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Dear Chump Lady, Am I the Only One?

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been reading your blog for quite a while and I know that every story is different but I wonder why mine feels so different.

My ex has never once admitted to anything – NOTHING.

Others have experienced no remorse, no shame, some chumps have to go no contact because their ex baits them, etc. Pick-me dance? I was never given the chance.

I seem to be the only person whose ex has never once tried to contact them, never asked for anything, just walked away and never looked back. Left his clothes, the photos, any mementos, the kids – and just walked into the sunset. Never asked anyone where I lived, where I worked, how I am. Nothing. Never once uttered my name again. After almost 30 years.

I understand that he had been living his new life for such a long time so there was probably no need for him to look back.

Am I really the only one?

I cannot believe that no one else has faced this.

Now that the divorce is finally over, I am flattened.



Dear Rebecca,

My guess is that you feel flattened because you think his total abandonment of your life together is some reflection on YOU. That you and your home and you kids suck so badly, that you must be covered up like Chernobyl. He just walks away from that radioactive mess, and if he thinks about it you’re just a dusty ghost, an abandoned school yard, some stray detritus.

But of course you’re not. You’re very much alive and feel the pain of his abandonment. You’re not a ghost, you have a life, and those children and all he left behind are still the lodestars of your life. So it’s not like you can forget him as easily. But forget him is exactly what I think you need to do.

You have drunk his narcissist Koolaid. You’re seeing the world from his point of view — that you don’t matter, that you’ve been shunned because there is something faulty with you. You feel stung by this judgment, this utter rejection. What would happen if you turned that around, and started asking what is wrong with HIM that he could do that? What kind of piece of shit DOES that? A really disordered, cowardly person, that’s who.

Why would you internalize the judgments of a disordered piece of shit? Why not ask the schizophrenic homeless guy in the tinfoil hat if you look pretty today? (Probably a much nicer person, but still whatever he said you’d weigh against his afflictions. What does a delusional person know about pretty?)

What does a disordered, cowardly person know about VALUE? Nothing, Rebecca. Nothing. So quit accepting his rejection of you. Quit measuring your worth against his abandonment. HE is the crazy, worthless person here, not YOU.

You’re not Chernobyl, you’re not a ruin,  so stop feeling like one. He’s a shitty person who left you. Let’s rewrite the script.

My shitty person won’t talk to me. My shitty person never let me fight for the chance to have him and more of his shittiness in my life. The shitty person left his shit. The shitty person went away. The shitty person doesn’t want to know where I live.

Rebecca? HURRAH! Hurrah! A shitty person is leaving you alone and has gone utterly no contact on you! Thus alleviating you of the trouble of going no contact on him. I think your problem is really just the chump classic of not trusting that he sucks. You still think his judgments matter, that there is something there, some status to miss. Take Muriel’s example and fire him.

Go enjoy the great blessing that you’re not married to a shitty person. Fill your world with people who do want to know how you are and where you live — who value you. How do you know they won’t abandon you too? You just do your best to fix your picker and choose for character. And if they do for some awful reason let you down? You know your worth and you start again. The crazy, shitty people really are a minority — don’t let your ex poison your world view. Or your view of yourself. Know your worth.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Rebecca, I’d recommend this earlier post of CL’s, too: Tiffany glass windows

    I can understand how it would feel unbearably cold for him to just walk away, but CL is right: in the long run, this is actually going to help you more than if he hung around mooning over you. The pick-me dance is painful (don’t wish for that), and I can also tell you that repeated attempts at reconciliation – and the repeated destructions that follow – are absolutely soul-crushing. (Just imagine: to take your wounded heart now, bare it vulnerably again, and have it stabbed repeatedly!)

    Use his absence the same way you would use NC if self-initiated: focus on yourself, your children, and the beautiful new life you are now building.

    • I remember the first time I read the Tiffany Glass post. It was on a day when I was really feeling badly and attempting to untangle the skein, trying to understand what had happened in my life. When I first read it, I cried as well because it was such a simple way to make me see that I wasn’t the sum total of my cheater’s opinion of me. It was the first time it became crystal clear that I was flawed – I was a truly good and wondrous creature – and his inability to see that didn’t change that truth.

      However, the person who is truly wondrous is the person who posted it and filled, and continues to fill, an empty space in so many of us.

    • I found this on a PTSD forum
      The poster defined something called ‘Personality Suicide’

      “Personality Suicide” is when a person just up and moves without notice to another community, state or country. They tell no one, leave no forwarding address, they no longer contact or allow anyone to know where they are.

      They leave most if not all their possessions behind. Once they are at their new location they abandon the personality they were unhappy with and become a “new” person.

      They do all the things they can that they were afraid to do because people were they were wouldn’t allow or accept that behavior. They dress however they want to (even crossdress it that is what makes them happy), they do activities they want to, the see people they want to, they say what they want to when they want to.

      They become uninhibited, almost like a drunk loses all their inhibitions. They become “themselves”.

  • Or maybe it’s the fact that such a colossal betrayal by the person you chose to spend your life with has left you utterly shaken, traumatized–as if the sky has fallen or the ground has disappeared beneath your feet. Maybe, when something so unexpected happens, you’re thinking nowhere and no one is safe, that you can’t control anything, can’t count on anything.

    Which would be a perfectly normal response to trauma.

    • I agree, March. My Dday was an absolute surprise I never, ever saw coming. (I had never even had a suspicion that he would be unfaithful.) But he gave me the “reason”…he had fallen in love with someone else. But, of course, thanks to Chump Lady, I now realize that the OW is more of an accessory….the *real* reason is his character. “Trust that they suck.” So now when I think about WHY it happened, instead of getting upset about the OW and wishing he had never gone on that work trip, etc., I am beginning to just feel an internal shrug of “Well, he sucks.”

      I imagine if I were in Rebecca’s place I would struggle to make the direct jump from “everything is fine” to “trust that they suck,” because my head went round and round for months, even when he gave me the clear “reason.” But whatever reason they give (or don’t give is) mostly likely not the actual reason anyways. The real reason is their (lack of) character. Good luck, Rebecca. We are rooting for you.

      May we all reach the land of meh someday. (Hopefully some Tuesday soon.)

  • I’m sorry that happened to you Rebecca. No you are not the only one that got left like that my POS stbxh did almost the same thing except he took his things. Trust that he is the one that Sucks and that you did nothing to deserve this cowardly behavior towards you and your kids. Right now it feels awful that there is no contact and basically no closure for you but really like CL says the disordered can’t give what they don’t have. But it is soooooo great to have no contact because you focus on you and your kids (the truly important people in this thing) and your imbecile can go rot!!

  • Hi Rebecca,

    I’m sorry you are going through this, but you are not alone. There are many many others who have suffered what you have, and has hard as it is to believe right now he did you a favour.

    There’s no joy in the pick me dance or the other tactics cheaters use to lure back and “profess” they’ve changed, etc. It’s just more heartache and confusion. Someone who can literally walk away from a wife and his children is not a good, solid person. They have huge issues and it’s not your job to figure those out. YOU are a good person and YOU didn’t do anything wrong.

    I’ve been through false claims of love and “I’m sorrys” but it’s only added to my pain. It just took me longer to heal and know that he really wasn’t the person for me or who I thought he was at all. It was a waste of my time and energy.

    I know it’s hard. I hope you get some help wherever you find it. These cheaters leave a wake of hurt and pain behind them but it doesn’t last forever. He’s gone. Let him go and learn to be grateful that he doesn’t mess with you any longer. It’s YOUR life now. You get to decorate it any way you want.

    Take care of YOU.

  • While I have had contact, due to the kids, I have never received an apology or any acknowledgement at all that my XWs cheated.
    Well, I guess my first wife did acknowledge that she had inappropriate realtionships where ” the chemistry became sexualized”, but no admission of physical cheating despite indisputable evidence.
    But, here is the thing with the disordered: this is a pattern in their lives. If you look closely, I think you will find that many of these folks have a habit of hurting folks and just walking off into the sunset.
    My second wife’s dad, said to me ” Arnold, Laurie has to reinvent herself every 4-5 years, as she has made so many enemies among the people she is with.”
    I have seen this in both XWs. They flit from group to group, fitting in for a while until people catch on to them. Then, they just up and start over with another group.

    • Arnold, I never looked at it this way… huh… My Xh (still difficult for me to write or say that) is great in a crowd of new people. Being military really lent itself well to this lifestyle. He retired and that’s kinda when things started going down hill. I think his true colors were showing and he didn’t like being called out on it. He cheated on me with (and is still with) a woman I thought was one of my closest friends, her H and mine were best of friends too… Anyway, by doing that he ensured he would not be a part of that or any group of friend we knew together. On to a new group to reinvent himself. Thanks Arnold, that helps. Every new little insight helps me move on.

      • Sometimes disordered folks are attracted to professions that allow for their disorders. They can transfer their way out of problems that way.

        • That is a great insight. My CXH is a public defender for domestic abusers and worked as a white collar criminal defense attorney. He argues his way to an alternate truth so that no one like him has to deal with any consequences.

    • “But, here is the thing with the disordered: this is a pattern in their lives. If you look closely, I think you will find that many of these folks have a habit of hurting folks and just walking off into the sunset.”

      This is so true.

      No one has a perfect life. But normal people learn from mistakes. You may see that did something stupid and then not again.

      But disordered people? Their lives are disordered. Maybe not at first glance, but if you really look, you will see a bunch of “new” friends, a bunch of unpaid debts, a bunch of broken relationships with family, a bunch of “new” jobs, a bunch of “new” housing. Their lives are always swirling with some type of drama in the background simply because they don’t know how to manage their lives well, and oh yeah they tend to lie alot.

      • This makes so much sense to me. X has always been no more than a temp worker. He can’t sustain any long-lasting jobs, and his “best friends” live 500 miles from him and only see each other maybe once a year to reminisce about the “good old days.” They have never moved forward from college together, only separately. I never met any of his old friends from any other circle, and never met a high school or college girlfriend from his past who didn’t think he was an asshole.

        He’s a “bad breaker upper.”

        • “But disordered people? Their lives are disordered. Maybe not at first glance, but if you really look, you will see a bunch of “new” friends, a bunch of unpaid debts, a bunch of broken relationships with family, a bunch of ‘new’ jobs, a bunch of ‘new’ housing. Their lives are always swirling with some type of drama in the background simply because they don’t know how to manage their lives well, and oh yeah they tend to lie alot.”

          This x 1000. I would only add that these folks also tend to have problems with impulse control and deferred gratification. They tend to want what they want, NOW, regardless of how that effects other people or even other aspects of their own life.

            • Whoops…that should of read Soooooo true ThatGirl and Nomar. Since their combo description is my ex to a T.

          • “This x 1000. I would only add that these folks also tend to have problems with impulse control and deferred gratification. They tend to want what they want, NOW, regardless of how that effects other people or even other aspects of their own life.”

            Yes, SO true.

            My x has had massive amounts of random affairs with young girls, and it took me a long time to stumble on info about sex addiction… and bang! It’s all there. He has always needed instant gratification. Never liked surprises either. We never even had Christmas. “If we want something, we can just buy it for ourselves.” And buy, he did… $50k in one year spent to get a girl to keep having sex with him.


      • Something I noticed about my XH was the fact that he grew up in this relatively small town and had lots of acquaintances but no real friends. I thought that was curious but my first husband wasn’t a cheater and he didn’t have any friends either and I thought maybe that’s how men were. First X certainly had his problems so I think I’ll make a not to self on this one. ‘Beware of men with NO friends.’

        This is how my XH cheater rolls. He finds a new bar to hang out and meets a bunch of drunk cronies and they become the best of beer drinking buds. He just loves these guys. He’d rather yuk it up with them then spend one minute talking to his woman. Then one day he moves away and never sees these people again. And never looks back.
        He told me I was his second wife when I met him. I was his fifth. Wow. Just wow.

        And the crazy part? I live my life with integrity and would never have cheated on him. I’ve shooed more married men away from my door than I can even count. And I’m the ONE who sleeps alone and spends every holiday by myself. While my XH and his Skank woman are living the life. Seriously they are! I’ve seen the pictures and believe me they are NOT suffering. I guess that bugs me the most.

        • FIFTH??? God that must have been a huge shock! But he knew he had to hide it, all those failed marriages would have been a huge red flag.

        • Don’t let their pictures get you down…according to Facebook, everyone has a perfect life!

      • Thanks for putting that into perspective for me. How true…they have a habit of hurting people and not caring.

      • I thought it was me. I was attracting the drama. Yet life is much more simple and drama free now. I have to stop blaming myself

    • Arnold,

      Excellent point. Some of these wing-nuts have a sort of “half-life” built into them, like radioactive material. They glow for a while but then, when the kibble-stream stops, they just move on and never look back. This approach is pretty incomprehensible to Chumps, who actually have feelings for people other than themselves. I’ve never seen quite the abandonment scenario that Rebecca describes, but I do know of an ex, a Dad, who has basically abandoned at least one of his children. Not seeing his middle daughter in two years. Amazing. And this Dad thinks he’s terrific!

      So, Rebecca, you are not alone. It’s weird, but as others have said, it’s probably a blessing. These are half-persons and they have a half-life. When time’s up, they move on, with nary a look back. Weird. They are just weird, and we are better off rid of them.

      • “These are half-persons and they have a half-life. ”

        Saving this one David, so very true.

      • Mine said he was going through a “metamorphosis” if you can believe that. I was thinking, “What an insect.”

      • agreed, half persons and half lifes.
        Truly describes my exH…. 11 years in our town, I eventually found a job at his workplace…. and in the end, no real friends for him. The only one friend has distanced herself after all the lies.
        A friend describe it well later: with exH, it was always on the surface, no depth. You never knew what he was thinking.

        99% of the time, these days, I pity my exH.
        He has no real “through thick and thin” friends, and he has had to tell himself also sorts of lies to justify his treatment of me (marriage was long over, he did not really cheat with OW, etc).
        I have no idea how he justifies abandoning his children (mean exWife refuses to let them move with him?)

      • I suppose I have become a bit obsessed in reading about the disordered and reflecting on my dealings with them, David. I have a sort of list of amazing discoveries that have been revealed to me through research and oobservation and just listening to the stories folks tell me about them.
        First, and this was disquieting at first (still is to some extent) other than the egregious examples , like serial killers and the Bernie Madoffs of the world, I was very much unaware of the existence of so many of these folks and how they do so many evil things just less extreme than the egrgious ones. I mean , there really are a decent number of people who live their lives lying, stealing, and cheating on folks.
        Second, it was a completely foreing concept to me that people could do stuff like this and feel no guilt. All of us have done things that were not right in our lives, I expect. But, for the most part, normal people feel guilt and normal people do not do anywhere near the quantity or things that are as seriously wrong/bad.
        Third, these folks do not come with a warning label and are, often, very attractive(right up there with me, for example) and charming and talented. They are simply excellent at attracting victims and fooling them.
        Fourth(and this is probably not politically correct) but these folks do not change. If you look into their pasts(assuming you have access), they have done shit like this throughout their lives. They do not seem to learn from their misdeeds , other than to perfect them.
        I think these folks live in the present.Thye do not worry about their immortal souls. Thye do not worry about their legacy.
        I really feel that, despite sharing the same number of chromosomes and being able to breed with normal folks, they truly are fundamentally different, almost a different species altogether. Information is processed very differently, Values are completely different thant that of their peers.
        They are a scary lot, to be avoided at all costs, assuming you can detect them (which is difficult).
        Watch for little signs of lack of integrity. Research their pasts if possible. Watch for glimpses of the mask coming off briefly.
        Tough to distingush between a normal human flaw and these glimpses, but, on some level, I think we sense the difference.
        And, here is the most important thing I learned for myself: despite the masking and the difficulty in detecting them, I knew, on some level that something was off. But, my hubris allowed me to think that with me, things would be different. I was special, they really loved me. Their past history of cheating and lying would not occur in a relationship with me.Sheer hubris on my part.

        • I just screenshot this and saved it on my phone. Has anyone read “the Sociopath next door?”

        • Great comment, Arnold. Robert Hare’s book, “Without Conscience,” is a good one to read on this.

        • This ^ Arnold I agree with everything you said.

          “I mean , there really are a decent number of people who live their lives lying, stealing, and cheating on folks.

          Fourth(and this is probably not politically correct) but these folks do not change.”

          I think part of the selling of hopium is that “people can change!” meme. I call bullshit on that too. People can and do change their outward behaviors, but they do not change who they are at their core. This core being is who they will revert to when under stress or when no one is watching. That’s why you see over and over again on those R forums “model” WS reoffend, slip, break NC, post stupid thoughts, and so on. Because those WS haven’t “changed”, they just modified their behaviors so they can stay married. That is sooo not the same thing.

          And frankly I feel like living with a “reformed” WS is like living with a ticking timebomb. You can never fully drop your guard, else they’ll go off and be their core selves, and run off with the next OP or blow a bunch of money of selfish things, or quit their job “to find themselves”, or get fired for looking at porn at work or some other drama filled thing that disordered people tend to get into.

          I think Arnold is also right about these people are hard to spot, but our gut knows and we should listen and not be all “I don’t want to be judgmental”, or “I will give them the benefit of the doubt”. No. That’s our gut telling us this person is wrong. Let’s face it, if we jettison someone new from our life because they seem “off”, we won’t lose anything. But sometimes we let our fear of “but what if, they were the ONE!” second guess our gut. When I met my WXH the first time, I was unimpressed and didn’t care for him much. I should have listened to that first impression, it was right.

          • I’d like to bring up a relevant point, at least relevant from my experience. Although I know that you’re absolutely correct about the fact that our intuition may have been strong at work at some point in regards to our telling us from the beginning that something was “off” with those nasty morally bankrupt cheaters, I know for me at least, a couple of factors got in a way of recognizing and fully acknowledging what was happening: my age,
            Maturity level and self esteem. When I met my “i had a midlife crisis, and you got fat and depressed” STBX, I was barely 23, very naive and not very confident. He was a few years older but seemed so self assured and almost like my savior of sort. I just wanted to move out of my parents house at that point and he enabled us moving in together, starting the lifestyle I’ve fantasized about… But what did I know about people, life or personality disorders? I didn’t even now I struggled with low self esteem until I enrolled myself in CBT at the age of 31. I’ve always considered myself an intelligent person, even scored with above average IQ, but apparently it doesn’t mean I was emotionally intelligent in most ways. I tolerated bullshit for years because I didn’t know any better? It also didn’t help that my own mother, who most likely scores somewhere on the NPD spectrum, was telling me for years that I should be grateful someone wants to be with a “difficult” person like myself. Apparently,
            my strong morals and certain expectations of my spouse make me a compete bitch (would point out often that he would lose jobs every two years, mother would say I was too hard on him bc he’d always find a new one, she would also point out that men would stray occasionally and I just have to ask myself how I could have prevented it, typical bulkshit people spin….)

  • Rebecca,
    I struggle with the same feelings too. I find the best thing I can do is keep kicking myself to move forward, to stay looking forward. I have to do this repeatedly throughout the day; remind myself that I cannot control other people and the shitty things they do.

    I cannot let his appraisal of me be the one that matters, because it doesn’t. I know eventually I will be grateful for his speedy exit, but I’m just not there yet. We’ll both get there in time.

    • Thank you Rumblekitty. My NPD serial cheating, group sex loving ex recently told me I was a “disappointing” in our relationship and that I have “demons” to work on. The disappointing term really stunned and hurt me. I am still shaking it off, I am still feeling sad and kicked while I am down. My friend told me that no matter what, no matter what I said or didn’t say, or did or didn’t do while were together, the outcome would have been the same. He would have cheated and lied no matter what, because that’s what he does.

      What bothers me the most is that it still seems like he’s winning, like he’s getting what he wants. And I am not getting what I want. I got betrayed, stabbed in the heart, destroyed, rocked, disrupted, deprived of affection and partnership. He gets his freedom to fuck anything that crosses his path, essentially getting what he wants. It’s not fair. All I can do is hope that karma does its thing, and realize that someday I will pat myself on the back for ushering such a fucking asshole out of my life, because I know that having him around any longer would have just brought more destruction into my life with bigger consequences.

      • MJD, I know I’m gonna get in trouble for this but I still maintain that no one NORMAL is “group sex loving”. Yes, some of us go through a wild phase. Totally different. And by the way if I had to guess your ex has extremely fucked up sexuality and it is CLASSIC of them to tell you there’s something wrong with you. It’s also classic of them to surround themselves with others who are disordered and believe the same way so as to justify how “normal” they are. Um…pedophiles can do the same thing. Sweetie as soon as I can have a glass of alcohol (I’m pregnant at the moment) I will toast to the fact that we are free of two sexually disordered fucks and their pressure in normalizing that shit to us. Here’s to reclaiming our own awesome sexuality!!

        • I found a couple of online accounts for websites that my ex was a member of. They were both along the lines of or some such.

          I believe he is both latently homosexual, and probably has pedophelia tendencies. Whether they have been experimented with or expressed yet, I don’t know.

          But more and more, I’m glad to be out of that shit!

  • Rebecca–so sorry this happened to you. Mine tried, and couldn’t pull it off–he just needed too many kibbles! So after I learned about the actual affair, I started learning about the years and years he had spent trying to build another nest and -ah-feather it. Gee that was fun.

    But after the shit sandwiches hit the fan, he kept repeating to me “I wanted to make you feel really awful so you’d leave. That way I wouldn’t have to.” Not only a coward, a bumbling narcissist… [NB I did tell my therapist that if she ever wrote a book, she had to entitle a chapter, ‘The Gift of the Bumbling Narcissist.’ ]

    But in the end, these manipulative piles of crap really manage to make us feel like we are only worth throwing away–walking away from–dumping like yesterday’s news. We’re not! We’re so much better than that. Chump Lady’s advice is spot on (as usual…!)

    We have integrity, value, honesty–we are authentic people, capable of real love. The narc assholes– they are bags of self hatred, empty souls. Trust that they suck.

    It’s very hard to face that we’ll never understand, but we can’t–we’re not wired like them, (thank goodness) and it doesn’t make any sense anyway. So just tell yourself you’re not going to go there, because whatever made him sneak off like a thief in the night is not worth your energy.

    Your new life is worth your energy. ((hugs))

    • “…he kept repeating to me ‘I wanted to make you feel really awful so you’d leave. That way I wouldn’t have to.’ Not only a coward, a bumbling narcissist…”

      My ex never SAID those words, but that’s what his actions said. He become more and more abusive. It was horrible. I honestly thought I was the only one.

      • My stbx essentially did the same. Picked up on the things I liked least about myself (overweight, boring) and threw them in my face in order to make me feel awful and leave. Too cowardly to tell me he’d had a foot out the door and his dick out the window since we’d started dating (five years before we married), he decided to wait until our baby was nearly a year old to mention it.

        • “he’d had a foot out the door and his dick out the window”

          LOL. Sounds like there’s a Chumplady cartoon in there somewhere. . . .

          • I see we have a pattern going here!

            Mine made me feel bad about myself, and he also spent a lot of time crying “poor me” about himself… I have a bad back, it hurts. I’m depressed. And of course, somehow it was all my fault.

            In actuality, he was busy getting busy with any girl he could find who was under 20… and the skankier the better.

            They’re all the same. We really do need to compile a “cheaters for dummies” book. It’s all so obvious now!

      • Ya mine slept with what I would consider my best friend. Make it so awful I can’t take him back. But hopium addict that I am, I would have taken him back… That backfired and screwed up his plans but it also kept him supplied with massive amounts of kibble too… Thier plans actually, they thought I would just give up and give in and let them live what ever life they wanted, they even thought we could all be friends again one day… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

  • Rebecca,

    I am in the same boat as you, except my X tries to continue to emotionally and financially abuse me through our children. When I caught him cheating, he barked that the last 18 years were the worst of his life. But he never explained why.

    Cheapskate left in a UHaul van to go begin his new life with his inheritance and rich new mommy figure, then sent our 17-year old son back and forth to fetch some things he forgot. It took me weeks to shovel out the mess he left in his wake.

    You are not alone. I know what it feels like to be treated as though you never existed. I agree with Chump Lady that only disordered, cowardly people do it and never look back. And that as I move farther away from my life with him, I’m glad I don’t have him in my life to remind me of my colossal mistake in marrying such a loser.

    My wish for you is that someday you will measure your value by your own high standards, and not those of a hurtful, selfish man. You are worth it.

  • CL,
    The below is perfectly written and if all chumps could get to the place that you write below asap, all would be right with the world! – It really is them and has nothing to do with us Chumps. Our only bearing in this mess is staying too long believing the KOOLAID and that’s ok because how else could someone with feeling and a heart learn that there are those who just don’t possess feelings for others or a heart. Our minds must be reminded constantly of this fact to re-program our thinking to think about ourselves as very worthy and valuable and that what they do has no value or reflection on who we are. It’s hard at first to separate these two things and get to the really TRUSTING THAT THEY SUCK part and owning that belief. Perhaps, separating yourself from the situation and pretending it happened to a friend you care about will help get to the point of not giving a shit about the Disordered. When you trust the untrustworthy you give the most valuable gift away, yourself! Take it the FUCK BACK and treasure it and treat it with the utmost care.

    I have decided for me right now (this may change down the road), all people are Disordered until they prove otherwise to me. If they show interest with care and giving and don’t cross boundaries and are respectful of me and are open to answering questions in a clear way that makes sense then it’s a good start with a new person. They must also refer to me in their conversations with me and what is going on in my life, not just about them. After that, only time will tell me who they are. The disordered can not hide it for too long. If nothing else, I have learned that lesson, well!

    To you Rebecca, don’t be flattened, be flattered that the mother fucker felt you were too good for him so he took off to be with someone who is probably too fucked up to care or see how fucked up he is. He just ran away from himself and not you, you reminded him how bad of a person he is so he took off to pretend that he is a great person somewhere else. He can run but he can’t hide as he will always be there and so the cycle goes. You on the other hand can get up and face yourself in the mirror as you don’t abandon people and run from yourself. So please, keep reading CL per her wise and truthful words below and everywhere on this site. What happened to you is no different, the fact remains the same, Double Life and Abandonment of your relationship without a care. It is common to every story here. Wishing you a speedy recovery from a very very bad person who thankfully is no longer in your life!!!

    You have drunk his narcissist Koolaid. You’re seeing the world from his point of view — that you don’t matter, that you’ve been shunned because there is something faulty with you. You feel stung by this judgment, this utter rejection. What would happen if you turned that around, and started asking what is wrong with HIM that he could do that? What kind of piece of shit DOES that? A really disordered, cowardly person, that’s who.

    Why would you internalize the judgments of a disordered piece of shit? Why not ask the schizophrenic homeless guy in the tinfoil hat if you look pretty today? (Probably a much nicer person, but still whatever he said you’d weigh against his afflictions. What does a delusional person know about pretty?)

    • +++ (plus, plus, plus) Deb. Your paragraph two is especially cut-and-paste-worthy. Rebecca, you can do it!

  • Rebecca, not comparable to yours but my first 12 yr relationship ended without any of the drama either. The sex stopped for six weeks, we barely talked to one another and I knew “Roy” was cheating. He refused to admit to it, said he just wasn’t happy. I asked him to take a month to decide what he wanted, “Roy” left. I was very depressed and felt totally empty for a while. Then I threw myself into life, working out, fixing up the house, getting out and meeting new people and learning new things, I even took a drawing class. And one day I realized I felt pretty damn good, in fact I reached a point where I was grateful “Roy” had pulled the plug. I recognized that in fact, I hadn’t really been happy in that relationship either. 10 months after “Roy” left he showed up on my doorstep telling me he made a mistake, he wanted to come back. I gently told him that it was truly over, we actually stayed friendly after that – 20 some years later we are still in touch. He was not an asshole, he was simply a person who found himself wanting a different life and he took it. It hurt me when he walked away, but unlike my ex (the one I talk about on this blog) he didn’t strew devastation around him, he didn’t serially betray me, he made a decision to leave without drama. As much as it hurt when he just walked away, I healed from it fairly quickly. I hope you can do the same. Jedi Hugs!

  • Rebecca – Much the same thing happened to me. STBX did take some of his things & there has been minimal contact regarding finances, but otherwise it was like he died. Except he chose to inflict that trauma & pain on me & our 24-year old son. Our feelings, our shock & our well-being were the last thing on his mind. I take that back. He didn’t think anything at all about how his behavior would impact us. Frankly, it would have been easier if he’d died. We’d have had the understanding & support of friends & family to help us through our grief & trauma. Instead, some of these people are still “friends” with him, at least on Facebook. They have no way to understand how cruel & brutal his departure was for us. They just don’t get it. Fuck ’em.

    My son & I both sought the support we needed to grieve through therapy. Ten months later, healing is happening. My son has done so well in therapy that he reached out to his father recently though he has no expectations of him whatsoever. As CL said, in many ways I was spared a shit ton of BS & although I felt angry, hurt, bewildered & betrayed, my ability to move on with my life has been much like that of a widow. After awhile the pain lessens & life goes on. He showed me exactly who he was – a cowardly piece of shit. Knowing that freed me from trying to untangle the skin of fucked-upness. This was about him, not me.

    I know Eminem isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ll tell you, listening to his songs “So Much Better,” ” Stronger Than I Was,” & “Beautiful Pain” a few thousand times has been extremely cathartic. He just does being pissed off about getting screwed over so much better than I do. If you can handle the language (& clearly most of you can), you might find his last album – Marshall Matters LP 2 – therapeutic. I didn’t get adequate support for being abandoned from my community (except here) but I got it from Eminiem. I’l take it.

    • Martha..regarding his H’s are the same way! All his FB friends, mutual friends of ours..they all “excused” his behavior, and they talk, laugh and joke with him like nothing happened! Hello…devastated wife and kids, here! Best of all, a very large number of his friends KNEW the whole 3 years he was having an affair, and had no problem with his. Who ARE these people?

      • Sandy, same here. My ex’s friends, his co-workers and even his family knew all along that he was screwing the married ho-worker for over 3 years. They were hanging out, chatting on their work breaks with her & him and then smiling to my face and then telling me what a great/good guy he is and how much he loves me at every chance.. NOT! Then they tried to excuse his behavior saying, she was relentless. I guess he had no choice but to go along with it and stick his willie in her orifices, over 3 years… poor poor baby…What about his other OW’s…

        Good question, who are these people???

    • Interesting, Martha, about how therapeutic Eminem’s music has been for you. My daughter (who has chosen, along with her brother, to have almost no contact with their asshole father, because of how he has treated them) has just discovered his stuff. Because she’s only 12 and I know his lyrics can be harsh, I was a bit concerned. But she’s clearly finding it very therapeutic; people do get screwed over, they don’t deserve it, they suffer because of it, but they can grow beyond it and even turn it into something of value.

      • Karen – Eminem really blasts his father on this CD which may resonate with your daughter. You might want to have a conversation with her about his misogyny – though he pretty much hates everyone, including himself. His mom was a neglectful, abusive addict. The result isn’t pretty but a lot people sure relate to what this guy has to say. Even 58-year old me. He’s actually pretty encouraging about healing on “Beautiful Pain” & doesn’t swear once. Might be one for you, mama.

    • Martha!

      Thank you thank you thank you!

      You know, I’ve always maintained that Eminem is actually a good guy, and just to confirm that, my disordered bastard ex HATES Eminem.

      So I’m listening to your recommendations now.

      Love the hook in So Much Better:

      “My life will be so much better
      If you just dropped dead
      I was laying in bed last night thinking
      And this thought just popped in my head
      And I thought, wouldn’t shit just be a lot easier
      If you dropped dead
      I would feel so much better”

      Yes, indeed.

  • Oh Rebecca..I feel your pain 100 percent! My H did a similar thing to me. Once I found out on Dday, that was it. He left for the OW and hasn’t looked back..just left me and the kids in the dust. The H and the OW are blissfully happy together, while of course I’m here, shattered, trying to pick up the pieces of my heart and soul. I never got to play the “pick me dance” either, because once I found out, he was gone, straight into her arms. My H has been in a long-term relationship with the OW, at least 3 years. What kills me is that he could choose to be with her after a 3 year relationship, while ignoring our 26 years together. (Married almost 25). Even though he crapped all over me and the kids, I constantly obsess over the “why’s, what does she have that I don’t, how could he just walk out on a wife and kids for someone like her, did he ever love me” questions. And the fact that I didn’t even have the chance to work on our relationship..he was just gone, leaving me in the dust. The only contact we have is regarding the kids and finances. He and the OW splash their “true love” all over Facebook, not giving a crap about how this situation has affected those of us left behind. It hurts me to bad to see them so happy..and they truly ARE happy. From what I’ve heard, they plan on marrying as soon as they can. That someone could do this to another person just amazes me. Did 26 years together and 3 children mean absolutely nothing to him? Obviously the grass IS greener on the other side, because they are deeply in love. I also have the pain of knowing that he is a huge part of her family, and has been for years. He spent more time with HER kids and grandkids then he did with me and OUR kids. He spent a TON of money paying her bills and buying her gifts, telling me that “oh I had short runs this week (he drives truck OTR) so there’s really not much money left for you to pay bills.” I know full well that I need to step back and take a look at all he’s done to me and the kids the past 3 years..but the truth is, he’s had 3 years to check out emotionally, while I was socked with this nightmare in a matter of minutes. What I don’t understand is this: He is so in love with the OW..but when I asked him when he planned to tell me about the affair, his answer was this: “I never figured that part out. To be honest, I hoped I’d never get caught.” So basically he would have gone on like this forever? What was he going to do when the OW pushed him for marriage? (She did not know that he was married, he told her from day 1 that we were divorced. She found out on DDay when I called to confront her. But she has no problem being in love with him, even though he abandoned us. True love conquers all the bad, you know!) So Rebecca..please know that there ARE others that have experienced this awful, awful pain. And I truly don’t know if having the chance to play “pick me” would be better or worse. I think for those of us that were abandoned immediately, we can’t fathom that it’s done and over in a heartbeat, and we never, ever stood a chance. I come here every single day as I struggle to keep going. I am 4 weeks post DDay and I still struggle just to get out of bed and go to work each day. And my mind is filled with their happiness..and I am so hurt and jealous..yes jealous of what they have. I don’t know how these WS’s feel no remorse, no regret, no sadness. They just fly into the arms of their “soulmates” and never look behind again. Ever.

    • My STBXH pretty much started his abandonment abuse the same way- in fact, he was so mean and vicious about it in a way I had never seen from him that I was convinced drugs or a mental breakdown must be at play. I think he knew what he was doing was cray-cray deep inside but couldn’t stop himself, so I was able to convince him to see a psychiatrist. We had endured a few non-cheating life breakdown episodes before (should have been red flags), but this was just insane.

      Turns out he is clinically disordered- and the horrible avoidance/abandonment tactics are part of that- they can’t cope or don’t care to because it’s too hard, too messy, and doesn’t help get their needs met…. so out of sight, out of mind is their cowardly and hurtful out.

      I remember the first few weeks and months after DDay- the excruciating pain, fear and horror about his ongoing cheating behaviors and the seeming disregard for my existence or well being. I was certain it would kill me.

      But it didn’t- I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and it remains the most painful experience ever. And Im so sorry for anyone facing that. But you really can climb out of that hole and rebuild happiness.

      I learned a few quotes in therapy and Al-Anon that gave me strength during that time.

      “You’ll start to change when the pain of staying the same becomes so great, change is the only option. And then, that’s when magic can start to happen.”

      “Religion is for people who fear hell. Spirituality is for people who’ve already been there.”

      I note the second one, not to attack religion. But because finding a spiritual path was how I started to heal.

      • MKISD, you’ve got it right on. I finally figured out that my ex would cause me and/or the kids ANY level of hurt, in order to avoid any slight discomfort on his part. That to me is the core of his selfishness, it’s actually evil.

        This is what’s happened to you, Rebecca; your ex chose to inflict a world of pain on the people he supposedly cared about the most, and who cared about him, rather than go through the process of ending your marriage in a more human, normal way. (Which might still have been very painful, but wouldn’t have left you feeling like you were garbage to him.)

        My ex actually admitted, about 16 months post DDay (when our kids started refusing to see him) that during the whole process, from choosing to have this 2nd affair, through the separation, setting up his own home, organizing his life and work so as to have the kids some of the time, then deciding to work for a year out of town (so would have the kids much less), then coming back to our city earlier than expected and wanting the kids ‘back’ as much as before, he NEVER EVER EVER thought about how any of this would affect the kids or his relationship with them. EVER. It never crossed his mind. The OW assured him at some point early on that the kids would be fine (and we know she’s a neutral, objective opinion, especially since she had broken up her own kids’ family by cheating several years before), and that was enough to wipe any concern for his kids out of his mind, if it was ever there at all.

        What he did to me was cruel, but that he could go through all this without THINKING about his kids’ well-being … that was the final proof to me that he sucks, so badly.

        It’s normal that when someone we know and care about treats us badly or rejects us, we are devastated, we ask ourselves if we’ve done something wrong, if there was something about us that was not good enough (because we’re nice, normal people!). But once you understand that this is TOTALLY not about you, it’s ALL on him, you’ll be able to spend a lot less time thinking about it. Time and No Contact work miracles – and he ‘kindly’ built the NC in for you.

        • KarenE:

          our Xes must have been separated at birth…the whole “I didn’t think about how it would affect our daughter” just blew me right away…. I have two cheater scumbag brothers-in-law (his brother, natch, and my sister’s husband…a trifecta!) and he’d seen how hard the shitstorm hurricane hit all those kids. But no, in his case the selfish switch just so completely over-rode anything like love, care, or compassion for his own child. (Or even basic paying attention.)

          I had a colleague in grad school, who left a cheater behind and brought her toddler to the East coast. She once told me that she said to him, “it doesn’t matter what else you do in your life, if you mess up being a father to this child, you’re a fuck up and that’s the sum of your life.” Truer words were never spoken!

        • Final OW told ex (who then told me) that ‘the kids will be fine’. YOu want to know how she knew this? Because her own father cheated on her mother, resulting in divorce and after a year or so she was ‘fine’. She is, by the way, much younger than me or ex and I appreciate that he was able to find someone so mature and able to assure him that everyone would be ‘fine’.

        • Yes, I agree. I too think that anyone who could humiliate their own children and wife of so many years by abandoning them like that is evil and unsafe.

        • The first time my ex moved out of the house he told the kids to their faces that he didn’t think about how it would affect them. I guess that’s just how disordered people are.

    • Rebecca and Sandy,
      these people are NOT blissfully happy.
      They are NOT in a deep, TRUE LOVE.
      They will NEVER be happy. They have to PLAY happy to prove to the world that they had a “reason” to leave their past lives.
      4 Weeks is not enough time to “prove” your ex(s) are happy and moved on.
      Just keep plowing ahead, and getting better every day. You’ll see the Karma bus run these Pieces ‘O Shit over. It WILL happen. They are NOT capable of a real relationship, and they definitely deserve each other. Your only question is, which one will cheat first? TRUST that they suck….. They proved it over, and over…..and OVER to you over the years……

      • “Pieces O’Shit” I love that..sounds like a new candy bar, lol! You know, JP..I am hoping against hope that they are both utterly miserable in their lives, and that someday reality may come crashing down on them. Right now, my worst fear is that it will be the exact opposite: That they will remain “in love” and “soul mates” and “being right for each other”. Why? Why the hell should they be happy, after all that’s been said and done? And the rest of us are shattered, dealing with the nightmare they left behind. Is life fair? No. But good grief..why do they get to have a wonderful life together?

        • Sandy, I’ve been through 3 OWs and my ex always came back, begging and I took him back until the 3rd. I was DONE. Initially, I really did think they were deeply in love and I was blessed, yes, blessed that I found Chump Lady during that time because I started internalizing that my ex sucked. I filed for divorce immediately, went no contact, let go and allowed myself to feel the pain when I thought life was so unfair that they are so in love while my son and I were left with gutted hearts. I focused on my life. Every time I was tempted to find out more things about him, I asked myself why I wanted to self-harm. Every time I thought of my ex, I had a self dialogue and acknowledged the thought and re-directed it to a mantra that was right for me. It was “I love myself” for the longest time. It worked. And then I didn’t care anymore. A year later, he comes begging for forgiveness and reconciliation. He told me it has been a horrible year. All I could think of was, “I wish he’d leave now since I have to go shopping (it was before Christmas).” He hasn’t been happy. It’s hard not to compare your inside to their outside. Please know you don’t know the whole story. Allow yourself to grieve. Acknowledge you’re in pain but don’t stay there. I never thought I would be where I am today. Totally meh and thanking my creator that the ex is out of my life. I knew early on I would never get answers to my questions because it was never about me. It was about my ex. This sums up my ex (and I bet, a number of cheaters out there):

          This swami thinks very much like Tracy. It isn’t about the chumps. My ex admitted to his family that I was an incredible wife but it obviously wasn’t enough. The current OW and any future OWs will not be enough because the problem is him.

    • Sandy you’re story is exactly like mine!! Exactly!! married 25 yrs, 3 kids, OW, left and didn’t look back. Isn’t it hard? Be strong, we will get through this and come out better for it. Hang in there.

    • Sandy, please don’t think that way.

      Why do you say he and the OW are happy? Are you there as a fly on the wall to watch their every minute together?

      You are projecting your ability to have emotions on to them, and you are believing his play acting. You think because they’re together and maybe he says they’re happy or acts like they’re happy that they are… don’t forget what great actors these disordered people are!

      1) He probably doesn’t have the ability to have feelings such as hapiness.

      2) Whatever you “see” that they are having is probably just your interpretation of it, and isn’t the way it actually is.

      These disordered people will never be happy. All they can feel is anger and pain. Don’t make that mistake. Go live your life and don’t worry about him. Karma will take care of him. Trust me.

      • Just Saying..the reason I say they are happy is because it’s all over their FB pages. Yes, I made the mistake of stalking them! Each day it’s the same lovey dovey crap, things are great, they love being together, romantic and sexual innuendos, it’s sickening really. Right there for everyone to see. It’s all bright and shiny for them! Makes me want to puke. I need to stop looking at their FB pages, because it just makes me feel worse. But Just’s right there in plain sight for everyone to see!

        • See Sandy, that’s the thing..

          The mere fact that these two feel that they have to plaster allover Facebook how wonderful their life together is, is pretty much concrete proof of how much their life together sucks!

          Do you think he’s not aware you are checking up on him?Don’t you know that he’s planting stuff there to get to you? he probably wants you to come crawling back with some ego kibbles for him, and his way of making that happen is to go out of his way to make you feel as miserable as he does! These guys love to create drama and suffering.

          Trust that he sucks. Also trust that the only things he can probably feel are anger and rage, and maybe a little self-loathing.

          If he’s portraying happiness, you can bet your bottom dollar that he doesn’t have the capacity to feel happiness, and it’s all an act.

          I feel your pain, and I used to stalk mine on Facebook too. But as time went on, I realized that it was doing me a lot more harm than good. My happiness doesn’t depend on what it looks like his life is on Facebook. My life only depends on how i’m feeling at this moment now, and if at this moment, if i’m stalking him on Facebook, i’m not going to be enjoying my life, am I?

          Seriously. Don’t look. Don’t look for longer and longer stretches of time, and spend that time instead on your new life, and eventually you will realize you don’t want to look anymore. i promise.

          I am 6 months from D-day in a 20 year marriage. We run a business together until we settle.

          My ex made sure to get the point across to me on Thursday that he would be unavailable to do any work until Sunday… it was his way of indicating that he would be going away with one of his sluts for Valentine’s day.

          in the past, that would rattle me. but now, I realize that he is paying these young women to spend time with him… and really, how pathetic and sad and lonely must you be if you have to pay people to spend time with you? people spend time with me for free… because they like to be around me.

          All i’m saying to you is don’t take what you see at face value, because it’s most likely not the truth. And if you can manage it, just don’t look… that way there’s nothing to take at face value!

          Who cares what he is doing with his pathetic little life? It needs to not have any bearing on your fabulous new life nor how you feel about yourself.

          Let that snake crawl under the rock where he belongs, and stay there!

    • Rebecca and Sandy, these are early days – the pain DOES subside. It’s cause for celebration when one realizes that an hour has gone by without the crushing pain or, eventually, when one doesn’t think about them every single second. Hang in there.
      My heart goes out to you because I know your pain and torment.
      CL, all of these wonderful people, here are a godsend, a true blessing. I floundered alone for several years until I found this site. All the therapy I tried can’t touch the healing I have experienced here.
      It is traumatic in a different way when we are abandoned in such a manner. The distance, the disengagement, the detachment on our cheaters’ parts, on top of the discovery of the cheating, is an added slap in the face – and it stings terribly. It is an added trauma on top of the cheating.
      You are experiencing cognitive dissonance.
      Hold on – trust that this is finite. It really is. I have been there, through it and coming out on the other side intact, happier, more at peace. Finding meh. It’s due process, but it does happen.
      Warm, big hugs to you.

  • I have a friend who was left the abrupt way, not so long before my dDay. Since my (now ex-)husband showed remorse we both initially thought I was better off. At least I had a chance to fight for my marriage, at least he (said he) felt remorse, seemed to try to work things out. Oh, how different the balance was… I pitied her.

    Sometimes I think she might have been better off. I spent the worst half year in false reconciliation, with a bogus therapist that pressed me into making the marriage a good place to be in, all the while he was still romancing his OW. He didn’t choose for us, there was not one ounce difference in our balances. Just that her husband had found a young single woman and mine got stuck with a married woman in another country and he just couldn’t make up his mind (he could, he just didn’t want to).

    Of course there is no comparison, the final conclusion is we both were abandoned and the half year head start she got means nothing in the long run. The answers I got were lies, excuses and fantasies so far from reality I finally understood they weren’t going to help me understand. My friend and I both have a low-standard cheating ex in common, one way or another, just like so many others here. The differences (long term affair, multiple affairs, hookers, whatever) mean so little, we have far more in common.

    Now we tend to our wounds and hope one day to find someone who shares our standards. Hope that for all of you!

    • So true, dutch-chump.

      The chumps in the group, however it has transpired that we have gotten here, all have the same task: We are never going to understand how they’re wired or why it fell apart the way it did.

      Like CL says, we just have to “trust that they suck” no matter how and why and when and where they suck… they do.

      We all just have to let it go.

  • Rebecca,
    like CL said, “know your worth!” and be glad this POS is out of your life. It really is a blessing in disguise, you just haven’t figured it out yet. Big hugs.

  • Rebecca,

    This type of ending is a special kind of (PTSD) hell for a long term wife, who had been led to believe (gas lighted) for years that she was loved and the marriage was good; but there are men who do it everyday.

    I highly recommend you read at this site which was created by a mental health professional who had this happen to her and who used her experience to help other women recover.

    And, yes, CL is correct in stating that a man who can do this has huge and very damaging personality issues.

    • Rebecca, my heart goes out to you. I’ve felt so many of the same emotions. The trauma you’ve experienced is deep and affects every part of your life, so be sure to surround yourself with people who love and care for you until you feel better. Don’t go it alone.

      Susan Anderson has written a lot about abandonment’s special kind of grief. It might help you to look at her site here:

      Her book “How to heal Abandonment Heartbreak & Self Sabotage” explains what the chemicals in your brain do after this kind of trauma. It helped me a lot to understand the emotional storm going on in my head.

      My ex had made his mind up before I knew what was happening too. He systematically cut me out of his life, and made it clear he didn’t want to communicate with me except in the most robotic fashion during the divorce proceedings. It was truly heart breaking to go from hearing “I love you” for so many years to the barest minimum of communication about mundane things. We have no contact at all now, after 36 years of being together.

      I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but being able to focus on yourself and your healing without being distracted by hope is a good thing.

  • Thank you all for the kind words of support.
    Thank you, most of all, CL for being here for all of us chumps. You are my hero.

    I ‘know’ he sucks.

    I definitely know that I am a woman of great character, with high integrity, compassion and generosity. I have been blessed with the best sons on the planet, good friends, old and new, an exciting job and I am about to move into a new place that will finally be my home.
    I kept my vows and my promises and was the best wife I could be.

    I know he was unhappy the many years before I found out about the ho-worker. His excuse was always that he was working to hard to provide for the family, always unhappy with his career choices, was always nauseous (no wonder with all of those lies!), didn’t feel well, needed therapy twice a week….why didn’t he just leave? It is hard to understand someone who would find it preferable to live a lie for so many years (and so many lies) with me and his sons, rather than tell the truth and leave.

    I know I cannot understand because it is so foreign to how I am wired, but in the middle of the night it makes my head spin.
    I understand that he is a narcissist and a sociopath. I understand intellectually that it was better for him to keep the status quo as a hard-working, honorable father and husband rather than let people know the truth. I know he is furious because I did not hide a SINGLE detail from anyone, including his family and his children. His lies and choices are not for me to defend or protect. I will always speak the truth.

    But it still feels like ALL of this happened to someone else.
    It is that question mark of how many, how long and was it ever real that I struggle with.
    I know, I know. I will never have the answers and I need to stop even wondering about the questions much less looking for answers.

    I am tired and sad. I am grateful to have this community to support me and eternally grateful to CL – there are not enough words to express my thanks to you.

    • I know all about sharing the details with EVERYONE. Hell I’ll tell the mailman if I can! Why the hell should we protect these people who tear our lives apart? And I have the same exact question as you..if he was so damn unhappy, why didn’t he ask for a divorce BEFORE he carried on a 3 year affair? Yes…it would have been painful. But at least it wouldn’t have smacked me right in the face, knowing that he’d been with someone else for 3 years. Don’t ask why..I know. But seriously..why take it to such great lengths, living a true double life with a whole other family, instead of asking for a divorce before it happened?

      • If I may, I think he kept it all under wraps because like my X, he sounds like he enjoys intrigue and the seductiveness of having a BIG secret. Childish and selfish.

        • Here’s a quote I repeat over and over from Really almost a year ago, but it is just profound and I cannot say it better:

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

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

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

    • Yes Rebecca, when I would look back, my ex was always “sick,” always “too tired,” he hadn’t slept, his stomach was upset, he had chest pain, etc. I cannot tell you the number of dinners, family vacations, outings, holidays, events, he missed or we had to cut short. Why he couldn’t just tell me he wanted out (he had been cheating on me for 15 years that I know about), is another of those unanswerable questions.

      I used to wake up at night, or “come to” after a hard day at work when I “forgot” about what he did, and actually not believe it. My mind would literally stutter, and I’d have to take few moments to reason with myself– tell myself, yes Kelly he cheated on you with them, for all of those years, it’s true, it’s happened, it’s not a bad dream, you’re divorced and he’s gone and he does not care, you are alone. My counselor said I had symptoms like PTSD, I knew intellectually it was true but somehow my emotional understanding lagged a few seconds behind.

      And I do know being tired. I sometimes felt like I was “dancing just as fast as I could” post D-Day, saying, “see I’m ok, I’m good, I’ve moved on, I’m not bitter, the narcissist did not win, my life was not wasted….” And all the while underneath so so weary, numb, and afraid the best years truly had been squandered by him, no matter what anyone said. It does get better, but I’ve learned that you have to accept (sadly) that there will be set-backs, realizations, bad moments, probably for a very long time or even for the rest of our lives, but they come more and more rarely as time goes by, and they grow shorter and are more manageable when they occur.

      • My ex’s back always hurt. He couldn’t be expected to do chores around the house or go on road trips with the kids and me, nor move to a neighborhood that was a 10-minute drive from work, because his back hurt, so much that he was really hating his job.

        Then he moved to a house an hour’s drive away from work, to live with his soul mate.


        That must really hurt his back. So worth it, though! Because she is a winner.

    • Rebecca,

      Our stories are somewhat similiar – my exH (we were married 10 years) also left without any notice – and he also left all his things and our two children (2 and 5 at the time) – and then moved overseas with no ability to contact him.

      I was crushed. I cried every minutes of every day for weeks. My whole world was spinning with the same questions you’re asking yourself – especially the “was any of it ever real?” I really thought I’d die.

      But in time, the no contact was a blessing. I started to realize that our lives had been VERY unhealthy – and that there were good people willing to help my kids and me. My faith was my anchor, and I found blessings in so many little, everyday miracles. And the “truth” came creeping out, piece by piece, at a pace where it didn’t destroy me.

      I discovered in time that I would likely never know “his truth” – and that it didn’t matter. That’s a choice you will need to make, in your own time. What I did know then, and know now, is MY TRUTH – I did my best to be a loving and faithful wife. The marriage and my part of it was very real, and I have mourned that loss like a death. And I’ve come to realize that there was absolutely nothing I could have done to change the outsome – when you are married to a broken person, the relationship will eventually break too – and that is not your fault.

      I remember the nights of the spinning head. It will get better, and you have found a safe and supporting place here. Prayers and hugs to you. RDM

      • I came to the same conclusion, there was nothing more I could do. He just wanted a different life and person than me. It was hard to think of how much I’d sacrificed for him, to have it end that way. If I’d known I sure would have done some things differently! I’d have invested a lot more in myself instead of his big career! Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge now. What can we do but dust ourselves off and start over again?

        • “It was hard to think of how much I’d sacrificed for him, to have it end that way. If I’d known I sure would have done some things differently! I’d have invested a lot more in myself instead of his big career!”
          Same here!

    • I’m with you all on telling all the details!

      I actually have documented proof of his affairs, how much he spent, etc. etc.

      He actually tried to threaten me with defamation… but he never actually sued because he knows I can prove what I say, and he afterall doesn’t want it to all come out in court!

      Rebecca, good work. You seem to “know” all the right things. You just don’t “feel” them yet. But the more time goes on and you have your own life separate from him, the more comfortable you will feel with it all.

      Having your own home will go a long way to helping that, I think. Putting yourself in your OWN place without the memories of him… that’s a good thing.

      I wish you all the best! We all need to get to Meh. ASAP. And we will.

  • If your husband is like mine, the hardest realization is that he never felt those things we thought he did. What he found with us was an accepting, loving front that made him look good – a responsible family man who wasn’t going to leave his wife. And then we found out and everything changed. The worst thing that can happen to a narcissist or otherwise disordered individual is for the truth to be known. Once that happens, he (or she) is making plans to move on – they have to sustain the outward appearance of being wanted and desirable because inside they are a cesspool of selfish despair. You couldn’t have fixed that if you were Gandhi! I stayed for 2 1/2 years after DDay, and I know you can’t feel it now, but you have been blessed to be abandoned. I spent all of that time just to learn that my “soul-mate” isn’t capable of true relationship. He was a great provider and everyone loved him – but it was an act. period. That’s why they can move on so easily and not look back – there isn’t any real empathy, affection or bond to make them think twice. In the end, it was me who decided it would never work – but that was after hours of agonizing over every facet of HIS actions, intentions and blatant disregard of my thoughts, feelings and desires. Ask yourself this, “why do I miss him?” If you are like me (and many others here) you will come to realize that what you miss the most was just him reflecting your awesomeness back to you. You don’t need him to do that! I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with another minute of wondering who and what he’s doing. It takes a while, but you have the advantage of grieving the death outright, without the terrifying reality that you are living with a zombie who wants to eat your brains. Much love and hope for short suffering and quick healing!

    • Thank you Lindadanette,
      You are so right ‘a zombie who wants to eat your brains’.
      Perfect description!

      • My sister and I nicknamed my ex “the zombie alien” because he was acting so uncharacteristically!

    • Lindadanette,

      EVERYTHING you said there is exactly, exactly spot on!

      It has been 6 months since d-day for me.

      Mine wants to keep the house because his mother lives underneath our flat. So he wouldn’t move out when this happened. But I stuck it out and now he effectively has moved out… not officially… but he’s never here.

      One of the hardest things for me, even though I know I don’t want the asshat in my life anymore, is this feeling that he’s having more fun than I am.. that he’s happy and I’m not.

      Realizing that these guys will NEVER be happy, because it’s not something they’re capable of, is so important. I believe he’s still galavanting about town with girls, but they are girls that he pays hundreds of dollars to every week to have sex with him. Let’s face it… who could be a happy person if they are having to PAY people to spend time with them?

      But yes… you do come to terms with everything slowly and deliberately over time. It just takes awhile. Trust that they suck. Trust that you are awesome and without you there as his beard, he’s not awesome!

      It’s much simpler than it seems at first!

  • Rebecca, after nearly 30 years of assuming the best of him, it’s hard to switch gears. I understand. I was married 25 years and have 5 children with my ex. I don’t know how long he wanted out, but he was pretty happy when I said I wanted a divorce. I had been spackling for years and was finally done. He went very low contact with me and the kids after we separated. The sh!t hit the fan when the OW dumped him before the divorce was final. I think he assumed I would drop the divorce and that we’d get back together after he had his little fling. Believe me, it’s better to be no contact and divorced than trying to negotiate with a highly disordered person.

    It’s time to realize that he DOES suck. Only a deeply disturbed person would walk away after nearly 30 years together. Only a deeply disturbed person would walk away from their children. I don’t know about you, but I’m very glad I won’t be spending the rest of my life with someone like that.

  • Rebecca

    You are not alone.

    I came home from the hospital to an empty house and a PO Box number. I never saw it coming. Other than our divorce court proceeding, I have not seen or heard from him. I felt utterly used, stupid, and betrayed.

    I spent months asking myself and him (and torturing myself) the “why” question.

    After months of therapy, I have accepted that he is a POS. And….I know you don’t believe it now (but you will), I am so much better off than when I was with him. If I had 2 pennies – he would spend 3 – I now have a savings account. I can actually buy myself CLOTHES again.

    I don’t have to deal my BIZARRE in-laws (his mother would ask me to stand aside during Christmas family photos), his dad would try to kiss me on the mouth at every family event.

    Value yourself – part of being an adult is taking good care of yourself – start doing it. You come first from here on out and dont spend a minute looking back.

    • I hear you Walking it, his male members of his family was always trying to kiss me on the mouth too and it was creepy… not to mention, they will always let me know 2 weeks in advance, reminding me of that their birthdays was coming up and telling me that I have 2 weeks to buy them presents or ask me what I was getting them for their birthday, their kids etc etc mind you, these same people never got me nor my kids anything for our birthdays ever. Me and my kids, just the 3 of us, them over a dozen! It was sickening!! I’ve came to dread birthdays and Christmas because of him and his family! Thank god I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore!! not to mention since he was always broke (mooch)and didn’t (supposedly couldn’t, yeah right!)contribute shit to anything, plus deal with his disgusting swine kids every summer (I still shudder when I think of them), destroying my house, costing me sleep. I mean I look back now and just shake my head, why the hell did I stay in that relationship this long and put up with him and his family, on top of his cheating and lying..(I didn’t know about the cheating at the time) He was/is no real prize at all and now I realize he doesn’t have anything that he could offer to any woman, except empty lip service/love bombing. It was always one sided, I did all the giving, he and his family just kept taking for years..I resented those things, but I thought he was a good man, down on his luck (just a user) and someday he will be there for me, he never did and since he is a taker he wont be there for anyone but himself. I know now he really has nothing that I want in a man, nothing! I am a saver and he was/is a spender, especially money that wasn’t his, if a man asks a single mom for gas money handout, because he is broke again and expects you to just “give” him money, he is simply despicable and he is no man at all, especially if he has a full time job!! besides you have no idea how much money alone I save now, just for not having to buy any gifts for his shitty clan anymore lol. Man I am so glad I am out of it!!

  • Rebecca:
    You stole my words: “Am I really the only one?”

    My situation was unbelievably surreal, probably like yours. While divorce in our community seems like an epidemic, I never thought, in a million years, it would ever happen to us. Married 29 years, three kids aged 13-19. He left abruptly into the sunset with one duffle bag of essentials and never looked back. I read every book and blog (except the best – Chump Lady! I must have been googling the wrong thing!) about reconciliation for 10 months when he agreed to “try” counseling. Amid all the hopeful, positive advice out there, only one thing stuck out: “You know it’s really over when his eyes look like death”. That’s when I noticed it – his eyes looked like black, piercing shark eyes. (Well, it could have been the narcotics too, now that I know…) My therapist said he checked out years ago, which explains his lack of remorse, sorrow, guilt, or even admission of the OW and anything to do with this divorce.

    Nonetheless, you and I are left with the grief, indescribable pain, and devastation as we try to pick up the pieces, heal our children and ourselves, and “get over it”. I do the best I can while feeling so pathetically broken, forgotten like a used tissue. Every day I wake up and suddenly remember, “oh, yeah, wait…I’m getting divorced!” It is hard looking for a good job in this state of mind – to fake being confident, knowledgeable, and poised – when I sob every day, get overwhelmed with the legal nightmare, and find it’s a major accomplishment to even leave the house.

    I feel your pain. Even though my religion and heart say “reconciliation”, I am blessed to read this blog, which provides the practical, truthful reality of our situations with uplifting hope that someday there will be a new and better normal.

    • My X had blue turned jet black piercing eyes too! It was so disturbing and conveyed to me that something was definitely wrong with him- and it wasn’t me.

      • My ex is a sex addict so once the mask came off and he was revealed for what he was there was no going back. I couldn’t see anything but the creepiness underneath. I felt like I’d realized I was stuck in tank with a shark and needed to get the hell out. Now that I’m further out it’s hard to remember that fear and those warning bells. (Maybe because we’re not in the same tank anymore).

        I never did see it in his eyes but looking at wedding pictures he looks almost blurry or undefined and kind of bloated. Whenever he was most active in is extracurricular activities any of the pics taken at the time would have the same quality. Which I guess makes sense since he wasn’t present in our life. Before I finally unfriended her, one of our mutual friends posted some recent pics of him. In every one he has that same bloated quality. I think once his secret life got out in the open he couldn’t stuff it back in completely. Now I wish the ability to see that creepiness would go away.

        I recently saw some pics of David Duchovny( also a sex addict) and besides physically looking like my ex there was a definite comparison in their hidden life aura..mask, whatever you want to call it. I used to LOVE David Duchovny. But I wouldn’t touch him or my ex with a 200 ft pole!

        • Oh… so THAT’S what that is…

          Something hasn’t looked right about my ex for years… it’s that checked out look in his eyes, and the slight bloatedness.

          And you’re right, at the times he was more sexually active (he’s a sex addict too), he looks more blurry and bloated and checked out.

          It all makes sense now.

          I don’t know whether to thank you Kat, for bringing that to my attention. It would almost be better not to be able to see that creepiness… now I won’t be able to un-see it! Argh!

    • “Eyes that look like death” – I can totally relate! My Ex’s eyes, after he announced he was leaving me and our two boys after 20 years of marriage, became cold, hard and dark. I got this awful feeling around him – like I was in the presence of a reptile. It shook me to the core, but I still did the “pick me” dance for a few months because I was more scared of being alone and being a single mother than of what I tried so hard not to see in his eyes. Then, he attempted to hit me over the head with a metal chair during a disagreement about some behavior issues our oldest son was having and I knew that it was truly over. A year and a half later, when I unfortunately have to be near him due to our children (thank the Lord I have full custody) I can sense the very air around him charged with something sinister or evil. I do not ever want to have to be alone with him and I cannot for the life of me fathom what his GF sees in him. Can she not sense it? Per my sons she is a “super Christian” – very involved in her church and very religious – I guess dating a married man must be her special ministry?? He truly gives me the creeps and I can’t understand why others don’t seem to see/feel it as I do?

  • Oh no Rebecca, pretty much the same with me. Married 25 years, three beautiful successful children, I am an attorney, we had a nice house, a vacation home, good friends, fun vacations, etc. I have a nice close extended family. I thought we had a really good life.

    I found out 2 years ago ex was cheating on me with 2 family friends/coworkers, group sex, individual affairs, you name it. As soon as I did he changed literally before my eyes from a seemingly loving husband and father to a man who just did not care. He packed a few clothes and left the rest behind…. clothes, furniture, golf clubs, pets, mementos of a lifetime, photos, work files, children, me….. He simply moved on pretty much as if we did not exist, like he could just dust us off like dirt. He has seen our 2 older children exactly twice in two years and I don’t think it will happen any more in the future. He never checks on them, never checked on me, never wondered how I was, never asks how even our youngest the 14 year old is doing (who he had not seen at all in the 2 years since D-Day). He simply does not care. And despite my knowing it, despite my moving on, despite my “trusting” he sucks, sometimes it comes back to me and I STILL almost cannot believe it. There is no way to understand the sociopath, but our chumpy minds keep trying, bumping up against that un-understandable mystery like a toy car keeps bumping up against the wall, backing up and trying again. It’s useless, but we cannot stop.

    I actually felt robbed that my ex never even allowed me to do the pick-me dance, that I was not even worth his rage. But I know in the end we are the lucky ones. I believe we survived a brush with true sociopaths, men who are so far to the edge on the personality disorder scale that they make narcissists look human and pitiful. I have friends who worry my ex may have tried to harm me in the past, and I’ll never know the truth of all he has really done or is capable of. It’s frightening just to know that I don’t know.

    Besides this website, which has been my best help, I would suggest the book “Runaway Husbands.” We are not alone, it will get better. But in the end the mystery remains, to us at least, because we cannot understand such emptiness. Especially when we were fooled for so long into believing it was love.

    As usual CL’s timing is perfect, and yours Rebecca. I just had a bad dream about my ex after traveling to New England for my job, a place ex took me and the children to often, a place where one of his AP’s lives and where we often stayed as “family friends” with her and her husband and sons (all the time the affair was going on beneath all of our noses).

    There is no understanding the peculiar sickness from which they suffer. There is something particularly evil about these guys. But they are out of our lives and we will pick up the pieces. You don’t deserve this Rebecca, but you are strong enough to make it through. (((Big Hugs)))


    • “I actually felt robbed that my ex never even allowed me to do the pick-me dance, that I was not even worth his rage. But I know in the end we are the lucky ones. I believe we survived a brush with true sociopaths, men who are so far to the edge on the personality disorder scale that they make narcissists look human and pitiful. ”

      I so understand this.

      I moved out while he was at work because I expected that he would either get really angry or really try to hoover me, and I wanted to avoid both scenarios. I never imagined my dramatic exit would be met with silence and a shrug. I couldn’t understand why he never so much as asked where I was living, especially since he didn’t have to talk to me to do so, he could have texted like he did everything else.

      You are right that there is something seriously not right with someone who can just “turn off” like that….if in fact they were ever on to begin with. I wonder if people like that know what love is and do they feel anything inside at all?

      • That was one of my biggest issues as well, I felt that I never had the chance to fight for my marriage.
        How could he basically just walk away ?!?!
        There were 3 months of pseudo pick me dance, until he finally admitted to the OW, (though he still swears she has nothing to do with ending the marriage). Also, we were in MC given a suspected affair, but exH denied it, so in my mind we did 8 months of MC, so we worked through our issues and could get through anything. I trusted him to tell me if there were problems.

        What has helped is that exH does not understand what love is… he is incapable of love. If he could love, he never would have moved 3000 miles away from his children.

        • Yes zyx, my ex moved perhaps 30 minutes away and does not see our children, made just the faintest of attempts in the 2 years since D-Day. You see, the children were angry and ashamed of him, and he refused to try to do anything about it, just stayed away. I realized that in the end, my ex’s fate was sealed many years, actually decades before. That was when he started living his double life, that was when he decided he was willing to give up not only his wife but even his children. And he did not just make one bad one choice, or two, or three. No, he made a long long series of terrible choices, every minute, every day, every week, during the at-least 15 years he led his double life. There was probably a point somewhere in the first few years where he could have turned it around, seen the light and breathed the fresh air, but he had gone down that branching path way too far and he was not willing to do the very hard work to thread his way back, and so he just continued. His life will forever be a failure no matter what he thinks he will accomplish from here on out. It is pitiful really if it were not such a shining example of the banality of evil.

          • “No, he made a long long series of terrible choices, every minute, every day, every week, during the at-least 15 years he led his double life. There was probably a point somewhere in the first few years where he could have turned it around, seen the light and breathed the fresh air, but he had gone down that branching path way too far and he was not willing to do the very hard work to thread his way back, and so he just continued. His life will forever be a failure no matter what he thinks he will accomplish from here on out. It is pitiful really if it were not such a shining example of the banality of evil.”

            God yes, Kelly, this is exactly how I feel as well. My ex loves to talk about how much he loves God, how blessed he is, how he is “on a mission from God to stamp out bullying”, how he is such a follower of Jesus. Yet his REAL actions are more like the devil. I’ve often thought that God offered him a perfect chance to turn his life around and find redemption, but he spit right in God’s face and continued his evil path. As you wrote, every single thing about my ex’s life is a failure, no matter how much glitter he uses to coat the turd. The banality of evil indeed.

            • Glad, I thought at the least our divorce could be a wake up call to my sex-addicted, lie-addicted ex. That it would force him to build real relationships with his children rather than lose them too, that it would force him to examine and reform the way he lived. Of course that did not happen. That he is apparently comfortable and happy with himself, alone, without one family member to speak to or spend a holiday with, is the most astonishing thing to me of all. And yes, somehow my ex feels that he is a noble creature to leave and abandon his children, he is only bowing to our communal will that he stay out of our lives after all….

  • Rebecca, you are definitely not alone, although it is not so common for cheaters to completely abandon their primary source of cake and kibbles. Most want to play the dance, triangulate and work the situation to their advantage. When my ex left, he basically ignored me, except for fairly frequent vicious and bizarre emails and texts. Then six months later the bogus reconciliation, which was filled with rapidly increasing emotional abuse, then the final separation and divorce. Two years after divorce, I very rarely hear from him, even regarding things he is required to tell me, such as he is taking our son out of the country. I feel much better now that I don’t hear from him, and I only wish I could NEVER hear from him or about him again. If he died or fell off the face of the earth, that would be wonderful.

    I understand how great your pain is, and I imagine it is because you are struggling to understand how he could throw you away without a second thought. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him. You know that, but it takes a long time to really KNOW that deep down in your heart. Once your heart manages to wrap itself around the truth, you will truly realize you are better off never hearing from him again. Every contact with a highly disordered person brings pain and poison into your life.

    • “Every contact with a highly disordered person brings pain and poison into your life.”

      So sad and so true Glad.

  • You are not alone in this. I so get what you mean.

    After I had finally had enough and moved out while he was at work, my WXH did not even bother to call me to see if I was alright, find out where I had moved or if I would give him another chance. Zero hoovering, zero questions, zero reaction.

    After I moved out he contacted me 6 or so times. Each time was because he wanted to use me for something. First, could I download the music from the hard drive of the computer I took so he could have a copy. Then, there’s no food left, would I make him some, he’ll pay me. Could I send him a copy of the last tax return. A few, did I take his such and such with me. But not a single thing about me. Nothing.

    After the divorce was final and he realized there was nothing else he could get from me, he went NC. I haven’t heard a peep from him in months, and I don’t expect I ever will.

    His reaction, or rather non-reaction, made me realize that he never cared about me at all. I was a means to an ends. I provided him with an air of respectability and a comfy lifestyle. It was almost like I was a really fun carnival ride and he rode me until the ride was over (I left). Then he just shrugged, said to himself “that was fun while it lasted” and moved on. That hurts to realize that I spent nearly 10 years of my life with someone who cared nothing for me at all.

    But I have chosen to at least feel grateful that I don’t have to deal with him and he just went away – poof, like a bad dream.

    • ~His reaction, or rather non-reaction, made me realize that he never cared about me at all. I was a means to an ends. I provided him with an air of respectability and a comfy lifestyle. It was almost like I was a really fun carnival ride and he rode me until the ride was over (I left). Then he just shrugged, said to himself “that was fun while it lasted” and moved on. ~

      Exactly ThatGirl, as disinterested as my ex is, if I have to speak to or deal with him he is polite, faintly nice, as if he never had any skin in the game and recalls with slight fondness the carnival ride he used for years.

      • How I wish my ex was like this. Unfortunately, more than two years later, he is still one very angry guy who seemingly is still intent on hurting me and being the biggest dick possible to me. It’s very weird.

        • My ex kind of oscillates between cold and angry, Nord, and I finally figured it out. When he’s cold, it’s because there’s nothing he needs/wants from me, and when he’s angry, it’s because I’m not giving him what he needs/wants.

          Neither has ANYTHING to do with me; it really is very hard to accept, but he DID NOT CARE about me in any way, shape or form, and almost as little for his kids. It was, and is, always about what he wanted from us.

          So I’m guessing your ex is so mad because he’s still convinced he’s entitled to something from you …. Disordered idiot.

          • Yes, when I don’t agree with whatever hairbrained scheme he’s cooking up regarding the kids, money or anything big or small, he goes all ragey. I ignore him and kind of laugh because he can huff and he can puff but he can’t blow Nord down every again.

            • I’m so thankful I no longer have any contact with my ex regarding his bizarre schemes, because they are totally delusional, but he absolutely rages if told so. According to our son, he’s back to obsessing about the yeti children’s show. Yeah, good luck with that. His latest videos are even worse than the earlier ones. Can’t imagine too many producers are going to be interested. I just wish he would get a job, but that isn’t looking likely.

              • Glad, someone on this site once said that your ex wins for most disordered. I sometimes wonder if he would benefit from an exorcism. Actually I think you would benefit from and exorcism ;)…then maybe he’d go away.

              • Haha yes, I LOVE the exorcism idea (for you and your son, not him Glad). Maybe I’ll have my own exorcism for my ex here too, surely white sage is insufficient to cleanse this home where we lived for 20 years. Bring on the Catholic priests and holy water, I’ve got the rosary beads.

  • Sorry to read your story, Rebecca. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am in a somewhat similar situation. Married 13 years and one day, husband says he wants a divorce, had been having an emotional affair that turned into a real one and I had to end up moving literally from one end of the country to the other end. He didn’t fight for custody of the kids, hardly calls them and when he does it is quite superficial and I’m just flabbergasted that he could cut us out of his life like we were yesterday’s trash.

    ChumpLady has given excellent advice. Just keep moving forward, you can do it. You just have to be patient and take it one day at a time. Focus on healing and surrounding yourself with people who value you.

    Good luck!!

  • Rebecca, I worked with people like your husband. For your sake and the sake of your child don’t ask why. The answer will be “Because I wanted to.” I wish so much the mental health field would come up with a better term than personality disorder. It sounds so benign. All these chumps will tell you that there is nothing benign in the damage done to them and their families. Someone with the diagnosis of Narcissism or Sociopathy are much more than disordered. They can often be dangerous.
    Your husband probably had been planning this move for years. He might well be out of the country. If he is still this country a good PI can find him unless he has spent a lot of time and money making a completely new ID. If he is out of the country he might be impossible to find. If he has married again and you are not divorced you might try the bigamy route.
    If you look at your reaction to Columbine, Gabby Giffords, Sandy Hook it was probably with horror. I would imagine you wept like most of us did. If someone was asked to describe you they would use words like compassionate, loving, empathetic, sympathetic, trustworthy, trusting and caring. All positive words to describe an emotionally healthy person. None of these fit your husband. None. That is what you need to get your head around. He really has no ability to put himself in another’s shoes. He is horribly deformed but you can’t see it because it has to do with how his brain is made.
    Get on with your life. Live it the best you can. Don’t doubt yourself for a single minute. Healthy people do not behave the way your ex did.

      • Yes Watcher. You did nail that.

        “Get on with your life. Live it the best you can. Don’t doubt yourself for a single minute. Healthy people do not behave the way your ex did.”

  • Dear Rebecca:
    It may not seem like it right now but he has actually done you a favor. Maintain your dignity and find your self worth…also find a good therapist and hire a competent attorney.
    I had 3 d-days, each more devastating and soul-crushing than the previous. You WILL be more than okay and you will get to meh. It just takes some hard time. Prayers, nmc

  • My husband just walked out without an explanation. Just a few days before Christmas and our anniversary. One minute, we are laughing and talking about our vacation the following week. The next minute, he is somber and wants a divorce, “for no reason”. Then he was gone. Left me, the house, the property, his belongings. Things were quiet, but when the lawyers got involved, he became a total lunatic. I was the target “for no reason”.

    Property negotiations, via attorney, was the only instance he “looked” back. He wanted his shit and house back. But not his wife.

    Maybe he would have tried something if I gave him the chance. But when I found out what he did, he was dead to me. He was going to get no reaction, not even an expression.

    While I felt like I was punched twice, first with the initial desertion, then with his lack of playing any sort of game, I was relieved he did not try. One smarmy move and I would have unleashed the hounds from the bowels of hell. But it was much more powerful to remain silent. Again, I made sure he got nothing from me.

    Desertion is one of the most insidious forms of abuse in my opinion. It makes the one left behind ruminate on refrain on every detail and clinging to absolutely nothing because it vanished. You look at an erroneous raindrop and wonder if the entire sky is going to fall. You search for patterns and signs.

    Like you, I wondered if there was anybody else like me, because unlike you, I was in the early years of my marriage and young, which is atypical for WAS. If you don’t know WAS, read Vikki Stark’s “Runaway Husbands”. That’s where the others like you are.

    BTW, find a good therapist who specializes in trauma therapy. Trust me.

    • Rebecca,

      It is painful. But trust that he sucks and consider yourself lucky that he didn’t come back.

      My ex left, with his precious coin collection, videos and DVDs. He left every Father’s Day present he got from our two children. That hurt more than anything. That he placed more value on things than his children.

      But he sucks.

      Easier to get over than the EUM I dated afterwards. Playing the pick me dance for the cheater who blew hot and cold was far more devastating.

      Focus on you and your kids. Trust that he sucks.

    • As I posted earlier (with link) and Dr. Chump has seconded (with link) Vikki Stark has done a fairly comprehensive work on SWAS. One of the best features of her site is “The Learning Place,” with several articles on how real SWAS wives coped and learned to heal. I hope you will read there. There is also a forum….

      Best of luck to you.

  • Rebecca, I understand how much it hurts. You want closure and think that you at least deserve an explanation. I get that. Believe me.

    However, I agree with CL on something major– frankly, you are LUCKY to have full NC from this asshat. Imagine what your life would be like if this disordered jackhole stayed in your life and tried messing with you. How much more would it upset you and stress you out? How much would you have to shell out to lawyers to try to contain his craziness? How might your kids be put in the middle and subjected to more abuse by him? How much easier will it be for you to get to “meh” when you don’t have to see his stupid face on a regular basis and get an email or text full of crazy every now and again?

    Frankly, ALL cheaters should do this. Just melt away. Disappear into the woodwork. Send along that child support and keep your messed up ideas of parenting away from our kids. At least when they eff up this royally and vanish, you will be left with hurt that will ease over time. When you’re constantly having to deal with their asshattery, it’s like the wound gets reopened again and again.

    I don’t cry anymore; I haven’t in ages. I try not to give the situation too much of my headspace as well. But I am still pretty angry, and when does the anger rear its ugly head? When XWH and the Owife do something stupid with my kids, or XWH sends me some sort of holier-than-thou lecture email about the kids. When I am total NC with XWH, I feel lighter and happier. When they do something to remind me yet AGAIN of what fuckups they are, I find myself churning in anger.

    You don’t have to churn in anger. You can be hurt and sad for a time, and then you can let it go. Please see it as the blessing as it is.

    • Agreed, not to say some folks have it “easier” than others, but I often wish my exH was NC with me and the kids. Instead I get to hear them laughing via Skype (after I have to gripe at them to do housework/schoolwork). Things were quiet, no contact other than to kids, and then… boom! Now he wants me to consider letting the kids go live with him overseas for a year, he wants them for 2/3 of the summer vacation, etc.
      So I am back to being the bad guy by refusing.

  • His way of dealing with the situation is quite unusual a complete cut off.

    Extreme emotional distancing disengagement and termination.

    The behaviour sounds strange abnormal and untoward.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Rebeccas ex had some form of mental health issue.

    • Yup, sociopathy/psychopathy is a mental health issue for sure! Just not what we usually think about when we think ‘mental health’ or ‘mental illness’.

      And not all that unusual, even.

    • My therapist said the same thing about my STBX. She kept saying “are you SURE he doesn’t have a tumor?” And she’s been a marriage counselor (only used her for IC though) for over 30 years.

      Rebecca, I’m very much in the same shoes as you, and my therapist also said, like many here, “he did you a favor.”

      At least I can say that he made my decision very easy.

  • I wanted you to know that I also was abandoned by my military x in the same harsh manner. Many people do not understand this type of painful experience. I was so embarassed that he abandoned me. I wondered what did I do so bad that he stopped speaking to me. What did I do? I realized that it was his issues! I am a viable and impressive woman!

    After some great therapy and time that I blocked the fact that my x did this in his past relationships. He runs from any issue that are conflicts in his life! Never tries to find a resolution to his problems in an adult manner. Never ends a relationship properly prior to starting a new relationship. It was time for me to stop being embarassed and shout from the roof tops that this so call human being SUCK.

    I do want you to know that there is a better day for you. I didn’t realize it then but he did me a favor leaving. No longer will I be embarassed but proud that I got a chance to do a do over in life. I am going to make the best of this new chapter!

  • Rebecca – I haven’t read any posts other than your letter and CL’s reply. No time to post now. Just some quick input. If I repeat anything posted above, sorry, but I haven’t read any replies.
    No, you are not alone. And it hurts like HELL. I know.
    I can totally relate to how stunned and flattened you’re feeling. The questions, the why’s, the how’s – how is it possible after 30+ years together? Was our 31 years together ( was I, was our beautiful family) so inconsequential that he could start a new relationship the week after I moved out and never, ever look back. Finding out about his secret life came out of nowhere – sucker-punch – wham, wham! And in a week he was living a new life with someone new. And she wasn’t the AP.

    It has taken me a long time to recover – I never had CL’s sage, sassy take on any of this until only a while ago, so I continued on the endless, hellish treadmill of asking just what you are asking now for several years. I thought I was going to go crazy and felt so utterly alone – other people had their ex’s contact them, mine never did – he was gone, except to initiate the divorce within 4 months. (He did contact me – only to try and convince me not to have a lawyer represent me several times and he was furious with me each and every time, barring two occasions when he was utterly charming.)
    I know how you feel and I am so glad Tracy posted this.
    Thanks CL!
    Sending you big, warm hugs Rebecca.

  • I feel for you… messed up that he hasn’t looked back, even for his kids.

    You’re definitely not alone. I have two close friends whose husbands deserted and left without a glance back… marriage was 12 years, the other 20. They were both devastated. A blessing and a curse, though, since you don’t have to deal with the wing-but’s mindfuckery for ump-teen years post-divorce.

    In the case of spouses who desert their families in this way, I think there are much deeper issues, the least of which is that they’re cheaters. Just my 2 cents.

  • I really understand your pain. Before I found this blog, I read Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante. Be careful because her character becomes undone before she turns “meh” I felt that I too could become undone and that was scary so I read ahead and was able to continue. The book is so rich—full of insight and truth. A place to work from as you build your new life story–and it ends imperfectly well.

    cyber hug to you Rebecca,


  • Oh Rebecca, I too feel your pain. My ex just abandoned me and our kids. He still has minimal contact with my kids. A text every now and then to my daughter. She might see him for a couple of hours every few months. I do not have any contact with him at all. He just walked into work one day, said he had packed all his stuff and was leaving me. He just walked out the door without a backward glance. I went home to a half empty house. I never got any explanation, anything. This was after 21 years. A week later I found him at one of my friends places. She was married too and had two kids as well. They have been together since. I never got any reasons, explanations, anything. I think this had been going on for about 18 months or so. 2 kids and 21 years of my life obviously meant nothing.

    Rebecca, Do not for one minute take on board his issues. He SUCKS. Nobody who has any compassion, integrity, empathy would ever do this to another person especially not one that he made a commitment to, one that he vowed to spend the rest of his life with. Do not value your worth through the actions of an idiot.

    Take a deep breath and jump and go get you new life. Huge hugs.

  • Hi Rebecca,
    I’m so sorry that there is this kind of heartache in the world. People truly don’t get it until it happens to them.
    My husband had just suffered through a debilitating bout of cancer where he almost died. I took care of a very ill man. While he was sick, friends put on a benefit for him and two ex wives showed up for that I didn’t even know about. He had told me that I was his second wife when we got married but I found out in stupid and humiliating ways (see above) I was his fifth.

    After he had a miraculous recovery he insisted we renew our wedding vows. Five months later I caught him in a motel room fucking the Skank librarian from the college where he worked. He left me immediately to be with her and never looked back once. He would sneak into the house while I was at work and get his stuff out little by little. I’d come home and see empty hangars swaying in a closet. I thought I would die from it all.
    He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Now that I’ve found this site I understand so much better. Gawd, talk about trust that he sucks and trust that he’s a true narcissistic monster asshat is an understatement.

  • I wonder how many of these bozos (men or women) are being coached by an affair partner or some “good friend” to “just make a clean break of it” a “surgical excision” — “just get it over with, dragging it out is cruel”. And then they do it, and discover, hell,yeah! It’s so peaceful when you’re not there for the nuclear fallout and devastation. Helps with the guilt too! Just the ultimate in cowardice. And once they’ve done something that dirty, no, they’re not going to show their face again.

    Got a peace offering in the form of a platonic Valentines Day card today. Maybe the seven year itch is getting to him. Maybe something’s up with his finances and he wants to placate me ahead of time. Maybe he’s hung around with Jesus so much he’s actually converted and is full of love and understanding for his fellow man. It’s just so hard to tell!

      • Could be something to do with how males are conditioned as boys to just cut off emotionally.

        These types of abandoning men somehow manage to conceal the fact that they have never actually established a genuine bond to their wife and children they just acted the part of husband going through the motions but without feelings-they know the words but not the music.

        They abandon their children so easily because they don’t see nurturing as a masculine responsibility plus they never established intimacy remaining thoroughly disconnected therefore leaving is no big deal.

        • “These types of abandoning men somehow manage to conceal the fact that they have never actually established a genuine bond to their wife and children they just acted the part of husband going through the motions but without feelings-they know the words but not the music.”

          THAT’S IT! How I managed to miss that through 25 years of marriage I’ll never know.

          • Kelly, I know how I missed it in my case… ExH really _did_ have that affair 12 yrs earlier; didn’t love me, etc. but lied about it. And me, I still loved him. My feelings were the same. So it is all clear now, in hindsight, but at the time while experiencing it, just little actions and events.

            • Yup zyx, I suspected my ex 14 years before D-Day with not one but TWO women at work. Never had any proof (and I looked), but he denied denied denied, I believed him but could not shake the bad feeling, thought I was crazy. Then D-Day rolls around and I find out I was right, and by now these women and their families have become our family “friends.” What an incredible layered betrayal, so mind blowing. It’s hard to catch up with reality after all that, we are stuck in love and our ex-cheaters secretly moved on long before.

  • Rebecca, I know how you feel.

    Mine has been cheating on me with multiple women… spending up to $50k/year on them, for most of our 20 year marriage.

    I’ve said it before, but when I was packing up 20 years of my life to return to California to my family (yes, I moved countries for him), and crying uncontrollably, he walked past and rolled his eyes.

    At least I got that from him. But that was about it.

    I have actually yelled at him when finding pictures of one of his girlfriends in my house with my dog. And yes, again, at least I had PROOF.

    But you know what he did? He just moved out, and never said a thing.

    He cannot accept that someone is on to him, and he hides from that.

    It is true what others say, you simply have to trust that he sucks.

    And I have to tell you how lucky you are that you have the opportunity to have no contact with him. Others would give their eye-teeth for that chance! It doesn’t feel good, but trust me when I say the alternative feels worse… having to be subjected everyday to someone who doesn’t love you… not because you’re not lovable, mind you, but because they… well.. THEY SUCK. They are disordered and demented.

    Listen to CL. Re-read “Trust that they Suck” and the Stained Glass post. Breathe. And be happy you are rid of him.

  • Rebecca, you may not believe this but you are very, very fortunate you never had the chance to “reconcile”. I did it twice over 2 decades and with hindsight, I wish I never had the “opportunity” to do so. It made my life a living hell. When I was presented with the latest “opportunity” to reconcile, I immediately said no. There was no way I was going back to hell. The cheater ex was still the same cheater ex that did all the cheating along the way. Why in heaven’s name would I want that all over again? It’s like waking up from a horrible nightmare and be upset that you woke up and wished you were still in the nightmare. No, thanks. Being alone beats life with a cheater. Hands down.

  • Rebecca- you are not the only one. I know of others where their ex just up and left without taking their stuff and disappeared completely. It is rarer but you are not alone. I’m very sorry you have to go through this. As March up above said it is a Trauma. It’s worth it to find a counselor and other resources with experience in dealing specifically with trauma. Until this is addressed it can be hard to move on no matter how “blessed” you are with no contact.

    I left mine and there was a bit of him contacting my way in the beginning but he has been radio silent since Oct. I am pregnant, due in March and sometimes I wonder at how the man is completely ambivalent about knowing anything about the child. When I tell people the situation including friends who knew both of us together they are blown away by his lack of contact or care. I hope it stays that way because I see waaaaaaay too many people suffering with having their crazy ex involved in their kids’ lives. But it also raises a different set of questions around abandonment. I understand the trust that he sucks approach but see if you can’t find a support group or at least some books about surviving trauma. Much love to you!

  • Like Char said earlier “I feel your pain. Even though my religion and heart say “reconciliation”, I am blessed to read this blog, which provides the practical, truthful reality of our situations with uplifting hope that someday there will be a new and better normal.” We chumps are good people, always looking for a way to be kind, but the disordered are just screwed up people that take our kindness and love and mess it all up. “Reconciliation” may work with some people but with the disordered its a moot point.

  • I needed to read this tonight!! I also have an EX who did the same exact thing. Walked out at the age of 48 to go find happiness and start a new life (2 months before our 25th wedding anniversary). He is an alcoholic who was going through denial and a mid life crisis, long story. But basically he has a new house, new job, new wife, new trips, new tattoo, new body after losing weight. And does not talk to me or our 3 kids. We were together 29yrs and he absolutely despises me (like this divorce is all my fault even though he cheated) and acts like I don’t even exist anymore….does not ask about me or care, does not know where I live, nothing. Walked out with a only few clothes and that’s it. Not even pictures of the kids. Does not call on their bdays. Does not support them financially. I have been trying to wrap my head around this for 3 years…I think about him way too much, how can he not think about or wonder about us,,, like he never knew who I was? I am the mother of his only children. I don’t get how you can be with someone so long and walk away like nothing mattered at all.

  • My STBX made it perfectly clear that he wanted a relationship with our adult children it was me that he wanted nothing to do with.
    The day after I kicked him out he told me that it was none of my business who he saw or what he did. He said he wished that he could never see or talk to me again.
    This was only a few days after I discovered his deceit. Until that day he was playing the happy husband telling me every night when we kissed good night that he loved me. Later he threw the line “I love you but am not IN love with you” Another spin on words so that he could say he had not been lying to me. He always believed that omission was not a form or lying.
    The pain that I was the problem still haunts me and it has been two years.

  • Rebecca,
    All of us feel your pain, and many have been through the exact situation.
    I know the cruelty and disbelief about not being able to fight for the marriage.

    My father literally abandoned my family when I was a child; the local cops thought my mother had killed him, or it was an insurance scam. Two years later, after the business collapsed, etc., my father returned. But really, just to get divorced so he could marry the OW.

    When my (now ex) husband told me the marriage was over (sorta, never could say “divorce”) he told me he understood why my father did that, and HE WISHED HE COULD DO THE SAME. he did the same emotionally, actually, but that is another story.

    People/spouses such as my father, and exH, are cowards.

    We deserve better.
    Hold your head high. You did your best, and your exH is the disturbed, cowardly one.

    Still early days for you yet. Deep breaths, and take care of yourself.

    • Jenn, It was none of my business either and I had the feeling he wanted to just take our daughter and live with his new family and it would be easier if I would just disappear. He thought I’d want to go live in a condo and he would keep the house for the skank and her four kids plus our one. (I kept the house.) To justify he’d say I wasn’t someone who embraced change. I was very loyal (this is bad?) and “we had some good times”(is that all it was?) I kept having to make clear that a lie of omission was still a lie. He’d say he didn’t feel like he was married which made it okay I guess in his mind.

      zyx321, your comment about not being able to fight for the marriage reminded me of how X didn’t want to go to marriage counseling when I found out. He was leaving to be with the OW. Said it was too late for that. Then the night before he left he tearfully asked “why didn’t you fight for me?” I was so confused about the illogic but I see it now as blame shifting and losing kibbles. I fought for the relationship our whole time together but once he said no marriage counseling I didn’t press him or beg which is what he must have wanted. Yuck. A couple times I said “I think you are making a mistake” and that’s all.

  • If they can walk away so easily, like my ex did, I realize that they were never really “in”. And I felt that from day 1 regarding my ex. They will never be “in” and their life will suck for the rest of their lives because they couldn’t embrace what is real and genuine. They can’t embrace good people who “would have” had their backs and changed their diapers when they are eighty. They are on their own now……

    • Tara, you are so right!

      They were never in.

      And now they will be all alone. For the rest of their lives.

      No matter how it may look at the moment.

      That is so true.

  • I agree. I think many of our Exes had some of the same characteristics. My ex was a sparkly man who had it all (beautiful wife, three great children, a beautiful home, and a decent job) but looking back he was never quite “there”. When life got rough he literally ran away. It was something I accepted until one day he just did the same with us. And of course there was the OW who’d probably been a part of our lives for years. It does hurt. I feel really bad for our children. They deserve more than having a father in their life who shows up at events just because he is putting on a show. He doesn’t care about them. It’s just posturing. I don’t think any one of our exes are blissfully happy with their new lives, they weren’t with their old lives. You can not change a leopard’s spots. Two disordered people together successful? I don’t believe this for a minute and I do believe things happen for a reason and it could be that someone recognized that our gifts were wasted on a person incapable of love. To all of us struggling it’s all about “baby steps” forward. In the two years after my ex abandoned us I made sure to tell my children (16, 18, 20) that their job over the next couple of years was to take especially good care of themselves. I know we will all come out of this experience stronger.

    • Funny, I remember ex pulling a walk away on a number of jobs and me, being a supreme chump, not only going along with it but supporting him like mad. It just never occurred to me to bail. I was pissed at times and had it out with him (and really, should a person have to explain to their spouse why they should be consulted for life-changing events?) but walk away? Not this chump! And even when he was busted having had numerous affairs I still had a hard time walking away. But when I exposed his double life then he was all about hating me because HOW DARE I SHAME HIM, as he said. What a twat.

  • Drew,

    “When life got rough he literally ran away. It was something I accepted until one day he just did the same with us.”

    Mine used to LITERALLY run away to Thailand. We run a Travel Agency together, and his excuse was that he had a bad back and was depressed, and going to Thailand helped those things get better… and like a chumpy chump, I believed him and wanted him to feel better.

    Which I’m sure he did, when he’d go to Thailand and visit his 16 year old girlfriend, and travel to her village, and watch the house he was building for her family be built!

    He was never in it. And he was never in whatever he was doing in Thailand either, because he was PAYING to screw someone who was young enough to be his granddaughter. Totally disordered.

    I finally found out about all this when he took a 19 year old girlfriend here in our home town. Then I started digging.

    Soon as I called him on it, and the kibbles were over for him, that was it. He wanted nothing more to do with me.

    I see from everything here at CL that this is simply typical disordered behavior.

    It’s helping me get to meh.

  • Rebecca,

    This sentence from CL’s response to you is the big part of it to me:

    “You’re seeing the world from his point of view — that you don’t matter, that you’ve been shunned because there is something faulty with you”

    Most of (if not all) of us chumps get this feeling, and for me, it comes back every once in a while when I’m particularly down. But it goes away with time and the knowledge (however hard it is to see it now) that it is ultimately better to be unattached (or attached to someone better) than to be attached to the piece of crap who left you.

  • Why do the so-called experts keep saying that disordered narcissists along the sociopathic wing make up only 1% of the US population? Yes – it’s hard to know numbers when the disordered won’t agree to therapy, but I think the percentage is much higher. In fact, I seriously believe that the mental health professionals may be keeping the truth from the public in order to prevent mass hysteria.

    • Actually, Telo, at my last professional conference, we were discussing the fact that a significant number of psychologists (especially forensic ones) believe that narcissism is a subtype of psychopathic behavior and probably should be subsumed under that domain in the DSM. But I am here to tell you that getting the diagnostic criteria in the DSM changed is a long drawn out process. Plus there are other mental health groups (social workers being one of them) who tend to be more..ah…shall we say..less prone to using such strong diagnostic labels.

      And there are also cultural factors to be considered. Our society is highly entitled and narcissistic. All one has to do is look around at what we as a culture (well actually most Western cultures) hold as values…and they sure aren’t our grandparents values! More than ever before people of all social strata avoid assuming responsibility and/or admitting to wrongdoing at all costs; they are out to get theirs whether they earned it or not; loyalty and commitment last only as long as there is a continuing payoff; integrity is in short supply. We are all”image management and appearances–whether physical or the appearance of material success. True empathy seems to be sorely lacking. Situational ethics abound. Yes, we surely do need to be concerned about our society’s deterioration into “ME FIRST and the devil take the hindmost.” I agree that it is a national crisis.

      • Great points, NotYou, and extremely sound ones. So long as there are people out there who accept, condone or even admire that yesterday’s vices are today’s virtues, we are doomed as a civilization. Working in developing countries can be rewarding for this reason. While they have their own set of problems, rampant narcissism among the general population is not (yet) one of them. With Western values creeping into every corner of the globe that’s left, it seems only a matter of time before even those areas become subsumed by the brave new value system.

      • You make some really good points about entitlement. So many people think that marriage and relationships are disposable goods, to be thrown out when you get a little sick of them or if it doesn’t seem perfect anymore. Why work on something that isn’t quite perfect when there’s someone really sparkly to shovel me kibbles just around the corner?

        My XW grew up in a family that was all about image management – it had to look perfect on the surface, even if everything inside was crumbling. She really pulled the wool over my eyes that way – she had given up on me long before she started seeing the OM, but still made me do the pick-me dance for several months, while never specifically telling me what she needed, which I never learned what it was and I don’t care anymore what it was…apparently it is exemplified in the fat, rich guy she left me for (anyone who’s heavy please don’t be offended, it’s just that the OM is heavy and I’m not). Guess I’m guilty of not being able to read my XW’s mind?

        • I agree as well, I hear and see too many couples evaluating what the other brings to the table. My stbx during reconciliation talked about services and acted as though I was applying for a job. Some people do not get the concept of growing together. Things like sacrifice or serving others is lost. Its all about how happy you make me!

    • I really don’t think they have personality disorders its the way they are socialized as boys being shamed for expressing themselves in feminine ways.

      They end up going into emotional shutdown they are unable to truly connect with others so they start going off and having sex with other women, become workaholic or substance abusers etc in a misguided attempt to feel good.

  • I relate somewhat. My cheater never expressed any remorse and although NC is somewhat impossible right now bc of our child, he surely acts like I couldn’t matter less. He walks around me whistleting! at times. He makes sure I know he doesn’t give shit about me (basically says it), and it stings sometimes when I don’t feel strong. It’s that feeling only us chumps can relate to.
    You’re saying its been 30 years? Oh my, woman. Have you remarried since? Have you found someone else since? Have you done any work in therapy?

    • Heartbroken,

      Mine went through a whistling phase.

      Others on this thread have been talking about “dead eyes” and how creepy it is.

      For me, the whistling, and this little clicky thing he started doing with his tongue were creepy.

      I wasnt sure at first if he was doing it intentionally to freak me out, but it became clear down the road a little that he was doing it totally involuntarily, and the more he perceived that I wasnt sad nor bothered by him nor wanting to get back into that life with him, the more he did it. In reality, I was very down and desperate to save my “life” with him at the time, but his behavior helped me learn not to show that to him!

      I’ve been dating a few men, and back in touch with a few male friends. He can’t tell the difference. And for the record I was only dating to test my radar on outside guys, not certainly because I wanted any sort of new relationship!

      But the point is that a few times when I got calls, and he could hear a male voice on the other end, and I’d go in another room for privacy, when I would finish my call, he would be out there whistling and clicking his tongue.

      Yes, unfortunately we run a business out of our home and the lawyers dont want me to budge until we settle, so im stuck in the same house!

      But it became great feedback that he was so unstable emotionally. it was creepy, but good feedback, to know those “happy noises” were actually very sad cries from a very unhappy sociopath!

      • Mine started licking his lips all the time! Didnt start until I discovered his deceit. WTH is it about them keeping their mouth busy? So they couldn’t talk???

  • I wish mine had left…..and then died. Way simpler. Less financially stressful. Nope, he decided to stay because ” his family comes first”. WTF. I’ll admit, I was too confused and numb to do much. I should have tossed him. I wish I had. Now we are in MC. Yes, there are things I like about him as a person. But it’s all really window dressing. I’m mediating my option of reconciliation. I don’t forgive him.

    Your jerk did you a huge favor. It’s not your fault. Quit burdening yourself with his shittiness. Find an awesome therapist to hash through this. This sucks, but he truly sucks. Believe that.

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