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Dear Chump Lady, Why do I think my marriage still has a shot… when it doesn’t?

Dear Chump Lady,

I filed for divorce from my lying, cheating husband a few weeks ago. I was absolutely miserable and tried reconciling for almost 5 years after I found out what a cheater he is. Our marriage never got better. I have been feeling a lot of self-doubt since filing. Any insight on why I am being so stupid about thinking my marriage still has a shot at working? Intellectually I know that this will never work out. But emotionally, I am having a hard time with filing. When I think of my husband’s lies, cheating, lack of real remorse, I feel like the supreme chump for even feeling like I am wrong about filing for divorce.

Ever since I filed, my husband cries when I talk about about the divorce proceeding. He cries a lot. I can’t figure out why he would be this upset when I have told him many times over years about what needs to be fixed in our marriage. He has never tried to really work on our marriage, but does the same things over and over. So now that I have filed, he’s all upset about it.

Please help me stop being a supreme chump.

Most Sincerely,

Supreme Chump

Dear Supreme Chump,

In answering your letter, I would like to quote from the absurdist 1970s song “Mac Arthur Park” — as sung by disco diva Donna Summers above.

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, nooooo

You’ve been reconciling with your cheating husband for 5 years and he’s shown zero remorse. But now that you’re divorcing him, he cannot stop crying. Why? Because Oh NOOOOO — cake is melting! And it took so long to bake it! And he’ll never have that recipe again!

The loss of a cake is a tragic, tragic thing for cheaters. It inspires lugubrious song lyrics. By divorcing his ass you are imposing consequences, which are painful to HIM. And you’re taking away his sweet cake! And leaving him with the bitter gluten-free rice crackers of karma.

Do you know how long it takes to bake make a chump? To get the gaslighting set at just the right temperature? To ensure that their self-esteem never rises? You want to LEAVE? He’ll never have that recipe again! It’s hard to find a good, loving sucker!

Of course he’s in tears. They move you. He’s giving you what you’ve always wanted, at least for the last five years — some measure of emotion that show that he cares.

But SC, his tears are not for you. His tears are for himself. I’m sure he is sincerely sad and sorry about the loss of cake, but his tears are a manipulation tactic. He doesn’t truly care about you — he has demonstrated that with his lying and cheating and unwillingness to fix his marriage. He knows his displays of self-pity will move you — so desperate are you for a sign that he gives a shit, you’ll take this as a sign. You waited five years for a sign — now you got one. A blubbery, sniveling, snotty sign from your cheater that he doesn’t want his marriage to end.

What marriage means to him and what marriage means to you, are two very different things. To him, marriage is cake. To you marriage is mutual respect and commitment. He has demonstrated that he cannot — he WILL not — give you the marriage you deserve, and you have tried very bravely to have. So you must leave him. You must enforce that boundary — that you will not be abused by his infidelities and his indifference to your pain. You must hold forth the vision, however painful, that you are worth more than this.

You cannot waste any more your life on his potential. You’ve wasted five years already post D-Day. Let go of the figment husband you hope he is and start seeing him for who he is — a liar and a cheat. A man who had every chance to save his marriage and didn’t give a fuck.

Stop putting him first. Stop putting his self-inflicted pain above the pain HE inflicted on YOU. Love yourself more than to be treated this way. Leave his damp, sobbing ass in the rain and let him melt.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sumpreme Chump, I understand your pain, I am in a false reconciliation at this time. After the OW dumped him my H seemed to think that life would go on just as he liked it. I have a large china cabinet that I cleaned out when a tree hit our house like 8 ms ago. My thoughts at that time were that I was leaving after the house got repaired. Other stuff came up ( he was still having his ego stroked by the OW @ this point). It still stands empty a symbol of our empty relationship. He keeps asking when I’m going to put my stuff back in it. Since his affair broke up he has done little to repair our relationship ( an apology would be a start) but everytime I bring up divorce he goes off the deep end. CL clarifies this point so well not just for but for me too. The tears are for him because he realizes the cake is leaving. Plus as women we’ve been taught it is our job to hold hearth and home together. Your H was probably like mine asking for a divorce but never doing anything about it. Now that you have OMG For myself I will have to leave and then file because I could not deal with his anger or his tears.

  • The only thing that will end your pain and confusion is divorcing your cheater and moving on with your life. There is no other solution. There is no other cure. If you are married to a serial cheater, a remorseless liar, a manipulative con artist, then it doesn’t matter what you do or what you do NOT do. They are not going to change, not ever. Not for you, not for the children, not for the OW, not for anyone.

    Divorce is scary and hard and painful and expensive and awful. But staying married to a disordered cheater is all of those things, but without a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Thank you Glad. That is the God’ truth. You just spoke it. They ain’t never going to be anything but what they are.

    • Glad, that is profound and true. There is not a painless choice, but there is a clearly better one and it is the only one where there is hope–and that is to LEAVE.

    • “They are not going to change, not ever. Not for you, not for the children, not for the OW, not for anyone.”
      But what if the DO change for the OW? It looks to me like that’s how it is with STBX and the OW. CL says that people don’t just change personalities overnight. But, in my situation, it truly seems as though there’s something about her that I didn’t have..something that makes the 2 of them blissfully happy. And I honestly do not think he would cheat on her. Ever.

      • “But what if the DO change for the OW? It looks to me like that’s how it is with STBX and the OW. CL says that people don’t just change personalities overnight. But, in my situation, it truly seems as though there’s something about her that I didn’t ha”

        When you sit in a movie theater and watch the actors on the screen, they can appear gloriously happy, or in the depths of despair, or crying in anguish or screaming in rage. Whatever the part calls for, the actor delivers. But once the camera stops rolling, those feelings disappear. The emotions were just for the part in that movie, know what I mean?

        It’s exactly the same with the disordered. They are skilled at playing the part for the movie about themselves that never stops filming inside their heads. It’s a role. It’s fake. It’s intended for their audience, which is all they see when they look at the rest of the people in this world.

        People used to frequently tell me how much my ex loved me. He played the part very well of the devoted, loving husband. That was in public, or on Facebook. It certainly wasn’t in the privacy of our home. Disordered love to pretend their lives are glorious, because they want to be adored by their “fans.” It’s all a bunch of bullshit, though, no different from an actor on stage. The emotions are pretend, they are not real.

        • Me too Glad, so many people in our community told me how impressed they were with my loving and wonderful husband — you see he professed to just so respect and adore me….While at the same time, he was having numerous long term affairs, unprotected group sex, bringing his affair partners to our home with mr and our children present, etc etc.

          It’s all an act, these guys are sick. They’ll pretend till they can’t. I don’t think any of them would know “real,” “authentic” or “love” if it hit them in the ass.

  • “Marriage is mutual respect and commitment.” And “Stop putting his self inflicted pain above the Pain He inflicted on YOU.” CL is knocking it out of the ballpark with these two nuggets of wisdom. Think about what your marriage is like now, what is has been like for these last five years, and what it has been like all along. I was NOT happy in my marriage and it was because my ex never VALUED it. He never valued my opinions. He never valued my interests. He only valued those things that reflected well on him. I never suspected my ex of cheating until the day he told me he wanted a divorce. Looking back I can see that he was making some pretty disturbing decisions without my knowledge. I will never know how many affairs he had but I am sure of one thing. He chose to PUT himself out there. Where we lived, his job, all of it influenced by the one thing he always needed. Kibbles. Cheaters have great marriages with Chumps because we are doing ALL the work. Do you feel like something’s missing? That was my life with the disordered. The OW did me a favor. That man will never love someone. Cue the llama in the rain scene from The Emperor’s New Groove. Supreme Chump, Anything is better than living a lie. I believe you know what to do.

    • Love that scene! Think I’ll put it as my cheaters pic on my phone, lol! Funny thing, I used to have a real pic I took on a safari day with the kids as his pic, it was a giant ass(donkey) that we saw, 🙂

  • Supreme Chump,

    Sweetie…I went through the same thing you did. Had DDAY#1 back in 2006 while I was pregnant with my youngest. Threatened divorce but never follow through with it. Somehow, one year passed, then two, eventually SEVEN years and boom…DDAY#2 on New Year’s Eve/Day 2013.

    This time around, I had three foggy months of WTF (instead of seven years) and realized enough was enough when I found CL in April 2013. I didn’t file for divorce right then and there, but I did spend the next nine months getting my shit together and filed for divorce just this past February.

    CL’s response to your letter is true to every word. EVERY WORD!!!! I won’t go into every detail of my exH behavior because I’m sure you are living and experiencing it right now, but know that it is just a facade on his part. Don’t even try to figure him out…just don’t. Instead, use that energy and will power and proceed, follow through with what you have started…the divorce. Focus on that, your well being and nothing else.

    He has turned your life upside down…pull the rug out from under him, stop the cake feeding and focus on yourself (and children if you have any). It might sound harsh what I write, but had I had someone tell me this in 2006, I’d have a different story (or no story for that matter) to write about.

    He can be upset all he wants. He was given plenty of chances to make things right and he chose not to do a damn thing.

    Hugs to you and know that you will get past this…little by little.

    • TV,

      I must have posted about the same time as you, but I have to echo your comments. Just so sad that there are so many of us in the same place.

      • Yes Kraft, very sad.

        But let me tell you, Chump Nation is strong and there is no better place to learn from others’ experiences than here, on this site. We are all of value and when we begin to believe in ourselves again, we are kick ass.

    • And a quick afterthought…those tears he sheds, sweetheart, don’t compare one utter ounce to the sincere and genuine tears you have shed all these years because of the betrayal, the lies, the humiliation…

      Has he ever cried and sobbed and wailed like you did when you found out about his affair? Probably not. Has he ever had panic attacks in the middle of the day while trying to keep chin up at work? Doubt it. Has he cried himself to sleep on any given night? Surely not. I can give you many more scenarios but you and I know that the answers will be a big fat NO!!!

      So the next time he breaks out those fake tears, remember all those times YOU cried, those dammed sleepless nights or those mornings when you couldn’t get yourself up to shower. Get angry and pull out your ‘NO MORE SHIT’ card and tell him his tears are useless. Treat and talk to him like the child he acts like AND has proven himself to be.

      He can cry all the way to the lawyers office or the courts to finalize the divorce process. Or he can save his tears for someone who cares.

      • Thanks for the slap in the face – how many panic attacks did I have at work (retail) when adorable men came to buy their loves beautiful gifts, knowing I would never be on the receiving end of such foresight? Hw many times did he wake up looking like he’d been hit by truck from sobbing for hours on end? How any times did he throw up from the pain? Zero.

        Ths site gives me the power to propel myself forward. He claims “I’m hanging onto the anger and not seeing the good things he’s done” in the 4 mos since dday (happy new year!). That I’m choosing anger over healing. Fuck you. Last week I was planning my move far away, now after looking at the numbers, I can’t do it. I had a quick cry and made plans for me – continue to take any job that comes my way (after cushy 17 yrs as sahm), and to be the best mom possible to my kids, after the pathetic mess they had for 15mos. Debts will be paid and I will be less paralyzed financially in 12 mos. plus I will be even more employable. This is my year of eyes wide open and taking that asterisk off my handle. I will be a rock star, he can blibber in the corner about how sorry he is while I skim money into my account. I will have him and his psycho narc mother/boss finance my exodus.

        When I threw up, accused, cried, upset the kids, fell apart – he stared at me like he was made of stone. I was alone, devalued, unsafe emotionally, but he did dick all. So he can run to all the counselors and tell them how I’m holding on to anger and how thats not his fault, but I’m really laughing inside and quite happy to finally have a say in what’s actually happening in my life after so many months of mind fucking.

        Stay strong chumps.

        • “When I threw up, accused, cried, upset the kids, fell apart – he stared at me like he was made of stone. I was alone, devalued, unsafe emotionally, but he did dick all. So he can run to all the counselors and tell them how I’m holding on to anger and how thats not his fault, but I’m really laughing inside and quite happy to finally have a say in what’s actually happening in my life after so many months of mind fucking.”

          LIKE… You go girl, you ARE a rock star!

        • I Am A Rock Star*,

          Next time he tells you that you choosing anger over healing, tell him you are using anger TO HEAL. Use that anger to fuel you, to give you that extra umfff that you need on a not-so-good day.

          It took me almost a year after dday#2 to get to where I am now. It takes planning, orchestrating, making difficult decisions, some sacrifice, and a whole lot of self control (sometimes, to not beat the shit out of him)…all while holding down the fort, job, kid activities, etc.

          Bottom line, it can be done. Even if it takes a year or two; having a plan and moving towards it is better than sitting around waiting for another dday.

          You’re already a rock star…you’ll be a bigger and better one once you are out!!!

        • “How any times did he throw up from the pain? Zero.”

          Exactly. I vomited for months when crying and upset. But I am pretty sure he only felt (perhaps) a little guilt/discomfort at his “non-nice-guy behavior” occassionally when something forced him to face what he did to me. He is pretty good at compartmentalizing. And he was giddy about his brand-new relationship with the OW.

  • Supreme chump, I heartily agree with CL! I also had terrible misgivings about filing and I have been through so many humiliating so-called reconciliations! He says he wants a “quick” divorce, but turns down each settlement offer! He is about to turn down another one in a few days! With each offer he promises to sign, turns it down then tells everyone that I am “holding up” the divorce! This has been going on since August 2013! I have gone through thousands with my lawyer while he hires a new lawyer each time! It’s ridiculous! I wanted to believe it’s because deep down he loves me and will return! It’s only been the past few weeks that I actually embrace the idea that he is your run of the mill cheater and just doesn’t want to give up on a possible back up plan! Now I have to come up with more money to drag his dumb ass to court! I’m finally done with being in limbo and I want a genuine life for myself! Hell, he sure has the kind of life he wants right? And I am just being a bigger chump full of Hopium! It’s like pulling a band aid off! Of course he’s going to cry, his “back up” plan is bailing! Screw him! It’s an act! Don’t waste anymore time or money! Kick him to the curb!

    • Roberta and SC, this is what happened to me, too. Toddler Boi supposedly wanted a quick divorce and I dutifully did all the work to put together settlement offers, all turned down for one bogus reason or another. I would go to coffee with him and every time when I brought up the mechanics he would go silent and then burst into tears, telling me he “was so foggy” and “didn’t know what to do”. Never a mention of me, or the kids, or how devastated we were. Never an explanation or an apology. Just lots and lots of tears, and lots and lots of words about how bad HE felt and how awful HIS life was.

      This went on for ten months, until he finally admitted that he was living with OW. Once I got over the shock I thought, well surely now he will cooperate, won’t he? Nope.

      After my outraged ex-sister in law implored me to file for divorce (Toddler Boi’s brother told her on her birthday that he had been having an affair with his lab tech for the previous three years) AND I found CL and read every post, I finally did. When we went to the obligatory mediation in November, he let it out that he didn’t think I “deserved” anything, after over thirty years of marriage. So to court we go in August.

      I get some satisfaction knowing that the cheap bastard has to pay just as much as I do to the lawyers; he would just spend it on OW anyway so what the hell. Maybe he thinks I will just eventually give up, throw up my hands and say, “sure! take it all! I’m tired of waiting!” Maybe he thought I would come running back, begging to get together again, like that would ever happen. What he doesn’t seem to get is that unlike him I have stamina, and can plan, and care about my kids and their future. No way in hell does he get away with anything that isn’t his by law. All those years of training as a chump gave me some pretty awesome skills in the tenacity department.

      Roberta, I understand what a pain it is paying lawyers and watching the money melt away, but please persevere. Eventually the system will work, and it will be worth every penny. I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to get things going. I dream of the day I am finally free of this idiot. SC, congratulations on filing! Don’t look back. Get yourself free, please, and don’t waste any more of your precious time on his self-inflicted Drama. Both of you deserve so much more.

      • Extepeatedmeme, I know exactly what you are talking about! If I bother to call him and try to remind him that HE wanted the divorce, I get, ” I need more time! Or I don’t want to make anymore mistakes!” Am I the mistake? Dunno! But while he needs time, he runs across the state line to be with the OW every weekend! He also allows her to see every settlement offer and make notes! Supposedly she is “loaded” so why does she care what I get? It’s too fishy, but I figure if these two will lie to their spouses then they will lie to each other. Seems he actually saw her bank account just prior to her husband divorcing her once he had solid proof of infidelity and I believe he gave her little or nothing. I think the money she “had” was actually her husbands! She has actually got 14,000.00 out of my husband so far! It’s too screwed up to even think about, but bottom line is I think she absolutely needs our money cause she really has none! I just want out before I lose everything I worked for in our 40 years of marriage!

        • Oh Supreme Chump…. I STILL think my marriage has a shot and it has been SEVEN years since D day. Silly us.
          I know there are people on here who have met someone and remarried and now they are ‘living happily ever after’ and they tell us chumps to go do what we love and then mysteriously happily we will find a new person to love us.

          The reality: Not so much. They are feeding us shit sandwich’s too. So goody goody it happened for them. More reality: It might not ever happen to us.
          WE are the ones that go through life alone and it might always be that way.
          I’m not saying we won’t be happy again, I’m just saying that perhaps we won’t be standing around at a blues festival and Mr. Wonderful who won’t ever cheat on us EVER shows up and falls madly in love with us. Let’s get Real here.

          Oh…and he cries? My X cried too when he was in the hospital… he was ‘dying’ of cancer and would cling to my ankles when I tried to go home and get some sleep because I had to get up at 5 am for work. I took care of a critically ill man for two years. Chemo pumps going off in my ear all night long. Feeding him through a stomach tube. Surgeries, radiation, chemo. Medical bills up the wazoo. I refinanced my house to pay his medical bill off and we had insurance. We owed $47,000 dollars after it was all over.

          I’m still trying to recover from that hit. But gee, just hang around at a place you love or do something you love and WA-LA there will be your Twu Luv Schmopie. It’s that easy according to some.

          • Life isn’t–or shouldn’t be–a passive thing. It’s not that two wuv “happens to you” at a blues festival. It’s that you take control of your life and make and enforce boundaries with the people around you. Until you understand the difference and act on it your likely to stay stuck, stuck, stuck.

            Also, as the banner on this website says, life minus a serial cheater is always better, whether or not you find a good partner down the road.

          • Gio, I am “good-guy kryptonite.”

            At 53 (and looking it), working, taking care of my teen sons, trying to keep up with the demands of maintaining our home, laundry, groceries, cooking, yada, yada, yada, even if I had the inclination, the opportunity to go on a date is zero. By Saturday night, I just want to put on my pajamas and watch TV with my dog. It is truly the only time I don’t “work.” Truthfully, the effort that would be required to date (connecting, small talk, dressing up, the whole scene) just seems like another chore to me.

            Nobody has shown any interest in me in years. But even if I did have a choice, I’d still opt to be single for the rest of my life than married to a selfish, untrustworthy, lazy, mean old coot.

            P.S. I think I’ll rent Superman for next Saturday night’s viewing pleasure! 🙂

            • I am with you on that one. I cant even think about going out on a date and putting in the energy it takes to try to “get to know each other” and knowing the whole time i will be trying to figure out if he is a liar, cheater and manipulator like my XH turned out to be. And it took me 14 years to figure that out (well more like 10 and 4 years trying to make it work).

              I hate it when people tell me “your still pretty, you will find someone” or “Trust in God, he will send you the one you need” or “give it time and when you least expect it you will find love”. My response to those people are “Unless Mr Wonderful falls out of the sky and lands at my feet, i will never find him.” because all i do is go to work, take kids to school functions and sport practices and come home. on weekends and days off, guess what, i stay at home with my kids, fix the house, clean the house and yard. Probably why my XH told me i got boring as one of the reasons he was acting like an ass, staying out all night drinking, not coming home, not answering my texts or calls, and not trying to save our 14 year marriage.

              My problem is that i really hate to be alone and the things i do you actually need a man to get it done. i dont have the money to hire one so right now my dreams, wants and wishes are on hold.

          • Gio, I understand how you feel about the possibility of finding someone great (honest, faithful, loving) to spend your life with. I’m not a kid any more, so the pool of possibilities for me is diminished by age. It’s also diminished by the face that many people (men and women) over 60 are retired and either want a companion for puttering around or sitting on the couch or traveling the world. I’, still working, both from choice and necessity, at a job I love and can do well into my 70s. I have no interest in puttering, sitting, traveling. So that reduces the pool further. Then there are the things I do for enjoyment, which often fall into traditionally male interests. You’d think men who like that, but no. So I am not thinking I will run into a 21st century Mr. Darcy of the right age and disposition. ButI like that I am free to hold out for that, even if it never happens for me, just as children never happened for me. Whatever road I am meant to walk, I’m going to walk it with my heart and my eyes wide open for whatever good things do come to me.

            • My 2cents: do not focus on loneliness of being single. I’ve been in my “marriage” 20 yrs, 4 kids, left a good career, etc….

              Focus on loving yourself. Focus on forgiving yourself. I waiver every day in self confidence. I talk to myself in the mirror every morning about my goals and the life I want. I think it’s really important to be good and content with being self sufficient- emotionally and eventually financially.

              Love yourself first. Don’t worry about not finding a worthy partner.

              • “My 2cents: do not focus on loneliness of being single. ”
                But what if I truly don’t want to be single for the rest of my life? I like having a partner! I don’t want to grow old alone (I’m 45 already!). And like many have mentioned here, the dating opportunities here are few and far between. Location is a big one. In my rural area, the guys are either 80 and over, or been married for years and years. But I really want to love and be loved again.

              • SandyR, you are very sad at the moment like most of us. You state that “I don’t want to grow old alone”. You can be alone even in a marriage/relationship. For me, just having his body around was not enough. He wasn’t in the marriage mentally so I was alone from the beginning if not before our marriage. Try to learn to enjoy your own company and as hard as that might be at present it is a must. You will meet a good person one day I hope but don’t let it rule your life. I sincerely wish you happiness and peace.

              • I am 46 and statistically i have a better chance at getting hit by lightening then finding a date.

          • It is true that your life is never the same. Leaving a cheater doesn’t make your life rainbows and unicorns, In fact, it often gets much tougher, I think what you are left with, though is a true life, a genuine life. A life that is yours, warts and all.

            The one thing I have noticed about people posting here is the variety of our experiences. Young chumps / oldchumps, chumps who remarry / chumps who are won’t even date, chumps still raising kids / chumps who don’t have children in the home. What we have in common is our need to understand and overcome the trauma of being betrayed by the person we thought we could trust more than anyone in the world, the person we thought had our back.

            I have been fortunate that I did not rely on my X for financial support and it pisses me off to read here about the assholes who refuse to honor their obligations. And the anger about what happened to me is largely gone. Still, I know I have lost something I can never recover, my belief in the fundamental decency of human beings. I will NEVER trust another man enough to give him my heart. I am healed, but a certain scarring has occurred, and I’m okay with that. Is my life diminished? Yes. Will I carry on? Most definitely.

      • I’m glad you filed ex, he likely will settle before you end up in court. My ex did that shit and after six months of trying to settle I filed for domestic abuse, infidelity and desertion. The motherfucker still wouldn’t settle until a week before court, but settle he did. Don’t give anything up to him if he asks close to court, unless your asshole is different from mine, he’s just playing you.

        • Thanks for the encouragement, Dat. My lawyer thinks this is what will happen – his own lawyer has told him the only reason we have to go to court is him. And like I said he is a cheap son of a bitch and won’t want to spend the money on a case that has only one possible outcome, which is the divorce and a split of the assets. I’m not sure if he is playing me, or just his usual passive aggressive self (‘you can’t MAKE me agree to a divorce, you mean judge! I’ll show you!”) but whatever it is, I will be glad to be rid of him this summer. I’ve got a bottle of old, smoky scotch put away for that day, let me tell you…….

      • You know, LaJ, if I get nothing else out of this long, sad, unnecessary episode in my life, I will finally own my anger. I am old enough to have been brought up in a family where the women traditionally suppressed their (well-deserved) anger and I did the same thing, which of course is why I was chumped so badly over so many years. Have you heard the expression “she wouldn’t say “shit” if her mouth was full of it”? Well, that was me – eating the shit sandwich, as CL would say. Not any more. Thank goddess for this place, where I learned that anger, skillfully employed, is the chump’s greatest friend.

  • Supreme Chump I also wanted to say you have taken a big step by filing. Don’t look back. Hang in there It will be hard but worth it.

  • Hi folks, it’s been a while. Glad to see chump nation getting stronger!!!

    SC, you’ve made the right decision. CL has summed it up oh so accurately, as always. Your STBXH’s tears are a con, and driven by self pity. So don’t buy it. But I think you already know that. Trust that he sucks. Never ever doubt that fact.

    I did 3 years of false reconciliation, limbo before I finally packed my bags and left. To my ex wife, my leaving sent her into hysterics. Like I read in psychology books, for a narcissist to loose their narcissistic supply(ego kibbles) is like like loosing their right arm. No wonder they cry. But don’t feel bad. They have all the skills to grow a new arm. They will find another victim. Just hope the”victim” is one of their own (cheating narcissist)

    SC, It’s almost 1 year since I left my ex. Not 1 nano gram of regret. The divorce is yet to be finalised. Currently finalising property . But I know that day will be a beginning of a new start for me.

    SC, follow through. You won’t regret. In the wise words of CL ” trust that he SUCKS!!!!!!!”

    • This.

      I think a lot of us can get caught up in the “why did s/he do that?” Cheating is a narcissistic act. Even if your particular cheater isn’t Narcissist Personality Disordered, that they cheated shows they have a sense of entitlement. A cheater always feels they should have both cake and kibbles. If they truly were unhappy in their marriage, they would file for divorce. They haven’t filed. They’re merely using you as a convenience in their lives.

      So trust that they suck.

  • Of course you are having a hard time with filing. You were serious about your marriage. You gave it 5 years beyond DDay. You talked and talked about what needed to change to make the marriage work: “I have told him many times over years about what needs to be fixed in our marriage.” You are emotional because you are giving up a dream, and a life in which you have made enormous, and sadly, very painful investments. Because you are not a disordered cheater, you have empathy for the person to whom you were married, even though he evidently has none for you or he would have been remorseful when he got caught and then moved heaven and earth to show you he would never do it again.

    Your letter begins by saying, “I was absolutely miserable.” Think of the emotions you are feeling as just another dimension of that misery. You’ve been in a 5-year process and you are coming to the end of that. The marriage made you miserable; ending the marriage will make you feel sad and a different kind of grief than the betrayal. At some point, someone has to move out of your current home. But once you are living in your own space without him, wherever that is, and you start reclaiming your own life, your self, you will start to feel things change. You might be sad, or scared, or exhilarated, but you won’t be trapped in the state of “miserable.” Good luck. It’s hard. But you can’t get to a good place without leaving a bad one.

    • Lovedajackass

      “But you can’t get to a good place without leaving a bad one.”

      That is so perfect for me right now. I am currently cleaning/painting the house so it can be put on the market. No the STBXH is not helping to paint and yes he will receive half the proceeds (if any) but it is worth it. They say that a freshly painted house sells faster so I have become the fastest effing painter in the world. Every scrub on the baseboard makes my arms stronger to hold my beautiful girls, every brush stroke of paint leads me one step closer to putting up the “for sale” sign–can’t put a price on “leaving bad’ and “heading towards good.” I don’t know where I am going but anyplace is better than here! It is time to unfold the wings and let the wind carry me, some chocolate, and a bottle of wine 🙂

      • redless, I hate to paint, so I admire what you are willing to do to get to the other side of things. Chocolate, wine, your girls, and wings to fly with!

      • THIS-I am currently in the process of doing this too Redless. It’s part of my escape plan. Stbx won’t leave & already told me that if (when for me) we split up the house goes up for sale immediately because he is not going to pay for me to live somewhere. He doesn’t even figure our 4 yr old into that equation. Dickwad ! So, I have been going through everything in the house & garage-I am throwing out what I don’t need & slowly moving stuff into my secret storage when he isn’t home. I have been touching up the paint & cleaning g baseboards to get the house ready to list. When I am done I will have a couple realtors come in to give value estimates which I will use in the divorce filing. I will be ready to sell/move at the time of filing which is part of my plan. Of course, stbx is such a narc that he thinks I’m doing all this for him to make him happy. What an effin loser!!! Yes, I’m sad that I will be giving up the home I’ve had for 13 years and the only home my son has ever known but planning for a new future has made me excited about it whether it includes a new man or not. I will be able to be free to be happy with my son-no more drama, cheating, lying…….I won’t have to wonder if the fucktard is coming home , what he’s doing, which hooker he’s been with, and no more iPhone (porn) humping and secret phone apps. I know my POS stbx won’t even have tears ‘cuz he can only show angry asshole when he doesn’t get his way. Ugh……so ready for him to be gone

  • Supreme Chump

    I did the false reconciliation thing too; for three long years. My ex only cheated once that I know about but of course I’ll always wonder now. He too couldn’t be bothered with doing any of the real work involved in reconciling. He begrudgingly appeared for 8 marriage counseling sessions after I threatened to divorce him, he wouldn’t seek individual counseling, he wouldn’t read anything (because “he doesn’t even read about things he enjoys”) and finally there was a statute of limitations on his transparency and talking about the affair.

    I found chump lady in the beginning of 2013 and that’s when I realized I was getting genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse instead of the real thing. About that time I realized that it wasn’t working and I needed to get out. It took about 8 months but I finally told my ex I wanted a divorce. You know what he did?

    First he set up dating profiles on match.com then he started actively dating while I was still living in the house and lied about it the whole time so I wouldn’t stop doing all the stuff I normally did. In short he was a douchebag but then all cheaters are douchebags. I’ve been out of our old home since the end of December and our day in court was at the end of January. I still have my moments of doubt but that’s only because of how long we were married. It gets easier the longer I go without contact.

    You’re doing the right thing, trust me. It will get better. Trust that he sucks!

    Sending cyber support!

  • Supreme Chump,

    I get it, leaving is painful but staying with a remorseless cheater (are there any other kind?) is worse. It was really difficult for me to pull the pin on my marriage because I loved him and I wanted my family to be together but there was no way I could stomach him a minute longer. I was an anxious mess, I had lost weight and I was jittery around him and that was before I knew he was cheating on me.

    It’s hard to leave. It sucks to go through a divorce and divide up things and settle finances. It takes real courage to stand up and say that you deserve better. And it’s not about being self-righteous, it’s about knowing that whatever relationship you thought you had, died. When someone can cheat on you and lie to you, well, in my books, it’s over.

    I had the good fortune of my cheater turning into a bigger ass after I asked him to leave. It hurt like hell but he showed me who he really was. He kept showing me and if I got hope sickness he showed me again. I get it now and I’m a year out and my divorce will be final within months.

    A year out I’m finding who I am again. I don’t wonder if he’s out screwing around. I think of him less and less. There are triggers for me and I’m still recovering but I’m determined to not let him define how my life looks. You need to believe in yourself despite your fear. Trust me, I was terrified. I still get scared from time to time about my future but when I ask myself if I really could have lived with who he was or had become, my answer is always no.

    It’s hard but I now see some light at the end of the tunnel and yes I still have some really difficult days but overall, it’s better on the other side. It takes work and courage but you can do it if you want it bad enough.

    • Thensome, I remember those days, when you had doubts and wondered if it could be salvaged and they prove, once again, just how fucked up they are. I went through this for so long with ex. He never knew that I was having doubts but have them I did – yet somehow he managed to pull some sort of outrageous bullshit every single time and I would realise all over again that he was an asshole. I’m grateful he dropped the nice guy act fairly soon after he realised I was not going to keep my mouth shut about what happened. If he had kept the nice guy act going I may have actually bought into it.

      • My husband is still playing mr nice guy. Came over today to pick up the dog and offered to pick up the dog turds as well.

        When I start thinking maybe he’s just the same old good bloke I’ve always known and loved, I remind myself it is easy and trivial to pick up dog turds, wash the car, sweep the yard etc. it is obviously not so easy to be honest and loyal.

        • Rosie Boa,
          Yea..my STBX plays that Mr. Nice Guy crap too. So transparent now. Yes..it is easy to throw out a few “kibbles” and even where I am I still catch myself in a fleeting moment of “maybe he’s changing”…but then I snap out of it. You are so right, it is not easy for the disordered to be honest and loyal because at the root of narcissism is “them”…it’s all about “them”….I have to keep reminding myself to “trust that they suck”.

          • Mine is “nice” too. I once told him he wasn’t such a “nice guy” after all. It pissed him off. Cheaters can’t stand to look at their own shit. They just project it onto you. “If only you were a better _________.”

            F off already.

        • WOW!!! Rosie Boa!! Yours pick up dog turds, washes the car and sweep the yard…..

          damn, that is all i wanted mine to do when he was married to me. i wouldnt know what to do if he did that later.

          but ya, apparently it is too much to ask for them to be honest, faithful and loyal

      • I completely know what you mean. I dont recognize the person my XH has turned out to be and the way he is acting now. i never saw this much hatred to me, i actually never seen him be this hateful to anyone like he is to me in all the 15 years i knew him.

        everytime i would start feeling emotional, sorry for myself and missing him, thinking of the good times. he would say something ex termly hateful and mean to me. I would cry and overthink it and wonder wtf i did to deserve being treated this way. our divorce was final in march 2014, (kicked him out in Jan 2014 so i was lucky ours was fast) i would sometimes wonder if i did the right thing, and i was shell shocked. i remember thinking several times what is going on. but his anger and hatefulness kept me going and moving forward.

        looking back….i am grateful he did act in such a manner. like you said if he had kept the nice guy act going i would have kept holding on and trying to figure out a way “TO FIX IT” i would have never left him, and would have never gave up on him.

        Reading everyones stories really opens my eyes and is helping me so much. Sometimes while i am reading this someone will post something that i am like “OMG, i have said those EXACT words!!!” then i read everyones responses and i think wow, i was soo stupid!!!

  • Supreme Chump,

    That song CL posted is such a tearjerker song, it always brings me to tears. And it describes this whole thing so well.

    You are not a supreme chump, it is very obvious you cared about your marriage. I can’t seem to get myself to file, although if I looked at it clearly, I would see there is no way this marriage could ever recover. All the lies and cheating have made me see him differently and I can’t seem to see the man I knew decades anymore.

    He decided a long time ago, before you knew, to change your marriage, he changed it when you thought you were safe and loved. You aren’t really ending it, he did already. He took all your marriage was and did this to it. I see you filing as you restoring your dignity to yourself. I wish I was strong enough to file like you.

    Be strong, it is about time you were put first in your life.

    Oh he is crying, upset? Was he upset when he was fucking bimbos? Did he care it tore your soul out of your body?

    Please be strong, if not for you, for women like me who wish they would file also.

    • I tried to reply to this last night, Tess, but somehow–poof. so I hope you see this and know how much I value what you wrote: “He decided a long time ago, before you knew, to change your marriage, he changed it when you thought you were safe and loved. You aren’t really ending it, he did already.” These two sentences pretty much say it all, although our male Chump compatriots would have to change the gender of the pronouns.
      1. “He decided” tells us that what the cheater did was a deliberate decision.
      2. “a long time ago”–this could be years or days, but essentially it means “in a time behind us that we can’t alter.” The decision is in the past, already made.
      3. “before you knew”–the essence of the betrayal. They decide–in reality disengage from us–and keep us in the dark about their thoughts, motives, actions.
      4. “to change your marriage” (or any committed, monogamous relationship)–The marriage or relationship is no longer operating under the agreed-upon rules. Now it operates under Cheater rules, for the benefit of the Cheater and to some extent his or her new partner or partners.
      5. “You aren’t really ending it, they did already.”–Therefore, by changing the relationship unilaterally, in secret, the cheater ended it. We are just still running to catch up to the cheater’s reality, which may be focused on maintaining the changed relationship that primarily benefits him or her.

      In other words, if a cheater is trying to maintain “the marriage,” it’s likely to be the redefined cheater-benefitting marriage that is valued, not the one the we signed up for. The Jackass was looking for an exit, not a reconciliation. He specializes in wrecking women’s lives and then crying, “I was abused!” They actually do end the relationship, but in many cases do a similar emotional tantrum, only this time the prime emotion is anger. “How dare you accuse me! I am not that kind of guy! It’s all your fault!” Lie, deny, blame-shift, gaslight, etc. The cake he is looking for the major Narcissist supply too: his own image of himself as the “good guy,” or in the Jackass’s case, his sense that he was the “best man I ever knew.” Really. Huh. I had no idea I couldn’t do better than a cheater who would pick up a skank at her brother’s funeral.

      Whether they are hanging on to cake for dear life because they want their old life plus the cheating or they kick the old life to the curb in favor of the cheating life but want to blame the Chump for their decisions, it’s all the same. Tess, you said it all: “He decided a long time ago, before you knew, to change your marriage, he changed it when you thought you were safe and loved. You aren’t really ending it, he did already.” I put those sentences in a file to keep.

      • And Tess, I don’t know what’s holding you back, but you are one smart woman. You see things very clearly. You deserve happiness, and trust me on this, it is possible to be very, very happy even alone. I’m not sure why you are stuck, but even if you feel you must live in the same house as the cheater, I hope you do for yourself, in a healthy way, what he did in a destructive, secretive way: “Tess decided, after long thought and conversation with her cheating spouse, and after warning him of the consequences of his behavior, to change her marriage, because he betrayed her by changing it when she thought she was safe and loved. She wasn’t really ending it, he did already. And by doing do, she saved a wonderful person–herself.”

  • like I said before in another post, if he really, truly loved you and valued you and your relationship he would’ve never risk that and cheat on you and touch another woman, period! He goes fucks other women, then lies to you over and over. Is that the actions of a man who truly loves his woman? Now you had enough and leaving his worthless ass so he is trying to manipulate you some more, with his cries like a little man bitch that he is! Did he cry before? did he tell you the truth or chose to lie? Was he crying when he was between another woman’s legs? Did you ever cross his mind when he was kissing other women’s lips? My answer would be NO! Dump him! He is only crying to manipulate, nothing more nothing less. The people who are truly in love don’t go fuck other people, fuck him and dump him as the trash that he really is!

  • Well Chump Lady must have ESP. Right before I checked this blog which I read daily for strength I was a blubbering mess. My divorce will be final in one month with pre-trial
    hearing scheduled for May 15. I really needed this jolt of reality as I go in and out of crying rants and thoughts like I don’t think I can do this as the final days approach. Thank you so much for this post and especially for the no contact post I read six long months ago which I have stuck to thanks to the strength of all the wonderful people on this site. Dried my tears and am ready to soldier on. God bless

    • gaslighted4real, you are rocking it, may not feel that way right now but it will. You know I was gaslighted for real too and I got through the divorce, so will you. When you get out the other side you will heal, I promise. For now, balls to the walls hon, keep it hardcore. Jedi Hugs!!!!!!

      • yeah, gaslighted4real, I feel for ya…this is a pretty scary, emotional time for you…your words really reminded me of how intense it was right before the final hearing…I had mine the day after Christmas, fun, huh? But I just want to say – keep taking deep breaths, keep your eye on the prize, push through the process, and I guarantee, you will feel strangely relieved as you walk out of the courtroom. Life is different, a little scary, but man, at least you have some hope now of being happy, and on your own terms from now on. Go NC, keep it that way, that is really one of the most important things I have read here on this site – because IT WORKS. Not like there isn’t a collateral process you have to go through as you begin to heal, etc. But it DOES get better, with each passing day. Hang in there! and read this site every day for strength.

  • I agree with Tess… was he upset when he was fucking his bimbo? Believe me, you would have never crossed his mind while your soul was being torn out of your body. I was outside the home I left when he brought his whore into our home and was fucking her in our marriage bed less that 4 weeks after I left. Just happened I had to run an errand on the same street and realized what was going on. It was hard enough leaving but that night made me realize that he has absolutely no respect for himself, let alone me. I still have my dignity it tact. These are very selfish persons we are dealing with that will own up to nothing and always feel deserving of all gain and happiness. We are strong enough to stand up for ourselves and show them they can’t keep hurting and betraying and get away with it. If only chumps would realize that these pathetic beings are so weak and dysfunctional. We were the glue that kept them and the marriage together in the first place. Example: we can leave and fair very well on our own. They on the other hand must have another waiting in the wings to get their jollies met. Sick saps! Chumps you are stronger than you can see while going through the pain and shock but after the dust settles we phoenixes rise up to claim our rights. Stay Strong be brave and fight for your rights.

    • I wasn’t on his mind when he was with her, or planning to be with her, or when he missed the Xmas pageant or when he treated herto company (mil) pad dinners while we wondered if e was coming home. Because when I practically had a nervous breakdown over and over again, at his feet, he was thinking about her. He was meh before meh was cool.

    • My stbx did this too, Frannie. Two weeks after I left, he had moved the OW into my home and bed. It hurts like hell. Big hugs, I hope to be as strong as you someday soon.

  • CL is SO right about the most important thing; his tears are NOT for you, or your marriage. His tears are for himself. He’s losing a pretty comfy billet, and lots of kibbles of many different flavours (pleading kibbles, anger kibbles, hopeful kibbles …) of course he ‘s sad.

    I did the Genuine Naugahyde Reconciliation, just like you. He cheated again, 7 years later. I finally opened my eyes and kicked him out. He was fine with that … for a few months. No interest in my pain and difficulties, or in the kids’. Then the tears began! He wanted us to try again, he was sure he wanted to come back. But it was ALL about him, how unhappy he was, how he missed the kids and I and our life, how he couldn’t figure out why he’d done something that was making him so unhappy …. (Oh, and about how he couldn’t drop the OW before knowing whether I’d take him back.)

    Now the kids refuse to see him (dinner once a month at my insistence). He’s even MORE unhappy, now professes remorse and guilt! (Still doesn’t take care of the yard like he said he would, still gets snarky when I don’t provide the compassion he looks for from me. Still doesn’t ask how the kids are doing. But you know, lots of remorse and guilt.) It’s is ALL about how things didn’t turn out the way he expected for HIM, all about his pain, his suffering, his loneliness …..

    So you need to stop interpreting your STBX’s sadness as being in any way similar to yours. His is the selfish/entitled sadness … just like everything else he does.

    • The most important thing in the world to narcissists is how they see themselves. Anyone standing up to them threatens that. I had no idea that the Jackass was a narcissist until he pitched his adolescent fit about how “he’s not that kind of [cheating] guy!” I couldn’t understand how he could ignore my devastation and say nothing about breaking his commitments and promises; the only thing he cared about was defending his image even as he lied to do it. I couldn’t understand how the guy I knew could do that. The only answer: he’s a narcissist.

      • THIS, LaJ. I’m sick of hearing, “I don’t do that (meaning cheating). I’ve always been a one woman guy who loves taking care of his family.”

        Um, no, not ALWAYS. And it’s not my job to wait for you and hold your hand while you decide which of those two guys you REALLY are.

    • Boo Hoo….. he will lose your income, he will have to split assets, he will have to food shop, he will have to cook for himself, he will have to do his own laundry, he will have a lesser lifestyle, move out of his/your home, he will be broke, he will have to pick up dog turds !
      Oh Gawd, how can he live like that ? How can he go on without you ? Cheater tears are for HIS life changing a.k.a. CAKE !
      DUMP HIS SORRY ASS !

  • Urgh, crying. What a turn off! Doesn’t that alone make your stomach turn when he has caused so many genuine tears in you? Glad you are getting out. Of course it’s hard. It’s terrible, divorce. But you have done most of the hard work, you are on the home stretch now.

  • “Ever since I filed, my husband cries when I talk about about the divorce proceeding. He cries a lot.”

    Supreme Chump, when we see someone crying and sad we have empathy and sympathy and we tend to hear what we EXPECT to hear from them. This is the ultimate spackle, it’s what we do, we are listening but not really *hearing* what our abusive spouse is saying.

    Listen to what he says when he is crying, *really* hear it. You won’t feel bad about filing once you do that. There won’t be one time that he is crying because he hurt you, even when he says he wishes he didn’t hurt you? LISTEN, because in there he will tell you who he is, he wishes he didn’t hurt you because now, he is hurt. And he is hurt because you won’t let him use you anymore while he continues to cheat. LISTEN. That is all you have to do and your wondering why he’s crying will be over. It will give you the clarity to do what you need to do to be happy and free of his shit.

  • Oh Supreme Chump…. I STILL think my marriage has a shot and it has been SEVEN years since D day. Silly us.
    I know there are people on here who have met someone and remarried and now they are ‘living happily ever after’ and they tell us chumps to go do what we love and then mysteriously happily we will find a new person to love us.

    The reality: Not so much. They are feeding us shit sandwich’s too. So goody goody it happened for them. More reality: It might not ever happen to us.
    WE are the ones that go through life alone and it might always be that way.
    I’m not saying we won’t be happy again, I’m just saying that perhaps we won’t be standing around at a blues festival and Mr. Wonderful who won’t ever cheat on us EVER shows up and falls madly in love with us. Let’s get Real here.

    Oh…and he cries? My X cried too when he was in the hospital… he was ‘dying’ of cancer and would cling to my ankles when I tried to go home and get some sleep because I had to get up at 5 am for work. I took care of a critically ill man for two years. Chemo pumps going off in my ear all night long. Feeding him through a stomach tube. Surgeries, radiation, chemo. Medical bills up the wazoo. I refinanced my house to pay his medical bill off and we had insurance. We owed $47,000 dollars after it was all over.

    I’m still trying to recover from that hit. But gee, just hang around at a place you love or do something you love and WA-LA there will be your Twu Luv Schmopie. It’s that easy according to some.

    • Maybe people will meet someone, maybe they won’t. I don’t think the goal in life is to partner. I think the goal in life is to live well and with integrity and joy. That can come in many forms, not least of which as a single person. We are not less valid for being single. And single doesn’t necessarily mean alone.

      I know it’s tough, Gio, I really do. 🙂

      • Thank you Nord. And I know what you are saying. But it is hard sometimes going through life all alone and knowing that is what it’s going to be. At my age, sure I could go troll and fuck a married man. How hard is that? But to find a truly single man? Ha! I went on match dot com and had one of the most PAINFUL dates of my life with a widower. Just this last Thursday. I googled him the next day and his wife just died TWO months ago. Ha! He had been married 37 years and his wife just died and the flowers haven’t even wilted yet and he’s looking for a woman to make him a sandwich and clean his house. Fucking Aorta.
        How fucking Weak.
        That’s what out here. This.

        • Gio, I’m in my 50s and I agree there aren’t many good guys out there. I may spend the rest of my life alone and I’m okay with that. Life is so much better without the narcissist in my life. I hope you can come to terms with the idea of being single long-term. I’d rather not be alone, but it’s a whole heck of a lot better than being with a cheater. I’m determined to live “happily ever after” one way or another!

          • Gio,
            I’m in my 50s, I have one brother a continent away. I have a BFF and one other good friend. I divorced a while ago and I have not even tried to date until this year. TBH, it can be scary to realize you may be living alone for the rest of your life and there times when you worry about having an accident and no one finds you for days. But, I am happy by myself – I am rebuilding my tribe after being isolated for a long time. And, I don’t *need* a partner, it would be nice if I found one, not necessary to my happiness. Jedi Hugs Gio, we can be happy with ourselves and our friends, both human and furry.

        • Gio,

          Hugs to you. It is so hard. I loved BEING married, even though my exH was abusive at times, and chronically a selfish asshole. He left when I was 40, with two preschoolers. I never imagined being single the rest of my life, but I have accepted that I may be, and it’s still FAR less lonely than living with these idiots.

          Dating is rough, so I’ve opted out for the foreseeable future. I tried online, and had 3 coffee dates with men whose appearances and lives were not…authentic…to their profiles. Yet, all three expressed disappointment with MY appearance – although I was perfectly honest with my size (size 14 and 5’10”). One gave me a disgusted look as I got out of my car, and actually said, “Wow. Didn’t know you were…(shakes his head)…BIG.” Yeah buddy, you’re ten years old, 5 inches shorter, and unemployed…but I’m “big”. Fuck you. I decided right then that I was going to be really happy just being ME. This is not the life any of us planned, but spending even one more minute in misery is just not acceptable to me.

          I wasted 14 years of my life on my exH. I will never have children with a man who wants them. My children will never have their father in their lives. I will never grow old with a husband and enjoy “our” grandchildren together. He stole all that, and more, from me; just like your ex stole from you. But from d-day on, WE get to decide just how much more of us they can take. For me, I decided – NOT ONE MORE MINUTE. I have my life back now. You can too, Gio. Yes, a different kind of life – but a real one, one YOU can fill with good things. I am so very sorry this happened to you; to all of us. But we can continue to live, really live – and not lose any more of ourselves in the process.

      • “We are not less valid for being single.” That is so true. I was raised in a religion that pushes marriage and that makes it that much harder mentally but I’ve gotten over it. Those people who judge aren’t living my life so they can shut up. I’m not technically single yet, but I was before, and I know enough to see that I’d rather be healthy on my own than trapped in a never-ending mind game just to have somebody to take me to the movies.

        • Amen. No one is living your life. Let them judge, opine, whatever – nod your head and do whatever the fuck you want.

    • It’s absolutely true that you might leave your cheating ex, and never meet anyone else and be alone the rest of your life. It’s also possible that he might dump YOU, and you never meet anyone else. Or that he gets hit by a bus tomorrow, leaving you alone. There are no guarantees in life, and it’s foolish to believe we really have total control (or even a lot of control) over what happens to us.

      However, staying with your cheater does wipe out the possibility of meeting someone new. When your hands are already full, you can’t hold anything else. I married, then stayed 20 years with my ex because I was terrified of being alone and afraid I would never meet anyone else. Who knows how many potential good guys I lost because I was already tied down to a cheater. What is certain is that I wasted those years with an awful man who treated me like shit.

      Everyone has to make their own decisions, and has their own life to live. But Gio, is it really preferable to stay with a known cheater rather than risk being alone? Isn’t it more lonely being married to a lying cheater than being without him?

      I haven’t heard anyone here say meeting someone new is as easy as hanging around places you love or taking up new hobbies. Those things certainly increase the odds, but are no guarantee. But the fact that many here HAVE met new, decent people tells you that it IS possible, so why shouldn’t it be possible for you? Why assume you would stay alone the rest of your life, when it is JUST AS POSSIBLE that you will meet someone decent? And though they may be few and far between, there ARE good guys out there, there really are.

    • Gio, please try not to get too angry with me for stepping into this. You sound like you have your head on straight which is a point I can only imagine being at for myself right now, so I’m not an expert.

      Mainly I’m thinking that the more sound minded you are the more difficult it might be to get somebody who can meet you at your level? For instance, I am a still married, getting divorced commitment phobic chump with seven children and I avoid going out of my house now because I have been attracting a lot of men. This is not a bragging point because what I’m saying is they are fixer uppers. I haven’t dated any of them because I am still technically married and am also scared to date, but I just know they are carrying a lot of unresolved baggage. What else would they see in me? Plus my husband keeps thanking me for helping him to get his life back on track(what the heck?) and calls me his angel. Even though I am divorcing him. Which means I must have “Let me fix your problems at my expense” written on my forehead.

      So what I am saying is maybe the fact that men aren’t crawling out of the woodwork to you is a good sign and a positive indicator of your mental status and moral character.

      As for me, I picture myself either having a life of one nights stands or hiding out so men won’t find me to get me to help them with their problems. Some of these guys are so messed up. I think I am scared of all of them so I will avoid them all. Plus I am a sucker so they could pretty much lie to me about everything and I would fall for it. I must be easy prey and it’s scary.

      Also, I noticed you said, “I STILL think my marriage has a shot and it has been SEVEN years since D day. Silly us.” Is it possible you are still partway emotionally closed off to meeting a decent man simply because you are in some way still pining for a repaired life with your cheater as your companion? Sometimes there isn’t enough emotional room to fully want both since the two concepts are mutually exclusive. I’m not blaming you and I’m in no position to say either way, it is just a thought from reading what you wrote.

      I hope you meet a fine, sane man who is worthy of you.

      • Some of us really don’t want to meet someone new. Each of us probably has a different reason why; I think what is important for me, though, is that I am content being alone. I have raised a large, mostly grown family. I have taken care of others for many years. I absolutely loved the noise and chaos of those years. Now, I am enjoying some well deserved solitude. It is okay to be alone and it is damn sure better to be alone than to be with someone who is incapable of authentic love!

  • You know what just occurred to me? You stick with the Chump Lady, and one day you will be able to read a letter like yours, and the answer to it will be immediately obvious. It works. You will get there, I promise. You just put one foot in front of the other, do what you gotta do to get that divorce and the best settlement you can get FOR YOU (please just go ahead and put yourself first for once–it will be good exercise), and get to NC as SOON as you can, and you will get there. One day you WILL look back and wonder how you ever could have been so blind and so in love with such a creep.

    It’ll happen!

    Honest!

    • That’s what I’m doing, following the people who have already navigated this crap, and walking in faith that things will work out better for me. I’ve been so mind warped from being with him that I make sure to treat myself like I would a good friend, so I’ll do what’s best for me. I’m hoping to get my self trust back.

      Thanks for the pep talk, Miss Sunshine.

      • Hugs. It’ll happen. I’m 3 years and a month (had to think about that one) from Dday, 2 years out from final divorce, and I never ever speak to the loser. EVER. Haven’t spoken to him since maybe a month after the divorce was final. It feels GREAT! My focus is my kids, my job, fixing my house up, so that I can spend my free time with a clear conscience. You’ll get there. You will be wiser and stronger, too.

  • The reason I still dilly dally that my marriage might still work Someday..haha (No it won’t Gio…go get a life)

    But really. My X left immediately and no mindfuckery or gaslighting. He JUST LEFT. Because he HAD to be with Schmoopie. He’s a dumb ass.

    However, he gave me 65% of his retirement (he only had to give me 25%) He paid off all my bills. And to this day he still puts $1000 in my checking account every month. He’s kind of hard to hate.

    • OMG Gio, me too!

      This is what is so hard, when they are not all bad.

      My IC said: ‘he looks after you. But in a perfunctory way’.

      • My ex-husband is like this in every way but money. He will come over to fix things I can’t manage, clean the gutters, feed the cats when I’m away. He wasn’t a cheater–but he was a guy who was really married to his buddies at his local bar. And as time went on, he didn’t want to share his money. We get along fine as friends, but living with him was talking me further down Codependency Road. He’s 50 times the man of the Jackass lying cheater.

    • Haha, Gio! I doubt I’d get that kind of settlement!

      I’ll be happy if STBX takes the house and gives me 50% of the equity. Also, 50% of his retirement. He’s cheap, and will hate the fact that he’s socked away max retirement contributions for his entire working life–only to have it go poof! in a divorce settlement.

      But hey, I’m sure the sex was worth it! 😛

    • Gio, my X also has done some nice things and I do not hate him. But I also know that the only love he is capable of is self-love. I am getting alot of pressure right now to help care for him ( he is very ill). Coming here helps me navigate my emotions and not get sucked into the circle of crazy.

        • Yep. Now that his family, who never had a kind word for me, has do do the shit work of taking care of him, they just don’t understand why I won’t welcome him back with open arms. Well, the chump train has left the station on one way trip to Leave Me the Fuck Alone!

    • That’s nice of them , Gio…..Getting even 50% child support is like oulling teeth. when it comes to Mr Fab. 0% pension.

      That doesn’t mean he didn’t screw you over, though……

      • Oh I know that Mephista…he screwed me over every which ways but Sunday.
        He LET me catch him fucking Skank Woman at the Econo Lodge. How is that for a good bye?
        I’m just saying he did give me money. But so what. I’d trade all the oil wells in Texas for a faithful man.

  • The self-doubt is probably a big part of what kept you in for the last 5 years, right? There’s no reason to expect that to just disappear immediately.

    You *know* what you’re dealing with, even if you aren’t *feeling* it yet. Hold onto that knowledge. He’s a lying, cheating douchebag. He was probably convinced that you’d eat the shit sandwich forever.

    Maybe he thought you’d never have the grit to actually file. Very likely he doesn’t think you really have it in you to see it through.

    Going through the process, there was an endless string of things my ex got upset with me for doing:

    for filing
    for firing the mediator when it became clear the stbx was just using it to delay
    for setting a trial date when the stbx kept delaying
    for digging up and presenting evidence of her shady financial dealings
    for not agreeing to a severely one-sided (favoring her) custody arrangement
    for not agreeing to keep residing in the same house and “finish raising the kids together”
    for buying myself a house
    for moving to said house

    Every step of the way, she was shocked, or angered, or saddened that I’d do such a thing. Never mind that besides cheating relentlessly, she’d severely hosed our finances, and now was involving our kids, along with the OM’s, in trying to create some sort of clandestine blended family. She never caught a clue that it was over, never stopped thinking she could just BS or browbeat me into doing what she wanted.

    It was hardest at first, because I guess I was so used to being accommodating, it felt really strange and wrong to not be, even if the situation was completely impossible. At no point in the process did she make it any easier for me. It got easier because I got used to withstanding her acting-up.

    It may play out similarly for you. It may stay difficult for a while, but you’ve already taken the first, hardest step. As you proceed, it’ll get easier. Best of luck!

    • Great post–almosta guidebook for what the cheaters will act up about when you stop accommodating them!

  • I wish my ex son in law would get on this site. My daughter hosed him big time and left him with four little kids. (My grandchildren) So she could run off with her 15 years younger schmoopie. He has always been a spineless jelly fish. He’s still up her ass making excuses.
    They had a ‘conscious uncoupling’ too.
    I was extremely close to my g’kids….did everything I could for them, went to all their activities …loved them with all my heart. Then they started telling me things so with a open heart I went to my daughter and told her ‘You are hurting your children.’ She went berserk and clawed my eyes out and cut me off from them.
    Cheaters. This is what they do. They ruin EVERYTHING.

    • Cheaters do ruin everything. It’s pathetic and disgusting how they think only of themselves while destroying the lives of others. I hope your daughter will see the error of her ways before it’s too late to fix her life and her children’s. It took a lot of integrity on your part to call her out on her bs like that. You sound like a terrific grandmother and an awesome person and I wish you a happy future with your grandkids in it.

      • So that was very interesting, how he can operate without harming others for the most part. Fascinating that he has murderers in his family tree, even the infamous, never convicted Lizzie Borden.

        • One thing that struck me while listening to this is that it starts in childhood – if it’s really ingrained and not just some learned selfishness, if it’s really part of them, they do it from birth and they just don’t care.
          Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be married to the borderline psychopath who is interviewed for this story – I doubt I’d have married him in the first place, if he was so selfish and manipulative from the start. And I don’t think this is any excuse for what they do, it being ingrained/part of their personality – they should have a warning on their foreheads – buyer beware!

          • i am now starting to believe my XH was or is borderline sociopath. i actually feel sorry for him. i would think i could save him, i could fix him. i have been reading up on it and it fits him in many many many ways. i knew about his f*cked up childhood, and i actually remember thinking i could show him what real love really is……i was wrong. i am just coming to terms with not being able to save him. it hurt. but i have to remember how hard i tried to make my marriage work. and how little he DID NOT try. he NEVER tried although he will be the first to tell you he did. being a loving compassion caring person, it hurt me that he was messed up, that he couldnt give love back.

            now i just think of him being selfish and hateful.

  • FINALLY! That horrid song has NEVER made any sense to me until this post! Thanks, CL.

    Supreme Chump, he’s crying now, but you should know crying is a TACTIC he’s using to manipulate you with, NOT a true emotion. Be prepared for those tears to turn into venom and bile when he realizes you’re not playing anymore. He will turn on you as fast as you can say “no.” Count on it.

    We’re here. Check in with us, okay?

  • “His tears are not for you. His tears are for himself. I’m sure he is sincerely sad and sorry about the loss of cake, but his tears are a manipulation tactic. He doesn’t truly care about you — he has demonstrated that with his lying and cheating….”

    AMEN. If there is one manipulation tactic I hate the most, it might just be those crocodile/self-pity tears. “Wah! Watch me cry! See how sensitive and caring I am??” No.

    I wish men were “allowed” to cry more in our society, because I think a lot of us consequently think it’s extra “significant” if a man cries. The crying (not when they hurt you, but when you say you are unhappy and want to leave) is like their sick trump card.

    I don’t know how often cheating/abusive women use tears, though. Either way it sucks.

      • Oh my gosh. I just realized why my ex hated it so much when he made me cry. He thought I was trying to use tears as a manipulation tactic. He wasn’t going to fall for that crap and was angry that I would try to manipulate him. Freak. I was genuinely hurt.

  • SC,

    Two nights ago I told my H that I am proceeding with the divorce. I am two years post Dday, and it has been an agonizing false R the whole time. I have kept myself in limbo for two years for all the usual reasons, fear, self-doubt, hopium, spackle….

    The following morning he said to me (sobbing while he said it), “I know I have ruined your life, but now you are ruining mine.”

    He is upset because his comfy, secure life is being disrupted. He has no concept of what he as done to my life, because he is just not capable of understanding the depth of pain and betrayal he has inflicted on me. He is sad because his comfy life is being altered, but he will never feel the raw, agonizing emotional pain that he has caused me.

    I have been to the brink like this several times in the last two years. Even came as close has putting the house on the market and getting two offers. I just couldn’t got through with it. We were supposed to be “all in” for these last months, really trying to rebuild our very long-term marriage. I just couldn’t do it. I felt myself getting more and more distant and detached. I couldn’t make myself want to reconnect with him in any way. I think I was trying to protect myself from further hurt.

    So, I made myself contact the real estate agent yesterday, because I knew there would be no going back a second time. I will be contacting my lawyer next week as well. I am really, really scared. But I am trusting in Chump Nation that it is better on the other side. I see glimmers every now and then and want to begin my journey toward them.

    I know it sounds strange, but it actually helps me when I read reminders from other chumps about how hard and painful this process will be. These reminders will help me move forward one step at a time.

    Thank you CL and Chump Nation. I’m going to settle in and be here for the long haul.

    • kammie, you rock! Interesting that your ex says ‘now you are ruining mine’, he STILL doesn’t see that a divorce is the consequence of HIS actions. He ruined your life, and THAT is ruining his.

      Heaven forbid they should take any responsibility! It’s never their actions that caused a whole series of events, some of which they don’t like ….

    • Kammie, be strong. You made the right decision. It is a long, hard, lonely road, but it is worth it to get back to an authentic, cheater-free life.

      Use those Chump skills you have honed. Do one thing every day to get you closer to your goal. Disengage from your STBX as much as you possibly can, go no contact. Get the lawyer on board. And do not, please, DO NOT let the crocodile tears and lies of the STBX persuade you to deviate from your path one inch.

      I’m on the same road, a little further ahead, and I can tell you straight up that finally making the decision to divorce was the best thing I ever did. I have my bad nights, my doubts, days when I have to pull over the car on the way from work because something has set me off and the grief and tears are overwhelming. But I read the posts here every day and it gives me such strength and such truth and I know I can do this. So can you.

      Love and protection your way, kammie. You’ve got this.

    • You know I re-read you post, kammie, and there is one line in there that really seems to sum up the behaviour of these disordered people –

      ‘The following morning he said to me (sobbing while he said it), “I know I have ruined your life, but now you are ruining mine.” ‘

      TB said something really similar to me, but I didn’t really hear it at the time, regrettably. I wish I had – I could have saved myself a couple of years.

  • Supreme Chump,

    If he had given a flying fuck about reconciliation, he had those 5 years to do it.

    Those tears are trying to offer you hopium. Once he sees that’s not working, I can warn you–he may vacillate between being a pissed off bear and pleading.

    Either way, don’t accept it. You’ve done more than your “bit” to “save” the marriage–look yourself in the mirror with pride and dignity. Your work here is done.

  • Supreme Chump,

    You are feeling doubt for good reasons– you know that rebuilding a life alone will be hard. You will have lonely days and scary days and overwhelming days. You will miss having a partner at dinner parties or someone around the house who can change the water filter, etc.

    But you won’t miss most of what your life truly consists of. You won’t miss feeling lonely even while sitting next to your husband or feeling scared that he’s cheating on you again or overwhelmed with despair and anger and shame and guilt. You will feel peaceful much more often than you can imagine. You’ll learn to navigate dinner parties as a singleton and to change the water filter yourself. And it will be a million times easier than living with someone whose disrespect makes you miserable.

    You will wish, maybe always, that you had had the marriage you dreamed of and worked on, but you won’t ever wish you had had more years of misery.

    You’ve done the hardest part– you’ve survived the betrayal. Moving forward isn’t always easy, but it isn’t nearly as hard as living through years of a rotten marriage.

    No one ever posts CL to say, ” I wish I hadn’t left my cheating spouse. The humiliation and STD weren’t all that bad. It turns out that I wish I had more evenings to spend by myself eating leftovers alone while he takes his mistress to the new restaurant I’ve never been to and out to a great play/sporting event/art show. My kids and I didn’t really need his love and attention as much as I thought. I wish I’d given him my support when he told me he’d be spending our vacation funds on a trip for the two of them to Aruba.” Don’t worry about regrets. You won’t be having them for any of the things you are escaping from,

    • Eilonwy, that was standing-ovation-worthy. Way to offer THE best perspective on regrets over leaving.

    • “No one ever posts CL to say, ” I wish I hadn’t left my cheating spouse. The humiliation and STD weren’t all that bad…. ”

      So true Eilonwy!

    • well to be honest, i actually did say that….. because i am an idiot.

      the first 2 months after he left, i actually said well, it wasnt that bad. i think i can live with half a man just as long as he can fix the sink, etc

      i could make believe i was happy and this was normal. our marriage was good longer then it was bad. i felt like as a loving wife i was sappose to “put up” with his bad times.

      problem was he never thought he had to put up with my bad times. my eldest daughter past away in march 2012. the rest of that year is a fog for me. i dont remember much of anything. 2013 i started wondering why i was paying all the bills, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, laundry, taking the kids to school, practice, games, homework, showers, bed. while he was giving me one excuse after another on where all his money went, working late, going out drinking, not coming home, not answering my calls while i worried if he was in a accident or dead or in jail, looking up dating sites to “make me snap” (WTF), blame me for everything and finally tell me i was too boring?

      and still i thought it was me. stupid enough to believe it wasnt him, that my daughters death “triggered” something in him that he was struggling with, poor XH. he needs even MORE love, understanding and support. it wasnt until he moved him with his married, meth whore who doesnt even take care of her own kids that i actually filed the divorce papers. (she actually told me she did not come between us when i asked her if she enjoyed f*cking my husband)

      i am glad i had the pride enough to file. because i would have never gave up on him. this wasnt the first time he was with someone while we were separated (he says never when we were together only when we broke up WTF?? i told him we are married, this is not high school, you dont “BREAK UP” when you are married) But this was going to be the last time. i am too old to be chasing about my husband, convincing him that his place is by my side with his kids, doing the pick me dance and reminding him all the time how much i did for him and how good we have it.

      but Ya. i was the chump that recently actually said i wish i didnt leave him

  • I haven’t even gotten past the lyrics of MacArthur Park in CL’s response, and I am just dying with laughter…your sense of humor is just…absolutely…brilliant…! I mean, could that song be any more perfect for what we talkin’ about? Thank you CL for being so hysterically funny and clever. I love it!

    • Kelly, me too! I never liked this song when I was young because I didn’t understand it as I think I am a very slow learner. I understand and appreciate it now.

  • “Ever since I filed, my husband cries when I talk about the divorce proceeding. He cries a lot.”

    Yeah, mine does too. When I feel the overwhelming urge to show compassion on him as he cries, I hand him a box of tissues so he doesn’t have to get up and get it himself. It only takes a moment, so then I use the whole rest of my evening for myself without feeling guilty.

    • Lol. I got the tears today too – I didn’t bother with the tissues. You’re a bigger woman than I. We had to tell the kids about not moving away today and I had a house of broken hearted babies – my daughter 13 (knows about ow) said “I’ll be okay mom, I’m just so sad for you”. My 16yr old is inconsolable. Rough day. But I told them that I know what’s what now, so I can be their rock and I have their backs. No one has mine, but it’s really good to know what I’m dealing with for the first time in over a year. I’m grateful for all of you every day with an extra big shout out to Chump Lady. Before I got here 3.5 mos ago, I was like a dog after being hit by a car, hiding behind the garage shaking and broken. Now I’ve got this. Xoxo

      • Jedi hugs Rock star, we have your back, and you have your back, it gets better when you decide.

  • “Do you know how long it takes to bake make a chump? To get the gaslighting set at just the right temperature? To ensure that their self-esteem never rises?”

    My ex was really good at quick cakes. Once he frosted them, then he trashed them.

  • Those are odd lyrics thinking about it. Was Donna Summers an ow?

    Yes my spouse said I ruined everything, not sure I will ever get that scene out of my head. I am told this as I hear of the affair, that I ruined everything.

    CL, have you ever thought of going into the work of a comedian? You have some very sly wit you sling.

  • I was wondering, those that do reconcile that I have known, don’t seem to ever get over being gun shy, they seem as though they are on edge daily. How could you ever really reconcile? What would you do about your anniversary even, do you take out the years they had the affair? Would you know the exact date of beginning and ending? Also how would you deal with that when you tell your kids about your history when they were little, how is an affair placed in the puzzle hole? How would anyone in the family be able to accept them back? After affair actions clearly show, a total fail as far as they are concerned in doing it. As with my spouse he has had nothing to do with our kids at all for years, nothing. And sadly, one is going to school to be a social worker. He isn’t going to be getting a break from that child ever. Not by my swaying either, he hasn’t had anything to do with them.

    I will never understand how anyone could follow through doing this, when everyone in the family knows, don’t they see the pain? I don’t get it, thank god, if I did, how could I be me.

    • On the night of our anniversary last year he texted me from his howorker’s house saying that we were no longer married, blah blah blah etc.

      If I stayed with him, I wouldn’t know how to get over what the anniversary now represents to me. It’s almost like he made it their anniversary by doing that that night. Ew and ouch. The pain from that one is still bad.

      I’m not capable of reconciliation at this point even if I wanted to. It’s bad enough living in the same house while divorcing. If I stayed I believe the triggers would be never-ending because he IS a trigger. I am leaving to give myself a chance to heal without being constantly bombarded by painful memories.

  • Supreme Chump, my heart goes out to you. You gave it your best shot….

    After 5 years, your marriage never got better? I’d say you *know* the score, and although it hurts like hell, you also know (deeeeep down) that filing was absolutely the Right Thing to do.

    And if you decided to give it another shot: What could you possibly expect from, say, another 5 years from him? More DDays? More tears? More bullshit?

    Nah, you’re on the right track.

  • “In answering your letter, I would like to quote from the absurdist 1970s song “Mac Arthur Park” — as sung by disco diva Donna Summers above.

    MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
    All the sweet, green icing flowing down
    Someone left the cake out in the rain
    I don’t think that I can take it
    ’cause it took so long to bake it
    And I’ll never have that recipe again
    Oh, nooooo”

    Not surprisingly, MacArthur Park is one of my ex’s favorite songs.

    • After having seen the Peter and the Wolf video, I kinda got that vibe from him. Lots of Drama in that one.

      Not a mind I would want to be a resident of, I can tell you that. You are so strong, and so well rid of him.

  • Thanks everyone for the responses here. I know that my life will not be perfect. I know that I may never find someone else to be with. I know that I may be very lonely. But, I already am very lonely and beyond unhappy. The adjectives “lonely” and “unhappy” don’t even come close to describing what I feel and what I have felt for so very long, to say nothing of what I felt when I discovered my husband’s infidelity.
    I do know that I do not have a chance at contentment or happiness while I stay in this marriage. And that’s what I need–a chance. When I think of my husband’s lies, affairs, deceit, and neglect, I get sick. When I think of how he does not value me as a wife or a woman, I just can’t stop feeling that I’m dying more inside every day. I can’t even pretend anymore.
    CL, I love how you answered me with the lyrics to MacArthur Park. Your whole answer is great. Thank you for your time and consideration. I appreciate it very much.
    I also appreciate all the other comments from all other posters. Thank you.

    • SC,

      You’ve so got this. I can tell your strength from your posts- stronger than when I was at the same time in place you are.

      And honestly, because of your strength and will for your happiness- I seriously doubt you’ll be lonely or alone after you make this leap.

      Good people are actually hard to come by in this world (I’ve learned from my own cheater hell), and you clearly have the chutzpah to persevere and thrive. You will be happy and you will find real love IMO- because you want that and you have the guts to make your life your own, on your terms. That’s 90% of the battle- Godspeed!

    • “When I think of my husband’s lies, affairs, deceit, and neglect, I get sick. When I think of how he does not value me as a wife or a woman, I just can’t stop feeling that I’m dying more inside every day. I can’t even pretend anymore.”

      This. Exactly how I feel too. It’s bad. I sometimes wish I could go to sleep and never wake up. The tears come everyday, just doing normal things like grocery shopping or picking the kids up from school. I hope that there will be peace for both if us some time soon. I know I am falling apart and fear every coming day for more of the same pain and devastation. Sending my thoughts and prayers your way tonight. Knowing that there is someone out there who is going through the same thing helps. It sucks. It don’t wish these feelings on anyone, I wish you didn’t feel them. But, you’re not alone. Hugs.

  • SC, I went on a road trip with my XH and my second newborn baby to visit his family two days’ drive away, and we passed a cemetery. As I looked at row after row of headstones, I envied them all, that’s how bad I felt. Over time, I did what I had to do, the pain ended, and eventually I reached a place where life is amazingly good.

    I figure the longer I stayed buried under his garbage the more surprises I had at who I was underneath. I have become the woman that my ex husbands tried to stop! The director of the women’s shelter where I stayed in early days (after a safe period of time) said she had been afraid I was going to commit suicide because I looked so trapped. With two babies, I was – for a time – very trapped. The more trapped my ex thought he had me, the worse he behaved and gave me extra when I objected to his bad treatment. It got so he’d just sneer at me. He was a champion cheater going so far as to try and rape a married friend of mine whose husband was out of town. (Get this, she told her husband and when they discussed whether to tell me, he advised her not to because it would ruin the marriage. She told me anyway but, sadly, after I left him because that’s something I’d have wanted to know to help give me the kick I needed to see the hell I was in and get out).

    My husband was everyone else’s knight in shining armour. If the neighbours wanted help they got it. If I asked for help he left the house to be sure I’d have to do whatever it was alone no matter how sick I or the kids were. I could count on him for nothing. The illness and fatigue and humiliation broke me down so bad I hardly recognised myself.

    It took a long time to find myself back and the journey wasn’t always sunshine and roses but it was worth it to take to get where I am today.

    You’re doing great SC – you believe in better. Back when I was going through the pain I wasn’t sure if life could be better and I wondered if I was asking for too much. I wondered if a good life had unicorn status. When I look back, I’m not surprised someone thought I might commit suicide but I decided to be a bad girl and get a divorce instead! My ex husbands liked to think my misery was something inside me that I caused – when it was them hurting me all along. One of them hollered before I left, “You can’t run away from your problems!” (Oh yeah?). Their antics look ridiculous now.

    Now I feel victorious: life is good, full of humour, small kindnesses and beauty. I am not lonely. I believe you will get through your troubles and not be lonely.

    • My husband was everyone else’s knight in shining armour. If the neighbours wanted help they got it. If I asked for help he left the house to be sure I’d have to do whatever it was alone no matter how sick I or the kids were. I could count on him for nothing. The illness and fatigue and humiliation broke me down so bad I hardly recognised myself

      yep, i agree. i didnt even know who i was anymore. i actually clip these out and copy onto paper and hang in my office to remind me what was wrong with my marriage because i am so good at forgiving and forgetting…..

      plus sometimes something someone else says makes so much perfect sense to me, i cant figure out why i didnt think of that and post it to remind myself

  • SC, you’re right, you need and deserve a chance to be happy. Of course, the ideal is to have a happy, warm loving marriage, but that’s not on the table right now. Your two choices are either to stay in an abusive situation or leave. That’s what got me moving. I realized that I would be better off not being with XH than being with him–emotionally, mentally, physically–even if I was alone. And it has been lonely at times, but it was lonely while I was with him, too.

    I realize now that I don’t miss what was actually our marriage, but what I hoped it would be. He was always working, even on the weekends, and, I always thought that when he reached some certain milestone in his career that he could relax and we could be the happy family doing happy things together, but it just never happened. In fact, the one time he did reach a big career milestone, he began an affair a couple of months later.

    SC, you are already unhappy and lonely. You have nothing to lose at this point. I, myself, do feel much freer and happier without XH, though I sometimes do miss having a significant other (even though XH was busy and temperamental at times, at least he was there at times to talk to and I felt like he had my back) and feel sad when I see happy families together. But even when XH and I were together, I did feel like a single mom anyways because it was always me doing stuff with the kids on the weekends while XH was working (or looking back, perhaps he was having affairs back then, too).

  • Timely post, as my husband will get served today. My lawyer is going to suggest he come to her office and pick up the divorce papers! 😀 😀 😀

    Supreme Chump: Those tears are crocodile ones, don’t get sucked in. Clearly he had enough time to get his shit together, and he chose not to. You’ll feel so much better when this is all done and over with, it’s the Chump Nation promise! 🙂 Stay strong.

  • I managed not to be cheated on until I was 56 years old. It came as such a shock that I could barely process it. I used to say “this is a club I don’t want to belong to.” After coming here and reading dozens and dozens of stories that aren’t all that different from mine, I realize how common this is. And that makes me really sad; I just had no idea. It could easily turn me into a bitter woman. Why have we chosen men who would hurt us AND abandon us in our later years? Which of us imagined we’d be alone and having to face the kinds of decisions we’re now facing?

    My husband ruined me financially and left me penniless and living with my parents. I have lost my home that I owned free and clear, my savings, 401K. Everything. Because of the severe stress of our money problems I had a breakdown and he told me to get out or he would, so I left. Then I tried to get him back until he admitted there was someone else in his life. I knew I knew I’d never get over that he fucked someone else so I stopped trying to get him back.

    Oh and of course he blamed me for the failure of our marriage. If only I could have shown him more love.

    He was so lucky he had someone else. It allowed him to break it off with me with no emotion whatsoever. It was truly as though the man I knew died and this other person took his place. I still mourn the man I thought I knew.

    I have a lifetime of anxiety and depression but now I wake up every day and try to improve my mental and physical health. I have begun to feel that, even if I do not find another man to love (and that makes me very sad) life is still worth living. When I get so low I don’t think I want to go on, I just tell myself that I must be an example to my daughter. She’s a grown woman, but an only child, and I do not want to abandon her.

    Last is the shame I deal with every day that somehow I chose the type of man who would treat me so horribly. Now I don’t know if I can ever trust myself again. On top of that I still love him and care about him even while I know we will never be together again, and even that shames me.

    • Moving Liquid, believe me I understand, we all do. I was 51 years old when I found out my husband of 25 years was cheating on me, had been doing so for a long time, and turned off his emotions almost instantaneously once I caught him. He walked away and never looked back, barely even acknowledges let alone sees our 3 children. It is an incredible mind fuck. I could not believe he would let me get to this point in our lives and then allow it to be blown sky-high. I recall the feeling of wishing I could just walk into the river and be done with the pain. But as you say, you need to keep going for your daughter, and most of all for yourself. It is not your shame, no not at all. You did not betray and abandon, you did not break your solemn vows, you did not turn into a stone-cold monster…he did. I still love my ex somehow, the man he used to be or more likely the man I thought he was. The man he is now, I do not even know him. Stay far away from your “husband” and keep taking care of yourself. No contact is the only way to survive it, because every contact with these freaks makes the mind reel. It is a terrible terrible shit sandwich and one that you do not deserve, Moving Liquid. All you can do is keep moving forward. Chump Lady and my fellow chumps gave me so much strength and courage, let us help you if we can. (((HUGS)))

      • Kelly, thanks very much for your response. I’m in a bit of shock having recently found CL and discovered how common this issue is. Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand and not know this! The other part of me knows that denying my situation won’t help me and somehow I must keep moving forward.

        The problem is that I’ve been telling myself that when I was ready and if I really wanted it I’d find a new love. Now I am not at all sure that is the case. That is heartbreakingly sad.

        But I am not a fortune teller and I’m still hurt and healing and I can’t know what the future will bring. In my most lucid states I figure if another man isn’t in my future, I’ll still find someway to have a fulfilling and dignified life.

        I really appreciate your support and wish you well.

        • Moving Liquid, trying to heal and living the life YOU want for YOU is the best thing. (I know it is hard to even know who “you” are or want you really want in your life after being married for so long). Some of us choose not to date or pursue another relationship, some do, and whether we will ever find someone else again is hard to know. Shortly after D-Day, I decided that I’d be damned if the last story in my romantic life was going to be the terrible story of what my ex did to me. I knew it was going to be scary and hard and maybe I would never find anyone else, but I decided that I was going to be open to dating and loving again. I had some horrible dates through on-line dating sites and decided I would rather be alone that do that anymore. Then one day an old friend who I connected with on Facebook (over photos of each others’ kids) asked me out on a casual date. We fell in love and are getting married next month. Many Chumps on this site are dating, engaged and re-married, while others are not. I just want to say that what has happened is horrible, but not a death sentence. I believe that if you go about doing your best, and living that fulfilling and dignified life, there is every chance that you WILL find another love, one better than the loser you are leaving behind. I will hope and pray that for you Moving Liquid. 🙂

          • Kelly, thanks again for the encouragement, it’s appreciated. I am glad that, because you wanted it and knew you deserved it, you were able to find love again. That is what I want for myself, regardless of my age.

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