compulsions and putting energy and attention on this is a huge time-sink. I care a lot about him, but I have seen the damage that hope can do in blinding me from seeing what is. I’m torn between “The past is the best predictor of the future,” and “actions speak louder than words.” How do I decide between the two? I love him, but I don’t want to be a lifetime Chump.


Scared to Hope

Dear Scared to Hope,

You know Scared, some boyfriends just bring their girlfriends chocolates. Or flowers. They see a movie. Life isn’t an endless confessional therapy session.

What’d you do today? Well, I fantasized six times about the interns in my office, jerked off to porn, called a sex line at noon, and felt a stranger up at a bar, and boinked my old girlfriend.  Did I leave something out? Oh yeah, I wore your underwear.

Please dump this guy. He’s telling you who he IS. A guy who needs a lot of help to keep it in his pants. Who feels “controlled” by it. A guy who needs 12-step to even consider commitment.

You’re high on hopium.

In these short few days, he has reprioritized his life.

No he hasn’t. He’s given you words. You live 2,500 miles away from him. You have no idea if he’s gone to therapy three times or hasn’t. He’s made noises about taking a new job. This isn’t action, these are promises to change. I love you. So what?

I’m torn between “The past is the best predictor of the future,” and “actions speak louder than words.”

WHAT actions, Scared? His actions are that he’s been fucking around on you for three years. Those are his ACTIONS. He says he doesn’t want to be this person? Well, he IS this person. He also says it’s a big struggle to NOT be this person.

How about you just find a person who’s a better fit for you, huh? A nice guy who can be the sort of solid fellow you need him to be right out of the box. Who doesn’t need a lot of hand holding to not be a douchebag. These men exist! You’re a young woman, please direct your attentions to a more worthy suitor.

I’ll tell you something else, when he says  — “Having a wife that I cheat on is the last thing I would want.” No, that’s EXACTLY what he wants. He’s grooming you. He wants to see what you’re going to do with this information, with his “transgressions.” If you’ll be with him anyway. If you’ll “try” just for him. If you’ll forgive him and bless him with your efforts. He is gaging your chumpiness.

You have no ties to this person, just a lot of dreams you’ve projected on him and a shared history. It’s time to dump him. Thank Jesus for the distance. Now go no contact and fix your picker. Why would you spend five minutes wondering about whether you should forgive him? Make him irrelevant to your life and find someone who shares your values. He’s not that guy. Wishing and hoping won’t make him that guy. Dump. Dump. DUMP.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Scared, CL is right on the money! Get out NOW.

    I found out about my STBX’s porn addiction shortly after we were married. He tried to minimize it, and I thought, OK as long as it is infrequent and maybe we will both be able to enjoy a bit of porn together. Well, soon he was pretending to go to work, and backtracking home to spend hours on the porn sites. When I found out, I told him to not come home until he saw his doctor and got a referral for professional help. He went for an assessment and told me it was humiliating. Big fucking deal! Get help. Anyway, he continued lying about it and I had so much anxiety you wouldn’t believe it. I was afraid to go to the store because I would come home and the extra lock would be on the door so I couldn’t walk in. I would get out of the shower and see the computer reflection in the window, he was on the porn sites. It was horrible. I was policing him and hated it. I could never relax.

    We moved to the country and I was hoping that things were now under control with the porn. Guess who was wrong? I discovered he was going to greater lengths to hide it from me. We ended up going to a couple of counselling sessions, but he really didn’t/doesn’t think he has a problem. So they didn’t help.

    This past August he came home and told me he no longer wanted to be married. I was shocked and completely blindsided! I asked if there was someone else and he said no. He also said that we shouldn’t tell anyone because if we didn’t separate, there would be nothing to tell, and if we did, we should announce it when we had a plan. Nine days later, I discovered he had been cheating on me since June. So, I sent the world an email saying that we were splitting up because he was cheating on me. I took control! He was pissed, but I didn’t care. He was not going to frame this his way. He had cheated on his first two wives, I only dated him because his sister was/is my friend and gave him a good reference. I chose to ignore the red flags.

    Scared, my long story is to simply say, they DO NOT CHANGE! He is a cheater and a liar and a porn addict. He is now living with the OW and she is supporting him. She can deal with his sorry ass, his addiction to porn and his cheating. Why someone in her 40s wants a 66 year old, porn addicted, delivery boy is beyond me……

    Get out now Scared! It’s not going to get better.

  • Yep, Move-on.

    No question that he’s dysfunctional, externalizes things and acts out. This would be somewhat alarming in an 11-13 year old, but in a grown man?

  • Scared- Please heed CatLady’s and CL’s advice. My X set my stupid self up as the perennial back-up position/ beard, running me through the gauntlet of his flawed personality “quirks” and I married him anyway. In fact, I found out when he was doing his last version of false reconciling, that he told the OW that he was going to stick with me because “I was the one that had always really loved him” (not that he really loved me….) He was done with her and her waning ego kibbles, the fantasies he told her were about to be exposed, and he wasn’t above using me as an excuse to end it. That is what we are to them… a useful device. These porn-addicted, philandering narcs can spot a rube (caring, kind, nurturing person) a mile away.
    Share your “rubyness” with someone who understands about the Golden Rule and reciprocity, reciprocity, reciprocity!!! If you stick with this guy you will suffer in silence as you find yourself trying to decode his every twitch, policing what you suspect are his continuing bad behaviors, and waiting for those moments when he will throw you a bone about how wonderfully understanding and forgiving you are about his terrible, uncontrollable maladies, while exposing you to STDs, and these ongoing abuses. Don’t marry and bring kids into his mess. NC now!!!

  • Scared to Hope, I completely agree with CL. He is grooming you. Get out now. Dump him. Don’t be his Chump. Don’t waste another bit of your wonderful self on him.

    As said over and over again on this blog, when someone shows you who he is, BELIEVE HIM. Chump Nation offers you the hard-earned wisdom of our collective decisions – we want to see you spared the same pain. You are off to such a promising start because you know viscerally that something is very, very wrong in this relationship. Don’t just feel it, don’t just think about it – take action and dump him and don’t look back.

    You are worthy of a healthy, reciprocal relationship. Good luck and remember that you have the support of Chump Nation!

  • You are an adult and you can have hope and marry this guy if you want. But know this, they do not change. You will live a life of dribbled out transgressions. If that’s what you want then go ahead.

    If you have children with this guy KNOWING what he is then that is child abuse. So, take having kids off the table forever.

    My suggestion is to RUN as far away from him as you can get. Thank God ( or whatever you believe in) that you did not marry him.

    • Wow, that’s a good point. Who wants your child stumbling onto Daddy’s porn? Spare your future child that heartbreak, please! And yourself, too.

  • Listen to CL, Scared. Run. Don’t spend any more of your precious time on this guy and his drama. And it is DRAMA – why else would he wait until just before he moved to tell you all this? Sounds like a way to keep your attention riveted on him even though he is so far away, to keep your attention away from YOU and what YOU want and need now that you have some distance.

    So many of us on this site invested years in our relationships, had kids, bought houses, developed businesses, and are now in our fifties dealing with the fall out after our spouses have decided we don’t provide enough cake, kibbles or drama for them and have left for some new sweet thing. Don’t be one of us. It’s a hard thing to be be betrayed in spite of years of good intentions and shared history, and believe me, the financial and emotional fall out is devastating, especially if there are kids.

    Cut your losses. Get out, go NC, and breathe a sigh of relief that you dodged that particular bullet. I would never wish my lovely, lovely boys away (the best part of my relationship) but life would have been so much different if I had listened to my gut all those years ago and gone when I knew I should.

  • Scared, you are obviously a compassionate person who wants to help him. It’s good to be compassionate, but not at your own expense. Turn your compassion around and practice it on yourself. You have been hurt by this man, and you can’t trust him. That’s not a good foundation to build a relationship on. Protect yourself from people who hurt you.

    Another thing to remember is addicted people often switch addictions. Maybe he’ll conquer his porn addiction, but he’s likely to develop another addiction. It’s how his brain works. You can’t fix him.

  • Even before I read Chump Lady’s response, my first thought was that he’s grooming you. He expects you to be the one who always loves and forgives no matter what he does. This dude is a creep. Dump him.

    • Elizabeth is right I felt the same way and oh by the way, no $$ for theraphy but $$ for porn sites, prostitutes ect… Have you checked yourself out for STDs? I know you love him and want to help him (me too with my H but he doesn’t have your BF problems thank you Lord!) but this guy is beyond help. Knowing what you know now would you have spent any time with him? Yeah he’s working on his problem at the nearest pick up bar. Don’t let his problem become your problem. A continent between you let it stay that way!

      • Thanks, I forgot to add that — YES get STD testing ASAP!

        Also, good call you guys on “no money for therapy,” but suddenly funds for three times a week.

  • Please, please, please listen to CL and the other Chumps. This man is not a man you should spend your life with.

    This is what will happen:

    You’ll spend an undefined amount of time worrying and stressing over what he’s doing at all hours of the day. He will TELL you he’s “getting help” but he won’t actually be doing that. Maybe he’ll go to a few therapy appointments, but he will absorb nothing from them (at this point you don’t even know if he’s actually telling the truth about that. He didn’t have money for therapy and now, suddenly out of nowhere, he does? I call bullshit.)

    When you marry him, he will inevitably cheat on you/hide porn from you/lie about where he is and when you catch him, he will break down with crocodile tears and cry that he “has a problem” and it’s “So Hard” and “It’s Controlling Him” and “How Could You Not Be Supportive?” And then he will have successfully shifted blame and avoided responsibility for the fucked up thing he’s done to you. (Which is exactly what he’s doing now).

    Then one day, maybe 5, maybe 10 years down the road, you will find out he has been disloyal to you the whole time when he announces that he’s leaving/you catch him with another woman and he will say “You weren’t supportive, she listens to me” and you will find yourself Chumped, probably taking care of kids, and he will run off and avoid any responsibility for being pretty much the shittiest husband alive.


    He IS grooming you. He’s making you take his shit. He’s already pulling out the sob story so instead of you holding him responsible, he can use your own compassion against you to get out of facing the fact that he’s a terrible person. He’s already making you feel bad for the things HE did. TO YOU. Do you see how ass-backwards that is? It’s a huge mind-fuck.

    This is NOT what you build a marriage on. It isn’t. You don’t build a marriage out of forced therapy sessions and confessions of porn addiction and cheating. You start the relationship with real trust and real compassion and real reciprocity for each other. There shouldn’t be some kind of pre-marriage confessional where he tells you all the women he’s fucked behind your back and all the porn he’s hidden from you. That’s not a “clear the air before the wedding” thing. That’s a “reasons why you should hop on the nearest fighter jet and speed out of here as fast as possible.” thing.

    • Spot on, Kara…Just so spot on.

      After 12 years of being married to a 10 year-old boy trapped in the body of a 40-plus year-old man, I discovered the depth of my ex’s issues. And I saw what it would take for him to “fix” himself – more years of a marriage that was all about him and his issues, his therapy (every few weeks, as long as it didn’t interfere with a football game or work travel), heartache and policing my marriage. I lived that life for 9 months post D-Day and it sucked the life out of me, making me angry and depressed. All while he got better at hiding his behavior, but not stopping it. I had to save myself and get out. Do it now – don’t waste more time on this poor sausage. He and his issues (which you are too insensitive to understand!) will steal your happiness, cause you to doubt your gut and sap your self-esteem (ask me how I know)….

      No offense to 10 year-old boys, BTW. I have one and he’s MUCH better company than his “sex addict” dad ever was!!

    • Please please PLEASE Scared, listen to Kara~~ she just told you how your life is going to unwind and unravel if you stay with this guy. We have seen this, we know, we are the 40- and 50-some year old you , in 20 or 30 years from now. We have lived your future, our years stolen and squandered by these predators. There is nothing good, nothing worthy in him, no reason for you to stay. Leave him to his own kind, he will never change. Value yourself and SAVE YOURSELF, you are too precious to waste on such a man as this.

  • The counselor I was seeing after I found out about my wife’s cheating suggested (after I told him of all the awful things she did and said) that I start listening to my head and not so much to my heart. Like my wife, this guy is a mess and you cannot fix him.

    I believe deep down you realize just how bad this guy is. You know that this is not going to be good in the long run. So please use your head. Give yourself an early Christmas gift and dump him. Then start an early new years resolution of keeping him out of your life for good. Happiness is waiting for you, Just go find it with someone else that deserves you.

    • My therapist said to me (when she could see I was wavering about the divorce) ‘how could you ever trust him after all he has done?’ I had recently told her everything, all the affairs I had found out about, etc. And she was right. I would never be able to trust him ever again, no matter what.

      And that will be your fate, Scared. Twenty years of your life devoted to an asshole who ‘can’t’ control his dick. But he can, you see, he simply doesn’t want to. He may say he wants to but no, he really doesn’t.

      And you want to know what will be the biggest shit sandwich of all if you go ahead and stay wiht this guy, perhaps marry him, have kids with him? When the end inevitably comes he will throw out some lame-assed excuse like ‘you weren’t affectionate enough’ or ‘I didn’t get enough attention’ or ‘We don’t have the connection we used to have’. You want to know what all that means? It means he would rather have some fresh vagina in his life and yours is no longer interesting to him but he won’t be able to admit that he just wants to chase the high of a new person so will lay the blame for his cheating at your feet.

      HOnestly, if you don’t leave this guy I will find you and MAKE you leave him. I don’t care how much you think you love him, get gone now. There are plenty of great men out there you will love as much or even more, but differently. Just get him out of your life. He’s a scumbag-

        • Exactly. If he truly wanted to control his dick, he would. That simple.

          Reminds me of an ex friend I’ve mentioned before a few times. This guy was a serial cheater, and he got this new girlfriend who’d just been newly chumped. He told me all this sappy, flowery crap about “building trust” in a relationship and how couples have to dig deep within themselves to have more than just what friends have and how he’s determined to be an ex cheater and he’d decided that the best way to get her to trust him was to stonewall 20+ friends and pretty much just spend ALL his time around her until she saw his “sincerity.” *Barf*

          I said that the way to be an ex cheater is to STOP CHEATING. No cutting off 20 friends, no bullshit about “building trust into something more than friends” just stop choosing to cheat. If you’re out somewhere and some girl asks you to go home with her say NO. If you’re sitting at a computer and you want to go make a dating profile, DON’T, go read a book or something. Wanna cut someone off? Cut off the AP’s. Not friends who didn’t do anything.

          This guy is no longer a friend because of shit like that. If he really wanted to be an “ex cheater” he would just stop cheating. He’d not need to sacrifice friends whom are completely innocent and he’d not need to make big, flashy declarations of dedication to whatever girl he’s with at the time. He’d just stop cheating. He’d close whatever dating profiles he may have had. He’d stop having sex with girls at parties. He’d stop lying about being single. He’d stop communicating with his AP’s. I don’t understand why that’s so complicated.

          This guy is no different. No one grabs his hands and makes him grope strangers. No one tapes his eyes open and makes him watch porn. He didn’t trip and accidentally fall into someone else’s vagina over and over. These are all conscious decisions he makes. He sees an attractive girl and he chooses to push you on the back burner. He consciously chooses to lie to you when he says he’s stopped. He knows he has the choice not to and he knows he has the choice to stop fucking people behind your back. If he really wanted to stop, he would. The end. Full stop.

  • I can only say that this guy sounds very weird.

    Feeling up people, etc. is violating their privacy. That’s weird.

    But I’m going to lay that aside (no pun intended) for a minute and pose some questions.

    Here is a very hyper-sexual guy. Now, that is not necessarily something I will condemn. He is who he is. So, he should seek out people who share his attitude toward sex. I’m sure he can find swingers clubs and people interested in open relationships. That is his right and clearly this is something he wants to do.

    What I find weird is that he seems determined to go against his own wiring and he’s hiring you to be his police person/conscience/confessor. That makes no sense. Before you get into a relationship, you have to know yourself, know your limits, and be honest about them. He’s talking one way and acting another.

    I think this person, your boyfriend, needs to figure out who he is. If you stay in this relationship, you will only reinforce the status quo. There will be a lot of drama. MEGA-DRAMA. He is, after all, the center of attention. There will be the constant struggle of him with himself, always with the goal of being with you! Here he is, connfessing, torturing himself, denying himself, all to be with you!!!!! Major emotoin. Possible poetry!

    This is a turd whirlwind that you don’t need. It’s also one that you will only feed if you stay around. Your “boyfriend” (is he really that?) needs to figure out who he is. If he’s Mr. Hot Hypersexual, there are plenty of ways that he can find folks who are compatible with that. If he truly wants to change, then he has to do the therapy, counseling or whatever on his own. I think that the longer you hang around, the more you will actually delay him figuring out who he is.

    It seems to me that you want a committed, monogamous relationship. So find someone who also wants that and has a track record that shows he’s capable of the same. And let this present guy go so he can find himself, so he can decide if he wants to be the next Hugh Hefner or the next Cliff Huxtable. This, however, should be his journey and not yours.

    • This is a very good assessment David. If they’re both young-ish people, he might not know who he is. He’s expecting her to help him be the person he wants to be when, perhaps, that’s not possible. More importantly, it’s not her job or in her best interests to hang around while he tries to mold himself into someone he likely isn’t. If he’s personality disordered, he’ll groom her to his heart’s desire and waste her life. If he’s confused about his sexual identity, he’ll end up resenting her and dumping her when he realizes that a monogamous relationship isn’t really “him.” Either way, she loses big time.

      OP: get out while you still can. I’m probably close to your age (28) and I’ve been doing this since I was 19. We have two small children, an 8 year marriage, and tons of student debt between us. I’m still trying to make it work with my waffling spouse because, much like you I want to help him work out his issues, but also because of the sunk costs. You have no idea how important those sunk costs will be in 10 years. None. I sure as heck didn’t when I was 22 and his porn addiction/flirting with other women/etc. came to light. You are young and you have no attachment to him. There can be a real second chance for you. You can have children with a man who respects you. You don’t have to live our heartbreak.
      Good God, Scared. RUN AS FAST AND AS FAR AS YOU CAN!

      • Thanks for the kind words, KT. I hope your own situation works out. You are so right about how quickly equities build up in a relationship, making any kind of change geometrically more challenging. Don’t cheat yourself, going forward. I hope things work out for you, either with your present partner or, if it comes to that, some day without him.

        I’ve been thinking more about Scared’s “boyfriend.” It seems to me he’s done a very artful two-step. He concealed his activities for a long time and then he confessed them all, in detail. Weird. Camouflage then confess? This sounds to me like a very manipulative pairing. Either way, it’s the kind of thing that really gets to a Chump. First, the Chump trusts. Then the Chump gets hit over the head with the whole confessional. This is a guy who has obviously been having some fun, but via his confessional he presents himself as some kind of dramatic victim.

        I still think he needs to figure out who he is. The sad thing is that cheaters like Chumps, because that’s where they get the cake, as CL would say. After all, if you are hyper-sexual, what’s to stop you from simply telling the people you meet, “Look, I’m not into commitment at this stage in my life. We can have some fun, but it will probably begin and end there. That OK with you?” A bit cold-blooded for my tastes, but it’s honest. Sadly, these characters do not want the sex so much as they like the deception, the excitement and the dual life: hearth and home on the one hand and fun city on the other. In the end, they ruin both.

        In any case, were “Scared” my daughter, I’d tell her to leave this broken toy as soon as possible. Wish him luck with his therapy and send him on his way. Then find someone who shares her idea of a committed relationship.

        • I agree that it’s the deception that they get off on. When I look back now I see that ex would text and email other women while I was in the same room and if I asked who he was ‘talking’ to he would say it was work or this person or that person. There was absolutely no reason for him to do this in front of me other than he got off on the thrill of basically cheating right in my face. He also came on to women, it turns out, at parties we held. Some were my friends who only told me after I kicke dhim out as they were embarrassed by the whole thing.

          Now, when he emails me about dumb/crazy/asshole stuff I usually don’t reply but if I have to I cc the final OW. Why? Because I will not allow him in any way to use me for some sort of secret kibble supply or to portray me in any way but honestly. Drives him mad and the result is that his emails have slowed down to a crawl, thankfully.

          This also means that he’s most likely shifted his attention to other extra kibble sources, which means final OW is in for a very rude awakening at some point.

          The thing is ex could have been honest with me at any point. I would then have made a decision about whether or not I wanted to be in the relationship. But he didn’t want me to have that option. He wanted me around and he wanted to do whatever he wanted behind my back and I truly believe he got off on the deception more than anything else. It’s sick.

          • Exactly the same Nord, ex was constantly texting and emailing I front of me with OW….”for work”. He brought them to our home, we went to theirs, our kids played together, husbands hung out. Very very sick, they love the thrill, must be awfully boring now. I often wonder why he didn’t just tell me, he had so many opportunities, especially when I suspected something and questioned him for quite a while for a period over 10 years before D-Day. All he had to say was yes, there was a problem, he wanted to see others, and we could have divorced and I move on too. It that doesn’t make sense to them, though, defeats their purpose.

            • I asked ex as well and he lied to my face. When dday hit I said ‘but you lied, why not just tell me the truth?’ and he had no answer other than he ‘needed time to figure out what he wanted’. You hear that sentence, Scared? It was always ALWAYS about what he wanted and I was not part of that equation. He was perfectly happy to let me toddle along thinking life was going along alright while he lived his double life and decided whether or not his family was worth sticking around for. He was cheating on me for YEARS and told me he loved me every single day, woudl discuss our wonderful life with me regularly and say I was the greatest wife ever. Of course I was! I loved him and was completely blind to who he was! You’re no longer wearing blinders, Scared. Get this asshole out of your life for good.

              • This sounds oh so familiar. Mine was always checking his cell phone when we were sailing. Here we’d be anchored in some beautiful little cove, and he’d have to know whether he had cell phone coverage. No wonder he’d frequently declined a row into shore with me or would head back before I was ready and come pick me up later. Our sailing trips were some of our favorite memories we’d often recall.
                Mine told me he loved me everyday, would stop whatever he was doing to hug me goodbye as I left for work, how stunning I was, etc…When I asked him, after Dday, why he had told me a few days earlier, “I’m in it for the long haul,” he said, “I love you and was trying to stay.” What?! Turns out his little Russian “mistress” was pressuring him to leave me. I guess she didn’t want to share his money. He’d meet her in Paris, for a week before or after I’d arrived and stay at an apartment he had rented. He’d go ahead of me because he had work there, he say or he wanted to stay and run the Paris marathon after I had to leave to go back to work. You can find her on Facebook under the name “Oxana Montana.” Oh, she “broke up” with him shortly after he left me. Boo hoo.
                Where was I with this? Scared, he may appear to love you but he’s not going to change. Those opiates his brain delivers when he’s pulling the wool over your eyes are too rewarding.

            • I get this too. STBX will wake me up with the light from his phone as he texts OW. Initially, I’d ask him what was going on. His answer was that he was emailing their China operations. He’ll text in family gatherings, too, and of course, it’s all about emailing work.

              However, once I put this behavior into the pattern he’d have of always wanting to have sex in a house full of people in the middle of the day, it makes sense that he really needs the threat of discovery as part of the experience.

              I wonder what will happen to his “performance” once he and OW can take their relationship into the open. 😉

            • Are you telling me that my STBX wasn’t even original with this?! Although, his took on the form of over-texting and deliberately doing it in front of me and his adult children and toward the end, this particular OW began calling him when she knew I was in the car or in the vicinity. Very Christian of the minister. I don’t expect any better of my STBX, who, on his best day, is a shit-covered beast from the deepest reaches of hell. And he still occasionally attempts to triangulate me into their mess and I just ignore him.

              Another version of the kibble/pick me scenario. These people are all kinds of sick.

            • Add mine to the list of cheaters who was constantly texting APs right in front of me. I would complain that it was inappropriate for him to be texting these married women all the time, that it was an emotional affair. He’d say I was crazy, that they knew he was married and loved his wife, and that they knew he was faithful. Hahahahahhahah, yeah right. He would be so caught up in texting, he wouldn’t even remember I was sitting in the same room. God, I am glad to be away from all that.

    • Thank you, David. You say it well. Why in the world is this guy “trying to quit” a porn addiction that is making him happy? He obviously has a healthy supply of partners who are happy to go along with his fetishes, so why live the life of keeping a chump around who doesn’t agree with a lifestyle which, let’s face it, is socially acceptable these days? It seems to me that he also has a taste for the drama of deceiving someone and then doing a “big reveal” to keep the chaos alive. Reminds me very much of my ex, who I believe got caught cheating on purpose couple times.

      • I know of a similar case to the one described above, where a rich doctor would sext with his partner with his family around and even, on one occasion, told his now ex wife that he had to run off and take care of sick babies when he was really…..

        The deception is the bad part, the evil part, and it’s the truly fun part for these characters. It’s the whole double life thing. Cheap drama.

  • This is why we love Chumplady!!
    Scared, I second that he’s grooming you, I know because that’s what my lovely X did to me. I just knew if I tried harder and harder, I was so Fab that he would be true to me, that he wouldn’t hurt his three adorable sons, and that it was just him enjoying the opposite sex (don’t all men ?)
    When your BF said he didn’t want a wife just to cheat on her, did you find yourself protesting? Did you find yourself reassuring him- oh, we can make it Honey, you just have to try! I think when they say those type of things, they’re kind of throwing the idea out there, to see how you react. I think maybe he would LOVE a wife who would turn a blind eye to a GF here and there, and then, decades from now, he’ll pretty much throw it in your face – well, you knew how I was, right ?

    • Patty, what you said here is also very important. There is no appreciation of your sacrifices at the end of the road. There’s only a pile of crap. “You knew how I was…” Yeah, exactly. All those promises you whispered to each other, the plans, the forgiveness after each confession… you’re my one and only… All of that gets obliterated as real life starts to creep into your little alliance. Children need to be cared for. Someone has to watch the kids while mommy/daddy works or goes out with friends. If he’s in this for himself, you’ll fall by the wayside while he seeks “understanding” or “companionship” elsewhere. Tying your life up with someone requires that the relationship not be powered by sparkles. You need to be able to trust that he’s where he says he is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. (Not doing someone else.) If you can’t say that now, you sure as heck won’t be able to say it later.

      • Thanks, too bad we all know how true these messes are. You can’t ‘tone down’ Mr I’m A Porn Addict!
        BTW, you perfectly described my X, so creepy. I wish he would go join the Polyamorists, or the swingers, it would be authentic at least.

      • KT,

        You are Patty are on to something. The sacrifices a Chump makes are, for the NPD types, just an entitlement. There’s no appreciation, none at all, for our tolerance of their antics. In their view, they are special people who deserve this special understanding (or spackle, as CL calls it) that we give them. Heck, in their view we are lucky to be in relationships with them!

        That’s how they see things. Time to put on the running shoes…..

  • Dear Scared,

    This jumped out at me “Before, he had been too scared that I would leave if he told me, but now he couldn’t bear to lie anymore.”

    My 17 year relationship with my ex was based on big lies. One I didn’t find out about until 2 years in and my ex said the same EXACT thing to me. I stayed with him and 17 years of my life were spent “helping” him overcome his issues. He was a “recovered” alcoholic but 4 years later started drinking in secret, I found out eventually and then I “helped” him keep the drinking under control. You know what they call that? ENABLING, look it up. He had a porn addiction, I found out about it and he said he stopped but he just hid it better. He cheated and I forgave him and moved on but of course in the end it turned out he kept on cheating.

    He hit me once 4 years into our relationship, I called the cops. He never hit me again, instead he started going into scary rages a year later. Know what he said about that to convince me to stay? “I have this rage inside that scares me, but I would never hurt you, I love you, I need you, I will do anything to make things right”.

    No rages for a long time, but slowly over time he beat me down emotionally and the rages came again and the porn and the drinking and the cheating and you know what I was doing? I was “helping” him all that time because the poor martyr man had so many problems and I loved him. Bullshit, he groomed me, he beat down my barriers inch by inch over years until he thought I would take any thing he did to me and keep on staying. So many wasted years, don’t let that be you. Get some therapy yourself, this guy? this guy is seeing how much you will take and stay. You stay now and you will be me, wishing like hell I was once again 33.

    Do not buy the pity party he’s giving himself, do not buy the “I’m working on myself”. I heard that one too, many times. Those are words, not actions. You know what action is? You tell him it’s over and he goes and works on himself while you find someone who will NOT make you responsible for their problems. You listen to his words and you will see that is exactly what he’s doing. And if you buy it, if you “help” him, you are ENABLING him. If only I’d recognized the martyr man at 3 years, I didn’t, I hope you do.

    • Crap STH !
      I was sick of the drama , before I finished reading your post !
      Knowing now, what you know, if you proceed with this dysfunctional mess I doubt you will ever have any friend or family to turn to. You knew who/ what he is and stayed despite the facts.
      He is telling you to look forward to an” endless buffet of shit sandwiches.”
      Open wide…… he will serve up PLENTY !
      You are too young to go on the “all shit” diet !

      • Sorry to post so many times. Your situation just reminds me too much of my early relationship.

        People will blame you for staying knowing what you know. I don’t for obvious reasons… But they will. You’ll be alone in your own private hell. One that you can’t talk to anyone about. They ask you how things are going, “Just fine!” Lies. It becomes a vicious circle that you run just to get from day to day. You can’t admit defeat because you have nowhere to turn and “they” would be right.

        • About two years into my relationship with ex we had a big blowout. I don’t remember what it was about but I do remember thinking that something was very off with him. I had a friend going out of town for a couple of weeks and she offered me her flat to stay in to think things through. I had the keys and was ready to go there,without telling him where I was, and decide what I wanted to do. He must have sensed that I was about to bolt because suddenly the love bombing began anew and he was the bestest boyfriend ever all over again and I never made the move. Do you want to know how much I regret that? Scared…get out….you will be me one day if you don’t, looking back at those moments where something told you to get away from this person but your ‘love’ stopped you. And then you’ll end up many years later with kids, an enraged, entitled asshole of an ex and probably myriad other women to deal with, one whom will become his ‘true love’, despite him cheating on her before the relationship is out of the gate.


          • And I should add that most of the time I loved my relationship with him in those early days and people woudl comment about how in love I was. It was so plainly obvious. But as the years passed, when the kids came, when real life such as mortgages, job stress, kid stress, getting a bit older and more grown up came along he didn’t have any interest and if I’m honest I’d say he lost interest as soon as the first kid came, if not before. So that means at least 13 years of my life were wasted on that asshole. I honestly believe that once the grownup shit hit he checked out completely. He had no interest other than to make face, which meant he’d attend the annual school concert but not get the kids to practice for whatever, not sit through endless music lessons and sports practices. While I did that he was having fun in his double life. I look back now and wonder how dumb an intelligent woman like me could be.

            Scared? What I write is just the tip of the iceberg. Please do yourself the biggest favour ever and get that scumbag out of your life permanently. He will bring you nothing but misery and pain. Why should you solve his pathetic dick issues? Go find a man (after you sort yourself out) who will be honoured to have you and only you tend to his package for life. There are men like that and they are amazing. Just like there are women like that (for you male chumps) and they are amazing as well.

            A real relationship that’s got legs isn’t based on you choking on his bullshit while he ‘struggles’. What a load of horseshit and if you have half a brain and any kind of moxy you’ll recognise this for the absolute crap it is. And I think you’ve got that foxy…you wouldn’t have written CL if you hadn’t. We’re backing you and you should know that you will not just be fine…you will be amazing and brilliant and one day you’ll look back, as I do now, and wonder how this idiot ever snowed you. My ex is handsome, charming, funny, and some would say smart. But he’s still a serial cheating abusive asshole who to this day, more than two years later, does his best to make my life hell and miserable. Is that the future you want?

  • Chumplady is right. She just is. You’ll find out how true her advice whichever path you choose.

    Reading your letter, I nodded along with your story. Long-term deception, gut-wrenching betrayal peeled layer by layer, momentarily minimizing the depth of perfidy, and sporadic giddy hope.

    I, as I think most chumps once did too, believed most everyone has the drive to find meaning and purpose in their lives. It was my best quality and became my Achilles’ heel. Hard work and better systems can fix anything. If I modeled my willingness to name my every fault, describe the hurt I caused him, show him my new system to be a good girl, he’d take some responsibility. My perception was distorted, he had no fault he’d say. Maybe I did have it all wrong, I thought. Your boyfriend admits his deceptions, mine didn’t, but they both made choices to put themselves first. Mine felt entitled to get the kibbles he didn’t think he got at home. Your boyfriend chooses to feed his addiction by the fantasy, the planning, the rush of adrenalin, the tantalizingly elicit act and then the remorse and promises to himself even while knowing it will happen. He chooses that over your health and destroying you because his needs override the relationship. But he needs you to keep him from the chaos he creates in his life and mind. There may be good in him, there may have been good times together but he will destroy the both of you.He is the drowning man scrambling onto your shoulders, pushing you below the surface.
    I learned it’s either me or him.
    I wish you the best and hope you find peace.

    • Yep. As my therapist said to me at one point, ‘If you don’t let this go he will drag you down with him. Drop the rope and let him screw up his own life’ Best advice I ever heard.

    • ~He is the drowning man scrambling onto your shoulders, pushing you below the surface.~


  • Scared, in many ways, your boyfriend reminds me of my ex. Sex addiction, weird behaviors that are totally inappropriate, porn, sneaking and lying, cheating and claims that he “can’t control it” and “wants to be honest” and “it feels so good to finally be honest.”

    I unfortunately was married for 20 years before I discovered the FULL extent of my ex’s issues, but there were certainly red flags along the way. Your boyfriend is waving those flags loud and clear. He’s telling you who he is. I don’t believe for a minute that he’s going to therapy or really trying to change. He’s telling you what you want to hear, because he wants to use you as his cover. He wants a good little wifey who will take care of house, home, future kids and him, letting him pretend to be a devoted family man while in secret, he’s fucking other women, wasting your money on porn and doing things that could get him arrested (groping other women?).

    Scared, this guy sounds broken. You are not God. You cannot repair this man, and the likelihood, despite his words, is he doesn’t WANT to be repaired. Lots of these disordered types love themselves just as they are. My ex was fond of saying he would NEVER want to change, he loved himself. And that of course meant he had to blame ME for his own transgressions, just as eventually, I guarantee it, your boyfriend is going to blame YOU for his problems.

    Save yourself unimaginable heartache. Read the stories here, and then thank God you have enough warning to get the hell out now. It’s extremely unlikely your boyfriend is going to change.

  • Please run for your own good! I am new on here and this is my first post, but I hope my experience will serve as a warning.

    I have been married to my STBX for 20 years and the whole time has been a horrible roller coaster ride. I would give everything to have known about all of problems before I married him. I would go through it again for my three awesome children but it has been a really rough ride.

    I found out about his porn addiction when we had been married 7 years. At that time, we had three really young children and I was really sick and going out on disability. I should have left him then but didn’t. Instead I demanded that he get help from our church. He did that for a while and was supposedly cured.

    Three years down the road, and he starts having an emotional affair with an ex-girlfriend. Being the chump that I am, it took me three years to figure out what was going on since most of his communication was done from work. There were signs of course, but I was too busy with the three kids and being sick that I explained them away. I found out after he took our money to go on a supposed “business trip” to Florida so that they could sleep with each and decide whether or not to continue the affair and leave their respective spouses. Once again, we went to the church for help. I was all set to leave and take my kids to Texas where my parents live, but ended up falling for more of his lies. Needless to say, I ended up staying. We reconcile and everything seemed to be great for a while so we went out and bought a house.

    A year later I was looking through email and found several emails between him and men on Craigslist. It turns out that he had been meeting men from Craigslist for sex. That totally floored me since I never had any hint that he was bisexual. I confronted him with the evidence and went directly to the doctor to get checked for STDs. Even after this, I tried reconciliation. We started with a MC that told my STBX he has a sex addiction. About six months into the reconciliation, I realized that he is never going to change. Even if I had no proof that he was acting out sexually, he was still being a selfish abusive jerk and I don’t want to live with that anymore.

    It has taken me 20 years to realize that our marriage problems are all him and I don’t deserve this mess. A month ago, we told the kids we are going to get a divorce, but are still living in the same home due to financial constraints. I can’t wait until we can sell our home and the kids and I can get a new place.

    • You poor dear, sending you love from a fellow Chump. Please start looking for therapy, try calling a women’s shelter, or state women’s group, and tell them you’ve been emotionally abused. VOA got me a year of free counseling, it pulled me out of my fog and saved me.
      Keep your head up, none of that was your fault!

      • Thanks!! I feel like I am a crazy person! Since I am disabled, I can’t get out as much as I would like and don’t have any close friends where we live. I found this website last weekend and it was a god send. People that could understand what I am going through. I hate constantly being sick and not strong enough leave and tell him go to hell like I would like.

        He is spending very little time with the kids so he can spend it with the new girlfriend. I hate that he is hurting the kids. I would love to really hurt him for doing that. How can he be so soulless as to hurt his kids? All so he can bang his new girlfriend. The whole time claiming that I am the one hurting him. It is completely crazy.

        • I am so sorry you and your children are going through this, COS, these guys are soulless pieces of sh*t.. The desire for vengeance has been stunningly strong for me. The sooner you can get away from him and no as no contact as possible the better. My kids are older, but they have chosen to have extremely little contact with their father (have seen once,or twice for dinner in two years). It is hard to watch him abandon them too, but as my oldest son said to me shortly after D-Day: “It’s o.k. Mom, we’re still a family. He’s just not in it anymore.” It will get better. (((Hugs)))

        • Do contact a local shelter, they may have free therapy and other services that can help you get out

        • Steroids, when I kicked ex out he barely saw the kids and everything was about final OW. You want to know why? Because he had to secure the new kibble supply 100% so that’s where his energy went. In teh meantime he told me I was crazy, that I was hurting him, blah blah bladidity fucking blah. It’s all just more bullshit. Ignore him and everything he says, get your plan in order and start making moves to get him out of your life. Trust me, you’ll be happier in a year than you’ve been in many years.

  • Dear Scared,

    I cannot TELL you what to do. However, I can advise you, based on my similar experience, to delete this sorry excuse for a “boyfriend” from your life as quickly and as completely as possible. He is a “boy” (which he will remain), but he is not your friend.

    Why would he give you SO MUCH of the information he gave you knowing how it would make you feel? That’s not confession, that’s abuse. The porn – is all of it free? The bars? Were the drinks free? The multitude of women with which he has engaged in sex – did he take them out and spend money on them prior to the sex? Those are his priorities, as evidenced by the fact that he did not tell you that he didn’t have the money for those things and he has pursued them with a vengence. He only didn’t have money for therapy. Healing himself IS NOT a priority for him. People invest their resources in what is most important to them.

    He has shown you his true colors – do not try to repaint him. If you continue a relationship with him, you will continue to believe that you can help him because that is what he will tell you. That is manipulation. You’re the special one, the one who can help him become the man he wants to be – until you’re not. You will invest money, time, energy, your life in someone who will not change. In time, the behavior will actually escalate. And each time, with each escalation, he will find some way to rationalize and justify the most egregious behavior, many times blaming you for not being or providing “enough” as the cause of the behavior, even though you are giving everything you have and receiving little or nothing in return. And because you have been conditioned to believe that you have that kind of power for him, you will believe it – and blame yourself. You will try harder to support and repair something that was never yours to support and repair in the first place.

    Trust me on this, because I have lived it – what you’re experiencing now is as good as it gets. It will be all down hill from here. If he ever wants to change, he will not need you or anyone else but a therapist and a support group to help him. You, on the other hand, deserve so much better than this. Staying with this guy is tantamount to seeing the light from the approaching train and laying down on the track to see if it will run over you.

    Please heed CL’s advice and get away from this person. You will be happy you did.

    • Excellent that you brought up the Curious Incident of the Man Child. This idiot is looking for a mommy to tell him he’s been bad but will still love him anyway. Trust me, Scared, he will not grow up. He’s so into himself and so into playing with his pee pee that there’s no room for him to be a proper man.

      Look around this site, read the responses. There are great men on here who actually want to be a loving, faithful partner. Go find one of those fabulous men, because they are worth their weight in gold. This scumboy you’ve got? He’s useless and pointless and really, do not spend one more second on him. Not even one second. cut ties and get him out of your life fully and completely.

    • Chump Princess is dead right: Early in my relationship with ex he tried to pull some crap about my attitude being like that of his ex gf. I shut him down on that and he was ‘better’ for awhile. I should have run right then because what a red flag. I didn’t know at the time but he had cheated on her and this was why she was ‘crazy’. But I thought I’d be better than the crazy ex, tougher, stronger, and more able to handle things. And you know what happened? It became my job SOLELY to be strong and figure things out and make sure everything was under control in all areas of life.

      Now final OW has apparently been told about all my faults…and it’s partly to put me down but it’s also partly his game of making sure she knows that these are the things she can’t question. So she’s another chump in the making. And the best part of this? Ex still gets pissed when I don’t take care of things, when I don’t make sure things are right for him with the kids or his family or with pretty much anything.

      Scared. GET OUT. RUN. DIVEST YOURSELF OF THIS ABSOLUTE ASSHOLE. You know it’s the right thing to do so do it. It will hurt and you will take time to recover but in the end you will have saved yourself from so much pain and heartache.

  • So, Scared, I don’t have much to add (RUN!) but I was wondering if after 3 years you had any information at all on other aspects of his life, like his family for one, or if you have been ring fenced and isolated away from what he might call a ‘painful past’ so that you don’t see all the red flags around him.

    Could a guy like this have any friends at all?

    Step back and try to flesh out the bigger picture and realize that your life with him is going to be as a psychological crutch (enabler) for the rest of your time together however short or long that is. It’s like volunteering to be a human sacrifice. You do it, and I guarantee the first thing that’s going to happen to you is he’ll lose any respect he has for you.

    You deserve better, but better can’t find it’s way to you until you’re no longer preoccupied with this loser.

      • Yes, ultimately, she’s going to be flat on her back with her still beating heart ripped out of her chest. I hate to use a double negative, but men like that can’t NOT do that!

    • “It’s like volunteering to be a human sacrifice”

      Exactly! Great insight, Chumpalicious.

  • Scared,

    I agree with CL and all others. You are being groomed for a life filled with cheating, distrust and general dysfunction. The only difference with your cheater is that he is using a slightly different approach. He ‘s telling you now so he can APPEAR honest and open, so that when he screws up….and there’s no doubt he will screw up, he can evade taking responsibility for his actions and blame it on ‘this addiction’ that he has. I’d say he is craftier than most, and is already pulling out the sympathy card to draw you in. Many narcs and other disordered individuals do this to make you feel sorry for them, and it is just pure manipulation! The other thing is that anyone that into porn, groping and sex is telling and showing you that they are able to depersonalize people and especially woman, into ‘objects ‘for their own gratification, and that may be you and your kids one day. Run now and go find someone who is worthy of you. Your Mr. Right is still out there looking for you and it is not this guy! And don’t be Scared, cause this is in the best interests of you and your future children.

    • movingon51, This is such a great point!

      “The other thing is that anyone that into porn, groping and sex is telling and showing you that they are able to depersonalize people and especially woman, into ‘objects ‘for their own gratification, and that may be you and your kids one day.”

      I think it also really speaks to the heart of the matter of how these disordered people can behave so cruelly. “Objects” are replaceable when they are no longer pleasing or useful.

  • Scared to Hope,

    You know a guy who lives 3,000 miles away from you who sleeps with other women. That’s what healthy people would call an ex-boyfriend. I’d say run away from him, but he already ran away (from you, from responsibility, from the truth, from consequences—you name it).

    Accept that he’s a douchebag who deserves the miserable existence he is making for himself and get some serious therapy addressing the issue of why for one minute you would consider building your life on top of such dysfunctional quicksand. You, like all chumps, deserve better.

    • Scared,

      This guy sounds exactly like a guy I dated years ago. We ended our relationship because he couldn’t “keep it in his pants”. The internet was not even in existence back then but he had his share of porn and sex through other means.

      We ran into each other again recently. He wanted to get together again. Because of our past I was very reluctant to start anything with him again. He promised me that he had changed. He grew up he said. He wasn’t like that anymore.

      Being the Chump that I am I believed him. For over a year & a half things were perfect. We talked about moving in and spending our lives together.

      Long story short…he never changed a bit. He’s still the same as he was when I first dated him. Get rid of him now!!! Tigers do not change their stripes!

      • heh…my ex tells me to this day that he’s a ‘changed man’. Like I bloody well care but it’s amusing that he wants to convince the world that he is no longer a serial cheating scumbag. They do not change. He will most likely be on his best behaviour for a bit but in the end he will cheat. He’s cheated his entire life, since his first relationship in his teens. Not one relationship that didn’t involve cheating, it turns out (that was fun to learn so late in the day–could his relatives not have told me that oh, say, TWENTY FUCKING YEARS AGO???).

        Scared….I keep saying it and I really mean it: GET OUT, RUN, DROP HIM FROM YOUR LIFE FULLY AND PERMANENTLY.

  • I’m going to be another Captain Obvious. Obviously, why would you want to marry someone like this? You really need to ask yourself why. Seriously. Because he is nice sometimes or he is there for you? Newsflash: Even fascist dictators are nice sometimes. Marriage is hard enough and this guy is waving his freak flag high and proud. The worst part is you are taking it. He is taunting you. He is humiliating you. He’s enjoying it. That isn’t marriage material. That’s sadistic son-of-a-bitch material. From a lady who knows, people don’t change. Focus on school and get out of the fuckery.

    • Even fascist dictators are nice sometimes.

      Yep, I have it on good authority that Hitler was kind to his secretaries and well-liked by them, and he was kind to his dog too.

      Doesn’t bring back one of the millions of people whose lives he destroyed, though, does it?

      • Manipulative people will always be nice sometimes. That’s the point of manipulation.

    • Ahh, Dr., great advice. (And I laughed out loud at “Newsflash: Even fascist dictators are nice sometimes”)

  • Scared to Hope – don’t bother with the hope part, just be plain scared. He is not the only person in the planet, there are tons of good men out there that, though not perfect, but at least you don’t have to put a GPS on their you know what (sorry, can’t write it out – it’s the influence of those Catholic nuns). Can you really live with this? Why would you knowingly put yourself in harm’s way? Is this how you want to live? To always be wondering if he has changed, if anything he tells you is true? My initial reaction was, “At least he’s telling the truth.” But then, we don’t even know that. Let’s pretend for a minute you don’t have a history with him. If a friend told you she has he perfect guy for you but he has all theses problems, would you even consider going out with him for coffee? I bet the answer is no. Marriage is forever (or so the chumps hoped). Don’t walk right into a life sentence of hell. I think you know what you need to do.

    • I have zero doubt he has not told the whole truth. Not even close.

      But he’s expecting a truckload of kibbles for telling ANY of it, thank you! Look at his amazing skein, and how willing he is to expose and share the tangle with you. Lucky girl – what a catch.

      DON’T. LOOK. BACK.

      PS (currently married to an addict, and living in recovery limbo. You don’t want this. Good job on your part writing to CL for confirmation and back-up. You can do this.)

      • Chumpella you are so right. He is telling just enough to try to make her think he is just so darned honest. And in pain! Over this thing he ‘can’t control!’. Give me a bleeding break. He is an asshole loser, plain and simple. I’ll guess that the sex is outstanding and yeah, great sex is great sex but really, is an orgasm worth years of abuse? Take it from me, Scared, ex was great in bed…until he wasn’t because he was putting his attention on others (along with his dick) and you know what I did? Beiing an amazing chump I saw it as simply the result of having been together for so long, thinking that sex would not be as exciting. Nope, I was wrong. He was having great and exciting sex… just wasn’t with me.

        • I waved off the flagging sex too, not realizing what he was really up to. I had the opportunity to talk to the ex’s psychologist as a favor — he was looking for expert insight in order to really get a bead on the ex. He said he thought ex was a sex addict. How the hell would I know? “Well, not with me he’s not!”

          • My therapist is also of the opinion that ex is a sex addict, that it’s how he medicates himself when life doesn’t go his way. He grabs a woman and because he never knows when he’ll need one he always has a bunch in various stages of the grooming process. And he’ll be lovely to the women in his life, right up until the moment they call him on his shit and demand accountability. Then he turns on them and tries to destroy them. Narcissistic rage is an ugly thing.

            • Part of my research as to why my ex could apparently be so hypersexual (long term affairs, group sex, etc etc) but terrible in bed with me, even from the earliest years of our marriage, lead me to a stunning realization– I was researching whether narcissists or sociopaths had sexual function problems. What I found is that they are invariably “sex addicts” (for want of a better word). And all that porn, deviance, AP’s, etc, just leads to the need for more and more extreme porn, deviance, group sex, etc., and they cannot perform “normally”, having to keep upping the ante. I was stunned to realize ex was by the end completely unable to perform normally and was faking his orgasms with me ~ yeah I’m that dumb (and sorry, TMI!). I too thought his not-great sexual prowess was just a normal decline from a not-great baseline due to age, and I chumpily went along. I can only imagine the Viagra and other devices he must need to get it off now after decades of deviance, and the freedom to do it to his heart’s content, not having a wife, family or reputation to hide it from anymore……good luck buddy.

              • That’s really interesting Kelly. And yes, let’s be honest. Their baseline sex performance is not that…….noteworthy. And I’m a one man woman with nothing to compare it to. Years and years of premature ejaculation I put up with only prepped me for chumpdom thinking he’d never embarrass himself by trying to have sex with some young hottie.

              • Yep. This was my experience as well. Ex was okay in bed, not terrible, but not exciting. Over time, however, he developed a fetish for being bitten really hard, and it finally seemed he couldn’t get excited without that. I can’t even imagine what it takes to excite him these days. Yuck.

              • Kelly & Nord oh my god, you guys are putting my life into words I couldn’t find! My STBX manipulated me to the point that I thought something was wrong with my libido. He would only initiate sex when I was half asleep or he would be distant during. He completely starved me of real affection. Then sex became a chore & I just didn’t wanna. Now I realize I just didn’t want to have sex with him. It makes me laugh when I think of all of those sloppy sluts he messes around with. They can have him, I have enough chores to do!

                To Scared, please, please listen to everyone here. My story is the same as so many of our fellow chumps. Trust us all, you want a different story for your life. He. will. not. change. Period.

              • The last few years our sex life was awful. STBX was never that great in bed anyway but he had his moments. Once the kids arrived he slowly lost interest. The only time he seemed to want any action was when it was deeply inconvenient to me – yeah, I’m going to be really randy when there are three toddlers waking up from their naps with wet diapers, howling to get up and be tended to. When anything did happen he mainly failed to complete, and I never had any satisfaction.

                In the end all he could/would do was fall asleep on the recliner at 7 or 8 (when he wasn’t “working late”) and wake me up at 3 in the morning furiously masturbating, expecting me to be all hot and bothered and ready to go. Since I never went to bed before midnight, having to do all the kid’s activities, housework, paperwork on top of working full time I was understandably not very enthusiastic about these interludes. In the end I would simply get up and go sleep on the couch, and he would be silent and cranky the next day. At least I got some sleep.

                (When he moved out I was giddy that finally, finally, I would be able to sleep. No more untreated sleep apnea and snoring to shake the windows, hogging the bed and pushing me out – sleep in a quiet, cool bedroom on my own is still one of my greatest luxuries!)

                Things turned out to be not much better with OW apparently. A few months after he left he sent me a script for testosterone to claim for reimbursement on my medical plan. I sent it back to him. Now he’s claiming that one of the reasons he can’t pay spousal support is that his “medication” is too expensive.

                The entitlement of these people is breathtaking.

              • Yep! Mine is a sex addict too. Endless hours on his computer, under his screen name “UpNComing.” Yes, and our family email allowed the kids and I to see the screen names list when we signed on. He tried to sell us on that being a description of his business acumen. Right. And he is a “two pump jump” meaning that he doesn’t last very long, premature ejaculation. That’s why he preferred blow jobs because he could achieve multiple orgasms. Less intimate too. Good sex requires being a good partner! Reciprocity!

              • Weird that so many say the sex was not great. Sex with ex was actually pretty astounding for a long time. Then it wasn’t and I see now that it stopped being astounding when he started fucking around and putting his energy into outside relationships. Even then it was pretty good but lacked the intensity that we had for a long time. I just figured that was normal after being at it with teh same person for so many years but no, it was due to him giving that intensity to others.

              • It is interesting to see this. Toward the end, when I told my STBX that sometimes I just really enjoyed having him inside me instead of a dildo (TMI, Sorry!), he used that as an excuse as to why we weren’t compatible. He actually seemed disgusted by the fact that I didn’t ALWAYS want to use sex toys and have NOTHING but kinky sex. When I look back on it, there were times in our marriage when the sex was actually really good, but there were many times when I was thinking that I would have much rather been reading a good book.

                Any lack of sex he blamed on me, even though he spent an inordinate amount of time watching porn or viewing pictures on porn sites and not coming to bed or initiating sex unless I was sound asleep. He was constantly jotting down names of prostitutes and how much they charged for BDSM services, although when I would find the notes he would say it was just a habit, that he wasn’t doing anything. Whenever his laptop was on, there was always a porn site minimized or maximized depending, even though he knew the fact that he was CONSTANTLY viewing it had begun to really bother me, especially after discovering some of his initial infidelity.

                No wonder I saw a text message to one of his OW’s asking if she had “really” enjoyed the sex.

                Again I will say, it is amazing how similarly disordered these sorry excuses for human beings are.

              • It’s really good to know that others had similar experiences with their cheaters when it came to sex. For the longest time, my ex told me he wasn’t sexually attracted to me. My therapist assured me he said that because he was too busy with other women. And he wasn’t even that good in bed. Go figure.

              • I still remember the last time we “did it” A pity fuck on our anniversary, 4 months before he moved out. Afterward, he jumped up like he had just discovered he had banged his mother, ran out of the bedroom and got on the computer. What a POS.

  • If I may paraphrase some recent CL wisdom, you are in a burning building, and you are wondering if someone will come and put out the fire. RUN! GET OUT! IT”S FUCKING BURNING!

    I agree with others that he is grooming you. In hindsight, I know that some things my STBX did when we were dating were testing and grooming me. They seemed odd at the time, but I didn’t see what red flags they were. These types of men look for a woman who will put up with their bullshit, and who will become invested in helping them, so they can use it to manipulate.

    I believe that anyone on this board can assure that no matter how bad the things he has confessed to sound, it is really only the tip of the iceberg. He is NOT being honest with you and it is certainly much worse than he has told you.

  • Scared to Hope:

    I took the liberty of cutting out the parts of your letter in which you characterize this guy’s behavior, or try to balance it with his (meager) efforts to change, or give his behavior a positive spin, and that leaves the following condensed (albeit ungrammatical) story:

    “problem porn addiction sexual fantasizing other women controlled hated unsatisfied empty problem he needed therapy I was dismayed he lacked the finances for therapy no flexibility porn usage It was difficult I fluctuated between denial and hope he cracked much more than porn and fantasizing He had had sex with two women He had sought sex with another in his new city transgressions too many to count He flirted with women at bars followed women in supermarkets felt women up went to a bar alone hoping to meet someone suggested he was in an open relationship to a woman that knew he had a girlfriend and more had been going on for years transgression I was livid hurt devastated I felt used and abuse How could he have done this How could he have kept this from me he has hurt me I have seen the damage that hope can do blinding me from seeing what is”

    I’d suggest that this “bare bones” account gives a truer picture of the guy you’re dealing with, as opposed to the picture of the guy you very much want him to be. And the guy in reality? He’s only trouble.

  • He’s not all that concerned about you, trust this. He’s busy in therapy for this and that and all other kinds of fucked up bullshit. The truth is, he’s fucked up. Hey, that’s ok there’s all kinds of fucked up people out there, but is that what YOU want? This guy has some serious issues and if he has a therapist, well he just paid for a trip for that therapist and her family to a warm island. He needs help. But not you. Get out.

    Go find someone who has less issues. That won’t tell you this kind of messed up stuff and isn’t into porn and subjugating women. Really, nice men are out there.

    My STBX says all kinds of nice things like “Let’s give a little bit of extra love over the holidays” to our son. You can’t make this shit up. They SAY the most amazing things and it sounds nice but meh, it’s bullshit. They just don’t want to be called on their actions.

    Step away. You are young. Life is full of better possibilities than this jerk.

  • Scared, let be one more person urging you to cut all ties with this man, go NC, and put all of your nurturing energy into taking care of yourself.

    You say, “I love him, but I don’t want to be a lifetime Chump.” Do not let your love for him override your love for yourself. Please take it from an old chump: he will take you down. His objective is to use you. We see the same behavior patterns played out again and again on this site. Sadly, there is no reason to believe that your story will be different. The most powerful thing that I have learned through my recovery from my horrendous marriage is that not my love, nor any other power on earth was going to “heal” my NPD XH.

    When I was in your place, 20 years ago, I know I would have argued that we had a very special, passionate love that was worth working for, even fighting for. But time has told me that a love you have to fight for is not love at all. Not the good kind. When people talk about relationships being “work”, I think what they mean is that you have to remember to not take your partner for granted, not neglect to set aside special time to be together, keep the spark alive, stuff like that. The work of a relationship should NEVER involve policing the other’s extracurricular sexual activities, or working to mend their personality disorders or addictions.

    Please take good care of yourself, read your chump lady every day, and check in with us again very soon.

  • He has given you a huge gift by revealing this to you now. Thank him for that. You can be compassionate and have empathy for him but please do not marry him. Do not sacrifice your life to this.

  • StH, you must be on such an emotional roller coaster! You care about this guy, he says he’s suffering, he wants your help – but he’s a mess!

    How about, you let him go take care of himself, get the therapy he needs, make the changes he needs … all by himself. He doesn’t need you to get better, he needs LOTS of professional help and LOTS of persistence to change. It’s NOT your love and support that’s going to help him change, believe me, it’s really not. You don’t need to ask how I know that, eh?

    And when you’re wavering, keep in mind that probably what he wants is to REDUCE the power of his sexual addictions, so they’re more under his control (if even that). But it’s highly unlikely that he’s recognized the huge immaturity, selfishness and entitlement underlying his actual behaviours (cheating on you, groping people???), and even less likely that he wants to change those. I’m betting that if you look at your relationship over the years, you will have seen those aspects, independent of the sexual ‘misbehaviours’. And he’s probably LOVING all this drama and attention – it’s all ego kibbles to him.

    So how do you do this? You go COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY No Contact. It’s the only way. If he needs friends, let him turn to friends he hasn’t cheated on. If he needs support during his change process, let him get that from friends, family, and other people struggling with the same issues. After what he’s done, you owe him ZILCH.

    You can always tell him, and yourself, that in several years, if he’s doing so so so much better, is so much a better person and has the inappropriate sexual behaviour under control, and has had for a long time, he can always look you up. If you’re single, who knows …. But let’s face it, the chances are you’ll be in a much healthier relationship with a much healthier person by then.

    • Interesting. I think we often forget the love of drama with these types. I didn’t recognise it until fairly recently. I have been very low contact with ex for a long time and could not understand why he kept sending regular emails and texts and phone calls that I never answered. And then it struck me one day: he wants drama, he wants strife, he wants something that can make him throw up his hands and act like a victim. When we were together it was woe, kids, stress, life…and now that I have divorced him after throwing him out he needs me to be part of his drama triangle. But I refuse, I do not answer anything unless it is actually important and relevant…and the result is that he’s miserable, casting about for some new drama. I won’t say what his latest is as I like being anonymous but yes, the guy is true to form and it will, once again, end in tears, most likely for final OW

      • NPD types are often drama addicts. They often suffer from what’s called “histrionic personality disorder,” too. That is a tendency to make a scene all the time. This guys has really done a helluva job of casting himself in a tragedy where he is the victim of…himself! He’s inviting “Scared” to be his hand-holder, support, helper. But she’ll be a side player (and an exploited one) in a drama where he stars as both the victim and the villain.

        • The funniest thing about these types is that they’re usually the first ones to say they hate drama, can’t stand conflict and generally just want calm and peace in their lives. Yet they create the very things they say they hate.

          • This is a good point. My own father was always constantly complaining about the noise others made and saying that all he wanted was “a little peace.” Yet he himself indulged in being loud, argumentative and incredibly confrontational when it suited him. A very good point, Nord. There is no idea of reciprocity with these characters, which is why they are the way they are and why they are so difficult to deal with (until you simply stop dealing with them).

      • He wants drama and ATTENTION. They don’t exist unless they are the center of the universe.

        • Yup, I recently figured out that’s why he was moody and prone to tantrums around the holidays. When you have growing kids they usually get a lot of attention around this time. The turd must have been jealous!

          • Narcissists love little kids but have a hard time dealing with them when the kids develop their own personalities and challenge them. Google it. They’re not that hard to figure out. They’re just completely fucked up when it comes to human interaction because it really is all about them.

            • It’s just so astonishing to look back on my young family and realize that I had no idea WTF was happening, yet now it’s crystal clear. Are you listening, Scared? You too, KT?

              • The kids are useful trophies but threaten the narcissist’s ego when they outshine him in any way!

      • I’ve only recently understood the ‘need for drama’ myself, Nord. I had had very little contact w/my ex for almost a year, then things got VERY messy for him with the kids (they’ve essentially started refusing to see him at all), and I got dragged into it because the kids were so unhappy and upset. I got him to find a family therapist for himself and the kids, and thought things would settle down, but he kept calling and e-mailing me, ostensibly about the the kids and the situation w/them. But then he’d make it into being about us (tried once again to convince me to reconcile), about himself (he’s SOOOO unhappy! And although he now recognizes he was unappreciative and inattentive to the kids, he SOOO doesn’t deserve this!), or about anything he could drag in to keep me talking, and upset.

        Fortunately I’ve also been a couple of times to see the family therapist (alone) in the midst of this, to figure out how best to handle things w/the kids. She and I figured out a way to get me out of these interactions, without his getting vindictive towards me (he’s being quite generous w/$ so far, don’t want to mess w/that!).

        What a relief to be pretty much NC again. He can go get fuel for his love of drama somewhere else. Wonder if OW doesn’t do drama to his satisfaction, or if it’s too hard to sustain well since they don’t live in the same city?? His problem now.

  • Scared to Hope,

    what DO you consider a deal breaker?

    My deal breaker when I met the man I spent 17 years with was that I didn’t ever want to be with someone who was clinically depressed, I’d spent 12 years with such a man and it drained me. I discussed this issue with the man I was beginning to fall in love with and he told me he had never had any depression issues.

    2 years later, he has withdrawn from me and has other signs of depression for no reason I know of. I ask him about the issue, and he tells me, oh so tearfully that he was afraid to tell me when I asked because he didn’t want to lose me. He loved me so much he was willing to lie to me about something that was very, very important to me. He told me he had been diagnosed with depression years ago and he just couldn’t keep up the facade any longer. He also said he would get help, he never actually did that. I stayed with him because I LOVED him. You know what? you can love many people in your lifetime, I wish I’d kicked him out right then. I had issues obviously, I wish I’d gotten therapy right then. No, I stayed with him. A man who lied to me, as your boyfriend is lying to you, about a fundamentally important thing that was a deal breaker for me.

    A respectful and loving person does not build a relationship on a lie and only tell you about it when you are emotionally invested. He doesn’t make excuses about it and ask you to help him fix it. An ethical person does not do that. Wasn’t it Jesus who said you can’t build your house upon sand? I’m not religious but I think it applies here.

  • And another thing…
    I must have been groomed. My NPD exH walked away from me many times before we were married. Soon, he’d come around again saying how much he missed me, we had something special, magical, remarkable. I fell for it because it fed my need to be special–embarrassing but I now see it. See how special I am? He wanted came back to me. I was the one that tamed the rogue!
    The roller coaster ride becomes addicting too. Don’t get on.

  • Scared, they use the ole “I’m a sex addict, I’m troubled, please support me while I heal” to manipulate you. I don’t believe in sexual addiction but I do believe in vile, soulless, emotionless monsters! He has already harmed you and violated the rights of others. Don’t take another drag from the hopium pipe and turn yourself into a co-dependent mess.


  • Scared,
    I am scared for you! RUN LIKE HELL!!!!

    My ex boyfriend told me he was a “sex addict” 1 month into our year long relationship. If I knew then what I know now, I would have dumped him right then and there!

    I allowed myself to be fooled by him because he was on anti depressants and told me he had been through therapy for it and didn’t want to fuck this relationship up. BIG RED ALARMS that I didn’t listen to when I should have. I learned the hard way and didn’t listen to him telling me who he really was. I heard the fluff coming out of his mouth but not the truth!!!

    You are at an advantage in that he is telling you who he is, he ain’t gonna change, run to a therapist and a gynocologist.

    Listen to CL and everyone else here. DUMP, DUMP, DUMP!


  • Please don’t have kids with this guy. Believe me, there is nothing more painful than seeing your kids suffer. And they WILL suffer with this guy as a dad. Find someone who can be a good dad and husband without you having to “fix” him first. Because no matter how hard you try, you won’t change who he is. And he likely won’t either.

  • Dear Scared:

    If I were you, I’d run, and run fast. Even if this man is sincerely trying to change, he has miles and miles to go, and you don’t have time to wait for the change. Researchers who have studied the brains of porn addicts have found changes similar to those found in drug addicts:

    If that isn’t argument enough, consider this: whatever you are capable of in the bedroom, will it measure up to his fantasies? My advice is–don’t bother with him. And if you discover another sex addict who wants to date you, run away from him too.

  • Dear Scared,

    Let me explain this problem to you in another way – an approach that’s completely different than the way the others have presented it to you.

    I once was you. Not long enough ago, either. My ex had similar addiction issues, but primarily focused on drug abuse more than sexual addiction – although that doesn’t specifically matter. Addiction is addiction.

    And this is how my friend explained it to me. She’s a rock star groupie, and has *way* too much experience with entitled, self-important, enabled, and disordered people… The kind who could go through an Olympic-sized pool of kibbles each day and it still wouldn’t be enough. This is what she said about being in a relationship with someone with an addiction:

    “When you’re in a relationship with someone who has an addiction, their primary relationship is with that addiction. They’re married to their addiction. The addiction is their primary partner. Which makes you… *the other woman*. Do you want to settle for a lifetime of being the other woman, and never being #1 in their life?”

    Putting it that way was like throwing me in a cold shower. I woke up immediately and knew what I had to do.

    Many other people had complained about the (now) ex’s behavior, and had advised me to leave, but I merely listened, acknowledged what they were saying, and thanked them for caring enough to speak up. But I never acted on it, until my friend explained it to me the way I have just explained it now. And that was the kick in the pants I needed.

    Would you willingly sign up to always be #2 in a relationship to something else? “Hey, my life goals include perpetually being the 3rd wheel to a long-term committed relationship!” No. I know you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t have come to if you wanted a life of being the Other Woman.

    If you read this, and start to get angry once you’re at the point of realizing the situation you’re really in… then I think you’ll have the emotional energy to make a new path for yourself. In this case, anger is a good sign and serves as a catalyst. I hope this helps, and I’m wishing you all the best.

    • Smart friend you have there, Sunny. It immediately rang true for me. Explains what he was projecting onto me. No wonder I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. He projected his own distance onto me so I became the one one who wasn’t really present. He believed himself to be an intense, romantic partner but could only maintain it for…Oh my gawd, insight alert! Restaurants were where he would lay on the romantic moves so people could see he had something really sexy going on. Gawd, I’m dense. I didn’t mind holding hands across the table and talking but when he would look down and then up at me through his eyelashes it looked girlish and killed any romantic feelings of my own. Ick. He’d get so offended if I ignored it or was embarrassed by it. He liked the looks he thought he was getting–he was 14 years older than me and I am tall, blonde and slender. (More of a Monet type though-better looking from further away.)
      Thanks for sharing, that Sunny. You think there’s no more left to uncover and then something else pops up at you.

  • One of my favorite places to get advice is Captain Awkward and I think this post may speak to you:

    Especially read Alphakitty’s comment and responses to her. You are not responsible for your guys dysfunction, it is ok that everyone has issues, it is not ok for your SO to make you responsible for his or her dysfunction. Support is one thing, being the fixer is different.

  • He doesn’t have a problem.

    He made a choice.

    End of.

    Get out, before he gives you a disease.

    Step away from the crazy-this guy has already cost you too much.

    It will suck.

    But we are here.

    Run, baby, run.

  • Scared,

    I imagine you’re really torn, because I know I was when in your situation 15 yrs ago.

    My STBXH was immersed in addictions I didn’t know about until I was deeply invested, then confessed them and went to treatment. I went with him often and we went to couples counseling. I can control this I told myself, our love will beat it…and so I married him after a few years of what looked like his recovery.

    Let me tell you what I wish I knew then that hope prevented me from learning:

    -His issues exist in his disordered brain. No amount of love can change that. It’s like trying to love away cancer. It’s simply impossible.

    – The way he manages and grooms you around his issues also comes from his disordered brain. It seems like love to you because it’s intended to manipulate you. Love isn’t painful. That should be your first sign.

    – Being committed to him and his issues *will* change you however. It will slowly suck the life out of you until you barely recognize your old self. His disorder will in fact make you sick, mentally emotionally and possibly physically. Long term trauma does that and you can’t hope yourself out of that either.

    – The likelihood that his issues will improve with age is slim to none. Sad but very true. He may have dormant periods and bouts of normalcy, which will fuel your hope more. But that disordered brain remains in him and as life gets harder, monotonous and more adult responsibility is thrust upon him, he will always at least struggle to act on his urges- and he often will. And like any addict, the indulgence will only become more egregious because he’ll need a bigger thrill each time to feed the craving.

    My X went from gambling, to porn, to strippers, to prostitutes and eventually full blown affairs with naive young fools that have all the naïveté I once did.

    There were long bouts of recovery, but the other shoe always eventually dropped and when it dd, it was always worse than the time before.

    I wish now someone could have gotten through to the young innocent version of myself. I’ve lost dreams, companionship, dignity and myself in the process.

    He was without question NOT worth it.

    • Excellent post, Knight. You are so right on all points. when you’re with a person like this longterm it truly does suck the life out of you, even if you don’t know what’s happening, such as in my case. I knew something was off and I knew that lie was somehow awry but I couldn’t figure it out. By the time I did figure it out I was in a full blown depression and barely able to function. That’s when he went full asshole and hasn’t stopped to this day.

      But you want to know the good part? Once I got him out of my hair and our of my system I started to live again. My life isn’t perfect but for the first time in years I’m alive, really ALIVE.

      Scared, you want to spend years slowly falling apart because of some asshole, only to have to rebuild yourself pretty much from scratch in middle age? Don’t do it.

  • Thanks, everyone, for posting all these great reminders of why I should NOT pine for the sparkly, fun times that my ex and I had and that the new AP is apparently now enjoying. The divorce was just finalized a week ago, but the loose ends regarding finances need to be tied up, and I am still in email contact with my ex-husband. I’m embarrassed to say how I have backslid into again being thrilled by the measly crumbs he offers me in the way of sporadic cheerful, upbeat emails thanking me for the stupidly chumpy stuff I have STILL been doing for him (which most recently involves shoveling a half-foot of snow so that I could drive 20 miles in order to FedEx time-sensitive house-refinancing forms). And this came right AFTER (my sixth-sense kicking in) I googled his name, only to discover that he is now starting a sabbatical during which he is giving lectures all over the US, Europe, and Australia, as well as hosting a 21-day Mediterranean cruise. But hey, he doesn’t really WANT to be doing all that pesky traveling, but he’s working hard to earn cash for my measly support payments (I have a brain injury and am unemployed). After all, he deserves to live his life, too. Yep, I’m the sap who spent 23 years scrimping and waiting for the day when WE would finally begin reaping all these benefits, and I am NOT the person who will be sharing his luxury cabin on his swank cruises.

    So, Scared to Hope, I urge you to listen to everybody here. We’ve been through it all, and we don’t want to see another caring, loving person go through this ongoing hell of deception and pain. Just imagine the nicest people you can think of, all urging you to SAVE YOURSELF, and you’ve got a clear picture of Chump Nation. We have been there, and we KNOW. Be strong, and best wishes to you.

    • I got sidetracked and forgot to mention the whole kinky-sex angle. At first it was mildly interesting, then it got weirder, and then I was so creeped out that I lost interest in intimacy completely. They start off slow to see how much you’ll go along with, and it’s almost like some sicko pervert with a cute puppy luring a child into his car… DON’T GET BACK INTO THE CAR, Scared!!!

  • SCARED… oh honey. Telling you to dump him and run, so easy. Easy because we have all been walking/running away, we have made the decision.
    You have to decide what you want to do. I gave up my best body years to a mentally abusive, suspected (can’t prove bcz I didn’t see his penis in her vagina) cheater, undiagnosed narcissist.
    Look at how you feel now, objectively. 15 years ago I was a firecracker, full of energy, independent, HAPPY.
    Today, I get nervous going to the grocery store. I am scared I am buying things he won’t approve of, won’t like. AND HE DOESN’T EVEN LIVE HERE ANY MORE. I have come a long way baby, but the little things that he stole, like the grocery store, still scare me.
    Everything you love about you, your giving emotionally, your ability to nurture, your forgiving heart, your trust in your own decision making ability, he will take it all from you.
    If you have children with him, you will be locking the cage you allowed him to put you in. Finding the key to open that lock and escape that cage, oh baby girl, you will have to dig deep for that. AND then you get to see him for the rest of your life.
    The pain you feel now, the outrage, the anger at him breaking your trust… if you go back, he will turn alllll that emotion back on you and make you feel it to destroy who you are.
    If you decide to stay, hide money and hide a piece of who you are right now. One day you will wake up and that piece of you that you hid, she will bitch slap you hard enough to give you the strength to rebuild her. Then you will need the money you hid to run. Run now, run later. Hurt this much now, hurt more later.
    You are on this site because YOU KNOW. you just need someone to tell you.

    • OMG

      “…I get nervous going to the grocery store. I am scared I am buying things he won’t approve” – that is me too, or at least it was. Oh how I love this site. I never thought anyone else could understand the humiliation that a bag of groceries can lead to.

  • “I was livid, hurt, devastated. I felt used and abused.”

    Scared, please read “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft (handy link top right) I wish it wasn’t going to be scarily familiar to you, but it probably will be. ChumpLady is not fooling around when she characterizes cheating as abuse.

    This guy’s problems run deeper than an overactive libido. His problem is that he can give himself permission to treat people like things, things that exist for his pleasure. Some women are worthy of marriage, others are worthy of a grope and a fuck. Notice how this categorization of others conveniently absolves of him responsibility for his actions and choices. Not only are you worthy of marriage, you are worthy of being in a committed and loving relationship with someone who values you and respects you as an equal human being. That’s a lot more than this guy can offer on his best day.

    All of the other posters here have given very good advice and sad but accurate predictions about what will happen if you stay. He will have to up the ante and his abuse will grow worse and worse over time, and some of those transitions can happen very quickly. Don’t be there when this guy gives himself permission to be violent. Get away, get tested, get healthy and happy. Life will be so much better without him!

  • River – the grocery store, I KNOW RIGHT? How fucked up can a person make you if even THAT small part of independence, picking out food, can be destroyed.
    Why does he do that, THE book. It opened my eyes. I argued with the book and myself most of the way through it.
    The best and most tangible thing I now have to read to keep my head on straight are his emails. I hacked his account months ago with help from some friends. He said the most horrid awful things about me. Now when he tells me we can work it out, he loves me, he will change, I have his own words to read. I am breaking the ties one by one but every once in a while, I get weak and think maybe… so I open up the file where I copied those emails to and I read them. It wakes me right back up.
    I hid me for a year almost while planning. I nurtured me, I loved me and I rebuilt enough of me to get the hell out. I planned for so long until the door to freedom opened and then I grabbed the kids and left. I lied, I manipulated and I frickin (so far) won. Played his ass like he played me. I researched exactly what to do so I was ready when the opportunity came up. I packed one suitcase with nothing but financial paperwork that I hid over a year in the attic rafters.
    SCARED – this will be you someday if you do not go now. there is nothing to break away from but the emotional tie. Do what you would tell your sister or best friend to do. If I had done what mine said, I wouldn’t be rebuilding a wonderful person who was trained to be nothing but… well, nothing.

    • All4freedom, brava for you! You have to keep on exercising extreme self-care to NOT get back together with a cheater. As chumps, our chumps selves can get the better of us but I have to remind myself that I deserve better. I used to have to remind myself of how I felt when I was with my cheater ex and I would snap back to reality and the fantasy of who I want him to be went poof. It’s very easy to slip back into hopium, especially when we are feeling low, fatigued, overwhelmed and just sick of the entire thing, and kidding ourselves that going back to the cheater is better than this. It’s not. It never will be. By practicing EXTREME self-love and self-care consistently, I am now at a point where I wake up each day feeling so grateful that I wake up physically alone but feeling whole and living a peaceful, authentic, drama-free life. My old life seems like a nightmare now and to think I fought really hard to keep my marriage together for over 20 years. Those years are over and I am grateful I did not come out destroyed because I (eventually) chose the path to put me first, not in a narcissistic manner, but truly loving myself. I gave all that love, kindness, care, everything good to ME instead of the cheater and it worked wonders.

      You will get through this and you will be amazed at the peace and strength you will continue to gain.

    • Wow, all4freedom, you are waaaay cool! I know that shortly after D-Day, when I looked at what could happen to my children’s financial future, I lost most of the hysteria (unless it was of use), and I became a stone cold manipulative bitch. I needed to keep our finances intact or I wouldn’t be able to get our kids through college. And so I did a bit of that myself (lied to him, manipulated him, and played him)….. but you seriously rock.

      When I feel sad “I simply remember my favorite things…” (sorry, that song is in my head right now)— how he lied, gaslighted (horribly), looked at me with dead eyes while admitting the worst horrors, and simply never exhibited one real emotion after D-Day– And I also think of my new free life and my new love 🙂 , and I truly now feel: GOOD RIDDANCE.

      • Kelly, nowadays when I think of being with my ex, I say to myself, “Oh, gross.” Good riddance, indeed.

  • Hi All,

    I just wanted to share my extreme gratitude for the time and attention all of you have given my terrible situation. I have gained so much insight and so much sanity from your words of wisdom. Rest easy this holiday season knowing you have made a profound impact on someone’s life. It will be hard, but you have all made it that much easier for me to get through this with self-love and self-respect. I wish the best for all of you. Thanks again!!!

    • Scared, leaving him will be hard but you know what’s harder? Staying and not having the life you deserve. Please give yourself the gift of an amazing life and that’s not going to happen if you stay with him. Guaranteed.

  • I am so proud to be part of the Chump Nation here. This has been such a rewarding experience. I have never told so many people about any blog before. The most incredible thing is that since we aren’t the narcissists, what I see in every response to this thread and others is the EMPATHY we all have for about-to-be-chumps and each other! We share our narrative as the “terrible warning” to prevent others from making the mistakes we transparently acknowledge. This is what defines us and separates us from the cheaters: we own being too nice, letting the abuse go on too long, and our own co-dependence. We take responsibility and are genuinely remorseful. We are healing! And we are looking around us and holding out our hands to other chumps. We share our pain to prevent theirs. Wow! This blog has changed my life!

    • Meg, I couldn’t agree more. I do get a lot of help and insight on SI, but the difference here is that I was moved to action. I see my situation for what it is without feeling like I’m getting smothered by pain. I still talk there because I’ve met a couple people and we check in on each other every few days and it’s nice to talk with people going through a shared experience. This site is more empowering though. It speaks to me, not as a victim, but as a person of value, caught in a really shitty situation.

      My husband is a serial cheater. There’s nothing I could have done differently to stop a person who’s been doing shit like this his whole life, including his first wife and girlfriends before me. I am taking purposeful strides towards the city of Meh. I know it will take awhile to get there, but it will happen.

      • Thanks, Rumble, for expressing my sentiments so clearly. I’m sorry to say that I still have some immediate knee-jerk responses when I should really be giving myself a healthy dope-slap. My resolution: to retrain myself always to look forward to the rosy future and not back at the what-might-have-beens. But yes, I will always trust that he sucks! MEHry New Year to all of us!

      • Rumblekitty- what is the SI website you go to? I discovered this blog from the midlifecrisis forum.

  • @ ColdTurkey – I know, I do the same thing. I find that each morning, I wake up thinking about what happened and I have to ACTIVELY tell myself to stop thinking about him, or what he’s doing, or what happened, and look forward. I’m only two months out of DDay, so it’s a struggle, but it really is the only thing that helps.

    It’s a shitty hand we’ve been dealt, no question. And it takes work to retrain our minds to focus on the positive. I have to fight to not let myself crawl back in my little hole and brood. I mean, when I feel tears coming I allow it. (I show myself compassion, but I allow myself to see clearly.) I married a sociopath, and no matter how much it hurts, I have to at least be thankful that the other shoe has finally dropped, and I no longer have to buy key logger software and GPS his phone. I finally get have an authentic life, and not live in fear anymore.

    Happy New Year to you too and fuck 2013! We got this.

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