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Dear Chump Lady, I feel guilty for divorcing her

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Dear Chump Lady,

I want to thank you for what you are doing for us betrayed partners. The many other sites I that I have reached out to for help, in the past, encourage the idea of staying with a cheater and they made me feel horrible for instinctively wanting to leave my cheating wife. This resulted in a traumatic seven months of limbo after D-day. The trauma of staying with her to “reconcile”, while she continued to cheat, was worse than D-day itself. This after a year long affair.

I’m lost Ms. Chump Lady. I would love your guidance regarding my plan of rebuilding my life.

Here is my story:

I have been with my wife for 14 years. We have been married for 6 years and we have an 11 year old son. She is 31 and I’m 35. We got together young and I was her first sexual partner. We came from nothing. We put ourselves through college, got our careers in order, moved into our starter home, sold it a few years later, built our big beautiful home with a white picket fence, and got our new cars. Our son has always been a great kid and does great on school. I cooked, cleaned, fixed everything regarding the house and cars. I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or party. I never worked long hours. I loved being a husband so much. We went on two vacations a year, and we always got along great. She was my buddy. My best friend. Our life together was progressing as it should.

I don’t understand why the following happened.

Her affair started in the beginning of 2012 and was a year and a half long. D-day was after a year. However, She continued the affair for 6 months while I thought we were reconciling and even going to counseling.

I caught on to the affair after she locked her smart phone, and became addicted to facebook. She was constantly texting. She was buried in her phone. It was as if she disappeared. She began going in to work early and coming home late. She started going out on Friday and Saturday nights with “girlfriends” and would come home at 3 or 4 am. She would also be gone all day on Sundays to go to the mall to “window shop.” She started working out heavily when she never did before. She started having her hair and nails done at all times and was always staring at herself in the mirror. She seemed so high on life. However, I was no part of it. She even had this weird walk. I cant explain it, but I knew she was cheating.

Her actions were beyond obvious. Every time I would ask her about her behavior, she would blow up and accuse me of being controlling. She gave me the “I need space” and “I love you, but Im not in love with you” speeches.

She told me I was unattractive and just a roommate to her. I didn’t get it. I was somewhat in denial. I started doing everything I could to win her heart back. I just turned the other cheek for our son. My son and I had many many movie nights, or weekend days at the park, while she was gone with “her friends” (Him). Sometimes for three days at a time. What was worse was when she started to cycle up and down. Mainly after D-Day. When I would start to pull away and prepare to leave her, she would switch and be so sweet for about 2 weeks. She would tell me how much she loved me, our family, and house. She would swear that the affair was over. Once things settled, she would treat me like shit again. Back and forth this went for 6 months after D- day. She used to wear a necklace in front of me that her lover gave her. She even had me put it on her. When I found out it was his, she refused to get rid of it. She’s in our family holiday pictures wearing his necklace. It goes on and on.

After D-day, she begged me to stay. I did and we went to counseling. She even made a no contact call to him on speaker phone.

One month later they met back up and screwed on the beach while I watched a movie with our son at home. I stayed up all night like a puppy looking out the window waiting for her to come home.

I learned of the above details because they both confessed “everything” to me a few months ago. He told me everything and she confirmed it all. He confessed to me because he claimed that she had lied to him too and was angry at her.

I stayed for another 5 months after the second D-Day. She treated me horribly while the affair continued. I cried and begged like a weak loser. She would look at me and say “That’s unattractive. If I were to break it up with him, he would not react like that.”

During the affair and limbo, when we were together and she would be on the phone with her mother or anyone else, she would refer to herself as if she was alone, like she was disconnected. It seems so trivial, but it’s as if me and my son disappeared to her. It was excruciating. Chump Lady, please understand that I am not a weak person. I have a very dangerous and demanding career in the legal field. She destroyed my self esteem and turned me into this damaged person.

Her lover was an old high school friend from 15 years ago. They caught back up via facebook. I get the feeling this has been going on, on and off, for years. He lives close by. I have had the same weird gut feeling in the past about her cheating, but then it would go away (before this affair). She is a nurse and has worked at a hospital around doctors, cops, firemen, and so on for years. Sometimes she would act weird for a few weeks but it would stop.

I’m such a fool.

I moved out 3 months ago. I left everything behind. The house, the furniture. I just wanted peace.

When I left, she lost it, and continuously begged and pleaded for me to come home. She called my mother, my therapist, and even had her “ex” lover call me to tell me that it was over between them and I should go back to her. She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family. She made me feel so guilty. I gathered the little strength I had and filed for divorce.

I feel so guilty for doing so. I feel as if I should fix my family. My heart still loves her, but my mind is terrified of her. Why do we become so addicted to these monsters? When I see her or hear her voice I become phobic. As if I was looking over a very deep ledge with a fear of heights.

It wasn’t just the year-long affair that destroyed me. It was the treatment. The fact that it continued in my face after I found out for 6 months. Her poor excuses killed me. She would tell me how she downloaded a new song to her iphone and only liked to hear her songs in her car while she drove around. She would go “drive around” for 5 hours at a time. She later confessed that she would go screw him and not drive around. They never used protection. They had sex just about everywhere. Her car, his car, the beach, even behind some bushes on the side of the road, his house, and so on.

I had to just look away. I never dared to question l her or face her wrath.

She humiliated me. I feel so disgusting. I feel as if somehow this is my fault. She took everything. I feel empty. I sometimes don’t even know who I am.

Any advice and/or words of strength?

Paul

Dear Paul,

Yes. I have words of advice and strength. First — do not feel one bit guilty for divorcing this wing nut. Disordered people (and boy does it sound like she ticks all the boxes) like to operate by FOG — Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. The voice in your head that told you to file and save yourself is your best self, the voice that tells you owe her something (fixing this, coming back, subjecting yourself to more abuse) is your sick self.

You cannot fix this. The game is rigged. This woman is high on cake. She is abusing you. She’s taking your very best qualities — your devotion, your sticktoitiveness, your sense of responsibility — and she’s using them against you. Read Dr. Simon’s books (in the Amazon box) on manipulation. You can only manipulate people who are capable of feeling guilt or shame. In other words, GOOD people. You’re good people. She’s using your good against you, trying to get you to feel responsible for her crazy. That’s the FOG. Go spend some time at this excellent site on personality disorders — outofthefog.net — and especially the list of Top 100 Traits of Personality Disorders. I think you’ll be having some A-ha moments.

You married young and stupid, Paul. Many of us have been there. Look, your pre-frontal cortex, that center of executive decision-making, isn’t even formed until around age 25 (by which point you’d been married 4 years). So cut yourself some slack, it’s not as if you had a bunch of relationships to compare the wing nut too. You’re a good guy, awesome devoted husband material, and your stock is going to trade really high. So don’t let this woman’s abuse make you feel like damaged goods. You’re not — you’re a gem. Don’t forget it.

You’re a person who married young, and perhaps thanks to some of your own issues (go explore that in therapy), you chose a wing nut. A bad picker isn’t fatal. This can be fixed. Look for healthy relationships based on shared values and reciprocity. I get this sense from your letter that your ex has had a flamboyant sense of entitlement for a long time. How many “girl’s nights out” does a working mother need? Or long drives alone to listen to “music”? Or window shopping days? The fact that she could pass these activities off as normal requests tells me you were pretty used to a dynamic of Give Her What She Wants and No One Gets Hurt. You say yourself, you didn’t dare question or would face her wrath. That shit’s not normal, Paul.

Narcissists have this little dynamic that goes: “come here closer…. so I can slap you.”

She doesn’t want you back to work on this. She wants to slap you. That’s why you’re phobic around her. Because your gut knows this bitch is going to slap you. Hopeful you wants an embrace — don’t fall for that. It’s a slap. It’s wearing his necklace and making you put it on her. It’s staying out all night while she fucks him on the beach. She wants to humiliate you, make you dance the pick me polka, make you feed her cake. Then she wants to abuse you with the details of her fucking around. It makes her feel powerful, fought over, and central.

Step away from that crazy, Paul. You filed for divorce — that’s healthy self preservation and you shouldn’t feel one bit guilty. Would you feel guilty if you ran out of a burning building? Oh, but she’s trapped inside! I must save her! 

No Paul, she’s the FUCKING ARSONIST.

Run, run, RUN out of this burning building and do not look back. God speed.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • How serendipitous! I just spent the weekend reading that site!

    Paul, you need to go knurd here. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=knurd) (IMHO Tracy lives there). As soon as your brain begins to detect wisps of pink fog coming to comfort your brain with the illusions you told yourself over the years, you need to shake them off and see it for what it really is: fucked up to high hell. This is traumatic, but part of grieving and getting through this is basing yourself on reality–perhaps for the first time in a long time.

    (((hugs)))

    • Way hey! Terry Pratchett is my Guru (Tracy is my Guru-ess’).

      Paul – girl wants you as her back-up plan. As Tracy says, your stock is going to trade really high – your a GOOD guy. She has no idea how lucky she was to have you, and that’s down to her stupidity. All that you are and all that you gave her; pearls before swine.

      As for her crap; ‘She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family’. OH DEAR GOD! REALLY? REALLY? let’s turn that around a bit. She was in a marriage CONTRACT with you – fidelity was part of that contract, was it not? She broke your CONTRACT. Would she try this guilt trip on an employer who’d caught her with her hand in the till / not showing up for work / moonlighting / lying? Would she say ‘ a real employer wouldn’t sack me for breaking my contract, they’d step up and fix me instead of firing my arse? Of course not. Ignore the entitled guilt trip she’s laying on you – it’s bollox and we all know it. Deep down, you do too!

      Stay strong Paul. x

      • Jayne, no wonder I like you!

        Wouldn’t you agree that Tracy exemplifies knurd? (I’m still in trauma about being knurd myself–it hasn’t made itself comfortable for me there yet–but then that would be going back to sober from knurd…)

        • 😀 Knurd is where it’s at man! There’s something Douglas Adamsey about it too – doesn’t Zaphod Beeblebrox get a hit of stone cold sober at some point? – I know what you mean about keeping on the ‘knurd and narrow’ – struggle with it too myself – god help me – though the magic bullet is definitely NO CONTACT – guess I just keep drinking the coffee, knurding the Tracy and re-reading my man Terry to remind me that humanity is still lovable – despite the barstards! 😀 x

            • yeah – Tracy would definitely get an honourary sniff of approval from Granny – and Granny wouldn’t stand for any of the shite we in Chump Nation have put up with! Heroic indeed! 😀

  • Paul, the longer you’re out of this sick situation the clearer your vision will be. I also felt incredible guilt after my ex left, he laid the blame for the failure of our relationship at my feet. We were also high school sweethearts and were together 36 years. It helps if you can repeat this mantra to yourself: “my wife’s infidelity is not my shame to carry.”

    Leaving this relationship is the healthiest thing to do for you and your son. The trust is broken and can’t be repaired.

    • Paul, your letter tells a horrific tale of emotional abuse. Systematic, full-knowledge abuse, where your abuser actually GETS OFF on making you — watching you — suffer. Chump Lady nailed it when she wrote that your wife equates your humiliation with a feeling of her own power and centrality. She has no concern whatsoever about the pain she puts you through, or her son, for that matter; it’s all about her.

      Having you put her affair partner’s gift around her neck is a particularly sickening act of cruelty. It reminds me of when I used to pick my husband up at the airport when he would return his rental car after a business trip. All the way home, he would tell me about a new “friend” of his whom I had never met. He’d tell me her latest problems, how she and her fiance were moving to Minneapolis, yadda yadda. I would listen, ask follow-up questions.

      Until one day, a little voice inside my brain said, “He talks about this woman a lot. Hmmm.” And I asked my husband if I should be concerned about this woman. He said Oh, no. Not at all. She’s just a friend. About three weeks later, I got a letter from the woman’s fiance, telling me that she was having an affair with my husband.

      That was affair #1. That I knew of. There would be at least one more.

      What must my husband have been feeling when I sat there in the car, driving him home and listening him talk about a woman he was secretly fucking? He must have enjoyed it, because he talked openly with me about her for weeks. That knowledge now creeps me out. It will always be a part of who he is for me.

      There’s betrayal, and then there’s betrayal with deliberate, openly engaged, prolonged cruelty. Yours is the latter, Paul.

      You feel phobic when you see her or hear her voice because the most primitive part of your brain, the part that watches out for your survival, knows that she represents danger to you. And that part of the brain? It writes in ink, not pencil. The kind of ink that doesn’t wash out. That shit is permanent.

      And that’s why, when trust is gone, it never comes all the way back. That small part of your brain will always remember. Even if she has a miraculous turnaround, treats you like gold for decades, that little voice will still be there for you: “Yeah, but she did it before. She could snap again.” And that voice never quite relaxes. It stays vigilant. Because it’s watching out for you.

      You sound like a wonderful husband and father, Paul. You will survive this, once you give yourself distance, time and space from this woman you thought you knew.

      Your wife has put herself on a path of self-destruction. She’s like the drowning person who, when you try to swim up to her to help her, will grab you and shove you under so she can launch herself out of the water for another breath.

      Lifeguards at the beach carry life preservers on long ropes. Just sayin’.

      Keep your focus on yourself and your son. Keep company with us chumps. You’re going to be okay. There’s a better life on the other side of this nightmare you’ve been living.

  • Paul,
    Yes you were young, but that has nothing to do with your wife’s behavior. Hell I was twentyfive and had my shit together. Cheaters cheat in their relationships, careers, and cheat GOD out of their true devotion to him. Turn to your spiritual beliefs and understand there is nothing in scripture that says you must stay with someone who has clearly lied to you, and abandoned you to be with their lover.
    “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.” 1 Corinthians 7:15

    What you are feeling is normal, but seek and lean on the men’s ministry in your church for prayer and strength. You have a son and have devoted much to your marriage. Unfortunately she does not have the same beliefs or desires. Sometimes these type of people will uses your faith to manipulate you.

    I strongly disagree about the age. Maybe now younger marrieds are divorcing but it wasn’t always so. People tended to grow together through life’s experiences, without outside influences. Today our society just has a lot more pitfalls, a more fragile belief systems producing a greater number of damaged individuals.

    You feel guilty because you know the results of her behavior. You cannot save her. Pray for her and move on.

    • IMO, if you marry young it’s a crap shoot. People can argue it’s a crap shoot at any age, but I think the older you get, hopefully you learn to be more discerning. You hardly have a picker as a teen or 20-something. Hopefully, you value yourself and choose well or get lucky and you grow and mature together. My parents met in college and married right after and are going on 50 years.

      If anything, marrying young, IMO is a way to give yourself a break — you were YOUNG. What did you know of wing nuts? You directed a good impulse (commitment) to a bad person undeserving of it.

      • Back in the day young people had a much stronger belief system, sense of duty, honor, etc. Hell more often than not both partners were virgins. My parents married young and to date have been married for 58 years, my grandparents more than sixty. Most people I know back in the day and even in my age group married young and are still married.

        Now we have more free sex, porn, gray areas and ethics based on relativism. I don’t think his age had anything to with it as young people are and can be noble. If he trust her word to be true, they could have wedded at 60 and had the same scenario.

        Paul indicates in his letter to be a man of faith. He is to be the high priest in his family and therefore responsible to GOD for his flock. From that view point I was only offering him scriptures that state he cannot change or be responsible for his wife’s behavior which looks like a total non believer. He has no responsibilities for her actions and should not allow himself to be manipulated. Let her go and live in peace.

        • “Man of faith?” “High priest in his family?” “Responsible to GOD for his flock?” “Scriptural” advice?

          Can we please keep this highly-charged theological jingoism out of the dialog? There are about, um, 17 *billion* religious (mostly Christian) sites dealing with marriage, and about 99.9 percent of them unhelpful or even dangerous. Can’t you post this stuff at one of those other sites? Can’t this *one* space be free of such foggy-headed mumbo jumbo?

          And I say that, FWIW, as a practicing Christian. I wouldn’t want my chemotherapy to be faith-based, either.

          • I’d vote for that. Some of the most manipulative people you will ever meet claim to be devoutly religious. After all, there’s a book to pull quotes out of to use as a means to assert your authority over somebody else, and what’s not to love about that if you are a manipulative person?

            • “I’d vote for that. Some of the most manipulative people you will ever meet claim to be devoutly religious. After all, there’s a book to pull quotes out of to use as a means to assert your authority over somebody else, and what’s not to love about that if you are a manipulative person?”

              Manipulative people use whatever tools they can as you have stated “claim to be devoutly religious.” There is nothing wrong with the book only those that misuse the book.

              Let’s not for get the highly publicized study done by a noted psychologist , that produced evidence that a certain race of women was most unattractive amongst all women. I studied and assisted several psychologist and those in medicine. You can manipulate anything.

              • Hey now…it’s not like jinx used swear words or anything…

                Jinx was using vocabulary that resonated with her for supporting Paul. Can we please remember what the spirit was behind her words, and that we’re in the same boat here.

                Jinx–in the same vein–you may want to remember that scriptural quotes or, for lack of a better term, “Christianese” can be very triggery for people who are in pain. Sadly, spiritual abuse is out there, and when you are in pain, sometimes it’s hard to see the difference between what is meant to be encouraging, and what has been used as a stick to beat you in the past. Thankfully, God has given us the creativity to share His word in many ways.

          • “Can’t this *one* space be free of such foggy-headed mumbo jumbo?

            And I say that, FWIW, as a practicing Christian. I wouldn’t want my chemotherapy to be faith-based, either.”

            Wow did I say something wrong? Why the attack? Heaven forbid, if you don’t believe then just ignore. If you don’t want prayer for your chemo great, but I thought we were all free to choose what works best for you, what ever your mumbo jumbo faith of psychology, preacher or shrink….it’s all good.

            • FWIW, the worst cheater I know is my (thankfully former) father in law. He is a Minister of the Gospel. Presbyterian. Minister and Ph.D. theologian of New Testament studies. Taught in a seminary for nigh on 40 years…. He speaks and reads Aramaic fluently (Jesus’ own language!) and well as similar accomplishments. And, as I learned, after my D-day, a couple years after the other son chumped my SIL for a 4x married whore… a big time cheat, girls, boys, for all I know, goats. Students of his; singers in his choirs. Ick. Power abusing narc.

              Christianity (probably like most religions) ain’t no guarantee of NOTHING. Words, just words.

              If they work for you, great. To Nomar’s point, for me, they are deeply triggering.
              Sanctified bullshit –I don’t mean the posters here, I think they are generally very good willed.

              But, I would never force my non-chump related beliefs on others on this list, be they political (I’m wildly liberal–I like to think!; religious–lifelong yet lapsed Unitarian Universalist, we’re real but non-creedal–nobody tells us what to believe; reproductive rights–zipped lips; pubic transportation–yes!; free lunch in school–yes!.) Anyway I hope I’ve made my point.

              Most of us come here to share stories of struggle through pain, and we help each other through the journey–often with belly laughs, terrific medicine.

              We just don’t need religious flame wars–to me, quoting “scripture” is inviting a flame war. And claiming that a man is king of the family? Nothing like a good old fashioned dose of misogynistic woman-hating patriarchy to cut down on cheating!! So let’s keep that stuff to ourselves. Like, office rules apply.

              Isn’t it enough to say that one’s faith is very helpful, meaningful, has given one strength to get through the clusterF* that cheaters create?

              My $ .02. Thank you very much.

              I will now return to my colander and the FSM ; I don’t believe in that either….

              • FSM? Are you a pastafarian?

                NamedforVera, I’m so sorry–I hate it when I hear shit like that.

                Like CL says, ignore the words, watch the actions. I think that applies to faith as well as marriage.

              • There is a saying something like Pimps = Preachers. Predators come in all flavors; shrinks, physicians, psychologist, psychiatrist and preachers. And while I may not agree with certain behaviors being classified as addictive behaviors or other forms of psychobabble, I would never limit any individual’s right to choose what works.
                Religious beliefs do work for some people just as some physicians rape their patients and others are not cured. Should I then attack those that choose therapist or physicians? or attack the entire medical profession?

                There are quacks in every field and yes I do know of gynos that raped their patients and surgeons who left instruments in patients.

                Sorry to all who were manipulated by their priest, preacher, rabbi, etc.

            • I’m going to stand up for jinx here, because she seems to be getting attacked. I am not Christian, and my ex professes endlessly to be the most Christian guy in town, but that doesn’t mean ALL religious people are that way, and there was nothing in jinx’s reply that proselytized or said anyone had to think the same way she does.

              Some of the best friends I have are very deeply believing Christians.
              The worst person I know, and most of his family, claim to be Christian.
              Fucked-up people come in all stripes.

              I hate to see this wonderful, incredibly healing place come to be a group where members are attacked or ostracized for simply having a viewpoint that is not the same as someone else. Now, if a member attacks someone else, or bitches about CL’s writing, or calls us all responsible for our cheater’s cheating, that’s different. Jinx has done nothing of the sort.

              • I could hug you now Gladit’sover because you said what was in my mind exactly much better than I ever could!

              • Is there something in the air that is making many so offended by someone showing a compassionate side for Paul and giving advise that worked for her??

                Good Lord if you dont like her advice then dont read it! Its quite simple! Same issue with the lady that didnt like swearing… how do you see this as any different? We are here to support; not Ostracize someone.

                Some of you need to take a chill pill and stop thinking that if it doesnt work for you, you have the right to tell someone to stop it. Some of you are getting hostile over stupid shit that you dont need to be. This blog is not all about you, its a community and you need to respect that.

            • I don’t like the religious talk. It means nothing to me other than being an annoyance. So I ignore it, and move onto the next post.

              But I wouldn’t dream of asking for religiosity to be banned here, as it’s not abusive, and not even spammy. Tracy certainly has a right to regulate what gets posted here, but I think the prevailing culture here is secular, and that’s why most of us are here. At such point that religion takes over, I’ll be outta here–it just bores me. It’s not original thought, and it doesn’t apply to me, no matter what religious people like to believe.

              • Jinx, I hope you understand when I said actions speak louder than words, that I don’t think you are shallow in your faith. You always have supportive and encouraging things to say.

                I have re-read Paul’s post, and I don’t see any reference to him being a Christian..am I getting blind in my old age?

                Some of us do post up quotes from books, articles, poems that we find helpful–I think using a Bible can be just as applicable.

                Having said that, I still say that it’s important to choose words wisely, especially on a secular site. I believe Jinx was trying to affirm Paul’s masculinity, which obviously had been fucked over royally, and bloody well SHOULD be affirmed.

                However, we are here with people where the image of a male-dominated household where the man is accountable to God (and although in some Christian circles, this would include being accountable to his family, this is sadly not always the case), implies a form of submission on the rest of the family to the man that has resulted in abusive attitudes or relationships. Jinx, I TOTALLY know that’s not what you mean, but unfortunately, this is a reality in our society. I’m just sayin’–please be careful.

            • I agree with jinx. We should be free to hold unto our beliefs. She only made her comments because Paul indicated he was a Christian. We don’t have to agree with her. A claim of Christianity is not a guarantee that someone will not cheat.. Why? It’s not because God is not real or good but because he does not force his will on anyone. Faith/ God teaches us the right way to live, it is still our choice to make use of the grace available to do the right thing.

              I am proudly a Christian, it’s not part of my life, it’s my life.. I respect every ones choices or beliefs and I don’t have to agree with them to respect or love them.

              For example, CL has never stated anywhere her faith or lack of, but I love her …colorful language and all 🙂 .. And she and the great people that comment on this website has helped & his helping me through the trauma of being chumped more than any website or book I’ve read.

        • Back then was also a time when divorce was less accessible and culturally frowned upon, and women remained in abusive relationships for financial reasons as well.

          I know people who married young and are still happily together, and also people who married young and divorced (my husband being one of them).

          Nowadays, I think too many people have bought into unhealthy views about marriage, sex and romance–if you have to work at marriage, it’s not your “twu wuv”, sex is meaningless, and romance is an emotional roller coaster ride, or else it’s no fun.

          • “Back then was also a time when divorce was less accessible and culturally frowned upon, and women remained in abusive relationships for financial reasons as well.

            I know people who married young and are still happily together, and also people who married young and divorced (my husband being one of them).

            Nowadays, I think too many people have bought into unhealthy views about marriage, sex and romance–if you have to work at marriage, it’s not your “twu wuv”, sex is meaningless, and romance is an emotional roller coaster ride, or else it’s no fun.”

            Back in the day people died for the right to get married. Culturally speaking not all groups of women were not afforded the luxury of being supported or SAHM’s. I’d really like to see the stats on those groups of women as far as staying in abusive relationships.

            I do agree that our views about marriage have changed. The OP seems to have traditional values in regards to marriage….he should not feel guilty for loving someone who did not deserve his devotion.

            • I doubt those stats exist, as I’d be surprised that someone would study that. I was thinking more in line of laws that allowed men to divorce wives if they were not sexually gratified x times per week, or divorce laws that favoured men as proof.

              • It’s easy to make assumptions, but being part of a group who was routinely ignored in the media as a kid, I can certify that large groups of women were not privy to the June Cleaver image of wife. More than likely these women were often portrayed as maids. So I wholeheartedly agree the powers to be weren’t interested in those stats.

                Funny you you should mention sexual gratification as stats are starting to show the divorce states are actually significantly lower amongst practicing believers with more gratification amongst marrieds.

                In any event we often say that women were unhappy and chose to stay in unhappy marriage, so why in this age of sexual freedom and enlightenment are marriages failing at ever increasing rates. Anyone can point to a aberrant couple here and there, but the fact remains people still chose to marry and had longer more successful marriages.

                Regardless people still prefer marriage as oppose to long term relationship. That piece of paper comes in real handy in the event of the breakup of that marriage….unlike a long term relationship.

              • “Regardless people still prefer marriage as oppose to long term relationship. That piece of paper comes in real handy in the event of the breakup of that marriage….unlike a long term relationship.”

                EXCELLENT point, especially if you make kids and/or give up your career to care for a partner. I just had to explain this to a naive, idealistic young person.

              • That said, I’m not getting married again. I’m not making any more babies, and I’m not giving up my career, nor sharing my retirement account contributions with anyone else. I certainly wouldn’t marry a man who didn’t have his own career and savings. I would be interested in a long-term relationship in a year or so.

            • “I’d really like to see the stats on those groups of women as far as staying in abusive relationships.”

              Here, here! My MIL is still married to her h. who is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. I have known them both since I was 16 (I’m now 56).

              My FIL was VERY controlling, insulting, manipulative, dishonest, etc. He has hit his wife on several occasions. Yet, they remain married…for over 65 years.

              Longevity of a relationship–ANY relationship–is NOT *the* ‘barometer’ of a relationship’s ‘health’. Virtually ANYONE can be in a relationship. It is NOT an indicator of an individuals’ maturity or emotional intelligence.

              Having a marriage license doesn’t mean you’re a good partner any more than having a driver’s license means you’re a good driver.

              • There wasn’t a reply button under the part where we were discussing the “piece of paper” for marriage–I just wanted to add that a close friend of mine is a divorce lawyer, and she would choose marriage over living together for her child if she could, because she believes that your rights are better protected in the long run.

              • Let’s shed a little factual light on this, OK? I would be happy to provide citations to the considerable scholarly literature if anyone is interested….or having a hard time sleeping….

                The actual demographics on marriage show a long term decline in numbers of children, beginning in the 1760’s, in the continental US, concomitant with a rise in the age at first marriage (an early form of birth control basically). This part of what is known, in scholarly terms, as the ‘demographic transition’.

                In the United States, divorce and separation began to show an increase at the end of the US Civil War–whether through divorce (initially rare of course, legally) or simply mutual separation, or most commonly, abandonment. (Men having multiple families was more common than we tend to think, btw.)

                There is a significant “blip” with the post-WWII generation–the Baby Boom (and now the “Echo Boom”) of earlier marriage and larger families. — That’s what a lot of us “remember” of course.– However, if you start looking at trends in family formation beginning 100-200 years back you see the trends very clearly. This is only altered in the largest sense by religiosity in terms of membership in outlying groups like Hutterites (highest recorded fertility on record); Mennonites, Amish, or I suppose presently the so-called Quiverfull movement, or the like. Yes, Catholic families tended on average to be somewhat larger, but this has changed dramatically since the post war generation as 98% of Catholic couples are recorded as saying they practice some form of birth control…contra the hierarchy.

                Economic factors are one of *the most* important dynamics in marriage & family trends, specifically the entry of the majority of mothers into the workforce.

                Otherwise, the factors that are really important in seeing difference are race and social class, and immigration status.

                Phew. Ok I will stop now. But notions of marriage age, marriage duration, etc etc are verifiable by…data. I guess there is some reason I have a Ph.D. with a specialty in Work & Family; even after all these years i still remember this stuff (although I still consider it a chump du jour factor 🙂

                And absolutely none of it takes away the pain, humiliation and stinging regret of having been chumped. Not one bit.

              • “Longevity of a relationship–ANY relationship–is NOT *the* ‘barometer’ of a relationship’s ‘health’. Virtually ANYONE can be in a relationship. It is NOT an indicator of an individuals’ maturity or emotional intelligence.”

                That is so true. My parents have been together for 36 years but I sure as hell wouldn’t want their relationship. Then I look at my alcoholic sis at 12 years together with her abusive husband (started dating at 17) and my brother’s totally messed up 8 year marriage to a very BPD woman(got married at 24). On the other hand I waited until I was 34 to get married after three years of a relationship and found out 6 weeks into my marriage that my husband was a cheating POS and after about another month that he was a sex addict. I packed and left the minute I found out he was cheating. So out of the my family who wins the contest for most successful relationship? I know, clearly we suck at picking our partners. The difference is I did all that personal work to figure my shit out before I got married and had kids. I just didn’t know what the hell a perfect storm narcissist was. I thought “yay!!! I finally found the relationship the rest of my family doesn’t have”.

                Apparently (and I’m sorry I don’t have the source to sight) they just did a new study that showed that those who are younger tend to move in faster and have higher divorce rates then those who wait until they’re older, have their careers established and wait longer to move in together. So I did everything statistically right. Sigh. Honestly I do think it’s a crap shoot no matter what the age.

              • Gypsy, you are so right that the longevity of a relationship is NOT the barometer of a relationship’s health.
                And I love the line about the marriage license/driver’s license!
                Thanks for your post.

          • Many men were stuck with abusive wives,as well.
            I think we can all agree that women a use slightly more than men, according to the most reliable studies.

          • Named for Vera,

            Interesting (and true that it makes no difference regarding pain of chumpiness). I recently read a report that the biggest increment of decline since the 70’s here in Canada is among the lowest 25th percentile income earners, and that perhaps we should encourage marriage on economic reasons-being and remaining married being a means of generating wealth in our social fabric, and therefore stimulating the economy. http://www.imfcanada.org/

            They suggested a media campaign. I suggest adopting the potential uk paradigm of having internet porn and sites like AM already filtered out before they hit your household, unless you the bill-payer call your service provider to have it bypass the filters.

            • You know, I kind of like that idea… Then people who are agreeable could get their free porn and the rest of us could have something tangible to discuss with our SO. None of this now you see it now you don’t crap. Maybe have AM type sites on a separate filter from the porn sites, as many are fine with porn but not with physical cheating. It’s probably some sort of privacy invasion or w/e, but I’m just so sick of the whole dynamic I’d support it.

            • Rally, this is so insightful:

              “Lifeguards at the beach carry life preservers on long ropes. Just sayin’.”

              It brings into focus that, regardless of the person’s intentions or morals or personality, a drowning person is dangerous to the rescuer.

        • I would personally appreciate leaving advice about faith out of the responses.
          It is one thing discuss what helped each of us, including turning towards their faith or spiritual beliefs, but that is very different than including it into the advice part.
          To tell someone else that they have to be “responsible to God”, to “seek and lean on the men’s ministry in your church” and to “pray for her” is putting your own beliefs into advice for someone else.
          I am not judging anyone else but if a writer doesn’t specifically ask for religious advice or mention that they are religious, please can we leave faith out of the ADVICE part?

          • Is asking for prayer or suggesting going to a men’s ministry any different than suggesting reading a therapist book on narcissism, co dependent behavior, or sexual addiction? For me my faith has done more to help me to move on more than any of these other avenues.

            People can and should use whatever works for them faith based or not, Christian or atheist, Jew or Muslim. We all have a choice.

            • I agree, jinx. I read the posts here and take what is helpful and useful from them. If someone finds their faith helpful, and suggests others lean on that, I`m fine with that, even though I`m an atheist myself.

              I`m only concerned when people use religion to back up the Reconciliation Complex, as I believe that is encouraging people to stay in abusive situations, and not consistent with the message here at CL.

              Caring, compassion, and advice that can be helpful – we get all of that here, and I don`t think religion needs to be excluded. (Any more than tasty swearing does!!)

            • Jinx, I am glad that you have found solace in your faith.

              I also LOVE to hear about people who got a black and white moral truth telling from their minister, pastor, or priest. Cheating is wrong and I’m glad when those in religious positions tell it like it is.

              For my 2 cents though I do think there’s a difference between stories on how religion has helped and actually giving religious advice. And yes, there is quite a difference between suggesting a book and suggesting prayer or ministry. Both may be helpful and come from a good place, but one is secular and one is religious. One applies to all and one applies only to a select group of people. And yes, it can be incredibly triggering for some of us.

              Now having said that Jinx I completely respect you and love you and chump nation. I do not take offense at your beliefs. I KNOW you’re coming from a good place 😉 and even though we have very different belief sets, I’m good. I just thought I should add in from another perspective.

        • Cheating has always existed, everywhere. Not now more because the world is more depraved or anything. People divorce more because it is OK to get divorced.

          I come from a VERY catholic country. The amount of 50+ year marriages that I know of is overwhelming. Although it was a well known fact that most of them had a cheating spouse. But people would stick together because divorce was not an option.

          We all have our opinions on religion. But religion has nothing to do with cheating. Please keep it secular.

      • Both my parents and my ex’s parents married at 18 and are still married. We thought we were more mature because we waited until 20 and 21! I believe what hurt us, or me in particular, was not having the chance to grow up and live on my own. However, society at the time expected women to get a degree but look for an ambitious man to marry. The degree was just something to “fall back on” in case your husband left or died. I worked throughout my marriage but there was no question that my husband’s much more lucrative career came first. I had to work around whatever he was doing and poured my passion into raising my kids instead. They filled the void that was left by not being able to connect to a man who was married to his career and ambitions.

        Anyway, I do believe society has changed. I know my parents in particular had very difficult times but they are still together. They even survived infidelity. They honored their vows. I’ve seen their relationship transform. I’d hoped the same for my relationship with my ex, but it wasn’t to be. He wanted to start over. Maybe it was for the best because the trust was absolutely destroyed. Nothing was left to rebuild on.

          • necdotal evidence is an informal account of evidence in the form of an anecdote, or hearsay. The term is usually used in contrast to scientific evidence, especially evidence-based medicine, which are types of formal accounts. Anecdotal evidence is often unscientific because it cannot be investigated using the scientific method. Misuse of anecdotal evidence is a logical fallacy and is sometimes informally referred to as the “person who” fallacy (“I know a person who…”; “I know of a case where…” etc.) The problem with arguing based on anecdotal evidence is that anecdotal evidence is not necessarily typical; only statistical evidence can determine how typical something is.
            When used in advertising or promotion of a product, service, or idea, anecdotal evidence is often called a testimonial. The term is also sometimes used in a legal context to describe certain kinds of testimony. Psychologists have found that people are more likely to remember notable examples than the typical example. This is why casinos usually try to draw attention to someone winning; this tends to make everyone else think that they are much more likely to win than they are.

            http://www.medgadget.com/2006/07/pseudoscience_f_2.html

              • Couldn’t find a curriculum vitae for Kanazawa, but did find this on rationalwiki.

                “Satoshi Kanazawa is an (alleged) evolutionary psychologist

                [2] at the London School of Economics and exactly the kind of researcher who makes evolutionary psychology look bad. So say thirty five leading evolutionary psychologists, at least.

                [3] His chief weapons are causalation, p-value fishing, bad data analysis, bigotry, and surprise. Psychology Today decided to throw standards out the window and gave him a blog, which was ironically named The Scientific Fundamentalist. It later got pulled from the site after he posted some racist drivel dressed up in pseudoscientific language.

                ****

                So, NO, not psychologists at their best. PRETENDERS at their worst. There a lot of so-called “experts” on the web spouting psycho-babble and bio-bunk. Caveat Emptor!

              • Bad psychology? Here’s a good example: Popular belief in the catharsis theory remains strong despite the theory’s dismal record in research findings. According to the catharsis hypothesis, acting aggressively or even viewing aggression is an effective way to reduce anger and aggressive feelings. One likely reason for the continued widespread belief in catharsis is that the mass media continue to endorse the view that expressing anger or aggressive feelings is healthy, constructive, and relaxing, whereas restraining oneself creates internal tension that is unhealthy and bound to lead to an eventual blowup.

                There are literally hundred of experiments which support the contention that catharsis theory (A Freudian notion) is flawed. Excessive or prolonged rumination and venting can prove to be counter productive and even unhealthy.

                ***
                At this link is one such experiment with a pretty decent sized sample:

                http://bama.ua.edu/~sprentic/672%20Bushman%202002.pdf

                Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame?
                Catharsis, Rumination, Distraction, Anger, and Aggressive Responding

                Abstract: “Does distraction or rumination work better to diffuse anger?
                Catharsis theory predicts that rumination works best,but empirical evidence is lacking. In this study,angered participants hit a
                punching bag and thought about the person who had angered
                them (rumination group) or thought about becoming physically
                fit (distraction group). After hitting the punching bag,they
                reported how angry they felt. Next,they were given the chance to
                administer loud blasts of noise to the person who had angered
                them. There also was a no punching bag control group. People in
                the rumination group felt angrier than did people in the distrac-
                tion or control groups. People in the rumination group were also
                most aggressive,followed respectively by people in the distraction
                and control groups. Rumination increased rather than
                decreased anger and aggression. Doing nothing at all was more
                effective than venting anger. These results directly contradict
                catharsis theory”

                ***

            • Also known as anecdata, in plural form (social science joke)…or, Q “what’s the plural of anecdote?”; A: “data”.

              Like I said jokes from the wilds of social science grad school–yes I taught research methods and statistics for a number of years. I will say it was very helpful in analyzing the phone records of Ex & Dr.Hoe. Ha ha.

              Seriously– I think our writer Paul sounds like a great person who really got snookered in the worst possible way by a cheating, lying narc. How awful! Paul, so many of us know how rotten that feels, and how it can so easily cause you to lose your own sense of perspective, your trust in your own judgement, and your belief in yourself as worthy.

              Listen to CL and everyone here: you are worthy; you sound like a great dad and your son is lucky to have you. It’s very hard to pull away from a manipulative person (by definition, really). Trust your gut–keep putting one foot in front of the next. Remember: it’s NOT YOUR FAULT, it’s not fair that it happened to you (and your son). But you can recreate your life without the soul-sucking crazy.

              Sounds like you are on your way.

  • Paul,
    Your story sounds a lot like mine except I found out in the first year of marriage and not the 15th. If I stayed I have a feeling this could all be very similar. You and I need to fight the guilt and know that they are not being genuine. These women will never be completely genuine to you and me, they have used/abused us so much they feel like they are better than us. If we give them an inch they will take a mile. CL has helped me find a great sense of worth and peace when it comes to the excruciating pain that I’ve had to endure over the last 6-8 months of my life. You’re not a bad guy for leaving this woman, you don’t owe her anything.
    If you’re going to feel guilty, feel guilty for the times you want her back. The times you think that you should stay and for giving her an inch of your thoughts. Feel guilty because she doesn’t deserve it and you’re better than the shitstorm she’s been dropping on your family. You and your son deserve better.
    Best wishes, Paul.

  • I read Paul’s letter & my immediate thought, was why would anyone want to stay with that woman? However, I then thought that if I’d written my letter 11 years ago, everyone would be thinking why does her Ladyship want to stay with that arsehole and I did try!

    When you are in the situation, fire fighting, thinking of your children, going to work & trying to keep it all “normal”, it is so easy to lose your mind a little bit and consider that staying with someone who has treated you so badly – might actually be the right / best thing to do.

    Paul stand back & re-read your own letter as if it were about someone else’s life. What would you say to yourself? You know that you’d say exactly what CL said to you. Clear out, close the doors, wave goodbye and move on. She is behaving like a spoilt bitch of the worst kind.

    You have your son, so you will have to be in touch with this woman for a few years yet – but please just make it about your son. As far as a relationship with her is concerned, she has blown every chance you ever gave her of making that a realistic prospect.

    Stay strong, look out to the horizon and know that there are better things on it for you.

  • Paul: This line says all you need to know: “She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family.” YOU DID NOT BREAK THE FAMILY, SHE DID. It sounds like she wants you to take full responsibility for the fix and her misdeeds. How delusional that she feels the right to slap you in the face, while trying to bring you back into her orbit.
    You made the right and healthy decision to divorce. Proceed for you and your son.

  • When I left, she lost it, and continuously begged and pleaded for me to come home. She called my mother, my therapist, and even had her “ex” lover call me to tell me that it was over between them and I should go back to her. She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family. She made me feel so guilty. I gathered the little strength I had and filed for divorce.

    Wow, just wow! Nothing says, “I’m so sorry. What I did was wrong, and there’s no excuse at all for it” like further emasculating you and hinting you’re not a “real man” if you don’t do what she wants.

    I swear, I’ve been down this road myself, and I didn’t have the excuse of marrying young, so don’t beat yourself up to much.

    The way these folks work is that they slowly chip away at your healthy boundaries with little tests. It can be years before they really let their full freak-flag fly (which is what that bold statement indicates.

    Little by little, she worked at manipulating you. The tests start out small and escalate. That’s what you need to be aware of in the future. It’s OK to have differences of opinion and to compromise, but you (and me) need to be a lot better about recognizing false equivalencies: “I agreed to go to that restaurant with you that you wanted to go to, so you have to cave on anything whenever I pout”. Manipulative people are experts and documenting every time you got to do anything (and I do mean anything) you wanted to do while you were with them, and when you don’t do or don’t want to do something they want, they escalate emotional abuse and manipulation. Watch out for that in the future. Don’t compromise healthy boundaries and communication skills just because somebody pouts or stomps their feet, or you’ll be headed down the same path. More importantly, learn to recognize real compromise.

    So… you’re 35. Good deal. You have a lot of time for starting over most likely. Hey, I’m 50 now, and all I can tell you is that life is so much better without that kind of dysfunction that I don’t even understand why it took so much and so long for me to escape that cycle, but… it was hard. It was hard right down to the day the divorce was final and we split up furniture, and it was hard because I cared, but I cared about what I wanted our marriage to be and what I hoped she could be, and it took a lot of humility, honesty (with myself), and strength to admit she was who she was, and there’s no changing that.

    Good luck. Freedom is great. You might have a little Stockholm Syndrome thing going right now, but once you minimize contact and start rebuilding your independent sense of self, you’ll stop second guessing this.

    • PS. I should add that bit about you just being a “roommate” is classic cheaterspeak.

      Chances are she used that out on the affair partner, and it worked on him, so she ‘tested’ it, it worked, and she re-used it on you in a different context (as a weapon to belittle you and an excuse for her bad behavior). Classic manipulative person.

      The bit about having the affair partner call you is a testament to her ability to manipulate men who don’t understand manipulative women. It’s hard for me to even imagine where they get these ideas sometimes 🙂 “Hey, I will call screwbuddy, and I will pout and stomp and cajole and stalk him and… until he calls up my husband and tells him it is over between us.

      Just try to imagine that conversation. Try. I bet it involved trying to get him to commit to her, and if he wouldn’t, then he needed to call you. Why? Because that’s the kind of crap people like this do.

      • This infidelty investigating has led to a whole new field of knowledge about personality disorders for me.
        I really believe that serial or long term infidelity is prime facie evidence of a personality disorder.
        The way these cheaters act and are described fits the criteria in almost every story I read.
        Paul, your wife is a sadistic nightmare. I submit that if someone described his wife to you like you have your wife, you would be horrified of the woman.

    • Stockholm Syndrome, Betrayal Trauma . . . sucking the ME out of me 🙁 . Truly frightening how incapacitating it can be. I WILL claw my way out. I hope you will, too, Paul.

      • also look into trauma bonding, that’s one of the very things that can make you feel addicted to this person and of course besides Stockholm Syndrome, trauma bonding, also check into slot machine syndrome.

      • Yep, it really is a battle to find yourself again and find your purpose. But you can and you will do it. I*m more than two years since booting the asshat and while it’s been a very tough road I’m slowly getting there. And I mean really, really finally feeling like ti’s going to be ok. And it will be. Just keep your eye on the prize, remind yourself of all the horrible things your ex did whenever you start feeling soft about them and KEEP ON CLAWING.

  • I understand as I sit here torn between leaving and staying. My H’s EA with the OW has pretty much ended but he has yet to own up to it or apologies or anything that would make me think there is a chance in hell that what is left of our marriage has a chance. However I know that if I leave I will be put through the same torture and feeling that I abandoned him. I have said it before and I will say it again I wish I had listened to CL when she said leave now. You have gotten yourself out ( she continued to see her AP even while you were trying to reconcile) so I urge you to stay the course. Hang in there and I hope your therapist isn’t trying to get you to reconcile. Mine isn’t

    • You can still leave now. What makes you think that he is telling the truth if he says you “abandoned him”? If the affair has only “pretty much ended,” it’s still going on. So he is involved with the AP “even while you were trying to reconcile.” I had it easy–I wasn’t married to the person who cheated on me, but I still hoped it was all a mistake and we could fix things. I knew months before I caught him that he said things to cause friction in the relationship and to create responses that he could use to justify more distance (gaslighting). I knew when he stopped spending time with me and started talking about his deceased best friend’s married sister (yeah, he started up their “friendship” at the wake) and I knew when he lied and denied after I caught him on Facebook with a page with ONE friend (yep, the married AP) and no posts, which started three days after the wake. And he berates me for “accusing” him of having a facebook affair with her and says that is the unforgivable deal-breaker between us. Here is the truth: I dodged a bullet. If he had moved into my home (which was the plan), I would have moved in someone who would have eventually gone after the ego kibbles that my whole-hearted love and devotion would not have provided because kibbles are not about love–they are about feeding the ego, the giant sucking hole inside these people where a heart and a conscience and decency should be. He is angry at me because even though he essentially ended all contact with me, he still wanted CAKE, in this case, the chance that when he was done with AP or broke or out of options, he could come back to me. I screwed that up by telling the truth. And he can’t bear the truth about himself. So by all means–abandon your H, like you would abandon a sinking ship. He is not a child. He is an adult, presumably, who can take care of himself. If he hasn’t ended the affair, he isn’t going to. He will torture you with the affair or with abandoning him. At least if you leave, you have a chance to get out of the fog and have a wonderful life with someone who is not a lear and a cheat and a torturer.

    • Janet, it sounds like your cheating husband is doing the absolute minimum he thinks he can get away with without pushing you into divorce court. Is that the marriage you want? Oh, does the absolute minimum. Is that the man you want? Oh, he doesn’t give a shit about me, he just wants the easiest life he can get, and I provide that.

      Even if he’s not actively cheating right this minute, is this the marriage you want to be in??? I don’t know if you have kids, but if so, is this the example you want them to grow up with?

      Remember that the idea that YOU would be abandoning HIM is something he cultivates, but it’s just manipulation. He abandoned you and your marriage a long time ago, he has made his choices, he’s shown you very clearly who he is. Is this what you want in your life?

      • Janet: HE abandoned YOU.

        He is lazy and he doesn’t care about you as the beautiful valued person you are. Leave and file, and see if you are worth stepping up for.

        If you aren’t, that’s on HIM, not you. I have had to really struggle with this in IC, that MY CHOICES kept me stuck with disrespect and abuse, because the alternative -facing the truth of ‘I am not worth it’ – carries so much shame.

  • Paul, I’m sorry for your pain. This is not legal advice or anything, but, for custody reasons, you might want to document the times your wife was out of the home and not spending time with your son so she could spend it with OM. Also, if you do leave the home, if you can, you might not want to leave without your son (it’s not clear from your letter if you took your son with you the last time you left). But, again, best to consult your lawyer.

    • Agreed. You really need to lawyer up, Paul. Husbands of cheating wives are really shafted when it comes to custody, as the best they typically get is 50/50 when their XW is a disordered wingnut. Documenting when your STBX takes off for a few days, leaving you with your son, may help you win a more favorable custody situation.

  • Hi Paul, I’m glad you wrote to CL. You have been put through exactly what I was by my narcissistic husband and I am sorry. Kudos to you for taking your scraps of strength and divorcing. The longer you are out of the situation and no contact with her, the better you will feel. It took me a long time to realize that the phobia and sick feeling you describe is your mind/body reacting to the harm that consistently comes from this abuser. While your higher level brain has continued to reason you through this and keep you engaged with her (the kids! the history! my buddy!), your base brain (gut) is just sending the “get the eff away” signals because at that level you KNOW she is so so harmful. Please, please listen to your gut. It’s fighting to keep you out of harm.

    Your wife’s pretense of wanting to make things work is based in the need to control you and to once again win. Once that is accomplished, the downward side of the abuse cycle WILL come.

    “Narcissists have this little dynamic that goes: “come here closer…. so I can slap you.”
    She doesn’t want you back to work on this. She wants to slap you. That’s why you’re phobic around her. Because your gut knows this bitch is going to slap you. Hopeful you wants an embrace — don’t fall for that. It’s a slap.” …I love this so much Chump Lady. You are dead on.

    • “your base brain (gut) is just sending the “get the eff away” signals ”

      This is so true. Listen to your gut, it knows what’s best for you. My gut told me to refuse to see or be around my ex any more and it was the healthiest thing I could have done. It made him really mad, but it’s necessary for your healing. These people don’t understand the harm they’ve inflicted and you can’t heal as long as you’re in their orbit. No contact is the best way to forge a new path for your life.

      My heart goes out to you! You sound like a very good man.

  • Paul, I am sorry that you are in this terrible situation. Your wife’s disgusting behavior makes me want to vomit. She positively drips with contempt for you. She has the arrogance to tell you what it means to be a man when she has absolutely no idea what it means to be a decent woman.

    You were a viewed as a doormat in your marriage. Same thing here. We are not doormats. Time to show it by actions! Time for talk is over!

    It might help to focus on your son. Is this the kind of marriage that you would like for him someday? Would you like a wife like that for your son? If not, you can model the strength of a man who will walk away from abuse, who values himself, and who will do the hard work of repairing himself after terrible damage by another in order to move on to an emotionally healthy life.

    I have a daughter around your son’s age. I don’t want her to ever think that what her daddy did was okay because it is not. It was important to show this by action: divorce and as little contact as humanly possible.

    At first my thoughts were consumed by my cheating spouse. His feelings. His motivations. His internal struggles. Why? Because he had been treated as the most central part of the family all along. I accepted blame that was not mine. The good news? It doesn’t take long before your focus shifts away from cheater to yourself and your child. Focus where it is worthwhile!

    I know this is all excruciating and I am proud of you for taking the important first step of filing for divorce. Marshal all the resources (including Chump Nation) at your disposal and start walking step-by-step into the life that both you and your son deserve. Don’t feel sorry for that vagina – she EARNED these consequences. Don’t protect her from the fitting consequences of her shitty behavior. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE A GOOD MAN LIKE YOU. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY. Stay strong!

    • “At first my thoughts were consumed by my cheating spouse. His feelings. His motivations. His internal struggles. Why? Because he had been treated as the most central part of the family all along. I accepted blame that was not mine. The good news? It doesn’t take long before your focus shifts away from cheater to yourself and your child. Focus where it is worthwhile!”

      “Don’t feel sorry for that vagina – she EARNED these consequences. Don’t protect her from the fitting consequences of her shitty behavior. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE A GOOD MAN LIKE YOU. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY.”

      …. Thank you Jamberry for helping me to understand more why I feel guilty about divorcing my serial cheating emotionally abusive STBEX husband & for telling me that. “He earned those consequences” & deserves no pity from my chumpy heart to be protected from “fitting consequences of his shitty behavior”

      I’m going to print that out on my bathroom mirror! Bravo Jamberry! Thank you!

      • I think this is also important for our kids to see. When I had to tell my daughter I’d called the police on her father (physical assault), her immediate response was to worry about the trouble that would cause for him. It broke my heart that she’d been conditioned to think that way: that we had a responsibility to hide what was happening. I told her that loving people does NOT mean protecting them from the consequences of their own actions!

        • Now that’s a shit sandwich!

          I’m so sorry for you, and especially for your daughter, Psyche! Your X is a real piece of work, and I’m very glad you’re out of that situation.

        • Psyche, I too am very sorry to hear about your situation. I commend you for having the strength to model self-preservation to your daughter. She has been conditioned, yes, but she can be re-conditioned. And you are just the person to help her understand that all actions have consequences. My heart is with you both!

      • Welcome, 13YearChump! You will be able to shed the guilt with time. It takes time to evolve into a more emotionally healthy perspective in which you give yourself full value. Looks like you are getting there! Proud of you!

        • Thank you Jamberry! I am getting healthier by the day & a lot of it I owe to the wonderful advice and insight I get from the wise people here!

    • “At first my thoughts were consumed by my cheating spouse. His feelings. His motivations. His internal struggles. Why? Because he had been treated as the most central part of the family all along. I accepted blame that was not mine. The good news? It doesn’t take long before your focus shifts away from cheater to yourself and your child. Focus where it is worthwhile!”

      ^^^This. XH was the center of our family – even though, towards the end, he was rarely there. EVERYTHING revolved around him: meal times, vacations, even which TV channels we watched. Looking back, the amount of control he exercised for the paltry crumbs he threw us is absolutely ridiculous. When he moved out, he took all that bad energy with him, and we could finally breathe again.

      The focus DOES shift away from the cheater. And low and behold, you get your life back. Yeah! 🙂

  • Oh Paul I am so sorry you are going through this.
    It’s a shit storm we all had to go through…and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are in it.
    I felt for the longest time like I was “pulling the plug” on our marriage and our intact family. Like your disordered wife..my disordered STBXH also tried to blamshift and put the responsibility on me for fixing things…hell…In the beginning I apologized to him for all of my shortcomings as a wife and the closest thing I got as an apology was that he was “sorry but not on his knees sorry” because I didn’t “step up”…see the theme Paul? These people are broken.
    I can only offer this. When I look back now..I shudder to think of the ways I groveled and chased. But I had to forgive myself for that. I did the best I could in a shitty situation with the skills had I had then. I wanted to save my marriage…I deeply loved my husband….and walking away as the hardest, scariest thing I had to do. I also had four children, no formal education..all the same challenges.
    Coming through this shit storm…I am a much different person. I have a much different skill set (and you will too). I can say that there IS AN END TO THIS HELL…AND IT’S A MUCH BETTER PLACE. You just have to take a deep breath and follow your gut…just like what CL says….follow your gut…You feel like shit and you won’t for a little while..you invested yourself in your marriage and you were deceived….but you have to consciously remind yourself that what you are feeling now is temporary..while staying in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who is broken is permanent. Stay strong…its not YOU that’s the problem….keep reminding yourself of that….it’s at the core of getting through this…..

  • Hi Paul,

    Do you know what my first reaction was on reading your letter? YOU ARE AMAZING. I’m blown away. You are a truly amazing, loving, responsible man. Any woman would be lucky to be with you.

    Your wife does not deserve you. She has repeatedly and flamboyantly demonstrated that she does not want you to love her. And she certainly doesn’t want to love you the way you deserve.

    It hurts now, but you will heal. Be kind and gentle to yourself: focus some of that tender love on yourself right now (and your son). You will heal, and I have no doubt you’ll find another love who will appreciate all you are and all you do.

    Big hugs from Chump Nation!

    • I thought the same thing!

      WHAT A freakin’ CATCH you are, Paul!

      Time to come to the surface, buddy! You’re drowning, and she’s holding you under. Come up for a breath!

      You’re on the right track. You must move forward, if not for you, then for your son. He needs you to step away–and take him away–from the crazy. He needs you to role model for him that you don’t let women shit all over you.

      You ARE attractive. You WILL find a good woman who will love you. How good is it going to feel to be with a woman who appreciates you and hugs you and smiles warmly at you?

      Here’s more reading: http://gettinbetter.com/articles.html

  • “She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family.”

    I hope you recognise this as emotional abuse… and then notice that you’ve probably been abused in spadefuls!

    Ugh! What a piece of work.

    BTW, I’ve been on the receiving end of it and stepping away from the trees is the best thing I did. It was the worst agony I’ve ever experienced because the heart takes awhile to catch up with your head. TRUST YOUR GUT.

    You don’t want that manipulative behaviour modelled as acceptable to your kid.

    • Hear hear! Your son needs you to show him what a healthy relationship looks like, especially as he moves forward to his adolescence. Would you be ok with HIS wife saying things like that to him when he’s older?

      Here’s an exercise you might want to try. Get a notebook, and title it “The Book of Lies”. Write down every abusive thing your cheater said about you, your manhood, your relationship.

      When you’re ready, build a bonfire and chuck in all those lies and send ’em back to the fires of hell where they belong.

    • I’m guessing Paul is a “do the right thing” kinda person. Me too. It makes us especially vulnerable to those we are close to that are completely messed up. We just keep trying to do the right thing over and over never realizing that our methods don’t work in the system we’ve invested in.

      Just remember. IT’S THE SYSTEM THAT’S FUCKED, not us.

      It’s like trying to build a house in a cyclone.

      It’s not enough to just walk away ( although bravo to you for filing), you also have to reestablish a system that supports you. Get out of that storm and rebuild your foundation. Surround yourself with people who get your “norm”.

  • Paul:

    You are a great man, it sounds like you were an excellent husband who valued the relationship with your undeserving wife and you most definitely are a great father. Please do not shoulder ANY of the blame for your wife’s affair! This had nothing to do with you and everything to do with her. Nothing you did or didn’t do caused her to have her affair. Something was wrong inside of her! Marriage is not easy. It is hard work sometimes. She choose not to work on it, herself or her family. She is broken.

    I experienced five years of the same mental cruelty as you. Five long years of waiting for him to engage again in our lives. I felt unloved, unimportant and basically invisible. It wasn’t until I finally asked him for a divorce and he left that I began to see what kind of destruction he left in his wake. I felt guilty for quitting. I felt shame and fear. It took roughly six months before I could see clearly that I was waiting for him to morph into the man of my dreams and really even if he could have (which now I now is a complete joke!) so much damage had been done that I know for certain I would never have been happy ever again. What he had done could not be undone. I realize now that I did myself and even him a big favor. And really…….my daughters are happy for me!!! They could see what it was doing to me. I am a better mom to them as a happy mom!

    Trust me on this……YOU are better off moving on!!! So is your son!!!

  • Paul, I’m right there with you. When the reality if our pending separation began to sink in the love- bombing kicked into full swing. The trouble is that kind of love is only surface deep and it only takes disagreeing with the personality- disordered once for the underlying crazy to come out on full rage. You are doing the right thing… For both you and your son.

  • Paul,
    I am/was the female version of you. Do you know why you feel “When I see her or hear her voice I become phobic. As if I was looking over a very deep ledge with a fear of heights.” because you were being abused mentally, emotionally and being gaslighted for years Paul. I went through the same feelings at least for a year, seeing, hearing from him or when I even received just a text and when see that was from him my heart used to beat rapidly, felt imminent danger. She is disordered like my ex, that’s why you are having those feelings. I know going to therapy, being in your field sometimes can come back and bite you in the ass in the future, even with something so irrelevant and we both know that… Its even harder on males, especially to admit and realize you were being abused..She is bad news and to protect yourself you need to get away from her, as much as possible. RUN and don’t look back! If you don’t, you will have a miserable future/life, worst than what you have now. She doesn’t want the marriage or work on it, you are just useful to her, for now, that’s the game.. I know you have a son and you have to be in contact with her somewhat and she will use that too, a lot! Try to get your mother for instance to bring your child for visitations etc for now and try to keep minimal contact with her. The more distance you put the more stronger you will become.
    You didn’t do anything wrong, so don’t feel its your fault. The fault lies with her and her only. The feeling of emptiness you are feeling right now will eventually will fade with time, especially when you are away from her. I know its hard but try start doing things that you like, find some hobby to keep you occupied and do you have a close friend/family member you can confide in? You can always come here and post/vent, there are lot of wisdom here from many good people on this blog, you are not alone Paul. I know its horrible what you are going through, but I promise, once you get away from this abusive woman and you get those divorce papers, you will feel much better! Guys like you are very rare and there are good women out there, who will love to be by your side and cover your back at all times. But first you need to get rid of this woman who is toxic! My best wishes.

      • This is exactly what my therapist told me, PTSD. Even though I haven’t seen or spoken to my ex in person for more than 2.5 years, and our divorce is final over two years, the very thought of seeing him, talking to him, knowing anything about him, makes me incredibly anxious and almost panicky. On the very rare occasions I get a text from him, just seeing “Fucking Liar Sociopath” pop up on my cell phone makes me feel sick.

        My therapist told me this reaction is from PTSD, and I might always have a little bit of anxiety at the thought of contact with ex. She said that was normal though, and a protective mechanism. My ex is evil, a monster. It is normal to be frightened at the thought of contact with evil, and best to avoid it whenever possible.

      • Yes, Lyn, you are correct. PTSD. I hope you are healed from that now. Or at least dramatically improved….

        I hope Paul reads your comment and gets assistance with it. It can be very debilitating!

        One of the things I did for my PTSD was acupuncture. Just 3 sessions & it helped dramatically. I did other things, as well, but I believe the acupuncture was key to my finally getting (mostly) over it.

        Being abused this way is terribly traumatizing to our body’s systems.

        Paul, please get help to get through. Your son will need assistance, as well.
        So glad you found CL! This is an awesome resource. Be sure to read the recommended books, especially the one by Bill Eddy on divorcing these nut cases, as that is the point you are at.

        Forge on, Paul….Forge on, Lyn….Forge on, all!

  • A friend of mine, who was also in a narc/bi-polar relationship, told me that the longer you are around “sick”, you start to become sick too. I realize now that the truth is out, that I covered for him, made excuses for his bad behavior…I was invested in the sick. Once you are free of it, you realize (for better or worse) that you no longer know what a real relationship; based on trust, mutual respect, & dare I say – LOVE(!), is like. I see them in my life, but have never experienced it myself (bad picker that I have). I have been assured it does exist, it is out there. Hoping for all of us chumps that we can find it & experience the true joy of a “real” relationship.
    Paul, keep reading this site, it has been invaluable for me and many others. There is support, advice & a safe place to vent.
    In the spirit of CL I have to say: Fuckityfuck her!

  • Paul,

    I feel your pain and understand it completely. Your letter reminds me of the final days of my 21 year marriage. I also married very young.
    My now Ex Wife gave me the whole I love you like a brother speech along with telling me how good the OM was in bed and that she must be a good actress to have me believe that she had been enjoying sleeping with me for the last five years. Also she stated I never took her anywhere, this was the day after we had just returned from Orlando which had been our sixth overseas holiday in the preceeding 13 months!

    When I told her that I was filing for Divorce she looked as if I had slapped her. She obviously did not think I had the strength to Divorce her.

    I work in the Middle East as a Civilian Contractor with the Coalition Forces. I went back to work and felt very isolated as I did not have any family around me. I did however have some incredible colleagues around me that I thank my lucky stars for each day.

    At first I was absolutely distraught. I could see no future without her, my weight plummeted and friends and family have since told me that they feared I was going to do something stupid. I have told them since that it did cross my mind!

    The one thing that cleared my mind more than anything else was my 21 year old Daughter saying to me “Dad, she is a sociopath, I’ve wanted to tell you for years but knew you would never have believed me”.
    My daughter was backpacking in Australia at the time.
    She now lives in an apartment with me when I am home in the UK and has the run of the place when I am away working. Together my eldest Daughter and I are trying and succeeding in rebuilding our lives from the ground up. We cannot wait for the day when my youngest Daughter whom is 11 later this year can come to live with us.
    My eldest Daughter has told her Mum that she is a Monster and that she no longer wants anything to do with her.

    I am now 9 months out from D-Day and things do become easier. I am 39 years old and I am glad I saw the mask slip last year whilst I am still young enough to build my life again.

    My divorce took 4 months from start to finish. The finances are outstanding and she is playing games with regards to not signing the financial agreement, hiding money in accounts that she hasn’t declared even to her own solicitor.
    I have set myself a deadline for the end of this week. If I haven’t heard from her solicitor with regards to settling the finances I am going to instruct my solicitor to start Court proceedings.

    My advice to you Paul would be to look forward to the future. Plan to do things that you have always wanted to do but couldn’t, even if it is going to be some time before you get to do them.
    If you can put physical distance between yourself and your Wife then do it. Get away from the craziness. It will help to clear your mind.
    It will be hard if you are leaving your Son with her, I agonise about having to leave my youngest with my Ex, but you need to heal yourself.

    I would be lying if I said I no longer think about what happened, however I no longer have the searing, burning chest pain any longer.
    It was this fantastic blog that made me have numerous light bulb moments and made my mind up to get away from it. The future at first seemed daunting but now I am relishing the chance to do things for myself for a change instead of walking around on eggshells making futile efforts to keep the narcissist happy.

    The more I read about the disordered the stronger I feel. Knowledge is power!

    I wish you well on your journey, it is the hardest thing I’ve ever endured but the sunshine is waiting to shine on you if you let it.

    Max

    • All well said, max, particularly that part about the burning, searing pain in the chest. I think I had it more in the stomach but at the time I literally didn’t think I would ever feel good again or really laugh again or even be able to function again. More than 2 years later I still think about what happened far too much (which might have something to do with ex continuing to try to mess with me regularly) but I know I am further away from it and closer to being truly and deeply happy. I laugh all the time, have great friends, old and new, have a strong relationship with my kids, my financial situation is getting better and while I’m currently living in a shithole (for me, at least) it’s all mine, as if everything else in my life. Despite dating on and off I didn’t really have the heart or head for it. Now? I feel like I’m ready to take baby steps towards just having some fun with someone and seeing what happens .

      It’s the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever been through and I sometimes still can’t believe this is my life and that that asshole put me and the kids through this (not just the cheating & divorce but the endless abuse after) but then again, I like who I am now much more than I like the person I was in the last five years of the marriage.

      Paul, you’ll be ok. It’s going to suck for awhile and probably for longer than you think it should … but don’t give up and NEVER go back. You STBX is on par with my asshole of an ex. Maybe we should introduce them so they can destroy each other?

      • Nord,

        The searing sensation that I used to get in my chest was I believe a number of different
        emotions all happening at the same time (shame, anger, regret, jealousy and many others).

        I too thought I would never again feel like smiling or laughing.

        My XW stripped bare the marital home of all our joint posessions and moved 250 miles away
        with my youngest Daughter which on top of me working away and the XW not encouraging her
        to stay in contact via facetime etc makes it very difficult for me to spend quality time
        with my youngest daughter especially during school term time.

        Fortunately in my case I earn a very good salary and have quickly been able to set myself
        and my eldest Daughter up in new accomodation and have been able to furnish it exactly as
        I wanted it.
        The marital home has now been sold which has freed up the mortgage payments I was making
        along with the costs of all associated insurance costs for the property too.

        I too like the person I am becoming. I now realise that I have never really known who I am
        as I was married at such a young age (17).
        What first appeared to be terrifying to me now excites me. I don’t know where I will be in
        five years time, but I do know that it will be on my terms wherever it is.

        Max

    • “Dad, she is a sociopath, I’ve wanted to tell you for years but knew you would never have believed me”.

      Max, after D-Day, I had the same reaction from all 3 of my children, (only the oldest used the word “sociopath”), but they all said they knew from a very young age that something was wrong with and profoundly “missing” in their father. But reading your description makes me shiver. My children have all chosen not to see him anymore, and my ex appears to care very little one way or the other. He sends them a random text or a card a couple times a year and goes on with his life.

      I thank god every day that the mask slipped and we got away.

      • I have seen many people here referring to the “mask slipping”. Before I found this site, I told my mom that I wasn’t sure if he had changed – (truly believe he had a psych break – ER visit & all) or if the mask had slipped. Well, no longer my daily problem, he moved out, & I am in the process of filing. My fear is the misplaced anger at me & what he is capable of…hence the anxiety. Hopefully his wanting to be “respected” will outweigh any benefit of trying to hurt (financially, emotionally) me or our children.

        • …..Hopefully his wanting to be “respected” will outweigh any benefit of trying to hurt (financially, emotionally) me or our children.

          Don’t hold your breath. So many of us chumps still believe that they will do the right thing and not try to destroy us in the divorce. Well, they do. If he disrespected you SO much while married to you, he sure as shit won’t make things easy. Be prepared for the worst.

          All the things my STBXH said he wouldn’t do, yep, he’s doing them.

          He’s not your friend. He doesn’t have your back. He’s, quite honestly, the enemy. Internalize that.

        • My ex wore a perfect mask – I take consolation from the fact that he fooled ALL my friends and family – right up until I found out about his affair. We all believed him to be a man of deep integrity and honour – now, and based on his behaviour since the mask slipped – there’s really nothing I could be sure he wouldn’t stoop to. If he were to ever go into politics I would be morally obliged to my community / nation / the World to form a resistance movement immediately – Smarm should be his middle name!

          Recently, I’ve been thinking about the yin/yang symbol – and figure that guy is black with a white dot – (not white with a black dot, which is the mask he so skillfully portrayed) – going NC and stepping away, gave me the distance to see the true picture. It took an awful lot of ‘black’ behaviour before I stepped away though ….

        • Please, oh Please, precious whodathunk!!! “Respected” is not a concept they are clear on! Their idea of being ‘respected’ is a far cry from real, authentic respect. Yes, he will try to hurt you & the children in any way he can.

          Read William ‘Bill’ Eddy’s books and Dr. Simon’s books. Also, Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi’s blog!!!

          This advice is for our new Chump, Paul, as well…..

          Forge on, all….., Forge On!…..

        • I have to say my ex did give up alimony. He seemed to react best when I played weak, needy and adoring…although I had to experiment with what would work with him (being strong and angry did not work well with my ex at all). He somehow thought he was being heroic…go figure. But never trust him till the paperwork is signed, and never forget to watch him like the snake he is.

          • Kelly – truer words were never spoken. Sadly I shot myself in the foot too many times because I simply couldn’t play the ‘grateful damsel in distress saved by her knight’. I just couldn’t do it! Shudda gone to RADA!!!! But, if you can do it – if you can draw on your acting skills, pretend you’re Nicole Kidman or Judy Dench – go for it! Wise advice! I’m sure it’s probably a strategy in the ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu – betcha! – All down to besting your enemy – and they are the ENEMY!

          • Oh, my eyes have been opened. He does a LOT of talking, but very little walking. I also know that until the ink is dried on the papers, nothing he says is worthy of belief. He wants to come off as a “very successful businessman”, so his image is important to him, as well as his reputation & fortunately for me, his finances. He also wants to be known as a “great father”, & my children’s opinion of him is something he is trying to protect. When my child asked if we were going to be “ok”, I told him (because I knew it would get back to STBX) “your daddy would *never* do anything to hurt us, he will make sure we are okay.” Hope that there’s a sliver of humanity left in his dark soul that will make sure their security is taken care of. I am absolutely prepared for the worst, but hold a slim hope for the “better”. His issues & the escalation of his special kind of crazy are relatively new.
            I’m NC except for finances & the kids.
            He also tried to get me to “hoop jump” – something I’d like to know if others have experienced. I fell for it once, but never again.

            • Not sure how you are defining ‘hoop jumping’ but mine were; 2 years of being told that his 18 month affair, as documented in the phone records, was just a ‘harmless flirtation’ and only 3 months long, so how could I believe he could break his vows like that. Then him moving out because I told him ‘I wouldn’t have him in the trenches with me’ (fair comment, I still believe) then 2 years of him love-bombing and wanting us to be like girlfriend/boyfriend (i.e. he continued to live at his sister’s while ‘seeing me’ at weekends – something of a hoop as I saw it as a big demotion from wife to weekend booty call) then him confessing to sexual affair – but hey, I knew the truth all along, so what was the problem? but still denying the longevity and intensity (eventually fessed up to) then, finally, forcing me to sign over my business to him as a repayment for money ‘loaned’ to me (barely getting from one end of the month to the other trying to live in this house on one salary) and finally leaving me because I wanted to make sure my salary went into my personal account and not my business account before he took the Company off me – which didn’t suit his ‘I want it – I want it now – so why aren’t you jumping, you are such a crap wife/girlfriend/bootycall’ philosophy. I figure them all to be hoops. I figure them all to be the actions of a shithead.

              • My hoops were things like “I want to pick up some things from the house” knowing I was at the gym, me saying – ok, give me 5 minutes (trying to be nice & wanting to be there when he is at the house). I leave to meet him, he’s not there, I say “leaving in 10 minutes if you don’t show” & him telling me “too late, cable guy is coming over”. He texts me that he’s broken a “cheap cotton swab you bought me” off in his ear, intimating I should come over to his apt to help him remove it (insert P/A crap). Didn’t fall for that one. The best was when he needed help getting down the stairs so he could go to his treatment (neuromuscular disease). When I asked specifics, the P/A “never mind, I’ll just ask my brother to get off work to help me”.
                So basically, he wants to see how much I would be willing to do for him. Like I said, fell for it once. Now, I answer questions, stop offering solutions to his made up problems, & let him figure that shit out. He can call his latest gf to help his sorry ass out! He knows better than to even think about the “booty-call” from me, as I can barely look at him, much less touch him!

              • Me neither ANC – didn’t think I could afford it – but might have found a good solicitor who’ll take installments and it’s my birthday in April. I’m still pissed it’s going to cost me to end this shite – especially as his latest declaration is he’s going for bankruptcy in June (fucking 35 years in financial services and he’s got the house in negative equity and on Interest Only, another £100,000 worth of debt – and I haven’t got a single designer handbag or hollywood smile to my name!) – I can sue for costs but it he’s bankrupt well WTF. Tell you what though – If I’m homeless and penniless as a result of marrying this shithead – he’ll be coming down with me!

              • Jayne, do you want me to kick him in the balls? 😉

                BTW, no offense to any of the male chumps here. I am not man hating. Just cheater hating.

              • No reply button under your last post Whodathunk, but:

                ‘He texts me that he’s broken a “cheap cotton swab you bought me” off in his ear’,

                Hahahahahaha 😀 – How did he get it out? Did he tip his head to the other side and get it to drop out the other ear?

                BTW – lovely bit of blameshifting going on there. And my experience has taught me he really will have blamed you for the substandard cotton buds, rather than question whether he should have been digging his ear out with it like a trowel! 😀

              • No reply button under your post Kat but:

                Way hey ‘Bessy’ (best mate) – please, please do! Mind, you’ll have to just kick in that general direction – he’s obviously testicle challenged! 😀

      • Kelly,

        I shudder when I think of what was said in those dying days of the marriage and how I was
        stuck not knowing which way to turn.
        Our eldest Daughter as I said was back packing her way across Western Australia at the
        time we were seperating and her 21st Birthday was approaching. My XW and me discussed and
        decided not to tell our Daughter until after her 21st Birthday so as not to spoil her 21st
        etc. With this in mind my XW waited until I was out of the house and then proceeded to
        send a txt message telling our Daughter that we were divorcing.
        I questioned the XW about it after calming our Daughter down via facetime and the XW said,
        and I shit you not, “I don’t need this, I have enough to worry about thinking about the
        dog”. Truly frightening!!!

        Max

    • Paul,

      One thing I did want to add was something a good friend said to me during the fallout of the seperation phase.
      He could see the desolation I was feeling.
      He said to me “Chin up, chest out, and be the light for your girls”.
      He said that they will gravitate towards the light. I am trying my utmost to be the light and it is working.

      Max

  • You’ll get through this, Paul. I feel the same way most days, guilt because everyone keeps telling me that my husband did this to our family because of PTSD and I’ve left and given up on him in his time of need. The thing is, I know that the relationship was crap even before the affair started. I know that I’ve been miserable for the last ten years and I only now realize that I’ve been trying to paint this wonderful picture of a happy family in my mind, but I’m the only one who was contributing. The honest picture is one of dysfunction and misery. You’ll get through it and so will I because we are the ones with the strong hearts. When you start thinking about getting back together for your son’s sake, think about what a shitty mother she has been. Your son deserves better than that. So do you.

    If it’s any consolation, I wish I could go back to my 14 year old self (the age I was when I started dating my cheating husband) and slap some sense into her. I would have told her to look for someone who was more of a Paul than a Rey(craphead’s name) because she deserved better and so do I.

  • Paul, I was just really struck by her blame shifting on to you for the breakup of the family. Just unbelievable. What a sick, selfish person. Calling your manhood into question? What a horrible, manipulative woman. You can not believe a word this person says anymore.
    You sound like a wonderful person. You deserve so much better. You have been treated like crap and have no reason to feel guilty. She does. Don’t let her dump on you anymore.

  • “Why do we become so addicted to these monsters?” My ex was kind, considerate, sexy and caring for the first years of our relationship. Then he began to change, oh.so.slowly…He beat down my boundaries without my even realizing it. Slowly I became the caregiver, the person who took care of him. And one day the rage appeared, but of course that was because he was broken and he would never hurt me and only I could make him happy. And still, slowly breaking down boundaries. Isolating me from everyone, not by threats but by telling me how bad the people were for me. Us against the world. The addiction is the uncertainty coupled with the highs and lows of being with this person you love. The lows are so low, but the highs are so HIGH – this is the addiction. Studies show our own brains are conditioned for this very thing. As TimeHeals says, Stockholm Syndrome is a thing and it’s a similar thing to what many of us went through.

    “Why do we become so addicted to these monsters?” They use our brain chemistry against us, are master manipulators but they stumble, they cross that ONE boundary we still have, the one that wakes us up to what our lives have become. That’s when we discover the addiction, it’s the hardest part to overcome. They count on it, they have for years. But we are strong, that is what attracted them to us in the first place and this is the time when we find that we still are strong.

    and “I sometimes don’t even know who I really am”. You will get that back, who you really are. It takes a while to remember what it is like to care about yourself as much as you cared about your wife. You will remember how to care for yourself and in so doing you will learn to be your own self without censorship. You will remember that you are not responsible for everything and everyone in your life. That you are not responsible for your wife’s actions, or for her happiness. You will get yourself back as you overcome the addiction. You took the first step off the crazy train, keep taking the steps and eventually you will be on the peace train. Jedi Hugs Paul!

  • Paul,
    Wow, just wow. Your letter leaves me speechless. Am glad the other chumps here can respond intelligently. Right now I’d just like to kick your wife’s ass, plain and simple…but I regress…In addition to everything Chump Nation has said, I’d just like to add that it sounds like you have an excellent case for sole custody of your son based on an unfit mother — tell that Psycho Bitch from Hell that you’ll be more than happy to “man up and fix your family” — by getting her out of it. No reason to “share” custody with a woman who has chosen to become a slut rather than a parent. Fuckity Fuck Her, indeed! Paul, you and your son deserve better, believe it! And keep coming here to Chump Nation. It will help get you through. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Welcome!

    • Props to you Dodged Bullet !- I acknowledged GladItsOver’s response in getting righteously angry. You did it first! Although it may be viewed as childish, or ‘not taking the high road’ – ye Gods, how I secretly yearned for someone to state they’d like to kick my ex’s ass, when the ‘shit hit the fan’. I don’t know really why that would have been more satisfying and pain-easing than hearing ‘oh, that’s dreadful, poor you!’ but it really is! If anyone with a bigger brain can figure it out, please do ……. 🙂

  • Paul, I cannot tell you how much I would like to SLAP your STBX wife across her face so hard her nose would spin around to the back. She is a MONSTER, totally personality disordered. The BEST thing you have ever done for both yourself and your son is divorcing this manipulative, lying, sociopathic whore. You feel guilty because she has mindfucked you, manipulated you, gaslighted you and just generally toyed with you. Don’t feel weak or like this is your fault, because all of the shame, the blame and the sin is on HER. This is what the disordered do. They gaslight and mindfuck us until we have no idea what reality is anymore and we start to blame ourselves because that is exactly what the disordered WANT. Your STBX POS has no intention of taking one drop of blame or responsibility for her actions. She wants YOU to take the blame, and she will distort all reality to do so. She is not unique in this, all of the disordered play this game. Read enough here and you will be reading the same story over and over.

    I haven’t even read CL’s reply to you yet, I just felt so angry reading your story I had to respond immediately. Paul, there are so many single, good, honest, loving women out there who would LOVE to have a man like you. Leave your filthy ex to wallow in her own shit where she belongs. You will start to feel better and better the longer you are away from her and her poisons.

    You have absolutely no reason to feel guilty, she has EVERY reason to feel that way. The fact that she doesn’t and you do is a sign of MINDFUCKERY. Keep reminding yourself that the blame is on HER, and that nothing in reality points to you as the problem in this marriage. Keep on keepin’ on with the divorce, fight to get as much custody of your son as possible, and leave Garbage Woman behind where she belongs.

    • Hear! Hear! GIO!

      I’ve been blessed with a great deal of sympathy and empathy from good friends and family throughout the mindfuck since DDay – but I must say, only one or two people have been righteous enough to say they’d like to give my ex a smack in the face – and, if I’m honest, I really, really, really wanted more people to say ‘He did what??? Hold me and my baseball bat back!’. Of course, I would never have wanted anyone to assault him in reality (not for his sake – I hasten to add) but I secretly wanted that outrage more often than the sad ‘oh poor you’s’. Well done GIO 🙂 FWIW – Paul – I’d also like to slap her face for her too!

      • Lol, what is they say??? That a friend will calm you down when you’re angry but a best friend will skip along side you with a baseball bat singing “someone’s gonna get it!”
        Loyalty is so dead.

        There have been quite a few chumps who’s cheaters have caused me to express the desire towards violence at them. Although I must be working through stuff because I haven’t mentioned kicking anyone in the balls in a while. Paul’s stbx did trigger that reaction as well though. Um, the violence one, not the balls one.

        • A friend will bail you out of jail, a best friend will be beside you in the cell! The only thing that kept me from taking physical action was my kids.
          I get great consolation knowing that I have a phalanx of people willing and able to help me, & he has his dad – who is going to get sick of his crap soon enough. He even told me during one of his “I’m the victim” speeches that he has no one. Wonder why??
          Douche canoes don’t have friends!

  • Oh, I just want to add that my ex told me repeatedly that I was the one who “tore apart our family,” that it was my fault that he “lost his son, his dog and his credit score,” and I was the one to blame TWO YEARS LATER when the bank finally took back the home he was living in because he didn’t bother to pay the mortgage for 2.5 years. I had been gone for two years, but that was still my fault.

    Paul, disordered people all think this way. They really do blame others for their own actions, and they really believe their own shit, too. That is because they are DISORDERED. Walk away from that woman as fast as you can. No, run.

  • Dear Paul.
    I want to give you a big virtual hug and tell you that my heart sank and broke when I read your letter.
    You are not alone, most of us here are people the world will call ” Strong, smart, kind, good” .. Yet we have all gone through similar situations… Sometimes so similar it may seem like our partners were reading and acting from the same playbook!

    Like CL said, RUN, RUN, RUN & NEVER LOOK BACK! Never! She is poison, she will break your heart over again & I am almost certain this is not the first time she had cheated. .. Your gut has always been right,

    You are a good person, you were willing to forgive , you fund all you could to save your marriage but you are also a WISE MAN, because you knew when to leave.
    Guilt comes with the territory of divorcing disordered people because they make you feel guilty; my STBEX HUSBAND cheated on me throughout our 13 year torsion wreck of a marriage, sometimes blatantly to my face like your wife did but when I got the courage to divorce me, he is telling every cat & dog how I tore the family apart, how he will never have filed for divorce, how I’m getting his money , etc.. Of course I feel guilty but THANK GOD FOR THIS Website that always brings me back to my senses!

    You will recover, you will find joy & peace again & I know you will find love again…I’ll marry u in a heartbeat! :)… Seriously though like CL has said, find yourself first, know what usually want, define your boundaries before you go looking again.

    Meanwhile go NO CONTACT with her, Communicate only via email or text regarding your kid & through your lawyers. It is the only way to get her poison and your attachment yo her out of your system.. It worked for me.

    Best wishes Paul!

      • Lol! Chump in the Sand.. I wish I could be an innocent 13 year old again! 🙂
        I’m a 41 year old recovering Chump who was chumped by a serially cheating emotionally abusive husband for 13 years.. Hence the name. Filed for divorce on the 31st of December 2013 & you wonderful people of CHUMP NATION & CL have helped my recovery more than I could have ever imagined!

    • THIS.

      They’ll Never divorce YOU cause they want to Control the Narrative and Force you into STAYING ENSLAVED, and then they Blame you for having the ” Nerve” to FREE yourself…and tell Everybody that YOU were the one who ” Broke the Family”.

      Our ” Family” was Always Broken * in the Retrospectus**Before WE ever Became Involved with Them, Because THEY Were Broken Before we Ever Even KNEW Them.

      • They’ll Never divorce YOU cause they want to Control the Narrative and Force you into STAYING ENSLAVED,

        Manipulative people sure will divorce you. If and only if they find a bigger chump to replace you. Happens all the time.

        They still spin the narrative, and the distortion campaign is pretty typical no matter who divorces whom in these kind of relationships.

  • Feeling your pain, oh god how I am feeling your pain…..
    Please read that blog CL posted.
    Read it and read it again.
    Read those books and others like it.
    Others will say you are obsessed.
    But don’t listen to them.
    I needed and still need to read them over and over again to remind myself
    why I kicked him to the curb and have not seen him in a year and finally went complete NC with him. I hurts, it stings, it burns. But it does get better.
    Don’t know if it will ever completely go away.
    But I am slowly but surely realizing that it was never my fault.
    It is all on him.
    He is disordered and there is no fixing that.
    I, We all deserve better.
    I am learning to be alone.
    I think that is the hardest part.
    Best of luck to you……

    • Being ‘alone’ (if you can call having two dogs being alone) is the easy part for me. The hard part was being married to somebody who lacked common empathy and went around telling people she knew that she thought she was an “Empath”.

      Crazy was hard. Peace is wonderful.

      • “Empath” is code for “Vampire” in narcissism-ese

        It’s sorta like my new FAVORITE bumper sticker….

        “Just because you do yoga doesn’t mean you’re not an asshole.”

        *snort* empath indeed

          • Well I think a couple of people on here have exes who are now marketing themselves as spiritual gurus or life coaches or whatever. I’ve been doing yoga for 14 years now. I am definitely not an expert of any sort. I just keep seeing these people on Facebook who are quoting all of these new agey ideas and talking about love on the earth and yoga in the park etc etc. And I KNOW they’re the biggest jerks I’ve ever met. They would literally drink your blood without a second thought if they could get something out of it. It’s one of the reasons why I really dislike Facebook, the difference between who people really are and their profiles. It’s why my one of my favorite quotes is “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your actions do.” I started down that hippie dippie alternative life exploration a long time ago to figure out my shit and actually make me a better person.

            Uh sorry, that was such a tangent.

            But yeah, great bumper sticker.

            • I was expelled from being a hippy for being too pragmatic. Now some of my favourite people in my life have been hardcore tie-dyed in the wool/ coloured stone carrying/ astral projecting sweethearts but sadly, I just love proper toilets too much and I couldn’t knit yoghurt to save my life! 🙂

              No offence to any/all hippy Chumps – fond teasing is where I’m at! 😀

  • Paul (( hugs)),
    I’ve been a reader of this site for Some time now, taking in all that I’ve read,absorbing it All ,Passively, and healing. But when I read Yours, I Had to register and speak.
    First, I am Soo Sorry for your pain.
    *sigh* First Loves…. They mess Hard with the hearts of us All…even YEARS after it’s Over.
    You married yours and had a beautiful boy. The two of you were together for 8 years before marrying. I want you to think for a little while about perhaps why it took Soo long to marry your best friend and first love. Perhaps Somewhere Deep Down, there was “something” that held you back…that small voice, whispering “Not yet..Something is Not Right.” But then you had your son…and Even Then, it took a bit of time to Marry Her.
    I’m not blaming you ….What I Want you to Do, if you Can is Recall that FEELING, that HESITATION..and REMEMBER it. Next Time you Feel that..Heed It,Please…and RUN.
    Paul, you have an Enormous,Beautiful,STRONG Heart…and You Will Heal..I Know this Because you Made it Through ALL that for Soo Many years, In TACT. I don’t want you to Ever get Hurt Again. These Jerks, Once they Create this Hole in Us, it can Leave a Space for Others who See that ” Fracture” within us to Walk Through…Heal That within you, First…Before you Consider Getting involved with Anyone Romantically, again.
    I Speak as though you’ve Already Divorced her, Because Hopefully you’ll Pull the Plug on That DISORDERED BITCH of Epic Proportions. She is NOT your FRIEND..Not certain after reading your letter if she’s Been Much of a WIFE to you, Truly..and FAR LESS MOTHER to your son—>> You can’t Be These things When you’re NEVER THERE.
    PLEASE try and get custody of your Son. That Chick is DANGEROUSLY TOXIC.

    Please take out a piece of paper, Write down the Words: Guilt, Obligation, Fears, Lies, Betrayal….and then say to yourself, ” THESE are OVER…THEY are not MINE to Carry..GOD, Take them From Me” and Tear them Up and Throw Them in The Garbage, where They Belong.
    Paul, You and your Son are Treasures…Treat Yourselves as Such. As for Your Wife, as much as you Can, FORGET HER. The ” SHE” you thought was, WASN’T..that is HER SIN, Not Yours. You and your Son have NO Place Atoning for HER Bullshit..and it is HER Bullshit. All this I’ve Told you, I’ve gone through Myself…it HURTS. But it Hurts LESS, AWAY from them…and it gets Lesser and Lesser as Time goes on…
    Only 7 more years, and NO More Having to deal with her At ALL for you.
    KEEP BREATHING. Praying for Your Healing, Paul.

    • Thank you for registering and replying to my post. Thank you for your advice. I keep reading it over and over.

      Paul

  • Paul, if only my ex-husband had been HALF the man* you seem to be, I’d still be married… I’ve been exactly on the other side of the (white picket) fence, felt guilty and ashamed, fought to fix what wasn’t mine to fix. It takes time and hindsight (and a lot of CL reading) to internalize that there’s nothing you did to cause this.

    *almost funny though how you were challenged on your manhood, I was challenged on my feminine side – my maternal love should shield our children from divorce and take him back, AP and all…

  • Paul – It was hard for me to read your post because I’ve shared so many of the same experiences. I sort of forgot about my wife’s gift necklace from her boyfriend before I read your post. Brings it all back. Please listen to the good people on this website. We speak the truth and are here to support you. You’re doing the right thing. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you are afraid of her wrath. I was the same way. I found what worked for me was to go as much no contact as possible (since you have a son with her). I have to share my twins in a 50/50 custody arrangement and ONLY communicate with their mother when I absolutely have to. She has major boundary issues and tries to engage me in fights pretty much every chance she gets. I just don’t respond. Don’t engage. Eventually she realizes she doesn’t have that power anymore. You’ll get there too, Paul. All the best to you man.

  • Paul,

    Im so sorry you and your son have to go through this. Its not fair. Its funny how these types can addict you to them like nothing else. If people havent been in a relationship with these types its hard for them to comprehend. Im sure the most debiltating part is that you were with her basically when you started to become an adult and some of the most important years of your life you shared and considered her. You dont know who you are as anult on your own. Its a scary feeling, I know. But your son is such a blessing because if you find it hard to do for yourself, do it for your son.

    Im ten years younger and never went through with the marriage or had a child but I know it was hard to even move in the beginning without all of that. I had no idea what to do with myself. I loved taking care of him and spening time with him, regardless of how bad he treated me. You feel like you need them. But one thing I have learned is that you dont. I still do get very upset about it all but Ive know tat something disappeared: the anxiety. I was a wreck all the time trying to control the situation and walking on eggshells thinking I had an impact on how he treated me. Now, what is there to be anxious about? Sure the sadness is still there, but it was there before.

    Your son deserves a better example of what a woman should be. Not only is she doing this to you, but shes cheating him out of time with his mother as well. Be pissed about that. She is trying to make you responsible for her actions. Thats bullshit. Where is her accountability? She tells you to me a man? Tell her to be a WOMAN and learn some self control and think about others.

    You sound like an amazing guy and you wont have a problem finding a great girl 🙂

  • “I loved being a husband so much.”

    I teared up when I read this. I loved being a wife and I was a good one. Then he took it somewhere else. The house, the cars, the two vacations you had? That belongs to someone else now. That all goes to two individuals who lie, cheat, and spread around.

    I made him file for the divorce. It isn’t because I didn’t want it, boy did I when I found out what he was all about, but I simply was not going to trouble myself with his decisions. I already had too much on my plate and I was content living in the house he abandoned.
    You don’t have that option.

    It sounds like the guilt you feel is the shame we all have when we’re chumped. For me, even now, I still ask myself why I was not enough, even though I cognitively understand the answer: It has nothing to do with me. Yet still, what was it, I wonder, because I could not be any more devoted, compassionate, educated, pretty. Did she have a pedigree, fascinating life, the Holy Grail between her legs?

    You also mentioned, “She took everything.” I too, as many others here, identify with that feeling, the sheer injustice. I’ve been robbed.

    Here is the thing. I don’t know for sure what the future holds. But I do know I have a lot to offer. So do you. She rejected that offer when she fucked another man.

    And speaking of her “man up” comment, call her on the bullshit. As a feminist scholar, that irritates the hell out of me. She needs to “woman up” and take responsibility for her actions. She not only abused you but your son as well; that is, she violated the entire family.

    Just remember, above all, you are good and have a lot of good. Read Proverbs. I think you will find some nuggets there. I am not religious, but it spoke to me.

    • “’I loved being a husband so much.’

      I teared up when I read this. I loved being a wife and I was a good one. ”

      That part hit me too because I felt the same way about being a wife and I loved my husband and our marriage. I was so happy and he blew it all up. But like you, and the other chumps on here, I know I have a lot to offer someone. I don’t know what lies ahead either, but I have hope that my next chapter in my life will be better.

      • I also loved being married, loved being a wife, loved having a husband. I took such good care of him, of our home, of our son. I was so proud of having a long marriage (20 years.) Too bad none of that meant a thing to him. I wish I hadn’t wasted two decades of my life, and my prime years at that, on that cheating freak, but at least now I have the rest of my life to start fresh without the disorder.

        • Ditto – Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m A Chump, Northern Lights and GladIt’sOver. I loved being a wife and I loved being married. I can only make sense of the senseless by recognising he didn’t love the same thing. He didn’t want to be married. He wanted to be divorced. Withing 6 months of being married. I don’t care for their ‘it meant nothing’ whines once reality hits – its bollocks, its disordered thinking, It belongs to them.

    • “I made him file for the divorce. It isn’t because I didn’t want it, boy did I when I found out what he was all about, but I simply was not going to trouble myself with his decisions. I already had too much on my plate and I was content living in the house he abandoned.”

      It’s comforting to know of someone that is in the same exact boat as me in this regard. I would have filed the day after D-Day last year, but I’m letting him do it for that very reason, to not “going to trouble myself with his decisions.” Love that! I too am content with living in the house he left, and because I don’t make enough money yet to refinance, and because he’s still paying half the mortgage, he can deal with it.

  • She had *you* put on the jewelry her lover bought her. This tells you everything you need to know about this person. She *enjoyed* torturing you. She *enjoyed* having that power and secret knowledge over you. This is one seriously messed up lady. This is NOT NORMAL.

    Please, please remember this when she acts all sweet and loving and repentant and hurt. Which she will when she realizes that the Queen Bitch routine is not working anymore. When she tells you that she loves and misses you and that she is sorry, remember this. And understand that she is only sorry that you are out of her clutches. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

    And please, document everything. And get a lawyer ASAP. Something tells me that she is capable of making up all sorts of allegations (like abuse) to get an advantage over you in the divorce.

    • ‘She had *you* put on the jewelry her lover bought her.”

      Yeah, that part seemed particularly awful to me…. Really, really cruel.

      • my ex brought the married/ho-worker – trailer/white trash(literally) in MY spacious home more than once for a quick fuck, when I was out of the country for a month, My master bedroom was being renovated at the time, therefore it was locked and my bed was in a different room in the mean time. From couch to bed everything had been renewed since, But talk about lowest of the low, in MY home, in MY bed, now that’s low and unforgivable!!

  • “No Paul, she’s the FUCKING ARSONIST.”

    Paul, RUN as far and as fast as you can. Before D-Day, my ex enjoyed having BOTH of his AP’s stay in our house (our children and I thought they were co-workers and “family friends.”) One AP painted pictures that she brought as gifts and which I then HUNG ON OUR WALLS.

    After D-Day, my ex changed in front of my eyes from an apparently loving husband to a stone-cold monster with dead eyes. He seemed to enjoy telling me what had been going on for many many years with our “family friends,” and smirked when he told me that he now thought he loved one of them more than me and was going to marry her.

    These people are sick and want to crush your soul. Get out.

    • Kelly wrote: “After D-Day, my ex changed in front of my eyes from an apparently loving husband to a stone-cold monster with dead eyes. He seemed to enjoy telling me what had been going on for many many years with our “family friends,” and smirked when he told me that he now thought he loved one of them more than me and was going to marry her.”

      This, exactly. I was amazed how much he confessed to so quickly, and it seemed like he had a smirk on his face. I was stunned by all of it since I was the last person to believe he would be in an affair. I took it all in quietly, absorbing the horror of it. And, the facts dribbled out over a 3 wk period. The things he did behind my back, he seemed so proud of. One that stands out is when I came home from a weekend out of town and he proudly showed me all this landscaping *he* had done while I was away. He wanted me to be impressed that he was working on projects while I was gone. My gut said, no – this man has never landscaped a thing in his life and I noticed all the brick work was the same as the whore had in her backyard. Gut says to brain – WTbloodyfuckingHell! He was proud of this. (yes, I am tearing it all out!)

      After that, I got nothing but those cold dead eyes and worse treatment. I’ve never been so confused in my life – hurt – angry – disgusted – and, still, I wanted to make the marriage work. This whore wanted my life. She had moved in while I was gone and took over my house. And, he didn’t feel the least bit of regret – just that smirk when he told me. So, I’m slow. Took me a few days to absorb that and get really fucking angry. Did he do me a favor by admitting all this crap (yes, she slept in our bed, etc)?
      I have no clue why he chose to tell me all the details. I think it was to hurt and to make me leave.

      I do get confused about all the talk of NPD and PD, etc. H didn’t seem to be like that altho he fits the profile pretty well. I have a hard time believing somebody can be that cruel without having these disorders….but he was so functioning and loving before he met the whore. It ALL started then. Not one red flag before then. And, looking back, I think it was an exit affair the way he wanted out so quickly and without remorse. I guess there’s no other way to explain it than he is disordered but did he have that before or after he started the A? Just struggling with that as I can’t figure out what I did wrong prior to that and how he could have let a 3rd person ruin our 34 yr marriage so quickly. Yes, I’m still trying to figure this out 5 months after DDay. Will I ever?

      Paul – I hope to meet you someday too when I have fixed myself to be good enough for a guy like you. Godspeed in going completely no contact. It has helped me tremendously.

      • Kelly and she-chump, wow… I got the smirk too. I could see myself bashing his face in with a baseball bat. In the end it was better just to walk away. These nut jobs are not even worth it. Paul and Max both sound like really good men. You deserve better. We all do.

        • I got the smirk too! He was smug the whole time he confessed while I bawled. Later, after reading their emails and seeing that he told her he loved her, I asked him why he would say that to her when he was telling me that he wanted to be with me. He just smiled cruely and said, “Because I can.”

          It was that moment when I knew I was doing the right thing in leaving him. I’ve never met a more evil person in my life. He scared me that day. I keep thinking that he has been abducted by aliens because his lack of emotions or empathy can’t be human. It just can’t.

      • SheChump- I would have sworn my ex was a loving and loyal husband. None of our friends and family could believe the lies and deceit. I went through the “he must have a brain tumor” stage like an idiot.

        But ya know what? He had been cheating on me for many many years, with more than one woman, and I am sure there is even more I don’t know. These affairs are like cockroaches, if you find one there are probably five more you didn’t catch. It isn’t the other woman, it’s HIM. Our exes (or STBX’s) own it completely, and in all probability, that sick fake man was in there all along. Look back now that you know, and you’ll probably be able to piece the signs together, that we’re there even before the mask “slipped”, I know I can now.

        • Kelly – omg – every single one of my sisters thought he had a brain tumor too! That is uncanny. I thought he might be getting some early stage dementia or SOMETHING. I just plugged into Google one day – changes in personality- and somehow, was lucky enough to find Chumplady! Lucky me.
          I started to immediately put my ducks in order.

          However, now that you bring up the possibility of multiple affairs, I’m on a downslide thinking of this. There MUST have been. I think it is good therapy for me to go back through the eras and identify these. New project….but it will help me move on…I’m SURE there were many more. my God..

          Yes, the families are just as shocked at the behaviour as I am, if not more. Well, no, it can’t be more. I’m still so shocked! He so robbed the trust of so many people. COULD he have done this with others?

          • I wish my ex had had a brain tumor. That at least could have been removed or treated. But for a totally disordered personality, unfortunately there is absolutely nothing that can be done for a cure. With the truly personality disordered (my ex was diagnosed as NPD) there is no “normal” person underneath the disorder. The disorder IS their personality.

  • Paul, don’t look back. The guilt you’re feeling is displaced. Don’t take responsibility for something you didn’t cause because you cannot solve it. So many of us here went for the reconciliation bit because we honored our marriage vows and we felt guilty “destroying” the family if we filed for divorce. I think we all know how that ended for the vast majority of us. The cheater continued to cheat and the marriage ended anyway. Just prolonged the agony.

    Unfortunately, you can only live in the present. All those good times together are now a distant memory. Your wife is no longer the wife that she used to be or you thought she was. Long gone. And you know what, Paul? If you take her back, all you’re teaching her is that it’s perfectly all right to cheat since you’re just going to take her back anyway. I see no remorse on her part; just sheer panic now that it’s imminent her life will change in a bad way (loss of family, dual income, status, probably be exposed as a cheater, etc). She wasn’t too concerned when she was having an affair and the impact it had on you and your son. She acted as if you were in the way. You were “tolerated” as long as you didn’t rock the boat and took away her cover story of a stable, loving family and all the goodies that come with that.

    Paul, you are clearly a chump like the rest of us. Only you can put a stop to that. Your son deserves a father he can respect, a father he can emulate. You are that person but first, you have to get rid of the cheater in your life without any ounce of guilt. You did nothing, absolutely nothing wrong. Now go and hold your head up high. You have a young man to raise according to the standards you show him.

  • Kelly and she-chump, wow… I got the smirk too. I could see myself bashing his face in with a baseball bat. In the end it was better just to walk away. These nut jobs are not even worth it. Paul and Max both sound like really good men. You deserve better. We all do.

    • My mantra has been “don’t engage”. He keeps poking me saying the most outrageous things, & gets…nothing. I don’t respond, I take the high road, because no matter what I do, it will be twisted into me being the bad person & him being the victim. So “dignity & grace” will be the way I deal w/ the lying, cheating, dickhead, douche canoe to his face. Here? not so much. Fuckity fuck him!

  • THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!

    I cant believe the amount of support I just received. Im still shattered and have to wind my self up in the morning. However, I’m getting stronger by the day. Im very sorry you all have been through this. The pain is indescribable. I would not with this destruction and betrayal on my worse enemy.

    I keep reading everyones responses over and over. I will used them for strength.

    Thank you

    Paul

  • Hi Paul,

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. It hurts like hell.

    The folks here have said it much better than I ever could, but trust that you are doing the right thing to end this marriage. It’s abusive and nobody should endure the kind of abuse that you AND your son have. Cheaters will stop at nothing to blame you for their shitty choices. Cheaters are weak and manipulative. She’s lost a good person and that is you. She doesn’t deserve your goodness and you deserve so much better.

    I’m almost a year out and I’m gearing up for the count down to my divorce. I still have sad days when I wonder what the hell happened but I know that there was no way I deserved the cheating. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it. He WANTED to cheat and CHOSE to cheat and then, he blamed me for it.

    The one thing you can count on with cheaters is that they are never original.

    It’s not easy but you can do this. There really is better out there for you.

  • Paul,

    Welcome to the best friends you’ll never meet. My STBXW replaced her wedding band with a silver snake ring with diamonds. She said it was from her sister, but I knew that was BS. I left 2 years ago. She still sees him. I have 4 kids. We had a textbook Catholic marriage for over 20 years. Age has nothing to do with any of this. True love is unconditional. Shes an opportunist.

    You did nothing wrong by leaving. You probably saved her life. I know the rage you were dealing with. Its a long expensive road ahead but, you kept your cool. Go no contact except for your son. These people are pure evil. I don’t know what happened to my wife. I did learn that I know so little about the human mind. I live in Delaware if you ever want to get a beer and chat.

  • Dear Paul:
    Welcome to chumpdom! Don’t let it make you feel bad, guilty or shame in any way shape or form. You did nothing wrong. She is a selfish,mean ,cruel and twisted fucktard, end of story. How dare someone hurt, abuse, lie and cheat behind your back and your son’s and then have the audacity to tell you to be a man and fix things? WTF?

    Seriously Paul, do not ever double guess yourself, your gut is 100% Correct. Pack and go and give her nothing or as close to nothing as possible. Take your son and move on. There are plenty of good women out there. Don’t let this horrible experience with one really bad one ruin all women for you. She sucks, that’s it!

    So sorry you have joined the club it is pretty awful at first and you will feel like shit but trust it is a feeling that is temporary because it is. You made a mistake as we all did here, it’s ok. You can’t know what a shithead is until you find out you are with one. You have now found out, you won! You really did. You are young enough to fix yourself and get your life back on track and thank goodness you have a son to worry about as he will help keep you focused on something other than your horrible, uncaring, reckless, toxic, soon to be ex wife. He will make you smile and give you a reason to move forward.

    My advise, get tested for all sexual transmitted diseases, go to therapy and don’t bother trying to reconcile or figure her out. She showed you who she is, you don’t need to dig deeper. Read up on character disorders to help comfort you in understanding these people are just wired to themselves and don’t connect to others as more rational and balanced people do who have the capacity to love. It really is all about them regardless of what they say. They spout bullshit and lies and don’t give two shits about anyone else, actions say it all and so does sneaking around behind your back and wearing a gift from a lover when you are married. That’s so fucked up in and of itself, I have no words.

    Don’t beat yourself up, it’s very hard to face this reality that someone you thought you loved and you thought loved you back would do this to you. No one wants to face that fact but that is the fact and the sooner you face that and realize it really doesn’t have anything to do with you and is not your fault the sooner you will start feeling better. She is stuck with her you are not!

    Do not grovel, do not fall for her bullshit of getting back together and do not give one good bit of yourself to her again. She AIN’T WORTH IT! SHE IS TURD, LEAVE HER IN THE STREET FOR THE GARBAGE MEN TO DISPOSE OF. Keep you dignity and don’t lower yourself. You’ve already elevated yourself by knowing you need to leave her. It’s a big step up for you.

    I wish you strength and the knowledge that you are a good man and father and you will be ok and sooooo much better without her.

    Keep reading here it will help you tremendously as you get your self confidence and strength up again but start by getting divorced.

    Good Luck!

  • Hi Paul,

    I identify with your story in many ways. I can’t add much more to the comments here.

    However, I wanted to just drop a quick line to say get the fuck out of there and fast. I know you did…but stay out! In your head, too. No guilt needed for you. It’s time to build a new life without that horrible bitch.

    The most disturbing part of your story was the necklace from him to her and how she had you put it on. It’s really sick. She’s not character disordered, she has a personality disorder. I’ve worked with these folks in the past and let me tell you they are fucked up beyond repair. Mental health professionals will agree that they are beyond therapy (mostly); and you can find the information on the web easily enough.

    There is no medication and no talk therapy that will alleviate them of their disorder. They have been been the most difficult population to work with for me because they are energy vampires. They literally suck the life out of you if you let them. She’s one of these disordered people.

    I’m sure you have more awful examples of her misery that you didn’t tell us.

    Now, it’s time for self care. Do yourself a big, big favor and stop getting the details of their affair. You have all the information you need and then some. In a perverse way, I wanted these details beyond what I already knew. My friends and CL, pointed out that it’s not only a waste of time, but poisonous. It’s impossible to erase those awful memories of the details of the affair. If you haven’t already, stop seeking that information. I know I told people “oh yes, thank you, I’ve stopped seeking info,” (aka drinking poison) but kept on doing it. I was cringing when I read that part of your letter. Because, I know, in the small hours, I can’t turn that movie off sometimes. Maybe you can, but it doesn’t seem like it.

    It’s not your fault. You didn’t cause it, you cannot change her and there is no cure for PD. She is wretched. So, if there are some things you did that sucked in the marriage, own it and move on. I did. But, I will never take responsibility for infidelity. That’s all on her. I trust that she sucks. And you ought to trust that your STBX sucks, too. Time to gain a life!

    • Yeah, im still sort of wondering of the details. Its just a bad habit.
      I dont talk to her much. Only child care related talk.

      Paul

      • Paul,
        I literally had to retrain my brain to not think of such things. It’s addictive. And, it’s fear based. (Like, I have no idea where I am headed with this new life kind of fear.)

        For me, I have to focus like a laser beam on my new life that I am building. What will those details of her affair add to that new life? Nothing.

        It’s painstaking, but you can do it.

        I’m not to all there yet, but I get better all the time.

  • I am sorry for all your pain. Everyone here as been through it, and would not wish the suffering on our worst enemies.

    Do not feel guilty for filing for divorce. You did all that you could, you honored your commitments. My exH had the affair, but I had to be the one to file (which I thought particularly cruel).

    I have known three men named Paul who were unfaithful. I am glad there is at least one out there who is a great guy! I know from personal experience that it will get better every day. Hang in there, and come visit CL for support.

  • Paul, I was saddened by your letter. Fact is many of us here did ALL the real work in our marriages. That is why we loved it. We are great people. But as time went by I believe most of our marriages became a real struggle, even though us Chumps are extremely capable. It’s like a foundation of playing cards. No matter how good we are at building one it is going to crash down onto us (and our children) because being married to someone who only thinks of themselves is like having someone sabotage daily the very thing you are trying to nurture. A relationship with a narc makes you feel alone. So my advice. Be kind to yourself. Go no contact. Hire a lawyer and draw up a fair settlement as quickly as possible. Be the father your son deserves. Your time spent with him will show you how precious the world is, and is the one great gift from your marriage. Honor that. Honor too the work you put into your marriage. I am a bit older than you but in my neighborhood there is a young father who shared with me that his relationship with his ex (and their subsequent divorce) was “brutal”. Four years out and he has made a beautiful recovery. His house best reflects the work he’s done He’s probably planted five of his ten acres. His daughters spend time with him. He works and some nights he goes out with friends to blow off some steam. One day that will be you. Baby steps. You deserve the best.

  • Paul,
    You are going to live in a fog of confusion for a bit. In the beginning, when she started telling lies, I am sure you had a gut reaction. Over time, you learned to ignore that reaction in order to keep the status quo. But, you and your son deserve better. You just need some time to sort through all of the lies she fed you to keep you stuck. Good relationships are based on mutual respect, and you respected her words. Unfortunately, she did not respect you enough to tell the truth or be loyal. The most important thing I can tell you is that you have to realize the fault does not lie within you. She destroyed your marriage and family. It is a huge in her character–what type of person thinks it is okay to repeatedly lie, cheat and emotionally abuse? I know it is easier to say than to believe, but you will eventually be able to find validation through yourself as you become stronger and all the other people who love you.

    And when you are better, look me up. You sound like a great catch! 🙂

  • I’m hoping your son is with you.

    What really hit me here is how much she abandoned your kid, not just you. Your kid has been home without her there again and again. He’s old enough to figure out that something is wrong. She put her lovers ahead of him, too.

    You tried to stay together for your son’s sake, but I think now you need to try to help him have a good family life with you.

  • Any advice and/or words of strength?

    Well, this was quite a trip down memory lane…

    Having been through a similar mess and come out the other side, I hope I can counsel and encourage you some.

    ‘She told me I was unattractive and just a roommate to her.’
    ‘She would tell me how much she loved me, our family, and house. She would swear that the affair was over.’
    ‘One month later they met back up and screwed on the beach while I watched a movie with our son at home. I stayed up all night like a puppy looking out the window waiting for her to come home.’
    ‘I stayed for another 5 months after the second D-Day. She treated me horribly while the affair continued. I cried and begged like a weak loser. She would look at me and say “That’s unattractive. If I were to break it up with him, he would not react like that.”’
    ‘She told me that if I was a man, I would step up and fix my family.’
    ‘Her poor excuses killed me. She would tell me how she downloaded a new song to her iphone and only liked to hear her songs in her car while she drove around. She would go “drive around” for 5 hours at a time. She later confessed that she would go screw him and not drive around.’

    OK, for God’s sake stop talking to her! It’s always some ridiculous lie or something horrid that may possibly be true. Who talks like this anyway? I’ll tell you, a lying douchebag.

    ‘The trauma of staying with her to “reconcile”, while she continued to cheat, was worse than D-day itself.’
    ‘She humiliated me. I feel so disgusting.’

    Been there. Done that.

    ‘She was my buddy. My best friend. Our life together was progressing as it should.’
    ‘I get the feeling this has been going on, on and off, for years. I have had the same weird gut feeling in the past about her cheating, but then it would go away (before this affair). She is a nurse and has worked at a hospital around doctors, cops, firemen, and so on for years. Sometimes she would act weird for a few weeks but it would stop.’

    That’s a lot of cognitive dissonance.

    ‘I gathered the little strength I had and filed for divorce.’

    It may not feel that way yet, but you’ve started finding the steel within yourself to deal with this mess.

    Likely a big part of the problem you’re having now is that you developed such a habit of discounting the truth of your own experience, and acquiescing in your STBX’s reality distortion field. You got totally accustomed to taking one for the team, eating the shit sandwich for the sake of your “marriage”, even though in your working life you are probably kind of a badass. You know how to deal with tough situations and shitty people, you already have the skills. You just need to take your erstwhile wife out of the special category you’ve allowed her to occupy, and into the bin of people with whom she belongs: the assholes. Then regulate her sorry ass.

    You don’t say what your current interactions with her are like, presumably there’re still some because you have to coordinate at least a little for the sake of your son. Keep those to the minimum. Refuse to engage in relationship talk. If she tried, I’d be saying something like, “No thanks, I’ve heard enough lies from you already” or “What, you thought of something else horrible you want me to know?”.

    Get that divorce done! Keep your eye on the main goals, the health and welfare of yourself and your son. He needs someone to model sanity and responsibility, and it looks like that’s up to you.

    It gets better! I’m about 2 1/2 years out of my mess. It took a major lifestyle downgrade, but I’ve got a peaceful living situation that’s my haven all the time, and half the time for my kids. They get enough time away from their mother to recharge and deal with her as necessary.

    I work, I go exercise, I get in some travelling on my own schedule, without dealing with her BS. I play music, and participated in a Celtic music concert at a local Irish pub last weekend. Life is good!

    Stay the course.

  • Paul,

    OMG our stories align together like it was meant to be, except I wasn’t with my wife for that many years or had a child. Let me tell you, the way you described how you were treated, how long the affair lasted and that fact that you felt like a fool or called a loser or felt like one is exactly how I felt. Luckily, I had no children with my ex-wife. I did the pick me dance for a while. I cried, pleaded, I did everything I could to win her heart back. I went to counseling without her while she was seeing her affair partner which in this case was her married supervisor. Yuck! Let me tell you cheaters show the same signs and use the same lines. As like cheaters go deep in a cave and discuss what they would like to say to their betrayed spouses that would hurt them even more. How fun right?! I ate the shit sandwich for a while. Finally I said, enough is a enough. I told her to be with your great catch of a boyfriend while I do the “go F#$% yourself, and walk away menuever. In your case you have a child which I know is hard to just forget about her and move on. You are stuck with her until that child is 18. You did nothing wrong despite your flaws or whatever you have done. No one deserves to mistreated. She took your manhood and power from you and she realized she could. Now, it is your turn to pick yourself, take your son and get away from that woman (or can I say less then a woman) and that man isn’t a man but a worthless piece of crap, not worth two cents. You did everything you could to save your marriage while both of them screwed you over. You are not a weak man, and if it was legal, I am sure you would of kicked his butt and punted his a$$ to the other side of the moon. Walk away, no matter how hard it is and don’t regret your divorce. She divorced you in her mind a long while ago. You just go t the legal stuff done. I don’t condone divorce, but in this case you did the right thing. Now you will no longer worry if she is cheating on you. Let her be his or another mans problem. The good news is I found a woman that cares about me and also was married and cheated on. I definately see myself with her and possibly more. Trust me, there is a good woman with morals and values other for you. You deserve the best. From man to a man. I got your back and any woman who has been betrayed in the most disgraceful way.

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