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Dear Chump Lady, Should I take back Sparkles the Magnificent Personality-Changing Dry-Drunk Unicorn?

unicorn_cheaterDear Chump Lady,

I am currently in limbo while I get the finances in order and fully decide what I will do. He wants to reconcile but I am leaning toward breaking up because after what he’s done I don’t think I will ever trust and love him the way I want to be able to trust and love a husband.

In the meantime he is being the great guy he used to be and I have my boundaries firmly in place. I keep wondering though if he is genuinely changed (all of his actions are in line with unicorn status) or if he is hoovering. He seems genuine, but I am reminded that he was also every bit as convincing when he was being an asshole for several drunken years.

My question is, how long can the average cheater get by without dropping ANY red flags? I am so picky now I analyze everything he does to make sure I’m not being conned, while healing myself. Suddenly sounds like double work for me, again. What a fucking surprise that is. At least I’m not harboring resentment ๐Ÿ™‚ and besides he does mow the lawn and help with the childcare and housework. Wait, did someone just shout “Hopium!” at me? Anyway, his behavior checks out fine right now but at what point would I really know for sure? Can they fake actual nice for years? I’m already nervous enough about the alcoholism coming back up later on.

I read online that it’s recommended to give the behavior a year to see if it is hoovering. It has been four months so far. It will be about a year from now before I can truly afford to break it off if I decide to. So far I am keeping my emotional connection at friend level because I don’t want to get hurt again. Limbo sucks like we all know.

I am leaning toward getting out because all of his alcoholism and cheating and lying bullshit wasn’t and isn’t my problem and it’s all dealbreakers in my original book anyhow. But then I will sometimes feel like I am better off giving this a try for the children because he was great for many years like he is now and besides who’s to say I won’t pick another seemingly nice guy who will turn into a jerk later. As I am writing this, however, I am angrily wondering if that is my con right there — a shit sandwich for me and another try at this relationship for Sparkles the Magnificent Personality-Changing Dry-Drunk Unicorn. I think part of me would rather risk becoming a bitter old lady who gardens and whose company consists of her children and possible grandchildren, a few friends, a dog, and her principle of eat no shit.

Obviously, I am confused. Any clarity you can impart will be much appreciated.



Dear Hawk,

Well personally, I aspire to grow old (and bitter) gardening. So that’s hardly a terrible fate in my book. Compared with nursingย Sparkles the Magnificent Personality-Changing Dry-Drunk Unicorn through sobriety and monogamy 12-step, I’ll take the hollyhocks any day.

You didn’t give me much to go on with Sparkle’s miraculous 4-month transformation other than he mows the lawn and notices his children. Is he in AA? Therapy? Has he pressured you for reconciliation?

I would think if Sparkles was serious about getting his shit together, he would not pressure you to reconcile with him. His sobriety should be his first focus, not ensuring that you hold his hand through this lest he fail. And it sounds like he has two impulse control problems — booze and fucking around. So he needs 12-step on at least a couple fronts.

Here is what I know about addiction — it’s often a life-long struggle, relapse is common (if not expected), and support is essential. Recovery is a lifestyle for many — weekly meetings, the support of sponsors, avoiding triggers and temptations. It’s not a poof! I’m suddenly a guy who does housework kind of transformation — it’s a slog. A struggle. Replacing shitty coping mechanisms with healthy, not-so-fun ones.

Frankly, I’d expect a guy who is truly in AA recovery, or sex addict recovery (or whatever stop whoring around looks like) to be rather a sullen, self-involved grump, if he’s doing it right. If he’s sparkly and magnificent? Yeah, that shit would give me pause. I would suspect he’s hoovering.

I am always suspicious of cheaters whose self improvement is contingent upon you staying with them. I mean, shouldn’t their lust for self-improvement go beyond you? An indication of a cheater getting it, IMO, is losing the entitlement thinking. Ergo, they’d lose the notion that they’re entitled to a reconciliation, or your continued support. They would accept the consequences of their actions and make amends in tangible ways that are not housework.

What do I mean by tangible ways? A fair, uncontested divorce settlement. A commitment to addiction recovery regardless of your presence in their life. A moral inventory where they own what they’ve done and don’t blameshift any of it to you.

If you really want to stay married to this person, I’d want to see accountability in the form of a generous post-nup so you’d have a ready-to-go divorce in case they fall off the wagon.

Sorry to me does NOT look like you assume all the risk and they’ll try harder at this sobriety, fidelity thingโ€ฆ. maybe.

What’s wrong with just getting on with your life, divorcing the man, and he gets better (or not) on his own time? He can always decide to date you sober again later. But I suspect after some time away from the chaos of living with him, you wouldn’t take him up on it.

Because Hawk, twitchy is no way to live.ย I am so picky now I analyze everything he does to make sure I’m not being conned, while healing myself.ย 

You cannot heal yourself at the same time you’re being hypervigilant that he’s not a screw up. Analyzing everything he does is NOT soothing. It’s trying to control the uncontrollable. It’s a sign that you feel very unsafe in this relationship.

So listen to yourself — you don’t know if he’s genuine, because he’s seemed genuine before at you got played. You spend a lot of time untangling his skein and playing marriage police to assure yourself that you’re NOT being played. In other words, you just don’t trust the guy. And with good reason.

When that trust is gone, IMO, your relationship is dead. Can trust be regained? Theoretically, yes, but it’s that unicorn I write about. It’s a slog. It’s not months, it’s years. It requires you investing heavily in his potential. And he’s already proven himself to be a bad risk.

People aren’t roulette wheels. Ooh! We hit on a good spell! He’s not drinking! Wheel turns. Uh oh, he’s cheating. Wheel turns. Shit, he’s drinking again. Wheel turns. Oh hey, he mowed the lawn!

You don’t want to lay all your money down that you’re going to hit red 7. You get up from the table and go find a more stable source of income than gambling. You surround yourself with reliable, consistent people who demonstrate good character over time. You invest in yourself and put the focus back on your own life. THAT is what healing looks like. You have some agency here. Not everything depends on him and his fragile state of monogamy and sobriety. You have “original deal breakers”? Enforce them. Start controlling you and walk away from what you don’t control — him.

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  • “I think part of me would rather risk becoming a bitter old lady who gardens and whose company consists of her children and possible grandchildren, a few friends, a dog, and her principle of eat no shit.”


    “Whatโ€™s wrong with just getting on with your life, divorcing the man, and he gets better (or not) on his own time? He can always decide to date you sober again later. But I suspect after some time away from the chaos of living with him, you wouldnโ€™t take him up on it.”

    Everything except the bitter.

    “Frankly, Iโ€™d expect a guy who is truly in AA recovery, or sex addict recovery (or whatever stop whoring around looks like) to be rather a sullen, self-involved grump, if heโ€™s doing it right.”

    Listen to CL she is right on the money. Recovery is a life long process and sometimes there are medical issues as a result. Take your time 4 months and even a year is not enough IMHO. When my stbx is sober he looks and acts like a pickle. Who needs that sour puss on top of everything else? His attitude about alcohol and drugs in general stink as he sees nothing wrong with being high while having sex. I’ve got my own issues and sobriety/adultery is one mean b*. Not even interested, I’m looking to a live with peace.

  • I am leaning toward breaking up because after what heโ€™s done I donโ€™t think I will ever trust and love him the way I want to be able to trust and love a husband. Those words rang true to me. After a year and a half of an EA where H said repeatedly “What part of I want a divorce don’t you understand?” (Oh the part where YOU go to a lawyer!) the OW finally dumped him got tired of his sparkly lies to her. that year and a half I prepared myself to leave and only circumstances have me still here. So of course now there there are no ego kibbles from OW he is looking for them from me. I have been emoitionally and even physically distant from him ( come home and read or go on computer, walk the dog) Also for me alcohol is an issue so I know it is only time before he hangs himself with bad behavior and I leave. I love my home and with spring here it is so hard to leave ( and I will have to be the one to leave) we each move at our own pace but from where I sit it isn’t so much if but when. I don’t think I could ever trust him again. Same for you.

  • My only thought is all this second-guessing and questioning sounds a bit exhausting, and …

    Well, speaking only from my own experience as a former spackling expert who did the whole false-recovery thing, the only thing you’ve told us to support your claim for having spotted a genuine unicorn is that he isn’t drinking, is not currently cheating to the best of your knowledge, mows the lawn and helps with “childcare”.

    My guess is that people don’t change that much, at least not that quickly. The lying and the cheating bother me more than anything because there’s a whole mindset that goes along with that usually. It’s pretty uncommon for a cheater who isn’t a full-on sociopath to say something like “My spouse is wonderful, but I just like fucking other people”. That’s almost a unicorn (from Hell) too. Usually there is a long laundry list of real and imagined grievances that the cheater uses to justify their behavior, and that is their personal narrative, and that’s something they keep to themselves. Usually there is a whole internal world they keep secret, and that sucks because there are things extremely relevant to your partnership with them that they pathologically are not transparent about.

    So you don’t trust him? Yeah, why would you? Trust is earned. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and it only takes 5 minutes to destroy it. More importantly, there is something very dysfunctional about the duplicity that was involved. What would have to change so that you actually knew he wasn’t living on narrative himself while pitching another to you? I mean it happened before, right? Do you need to become a mind-reader?

    Good luck with whatever you decide, but I don’t think I could do it.

    • Yes, it has been terribly exhausting because it’s no way to live.

      “More importantly, there is something very dysfunctional about the duplicity that was involved. What would have to change so that you actually knew he wasnโ€™t living on narrative himself while pitching another to you? I mean it happened before, right? Do you need to become a mind-reader?”

      This, exactly. The only mind I need to read is my own, and it is saying get out.

  • If my sister’s experience with an alcoholic (and, in her case, also a gambling addict) husband is any indication, people with serious addictions simply replace one with another when they attempt to stop doing the original addictive thing.

    He quit drinking for a while, yes. But he quickly replaced it with an addiction to online bidding on Beezid. He secretly cashed in part of his 401K to finance his auction addiction. It was trading one fucking nightmare for another.

    • Yep- this is a lesson I learned too late unfortunately.

      Mine went from a long hiatus from a brutal gambling addiction, only to be replaced by the nightmares of strip club addiction and eventually, whore addiction. God only knows what’s next to fill his emptiness…

    • I should have said “SOME people with serious addictions simply replace one with another…”

      No disrespect to you, MichaelD, and others who do the hard work to truly deal with the addiction and become better people. I’m glad your voice is on this site and in this world.

  • I mentioned this in the forums, but I”ll put it out there.

    My issue with RIC is that it is inherently bifurcated. I’m not talking about the “suck it up and forgive” ones, I’m talking about the ones which want you to get down and dirty and real.

    So, the 2 horned-prong is this: authentic, real, intimate communication on one side–because it’s all been lies and image-control.Detachment on the other–because you need to separate your shit piles and avoid shit-bombing each other, as wello as in preparation in case your marriage doesn’t make it.

    So here you go: a 2 horned unicorn.

    I think there are many chumps out here who would like to interpret THAT image.

  • I would seriously recommend Al Anon 12 steps for you. It encourages you to take the focus off him, and put it (and self care) on you.

    After that, it is one day at a time. My H has no intention of changing but is not financially unfair, so I am using this space (and our separation) to heal me. When the time is ready I have every faith that I will know it.

    • Patsy that’s a really good approach. Give yourself time to prepare. I am grateful for the three and half months warning that my ex gave me to play the pick me dance, as excruciating as it was. I joined a church, reached out to friends and family, and got my support system in place during that time. It helped me tremendously once the trigger was actually pulled. Living in that limbo was just hell, though.

      • The counselor my XH and I went to (before he was the XH) told me in no uncertain terms to get my support system into place because I was going to need it. She told me that “while your husband likes to be married, he doesn’t know how to do it. The end of this marriage isn’t a matter of how, but when.” She was right. I started going to something like Al-Anon and started leaning on my friends and family. When the time came, I was fully supported by others. I also started putting some money aside (in my son’s name so it wasn’t part of the marital assets). Get yourself ready Hawk. Take the time you need to prepare YOU for the exit.

        • I agree. Use this ‘peaceful’ time to get your exit strategy set up. Your remarks, to me, sound like you really ARE done, you just need us to reinforce what you already know.

          My first thought was also – get to Al Anon. That is for YOU.

          My ex is an alcoholic, albeit a dry one – I wouldn’t say he’s ‘sober’ – and along with untreated depression and the NPD, he was a very complicated situation for all of us. When he was released from his in patient treatment, his counselor told me that he was in the ‘compliance’ stage of his recovery. I asked him to explain. He said, he will say or do anything to get what he wants. He has not really internalized that he has a problem or taken responsibility for what he needs to do to recover. Compliance = manipulation.

          Don’t waste any more time on this, Hawk. Jump off the cliff. This is your codependency raging. You both need to focus on yourselves and your recovery. Your healthy self is telling you what to do. Don’t deny that voice.

  • I’m not sure if this is relevant to the discussion, but this post somehow reminded me of a chump whom I’ve recently met (2 yrs since DD), and when I simply asked her why she hasn’t left the cheater if she’s still playing marriage police, her response was that she doesn’t want to lose the house (and yes, they live in a huge 1.5M mansion, which by Pennsylvania standards, means success. He (the cheater) makes a good living (obviously), and I got the impression she just isn’t all that interested in working.

    The brief conversation I’ve had with her reminded me of the compromises- sacrifices some of us make in regards to our shitty situations. CL calls them “shit sandwiches.”
    I apologize in advance for being judgmental about this issue, but I’ve noticed in my own view, and almost 10 months post my DD, that I’ve gotten fairly
    annoyed with all of those chumps who’ve stayed with their cheaters. REGARDLESS of their own circumstances.
    I must admit, it is almost impossible for me to find sympathy or RESPECT for that matter, for those who ended up staying.

    With all of my self-esteem issue (created by the infidelities- as in multiple fuck buddies my cheater preferred), something inside of me always had known that staying would always means compromising my own integrity. So I packed up all of my toys, my expensive jewelry and pets, and left the assshole everything, including the house.
    That was several months ago. I didn’t have any financial help from anyone.
    Do I wake up everyday and miss those material posessions? Yes. But I still have no regrets.
    I just really wish that everyone out there who’s in a limbo had realized that staying with a cheater is signing up for an endless supply of doubt, insecurity and resentment. Again, back to shit sandwiches.
    Do I miss the heated seats in the Mercedez I gave back to him? Yes, they were lovely in the cold pennsylvania winters. But that car couldn’t hug me, and the German build engine was probably more reliable than what’s his face…

    (Sorry for all the run on sentences.)

    • “I just really wish that everyone out there whoโ€™s in a limbo had realized that staying with a cheater is signing up for an endless supply of doubt, insecurity and resentment.”

      I just high-fived you.

    • “I must admit, it is almost impossible for me to find sympathy or RESPECT for that matter, for those who ended up staying. ”

      heartbroken, I knew as soon as I realized what was going on with my husband that I could never respect myself if I stay with him, someone who has lied and cheated and turned on me like he did. Regardless of the reasons.

      I have read this blog every day to strengthen myself, to give myself permission to do what I need to do. And I have reached that.

    • Hugs to you heartbroken. Integrity is a pretty damned good companion.
      I wish the two of you every happiness. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I don’t judge those chumps who decide to stay and try to work it out for awhile. Everyone has different life experiences that play into their decision to stay or leave. It is hard to give up your home and your possessions, although I admit I always knew that those things weren’t important in life. (Just ask the people who’s homes have just been blown away by tornadoes!) On the other hand, 36 years of history and shared family with my ex WAS important to me. But anyway, I was a chump that stayed and tried for awhile. My ex is the one that finally pulled the trigger. It was important to me to know I’d done everything I could to keep my family together. In hindsight, I should have done things differently, but I didn’t know then what I know now.

      • I’m sorry, I still judge. Not in that “I’m intellectually superior than you” way, but i always wonder “whats wrong with the chump emotionally?” from my experience, every chump I’ve known suffers from some degree of inadequate self esteem, and or anxiety, sometimes mild grade depression. Those things cannot be hidden well, or maybe I’m just super perceptive. Either way, it’s as I’d like to shake them and say, “my dear, please allow yourself a break from this disordered person, and I promise you, you will be enlightened.”
        But often they don’t listen. My one friend has been spackling for years, it breaks my heart to hear her describe her continuous cyber stalking of OWs from 3,4,5 years ago. She claims to have a “much better marriage” but she has not known the real type of love. I’m afraid she’ll die not knowing it, either.

        • Yes, I agree that by the end of my marriage, after all the gaslighting and lying, I had some pretty serious emotional issues. People usually stay in abusive situations because of low self-esteem. Living with a cheater can do that to you. But I know how it feels to live in limboland and I have compassion for people who temporarily stuck there. Would I now encourage them to leave? Yes. However, I know from experience they have to defeat their powerful addiction to Hopium before they can really give up.

        • Sometimes, they don’t have toys or expensive jewelry…not even to sell or pawn. Sometimes, they have no job and are 3 tears into a fight for their SSD. Sometimes, they have their 2 young grandsons to care for, because their daughters are in and out of jail/rehab/crack houses. Sometimes, they are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and, still reeling from that diagnosis, they find out their husbands of 21+ years are not the “nice guys” everyone thinks they are and that those words, “in sickness and in health” are, for them, more a suggestion than a promise. Sometimes, just when they think they have finally found a way to escape, even carrying all of that…baggage…in addition to their literal baggage, fate dishes out yet another surprise, and they find themselves dealing with another serious health issue; 1st surgery, 2 feet of bowel removed, 2nd, back into hospital with infection 8 days later, emergency colostomy, 3rd, take down of colostomy (thank God) 3 months later. Sometimes, all of these things happen to the same person. I have to say that, through all of this, the only time I was in serious danger of succumbing to issues of inadequate self-esteem, anxiety or depression was those nights when I was carefully cradling the bag over my stoma, so as not to inadvertently touch him and cause some “gross-out” reaction which, in spite of everything he had done up until then, very hurtful. As were the nights I’d awaken to find him texting the bitch as he lay next to me. Do these idiots not know that cell phone screens glow? In hindsight and after almost 5 years of rebuilding and regaining my strength, both physically and emotionally…along with my “just a tad off” sense of humor, I wish the bag had leaked all over his side of the bed. Shit for tat, kinda, sorta…:) In spite of everything that has happened and all he did to tear me down, I’m in a much better place now. I’m alive.

      • It’s hard to judge anyone because our relationships are complicated. Especially as so many of ours were in fairly long term marriages. I never suspected my ex of cheating until dday. At that moment all the little pieces of my life that hadn’t made sense fell into place. My relationship with my ex lacked all things a good marriage should have. I know now my ex had secrets. He was shallow and selfish and that grew bigger every year. He grew more and more concerned about dying and actively pursued recognition (kibbles) from others at work, the community, his hobbies. My ex spent the last two years of our marriage dissipating assets and distancing himself even further from his life. He traveled for work, participated in a sport that took him out of town, and worked crazy hours for most of our marriage. It just never crossed my mind that he would actually cheat on me. Like most of us I grew up in a home where both parents were checked out, one an alcoholic who cheated, and the other a workaholic perfectionist who belittled others. So I married what I knew. At the time I was and still am a woman who “knew my own worth”. I was able to survive by surrounding myself with kindred spirits? A teacher at school, friends, and have always been sure of my gifts and positive. At twenty I knew there were two deal breakers and communicated these to my ex: No drugs and no cheating. Looking back I can see key moments that defined us in our twenty eight years together. Life challenges were difficult for him while I, like most Chumps, just dealt with them. Choices and decisions usually reflected our priorities. His (work, racquetball) and mine (our children, spending time w/family) were a divisive factor. I think some cheaters just never grow up. My ex if a choice ever had to be made always chose what he wanted. And he often seemed to be absent and a little depressed. Hawk, once I was aware of my ex’s involvement with OW I could not ever entertain reconciliation. Maybe it was the many years he put himself first, or all the family celebrations he sabotaged, or the little ways he could never think of me, or the last two where while my children and I were struggling to get over a family tragedy he was off courting his crappy rb partner and dissipating family assets. Tip of the iceberg. My advice. Ditch the bad marriage. When only one is committed to making it work it will never be a success. You deserve better.

    • “Do I miss the heated seats in the Mercedez I gave back to him? Yes, they were lovely in the cold pennsylvania winters. But that car couldnโ€™t hug me, and the German build engine was probably more reliable than whatโ€™s his faceโ€ฆ”

      Wow, heartbroken, you nailed that. Kudos to you, and (((HUGS))).

    • I really wish that people who stay with lying cheaters for financial reasons, or “for the kids” would realize that it is a HUGE gamble.

      Cheaters lie, and liars cheat – they are notoriously unreliable. Counting on them to keep the status qou is not a good idea.

      While the chump is eating shit sandwiches to keep their lifestyle or the family together, the cheater could decide one day to ride off into the sunset with the next OW, or get fired from the high paying job for using porn, drugs, or harassing female coworkers, they could start gambling, or spending all the money on boats, or hiding it in their mother’s name in preparation to leave the chump high and dry.

      In short, why would a chump trust someone who has already been proven untrustworthy to maintain their lifestyle?

      • This is an important point. You simply cannot count on a disordered person to stick with anything, or uphold any responsibility or commitment.

        My ex had a great career, made well over $100K per year, we had a lovely home, he was very active in local business, blah blah blah. Right after Dday, he chose to leave all that behind to follow his “dreams,” and he’s now been unemployed for four years, owes big bucks to IRS, owes even more to me, drives a clunker car, moves from place to place wherever someone is willing to let him stay in their guest room for low/no rent, and has pretty much nothing.

        I would have been really screwed if I had stuck around for financial reasons, or any other reason. I do believe my ex is an extreme case and is nuts, but the point is, you never know what a disordered person might do. It’s risky to make any sort of life plan that relies on a person who by definition is deficient and untrustworthy.

        • (Hi, new here.. amazed by the wisdom of all here, many thanks to you all! I’m learning so much every visit here.)
          On this note of why people choose to try to stay with a cheater – I tried to help him for a while, because I felt that I KNOW he is a much better person than his behavior reflected when he chose another woman to spend time with. That, for so many years after we connected, he was this one very loving, cool, fun, super successful and responsible, amazingly creative person.. then, got drawn into alcohol and coke and some bad-attitude friends, and all went south from there. He got embarrassed to ask me to join him in his negative behavior any longer, so he found a girl who was at the same negative space as he was to go out with him, and he cheated.
          I thought that sticking by him and trying to pull him back up to reality was the right thing to do, as a wife, as his life partner, as his best friend.
          But, in the end, even though my reasons for staying were to help him find himself again (sounds so cheesy).. After living in different cities while keeping up daily communication, he’s recently told me that he has started talking with someone else for the past few weeks and is drinking and doing coke regularly again. I know that it is only a few weeks since they’ve been talking, since I still have access to our joint phone records.

          This whole truth is so sad to me, because I knew him as such a better man than he’s being now, again. But this time, it’s a relief to know what is really going on with his life. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling finished with it for a long time. And now I leave, knowing that I did all that I could to help my supposed best friend and can now move forward. I do sincerely hope that some future woman can help him get back to his amazing self. Or that he can find that place within on his own. Hard to turn your back on someone that you knew to be so beautiful once..

          I’m appreciative of this site so much. Reading about the numerous ways that we all have dealt with such a harsh blow to our lives, helps make me feel stronger in a few different ways. I wish no one else ever had to deal with infidelity, but am grateful for others’ advice and experience!

  • I say fuck him and it’s YOU time.

    I’m divorced. I’m not bitter, but happy and content. I learned that it is IMPOSSIBLE to regain trust in someone who has shown you repeatedly they are not trustworthy. It’s a time suck. And yes, gardening, friends, future grand-children and my dog are infinitely more satisfying to me than laying in bed at night next to vermin that is probably plotting to fuck my best friend if he can get away with it.

    You deserve better than this. I get the impression you almost are in the better-to-stay-with-the devil-you-know camp when you said “whoโ€™s to say I wonโ€™t pick another seemingly nice guy who will turn into a jerk later.” You’re right, you might pick another jerk later, who knows. But this one has already proven he’s a jerk so why waste anymore of your precious time?

    We have limited time on the planet. Make it happy and worth something. You already know what you should do, you just have to make the move to do it. Living your life waiting for the other shoe to drop is no way to live, take if from someone who lived it. Go get ’em Hawk!

    • It’s the “Sunk Costs Bias” at work (devil you know vs the one you can imagine).

      It’s a fact of life that people tend to overestimate the risks of changing what they are doing and underestimate the benefits.

      Which always begs the question, what is your peace of mind worth to you?

  • I could have wrote this myself right now. I’m dealing with my ex wanting to get back together for the sake if our very young son. He wasn’t worried about our son all those nights he was busy working with his whore. He went to therapy and believes he’s better but I’m so leerie of everything and anything he does or says. Plus like you I’m not able to support myself right now. I’m hoping to get a job soon. So much of me wants to just say see ya to him. I find him fake and plain gross at times. He’s niceness is creepy. I don’t see a future with him so I’m waiting out my limbo. These people that cheat think their actions are easily forgotten and their lives can resume right where they left it. I can’t go back to that point in my life. It changed me. I see a totally different person when I look at him plus I’m different.

    • This sums up some of the shit here too. I’m worried about launching my teen. She’s at a big life decision point. I want my energy on her and getting her out, rather than focusing on or really settling for this relationship that really really sucks.

  • Dear Hawk,
    I was tired just reading about your situation. Your life is precious. No, he hasn’t changed.

    What’s with the “childcare”? isn’t that called “parenting”?

    • Yes it is parenting. I’m still coming out of the mindfuck where I used to try to make rational deals with him to spend time with our children instead of running off and doing whatever personal shit he was going to do. After those years I still think of him in terms as showing up and helping out and being a great dad rather than feeling this is a team parenting thing.

      I guess you could say I was trained over the years that I was their parent all of the time and he was when he felt up for it, so I still slip into that old bullshit thinking when I talk about his parenting. I learned not to get too attached to him being a parenting buddy.

  • I agree with most of what you say CL but as a recovering alcoholic with 18 years sober, I rem my first 3-6 months being very happy and a ton of pink clouds because I finally had a small idea of my disease and how to start to recover from it. Now if you ask me about months 1 & 2 well yea I was a pissed off animal that was just starting to accept that I could not control my drinking and having a hard time turning it over to a God of my understanding,, I had a huge hole in my soul that I was trying to fill with Crown Royal et all. But once I accepted that I was sick like the same way a person with cancer was sick it was easy to turn it over and be happy free and enjoy the pink clouds.
    A lot of work goes into it. 3-5 meetings a week a sponser being on the other end of the phone for that 2 am drunk call for help and the list goes on & on.

    I say if the man is working an honest to God program 3-5 meetings a week working the steps has a sponser and has accepted that he is a drunk,,, he should feel that happiness it really does work BUT Hawk should still lawyer up and get her ducks in a row. He is too early in his recovery to grasp the damage he has done to her and until he goes through a really good 5th step and starts to live in step 10-11 & 12 there is a really good chance he will relapse. My feeling is,,,, he prob has a ton of resentment anger & self pity that will DESTROY his ass and lead him right back to the bottle,, he has to get rid of it turn it over and keep moving forward one day at a time. It does not matter if she divorces him or not the most and only important thing to him should be his sobriety.

    So yes you are correct when you tell her to line the ducks I agree 10000 % ,,,but being happy joyess & free AND A RESPONSIBLE HUMAN BEING are a common condition to us drunks,,, once we accept that we are alcoholics and then understand that only a power greater than ourselves can help us if we turned our will over and work a good program.
    Now if they only had a 12 step for NPD ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Good for you that you did the work and got sober and got your life back. That takes so much courage and fortitude. Blessings.

    • It’s spelled SPONSOR, not sponser. I’m surprised auto correct didn’t pick up on it.
      “The god of my understanding” is Ashley Judd/Gwynethpaltrow speak, and it’s pretentious.

      • at work on a really old computer i usually dont worry about the grammer police when i type because it takes the computer a min to catch up with my pecking the letters ,,,,you have a nice day also ๐Ÿ™‚

        • and no its RECOVERY SPEAK but thats ok I dont expect all to understand. It was a hard thing for me to accept also,,,,that I had a huge hole in my soul ,,,,,

          • MichaelD, it’s good to hear that you are able to deal with your addiction and learn to fill that hole yourself. My ex was empty inside too, but he never really made the effort to fill the void himself as you did. He just kept trying to fill it with women and of course the alcohol. Thanks for typing.

        • Unless you’re sarcastic, it’s Grammar, not grammer. Such eye sores, respect the site. CL puts much effort into writing eloquently and with good grammar. Respect her. Or wait until you can spell check.

          • Respect really ? Oh Lizzie you have a very nice day sending you a huge hug from New Jersey ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Lizzie, I don’t understand your anger. Typos and misspelled words are par for the course on an online forum.

          • For the love of God (God of our understanding) — I make typos ALL THE TIME. I just found one. I’m my own bad editor. Please let’s not beat each other up over typos. WordPress doesn’t have an comment edit function. I don’t have that excuse, I can edit my posts.

            • I am a repeat offender when it comes to spelling and grammar and sloppy editing.

              Of is it “offendor”? LOL

          • I think you are being unnecessrily caustic to Micheal. He is graciously sharing his experiences with us and there is just no reason for your comments. This is not an English exam and I don’t think CL holds on misspellings against us. Why the harsh tone?

          • Go find another bridge to hide under and snipe people, you troll!

          • Calm the fuck down, Lizzie. The words you wrote are an eye sore to me. And take your own advice, respect the site.

            • Love all of these! I wanted to respond to Lizzie, and offer my support to Michael D. I didn’t want to step on any toes.

          • Me thinks someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Lizzy, you need to be careful. When you start monitoring everyone’s usage of grammar, you are opening yourself up to much sorrow because Karma will come back and bite you firmly in the arse. You need to take a chill pill darlin’.

          • Grammar is not a proper noun, so there is no need to capitalize it as you did in your sentence above. Perhaps you should learn to edit your writing. Your lack of respect for this site hurts my eyes, but judging from your critical posts, your butt hurts a lot more.

          • Hey Lizzie — Speaking/writing English as a second language, dyslexia and other learning disabilities can make typing and spelling a bit of a bear for some. Let’s try to accept the message without being so hyper-vigilant about the medium, and keep Chump Nation a safe place for the chumped, the poor spellers and the grammatically challenged! Thanks. It sounds like you may be having kind of a hard day, so I hope it gets better.

          • Lizzie, MichaelD is not the same as the guy named Michael (who was skewerd here the other day). Is that what you were thinking?

          • Lizzie; What a CALLUS (haha) reply to someone pouring their heart out. I am surprised anyone so perfect would have any problems at all! We want to hear what MichaelD has to share. I think we are all hurt enough without additional jabs on the site we look to for comfort.

        • I think only perfect people are allowed to correct others here….please be nice ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Not everyone is a good speller. And “the god of my understanding” is a pretty common phrase around AA whether you find it pretentious or not.

        • Wow. Did somebody ring the troll bell? I hope I spelled that correctly. I wouldn’t want to offend.

      • Seriously, Lizzie? You’re going to give him shit about his sobriety? Are you a troll or something? Who cares if it’s “the God of my understanding” or Ganesh or the Easter Bunny — he’s maintained sobriety for 18 years.

        I think that’s more important than the “o” in sponsor.

        • Wow. I picked one hell of a night to post for the first time. Congratulations, MichaelD! My dad was an alcoholic, as were both my exes. My mom was active in Al-Anon and was so strongly affected by her experiences, as well as those of others, that she went back to school and became a drug/alcohol counselor. One of her greatest regrets before her death was that she was unable to help her granddaughter. My daughter has since sought help and is now in her last semester of college and is planning to use her training (and experience) to help others. Did I spell all of that correctly? How about usage? I don’t want to anger the grammar gods or spelling spirits. Lizzie, what can I say but…big stoma salute to you, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Even with my doctorate in English, I get excited and type too fast and make errors. That’s why I never correct people unless I am on the job working with students. But to each her own.

      • MichaelD’s reference to his higher power isn’t pretentious, but your gratuitous grammar and spelling snark sure is.

        Get a life (hopefully one that’s far away from this site).

        PS–MichaelD, you totally rock.

        • THIS…
          I was About to Say.. ” WHO Pissed on HER Dictionary This Morning “..Take that Shit Out on THEM….. AWAY from HERE.
          THIS is a place for HEALING, Not WORTHLESS Criticism..
          You MIGHT Be a Good Speller and know the Laws of Grammar..but your Social Etiquite is Shite.

          • You’ll Notice ” LIZZY ” Didn’t ADD Any ADVICE even RELEVANT or HELPFUL to The Issue / Topic at HAND. Those who got NOTHING Can Only Criticize Those who HAVE Something of Real VALUE to Offer.

            • Yea,,,,,,,, but its ok maybe shes hurting ? IDK I wish him/her well nothing but good vibes to my spelling teacher ๐Ÿ˜‰

              • I repeat: MichaelD, you totally rock.

                That’s what working your program looks like. HOLLA

      • Hey….Lizzie of the grammar police. If anyone is being pretentious it’s you.

        You’re nasty to pounce on a poster who is offering his insight and experience by criticizing benign typos.

        I imagine you live in a cupboard at your local library, and sleep with a dictionary as your pillow. May I suggest you take a holiday, some fresh air and sunshine. I imagine you’re quite pale and in need of vitamin D.

      • Lizzie….Really? I mean Really??
        Out picking shit with the chickens today?
        Ignore her Michael.
        There are some really opinionated people on here that think we really want to know every thought that goes through their heads. I’m sure you’ve met some just like her in AA meetings. I know I have.

      • Lizzie

        The Midol is in the medicine cabinut and next time try putting the tampon in the other hole. (I can say it because I am a woman)

        BTW, cabinet was misspelled for your reading pleasure.

    • Blessings to you MichaelD, and prayers for you on this road. It takes incredible courage.

    • I’m happy that you are having success with your program. I’ve watched a very close relative deal with his addiction and you are right he has to work it daily.It’s been a few years since he admitted his addiction.
      My stbx on the other hand is a different. He thinks it’s ok to get a little drunk or drive buzzed. You are so right he had a hole in his heart that is only meant for God, but now he doesn’t think his issue is that serious.

      I agree totally the first and most important issue to address is his sobriety. You may not even like this new guy when and if he gets there.

    • Michael, I appreciate your comments and insight, it takes courage to survive what you have been through and to share it here. Please don’t stop. We are all here to help and support each other.

    • Good post, and good work, Michael! My 17-year sobriety date is tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

      • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATS God bless !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats just great man thats great !!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Hahahahahaha, after all that grammar policing I managed to spell Grats, Grata, LoL

          • Bad bad Datd !!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ lol.

            And ANR congrats,,, may you always be happy in the sun light of the spirit ๐Ÿ™‚

            Same for all of you, this site works and the people are tough fair and honest & has helped me with my cheating NPD wife I should be thanking all of you guys ๐Ÿ™‚

            • ANR and Michael – well done, I am so proud of you.

              My husband went from a gambling addiction, to an online gaming addiction, to fucking a whore, over a period of ten years. When he went from gambling to online gaming, nearly 24/7, I accepted it and decided it was better than nothing, because at least he was at home and not emptying the family bank accounts.

              I do wish now that I had insisted on more action from him – counselling for his gambling and to understand how he could have deceived and cheated his family – instead of accepting it and deciding it was better. I think our relationship would have turned out better in the long run.

              It really inspires me to see men who have turned themselves around – keep strong – grammar is nothing compared to the honesty and integrity you have demanded from yourselves and the self-respect you have gained. Seriously, I am nearly in tears with pride for you.

  • One more thing he also will have to accept that she might not ever forgive him ever and not let that lead him down the path of relapse. Good luck to you Hawk ๐Ÿ™‚

      • MichaelD is correct, if your husband is doing this for you. My ex went to rehab when I already told him we were divorcing no matter what. He stayed sober for 90 days and came to me with his chip. I congratulated him, even made him a little framed drawing to commemorate it. I also told him we were still getting a divorce. He began drinking again within a few days.

        • Resentment & self pity will do a drunk in every time. Datd that was a very nice thing you did for him with his chip.
          Look its not easy being sober but the rewards are endless.

          I like this saying. My drinking didnt make anyone cry today ๐Ÿ™‚

          JUST MY SPELLLING ๐Ÿ™‚

            • ” Lizzy” was just looking for a Fight..and she Found one..and LOST..

          • Love your sense of humor MichaelD – and your outlook. Congrats on your hard work and your sobriety.

          • You rock MichaelD, my ex never took responsibility for himself after he lost sobriety. He was the only alcoholic I’d ever dealt with. I learned far too late that all I did was enable him to drink and still function (somewhat). He is with his OW and she performs that function for him now I suppose.

            • I like to refer to my replacement as his “latest Lady Enabler”…glad I retired from that job.

            • Uh, it took me that long to close my mouth (jaw was on the floor). I am thankful no one corrects my grammar or spelling. My eyes are going- nearsighted and over forty, 49 this month!- and I would hate to think there are people out there who are that…small. For lack of a better word. I am sure some of us Chumps are multilingual so of course there are going to be hiccups. For lack of a better word. To us all for being truly able and willing to communicate re matters as intimate as ours, I say BRAVO! Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Congratulations to those celebrating sobriety or anything requiring hard intentionality.

  • Hawk:

    I spent five years in false reconciliation. Five years of my life I cannot get back. I lived on “hopium” and spackled my way through many self-sacrificing moments all because I thought many of the same things you think. I worried about my children living without their father, worried about my financial future, worried about losing my house, worried about losing friends, worried about losing my social life, worried about losing my boat, worried about losing my shore house, etc. And the stupid list goes on. What I never gave a thought to was losing MYSELF!!!!!

    I spent all of my time, in those five years, walking on egg shells in my own home and playing detective to exhaustion. It was no fun. It was a time suck. It changed ME as a person. My entire family noticed the change in me and so did my friends. What bothered me the most and still does, is that I changed as a MOM. My children suffered because I was so wrapped up in being a detective and performing the “pick me dance” that I had no time left over to be the mom my children deserved. I can never get back those five years of being a good mom to my children. Sure, I was still a decent mom to them but I was checked out and far less of a mom to them than I ever wanted to be.

    I am one week and three days post divorce and while I am scared about my financial future, I am extremely HAPPY about being ME again. And more importantly………MY CHILDREN ARE HAPPY AGAIN TOO!!!!! You cannot put a price on self respect and self confidence! When I look at my children smiling because they have their mom back, I know that I made the right choice!!!

    Let your husband sort his problems out for himself. Whatever you do, do NOT left him suck you down the same drain he is disappearing into. You deserve so much more.

    Oh………and their are PLENTY of good guys out there!!!!!

    • Yeah, but the good guys are all taken… or gay…

      • No they’re not. I found one and I’m a middle-aged squigdy person with weird hair. And honestly, live life as if you won’t find a Good Person. Just be a good person, get on with things.

        • I found one too CITS, am getting re-married on June 28. I am “squidgy” in the middle too, 53 years old, and certainly not getting any younger. I never realized how shallow my ex was, or how true married people can really connect, until I started dating my fiance. They are out there. Not to sound trite but you have to believe in YOURSELF.

          • Aw-right, Kelly! Congrats, and it’s great to know that other chumps have found happiness on the other side of this soul-crushing experience. I hope I find that too one day, but it’s just too soon for me to even contemplate dating again. Right now I need to focus on the inner work, lest I find myself in yet another damaging relationship.

            • FMT, I’ve found happiness, and I haven’t even met a great guy yet! My happiness is living in peace in my own home, seeing my kids so much calmer and happier, only having people in my day-to-day life who treat me in a respectful way, as I do them, doing lots of enjoyable activities, feeling lighthearted and hopeful ….

              I do hope I’ll meet a great guy one day, despite being almost 55 and squidgy around the middle AND being full-time mom to two young teens. But frankly, if I don’t, I’ll be OK. I’m already so much happier than I was 2 years ago – and that was just BEFORE the narc started his second affair.

              • KarenE, I’m in the same place as you are. Very happily single and loving that I am surrounded with people that truly care and love me. Love my authentic life.

          • Kelly, I am so happy for you. Isn’t it amazing how once you are with a normal, decent guy, it becomes so clear what a NIGHTMARE it was being married to a freak? The contrast is amazing.

        • Chump Lady, I’m also middle-aged and squiggy, but your curls are much, much nicer than mine. Nothing weird about being a curly girl, but wow, curly hair is hard to deal with.

      • Um no. They are out there. You just haven’t met one yet.

        Come on . . . happy thoughts.

      • Sometimes I feel like that Too, CITS…
        Here’s to HOPE that the Stinkin Thinkin is Wrong on BOTH of Our parts. ** HUGS*

      • My feelings exactly! That’s why I no longer date, even though I have many suitors, some very good looking, some much younger than me and some are very well off. I found life is so much less complicated and simple by remaining single. I never knew I could enjoy my own company so much without worrying about some shithead! I do what I want, when I want, go where ever I want, read or watch a movie that I want. Its much better to be alone than to be with wrong company. My life is very peaceful and content now and I don’t think I will risk that anytime soon.

        • got a VERY SMALL Impressionable girl… Can’t do MUCH of the Things I Could/Want with her Here..** no Scary/ Dramatic Movies, Etc….**
          Still, You’re Right….It’s Nice to know you have at Least One Less ” Petulant Child ” to Deal with…and in That Lies the type of Peace a Single Mum with Noone to Trust, to Allow Some downtime, to just Do for Me.
          Having the ASSHOLE Gone is HEAVENLY after being in HELL.

        • Nic14 – my feelings exactly. I even have happily married girlfriends who are sometimes jealous of my freedom! The peace and contentment I have in my home now is such a blessing.

          • absolutely! You cant put a price tag on that peace and contentment, it is a blessing and its priceless!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • The dating pool where I live in the cornfields of Iowa is dried up. The men here are either 80 and older or happily married! That’s one of the things that has looked bleak for me..if/when I do decide to put myself out on the dating scene, it wouldn’t matter because there’s no one here to date anyway!

        • Maybe By Some chance a Guy who LOVES Cornfields and Quiet will Relocate There ??

          I Dunno, Sandy…
          I’d LIKE to believe The Universe delivers Exactly what we Need when we’re Totally READY to Receive it…without the Residue of the Heevies still on us. If it comes too Early, It’s too Soon…Might mess it up..Over Fear.. or Overcaution.

          Daughter’s only 3…T’m Definitely gonna need More Time in Waiting..

          Almost Feel like ” Sally ” in Practical Magic , after her Husband Died fused with Her Sister that had to Out the Psycho..

          Where’s OUR Aidan Quinn ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • “Almost Feel like โ€ Sally โ€ in Practical Magic , after her Husband Died fused with Her Sister that had to Out the Psycho..

            Whereโ€™s OUR Aidan Quinn ;)”
            One of my absolute all time favorite movies ever!!! And heck, I’ll take a guy with one blue eye and one gray eye!!

            • Sandy,
              I LOVE Heterochromia … with a Passion !! GORGEOUS.
              Course it comes with Downsides..Vision Probs and such for Some..:( Stupid TRADEOFFS… guess there’s Always at Least One.

              I Find Piebaldism ** probably Spelled that Wrong ** Sexxy too .

              Probably Glutton for Punishment..but we Like what we Like.

      • I thought the same thing, but I’m going on seven months now with Nice Guy, and he’s definitely not gay (like my ex is, but still denies) and so far, is a truly good guy. So there is hope! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • “Sure, I was still a decent mom to them but I was checked out and far less of a mom to them than I ever wanted to be.” This has been me, too, and I have hated being too high strung to be involved with them the way I used to be. Changing that starting today.

    • Good for you Kimmy! Keep preaching it from the other side. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • When I was trying to “make it all work”, I became someone I did not like! I was angry and suspicious all the time and no fun to be around. I KNOW I always talk about my kids, but it was my youngest daughter who told me she would rather see me divorced than angry all the time. And, as someone who never had a taste for alcohol, I found myself self-medicating with one too many alcoholic beverages. In other words, I knew I wanted better for myself and my children.

      The decision to leave a marriage is never easy, because (for me at least) I had some wonderful times in my marriage. Plus, I had been with my husband for many years. He was part of my identity and I had a very hard time thinking about a future without him in it. But I knew I was going to be a bitter old woman if I stayed, not if I left.

      Do I now spend a good part of my non-working day alone? Yes. Am I lonely? No! In fact, after raising a large family, I enjoy my time alone. I don’t have to answer to anyone about where I’m going, what I’m doing and what I’m having for dinner. As I’ve said before, I get to drink out of the milk carton. I LOVE my life and I have the most beautiful flower garden you’ve ever seen.

      When you are in the middle of the chaos, it’s not easy to know what to do. But I promise you there are far worse things than divorce and one of those things is letting someone turn you into an angry, suspicious person.

      • My youngest son, then 12, was the only child living home when I found out the truth about my ex, and certainly heard the fighting over those two terrible days and nights before I kicked his father out. On the second night, I went in to check on my son, told him dad had girlfriends, I didn’t know what was going to happen, but that I would make sure he and his brother and sister would be okay. With that, he looked at me and said: “Go ahead mom, get a divorce, I want you to.”

        Since then, when I have been sad and worried about the effect of his father’s abandonment on him and his siblings, my son sometimes asks me if I remember what he said that night.

        Of course I do, I will never forget his words, they are seared into my brain.

    • While my stbx wasn’t a serial cheat, he is a pathological liar. I have found recently some of the more egregious lies about ME that he’s told to his family members – which explains so much now. I did play marriage police because of his lying & drinking – which I believe lead to his cheating. It was then that I discovered that I was losing ME. I was becoming someone I didn’t recognize – & I kinda like who I was, not who I was becoming. Now that the ball is rolling, & he’s out of the house, the tension is gone in my daily life. I still get really anxious when I have to deal w him, because I never know which cycle of bi-polar he’s in, or if he’s worked himself up over some perceived slight. (Returning his wedding band sent him over the edge!)
      I didn’t want to get divorced for all the reasons you cite above, the kids, my vows…but the scariest is the financial insecurity. Having been a SAHM for 10+ yrs, it’s very frightening to think about how much my life will change. I’m having a hard time reconciling that his life hasn’t changed much at all – it’s me that has to pick up the shattered pieces that was my life & move on. He just got to move – no piece picking. One foot in front of the other, & I try not to get overwhelmed by the big picture.

  • Met Saddam in 1993, he was “in recovery” as they say, sober for 2 years (he told me this but no way to know if true). I told him we shouldn’t be together because I drink and have no intention of stopping, he insisted his sobriety was his responsibility and it was OK. He moved in with me in a committed relationship at the end of 1994. I discovered he’d been drinking in secret 1999. He denied it at first. Then seemed to quit. Discovered cheating in 2000 & drinking again. He said he stopped both. He did everything right and, as you say, he became the man I fell in love with again. I regained my trust in him within about 1.5 years. However, very slowly he changed. He convinced me to marry him in 2005, that’s when the sex dried up, he said he had physical issues… and after marriage over time became quite abusive. I won’t go into that long slow roll. Those years were not good ones, guess he figured he had me locked in…

    Discovered cheating again in 2010, that OW started while I was depressed over my mother’s death in 2009. Most of you know he wouldn’t let me go and it was hard to get away from him. Not going into any of that. I should have left him the FIRST time I found he was cheating and drinking. I regret staying. I now know that he never really stopped cheating all those years, or likely the drinking. I was just blind to it, all the “but I love him” bullshit.

    So a 17 year relationship, he was drinking, cheating or both, most of that time. I just didn’t always know it. He would quit drinking when I threatened to leave, or so he said. And here’s where CL is right on. Alcoholics in recovery are not sparkly and nice, they are focused on NOT drinking and it’s very, very hard for them. Nearly every time my ex “stopped” drinking, he really did NOT stop. What he did was “control” it enough that he would only drink in secret. He would literally get up at 3am when I was asleep and drink before work. He would run errands and drink while he out. The two occasions where he really did stop, he lasted about 90 days and he really was a Dry Drunk during those times. A dry drunk is an asshole, he’s not nice. I would be very surprised if your husband is truly sober.

    Lastly, hasn’t this happened before? Maybe not cheating, but hasn’t he fucked up before and then spent 6 months, a year or so being “the guy you fell in love with”? and then the slow slide back to the shit? It’s an abusive cycle, my ex was an expert at the slow slide to abuse, so slow you don’t notice it until you suddenly do. Manipulative people manipulate. It’s how they roll. Alcoholics are really good at it.

    • Good post, I didnt even think of the dry drunk fuckedupness yup !

      • What are some characteristics of a dry drunk? From these posts, I’m thinking the jerk I was seeing (who gave me the “Twice” in ChumpedTwice) was a dry drunk.

        • Hmm how to describe a dry drunk. a dry drunk will have the same mannerisms as a wet drunk without the drink in his/her hand. They work no program no meetings or sponsor etc etc,, its all about will power to them and they think they can do it alone, they might seem calm and happy at first but the disease rears its ugly head usually within a couple of days if not hours. Your a drunk without the booze selfish FULL OF SELF PITY REGRET angry spiteful NARC just a miserable person on the inside because you NEED that drink,,,,,,,,,and with an alocholic its all about THEIR DRINK !

          I tried it ,,,,you know when I was younger & thought I could CONTROL the booze LOL yea it lasted a day maybe 3, then my thoughts and actions went right back to drinking.
          Its called denial ,,,,as soon as I stopped the denial accepted that I have a disease a hole in my soul that needed to be filled and got help in AA…….. man it is like night and day
          . I am a person with a big loving heart that has a disease & that disease caused me to be a DICK A LIAR A SELFISH ONE WAY PRICK UNHAPPY DEPRESSED MEAN I COULD GO ON & ON, but in my heart I knew that was not me ,,,,but unless your ready to surrender it never ends,,,well it does end usually in the morgue or jail for DUI,, divorce ,cheating, fights abuse, unpaid bills,,, etc etc the fuckedupness is endless its a black hole.
          I drop to my knees everyday and thank my higher power for the peace I now enjoy. I am so humble that I was given the gift of sobriety ๐Ÿ™‚

          Sorry for being long winded and sorry for any spellling errors ๐Ÿ™‚

          • MichaelD, first let me congratulate you on your sobriety. Second, thank you for the information. I was seeing the jerk casually so it was very hard to know for sure if he had a drinking problem. He got a DUI but denied he had a problem. I believed him. He was moody as well. I never knew who I was gonna get. A couple weeks after the DUI he lost his temper on the phone with me. I had never seen that side of him. He was horribly mean, yelling and well, he was someone else. Months later I found out he had gotten himself a serious girlfriend but was still seeing me on occasion. I have a feeling there were other girls on the side as well. I immediately broke it off and let his gf know what was going on. It’s been NC since November 2013. A few days after breaking it off, I spoke to one of our mutual acquaintances. He told me he was a regular at their local watering hole and saw his drinking as more than social. Oh, and that he regularly drove drunk. My instincts were trying to tell me something but since I was casually dating him it was hard to see the big picture. He is a Narc and I am a co-dependent so that is why it got as far as it did.

            No worries on being long winded – I am too! I don’t mind typos either. I have bigger fish to fry than worry about typos. Thanks again.

            • Your welcome & a wise old drunk told me ” if it quacks like a duck ” well you know the rest ๐Ÿ™‚

          • My father used to say, “if you want to know the real character of a man, watch how he is at drinking or gambling table” that will tell you who he really is and shows his real face.

            • Yep…EX Had Been ” Recovering ” at BOTH…

              He Stopped going to the Casinos, but now Gambles with Others’ Hearts and Lives, Instead. They Trade One addiction for Another..Yes..Shifting that Energy to a New Obsession.

              Won’t be with Anyone anymore who can’t handle the Drink Or Gambles..
              Guess I Gave up Gambling too, in a Way… Our Lives are HIGH Stakes… Will Not be Wasting/Betting it on ANYTHING but the SURE thing….PROVEN.

          • You nailed it MichaelD, add in that the resentment of “loved” ones is because it is all our fault he can’t have that drink.

          • This post about dry drunk really hits home with me. My STBXH drank heavily for the first 12 years of our marriage and was extremely functional. He hid much of it, very well. I also did my fair share of spackling. The shit hit the fan when he quit his job, started a restaurant and drank ALL DAY LONG. After a year of that crap, the restaurant failed (surprise, surprise) as did his liver. That was supposedly his rock bottom. The doctor’s didn’t give him much of a chance but miracle of miracles, he recovered almost fully. I think it was because he was only 40 but who knows. He hasn’t touched a drop of booze in three years.
            Before he knew whether or not he needed a new liver, he was required by the doctor’s to go to AA. I started to see a little humility and a sense of him owning some of the crap things he’d done in his life up to that point. I was so hopeful that although we had to go through hell to get to that point, he was going to turn his life around for the better. But then! He got all cured and the people at AA were a bunch of “losers who still have the same problems even without drinking” and no way was he going to go back there. So much for humility and remorse. He got in fantastic shape and decided to repay the wife that stood by him through alcoholism, a failed business and a near death experience with cheating with his ex-porn star (for reals) co worker. A nasty ass whore is his new drug of choice for filling up that black hole.

          • Hi MichaelD. Love your perspektive ;). This reminds me of the soon-ex shnook obsessing over every grammatical error in his adolescent, habitual texting. It drove me crazy, the correct-o-texts that followed. They were trivial, exhausting, implied we couldn’t discern the obvious and made me think I was expected to do the same. We both went to college and knew the other could spell preddy gud. I told him we generally allow for these common typos in texting. Even in email (was going to say unless maybe you’re emailing a lawyer, but remember some whopping grammatical strangulation by more than one). Of course he defended his commitment to editing as further evidence of his superiority, and call for the greater good of mankind.

            Had he paid a fraction of that attention to our marriage, extended his passion for language to speak with kindness, decency and love; been more interested in self-correcting because someone was in pain, rather than apologizing for missing the “u” in “cant”, I’d have gladly taken a “Happy Valentime’s Day.” Well, maybe one.

            But boy did I stray. What I started to say was my dry drunk seemed particularly rage-y when not imbibing. Maybe that was more a function of his personality, but I wonder if that’s a common dry drunk theme? Then again, he was pissed (I’ll take the pun) drunk or not, so who knows? Trying to figure it out is just taking more in.

            I’m H.A.L. & T. right now so forgive the ramble. I get so rambly when I’m tired! It’s nice to hear a gentleman speak here. Thank you MichaelD.

            • He sounded like a controlling nut bag & yea I know all about that SUPERIORITY thingy,, I am married to a NPD lol. Spelling errors who cares I dont. Just dont spell my name wrong on my pay check & every thing else is just roses ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh wait I have direct deposit ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,never mind.
              Thanks Sara I hope you have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  • It must be really tough trying to figure all this out, Hawk. Have you asked yourself if it’s just a way to not face the tough choice to really, finally split? (That’s a hard question, I know. Not meant to be rude.)

    Here’s an illustrative story, might help you in your thinking. Even after Ex & were divorcing, and he had made numerous false (but clearly convincing to himself) apologies, claims that “he was a monster”, ‘thinks about what he lost every day”[sob]…etc.

    I come to find out 5 month after we negotiated the terms of our divorce that right when he got really tight assed and reneged on earlier promises? …he got a new GF…but never mentioned her. oopsie! He used to say “But who will want me if I give you [that much] money…all the while he was in a relationship with a woman who has a million something dollar trust fund. Yeah. *So* honest.

    And when he said, “can I use some of [x] money for moving instead for [x in the divorce decree]? Ole chumpy me said, “sure”. Because he didn’t tell me it was to move to California. Mind you, I’m thrilled he’s moving to the other side of the continent. But more lies, of omission.

    My point is that even with a divorce in place, and basically nothing on the line (not to mention DURING the divorce and a lot on the line) he lied. Lied Lied Lied. Smooth as buttah!

    Lied to me, to the mediator/lawyer, our daughter…everyone in the picture. The secret keeping is its own thrill for these freaks.

    OTOH, when he did tell my daughter, she got up and walked out of the restaurant. Blocked him on FB. She’s going to remove his name from hers, legally. Oh! Hello, karma bus. Not even sure it matters, though, to him. He’ll just put up pictures of her in his new life, and invent a “fatherhood”…..Trust That They Suck

      • How many of us noticed the little lies all along, the ones that frustrated us because they made no sense? The lies where spouse would say “I didn’t want to upset you” and you’d explain the lie was what upset you? But we let it go, putting it down to childhood foo issues? Just wondering.

        • All the time lies. After a while, I felt crazy even talking to him, because that was all I got; and I was the idiot still bothering to ask.

          Perfect example – I did the bills, and every month I would just ask him to give me receipts for the credit card, so I would know what to expect…”yes” he’d always promise. So every month, I’d get the bill, and there would be hundreds of dollars of stuff – and he would claim, “that’s not MY charges; I don’t know WHAT those are!”…even though they were from restaurants and stores right by his office. After a while, I don’t know what was crazier; his denying the obvious truth, or my continuing to ask for an answer that would always be a lie. And that was my normal. And I SOOOOOO don’t miss that shit.

        • I’ll raise a hand to that, Ddw. Scary thing is, my gut knew something was off, but I didn’t really recognize just how many lies there were until after I broke free and had the benefit of hindsight. Or maybe I didn’t want to recognize them at the time, who knows. I’ll never understand these kind of people who GET OFF on lying to people, or playing “I have a secret” (Duper’s Delight). The truth is so much simpler. Sick fuckers.

        • Oh, mine would look me in the eye & lie to my face. Stupid things, serious things (are you cheating on me?)… then he would turn around & tell people that he can’t abide liars! Cognitive dissonance anyone?? It’s to the point that I have to dissect everything he says – look for the possible motive behind what he’s telling me, what are the possible nefarious things he could do to threaten me financially… It’s exhausting. I can’t wait until I’m just done w/ him. Sad thing is, everyone agrees that this is not the man I married. And that scares the shit out of me for any future relationships.

          • I know you’re scared, I was too. But while I was dating after my divorce, I noticed red flags immediately, and acted on them. I’m happy to report that I am in a committed relationship with a safe and stable man, who would do anything for me and my kids. You’ve learned so much from this shit, as have we all. Don’t sell yourself short!

            • Walking that fine line between cynicism & opening your heart to genuine emotions. My problem is I’m too trusting. I’m an honest person with integrity, & believe(d) everyone else operated on the same plain. The walls have been built, I just hope to have the knowledge to know when to keep them up & when to let someone in. IOW, I need to learn to fine tune the picker.

            • I am just now realizing that I now spot red flags. It’s a relief to learn I am capable of it. I was worried I would fall for another person like my ex and have my world exploded again. Reading this site has taught me so much…

        • “Well, yes, he lies to other people. But I’m his wife. He would NEVER lie to me.”

          Jeebus, what an Olympic spackler. Stood on the top platform, hand over my heart, mouthing the words to the Star Spangled Banner…

        • Can’t tell you how many times his work jipped him on his paycheck.

          What was actually happening was he was spending it on his twu wuv shmoopie and strip clubs. Found out a few years ago that some of it also went to coke. How clichรฉ! Strippers and coke and affairs.

          Once Dday hits, all the other times this pattern of behavior happened hits home.

          So yes, lies lies lies. About big things and little things.

      • If an active alcoholic’s lips are moving, they are lying.

            • Oh the lies! OMG. My X was a pathological liar. He’d lie when the truth was easier. He lied to me about where he got a speeding ticked…lied about the street name! Told me I was his second wife when we got married but I was his fifth! Lying by omission. Looking me right in the eye and lying. Once he got with OW he started lying and never quit.

              When we were married I couldn’t help but notice how closed mouth he was about his past. I finally figured out that he had so many skeletons in his closet that if he opened his mouth bones would fly out.

              • yup, that’s my ex, the same way. He would lie about anything, everything and nothing. Outright lies while looking at me right in the eye, lot of half truths and oh that incredible amount of lying by omission. He couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it! I never seen anything like it until him, I knew he was lying as soon as his lips were moving lol, it was that bad!

      • It’s DEFINITELY the LIES..and GASLIGHTING… CrazzzyMaking.

  • BTW, here is my AR part asking.

    If you were to advise someone to save up money for a divorce, how much would you tell them to budget for it?

    • the average in the US is around $20K, it cost me more than that but I spent an entire day in court for the protective order at $400 an hour…$3600 just for that day alone, around $10K total with the up front preparation for the PO.

      • For me it was $3500 with mediation, plus$1,000 to set up a new will and living will.
        I am saving up another $750-1000 to go back and set up a trust for my kids so they can inherit the house. Currently exH is my beneficiary (and vice versa) with the understanding that that money goes to pay off the house and for college.
        Now that my exH married the OW and has a new bay, I want to make sure the money goes to my kids.

    • You can literally write your own settlement (there are model forms on the internet) have it notarized, and file your own papers in some states. That can be incredibly cheap, under $500. If property is involved–I had an attorney do the paperwork to transfer the house, got it notarized–$200 + notary fee–and took it downtown and filed it myself. But that is if two people can agree, not all that common with cheaters, as we know. In Pennsylvania, people can go pre se, represent themselves, in family court and get help from lawyers in the system with filings for both custody and property settlement. I know people who just couldn’t afford an attorney for a protracted custody fight who did just that. Support in many states is predicated on a formula based on total income. The hard part might be getting to the point where the support can be garnished straight from the business or employer, so that there isn’t the endless hassle of missed payments.

      I know a woman, no kids, in a no-fault state, with joint property, no children and her own business, who had an attorney do her divorce for $1000 and it worked out great. I know other people who tried to cut corners with the attorney or who had the best in town and got just massacred in the final settlement because the attorney was incompetent and out-maneuvered. I talked to an attorney who advertised free consultations and then charged me AND scared my that I would end up losing my pension, etc.

    • I would say about $10,000. Ask around for references, check out law firms on the internet in your area. I went to a free divorce seminar before I had decided to actually divorce. I got a lot of helpful info there and then an hour of free advice. Look into that option too. Some firms offer a free consultation. I went to 4 law firms until I found one that I felt comfortable with and I could sense that he would fight for me and my kids. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can set up a payment plan. I had the $3000 for the retainer saved, but that was it. I would send him so much every month so I wouldn’t get nailed with a huge bill. Find out what you can file at the courthouse, then you don’t have to pay the lawyer for that stuff too.

      I feel that if you are not happy then you need to leave. It’s highly unlikely that your cheating spouse is ever going to change. I knew damn well I would never trust him again either.

      I woke up on my 44th birthday and asked myself if I wanted to wake up 5 years from now and be this miserable. Walking on eggshells, screaming, yelling, fighting, scaring the kids, the silent treatment, the marriage police. Ugh. I’d rather have much less and be happier. I knew it was a horrible environment for the kids. I took a deep breath and started saving money. It took me 1.5 years to get the money and took that one last straw that broke my back to file.

      Here I am 3 years away from him, although still not divorced because of his control issues. I’m happier, the kids are happier. And we have a lot LESS. I have learned that material things don’t make up your life. Joy and happiness and freedom and laughter do.

    • I did my own divorce. I work for the criminal justice system so was able to have a few attorney friends review my paperwork as I went along. I was able to do the legal separation, dissolution, the parenting plan, the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (Retirement), and the quit claim deed for the house for under $1000. I went to the county family law facilitator’s office a handful of times and they reviewed my paperwork before I filed it at a cost of $10/visit. They didn’t give legal advise, but made sure that my forms made sense and would be accepted by the court. I didn’t need to be low income to do this either. Anyone can do it, as long as they have a spouse that is not going to fight you tooth and nail on thinks. If you have a true Narc, this probably isn’t going to work. I’d say to plan for between $5-8k for a divorce. But don’t let the cost stop you from filing!!!!! Go talk to some attorneys and then you will have a better idea what the cost will be and how they will accept payment. Whatever the cost… divorce from a cheating asshole is worth every single penny!!!!!

    • I must have gotten lucky in this regard. I paid my lawyer 1300, but was reimbursed for half as agreed in the decree. And reimbursed for the fines for my car going through tolls without paying. (He was going to see shmoopie).

      ExH never hired a lawyer and my reimbursement check came from OW.

  • Sounds like a lot of work Hawk. You must be exhausted.
    Two words to consider; pendente lite. Why not file and get court ordered support while he works through his stuff? If it all works out the petitions for the divorce and support can be reversed.
    Gotta go to work now but much good luck!

  • Just a few thoughts; so much great wisdom here already.

    I cannot understate the amount of fear and stress in those first few days/weeks/months after you decide that you need to leave your marraige. I like to have a plan and experience in doing something, and you simply can’t always plan how these things shake out. That alone is terrifying. I can only speak to the “other side”. Once the smoke clears, and the fog lifts, life can be wonderful again. You don’t have that constant sick feeling in your stomach; knowing that something is “off”, but not knowing what. You don’t have be be the cheater police, or ask the icky questions, knowing the answer will be a lie. You don’t devote all your attention (like kimmy said perfectly) to the endless needs/whining of a disordered spouse as the expense of your children, family, and other relationships. And most importantly, you get yourself back. Remember the YOU you used to be before all this? Most of us lose that person under loads of spackle and shit sandwhiches. WE used to be something unique and special, before the crazy one convinced us we weren’t. The best part if finding YOU again. And choosing to be happy just being that person. It is so very worth the journey.

    My ex hated “my” music; forbid it in the house and car. I was a musician of sorts when I was younger, and my family was very musical; always singing or whistling – he wouldn’t have it. It was a huge hole in my soul, but “I loved him” so I didn’t want him to be unhappy…you know the story. So about a year after he left, my sister was watching my kids, and I sat down after work at my (rarely used during my marraige) piano. When I looked up, it was dark outside; I’d been playing for over six hours, lost in the music and the joy of making it again. And I realized that THIS is what I’d lost; what I’d allowed him to steal. And it felt so amazing to have that part of ME back again.

    Whatever it is for you Hawk, you will find yourself again. But you cannot do it with the weight of him around your neck. If he is truly on the road to recovery, he needs to fight that battle for himself, and if he is able, he can come back to you as a clean, better man and fight for you then. Not now. Now is the time for YOU to find your way back to a healthier, more peaceful place for YOU.

    Oh, and I’m not bitter, and I LOVE to garden. The peace; the calm, and the hope is worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs to you.

    • This is a lovely story about how letting go of something we loved or love that is exacting a huge price can take us to a “healthier, more peaceful place.”

    • “You donโ€™t have that constant sick feeling in your stomach; knowing that something is ‘off’, but not knowing what”

      This is the thing I miss least, and the thing I regret ignoring the most. That sick feeling that I should have listened to and RAN 15 years before D-Day.

      • Yep, me too, Kelly. The daily living with anxiety and a sick, cringing feeling inside. I knew my ex had to be cheating, I knew I wasn’t important to him, I knew he was a shallow person. I knew I needed to GET OUT, but ignored the feeling because I was too scared to leave. Well, thank God life intervened, and the universe gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get moving. Life is SO MUCH BETTER away from that demon.

      • Me, too, Kelly. My son now tells me I am a completely different person – happier and very chill. In a really good way.

        • Yes Flad and Uniquely, I am now the person I know I was always meant to be, but got diverted from for 25 years!

      • I don’t miss the angst and yearning for someone to love me who just doesn’t. I do a better job of loving myself than he ever did.

    • ReDefiningMe:
      I cried as you described yourself sitting at your piano losing track of the time! God, I felt that too when my ex was finally gone from my everyday life. All at once, I felt the weight of my life slip away and I slept. I slept so soundly for the first time in YEARS! Sad, YES. Scared, YES. Worried, YES. But I looked in the mirror the next morning and saw the woman I used to be. I smiled knowing I had finally stood up for myself!!! Prior to that morning, I couldn’t look at myself. I knew I deserved so much more and I hated myself for being too weak to go for it! And I am so proud of myself for doing it!

      • I remember waking up the day after D-Day. I was shell-shocked, stunned, horribly sad. I knew that my suffering was only just beginning, and that I would wrestle with profound bewilderment, abandonment and loss for a long time to come, perhaps forever.

        But my first thought on that morning, before I was fully awake?

        “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free.”

  • “I think part of me would rather risk becoming a bitter old lady who gardens and whose company consists of her children and possible grandchildren, a few friends, a dog, and her principle of eat no shit.”

    This doesn’t have to be your option. You can be the happy & contented old lady, who loves her garden, children, grandchildren, friends, dog & doesn’t eat shit.

    I realised that you committed to your marriage and some part of you still wants to make that marriage work – but you weren’t the one who broke it and you aren’t the one who can fix it. Only you can best guess if your husband had a brief interlude of madness & is now firmly back to his real self – or if this is likely to be a repeating pattern of behaviour. I’m afraid mowing the lawn, doing a bit of parenting and a general hike in attitude for a few months wouldn’t cut it for me. I’d want to see some very determined efforts to attend AA and counselling.

    Also, what do you want? You have to know what you want, if you have any chance of getting it. Do you still love your husband? Do you want to be with him, share your life with him? Would you just be staying for the children? What do you really want?

    Don’t worry about your picker at this stage. There is nothing wrong with being on your own for a bit. Being partnered is not the be all & end all. Life gallops along quite nicely just by yourself (and I say that as a single mother, working full-time, with two kids one of whom is special needs). Give me singledom any day over the half-life wondering if you should stay with the person who threw the grenade into your marriage.

    • “Donโ€™t worry about your picker at this stage. There is nothing wrong with being on your own for a bit. Being partnered is not the be all & end all. Life gallops along quite nicely just by yourself (and I say that as a single mother, working full-time, with two kids one of whom is special needs). Give me singledom any day over the half-life wondering if you should stay with the person who threw the grenade into your marriage.”

      Exactly English Lady – I used to think I would simply die of loneliness without a spouse. But being single has been calm and drama free – and my kids and I need that, and I’ve grown to enjoy it (also a single mom of two with a FT job).

      Yes, someday I hope to meet someone kind and decent. But I think there are plenty of single men and women who have decided and learned that there are worse things than being single, and being in an unhealthy relationship is definitely worse. Just take one day at a time.

      • “Exactly English Lady โ€“ I used to think I would simply die of loneliness without a spouse.”
        That is my state of mind right now! Tomorrow is the 4 month anniversary of Dday and I’m smack in the middle of a divorce. One thing that bothers me..he gets to gallop off with his OW and not be alone, while I’m left in the dust to pick up the pieces and have no one. I know..I could be imagining that he and the OW are happy..but as of right now, they are 2 peas in a pod, sharing their love with the world. I like having a partner, and I just can’t imagine living alone the rest of my life.

        • Sandy, part of the healing is going to be the part where you don’t feel like you need to be paired up. You should learn to be happily single before you worry yourself and think you’ll never find anyone again. You’re right in the middle of the bullshit right now so it’s obviously difficult but you’ll get there. My D-day was barely 6 months ago and I’m already divorced. I found being divorced freed me of having to worry about it anymore. I have no desire to date, I just do whatever the hell I want. I want to figure out what I like and what I want before I throw a line in the water.

          You’ll see, it gets so much better after you get your freedom papers. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Shit, I’m Almost 4 years out… and STILL not Ready.
            Have I glanced about to see if there’s ANYONE to catch Any sort of interest of Mine.. Yep… But…There’s Just NOT Enough There to Bother leaping.. Not for SURE. Not YET..

            • That’s fine. You’re not less a person because you’re not paired up. You’re not on a time-table to find someone so just be happy on your own. There’s nothing wrong with that.

              Fuck, I don’t know if I’ll ever marry again and I don’t care. I’m free. ๐Ÿ™‚

              • BloomingRoseinWinter, Rumblekitty is right, you will take that leap when you are ready. You don’t need a man to complete you, you want a man to compliment you ๐Ÿ™‚

                I will never marry nor will let anyone move in with me. I love being single and free! YAY!! ๐Ÿ™‚

              • I know I will never marry again. I am older and I enjoy my life. I spent so many years doing everything for everybody. I like my life now. Hell, I love my life now. I literally shudder at the thought of romantic love. I know this is where my healing is incomplete, but I am content to swim in shallow waters after years of swimming in some fairly rough currents.

        • I would like to find a partner again one day. I am generally happy now in this post dday life, but I think it is okay to want to have a partner/spouse again someday. I am okay with the reality that I really miss sharing my life with someone. I loved my marriage and what I thought it was…until it exploded without warning. (Mine was like a light-switch change/dday.) I will say that I am, however, super picky about what I am looking for and have very high standards of good character.

  • CL, You’re the best! Thank you for the wisdom, for breaking this down into manageable pieces for me. Your site has been my sanity saver.

    This morning was weird. I woke up feeling what I think is meh. That shit that happened over the years? Yeah, his choices sucked but they aren’t my problem anymore. I woke up excited about MY life and what I will be able to accomplish without the baggage. I woke up excited about all of the gardening I will do. This is the strangest, most liberating feeling and it surprised me because I didn’t expect it to happen while we are still living in the same house.

    I was dumb enough to question my state of meh at first because obviously it isn’t Tuesday. But I figured Thursday works for me and it feels wonderful so I’m not looking back.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and insights. I love it here!

    • You rock Hawk! And that garden will be magnificent, just have to find another source of manure for it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hawk,
      Those moments of peace and clarity you felt this morning are just glimpses of what life away from the “merry-go-round of addiction” feels like. My ex struggled with maintaining sobriety and had a whopper of a relapse. He couldn’t live without the things I could not live with.

      I have such compassion for people who live in the grasps of alcoholism and addiction…and MORE for the people who live with them (including the dry drunks). I’m here to tell you, life is better on the other side. You’ll do what you need to do when you are ready to do it. In the meantime, take extra good care of yourself and do consider popping in to an al anon meeting – the people there will gently teach you so much about self-care and letting go. CL’s reply covered everything else I wanted to say in response to this letter.

      And now, the sun is shining, so I’m telling the dogs to load up into the truck…off to the garden center!

      • Oh My … DOOP..
        ” He couldn’t live without the things I could not live with ”

        T H I S is the Perfect Sentence..

        Spot Friggin ON.

    • So glad to hear this, Hawk! Those moments are precious: like you can suddenly see the sunlight shining through, when you had forgotten what it even looked like, and were so accustomed to the gloom that that didn’t even look dark to you anymore.

      Just one gentle reminder: there will still be ups and downs. Think of it as clouds passing over the sun: it will take a while to reach a fully sunny, blue sky day. You’ll take 3 steps forward and 1 back. But that’s ok! Each glimpse of sunlight is a reminder that the sun really is there; it’s a boost of energy to get you through the next cloud. Don’t despair at the clouds, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel uplifted all the time. It is ok to have some days that are low and grim. Just keep moving forward. Some days you’ll leap and bound, and others you’ll just crawl an inch, but you will get there all the same! You are mighty. Trust in the sunny day you are moving toward.

      • Thank you, Psyche. I will keep this in mind on my not so happy days.

      • Psyche, this is so true! In the first weeks after I kicked the narc out, I felt so awful that I was surprised to find I could have a few good SECONDS in a day. It was early summer, and seeing a cute squirrel doing his cute squirrel thing would lift my heart, and I’d be so grateful that my heavy heavy heart could be lifted. Those moments were brief but sanity-saving, I’d look for them all the time. Enjoyed a beautiful snatch of music? Kids were being extra adorable? Cat is so soft?

        Then bit by bit there were more of those moments, and I could stay with them longer.

        And now so much of my day is light and pleasant, or hard work and satisfying (instead of hard work and discouraging, like when the ex was around!). There are so many beautiful moments. I feel like I’m really living in the present for the first time in years.

        THIS is the life I want, and I will do whatever I have to do to defend it! Too bad I don’t like gardening …. But I’m perfectly happy to be the person who provides the appreciation for other people’s gardens – and cooks lunch for the gardeners!

        • Oh yes this! Hummingbirds are back, they make me smile no matter what!

  • Hey Hawk, I would like you to really think about this : next time he gives you a hug how do you feel? I mean really think about it. He’s been hugging someone else and doing a lot more…. Can you really live with that the rest of your life? The not knowing where he’s been and with whom. Every time he leaves the house you will wonder where he’s going. The trust is gone.
    I am a differently- abled person and now that I know for sure he has cheated on me I will never let him touch me ever again. We still live in the same house for the sake of convenience but we lead separate lives. I have to find a way to be able to survive financially on my own as I have limited social assistance in the tiny island in which I live. It is only a matter of time before we separate physically. I’m only about three months since Dday. This website has helped me greatly. To all chumps what do you really NEED to survive? What if you were to die tomorrow? Won’t you be giving up all those “material things.”
    I would like you to consider if this was your last day on this earth. You were going to another planet to live and could only take one item with you what would that be?
    Life is short don’t waste it on someone who will never care enough.
    He will never change. He will only play for time until he believes he’s in your good graces again.
    He’s a mind fuck. Make sure you get that into your head.

    • “Make sure you get that into your head.” I have been having nightmares about the shit he did every night since he’s been back. Between that and the constant hives, the raw truth has sunk in. He chose to repeatedly fuck other women, abandon me and our children, and emotionally abuse me when he was around. Not to mention the financial damage AND constant trickle of lies and excuses. I am allergic to this “relationship” and I’m done wasting time on his potential and what ifs.

      If he’s really changed? Great. Then he’ll be a terrific father to the children as he should be and I’ll be grateful for that.

    • “Life is short donโ€™t waste it on someone who will never care enough.
      He will never change. He will only play for time until he believes heโ€™s in your good graces again.”

      Lioness, what a mighty statement. Don’t we all really know that this is the stone-cold truth, whether we want to know it or not?

    • Lioness, you’re brilliant! There should be a ‘hug test’ for relationships. I left my first (passionate, smart, sexy) alcoholic husband when I realized I no longer felt safe and loved in his arms, even in the good moments. And I gave up all hopium about the cheater narc ex when I realized that even if he wanted to reconcile, even if he did everything the RIC recommended, I could never again feel safe and loved in his arms, knowing how he had treated us for years, and what he had been willing to do to me and our kids.

      • When you No longer Feel SAFE with Them….

        THIS.. Y E S.

  • My cheater sparkled for almost 18 months before reverting to his true nature. I doubted all along his changes were genuine – they happened to quickly and like CL says, he was just too happy about it.

    “I think part of me would rather risk becoming a bitter old lady who gardens and whose company consists of her children and possible grandchildren, a few friends, a dog, and her principle of eat no shit.” – I am fully prepared to an old lady who gardens and spends time with her children, grandchildren, friends, and dogs. That sounds like a joyful life to me!

    • YEA..Ummm..By NATURE people are OFFPUT by Change…It’s Uncomfortable…not Ecstacy Building, at First…ESPECIALLY Beating an ADDICTION… NAH, in the Beginning, an Addict HONESTLY Trying to Give Up their VICE, is MEAN and Irritable as a Viper.

  • Hi, Hawk. Think of me as the voice writing from your future, as I am over 60 and have my garden and two cats, but no children or grandchildren (thus being worse off, in your admittedly humorously scenario. But let me tell you, I am not bitter, though I am sometimes scared, especially to let go of the illusion that my life is incomplete without a man, even a man who is pretty much a dead weight for me to tow through life. That, though, is my current growing edge: for my own life to be, finally, enough. I am just at the beginning of that process and won’t be ready for another relationship until I am enough, until my own life is on ground that is both stable and fertile. If you do that work now, you will be in great shape when you’re my age.

    Next: You write: “But then I will sometimes feel like I am better off giving this a try for the children because he was great for many years like he is now….” He’s an alcoholic in very early recovery. He’s doing he’s own kind of “pick me” dance because alcoholics hate to give up their co-dependent enablers. I know this because my ex-husband is an alcoholic and I was by definition co-dependent–more focused on him, his behavior, his happiness, maintaining the peace and managing the home than I was on my growth and development. Once I left that relationship (after going through mourning for two people I loved) I was so starved for attention, affection and comfort, I picked —a Cheater who “was great” to me (i.e., “nice”) and had been a friend for many years. And that takes me full circle through an expensive DDay to today.

    My husband had his “great” moments, but those of us who end up with alcoholics and other addicted souls are often starved for love before we encounter them, and the little they are giving looks like it is better than it is. No one becomes an alcoholic overnight. That is a progressive disease that impacts everyone in the immediate family and often beyond in ways that are hard to see–until you finally stop and spend some time alone. I think physical separation is a good thing, especially if you work hard at understanding you and how you got here and what you want your life to be. A year or two on his own will show you a lot about whether your husband is really in recovery and is not medicating himself with a skank of the week or a fifth of Jack Daniels. That’s tough love, but if you do care about him, it might save his life. And for sure you will be saving yours.

  • I know a couple where the husband is a sober alcoholic and has been for many years. His wife was with him when he was drinking. I don’t know if he cheated or not, that might make a big difference emotionally. Anyhow, it is possible for an alcoholic to change.

    I also know someone who was married to an alcoholic who went through recovery and then relapsed and was abusive. She stayed too long.

    For the alcoholism, I would recommend going to AlAnon and talking to spouses of alcoholics. Get a picture of what recovery looks like and how it works. Talk to counselors who know about substance abuse.

    Don’t stay with him if it risks your children’s safety. I probably differ from others here – I would take into consideration whether or not he might get custody of them part time and if that would be worse for their safety than staying with him.

    Do go ahead and get advice on divorce and protecting yourself financially. Have a plan for what to do if he doesn’t stay sober.

    If you don’t want to divorce him, you can also separate and make conditions for getting back together in the future.

    • I think testing his game with a post-nup wouldn’t hurt either.

      • I wonder if it’s possible to get a signed agreement about child custody that acknowledges someone has a substance abuse problem and sets conditions for their rights – things like if they are using, they have to have supervised visits and go back to treatment, etc.

      • better than post-nup, get a property settlement agreement without dissolution of marriage (who gets what, alimony, child support etc etc), so if it doesn’t work out, there will be no need for mediation on anything, or going through lawyers, wasting time or money, just file and everything that’s on that agreement will be on the divorce degree and its done deal! Since its already signed by judge he cant do shit! with post-nup he can challenge it, not with this one!

        • I just don’t see the point, get a divorce and if he/she is worth it, you can get back together later.

          • I know that, but some still want to stay married and give it another try, so if that’s the case I would say protect yourself, not if but when the other shoe drops. That’s why I said get a property settlement agreement without dissolution of marriage instead of post-nup because its enforceable right away, unlike post-nups which can take months or even years to enforce in some cases and with this agreement its like a divorce agreement without the actual divorce and cant be challenged. This protects the chump.

  • ” Can they fake actual nice for years? ”

    It depends on what his (hidden) agenda is.
    If he deems it to be in HIS own best interest to maintain his place in the home with you because of the purposes that serves HIM, then….yes.
    If he has some intelligence, then he understands what ‘remorse’ and appropriate ‘good husband’ behavior looks like and he will follow the script very well…because of what HE stands to gain by doing so.
    From where he is sitting and with all the potential loss, consequences, and fallout he faces IF you should decide to divorce, it may be WELL worth his efforts to kick up his ‘good man’, ‘good husband’, ‘good family man’ act.
    As his affair demonstrated about him, he WILL do what feels good to HIM.
    There are many reasons he may want to stay in the marriage, the question is: Are YOU anywhere on that list?

    All this…just a possibility…but a very real possibility…

      • They can be kind or nice for years, it may be fake, it may not. does it matter if they have stopped and you are miserable? probably not

  • DONT do it! Dump him and don’t look back! I made that mistake and wasted another 3 years, my biggest regret is not leaving him as soon as I found out. My asswipe ex made so many promises, told me he will turn us around and “prove” me he would be honest, loyal from now on and complete transparency. He was such a “good guy”. He did none of it! He continued to cheat, lie and omit everything, while he appeared he was saying and doing “all the right things”. During this time he gaslighted me so badly I didn’t know if I was coming or going, after one incident he smirked and said “well if we (him and the married ho-worker) fucked where did we fuck in cars, parking lots?” then I realized he has been lying to me from day one and when I was in pain, asking questions and playing detective he was loving it (kibbles) then I found out about others. Of course he denied denied and denied some more, only way he would ever admit, if I had a video showing him having sex with them and as long as I didn’t have that, all the other proof that I had meant nothing (he is an expert on gaslighting and lying!) and all that time when he was supposedly trying to earn my trust back and he will never fuck up again or ever be unfaithful with crocodile tears, he was already cheating on me with others and still lying to me daily. It took me 3 years to see who he really was, the guy who appeared so loving, devoted, the good guy- who in reality was a serial cheating, pathological liar, freeloading deadbeat, manipulative piece of shit and believe me when I say this, once they cheat and you stay he will cheat again then cry to the same tune. They don’t ever change, they just get better at manipulating and covering their tracks. I went NC and when he was no longer there to fuck with my head, when that fog lifted, rose colored glasses came off and I saw him for who he really is and he makes my skin crawl now! A person who truly loves you will not go and get between someone else’s legs, then cry they are sorry, but only if they get caught, until then they will keep doing it and deceive you. If they had a good character, if they truly loved you and what you have, they will never risk that for anything or anyone period! Him cheating alone shows that, he truly never valued what you two had and he never really loved you. So why would you want to give this loser another chance? If he couldn’t appreciate the first chance that you gave him what makes you think he will appreciate the second chance?

    Oh the trust…once its gone it will never come back. Do you want to play detective the rest of your life, wondering what he is doing, what is he lying about? Its a life not worth living in my opinion. The trust is the foundation of any relationship and a relationship without trust is like a car without any gas in the tank. You can sit in that car as long as you want, but it will never go anywhere…My 2 cents..

      • Thank you BloomingRoseinWinter,

        I already did find my peace right after I went NC! and I hope you will too. Its a beautiful thing I tell you. Yes I still get angry about it all, here and there, but its a productive anger. He is not my problem anymore and get this, the fucktard still sends me messages every once in a while, the mushy ones, even though its been months and I don’t reply to any of it. I sleep like a baby every night now but I hear he doesn’t. Awwww tough shit lol! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • He’s TESTING YOU…

          Yea..EXFuckhead, a YEAR Ago..after being The Most EVIL ASSHOLE you can Imagine, Sent me a Letter Saying he Missed Me….

          YEA..Misses Making me Miserable..Making a FOOL Outta Me..

          I Haven’t Spoken nor Written a Word in… Shit..I Can’t EVEN Remember now..See I No longer HAVE to Count the Days.. Cause I KNOW I’m NEVER going Back. Been like 2 Years…

          He MISSED me Alright…..WAAAY OFF..LOL…

          AWWWW…Can’t Sleep without Tiring himself Out Treating YOU like Shit, Huh ?
          MAY He NEVER Sleep Properly Again..
          Mine either Slept too Much When He HAD Me…or NEVER Slept and HARRASSED the Shit Outta Me Trying to Wreck MY and the BABY’s sleep for HOURS Without Stopping Calling starting about 2 a.m. till about 11 a.m. the NEXT Morning..I Shit you Not…….when he Didn’t Have me.

          Exactly… Tough shit on Them.

          Stick a Fork in THEM..WE’re DONE.. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Yes I know he is testing me and he can test me all he wants, he is and never will be in my life in any shape or form ever again! Yeah don’t you love how they miss us? In my case he misses having a good dependable woman and not to mention living a good life. He can cry me a fucking river now all he wants.
            Shithead used to sleep like a baby when I couldn’t sleep and developed insomnia because of his shit, now he is kicked to the curb with rest of the trash, I hear the man-bitch cant sleep now. Geez I feel so bad for him. NOT!

            You know Rose that’s the one thing I am so pissed off about, him making a FOOL out of me all that time. Now he sends me messages that how he loves me, always will, cant stop thinking about me every second of the day blah blah, geez I am wondering if he was thinking about me when he was between his whore(s) legs? Let me think…..think some more….NOPE!!

            Wow! your ex is nuts! from 2 am to 11 am? wtf! yeah the control freak couldn’t control you anymore and you dumped him, so he harassed you, fucking loser that he is!

            But I am so glad we are away from these mindfucks! ๐Ÿ™‚ and oh yeah WE’RE DONE!! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Shit..not a letter..Facebook Message from a Different Account..Other I BLOCKED.

            • I blocked him and all his family members, friends etc on Facebook. I also changed my number 4 times but he keeps finding out what my new number is, so I gave up on changing my number. So he texts, emails from new email accounts, I just read it and hit delete. His empty lip service don’t work on me anymore and I am sure that’s what he is hoping though. Poor poor fucking baby! He is a worthless POS and dead to me! He can continue pounding sand! ๐Ÿ˜‰

              • I Hear ya, Nic..
                Asshole used to call from ALL OVER the Country ** Intercepted FAKE Numbers…. Fucking Hacker…. Never did find out HOW he did it ** trying to trip me up to get me to Talk to him.. LOL. NOPE, Don’t know the NUMBER, Don’t Answer It. And I Keep to myself and call who ” I ” WANT to talk to.
                He also Knows not to TEXT goes Straight to ” Trash”.. I Don’t Communicate with anyone that way Either.
                He’s OUT of Options..Already told the Asshole to Stay Away Wway back then from Me. He doesn’t wanna Come to MY Hometown.. He’ll get Locked Up for Contempt of Court for being a Deadbeat in Deep THOUSANDS of Dollars. …Never a CENT or Present for My Daughter EVER.

                Nothing they Say or Write means SHIT…It’s ALWAYS Lies about You, About their Intentions, or their ” Feelings”. The Only thing they Feel Regarding Loss is ” SHIT..One of my VICTIMS ACTUALLY Got AWAY..Actually Told me to FUCK OFF and MEANT It…She’s REALLY NOT Dealing with MY Shit Anymore ..Damn, Now I Gotta Find MORE Victims and Start ALL Over Again, Cause My OLD Victims Were Too Easily Manipulated and I’m BORED with THEM.. I’ve gotta come Up with a WHOLE New Persona Now..A NEW LINE of ROTTEN GOODS to Peddle. ”
                Yep..Worthless P.O.S is Right.
                Yup.. Forget KINDNESS…Kill em with NO CONTACT.

    • “The trust is the foundation of any relationship and a relationship without trust is like a car without any gas in the tank. You can sit in that car as long as you want, but it will never go anywhereโ€ฆMy 2 cents..”

      LOVE this, nicolette14.

    • “Him cheating alone shows that, he truly never valued what you two had and he never really loved you”.

      Wow Nicolette. The day my ex confessed, he told me that he “didn’t want to *devalue* the (our) relationship”.

      Let me get this straight. He doesn’t want to “devalue” the relationship, yet he put another woman’s feelings ahead of MINE, and is ditching our 4+ years together in order to be with someone he met online, never met in person and professed undying love for after only ‘knowing her for 3 weeks…

      Yeah. I’d say he pretty much “devalued” our relationship!

      I agree, Nicolette. He probably never really valued our relationship that much in the first place. I just wish he had told ME that about 3.5 years sooner…


      • He USED the D word ** not Divorce** HIMSELF ?!

        Shit…. The Cycle of Narcissists… DEVALUE comes JUST before DUMP.
        Whatever they SAY is the Opposite..He says he DIDN’T Want to..Means that’s EXACTLY What he Wanted.
        Fuckers are Soo Very Contradictory..that’s why These Assholes actually Twistedly Believe the word NO actually Means YES..Just PUSH Me ALIL HARDER TILL I RELENT .

        GodDamned EMOTIONAL and Psychological, if Not PHYSICAL, Rapists.

      • G – did you reply with a paraphrase from the Princess Bride?

        “Devalue. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

      • same here G, I think that’s what burns my ass more than anything. They take everything that we offer, waste, steal our years under false pretenses while taking our right to make informed decisions. That’s simply too evil…

  • You already HAVE your Don’t TRUST Him ** the Reasons are Irrelevant Really* Time to END it with him. Resume Recalling what is Beautiful about You and Your Life. Eventually you’ll Look back at Him and Say.. ” WTF.. I ALMOST Sacrificed ALL this Beauty for..THAT ?! NEVER AGAIN “.
    And if the NEXT Guys a Turkey… ** LET’s HOPE NOT ** You’ll Drop Him without thinking TWICE..Because You’ll know BETTER than to Invest YEARS on Something that just Doesn’t FEEL Right.

    It Shouldn’t be HARD…GOOD Relationships..They just AREN’T. GOOD Relationships are Just THAT..GOOD.

    Love, Happiness ,Faith and Hope to You, Hawk.
    There’s LIFE on the Other Side of all this…. ” Death ” mascerading as Barely Tolerable Existance ” …. EMBRACE LIFE ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “People arenโ€™t roulette wheels. Ooh! We hit on a good spell! Heโ€™s not drinking! Wheel turns. Uh oh, heโ€™s cheating. Wheel turns. Shit, heโ€™s drinking again. Wheel turns. Oh hey, he mowed the lawn!”

    My life with the cheating alcoholic has been living a daily spinning roulette wheel. It was life on the fridge, I didn’t see it at the time, but much time was wasted on so many things he would focus on and do, just quit a job we would move, then sign up for school far so we would quit move, then drinking, quitting, and I did not get the life of living on a house on a street in a town with a solid anything for my children. And after all his cheating and drinking, he is still spinning that wheel, he is also complaining about his life and how everyone wants things from him. He never stopped to see it was his choices that got him and our family where they are.

    Yes I really relate to that wheel, you think they are getting better, they cheat, they go on a drunk streak you can see (they are always on one they have levels of hiding it) and then oh look an oil change or the lawn is mowed, oh wow a battery in the smoke detector on the high ceiling. Amazing a man who can mow a lawn and change a battery.
    And while he does these amazing feats in life, showing how much he cares by looking at the kids, he really destroyed his family and marriage.

    I suggest you run.

    • The Wheel NEVER STOPS Turning with THEM..They will ALWAYs Keep you Dizzy and Unbalanced. They Only Slow…JUST Enough for your Eyes to Adjust..and Then they’re OFF Again…
      LEAVE the ” FunHouse ‘…You’re NOT having a GOOD Time.

  • What I found helped me was forcing myself to try to remember how I was before I met my flaming alcoholic cheater liar who ignores his children for years on end.

    And you know, I was happy before I met him, I had dreams and I was ok each day. I was in life each day, fine.

    Remember yourself before, she is still there in you.

    • That’s exactly how I started to remember who I was. It was a long time to try to remember, but I kept returning to my first two years of college. That’s when I felt like all of life’s possibilities were before me.

  • Have not read all the comments, so this may be duplicative.
    I think the discovery of cheating, for many of us, is the beginning of our opening our eyes to realize what type of person we have been dealing with for a long time.
    I know in my case, looking back, I was always just so confused by my XWs behaviors. Thye did things, raged, acted nuts all the time and I bought into beleiving that either I caused it or that my perceptions of the behaviors was exaggerated. But, like many of us, the research I started doing on infidelity led me to a subject that I had never heard of: the personality disorderd.
    I had a hard time, at first, accepting that my XWs are disordered. I though , maybe, I am just trying to pigeonhole them so as to make myself feel better, when I was( as they allege) the reatl casue of any and all issues in my marriages.
    But, I began to realize that I was not doing this. Others came to me and cnfirmed that they too perceived the things my XWs were doing as bizzare and abusive.
    In any case, in your situation, you have a cheater and an alcoholic, and you have alluded to lying and meanness in your spouse. Those are a good chunk of the criteria for diagnosing a personality disorder. ( I know, there needs to be a more thorough assessment etc, but, in reality, since most of these folks avoid any type of therapy , you are , often, stuck making the call based on what you , yourself , ovbserve.)
    I really think that one of the keys in assessing these folks is to ask yourself if you could ever envision acting as they have. Not just the cheating, but the lying with aplomb and with no sign of discomfort. The meanness, the abject cruelty they dispay to the BS and the kids. The way they carry on this double life and do not seem adversely affected, often sleeping like babies and enjoying life.
    These are people, the disordered, who are very comfortable doing what they do. We have all done wrong things, I expect, but these folks are different. It does not bother them.
    I submit that any person who has had an affair is wired very differently that a normal person. It really takes a fundamentally different type of person to function as they do with that going on at the same time.
    I would never take a chance on someone who cheated. It is a really poor risk and you are , most likely, dealing with a very disturbed person.

    • Yea..I USED to think My EX was Just Depressed, So I CATERED to Him, Trying to HELP Him….
      NAh..He’s not DEPRESSED…He’s Fucking N U T S..
      and Like you, I didn’t FULLY Realise Just HOW Disordered until I was ALREADY DONE with him. I Thought Narcissists were just Stuck on themselves..I had No Friggin IDEA they were straight Up EVIL…
      Talk about an EDUCATION.
      it Nearly Wrecked me..but I’m GLAD I Know Now…
      It’s…… Bittersweet. At Best.

      • “..straight up EVIL…”

        Oh yes, no doubt about that at all.

    • “The way they carry on this double life and do not seem adversely affected, often sleeping like babies and enjoying life.
      These are people, the disordered, who are very comfortable doing what they do. We have all done wrong things, I expect, but these folks are different. It does not bother them.”

      Yes, the disordered are not the same as other human beings. That is why I often say my ex is a demon. He looks okay on the outside, he is skilled at pretending to be a normal, good human being, but on the inside, he is evil. There is not a drop of remorse for anything bad he has done.

  • Hawk, remember there are TWO issues, he is an alcoholic AND he is a lying cheating POS. He has dealt with or at least suppressed his alcoholism, for now, potentially to manipulate you and try to avoid losing his kibbles supply. But he was and is a CHEATER, and that is something that in my mind never changes, not someone who has cheated long-term and/or repeatedly. We can debate the alcoholism, and its effects, and whether and when someone has “recovered” or “changed,” but IMHO once a serial cheater and liar, always a serial cheater and liar. Kick him to the curb, don’t fall for his tricks. I did 17 years ago, only to find my ex just got better and more talented at sneaking, cheating, lying and gaslighting. I would have been 39 if I listened to my intuition; instead I was 51 when my D-Day occurred and I started over. I am now getting remarried at 53 to a wonderful man, but I regret every day the years that he stole from me. I am also lucky I survived with my sanity intact, and it took some time to realize the mental and emotional damage he caused me and our children. RUN and don’t look back, he is not worth it, YOU ARE.

    • THIS….

      May THIS Marriage be 100X more Happy than your Old one was Miserable.

      Your story gives me Hope ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for Sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Wow Kelly, we are about the same, except I haven’t met anyone. Spent 17 years with the asshole. At 39 was the first cheating/drinking episode and I took him back, then at 51, bam and here we go again. Except I stepped off the crazy train, when I did he took me on the crazy train wreck before I got away so at 54, I am just now interested in meeting someone for a relationship.

      • That’s the Worst NEVER get THAT Back. It’s Literally an Absolute Impossibility.

  • Hawk,

    My situation is very much like yours except for the fact that my husband is not an alcoholic. He, however, is being extremely unicorn-like and sparkly at this time after being caught with cheating with 4 different women over the past 2013 year and texting numerous others he met on at least 5 online dating sites. I have older children but are most concerned with my 7 year old and 23 month old. 5 weeks ago, I could have told you that I was the happiest woman on earth with an almost perfect husband. That is, until the rug was pulled out from under me and I started seeing the monster. I’ve been married for 7.5 years and there have been a multitude of small and huge lies that I’ve caught. The issue of trust came in to play time and time again. As a “good wife” I set out to allow him to rebuild that trust with me and I gave it only for it to be broken again. Now this last grenade was thrown into our marriage. He is now reading the bible daily, claims he has “found Jesus”, attends two church services on Sunday, attends a sex-addiction group on Tuesday nights, has rearranged his work schedule to attend these meetings, sees a church pastor/ counselor on Tuesday mornings, and sees a marriage counselor (by himself- I only went twice) on monday mornings. He plays with the kids, does home work with them, and bathes them. He’s even offered to change the the baby’s dirty diaper when we are out and about. So it appears that he’s trying very hard to get back to the almost perfect husband he used to be, but something in me still wants to divorce. I have a great support group with friends that ask me to consider staying and leaving. The way I look at it is that the ONLY way my husband can fix his pathological lying and cheating ways is going to be without me. Living with me would allow him to fall into his old secretive, deceptive ways. The probability that I would be getting devastatingly hurt agin would be very high. I can’t take that chance anymore. I feel like I’ve given him several chances throughout our marriage. Even though I feel like I “love” my husband right now or the image that he portrayed to be as a man that “would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER cheat on his wife”, I understand the reality. He did cheat on me, he did disrespect me, he chose to spend hours on end with his affairs over his children, he direct deposited extra funds into his personal account to feed and date these women, he lied repeatedly even after he was caught and still to this day lies are leaking out. Hawk, I know it’s so hard to imagine that all those great efforts that your husband is making now may not be true. These men have proven to be selfish and it may be that both our husbands are really doing all this more for themselves to keep their “cake”, then for us and our children. Just a thought. I’m still divorcing mine.

    • wow, your STBX is a MONSTER! Good for you Joespino1! Be very proud that you are such a strong woman to take that trash out and set a great example to your children!

      • Jedi Hugs Joespino1. You are doing the right thing, no more wasted years.

  • There is no such a thing as a Unicorn. The closest thing to a unicorn is a white donkey.

    Your cheater rides a white donkey and the sparkles come from the dollar store.

    See him for what he is, an alcoholic white donkey riding cheater covered in dollar store sparkles who periodically mows the lawn and is now acknowledging his has children….cause he got caught.

    This is the spectacular…spectacular…cheater extravaganza….the big cheesy show. A version of the cheater pick me dance.

    Cheaters, know…… they know what you’ve always wanted. When they get caught they increase the dose of hopium they’re selling. The requires staging, glitter, mental gymnastics. They’ve always known that they were neglectful and disrespectful but just didn’t care.

    When you see a cheater as a clown….a joke….and knock them off their white donkey and hose those dollar store sparkles off them is when you can quit smoking the hopium.

    As CL says:

    “Leave a cheater, gain a life”

  • Every day I wasted by staying with my ex, hoping and praying he would change, is a day of my life I can never get back. Our lives are short, and precious. I wish I had not wasted so much time on a man who lied, cheated, abused, conned and manipulated. A disordered person can never change. They will go to the grave disordered, and they will harm many people on their way through life. The disordered are often able to pretend to change if it is IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS to do so. They might say the right words, might do the right things, might even keep up the charade for a long time. But eventually, the cracks will appear and they will revert to their true self, which is evil and twisted. You can count on it. A relationship with a disordered person is a relationship that will always harm you. I say get the hell out while you can, and enjoy the rest of your life without the disordered cheater.

  • I’ll take a weed wacker over another mouthful of shit any old day!

  • Gardening is some of the best therapy for emotional pain. Chumps! Take up your shovels and rakes and garden on!

    • I just took up gardening this Spring. Exercise, fresh air and tearing out weeds makes for great therapy!

  • As for timing, on another infidelity board that I frequent, there has recently been a spate of people who caught their cheater cheating again — after seemingly happy, perfect unicorn R — of 10 years. 10 years! Can you imagine wasting another decade? How can you possibly recover from that?

    People do not change. They just don’t. There may be a few isolated instances — anecdotal evidence — but our personalities are very static.

    You do not want to be with someone who is even capable of cheating. There are so many people out there who are not capable of it. I’d rather be alone than worried about when the other shoe will drop, because you know it will.

    • I came from a home similar to this, Hawk.
      As a child, the tension was palpable.
      EVERYONE was scared to upset the one person who was usually upset.
      It’s taken therapy (still going) to help me, as a daughter, to help me realize that people can change, but the only one YOU can change is YOU.
      Your change will only be your captivity status.
      You were born free, Hawk. You’re free inside.
      Now, show your children how to be free.
      My guess is that’s what you are best at. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nah..Not for Me…
      I’m soo Friggin GLAD My EX Showed he was Demonic Before a YEAR was Even Up.
      Made it IMPOSSIBLE to EVER Consider Reconciling.
      I Almost wanna THANK the Fucker… ALMOST…
      You know WHAT…Fuck Him.

      I Thank GOD for my lil One… GOD gave her to me, Not His Torturous Arse…All he did was Orgasm…. WHAT a TALENT ** eyeroll*

  • Been a crazy couple of months, so have not done a lot of commenting.

    Thought I would toss this on for those coming back and reading comments later:

    I am the daughter of an alcoholic. My father is now more than 25 years sober. It wasn’t easy.

    Addiction is both a psychological and a physiological condition. Taking responsibility for your actions while under the influence (of whatever drug, or activity) is necessary.

    I was young for much of it, but I know my dad relapsed several times, and went through several weeks hospitalization for treatment more than once. He had cirrhosis of the liver before he was 45.

    He finally got sober, and stayed sober, when I was in seventh grade.

    I can’t comment on my parent’s relationship during that time — I was young enough, and they tried hard enough, to keep their issues between themselves, and out of sight of myself and my sister. I can say my father never fucked around, he was not violent or cruel.

    I tend to think addictions bring character into clarity. There are plenty of addicts who engage in self-destructive behavior (by definition addiction is destructive) but deliberately do not put their families or other people in harms way. People who commit unspeakable acts, people who break their marriage vows, people who terrorize their children while under the influence were always prepared to commit unspeakable acts, to break their marriage vows, to terrorize their children.

    If they are prepared to do these things while under the influence, don’t assume they will not do these things when they are not under the influence.

    Character is not impacted by addiction — but inhibitions are.

    I don’t believe anyone is so far gone they cannot change. But I also don’t believe it is your responsibility to stay on a sinking ship in the hopes that someone will turn on the pumps.

  • Trust CL on this I have seen many recovering alcoholics and sex addicts. Once they admit there is a problem they always look worse than better, no matter how ‘high’ their bottom was, something about that admission causes the sparkly facade to crumble. I had a friend that was a recovering sex addict and having seen their struggles, that is a tough sobriety to maintain. Personally I would never get involved with a sex addict even if they are inn recovery.

  • Responding to an old thread to share my experience being married to an alcoholic and a ‘recovered’ alcoholic. I am in the process of getting a divorce after 18 years of marriage. Soon to be ex was a beer drinker and worked 12-15 hour days (food industry)

    Things got really bad when he was allowed to drink at work when we opened a restaurant (9 years into our marriage w/ an 8 year old daughter)
    He got a DUI when our daughter was 11 and just staring middle school. He lost ownership of the restaurant and it was put solely in my name.

    Video of his arrest and mugshot was shown on our local news twice. It was on the news website for months- only taken down after I continuously emailed the webmaster.
    He continued to work at the restaurant and only drank at home. I went back to school with a plan to leave him (I was a SAHM, worked part time, and previously worked for my husband)

    I graduated and a few months later- he was fired for drinking at work. Our daughter was15 at this time. I stood by him because he quit drinking and started going to AA. Looking back- he truly only recovered for a few months. Once he started working long days, he would come home and drink 3-5 non-alcoholic beers. Same behavior.

    Just a few months ago, he started going to sporting events and on trips. He drank a little and smoked a little. He had an affair. He spent nearly $4000 in 2 months on himself, his girlfriend, and her son. All while “sober”. He felt so entitled because he worked hard and ‘quit drinking’ that he felt he deserved all those things.

    As soon as I found out about the affair (it was going on for over 2 months long-distance) I kicked him out of our house. Our daughter is 17 and I’ve exposed her to way too much bad behavior. The first man she cannot trust and who hurt her is her own father. He lied before the affair (drinking at work).

    He would visit his girlfriend and say he had to take care of his mom- and when our daughter wanted to go see grandma, he told her she couldn’t because he had to leave now and she never expressed interest in visiting grandma before and never bothered to call grandma.
    His family supports him and would even tease him about his non-alcoholic beer. The ow is someone I met. She even met my daughter. She’s his first serious gf from college. Drinker and smoker. She’s religious and into different music and political views than my husband. They settled via text and phone calls a few weeks after they reunited why they broke up 25 years ago and are in love.

    After decades of my husband and his ex gf not even talking with each other, texting everyday for 2 months, only seeing each other in person 3 times, and living 5 hours away from each other- He’s ready to end an 18 year marriage and change the relationship he has with his 17 year old daughter forever.
    I’m fine with me moving on- after living with an alcoholic husband who never took me out, never bought me flowers, treated me like an employee, slept separately from since his DUI, no intimacy with, etc. I have no fantastic romantic memories to look back on and miss.
    There’s a bit of what could have happened, but he never wanted to be that healthy partner I deserved and wanted. He just wants to surround himself with other unhealthy people and not feel bad about it.
    Just because an alcoholic quits drinking doesn’t mean they recovered. Following the steps in AA and truly implementing a healthy lifestyle change is necessary. Beware of the dry drunk, addictive behavior, and NPD.

    • Since he’s been gone, my daughter is relieved she doesn’t have to make excuses for her dad’s selfish behavior anymore. It’s sad to me that she’s not surprised he got fired or had an affair.
      I do not know what kind of relationship they can have together. Her dad’s attitude changes from showing the tiniest amount of humility to full-blown blameless entitled boss-mode (very apparent after he visits and gets affirmation about his choices with his family and gf)
      It’s only been a little over a month since we found out about the affair and his secret life- so I imagine he will go through a lot of different emotions especially trying not to feel guilty.
      I’m going to go back to al anon and bring my daughter with me. She said she wouldn’t speak with a therapist if I made an appt. I’m hoping if I can get her used to al anon, maybe she will try al- teen.

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