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Dear Chump Lady, I just can’t seem to pull the plug

Dear Chump Lady,

I stumbled onto your site like most people, after discovering my wife had been having multiple affairs over the last six years and trying to make sense of it and gain some relief. 

Some of the things my wife was doing behind my back are hard to believe — giving away thousands of dollars and material goods to the affair partners, vacations together; helping to buy and furnish a house for one of them. She was able keep all of this hidden through separate accounts and under the guise of traveling for work (pharmaceutical sales). That and my blind trust of her.

Initially I wanted her out of the house and to separate, but she convinced me she wanted to “fix” our marriage and I agreed to work with her. You never do the things you tell yourself you’d do if something like this every happened. We’ve been through most of the things chumps go through — counseling, therapy, etc. — trying to reconcile our marriage. Things seemed to get better, only to have her become involved with some doctor or coworker again, sending everything back to square one.

During the course of this rollercoaster ride I’ve learned about borderline personality disorder, covert manipulators, sociopaths, addiction and a host of other maladies I never thought I would ever have to deal with. I also learned a lot about my own codependency issues and how difficult it is to do what’s best for myself when feelings and time are involved (22 years together.)

After the last episode last summer — she got involved with a married co-worker who lives on the other side of the country and has four kids — we (my teenage children and I) asked her to move out. To make a long story short, she tried to commit suicide and I spent the night with her in the ER and she spent another week in observation. We changed the locks on our home (at the advice of the lawyer I retained) during that time and she had to go live with my mother.

She enrolled in some personal and group therapy and she seemed to be getting better. After a few months and countless pleading to give her another chance (I know, I know) the kids and I agreed to let her come home for the holidays, although they thought it was a bad idea. We’ve been working on things and her crazy angry behavior has calmed WAY down but I still got the nagging feeling that the affair partner wasn’t out of the picture. After hacking into her phone records I saw there were calls and texts to the guy just about every day.

I’ve confronted her about it and she says she’s tried to get him to stop, but he won’t take no for an answer. I’ve reached back out to my lawyer after putting things “on hold” one last time. Even with all the great advice I’ve gotten from your site and from therapists, I had to give it one last try. I’ve talked it over with the kids and they say they’re fine if we separate. I guess I’m just sentimental, hardheaded, hoping for a miracle (take your pick.) I know this is the end, but I just can’t seem to pull the plug. (We were a happy famiIy for many years.) I know the scolding you’ll give me but I just had to give it one last try…


Dear Percival,

Interesting choice of screen name. Percival — a character in the epic quest for the Holy Grail. Makes me wonder if you think there is something noble and romantic about hopeless causes. Oh yes, my wife isn’t a borderline personality disordered serial cheater who is harming me, nope, she is a jeweled and precious object that I must save. Percival is not a  chump — he’s a knight!

Dude, you’re a chump. Own it. I’m sorry you’ve been through this nightmare — serial cheating complete with suicide attempt — but it’s time to buck up and end this marriage. We can argue all day whether your wife is a heartless manipulator or a doomed, tragic character in her own bad romance — point is, she’s killing  you with this drama. Whatever good times you reminisce about (and if she’s truly a borderline, I’m wondering how much spackle you’ve applied there…), you need to deal with the reality NOW. She won’t stop cheating on you, she feigns reconciliation, you could never possibly know if she’ll ever “get it,” she’s spent gazillions on her affairs (buying and furnishing a HOUSE?!), and when consequences began to dawn she reacts in the most extremely manipulative way possible — she stages a suicide attempt. God drama queen, way to make it all about HER.

Let go of the guilt and responsibility Percival. If she offs herself, you DON’T CONTROL THAT. It’s not your fault. You cannot save her. And it speaks volumes about her character — she’s got children — does she really want to saddle them with that sort of grief and abandonment? Oh sure, why the hell not, she wasn’t considering them when she was fucking around on their father and wasting untold marital resources. (I wonder how much college you can pay for with a furnished house?)

If you want to save someone, Percival, save your kids from this woman. To me the most disturbing thing about your letter wasn’t the cheater crazy, it was when you wrote “WE” asked her to leave, “WE” changed the locks…

Don’t put this shit on your children. YOU lead this charge, Percival. YOU draw those boundaries. YOU enforce the consequences. You’re terrified that she’ll off herself if you impose consequences? Oh, here’s a great idea! Let’s include the CHILDREN in that decision to make her leave so they can share the feelings of guilt and obligation too!

Do not use those children to bolster you in the hard decisions you need to make. It’s like you need the consensus, the strength in numbers. If you need that — please get it here. Get it from your shrink, your lawyer, do NOT get it from your teenage children. They need you to be the sane adult who stands up to this abuse. (It’s abuse, Percival. You’re being abused.)

I’m glad they’re on the same page, and it’s not much of a surprise that they’d be relieved to see you separate. But when you ask them to be part of the decision-making you’re putting them in the parent role with you, you’re giving them a grave responsibility that’s not fair to ask of them. Especially with a mother as volatile as the one they’ve got.

So Percival, man up. You say you know this is the “end,” but you can’t pull the plug. Listen, if you don’t pull the plug, IT’S NOT THE END. It’s more of the same nightmare you’ve been living. More cheating. More fake reconciliation. More drama. More lying. More financial abuse.

ACT first and then you can understand. End it with her, and then go untangle the skein all you want to. The important thing is to put distance there, to protect your castle and your children. I’m sorry your wife is sick — morally sick, mentally sick — but to stay with her is putting yourself and your children in harm’s way. Saving yourself and them is a quest you can achieve. Saving your cheater is not.

Don’t beat yourself up about the false reconciliations. Most of us have been there. Just stop looking back and hoping for a different reality. Lead the charge towards freedom, Percival. Godspeed.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Repeat after me: pathology is not an apology. An explanation is not an excuse.

    Keep repeating this until you own it.

      • Dear Perceval and all my precious fellow chumps!

        Check out the new posting at Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi’s blog. It will reinforce your determination! Remember, she is an expert in narcissism and most serial cheaters are NPD or BPD or worse!

        (l do not know how to place a link here for you or I would. Am not all that savvy about computers and such.)

        Forge on, friends…….

  • Percival: I too have had trouble pulling the plug but my situation is so very different from yours only in the sense that my H had 1 EA with an old love he reconnected with on FB. I wish now I had followed CL’s advice when she told me to dump his ass ASAP I was ready to walk out the door when some medical problems he was having made me decided to stay until they were resolved. Well they are but now OW has dumped his ass and he wants to act like nothing ever happened and it is just one big mess. However your wife has been rubbing your nose in this for years, promises to change but won’t or can’t Please do yourself a favor/ pack here bags leave them at the door, see a lawyer, go no contact. Obviously she has lied to you on so many levels you couldn’t believe ANYTHING she will tell you. Also if you haven’t see a therapist for yourself. So many times after living like this we are conditioned to put up with too much shit.

  • Percival: I read the first paragraph of your message and almost said out loud, “I can’t believe there is another guy out there just like me!” My wife – multiple affairs for the last 8 years or so (according to her), 23 years together, tween twins. OK, so not JUST like me, but pretty damn close. Like you I’ve been through the whole process of marriage counseling, her continuing her affairs throughout the counseling, blaming me for it all, accepting her abuse as “normal” or that I deserved it somehow. But with the help of family and friends I finally saw the light and filed for divorce.

    I don’t know what kind of support system you’ve got, but it sounds like you may need one. I found a great support group in my area (Maryland) that helped me a lot. And once my family knew what was going on I also had the support of all of them too. It’s really hard to do this alone. Get some help and support for you and your kids if you don’t already have it. Really sorry you have to go through this. It’s the most painful experience of my life so I know what you’re going through! Best of luck and keep in touch through this site.

  • Percival: You have arrived at the BEST place to help you through. We have many amazing male chumps here that can give you the addition of the manly perspective you will need to save your soul & your children’s souls.

    Another resource you may benefit from are Richard Skerritt’s books. His situation sounds similar to yours and he wrote some excellent books about it. The main one is “Meaning From Madness”. The other is “Tears and Healing.’ They are e-books. Please, consider getting them. Keep reading the information here. You can do it!

    Forge on, friends……

  • Percival,

    You have definitely found a place where others can help – please listen. I too had a spouse who I thought I could save – and I invested ten years of tears into trying to “save” and “fix” him. I thought that I could love him enough to Make It All Better.. but he took all that love and all my tears, and cheated, lied, and (thankfully) left.

    Her pain, her trauma, her drama is not your problem anymore. SHE chose to cheat, steal, and lie. You’ve given her plenty of chances to change, and she has CHOSEN

  • (sorry) to continue her games, with the pain raining down on you and your children.

    Please take the advice of the other chumps here and go no contact. It will dawn on you so quickly how her crazy has become your normal. Go no contact, and in one year, you will look back and not believe what you put up with – because you are good and kind.

    Be the sane parent for your kids – they are at an age where they will begin using YOUR model for a relationship in what they choose – do you want them hooked up with someone like your wife? Show them that you can be strong, kind, and free of people who repeatedly hurt you. Hugs and prayers from Chumps everywhere…RDM

  • Percival
    Please listen to Chump Lady and her advice – like you I stumbled across this site a couple weeks ago after being through hell these last 10 months – I was a classic amazon chump desperate to solve the problem and get him to realise what he has lost – but I could have saved myself undue hardship and angst if Chump Lady had been there with her spot on advice from the get go. Her comments about the kids and you not putting a parental responsibility onto them resonated with me as this is what I fear doing all the time – I want them to just be kids and not project my issues onto them at all – its so damn hard isnt it when they are walking along this path right with you – get out and free yourself right now and as Cl put it – protect your kids and castle with some distance – really no contact ( as much as thats ever possible with kids ) is the only way to reclaim any control or power and assert your wishes and not hers .
    As Im new here too can I just say hello to everyone

    • Welcome, hopestar! Hello back at you!

      I, too, am new to CL. The first post I read was “Why the Paralysis?’ and I thought I had written it! That’s why I am so glad to have found this special place!

      I have been commenting from day one of landing here, as I have a ‘big mouth’ and just can not keep it shut! :0

      So glad you are commenting now, as you never know which thought shared could be just ‘the one’ that makes a light bulb appear over the head of a chump who is ‘stuck’ on something!


      Forge on, friends!…….

      • Yes, this, a million times over: “So glad you are commenting now, as you never know which thought shared could be just ‘the one’ that makes a light bulb appear over the head of a chump who is ‘stuck’ on something!”

        I am so grateful for Chump Nation! So, so deeply grateful. And to Chump Lady for bringing us together, and inspiring us all.

      • Thank You ForgeOn ! – Yes I have been reading all of the posts on here as part of my amazon chump mentality – nodding furiously in agreement at so much of what CL hands out as advice – its been a revelation finding people who completely get and understand the level of betrayal , abandonment and misery inflicted upon an unsuspecting chump!! Thank goodness for the web and blogging – I’d really be at sea without access to this site!

  • Dear Percival and All,
    I feel so grateful for this site. Wish I had known about it long ago. I first found out about my ex’s cheating 6 years ago and it took me another three years to decide to separate. One thing that strikes me as a parallel between your case and many other cases is that when you are in the system of craziness that is your life with your cheating partner, you cannot have a good sense of how crazy it really is. For that, you need distance, perspective. I am well educated and reasonably attractive (I was amazed at how many compliments I got after I separated from ex finally and felt free to laugh and smile and dress better), but when I first found out about my ex’s affair, my first reaction was that I should get plastic surgery to improve the ugly parts of my body so he would like me more. I wanted to sign up immediately! How could I improve, I wondered, in a thousand small and big ways? I know how weird this sounds now. I realize this is illogical and impractical in multiple ways. But it was all I could think about. When I think back on that time, I know that was me. No doubt that I thought that way. But I still cannot quite believe that that was my reaction. It seems completely insane now. It took a lot of time and inward contemplation before I could gain perspective. My details don’t matter on this. But the way in which this might help you is to consider that what seems relatively normal for you and the way you and your kids have been living (by the way, I am a developmental psychologist–please listen to CL on not getting those children involved!!! SUCH great advice) is much less normal than you even imagine. You need perspective. You need distance. And did I read correctly that your ex had to go and live with YOUR mother? What? Please do save yourself. Like they say on airplanes about oxygen masks, you need to help yourself before you can help others. And your family needs you! You have given enough, and you need more perspective to understand that you cannot do more. In the interim, take it on faith from the rest of us that you have done what you can and now you need peace. Lots of support to you and gratitude to everyone on this forum!

  • Percival

    I just want you to know that you are not alone, as I too experienced the mindfuckery of multiple affairs over long periods of time and the financial infidelity that goes along with it. My contribution is that to let you know from personal experience that you need SPACE from her craziness…She has been making decisions about your marriage without including you, now you have, and I mean HAVE TO, get some space and take over your life…I guarantee that a few months out of the abyss you will see things much more clearly and realize just how much abuse you endured trying to make the unhappy happy. Liberation from all of this is a wonderful thing, go and enjoy it!

  • Hi Percival, can I simply say “do not involve your children in your decision making”. This is not their battle. My ex husband of 37 years sent our then 28 year old (now 31 year old) son in to tell me I was leaving and what I would be getting. You see, I didn’t know anything was wrong and we were planning our daughter’s wedding. My ex wanted young Asian girls much younger than our 34 year old daughter. Our son has been impacted by what his father did by including him in a terrible way. He has cut me out of his life even though he did say to me that he should never have gotten involved. You see Percival, no matter how old our ‘children’ are they are still our children and to see that either Mum and Dad no longer wants the other around how an enormous impact. I do not have a support network, he does and he does not deserve it because he is not a man’s bootlace (an Australian term). Just leave the kids out of it and make their lives as normal as possible. You will be happier that you and you alone make the decisions. Good luck.

  • “I’ve confronted her about it and she says she’s tried to get him to stop, but he won’t take no for an answer.”

    If she was really interested and invested in reconciliation, this sort of “innocent” information would have been freely given to you. So, it begs the question if it is as she says it is (i.e. “he won’t take no for an answer.”)

    CL has some good points. I encourage you to listen to her.

  • Hey guys. At the lawyer pulling the plug right now. Since my letter I’ve confirmed that her lSt physical affair had indeed gone physical. Hardest thing I’ve ever done.

      • Sorry. Typing from mobile phone. I meant “Emotional” affair had gone physical. It’s in the lawyer’s hands now…

        • I very recently divorced my cheating/borderline/narc ex, and I can relate, Percival. One of the hardest things. But necessary to protect your children and your own sanity.

          You now know that the EA was actually physical, and it sounds like that was a catalyst for you filing, as it should be. Keep in mind that if you knew all the details of her affair(s) – sexting, meetups, etc. – you would probably feel a lot less sadness about protecting yourself, and more righteous anger about how she treated you, and the tears you wasted on her. What we chumps find out is usually just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Good for you! Yes, it is probably the hardest thing you will ever go through. Those of us further down the road can vouch for that. But it is also the HEALTHIEST and most necessary thing you can do.

      Stay strong, keep reading here, reach out to your friends and family. Don’t despair, because there really IS a light at the end of this tunnel out of hell. And it’s the sun, it’s not the glare of disorder, manipulation and lies that you’ve lived with for so long.

    • GREAT! This is very difficult stuff. Deep breaths. Strong focus. Please listen to all that are talking about NO CONTACT. It’s like going through detox and it is painful and hard. But the more hours of No Contact you have under your belt, the better you feel and the stronger you become. GOOD LUCK!

    • It IS the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but you’ll get through it. No more drama, no more lies. Putting other men before you is a bridge-burner in anyone’s book. Now she has to live with the consequences.

    • I’m sure this first physical affair isn’t her first, too many oppurtunities with the kind of work she does ,traveling etc.. try to go no Contact as much as possible, speak only through your lawyer or a special email account. I don’t mean to be rude but I have met many sales reps from pharmecutical companies and many are 1. extremely attractive and 2. very persasive. Not trying to put the profession down but an observation so don’t jump all over me.

      • Janet know this is not the first physical affair. The first two I found out after the fact; one went on for four years ( furnishing the house, trips etc.) The second when she tried to get into AA. She wound up having an affair with the sponsor. The third was while we were in counseling over the discovery of the first
        two affairs. She got involved with an oncologist. That was the dealbreaker and she enrolled in therapy at the Meadows to try and correct her behavior. We made a lot of progress for you and half. Then the discovery of this last affair with a coworke last August. That was when the suicide attempt and moving out happened. She was never able to end it in the affair wit underground. I discovered the physical nature of the affair and cell phonerecovery software. So here we are.

        • So sorry for all you’ve gone through, Percival. Glad you’re done. Good job coming out of the nightmare!

          • Not out of the woods yet. She refuses to move out of the house and my lawyer says that if I move I will be “handing her custody on a silver platter.” She wants to sleep in a separate room until our daughter graduates and is off to college (about 6 more months.) That leaves us both in purgatory….

    • Good for you, Percival! I remember taking that step about 1 1/2 years ago. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve been hesitant to give too much advice on this site since I think other chumps are more experienced than me (and better writers). But your comment about how “it is in the lawyer’s hands now” gave me pause. The laws in your state will have a big impact on your experience, but be sure to tell your lawyer what you want and don’t really put your life in his/her hands. You should be in control of things. My lawyer was good and didn’t go scorched earth because I told him I didn’t want that for my kids’ sake. Unless your STBX is a complete train wreck (DUIs, drug addict, etc.), the best you can probably hope for is equal joint custody (at least in Maryland). Unless she wants less. My STBX was so concerned about appearing to be the one not at fault and a “good mom” that she tried to get better than 50/50 custody for her and I said no f*cking way. We aren’t wealthy so the finances were not really an issue except that I think it is despicable of her to ask for alimony considering (sorry – getting off track!)

      Anyway, the best of luck to you again. Keep coming back here for help and support and, by all means, seek local support where you are.

      • This.

        Percival, you’re still reeling from the betrayal. Yes, you knew about the past affairs, but like so many of us, you looked at your long history together and thought that she wouldn’t–no, that she couldn’t throw it all away.

        The problem with especially the disordered cheaters like your STBXW is that they can and will throw it all away because “it” has no meaning for them save as a trophy for their wall.

        So you’re doubtless still in shock. That’s why you need the lawyer. Don’t just settle; settle for what you want, what you think is best. Is it best for a crazy lady to have primary custody of the children? No. Then go for at least 50/50, unless you can pitch a custody arrangement that assuages her ego but is better for you and your kids. Think about finances. Is she the primary breadwinner of the family? Then your settlement needs to reflect that! At the very least, you should ask your lawyer about dissipation of marital assets with respect to that home she bought and furnished for her old lover.

        So work with your lawyer to protect yourself and your children. Disengage with your crazy STBX, and get some therapy to work through the skein of fuckedupness.

        Best of luck to you!

    • Think of it like going to the gym. You know you really need to go because of those holiday pounds, but you trick yourself into thinking it’s alright, or you don’t have time or whatever. Then your doctor tells you, “loose 150, you have heart problems. Start by going to the gym.” But it’s hard. The first day its hard to get out of bed an hour early. You can’t go today, the grass needs cutting. You didn’t have cake, that’s a sign of progress right? And the first few months it’s hard. Your mussels ache, you don’t see immediate differences. But months later, you feel good, about your body and yourself.

      You knew the marriage was not ideal, you made excuses, you speckled. But you got the news you needed to go to the lawyer. It was hard. You made excuses. You kicked her out, but let her back. Now you need to keep going. You went to the lawyer, now remember to:
      Eat well – (no more shit sandwiches)
      Record everything (and send it to the lawyer) – no excuses, no “it doesn’t really count because…”, just proof
      Do the heavy lifting – (it’s hard to do on your own, but be strong for your kids)
      Get a coach or a work out partner(s) to make sure you don’t slip – (get a counselor, and we’re here for you)
      Replace your bad habits with good ones – (spend time with your kids, get a hobby, volunteer, stop wasting your time on her)
      Like someone trying to quit smoking shouldn’t hang out with smokers, limit time with people who will tempt you to slip – (the people who want to be friends with both of you, who won’t believe you, who try to convince you she’s not that bad and “doesn’t everyone deserve another chance, don’t you love her” etc.)
      Don’t wander into any bakeries because they smell good and just once couldn’t hurt or you want to prove you can resist the items on display – (no contact, no contact, no contact).

      It’s hard at the beginning. It will hurt. You may slip back into bad habits. You may not see the progress you want. But progress is there. Your pain now will pay off. You will end up being happier and healthier than you were before. Push through the pain.

      Tuesday is coming.

  • Hang in there Percival! You need to fight for your kids and your sanity, you can do it!!! But go no contact, get some perspective and emotional support.

    We’re rooting for you!!

    Love this song, it might help…. “Cold War” by Janelle Monáe.

  • Percival,

    Good for you. Stay strong; if not for you, then for your kids.

    Just keep thinking about the fact that the sooner you get this over with, the sooner your ex will stop bleeding your assets to her hump buddies. The sooner you can move on and love someone who loves you back. The sooner your kids can stop being used to gaslight you.

    Prayers and hugs.

  • “He won’t take no for an answer” – translation: she doesn’t want him to take “no” for an answer. I know this one….. There’s no better kibble drama than the “go away no don’t go away go away no…..” kibble drama. Milking all sides. Just reading it makes me sick to my stomach. You know everything you need to know. Godspeed.

    • ha! hello! The first Ericas that were here I haven’t seen for a while! Or maybe you are one of them ??


      • I have to laugh at this name…”and the other Erika.” There are a lot of ericas here. lol

        • yeah, when I first came here there was already an Erica and an Erika posting… and I was lacking in creativity I guess when I came up with my name 🙂

          Hope the name Erica doesn’t mean you are more likely to be a chump!

          • Perhaps the name means you are more likely to be true, faithful and loyal! Awesome in my book!

            Forge on, E’s!……

        • No wonder!!! ‘Tis a beautiful name! Thank goodness some beautiful chumps wear it!

          Forge on, friends and Erika’s / Erica’s!!!!

  • Percival: The reality is that there is no easy way to walk away. It hurts. The range of emotions is staggering. Reading this site helps a lot, as does reading some of the books and websites that CL recommends. I particularly relate to Dr. Simon and his book In Sheep’s Clothing. Getting into your own therapy is also helpful, though personally I needed something that I could access more frequently (like at 2 a.m. when I am wide awake in bed. I’ll bet CL gets a lot of hits around that time.)

    I keep a list. A list of all the lies, frauds, cruelties that have been perpetrated on me. When I am wavering, just in the slightest bit, I read the list. Or I add to it. I am reminded of why this person is a disease and why it is crucial to my survival that I put as much distance between us as possible.

    The only message that these people get is silence. If you continue to engage with them, they have won. And winning is what they cherish most. Don’t give that to her Percival.

    I’m thinking of making T-shirts:

    1) Lawyer
    2) Book
    3) RUN!

    • YES! This!!

      I made a list early on, too…for the same reasons. It helped me to remember the TRUTH when the gaslighting and love bombing was going on. I’m a live and let live, let it go kind of person, so this was crucial to helping me remember EVERYTHING. All it took was a glance after the latest email/mail/text, etc. to remember exactly why he wasn’t going to get the time of day from me.

  • You’re so brave, Percival! Good for you for taking action. It’s a terrible process, but you’ll get through it – and it is NOT any more terrible than what you’ve already survived. We are all rooting for you. ((Big hugs))

  • “She says she’s tried to get him to stop, but he won’t take no for an answer.”

    Wow – sounds EXACTLY like your wife, Percival. You’ve tried to get HER to stop, and SHE won’t take no for an answer. She’s going to have her cake and eat it, too, and that’s that. End of discussion.

    At least, that’s what SHE thinks.

    Read “In Sheep’s Clothing” by Dr. George Simon. You’re dealing with a first-class manipulator, Percival, and she’s pushing every button she can to get her way – to WIN. I think you’ll find it enlightening – particularly the chapter on the man who wasted TONS of marital assets on a string of paramours, then faked a suicide attempt when his wife decided to leave. You have eerily similar tales…

    • Red. I read both of Dr. Simons books latest being character disturbance and was already a fan before discovering Chump Lady. I’m a slow learner…

  • Dear Percival,

    As a fellow chump I want to thank you for sharing your story. This is probably going to sound mean (it’s not) and egotistical (it is, very much so), but sometimes … I get a little down on myself because I spent a lot of time in a marriage like yours complete with so called “recoveries”. We didn’t have children, though, thanks to my ex’s fertility issues, so that might be why I didn’t spend 24 years beating my head against that same wall. Usually, I think of the fact that I didn’t have kids as a ‘missed opportunity’, but then I read your letter, and I recognized that I might have spent even longer beating that dead horse hoping it would transform itself into an healthy pony.

    Like I said, it’s an egotistical observation (I found a little silver-lining in my own situation contrasting it with yours). That’s not compassionate, I know.

    All I can offer in the way of compassion is this: I suspect that removing this dysfunction from your life will lead to a more contented life. It has for me, and I suspect it will for you as well, and I suspect that you will never realize that in the rather one-sided relationship you are trying to maintain.

    • “I recognized that I might have spent even longer beating that dead horse hoping it would transform itself into an healthy pony.”

      I really like this. I was really delusional. Glad I woke up.

  • Pharmaceutical Sales? Well, there you go!

    Her behavior is encouraged (maybe not openly) and for sure incentivized by the drug company. At least you know she can support herself on her own (until the final crash).

    You might also want to consider that she dips into the free sample supply of the stuff she peddles. Strike Three.

    • Cancer drugs to hospitals so I doubt that but I agree with your accessment of the Industry.

      • The hospitals are broke and freaking out over the disruption in their “revenue stream” thanks to Obamacare and the insurance companies. (I have relatives in high hospital places) Expensive cancer drugs will be an obvious place to look to cut costs. Better cut the cord with her before the drug company does.

  • Percival– Nothing of substance to add beyond the wisdom already here–CL, and the commenters here are wise, warm, and wonderful. But take heart–you’re doing the right thing (being at the lawyer). Your kids will be so grateful they have one sane parent, I promise that. Best of luck with your journey, we are all here with you.

  • Percival, we all understand how hard it is. Many of us were also in long marriages. Here’s the thing: your head is clouded right now with the fog produced by your disordered wife. You cannot see reality, you see the distorted view chumps create to spackle away and tolerate abusive, disordered marriages. You can’t wait for the fog to clear, because it won’t as long as you are with this disordered woman. You simply have to take a deep breath and JUMP. It’s like plunging into icy water — you are going to gasp, and choke and struggle to catch your breath at first. But just keep swimming for the shore, and eventually you will be hauling yourself out onto the dry sand and warming yourself in the sunlight.

    As long as you stay with this lying, cheating woman, you are not going to feel the sunshine. You are trapped in hell. Don’t waste time there trying to figure out your wife (you can’t make sense of the disordered, just trust that she sucks), don’t wait to feel better (you won’t feel better until you are free.) Just take the plunge and get the divorce. That is the only way to save yourself. Don’t worry about her. She’ll be just fine with her next victim.

    • Percival, I completely agree with Glad. Get out, and get her away from your children. Sadly, these sickos always manage to take care of themselves.

    • GIO, this is what happened to me too, exactly. It’s shock and trauma, and you just can’t think straight! Having a therapist, as the voice of reason, helped me a lot.

  • Percival, congratulations.

    It is also the BRAVEST thing you have ever done. I am only a midway to Meh Chump, but I had two years of headfuck, and heartache to arrive where I am now. My generation of Chumps got me through.

    I am unemployed, sharing a room with my teenage daughter at Mom’s aged 45, with a tepid market for my sort of skills. My daughter no longer self-harms, but is having to adjust to new school, culture, etc. In other words, Sir Percival, your quest is only just starting, and the Holy Grail is “Meh”.

    But here is what I now know:

    1-I am a loving, caring, fierce parent-I work at it, but sometimes it works against me. (Suggestion-HERE is where you spill your guts, not in front of your kids. Impossible, I know, but you are shortly going to be smacked on the face by the stark reality of being the ONLY parent. We have your back)

    2-I am truthful-not into ‘truthiness’ as CL wisely puts it.

    3- I am organized like a boss and perform small miracles, every day.

    4-I am a CATCH! People says so. But I am doing Single for now.

    5-I have two Master’s degrees that I earned and paid for myself while working and raising a kid. And I still want to learn more.

    6-I have GOOD friends who love me-not just people who are good to me, but needed to find the people who do and are GOOD. Like CL.

    7-I am compassionate and use my empathy wisely-having learned the hard way-The Path of the Chump.

    8-I have a lot of old skills and passions I ignored when I was with Mr. Narklies Fabulous. There’s room for them now, and a whole set of new ones. Mightiness is called for.

    9-This whole thing has taught me a lot about being truly present.

    10- I have a wounded soul, but it is a clean one. That took a while.

    Best of luck P, may your deity/the Force be with you.


  • Percival,

    So sorry you are having to go through this. So glad to hear you’ve got the ball rolling on finally ending this nightmare. No Contact is absolutely the way to go – this includes getting her out of your mother’s, if that is where she thinks she’s going when you get back from the lawyers office.

    Your ex has made it clear she’d rather DIE than keep her promises to you (how come it’s easier for her to attempt suicide than to keep her legs shut to strangers????). That attempt should have been HER wake up call – but it wasn’t, she chose to carry on creating the same situation that led to her ‘despair’. (Despicable behaviour from the woman).

    Also, that crap excuse about him’ not taking no for an answer’? Bollocks! It isn’t hard to block a telephone number or change the SIM card or get a whole new phone. All part of her game to keep you looking like a mushroom – kept in the dark and fed on sh*t!

    Stay strong and keep it forever in your head that she was quite prepared to devastate everyone rather than face the consequences of her own actions – then LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE EXPERIENCE.

    Big hugs xx

    • Jayne. I should explain; my story is a long one. Well he first began therapy two years ago my wife realized she also had a spending addiction. My mother was getting old (81) and lived in a place that had become a very bad neighborhood. We agreed to by and refurbish a house in our neighborhood along with my wife’s parents. Remove my mother there to be close to the kids. In the eventuality of her passing on we would sell the house. Having two mortgages strapped us for cash so my wife moving in with my mother made sense. She could be close by him not her extra expenses. She moved back in to our house around Thanksgiving. One more attempt at reconciliation. That’s where the last of the story started…

  • Wow…I am amazed at how timely some subjects/letters are to my situation. Our divorce has been hanging on for two years now, and my soon to be ex is a manipulating pro. He knows how to make me doubt the truth of our situation and feeds on my jealousy and insecurities. Thank you for your bravery Percival…stay strong. It is hard when you have been a chump for so long and still believe in the fairy tale…but we all have to draw a line in the sand and never cross it again.

  • Percival, my congratulations too, on taking this difficult step. Now DON’T LOOK BACK! Do everything you need to do to make this new life work, for you and your kids. No contact is totally the way to go; the more consistently you can do that, the faster your head will clear, and the better your life will be.

    And just a heads-up; you mentioned your ex had to go to YOUR mother’s place? No, no no no, she needs to be with HER people, and if she doesn’t have any (because of her own disordered behaviour), TOUGH SHIT. She can live on her own, and if she is too unstable, there are social services available, that’s what they’re for.

    Do make a list of all the horrible things she’s done over all these years, ALL of them, and keep adding as you remember stuff. If you ever feel tempted to contact her or respond to her contacts, read over that list first. You need constant reality checks, until the new reality really sinks in.

    Believe me, it’s a LOT happier, calmer, more peaceful and more pleasant over here on the other side!

  • So sorry you have to go through this Percival, glad you are now pursuing your own Holy Grail, the one where peace finds you. Jedi Hugs!

  • Percival, my heart goes out to you. I was like you and hung on and on and on in my quest for the Holy Grail of making him understand what he was doing to me and our family. In the end my ex left after 31 years, and everyone here is correct when they say you won’t have clarity until you’ve been out of it for awhile. You sound like a very loving and loyal person and you’ve done everything in your power to set things right. It’s okay to let go. Your wife will be forced to confront herself once you’re gone, she obviously has to sink or swim on her own. You need to take care of yourself and heal from the trauma.

    By the way, I too got one of my sons involved in trying to convince his dad to stay and I regret it. It wasn’t his battle to fight. It took me awhile to build a support network so I didn’t feel the need to lean on my kids any more. You’ll have to do that too. Hang in there and let us know how you’re doing.

  • Percival,
    I know from personal experience how difficult to is to be the one who has to file for divorce even though the spouse was the lying cheat who wanted out of the marriage.

    You are doing what needs to be done.
    You must be amazing person, and a wonderful parent.

    There will be dark days ahead, but every day will improve.

  • Percival and Chump Nation,
    Ditto all of the above! Move on and don’t look back. But also know that the whole process of being chumped causes a HUGE hit to your self-esteem, which can contribute to feeling stuck. The cheater is holding up a faulty mirror and telling you that you weren’t good enough for them! NOT TRUE! Stop listening to their insanity. It took me 7 years to free myself from the monster, and it feels wonderful on the other side. I smiled all through the divorce hearing and walked out with a spring in my step. Also, like TwinsDad I found a great support group in Maryland, and I am sure other states have some too. Maybe meetups for separated or divorced in your area? Ours has a social worker speak about a related topic, and then we break into small groups and discuss it further. We also have lots of social events, including a weekly happy hour. These folks have become some of my closest and dearest friends. Oh yeah, and if you are a guy at a support group, the women outnumber you. That can really rebuild your self-esteem. Good luck!

  • Wow Percival,

    Another huge reason to remove yourself is the suicide thing… you already had to live through that once, if you keep going back and forth it’ll just increase her likelihood of threatening or trying to pull that again.

    My now ex threatened that with me… and it worked in a way that no other threat did. I think when he saw how well it worked, that was why he kept going back to it. It scared me like almost nothing else either because I couldn’t control it and he was the father of my children. Being an amazon chump worked against me because I did way too much research into the subject and it freaked the shit out of me that he would do it. Eventually I figured out in my case it was an empty threat and an attempt to manipulate me. But once the emotional rollercoaster calmed down, because I stopped engaging in it, even he began to calm down and accept it. And there weren’t even many opportunities for him to threaten that shit anymore.

    Which, who gives a shit if they calm down and accept it? I don’t really… other than it makes my life easier to not be dealing with the insane drama. It’s almost like thinking like a narcissist… I want him to feel fine because of what it does for me – makes my life easier.

    • And even if it isn’t manipulative, if your cheating ex or nearly-ex is actually honestly suicidal or you think they might be, that needs to become NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Rally THEIR family, friends, physician, or get some kind of emergency services involved. Call the cops, they’re quite well trained at dealing with people who are suicidal, and WALK AWAY. You cannot be responsible for another adult’s life, any more than you can for any other behaviour of theirs.

      Not our job to support, help, save or assist these people anymore. They opted out of that agreement, right?

  • Percival, good for you for finally pulling the plug. Took me over two decades. If you’re like the rest of us, once you’ve reached “meh” (and you will), you will wished you filed sooner. I’ve been divorced nearly a year and each day just brings more and more clarity. Nowadays, I shake my head and think, “I reproduced with that?”

    The road to recovery will not be easy but a lot, and I mean a lot, easier than staying and be part of a drama that will not only continue, but will surely escalate.

    • Uniquelyme,

      Thank you and I agree but to be perfectly honest we had a lot of good times together the first half of our marriage (although the viol.ent temper would raise it’s head occasionally. She was a very good mother to our two children (now 15 and 17) and was a loving generous person. I disagree with CL in that I think people are more complex than just black and white. Something happened to her along the way (no doubt as a result of taking on the new job (prior to the pharmaceutical job she worked in a hospital taking care of sick and premature babies.) A lot of her abandonment issues and need to be a caretaker were kept at bay by the demands of that job.) I will never hate her despite all the horrendous acts of betrayal that she’s done. I can’t take all the good away. What I can do is realize that person is gone and the one that replaced her does not have my best interests at heart.

      • Perceval — I don’t think people are black and white. They are complex. What is black or white is whether or not they are deliberately hurting you. Your wife is harming you with her reckless, entitled behavior. You can untangle the skein all you want to of how much good she is versus bad, but then you are standing there on the railroad tracks focusing all your attention on HER, while the train of her destruction is roaring down the tracks about to flatten you.

        Take the focus OFF her and on to YOU. Is it acceptable to you to be treated this way? Is this the sort of marriage you want?

        Also consider, if she’s been diagnosed as a borderline personality disorder, that didn’t just pop up in her late 30s. She’s been personality disordered since adolescence. All mental illness has degrees of functioning. Instead of looking at it as degrees of how good or bad she is, look at it as how functional is she? You cannot feel safe in a relationship where someone cheats on you repeatedly and steals from you.

        You might not want to ascribe judgment to those actions — i.e., she is a good person who behaved badly. But if you read the literature, or Dr. Simon (who you said you read), you’ll understand that she has a different set of rules. She’s not thinking of you, she is manipulating you. It’s all about her.

        Me, I find those people Bad People. Or rather, there is enough Bad about them that necessitates cutting them out of my life.

        My ex was very sparkly. I had good times with him. He had a lovely family. I don’t think I am unique from most people here. There was a time that I loved him, and his “good” qualities, hooked me. Some of those qualities are honestly good — he was quite accomplished. BUT he treated me abysmally and utterly without respect. He endangered me and he raged at me. Yeah, so he was “complex.”

        When you get out from it, you’ll stop weighing the good against the bad. You’ll just weigh the distance you are OUT from the crazy.

        • Dear Chump Lady,

          I agree with you that people are complex and I do agree with Dr. Simon on them playing by a different set of rules (i.e.- sometimes people are not compensating for insecurites by being a bully but are being a bully because that’s the way they’ve learned to get what they want. ) I’ve used his analysis of personality types (covert agressives for example) to good effect in the workplace. (I own my own business and have effectively eliminated most of that “drama” from it.) I also believe that feelings and emotions are complex. It’s just so damn hard with her because she is so effective at playing the victim. She was born in another country and was left behind in a girls school while the rest of her family immigrated to America. There was sexual abuse by relatives during that time so there is genuine causes for her BPD. That’s something that came out in therapy and one of the reasons I hung in there, hoping for change. I’ve been her caretaker for most of the marriage. With my support she’s risen to a postion in her company where she makes about three times my salary so in her mind she wasn’t stealing from our family resources but rather using “her” money to support the affairs. I see it now as part of her overall feelings of entitlement. I’m getting my head clear now even though she won’t leave the house. I’m entertaining the idea of me moving instead and getting the lawyer to draw up something to protect me financially. Everything is a whirlwind and crazy. I do know (with the help of all of you) I’m moving in the right direction… Stay tuned.

          • Perceval,

            Wow; sounds exactly like my ex…

            “She (He) was born in another country…There was sexual abuse by relatives during that time so there is genuine causes for her/(his) BPD. That’s …one of the reasons I hung in there, hoping for change. I’ve been her/(his) caretaker for most of the marriage.”

            Exactly. This whole scenario really played on my emotions, and had me stay in the marraige MUCH longer than I should have. I was his “only real family” – and he was so truly disturbed at times, that I was also terrified he would commit suicide. Night terrors, bed wetting, tearing his clothes, tearing out his hair, punching himself in the face…yep, all that and more. And I was the “only one who’d ever really loved him”. That was so sick, yet so powerful in keeping me trapped.

            I prayed and prayed during that 10 years that God would save my family, and the miracle was that God saved my family by having exH leave us for one of the other women. It took a couple of years for me to dig my way out of the craziness. I’ll pray for a smoother path for you and yours, but know that it can and will get better, and that all the evil and pain in her life is NOT yours to bear or fix. She instead has perpetuated the very evil she suffered onto her children – that of growing up with the one who SHOULD have protected them instead being the one who hurt them the most.

  • Percival,

    I am going to say all this as gently as I know how:

    “Don’t put this shit on your children. YOU lead this charge, Percival. YOU draw those boundaries. YOU enforce the consequences. You’re terrified that she’ll off herself if you impose consequences? Oh, here’s a great idea! Let’s include the CHILDREN in that decision to make her leave so they can share the feelings of guilt and obligation too!”

    I cannot emphasize this particular point by CL enough.

    Even if they were adults, this would be highly inappropriate . Regardless of her dysfunctional behavior, she is their mother and they love her. To be blunt, inviting your children to collaborate hints at some unhealthy family dynamics not all of which can be laid on your wife.

    There was something else in your letter that gave me pause for concern. While you were separated she HAD to go live with YOUR mother? I’d have been curious to know why this particular arrangement was determined, by whom, how your mother felt about all of it, and a whole bunch of other questions….like the fact that you were married for 22 years but her behavior didn’t emerge until 6 years did she always act like a child or did this pattern manifest after 14 years together as you imply? (and the list could go on)

    I see red flags in this history that as a mental health professional (if I had been consulted ) I would have examined more closely. Have you always treated your children as if they had equal say in parental decisions? Did you always include your mother as a mentor and equal participant in your dealings with your wife as opposed to seeking advice from an objective professional or learning to assert yourself appropriately?

    Having the children so integrally involved in the decision making process and also your estranged and unfaithful wife staying with you mother sends up red flags for me that suggest codependency and control issues in your own family of origin that you may want to seriously consider addressing (or continuing to address) in individual counseling.

    I am not condoning your wife’s behavior. Adultery and fiscal irresponsibility are deal breakers for me too. I am suggesting that doing your “ME work,” may be of great help to prepare you should decide you want another long term committed relationship- as CL likes to state it, “fix your picker.”

    I wish you well and hope things get better for you and your family.

    • I will say that telling your children the truth at an age-appropriate age and letting them decided things like how much contact they want to have with their mother is good. But remember you are the parent.

    • dear notyou,

      I agree with your advice about not involving the kids. Unfortunately they knew (at least my daughter did) about their mother’s previous affair before I did and my wife gaslighted her until she started to question her sanity. My daughter has been in therapy as well and displays some of the same self-harm issue as my wife. There is clearly some unhealthy family dynamics at work here I acknowledge. One of the reasons for staying in our house was to help our daughter get through her issues. Ironically they were not in favor of her moving back. It was me that gave in after her pleading to come home.

      The subject of my wife living with my mother was addressed in an earlier comment. We own a 2nd home that my mother lives in. Paying both mortgages keeps us financially strapped and it was a way of having separation and being close by for the kids without creating a financial difficulty. My mother is involved with our kids on a daily basis which helped my wife with her career when the kids were young.

      My family of origin definitely plays a part in my codependency. I was in counseling for the last couple of years and that was the diagnosis of my therapist. So in short it’s one big mess. If trust and love could have fixed her this never would have happened. I’m finally gaining the emotional strength to move forward. (I had been clinging to hope for so long.) My lawyer wrote a letter yesterday asking her to move out and she tore the letter up and refuses to go. That’s where we’re at right now…

      • Perceval,

        I am a retired child psychologist with over 30 years in the trenches. I am also the hardest of hard-nosed child advocates and back off no one about what is in the best interests of children. Several of those years were spent working with military families where PTSD in combat veterans caused a ripple effect through their families with a variety of serious and pervasive anxiety related behaviors emerging in their children.

        I did go find your post with the thumbnail of your wife’s social history, including the reference to a BPD diagnosis. I wonder if it occurred to anyone that she may have unresolved PTSD or even Complex PTSD? Concurrent childhood abandonment and sexual abuse could cause it. The symptoms can be remarkably similar to BPD but treatment and rehabilitation might have some enhanced components. You may wish to read up.

        My convictions about certain diagnoses based on field experience and observation? BPD has become a garbage can (and “armchair psychologist”) diagnosis over applied to females. NPD has become the equivalent situation for males. The only condition more inaccurately over diagnosed is ADHD in children because ADHD can have a variety of “look alikes” in children, tweaking out the real problem can be subtle and time consuming, and consumers want a quick fix with a pill. Humans are complex and their situations can be complex. One size does not fit all. PTSD is not a character disorder.

        It is clear you have made the decision that you have done your best and cannot remain married. I would not presume to second guess your decision. Only you know what your tolerance levels are, and your tolerance levels are equally as important as her dysfunctional behaviors. What I am encouraging you to do is handle this situation with careful planning, finesse, and to access the best professional assistance possible for your children from someone who works extensively with children and adolescents. Not to be flip, but “shrinking” kids is different than “shrinking” adults.

        I once had a mother sit in my office and tell me the most pitiful story. Her husband had experienced multiple combat deployments to Iraq. (In our all volunteer military, multiple 10 month deployments are what happen to those who sacrifice everything for those of us safe at home with no clue.) The military would patch him up and send him back, but his PTSD would return…duh! Upon his final return home they tried to resume a “normal” family life, and he was continuing with treatment; but he still experienced episodic anxiety attacks, night terrors and flashbacks. Late one evening she found him in full flashback, in their son’s room choking their son. She couldn’t shake him and get him to respond; he just flung her across the room like brushing off a pest. So, she took the child’s baseball bat and hit him so hard that it knocked him out on the floor. This brought him to his full senses and he was mortified. He lost all trust in himself and subsequently insisted that she divorce him for the safety of both her and their son. He held his ground and made her follow through. She looked at me that day through her tear stained eyes and said, “This is an honorable and wonderful man. I love him dearly, still. It has been two years, and I miss him everyday. Do you have any idea how hard it was to be forced to choose between my husband and my child? ”

        I agree with you that things are not always black and white. That life sometimes comes down to hard times and harder choices. That it is so easy to be an armchair quarterback when we are NOT the one on a particular hot seat. I have learned that no matter how much our own life appears to have disintegrated because of circumstances beyond our control, all we have to do is stop navel-gazing and we can quickly see another whose life has disintegrated into a hell of which we cannot conceive. And, finally, that one individual’s definition of sacrifice and suffering is not even in the same universe–much less the same league– as someone else’s…that it boils down to perspective in so many cases.

        Again, you have my kindest regards and I hope you are able to find relief, peace, and healing for your family.

        • Well, I would say the difference there is that man knew he had a problem (which is totally tragic) and he knew he was endangering his family. He wanted them out of harm’s way.

          I find that very different than a woman who had multiple affairs and purchased a home and furniture for one of the OM. I read her behavior as entitled, with no awareness of how it is gutting her family, and she would prefer to keep everyone IN harm’s way. Whether she has PTSD, or BPD, or NPD or just wigged out in midlife — she’s harming people with her behavior and I think Perceval has every right to protect himself and his children from that harm. His wife has had multiple “baseball bat” chances.

          • I appreciate the advice. PTSD could be a real possibility as well. She has been in group therapy and sees an individual psychiatrist. Her psychiatrist says her coping skills and mindset is stuck in adolesence. The DBT therapy was making headway but not enough to prevent her from following through on another affair. I still genuinely love her but I have come to the point where enough is enough. I can no longer be her caregiver – the person she comes back to when all her sparkly plans fall to the ground. The forgiver and the one who turns the other cheek. I think I’ve gotten numb to the pain after so many trys and now my brain is taking over, bypassing my emotions and directing me toward some place safe…

            • Am so glad that notyou posted this information. As an accomplished professional in that field, her post has an abundance of useful information for all of us. Thank you, notyou!

              (A treatment that is useful in PTSD is acupuncture. That is one of the therapies I used and it helped dramatically. l no longer have symptoms. It was not a ‘stand-alone’ treatment, however. I did other things, as well. Mostly reading & ‘unlearning’. Greg Baer’s book, “Post-Childhood Stress Disorder” helped me in many ways, as well. Also l am currently doing bio-feedback for other reasons and am having great positive improvements. l understand bio-feedback has had amazing results with many issues, no matter what the label.)

              As for you, my dear Perceval, forge on…….I, too, hope that you will be able to find the proper type of assistance for yourself and your children, as well as the ‘safe place’ you so desperately need.

              Love to you & your children….

              Forge on, friends……

          • I repeat:

            “What I am encouraging you to do is handle this situation with careful planning, finesse, and to access the best professional assistance possible for your children from someone who works extensively with children and adolescents”

  • Percival you have had some good advice and it sounds like you are taking it onboard. Stick to your guns and divorce this woman.

    I am the classic example of what Chump Lady talked about – cheating husband was dumped by OW and now won’t move out.

    I should have kicked him out when I had the chance to offload him to OW. Now my mother is dying and I have health issues of my own. I don’t have the strength to fight the battle I know will happen when I divorce him at the moment so am stuck.

    Take that divorce and run for your life from this woman.

  • Percival, you’re going to have to change the locks on her as soon as she runs out for an errand….

  • I agree with all the above comments. Sometimes we can get caught up in the push pull drama and our emotionals are so raw we can’t see the forest for the trees.

    I left before knowing for sure my husband had cheated. He had emotionally disengaged and when travelling for business was not keeping in touch with me. He was treating me with less respect than you would treat a friend or a room mate. He was using jet lag as his excuse for sleeping most nights on the couch. Of course he still wanted intimacy when he decided to come to bed. I am fit, attractive and outgoing. The cheating is all about them and their need to fill something empty within themselves. It is not about us not being good enough. My intuition told me I was being cheated on but he would never admit it. Twelve weeks after I moved out his “friend” from Eastern Europe moved in. My head Knew I had to leave when I did but my heart was broken. I hoped after I left that my ex would get help and realize what he was throwing away. Instead he jumped right in with the OW thinking no one would notice.

    . This is not an easy path but it will get easier in time. You will have times when ou feel totally alone in the middle of the night and wonder what the hell happened. It takes time to get to Meh. This site helps. There is always someone checking in at all times of the day or night. Reading books helped me. I have read many of the books suggested by other chumps. A good therapist will help you heal and help you know what is a healthly approach when it comes to your kids. Focus on your kids. Make fun family day plans. Create memories they will cherish. Keep yourself busy. Go to social events even when you have to push yourself out the door. You will develop friendships that will help fill some of the void felt with loss.

    Lastly don’t be ashamed to grieve. This sucks, it is a loss, it hurts and it changes the picture of how you saw your life. Laughter will come again and in time if you do some me work you will attract someone healthly into your life. Take it one day at a time….one hour at a time when you are having a rough day.



    • Kerrie, a great comment. Can I add that everything that I do to improve my ‘new’ situation/life makes me grieve for my old life of subtle abuse. Strange but my emotions can hold me back even though I am moving forward inch by inch. The final and saddest thing for me to do was to revert back to my maiden name. I wore my maiden name for 25 years and my married one for 37 years. Suffice to say it was what I needed to do because I am too frightened to wear my married name anymore with the choices my ex is making. I sincerely wish none of us needed the use of this website and others like it, but we do and they are most helpful to all wounded souls.

  • I can totally understand and relate to what you are saying Maree. What you knew before was predictable. Predictable feels safe. As humans we fear the unknown. Change is scary. My whole life has changed in the last two years. My husband and I were together for almost ten years. Married for 5. We lived in a big house with my adult daughter and my step daughter. I felt overwhelmed at times because I was doing 90% of the work. Now I live in a beautiful condo alone with my dog. I have never in my life not had someone to shop for or cook for. I miss that sometimes. All of my own children are adults. They are wonderful and supportive but also busy with their own lives. I have visits usually once weekly with my Step daughter. I have known her since she was two ( she’s 12.5 yrs now) and am committed to her being a part of my family. There are lots of positive things in my life and I have the freedom to do what I want when I want but I also grieve at times for my past life. There was of course good in my past life and memories I will always cherish. Emotional detachment and an OW was the deal breaker. I was betrayed, lied to and crushed emotionally. I was forced to make a choice that was extremely difficult. I left someone I still loved. .I never got the I’m sorry I made a mistake. I got denial and avoidance.I’m not perfect- none of us are but I was loyal, faithful and present in our marriage and I deserved the same in return. So do you Maree and all the rest of the Chumps that reach out here.



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