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Dear Chump Lady, What did I do to make her leave me?

Hello Chump Lady,

So long story short, I met my wife at my military unit, I went forward to the command within a few months and she quickly got orders to another station nearby. We had been together for almost a year. We eventually got married on April 6, 2013. I got deployed two months later.

When I first met her, when she first got to my unit, I felt instantly attracted to her. But as time went by, I stayed away from her because I was hearing how she sleeps around with other men. Once I got to know her, I put all that aside and started a relationship with her. Our relationship had its ups and downs like any normal relationship.  We had our fair share of arguments and great periods of time together as well.

I got deployed in June 2013, and I knew that our marriage was brand new so we would have a lot to work on when I came back from deployment. I even went as far as getting the book “Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus,” just so I can make some improvements upon my return.

While deployed, I got wind that my new wife was already cheating on me. When I came back, I got actual confirmation from her, but she didn’t tell me how many men she actually slept with until her best friend told me. I found out that she slept with four men including her supervisor. Prior to this painful information, when I was deployed I had the uneasy feeling that something wasn’t right with her. I read that a cheater will show signs of change in their behavior — change in clothing style, working out, etc. Communication from her went from loving to almost nonexistent emails and then when I did get an email from her, she would constantly talk about her supervisor.

I finally got so suspicious that I hired a private investigator and caught this man going and leaving my house. When I came home I confronted her about it and told her what I did, and she “technically” owned up to her cheating on me, but she stated that I put her life in danger by hiring a private investigator and that we were having marital issues and that is what led to her cheating. Basically, blaming me.

When I came home, she left out a notepad and because I was already on high alert I read in the notepad that her supervisor is her boyfriend, how much she loves him and can’t wait to have children with him. One letter stated that she was pregnant by him and that people would think I was the father. Shortly thereafter she put castor oil in a jar of ice tea for me to drink and get sick. (I found the castor oil bottle in the kitchen cabinet and threw it away).

She just basically changed from the woman that I fell in love with. She used to show me so much love and affection and treated me like a king. I thought she was the perfect woman for me and I thought I found the one. It just took one deployment for her to change into someone so evil. In the end she finally left me for her supervisor — who was married with a child on the way at the time. It has been about 5 months since then and I am still a mess. She stated that she wanted to work on our marriage, but I caught her leaving this man’s house a couple of times. (We live on a small island so it wasn’t hard to find out where he lived). The only reason why I did that is because she started to not come home, so as a husband I wanted to know the truth. She would also get defensive when I asked her where she was at night and who she was with.

What I am basically asking is — what did I do for her to leave me? Is it really my fault? Why did the other man come into my life and ruin it? I love(d) my wife so much and I knew that I screwed up here and there, but did I deserve to be cheated on and left? I wake up every morning asking myself why. Her supervisor got transfer orders to another location and she is getting out of the military to be with him. I am just devastated. I want the Karma bus to pick them both up and I want her to suffer as much as I did, but another side of me wants to move on. Another startling question is what does this man have that I don’t that led my wife to stray from our marriage? I just feel like I failed my wife somehow and feel like she has no actual remorse for what she did. I guess she never gave me any closure.

Hurt and Confused

Dear Hurt and Confused,

You didn’t do anything to make her leave you. NOTHING. This situation has absolutely nothing to do with your lovability or your worth. It doesn’t have anything to do with military deployments either, although I know those are incredibly difficult — especially for the person being deployed. Her cheating is all on HER. This is about her lack of empathy, her immaturity, and her narcissism.

You didn’t bring these character traits out in her by something you did in two short months of marriage. No, Hurt, her fucking around was amply on display before you married her, which is why you sensibly stayed away when you first met her, despite your attraction. You had good instincts. But you let your judgement get overridden when she paid attention to you.

This is the magic alchemy players do — they transform a reputation of fucking around into — But No You’re Really Special.

Yes, all these people I’m sleeping with are no indication of my short romantic attention span — no it’s just that I was Waiting For the Right Person. It’s a sea of competitors, of imperfect lovers, but You Might Be the Special Someone Who Can Win Me!

And then they dazzle their laser beam of narcissist sparkles (narkles?) on you. It’s like when one of those spotlights swivels around a studio audience and lands on the Lucky Winner. YOU! You won! OMG, you beat out the competition! You are the most exalted Special Person.

And then you assume, as so many chumps do, that marriage means their fucking around days are over. That was then. This is now. Because they made a promise to you. They vowed fidelity.

Alas, her crappy character has been there all along. A ring didn’t magically transform her into a grown up who can keep her promises. In 9 months of marriage, she’s cheated with four men that you know of. Hurt — she’s a sicko. Disordered. 77 flavors of fucked up. For the love of God, don’t take responsibility for her flaming dysfunction!

You think you have the power to make people THAT fucked up? You don’t. If you had those kind of transformative super powers, the U.S. military would make you a weapon of mass destruction.

Why would you think you had that kind of power? Because crazy as it is, believing that is better than believing you weren’t really special after all. She didn’t love you. It must be something you did. Because if it was something you did, then YOU can FIX IT. You can read the books, right the wrong, and put things back in order.

To conclude that there are disordered, horrible people who prey on our kindness and fuck with our loving hearts, who PRETEND to love us, is too awful to consider.

But that’s exactly what you need to do. Realize that you don’t mean jack shit to her. She chumped you. That’s what these freaks do. And take heart — not everyone is a disordered freak, there are good women out there who will love and cherish you, but she is not one of them.

The other man? He’s just the next lucky idiot that the narcissist spotlight landed on. Only he’s such a piece of shit, he’d give up his wife and children to be the Special One. He’s not better than you — CLEARLY not, for one thing you were faithful to your wife, he isn’t faithful to his. No, he’s just some jerk in the studio audience.

You want a karma bus? The military drives those I hear. Adultery, especially with a CO can get you in seriously trouble, it’s against regulations. So tell your commanding officer what’s going on and push this thing up the chain of command. He’ll definitely suffer professionally for this affair. Share the evidence the investigator gave you. Perhaps she’ll lose her honorable discharge. Perhaps he’ll lose his job.

One last thing, Hurt — the castor oil incident is really weird. And you mentioned it in a paragraph discussing her wanting a pregnancy, and having a pregnancy, like it was unrelated. Castor oil is what women take to induce abortions — naturally, without going to an abortion clinic. In early pregnancy castor oil can induce miscarriage. In later pregnancy, it can make you go into labor, especially when you’re overdue. (My grandmother and aunt did this to start labor.) The fact that she’s got a bottle of castor oil hidden, may not be some elaborate cruel prank to pull on you. (Why not make you drink Drano?) She might’ve had it for other reasons, and trumped up some trick to make you think it was intended for you.

Again, Hurt — she’s a SICKO.

Please divorce this nut quickly, and set the karmic reaction in order by telling military command what’s going on. You’ve got NOTHING to be ashamed of — that’s ALL on her.

(((Big HUGS)))


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  • Dear Hurt,
    CL is as always, spot on!
    You might not want to agree for the simple reason that somehow you were led to believe that you are someone special- “Why would you think you had that kind of power? Because crazy as it is, believing that is better than believing you weren’t really special after all. She didn’t love you. It must be something you did. Because if it was something you did, then YOU can FIX IT.”
    Remember: You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it. You can only control “You”.

  • Hurt,

    This may sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to be so because all of us here understand the pain of betrayal….BUT sometimes the unpleasant truth must be put out there.

    Due to a case of the “raging hots” for this woman you disregarded YOUR OWN better judgement and ignored RED FLAGS THE SIZE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD! You allowed lust to override your intellect and ended up paying a painful price.

    [“When I first met her, when she first got to my unit, I felt instantly attracted to her. But as time went by, I stayed away from her because I was hearing how she sleeps around with other men. Once I got to know her, I put all that aside and started a relationship with her.]

    One can only hope this experience has taught you a valuable lesson. Learn to appreciate women of substance over women of questionable “style.”

    Over time beauty fades and sexiness can wear thin, but real CHARACTER endures for a lifetime.

    As CL has said repeatedly on here, “Fix your picker.”

    • ^^^This.

      Listen to your gut, always. Your gut is that first little voice that speaks up. That was the one that told you to stay away from her. But you talked yourself into giving her a chance.

      Next time your “But maybe” voice argues with your gut, tell the “but maybe” to STFU.

  • Hurt:

    You did not make this woman leave you. She left you because she is who she is: a very sick, disordered individual who lacks any kind of empathy and is unable to sustain any kind of relationship. She also left you for a man who also lacks empathy (he was married and had a child on the way? WTF? That lacks any kind of honor whatsoever!).

    They deserve each other.

    Hurt, you are a special kind of chump–a military one. Many people in the military are committed to values that hold the worth of the whole as greater than the parts. They are committed to the belief that each person’s efforts contributes to the success of the group as a whole. Those are wonderful values to bring to a marriage. They are also the values that really twisted individuals like your STBXW will manipulate and ultimately betray.

    You did NOTHING to make her leave you. She left because she is who she is: a woman who sleeps around. She suckered you in because she turned her sparkly attention to you and manipulated your desire to protect those weaker than you, leading you to believe that you were her Knight in Shining Armor.

    This is a pretty common narrative, unfortunately.

    I know that you’re in the military, and military communities are pretty close, but I’d recommend some therapy, even if you go off-base for it. You’ll want someone used to dealing with abuse victims, because what this woman did to you was abusive! However, I’d say that even on base, the psychologist is used to hearing from men whose wives were unfaithful during deployment.

    You deserve someone who will be faithful to you when you’re deployed.

    Your STBXW sounds, to me at least, like a woman who wants to sleep her way to the top. In this case, what you did to make her leave is that you did NOT have enough money, you did NOT have enough prestige, you did NOT have enough power. She has now found someone with a bit more of those things. Next, she’ll find someone with a bit more, and so it goes.

    Her current AP is just as much a predator as she is.

    I know that in a small community, it’s very hard to go NC, but as far as you’re able, do so. Get into some therapy. If there’s some mechanism for reporting the affair, then you might want to do so, since the AP is in a supervisory position. Other than that, stay as far away from the two as you possibly can, given the kind of community in which you operate.

    And fill your life with things that are of value to you. Doing so will crowd out the life you had with PFC NPD and set yourself up to find someone who truly loves you for who you are.

  • Hey, Hurt,

    Big hug to add to the pile. Don’t beat yourself up for falling for the narkles-everyone here did, and all that reflects on you is that you are loving and trusting, therefore loveable and trustworthy. She is not. Screwing the boss is a classic manouver for such wong nuts.

    You have a long way to go-not gonna sugar-coat it for you. CL has written some good essays on the main page here, one of the best being ‘trust that they suck’. The pain you feel is cognitive dissonance- and a reluctance to acknowledge or feel,that, yep, this person is disordered. Her actions and choices are on her. Fixing your picker, learning to recognize the narkles (Neologism of the month, CL, nice one!) is on you.

    My DDay was over a year ago, but I still have rough days, but I am on the way to “Meh”, that wonderful state of mind and being where the cheater no longer has any power. I am not there yet, but on the road. The most important thing I know about myself is I am HIV negative, and the next is learning to trust my gut, because the head and the heart can really decieve you. You wanted true love, and thought you had it, and that realization is a huge, dripping shit sandwixch-what you thought you had was not real.

    But YOU were- a person who acted in good faith. Hols onto that. When you are healed up, Ms Right will appear. Until then, keep a close watch on Chump Nation- we are many, and mighty, and here for you.

    YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. And you are not what that sorry sack of shit has done, you are you-porbably a real catch. Give it time.

    Another hug,


    • Narkles-LOVE IT! And Mehphista, thanks for a new vocab word I had to look up-neologism. If at the very least, Chump Lady and her followers are boosting my vocabulary. 🙂

  • Your letter–your strong feelings of love and hurt–show that you have a lot to share with the right woman.

    Unfortunately, your sweet kindness were taken advantage of by a woman who knows all the right things to say and do to make an honest man fall in love with her.

    My dear, you were once naive. What you’re struggling with is the realization that some people truly are evil: they lie and cheat and steal without compunction. And as one of our chumpy male friends pointed out here long ago, it’s really, really hard to imagine someone behaving like that, because our non-disordered brains don’t work that way. We don’t think like a cheater thinks. At all! And that’s a really good thing, actually.

    Work on figuring out why you ignored the obvious, and how you won’t do it again. When you know a woman sleeps around and then sets her sights on you? That’s an invitation to run the other way, not to think that you’re special, that you could rescue her. Women like her are dangerous, as you are beginning to realize now. She is such a sociopath that she poisoned you with castor oil. There is no love in her heart for ANYONE, not even for her latest conquest.

    Work on creating a relationship with a healthy woman–not someone who requires rescuing, but someone who is ready to be your partner in life, who is happy and who has her stuff together. Since you have so much love in your heart, know that you will be a great partner in return, and you’ll have a strong relationship like you deserve.

    Hang in there, buddy. And thanks for your service.

    • Interesting that you said ‘set their sights on you’. I look back now and see that ex set his on me and sparkled like mad for me. Until he didn’t and set his sites on others. It’s a weird thing to see this now, all these years later.

  • It sounds like your character-challenged wife found a good match in an equally character-challenged scum-bag. Be thankful you didn’t spend 10+ years with her, and be especially thankful that’s not your baby. You don’t want any ties to this harpy. You want your freedom, and a woman who deserves the love and respect you can give, and will give back to you. It’s definitely not her.

    Divorce her and rest easy knowing she’s getting exactly what she deserves; a new man who has the capability to ditch his pregnant wife. Just imagine how these two will slice and dice each other later. I think eventually he will ditch her too, because once day to day life erodes their fabulous romance, they will implode.

  • Hurt,

    My heart goes out to you, man! It’s the worst to make these sort of discoveries about how messed up people really are in the world. CL has done you a solid in this post. No one deserves to be cheated on. Ever. And certainly NOT four times!

    Along with the other comments here, I would recommend finding a good support system, too. If you have a good unit chaplain, I would recommend going to him/her because they are strictly confidential professionals. They could help you process your next steps and what you may need; plus, they have a direct line up the command chain if that is what is needed (e.g. concerning the AP).

    Hang in there, man! When you feel tempted to jump on the self-flagellation train, I encourage you to remind yourself of what I mentioned earlier: NO ONE deserves to be cheated on! Nothing you did caused her to cheat on you. That’s impossible. No human has power to override another’s will. It was simply her choices revealing her flawed character. A commentary on her; not you.

    Also, it does get better. I know it may not feel like it right now, but I want you to know the acute pain does eventually subside. I know as someone whose ex-wife left and cheated on me with multiple men from bars. And I can relate to the chump-reflex of trying to figure out what I did to “make” her do all that. Don’t give in to the crazy!

    Move on. Fix your chooser. And trust that there are people out there with real character who ARE actually capable of fidelity. Because there are.

      • Actually, the first person she slept with at her unit (only one sex-capade with my STXW) came forward to the command which utimately got him, my STXW and her AP (supervisor) in trouble. She got bumped down and he got reduced in rank as well. He is now going to another unit with one less bar on his shoulder sort-to-speak with my STXW right at his heels. His wife (I believe they are still technically married) just had their baby. I don’t want to be him right now.

  • Hurt, CL and everyone else is right. You didn’t do anything to “make” her cheat and leave you like that. She chose to. Because she has dark, deep, vacuum of a black hole where her heart should be. It was there before you met her. You didn’t put it there.

    Unfortunately, it is true, you’re not special. At least not to her. But really though, is she actually the kind of person you WANT to be special for? I don’t think you truly want to be special for someone as shitty as her. I think that you’re just hurt that while you were holding up your end of the marriage vows, she took pretty much no time shitting on them, as well as on someone else’s (her supervisor’s.) And that IS something that hurts. Betrayal is probably one of the most painful of human emotions. There’s a reason it’s called “backstabbing.” The imagery is accurate. Having a knife shoved into your spine is incredibly painful, hence the likening to the feelings of hurt you get when someone betrays you.

    And it’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. But one think you have to remember is that it was SHE who did this to YOU. That was her fucked up character and selfishness. Not yours. It’s not because you weren’t there. You both are in the military so she’s well aware of what she was signing up for when she married a man who is likely to be deployed. Which, given her behavior, is probably EXACTLY what she wanted. A man who will give everything to her, and then have to leave the state or country for his job obligations. Perfect for someone like her who wants to fuck around and have the security of family at the same time.

    The thing she didn’t count on was getting caught. Which is always the thing cheaters NEVER count on. And is always, always their downfall. Hubris much? I maintain that the only reason any cheater ever cheats is because they think they will get away with it.

    And if that’s the case, which it is, then it just proves that you did nothing to make her do that. She just thought she’d get away with it. And that kind of selfishness is something you can’t fix, and really, shouldn’t try to. It’s a lost cause and a suck on your life.

    As far as what does her supervisor have that you don’t? Well, let’s see:

    1) He has a complete lack of respect for his own marriage and yours.
    2) He has a child that he has completely betrayed and abandoned emotionally before it’s even been born.
    3) Also a black, sucking vacuum where his heart should be.
    4) A wife he’s backstabbing.
    5) A total disregard for military policy as it pertains to sexual conduct with his subordinates.

    ^ I don’t think that’s anything you want to have.

    I do think that you should give the evidence your PI found to the person above in the chain of command. That’s unacceptable behavior. As her supervisor, he should damn well know better. Any decent human being should damn well know better. This is a particular situation in which you can have at least a little control over the driver’s wheel of the karma bus. She will probably feel the burn too. Which she should.

    • Yes to so many posters here. Hurt & Confused, you didn’t bring on the D&D.

      For ACONs, Ns in our adult lives convince us we are the “special” we’ve dreamt of being ever since we started having fantasies about perfect love. And its a crushing blow to discover in our adult relationships with Ns that we aren’t the perfect everything we strove to be by N parents who also demanded that of us. Eventually, in adult relationships with Ns, the idealization wears off and we who have N-wounding in our families of origin have the responsibility of tending to the underdeveloped Nism in us that makes us so susceptible to the Ns. That makes their charisma, laser beam focus and promised share in the spotlight so attractive.

      • Telo:
        Perfectly stated!

        I just want to add to Hurt and Confused that all he did wrong was pick wrong! We chumps all have the tendency much like children to fall for the admiration and compliments while knowing and being aware of the other persons faults but yet continually overlook them in order to receive their love bombing. It’s like a chump switch goes off in our brains. We are the opposite of them but it’s the same thing on the flip side. This is why we get chumped!!! They have what we want and think we need. We immediately forget about ourselves and get attracted to the (what we perceive) as the light of the other person who is making us shine so they can entrap us. It’s like a moth to the flame.

        Once you become aware of that and back away from that deadly light coming from the wrong person you can change this vulnerability and make it work for you by helping you pick better.

        Looking back, I have repeatedly gotten involved with love bombers and addictive personalities and the reason is their instant and seemingly wholehearted attaction to me. Finally thanks to my last experience and this website, I was able to look at myself and realize I am the common thread in each situation and only I can stop this from continuing in my future.

        For others here who married their N’s young and naively, that would explain their sticking with it so long because they didn’t know any differently. But if we all dig within ourselves, there has to be a childhood reason why we allow this kind of behavior to go on and continue and feel the inexplicable need to fix it at our own expense and take the blame as well.

        Wow, this all became fully connected for me as I was writing this.

        I thank you Hurt and Confused as you just brought me great clarity as well as Telo!!!

        • CL,
          You should repost the post you once wrote which I can not find where you re-connected with yourself after your Cheater experience. It is perfect for Hurt and Confused and makes so much sense. I hope you know the one I am speaking about. I can’t remember the details of it but do remember it’s perfect for this post.

          We Chumps do disconnect from ourselves and in doing so put ourselves at great risk with these Narcs.

  • LW, take a step back and feel lucky you didn’t spend 10 or 20 years with this woman before you discovered she was cheating on you. You have many years ahead of you to find someone to love who will love you back. I’m sorry this happened to you, I hope you get happy with yourself before you start a new relationship. Don’t try to figure her out.

    Ya’ll, I’m really not liking the slut shaming tone to the comments. “Sleeping around” is pejorative and is rarely used to refer to men, it’s slut shaming language. Please don’t assume that because a single person has casual sex they are automatically bad people or cheaters. Men AND women who are not in committed relationships are not sluts or whores or shitty people just because they enjoy sex and do not require commitment to have sex. The only way that behavior is a red flag is if YOU don’t approve of casual sex, in which case don’t date someone who does. The societal pressure is such that women are afraid to be themselves sexually as it it, let’s not reinforce the patriarchy.

    Having sex when there is no commitment is not an indicator that you will cheat when there is a commitment. I have freely enjoyed sex without attachments when single. I have never cheated when in a committed relationship. Just sayin.

    • Um…this woman cheated on her husband with someone else’s husband. That’s a far cry from causality while single. I think what the LW meant by a reputation of sleeping around, he meant cheating. Which is something she lived up to in spades. Which is absolutely shameful.

      Slut shaming would be shaming the sexuality of someone who is undeserving of said shame. The OP’s stbxw is deserving of it. That’s not slut shame, it’s cheater shame.

      • I was always uncomfortable with how promiscuous my ex was in his early twenties. Or maybe not so much how many women he’d slept with (during a stint in the navy by the way) but how comfortable he was still talking about it. I am definitely no prude and my entire sexual history is not limited to committed relationships. However I was reading a study that showed statistically a higher incidence for cheating in men in direct correlation with the number of sexual partners they’d had in a lifetime. Which I guess doesn’t fully apply here since we’re talking about women. But I will say there’s a difference between society’s need to “slut shame” and actual promiscuity.

    • There was no “slut-shaming” here. “Sleeping around” IS commonly used to describe BOTH sexes who in fact “sleep around”. IE:; fucking multiple people.

      In this case, these people are not single and this is not casual sex. They are married and she was cheating on him. Nobody is “slut-shaming” anybody. We are merely naming a cheater and helping this guy out.

      • no, the LW and some comments were saying her “sleeping around” before they met was an issue. “sleeping around” is not indicative of cheating when one is single.

        • To my understanding “sleeping around” meant cheating. As in “sleeping around on someone.” That’s the context I’ve always heard it used and it’s the context used here. Our partners were “sleeping around.” No one is talking about casual sex between single adults.

          And if the LW meant that, well, he did end up with a real reason to avoid her, so his gut wasn’t wrong. We don’t know that this is the first time she’s cheated. I’m going to assume it isn’t.

    • I disagree.

      I think there is a difference between casual sex, and slut behavior.

      Having sex with multiple people in the same work group, bosses, etc (like OP’s wife was doing) creates unnecessary drama for everyone. That IMO IS slutty. That attention seeking, drama creating behavior is irresponsible, insensitive to others and well, stupid.

      Having sex with some single guy you chatted up at a bar once or twice is casual sex. He’s an adult and single, you are an adult and single, you have casual protected sex, all fun and games and NOT slutty.

      • My understanding of what Damdatwuf is saying is that in some earlier posts it was advised that H&C’s cheating bitch having a reputation for ‘sleeping around’ prior to them having a relationship should have been a ‘red flag’. Damdatwuf was pointing out that it is not necessarily a ‘red flag’ as having casual sexual relationships do not NECESSARILY indicate a propensity for cheating. I totally agree with Datdamwuf. I too have had casual sexual relationships but I would never cheat in a commited relationship. As CL has often stated, ‘open relationships’ as long as they are agreed upon by all parties involved, are not judged here – it is the betrayal of trust that is the problem. When I have had (satisfying and happy) casual sexual relationships, I have ALWAYS stated ‘up front’ that the relationship is casual and made sure that the other person understood this. It is the dishonesty and false promises of people who do not state clearly the nature of the encounter that makes us all feel sick. It is wrong to assume people (and women particularly are massively pressured and shamed) who ‘sleep around’ are morally retarded and will cheat. Both Damdatwuf and myself are here to tell you that’s simply not true.

  • Hurt, you did nothing to cause her to betray you. She did that because it’s her nature as a disordered person. She’ll hurt the next guy as well. It’s like a shark attacking a swimmer in the water — it’s just the nature of a shark. It has nothing to do personally with the swimmer, he just happened to be the one in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

  • Hi HC,

    Welcome to this site which is a great resource to find ways through this particular brand of pain. There is no way around the pain; only through to the other side. You sound stuck after five months. No shame in that my friend. I have only recently moved ahead a little after being stuck for, oh, about five months. It’s difficult. I relate to your story in a lot of ways.

    I was “instantly attracted” to my STBX. I know enough about myself to know that the women I’ve been instantly attracted to are bad juju for this kid. I knew this before my STBX, too. For me, what happens is that the dynamics of that attraction blind me to the glaring defects of the person and ultimately the romance. It’s a real defect of mine. The “instant” nature of the attraction leaves no time to savor the courtship. I don’t enjoy or take time to sit back and let it happen. I had the false notion that if it’s this good, this soon, it must be so right. Um…no…it’s so wrong. For me. Those glaring defects are not “red flags.” They are the “bombs bursting in air.” Much later, when I’m wracked with a lot of fucked up pain, I ask why did I miss those bombs bursting in air?

    It’s the same shit you see in the movies and almost every damned song on the radio. It’s not real love. It’s not two independent people who choose to be together; it’s “meet my better half.” Bullshit. I have learned that I need to slow way down and pay attention. But enjoy it too.

    Your wife is troubled to say the least. You mentioned four men she cheated on you with in the marriage. While you were away, and while you were around, I suppose. Now, she’s with the supervisor. This marriage for you has been short. You have all the information you need about her. Get the fuck out now. You didn’t cause this and you are not going to change it. And why would you want to? She’s has not been loving to you in any way that you wrote about.

    Even after you confronted her and gave her the chance to redeem herself she failed you and the young marriage. She blamed you for putting her “life in danger, ” whatever the fuck that means. She left a letter out FOR YOU TO SEE, I think. It’s no accident. My STBX made these small setups for me, too. She’s been telling you, screaming it from the marriage rooftop, who she is; which is a selfish person to the core. Take it from me. Listen to what she’s telling you. Which is that she is unbelievably immature or just plain sick. From what you have told us, I opt for the latter.

    What did you do to make her leave you? NOTHING. I can’t convince you of this. I had to accept this fact. I had to first believe that and then know it within me. Sure, I made mistakes. But, like you it seems, I had a willingness to accept responsibility for mistakes and struggle to change for my spouse. My STBXW stopped apologizing for anything years ago because she was not wrong ever. With no admissions and subsequent amends, the status quo remained. I was the one who was always wrong. (so chumpy) It was always uneven and she remained powerful. It was phantom power but, I didn’t know then what I know now. I was willing to extend myself for the marriage and for her to make the changes; she was not willing to do this. Without this vital ingredient of willingness, our recipe for the marriage was failure. Go utilize that willingness to love another and instead, love yourself for a while. And, when that hard work is done, you’ll attract a willing and loving woman.

    You asked “Is it really my fault?” It’s all on her. Although, I try to not remain a victim. What good does it do? It’s a waste of time. Although it’s good to feel the feelings that go along with victimization. Because it helps me locate the pain and move on. More importantly, it helps me fix that broken picker I have in me. The picker that tells me “instantly” this gal is good to be with for some time. I will be victimized at times. I am responsible for how I respond to it though. That’s the key for me. I can “react” with equal craziness like think it’s all my fault etc..,. Or, I can “respond” and own what’s my part in it and only that. It’s fucking hard, man. Sometimes I’m crazy. Sometimes, I’m not. In my marriage now, I put that blame squarely on her where it belongs. It’s just true, so it doesn’t have as much energy around it now.

    Why did the other guy come around and ruin your life? Because water meets it’s own level. He’s sick too. You have all the information you need. It all adds up to an asshole who deserves no more of your time or thought life. Trust me, don’t run that movie in your head. You are healthy enough to walk away from this sickness. The question is HOW. How the fuck do I get far away (mentally) from these fucking assholes now? How do I get better? NOT for her or because you envy her AP. For you. HOW do I get a new life? You’re already on your way, you may not know it. But, if you think about it, you may have done some things already that is building your new life.

    You will only achieve closure for yourself. Or not. You can stay stuck. But, don’t expect closure from her. What could she say? Would you believe any of it? I know any apology or overture of reconciliation from my STBX may feel good for a time. But, it will ultimately be ashes in my mouth. She is a liar, tried and true. What are you going to do? Get a life.

  • Dear Hurt; So sorry for your pain, but as others have stated, how fortunate you have not put in decades or a lifetime into this woman. She is the one with the sentence to serve. Plenty of great women are looking for you, believe me. She, on the other hand will always most likely be shallow, ungrounded, unable to feel & unable to love. Try not to ask why, you will never understand…this is a mistake I made. ( Maybe I could get through this if I could just understand I would think.) You will be happy again. Keep the faith & keep putting one foot in front of the other in the opposite direction of this woman….and best to you!!

  • Thank you everyone for your kind words and CL for pretty much breaking down who my STXW was. I never held her sexual “conquests” against her while she was doing her thing before me. It was during our marriage that affected me the most. When I came home and read through her “diary” I saw that she kept a journal of all the men that she slept with and of course I was on the list and guess what it was called?! “conquests”. So, that is what I was to her, just a conquest. Sick. She added her now boyfriend and other guys she slept with during the time we were married. I confronted her when I came back from deployment and told me it was for “informational purposes only”. The laundry list of things she did to me (some physically, and most mentally) when I came back would make any person cringe in disbelief. Prior to going underway she wrote me an email and told me how much she loved me asked me to think about our marriage before I went on port calls. Roughly less then a month into my deployment she decided to go on cheating rampage. Now, I am the point, do I give up on love all together, or is there someone out there for me and will this situation happen yet again. Being cheated on feels like a huge knife in my back as a previous commentor mentioned. It literally has sucked the living life out of me mentally and physically. I have gotten better as the time has been going on. I finally accepted what she did, and I made the choice that divorce was the only option left for me to take. I despise divorce and in most cases, it shouldn’t be an option on the table but being cheated on made me feel it was the best and mature option. If we were to work it out (which I have made the determination that we won’t), I would always wonder if she would do it again. Our relationship that was based on trust and fidelity has now been broken forever. Our vows meant nothing to her by her behavior. This is not the type of woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with and have children with. I know someday a good woman will come into my life, but right now I need time to heal and take a break from relationships. Gather my thoughts and learn from this experience. I will thank my STXW someday (in my head) for allowing me to find a woman who won’t harm me in this way and possibly expose me to STD’s and love me like a man should be.

    • Hey Hurt, don’t give up on love altogether. Take some time to heal, to grieve the life you thought you were going to have, and fix that picker. As others have suggested, read up on personality disorders and cluster Bs — especially Borderline women. I think you’ll have a lot of “a-ha!” moments and identify the kind of drama mamas to avoid.

      When shit like this happens, the only thing to do is to learn from it, really learn from it, and move forward. You sound like you’re navigating this well so far — hope you can be divorced and done with it ASAP.

        • Thanks for checking in Hurt and clarifying some stuff. I am appalled, she kept a journal of conquests is so horrible. You will find love again. I hope you spend a while with yourself, learn about boundaries and what YOU need in relationships. If you learn to be happy alone I think it helps you learn to pick the right person next time. Jedi Hugs, this shit is hard, you will heal and love again.

        • I agree Miss Sunshine, I was reading this and because I know my STBXW pretty well, she fell under this category to the “T” since the moment I laid eyes on her.

    • I think a lot of us would agree that we’d not want to enter into divorce, BUT infidelity is a real deal breaker in oh so many ways.

      If this were a matter of communication issues–you like the trash can here, she likes it there; you buy paint when she’s not home and paint the room a color she hates, she waits til you’re deployed to knock down some of the walls of your home–then you could reconcile.

      But cheating is different. Once there’s cheating, the trust is gone. No longer can you assume that she’ll stay faithful when you’re deployed. You can’t even assume that she’s telling you the truth when she tells you she’s gone grocery shopping, to the hair stylist–anything! When you’re forced into the position of marriage police, then you are forced into a position where you cannot ever afford to trust your spouse, and that’s just wrong.

      So go ahead. Divorce. Heal up, and eventually you’ll find someone who really does deserve all the wonderful qualities you’ll bring to the marriage! CL’s not the only one here who’s found real love after being cheated on!

  • Hurt and Confused,

    A few tips from someone trained in the psyc field:

    Please do as Arnold suggested and study up on Cluster B Personalities. (Just Google).

    Pay special attention to Borderline Personality Disorder!

    And when you feel the “bombs bursting in air” syndrome that thirstyfish describes, check up, and proceed with extreme caution.

    There are plenty of good women out there. This world has about 8 billion people on it, and she is only ONE of them.

  • H & C – Your ex makes me think of a 3 year old who has been told they can have a quarter pound of any sweets they want in a sweetshop. She will LOVE chocolate eclairs, and she will also LOVE strawberry bon bons and ooh there’s the marshmallow flumps that are her absolute favourites too, as well as the bubblegum she absolutes NEEDS – ask any parent of a small child – this isn’t going to end well for her – tears before bedtime! Your ex has the attention span and commitment of a 3 year old. What did you do to make her leave you? NOTHING!!!! She wants the entire sweetshop – and guess what – even if that wish came true for her – she’d just feel sick and empty afterwards. That’s not your fault. I’m guessing she ‘loved’ you as well as she could – i.e. as much as she loved chocolate eclairs, but her 3 year old greed only LOVES whatever is in the jar she is looking at. This is all on her.

    As for the karma bus: A couple of ice ages ago someone said to me ‘love lasts 40 days and 40 nights, after that it has to be worked on’. I’m not sure about the time span but it surely is time limited – that first flush of infatuation – and THEN oh then, you watch those two implode. I’d put good money on it if it wasn’t an odds on cert. Once real life catches up to them (and it won’t be long – just you wait and see) the reality is; she lost her career and he has a big black mark through his career, and lost his family, because of her – just sit back and watch that resentment burn! They may, out of pride, try to hide the cracks for much longer than they begin to show in the privacy of their relationship, but this isn’t twu wuv. Make sure you are well on your way to Meh before those two start tearing each other apart – or she’ll be doing her best to get you to take her back – after all Chocolate Eclairs are her FAVOURITES!

    Sorry you’ve gone through this shit – she’s a gold-plated dickhead! xxx

    • Hello Jayne, thank you for this awesome response. I 100% agree that she is like a person in a candy shop. She sees all the “candy” and can’t decide what she wants…I mean she wants it all but humans are not candy. She also reminds me a child in playpen with another playmate, she sees one toy and goes OHHH I like it, I want it….but then when another kid has a much cooler toy, she ditches the old toy and gets a new one. In this case, it is men that are the toys. I am also in imperfect human being and I have had my faults throughout my life, but when it comes to marriage. Cheating is not a mistake or accident. You don’t accidentally sit on another married man’s private part and say “Oops! it is in now, I guess we can continue.” or a woman’s private part by accident. You don’t make out with another person that is not your husband or wife.

      • Honey – I’m so sorry to say, but it really looks to me like ‘marriage’ was just another sweetshop option for that immature little girl – same attention span, same commitment. No, you don’t ‘accidentally’ bump naked pelvises with anyone.

        Like all of us chumps, you recognise you are a fallible human being, warts and all, and now you are fighting the phantom that is your belief that she is also just a flawed human being who makes mistakes, just like you have. Knock that thinking on the head – right now! Go through all CL’s posts that confirm, re-confirm and smacks you around the face with the truth: SHE CHOSE TO DO THIS – SHE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND – SHE IS A SELFISH MONSTER – you weren’t even out of the ‘honeymoon’ phase of your marriage (officially the first year of marriage) before she was breaking her ‘lucky bag’ (in UK – these were bags kids could buy that had candy and some crappy plastic toy) vows. You have no idea how wonderful you are, but look – you were prepared to put in hard introspective work on making that relationship work (I really appreciated you getting books to help you with this) – your true love is out there, just waiting for you. Maybe she is going through the shit she has to go through, just as you are, so that when you both meet you’ll both be ready for each other. Your STBXW is not the one – she was merely a bump on the highway.

        Big hugs to you x

        • Thank you Jayne and everyone else that has supported me through this whole ordeal. It is nice to know that I am not alone on this battlefield. It is true that men and woman equally can be cheated on and treated like dirt so it was nice to get input from women and men alike on their feelings regarding my situation. I can’t be thankful enough for everyone’s support. I have definately took each and everyone’s input and applied it as a huge lessoned learned. I hope that anyone else going through this type of pain can find peace of mind knowing that being cheated on isn’t anyones fault. The things in the relationship like faults and mistakes solely are placed on each person in the relationship but cheating is well the cheaters fault and not mine.

  • Hurt,

    My XW is an “army brat” whose father was a serial cheater. Almost certainly NPD. The AP is also ex-army and exhibits the personality traits of the “strong man” (whatever those are) that she apparently wants now. I’m glad that military personnel are mostly more like you, with good values and convictions\.

    • Hello CW,

      I am sorry you had to go through a situation like mine. My STBXW left me for the “strong man” as well but I don’t care anymore because when she was with me, I was the “strong man” at the moment. You don’t marry someone and then start looking for someone else that is “better”. I know there were way better women to choose from then my STBXW but I accepted her for who she was and loved her more then words could express. I didn’t want someone else, I only wanted her. Both of us will find a women who will treat us right. There is a quote that I like “Just like chess, the queen protects the king”. CW, I feel your pain and understand that nobody deserves to be cheated on. Most marriages can survive most situations, but in the case of cheating, it is better we cut our losses and move onto a person that won’t put us in harms away. there are so many good women out there that wonderful in every way. My STBXW spackled and now she is doing the same thing to another man. Thank heavens that is over with!

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