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Happy Independence Day! Let Reason Be Your Oracle

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale_1805_croppedMy husband is absolutely obsessed with The Thomas Jefferson Hour — “Your Weekly Conversation with President Thomas Jefferson.” If listening to podcasts by a Jefferson re-enactor from North Dakota doesn’t solidify your nerd credentials, I don’t know what does.

We just got back from a road trip to New Orleans, which meant that Thomas Jefferson and I got very well acquainted over hours spent on I-10. (That’s about 16 Thomas Jefferson hours round-trip.) I learned that Thomas Jefferson had very strong opinions in favor of cold foot baths. (Try plunging your feet in ice water every morning. Jefferson claims it cures head colds.) Jefferson was consumed with gardening and hoped America would be a small nation-state of farmers. He took maniacally detailed records of everything, loving grids and charts. How else to measure progress and efficiency? He was socially awkward and didn’t enjoy small talk, unless you engaged his interest on some scientific matter. He wasn’t a fan of organized religion. In fact, he cut and paste the only “useful” bits he found in the bible and made his own “Jefferson Bible” for personal reference.

My biggest take away about Thomas Jefferson is that he was a creature of the Enlightenment. He believed in science, common sense, and Progress. Fuck superstition. (Okay, Jefferson didn’t say that, but I think he thought it.)

So what does any of this have to do with infidelity? Oh you know me, I can turn any subject into a discourse on infidelity. As I was listening to my umpteenth Thomas Jefferson hour, this quote jumped out at me.

“Every man’s own reason must be his oracle.” 

Thomas Jefferson believed in scientific thought, drawing conclusions from that which you can measure. He believed everyone could work their problems if they would only apply reason. There is no “oracle” — some superstitious font of authority telling you what to do — there is only common sense. The only oracle is REASON. Can you see it? Can you measure it? Can you measure it over time? What sort of pattern is there? What is demonstrable? What can we conclude from the evidence?

It was rather an a-HA moment for me. Thomas Jefferson doesn’t smoke hopium. He very clearly articulated exactly what my problems are with the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. It’s voodoo, based on mysterious forces you cannot see, versus that which is demonstrable and measured — like actions and recompense.

How many of us tie ourselves in knots after D-Day looking for remorse that doesn’t exist?

Why doesn’t it exist?

RIC would like you to believe that remorse is in a “fog.” Because of deep, subterranean FOO issues like “toxic shame” it is hiding right now. It might come out if conditions are favorable. Perhaps you could make those conditions favorable by burning a sacrifice or wearing this magic amulet — by which I mean do a pick me dance, or change yourself in some way to effect an outcome you don’t control.

Um… it’s not working? YOU’RE NOT BEING PATIENT WITH THE GREAT AND POWERFUL RIC! RIC is the oracle! Believe it because we said so. We have Ph.D.s and comfortable sofas in our lounges. We bill $180 an hour. You would dare QUESTION?

I believe Thomas Jefferson would look at that mess and say simply “Remorse doesn’t exist because I can’t see it. If I cannot measure your ledgers — how much recompense you’ve made for monies spent on an affair, a viable post-nup, and demonstrable promises kept — I cannot credit this ‘remorse’.”

“Every man’s own reason must be his oracle.”

The problem with so much reconciliation literature is that it asks you to doubt your reason. Believe that this person loved you while doing unloving things. Believe that they will eventually stop doing unloving things if you just conduct yourself accordingly.

The problem with cheaters is that they require you to doubt your reason. Pay no attention to the cell phone bill. Yes, okay I was at that hotel but we didn’t have sex. He’s just a friend. You’re crazy.

If we simply applied reason and look dispassionately at our circumstances, I believe we would draw conclusions for a course of action (however painful) much sooner.

There is no sign of remorse because this person doesn’t feel remorseful.

This person could not betray me and love me at the same time. Those things are incompatible.

They do not (go to therapy, read the books, apologize to our children, sign a post-nup, break up with the affair partners) because they don’t want to. Period.

Happy Independence Day, chumps! Let reason be your oracle.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • As I read this, I am struck by how the RIC reinforces cheaters’ gaslighting of chumps. They willfully reinforce a discrediting of chumps’ instincts and gut reactions to danger. “Oh, it’s not that bad…maybe you just need to buy her more flowers and chocolate…blah, blah, blah.”

    What makes this especially nefarious is that they have credentials to reinforce the abuse. This means chump defenses are down because we see they have a Ph.D. or MFT in counseling and therefore SHOULD know what they are doing. It’s like going to a bad medical doctor. For me, it took me years before I was willing to “fire” my doctor if he/she did not treat me with respect and dignity. The credentials put chumps at a disadvantage in getting out from under the gaslighting of the RIC.

    Finally, I would say this is true for ministers as well. I was taught this in my preventing sexual abuse training in seminary. It is why clergy sexual abuse is viewed as such a major moral violation. A violator is exploiting this power dynamic among others. I do not see it as much different than in the counseling field as well, of course.

    • Hi FSA. I have been reading your posts and I would like your advice on how to deal with the frustration I get from my stbx’s “Jesus died for my sins, past present and future” attitude.

      He says God wants him to be happy. He says God already forgave him. It infuriates me since he really believes it. No remorse. Just an attitude of “I am a child of God, He chose me, He knew what I was going to do and you were so crazy and difficult that I didn’t have a choice but divorce you (after 20 years of a very happy marriage he left and then I found out he had been cheating on me for almost all our marriage. He confessed to a friend he doesn’t know how many women he has slept with).

      It drives me crazy. His deception.

      On another matter I wonder if you have read “I don’t love you anymore” by David Clarke. It is a very tough love Christian approach to adultery.

      I am grateful for chump nation. It brings a lot of congruence to my chaos.


      • Gaby, my ex said similar things, considers himself a devout Christian and a Godly person. It’s just crazy talk to impress others, and because the disordered truly believe they are special. You’ll never make sense of it, you certainly will never convince him that he has done anything wrong and he will never change. That is why it is always best to go NC, or as limited contact as possible if you have kids together. Otherwise, the craziness maintains a hold over your mind and makes it hard to move on.

        • Thanks Gladit’sover. I guess I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I try to stop trying to understand but I find myself not being able to. I do try to go no contact. But I keep hearing from my young adult children and other people how he keeps talking about God, etc and it makes me so mad.
          I can’t believe there are so many Jesus cheaters out there. It honestly scares me.

      • Gaby,

        I agree with GladIt’sOver about this really being a lost cause about convincing stbx about his majorly flawed theology and poor choices. He is trying to silence his conscience with this god-talk. I am sorry you get to hear it. No contact sounds like a good plan if you can.

        That said, it still ticks me off that he would cheat on you for 20 years and then try to invoke God’s name to say that was alright! Such pompous arrogance. And last time I checked, God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.

        God is pretty clear about the destination of those who do not repent of adultery: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS….will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9a, 10b, NKJV, my emphasis). Also, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (I John 3:6, NKJV). Here’s another verse: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4, NKJV). I could keep on going but I think my point is pretty clear. It actually does matter to God whether we repent or not. And adultery is not acceptable to Him–neither in the Hebrew Bible (see 10 Commandments) nor in the New Testament (see above verses). Plus, even Jesus told the adulteress caught in her sin to go and sin no more.

        That said, GladIt’sOver is right. Reasoning with someone hell bent on justifying gross disordered and sinful behavior is a lost cause. Just know that the God he is serving is not the God revealed through Jesus and the Bible. Don’t let one wicked and self-deceived individual push you away from your faith. He can say God does not have a problem with what he did all he wants…it will never make it so. And I hope for his soul’s sake he comes to the realization before He stands before the Judgment throne or it will be a sad, sad day for him indeed.


        • Thanks a lot FSA for taking the time to answer me. It helped a lot.

          I guess I struggle because I see he is so sure of himself and his confidence and lack of repentance makes me doubt his stupidity.

          I have heard Francis Chan and Mark Driscoll preach on adultery. They say the same as you. And honestly there is this part of my heart that wants to see the karma trailer run over him. But then I realize that that doesn’t change the betrayal and deception and my heart and my family being destroyed. I really loved him you know? I used to thank God again and again that I was blessed with such an amazing human being as my husband. And he made me think I was cherished and loved and safe…and I believed him.

          I wish I were stronger. But I am really broken hearted and without hope. I am so sad that he was capable if such deceit and double life. I try to get angry but I am mostly sad and scared of the future.

          Well. I am sorry I dumped all this on you. I hope I will feel better tomorrow.

          Have a good night.

          • Gaby,

            No problem. I am so grateful for the people in my life who were willing to listen and not blame/judge me when I was going through this. And I can relate with having an ex (and ex-in-laws from Driscoll’s church even!) who used Jesus-speak to manipulate. It is so infuriating and confusing!

            As a rejoiner, he seems to lack the basic requirement for wisdom–i.e. it doesn’t sound like he fears God. Say: “I am a daughter of the Most High God, too. And He doesn’t take abuse of His daughter lightly. It would do your soul good to remember that!”

            But I still say NC is best. You can’t reason with a fool.

            And as CL says, this will pass. Many of us have made it to the other side even though it may feel impossible right now. I get it. Know there is life and actually, abundant life, after ending an abusive relationship with a cheater…it just might not feel that way right now in the midst of discovery and grief over all the many losses.

          • Gaby, if you’re going to dump something this is the place to dump it. There’s no need to apologize for it. Everyone here gets it. CL covers that in her book too. You need to dump and get it all out for your own sanity and healing. I don’t have the book handy so I can’t directly quote it, but CL says that entitlement and true repentance/humility don’t go together. “God wants me to be happy” is entitlement. “Hey! He loves me! See! I deserve to be happy! Who cares that I fucked everything up!” That’s not humility or repentance. Yes, his grace covers us. But it’s cheap grace and completely misses the mark when the receiver isn’t coming from a place of true repentance and humility. They don’t understand the gift they’ve been given.

            Nomar-love it!

      • Gaby,

        The appropriate response to your stbx when he says that might be, “Yes, Jesus loves you. But everyone else thinks you’re an as*hole.”

  • “There is no sign of remorse because this person doesn’t feel remorseful.

    “This person could not betray me and love me at the same time. Those things are incompatible.

    “They do not (go to therapy, read the books, apologize to our children, sign a post-nup, break up with the affair partners) because they don’t want to. Period.”

    ^^^This is SO true!

    I didn’t see it in the beginning – not for the first few years, actually. My self esteem took such a big hit that I kept looking for ways to stop the affair and turn the tide. But it wasn’t mine to stop. It was his. And because “cake is so delicious,” he had no interest in stopping.

    Looking back, it’s so black and white. At the time, it was anything but. Once you take emotion out of it and look at it for what it is, it makes total sense to let “reason be your oracle.” Wish I had done it years ago!

    P.S., CL – if your husband hasn’t visited Monticello or UVA, he should. They’re both AMAZING. The stables are hidden beneath the walkways at the house, and when you step into the library in the Rotunda at the university, you can’t see a single book – it’s incredible. BTW, they still offer a toast to “Mr. Jefferson” at every faculty dinner… 🙂

    • Red, it is so true that when you step back, everything is so clear. It becomes black and white once you are able to look at the situation objectively. I was just talking about this exact issue with a friend today.

  • “The problem with cheaters is that they require you to doubt your reason. Pay no attention to the cell phone bill. Yes, okay I was at that hotel but we didn’t have sex. He’s just a friend. You’re crazy.”

    I found a receipt in my husband’s wallet after I found out about affair and after he said he was no longer seeing her. The receipt was for a fancy meal in restaurant in Rome which we all know is in Italy, (though I did doubt myself for a second as he had said he had been on a business trip to Israel from London.) When I questioned him about it, he actually said – ‘ah yeah, we stopped of in Rome on the way to Israel.’

    Now geography was never my strongest subject but even though I knew this was preposterous, I actually found myself taking out a map and trying to work out how that would be possible! London to Israel with a stop off in Rome, long enough to savour the culinary delights and run up a hefty bill.

    Even recently I asked my ex to stop bringing the ho he absconded with to where I live as it still hurts me deeply to see her ugly brazen orange mush and I said I felt he was being so disrespectful. He said, ‘ah yes the problem with you is the WAY you perceive things – that’s always been your problem, you don’t see things the way normal people do.’

      • Tonya…..WTH??? He SAID that to you?
        And you didn’t stab him? “Honest Officer, the knife slipped 17 times.”

        • I have been getting this crap only they have not been blazon enough to come out and put it like that. What a Turd Burger.

          because I am standing up for the gut feeling and not allowing my self to be pushed around by the Church we attended as a family, I am clearly the one with perception issues. I don’t see things the way they or my STBX does and that is fine by me.

          • Sammie D, am I remembering right that your husband slept with men? I keep getting mad at your church on this one – your husband is gay. He betrayed you by marrying you in the first place. You deserve to be married to someone who is attracted to women.

            The church needs to stop pushing you to try to change something that can’t be changed.

            (If I remembered wrong, sorry, and your old church should stop pushing you anyway.)

          • Hi Sammie. I hope you can get the book
            “I don’t love you anymore” by David Clarke and get one for the people at your church. It is a very tough love Christian approach. He wants us chumps to get righteously angry. Dr. Clarke will even say “if your church is not on your side find another church”.

            How is your child doing?

  • It is amazing that shrinks & counselors can seem to relate to only the experiences THEY have had. If they haven’t been cheated on, they don’t understand the devastation, stuckness, etc. It is like talking to anyone else who can’t relate. Isn’t this what they went to school for?
    The 2 counselors my ex & I saw, one was onboard with verbal abuse and made it clear he saw nothing wrong with it, and the second one I had begun work with 6 months before was won over by him and was actually flirting with him on our very first trip together! I couldn’t believe it. It was a miracle toi get him to these places to begin with, and he ended up saying well if you don’t like what they are saying, maybe you need to look at yourself. If you are going to quit because they see my side of it, then it is out of the question in the future.
    I do like CL’s new quote. Kind of like “if it looks like a pig, smells like a pigs, & sounds like a pig, it most likely a pig in a vast majority of cases.
    And as far as gaslighting goes, I am glad no one lit a match at my house, there would have been an explosion!
    Happy 4th to all

    • “It is amazing that shrinks & counselors can seem to relate to only the experiences THEY have had. If they haven’t been cheated on, they don’t understand the devastation, stuckness, etc. It is like talking to anyone else who can’t relate. Isn’t this what they went to school for?”

      Regina I once saw this documentary about Holocaust survivors. They all agreed that they could only talk about their experience with fellow survivors, people who had actually lived what they had lived. I do not believe that going to school and theorising could ever make shrinks and counsellors understand. I think the best counsellors are people who have experienced hurt, loss, suffering.

      I loved the shrink in Good Will Hunting because he knew pain only because he experienced it. School can only teach so much. Living is where the real lessons ore learnt.

      The reason Chump Lady works so well is because we are all chumps and infidelity survivors and we know how each other feel because of our experience.

      Thanks again Chump Lady for allowing us all to come together.

      • I agree. Nobody can understand this trauma unless they have lived it. I certainly didn’t understand it before ‘it was never going to happen to me’.

        • And it truly is a trauma. I think I just might slap the next person who tells me to suck it up and get over it! I HAVE NOT wallowed in this mess…I have done what I need to do to clean it up and move on. I have, however, grieved the loss of my marriage and a husband that I once adored…for some reason that pisses people off to no end : ( To those people I always say “Try walking a mile in my shoes”!

        • Exactly. After my stbx’s best friend left my best friend for a slut, I cried with my friend a lot. I was hurting for them so much. But I remember thinking “thank you God that this is never going to happen to me”. Guess what happened 12 months later?
          I really never expected I could hurt so deep and cry everyday for two years.

      • This is so true! We’ve WAY, WAY overemphasized conceptual thinking in our culture. We think the solution to everything is *educate people.* More intellect, more concepts, more rational thinking, more book learning, more factual knowledge, more arguing about ideas in our heads… none of that is a substitute for EXPERIENCE. This is why the wounded healer usually has the most to offer another suffering person, not the smartest healer.

        • I agree. Before D-day I was listening to The Moth. A woman was telling the story about her husband’s cheating. The way she found out was that mutual friends saw him with OW in France when he said he had to work requiring her to stay with the kids and not go to France with mutual friends. The story teller described that she was in shock. They were separated and she thought he was missing her and would ask to reconcile.

          My thoughts were: How could she not know? I really did not understand how yo could live with someone and they could lead a double life. Now I do—all the intricacies too…because…

          About a month later I get hit with the same thing. The wind was knocked out of me for about a year. I am just getting my life back.

          Now I completely understand how it is possible for someone to play you for a fool without you “letting them” or “being absent” or “disconnected” I understand how what cheater did was on him—all of it. I understand the violence of gaslighting and the power of trust.

          My goal now is to trust my inner voice, to trust myself to know how to live and with whom to associate.

          • Spot on. The violence of Gaslighting and the power of trust. 17 freaking years! WTF!

            When I tell people my story, I feel like I need to add that I am really really not THAT stupid, but I feel like it.

    • There should be a way to screen marriage counselors to find out if they’re any good before you go.

  • I happen to find Jefferson’s dichotomies fascinating. Just want to clarify, he was an enlightened deist, he believed in Jesus Christ, but did not believe in the miracles attributed to him and considered the writers of the bible unreliable. He compared bibles in several languages and cut out the parts he believed were true to create his own bible. Another one that is really rather awful was his about face on slavery. When he wrote the Declaration of Independence he abhorred slavery, the original document was strong on that point. Yet years later he backed off his stance so completely that it’s rather dumbfounding. Many believe this happened when those grids and charts showed him how profitable his slaves were. I won’t get into the Sally Hemings controversy…

    • I don’t think Jefferson cared much for anything profitable. He was apparently horrible with money and died with debts. Yes, the slavery is the biggest hypocrisy about his character, and yet I believe he was enlightened for his time. Clay Jenkinson (who does the podcasts and impersonates Jefferson), his take on it was political expediency. He couldn’t be governor of Virginia and push through other reforms if he was an abolitionist.

      And yep, Sally Hemmings is a whole other ball of wax. I find it appalling that no one believed his African American descendants for generations, until DNA proved it.

      • Maybe it’s because I am a collection lawyer, but I am NOT ok with “being horrible with money” and dying with debts. Jefferson came up with the bucks to finance his self-indulgent lifestyle on the backs of his creditors. There’s no getting around that he accumulated lots of stuff and then didn’t pay the folks who made it all possible. He was a smart man with some good ideas but failing to pay people who provide you with something of value is cheating them the last time I checked. John Adams is my hero.

    • If a woman cannot refuse sex, it is simply rape plain and simple. Jefferson was despicable!

  • CL, thank you for this post! I am someone who likes to think I’m very rational, who likes to study things, will only believe something if there is supporting evidence, but I succumbed tot he hopium of the RIC. Marriage Builders (“MB”) claims that it has saved thousands of marriages from infidelity. I wanted to believe, desperately.

    What I’d like to see is long-term studies of marriages that stayed together after one spouse cheated. What is the recidivism rate over a 20-year period? My guess is that it would be very high. I think places like Marriage Builders can claim success if a couple has stayed together and faithful to one another only after a few years, if that. Even Dr. Harley says that that cheaters frequently have urges to contact their APs 10 or even 20 years later and he has to talk them out of doing so.

    A sign that MB is not based on scientific evidence is that they ban any poster who disagrees with the party line. There is a cult-like feeling to the group. Even XH, whom I tried to get to read some of MB’s books, thought that MB was a cult. But I think he was more angry with MB because it recommends not to be quiet about the affair and so XH’s “good guy” image cover was blown.

    XH had shown no evidence of remorse. In fact, he was trying to make me out to be the bad guy for telling our family and friends about the affair. I was supposed to explain this lack of evidence as due to some kind of “fog.”

    RIC also goes against just plain old common sense. The immediate reaction of my old, wise uncle was: “Don’t go back to XH. He will just do it again.”

  • What I’m struggling with lately is the revisionist story X is selling (with success) to my 13-year old son. His “reasons” are bastardized versions of what actually happened, and my son – who lived the whole painful, abandoned summer of discovery of the affair with me – is buying into the bullshit.

    “Mom, stop living in your fantasy world.” “The reason dad left was because you were always drinking.” “They didn’t become boyfriend and girlfriend until you were divorced.” “She’s really nice, Mom.” “When are you going to get over it?” “He’s my father, Mom, you need to stop living in your victim world.”

    It’s like being shot then stabbed. I refuse to engage with him, but I did reply, “You lived my reality with me. You of all people know what really went on that summer.”

    What is hard is hearing X’s words come out of my son’s mouth. I realize they are having these conversations and it kills me.

    P.S. Not a big drinker. I think that was one of the reasons X dismissed me. He wanted to go out to bars and get hammered.

    • I’m so sorry Chutes. That’s just awful. I wouldn’t try to defend your POV to your son (and it’s despicable that your ex does this mindfuckery). I’d simply say “We’re divorced because your father cheated. That’s not an opinion or victimhood, it’s simply a fact. Your relationship with your father is your business.”

      Then hold your head high and live your life with integrity.

    • Oh dear mother of God. That is so terrible. CL has the right advice.

      I can also tell you from my own experience (different from yours I am sure but with a relevant element that is meant to be consoling) My father cheated and my mother was always in a rage. She despised him and derided us for wanting a relationship with him constantly (this was before therapy and before people knew this was a mistake but even if she did know I doubt she would have stopped) As a result, I empathized with my father. EVEN THOUGH, I had memories of him taking me to his OW that made me shutter and cringe, as a young girl.

      SO fast forward, when my D-Day hit I asked all kinds of questions to my mother finally ready to hear her pain. My father treated her like shit. He locked her in a hotel room on their honeymoon because he did not like her saying that he should not eat so much ice cream (this is humiliating to even relay) He hit her. He gambled all their money away. We were on welfare and he refused childcare payments for his entire life.

      Sometimes kids have to believe that their parents are not that bad. But there are times when things become clear and when children are ready to understand.

      I suggest you not speak of your cheater ex to your son. Just live your life and have an independent relationship with him, if possible. Let him know that you find it disrespectful to be told lies about what happened and that you are glad to have him have his relationship with his father. It is so so difficult what you are going through. How your ex manipulates your kid for his own image.

      Your child will one day know, hopefully not as I had to learn….keep your dignity and your eyes on your own life. Let them talk, they will talk themselves into the grave. Talk is cheap. You act with integrity. Give yourself a lot of compassion and be kind to yourself every day.

      • What a sad story, but such good advice from someone who has BTDT, from the kid’s POV.

    • Remember, your son is very young, he wants a safe and predictable world. Try to think hoe you were when you were that young, no worries, his love for you is still there. Jedi hugs!

    • I wonder if one reason your son is buying this is that he wants you to hurry up and be happy again? Also, of course, he wants you to get along with his father.

      I don’t have a great solution, but maybe you can talk to your therapist (and your kid’s if he has one) about ideas.

    • CaL, very similar words still come out of my 32 year old son’s mouth if and when he likes to abuse me by text because I never see him physically. He has another which hurts me very much which is “Your story is old, get over it and leave me alone”. The problem is I have not had a voice in all of this as I was pushed out and the door was closed firmly behind me and everyone took my ex husband’s side. That is the only thing that still really hurts me. Why can’t people see my ex for what he really is?

      • Hi Maree,

        I am sorry to chime in late here. I think this is a topic that is worth a column and CL’s wisdom. I am worried about the same thing when my son gets older. It’s hard enough to be violated but for your kids to take your ex’s narrative as truth (and boy does my ex want my kid on his side— and he lies all the time–he has no concern for the consequences of mindfucking my child).

        From a child’s perspective, I think it is hard for kids to deal with the violence that their parents have perpetrated. It’s easier to tell the complaining parent to ‘can it’ (although your adult kid needs to get a grip).

        Kids are not the best audience for the pain that their parent caused their other parent, unless they ask questions or are coming at it from a place where they are getting burned too, perhaps (wisdom is good here). I have learned from this blog that there are some kids that understand and actually throw their parent-cheaters out or get them out of their lives— but there seem to be just as many stories that go the other way. Where kids like yours are empathizing with cheater.

        In my case, as a kid, I was pained by my mother blaming me for wanting to have anything to do with my dad. I was 8 years old and did not understand what was happening. My mother did not explain anything other than, “How could you want to be with your father after all he has done to me, after he does not pay child support.” I was devastated by our living conditions in my own way and had no frame work for healing as a child. My mother (rightfully rage filled) had absolutely no rage control (would hit us with hangers if we whined—really bad) Now I understand her rage and want to know more, but she is still the same raging person in some ways. Rage can be destructive because it just bulldozes everything in its path. Rage does not discern. Cheaters deserve the rage, but they use it to show how crazy we are–how unstable, when in actuality they are crazy and unstable—more crazy making for us. Then they are all calm and the kids look at them as the stable ones.

        It sounds like you are more hurt than ragefilled, and your son is sick of your trying to get him to understand. Your story is valuable, but your kid will only pour salt on your wound.

        That’s why places like CL and others who can hear your story are so valuable.

        Tell your story here. Tell your story the way it happened. We will understand. People here know the injustice you experienced. We are all in the same boat and need each other precisely because the people who *should* care do not want to hear our stories.

        My ex does Normal really well. That is why I married him. I was told he was a great guy by friends who “know him” It took me seven years to unpack his narcissism. Some people are great at image control. Your ex sounds like he is great at image control. When you have no empathy, you don’t leak as much.

        It hurts that other people think he is a ‘great guy’ but you can disconnect from this. It is a long hard road but so necessary for you reclaiming you. I am on this road with you. I also feel pained that people think my ex is a ‘wonderful person’ Why can’t they see? Doesn’t anyone care about what he did to me and what he did to my son?

        I am beginning to think these questions are not my concern. I am here to tell my story to those who can hear, for those who can’t, I cannot do anything about that. I can’t force people to understand. I am very thankful to CL because she is doing just that for all of us. She is making us heard. Getting people to understand cheating from the chumps perspectives and getting large numbers of people to understand that cheaters suck even though they are song and dance men and keep it cool. So on a larger scale the message is getting out, even if your son is missing this particular conversation at this time.

        Don’t try to tell him anymore. Save yourself from the constant anguish of trying to tell people who are hell bent on stifling you or simply do not have any tools to hear that their parent is a shit.

        Know that you are mighty and can get through this pain. I strongly feel that your son will have to deal with this in his own way when the time comes.

        All the very best to you, Maree.

        • Chumpectomy, thank you so very much for such a comforting post. Like everyone on this site, it is one day at a time. Today, I am legally reverting back to my maiden name which I have always been so proud of. I know that, that alone will give me tremendous peace of mind and assist with my healing. Once again, thank you.

          • I claimed my maiden name, too. I couldn’t get over how many people asked why, or if I considered that my kids’ names would be different from my own. My response was that when I took that name, I took it as a promise. When that promise was broken, I no longer wanted to be associated with the cheater who lied to me. As far as the kids’ names, they were given when I believed in love.

            Interestingly, the douchebag refuses to acknowledge my legal name, always sending child support checks to my old married name.

  • Reason. Cool, clear reason. I love reason. Years ago when I had the first D Day, we went to counseling. My NPD cheaterscum won over the therapist easily. I had been verbally abused, physically bullied and a victim of gaslighting. I was looking like a crazy chick but I knew I had caught him red handed with a girl half his age spending the night together. I felt like I had been abused by both of them. The therapist went on a vacation and sent us to a minister friend of his. It was heavenly! That man opened his Bible, said this is what the Bible tells us to do in marriage. Then he asked “What are you going to do?” There was no opportunity to charm or blame shift. I left feeling validated that day. We have never been to MC since.
    This D Day, two years ago, I didn’t choose to go to MC. My husband is a smooth talker and I wasn’t about to subject myself to more grief. I have relied on logic. It drive CH insane. Logic speaks truth. Blameshifting, gaslighting, lying, all fall apart in the presence of logic.
    So, Happy Independence Day and thank you Thomas Jefferson!

    • “I felt like I had been abused by both of them.”

      That is such a brilliant line Linda! It speaks volumes to me and is so true.

  • This is how I like my history lessons, in small digestible quantities that relate to me. Thanks for the post. Always enlightening. I like this Jefferson guy, I wonder if he has a great great great great grandson for me 😉

  • What’s getting me closer to “meh” is knowing that the Jackass was running the narcissist discard playbook. The hardest question for me was, “How can he do these thing if he loved me?” The emphasis in the beginning was on “these things” as irrational and out of character for him. Now I see that the important word is “if” and it points straight toward the fact that whatever he felt, it wasn’t love as I understood it. That’s the hurdle. That’s the leap to get over. I loved. I was in a partnership. He was eating cake and scarfing kibbles. When he got bored or scared or too close he slid out the door to his next cake and kibble supply but careful not to close the door to any cake he might want from me. And it wasn’t that he went into some fog or just snapped. Once I started looking at all the lovey words and nice gestures, I could see the manipulation behind it all, from the beginning. That’s painful. That changes history. But it is better than living a lie of my own making by believing his arrogant, condescending, cruel behavior was some aberration and I someone “caused” it. Looking back, he saw me as a long-term, important source of ego kibbles that he came back to as needed. The difference is, this time I was available and took him seriously and the whole thing played out to the inevitable discard. So reason, indeed, based on the facts I learned so painfully in the fall, reveals the situation as it is. Just another day closer to Tuesday and “meh.”

    • Interestingly, when I look back and remember the ‘nice’ stuff he did I compare it with his moments now when ex wants something from me and tries to be ‘nice’. I can see just how insincere it is and how little there is behind his actions other than manipulation – and I realise that it was always that way but I was too in love and invested to recognise it. I also had never encountered anyone who behaved that way so it was pretty alien to me.

      Funny thing is that he uses the same tricks on final OW and I know why he ended up with her: the others were there for a good time, a fling, or else they bailed as soon as they got a whiff of who he really was and didn’t take him seriously. Final OW is very young and fell for the same shit I fell for when I was her age.

      And here’s the kicker: he seems to be trolling for new kibbles already. I can’t say this doesn’t make me laugh, despite not being much interested either way in him or his life anymore.

      • Yeah, the long-term prognosis for narcissists is very poor, and they get bored (or whatever it is so easily) and must go looking for more supply, better supply. And while men have an easier time finding younger partners, at some point age and finances and opportunities will make it harder to find new kibble supply and the next. Had occasion today to spend time with my ex-husband (not the cheater) and his extended family; I hadn’t seen the nieces and nephews or my stepson in a couple of years but it was like nothing had changed. Even with separation or divorce, it’s possible for healthy, normal people to get past those changes and support one another in times of joy or sorrow. Then we have these disordered people who have not an ounce of actual loyalty or love. They’re pitiful, really.

    • Hi LAJ. Could you recommend any material that has helped you overcome the narcisistic confusion? Besides this great blog of course.

      • Hi, Gaby. First, I think the most important source is Dr. Simon’s blog, linked under “Brain Trust,” above. He’s the expert and of course explains all of the character disorders as involving a range of behavior, etc. He puts posts up every week, and all of them provide insight into how people with character disorders succeed in manipulating those around them.

        But I’m going to link to a blog of an ordinary person, who describes something I have seen on several psychologists’ websites, but in words that hit home for me. What she says about the three stages of relationship with a narcissist exactly describes what happened to me: 30+ years on the pedestal, but never an intimate relationship. Once we crossed that line, it was no more than 8 months to the start of the “discard.” Now, many narcissists might play this out in other ways–the discard might not involve moving out or divorce. The narcissist might still be in the house, but if he or she is having one or more affairs at the same time, it might be a version of a discard. Once I understood that his declarations of love and the things he did for me were part of “hooking” me, I understood that he can’t do love or intimacy or even real friendship. And exiting in such a cruel and indifferent way is not personal to me; he will do some version of that to anyone he gets involves with. Once I read this, I went back to the sites written by psychologists and other professionals and learned more that applied to the person with whom I was involved. So while I can’t vouch for this site or the writer, what she describes shook something lose in me so I could see the painful events of late last summer, fall, and early winter as being about his character disorder and not about me. CL says “trust that he sucks,” and she’s right. But the biggest hurdle for me what trying to understand the guy that didn’t suck, not one bit, and the guy who cut my heart out of my chest and dragged it behind his pickup for four months, seemingly unconcerned if I lived or died. Now I see–it’s one guy. The one who sucks but is very good at fooling women when he is trying to win them over. Again–this is not a professional’s site, but it worked for me:

        • Here’s one from a therapy site that has academic citations and says much the same thing.

          “Not only are they grieving the loss of the relationship, but they are also processing the unreality of a “fake relationship.” Furthermore, often psychological abuse (and sometimes physical and sexual abuse) has permeated the relationship. In order to heal, psychotherapy must focus on grief work and trauma recovery, in addition to understanding the elements of the toxic relationship, so that patterns are not repeated in the future.
          Once the initial honeymoon wears off, partners of people with narcissistic traits go from feeling high on a pedestal (much like being on cocaine) to feeling devalued, discarded, and figuratively knocked off the pedestal. Their partners have successfully seduced and hooked them into relationships.
          But suddenly, the individual with narcissism begins to reveal traits of lying, future-faking, and Dr. Jekyl /Mr. Hyde Personality. He or she may vanish for hours or days on end, or gaslight (confuses the reality of) a partner. This person becomes emotionally abusive and detaches from the partner, extracting narcissistic supply in the process.
          The partner, then, is dropped/discarded, coming to the sudden and shocking realization that the other…has narcissistic qualities, is not capable of true intimacy/love, and really exhibits a limited capacity for emotional connectedness/bonding (Brown, 2013). The partner who has exhibited narcissistic personality traits, who was once a knight in shining armor, is now a mere fantasy, because he or she acted through mind control and brainwashing (Brown, 2013).”

          What helped me about the other one was seeing what happened as “phases.” In my case, they were very clear and identifiable, almost to the day. And thinking about this cleared up some seemingly “nice” moments that felt off, manipulative. And that explanation explains, in my case, why the affair he began heated up so quickly.

          • “But the biggest hurdle for me what trying to understand the guy that didn’t suck, not one bit, and the guy who cut my heart out of my chest and dragged it behind his pickup for four months, seemingly unconcerned if I lived or died. Now I see–it’s one guy.”

            Sorry I took so long to answer. Thanks so much for taking the time to share all this with me. The sentence above… that’s me. Only I did think I had an intimate relationship. I was so blindsided!!! And I loved him like no other, for 20 years. Never expected the betrayal. It is so crazy and confusing.

            I will read the blogs you recommend. Take care.

        • Lovedajackass, thank you for the link to my site, I am glad to hear it resonated with you. I did 10 years with a narcissist/psychopath I write from my own experiences and the research I have done on personality disorders. I didn’t know what he was until after I had been systematically destroyed and then unceremoniously dumped by him. I started the blog in hopes that I would save some other woman the pain I went through. If by sharing my story I saved even one woman’s life I thought what I went through would be worthwhile. I had no idea how many victims were out there or how great the need was for women and men to be heard because what they were going through was so bizarre and their partner was so skilled at manipulation and twisting facts that they doubted their own sanity.
          There are assholes who cheat or have affairs and leave their wives/husbands who are bad enough and cause enough damage but then there are narcissists in a league all their own. They are born with out a conscience, can not be fixed, born with a defect if you will. Dr Hare has done brain scans and their brains are actually different than the brains of “normal” people. These parasites prey on everyone who crosses their path and are only concerned with what they can get out of any relationship, including friends, lovers, business associates and leave a trail of destruction behind them where ever they go. They can fake being normal better than a normal person and are able to twist the truth so well a person doubts their own eyes and actions.
          It is emotional abuse at its finest and terribly debilitating and damaging to the victim. The victim keeps trying to get the man they met back, and the N promotes this by blaming the victim for their actions.
          After years of him begging me to take him back and he making promises he never kept he told me he had had enough and he wanted me out. I was indignant, and said,”You want ME out? You have had enough?!! You were the one to always screw around, I was faithful the whole 10 years.” He looked up from his magazine that he was reading and looked at me over his glasses with total disgust on his face and said,”And what did you do?”
          I stood tall and proud and said\, “I stayed.”
          He said one word that cut me to the quick, “EXACTLY!” and went back to reading his magazine.
          Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble on, just wanted to say thanks

  • I think a key point is not to engage in trying to convince the cheater you are right, or that they are doing something wrong. Logic?

    At one point I told me wife that if I had done a tenth of the things she had done to our marriage, she would have uncermoniously kicked me out of the house in a nanosecond. And that I would have ended up spending the rest of our marriage trying to show her that I had made a huge mistake and would never, ever do it again, whatever it took.

    Her reply: “Maybe so. That dynamic does sometimes happen when the man cheats on the woman. But when the wife is unfaithful…not so much. The truth is, you are upset because typically the guy is the one to go find a trophy girlfriend at this stage in our lives, and you’re just angry because the tables are reversed here and I’m seeing a much younger guy.”

    Logic? You try to have a normal discussion and you end up with any sense of reason being twisted like a pretzel. A waste of time and an incredible amount of psychic energy. Have to admit, they are ingenius in how they can take absolutely anything you say or do and turn it around on you. Jefferson would be shaking his head.

    • Wow, Chumpguy, your wife is a stone-cold narcissist. What a lack of empathy and compassion, combined with contempt, entitlement and mind fuckery. She actually rubs your nose in her infidelity with that statement. There are better women out there, and you deserve one.

    • Chumpguy, logic is not for the cheater’s benefit. They avoid logic. It is for us so that we know we are still sane.

      • Yes Chumpguy, anything you say will never get heard. It immediately becomes a power struggle which they HAVE to win, and if you persist you just get shredded. Don’t engage. They get nasty. It is best just to feel sorry for them.

        • I agree with Patsy that the best course is to disengage (and hope they don’t notice!) I disagree that it is necessary to feel sorry or anything else for them.

          The goal is “meh”. Sorry=empathy=kibbles. Please Don’t Feed the Narcs!

          I know somebody (a female I’m related to) who uses just this kind of logic, Chumpguy. It’s eerie to hear it from somewhere else, it is obviously from the disordered playbook.

          You know what would be neat? If everyone had to pick a sign to wear 24/7. Here are the choices:

          A) Follow Your Passion!

          B) Do The Right Thing!

          • You guys are making way too much sense for me! My head hurts from all this reason ; – )

    • Often these young ones, male & female alike are looking. for a meal ticket and the object is just so flattered. Meanwhile an agenda is at play, and they may just get fleeced!!. (hardy-har when their realization that it is a wallet or a place to stay that is the real goal.) Sorry about the intermittent ” periods” in my posts every time I use my delete button I am ending up with a period. Never had this problem (settings?) Anyhow, I am aware & USUALLY remember to proof read.

      • Regina, I agree the young ones may be looking for a meal ticket or a place to stay. The cheater no doubt greatly exaggerates his “wealth”,probably saying house,cars,etc. are paid for. They may also use drugs and need money to pay for them. They may also need to be “drugged up” to have sex with these older cheaters.

    • Yuck. Using a gender discrimination argument to dehumanize is really bad form in feminist politics as far as I am concerned. Feminism was meant to protect the lives and dignity of women and men. She sets us back big time. Feminism was not meant to justify women lying to their spouses so they could fuck, as men do when they lie to their spouses to fuck others. She is a real headcase. Stay away from all conversation with that nutjob.

  • I think our entire culture is all about “oracle” and against reason. How you feel is far more important than what is real. That’s why you hear endless crap like:

    Follow your dreams!
    Live your passions!
    Do what makes you happy!
    Create your own reality!

    And very little of:
    Follow your dreams, but not off a cliff.
    Sometimes being a grown-up means hard stuff like fulfilling your obligations, even when you don’t want to.
    Sometimes your passions are best left as a hobby, not a career.
    Sometimes, what you think is a good idea is actually stupid.
    Sometimes you don’t get to do what you want, or at least not until later.
    You are not the center of the universe, nor does the universe create itself around your thoughts.

    We live in an extremely narcissist, fairy-tale believing society, where it’s all about “the heart wants what the heart wants, so is entitled to have it,” and very little is said about the head and doing what is RIGHT, not just what feels good at the moment.

    • Extremely well said, Nord. Dreams should inspire a good life, rather than being confused with life itself, which often requires hard work, deferred gratification, and compromise.

      Our society seems increasingly built upon pandering to juvenile aspirations and the peddling of delusions, commoditizing irresponsible choices for mass consumption whenever possible. Ashley Madison is the most extreme example, but examples are legion, including, for instance, plastic surgery and steroid abuse, crazy-expensive designer products, pro-quality hobby goods for weekend amateurs, and immersive video games. These might be fun diversions, but there is no good REASON to devote any substantial portion of your life to such things.

    • Just guessing, but I wonder what the proportion is of TV shows and movies (pretty much any aspect of pop culture for that matter) that slant toward that siren song of “I’m entitled, I have to be me, no matter what and no matter what the consequences.”

      And how many movies and TV shows depict unfaithfulness as edgy, rebellious, somehow glamorous, ‘just a lark’, no big deal, etc.? How many of them have the man gravitate to a skank over the dull as dishwater wife or girlfriend, and have the woman choosing the bad boy over the (always boring) nice guy? And the skanks and bad boys always are charming, witty, and wise in a snarky way?

      Just musing. Maybe I’m wrong about Hollywood and the music industry.

      • No. I think your musing is spot on. I know this is the ow’s mantra. But I am learning it is also how my cheater was raised too. Zero consequences. Everything he did was awesome, etc. etc.etc. you can’t just win a trophy for showing up. You need to eat what you have. And hopefully earn it based upon a foundation of integrity.

    • And if it was the heart, and not the giant, soul-sucking ego, that “wanted” things, I might be able to live with that. But kicking someone to whom you are committed to the curb isn’t the heart at work. I’ve been divorced and would not in a million years have treated my exH (not a cheater) the way the Jackass treated me because I love him as a human being. He still matters to me even though I couldn’t continue to live with substance abuse. So when they say “the heart wants what the heart wants,” they are once again lying. What they want is excitement, intense infatuation or limerence, a fresh new source of ego kibbles, admiration or, as my therapist says, “worship.” What they want is to play a rigged game with someone else’s spouse, where the cheaters can “win” if they tell each other they are better than their spouses or partners. No matter what they say or what the world thinks, there is no heart at all in that.

  • Often, great ideas are brought to fruition by fallible men, who’s image and reality do not mesh with the inconstancy and hypocrisy of the true man. Jefferson, was such a man, his theology and oracle of truth was a tale of betrayal. He was a man of his times, he said the right things and put them into print. “All men are created equal” , but Jefferson’s words actions speak a different language. jefferson, if he was a man of the present era, his oracle of truth would be fodder for tmz and the national enquirer.

    • Maybe he secretly loved that woman, but was constrained by society at the time?

      Or do people think she was a convenience? He certainly didn’t go off her – six children!

      • It’s hard to understand what his feelings were. He may have cared for her, but he did not free her and his children as she wanted him to.

    • Actually, Jefferson, like most men at that time, believed that all white male landowners were created equal. Those were the ones allowed to vote…
      Also, Sallie, was his beloved, late wife’s sister. The two women had been close. Do to the ugly practice of slave owners raping their female slaves, Martha Jefferson and her sister shared a father. It is said that the sisters, aside from skin tone, looked very much alike. History is often complicated and not very pretty.
      I am thankful that I have more options than Martha or Sallie! I have been through terrible circumstances but at least I can support myself and my family. I even get to vote!

      • I am grateful to Jefferson for getting those key words down in the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal.” Even if in his day “men” meant only white men of property, that was a shift away from monarchy and inherited aristocracy. It was an idea that could be and has been extended for the past 240 years so that, in theory at least, the legal system in the U.S. holds all humans as “equal” before the law. That we still struggle to live up to that ideal in everyday ways does not make it less important or less noble. He gave us the language of democracy and equality that we return to over and over again as we in the U.S. struggle to make a just society.

        • Agreed, LovedaJackass. Jefferson and his fellow thinkers were amazing. They moved us in the right direction. They were truly world changers!

  • Thomas Jefferson also said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”. Does that imply that dishonesty is the first chapter in the book stupidity? As I read these amazingly wonderful posts from CL and some (I do have a tiny smidgen of a life or I could be here forever!) of the greatly supportive and insightful response comments, I have grown to see the true history of my relationship with the Nex as well. We were never actually married. I was married, but there was no we/us. Reason! Wow! If I had only listened to the voice of reason that was screaming at me, instead of following the mixed up messages spouting from the mystical oracles of society, religion, family, friends, etc. who have no idea how to deal with reason. I was too scared to deal with reason. Far better to live in a world of make believe where it all works out in the end than to listen to the one voice of reason who told me to get out while I could (before kids). I thought myself to be a reasonable person (I still do when it comes to certain issues), but never have I been reasonable about my relationships.

  • What a great discussion topic, especially on Independence Day. Over the past two weeks I have signed divorce papers and accepted an offer on the house. After nearly 21 years of gaslighting, lies, yada, yada, yada, reason was my guide. Strip out all the emotion and break every word/action into concrete, tangible items. Words? Worthless, can’t touch them hold them, and they are always being jumbled around to mean different things Example: jumble the letters in SANTA and they become SATAN–Narcs are notorious for jumbling things around. Actions–concrete. You can’t jumble an action of your choice. “You made the action/choice of putting your “car” in her “garage”. Concrete.

    Even the Great and Powerful OZ was nothing more than a loud voice (words) with smoke and mirrors. Pull back the curtain–he’s just a little man being mean (actions).

    I’m not fully Meh yet but I am enjoying a Meh Day. And now I am going to grant 2 donuts independence from their box and into my belly.

      • I have to laugh at the Wizard of Oz reference. My wacko Narc actually had a sign outside his office door he scoured for weeks to find. ‘Nobody gets in to see the Wizard – No way, No how.”

        He truly believed his own farce! And, thought he was so superior. Ha. It’s the first thing I mailed back to him.

    • Redless, congratulations on your brave actions! You sound happy and relieved, as only getting rid of the Cheater deadweight can do!
      I just accepted an offer on our house too! So excited! Of course, the only reason X is signing papers, and cooperating at all, is because I re-retained my attorney, and she took him to court over contempt of the divorce decree (a year old, too), to sell our house. My realtor said something I just loved- you can convince some people with roses, but it’s even better to have roses, and a gun!

      • Congrats to you too PT. Feels good to almost be free. I am happy because I have a belly full of donuts however I won’t be relieved and feel safe till I am at least a few states away from him (PTSD, off meds, blackout spells, rages, fun stuff). The funny part to your comment is that in the degree (going on 19mo), I get to keep my Sig Sauer P226 Dark Elite pistol–it’s a 40 cal.!!! He wanted it sooooo bad because it is mine and it’s bigger. Oh, ha ha, oh ha ha.

  • Really great posts here today guys.
    To GladitsOver…Yes. Life is hard sometimes and the sooner people learn it the better.

    I work with young adults and often find the immaturity staggering. No concept whatsoever what real life is about. Some of them are in their 20’s and have never worked a day in their lives so they flounder around in college until they flunk out. I’m not sure where they go after that.

    My XH never showed an ounce of remorse. It was so unbelievable to me. I cried a million tears and I never saw him cry ONE tear over what he did to me. I spent a good two years mentally ill. I could barely get myself to work the first few weeks and my good friends now tell me that they thought I should have been hospitalized in the psych ward. I had a complete and total breakdown. Him and his skank? They strolled off into the sunset whistling Dixie.

    I’m so glad I’m where I’m at today. Healthy and whole. I have friends coming over for a BBQ soon. I have my flag flying, it’s a gorgeous blue ribbon day here and I’m happy. Happy 4th Chumps!~

    • So happy for you. And of course, what you have is real. What your X and his skank have is each other. And you know that can’t end well.

  • Happy 4th everyone!
    On the bit about our culture, gladit’sover i’m with you on that one. Our culture is like a damn breeding ground for narcissistic behavior. Watching the movie industry crap out loads of fairytale bullshit projecting a sense of what life should be rather than what it really is. Catchy phrases like “do what makes you happy”, “follow your dreams” YOLO!, which makes me want to throw up. People with common sense, integrity, and ability to reason are becoming more and more like “unicorns”. Monogamy will cease to exist, people will no longer accept responsibility for ANYTHING, and our society will collapse in on itself like a dieing star. Then they can crap out another shit move and title it, I am Legend again… It will be about humans being infected, once infected they will rampage, destroy lives, and become vicious monsters that care nothing except their own survival…sound familiar?

    • “It will be about humans being infected, once infected they will rampage, destroy lives, and become vicious monsters that care nothing except their own survival…sound familiar?”

      They already made that show. It’s called “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

      • Ha ha ha ha ha ha. That is so true. It is up there with “Real Housewives of Wherever”. They are not housewives, they are spoiled, entitled entities in human form–and there is nothing “real” about them. Haha. Show true housewives/husbands walking in zombie form from lack of sleep. 24 hours a day on call from children, spouses, work, daily life, etc… That is a REAL housewife/husband. That is your true survivor–make a show about that Mark Burrnett. Deserted on a tropical island without babies, job and spousal demands–PARADISE my friend. That would be the easiest 30 days any REAL housewife/husband ever did!!!! Sign me up

  • I may never know if my husband ever loved me. I may never know if he did leave me the very month my money ran out, as it appears. I will never understand how he could turn his back on me and walk away, or put his dick in another woman.

    But he did.

    Those are the facts. Just because I don’t “understand” they whys and hows doesn’t change that.

    Those truths are deal breakers. And so each day I get up and try to move on with my life without him. I guess I’m being my own oracle.

    (I’m more of a Ben Franklin girl).

    • Franklin is awesome, too. Brave men, they were. They risked their lives and it took years first to gain a consensus to declare independence, then to fight a war and win it, then to argue over a constitution to shape a new country. It’s a great metaphor for rebuilding our lives. It can’t happen overnight.

    • I’d pick John Adams from the signers. Less flashy than others, but a man of integrity who despised slavery and loved and respected his wife. A genuine man who was ahead of his time intellectually.

      • Smart choice, but since my picker is off, I go for Franklin’s flash!

  • The turning point for me was accepting that my husband had never loved me. He was never in love with me. Best case, he enjoyed being with me for a while because I met his needs and when I didn’t he found someone else. I never had a marriage – I just had a piece of paper that said I was married.

    Once I accepted this it was much easier to let go of the betrayal emotions, however it meant having to go easy on myself for not recognizing that I didn’t have a real relationship for all those years. I do this by reminding myself that I went on the information I had at the time and that I was always honest, loyal and faithful in my marriage.

    Much as I despise her as a person, in many ways I am grateful that OW came along and that I found out – because without their affair I may have wasted the rest of my life with a husband who didn’t love me while blaming myself for being unlovable. It’s a chilling thought.

    • Dear Jane, your post brought tears to my eyes. This was me for 37 years. I hope that you never wasted that much time? Be strong because you are the better person and I hope you realise that.

      • Thanks Maree. So sorry it was 37 years for you. It was 20 for me and that is hard enough. Remember that every day from now on is a day less wasted on men who were never good enough for us.

  • Thank you for todays post CL, tomorrow I am meant to be celebrating my 18th wedding aniversary, as that is now a non event I thought I would go out tonight and have dinner with those around me that have had the biggest positive impact in my life since D’Day.
    I would have loved to have invited you but being on the other side of the world would make the logistics impossible.
    STBX is also having a party, he chose to have a party today to celebrate our daughter turning 12 last week and has invited all of his family and her friends. I was extended an invitation but have chosen not to attend as he and I are no contact except where necessary. My playing nice to him and his family (non of whom have even contacted me to enquire about our daughters health or to see if I am ok, God only knows what they have been told) while he swans around in front of everyone playing the role of amazing super dad, is not for me. That our youngest daughter is very ill at the moment requiring her attendance in a wheelchair did not sway him from organizing the gathering in a large park in the middle of winter. Clearly no thought for anything outside his own needs and that which will boost his profile with others.
    Happy independence day every one.

    • I am sorry that once again you have to deal with this thoughtless idiot.

      But here’s a thought: there will be at least one person who will wonder why he picked a park in winter when one daughter must navigate with a wheelchair. Someone will see that and the worms of doubt about him will continue to burrow in…

  • The Fourth of July used to be my favorite day, I am trying to own it again but this year I stayed home. My neighbors are great they get good fireworks so I stood on my deck watching their displays, then I began to sing the Star-Spangled Banner and I began to cry. I played many versions and got through that. I finally realized why I was crying, it’s because I’m still standing and this is good.

    “Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
    O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

    You see, July 3 my husband was living in an apartment so he could “work on himself”, he came for our weekly date that day. It seemed we were connecting but when I suggested we spend July forth together he had reasons not to, he was going to a BBQ with a friend, then it was a bunch of AA people, I wouldn’t like it, when I pressed the reasons got more convoluted, I let it go. July fourth I could hear my Dad saying his favorite phrase in my head, “you can’t bullshit a bullshitter, he’s with her, go look, stop this shit”. So I went to look, his car was in front of her house, he’d gone to a BBQ, just not with his friend. I emailed him that we we were done, he insisted on meeting me the next Saturday. I told him it was over on July 11, I felt such peace for the next several hours, I had a few beers and was totally relaxed for the first time in 4 months, relief. Then the raging calls began, I fucked up because I had been drinking I didn’t leave the house, I should have called a cab, instead I tried to find someone to change the locks. Too late, he came, drunk and raging, that night he went crazy on me, attacked me and after I called police got me arrested with his lies while I was hysterical and still so stupid I tried to keep him from going to jail while he set me up. Many here know that later he pulled a gun on me, TBH, that trauma is not nearly as great as his putting me in jail. By the time he pulled the gun, I knew what he was, I can’t explain it any better than that.

    So I was crying tonight because I am still standing, I am free and I am brave, and I am alone. I am tattered, I am healed, I am fiercely proud and I am incredibly sad, I am tired and I am still standing here delighting in fireworks. The same thing that delights me brings terrible memories. The dichotomy. Life is not a simple line, it is rich and it is strange and it will never cease to surprise me. Tomorrow is going to be a good day, that is a different song. Now I need to wash the sheets. Happy Fourth of July.

    • Dat, I am so sorry. Your words moved me. I relate, although my war wasn’t violent and the police were not involved, the pain and shock I feel might be similar. I’m proud of you and glad you are proud of yourself, you deserve to be. We will survive.

    • Dat, you have truly been through hell. You are strong and courageous. I salute you, my friend.

      • Dat, you are still alive, and you are NOT defined by his abuse and his crazy.

    • Love. You lived through it all. Happy Independence. It never comes easy, and it isn’t free. But it’s priceless.

  • Hugs Dat,

    You are mighty and you left that shitbag in the dust. Whatever happens he will be torturing the OW instead. You on the other hand get to have a shitbag free life without him and his nastiness, and I’m rooting for you to have happiness and contentment Girlfriend!

  • Thanks for hearing me, it helps. sometimes it is not enough to write it for myself, sometimes I need to share it with someone and it’s too much for my RL best friend to bear as she is going through her own loss ridge now.

  • Here is my two cents of my oracle thought.

    The actions of a true husband are what he says is the truth.

    1.He does not move in with a co worker and talk to me every night giving me reasons as to why he hasn’t found a place for our family to move when he is down at his new job for months.

    This may seem weird, but for a long time, I didn’t think this was odd he didn’t rent a house so we could move. And he said the room he rented in this house they wouldn’t let anyone visit, not even me his wife.

    2. When calling my husband on a weekend, he does not yell at me on the phone and say he is watching a movie. Also he does not say, you can call once and I will call you back. And also, make your messages in 30 seconds or less.

    I did think this was strange.


    For a long time after my husbands affair I blamed myself, I have now decided all the blame is on him. All of it.

    He is in fog to this day, he still has to think, is stressed, basically he is pretty fucking stupid.

    That’s all, a true person doesn’t blow air up your ass.

  • Sorry to disagree with you, but Jefferson was a poster child for Entitlement. He lived a lavish lifestyle for the times, but didn’t pay the people who made it possible. Maybe it’s because I’m a creditor’s lawyer, but I feel that when someone gives you something of value and expects to be paid for it, you are morally obligated to pay them. I went to Monticello and was appalled by that. Maybe he had a lot of good ideas, and maybe (or maybe not) he didn’t cheat with married people, but he still thought he deserved what he wanted regardless of how it impacted other people. I’m a John Adams girl.

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