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Dear Chump Lady, Why won’t she give up?

ZombieclosureDear Chump Lady,

My story:

My wife and I started trying to get pregnant after being together for several years. Approximately two months into trying, she started an affair with a co-worker as a way to avoid this life change.

One month later, after gathering the facts, I approached her about ending the affair and working on our marriage. Although she denied the affair, she was high on the affair-related dopamine, so her response was to repeatedly ask for a “temporarily open marriage” to justify her actions. I refused and laughed at myself for being so gullible. Word to the wise: If your spouse asks for an open marriage, then you already have one. You just didn’t know it.

One month later, we started marriage counseling, but she refused to end affair while we went to counseling, plus did all the classic affair tactics: gaslighting, trickle truth, blame the victim, etc.

There’s no point working on a marriage while an affair is ongoing. So, I left her, moved out, and told her that I’ll research next steps.

She got scared and insisted affair was over. One month later, I moved back in.

We attended counseling weekly, and wife kept insisting that an open marriage would fix her issues. Our marriage counselor (who I think should lose her marriage license certification), supported the idea of an open marriage. This counselor also kept insisting that I needed to “move on” from the affair, given it was “in the past.”

Six weeks later, I confirmed that the affair was still ongoing. I left wife and filed for divorce.

Six months later, paperwork is all filed, and we’re just waiting on the court to finalize the documents.

So, since the day I filed for divorce, my ex-wife has asked for another chance once every month or two. She continues to insist that I gave up too quickly, and that marriages have hard times that people have to work through. I have repeatedly told her marriages have hard times, but infidelity is not a problem in a marriage — it’s a symptom of one person not being able to deal with his/her personal unhappiness in a constructive manner; and it is a daily choice that she made, even when I gave her numerous chances to make a different one.

Moreover, it’s clear that I want children and she doesn’t. Life only gets more demanding; not less demanding. If I do have the opportunity again to have children someday, I need a mature partner in that effort. My ex-wife has proven she’s not that person.

My question for you: When will my ex let go? When will stop asking for more chances? Even after I’ve made it quite clear, several times, that the divorce is proceeding and almost finished, my ex still writes to me monthly. She says that she wants to be “friends” and hopes our paths cross again because neither of us will find “something so pure as what we had” ever again.

Look, it’s been 7 months since her affair ended. In that time, the affair partner married his long-time girlfriend (and mother of his child). I’ve moved out and established my own life. I assume that my ex has, too. But why now, after her brain has healed from the “wayward fog,” does she still think that she can win me back? Why does she characterize what we had as “pure” given she was clearly quite “un-pure” in her unfaithfulness? Why won’t she just leave me alone?

Tired of the tedium

Dear Tired,

Why won’t she leave you alone? Because you keep talking to her.

Here’s the thing with these freaks — all kibbles are good kibbles.

You think explaining no contact with her will make her go no contact. But talking to her is actually contact. See, unlike chumps, cheaters are very good at reading actions over words. Doesn’t matter what you SAY, you’re still there! You’re still in the game. You’re still kibbles.


Your upset means she’s still central. You patiently trying to explain obvious concepts to her is still attention.

So, simple solution — you don’t have any kids together, she knows who your lawyer is if it’s a divorce related matter, so change your number, block her on all social media and email, and enjoy the quiet.

Methinks you might be enjoying a bit of the reverse pick me dance. And trust me on this, she’s hoping you do. She wants you to fall for her “flattery” — that yours were special pure kibble and she’ll never have that kind of special again. (Vomit.) You took her back once, maybe you’ll do it again. As long as you’re still speaking to her, the door is open.

But let’s examine her words — she’s not sorry. She’s not offering her heart-felt remorse. She’s not respecting your wishes of no contact. No, it’s still all about HER. She wants to be friends! Imagine that — you and her rotating cast of fuckbuddies could go enjoy a ball game together. Double date! (Triple date? Quadruple date?) Have dinner parties and all compare notes on her fabulousness! Because hey, destroying your marriage and dashing your hopes for starting a family — this is the stuff of BFF, right? Friendship means what she did Isn’t That Bad. So let’s be friends, okay?

People like your ex — everyone is an interchangeable “friend.” Getting back together is just keeping her options in play for future kibbles. You were good kibbles. You could still be of use to her. Why would you pass up an opportunity like THAT? A woman who wants an open marriage wants an endless buffet of options. But I suspect she never wanted an open marriage — she wanted cake. You in the dark, her at the buffet line. She said “open marriage” — but notice how she’s not really cool with you pursuing your life. She’s insinuating herself in your life, seeing if she can get her place of centrality back, because you know, what you had was like “pure” and everything.

I’m sure you are discovering there is a great big world out there full of women who share your values and who would love a committed, good guy like you. Stop trying to speak truth to stupid and change your number.

What you need, Tired, is pure no contact. Try it.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Thanks so much for this reminder, Tired and ChumpLady! After months of providing only silence in response to my narc ex’s attempts to have ‘personal’ conversations (we do occasionally need to have brief contacts because of the kids and the house), I got sucked in night-before-last, when he came by to sign some school docs. He was annoying, I got annoyed and yelled at him, he e-mailed me about it afterwards, of course bringing up our past, I replied.

    It’s ALL kibbles to him! He hates it that he no longer has much impact on me, no centrality in my life. I had to fake that for a long time, but now it’s actually true! Hates it that I’m polite but business-like when I do have to deal w/him, hates it that I don’t make a lot of eye contact or express any interest in ‘sharing’ about our lives. So he keeps doing stuff, whatever it takes, to get a reaction, any kind of reaction.

    ‘Stop trying to speak truth to stupid.’ MUST remember this! I realize now that I forgot my #1 Cricket Rule; wait until the next day before replying to anything. That allows me to filter out the personal and provocative stuff, and stick to the business at hand.

    So back we go to the sound of distant crickets …..

    • Me too! Mine uses our son to start arguments, then says I’m angry because I’m not over him. I don’t even reply about our son anymore unless it is necessary, and it usually isn’t.
      “See, unlike chumps, cheaters are very good at reading actions over words. Doesn’t matter what you SAY, you’re still there! You’re still in the game. You’re still kibbles.” So true – my therapist told me that by letting him pull me into those arguments I’m giving him the attention and excitement he wants from me.

      • This is exactly what happens to me. No matter how matter of fact the conversation is my stbx will turn it around somehow and say that I am just angry and not over it. Actually told me to I needed to “accept that we are done.” This is crazy making as I am the one who left and filed for divorce. At least I can spot the manipulation and not react….but it is so difficult. His tactic has changed from blaming me “you abandoned our family and kidnapped the children” to “you can’t accept that it is over.” wtf

        • Exactly! My (2-year old at the time) son came home from his dad’s with a knot on his forehead – I asked his dad what happened, very calmly in a text, and he replied that “everyone” was concerned about my “behavior” and that I was acting bitter and crazy (for asking what happened to my son’s forehead!). I finally have learned that even with something like that, something I want to know, I don’t even ask – all I get is nasty manipulative non-answers.
          My son’s now 3 and talks more clearly, thank goodness.

        • That’s actually sort of hilarious– poor baby is suffering from kibble deprivation and desperation …cheater-style….

    • Just wondering HOW people remain in NC with young children? I mean, there’s so much to discuss: school stuff, health stuff, life, etc. I’ve gotten better with not taking his calls as often and insist on emails, but is it truly possible to maintain NC?

      • I’ve heard of people using a joint calendar for communication–something in gmail or yahoo. Ex can look at the calendar and see that Junior has a piano recital on Saturday at 4, and a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday at 3. But do not feel a need to be ex’s secretary. (S)he has the same access that you do to the school, the doctor, etc. I don’t discuss my worries or concerns about the kids to the ex. He has shown that he cannot be bothered to care–he walked out.

        Do not answer the phone. Answer texts or emails after several minutes or even after overnight, and only with one or two sentences. It’s an art.

        Also don’t cave into societal pressure to put on a “Oh, we get along GREAT!” face.

        • Great advice; especially about feeling like you need to be the ex’s secretary in child matters.

          I love this. I think a lot of times the chump wants to make things smooth for the kids, but the problem with that is they get tangled up organizing everything for the cheater and its bullshit and manipulation all over again. Let the cheater step up and figure it out. If they don’t do what they are supposed to do, if they aren’t there for their kids, that’s on them.

          • Exactly.

            I do refer to the definitions of custody and placement every now and then to be sure nothing can come back to bite me, but…my ex walked out and has shown no interest in our only remaining minor child, kind of like when he still lived here – ha! and I won’t get in the way of his access to medical/school records, etc, because you know, that’s illegal 🙂 but it’s on him to figure that out if he is interested. He never was before, but you never can tell with these whack jobs.

            The more I get distance from the marriage and the divorce, the more grateful I am that he literally abandoned all of us. It’s shameful and it hurt, but…truth was, he had checked out a long time ago. Kind of like, it died, but it hadn’t fallen down yet…. 🙂 It’s way better than continuing the fucked up entanglements. I really feel for all of you who are still compelled, for one reason or another, to have to have contact with these self absorbed psychos.

            I do agree with Miss Sunshine – you can make the NC an art. And sooner or later, hopefully, they will go away. And you can look forward, instead of backward. Like Ican’tbelieveit said yesterday, enjoy the peace and rest of that freedom from the insanity…get hooked on THAT feeling, instead of the crazy train….

            • I’m stuck on following through with NC myself! We do have 1 child still living at home that I do need to keep in contact with him about. My situation may be just a bit different..he’s a long-haul trucker and is on the road weird hours. Drives mostly at night and sleeps during the day, so contacting the school is not an option for him. As for myself? I need to do the NC as much as I can. I haven’t been successful at it at all. I need to just keep it limited to our daughter, nothing else, which I have not done well at all. You’d think that 4 months out I’d be better at going NC. I failed, that’s for sure!

              • Hi Sandy, how old’s your daughter? If she’s 12 or more, SHE can provide the info your ex wants, when and if he asks for it.

                School info he needs? Check w/the school, many have websites w/most of the info parents need, and many also can send two copies of report cards to different addresses. Why would he need anything more? A calendar w/school activities and homework noted is a great way to share that stuff without conversations, IF your daughter is young and there’s shared custody. And if there’s something important enough that he would need to call the school, he can fucking wake up and do it! You are no longer his chief organizer and life facilitator!!!

                NC is definitely an art and takes LOTS of practice. Heck, just recognizing when they’re ‘trolling for kibbles’ is hard. And the narcs will keep trying different tactics once you get good at handling the old ones. But 4 months isn’t long, be patient with yourself, you’ll get better!

              • daughter is now 12. So yep, she can tell her Dad what’s going on. I swear that NC is one of the hardest things for my self-control. Every time he texts or calls me, I just want to beg him to reconsider dumping the OW and coming back to me. Thankfully, I haven’t done that in a few months! The other thing I’ve had to train myself not stalk the 2 of them on FB. I hate Facebook! Great advice here for someone waffling between staying or going. And NC is the best way to go..if I could only get that through my fat head! BTW the other day he texted that he misses me. Stupid me, I texted back “Why?” His answer..because of some of the things you do. When I asked him what things, he really couldn’t answer me. So WTF?

              • Sandy don’t feel bad, I too am going on 4 months since DDay and still have slip ups on the no contact. Last week I was filled with rage and sent him abusive texts, obviously showing him I care!! Grrr!! But I have picked myself up again and now am on day 5 of NC. I had to see him yesterday when he came to collect the kids and said nothing and have had several texts to which I have not replied…hopefully I can keep the NC up. He really doesn’t care when I bring the past up and had no problem abandoning me and the children so I try to remind myself not to waste energy on him! It is very hard though as the POS seems to be thriving! New car, new clothes, happy and smug! So hard feels like I am suffering no job, money, social life, raising a toddler and new born alone and he has it all. Having my children is my saving grace though!!

                Look after yourselves my chumpy friends! We will get through this!!! Xox

              • next, we should chat sometime, lol. Our situations are very similar. When I have brought up the past to try to make him see what he gave up, he shrugs it off or just doesn’t answer me. Same with the whole new thing..I get stuck on that too..sparkly happy with OW, got what he wanted, blah blah blah while I’m here struggling. But what do you do? What sucks is that I feel helpless in so many ways!

              • Sandy – take a FB break! I’ve done it several times, usually or about 6 months…you “deactivate” your account – then later if you feel stronger you can go back on and everything will still be there the same. It was hard at first not to go one there 🙂 but after a week or so, I didn’t think about it, after a month I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to get back on it! Also you can block them – that always made me feel safe from seeing anything, and good for protecting myself from it!

            • I had the exact same situation Jersey Girl, it’s astonishing that he could abandon our children, even a (now) 14 year old son, but we are in the end the “lucky” ones. Our hell is over and we can start to heal and live our own lives free of that toxic waste. He has not seen him in over 2 years, and does not even ask how he is.

      • I’ve read elsewhere that people like the “Our Family Wizard” website/software, especially when dealing with particularly nasty divorces.

      • I am trying to figure NC out too. My ex attaches 4 paragraphs of nasty comments about my ability to parent or be a human and then the last sentence will be a question or answer about our kids. I’m left with trying to figure out how to respond. I usually just answer with “ok” after weeding through the crazy. I guess it’s the only way he can get attention from me now.

    • “#1 Cricket Rule; wait until the next day before replying to anything. That allows me to filter out the personal and provocative stuff, and stick to the business at hand.”

      So brilliant. I need to start applying this rule too. My stbx texted me on Mother’s Day and i couldn’t help but respond with a biting retort. Afterward, it made me feel even worse for saying anything. I should have just left well enough alone. Will definitely be waiting a day, if I’m thinking of responding in the future.

      • me too! Mine sent me a Happy Mother’s Day and I replied with thanks and don’t forget to text me on Father’s day also!!!! He hasn’t sent any child support in a year!! Has only seen the boys 2times in a year!! felt good but 2 days later, I wish I had said nothing!!

        • Hahaha THIS “don’t forget to text me on Father’s Day also” .

          I didn’t get a happy Mother’s Day from my STBXH (self centred narc) but if I ever do I’ll use that line!!

  • she started an affair with a co-worker as a way to avoid this life change.

    I’m concerned with statements like this one. This is you rationalizing her behavior.

    You want to know why she had an affair? It’s not because of what you have stated. I am sure of that.

    She did it because she could, she wanted to, and how it affected you was not important to her.

    You really need to get that and just move on, buddy. You don’t have kids with her, so stop talking to her. Change your number when the divorce is done.

    Also, there is no wayward “fog”. That BS peddled by snake oil salesmen.

    You want to know who is in a “fog”? You are. You are making up fairy tales or believing in fairy tales about why your stbx did what she did instead of accepting the obvious: because she wanted to do it, and because how it affected you was not any concern. Your ego wants to believe she “cares”, but her actions clearly demonstrate she does not really care (not empathetic), and that’s why you get stuck.

    • Great points I should’ve made TH.

      Dopamine also gave me pause. Clearly a lot of time has been invested untangling the skein of why cheaters cheat.

      Because they can. Because they value ego kibbles over your well-being. Because they’re narcissistic. It’s that simple, really. Shitty character makes people cheat.

      Thank God Tired didn’t have kids with this woman. If the prospect of pregnancy makes you cheat, imagine what the actual responsibility of little people could make you do, or a health crisis, or unemployment. (Shudder)

      • This whole “wayward” fog nonsense really bothers me, especially when it’s being used in this kind of context: the one overarching theme here is: “She goes after what she wants, and how it affects him is basically not on her radar”.

        Chase other men? She wants, she does. He files for divorce, OM dumps her, she goes after him again. She goes after what she wants, and how it affects others isn’t much of a concern. That’s what her actions demonstrate. It takes a lot of self-deception to believe she cares about something other than herself.

        • I agree; this concept of “fog” is complete and utter bullshit. It is nothing more than an excuse to continue cheating. There is no great awakening, there is no sudden understanding of the pain inflicted. In the best of situations, the cheater may realize the chump is about to walk out the door and change his or her behavior. For how long is anyone’s guess. At worst, the cheater uses the “fog” as a way to string the chump along for what could be years. Who even came up with the notion?

          I’ll agree that fantasy plays a big role is affairs; I know it did for my X. But that is because narcissists have a very difficult time with accepting the daily drudge of life. Bills have to be paid, dishes have to be washed, homework has to be supervised and those things aren’t very glamorous. However, I have never believed that the cheater is somehow under the magical spell of his or her affair partner and is wandering around in a daze. To the contrary, I think most cheaters know exactly what they are doing and will continue their behavior for as long as they are permitted to do so.

          • I agree Louise, I always thought it was bullshit too. On other sites I read so much crap about the “fog”. The chump has to 180 themselves in order to shake the poor cheater out of the “fog”. Bullshit. Stay in the fog and I’ll go get a lawyer.

            People who cheat on you don’t give a damn about you. They aren’t in “fog”. They will continue to do whatever they want as long as the chumps allow it.

            • You know what….
              EVEN IF they’re in a’s THEIR FOG..Let THEM Stumble around and Stub Their Toes and Break Their Foot in their Inability to See…
              Steer Clear of Their Shit, Before they Kick You Good in THEIR ” Blindness “.

              Get Out of Their DarkForest of Dread of REAL LIFE…and Get Your Life BACK.
              A Cheating Bastard you Can’t Trust has No Right to Your Life, Anyway.
              They only Have what WE GIVE AWAY.

            • “Stay in the fog and I’ll go get a lawyer.”

              Excellent. I wish someone had said this to me when I was trying to coax him out of the so-called fog with my Most! Spectacular! Wife! show.

              The “fog” is nonsense. It takes all of the blame off the person who is lying, cheating, and doing all manner of shitty things to the person they promised to love and honor. “I don’t know what happened! This crazy fog rolled in and took over my brain and gonads. Of course I would never intentionally hurt you — it’s the power of the fog!”

              • “I wish someone had said this to me when I was trying to coax him out of the so-called fog with my Most! Spectacular! Wife! show.”
                AMEN!! In the first 2 months after DDay I was doing every single thing I can to show him that I was all he needed, and that she meant nothing to him. Why get rid of me when I was so wonderful for him? I cooked some awesome meals. I told him I loved him and he was welcome to come back anytime. I cried to him many, many times. The list goes on and on! I look back now with sheer embarrassment. How the heck could I throw myself at him, when it was obvious that he wanted and chose the OW? I seriously would like to kick myself in the butt!!

              • This fog stuff reminds me that tonight (if we’re inclined) we can see what other idiotic diversions Tori Spelling’s husband is going to come up with besides ice pick in the brain. Can’t wait!

            • Love it:

              “Stay right there! (in the fog) Don’t move a muscle, I’ll be right back with the lawyer.”


            • “Bullshit. Stay in the fog and I’ll go get a lawyer.”


          • I’m willing to believe in the idea fog and brain chemistry. The problem is how to respond to it.

  • Ah yes . . . the “open” marriage. Every time I hear about this concept, I’m left scratching my head wondering why in the ever-loving fuck people like this bother to get married. You want to fuck other people? Fine, don’t get married to other people who expect monogamy from you. It’s pretty simple. It’s not up for discussion. There’s no, let’s talk about why you didn’t want to work on the “issues” in our marriage. The issue in your marriage was she couldn’t keep her skirt down and wants you to indulge her in her idiot whims and dalliances. Fuck her. Seriously. Change your number, block her ass, and in the event you do have to talk to her again for some reason, treat her polite and courteous like you would the cashier at Target, and be on your merry way.

    Seriously, are all these cheaters really this fucking ridiculous? lol

    • Yes, sadly they are ALL this pathetic. My ex did the open-marriage thing to me too. He had been acting on it for years, just never bothered ONCE to talk to me about this arrangement, because if he had, he knew I would have told him to shove it!
      Once you’ve cheated and THEN ask for an open-marriage, that’s not genuine, that’s skeezy. Even more important, don’t marry into monogamy if you want an open-relationship. But really all an OP relationship is , is cake-eating at it’s finest. You do all the hard work, and I can just fuck around all I want, and hey, you agreed to it , so it’s all good. Riiiiggghhhhttt…..
      I HATE when I hear cheaters talk about open-marriages. It’s just another craptastic tactic for cake and mindfuckery.

      • People in actual open relationships look at that kind of shit and say “don’t draw us into that!” I know a few people in open relationships and they don’t want to get involved with people who aren’t single or who’s relationship status is dubious.

        Open relationships need to be understood from day 1. Not 28 years down the line after outside fuckings have already happened. Freeatlast and Rumblekitty are right. This wife never wanted an “open relationship” she wanted to fuck whoever she feels like and have him manage everything at home.

        That’s what amazes me about these idiots. You have to be honest and communicative in a monogamous marriage. Even moreso with a polyamorus one because you have more people you need to communicate with. If you can’t trust a cheater to be honest with one spouse, what makes them think they deserve the privilege of trust with even MORE people? That’s like catching an employee stealing from the register and then making him the manager.

        • Totally. The #1 and #2 rules in OP relationships are honesty and communication. My cheating X can’t do either of these to save his life! But he thinks that OP relationships are perfect for him. “You can’t fix stupid” 🙂
          Also I think it’s hilarious OW likes how much X still cares and loves me, LOL. She really is stupid. If this is how he treats me and other OW(lies to us, leaves us) what does she think he’s going to do to her? He hurts everyone he supposedly cares about. Oh, but he wouldn’t lie to HER, she’s SPECIAL, Snort!

      • Mine called it “The Sharing Idea,” on the night of D-Day, when I figured out about his cheating and desperately begged him to “have his fling but stay with me.” He responded coldly and robotically, “No, Muse, that won’t work. I already ran The Sharing Idea by her (OW) and she won’t go for it.”

        It still makes me nauseous ten months later to realize this man had so little respect for me after I had supported him financially and devoted myself to him for 16 years, that he would ask his AP if SHE would agree to “share him” with me, but never fucking bother to ask ME.

        • Me too. How could I have possibly acted that way, is how I think. Upon first discovery mine asked me “Can’t we just go back to the way things were?” As in, 2 days before, when I knew nothing, absolutely clueless, and he was having a great time with his latest girlfriend. Even in my emotional state, on the floor sobbing, when he said that to me I said ” You are sick, what is WRONG with you?! ” Sick fucks all around.

        • That too. What is THAT?! He asks the OW if SHE would share? Wow…I just…wow…

        • The Sharing Idea? I’m picturing him giving her a catered PowerPoint presentation.

          • Sounds like a little kid to me. *shuffles feet, looks at the ground* “Hey, um…can…can we do that sharing thing?”

        • Similar thing happened to me. . . I called the OW (bad idea in hindsight, but I did it!), and the first thing she screamed at me was, “Does Mike know you’re calling me?” I was so taken aback, I couldn’t speak. Let me get this straight, I wish I had said, I need permission to CALL YOU but you don’t need permission to FUCK MY HUSBAND AND STAY IN MY HOME WHILE I’M AWAY? The gall of the two of them still stuns me.

    • It seems to me a lot of these cheaters want you to be there for them, have their back, be their security blanket and caregiver… Almost like they put you in their parental role while they go off and dabble in romance, butterflies and fairy tales! This is not a mature love nor a mature person. This is not equality or recipriocity… This is bullshit!

      • ^ This.

        One of our MC told me I think what he’s really looking for in you is a forgiving and understanding mother, not a wife.


      • My ex used to accuse me of being too influenced by Disney movies, but from where I am sitting he seems to be the one that has trouble dealing with the realities of adult life and responiblity. He dumped me and his “boring” life with me for the sparks and butterflies and “perfectness” with the OW. (Though from what I hear, it isn’t all sparks and butterflies with her anymore. Is that the karma bus I am hearing around the corner?)

        • Funny how so many cheaters are allergic to all that responsibility and baggage and real life stuff and just want the fun. Ex was very clear that he cheated because all of that was ‘too much’ or some such bs. A middle aged man with teenaged kids and damn, he suddenly realised it was all a bit wearing and not as much fun as he expected.

          Well, now he’s saddled with final OW and I*m FREEEEE!!!!

          • I got that one too, that life with me and the kids was boring! I also got told that sex with me was boring – sorry I couldn’t compete with the alternating between arse and pussy with the OW. Or the thousand of porn sites visited on his iPhone.

            Yip….married a winner there!

            • Next-our Stbx’s must be related with the phone porn. What is it with that shit? Seriously……I still can’t believe that middle aged men hide out & jack-off incessantly to this bullshit. Or watching the porn DVDs in the car. What fucking losers. But instead of one OW-it’s massage parlor hookers……ugh-fucktard!

      • I used to say that I was the Alice of his life, as in Alice on the Brady Bunch. He got to fantasize about the beautiful blended family with his glam “Carol Brady” and I got to do all of the shit work of making money, raising children, and keeping the house from caving in.

        • OMG I LOVE that analogy! I’m Alice!

          I dabbled in RIC websites before I found CL. I do think that one phenomenon described is true, and that is of “splitting.” I truly believe xH worked his walnut-sized brain extra hard to project all that was “good” onto her (even giving her some of my traits or fantasized traits) and all that was “bad” (some of his and her traits) onto me. He definitely desexualized me in his mind. She was the lovely blonde sexual waif, and I was the ugly red-headed mom who would take care of his calendar, laundry, bills, etc., until I stopped.

          But the crazy thing is, I believe his attraction to blondes is a mommy thing with him–his birth and adoptive mothers were both blonde, and he definitely resented the affection I showed our children–he wanted to be the center of indulgement. Truthfully, since there was little in the way of reciprocity, I didn’t find his baby neediness and laziness and moodiness very attractive or compelling–to the contrary.

          Enter a needy, cunning OW, who knew exactly what to say as she offered her nasty “love,” and manipulated his depression. He knew exactly what he was doing, and I hold him more accountable. As proof, I kicked him out, divorced him, and went NC. Oh, I begged and insulted via text and phone, but that died, mercifully.

          She can have him. Something tells me it ain’t all roses, though.

          Anyway, it was bizarre how he could completely cut me off like he did, just totally turn off all affection or concern, seemingly in an instant. I learned at the RIC websites and through various books, that it’s really commonplace for these types of abandoner cheaters to do that. Shark eyes–the whole bit.

          But! I went NC about a year after he left as the divorce became final. I had two teens at home at the time, and at no point have I ever felt the need to organize his relationship with our kids in any way whatsoever. And this includes when I feel he or his mother are intentionally being disruptive to our arranged holiday schedule, for example. xMIL went out of turn last Easter, I put my foot down with my son (gently, NEVER blaming him, just reminding him of the schedule.) Unfortunately, manipulative xMIL had a melt-down in front of my son, and xH went ballistic to my mother, and I simply backed off, with NO COMMUNICATION WHATSOEVER to xH or xMIL. That might seem chumpy, but I refused to put my kid in an awkard spot, and I refused to engage xH or xMIL in a show-down (aka kibblefest.) There will be other holidays. I simply explained to son that my goal was to keep the peace, which he appreciated, and reminded him that from that point on we would remember the schedule, or ask me before making commitments. And, you know what? Son and I had a very revealing heart-to-heart, and son was very clear who the fragile weaklings are (Hint: NOT ME.)

          In three years, I have had two exchanges with xH, one to ask his permission to take our minor child out of the country on vacation, and second to let him know a child support check was late. Just the facts. I speak quietly and carry a big stick–I will calmly carry through to get what is rightfully mine, and he knows it. So both of these incidents went smoothly. In the first case, xH protested and insulted my friend, and I simply cut to the chase, “Do let me know when you’ve made a decision.” He knew it would be ugly for him if he refused my request (court, the kids losing even MORE respect for him, etc.)

          It’s absoLUTEly an art. It’s actually pretty fun to learn–to cut through the selfish bullshit they spew, to spot the lies and attempted manipulations, and to respond (if at all) in a calm, brief, direct way. Wowza! NOT the person they remember at all! (SO fun!!)

          You can DO it!

          • Interesting point I haven’t considered yet. Asking his permission to take kids out of the country… so what of he said no? My custody battle hasn’t even began yet, but I’m already worried that this is where I’ll ecounter most problems, as my family lives in another country, and I’m use to traveling to visit them at least twice per year. Should I prepare myself for the possibility that he’ll just say no, and therefore my child won’t be able to travel until he’s 18???

            • At least in my state, my escalation would have gone as follows:
              1) I tell the kids that their father has denied us permission to travel (he would have hated that he was the bad guy.)
              2) Get a hearing in front of a judge. I would have brought the e-mails in which he outlined his flimsy temper-tantrum excuses for not letting us go.

              I would talk to your attorney about getting something in the custody settlement that is pre-arranged, that you could show at the airport in case there is a problem.

    • Open Marriage…
      Isn’t that Really Just CODE for Roommates who share Kids * unless Childless ** and Fuck Sometimes… Isn’t it just quite Frankly Legally Bound FUCKBUDDIES ???

      If THAT’s The Thing you both Want…. Then DO It… But Don’t get Married..
      Honestly…it Makes a Mockery of the Very TERM of MARRIAGE Itself.

    • Rumble,

      If it’s open, it’s not a marriage; it’s an arrangement.

      The very concept diminishes the honorable institution of marriage.

      Not to mention that the phrase itself is an oxymoron like… “almost surprised,” “amateur expert,” “preliminary conclusion” and “truthfully lying.”

  • You will get complete closure after the divorce is final and you no longer have to deal with her about anything.

    Sounds like a short marriage with no long, drawn out property settlement. Thank your lucky stars! When the property settlement is protracted, it can be worse than the divorce from the standpoint of feeling like you will never be free of the drama. I hate (personal experience) community property states where the divorce can be obtained but the property settlement can drag out for years unless you file suit and have a judge do it.

    Once that divorce is done, treat her like a phone solicitor..i.e. avoid contact like the plague. She will eventually get the message and go away.

    Just keep telling yourself, “This is time limited.”…”This is time limited.”

    And don’t waiver.

    • “You will get complete closure after the divorce is final and you no longer have to deal with her about anything. ”
      Have you all found this to be true? I don’t feel like I’ll ever have closure, even once the divorce is final.

      • Sandy R, this has not been true for me, mainly because I have been trying (for years) to untangle the skein. I only stumbled upon this site when I was looking for info about narcissists (nine years after my divorce). I have gotten better, but it’s been a long haul.

        • That’s how it is when you continually try to “untangle the skein”.

          IMO, it’s OK to let your brain try to sort things out, but you need to remember what it is you’re thinking about. I would spend hours in the beginning trying to sort it all out, but eventually I learned to remind myself that I’m dealing with an individual who probably didn’t bother to consider that what he was doing was wrong in the first place. I think us chumps get stuck assuming they think like WE do, so we end up on a constant loop trying to comprehend it.

          The thing that got me out of trying to untangle, was to think about MYSELF. My divorce is new, so I’m still trying to figure out what I want for me, so it’s all pretty new and foreign. Every day is baby steps, and every day I’m so very thankful I feel as good as I do. For awhile there, I didn’t think it would happen.

          Echo, don’t waste anymore of your precious time trying to get into the mind of someone else. Put that energy into yourself. Echo needs you. 🙂

          • Thanks very much Rumblekitty! I’m actually coming along swimmingly since I found Chump Nation a year ago. I still wonder about things, and I still have weird dreams, but my kids are doing well, and I am getting there. It’s a procees, right? No two stories are alike, and yet our cheaters seem to be cut from the same cloth.

            • It really is a process. But you’ll do it. I don’t have kids with my moron, so I do understand that I’m recovering easier because of that, but you’ll get there too. (My child is from my 1st marriage so I understand what that’s like).

              Just don’t waste too much time rehashing it all. Our time is limited on this rock, go be happy. That’s what we’re here for. 🙂

        • echo..same here. I am trying and trying to untangle the skein, and obviously not succeeding. That’s why I don’t feel as though I will have closure once the divorce is final which should be sometime in June most likely.

          • Sandy,
            Read what I just posted and follow all the things CL says about trying to untangle. It gets you NOWHERE.

            Please understand something . . . There’s a reason this advice is relentless. It’s because it works. I don’t want to sound unsympathetic, but YOU have to be the change to make yourself feel better. You have to actively work to change your thinking. Trying to figure out your cheater is a time suck. Now, it’s YOU time. Know this to be the truth.

            I’m very adamant about this because it saved me. When you say ” I am trying to untangle the skein, and obviously not succeeding”‘ listen to what you just said and stop. Take that energy and focus on you. I know it’s hard, but you won’t move forward until your focus is on you were it belongs.

            Fuck him. Fuck what he did. It’s time to worry about you.

  • “But why now, after her brain has healed from the “wayward fog,” does she still think that she can win me back? Why does she characterize what we had as “pure” given she was clearly quite “un-pure” in her unfaithfulness? Why won’t she just leave me alone?”

    These are your questions and I don’t think the answer is to change your number, although by all means consider this. Narcissistic cheaters need to feel someone desires them; they hate to be disliked, even when they’ve done something despicable. She will leave you alone when someone else occupies her time, and when he goes, she may again turn her head towards you. Sadly, as you have learned, she doesn’t really care about you, she just hates being alone and not feeling desired.

    My husband kicked me out after he used up every penny I had. He’s been like a robot to me, killing me with his indifference. He does not want me back, but for several months, before I knew there was another woman, I wanted him back. He used my sincere desire to save our marriage to further feed his enormous ego. When I finally began to force myself to stop contacting him as much, he then began to contact me. It’s all a twisted game.

    He needed to sign a paper I had and I met him downtown. I could not find a parking spot so he got into my car. That closeness lead to a conversation that was too intimate, and he even leaned in to kiss me saying, “Okay, let’s what you’ve got.” In my pathetic daze I kissed him for one or two seconds before I pulled away. I still loved him and desired him but I could tell that he was doing this only to prove to himself that he still had power over me. After that I backed away more, even though it pains me to do so.

    These people and their egos are so baffling to me. Yes, change your number if you like, but the answer to your question is, your wife is a juggler and you’ll always be one of her balls in the air.

    • You get to refuse to be one of the balls she keeps in the air. You only control you.

      But they are VERY good jugglers, so it takes practice, to stay out of their hands!

  • What CL said, go completely No Contact and eventually she will stop. In Gift of Fear we are told how this works. You ignore the person 100 times and then in exasperation you engage on the 101st time they contact you; all you’ve done is teach them it takes 101 tries before you answer.

    Tell her once you are done discussing it and she should contact your lawyer. Block her number, let it go to voicemail, never return calls, block her every where on social media and email. No more kibbles. Do not be surprised if she keeps trying for a very long time…

    • “What CL said, go completely No Contact and eventually she will stop. In Gift of Fear we are told how this works. You ignore the person 100 times and then in exasperation you engage on the 101st time they contact you; all you’ve done is teach them it takes 101 tries before you answer.”

      Behavioral psychologists call their accelerated efforts an “extinction burst”. When out of frustration you give in at the 101st try, you have reinforced the behavior. Basically, all you have done is given the individual, “endurance training.”

      Once you muster up the resolve to not give in to extinction bursts, they will accelerate even harder, but once they internalize that you won’t engage and reinforce them with attention, the behavior will drop off drastically and then extinguish. (Like those playing a slot machine that never pays off.)

      • We DO teach people how to treat us whether we do it knowingly or not.
        It is as simple as that.
        It’s never too late to become informed, stiffen the old resolve, and start teaching them differently.
        It isn’t easy; but is can be done.
        Kibbles= a catchy term for reinforcement.
        When are YOU going to stop reinforcing bad behavior?

        • Kibbles to me is narcissistic supply. Once you understand that a cheater is after that — supply — and it’s about them and not you — it helps stiffen that resolve.

          • And that ANY kind of attention and reaction from us is kibbles = reinforcement. If they can get our love, caring and desire for them, fantastic! But if they can’t, they’ll settle for our upset, our annoyance, our frustration, our explanations and justifications ….

          • Kibbles, narcissistic supply, call it what you like, it is still a potent reward (reinforcer) for that person and the desire for it drives their seeking behavior. Of course, this is all the the reward seeker! But somebody somewhere is doing the reward dispensing. If you are the reward dispenser and you aren’t happy with the situation, the buck stops with YOU.

            Some people get off on edibles, some on tangibles, some on activities, and some on various kinds of social and/or interpersonal approval.

            …..BUT some want social or personal approval without having gone to the effort of actually working and earning it in a truly pro-social and reciprocal manner. The person will behave in the ways that they have learned over time are the easiest and fastest ways to get rewarded…..either buttering you up, pissing you off, or alternating the two.

            SO, in order for YOU to manipulate that person into going elsewhere for “kibbles,” logic dictates that you
            (1) cut off (as in NO contact) or severely reduce (as in MINIMAL AND EMOTIONLESS) contact, the reinforcement of your attention and emotional reactions to the reward seeker.
            (2) endure the extinction bursts (which are guaranteed and are basically a form of withdrawal) in order to
            (3) stop ‘endurance training’ them. This means no waivering EVER until they cease and desist. If you waiver even ONCE, you have undone everything you achieved and then gone even further backwards….as in two steps forward and three steps back….literally!

            A tiny fraction of people will not cease or desist. They will persist for years upon end or become verbally or physically abusive. This is when you get protective orders and/or join the NRA and learn how to defend yourself with deadly force..depending upon just how aggressive your pursuer is. However, MOST people (Yes,…even your garden variety narcissists) will eventually get the picture, give up, and go foraging elswhere. Some even learn valuable lessons about their shitty behavior and change themselves!

            How systems of reinforcement work are not some psychobabble bullshit. Voluminous research with thousands of double baseline (ABAB) experiments by psychologists with both humans and animals have proven this. Conditioned responses are part of learning for all creature. Additionally, the use of devices like functional MRIs indicate that when individuals receive some “payoff” (including emotional payoff) which is reinforcing and pleasureable for them, the reward centers of their brains light up. The more potent/desirable the reinforcer the more intense the light.

            If you don’t take away anything else from this post, take the following:

            One of the best of the posters that hung on my office wall, was of a fiendish looking kid busily pushing buttons on a vending machine with BOTH hands, and accumulating goodies. The caption read, “If someone keeps on pushing your buttons, then YOU are delivering the goods.”

            • I like that poster. Or as I’ve heard elsewhere — move your buttons!

      • So very true. What we see as doing a great job of ignoring them until a crisis is seen by them as “when there is a crisis, the Chump still wants MEEEEEE!” In the case of Tired; just hang in there. Finalize the details through the attorneys only, and then disappear as best you can. Peace is an awesome place.

        I had to go back to court this fall/winter to extend an expiring 5 year protection order. I had not seen (nor have kids seen) exH in over 5 years. Based on his truly bizarre court behavior, I truly believe he saw my filing for the CPO extension as my way of reaching out to/flirting with him/wanting him. Seriously. I did not even look or speak to him except in court, but he kept trying to catch my eye, smile, bring up “good times” – it was terrifying to me, how completely deranged they are. The judge did grant the extension of the order (just found out this week) for 2 more years – and I’m resigned to having to do this all over again in 2 years; and having him see the 2 vs 5 years as some kind of “sign” that I miss him. Shiver.

        Although this is not Tired’s case, I was told in the beginning (prior to the CPO) that since we have children together that I should NOT change any phone numbers or contact information (instead let calls go to VM and only communicate if absolutely necessary by text) so that I can always prove to the courts that I have not alienated the children from their “father” but rather that he has made no effort to contact them.

  • Hello everyone,
    I need some advice from some of you on here. I’m so upset. I found out through Facebook that my ex-husband asked his girlriend to marry him this past Sunday. Who the hell asks someone to marry them on Mother’s day? Now keep in my mind that this idiot has been driving by my house, and constantly e-mailing me. Before I found out about his engagement, I was thinking that maybe he had regrets about leaving me because of his actions, but if he is engaged, it doesn’t look like it to me. He and I were married for 21 years before he left me for her. I cannot seem to break ties with him because I live somewhere with no family and no single friends to hang out with. Any advice. I know what you tell me is probably going to be somethign I have already heard, but I just need to talk to someone right now. Thank you.

    • Basically old dude is looking to have any old port in a storm.

      Neither of you is valuable to him except as a vehicle to meet HIS needs. There will be no truly reciprocal relationship with either of you, because he has no clue what a reciprocal relationship or real intimacy is.

      Go not contact with him…. and don’t waiver.

    • Facebook has a “block user” feature. Most email programs have a spam filter.

      That is unless you think being the OW to his next victim is going to be a joy.

      One thing is clear, he’s focused on him, you’re focused on him, she is focused on him, so it really is all about him, I guess. In that little universe, everything revolves around him apparently.

      On the other hand, you could… join the bigger Universe where almost nothing is about him. That is an option.

    • Quickie advice?
      1) He’s your EX-husband . . . he can marry whomever he wants.
      2) He left you for her . . . he’s a scumbag you don’t need in your life.
      3) Block him on Facebook and don’t dig for information on the internet about his life. All this does is keep you stuck.

      You need to move forward and sever him like a cancer. People who cheat on you do not deserve any more of your time. Start focusing on YOU and meeting people outside of this crap that you can do things with.

    • Hey please don’t thread jack. You got several terrific replies. If you could please move the discussion to the forum, I’d appreciate that. Thanks. 🙂

      • Maybe I’m not savvy enough but I did log into the forums and it shows empty – like there isn’t a forum? (like it shows I haven’t posted anything and surely I’ve run off at the mouth here) I must be missing something. I even re-registered my name. Thanks!

    • He’s your EX Husband.

      Get on with YOUR Life.
      Don’t HAVE one Yet..MAKE One.

  • I know what you say is right. If he is engaged, is it appropraite for him to want to do so much for his ex-wife such as checking on me daily when I am sick, sending me links about stuff I might be interested in, e-mailing me every day about things he needs to do around the house and for the dog? I hate to say it, but I haven’t let him see me for months now thinking that he would miss me, but he just ending up asking his hoe friend to marry him. She flashed her engagement ring on her Facebook cover, but not before unblocking me so I would be tempted to look. It’s not so easy to keep from looking and she knew it. What kind of person is she to do this?

      • I know Chump Lady. I can’t over how he constantly wants to do things for me as if he has regrets. I don’t get this kind of behavior because besides the cheating he was so good to me for so long and then wham, he leaves me. I feel that I am going to be damaged for life. I can’t move on. I have tried and tried. Maybe I will just move away and change jobs. I know that would help.

    • Who cares what kind of person she is? Apparently the kind of person who would marry a cheater. Block her, block him, spam filter both of them, and stop this three-way triangulation that is all about him 🙂

      Let he do the pick me dance alone with him. Get some rest, gather your energy to care for yourself instead. Stop dancing.

        • I haven’t been doing the pick me dance with him. I only talk business with him and that’s it because I live in our house. Are you saying me having contact period is the pick me dance? I’m not even nice to him. Just matter of fact most of the time.

          • Maria,
            You’re stomping all over Tired’s thread ;). You need to post over in the forums. If you go back to the home page here, look over to the right and you’ll see “Chump Chat”. Sorry, just pointing you to the right place.

              • Under the search bar it says LOG INTO FORUMS

                Create an ID.

                Under LOG INTO FORUMS

                is Chump Chat — it’s right there in the side bar to your right.

              • Sorry for another thread theft – Help – I’ve tried logging into the Forum but it won’t accept my i.d. Should I create another one and try again? Thanks!

  • Chump Lady is right on with this one. My XH would tell me how much he missed me and each time we had a court appearance he would always ask me, “Is this what you really want?” (keep in mind he asked for the divorce). My response to him was always, “Are you still with her?” In all the time that he asked me that question and I gave him my answer he never gave me a verbal “yes” or “no” to that question. He never answered me at all. So, I would just look at him and say, “Yes, this is what I want.” After the divorce was finished he kept sending me emails telling me that I was the one he let go, that she wasn’t who he thought she was, that he wanted me back but just didn’t know how to tell me. And yet, he never left her. Actions do speak louder than words. He would miss his payments to me so that I would have to drag his sorry ass back into court. Do you know when the merry go round stopped? When I had my lawyer send him a letter stating that I wanted NO CONTACT with him, not an email, not a text message, not a phone call. If he needed to contact me, he could do it through my lawyer. Guess what? I haven’t heard from him since and he hasn’t missed a payment. Try it. You have no children so there is no need for contact of any sort. I will tell you this though. YOU cannot contact her when you are wondering what she is up to, or you miss the daily message from her. I think sometimes we keep it going because we are flattered that they are still thinking about us. Or maybe we will get some glimmer of truth from them. Unfortunately, they are not capable of truth. But, really??? Do you miss dog shit after you wipe it off of your shoe? That is what they are … stinky shit that we need to wipe from our lives. Tired, I urge you to take this step to get her out of your life completely. You will discover that you aren’t so tired anymore.

  • Tired: She’ll never stop asking. You need to be the one end it. For your own sake.

    And thank your lucky stars that you don’t have any children with a cheater/narc. Ask me how I know.

  • Tired – what you need to give her here is silence. CL has said it all really – no more contact. Don’t answer emails, phonecalls or text messages. She is all about herself, so without you providing the response / an audience she will get bored. There is no reward for her in silence / no contact.

    This is a frequent occurrence from what I can tell. The guilty party can’t quite give up the oxygen we provide to the bonfire of their vanity, so they keep on sucking us chumps in to keep their flame burning brightly. They just want be the light attracting the most moths. Don’t be that moth, Tired!

  • CL, sorry to hijack this thread, and I know you’ve covered this before, but how can you heal and go limited NC on with someone you have kids with? I try to keep my communications (email) with XH limited to just kids, but he keeps on barraging me with rambling random emails about how I “destroyed” the marriage and family and our kids’ lives by filing for divorce, what “losers” my parents and siblings are, how he didn’t even “kiss” his OW until I told our families about the affair (so I drove him to it), how “vengeful” I am because I’m “taking all of [his] money,” what a “great” husband he was (pre-affair), etc. I try to ignore his emails, but they keep on coming, and I feel like I need to read them just in case there is something pertinent to the kids in them. Any tips on how to heal or somehow get him to send me less of these irrelevant emails (aside from ignoring them, which doesn’t seem to be working)? We’re still in the middle of divorce proceedings. Thanks.

    • NC is essential to getting over things. It just is. Have a friend read the emails first and see what is important and what isn’t and only respond to the things you have to. Same for Tired on this post.

      You are the only one in control of how you react to things. I think you’re are giving the cheater way too much power over you if you let him suck you again via the ridiculous shit he says in emails. Don’t forget, he’s a cheat and a liar, so why does it matter what he says to you?

      I’m lucky I don’t have kids with my fucktard. but if I did, I’d have communication very very limited. He doesn’t like my family? Fuck him. He doesn’t like the child support arrangement, talk to the lawyer. Here’s the visitation schedule, let me know if it works for you.

      You are in control of your reactions to him. Just you. Don’t give him the power to rile you up. Same for Tired here . . . If you don’t want contact from her, don’t engage. Who cares what these people say . . .they are cheaters, let their actions speak for them.

      • I think narcissist hate to lose. Doesn’t matter what the stakes, they have to come out on top. Trying to maintain contact is a way for them to “win.” Professionally, I have to interact with a flaming narcissist, who knows I am not impressed by his sparkles. He goes out of his way to try to engage me and act quite the gentleman in front of others. I absolutely refuse to discuss anything other than the matter at hand and it drives him insane!It has nothing to do with me; he can’t stand the fact that I see through his bullshit and won’t engage. For narcissists, contact truly does equal manipulation and control. That is why NC is necessary if possible.

  • Thanks to those of you who offer advice. I don’t respond to my ex when she emails “just to say hi” or for other non-legal reasons. Seven months ago, I programmed my phone so all her calls go automatically to voice-mail. But, up until recently, I did have to respond to her via e-mail regarding legal steps. Now that those are finished, I have cut off contact; it’s just irksome to get random e-mails ever few weeks that serve no purpose other than to remind me that she exists. If it continues after the divorce is final, I’ll change my e-mail address.

    I understand the perspective of those of you who say she cheated because she could, and that I shouldn’t try to explain that it was because she was trying to avoid having a family with me. I know that she could have avoided a family with me in 100 other ways. I’m saying that she chose to have an affair as an escape from undertaking any of those 100 options. She found a distraction from her life, and she embraced it wholeheartedly. I actually thought this was quite typical of affairs. I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying it happens.

    Regarding “wayward fog,” my understanding is that it’s a descriptive term, extrapolated from the works of Dr. Helen Fisher. I don’t think it gives anyone an excuse to cheat. I think it describes how these people think and say some truly stupid things…whether consciously or not…because they are so high from the drug that is their affair; they are comparable to addicts. Anyone who’s fallen in puppy-dog-early-relationship-stage love (I have, a couple of times) knows how the first few months are comparable to a drug. That’s the easy part. It’s sustaining a relationship that requires integrity, dignity and commitment — understanding that those first few months were enthralling, but marriage (and any long-term relationship) is about day-to-day responsibility and complementary goals.

    Some of you had some angry comments. Yes, my marriage was shorter than your average bear, so I don’t have to deal with children. And I truly feel sorry for those of you having do endure this after you’ve put in so much more of your lives. I think we are all s’posed to get as close to indifference toward our exes as possible. I hope that you can get there in your own time.

    • When you say you only respond to legal questions, you need to nip that in the bud. She has a lawyer. Tell her to go to him. There is no need for her to contact you at all. Do everything through your attorneys. It will make you life much simpler. A little more expensive but well worth the cost to rest easy. And, do, CHANGE YOUR EMAIL. Pain the butt, but, also worth the trouble as well as your phone number. What she doesn’t have, she can’t contact you on.

      • There’s no need to change your email: just set up an email filter that will send all her emails straight to the “Trash” folder and auto-delete them. It works like a charm!

    • Tired,

      I know you know your exW better than any of us; so you do have more insight into her behavior than any of us.

      but two thoughts from a chump –

      1) These cheaters aren’t original. Read CL for a day and you’ll see they are pathetically unoriginal. It’s all about THEM. Many of the insights posted by chumps are based on that sad truth.

      2) MEMEMEMEME. Cheaters think about themselves and what they want. It may be possible that your STB exW started this behavior during the “let’s have kids” phase because she realized that the relationship was no longer HER-centered (ie. baby centered) and she went looking for cake. There are other chumps here who had the same timing – my first inkling that my exH was cheating was while I was pregnant. It seems really icky and pathetic (I remember once hearing even Howard Stern say that only the slimiest of men would cheat while their wife was preggers…) that anyone would be unfaithful then, but think of it from cheater-perspective – they are being replaced by the IDEA of a sweet little baby. They will have to share your attention, money, love…it actually makes very logical sense then. Don’t waste too much time “untangling” her behavior, but that consideration may help a bit. It wasn’t about avoiding having a family – she likely would have had a couple kids and kept right on cheating – it was about meeting HER needs to stay the center of the universe.

      There will be an end to this; glad you found this place and took the step to reach out. You have an awesome future waiting.

    • Tired, you are fortunate that your relationship with your cheater was brief. (Mine was too, FWIW. Only married 6 months at D-Day, another 1.5 years of false reconciliation.)

      I don’t think folks here are disagreeing with you — that her affair was to avoid adult responsibilities. And yes, being in an affair is a high — other places call that high a “fog.”

      The reason it raises hackles here is that those terms, like the wayward “fog” (or even wayward, a term I particularly dislike) — subtly absolve cheaters of personal responsibility for their choices. Cheating truly is about entitlement. And that’s not at odds with your impressions of your ex — she felt entitled to not be a grown up, to not deal honestly with you, to escape into an affair.

      Indifference — or “meh” is absolutely the goal. You have done a great job at not staying stuck and moving forward.

      Her little checks in on you are to test your resolve, and not an indication that she cares. She just cares for herself. It’s obscene (and completely clueless) that she think she can be friends with you. She really is taking you for a chump there.

      You might want to consider a communication to her to direct all correspondence to your attorney, you’re changing your email. It might cost $25 a pop or so for your lawyer to get her emails, but the personal nonsense will stop.

    • Playing armchair psychologist and rationalizing her behavior (What CL calls “untangling the skein of fuckedupness”) is a waste of your time, and it keeps you focused on what she did.

      I’m sorry you bought into fairy tales and bullshit that try to rationalize bad behavior, but the fact that you did it and that you are still doing it will just keep you from moving on and will probably get you into real trouble in the future.

      I haven’t heard many much more obvious BS excuses for narcissistic behavior than “she was trying to avoid <insert behavior that has nothing to do with cheating".

      It's bullshit. You traded your cow for magic beans.

      This could be a learning moment with the lesson being: stop rationalizing selfish, narcissistic behavior that is harmful to others (including yourself). You're not a mind reader; I can tell you that. You're not even presenting yourself as a good judge of character.

      • That’s a little harsh, my friend. I consider myself a good judge of character and yet, I’ve been majorily fucked over by my narc sociopath ex. Let’s just agree that the glue that binds us is that none of us really could have predicted how we were going to get fucked over. Moving forward, we all learn from this horrible experience at our own pace. New chump will get there when it’s time.

      • I agree that I’m no mind reader. A poor judge of character? I hadn’t considered that before. I’ll have to extend that to all of the people in my life who adored my stbx up until she started cheating. I’m not sure what “fairy tale” we all believed in, except for that of a committed marriage, examples of which ‘most every adult in my life has.

        I believe that the cheater is the biggest chump of all, tricking herself/himself into believing that poor behavior will result in personal happiness.

        If the point of this web site is simply to say the world is black and white, good people and bad, and that all bad things that happen are the result of bad people being bad because they’re bad and do bad things, then I’ll move on. I can have that conversation with a three-year-old.

        In the rest of society, *motives* for anti-social behavior are explored. Heck, our criminal justice system relies on motive, without which conviction becomes more difficult to obtain. When this system convicts someone of a crime, it does not absolve the person or rationalize the crime. To the contrary, it reaffirms that despite the motive, and despite potential character flaws (such as narcissism), the crime was still a crime and there was something that precipitated it, no matter how nonsensical that motive appears to a rational person outside the situation.

        In fact, pleading insanity (aka, chalking the whole crime up to serious character flaws) is widely considered a cowardly cop-out in the criminal justice system. It’s an attempt to absolve the criminal as inherently anti-social without acknowledging that the criminal made actual *choices* that led to the crime. Why is “she’s a narcissist and that’s why she cheated” any more valid than “he’s crazy and that’s why he assaulted her”? To me, both of those responses dumb down complex issues of motive so as to make the conviction useless.

        Learning about motives does not “focus” on the anti-social behavior any more than does having this website, or posting angry, profanity-laced responses on this website (which, frankly, lower the value of your sometimes valid points). I’ve judged your character, TH, based on the few responses you’ve written. I hope you work through your anger issues, and I thank you for your time.

        • Tired, you seem to be lumping your ire at TH at the entire site. Personally, it really pisses me off when people critique this blog for being “black and white” or angry.

          Cheating is wrong. Not kinda wrong. Not unfortunate, but understandable. IMO it’s abuse. I don’t apologize for that point of view, and I can make a very strong argument for it.

          So, yes, no vagary there.

          What TH is trying to do, IMO, is get you to not make excuses for your cheater or try to understand her further. Your values do not align. She treated you abysmally. That is all you need to know.

          I tell everyone here best thing you can do is stop “untangling the skein of fuckupedness” — because it keeps you stuck. You are never going to know why she did the things she did, her inner motivations, hell, she might not be that deep. All you know is YOU. And either this relationship is acceptable to you or it is not.

          Does that make me “angry” or black and white?

          Cheating is not complex behavior. There is an entire industry devoted to us assuming that it is. Cheating is banal and predictable. It boils down to they do it because they value what they want over your well-being. And YES that is narcissistic and harmful, because they are making unilateral decisions about your health and welfare.

          When someone does that — when someone harms you (or harms your children) it is PROPER to get ANGRY. That’s healthy. What’s not healthy is dressing this shit up, minimizing it, and excusing it.

          I’m sure you were terrifically angry when your wife cheated on you, especially after you gave her the gift of reconciliation. Language reflects experience.

          People have taken time here to help you. My own manner of help here, if you read this site much, is brusque and potty mouthed. I’d like to think it’s compassionate too, and I certainly have given more thought to the “complexities” of infidelity than most people or I wouldn’t have 500+ articles and 8K readers a day. Typing “She’s a narcissist and that’s why she cheated” doesn’t exactly attract a following.

          Take what you need and leave the rest, Tired. IMO TH is trying to get you to see it’s dangerous to make excuses for people who treat you badly. You’ll take that spackle ability into your next relationship.

        • Tired, we know, here, the value of understanding some of what makes the cheaters tick – that’s why there are so many great books in that sidebar. But what people are expressing concern about is that we can get caught up in figuring out what makes them act the way they do, and forget that we need to put our focus on to what we want, what we value, and what we decide to do.

          As somebody who spent YEARS trying to ‘untangle the skein of fuckedupedness’, I can see how it helped keep me stuck in a relationship that was clearly unhealthy for way more reasons than the cheating. But I had this belief that if I could figure out what was going on, I could get HIM to understand, and to change. So my focus stayed on changing him, rather on the only person I can control; me.

          The other concern is that understanding the multiple factors that led to the cheater cheating can also be used by Chumps to continue to ignore the fact that, in the end, whatever the reasons, the cheater is unlikely to change in any way that will lead to the relationship we want, and that staying while trying to work to change those factors will cause us more pain, for very little or no gain.

          Like our anger and grief, our need to understand has to be in the moderate range; not so little we don’t process what we’re going through, not so much we get stuck in it, and prolong our hard times beyond what is necessary.

          BTW, your example about pleading insanity in a criminal case is spot on, in a way you perhaps hadn’t thought of; if someone is capable of recognizing that their action is wrong and breaks rules that society upholds, but does it anyway, they need to live with the consequences. If they are truly irrational and delusional, unable to understand that what they were about to do was wrong, they shouldn’t be treated the same. What Chump Nation knows is that it’s not that the cheaters don’t know what’s wrong or that it would be hurtful to the person they’ve committed to, it’s that they know that, and chose to go ahead anyway. It’s not a mid-life crisis or a fog or alcohol or shame or anxiety or being drugged by infatuation or being led by their genitals or whatever … it’s a choice. And we need to be far away from people who make those kinds of choices, no matter what the reason.

          • Your comment is perfect. Truly. I wish I read this when I was busy untangling. (But I’m better now.) 🙂

            • Hey Rumblekitty, I wish I had read that MYSELF when I was busy untangling ;-)! But we didn’t have ChumpLady yet ….

        • TimeHeals, what you wrote was rather insulting and smug. You do come across that way frequently and I’ve called you on it before. Tell me, how did ever become a chump when you are so judgemental? Seems to me you would never have been fooled this way, or was your situation special? you had the champion of sociopaths and no one else did? I really don’t get the condescending tone you take so often. It’s not really what you share, it’s HOW you say it that sucks and seriously it’s getting old for me.

          Tired, your response to TimeHeals was over the top, TimeHeals is one voice, not the voice of the blog, that would be Tracy. And not the voice of the many others commenting. Myself among them. It’s cool if you are still in the untangling mode, we all did it. It’s a phase and we all want you to be happy so we wish you’d get through that and focus on you sooner.

      • “You’re not even presenting yourself as a good judge of character.”

        And this distinguishes Tired from the rest of us exactly how? If anybody on this board were “a good judge of character,” we wouldn’t have gotten chumped in the first place. Besides which, if I read correctly, he filed for divorce 6 weeks after he had proof she was still cheating, right? And now, 6 months later, the paperwork is almost finalized?

        Anybody who can move that fast after being chumped deserves a little (a lot?) more respect that a comment like this. Not to mention more compassion. I get the whole ‘tough love’ gig, but there’s tough love, then there’s snark.

        • Well said, FMT. Tired, we are on your side here. You are not alone.

          As a woman who used to negotiate life though manipulation, can I just say that I think CL is bang on the button when it comes to your wife’s behaviour. She IS checking your resolve.

          And, when you have stuffed up and let some gold drop through your fingers, you want to find it back again, right? She knows she lost something good. But instead of doing the HARD WORK of looking at herself and finding her true humanity, a long and painful road which would really earn your forgiveness, she is reverting to manipulation again.
          This is something we Chumps all struggle with. How spiritually lazy our spouses really are and how we are not worth dropping the False Self of narcissism for. It hurts.

    • You Need to Stop making EXCUSES for Her.
      You ‘ll get Totally Out of this shit Sooner..and you won’t set yourself up to be a Chump AGAIN after you get outta This Mess.

    • The reason I don’t believe in “the fog” is that I was married for 27 years (dated 6 years)and while my X didn’t cheat until late in our marriage, he always exhibited the entitled behavior that culminated in his affair. He wasn’t in a fog. He was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it and, because his wants were always his first priority, he gave himself permission to cheat. He took a cold and calculated risk that I would not find out, never considering the consequences of his actions. No fog, just pure inadulterated ego.

        • Same here. He wasn’t avoiding life changes or going through some kind of work stress. It wasn’t because he was sick of my blue eyes, or didn’t like my cooking, or hated the shows I liked. He wasn’t having a mid-life crisis, he didn’t hit his head, he didn’t feel the need to throw caution to the wind to reclaim his man-hood because deep down the poor baby didn’t feel like a man or wanted anymore. He cheated because he assumed I’d never find out and because he wanted to. I think the simplest explanation frees us Chumps sooner because it just cuts through the bullshit.

          Hey, that’s like Occam’s razor or something right? 🙂 Wow, how did I pull that out of my butt?

    • I had a relatively short marriage that was all sparkles until he dropped the divorce napalm. I’m glad it was not longer and there were no kids.

      But. It still hurt like a bitch.

  • “Your upset means she’s still central. You patiently trying to explain obvious concepts to her is still attention.”

    CL, once again, you’ve nailed it! In the beginning of my 10-year nightmare in Narcville, this dynamic was common. He would intentionally play little games to see if I would react with jealousy, insecurity, etc. Of course, I would to some degree and I noticed a sense of accomplishment. I saw it — I just didn’t understand it. I think that’s common for all newbies to this freakshow. Going and staying ‘no contact’ is the ONLY WAY to clear your head of the fog. Cheaters and narcs don’t have fog. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing. And part of what they’re doing is to intentionally create more fog for their kibble suppliers.

    My cheater/narc even said to me in the beginning of the r/s: “You know, anger and hate aren’t the opposite of love — indifference is.”

    I thought at the time, what an odd thing to say. Looking back, he was laying out his game plan.

    Tired — go NC. stay NC. thank the gods that you’ve been released, relatively unscathed.

    • Oh, and one more thing. I’ve been NC from my cheater for over 2 years and he still rears his monstrous head from time to time. My guess is his game is to see if he can get me to respond. For Mother’s Day on Sunday, he sends me two texts:

      immediately followed by

      Go figure.

        • I’m thinking hmd means Happy Mothers Day. Like ppl writing ty – for thank you, which burns my skillet. If they want to mean thank you – write it properly. Same with hmd. No idea what BM’s are unless he was just proud of his bowel movement.

        • I’m betting he was being cryptic deliberately, to try to provoke you into responding, even if just to ask what the hell that meant. All kibbles is good kibbles!!

  • The good news is that you dodged the bullet. It sounds as if you’re still young and that your marriage was a short one.

    CL and others are right. Go No Contact.

    Your X is a selfish, immature person–and possibly disordered. However, she’s clearly selfish and immature. Let’s think teenager, since she seems to be the emotional equivalent to one.

    Remember when you had that first messy breakup? How your ex-girlfriend wanted the two of you to get back together? (or maybe you were the one who wanted to get back). It wasn’t really that the two of you had True Love. No, a lot of it was the idea that “dating” was so much better than being single.

    If you’re a teenager, dating is cooler than not dating. Similarly, some adults think that being married is cooler than being single. Marriage gives respectability. Hey, I’m grown up now! I’m an adult! Can’t you see that? After all, I’m married. Also, despite this being the 21st century, some women still very much enjoy the status that they perceive they gain by being married to men in high profile, high income professions.

    Anyway, back to the teen dating situation. Eventually, you just had to ignore the other person. A lot. To the point where you felt you were being rude. Eventually, the other person finally faded into the background.

    That’s why CL and everyone tells you to block your X. You will feel very rude, but you need to understand that your X is absolutely counting on you to feel as if you’re being rude. Cheaters and other disordered people have zero problems manipulating the Chump’s sense of politeness. However, by going No Contact, you are, in fact, enforcing a very important boundary.

    That boundary is that you’re divorced and she is out of your life.

    Once she gets this message, believe me she will be moving toward her next target.

  • Tired,
    Please Listen to me….
    STAY AWAY from that Chick like she’s The Plague…Before you do something Stupid like Take her Back, THEN She Gets PREGNANT JUST TO KEEP YOU STUCK WITH HER. Don’t Put it Past Her. Don’t put ANYTHING Past her.
    There is NOTHING holding You two Together… NOTHING.

    RUN and Don’t Look Back.
    WAIT for a Woman who’s PROVEN she’s Worthy of Being a Mother and Breeding With.

    FEW Things are Worse than Breeding with an Asshole without a Conscience who will Do and USE ANYTHING to Control and Manipulate You.

    Get that Divorce, Send up a Might Thanks to GOD for your Total Freedom from that Disaster…and Go on and Live an AWESOME Life… It’s out there Waiting for You.

  • I could write a book on how to go no contact… 😛

    For the first divorce, I routed everything through the lawyer. It was expensive and I could barely afford it, but it definitely cut down on the histrionics. We unfortunately had a child together, so to minimize his impact on my life and schedule, I paid to have our child stay at a babysitter’s on days he was supposed to pick her up and have visitation, because he used to show up whenever just so he could screw with whatever plans I had for that day and throw off my schedule. Once he realized I was putting up insulating layers wherever I could and that he was only cheating himself out of his own time, he quit showing up late too. But I didn’t cancel the babysitter.

    I had a stalker in between 1st & 2nd marriages – and just left the infrastructure in place to more easily deal with the 2nd divorce anyway. First I got caller ID, but Crazy McBatshit would block their number. So I got anonymous call rejection. Then they started calling from trunk lines at work (hard to trace back). So I got Privacy Plus, which forces non-identified numbers to either identify themselves or go straight to voicemail. I also realized that Crazy liked listening to my personalized voicemail message, so I changed it to the default robotic voice saying the phone number to stop that in its tracks.

    Now I have Google Voice tied to my home/cell numbers. I can either block calls (they go straight to the trash can; I don’t have to see/hear them) or I can filter people so that they go straight to voicemail with whatever message I specify. It also blocks people texting you. (It’s a free service.)

    It took a lot of trial and error to get all these layers set up, but now I have my peace and quiet back. Hope this helps. No Contact is a beautiful thing.

    • I Hear ya About the Crazzy Stalker/ Harassment Incognito Phone Calls * sigh*

      Soo Been There…and still Going through it…

      My Solution. I Call People I Wanna Talk to… Period. Everyone Else * Shrugs *

    • Write the book, Sunny. Nearly 3 years out I still struggle with NC issues because we have kids. I love the fact that you planned a babysitter for any time your EX was due to pick up the kids. Brilliant! NC sounds so simple–but it isn’t, since there’s always a nitwit trying to circumvent it–I’d welcome a handbook to staying the NC course!

    • Go Sunny!

      “Crazy McBatshit.” haha! That’s awesome. Gonna have to steal that one. 🙂

  • YES! YES! and YES!

    No contact is absolutely, completely, unquestionably the ONLY step one can take to regain control in one’s life where everything is messed up.

    It is a lifeboat for you in the sinking ship of your marriage.

    Please use it.

  • Tired, you can’t knock any sense into disordered entitled people. She is not going to change, no matter how hard you try. She is delusional and it’s all about her and her wants and needs.

    The only alternative is to go completely No Contact like CL advises. It really is the only way. It’s tough to wrestle with, we all know, but it’s the only way.

    I didn’t have kids with my STBX either, and I consider myself lucky. She’s making this easier on you than you think–you deserve much better.

    All the best to you!

  • I know we’re probably off this point but I re-read your post and had to untangle this a bit . . .

    “My wife and I started trying to get pregnant after being together for several years. Approximately two months into trying, she started an affair with a co-worker as a way to avoid this life change.”

    That’s like saying, I didn’t want to go swimming, so I took up snorkeling instead. I don’t get this excuse really. Is this what she told you?

    It seems to me that if one does not want to have babehs, one doesn’t do the exact thing that makes babehs happen. And if she said she used protection, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, wait for it . . . bullshit.

    The cheaters all make up stupid excuses as to why they did what they did. My X told me some doozies. But it doesn’t matter . . . once your papers are signed and you are officially done with it, you’ll feel 100% better. NC NC NC all day long! 🙂

    • Yeah that part of the letter struck me too. My husband started the affair around the same time he got a huge promotion at work, and his justification was that he freaked out at all the responsibility and somehow that led to him now wanting kids, after years of us agreeing that we don’t want to have any.

      So in a way he started the affair to avoid this life change as well. But taking a step back, that sounds so absurd. So when life gets challenging, an affair will fix things?


      • Good points. Affair because a huge promotion here, too.

        But it was my IC who pointed out that his affair was ‘the final, unacceptably hurtful part of a pattern’.

        IC clocked his selfishness way before I did. I never featured, and my angry crazy shrew behaviour was because of that. Still my choice though, I wish I hadn’t ‘tried’ to get him to notice me/change.

        • Kill me for getting off topic here but I’ve had especially difficult day today with my ex making ultimate (gas lighting ?) threats. Says he’ll fight for sole custody citing … Ready for this? “Because I’d like to fuck you over for leaving me.” My therapist says This man is a borderline sociopath but what can my poor counselor actually do for me in this situation? That’s right, not much.
          I don’t mean to hijack the comments section but sown thing about this new post made me break apart a little. I think I’m realizing that my ex’s threats are similar to the man’s ex wife who just “won’t give up.” A year ago my cheater claimed he had enough of my “fat, controlling ass”- yes, verbatim, and started 2 affairs within 6 months, he was having a time of his life bedding co-workers, co-workers’ wives, joining dating sites… the works. Now, a year after DD, he doesn’t want me per se, but he wants to “fuck me over?” WHY??? Indont understand the rationale behind such thinking. They wanted out, sort of speak, and yet they’re angry when we leave them? Maybe I’m having a slow thinking day, but I honestly don’t know why don’t they just let go. Is it their egos? Some weird kibble supply? I mean, my cheater didn’t want me. He told me then, even after I discovered the first affair, that my body (post baby) repulsed him and he almost vomited when he saw my pregnancy scars. There was never any begging, pleading, remorse, he said he felt relieved upon my discovery. He said he was done with me. Fine, I’ve left with my child, who by the way doesn’t have a good relationship with his father, and now he’s after my child? Wtf? I’m so emotionally spent, I feel like I’m reaching a breaking point.
          Could someone not only shine some light on what’s behind his behavior, but also give me some solid advise on how to proceed? I’ve been putting on a brave face for the world and my child, but when the threats get so vicious, I’m starting to break apart. Who would deny a good mother the only thing she’s got left, after such traumatic experience? I get it, I was a lousy spouse (so he says, his only complaint was that I gave him too much grief over lack of career- duh, and that I got fat and generally let myself go- subjective, 175 pounds on 5’4 frame isnt necessarily obese.)

          • Please check out the book by Lundy Bancroft in the Amazon box — Why Does He Do That? about controlling men. It’s the best resource out there if you want to untangle his fuckupedness.

            It’s about control and abuse. That’s it. You can’t understand it because you’re not sick.

            All you can do is impose mighty consequences for fucking with you. Document EVERY threat. Email all evidence to your lawyer. Get a protection from abuse order if he threatens you — fuck you over IMO counts. He doesn’t have to hit you, verbal threats count too.

            And please, to continue this discussion use the forums. I know folks feel in crisis, but hey, one letter a day. If it’s off topic, I’d appreciate the discussion stay over there. Good folks comment there too!

      • “I had to have an affair because I got a big promotion” is as much a non-sequitur as “I had to burn the house down because I was picked for jury duty.”

        No. Connection.

        • nomar – hand up here on the big promotion at work the same time the affair happened. I’d say their egos were so huge that they just needed to grow it bigger with that promotion. This part of the thread puts it in perspective to me because I always blamed the ‘stress’ of the new job as the reason he felt the need to ‘stray’ (as he calls it) for over 2 yrs. Definite face palm on my part. And speaking of jury duty, he always got out of it cuz ‘his work was too important’. Did I mention he’s also such a great citizen!

    • Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love kind of did this. She and husband had planned to have kids at 30, but she freaked out over the idea and had an affair. She did not discuss the problem with him.

      (Then she had a religious experience and got a book advance to pay for her spiritual search in Italy, India, and Indonesia.)

      • She “said” she had an affair over the idea of having kids. I’d wager it’s just more cheater speak to blame her actions on outside circumstances.

        We’re adults. If you don’t want to make babies, then don’t. You don’t fuck other people and destroy your marriage because you’re afraid to have the conversation.

        I’m glad I didn’t buy the book or see the movie.

        • Me, too.

          My RIC website friends (the men) HATED that book/movie. So I vowed never to have anything to do with it.

          Plus, I despise the sanctimonious OW Julia Roberts. She is repulsive.

        • I actually tried to watch the movie. It was so dull I shut it off after 15minutes.

  • We are all in agreement that you should be no-contact.

    It seems to me with the suggestion of an open marriage, and the subsequent contacts she makes, that she wants to keep all options available, as if to say you are plan b, a runner-up, backup plan so she doesnt find herself alone, supplier of kibbles and cake. That would be so insulting to live knowing that. I know it’s hard to move on, I find on some occassions that I miss my XW, and wonder if she will ever want to come back, and I do receive occassional random emails from her (that are deleted). Then I open up this site like the smack that I need over the head for my dillusions. I wish you well.

    • All I have to say is reading this post and all of the comments make me so Happy to know that the Serial Cheater has been banned from my life! No contact is the only way to go because all you do when you stay in contact is feed them the power and control they feel they deserve and want from you.

      The truth is they deserve nothing!

      So give them what they deserve, NOTHING! ; )

  • I’ve got a slightly different issue about this and off topic – sorry. I’m the crazy one that won’t go away. I suppose I’m still looking for my stack of kibbles that I think *I* earned. Every time I know he’s back living with the OW I start sending him very nasty, ugly emails about whores and fuckwads and sin – just can’t help myself. Of course, he ignores every one of them. We haven’t had phone contact since he moved out in Jan but we do need to email on occasion about settling the divorce. So, I’d like to know how to get over myself! Every time I do it it feels good for oh-about 5 minutes and then I go and cry. Still love the bastard and still have no clue why he walked out (well, except for the 2-1/2 yr affair with horse-face) without any explanation or a clue he was unhappy for 35 yrs. I’m sure they’re laughing at all of them together. Gee – that sure makes me feel better too. So, note to self – leave the cheater alone. He’s not worth it!!

    • “Just can’t help myself.” Sorry, but yes you can.

      Things I’ve learned:
      1). You are in control of yourself, and how you respond.
      2) Every time you engage with him, you lose more power, you feel mad at yourself, you feel even shittier. Stop doing it. There’s no special trick to this. You just stop.
      3) He had an affair for 2 1/2 years . . . fuck him. He’s done. It’s toast.
      4) Focus on YOU! You matter, not him. He’s not a special snowflake. He’s one out of 9+ billion on the planet, he’s not important enough to waste energy on.
      5) No Contact. Start that today.

      That’s all I got for now. This isn’t easy, but it does get better with practice. I found that sticking to NC and staying positive, really WORKING at it, kept me going. Now, I’m fucking bulletproof. 🙂

    • Recovering from the implosion of a long term marriage is a whole other kettle of fish. Looking back, I cannot believe some of the things I did. I was so fucking angry. The only thing I can suggest is to find people who will let you talk about it. I found that when I was around people who let me talk myself silly I didn’t feel the need to lash out at my X.I needed someone to ackowledge how fucked up my situation was; for some reason, just that acknowledgement made me feel better. My best friend was there every step of the way. Last year, her husband died and we now comfort each other. The most important thing is to find ways to help yourself feel better.The passage of time definitely helps as long as you make the effort to cut him out of your life and find out what makes YOU happy.

      • I agree with you Louise that long term marriage is another kettle in some ways. Mine was 28 years / 31 together. BUT the same basic rules / suggestions apply. I’ve done all of the things mentioned – ugly emails, texts, sorrowful, begging, blah blah blah. It has taken a year of IC for me to really see where I was coming from and going to. BUT the game changer in this has been this site. Don’t know if I found it when I needed the kick in the ass or what but my attitude has completely changed. For the first time I am NC for real – I’m off FB, all correspondence through attny, no texts, no email. I’m lucky our children are adults. I have friends and family to rely on and when I needed them recently to keep me from making contact on a rough day, they did. Wow did it feel good not to wake up regretting that I sent him that email / text / FB message. When I feel a little weak, I come here & search No Contact and read all of the success that comes from finding and controlling your own life.

    • Are you in therapy, SheChump? Because after 35 years of marriage and to have your X walk out on you is pretty traumatic. You need to have someone that you can talk to/rant at/rage at in a safe setting. Talking to your X isn’t safe, and it just feeds him kibbles.

      Rumblekitty is right; you can help yourself, but to do so, you’re going to need to focus on yourself, not him.

      If you have him on Facebook, block him. You won’t see him even if he shows up on feeds of mutual friends (and by the way, why are they mutual friends with a jackass who dumps his wife of 35 years?). Basically, try to remove him from your sight and notice. The longer you go without seeing him, the easier it will be to focus on you and getting yourself healed. You’ll be closer to meh. 🙂

      January to May is still a short period. I have no idea how long you were aware of his cheating. However, I know from experience that only 5 months after discovering STBX’s cheating, I was still in full discovery/stalker mode. STBX is employed in the IT field, and I have reasonable technical skills. Even so, STBX became very paranoid that people at work were hacking into his stuff, and after a while, I couldn’t keep up with his password changes, and then realized that my mental health improved significantly. We’ve been married about 17 years, no children, so we don’t have those ties, and that makes the situation a bit easier.

      Still, the point is that the less you see, the closer to meh. I am not at meh, nor will I be until after the divorce is finalized, but on better days, I can look at STBX and imagine his life with OW. I rather hope they do move in together, get married. She will cheat on him in short order, and drain his bank account bone dry. OW is a trade down in every way: integrity, intelligence, health, fitness, etc. Once I realized that, I realized that I am way too good for STBX, and that’s helped me a lot.

      On the other hand, when STBX does something of epic jackass stupidity–such as getting a package for OW mistakenly shipped to our address–I admit to seeing red. Since I’m trying to pretend I don’t know about the affair so that STBX can think how clever he is until the divorce filing hits, it’s hard to swallow that anger. Still, it can be done.

      And therapy looms in the future, since I’ve been living the crazy for too long.

      • Thank you folks, appreciate the needed feedback. Yes, I have been in weekly therapy and I have been lucky to have a large-close bunch of sisters. brother and good friends helping me through every step of the way. I fell so sorry for them many times!

        I discovered the affair (oh, he was SO relieved!) in Oct of ’13 so guess it’s only been 7 months and I feel like I should be much further along than I am. I feel stuck in the anger stage – I am SO angry at him for his betrayal and complete lack of remorse. Like I didn’t know him at all. That our marriage was a sham. (yes, I wrote all that to him – no response) We grew up together, being married at 21 – no kids so we were able to be ‘best of friends’. (I’m thinking that may have been part of the problem) Thought our values and morals matched exactly and we went step to step on everything. Then the bomb, out of the blue, just like that. He’s in love with her (who was my x-best friend the past 5 yrs) and she’s in love with him. *shrug* – what can the poor old man do about that?

        I filed immediately and still want to strike out at the worst possible things he did to me because I want him to know I’m freaking HURTING – bad. Just too many shared interests, large close families and all that good stuff.

        Like you kb “OW is a trade down in every way: integrity, intelligence, health, fitness, etc. Once I realized that, I realized that I am way too good for STBX, and that’s helped me a lot.”

        Yeah, but SHE’s 12 yrs younger – woohoo.

        Okay – great advice. Going forward – Signed ME ME ME ME ME~~ 🙂

        • Just wish he had the decency, respect and courtesy I thought he held in high regard, towards me NOT to live with the horse-face until after the divorce. Drives me completely nuts. Of course, my first line there just tells me that – he is not decent, respectful or courteous. I’ll save you your responses to me 🙂

        • The OW in my case is probably 14 years younger than I am, and 13 younger than STBX. However, if you put us together, you’d be hard pressed to see her as younger. OW dyes her hair to the red of her youth. The roots show, and that ages her. My hair is light brown/dark blonde. You can, if you look closely, see some gray hairs, but all they do is lighten my hair. My skin is largely unlined. Hers has sun damage.

          I think the age is a factor, but it’s more because STBX is feeling his own age. However, every time I think that, I remember that about 5 years prior to the affair, he made a radical change in his technique, and now I wonder how many times he’s cheated.

          Then I realize that kind of thinking isn’t worth it. I just trust that he sucks.

        • It takes a long time to get over the anger and the urge to spew. I quit cold turkey because I was concerned that my texts would be used against me, and I realized he did not care and I could not make him care, and that it was making me miserable. I vented to my chump friends, instead. (They are also helpful if you feel like badmouthing your ex to the kids–DO NOT.)

          Then it’s just practice. And filling your life with GOOD THINGS. He’s a shitty thing and so is she, so let them have each other, without you as the common enemy. Eventually they will hate each other, anyway. But don’t live for that.

          Practice practice practice. Congratulate yourself each time you resist the urge to text the asshole. You can do it.

      • “Still, the point is that the less you see, the closer to meh.”

        Yep. I can’t tell you how much this helped me. You really have to FORCE yourself to shut all that down. It will help more than you know. Now that it’s my habit, it never occurs to me to pick at that scab and look for stuff again. You WILL get there, but you have to make yourself stop it. It’s hard at first, but once it becomes habit, the clouds start to clear . . .

        • Exactly. Shut all online stuff down, meaning block and remove them from your online world. Once I did that I moved on much more quickly. Now I only have to deal with kids telling me stuff here and there but I keep that to a minimum but murmuring ‘that’s nice’ or laughing when they tell me something particularly stupid so I don’t have much of a clue as to what’s going on in his life except final OW is a needy cow and he’s jumping through hoops to keep her happy. Hahaha!

  • I hope I do not draw ire for my comment. Regarding the reverse pick-me dance. . .

    I have a family member (apparently, “chump”is hereditary in my pedigree) who was chumped by a woman who took off so rapidly that he came close to filing a missing persons report. His wife was a special brand of batshit crazy. He offered her anything she wanted in exchange for an explanation, which she refused while still going after everything.

    Six years later, she does the little phone call/email jig that your wife is doing. Think about that. At first, we all thought he was still beside himself to engage with her. Now, though, I think he enjoys the attention– From everyone. Her. Friends and family trying to talk sense into him. I do not think it is deliberate, but don’t do this.

    Be aware you may have to grieve your grieving process when the time comes. For me, when my husband split, I immediately cut him off albeit my email (everything from him was collected as evidence for my attorney). Phone numbers, social media, he got nothing. He did visit twice for “business”, where I suspected he was going to try to bed me, and I scheduled the ultimate cock block to “hang out” that day at the house– My best friend, who is a ferocious attorney and whose favorite hobby is training aggressive dogs.

    Having said that, even after the dust settled, there comes a point when you realize everyone has moved on, but your head is still stuck in your divorce. It is almost a void. With responding to your wife, you are still keeping that connection alive, so when it is gone, it is gone. There is quiet, it is wonderful, but the silence can be deafening.

    That’s okay. Just start getting there. Keep walking.

  • Tired you have received a lot of great comments. I have nothing to add, except the graphic of the Undead Wife Zombie is terrific. I haven’t seen this before. I think this was inspired by your story.

    Not that there is a lot of comfort in martial relations with a cheater. Great big hug to you for dumping her deceitful ass. Now go no contact and live an awesome life!

  • Dear Tired,
    One of your comments reminded me of a colleague with whom I once worked. We were talking one day about the erratic, seemingly crazy behavior of others (he was, and likely still is, a sociologist with an extensive background in criminal justice), mainly about criminals whose actions often seem to defy explanation. Much of what he said echoed your comments in that he claimed that even the most erratic, bizarre, unexplainable behavior has its roots; in other words, one person’s “crazy” is another person’s normal, so to understand the “crazy” one would need to delve into the motivations of the perpetrator. Thus, he believed with proper investigation *any* behavior could be understood and known, at least in the sense that one can understand it from an outsider’s perspective. In that same conversation, however, he also disclosed that his professional mindset had caused him much agony in his personal life in that instead of protecting himself from destructive relationships, he instead tried to know and understand why those destructive behaviors took place. The conversation took place several years ago but I remember it because I was struck by not only his empathy for others in a professional sense, but also by the degree to which he had suffered in his attempts to understand why people close to him behaved so badly. He truly had suffered. So knowledgeable and yet as vulnerable as the rest of us. So, in a roundabout way, I guess I’m just reiterating what others have already said: let her go. It doesn’t matter why she’s contacting you or what her motives are. You don’t need to know. You’ve been hurt and wounded and she doesn’t deserve, nor has she earned, your attention. I’m sorry this happened to you. Be well and stay strong.

    • The sociologist isn’t married to the person he is studying.

      If you want to untangle — fine. But do it from a great distance.

      • That was my point, exactly, CL. Professional untangling was part of his job, but using those professional standards to untangle his personal relationships caused him a great deal of suffering. He said his constant need to understand and explain abusive behavior in his personal life nearly caused a nervous breakdown. You clarified in two sentences the point I tried to make in a paragraph. Oy. I gotta work on clarity. 🙂

  • Tired, you should read Gift of Fear, he has an interesting section on how people don’t want to delve into themselves deeply enough to understand how a person could perpetrate crimes. How people will say they cannot understand but if we look inside, we can understand because we all have dark bits. Like if you think of someone killing your mother, suddenly you can feel a desire to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do, motivations may be different but results can be the same. It’s not a big part of the book, but I recommend you read it anyhow because the book is awesome for getting your intuition working if you stuffed and snuffed it. It also teaches you about teaming (us against the world, like your stbx saying our pure love can never be broken) and other manipulative tactics.

  • One of my favorite NC moments:

    xH and I each carry health insurance for each of our boys. I used mine to take one of the kids to the doctor, and then my insurance company billed xH.

    I could have taken care of that for him–knew exactly what to do, even felt a little like I should help him because, after all, his trouble was, in a way, created by my action. (Ok, that’s a chumpy way to think, isn’t it?! I was TAKING CARE OF THE KID HE WALKED OUT ON!)

    Ok, so, I did NOTHING. Found out later that he’d had to run a couple errands to take care of the bill (this is the sort of thing I USED to take care of when I was his WIFE, but, since he disposed of me, well….) You know what? I just allowed myself to DO NOTHING to help him, to not worry about whether he was inconvenienced or got the issue resolved.

    It felt GREAT! This is the new, less-chumpy me. You can do it!

    • If I recall, I think he may have even texted me to ask for help, and I just let him know briefly that I didn’t feel like it.


      • oooh, Miss Sunshine, you’re GOOOD! I can occasionally manage that, around tasks that are our mutual responsibility (house and kids), but it’s so hard, after a decade and a half of being the default parent and the default household manager.

        I do manage these days, to say ‘I’m very busy right now and can’t do this’. He of course then tells me how busy he is, which is something that totally would guilt me into things throughout our relationship – somehow his busyness and especially his career were always so much more important than mine! But I’m sticking by ‘I can’t take care of this’, and he won’t push the ‘who is busier’ part these days ’cause the kids are with me 99% of the time, by their choice, because of his sucky parenting decisions.

        The other thing I do is to persist in getting him to do things he’s said he would. He LOVES to say he’ll take care of things, makes him feel so good! Then he doesn’t actually do it. In the past I would have sighed and just done it myself. Now I write the little e-mails saying ‘I appreciated that you said you would take care of Task X. Please do so.’ And repeat as needed. When he asks for help w/stuff I did for years (wanting me to say I’ll just do it!), I just point him towards where he can find the info he needs – just like I found it, all by my lonesome, lo these many years!

        Sometimes I’m quite appalled by what I mega-chump I was. But I was the kind of person I would be if I had the marriage I want, so I can’t regret that. He took advantage of the good will, the hard work, my real ability to be part of a team, the caring. Lucky the next guy who DESERVES and gets all that stuff from me!

  • Have an auction and sell her off to thee highest bidder!NOOO WAY..
    Much of what was said is just podder for the potty mouth.
    Canker sores come and go I believe , NO GO Back!
    If only I’d have known sooner what you know now.
    Mine is deadly and I should’ve known better.
    Dying and death is her ultimate gain.Stupid me…

  • Tired, who does that!? Right? What kind of a person goes and screws another person when they are working on having a family with their partner? My marriage lasted almost twenty years, I’d known the guy since I was seventeen. Married at twenty three, had our first child then too. Looking back now I can see we truly did not VALUE the same things. He always said he wanted the same things but as the years passed he sabotaged our marriage in little ways. I never felt loved unconditionally, there was a little nagging unhappiness in my world, and I had excuses for the way he behaved towards me. I woke up when I began to realize he basically treated me like shit. Day in and day out. (And it hurt…) When he told me he wanted a divorce all these little nagging thoughts over the course of our marriage fell into place and it was as if someone had ripped my blindfold off. His actions always told me the truth. He did not value me. I just had a hard time believing that. Look hard at your relationship, does it make you happy? I always felt like there was something missing…. My marriage died the day I discovered my ex was fucking someone else. Truth, integrity, vows. They all mean something to me. I believe you know what to do. In your own time. I gave my ex the divorce he wanted. He went “APE SHIT”; my divorce saved me. Every day I was not part of his drama was a day I got better. I hope you find the answers you need. CL’s Blog is the best; I am five years past dday and this site is a godsend. I wasted a lot of my time wondering why and how a person I knew for over half my life could choose to totally destroy his entire family. Each day he made that choice. It breaks my heart. My children were hurt. At that time I realized I could not save that. ( I would also recommend a divorce support group as well.) Telling my story over and over and over again helped me. The journey is hard. I often, like others here, think of the quote from Shawshank. “Get busy living…” I wish you well.

    • Oh, and honestly I was REALLY ANGRY for about THREE years after dday. And about TWO years before that because I didn’t know what the heck was going on. My finances were destroyed by ex. Hard to spackle when you are angry. My ex was great at disappearing and then there were flashes of that “guy I thought I knew!” Not the one who buried his HIV test in our financial paperwork, and who waited for me to discover it. The one that was dated two years before dday. Every one who knew him thought he was great! Great husband, great father, Work, play, kids’ activities, commitments every where else. Anger is not a bad feeling, Tired. It moved, and continues to move me forward. Anger recognizes you have been betrayed and is one of the stages of grief.

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