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They’re Not “Wayward”

May I just take a moment to say that I hate the term “Wayward”? As in “wayward spouse,” (WS) or as it is known in balder terms: cheater.

“Wayward” sounds soft in the head. Like they weren’t off pre-meditatedly boinking someone they met on Craigslist but rather got befuddled, lost their car keys, and couldn’t find their way home until a kindly adult came and pinned the directions on their sweater.

It’s a euphemism. It masks all the ugliness of CHEATER, (keyword: cheat, which comes from the Old English, to fuck people you aren’t married to), with the gentler, dulcet sounding waaaywaahrd. Oh poor Wayward. He knows not what he does. He’s lost and a bit dim. You’d stop and help a Wayward. If Cheater were there sticking his thumb out at the side of the road, you’d drive on past lest he rape you in a ditch and leave you dead.

For the record, wayward isn’t the only word I hate. I also hate “fog” and “broken.” They’re other words we use to cover up the stench of infidelity and absolve cheaters of personality responsibility. Oh, they’re not really unrepentant assholes who won’t stop screwing around. No sir. They’re in a fog. Why are they in a fog? Because they’re broken.

Hurt people hurt people, people! Wayward is in a fog because of some brokenness from his FOO issues. His need to take instagrams of his penis and post them on sundry dating sites is emblematic of his fear of intimacy. And spiders. And clowns. He’s just… BROKEN, okay? Take my word for it. Meanwhile, let’s just wait here patiently for the fog to clear. Oh hey! I think I see a rainbow!

This kind of crap makes my head hurt.

Cheaters cheat (or waywards way) because they can.  Because they’d like a position of advantage over you — more sex and ego kibbles for them (but don’t YOU do this! That’s why we have secrecy and no open marriage!) They cheat because of their own free will. They CHOOSE to do it because they WANT to.

And they don’t care if you get hurt. Not enough.

I’m really only inclined to believe cheaters if they say “Yes, I fucked around because I wanted to. I didn’t consider anyone but ME. I wanted to fuck around and through deceit and manipulation, I made it happen. I lied and I got what I wanted. And I enjoyed it. Very much, in fact I went back for seconds and thirds.” That’s the unvarnished truth. If they feel any shame about it later, wonderful. But in that moment, they weren’t feeling ashamed or lost or wayward, they were feeling AGENCY. They were getting what they wanted — at your expense.

When a cheater dupes you, they’ve denied your reality. Made you think you were going crazy. That’s why the language we use to describe our experience of infidelity is so important. Tell the truth. Or I’ll pin your euphemism to your sweater and march you into a snow bank.

I’m recycling some columns while I update the site. Feel free to comment!

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  • I understand that sometimes marriages break down and cannot be repaired. It’s sad, but if the two parties treat one another with respect they can end that relationship and move on with their lives.

    But when you add cheating to the mix you are taking the hurt to a whole new level that the cheater simply cannot fathom.

    I wish that young people, or anybody who is about to consider marriage could be sat down and have this explained to them. “See how much you love one another now? Would you ever hurt this person? No? Then promise now that, should you choose to end this relationship, you do so with respect for this person right here, the one you love more than life. That if you decide you want to end the marriage you don’t cheat. You end the marriage first. If you don’t think you can do that, then don’t get married.

    But cheaters have already promised to love us and honor us and they didn’t, so we can’t really believe their promises.

    • Can’t tell you how many time I had that conversation with my Ex when we were married. Yeah, he broke that promise too knowing that how important it was to me that I not live through that dynamic again after living with the aftermath of my parents split after an affair. It doesn’t matter to some people-they are just that selfish.

  • Hysterical that I’m going to comment on my own comment, but here goes.

    My cheater didn’t just end our relationship, as he thinks he did. I feel fairly certain that he ruined me for all future relationships. I can’t fathom finding someone at my age (57). I can’t fathom being intimate. I can’t fathom trusting.

    Oh, I’ll move on with my life. But it will never be the same.

    This is why marriage is serious business and it’s too bad it’s just an “industry.” Classes to enter into it should be mandatory!

    • We are at the same age and the same place. Start over? At square one? There’s not enough time in my life! I didn’t really know the last guy after 30 years, so why would I want to go down that road again?

      It really just goes to show you how superficial a cheater relationship is. Whether or not the ex is still having red hot sex with his bimbo (now wifey), I wouldn’t know. What I do know, from the looks of things is that between her and a 4 year old, he pretty much lives in an intellectual vacuum. That’s got to be some sort of slow drip torture for the other 23:45 hours and minutes of the day.

      • I’m 54 and am dating someone again. I actually really enjoy the relationship, but cherish being alone too. For the first time in my life I can think about what I want to do first, instead of always putting my needs last. I gave up so many of my dreams I forgot how to dream.

        Anyway, I want to encourage you not to completely give up on relationships. However, I have to admit that the thought of getting married again makes me hyperventilate. I NEVER want to allow someone else’s stupid and selfish decisions to derail my life again.

    • ML .. I am with you. I will be 63 in January and I spent 45 years of my life being a naive idiot with just the one person. Never again, I don’t have the time or energy to ever go through something so bad again. I am done and will live at my life out in peace and quiet. I never let myself down. The only time I did was when I married the ex. Here’s to all us mature girls and guys who would probably make wonderful spouses with the knowledge we now have but it is way too late for me now.

      • I am right there with you. Fifty-seven years old and if a man acts interested, I run as fast as I can in the other direction. I know, I know, I have allowed him to take something very important away from me, but I just can’t trust another person with what is left of my heart. Plus, I would always be wondering about ulterior motives, what was really going on. It just wouldn’t be fair to the other person. Believe me, I have a full, joyous life. I miss a certain closeness to another human being, but I have experienced deep (and what I thought was true) love and that will just have to be enough for me.

    • I hope to hell it will never be the same, as life with your cheater sucked. I think you are having a bad day, which happens to all of us. Work on your own life. I’m looking at turning 63 in a few weeks and I may or may not ever meet someone who can be the right partner for me. But there are many people in the world to love. There is a planet to save; there are people and animals who are alone or sick or in danger. There is a lot of work for a good heart like yours to do. Romantic love isn’t the only thing that matters. I got to Meh on Tuesday, I am still working on me, and I get further along the path of living my own life in peace and joy every day. And the fact that I am this far almost exactly a year after the cheater’s affair started owes a great deal to the wisdom, support, insight and humor provided by CL and all of you on this board. I am grateful. So forge on, Moving Liquid. You are mighty.

      • I have already decided that I will find a way to make my life fulfilling and purposeful. I volunteer. I take care of my elderly parents. And I hope to start my own business soon. My goal is to step up to be the matriarch of my family which is so desperate for leadership.

        When we first separated I felt shame at not having a partner and not being made love to. But over the last year I’ve realized it’s not only okay to take a breather from all that, it’s good for a person.

        I’m not going to pursue a man. I won’t be signing up on dating websites. If I ever have another romantic relationship he’s going to have to be a remarkable man. And he’ll be glad that I spent this time getting to know myself and getting my life on track.

      • One thing I read that helped me: If you can’t find someone to love you, find someone to love. There are many people in the world in need of love.

          • My son came home from college with a rescue hound/pit. He has been the best companion; it’s almost as if he knows I need loyalty. He waits at the door for me, makes me take him for walks, jumps in bed with me. I have never allowed a dog in my bed! If I believed in reincarnation, I would swear he has been human. He has softened my heart in ways I didn’t think were possible. Dogs are very healing animals.

            • Ditto plus. My dog sleeps under my desk at my office during the day. He goes nuts when I come in, even if I’ve been gone for 15 minutes. He bumps my arm about every hour during the day and puts his paws up to get “loves”. They are incredible therapy.

      • LovedaJackass, I simply love all of your posts as they really resonate with me. I will be 59 in October, and just passed the one year mark from dday. Last night I couldn’t sleep, not for the first time, but for the first time I actually felt that meh feeling deep inside, that a year out from discovering my 16 yr partner was a serial multiple cheater, and has hit me with legal papers demanding 90% of the equity in the house i paid 90% of the mortgage on, and is ensconced in a rich suburb with his new source now, that i really truly do not care about him one iota. i don’t pine for him anymore, and never ever want anything to do with him ever again.

        You always put it into words so eloquently and on point… i don’t need that. I don’t need to replace him with another man either. my kids, my law practice, my community, my family.. bigger and better things await. thanks again to you and chumplady and all the eloquent insightful friends here!! Margaret

    • Hi Moving Liquid.
      I am almost 50 so I get what you are saying. Not only am I not sure how to trust again but I’m not sure about all the work it takes to even start a new relationship. At the moment I’m sort of “why bother” about it all. But then I think that I am, in fact, a rather awesome human being and surely the narcissist who fooled me for so long doesn’t deserve to ruin all relationships for me forever. Right now I am not that far out from our separation – although I am a year out from being told “we just don’t have a future together.” – so I have lots of other things to focus on. Eventually I am guessing I will give it another try. I bet you are pretty awesome, too, and clearly you are mighty! So maybe don’t rule it out and if someone comes into your life and you feel a spark you will want to give it a chance.
      The sex thing is a big question mark for me – I was with the same man for 21 years so how am I going to have sex with someone else? He had no problem with it so perhaps he can give me some advice. 🙂

      • Hi, 50 here. Sorry if this is TMI, but it does hurt. In our (not very bad) marriage I gave him 4 seriously beautiful children.
        In the course of that I got some fairly severe birth damage. Natural childbirth is for the birds. Didn’t stop us from having a great sex life, a few positions being a pleasant memory…
        It kind of feels that a real man would honour me for my stretch marks and battle scars.
        Not him. He got the best sex of his life from his admiring (single and childless) much younger co worker.
        Who is ever going to love me? How can I show that mess to someone else? I can’t.
        He on the other hand, has everything in working order, the co worker is consigned to last job, and he waltzes off into the distance. It is what it is, but sometimes life just isn’t fair.

        • Pasty, I too was damaged from childbirth. There was really never much tenderness on my ex’s part anyway, but after childbirth, cancer, and a hysterectomy he got really frustrated. Most of the time I felt ashamed of my body’s changes and the pain I felt. After being with the same man for 32 years, I thought I was such a failure in that department I should just give up relationships after our divorce. Boy, was I surprised to discover there are people out there who have a light, sensitive touch and can make all the difference. Wow! All those years I believed I was just too damaged, but I’ve been amazed at how a skilled, gentle and caring partner can make things so enjoyable. So don’t give up!

          • Now that’s a powerful testimony that in losing a cheater, you gain things you never dreamed you would get back again. They are selfish in other ways; many of them are probably not as great as lovers as they pretend to be. And let us not forget that if we are open to partnerships in our own age range, those bodies aren’t perfect either. Cheating and the attendant blaming and shaming and devaluing robs many of us of our rightful confidence in our femininity or masculinity. That’s damage we can undo.

          • Patsy,
            Same here! I too was damaged during 3 childbirths. 1 emergency caesarean done by an assistant ob gyn, so not a straight line, 2 complete ruptures with a total of 56 stitches inside and outside (i now pee from 2 holes, really, not kidding), and my first child (died 1 week after birth), had a birth defect, preventing him from swallowing amniotic fluid, so I grew an enormous belly with al stretchmarks for prove. Must say, my xh (since yesterday, yay, one year after dday and him leaving), never made a real problem about that, so maybe that helped. But really, I am now involved with a friend (has been for some years), and lord, how self consious I was at first. But he is so caring and nothing scares him. He does not allow shame, he will only allow me respecting my self. He understands what bothers me, but as long as I am ok, he is ok as well. He is a jewel who has made me see that all people are ok. I am ok. There is nothing wrong with me and so he tells me. He likes me for me, and I am still good to look at at 45, started swimming, laughing every day and rediscovering my standard sense of humour. There are good men out there. And I did not plan for this at all. He likes me and wanted to be with me. Must say, as I read here a lot, I am still checking if my antennes are lined up right. Taking things realllly slow, enjoying my me-time and not sacrificing me again. Loving him slowly but Lord, I never knew sex could be so great. And if you don’t take a plunge, you’ll never find out what life has in store for you. But thats easy for me to say. I am just saying, there are good men.

      • Oh, and Lissa, I think you’re awesome and so many of us here at CL are awesome. I wish we lived closer so we could actually meet!

    • She told me “I am going to let you move on so you can find someone who can love you the way you need to be loved” and I am thinking “I don’t think I will ever be able to trust another woman again.”

      • As with all of us here on Chump Nation, Fred you chose badly, as did I. The damage to us all is staggering.

      • I hope it helps that you can see so many women on this board who want nothing more than to be faithful to someone who is faithful to us.

    • I’m in my mid 30s and would like to eventually be with someone else again, maybe even married, maybe even kids. But as I said in another post recently, I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I really think I have PTSD about this.

      I’ve been separated for a year and half, filed for divorce early this year. My lawyer said it was totally fine if I wanted to date, in fact she encouraged it (in my state once the divorce action is filed, the marriage is considered irretrievably broken and no fault attaches). I went out with a guy four times recently and I liked him. We spent a lot of time together but didn’t get too physical, which was fine with me. We were certainly not exclusive and had only known each other a couple of weeks. He fell asleep on the couch one night watching TV and his phone lit up with a text from a girl. It was nothing more than a hey how are you, but I felt hot and cold flashes and nauseous. And yes I know this was very wrong and an invasion of privacy, but I looked through his texts. There were several from girls although they were all very innocent, clearly just people he was getting to know (we met on a dating website). He obviously had not been out with them, and certainly not while we were together. And he owed me nothing; we barely knew each other, had not been physical, and had never had an exclusivity conversation. We were just getting to know each other; I was even still texting other people to get to know them, although I wasn’t dating anyone else.

      But my mind started reeling. I literally felt deja vu, like everything was happening all over again. I felt like this was a trap I was never going to get out of. I felt like I was going to be deceived and victimized for the rest of my life. I felt like I was going to die. I picked up my shoes and purse, told the guy that I needed to go, and bailed. I haven’t seen him since. I basically ended a fun relationship with a nice guy for absolutely no reason at all.

      I realize that this means I’m clearly not ready for dating, and will act accordingly…but I really felt that I had turned a corner recently and now I feel set back. I am at Meh about STBXH, successful NC and not thinking about him. But am I ever going to get to a point where someone’s phone doesn’t send me into a panic? Where I can accept that people can spend time apart without the other person being with a prostitute? Where I can think that someone is not living a double life and deceiving me about everything? I don’t know. D-day was January 2013, been moved out for almost a year…but I still can’t go on some casual dates?

      I’m not in a hurry for a relationship, but I would like to know that if I met somebody fantastic, I wouldn’t go into a panicky tailspin every time they got a phone call.

      • Let’s hope that most of that is due to the fact that, as you admit, you probably are not ready to date yet. When you are ready, take it very slow, and communicate a lot. If they don’t like that much communication, they are not for you.

      • DefyingGravity I am in my late 30’s and haven’t filed yet, but can see myself having similar issues. For 4+years I have become a super sleuth-checking cell phone records, sneaking peaks at his texts, looking for things in pockets. I hate it and don’t really know how much more evidence I need. I like to envision myself having a loving, trusting relationship in the future, but need to take the first step.

    • I agree Moving Liquid. I am 51 and the thought of being with someone else makes me ill. I am going to have to figure out a way to enjoy my own company.

      • I have felt both of those things. It isn’t hard to learn to enjoy your own company (though for some of us who like solitary pursuits it’s probably easier). For a long time, the thought of another relationship made me ill, too. But that has faded for me; it’s only been 9 months since D-Day but it’s been over a year since the gaslighting and the affair began. I’m still not ready to date, but I kinda have a crush on a man I know, though I have no intention of following up on it. I’m committed to not dating until I am truly content with life alone and can see myself staying that way long term. I want to break the pattern of “needing” a relationship to feel whole. It’s just nice to feel interested a bit in that aspect of life again and a crush is just as satisfying now as it was when I had an unrequited crush on a kid named Tom in the 8th grade.

    • MovingLiquid, unfortunately I think we can all relate to how you’re feeling! I have a huge, loving heart (as I’m sure you do!) but I think it’s going to be a long, long time before I will be able to share myself with a man again. Stbxh’s affair has changed me…I’m still upbeat, funny, smart and compassionate but I’m also feeling very, very skittish about baring my soul to another man in the way that I did to my ‘wayward’ husband. And yes, that leaves me feeling very sad : (

      • I’m with you folks. 58 here, married 35 yrs. I cannot fathom even the idea of another relationship – ever. He broke so much trust that I would rather jump the fence that go back to a man again. In fact, I’ve found older ladies to be very refreshing. They have wisdom, wit and a lot of experience. They also need help getting to doctors, having their homes cleaned a little and LOVE my company. I will stick with them going forward. They make me happy. Oh, and of course, my dogs.

      • Me too. 54 here and have 4 children in the home still, 5 altogether.. I cannot even begin to think of ”another man” I have been married twice and chumped twice. I really thought I had vetted #2. He presented himself as a very pious Catholic. From an intact family. Mom stayed home and raised the 4 kids,dad worked his way through college and got a great job and career. We dated for 2 years. I asked all the right questions. I just was still naive enough to believe him. MFPOS lied. I know, shocking right? It turned out his ENTIRE family is sick with this perversion. The whole bunch. Porn, incest, rape, sexual assault, child molestation. To say my picker is broken is the understatement of the year! I don’t see myself ever trusting again. I am so angry to find myself this position at 54. It SUCKS. And I am scared. Just what will I do? He took….no I GAVE 16 of my best years to this assclown. And now, I have to find a way to recover. Shit. And a relationship with a man does not appeal. It actually causes panic in me:'(

        • Me too, Irish, but we must keep our heads down. Work if we have work, volunteer in our community, be there for our families, continue to better ourselves through therapy. Best to put off thoughts of will I or won’t I end up with another man in my life for now — just put it aside to address later. Perhaps it’s hard for us all to imagine simply because we are not nearly ready.

        • I am 57 and find it difficult to imagine trusting someone enough to take my clothes off and sleep next to them; even harder to imagine finding someone I would want to do that with.
          I will report, however, that my (step)mother is 77, and next year she will celebrate her tenth anniversary with the man she met ten years after my father died. She never imagined she would be with anyone else and she was not looking. Built a life doing what she loved, and met him on a Sierra Club hike.
          I vacillate between hope and hurt. Not dating, not looking, not planning to look. Trying to resist despair.

          • There is better of chance of wanting to remarry if your relationship experience was a good one. The problem when you were with a cheater for so long, is that the relationship was an exercise in unrewarding long before D-day, because their selfish, self-absorbed nature was evident in every aspect of their lives.

            I’m 56, unattached, unavailable by choice, not looking, not thinking about it, not ever going to entertain the notion, and it isn’t because I’m carrying this baggage, have given up, or am letting him rob me of a happy life. My experience with relationships can be summed up as, “no thanks, I’ve had plenty.”

            With all my friends and co-workers being busy pitying me because “I don’t have anybody”….well, I actually feel bad for them. I don’t think they are as happy, feel as blessed or truly grateful as I do. I am content, and wake up every day with absolute peace of mind….I’m the lucky one. So, I didn’t get the grand poo-bah prize of a “partner”. So what. I still got my fair share of God’s grace.

            • Einstein, what is important is that you are satisfied with your life and no one else should bother to tell you what you should have in your life. Yes, it’d be nice to have that special someone into our twilight years, but you know what? We’re born alone and we die alone. All we can do in the middle is be kind and try to make the world a better place.

              • ML, that is exactly how I feel! I am okay being alone. I have a full life, working in a profession that brings me great meaning. I have people who love me, but I am in no way dependent on anyone to care for me. Being alone has its advantages. Sure, I sometimes get lonely and think about what could have been, but what’s the point in that? So I try to spend my time doing the things that are important to me. There are so many worthy people out there who could use a helping hand. Their problems make mine seem trite.

            • Ya know not to bash any male chump on here cuz God knows they are as hurt and damaged as we are, but my longtime (30+yrs) girlfriends have been the most loyal and trustworthy people I have ever had in my life. TRUTH.

          • Vacillating between hope and hurt — there’s a lot of that going on around here! But the fact that we can even hope speaks volumes about us, doesn’t it?

        • I too asked all the right questions, paid attention to what he said and what he did before a commitment. He fuckin lied, and he acted the lie for a long time. You know what tho? We aren’t young and super hot now so I think it’s unlikely we get that kind of manipulation again so long as we don’t marry and we don’t share finances

    • Yep, I’m 57 too. And broken. Once I realized the length of time of the affair (over a year?) I filed. What’s really getting to me is that this betrayal and whole life explosion is forever…. this is not going to go away or get fixed. In fact, as I’ve begun connecting the dots of my 35 year marriage (36th anniversary of my fake life is next week) I have realized, discovered, and learned from a couple of people about more other women along the way. So he’s a serial cheater, and I was a trusting chump. My entire history is not even true or real. HUH? My poor sons have lost all respect for their father and they don’t know the half of it.

      Right now, STBXH is living on our property in the guest house. I can’t seem to get untangled from his sticky web. I get the privilege of seeing if he is “home” or at “Smoopie’s” every morning when I feed our horses on that side of the ranch. It is another form of abuse to me and dragging on the healing process.

      Sometimes if he is not home, I go into the guest house and run his toothbrush around the disgusting ring in his toilet bowl… but I digress.

      He legally has to stay on the property to reserve our homestead exemption in case we have to file bankruptcy to avoid a legal judgement against him for 1.2 million dollars. Yep. Million. Nice. The gift that keeps on giving.

      That’s in addition to Another Ongoing Lawsuit regarding a business partnership, where I learned that he had made me Chief financial officer and secretary of the his corporation that manages the partnership. WTF? I am an artist, not a corporate financial professional!!! I am being sued right along with him for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, co-mingling funds, dare I go on? I was not involved in his business. Never knew about any of this, never signed a check, never signed any incorporation documents, still can’t get out of it. Because he made me an officer.

      This week our youngest son (18) just did a solo piano recital, his final performance after studying since kindergarten with his teacher. It was magical, except that Asshole was there. I was so stressed that he would be there that I almost didn’t go. Thank God for Xanex. He a sat a few rows behind me, so I didn’t have to see him until the reception. We didn’t even speak. Didn’t even make eye contact. This set me back big time. I knew it wouldn’t be healthy to see him. I’ve cried and gotten all sad and mopey again rather that feel mighty! (I have been doing my best at no contact, but legal issues, and upaid bills and late charges and…. HIS SHIT comes up constantly that has to be dealt with, but we text) How very sad that after spending my life with this man since I was 19 years old… we don’t even speak. Of course the LAST thing I wanted to do was to make small talk. So why did this make me so sad???? Confusing.

      I truly want a healthy relationship someday, but at 57 what’s even realistic? I have a lot of healing to do, am working with a therapist and a co-dependancy coach (huge eye-opener) I feel like my best years are behind me, I feel used up, and this legal stress and heartbreak haven’t done anything to help. I’m pudgy and not my usual stylish self. I can’t imagine being able to trust again.

      This SUCKS!!!! Wayward? I hope the Karma Bus is coming soon.

      • God, Chump Change, sometimes there are no words. You don’t deserve all that and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it. You are mighty now, but when this is over you will be one strong mother*cker!

        I didn’t have as much to lose as you, but I lost everything and had to declare bankruptcy. There’s something sort of nice about starting over with a very clean slate, one that only I will have control of from now on!

        I hope you get through this with as much of your finances as possible, but if you don’t, you have your kids and your health and that’s a great start.

        p.s. did you really do the toilet bowl / toothbrush thing? (high five!)

      • ChumpChange, I felt like you not too long ago. You are still grieving and entangled with the problems your ex caused you. For me, once I was free of having to deal with any more of the legal issues, I was able to move on with my life. I think you will feel enthusiastic about living life again, and a lot more hopeful as you get further down the road. Hang in there!

      • Oh my dear heavens, ChumpChange! So awful! Please be good to yourself and just take it one small managable chunk at a time. This is a hell of a lot to cope with while you are greiving. It does give me some perspective on my situation to learn about yours, so thank you for sharing. I’ve been struggling with the intense frustration of being stuck in the sticky web of financial entanglement, but certainly not to this extent.
        I recently had a bad setback when I finally got the asshole to get the last of his shit out of my (once our) house. I had previously allowed him to go in when I was out of town to get his stuff, but of course he did not get everything. I decided I was strong enough to sit there with my sister while he got the last of it. UG. It was extremely stressful and we got into several arguments and he wanted to leave stuff again. I did not back down, but I felt depressed and extremely angry again for a couple of weeks afterward. Face to face contact – though I also barely make eye contact – really sets me back. A little better now. We have a 5 year old so I am stuck with having to communicate regularly via text. I have been fairly successful at minimal contact and I have ignored many messages. He’s “sorry” now that he is suffering, but didn’t give a flying flip when I was begging him to tell me what was wrong. I hate that I cannot walk away and never speak to this asshole again. I am at 6.5 months from d-day and no where near meh.

      • ChumpChange, I believe I saw on one of the forums that you live in Big D. Please message me via my (infrequently updated) blog if you would like to connect. I would love to meet another member of Chump Nation in person.

        • Nope, I live near Santa Barbara. Maybe there is another chump with that name? I agree it would be wonderful to meet other chumps. I mean, who else really gets what we are going through?

      • If you are ever forced into making small conversation, please tell him that his teeth look whiter.

    • Ditto, ML. And that’a part of the that Mr. Ex, the Cheaterpants dickhead etc cannot fathom.

      I on the other hand cannot fathom how a ‘person’ could so blithely waltz into a new relationship fewer than 4 months after the partner whose life you crumpled and trampled had moved out… and when your own child is so clearly suffering.

      lalallalala isn’t he just *fabulous!*??

      I just did a quick look at my kid’s GPA for the years she was in college– the main year Mr. Fuckhead was doing the heavy damage, and wow does it show. Her score dipped to an all time low the semester after he dropped the D-bomb on me…and din’t even wait 2 weeks until she left the US to do it. It was all “meee me me me meeeee…”.

      urf. what an asshole. I had the distinct pleasure, yesterday, of ceremonially depositing both the suit & very nice shirt he was married in (to me) in my smelly old trash barrel. Some things are too nasty even for the Goodwill.

      • namedforvera, their selfishness is beyond our understanding and always will be.

        • My youngest’s grades tanked his Jr. Year of high school – when you need to have your GPA high to get into a good school. He is very smart, was taking 4 AP classes, when his grades dropped to d’s and even f’s midterm. He pulled them up enough not to fail anything, but is going to Jr college instead of the Ivy League his older brother attended.


          Of course asshole doesn’t make the connection… And is happy tuition is cheap,

    • my words are “if you cant trust your husband, who can you trust”

      i am 46. and HATE the fact that i am starting all over. i was over the bar scene 10 years ago. i hate the bar. i dont trust online dating sites. i never met single people in my job. i go to work and come home. so unless mr. fabulous falls from the sky at my feet, i am never going to met someone new. i hate the whole “getting to know” each other. i usually do not talk to strangers in real life. i am socially awkward with polite conversations, i really dont care “how you are doing” that is just a polite rhetorical question. i have spent the last 25 years talking to children and no clue how to actually talk to an adult who doesnt already know me. people cant handle my brutal honesty and get offended easily. i have no time for crybabies, no tolerance for victims, and no patience with weakness. i hate the words “I dont know” as explanations and “I cant” as reasons. i cant stand the awkwardness of “new” people. i believe in fixing everything, from broken toys, to houses to just about everything.

      i dont party, i dont drink, i love to dance but that usually requires going to the bar. i was ok with going to the bar with my (X)husband but honesty nothing is sadder then a 46 single women, bar hopping and shaking her ass. i used to make fun of people like that, and actually still do. some of those old bar flies are really pathetic. (and funny to watch). i cant stay up all night. i like to go to bed by 10.

      i live in a small town and after 24 years here, i still dont know anyone. most of the “men” that are single and available are losers and nobody wanted them in the first place. the good ones are taken, and married. i go to childrens soccer practice, childrens soccer games, children school things, childrens tac won do. childrens boys scouts. where everyone else who are there are married.

      i have already accepted that i will be forever alone and it sucks.

      • MrsVain, I’m a bit like that, too. Socially awkward, don’t like small talk. I just don’t abide boring people! I live in a bigger town than you do, but I also have no way to accidentally meet someone. I’m not ready yet, so that’s fine, but I am planning to take a continuing education class this Fall and I hope to meet some men and women my age. We moved so much, and I let my husband isolate me so that I don’t even have any female friends. I can’t figure out why they’re so hard to find!

        If you don’t want to be alone, don’t resign yourself to it. Can you foresee yourself moving someday to a bigger town, perhaps?

        • no, i dont see me moving. i have a pretty decent job and needing to get 20 years somewhere. i got 5 here so far. i can buy back previous years if i ever get ahead. i just applied for a promotion so fingers crossed.

          i hate being alone. i always have. i was the girl in high school that always had a boyfriend. i honestly NEVER thought i would be alone at my age. i was SooOOOooOOOoo happy i was married. especially when i see how crazy the dating scene is now. no way can i compete with the anorexic half nude tell all show all women out there. hell i couldnt even compete with a married hood rat that helped ruin my marriage.

          mainly there is no way i am ever going to met someone. like i said i mainly go to work and go home, practice, boy scouts and boys school. nothing exciting. (he told me i got boring) although i would go to the bar with my (x)husband when we were married, i have zero desire to do so now.

          plus, i actually have a really high standard or maybe i am just shallow. i like guys who are in shape (and not the round shape, haha) who look damn good in a pair of boxers. and are good looking. face it, at my age, all those kinds of guys are taken or druggies/losers. plus i need a handy, fix it, hard working, down and dirty kind of man, and those are all taken too.

          i am resigned to be alone only because that is the only option for me. i dont do the whole “i have a friend” thing either. i have to admit that right now, i dont think i could trust a man who has divorced his wife either. although i am divorced, i guess it would depend on WHY he divorced her. but that “we just didnt get along” shit doesnt work to well with me. or the “we just fell out of love” would have me running and not looking back.

          my XH was everything i ever wanted in a man. although he was a little bit too weak and spineless, it never bothered me because i NEVER thought some hood rat would use his weakness and spinelessness against me. because i thought he loved me. i was the best thing that ever happened to him, and because i gave him everything. we really had a good life. i used to tell him we have what everyone else is trying to find. a good home, a good family, good jobs, and a good marriage. yes, our marriage had issue (what marriage doesnt) but i chumply thought our issues where “normal” and we would “work it out”.

          i truly believe had it not been for my daughters death, and therefore my emotional unavailability for him triggering his abandonment issues (even thou there wasnt any on my part) we probably would have worked out those issues we were having.

          my biggest hurt is that he gave up. for that reason alone, i will never take him back. i dont want a man who will give up on and walk out on his family, his wife and his kids. try to find one at my age that hasnt is impossible.

          i am doomed to be alone. i will deal with it and i will survive. my kids make me happy and bring me joy. the only reason i get sad is i miss having someone to share it with. i miss my children having both parents, i miss turning to him at games and saying “did you see what our son did”. he has most of my memories, even of my deceased daughter. i miss being able to turn to him and say “do you remember that time” and sharing memories.

          i cant get that with someone “new”. i dont want to start all over. i am attracted to other men, but i have been squashing that feeling for so long because i was committed that i dont even know how to start. i get hit on by men and i just dont react. it is second nature for me. i didnt and still dont want anyone else. i wanted to grow old with my XH. sadly, i dont want my XH anymore either. so where does that leave me.

          i fill my days with my job and my children. somedays it feels empty. i am still adjusting to that emptiness. life sucks and then you die. and no matter what, life goes on until you die. i make the most out of my days. i do the right thing. i need to be good so i can get to heaven to see my daughter again.

          divorce is so sad. i know he is sad too, i know he feels guilty. and i know he will come around begging for forgiveness. i hope i am able to forgive him of all this pain he gave me. but i will never take him back and i never wanted anyone else.

          i hate it when people tell me i will find someone better. he was everything i wanted. with just a few faults. i could handle those faults (he was an alcoholic too) i did everything right. i never stopped trying. how can i give someone else anything after i gave it all to him and it wasnt enough? i also hate when someone says God will send you someone to love. i dont believe that. with all the evil, crime, cruelity, child abuse, animal abuse, drugs, etc in this world, God doesnt have time to mess with sending me someone. it would be selfish for me to ask. and like i said, i never wanted anyone else.

          i am ok with being alone. yes, i hate it. yes, i could find someone else. it is more then not being ready to date for me. i have zero desire to find someone.

          “If you cant trust your husband, who can you trust?” besides my daddy.

          • That hit me in the gut to hear about your daughter. I am so sorry for this loss and that you are having to deal with the double whammy of your husband’s cheating. I wouldn’t totally write off online dating. It can be a rough road at times, but I do know several happy couples that met that way in their 40s. I think sometimes people like yourself – not into the bar scene and more on the introspective side – use online dating. My friends had to deal with some schmucks and false starts, but eventually met nice men. You may not feel this way right now, but at 46, you are definitely not too old to start over. Warm wishes to you!

          • Oh i hope in time you will heal and be open to love again. I cannot imagine losing a child. Its just too much to bear.

            I understand the loss of a shared history. That is that is haunting me as well. God bless.

    • 62. And 2+ years since I left the cheating bastard. 15 years with him. Nearly 20 with the first one. There won’t be another one. I’m fine with that. There really isn’t time or space in my life for another relationship. With work and the things I do for me, there’s hardly enough time for my own family already; what on earth would I do with all that other malarkey?

    • Don’t you guys miss sex? I’m 55 and I’ve hardly had sex in the past 3 years. He was too busy with strippers and escorts. Our one false reconciliation complete with some lovely hysterical bonding sex lasted about a month. Now I’m left wondering if I’ll ever find a sex partner again much less a life partner…

      “Do you solemnly swear not to have sex with anyone else for the next 6 hours?”

      • YES! I have thought about ways to fill that need, but they seem so exploitive. And I’m not willing to commit to a serious relationship, so I have just learned to turn that energy elsewhere. It sucks…

    • I agree. Right now, I don’t see how I’d let anyone have any kind of power over me again. He stole a decade of my life. I’m now going to protect it as best I can.

      On the age thing though….my grandmother started dating again in her 70’s after her second husband died. She’s now 92 and she recently lost her second partner since then. That’s at least 4 men she’s lost that I know of. I’m not sure how she deals with it, but she does give me some hope!

      It’s never too late, if it’s what you want. 🙂

  • Aside from the 15 minutes of red-hot sex? Snort! Rock on with your snarky self, Chumpalicious!

  • “Wayward” is a dangerous word for chumps. It’s defined, generally, as “turning away from what is right or proper” but also “difficult to control or predict because of unusual or perverse behavior.” Now we can of course see that cheaters have indeed “turned away from what is right or proper,” in a marriage. And we can certainly grant their “unusual [and] perverse behavior.” But if we are aware of the cheating and any character disorder, they are, as we note every day here, sadly predictable given insight into their particular perversity.

    Where “wayward” is dangerous for chumps is the word’s implication that the person described should be under some control. The notion of “right” and “proper” points to social control, but for many of us who have been betrayed, “control” is about getting the cheater back into the relationship as a trustoworthy, loving, predictable partner. So there are all of those prescriptions for getting the cheater back (the 180, going “no contact” to make the cheater miss his old life, timelines for waiting for the fog to dissipate, etc.). But the truth is, and we all have lived it, the “control” that keeps a person faithful in a marriage comes from within: the individual married person’s integrity, fidelity, and capacity for empathy and love. No one else–not the spouse, a minister or priest, the parents, the children, friends–can provide those strengths of character if they are “broken.” Because if something is broken, it’s the character of the cheater.

    All of this delusional thinking goes back to the notion of marriage as more important than the people in it and the allied notion that so long as people live in the same house, it’s a “marriage,” even if one party has to police the other or even if one party continues to gaslight, betray, and deny. Marriage is a contract, whether civil or religious. No marriage contract I know of says we are married even though our spouse has indeed forsaken us emotionally, sexually, financially and often physically for an affair partner. Imagine the marriage vows that say “till death do you part, even if your spouse is having sex in your marital be with your cousin Ralph.” Cheaters are not “wayward”; that’s a term to describe a deviation from some imposed order the wayward is supposed to adhere to. A student can be wayward; a sinner can be wayward; perhaps a child can be wayward. Cheaters are deviating from the vows they made to an equal partner.

    The “wayward” notion plays into the cheater’s favorite dynamic. The cheater says “you aren’t the boss of me.” The betrayed partner who sees a “wayward” spouse says, “You are out of control. Get back here.” All that thinking does is perpetuate the delicious dynamic that some narcissist cheater thrive on–knowing that they have put their partner in a subordinate position and that the partner will continue to beg, plead, and bargain to get the supposed wayward under control, thus providing an occasion for “You aren’t the boss of me.” There isn’t much difference between this scenario and a power struggle between a parent and a rebellious 14 year-old, which is the classic no-win situation.

  • Euphemisms are the refuge of the disordered-my ex was ‘wayward’ in the same manner that terrorists are ‘enthusiastic’-it is just image management, and would be funny if it didn’t result is PTSD, self-harm and suicide notes.

    What matters is how it turns out-Mr Fab has kept the Downgrade, but lost a daughter-who has moved a continent away. The latter hardly registers with him, but I can hear the karma bus revving up! Downgrade will skedaddle once the party money runs out-he is already making noises about selling a property he promised to keep for DD’s benefit. Schmoopies are expensive!

    Carry on My Wayward Son, LOL.

    Have a fantastic weekend, Chumps, love to all.

    • “in the same way terrorists are enthusiastic”
      Oh my god, you just made me laugh so hard! That’s freaking hilarious. Thanks for that.

  • Chumpalicious…you mean to say your 57 year old XH has a 4 year old?
    DO you know how many old boys I meet whose second marriages have blown up that now have ‘youngins’ ?? Who I just *laugh* at? (under my breath of course) and move on faster than the speed of light. He’ll be around 80 by the time the kid is out of college. Good luck with that one.
    There’s no fool like an old fool.

    • 58! 🙂 He is a year older than me.

      Not only that, but thanks to the Bimbo, he has zero experience in raising teenagers. Yeah, as they say, Good Luck with that, grandpa!

      • Next time I see some old dude out with a younger paramour, I swear to God, I’m going to exclaim very sweetly, “Are you having a good day with your grandpa?”

        There’s no fool like an old fool, indeed.

        • Oh wow we should all make the pact to do that. X ran off with his pregnant 22 year old and now, at 51 has a 1 year old son. At 44 even I am old enough to be that kids grandma!!!! Actually we should say it to the young chickys too. “So nice to see a daughter looking after her dear old dad, what a cute grandson!” 😉

      • Yeah and if he divorces here, years and years of child support. I can smell the diesel of the Karma bus from here….

        • She just quit her job in order to spend more time with the kid. Full ride meal ticket now! He’s going to be paying one way or another.

          What’s that smell?

  • P.S. I wonder what happened to Rumblekitty. Haven’t seen her post here in a long time and I miss her. Rumblekitty where are you???

    • I wrote and asked. 🙂 Hey, some readers come and go, and it’s nothing personal. But it’s good to be missed, so I just said Howdy and asked after her for you.

    • Yeah, I miss her a lot. And MichaelD too. Whatever they are doing, I know they are being their mighty selves.

      • I’ve been afraid to ask after Dutch Chump. I don’t believe we have heard from her since MH17 was shot out of the sky. I’m hoping that has no relationship to her not being around.

        • How sweet to think of me! Just busy though. Been on summer holidays, now in the single working mum back-to-school rush.

          And having serious issues with how the world sees cheaters… They are all more than just polite to him. Yesterday he struck up a friendly chat with my neighbor (while the children were desperately waiting for him in the doorway – hadn’t seen him in weeks). Friends like his escapades with OW on Facebook. I minimize contact with him, but dropping all friends and acquaintances looks like the only way to eliminate this bitter feeling.

          I’m trying to get over him, but the easy acceptance hurts, sort of minimizes my hurt. 🙁

          • Whew. So glad you are well! except for the cheater. I’m sure the neighbor was just being polite. The FB friends should be dropped, however. Stinkers.

            • People are waaaaay to polite… That’s how cunning cheaters get away with so much.

      • Yes I’ve been wondering about Michael D too!

        And thanks CL for checking on Rumblekitty. I really would like to keep in touch with her. She was going to work on fixing up her trailer and taking a road trip out to see me next summer. If you can put her in touch with me. Thanks so much!~

  • I have to say that I dislike the term “cheater” just as much as I hate “wayward”. A cheater is someone who slips himself an extra $500 in Monopoly money or moves the top hat when no one is looking. Cheating is immoral, but benign.

    Exposing your partner to AIDS thru unprotected sex, or destroying your family for the sake of a quick fuck in the parking lot, or wrecking a 25 year marriage for the sake of some ego kibble is far more sinister than “cheating.” It’s more like murder or terrorism. We need a word with more teeth.

    • I agree completely. My life has been destroyed over what my ex has done and people excuse this kind of behavior. Ugh.

      • Fickle…that’s the term I heard from a woman he hooked up with after our divorce over 20 years ago. (I think he and this woman had an EA while we were married) The narrative in our relationship was that he never got over me. 4 years ago we re-united again and in my heart of hearts he was NOT a cheater, ever. We were much older. Me 50 and him 59 when we re-united. Two months ago I found out he was a cheater which rocked my world. We were going to spend the rest of our years growing old together. The last time I saw him was when I went to pick up the last of my belongings. He put a stick on on his jeep that says “Does not play well with others”. He’s so very proud of that. Fickle, wayward…how about total A-hole or stupid A-hole.

    • So true. If our cheaters behaved this way with business partners, they’d have legal ramifications! It is more akin to familial terrorism.

      • My cheater (and because of him, me) has legal ramifications for his behavior…

    • sexual terrorist
      marital suicide bomber
      relationship black death
      adultery plague

    • I’ve come to dislike the term “Affair Partner” Or event the simple word “Affair” That to me sounds to soft and doesn’t totally represent the evil horrible reality of it. In most cases we chumps were married and spent a very long time with our shitheads. So Affairs should be called what they truly are, Adultery. Instead of “My x-wife had an affair, it should be My x-wife committed Adultery. And instead of My x-wifes Affair Partner moved in with her. I prefer to use “Her Adultery Partner moved in with her”. Gives it more teeth.

  • My XH called his 8-month affair with a 25-year old (he is 45) the time he “lost his way,” and, if I really loved him, I would have stood by him. The fact that I left him proves his point–that I never really loved him. He also calls his affair the time he went “psychotic.”

    • Guess the 25-year-old must have had a short shelf-life for him to trying to hoover/guilt you back in, huh?

      • I think she was looking for a sugar daddy who could help her settle into a new city and buy her expensive gifts. XH stupidly thought she was interested in him for his good looks and charm. I think she dropped him once she realized it was getting sort of messy, with all her friends knowing about the affair, my filing for divorce, XH now having the kids every weekend and having to pay me child support and alimony.

        • And no mention from him about how this affair hurt you?

          Of course not. You’re just supposed to stand by him. Never mind that you are a human being who can’t admire a psychotic male who’s lost his way and been dumped. You’re supposed to love him for who he is, just like she did (bahahah!)

  • Wayward is a word that implies (and I’m paraphrasing the move “The Last Boyscout”).

    Bruce Willis “What do you mean it just happened? Did you slip on a bar of soap and accidentally stick your dick in my wife?”

    It implies an accident, lack of judgement… Not the horrific lie and deception you are imposing on others.

    Call it what it is. Lying, manipulating and cruel.

    • The literal meaning of “wayward” is “Willfully disobedient, difficult, perverse or unsteady”.

      It’s an antiquated word derived from the Middle-English word “awayward” (1300-1400 AD) which was used to describe a “ward” who ran away out of disobedience.

      Generally, when somebody uses an antiquated word to describe something, there’s a good chance that description is purposefully deceptive.

      Specifically, in this particular case “wayward” IS a kind euphemism for deceitful, manipulative behavior that reveals a lack of compassion and empathy for intimate partners.

      • LOL: Using the antiquated term “Wayward” is “Mollycoddling” . 🙂 😉

  • I know this is un related to the article CL just wrote. But, I just found out that my ex’s (cheater of 21 years) Mom’s kidney’s might be failing and it doesn’t look good for her because of all the other health issues she has. What is my obligation as an ex daughter in law? I may have some influence on her to get her better possibly. There are some things she can do to improve her condition. Upset and confused. Please help me figure this out. Thanks

    • Maria, it depends on the family circumstances. I tried to help out my addled mother-in-law while I was still married and only pissed off my sisters-in-law who had territorial attitudes toward their mother and didn’t like the implication they didn’t know what they were doing. A lot of FOO issues came to the fore in that family about that time, along with karmic paybacks of all sorts. I got a lot of flak and caught in the crossfire. I regret it to this day.

      Your mileage may vary, of course, but watch out.

    • You have ZERO obligation to MIL as the ex-wife. However, you may still have a good relationship with your xMIL, and you may want to help her as a friend, completely separate from your past relationship with xH.

      In my case, I do not have anything to do with xH’s family. I am very unhappy with the way I was treated by xMIL after the affair was revealed. If she were ever desperate, I would help to get her out of harm’s way, and that’s about it. We are not friends any longer. She has a daughter, a son, a son-in-law, and a new daughter-in-law. My children still see her from time to time, as well. But she and I no longer have a relationship, as apparently it was disposable, and she believed every horrible thing xH ever told her about me, apparently. Eh! Serious FOO issues. Pretty sad–his mom really did try hard to keep the family going, and she is a chump as well. Maybe some day I’ll pick up the phone, but for now I can’t imagine why.

    • You have no obligation, if you care about her reach out, otherwise let it go

    • My ex-husband (not the cheater) had a crisis with a family member and I just sent a short email saying I was sorry to hear about the problem and attaching several articles that I thought might be helpful. You don’t have any obligation, but it is a kind thing to reach out if you can do so without stirring up a hornet’s nest. That would be the question I would ask.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post, CL. When I first discovered my ex’s infidelity, I was directed to a site which used this sort of fuzzy language. Something about it didn’t smell right to me, and I stopped visiting the site, thinking there was something wrong (or should I say “broken”?) about me. Now I get it–my moral compass was pointing me far, far away from this relativistic stench.

    So glad I found this place!

  • Yep.
    Hate it !

    The only thing I hate more is ” former wayward ”

    You can’t take that shit back !

    Adultery is a life sentence, even for the victims!

    An eternal sentence if they don’t have a plan of salvation. (Doubtful since they don’t think they did anything wrong.)

      • Hmm, I wonder how many “former waywards” truly are. Once a cheater always a cheater?

        • I know there are former waywards. Sad to say in my youth I was one which is why I ended the marriage. I didn’t shove it in his face. I felt horrible guilt. Infidelity was rampant in my family. I had an “Aunt” who was my grandfather’s “girlfriend”..never gave it a thought until I met her husband at a New Years Eve party in the 8th grade. The man introduced himself as her husband and said my grandpa was one damn fine man. I chose to get help, change my life, I never wanted to hurt or betray anyone else again..especially MYSELF. Damn the irony, right?

  • I can only speculate here because I’m too new to this “club” to be in a great position for a new relationship. To the extent I think about it, the idea of trying to forge a new relationship is scary and daunting.

    But I think there are some offsetting factors. For those of us who are (mature? is that the best word?) it seems like the chances are pretty good that whoever we might consider a new relationship with is there in part because they have also experienced a bad loss at some point. Assuming we’re capable of weeding out narcs and assorted cheater types, hopefully we’re seeing someone who has a shared experience and some empathy. I sure would welcome talking with someone of the opposite sex who is either in a somewhat similar situation or someone who has been there and could share their story. How to build a possible friendship and share something of value even if nothing romantic came of it.

    Someone here posted a list of things they would hope for in a life partner (Miss Sunshine, I think?) It was very on target to me. It wasn’t: “Hottie. Makes me laugh all the time. Successful. Party person. Great dancer. Nice Beemer. Goes to all the right places.”

    Rather, there were items like: “Someone who values you. Who misses you when you’re gone. Who cheers for you.” I had that with my wife, once. I miss it, for sure. But for me, and hopefully for all of us, these are things to aspire to going forward. I do know if and when I venture into the brave new world of dating, I (1) will have a better sense for substance over style and for people who might come to feel that way about me (and me about them); and (2) know that I am comfortable enough in my own life to go it alone if I have to.

    • I agree, Chumpguy. While my BF wasn’t cheated on (I know his ex, I’m pretty sure he was but he doesn’t seem to think so but ANYWAY) he did have a bad marriage to a narc and still has challenges co-parenting with her (sound familiar everyone?) The few guys I went on first dates with before him, couldn’t relate to being stuck with all the childcare and all the responsibilites, but he could. I feel like we better understand each other because of the things we went through in the past that are very similar.

      • I know nice, decent, faithful guys, who have been cheated on, then eventually re-partnered and are happy, content, and live fully. They are some of my in-laws, friends, my brother, and neighbours. They are PROOF it can happen!

        When I am ready to date, I hope to be able to identify the character disordered and/or addicted and eventually find a good one. Now where, that IS the question…I am not convinced on-line dating is the answer based on what I’ve seen there.

  • Looking back over this, I do realize you don’t go out on a first date and dump your tale of woe on someone! I guess I was trying to say that most guys and gals out there who aren’t “playahs”, probably have some shared experience, something in common, and hopefully are beyond the stage of “If sparks aren’t flying all over the place at your first meeting, ditch em and move on!” People who have been around long enough to realize that surface impressions may not be always spot on and that indeed, still waters can sometimes run deep.

    • Yes, I am normally an upfront person. If a person asks something, I answer honestly. But my life has been so complicated these last several years that if a man asked too much I’d have to say, “I want to answer you, but I’m not ready to. Can you ask me again in a month?”

      No sense in scaring him off on the first date.

      This is all assuming, of course, that I’ll ever have a first date. I don’t mean to make your situation out to be easier than anybody else’s but single mature women really do vastly outnumber single mature males, so at least you’ll have more to choose from when you’re ready!

      • Good answer.

        I have heard the male/female numbers also, but still…sad to hear so many here seem to have basically given up. Believe me, I’m not judging anyone and certainly am in no position to do so. But the strength, perception and toughness I’ve seen on this site in a couple of months is pretty humbling. There is an incredible amount to offer from people here. I’m old fashioned enough to think there are people “out there” who share values with the people here.

        At this point I’m trying to make a conscious effort to be happy and productive while at the same time being totally prepared to spend the rest of my life without a partner. I have the incredible fortune of having an incredible son and many other blessings. I’m sure there will be lonely times. And I’m pretty skeptical about the prospects of finding another person to love. But I’m also trying to keep an open mind. I think that is all I can do right now. A step at a time.

        • Chumpguy, “The strength, perception and toughness” on this site is indeed inspiring. I am moved every day by the eloquent men and women who come here to share and support one another and I thank Tracy for providing us with this place.

          I’m pretty skeptical about finding another person to love, too. I feel that I may be pickier than I’ve ever been before. That said, if I had a “boyfriend” who was committed to me, I could handle living separately.

          In a way I’m glad I’m not ready now. It’s nice taking a break from that. I’ve been married to one man or another since I was 18, and I have found that I actually love my independence.

    • Chump Guy…I’ve been on the dating sites for awhile and you’d be surprised. It seems every 60 year old guy is super fit and climbs mountains and hand glides on his days off and is looking for a ‘toned and trim’ super fit financially secure triathlete to hang out with. And if sparks don’t rocket ship off the table on the first date there won’t be a second.
      P.S. I’m not a troll. I’m an average shaped very attractive financially secure funny fun woman and you’d think I had two heads.

  • I got a good one this morning ~” I am to blame for my blunders, but I want to move forward with you” To me a blunder would be oops I forgot to pick up the drycleaning…to him a blunder is multiple emails for sex on craigslist, 1 admitted craigslist b.j., 1 discovered emotional affair, another affair where they “just kissed” and recently a secret google voice phone with 600 calls to his “just kissed” friend. Why am I the one who is feeling guilty about pulling the plug after 5 years of this. I need some courage to just go ahead and do this already. I feel like I am being pulled back into this craziness and thinking about my kids and him instead if myself.

    • It’s time to think of yourself, TimeToGo. You deserve more than that. There is life after a cheater — I promise. Do you have a good therapist? That’s the first thing I’d recommend. Plus coming often to this site.

    • TimetoGo, you are feeling guilty because you’re being manipulated. You are a sensitive, loyal and caring person who probably still feels love for the person you thought your husband was. You can’t fix him by staying because the problem originates with him and not with you. It’s time for you to protect yourself from the pain he’s causing. You need to put yourself first in your life so you can heal. You need to love and care for yourself because he doesn’t.

    • TimeToGo, I was so torn about leaving, staying, and felt incredibly guilty all the time. A friend gave me a way to think about it that helped me, and I’d like to share.

      So, think of all the different aspects of your personality, heart, mind and soul as people at a town meeting. You have the pieces of you that are loving, angry, guilty, sad, conflicted, missing him, protective of your kids, etc. The pieces of you that feel sad, guilty, and still love him are things that make you good, and human, and empathetic. They are not weaknesses, they are just different pieces with a different part to play in making up who you are.

      So these “people” at the town meeting are faced with a difficult situation here. They have to take a vote on what to do in your situation. And you have all the evidence to present to them and put before them; evidence of the affairs, the craigslist, the emotional affairs, the kissed “friends”. The lies, the deceit, the broken promises, and all the reasons to leave. And there is probably some evidence to stay with him, too: your past good times together, etc. (even though you know now that was all false).

      So put the evidence before the people for a vote. Since you’re here, and based on what you’ve written, I bet the people vote for you to protect yourself, end your marriage and move on. And this is the important part: the vote’s not going to be unanimous, and that’s OK!!! You need to acknowledge the dissenters. You need to hear them, acknowledge they’re there, and that they represent valid, good, decent pieces of you as a human being.

      And then say to them, “But this time you’re outvoted.”

      Whenever I feel the dissenters acting up, I visualize the town meeting. And the empathetic, guilty, sad, lonely “people” who wish that I was still with STBXH. And I gently and firmly say to them, “This time you’re outvoted.” I literally say it out loud. It helps me to acknowledge it and put it in a rational construct.

      In some circumstances, those pieces of you are going to be on the winning side of the vote. But this time, they’re outvoted.

      • Beautifully said, Defying Gravity. I will remember that.

        Also, when TimeToGo thinks about staying for the children’s sake, she needs to remember what she’s teaching them about marriage and loyalty and self respect if she stays in a relationship that will never change.

        You and I know that her situation is not going to change. She either makes the decision to cut her losses now or later — without a doubt doing it sooner is better in my mind. A day will come when he dumps her — she’ll be in her fifties by then. And boy will she wish she had left him 20 years before.

        Now or later — nobody wins in infidelity.

        • Thank you for your comments. Reading many of the comments from woman in their 50’s and 60’s makes me realize that I don’t want to wait until then. That is what scares me…wasting my precious time being unhappy with him. I am 38 now with 2 elementary aged children. I don’t necessarily want to remarry anytime soon, but I do want to give love and get it back. I feel he is unstable…threatening suicide. Drama.

          • Dear ‘Time’,

            “Move away from the drama and no one gets hurt!”
            You & your little ones do not need drama! (unless you are Thespians…..)
            There are so many ways to give and receive love! Romantic / sexual / married love is only one of them.
            It is of interest that the Holy Scriptures use the original Greek words for three types of love, but not once is the Greek word for romantic / sexual love (eros sp?) ever used. Now, that does not mean that sort of love is not important; our Creator designed our bodies and emotions to crave such love. What it does mean, is that to have a full, satisfying, meaningful, productive life, all the other types of love must come first.
            For instance, even within marriage, it is actually more important to have a love based on things other than sexual attraction. All us chumps know that first hand!!

            So, please move away from the drama! It amazes me how many guys are serious ‘Drama Queens”! My STBXH ranks right up there! Unstable?! Oh, Yeah! Know that one, too…….Please, continue to hear the wisdom of the Nation and live up to your user name: “Time To Go”!!!!!

            Forge on, all you wise ones!!

          • I’m glad you’re seeing the challenges we older women face in this situation, TimeToGo — don’t forget it as you make your decisions. I wasn’t married to a serial cheater, thank goodness, but many of the men and women here were, and they gave their cheaters countless opportunities to make things right and in the end the cheater rran off anyway. Those are years they can never get back. Cheaters are very predictable, TimeToGo. You are young and have great happiness awaiting you!

          • Timetogo, threatening suicide and laying that on you as the reason is a big red flag of an abuser. It really is time to go. You be careful how you go, after the suicide threats didn’t work on me my ex escalated. Get an appt with a therapist at our local women’s shelter, it’s usually free. I’m not kidding, be careful.

          • Hi TimeToGo,

            If he is threatening suicide, then tell someone else immediately. You’ve enough on your plate dealing with this betrayal without the added stress of having to worry about him attempting suicide. When my ex road crash threatened suicide I texted his sister straight away ( as I recall – she wasn’t too happy, as she was in Tescos and could have done without the drama – but hey! I was personally in the 7th circle of hell at the time, and could have done without the added drama myself)! To be brutal – wouldn’t it have been better if he’d have felt suicidal about what he was letting himself do when he signed up to Craigslist? Even taking his narrative at face value (and come on, they never fess up to everything – ever! – just what they think they can get away with) – he’d betrayed you the very second he indulged his fantasy of pursuing strange pussy by joining Craigslist, whatsmore he’s taken it further with the ‘kissing’, TimeToGo, even if you are one of those very rare people who’ve heard the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – the man intended to have sex with someone else, either you caught him at a time where he felt confident he could hide the full on sex with someone else from you, or you caught him just before he’d worked himself up to it. Whatever, it’s all a betrayal. If you can’t think of anyone else who could give a shit whether he is threatening suicide, then call the police. Threatening suicide is also a form of control and emotional abuse too, protect yourself, and I guess him too, in the long run.

            Best regards,


            • I did reach out to his best friend and have told my therapist about the threats. She agrees it is a form of manipulation, but as someone who doesn’t have much family and has abandonment issues already (father who abandoned him) I do think he is desperate. Does worry me and he is not giving up on trying to convince me to stay.

              • TimeToGo,

                Glad to hear you told his friend and your therapist. Sounds like you’re doing the right things’ Good one!

                I hope your therapist is helping you to stay strong in the face of his despair. Of course he’s despairing, but don’t lose sight of reality (which it sounds like you haven’t actually) – he was the one who abandoned you. You just didn’t know it at the time and he’s kidding himself that because it was secret it wasn’t really abandonment. Sometimes we all have to face the consequences and, if his decision to risk all was some convoluted plot to force you to abandon him (if you can understand what I mean by that) then I’m afraid he has to accept he made a losing bet! That’s his bad, not yours. He wasn’t forced to take the risk he took – he did so because he thought he could get away with it / or, he thought he’d do it to ‘test’ whether you would ‘abandon’ him if he behaved like a complete bastard to you, – well, he got his answer, didn’t he? I know it hurts to see someone we love being hurt and, if you are a dyed in the wool chump, you’ll be tempted to do all you can to stop him hurting (i.e. back away from the betrayal confrontation / consequence thing) but do you want a life where he will hurt you hideously from time to time, either because he wants to do whatever he likes regardless of the cost to you, or he periodically does something diabolical to ‘test’ your commitment to him?

                I wish you peace and love


              • Jayne makes a very good point.

                Perhaps he really is “suicidal”, but my guess is that he’s trying whatever manipulation tactic he thinks will get him the outcome he wants. Mine certainly did. Aside from the emotional trauma I experienced at his callous had, he had ME worrying about HIS welfare.

                Looking back, I can plainly see his threats for what they were — manipulation. I can plainly see that my welfare was NEVER a concern, consideration or second thought. Whatever worked…..anything, anything at all…..there was no bar too low. The real kicker is that they don’t sink to that level out of genuine regard for the relationship, they simply don’t like to lose.

          • Time to go, get out now. Your story sounds exactly like mine almost word for word. But I stayed for nine more years cause he was so sad, depressed, whatever and he said he was sorry. “I should have believed him when he showed me who he was the first time”. Think of the commitment it takes to love bomb somebody with 600 calls or in my case 600 emails in 20 days to his coworker “friend”. If he commited to the marriage like that, then there would be something to save. You’re on a sinking ship go to the nearest life boat, get in and don’t look back. There’s nothing to save there anymore by his CHOICE. It sucks but protect yourself and your children from the future hurt he WILL bring to you.

    • TimeToGo, if there are 600 calls, I am betting there is more than just kissing going on.

      I’d go back and read CL’s piece on Genuine Naugahyde Remorse. He’s still lying. Has he come clean about everything? The chances of a guy whose had multiple affairs changing? Check your backyard for a unicorn. You feel guilty because he is shifting the blame to you. Because he knows you tend to not look after your own needs. Because you are not no contact and he can “hoover” you back even though nothing has changed. Hope this helps. Stay strong. If he is really sorry for his “blunders,” which is a word that clearly minimizes his cheating, as if craigslist and 600 phone call was like making a turn at the wrong light, he can let you go ahead with a separation or divorce and get himself under control.

    • Girl, it’s time to go.

      The image I have in my head of your husband, of a man getting a BJ from a stranger, and the effort it took him to get to that place, is very enlightening. To me, it’s very clear that he is highly disordered, and not capable of knowing or delivering what real love is.

      If he was capable of real love, he’d be horrified at the thought of being sexually (kissing, even!) a stranger, or even a friend, because he’s committed to you, engaged in being your best friend, busy building your life together, making plans, thinking of your past and future together.

      And then when he’s caught and he’s faced with losing all the perks that come with living with you? He threatens you. How dare you have needs? How dare you expect that he think of you and your kids when he’s alone? As Tracy points out–you are of USE to him! And so you must stay, and he will use every tactic he can think of to get you to stay. And your own mind will play tricks, too, to convince you that what you have is love and togetherness. But when you open your eyes and see the truth instead of the fantasy in your dreams, you realize that he acts alone–he’s a loner, one who keeps secrets and one who doesn’t think of you, let alone love you, as he’s posting on Craig’s List. He’s seeing how much he can get away with. How is he caring for you when he’s driving to meet some stranger or “friend” for intimacy (BJ’s and “kissing”?) How much does he love you when he’s buying a secret phone? This is a man who is so broken that lying is nothing to him. Exposing his WIFE–the mother of his children–to STDs is nothing. Stealing precious moments from his family? Nothing. You’re merely useful or an inconvenience. That’s not love. Don’t be fooled by his tears! These threats of suicide are nothing more than further evidence of his completely self-absorbed, selfish, character. There’s nothing loving about threats like that!

      What is it about this man that you admire and respect? It can’t be much. I know from experience in my own marriage and from stories here–this clandestine behavior is not the only way he shows great disrespect and disregard for you and your children. What else does he do that is hurtful and disappointing? What are the red flags you’re ignoring? For some of us, there were giant, flapping crimson banners slapping us in the face–and it was the abandonment, both physical and emotional, that finally opened our eyes. That was the final straw, the one last line that had been crossed. Think about that. Your (hopefully) stbx didn’t make a mistake. ALL of his behavior was premeditated and deliberate. You have all the evidence you need to realize this is not the life you want to live–and this IS the life you will live.

      Life is giving you a second chance!! The door is open now. Time to go. Do the right thing–you will NOT regret it. You WILL regret staying with him. I GUARANTEE IT.

      We all wish we had that one person in our lives who could know us and tell us exactly what to do. Well, you have been given a unique gift–you found us here. And we are all yelling to you, “RUN!! RUN WHILE YOU CAN! GET OUT NOW!!” LISTEN to us. We KNOW what we are talking about.

      This is going to be hard. But not nearly as hard as doing it 10 or 20 years from now, which is exactly what will happen if you stay. You’ll have 10 or 20 bad years, you’ll be 10 or 20 years older, with fewer options and more regrets.

      It’s time to go, my dear.

      As has been quoted here, from Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

      Here’re more of her quotes. She’s awesome.

    • The last inept apology I got said, I’m sorry for the FEW things I did to hurt you. You know…..the really insignificant mishaps that only occurred once or twice anyway. The implication was that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. No dude, you made a molehill out of a mountain.

  • The other word I loathe is “affair.” It wasn’t a freaking cocktail party, it was a sneaky, disrespectful encounter with someone who served as no more than a a vacuous talking hole.

    Even “cheating” connotes something everyone does at least once in their lifetime. You cheat on your diet, you cheat on your taxes, yada yada yada. Like a white lie, or a fib.

    Cheating the way we live it is spousal abuse, plain and simple.

    • God yes! Affair sounds so…….swanky, exciting, stylish. They were licking and fucking wherever they could manage. SO stylish. (Puke.) Much of the language is window dressing for public consumption. And it waters down our pain. Not one “real life” person I know has any inkling of my long term agony over this. Why would they? Pain is ugly and they’d rather not look.

    • Yeah – Chutes. My H ‘strayed’. HaHaHa – for 2-1/2 yrs, the poor soul was just lost in stray land.

  • I, for one, want my Wayward to stay very lost in the fog until he signs the settlement and I am happily ensconced in a home away from him.

    The last thing I want is for him to wake up, smell the coffee, read the road map, and discover that the green and pleasant land in which he was wandering turned out to be a mirage.

  • My cheater-for-4-years-with-a-stripper husband told my 20yo daughter that he “strayed.” What was he…a cat that wandered into a neighbors yard?? Ya strayed. What an idiot.

    • My ex couldn’t even say the word cheat and he’s a serial cheater. He told me, “I wish I didn’t do what I did.” It would have been easier to say, “I wish I didn’t cheat.” I found out that he told someone that he was divorced because he was a “bad boy.” If you can’t name it, you don’t own it, I guess.

      • oh, yes! An old high school ex of mine described the disintegration of his first marriage thusly: “I was a rascal”.

    • Nadine – ROFL! Now, that cat straying is damn funny. Really, not much different than a feral cat pissing up all the poles in the neighborhood and screeching in horniness all night long. Straying, my ass! (mine said the same)

    • My ex told our 16 year old daughter that he “did some aweful things during a long bout of depression”. She wasn’t buying what he was selling as she knew the truth of his serial cheating and narcissistic abuse. Her reply was, “really dad? 20 affairs? Doesn’t sound very depressing to me”.

      • Yep, they want us Chumps to sweep their bad behaviour under the carpet while they tell everyone that we “just grew apart.” I told the real truth to most people that mattered to me, but he did do a pretty good job of getting to most mutual friends first. As a consequence, those people distanced themselves immediately, which I guess doesn’t really matter anymore other than it hurts.

  • Gee, I am 57 too! That seems to be the lucky number for today. Married 34.5 years and divorced for 10 months. I have only ever had sex with my ex, so the future is a little scary and unknown but I remain hopeful! C’mon Chump Nation! I would never date online because that’s how the ex found his “soulmates” (sarcastic chuckle)… so easy to lie about yourself there. But I can see myself in a loving reciprocal relationship again, thanks to Chump Lady & all of the inspiration here. I loved sex and I think I will enjoy it again, with a better partner. I like DefyingGravity’s approach to taking a vote, but being gentle with the parts of me who still love the man I thought he was, but wasn’t. CL is right about disregarding all those euphemisms. They are FUCKERS! I laugh about all the fuckers sending pictures of their dicks out. How narcissistic can you get?

    • Well said, Meg. Even though at this point I can’t fathom being intimate with someone, I do hope it happens someday — but a part of me needs to be “realistic” just in case it doesn’t happen for me. I’ve spent my life being Pollyanna so I’m trying not to be that way anymore. But when I’m in a good place I say to myself, that if it’s something I want, when I’m ready I will find it. So I am holding on to a bit of optimism. In the meantime I am discovering myself and my own strength and to be honest, I like it.

  • I absolutely hate the word broken. Broken from what? From possessing moral values? From empathy? From respect? These “broken” cheaters somehow manage to run corporations, do very well in careers, eat and exercise and do other things quite successfully. The broken aspect seems to have an on and off switch when it suits them. Once my blinders were gone, I finally saw my cheater for who he is. A fully-functioning, clear-headed human being who chose to cheat. Why he chose to cheat is none of my business anymore. Thank goodness.

    • Well said, Uniquelyme. Giving up trying to understand “why” is the most useful thing we can do!

      • I am so caught up in the why right now. So deep in trying to untangle the skein because my STBX is not a narcissist. He was not a serial cheater. I keep trying to understand what happened. I have been going back over our 21 years together (17 married) and there is NOTHING that would indicate this would happen.

        • ExpatChump, what you’re going through is normal. I had a “nice” serial cheater ex and once I stopped trying to figure out why he enjoys cheating, I felt detached. For me, it came down to “Just the facts, ma’am.” And then there was no longer any need to untangle the skein because it could not be untangled. He has a lot of wonderful traits but unfortunately, his cheating habits were also part of who he is. One and the same person. There’s no going around that. Your case is tough. My ex’s first affair caught me off guard. I could not figure out why it happened. It made it more difficult because he confessed and was so remorseful. This journey is difficult but you will get to meh. And then you’ll come to a point where trying to figure out why your ex cheated will bore you to tears.

  • Meg- spot on! You found the better word than cheaters.
    They’re FUCKERS! That’s pretty descriptive.

  • Meg – and, at 57, I sure like your attitude. I could use a lot of that right now. I’d love the idea of some good sex – finally. But, you’re gutsier than I am right now. I feel like a virgin it’s been so long since I had it.

    Uniquely – you’re right – these ‘broken people’ can be fabulously successful in their business and social lives….but – oh-so-broken that they slipped and fell into a vagina. But, that didn’t break their egos – it just made them bigger! The entitled swine.

  • Fellow Chumps and CL, I’m sorry if I post too much. This place is my refuge, hope, and strength!

    • ML .. post away. I love reading your posts. We are all here for the same reason. 🙂

    • i completely agree with you. i always feel like i am saying the wrong thing or talking to much. i can never just write a sentence. it is always a multi paragraph essay. lol

      i for one, love that you post and other post their stories as well. i come here when i am feeling weak, when i am sad, or feeling guilty. or even when i mindfuck myself and start thinking my XH wasnt “THAT” bad of a spouse.

      reading everyone stories, and comments. i always have an “AH HA!!” moment. or it reminds me of something else that he did long ago that i conveniently forgot.

      this site is my strength. it keeps me moving forward. it helps me stay no contact. and it justifies my feelings, and my hurts. it is not that i enjoy everyone elses pain. but more like feeling a connection with people who are feeling the same pain that i am. you just cant get your mom, dad, and friends to understand. especially if they have never been in this situation. i know they love me, but they are over it. and dont want to hear about my midnight anxious attack because i LET my mind go to that place where my love for a man who doesnt love me anymore take me.

      i have said it before and i will say it again……………………

      Thank you EVERYONE for sharing your stories, your pain and your struggles. i completely identify with each of you. and your stories give me strength to carry on.

      • and thank you Chumplady for your no bullshit, no excuses, direct to the punch way of talking. you dont allow us to make excuses for our cheating ex spouses. but you also say it with kindness and understanding.

        i feel so blessed i found this site when i was soul searching google for answers on how to deal with a cheating husband.

      • mrsvain – omg – you said this all SO WELL! Thanks for speaking for me too. It’s my refuge and you’re the only ones who let me rant on. I love to think and type and I also worry I type too much. But, I guess they call it stream-of-consciousness. Not sure everybody gets what I say but when I’m on a roll, it just comes out. Keep them coming folks. We all need the support.

    • Haha, sometimes I worry that I post too much, too, but I NEVER think that about others. I agree with the others–post away! I love what you write here! We are all supporting each other. I can’t imagine what my life would be like right now without Chump Lady leading and hosting here. Her brilliance (Hi, Tracy!) is a beacon! And we are all…flashlights (torches)? Hahaha. Burning brightly, keeping the darkness at bay, exposing lies and tired cliches.

      Uh, sorry. I think I got carried away with my analogy. 😉

    • Moving I love reading your posts! Thanks for sharing to you and everyone. This site makes me feel so much less alone in this struggle.

  • Help! I would like to ask a question of Chumplady but my pc is about as useless as my ex narc was!! How to post a new question?

    • Chumpaprecious – hit the ‘Contact CL’ button on the right. You need your computer – maybe a new one at this very important time?

  • Fuckers! You betcha.

    Affairs require *effort* to carry out, so that whole *just happened* excuse is bullshit from the get-go.

    Poor little-lost sausages? Riiiiiiight. They behave like bratty children– driven by selfish desires, commit deliberate wrongful acts, then lie Lie LIE when caught.

    Granted, I’m many years out from Dday and divorce, but the old scar itches periodically. (That’s how I found this site–searching for some answers after getting one of those itches–and it’s a godsend!)

    “I don’t know what I want” was one of the excuses I got from xh. Lol now! He knew what he wanted, he just didn’t want to *tell* me. Just like a bratty child!

    Rock on, chumps! Cheaters are just full of shit. No more, no less.

    • Cheaters are full of shit! JenXstan, and that is exactly why relationships with them don’t work! No better lesson in futility than trying to make a marriage work with a Cheater. I am so thankful to ex’s new Owife. I’d still be wading through hell and making excuses for his inability to deal with life if it weren’t for her. 😉

      • Rock On, JenXstan – you couldn’t have said it better.
        Getting to ‘meh’ closer because of reading all these experiences….

      • I don’t know if I will ever be thankful to the Chewbacca that “helped” my XH leave his family and marriage. but I completely agree with if Chewbacca wasn’t there, I would be dealing with a lot more shit, stupidity, gaslighting, anger, blaming, projections, and suicidal tendencies from him.

        I am working on trying to feel grateful she is taking care of him. of course I know if it wasn’t her it would have been someone else. but this bitch is pure evil, it seeps out of her pours. I don’t want her around my children.

  • Chump Nation, I have hope for us all. I will be fifty next year (and that is young!) and spend the majority of my days working with women, most older, some younger. One thing I have noticed though is that you really no longer see age when you care about people. Each of us has a gift and I see so many people hiding from life when they should get out there. I have learned so much these last few years. In my marriage I could not be myself, my ex was a very disordered man and belittled me and I was fooled by it. Now I recognize that I can hold myself back or I can engage. I do still believe in love and it does come from many things. We all have so much to offer this world, And I honestly don’t think we’d be free of our dysfunctional marriages if we weren’t meant for greater things. My marriage was a disaster but I know I will be making better decisions in regards to my next relationship. I believe we will find love, and it does happen when we least expect it. Why just the other day a gorgeous man standing behind me actually leaned into my body very flirtatiously and asked to come to the BBQ I was hosting (I was standing in line to purchase lighter fluid! Lol). Okay, as I am very nearly a virgin again (five years out and I have just begun to think of dating and wouldn’t sex with a good kind man be wonderful!?) and have not had someone come on to me so blatantly in a while. Needless to say I froze, my first thought one of self preservation but then went home giddy and have started practicing what to say next! The guy was in his very early thirties, shocking!, but I know something about me appealed to him:). We can’t allow past poor experiences to influence our better future. Like someone else here said, “keep an open mind.”

  • I really want to give a shout out to the men who post here–I think a lot of us ladies feel the same way. If it weren’t for you guys contributing, honestly, I don’t think I’d trust men any more. But now I realize the men who do this are disordered, and not all men are. In truth, I’m surrounded by good men who will never cheat on their families, who would as soon stop breathing as walk away from their children and wives. But you guys have shown me that men are so deeply hurt by betrayal, and that cheating and abandoning is a disorder, not a gender. That might sound crazy, but you’ve helped me a lot. I hope I find a good man like one of you some day. You guys are great and didn’t deserve this pain.

    *sigh* We all just need to work on our pickers. We need to expect good, loving treatment, and to realize when it’s not forthcoming, and to bail asap if old patterns emerge in new people. We need to recognize good people more intuitively.

    • Miss Sunshine – I SO agree about the men’s comments. Men rarely express themselves in my small world, but here they give freely. It gives me a completely different perspective because it seems like (to me) only men cheat on women. Their input is invaluable to me – so guys, PLEASE KEEP POSTING. It’s so rare to hear feelings like yours.

      We are all a big bucket of reserves, and, well, I’m addicted to the site and read everything. What can I say. I’m not at ‘meh’ yet. Maybe Rumblekitty is?

  • “We need to recognize good people more intuitively.”

    I kindly disagree. I think identifying the character disordered and the bad eggs is a learned skill. I didn’t learn those skills partly because I had a pretty good FOO and I really didn’t think SOME people thought and behaved so horribly underneath such a clever mask. For the most part, I’ve assumed the best in people, and mostly still do, but I definitely note the red flags now.

    George Simon, the man CL interviewed awhile ago has an amazing book that I’ve read and read over — “Character Disordered.” It has taught me tons, and when I see someone using a tactic or they express things in a certain way, I’m on hyper alert, and most often tactfully run the other way. I teach my kids this stuff too, so they can spot the cheaters, exploiters, manipulators, and users that inevitably come along. My picker is getting fixed!

    I have great intuition in people, but there are a percent that get through the filter — i believe those people to be the disordered, and the most dangerous to us. I trusted my xh totally, actually more than anyone in this world. I remember telling him that he was the most moral person I knew. Intuition didn’t work in his case. Turns out, he was able to live a double life in an extreme lifestyle (under the auspices of “work”) for most of our 20+ year marriage.

    • ChattyCat – I’m afraid now that I am alone. I trust everybody that comes around me, sort of. But, I’m friendly and open and hope the best with the people who are around me – hopefully my intuition is okay but I’m not so sure. I’m going to read this book. I have suddenly had many people in my life now that H is gone who controlled all that visiting. I’m having a ball with it, but now I’m feeling vulnerable but at the same time, wanting to draw people into me. People have responded so well. I just hope I don’t misjudge folks now that I’m on my own. On the other hand, stbx isn’t around to judge and decide for me. It’s actually rather freeing for me to figure out who is who and what are their motives. I am meeting so many new people….new neighbors have moved in, visitors from across the country that own the same breed of dog as I….it’s actually been a fun summer without the asshole turning people away…and there’s my rant for the night. Bow. Bow Wow.

    • I agree with you, CC.

      The older I get, the more I’ve been learning to trust those gut feelings or intuitions. Absolutely, some people are real stealth bombers. My XH was one of those. The kind of guy who could charm his way into almost anyone’s heart, as well as into quite a few beds.
      I loved G. Simon’s book and found it incredibly helpful in spotting the verbal tactics of manipulators.
      I’ve also been thinking lately about how so much of society today sets store by what people say. Internet, texts, cell phones… So much talk, verbal seduction, sparkly words. The charismatic people get the best and most press.
      In matter of building trust and relationships, I’ve come to believe it is not what people say, it is what they do.
      Do you remember those old films and TV series where the old weathered rancher takes the young stud muffin aside for a man-to-man before the wedding? The line goes “you do right by my little girl”. Not you talk right, strut right, party right.
      Actions speak volumes and should definitely speak louder than words. In the world where words abound, it is the men and women of character who act more and speak less who so rock.
      Much like many of the mighty chumps I’ve had the privilege of reading over the last few months.
      Words are indeed healing, but they sure can hurt sometimes. In the Pacific Isles, when they talk about verbal abuse, they say that the person “slapped them with their tongue”. After 20 yrs of verbal abuse, I know exactly what they mean.

  • True, Miss Sunshine. People are destroyed/changed by cheating, not just women.
    I am 60 in November & feel the same way most all of you do. I hate that you are in the same boat, but at least there is company aboard!
    The thing that really make me leery is all the online cyberspace stuff. People can find all kinds of trouble with the click of a mouse or skype, text, instant messaging, etc, etc, etc. I have friends that use dating sites and have had the trouble that once they think they are in a relationship, the other person does not take their profile down. Then there is the problem of all the people in their past that are now hook-uppable due to facebook, and blackbooks of past “encounters.”. It seems like it is one big fake hellhole of tomfoolery! And many adults act like adolescents these days. I like my grown-ups grown up. Hope I am not bumming anyone out, but there are just so many ways to be bamboozled it is dumbfounding. Maybe you folks will agree with me is that part of lessons I hate most is feeling like a sucker for trusting, and then with denials, trying to believe them instead of your gut. They betray you, then you betray yourself trying to believe their lies. I am very protective now of my heart, it is the most important thing I have…and my integrity.
    I wish the best for all of your healing, and thank you for your support & many laughs.

  • Regina – you sure didn’t bum ME out.
    “there are just so many ways to be bamboozled it is dumbfounding.”
    Yeah, that’s for sure.

    I trusted so much that I was the last to believe he was cheating and therefore, got very bold about it, like he wouldn’t get caught. (I think men are stupider than women at this, from what I’ve read) He was shocked – SHOCKED – I discovered it!
    All it took was one more lie and he was even more shocked when I threw him out of the house and filed.
    Hardest thing I’ve ever done and, going thru this D process, he’s really showing his true colors. Mucking me thru the dirt about $$. But, his reputation is completely kaput.

    Anyway – internet dating sites? No thanks. I’d rather get together with a room full of chumps and have fun.

    This is well said by Regina – “They betray you, then you betray yourself trying to believe their lies.”

    • Hi SheChump! I was not trying to say that anyone here would internet date, but anyone WE date could have these endless possibilities. (plus the smut) We don’t have to be doing it for them to be doing it….playing all these games. It is not what WE are up to! Hell, we’re Chumps! We are the ones that make sure their stomach is full & their tie is straight while they are on their way to see the other woman! I am hell bent on not being a fool again, even though I know we all have to take our chances in love. And my Trustometer is broken. It is like a fire detector with a low battery, It goes off with a sniff of toast.
      I am like the dog who the mailman has to bring a biscuit for so I don’t go off the chain, or the car in the parking lot whose alarm thinks you are trying to steal it because you walked by to get to your car.
      Picker & Trustometer overhaul-anyone heard of a good shop?
      Does anyone know where to take a broken Trustometer? I need mine recalibrated!

      • I love those analogies and even though I’m not yet divorced,much less anywhere near dating again, I am totally there with you and wonder how I’ll ever trust anyone again.

  • And, for the record – there is not ONE man I’d want to contact from High School on FB. What’s with that anyway? haha – trying to bring back our youth? jokes all around.

    • When I went to my 30th high school reunion my first (& only high school) boyfriend was going through a divorce and getting totally crocked & hitting on everyone!! Real charming! Not exactly someone to chase down for yet more punishment! Someone told me he is very successful in his work field, I was doubtful that could be true observing him there. WOW! Pathetic!
      It is like we are living a second youth with the ridiculous immaturity & dealing with the uncontained lust & sport fucking! That is what it feels like to me. I am almost 60 years old & in high school again. The Circle of Life!??

  • Thanks, Mrsvain. Your post could have been mine, a few differences, but pretty much the same feelings. I don’t know if it’s okay to feel better because of reading your post, but I just felt an odd level of comfort in knowing there is at least one other person out there that feels this way, and I’m not so alone (I know there are many more of you, even right here at CL, but a lot more of you seem to have a better handle on these feelings and have a bit more hope for doing better and moving on). I have done the whole moving on thing (except for dating, UGH, spit), and I still don’t feel much better. I have never felt as down as this circumstance has brought me. I used to be a sort of even-keel, smart, fun and pretty happy girl, so I hope feeling/thinking like this doesn’t last for either of us, and we are both able to get onto something better than the kind of outlook (I) have right now because of what my XH did to me. When I was younger, I could take a hit like this in stride, work past it and rebuild, but time does matter and it is much harder with age (later 50’s here, but holding up well).

    • I completely agree with the when I was younger I could take a hit like this in stride. of course I wasn’t married to any of them when I was younger, so I think that alone has an impact on our pain. it is much easier to be left or even cheated on by a boyfriend (I was with one for 8 years) then to be walked out on by your husband for a piece of shit hood rat.

      I used to be independent, and smart. I have no idea at what point I became co-dependent and an enabler. it blindsided me in more ways then one.

      but I am still carrying on, taking care of my kids, and everything.

      • mrsvain & nobody’s chump;
        I think the reasons this is so hard is as follows (and I am sure there are more:)
        We don’t have time to start over and be with someone our whole life like we intended.
        This is what we wanted and our dream has died.
        If we can’t trust the one we trusted, who can we trust?
        We felt proud of all the circumstances we weathered to be in a long term marriage/relationship, and now we feel a little foolish. (and scared)
        We did not want and are now grieving a totally disruptive and devastating blow to our life view; where we thought we would be, how our life would look, etc.
        Mid life is not exactly the time we would choose to dust the old Magic 8 Ball off & see if it can give us any direction! Where do we go from here?
        We hate being in this position of powerlessness regarding things we thought we had figured out already.
        Our kids don’t get the intact family we have struggled and sacrificed to give them.
        Both we and our kids feel like a major rug can be pulled out from under us at any time, skewing the dream of security.
        Just putting one foot in front of the other & trying to keep your routine is helpful.
        Remind ourselves we are worth it.
        I have been posting a lot these last few days, hope it is helpful & not too much.
        We ALL understand this pain & confusion.
        Love you guys for sharing your souls & helping others heal!

  • My husband is a serial cheater and lived a double life. He denies this reality and says that he is crazy because of FOO. See, not his fault. We have been living apart for almost 2 years. He too was shocked I threw him out. He only moved 2 blocks away..Always a control freak….Sometimes therapists do not help these cheaters since they validate their feelings and actions. Everything is normal under the circumstances to some therapists. Maybe cheaters anonymous might help. The drama sucks the lifeblood out of you! I do not think that I will ever trust someone again, but maybe. But it is a beautiful day and I am picking myself up to enjoy it. I am a strong woman.

  • I just spent the better part of Saturday sobbing thru a Cognitive Dissonance exercise.

    It is/was an exorcism of the fake-ass, NPD man I married. It hurts like hell. But it’s the TRUTH. There is no such thing as wayward/getting lost. My marriage was fully fabricated. What I can be proud of, other than 4 great kids, is that the positive stuff about him was really ME. He mirrored my positive traits back to me!

    That said, I’ve had other relationships with normal men. Yea, we broke up and moved on, etc.. The big difference between those guys and asshat is that they were not and are not disordered. I have no fear about meeting someone in the future. Might or might not happen. My first order of business is working through this crap and healing.

  • Was he really cheating? Does it really matter?
    About a year and a half ago, I found this wonderful website, but at the time it was lost on me because I did not feel that my “wasband” was cheating on me…. I thought we would reconcile… This could not be happening to me…
    I have been coming here more and more often because the old support site I belonged to is not in my face sarcastic enough for me… as in sharing and not having someone ask “How is that working for you?” Thank you CL for your sarcastic honesty, I can get with it at this point in my journey! OK let’s be honest here, I have a feeling that my wasband registered for that other site and was hanging out there gathering intel and evidence he could use against me in our highly acrimonious divorce.
    Any way, I am happy to be here and this provides me with so much support.
    My post is about me and my marriage. Was I the Empress of Spackle?
    I had known STBX 20 years lived together 14 years, married 12. There were HUGE red flags when we initially dated and the relationship ended so horribly with STBX even spitting in my face (WTF, what was I thinking getting back together with him 3 years later, which brought me to where I am now…).
    When we cohabited and ultimately married, STBX did not work aside from his band. I worked supported both of us purchased a home and felt loved and empowered. Our relationship was SO “special”. We were together because of love and intellectual intimacy (oh, of course I footed the bill on that!)
    After about 6 years of marriage STBX began to work casually along with his band work (I supported that too) and I started to become sicker and sicker. We went to fertility treatments, but STBX informed me once into it that he would be having NO children and I could leave now if I wanted. BUT I stayed for LOVE and became sicker and sicker until I could no longer work (I did have disability income within 45 days of filing).
    STBX did get a full time job 3 years ago and became progressively more abusive towards me and more secretive in what he was doing with his phone, the internet, time before and after work, etc. He even had a FB account briefly (did not friend me) and that went dark also.
    Was he looking for something else? Since he would tirade at me about how beautiful his younger co workers were, so beautiful…. Missing time everywhere with absolutely stupid shit excuses I could go on…
    So, because until around the time he sexually assaulted me prior to my hysterectomy and then demanded I have sex with him after surgery or he would have sex elsewhere, I knew he was an alcoholic and could be extremely selfish, I NEVER suspected him of wanting out or wanting another woman.
    This NEVER crossed my mind until about 3 years ago.
    I KNOW I spackled and made many excuses for the shitty behavior, but any time I would break down and start to snoop, it just made me feel shittier so I stopped before finding anything conclusive and spackeled away!
    IF I never actually caught him cheating, but he had to search in private browsers, cleared out his cell phone, etc. Should I accuse STBX of this?
    Maybe there was an EA (I know also cheating) and then there were strippers etc.
    What I do know is that what I did run across while we were still together did NOT look good for our marriage. I was SO fucking sick, I could barely think straight because of ALL my health problems beating me down.
    I do know he started a FB page after leaving me with ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS HE WAS DOING WITH ALL THE NEW WONDERFUL STRANGERS and within 5 months of us being apart, he was advertising his new girlfriend on FB. (BTW, I do not look at his FB, my brother informed me of this and I asked him to not tell me anymore).
    Why do I almost feel guilty saying he was cheating when I did not catch him red handed. Why do I sometimes feel weird being here where chumps spouses have cheated. My marriage became a concentration camp with a mean dismissive, sexually, verbally, emotionally and financially abusive NPD POS.
    Am I still spackling? Am I still allowing myself to not call a spade a spade for some latent fucked up need to defend my STBX. Am I still being gas lighted after more than a year NC?
    What is this?
    Do I have enough evidence to call it what it would be in the case of any other spouse behaving in that matter?
    Maybe I just need validation from a professional in this field.
    My pre trial hearing is next week and putting the paperwork together to try and keep what I am legally entitled to is bringing up so much shit.
    Oh help me, I never wanted this and I am now doing what I have to do because my whole life has been blown up.
    What is wrong with me? I certainly do not want him back.
    But the facts are that I have been homeless since all of this and I have not been able to even meet my medical needs with the money I have. I found out I have latent Tuberculosis, most likely caught because STBX I suspect contracted from his new friends from 3rd world countries and the treatment makes me feel so sick.
    I am really screwed right now. Had this happened and I was not completely disabled and my home had not foreclosed, it would suck, but not like this. I would have just moved on… now I have precious little left to split and I do not know how the hell I can re enter the workforce.
    Someone please slap me back to reality and make sure I call a spade a spade and get what I am legally entitled to. I need to be outta this marriage and move on to something better hopefully.
    Thanks for listening, the mindfuckery is still eating away at my mental health.

  • People, I am sorry for the mispost above… meant to send to CL not hijack this thread. My power went out and this submitted in the wrong place.
    Again sorry if the post seems like a selfish take over, or maybe my head is not working correctly

  • Dear EchoNoMorr; This guy sounds like a master mindfuck, and I an only hope you will fight. Please get help in this fight! Maybe some of our atty chumps an suggest something. Hugs to you

  • I made the mistake of asking him last night why cheaters don’t just stay single. He went on and on (and on) about how he had a warped view of what love was. He thought it was about me adoring him constantly. So when I couldn’t meet that need, he felt entitled to go out and fill that need.

    But now, with his 12 step group, he is getting re-parented and and is growing up, apparently. He’s starting to understand what real love is about. Now he understands that no one can meet his needs but God, because only God loves him completely. Only complete surrender is the answer for him now. And this is the only way he can now accept and love himself.

    Holy hell, are you kidding me? From where I’m standing, he’s the same guy, just wearing different clothes. He’s still the same self righteous prick he always was. It’s just that now, he tries to get me to really understand Christianity so that I can heal too. My beliefs, which I’ve held for as long as I can remember, are now inferior and will not serve me any longer.

    What I see is a guy hiding behind religion to avoid taking true responsibility. His new narcissistic supply is Jesus and group. Instead of him abandoning his family for his ‘special friend’ and webcam girls, he’s abandoning us for his endless church videos and sex addict friends. We see him much less now than we did before DDay. Last night, I asked for him to talk after the kids went to bed. He said sure. And then one of his 12 step buddies called and asked to meet. He said sure. I’m still not a priority. And I’m still not the only person in my marriage. Before it was the other woman. Now it’s his sponsor. Every single time I give him the privilege of talking with me, he speaks a little and says, “my sponsor would be telling me to shut up right now”. Again, trying to deny my reality in the name of ‘not causing me more harm’. I’m now married to someone who refuses to make any decision for himself. He will wait for what his sponsor tells him. Or waits for God to tell him what to do, because God talks to him. He’s special.

    Anyone in a relationship with someone who claims to be a sex addict and is still lost in hopium, please know that no matter how much they seem to change, they are the same person, they just change their focus. They will always have something that is more important than you or your kids. Don’t waste your life waiting for a narcissist to truly change.

    • I’ll bet his sponsor is telling him to shut up, LOL! (None so righteous as the newly converted) Sounds like he’s early in recovery..trying to ride the pink cloud. I know about 12-Step recovery but not SA. If it’s like any other 12-Step program he’s been told whatever he puts in front of his recovery he will lose. It’s not about religion either. His religion should be “there is a God but it’s not me.” Not sticking up for the guy just providing recovery insight. My sponsor called AA a form of brainwashing…our brains were so screwed up they needed a washing, drying, fresh air, and sunlight. Since you have to maintain some contact with him due to the children any time he starts that crap up with you tell him to take his own inventory and work his own program.

      • I’m definitely conflict-avoidant, but I’m definitely getting better at telling him when he over steps his boundaries!

      • kendoll, I agree. I’m still in the process of getting my ducks in a row, so we still share a home at the moment. I’ve been really detached, but had a moment of weakness yesterday. There really is no reasoning with him.

  • My favorite part of this article is the cartoon — the look on the “poor, wayward cheater” is nearly identical to that on my ex’s face when I confronted him about his relationship with the OW, as if he was to be pitied (PITIED!) for not having had the courage (or whatever) to resist her wily ways. I have never come so close to striking another human being in my life. How DARE he expect me to feel sorry for him! right now as he’s trashing our whole marriage! — Anyway, love the cartoon — thanks for the camaraderie!

  • “When a cheater dupes you, they’ve denied your reality. Made you think you were going crazy.”
    Great article in many respects.

    • I agree. Sometimes it still blows me away that I was married to somebody who could do this to me and our daughter.

  • Wayward, my ass! Of all the buzz words of this gigantic slimy ball of infidelity, that one makes me feel all stabby. Wayward connotes losing ones way, like someone with character and stellar morals got lost in a forest of pussy.

    Can murders use that excuse? “Judge, I was a law-abiding citizen, but I just got lost in a forest of homicide. Now that I’m not wayward any longer, the family of my victim and society at large should forgive me. No prison time is needed, I’ve learned my lesson.”

    What a crock of unmitigated shit!

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