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The Ones Who Just Leave

A lot of the advice I give here is on no contact, or gauging the sincerity of a cheater’s remorse, or of decoding the mindfuckery of a cheater after discovery. But what about the ones who just go without a fight? Who just abandon? Who never come back?

There’s no need to go no contact because they never contact you. Instead, you live with another kind of mindfuck — you weren’t even worth fighting for. One day you’re living in what you thought was a secure reality with this person, the next day they’re gone without explanation. Without remorse.

Maybe you got a blank stare. A vague excuse. A lawyer’s letter.

As someone who got operatic remorse, crocodile tears, and a stalking freakazoid who wouldn’t leave me alone, I want to be flippant and tell you guys you got the better end of the deal — the cheater who just left. The cheater who didn’t play you for more D-Days, who didn’t toy with your heart, and get a kibble contact high off your grief. Nope, you got a tidy little sociopath who recognized that the jig was up and it was time to move on.

Which is worse, really? Hard to say and this isn’t the pain Olympics. But I do have some thoughts on the abandoning cheaters who just go poof.

1. Take it as a perverse compliment. Seriously, all you people who were abandoned, I want you to reframe this. Your cheater knew they couldn’t keep chumping you. They sensed your strength, and being the lazy, cheating fucks that they are, they needed an easier source of kibbles. You weren’t going to be that person. You were going to put up some resistance. They anticipated that and took the path of least resistance — a cowardly exit.

I can see how you would take it as you didn’t mean anything to them. You weren’t worth so much as a goodbye, but that’s not it. Disordered people don’t connect. You never meant to them what they meant to you.

They knew that they couldn’t keep extracting value from you with the same ease. And that’s because you’re not as chumpy as your average chump. Manipulators suss you well — they assessed your moxie, and they scampered away.

2. These people are really lazy. Cake is so nice when cake is undiscovered. All the control! All the perks! But once that nice situation is blown to pieces by the truth… fuck. They need to do some mental calculus. Work really, really hard at mindfucking you back into complacency, do the “sorry” kabuki theater of long emotional talks and therapy, give you some kibbles for a change to win you back… or… they could just exit for their soul mate schmoopie, find another hypotenuse, and have the joys of undiscovered cake again.

Which is easier?

3. These people are really entitled. You don’t deserve an explanation because it was never about you. Surely, you must know that the Most Important Thing Is Their Happiness? They’re happier over here in this new place. You? You have a mess to clean up? You’re heart broken? God, that’s a buzz kill. They don’t have to listen to you whinge. They’ll just set your volume to “mute.”

4. These people are really cold. Not that the operatic remorse, crocodile tear cheaters aren’t cold too, but the abandoning cheaters are polar-vortex-Lake-Michigan-in-February-ice-ice-baby COLD. I know you see this walking out with no remorse as a big fuck you, a huge rejection of the wonderfulness that is you, but that would be assuming that they give a shit. They do not. It’s not personal. These people are COLD. You mistook this ice cube for a human being. It happens. Maybe you bred with the ice cube. I’m sorry.

But they seem so warm and human for other people!

Yes, of course they do. See item #2. They need new undiscovered sources of cake. They will appear all nice and human-like until their cake situation is restored. Then what does the new person get? Laziness, entitlement, and ice ice cold baby.

What do you get?

A new, improved cheater-free life.

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  • Jeesh, first comment and I’m already bird-walking.

    Could not keep from thinking, “That’s probably how he perceived/explained my departure.”
    Rented a storage unit for over a year, moved things over time, bought a house, waited until an opportune time (he was recuperating from a medical procedure, because it was safer), and moved out.
    His explanation? “You abandoned me.”

    Felt like someone had died. Staying was a slower death. You pick your hard.

    • No, he abandoned your marriage when he cheated on you. BIG difference.

      I’m sure my first husband paints me in the same light — I just gave up on him and left without a backwards glance. That would be ignoring years and years of dragging him by the ear to therapy, marriage weekends, and every chump thing I could throw at him to give a shit. But when I was done, I was DONE.

      You abandoned me from a cheater is just blame shifting.

      • Agreed, CL. I think it is one of the favorite cheater blame-shifting lines. They can twist it like a knife in the back of their chump fitting it to the unique situation. Use a little truth…leave out the whole cheating part that makes them look bad…and tell the world they were abandoned to court sympathy. In the end, they are worse off since they are living in a false reality. Reality has a way of showing up…just like crazy does sooner or later 😉

        • DM, that little bit of truth….. That’s when you know you’re dealing with evil and not just a confused idiot. The plotting that it takes is amazing. I never would have guessed that x would be that sneaky. He always portrayed himself as being a poor “baby” persona who wouldn’t hurt anyone (except me). No witnesses.

          • DeeL, the plotting, my God the plotting! He was genius with plotting. It takes too long to tell the stories, the set-ups could span weeks, months, and somehow I would come out looking like the psychotic / jealous / irresponsible shrew because THERE WERE NO WITNESSES. There was no explaining it to involved or observing parties. What was I going to say. . . “it started a month ago. . . .” No one wants to hear it. I hated even attempting to explain. It was nothing for him, it came naturally and was good for a quick laugh – and sympathy, let’s not forget the sympathy (poor X, his wife is such a bitch, he can’t even…).

            • We were married to the same wolf in sheeps clothing. And the sympathy…exactly. He’s still playing the pity/sympathy card, while simultaneously juggling at least 3 girlfriends, but no one else can see that he is a monster. Poor guy (not) it must be hell trying to keep so much cake going at one time. Oh well, not my circus, not my monkeys.

      • Yeah – similar thing with my ex, although I did the pick-me dance for a little while, until I realised that an affair really was going on. I never looked back, but it was still a very heartbreaking and difficult thing to do.

      • I was very much like you, Tracy. When I was done, I was DONE. No turning back. Funny how that works. Of course, it took me over two decades of silliness but all that matters today is that I am OUT of the mess.

        • So true. I knew exactly when I was done. After my ex husband abondened his family and still blamed me for being “mentally ill.” When I found out that he took his little co worker on cruises,lavish dinners, shopping sprees and still claimed “I was crazy “. That was my DONE moment. I hired the best attorney I could get and went no contact. No more, I finally had it. It is devastating to find out your husband of 20 years is a cheater and a liar. To be held responsible to justify their actions is just plain evil. Today a year and a half after this divorce I am healed , I am at peace , I am happy and “same”. Be created that “craziness ” by bringing a 3rd person into the marriage. I won big in divorce court and most importantly I survived the 2 decades of “crazy making. “. As for him, he seems unhappy that he lost everything , his house, his money, his only child. But he gained his freedom and his minions but maybe it wasn’t worth it. But it’s too late. Because the minute he decided to cheat and lie I was done with him. Then,now and forever.

      • God, this was my ex. He left to go find himself in California after throwing his skank in my face, left his dog, most of his shit, and to this day BLAMES ME for not being there for HIM. I did everything I could in that marriage to try and get it to work, he did everything he could to make sure I was like Sisyphus rolling that boulder up the hill again and again. He left without a second thought to his marriage, his pets, his life he had here, he found someone who was as into drinking as he was. And it’s my fault he left me for her of course. But thank god he’s just happier than a fly on turd in his new life dontcha know! I wouldn’t really know as I don’t speak with him other than to just get the paperwork for the divorce from him. Of course, which he refuses to do or when he does, does it incorrectly. Asshole.

        The truth is, I am so glad he left and didn’t make much of an effort with the marriage in the end. He was soul sucking the life out of me and since he’s been gone, I have literally been the happiest I have been in decades.

        For such a long time I accepted that there was obviously somethi

    • Yeah, my ex does this, too. He claimed that he had to spend time away from me (and with OW) because I was so scary. He outweighed me by about 90 pounds and did things like throw items across the room, punch holes in walls, or punch his own head during arguments. For the record I did none of that, but yeah — I’m terrifying.

      And then, after I finally filed for divorce, right up until the day of the divorce hearing — he would make the nonsense statement that he “didn’t want this.” So it was all my cockamamie idea, not his decision. I was the leaver.

      The only advantage I can see to being in a situation in which he did a little bit of clinging (though really, it was the bare minimum) is that I had a clear view of how crazy he is. I don’t have to wonder whether it was me or take anyone else’s word for it. I know for a fact that he’s nuts.

      • Mine used to rage… you could just see a switch in his head go and he would rage… however, he knew from watching his father’s crazy shit that it was very bad to do this infront of the kids, (although that happened enough) but you could see the switch. The kids could see the switch and I knew I was in for it the minute he had me alone. So fast forward, the other day he told me that I was the most dangerous person in the world to him, because I was the only person in the world he raged at. (Not exactly true… but certainly I was the 90% recipient.) Can you spell COVERT NARCISSIST. They all blame shift and project. We need to teach this stuff in high school… I never, ever would have been able to conceptualize this without the help of Chump Lady and other interent reading. People tell you about mental illness… no one tells you about personality disorders. Be strong and ring your own bell.

        • Mine raged too, ringingonmyownbell – just like you I could see the switch get flipped and I knew what was coming as soon as we were alone. It was scary how he could be perfectly normal one moment and then something set him off and voila, a rage monster took over. It could be yelling and big gestures or it could be this icy, hateful anger where he said whatever he thought would hurt me the most. It would also take the form of endless text messages and emails asking me the same thing over and over and berating me for whatever I had done in the last decade to upset him. But he was afraid of me. He told our therapist he was terrified to be alone with me because I was so abusive. When that didn’t fly with her he switched it to me making him feel stupid by criticizing the way he put dishes in the dishwasher (me moving a glass or a bowl to make room for other dishes constituted criticizing him – yes, he actually said that it would be better for me to run the dishwasher without all of the dirty dishes in it than to make him feel criticized by moving stuff around). Then it was that I wanted too much sex (once a week being too much) and it made him feel bullied when I approached him for sex. And that led to me being unable to engage in the kind of true intimacy he was seeking because I wanted to be physical rather than mental in our relationship. Seriously, I don’t even know what that means. But it was an ever moving target in a rigged game that he set up for me to lose. I wish I could understand why all of that was necessary. Like why not just say he was unhappy and leave? He made me think we were working on things when he never intended to stay and then, when he did finally leave, he left with a smile on his face. The tramp picked him up a few blocks away from our house and they’ve lived together ever since. He took nothing with him and wanted nothing from our life together – he threw a wedding photo that was framed in his basement office into the garbage – right on top so I could see it. There was never any sadness or remorse or grief from him for almost two decades together. No feelings at all except relief and excitement as he was putting a life together with her.

          • This right here: “I wish I could understand why all of that was necessary. Like why not just say he was unhappy and leave? He made me think we were working on things when he never intended to stay”
            I could never understand that either. You’re not happy? Fine but don’t waste my time (and yours!), don’t make me think we’re ‘working on things’ and have me put in all that effort. Just go and be honest. So much less pain.

        • I second the idea that we should teach this stuff in high school. Also, there might be more cluster Bs that get some help. (Not narcissists most likely, but maybe some with borderline tendencies?!) At the very least, we should stop romanticizing disordered love behaviors. My whole perspective has shifted since I was in high school and I wish I could go back in time and teach myself what I know now. I would have listened too.

          • 3rd! 3rd! Yes, they should teach something about this in high school. Until ChumpLady, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as NPD.

      • LB:

        OMG, I got the same thing, he “didn’t want this” and it’s all my fault for not trying harder and leaving! That’s batshit crazy and good on you for seeing through the crazy talk.

        I still find it infuriating that he tries to garner sympathy from twisting his sick behavior to blame me, but, like you, I KNOW he is deranged and I thank God every day that he is out of my life. You don’t know how “crazy” effects your life till you get some distance!

      • My sitch is not exactly like yours, however, my husband loves to tell therapists how scary I am as well, so this spoke to me…

      • OMG, LilyBart! This was my f-tard!! He would hit his own head (brilliant…not much in there; now I know) and punch holes in walls when I was on to him. Not all the time (spackle!), but right about the time he was gonna get caught in a lie, he’d go this route. Broke an iPhone into a million pieces b/c he “didn’t want me to see the text convo he and his ‘mom’ were having.” Yeah! That’s why reasonable people smash high-dollar cell phones. F-tard. Turned out to be his texts w/that ho-worker pig whore that he didn’t want me to see. Dumbfuck. But he screamed at me, “IT’S BECAUSE OF YOU I GET LIKE THIS!! I’M ONLY LIKE THIS AROUND YOU!!!”

        I’m also the only one who knows the truth about his f-ed up past and shortcomings, and actually still loved his stupid ass for 23 years. That is, until I leared the REAL truth of the lying, scheming, cheating whore bitch-boy that he is, and likely will always be. F-tard. He’ll just “sparkle” until this new whore is on to his lies. Shouldn’t take long; they already know they are both lying, cheating whores. Awesome foundation for any relationship.

    • Yep, yep and yep. So much CL wrote about was so true about my relationship with my former wife. No indication at all that she was going to leave. There she was, at the door, bag packed and away she went. I had to wait almost 30 years for an explanation.

      • Yep… All I got was he walked into work, said I’ve packed my stuff I’m leaving you and walked out the door. No explanations, no reasons, no arguments, no anything. Went home to all his stuff gone. Found him a week later at the howorkers house. That was the end of 20 plus years.

  • I’ll throw out one more: they know how awesome you are and how badly they fucked up, they don’t bother deluding themselves that you will ever forgive them or take them back. To them, it has always just been a matter of time before you discovered who they really were and left.

    Too much spackling?

    I know what you mean CL; it was my sausage’s stalking behavior that sent the message home – that he was seriously disturbed and that this was just some sort of sick game/pattern etc. While it was scary and awful, it was also helpful in validating my experience (if you will) and allowed me to look back on the entire relationship through that lens.

    • Agree. Mine said the truth: “If I stay you’re going to leave me in six months anyway.”

      • I think this was your cue to give the “No, there will be no consequences” pleading speech because “I am already gone, but if your turn into an inviting doormat, I just might reconsider. I won’t, but it sure would make me feel better about myself if you did that”.

    • Another one is “I know you’ll never forgive me, so why bother.” Like the onus to prove that no! you really could forgive! is one you.

      Pick me dance.

      • Yeah, anybody who tried false-reconcilation-from-Hell heard several versions of that one most likely: “I need 1000 assurances that I will never be held accountable for my behavior”. Sigh.

        • BTDT. I got it with a side dish of blame avoidance, as in, “My mom says I shouldn’t try to reconcile because my mom says you’ll never forgive me and you’ll only make me more unhappy.” Wouldn’t surprise me if it were true given that the (rotten) apple didn’t fall far from the tree in several respects. Also wouldn’t surprise me if it were a lie, like so much that came out of my ex-wife’s mouth.

          But yeah, like a square dance call for the Pick Me Dance.

      • Yep, I got this one, and fell for it – note to self, never do that again. He didn’t even want another chance, him and OW ripped me to shreds when I took the bait (she was there helping him respond. I can only hope some hateful bitch did the same thing to OW when he dumped her). He just wanted to tell everyone I’d “begged” for him to be with me. Ugh. Hindsight.

        • Lale,
          I had the mindfuck of Ex and the OW baiting me. I remember the one and only phone call I made to him after I threw him out for cheating. I called him to let him know what street corner I’d left rubbish bags with his stuff in so he could go retrieve it. I was so glad to have an excuse to ditch him out because he was a financial drain…then the OW came on the phone and without knowing why I’d called, she started ripping into me for “begging him to come back”. I never had such a laugh. She blithered on about how I needed to get some self respect — so I just ended the call. She must have then realised what my call was about because she sent a series of caustic emails about how “cruel” I was to leave his possessions on a street corner. This Ex, by the way, was the one who brought OW over to sleep in MY bed, wear MY clothes, and eat MY food when I was away on business trips. These disordered people seek each other out. They feed on each other. They steal from unsuspecting chumps.

          Run away. Fast.

          • OMG! My ex and his skank did this too. I stayed at my sisters house the night I discovered the cheating and when I came home the next day, she had moved some of her shit into MY HOUSE already. She slept in my clean sheets in my bed with my husband, ate my fucking food I just bought, took our wedding photo off the wall and turned it facing the wall. I had to leave my dog there for the night, but this bitch brought her fucking dog over and moved it in as well. I mean, I still had dirty laundry in the hamper and this chick was moving her shit in.

            When I came home the next day, I literally felt as if I were being erased, it was like being a ghost. One of the most surreal experiences I had ever had. I told my ex, you two truly truly deserve each other.

            • Omg that is too crazy- I hope you called the police! …And that would have been the incredibly restrained and polite approach.

          • Marci, I’ve been trying to recall the term “baiting” since last night. And there it is–in your post. Thanks…it was making me crazy!

        • This happened to me as well. I was told that he realized that I didn’t appreciate him (the whore bag told him that), wanted to separate so we can “get to know each other again). Little did I know the slut was back in the states (they met over seas). He made me believe he wanted to work things out, he would talk about our future and would take me out on “dates”. Then he’d disappear for the weekend. When I found out about her (I caught them out on a date), he threw me under the bus and denied everything. I was so heart broken, did the pick me dance, sent him endless emails and texts asking why. He told me that he couldn’t “trust me” anymore because I reported him (he’s in the military). Then he said I’d never forgive him and would also throw it in his face. That POS meet with me to tell me he still loved me but couldn’t be with me bc i “wasn’t” her. That whore liked to remind me that he left me for her because I couldn’t take care of my marriage. It’s been 4 years and they are still together and she is as evil as he is. He initiated NC (which she loves to remind me). She’d bait me into texting her and called me “crazy and obsessed with him), I’ve had no contact with either of them (I blocked her crazy ass) I hate them both and still waiting for karma to get them both. It’s like the 10 yrs we were together never happened. When he left, he made sure to leave behind antique posters I brought him when he first started dating. They are both sick and she gets a perverse pleasure of breaking up relationships as ours was not her first time being the OW.

          • Annabella, you didn’t do anything to make him cheat, it’s all on him, its justification/excusing his shitty actions, blame shifting and yes he is a cheating motherfucker and they both deserve each other. Let him enjoy the pig in the mean time! As far as the Karma goes, he gets to be with a woman who is character deficient, who enjoys someone else’s left overs and if she did that to someone else’s relationship before yours, it won’t be long when she does that again, and as far as her, she gets a low life cheater, who can walk on his woman for someone else in the blink of an eye, well, it took 10 years with you and they have been together only for 4 years. Just sit back and enjoy the show when their shallow connection starts to fade and I can assure you, it eventually will.. and if you were married to him for 10 years while he was in military, sue his ass for portion of his retirement pension when he retires (hope you didn’t give that up in the divorce) and you won’t even have to wait for him to pay you or deal with him every month, it will be a direct transfer to you straight from the military and then he can hate you all he wants 😉

      • Holy crap (‘scuse the language). I heard those exact. same. words. “Why bother, you’re not capable of forgiveness” and “I want a partner who can forgive” and “you’re not capable of forgiveness” along with other variations of attempts at blame shifting. I thought, well yeah, sure, maybe you should try being a partner who doesn’t suck.

      • I got that one, along with “I see no point in working on the marriage because you’ll never accept me if I don’t have a job.” Yeah, I’m a bully that way. I think a guy in his late 40s ought to be able to help pay the rent.

        • You mean you didn’t offer to take on a second job to finance his philandering?

          What is wrong with you? 😉

          I really think of these kind of “mind-reading” statements as a tell: instead of it being about what you think, it’s about them and what they are thinking and a kind of prompt for you to make a ridiculous supplicating offer.

          • “Mind reading” statements.
            My x wasband did that for several years insisting he knew I was thinking the worst about him. I went through such productions to show him that what I thought was the furthest thing from what he was alleging. Big Ass Mind Fuck along with the insane gaslighting. I am starting to realize that everything unraveled when I was at my sickest with the visiting nurses caring for me and all he could do was rage. I think that the fact I had no energy to play pick me, stroke his ego, etc., was a death nail for him. I remember the last several months being so sick and fed up, I called him abusive and demented and retreated to my bed to be alone without the madness.
            People like this truly suck!
            Thank you for jogging my memory Time Heals, as I am putting together a small book of shitty stuff X did so that I can easily open the book to any page and remember the shitty things to kill my sad longing for what I thought was the good times.
            Peace and Love

            • It gets really, really old, doesn’t it? Being put on the defensive for things you are allegedly thinking that has nothing to do with what you are thinking will wear down your defenses.

              But see what happens? False accusations–especially ones that cannot be disproved like “this is what you are thinking” put you at a disadvantage.

              My ex claimed to be “an empath” and have “psychic abilities” of sorts. I kid you not. Of course that only came out after I got really, really tired of being told what I think that had nothing to do with what I was thinking and I started making bold proclamations like, “you can’t read minds”, so maybe the whole nutty empath business was just an appeal to authority: yes I can read minds.


              Glad I don’t have to deal with that insanity anymore.

        • Yeah, to this day my husband blames me for the marriage not working. I look at him and say, “So the fact that you could not provide for me in any way has no merit here?” He brushes it off and makes it seem as though I am simply materialistic. Truth is I think he’s so ashamed that he has not been able to make a living that he’s willing to save his ego and walk away.

          • Chuckling at this! I too, was labeled materialistic after each job loss ex suffered (due to his own damn fault- people love to fire him, hmmm, I wonder why…)
            Ironically, in the beginning of our relationship and when my parents contributed heavily to our finances, driving bmws and taking luxury vacations was just fine with him. The minute he became a sole provider and I transitioned to being a sahm (still hassling through random gigs though), all of a sudden this was not the lifestyle he signed up for and again, I was accused for wanting to keep up with the joneses. Ironic fact #2- each fuck buddy he’s found was/ IS unemployed.

          • Moving Liquid, I would have to disagree with you on that. He is not ashamed and that’s not why he walked away. Any man with any integrity doesn’t sit back and drain a woman’s assets, enjoying a life off of a woman’s back, then when everything is gone so is he. He is a fucking parasite! I know it hurts but he is just a user, cheating/lying piece of shit! You gave enough of your time, love, heart, money to someone undeserving, he never deserved you and I am so sorry you were hurt so bad that he brought you to that point that you wanted to end it all and all the pain. No one, I mean no one worth losing your life over! Life is precious and it’s a gift and our time is short here, we won’t be on this planet again. There are 7 billion people on this planet, don’t let/allow this one mother fucker to make you miserable anymore! Trust that he sucks!

        • And THAT ladies and gentlemen is why he cheated: he had no job, he had no self esteem, he has nothing to contribute (to you, to society, to anyone!). Don’t ever feel bad about dropkicking that loser.

      • Yes! Been there, done that. It’s a perfect storm of victim-blaming, claiming victim status, and rationalization of past, present and future victimization of the actual victim.

        For bonus points: Try explaining that to a marriage counselor who has never personally experienced this flavor of mindfuckery. Sheesh.

      • Oh yeah, I got that one, the “you’ll never forgive or forget because you hold grudges for so long.” He told me it was like he was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with no way to climb out. And God help me, I tried over and over to prove that I could and would forgive and forget, but somehow it was never enough to get him to get off his ass and try to fix things such as his porn addiction and his decade (at least) of spending family funds to fuck strippers. I took his “hole” analogy and used it to explain to my therapist why I have given up on him and picked me: while he was sitting in his deep, dark hole with no way to climb out I was busy lowering boards, nails, tools and anything else he’d need to build a ladder. Instead he chose to build a shelter and stay put.

      • I got the ‘you’ll hold this over my head forever’ thing. And I probably would have, hence I booted him. And I will forever hold it over his head in my mind, as a way of reminding myself that he sucks.

        • I see no reason to forget about the horrific things they all did on purpose!
          That’s how we learn, right?
          I told him- I can’t forget, and there’s no reason to forgive you.

      • Yes, this… After 33 years together, and making it through at least two d days about years 5 and 13, I thought we were moving into a potentially wonderful period of pre retirement. But out of the blue for two weeks I suddenly got the classic vague shit, we’ve grown apart, two different people, blah, blah, and in days I had found the OW clothing in his car ( a smirk in response ) and indications of not being home when he said he was ( do you realize your own home security product not being deactivated for 48 hours tells me you either weren’t home, or did you have fun climbing that ladder into the second story master bedroom window to circumvent? Idiot!)
        Two days later I saw tears for the first time in my 36 years with him I can ever remember, and he says “I guess I’ve done too much to be forgiven..” My mouth hung open, but what I thought was WTF? What have you done NOW? The next day, hours before the movers arrived to take us from our sold empty nest home to the new condo, he walks out the door , smirking at my agony, saying he wants “nothing from our entire 36 years together” … Until he didn’t, later requesting in mediation that I copy or hand over to him all our family photographs! That must have been his mommy’s request.. Later I sure found out what he’d been doing “now”. .. Discovery brought out an STD, weekly injections of three different steroids and hormones from a local cheesy “men’s clinic” (which I remain positive brought out some bi polar personality changes that he already has in his family), trips to Vegas and a six figure admitted gambling expenditure with diverted funds placed in a secret account. (Next time, you should keep better track of where you stash all your cash withdrawals, stupidly left in the “other bank” envelope, and be sure you don’t leave any behind!) and yes, he moved the OW in with him last month– he does need a new house slave to nurse him through the two hip replacements he can’t put off anymore early next year!
        Meanwhile, in true NPD form, just as CL predicted to me last year when I wrote to her about my situation and that I had filed and was almost there, he’s pulled every obnoxious, obstructive, blame shifting and revisionist history behavior during this 16 month dissolution process, and now wishes to renege on the official, enforceable mediation agreement he signed on July 15. I guess he didn’t like that this time I didn’t do the pick me dance, but got my legal stuff ready and filed myself, provoking a whole new level of rage at the loss of control. And my(female) attorneys are not particularly impressed by the churlish bullying by entitled executives… Though he’s done everything he can to weasel out, I am determined to not give in on anything I’ve been awarded, and to be done with this in October, one way or the other!

        • Chumpness, you rock. Good for you that you filed and you are going to hold the line and not give back what you get awarded.

          Hold those smirks in your mind. Maybe the cheaters who abandon have “the smirk” as part of their arsenal. The jackass cheater in my life became a champion smirker. That’s all about their sense of superiority to us (when, in fact, we are not lying, disordered cheaters and can actually feel love and act on it). So at any point that he tries to guilt you, scare you, regain some control, persuade you–whatever–see that smirking face in your mind. Remember that at the moment when he knew he was devastating you, he was showing you his contempt by smirking. Go get him.

        • Okay again, why do they do this??
          “I guess he didn’t like that this time I didn’t do the pick me dance, but got my legal stuff ready and filed myself, provoking a whole new level of rage at the loss of control.” They want to leave, so go! But god forbid you pick yourself up and take charge, they are super angry! I think you’re right, it’s about control. They want you back, they want your attention, they feel abandoned, you are so mean to them and my personal fav: “don’t kick me while I’m down”.

          PS Chumpness, that sucks, I’m sorry. But be proud of what a badass you are!

          • Chumpness, Go Girl! I’ve seen that smirk, too. Never forget it.

            Once, after he purposely / carelessly dropped 2 heavy shelves on my bare foot (on that tender vein that runs up your foot). So painful, it knocked the wind out of me, and when I looked up he was smirking. If smirks could talk it would have said “serves you right for asking me to lift a finger, bitch.” I spent the next day hoping he would die in a fiery crash.

      • CL – ‘Another one is “I know you’ll never forgive me, so why bother.” Like the onus to prove that no! you really could forgive! is one you.’

        I got that. Also, (and I’m not sure where this line falls with chump-talk) but he said, ‘if I were you I could never forgive me and I would want to divorce me’. So, of course, I did. He never looked back.

        Needed to read this post today. We are 1 wk past final divorce and about 9 mos of N/C. Now, suddenly, guess who just can’t quit phoning me?? He misses me! He even LOVES ME! He wants to move back into our house with me! Quote: ‘just like we had, only now! hey – we’ve each got our own money!!”. I mean, somebody hit him with a 2×4, pallease.

        I jumped off the crazy train last week. But, what a mindfuck.

        • nope! that asswipe only loves himself and misses the kibbles and how good he had it! Fuck him! well NOT literally! 🙂

      • “I know you’ll never forgive me, so why bother.” XH fed me that line verbatim.

        He still tells people that it was my fault. He just HAD to cheat on me because I was so mean. And my mean, he must have meant that I did all the child rearing and the household chores (I didn’t mow the lawn though so I definitely did not do it all, lol) AND still worked full time outside of the home.

  • I wish mine had left without a fight. From dday on i was consistent in wanting a divorce but she stayed for 10 months screwing with me telling stories about her boyfriend blah blah blah. Minute i legally changed the locks was a great day for me. Barely spoken to that miserable thing again. Her family is still the excuse machine too…”she was never like this before”….horseshit. The benefit of leaving without communication is it hurts like hell but you get to start healing quickly without them messing with you. I couldnt heal with her in my face every minute telling me she didnt mean to, it was a mistake, boo hoo…she slipped on a banana peel and fell on his penis….waaahhhhh. Seriously if your cheater just left, thank your lucky stars.

    • “The benefit of leaving without communication is it hurts like hell but you get to start healing quickly without them messing with you.”
      I disagree. As someone who was abandoned on Dday for the OW, it DOES hurt like hell. And it hurts like hell for those who weren’t abandoned. I do not think either scenario hurts any more or less than the other. CW had great points..those of us that were left abandoned have that added nightmare of realizing that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about us in the least little bit. It was easy for them to leave without a single look behind them. To the cheater who abandons, it’s nothing to them. And those of us left behind don’t even get a CHANCE to do the pick-me dance. Which I know sucks, but what sucks even worse is that we couldn’t even TRY. Because at the beginning, all of us want a chance to show why WE are better than the OW/OM, no matter how humiliating that pick-me dance turns out to be. We get to live with the knowledge that our years together (26 in my case) meant zero. Nothing. Nada. And the OW/OM was that much better than us, so much so that it was a no-brainer for the cheater to walk away to be with someone else, just like that.

  • CL, are you a mind reader?

    Left my cheaterass two weeks ago, almost 15 yrs of marriage that was riddled with the mother of all MaCcheating and he has not even asked me to come back with our kids. I was expecting he fight to get us back but I’m a chump whose still sniffing from the hopium pot.
    It does fuck me sideways that he has not expressed missing me. Have had NC except for a few days ago when he asked the kids to give me the phone (during one of his daily calls to them) so he can ask if it’s ok for him to see the kids this weekend. He’s driving over 2000km to see them and of course I will not refuse him access to the children so I’m thinking this ass was only looking for a good reason to speak to me, yeah? Haha

  • This one hit me……Yes, my husband left just like that. One day we had it and then it was gone. Never a backward glance, never trying to come back. Out and gone. And yes, it made me feel like I wasn’t even worth the fight. Like a piece of shit, you just wipe it off your shoe and move on. Made me wonder too what my marriage was really….Question my own perception. It took a long long long time to let it go. To not see someone who wasn’t worth anything when I looked in the mirror. Never so much as a concern with what he left behind…Horrible.
    Thank you soooo much for this post, it reinforces most of my conclusions over the years…..

    • I think this is the worst form of leaving… no clues, no fights, nothing. I don’t know how I would have done. I am very proud of you caribeanchump. That you are standing, breathing, and here is a testimony to what CL said. He knew you were just to strong to mindfuck in the usual spackling way. You are mighty.

      • My dog turd just up and left – a week before we were supposed to go on a long trip. He moved out of the house and in with OW and kid. I had no problem with NC because he was gone and has never looked back. While he was well aware I would never forgive him and if I had found out about the OW I would have thrown his ass out, I can’t help but wonder why disappear then – what was the precipitating event. Perhaps someone caught him with the OW and he was afraid I would be told. he is a control freak and this way he felt he was in control – until 3 weeks later when Ingot a lawyer and boy was he pissed as hell. Perhaps it was because the OW was giving him better kibbles than I was. Whatever the reason, my STBX NPD cheater pants has never shown the slightest remorse and feels he is the victim.

    • I was in the same situation. He abandoned my daughter and myself just over a year ago. He walked out the door and moved in with the fuck buddy and her 5 year old kid and we have basically never heard from him since. I filed for divorce pretty much right away because it was clear he was never coming back. While it was easy to go no contact – it was a huge ego killer. Here was a person I thought I deeply loved and he threw me away like a piece of garbage. I wasn’t worth anything to him. I gradually came to realize he had been treating me like the hired help for most of our 24 year marriage. I moved to a new state, got a new job where people never knew me as married and who value me for my personal qualities. Slowly their validation that I have worth has brought my self esteem back. Being abandoned makes some things easier but the psychological crush of realizing you had no value to the person you loved is pretty devastating. However, a little over a year out with a fantastic new life in which I feel great happiness like I hadn’t in my marriage in 17+ years – I want to hug the OW for taking the dog turd off my hands. Of course my case of abandonment also meant he abandoned my daughter too so there were no custody battles. And he didn’t want the pets either. So that aspect also made things easier.

      • I gradually came to realize he had been treating me like the hired help for most of our 24 year marriage.

        Mommychump, you and me both. I realise now that I was just the hired help. The babysitter. My ex abandoned both me and my kids, he sporadically puts his head back in once every few months or so to “catch up” with our daughter. I just wish he would just stay away.

        • Wow me too. Left me 3 kids the dog and wanted no pics of kids just his tools. Wtf… No fight just I have no feelings for you, everything is gone. Meanwhile living with ho worker taking her on vacations to our vacation spots. Get this…even bought her a house and did the exact same landscaping. Took all the kids college fund and poof like a fart in the wind. We were bulk week trash.

          • Why do they take them to places that we special to us? And the dumb a** whores just lap it up. He took her to places we’ve vacationed for years, both as a family and when it was just the two of us. Same hotels, restaurants, everything.

            • I’m sorry, ExpatChump.

              Why? I would really like to know the answer. Is it really that they are just that unimaginative? Or is it what it feels like to me – an extra measure of fuck you directed at us? Like a twist of the knife.
              And my cheater took photos of his AP standing exactly where I had stood in photos from the past, as if he was attempting to replace me in every way. And now there are SO many places I will never go again, so many restaurants I’ll never return to, and I will never go back to Boston, or Rhode Island, or Maine.
              It’s so cruel.

              • I’ve also had the feeling it is, as you say, “an extra measure of f*** you directed at us Like a twist of the knife.” But I refuse to not go back to these places. In fact, I’ve gone back to most places and proudly reclaimed them, taking pictures and posting on my social media for the whore to see, so that she knows she has gotten my sloppy seconds. My own f*** you, if you will. I even took the kids back this summer on a roadtrip (sans STBX, of course).

            • ExpatChump, I think it is because they are lazy and because they have no emotional attachment of to locations with memories with you. I figure that my ex just has places he likes and he’s lazy, so of course he took the OW those places or he just went where she wanted to go.

              A couple after dday he came back to get his wedding suit, which he must have needed because he must have gone to some fancy event with the OW and he needed something nice to wear. That about killed me. But it showed me that if he could stand there in his wedding suit and shoes, in which he made his vows to me, with the OW shortly after dday, before he was divorced…something is wrong with him. He doesn’t have emotional connections to those things we shared together. I do, and I have had to work very hard to reclaim things. He, however, walked out and had no problem with any of it. The day after dday he even told me I could use my wedding band if I ever got married again.

          • Ladies – me too! Although mine occasionally sees the kids (unfortunately) also. I personally wish he would just stay away. Ex only pretty much his clothes and guns (!) when he initially moved out (he did it while I was at work one day – never said a word that he was leaving when he did). He left so much of his stuff here when he left. Aside from sporadic small trips to get things during hunting season, for example, he came back about a year later for all his tools, etc. Left all his “daddy” stuff including a tee shirt that the kids had made for him the father’s day right before he left that had their hand prints and “world’s greatest dad” on it. I never gave it to him. Let me add, this shirt was in the closet hanging up where the rest of his clothes were that he made sure to pack up before he left. He just left that shirt hanging in there almost by itself. It was heartbreaking to see that.

            And it’s interesting about the pictures. That was something that struck me also – he didn’t take any and never asked for any pictures at all. Not a one. Obviously I was not surprised he wanted none of me, but none of the kids? None of their baby pictures? Well, at least I got to keep them.

            And yeah, I admit I did feel cheated that I never got the opportunity to even try to work things out. Being discarded in the way the column lays out really did take it’s toll…. me or our family weren’t even “worth” it to him to even consider trying to save. Is that really better than false reconciliation? I don’t know. Either way sucks. But I never even had the illusion that I or our children were worth anything to him since he just left w/o wanting to work on anything. And to me that hurt more deeply than I ever thought anything could.

            • I too never received a chance to work things out. My 18 year old son said Dad’s hate for you is greater than his love for us…
              Amazing how they can carry so much hate for us for years as they state and yet never make us aware of any unhappiness!

            • We never had kids but same thing, he left “his” dog behind, has never even asked about him, just poof, he took his tools, his crappy clothes and guns, packed up his truck and left.

              I felt the same as you ladies, but a couple years out now I am seriously happy and overjoyed he left. There are no words for how content I am now. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

              • Jen, my XH acts the same, he is angry with me for standing up for myself and questioning him about all the things he was doing that didn’t add up ie, always late home from work, dating sites, porn etc. he tells me I’m the problem since I cause all the fights, um hello you brought the conflict and bs home and I’m suppose to ignore it? I am not the cause YOU are! So he hates me and blames me for his endless lies and cheating. The asswipe even told our 13yr old daughter when she asked him she wanted to be a family again ( we only left the family home 2weeks ago!) NO he doesn’t, because he’s sick of mummy’s arguments. Omg what kind of father says this to his child. Coward, blameshifting narcissist.

        • My dog turd tried to do the occasional “catch up” with my daughter. I wish he would either be a parent – which he is not capable of doing – or get lost. Showing up on rare occasions is only disruptive to my daughter and makes her more angry with him. But we all know his showing up occasionally is t about the child, it is always about them. He seems to think that occasionally feigning interest keeps him in the excellent parent category. He still has no clue that one becomes close to another person because of the day in and day out interactions. It is all the little things adding up. As my daughter told him just recently after NC with him for 4 months, ” you were an acquaintance at best before you left and now, just over one year after you left to live with your whore, you are a stranger I would never want to know.”

      • My ex left the dog I’d given him the year before too. He didn’t value her either. I’m so glad because she’s been a wonderful companion to me

    • Oh god do I get what your saying , I’m guessing your further out than me, so glad you now see differently when looking in the mirror. It’s dealing with the fact we were not worth fighting for or even having a discussion, or any kind of chance right ! It’s a sure way to crazy if we let it , praise yourself you and hopefully I are strong enough to get through.

  • In the short time between D-Day and GTFO Day, I rechristened my Wasband The Cold Slab of Meat. The reasons given for abandoning his marriage and a complete switch of loyalties to the OW he had known for few weeks were as follows: I was too smart (as were my friends of which I actually had some, he did not. In three years he never went on a single outing with an adult friend), too handy with power tools, too decisive, too good at too many things, and oh, too anxious and too negative lately when I used to be happy. Yep. Being devalued and unable to figure out why for months had nothing to do with that. Being bled financially so he could always have the fat bank account and he didn’t begin to complain I was like his spendthrift ex had nothing to do with that.

    The discard was the worst month of my life. I say that having watched 3/4 of the adults in my immediate family die in a span of 8 months.

    But reading here has actually made me reorder my view to what you described. It was a clean break. The horrible things he said and did at the end is the person he really is, and it makes it easier to remember him that way instead of the first two years of obfuscation and love bombs.

    He truly was too lazy to reconcile- we’re talking about a person who would vocalize the need to to a ten minute chore as an abstract dozens of times and then toddle to the computer to play video games as if saying the words were a magic spell. And then get mad when I would finally do the chore and call me controlling. Someone who would agree in theory to a parenting concept with our blended family only to abandon enforcement for his duaghter within days, Someone who would procrastinate the most minor of work and home administrative tasks until every situation was dire.

    Besides, like he said. I am smart. After the conversation where he admitted to ‘always feeling empty’ and ‘watching other people and doing what they do’ to feel normal, he knew I figured out how incredibly soulless he was and I had no value to him at all. He was even willing to pay his own bills again to get away.

    So although it hurt like hell I’m glad Schmoopie has him now. Her comeuppance for messing with a married man will be to find out what he’s like when she needs him most. I wasted 3 years, but it could have been longer if I had more money and/or energy to siphon. Or were stupider like she is, because that’s what he’s looking for, remember! And I did not procreate with a Cold Slab of Meat. On all accounts, bullet dodged, lesson learned.

    • “I’m glad Schmoopie has him now. Her comeuppance for messing with a married man will be to find out what he’s like when she needs him most”

      OH YES.

  • Not exactly my experience, there has been contact re house sale etc, and a long email about how he has been a fool and knows none of this was my fault and ended with the immortal line ‘I will always love you.’ I waited for Whitney Houston to start singing but strangely it didn’t happen. But, there was just abandonment originally and now if we have to speak he chats to me as if we are old mates and nothing major has happened. I keep to the facts about the house sale.
    What I would add though, and wonder if any other chumps have had this, is the complete abandonment of belongings? What would a psychologist make of that do you think? He took a small bag of clothes, his toothbrush, a pair of shoes, and that’s it. Most of his clothes are still in the house, so are all his books, his computer, his CD collection, and various other personal items. I have asked him, two and a half months post DDay, if he wants any of these things (or when I move they will go in the dump) and he doesn’t seem interested. I asked if he wanted to come and choose some furniture, once I had made my choices of what I was taking to my much smaller next house, but again, no interest. He has been back to see his ‘beloved’ Labradors once since he left, and has never asked for a photograph of our son, or anything to remind him that he has a son. He sees our lad (17) once a week for about an hour and a half. That’s it. It really is as if he has just cast aside his entire life to this point. He’s 46 by the way, and pretends to work as a share trader.
    Any thoughts?

    • This. It is 10 months since he told me he had fallen in love with a girl (15 years his junior). He took a couple of bags and that was it. The rest of his stuff I packed into boxes and they are in the garage. He is not one bit interested in collecting anything. I kind of thought he may want some of the furniture, or his tools from the shed, but no. It is just as though we never existed. He has obviously created a new life with new belongings. Also the cold description. Yes yes that is him . The 30 years we were together were cold and lonely. He is reptilian in his iciness. He also was a chronic procrastinator who took no interest in maintaining our home and garden until the situation was dire, and even then not always. The pain of d day and the abandonment was indescribable and I am still struggling with various after effects but the peace is a relief and I am strong, smart and I am enjoying the company here and feeling the support. Thanks everyone especially Tracy.

      • Savannahpaige, sounds like my X to a tee. Shiny new house, shiny new furniture and (he thinks) shiny new bimbo. Cold as a fish, never a true emotion except disgust, frustration and anger. Never lifted a finger around the house except in dire situations, and then I had to “ooooh and ahhhh” over the new light switch.

        I am so much LESS lonely now than I ever was with him. Good riddance.

        • ‘ and then I had to “ooooh and ahhhh” over the new light switch’.

          Lol ChutesandLadders – ain’t that the truth! 😀

          • OMG, yes! If he took out the trash he needed a standing ovation. If he didn’t get it then I was not appreciative of his efforts.

            Fucker did NOTHING for all those years and I let him – worse, I told him how awesome he was every time he did the smallest thing. Oh, thank you so much for picking up your socks, dear. My goodness, for you to hold a job and stay with your kids for an hour while I go to the grocery store is really going above and beyond. I know it’s a lot to ask but ____, you can just fill in the blank because every damn thing in life besides playing computer games and reading comic books was too much to ask.

            • same, same, thanked him for the few things he did, took out trash basically and only when asked, fuck it. One thing is good, when I got rid of him I was already doing 90% of the house/yard work so it was no big deal to pick up the other 10%.

              • I was so worried about that too, and it turned out between my children who actually know how to do chores (my stepdaughter was willing, but helpless and never taught how to clean) I actually do WAY less than before. Three loads of laundry, not six, and the house only needs daily dusting and vaccuuming. Not to mention the junk foods they favored are no longer being purchased- our grocery budget is easily half.

            • Lissa, “OMG, yes! If he took out the trash he needed a standing ovation. If he didn’t get it then I was not appreciative of his efforts.” THEY MUST HAVE TAKEN THE SAME HOME ED CLASS!

        • Me too… so much less lonely now than living with this lazy, silent brooding volcano. He didn’t want any custody of our remaining daughter… and thinks he is a wonderful dad because he sees her for a movie every weekend, when he is in town and not with Ms Relaxation. My STBX also hated anything to do with working around the house. When he moved out, the door knob on the front door wasn’t working. I had no lock at all. BUT I had friends… and they fixed all the locks on the house. Ms. Relaxation’s house has rocks in the front and I believe (thank you Google earth) that she has asphalted the back yard and sprayed it green I kid you not. This is going to be one story that is going to be fun to watch unfold… I will never be able to go NC because we have kids but I now have a tiny peephole into Schmuckiepoo and Schoopies next phase. Where is my popcorn.

          • I take great pleasure in watching their epic love story unfold. I call it The Narcissist and The Tramp. Poor thing, she has no idea. The house they rent together is literally under the freeway and it’s orange. She’s painting the interior – ALL of it because he is too busy and stressed. And so it begins for another chump. She totally deserves it but I still can feel some pity for her. She is no match for his crazy.

            • Ms Relaxation is no match for his crazy. She is actually a very fragile and damaged person… utterly no match. This is not going to end well. She will not have a clue as to what to do when he flips the switch… I do feel a little sorry for her though.

      • Well done you !!!!! Same for me , he took a few clothes and left everything else he owned – still have a shed load of stuff !!!! Nothing he valued was worth keeping – simple right ! Loose kids wife lifestyle and family so why worry about objects !!! Nothing meant anything to him , was all a mirage !!! Glad your coming through and yes thank god for here and CL

    • My husband of 14 years moved out 2 weeks ago and only took his clothes and toiletries. He has rented a new house and bought all new furniture. I am fine with it in that it means the house is still intact and looks the same for the kids but I think it shows such little attachment or sentimentality. I think it shows that new is as good or better than any thing we had together. I think a new girlfriend has the same appeal.
      He has also told me he wants me to have the kids most of the time (which is also what I want) but that he is allowing me them so I don’t find everything too hard. It is a favour from him.
      I have heard of this occuring a few other times with narcissist type cheaters….

      • I got that line of reasoning, too. “You’re welcome for being selfish. I’m doing this because I care so much.” In my case, he claimed that he was “giving me space” when he took off with the OW.

        No one with a normal human mind and heart would ever buy it, but OK. Thanks, douchebag. You’re the best.

      • Mine was exactly like that too, she finds a new place and tells the kids there is no room for them and see ya later everything that has memories of an entire life is just left there like someone else’s belongings in a house you bought. They want nothing.
        people wonder why we are so damaged by this it totally F’s with everything we understand and the behaviour makes no sense.

      • Mine said the same thing. Whenever I’d text him when I was visiting my family, he’d tell me that I need all the support from my family and shouldn’t waste my time texting him. I wanted to know why. His new pig isn’t a looker, he even admitted that she wasn’t “beautiful like you”. When I’d make comments about her appearance, he said that I should ask myself what did I do to make him cheat with someone who looks like her. He started getting angry with me and I told him that I’d forgive him and loved him. He’d also reply with “I wish you’d just hate me already”. Motherf’er.

      • Liv it happened with me. I was married for 25 years and thought everything was fine. We had 3 kids ages 22, 19 and 12 at the time. I caught him living a double life and when I did he just walked, not even with all his clothes and toiletries, bought new furniture, and started making plans to marry one of his AP’s. A snake probably has more feelings for the dead skin it leaves behind than he had for us. It has been 3 years and our children do not speak to him and he does not care, it is clear that he rarely thinks even of them.

        I’m thinking more sociopathy, because we have been spared the narcissistic rage, but in my view the difference between these cluster B-types is a really a continuum.

    • That is truly odd, Elle. When disordered people are unhappy, they tend to change exterior surroundings including people and belongings to have a fresh start. They rarely change their inner issues. Part of the Cluster of B’s.

      My ex took most of his things, but for some reason made a big show of taking no kitchen items, saying he would buy ‘all new’. I remembered him saying he did the same with an ex GF who he left, framing it as a big generous thing, and getting pity from me at the time at the sad state of his kitchen wares. I’m sure Schmoopie will do the same, and start replacing stuff. I did throw away his stuff. I bought new things of my own.

      He even left his daughter’s craft projects, baby dishes here. Eeww.
      I put those in a box in the shed. At Christmas I will need to go through and set aside her Christmas Ornaments, too. I mean. Who does that? So in a hurry to shag Schmoopie at his love shack he leaves behind all his daughter’s important childhood mementos. He asked to stop by and drop off things he took by mistake. I wanted to say “like the 2K sofa and XBox I bought?” but I just said , no never come back to my home.

      In order to understand cheaters’ thinking, I would have to have compassion, I think. And I refuse to go there!

      • Luziana, I feel for you because I know that is the hardest thing. The complete lack of interest in anything the child has done. So damn cold, but I guess that’s why we don’t understand it, because we are just not built that way. We have hearts.

        • I’m glad to read that this is not uncommon. I couldn’t figure it out either. My ex took nothing, wanted nothing, from tools and gifts to things the kids had made him. He even brings stuff BACK to my house now that the kids bring to him. School work, art, pictures they draw for him of the “I love Daddy” sort. Even presents he buys for them don’t stay at his house. He brings it all back to me! I don’t get it. It’s crazy.

          • I told my ex I would copy our family pictures for him when I was able to look at them. He just shrugged and said he didn’t need them. Ok, whatever. I was the one that was always taking pictures and trying to keep a record of the kids’ lives anyway.

          • I have been here at CL since her beginning. I discovered it on HP one day and finally found someone who made sense of who and what I was dealing with.
            But not until this post have I found anyone addressing this part that disturbed me more then her cheating and that was not wanting ANYTHING that were mementos of kids growing up . I am a hoarder when it comes to this I admit I have school work , cards , projects , trophies you name it but she never cares about anything like that she would throw it out all the time I would be very disturbed/saddened by it. She would say well we can’t keep everything and I said why not. She would have pics of her and her friends or keep things from her marathons and her events on the fridge or somewhere but when it came to kids things they were tossed after a few days.
            My daughter recently had asked me about something she remembered about a family trip to Disney World. Something fun we did in the car to pass time and I said yes of course we did that, for hours to keep you entertained and I asked why she was asking she would have clearly remembered that she was 8 or 9. She said that she was reminiscing with her mother about it one day and her mother said NO that never happened and acted as if it never took place . My daughter was dumbfounded , she said her mother clearly denied it happening. More of their disconnect from reality and memories.

    • Elle,

      My X did this too, leaving all his belongings behind except clothes for a long while. It shocked me also… I think they do it for a few reasons. One, they don’t want to deal with even the slightest emotion you might display in them retrieving their stuff and two, it makes it easier for them to dismiss what they’ve done and put their old life behind them.

      Mine was so weird- he would say he didn’t want anything when I kept asking him if he did, and then he’d come into my house when I wasn’t here and steal the things he did want. He didn’t want to negotiate or compromise so he dealt with it that way to get what he wanted the easiest way he could, despite the unnecessary added mindfuck to me of being violated again. And really it fits with pretty much how he approaches life- I’ll take what I want when I want, and I don’t want to deal with other people and their needs in the process.

      • This is exactly what happened to me. He took things when I wasn’t home. It was like being violated all over again. But you are right. He didn’t want to deal with compromise or negotiating. He only ever concerned himself with his needs.

        • Mine came over when the kids and I weren’t home and stole the lawn mower when spring rolled around. I wanted to call his bimbo and offer to show her how to work it, but then thought, she’ll figure it out on her own like I did when the grass gets so high and X is still inside watching another episode of Bonanza. Hahahahaha!

      • Mine said he wanted nothing… took his musical equipment to the other side of the duplex (owned by his mommy but renovated with 80K from my savings). X moved over there to start over and carried on with his wonderful new stranger friends and new fuck buddies.
        With all the money stolen and him being a freak next door acting like I never existed, I cancelled the visiting nurse and checked myself into the nut house for some sanity. While in the hospital the douche broke in and took what he pleased. This happened a little over a year ago, now I am just out of divorce court and emptying the marital space. I can not believe the things that disappeared while I was too terrified for my life and sanity to go in there. He never gave me expensive jewelery, but all of my family jewelery and silver is gone WTF. It is just stuff and I am getting a second chance at life, but WTF?! I feel so violated all over again. Most likely, the asshole and his new foreign import were taking their time pawing through my shit taking anything they could get cash for… Of all the things he has accused me of, I NEVER raped, stole money, left him homeless, cheated or lied and he will never out live the label of having left a very sick wife. He would have honored his marital vows but I did not die soon enough. That was the excuse.
        I was also told that I deserved no respect because he did not even regard me as human, clearly he lost his humanity in the several years leading up to abandoning me and that new douche bag has got to be a pretty dense non english speaking stump!
        Peace and Love

      • My STBX also didn’t want anything,
        including photos or anything made by his daughter. I thought it was because he didn’t want anything to remind him of his past life and a possibility he might regret his narcissistic actions. It was like a snake shedding it’s skin.

        • I think you ex and mine are made of the same stuff… my ex packed while I was at work, I went home to all his stuff gone but he left everything the kids had ever given him, fathers day cards, pictures, drawings of how he was the best dad. Left it all in the empty cupboard.

        • Mommychump, I’m more inclined to think that having momentos of his children and his younger self would really just cramp his style with the new OWife who is only 6 years older than his eldest daughter BTW. And not seeing his kids, why that would just onterfere with his live bombing time with new OWife too. It all make sense, he wouldn’t want her to think he had been HAPPY without HER would he?

          • My STBX has pictures of the OW’s grandkids in his truck. And not a single picture of our children in there. Not one.

      • Mine left all his stuff and most of his clothes when he moved into his parents house with schmoopie. He would use “picking up his stuff” as an excuse to drop by (check up on me). Only, his clothes and accessories weren’t the “stuff” he was trying to get. Also became a great shit-stirrer with his family. I “stole” a lot of his stuff apparently by not giving it back to him. That’s when I called schmoopie and loaded it all into her car…..

        It’s either a matter of story telling leverage or escaping his past.

      • My knight, My STBX frequently makes excuses to stop by to
        pick up “things”, so I have gotten into the habit of bagging or boxing
        them up and putting them on the front porch, purposely leaving
        the porch light off so he has to scurry up to the porch in the dark
        just like the rat that that he is. Makes me giggle alittle 🙂 No offense
        meant to rats…

        • Sodone,

          That’s funny and I’m sure he deserves it! We really get so little in return for the pain we’re dished out that I have no qualms about things like that.

          I think mine is actually shocked that on the few occasions I see him, I always have a bag of incidentals I found in the garage etc (golf balls, even lighters, and so on) that I just want out if my existence. He knows now that I’ve turned that corner, I want all of you gone and there is no turning back.

    • Like the first reply to this post, I read what you just wrote and wonder if I could be thought of as a purebred narcissist.

      When we decided to split, I decided it made more sense for me to leave since I worked a full hour away from home. I left with all my personal items but little else. I took no photographs or any other memento of our time together. It’s important to note here that even though my children are grown, I see them both every day since I live with one and work in the same building as the other.

      I also left our dogs behind. In the beginning when I bought into the conscious uncoupling crap, I thought I could always come back to see them but once I figured out he was dating while I still lived in the house after he made a big deal about “just staying until the holidays were over” I decided to go complete no contact. I recently learned he’s actually now living with the original OW so I definitely can never go back there, nor would I want to.

      Except for a few emails that related to tying up loose ends with the divorce and a couple regarding our older son I haven’t spoken to him in about 9 months. Dogs are harder to share custody of because I live in an apartment where they’re not allowed and one of them needs tranquilizers to go for a car ride so I can’t even take them on neutral territory. Unfortunately I’ve had to write them out of my life which breaks my heart but it bothers me more to have anything to do with him.

      In a way I’m the person Chump Lady is describing. I left and I haven’t looked back; treated him like the crap on the bottom of my shoe that was annoying until I wiped it off. Does that make me disordered?

      • NO! You are not disordered or a Narcissist. Your actions was a direct result of your cheating XH assholeries, a defence machinism to protect yourself from further pain.

        • No, you aren’t a narcissist. You are healthy and asserting appropriate boundaries. It’s a tough thing to do especially in a world of “forgiveness” and “let’s be friends” and even therapists who encourage you to “get along for the kids.” No. Leave these losers behind and save yourself.

          I thought I was crazy at the beginning. How could I just pull the plug on a long term marriage? How could I act so quickly and kick him to the curb? Why could I not stand to look at him or interact with him? And yes, my therapist said “one day when you have coffee together.” (What the hell? No thanks.) I was riddled with guilt. However, I began to see that it was the way to survival and the path to healing. My clear boundaries were a very healthy and NORMAL reaction to betrayal and abuse. And so it is with you. It’s NORMAL to be pissed at this shit, it’s NORMAL to be protect yourself, it’s NORMAL to walk away from abuse.

          If anyone else says it’s not normal, I suggest you walk away from them too.

      • The other reason why people leave without looking back is that they know what’s behind them is toxic. That’s the point of the story about Lot’s wife and the pillar of fire in the Bible. If you know you are escaping from abuse and an unhealthy situation, you leave; you don’t look back. And of course, a kind and decent person tries to be fair to all parties. I am sure you miss your dogs, but your decision, probably correct, is that they would be better off staying where they were than in adjusting to an apartment. That care for the beings in your care who can’t speak about their situation is far from what a narcissist does.

    • Oh, Elle — I had the same experience. Though we went through a couple of D-days and were working on reconciliation, one day I called to ask what he wanted for dinner and he said he’d be home at the usual time. However, he wasn’t. I called to see what was keeping him, and he said “Oh, I don’t live there anymore.” All he took was a suitcase and his handgun (?!?). I did eventually get a friend to pick up his clothes — and later he broke into the house while I was at an annual family event and stole all the tools and an antique dresser (?!?). But that was all. I am left with a basement full of his childhood toys, family photos, etc.

      I’ve puzzled over this for many, many months. It made me feel like our life together had absolutely no value. I think, to CL’s point, he is weak and lazy. To have those things around him would mean that our 25 years together really happened, and he would have a daily reminder of the piece of shit that he is. I know on some level he never felt like a normal person — he talked about how his mother taught the kids to put up a front so no one found out that they weren’t perfect like she perceived everyone else to be. So for him the only acceptable option was to walk away and keep pretending.

      But I don’t know. I’ve heard of many other situations like this where they leave behind sentimental items and family heirlooms. What other theories do people have?

      • You are so right Suzanne, when you say that having things around them from their previous life reminds them of what a useless piece of shit they are.
        To have asked him when he’s going to be home for dinner, and for him to announce he doesn’t live there anymore….seriously, thank your lucky stars you are away from him (and his handgun.) I should think that any psychologist encountering your twit would be kept in work until the end of time.

      • OMG – almost the exact same parting words – I called to find out what time exH would be coming home for dinner, and he says, “Never, I’m not coming home ever again.” On the f’ing phone, after being married 10 years with 2 pre-schoolers. He never did – but creepily did come the next weekend when we weren’t home to do two house projects that had been on his “list” for over two years. Finished those, got in the car, left the country, and six years later – the kids haven’t seen him since (and I’ve only gotten 2 court appearances to count as contact.). He also didn’t take any personal items or family photos. Left almost all his clothes, cologne, razor, photos – everything. Disappeared.

        These types are a whole different brand of creepy f’ed up. Yes, there are definitely advantages – and I’ve only had to deal with a few, random phone conversations and threats – not ongoing custody and visitation, thank heavens. I even had to do the divorce “by publication” – he made some super creepy threats to get me moving on that (OW wanted to get married right away). But it is also a different kind of pain indeed – wondering how you could have been married to such a soul-less being and not known. It’s also a different kind of pain (I think) for the kids – more like a death – or at least that’s how we treat it. I’m sure they also have a sense of confusion about how someone who has the title of “parent” can walk away and never look back. I just tell my kids that their dad loved them as much as he could, but that he’s broken inside, and doesn’t really know what love means.

        It’s eerie how similar they are, isn’t it?

        • That is a chilling story. Your ex is not even human, IMO. Your poor children, how awful for them to have been abandoned in such a creepy, heartless fashion.

          • Glad – my kids (especially my son) love the Star Wars movies. Even though they were 2 and 5 when he left, they have a few memories – enough for my son to say when we watched the movie where Anakin turns bad – “I think that’s like our dad. He could have been good, but chose evil instead. Now he’s like a creepy robot.” No kidding. I just hope they don’t hold out hope for some death-bed remorse like in the movie. He simply doesn’t have the ability to feel remorse – for anything except himself.

      • My ex moved closer to his married OW and is coaching her kids’ soccer team. I’ve heard he says he loves them as much as the kids we had together. Having pictures and memories around of his former life would probably be painful since he might have to think about what’s happened to our family. Last I heard his plan was to get married OW to leave her husband and raise her kids together with him in a big ol’ house in the country. All will turn out to be just fine because it’s what he wants so the universe will conspire to give it to him! He doesn’t need to worry about society’s rules because he can make his own rules.

        • Excuse me, what a thief!
          He wants to steal some other guy’s family? Good luck Idiot!
          Ho OW wanted my beautiful, hip 20-something sons. Too bad they hate her guts, and only talk to her if they’re backed into a corner.

        • Hey, Lyn. I’ve been going nuts this past year since DDay thinking on these things, too, but the reality is, these f-tards don’t know HOW to love, or what REAL love actually is. To these whores, “love” is just a chemical blend of oxytocin, DOP(E)amine, and a hard-on or orgasm. That’s it!

          So, spending more uninterrupted time with my grown kids (21 & 14) and my little grandson (2) has me really assessing the way in which I “look” at them, and think on how I “weigh their value” to myself, as members of my life, as my family, as people I brought into this world. These f-tards can NEVER do this!! They abandon their own blood for crying out loud, and do the same to the spouses they make their own version of “vows” to, so really, all of us Chumps can rest easy tonight! We can each be certain of one thing: these f-tards will NEVER fail to dissapoint! Meaning…that whore each of our husbands or wives abandoned us for AND their little brats, will not somehow magically get some amazing spouse, or “father,” or partner of any consequence. All they get is the f-tard abandoning whore that we finally are rid of!! LOL!!

          In the meantime, stories like Tracy’s encourage me that there really are amazing, loyal, HONEST men of integrity out there. I only need the right ONE. And women like me, and all the other fiercely loyal Chump women on this site are evidence of the same for the men who deserve us. (((hugs!!)))

          Stay mighty, Chumps. Stay mighty.

      • I think they are only attached to those things that represent their Faux Self, the “pretend” self, if you will. For Jackass, it was his tools. For someone else, it might be a handgun or golf clubs. Another person might want everything, even though it leaves the kids with nothing to sit on. But essentially, I think it is that pretty everything and everyone that is not connected to the Faux Self is expendable. I think they can be married so long as the wife and kids are part of that pretend “self.” It’s hard to imagine thinking that way, but for me it explains why they can walk away from the kids. When I was married (not to the cheater), I was a valuable asset until his grandchildren (by my stepson) came along. Then I slid from being #3 or so on the list (after drinking and his son) to #4, then #5, then #6. Then I was done being married. He’s not a full-blown narcissist, just an alcoholic and they too live in a world crafted with illusion and denial. When he started to complain about buying me a birthday gift, that was the end, given that he gave son and grandchildren thousands of dollars. I don’t understand that kind of thinking, but if people who are loving and present and working hard (as I did for him and for the extended family) can be shoved into a corner and treated like a paycheck, then old photos and family heirlooms can be expendable too. I would love to hear Dr. Simon’s take on this, though.

    • Just put your requests that he come and get his stuff by a certain date in writing–in an email, preferably. So, if he claims later that you got or stole his valuables, etc., you have documentation that he was notified and didn’t come get them, and they were thus appropriately disposed of. Your EX sounds too lazy to try and work the legal angles, but you never know when a lawyer will convince these jackasses that there might be money to be squeezed from you.

    • My guess is that packing their stuff and moving it is hard work and it is boring. It’s much more fun to buy all new stuff, and it avoids any potentially annoying encounters with the chump, who might inconvenience the cheater with emotions.

      Plus, the old life with the chump meant nothing to the cheater. It’s hard for us to really get that…. we tend to take it personally, believe the cheater’s skewed worldview that WE are defective. But it is never personal with the truly disordered…. they do what they do because they are fundamentally damaged on a level that can never be repaired. So the old life meant nothing and they prefer to start a new life with new things because that is all part of their continuous re-creation of themselves as whatever they need to be to get the outside affirmation they require just to feel alive.

      • I totally agree. Especially with the points on it not being fun and the inconvenience of the having to deal with chump’s emotions and how the old life turns out to mean nothing. My ex actually said that to me on dday. It was like a dagger. But also a good reminder when I started missing the him I thought he was: all I had to do was remember the dark eyes and him saying that. (And the other cruel things he also said on dday…)

    • This is an example of that icy compartmentalization that some cheaters are really good at. In their minds, it’s over, done, you don’t exist, the past doesn’t exist, things they own no longer exist, they just sweep it all under the emotional rug with frightening ease. Anyone who is able to split reality into pieces like this has a heart and soul in pieces as well. How terrible when they throw their own children into this dead, decaying void as well.

    • They love buying new shit. My ex is a shopaholic for clothes, furniture and fine restaurants and hotels. Outside of sex, it’s the only way he can tingle the reward center in his brain.

      Plus, it helps keep reminders of what they’ve done down to a minimum, so no triggers for nostalgia or shame.

      • OMG, I almost forgot about the cars and trucks! Yes! New pickups and BMWs are so much easier to afford without the overhead of the wife and kids.
        I was behind a hot new Camero at the drive thru the other day, revving it’s engine all the way. I was just sure it was one of the local spoiled rich kid teenagers, but nope, another balding middle age fart re-living his youth.

        • Same with mine. New sports cars, big new house, lots of gadgets and horses, 6′ wide TV, all new furniture. Gave most of what I left to the kids.

    • Yes, He’s got his head in the sand. He’s running away…from everything. He’s decided to ‘deal’ with the situation by not dealing with it. He’s essentially opened up the trash can and dumped his entire life into and walked away as though nothing’s happened. He’ll regret it one day but not for a long time and not until you are so far over him.

    • Mine left with his truck, tools, some clothes and guns. He left behind his dog, his wife (me), his house full of furnishing, appliances etc he purchased before the marriage, his childhood memories, a Camaro (he turned it into the bank)

      I actually have some of his crap in my own house I purchased after he left. It’s been a bit over a year since he left permanently to California to live with the skank he left me for, I think I am going to dump it this weekend. Be rid of it all once and for all.

      My thoughts are that he took what he felt was valuable to him. His dog wasn’t (I have him now and he is the best dog after some retraining), I wasn’t, but his tools, guns were valuable. We were all just his objects in the end.

    • I am exactly in your situation. He left everything behind. He took no photos, even of our daughter. He wanted essentially nothing from our 24 years of marriage. He left it up to me to pack up the house and sort through everything g. He left the “beloved” pets. For the first fee months after he left he saw our daughter for about 1 to 1.5 hours a week. Then it diminished to every other week, the once a month. Then 4 months went by from May to now. Out of the blue this last weekend he drives 4+ hours each way supposedly to see our daughter compete at a horse show and yet he couldn’t have been bothered in the past 10 years to ever come and watch her ride prior to that. What was this trek all about? She spoke to him for a couple minutes and there was only a few minutes of actually riding. He didn’t take a picture. On the XC phase you can’t even see most of the course. He had enough common sense not to hang out at the horse trailer (he completely avoided me which was the first smart thing he has done in memory) so what was the point???? Were we all supposed to applaud the amazing father who drove such a great distance (never mind I drove the same distance with a truck and trailer and had to do all the work to get ready for the show and clean up after? Clearly it wasn’t about my daughter because it is ALWAYS about him. Weird.

  • Wow- there’s so many points in this post that ring true for me.

    My XH abandoned at first and very coldly and then when he realized I wasn’t going to take that quietly, he came back for false reconcillation many times, and now is delaying divorce. This unfolded over 4 yrs- 1 year of pure ice cube asshole (in which I exposed I exposed him to his family and friends, and had him diagnosed), 2 years of back and forth mind fuckery, and this past year of feigned remorse and attempted compassion for all I’ve suffered (coincidentally coinciding with his schmoopie finding a new man).

    Two things that really stand out:

    – They know the jig is up and they’re not weaseling out with fake charm this time. The X actually said this to me- my chances of not ending up alone are better with her because she thinks I’m awesome and I know you’ll have a hard time coping with all you now know about what I’ve done. She’s naive, and I quote “like you were when we started dating 10 yrs ago.” Chilling stuff.

    – They’re lazy as hell. My brother, who had been X’s best friend since college, told me immediately… He’s not coming back, he’s the get rich quick guy, the gambler always chasing the something for nothing high. The bitter wife who has been traumatized is much too much work for him, when there’s strippers and 20 yr olds out there willing to take his money and fall for his bullshit and stroke his ego.

    Four years is too long, but it took me that long to reconcile 10 yrs of who I thought he was versus what I now know he is. And I wish I’d pulled the trigger before because now he’s resisting, and in ice cube mode- he would’ve disappeared without resistance.

    • “They know the jig is up and they’re not weaseling out with fake charm this time. The X actually said this to me- my chances of not ending up alone are better with her because she thinks I’m awesome and I know you’ll have a hard time coping with all you now know about what I’ve done. She’s naive, and I quote “like you were when we started dating 10 yrs ago.” Chilling stuff.”

      Well, oh my God. One of them said that out loud. My therapist told me that was one of the things Jackass was thinking–the MOW he was having the affair with “worshipped” him.

      • LAJ,

        Indeed. In a weird way, I think my disordered X and I did have a connection in whatever ways he could muster, in so much as… occasionally he confides in me just how fucked up he is. Too bad I saw that as vulnerability and not red flags like I should have.

        Other poignant moments:

        – I’ve never in all my life felt comfortable in my own skin

        – No one on the planet knows the depths of the depravity I’ve sometimes found myself in

        – I get itchy and frustrated with life almost clockwork every 3-4 years, and when it kicks in and the train goes off the tracks, I take a blowtorch to something in life and there’s no stopping it until it’s run it’s course

        A whole lot of crazy (most of that I learned post DDay unfortunately)

        • The part about the dog turd getting itchy every 3-4 years – yikes if that wasn’t my STBX. Every 3-4 years it was something – new job, new house, sabbatical, something major (new OW as I now know). he used to pull the “your not adventurous and life is short ” when I would protest his urge to move yet again. So glad I got rid of that monkey and circus. I often felt his need to keep moving was a personality problem, I would call my STBX very stereotypical Aspergers. Now I wonder if things were just getting too uncomfortable with his latest OW so moving was running away from his problem. He is a HUGE conflict avoider.

  • Oh my Tracy, were you reading my mind last night?!?! That’s exactly what I wished it would’ve happened, but NO instead of him taking off, he mindfucked and gaslighted me severely for another 3 years after the first d-day, that I didn’t know if I was coming or going (so he could keep extracting value from me and he was already cheating on me with OW #2). I wasted 3 more years on a worthless loser that I could never get it back and I wish he just left but not a chance! I finally kicked him to the curb and went NC with the asswipe, now almost a year NC from my end, but alas he still continues to text or email once in a while, I wish he would just leave me the fuck alone! Stalking, bad mouthing me continues as of today. The chumps who were abandoned, look at that as a blessing in disguise, for the exact reasons Tracy just explained!

  • Thanks for this post CL. I’m still deep in the process of healing. This helps as always.

    Although my ex did exactly leave and had no contact, he left without any explanation on what was wrong other than he didn’t love me anymore. He said stupid shit like if he misses me, he’ll come back. At that time, he didn’t want to divorce me because he likes the idea of me being his wife. When I discovered he was having an affair which he insists to this day, they just friends, he told me to give it 2 years and let their relationship run it’s course and if he wants me back, he’ll return.

    I played the pick me dance for a year and a half. Nothing worked. When I threatened to divorce him, he said fine since he was tired of dealing with me and I didn’t want to consider the options he laid out. Oh and when we finally get to the divorce talk, he said that we can always get married again if he comes back. Unbelievable!

    I have never felt so devalued and betrayed in my life. I chose to give him a child (I didn’t want a child early in our relationship since I already had one from a prior), quit my job to be with him (we used to work together), stayed home to take care of our child… All these life choices I made because I loved and trusted him with everything I’ve got.

    I have never felt so much pain and rejection. He left and never once looked back having the greatest time of his life with that whore. I’m better than a year ago but I’m far from ‘meh’. I’m trying as best as I can to go no contact. We only communicate when it is about our son and I only respond if needed. He still winds me up sometimes and I end up fuming and chewing his head off over the phone. I hate it. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I keep trying and able to do it. It is just a slow process for me; also seems like I’m always a few steps back after making progress. Can’t wait to get there, don’t know where exactly but at least out of this emotional shit hole.

    • When I discovered he was having an affair which he insists to this day, they just friends, he told me to give it 2 years and let their relationship run it’s course and if he wants me back, he’ll return.

      That’s mighty big of him.

      LOL (sorry to laugh, but it’s ridiculous to a detached outsider–I am laughing at his arrogance, not your pain).

      • I agree, what a piece of shit. Isn’t he so darn spectacular that he assumes you want his sorry ass back if he picks you?? Seriously??

        Man, these freaks never cease to amaze me.

      • I’m sure that was what Jackass had in mind–he tried to keep the fiction up that we were “taking a break” as he “worked on his life,” no doubt because he wanted to keep that kibble line open, once he and the Schmoopie had “run their course.” Or once her H put a crossbow up his ass, whichever came first.

    • Surviving, keep your chin up. You’ve been treated horribly. Untangling and going NC are so very hard when you share a child. The ego of your EX is just stunning, but ultimately, the joke will be on him. You are stronger than he realizes. Finding your own path can take a lot longer than we feel it should, but there is nothing to do but keep trying.

      I also gave up a career I loved to support the jackass’s dreams. There is a whole segment of my life that feels like a lost episode (aside from the time I spent with my kids). I wasn’t working; I was living in a part of the country he wanted us to raise a family in (and which I didn’t enjoy); I was too isolated to make friends, etc.

      It take a very long time to rebuild. I’m glad that this year feels better than last year for you, and I believe that next year will feel even better. I hope you reach the place soon where his suggestion that he could return or remarry you simply makes you laugh at the idiocy behind such a delusion.

    • “All these life choices I made because I loved and trusted him with everything I’ve got.”

      Surviving… this process is so darn slow. And I loved the stbxh and trusted him with my life too. I get it. Twenty years and then one day he just changed his mind and left…and I found the whore a month later too. It seems that there is a book for these losers to read.
      All I can tell you is that, after two years separated and feeling like I was broken beyond repair. I am starting to feel ok. Not happy, not peaceful, not hopeful, not meh. Just ok. Neutral. I don’t have anxiety mini attacks that often. I actually get distracted with everyday life. I don’t feel like I can’t breathe anymore. I don’t feel like I won’t stop crying. I still cry at least a little almost every day, but then I go on with my day. I don’t dread waking up every morning. So my body is finding a rhythm, like it finally accepted that I am not going to die of grieve and that my life has changed in an unimaginable way and that won’t change. I didn’t go to alcohol, drugs or men to try to cope. So I guess this is raw grieving and healing. Slow, slow, slow.
      I still have moments every day when it is like I am living in someone else’s body and someone else’s story. Very weird. But the pain has receded. It has taken two long years, but as everyone says, healing comes. So I keep praying for a complete healing miracle for my heart, accepting that I will always have the scars of the betrayal and the abandonment. But I am wondering how will I feel in 6 months, or next summer… I think I will be a little better. And so will you. We are survivors. Take one day at a time. I just tell myself “I just have to go through today”, and that makes life more manageable.

      We are here for you.

  • I wasn’t worth fighting for….it took me nearly 2 years to get over that blow. No counseling, no talking.
    Literally, it was “loving you more today than yesterday” on Saturday and on Monday it was “get health insurance, I want a divorce”. The emails I did receive blamed me for everything of course!
    On the personal item subject, my XH took all his belongings he brought into the marriage but left anything purchased jointly or as a gift from me…with the exception of one thing…the serving set from our wedding. He had to have it he said. Wtf? I’m not 100% certain! but the serving set used in his wedding to schmoopie looked awfully familiar..
    I think he left the stuff for 2 reasons, 1) no reminder of what he had done and 2) he could then use it to say how much I screwed him in the divorce.
    In any case, don’t care too much now. Not quite to meh, but almost!

    • Mine took nearly nothing…32 years of marriage and all he took was the nice rugs. He gave them back to me two weeks ago. I don’t think they fit with Ms. Relaxation’s Good Housekeeping, all china blue decore and those precious moment figurines. That was ok with me… I basically made the house. It looks like me with the rugs and the Peruvian tapestries from Machu Picchu, a trip I took with my daughter and didn’t invite him on. Ha…

      • ring – I will not give up ONE of my rugs – hard fought they were! Yours’ sound fabulous! Machu Picchu – my bucket list for a rug.

  • This posts is my experience bang on. Married 20 years to this cowardly alcoholic and the only explanation I got was I’m not happy and your to angry and controlling. I had been suffering from severe depression in the 6 months previous to DDay. Had lost my father the year before and was caring for my mother who lives with us. He was not there for me at all and even told the neighbour he wasn’t coming home as early as he could from work because he didn’t want to have to comfort me. Blah blah blah. His shmoopie worked beside him at the post office and he kept telling me about this friend at work who was so much like me and that I would like her. I always had trusted him and questioned him about her marriage and he said oh she loves her husband very much. 3 months before DDay he tells me her husband has cancer. In September of 2011 OW calls my husband on a sat afternoon. He was outside so I pick up his phone and answer it and all she says is I need to speak with him. I said he was busy and I would tell him she called. I did so and he runs outside immediately and calls her. I knew at this point something was not right. He comes back in and tells me that her husband is dying. I asked many questions that day and got no answers. She’s just a friend bullshit and I’m just trying to help her. He admitted to going to her place to move a television down to the living room weeks earlier so the husband could watch from his hospital bed in the living room. A week later he dies and one month to the day Oct 24, 2011 he comes home from work and packs a bag and says he’s leaving to go and live with this manipulating lowlife piece of crap. He has taken absolutely nothing except for a few tools that he needed so he could do work on her house. I have had not a single letter or email to explain anything.
    I immediately after two days of being mush on the floor packed all his cloths and grabbed a few other things and piled them in the front hallway. He came back to collect those things two days later and tells me later that it was my fault he didn’t try to work things out because I had done that.

    I have felt like a worthless piece of garbage for 3 long years now. I have been no contact on my part for 8 months now and am doing better. The hopium days are over. I get nothing from him and my kids are virtually no contact with him as well. They are late teens and early twenties. I feel bad that they don’t have their father in their lives but it’s their choice.
    It is very painful. I should count my blessings though because he isn’t doing all the terrible things that most of you are going through. I know he doesn’t give a care in the world about me and must hate my guts to just walk away from everything. I’m still pretty chumpy sometimes but am getting stronger everyday reading this wonderful site. Thank you all.

    • Justme52,

      Your story is similar to mine. I was married a long time to an alcoholic who cheated on me. I found out about his cheating and kicked his butt out. And yes, he moved on in a heartbeat and not a glance back. And yup, he left family mementos and reminders of a shared life. I could not make sense of it in those first months at all. So I read and read and tried to make sense of something that would not make sense. And yes, I felt awful about myself.

      I think what’s been so helpful is the no contact at all. I text and email only and very rarely. I’ve learned that there is no co-parenting with this freak and that I’m a better parent (and person) without his shit in my life. But it’s a hard won battle. It takes time and determination to NOT let this person be the end of you. And it can be one day at a time.

      I don’t care anymore if he hates me or thinks whatthehellever about me. I have to worry about me now. I think about the things that will make me happy and what I want my life to look like now. It really is freedom and yes, it does take some time but you can do this as well.

      Don’t let a cheater take the rest of your life.

      • Thank you thensome. You so right that I shouldn’t care what he thinks. I’m trying very hard these days not to. The no contact is definitely helping. I’ve been chumping hard this week I guess because it’s that time of year when it all went down. I want to move and get rid of his things but am finding it very hard. My 91 year old mom lives with me and is deaf and almost blind from macular degeneration so can’t move because she wouldn’t be able to do it. My three kids are also still here so just have to make do until I can move on. I will be looking forward to that day. I just want to live life again. I took care of him and was so codependant for so long. Still taking care of my mom and getting the wind under my kids wings as well. Maybe someday I will be able to fly again to. I feel stuck in a home I no longer want to exist in because of all the memories and stuff.
        Sorry for being such a downer. I’m trying to be mighty at some point each day thanks to Tracey and chump nation.

        • JustMe52, never apologize around here for “being a downer.” We’re here for you always.

        • Justme52,
          You are not a downer, and you’re more mighty than you think. Just look at everything you’re doing. You’re an inspiration.
          Best wishes,

        • Get those kids moving. Paint some walls, move the furniture (but not so that Mom can’t navigate. Change the pictures-frame family pictures, use old kids’ artwork, look in thrift stores and flea markets for cool old pictures. I have a great old framed photo of some guys from the 40s in my hall–it was $3. If you have drapes, put up lace curtains. You don’t have to get new stuff. Ask friends and family if they have sheers. And there is probably a lot of cool stuff you have hidden in cupboards that can give your house “your” look. Pinterest was a huge help to me as I transformed my house on a very tight budget and it gave me a lot of pleasure to do the planning. The best thing I did was get out the quilt my mom had made to use it on the guest bed. It’s beautiful and meaningful. I think you are very mighty and maybe all you need is a reminder that you can make any space your own. I also did a house (and bed) “clearing” and blessing to rid the place of jackass vibe… 🙂

          • LAJ. Thank u for your reply and those are great ideas.
            The house redecorate project and tossing a lot of his stuff will be my project over the coming winter.

            • Justme52, that sounds like a great winter project! Last winter I had someone repainted and I made some changes and it felt so cleansing and good. I went on a big white kick, which felt great with winter (and in fact summer, I am loving all the white).

        • Dear Justme52,
          I can completely relate to how you are feeling. My mother is a clinical psychologist and she told me three things I needed to do right after Dday. 1. Rearrange furniture, paint, switch photos out etc to make the home YOUR home. I personally removed all photos of dog turd and tossed out all of his belongings. I also took out quilts my grandmother had made and put them on beds. I did some repainting and serious furniture rearranging. I found a could things on ebay too. It became my home. Of course I really wanted to move but that took me another 10 months.

          2. Take up a marshal art. I am not a person comfortable hitting other people so I took up fencing with my daughter. That was AWESOME! Nothing like legally pounding your kid with a sword :). It has been serious fun. Great way to get exercise and get out aggression.

          3. Get a pet so you have to focus on something that gives you unconditional love and also keeps your mind off all the Crazines

          I followed the advice and it really helped me. I will say though that moving on to a new home has been the final big recovery piece for me. My STBX doesn’t know where I live, has no idea what it looks like etc. This is MY place and MY life and this new life is completely devoid of him. It feels GREAT.

          • Interesting. My therapist is a clinical psychologist and his only advice was to travel. I guess it’s in the same category as rearranging furniture.

    • “I immediately after two days of being mush on the floor packed all his cloths and grabbed a few other things and piled them in the front hallway. He came back to collect those things two days later and tells me later that it was my fault he didn’t try to work things out because I had done that.”

      Omg. Shifting blame

    • Awesome post – JustMe. It sounds like you are doing very well and moving on, which – I guess – we’re all helping each other with. Your post was inspiring. Hopium indeed.

  • Sounds exactly like what I experienced and have written about on my blog:

    At the time it seemed so much worst that she didn’t care enough to even say sorry but just left. Now I think I agree with CL that it has made the healing process much easier and quicker.

    • Hi, clicked on your link and I’ve just finished reading everything. Hope things are somewhat MEH for you now.

  • When my exW walked out of the house, she had already lined everything up with her family’s full support. It was funny how money concerns disappeared instantly when she decided that she wanted to set up another household. Ha!

    Anyways, she did not completely disappear. That might have been merciful as I would not have had as many head-games damage to deal with. But I will say the leaving was the most traumatic to me at the time…I loss between twenty to thirty pounds in a matter of a month or two. Another 10-20 pounds came off when I discovered the OM.

    Abandonment sucks. But I think CL is right. When they realize they you are too strong to be manipulated, they lose interest. Too much work to get kibbles out of that slot machine. Ha!

  • I was abandoned promptly after D-Day, within 24 hours. He took a few changes of clothes and left everything else, including his blood pressure medication and toiletries. Several months later, I had to pack up his personal belongings and give them to his best friend, who stored it all in his airplane hangar. Ultimately, when we divorced, he asked for nothing. He gave me our house and all of our personal belongings. I felt totally and completely annihilated. I felt that he hated me so badly that he couldn’t bear the thought of dealing with me in any way or form, so he just walked off. Five minutes before I told him I knew he was having an affair, setting this all in motion, he was hugging me and telling me how much he missed me, upon his return from a weekend rafting trip (no doubt that included the OW). One thing I think about these abandonment situations is that they contribute to malignant grief and PTSD. If you have some on-going drama, you have some things you can recognize as craziness, as BS, as stuff you just don’t want to deal with. All of that is missing when they just walk off. There’s nothing to piss you off, to cause you to say, “I’m not taking this.” There’s just massive confusion and hurt. And it’s easy to stay stuck in that, looking for an answer.

    • “If you have some on-going drama, you have some things you can recognize as craziness, as BS, as stuff you just don’t want to deal with. All of that is missing when they just walk off. There’s nothing to piss you off, to cause you to say, “I’m not taking this.” There’s just massive confusion and hurt. And it’s easy to stay stuck in that, looking for an answer.”

      So true. Great way to put it.

  • This is what my sister-in-law did. Told my brother she was leaving, took a couple of days to pack, while he was still in shock she left without telling the kids. He recovered quickly but it took years for the kids. No one saw the new life she was creating while a sahm. She was in and out of the kids lives for about a month then disappeared……for years!
    These people remind me of Scott Peterson. No one saw the sociopath behind the handsome face until he killed his wife. That is how good these people are at acting human. And it really is all an act.
    Ripping the bandaid hurts like hell but it is over. Those soc/narcs who drag things out just want you to bleed longer. The others just don’t give a shit. Scary people walking around looking perfectly normal.

    • “Scary people walking around looking perfectly normal.”


      When I detach myself from the circus playing out around me, and look at my STBXH (I call him Mimi, as in, ‘me!me!’), I sometimes get very objective and wonder, do these people actually have awareness on some level that they are fucked up weirdos? Or do they think they are just great and that we are the deranged ones?

      • My X definitely knows he’s disordered. Depending on the day, he will or will not be willing to admit it in conversations with me… And he will never admit it to people he’s trying to impress or mindfuck. But I was the only one there for the diagnoses and mental health assessments, and all the behaviors that contributed to them. So I think he knows denying it to me is pointless- but he definitely knows.

        Whether he cares or is concerned about it, that’s an entirely different question and I’m pretty sure the answer is no, except for when it causes him pain.

    • Here is a sad story of how these people end up. My SIL father’s partner abandoned her children, just walks away, and moved to Mexico to be with a lover. Never had contact with her kids again… lover abandons her, leaves her in Mexico, in Zihua eeking out a living, smoking and letting her alcoholism run amok. Fast forward, 20 years.. meets my SIL’s father, gloms on to him. (He is also a cheater loser.) and they live this penurious existence in Zihua. Fast forward… she is now dying of brain cancer… her kids won’t have anything to do with her… she has no medical insurances and is just waiting to die. AND she is being really mean to the loser. In the end, I am sorry that her end is like this… but karma is a bitch. Trust they SUCK.

  • CL- I have been reading your posts for 8 months now, I almost feeling I have been cheating because I have benefited greatly from being here and never shared my story:( I wish I found our about your blog 16 years ago! My STBX (my papers get filed today with the clerks office) were married for 24 years, never knew that there was such a real disorder NPD, just thought I was married to the most SELFISH human being. He was/is the envy of all his family/friends for having so many of God’s blessings, that many people only dream to have, but sadly walked away from it all. I had so many DD days that I can’t even count, He would leave and come back, and saying “We have such a great thing together and beautiful kids” , Yet choses to get online and meet different women, lots from Lithuania??? and has long-term affairs with emotional & physical. He was always leaving “on business”. I can’t believe I spackled and let this mess go on for this long, just like so many other wonderful people on this site, I have my act together, but sadly I gave love and generosity to someone who was an ice cube and didn’t give back. Your post today caught my attention (I needed to hear it, because I am definitely not at MEH yet, although many times I think I am getting there) He left many times and would leave everything, and I never removed them. Seems it was a reason to come back for false reconciliations. This time when I found out about OW #5/6/7??? I told him to come and get whatever he needs, he picked up his clothes and I donated everything else and boxed up other items and left them in the garage and prepared my own separation agreement and had him sign it and went to lawyer to file and served him!!!I was not going to give anymore cake or give in to anymore of his sick lies no matter how sparkly he is. I feel like I have been in both places with him coming back for bogus reconciliation crap and this time feeling abandoned also, in both cases it hurts like hell!!! However, You are right on target when you say “you got a tidy little sociopath who recognized that the jig was up and it was time to move on”. He thinks this OW will provide him with happiness…we will see…. because thankfully for me, I have two amazing children 21 and 17, who completely have my back, incredible family and friends and even his own mother/father and family… in reality he was the abandoned one. Thanks for making me stronger everyday.

    • “in reality he was the abandoned one.” I love this!!!

      Let me add the list of shit sandwiches my ex has chosen as his lifelong menu-

      The wrath of his daughter when she grows up to realize every photo with Dad contains an assortment of discarded ladies and ex step siblings.

      Never being able to afford to travel back home to see his family in the UK unless Dad sends the money. Even if Schmoops moves in . His budget is that tight, and will be for years.

      Never being able to afford a nice vacation. While my kids and I plan our cruise to Jamaica next year.

      I could go on, but the bottom line is instead of seeing him as happy, I see him as a loser with a stalled career, declining health due to morbid obesity and dental neglect, no friends, family he doesn’t particularly like or respect except when he needs money, and only the OW to prop up his sham of imitated personhood. And I’m glad he’s gone.

    • I am so glad to hear your story Thoughtful, it sounds like you are on the way to a much better life! I know it hurts anyhow, sending Jedi Hugs your way.

      • Thanks to everyone here. Every time I have tears rolling down on my face, I run to the CL blog and remind my self that he is a disordered Selfish loser, that hurt his family deeply. Who does that???? Oh yes a Selfish loser!!!!

  • Re the ‘leaving things’ thing. I think there are two things going on here:

    1) They want to walk away from any consequences / confrontations / reminders of what utter shits they are. They are, fundamentally, bone-deep cowards.

    2) I think I heard once that if someone accidentally leaves something at
    your home, it’s because they subconsciously want to return. Maybe they don’t take all their possessions because they want to believe they can come back for cake? I think this would tie in with their cowardice – not even able to fully commit to giving up on the relationship?

    Me and ‘The Great I Am’ did 4 years of on again / off again false reconciliation. One minute he’d be pleading with me to give him just one last chance to prove himself, next minute it’d be all over because I didn’t want to watch the same tv programme as him or some other triviality. Frankly, I think he knew there was no chance I could ever view him with as much adoration as I had done prior to D Day, and it fucked him off.

    We had our final bust up one year ago. Ultimately because I didn’t want to do something IMMEDIATELY that he wanted me to do it (I had good legitimate reasons, which I told him). He went NC and, after a few attempts by me to contact him, I finally went NC myself. In April I got an email from him telling me he wasn’t going to pay the mortgage anymore (his house, mortgage interest only – ridiculous amount per month) – which will leave me homeless – that we needn’t contact each other anymore, and oh – he wished me well. Ha – God help me if he actually held any ill-will, eh?

    • Thanks for this..I was recently complaining to my STBX why he didn´t put up a fight for our nearly 20 year marriage, two kids and great home–I said to him, that even though I would never take him back, I would have appreciated that he at least show some remorse and fight for everything that supposedly meant something to him. He said “You are too strong, you never gave me a chance, you didn´t seem like you wanted me back, you asked for a divorce immediately…” Excuses, excuses…but now, thanks to CL, I get it: it was too much work and he is too lazy. I did all the divorce papers myself, got him his post D-Day home, found him an apartment that he could buy with the money I have to pay him for ours (I make more money than he does…he always shoves this in my face)…even my divorce has been chumpy. But he doesn´t want to take his stuff out of the house until the divorce papers are finalized…Fun thing now is that he is also stingy, so he would never leave stuff that he would have to buy again…His OW or whoever he chumps next is getting our old mattress (yuck!) because I don´t want it. I am keeping bed but having it painted and made to look different. Cheater´s father is the same: his new wife moved in to all the same furniture, kitchen utensils, mattress, bed, etc that he had with his first wife that died of cancer (probably got sick because of his extreme narcissism and anger). They still have the same stuff, thirty years later. Wife is so chumpy, she never complained, and of course, he doesn´t let her buy anything new that they already have!

      • Susan- this!!! To a tee!! I did the papers (which absolved her of anything, so she could say I somehow screwed her over). All she asked for was the mattress and a TV. Funny, as I type that, I realize those 2 things were all she was ever good at.

      • I had to do a PO on my ex, but he didn’t want to take anything except the costly items (very few of those). I allowed email contact to get the divorce done. Anyhow, his mother came over and got the stuff he really wanted right away. Like your ex he wanted all he could get money wise, I was the high earner so… I boxed his other shit up and put it in the basement. Then the basement flooded during hurricane Sandy, all his shit was wet. I emailed him and told him that if someone (other than him) didn’t pick that crap up in the next 3 days it was going into the trash because it was wet. His mother and her husband came and packed it all up, it’s not that they don’t want the shit, it’s that they expect someone else to take care of their shit no matter how much they fuck up.

    • Yes, this was so maddening to me too. Ex plans everything, drops the bomb, then acts like he’s the better person because he has no ill-will towards me. Guess I was supposed to just say, “hey, let’s be friends because you’re awesome, I deserve to be left like this.” Since I didn’t, I’m a spiteful and mean person. LOL

      • It’s just an act. Once they see you’re happy, even happier without them, they can’t fake it anymore and they start to crumble. That’s when they get really angry and you simply finding yourself being grateful for not being attacked.

      • Exactly how
        my STBX responded! I love CL and reading how my x-dog turd is just like all the other turds, nothing special and so good it is gone!

    • Oh, Jayne! What a prick. I bet you are right and he just couldn’t handle seeing himself through your eyes once you knew, really knew him. I think that was a factor in ending my marriage, too. I was there for things he would prefer no one know as it fucks up his image as Captain Perfect.

      I hope you have your housing situation sorted out! And thanks for the laugh – god help you, indeed.

  • Ah, the sociopaths who just leave. I’ve got a sociopath who didn’t want to leave (the sweet cake) so if I had a choice, I’d take the ones who realize that “the jig is up.”

    I’d love for Tracy to do a post about those chumps who just leave (which I thought initially this post was about and my heart jumped with joy prematurely.)
    I’ve got a friend (not a chump she is) who upon learning about OW changed the locks, filed for D, requested temp protection order and shuffled the money ALL before 3pm on the same day. She calls it “ripping off the bandaid of a bad marriage.” Those chumps who just leave aren’t very inspirational to me.

    • I wish there were more of them. I think the folks who figure out they’re chumps right away and protect themselves are smart cookies. They do inspire me, even though I wasn’t such a person.

      • Taking a bow – thanks. The only reason I was able to do what I did so quickly and with great precision was because of CN and CL! And, that’s the truth. >>yeah, mighty me<<

        (no, it wasn't easy)

  • I agree that my XW’s knew the jug was up. By the time the infidelity was unearthed, they had behaved so monstrously, so abusively, that I had had it. And, they knew it.
    My first XW, upon being left by her second husband who, undoubtedly had been subject to similar abuse, made a couple overtures toward me after I divorced my second cheater wife. She asked me for a hug and once asked to hold my hands while looking into my eyes and saying “I love you, Arnold”.
    I was cold as a fish toward her, looking at her like the oddity she is, a person devoid of substance and a conscience.

    • My STBX also asked for a last hug and said “So, you will never look into my eyes again?” And I said, “only if I have to, but I will see someone who is a cheater and a liar, not the person I once loved ..” Idiots: they look for kibbles to the last moment…

      • They’re assessing you. Casing you. One last time, to see if there’s anything left they could use for later if they needed it. They’re cold, predatory sharks. Both my exes tried that – and even wanted to sleep together “one last time” “for old times’ sake”. Guess you’re not really cheating on the Schmoopie if it’s with the STBXW, right?

        • Nope. Mine accused me of making him cheat on OW when we slept together after BD. He was outraged. I was completely flabbergasted.

          Now I know what a fucking nut job he is.

  • Mine mentally left me but forgot to tell me. While I’ll never know for sure because he never told me why, I’m guessing I broke his expectation that I would be the stay at home, housecleaning help for the rest of my life when I went back to college. He funded his exit account for years at the expense of our family’s savings. I now know that he had been cheating and looking for an excuse to leave for years; he just needed to find the perfect, adoring, wealthy, short-sighted bimbo to help him.

  • Wow. I am one of those whose husband dropped the divorce bomb on me with absolutely no warning and never wanted to try to reconcile. One minute I am nursing our newborn son (one week old!) and the next minute I find out I’m going to be a single mom to two small children. My world dropped out from under me. I would have given ANYTHING for my husband to give me another chance and try for reconciliation. You should have seen the sappy letter I wrote to him begging him to come back! While he left our home and never wanted to reconcile, he delayed filing for divorce (after all, he was able to pay for his apartment and new furniture with marital assets) and ultimately I was forced to “do the dirty work” of filing in order to protect my assets. After a couple of months, he started regular visits with the children (I’m sure on the advice of his lawyer) so we did have some contact with regard to arrangements for the children, but other than that he avoided me like the plague. It hurt like hell as it started to sink in how little I (and our children) had meant to him. But when I see others navigating high-conflict divorces and post-divorce custody situations with verbally explosive, highly controlling, manipulative and emotionally abusive ex-spouses (both male and female), I am grateful for my situation. Being thrown out like a piece of garbage is much less stressful than dealing with a disordered person who is actively trying to destroy your life.

    • Oh Deltagirl,

      What a complete bastard! I’m so angry for you!

      Ac/Dc’s song ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ running through my head right now ….. Grrr!


      • Jane, thx. No need to be angry for me! I reached meh a long time ago!!!! For space purposes, I didn’t include my whole story in the comment. I’m 9 years out from D-day, happily remarried for 6 of those years. My kids have been adopted by hubby number 2 and we’ve moved 800 miles away. I stumbled upon ChumpLady’s while trying to find resources for two dear friends who are navigating divorce. I keep coming back because I realized in spite of my great situation, for three reasons: I sometimes have opportunity to offer hope to others; there are still things I can learn about myself and about boundaries; and last, I am bringing up a tween daughter and a young son and I want to break the legacy of crappy relationships/marriages so pervasive in my family. I have learned some really great things on this site that I am sharing with my children. So far, my favorite is the reverse golden rule: “If I wouldn’t do it to you, I won’t take it from you.”

        • Hi Deltagirl

          I’m so glad you are way past it with that loser, and that you’ve found greater happiness now – that’s brill! 🙂

          I did think you sounded very stoic (though, you can never be sure if someone is putting a ‘brave face on’). Still made me mad though! Dreadful behaviour!

          Loving your golden rule there – think I’ll adopt it as my new mantra – if that’s ok with you 😀

        • Absolutely brilliant, DeltaGirl.
          Love your rule – a revelation!
          I slightly adapted it to my current mindset:
          “If you don’t do that shit, don’t take that shit”.

          Thanks for the words of inspiration

        • “If I wouldn’t do it to you, I won’t take it from you.”

          Hot damn! That’s a good one. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Four years ago I returned to find my husband gone and a note on the hall table. Four lines after 37 years of marriage. He had taken everything and had such a cool nerve that whilst our sick daughter slept upstairs he made a packed lunch and took the last piece of homemade apple pie. He has had no contact with our son since that morning, minimal contact with daughter (a couple of early meetings) and very occasional contact with me.
    Yes, I was distressed at the time (he told me on a rare meeting that he hadn’t wanted to see me upset! ) but I realised that he has shown me who he is. He verges on the sociopathic end of narcissist but is a jolly outgoing person when in a new group. He left, strangely enough, for someone he jilted a few weeks before their planned wedding many years before me, so I am guessing that she knows exactly what he is like and presumably likes it. Or else he has love bombed her with the fairytale they should have had.
    Knowing exactly who he is has helped me. It wasn’t about me because I wasn’t that important in his life and now he has a replacement.

    • Nah…The new/old Schmoopie just thinks she finally caught the brass ring. He was the one that got away. She wasn’t smart enough to realize that years ago, she dodged a bullet.

  • Very timely, this one. Thanks, Chump Lady! I have been struggling hard with Drop Dead Ted’s walking away from me and the family without one single look back. And it isn’t just me he walked away from: he turned his back on me, my two daughter’s he raised for 20 years, my parents who adored him, and one of our two children. Yes, he walked out on our disabled child. Literally. He specifically refused any parenting time with her and only sees her for a few minutes a week when he picks up and drops off our youngest. No explanation for that, just no, thanks. When I pushed him on it his bitch ass lawyer told me that I can’t force him. Force him? WTF? Force him to parent his own child?

    So even if I could ever, ever understand what made him walk away from me – on our 18th wedding anniversary, no less – to move in with the tramp, there is no understanding what he has done to our daughter.

    • OMG exchump!

      Another complete bastard who just turned the volume up on Ac/Dc’s ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheat’ running in my head! ….

      Please excuse my anglo-saxon but – fucker, fucker, fucker!

      I hope he dies alone and incapacitated.

      (OK Jayne – time to go to your happy place …..) 🙂

      • Thanks, Jayne, for the hilarious support! I’m going to make that song my soundtrack every time I have to deal with him. It’s awesomely perfect.

        I hate him for it and often think of gruesome ways karma could catch up with both him and his tramp. She works at an agency that “supports” people with disabilities, if you can believe it. And neither one of them says a word about his daughter. I would love to know what kind of mental gymnastics make that acceptable to them. My darling girl doesn’t understand it, that’s for sure.

        • I have spent 8 years as a support worker for people with severe disabilities. I can’t even get my head around your husband’s attitude (and so fucking blatant, at that). How could he not have connected with your daughters humanity? How could he not have discovered she is her own person, with her own feelings, that the body is merely a vehicle for the spirit. How could he inflict that cruelty on her?

          As for the OW – WTF? The first 5 years I was a support worker, I worked for a charity that had the most fantastic ethics. We had the best training, and the best support. All client orientated, all about the clients dignity and right to live a full life with respect. Unless she is trying to influence him quietly to show your daughter, if not the love, then at the very least, the respect that is her right, then if she’d have been my co-worker, believe me, she’d have got her marching orders immediately.

    • Lissa,
      I’m with Jayne on this. Watching the pain on my children’s faces is 100 times worse than any pain I felt at the rejection. For your disabled child to be rejected each week while watching her sibling be accepted is a terrible, terrible thing. Knowing you can’t protect her from this rejection must be horrible for you. As adults, we recover from the loss of the marriage. But watching precious children deal with this truly senseless pain inflicted by a parent who was supposed to love and protect her, is unbearable. My prayers are with you and both of your children.

      • Thank you so much, DeltaGirl65. It is, hands down, one of the absolute worst things about this whole mess. I can’t protect her. I can’t make it where she doesn’t know her Daddy doesn’t spend any time with her. I also can’t make it where my youngest doesn’t see what he is doing. One day he will answer for that to HER when she finally asks him why. Unfortunately, the one he ignores can’t ever ask him that and I can’t really know how it is affecting her as she can’t tell me. I do know that she sees it and that it hurts her – watching her when she is watching them leave drops me to my knees sometimes. I just do what I can to keep life stable, steady, and filled with as much love and attention from the rest of the family as I possibly can. Thank you for the prayers – much appreciated!

        • I hope there really is a special place in hell for your fuck-wit ex and his super tramp!

          Sending support and prayers your family’s way too.

          • I don’t know about him but she’s well on the road to hell already because she took up with him. He should come with some kind of warning label! Like, “Narcissistic Sociopath: known to cause severe emotional, mental, and physical harm. If you come into contact with this man, please seek professional help immediately.”

  • I was doing the pick-me dance for ten years, but I didn’t know it. When my cheater was finally ready to leave me, he got sloppy. I found the evidence — little did I know it was the tip of the iceburg. But he filed for divorce as soon as I confronted him. (He was so indignant when I confronted him. How dare I call schmoopie a whore?!).

    And my cheater is very righteous about his cheating. He wasn’t happy, so he cheated — so what? In his discovery papers, he bragged about having cheated on me since I was pregnant with the first of our three children. He is completely unapologetic because, hey! He didn’t do anything wrong. He wasn’t happy, after all. What does anyone expect?

    Does anyone else have this kind of cheater?

    • Mine was a bit like that – he didn’t say he wasn’t happy, but he did say all he’d done was cheat, it’s not like anyone died, it wasn’t a cosmic affront, and everyone does it.

      • Ha ha, they are never original in their statements, are they? The “everyone does it” thing seems so provincial to me. Just because the French bourgeoisie of the 18th century did it, doesn’t mean that middle class people of the 21st centuru should too.

        • Yup, mine said he “wasn’t happy” and “everyone” has affairs.

          Really asshole?

          I think not.

      • Mine not only gave me the ‘everyone is doing it’ line, she went on to list everyone in her life that ever cheated or was cheating.. even made a few up.

    • Wow ! That is mine. All that matters is HIS happiness and to hell with the rest of the world! The crazy thing is 2 weeks after dick wad leaves I get an email from his mother saying that “if STBX is happy now that he has run off with his whore then that is all that matters and I should move on and if I had been a better wife none of this would have happened!?” – I wonder where he got his sense of entitlement ??????? And to think I believed I had a good relationship with my MIL ! hahahaha

  • Bingo.

    This is one of the scenarios that the Chumplady discussed earlier.
    The phenomenon of the Exit affair. This is the super cowardly way to leave a marriage and make sure you have someone there to lean on through your “Tough Times”.

    Translation: You know you are about to do some really underhanded stuff to your family and you want a soft landing spot of fun while your soon to be ex is realizing the extend of your trechary.

    Schmoopie is there to take you out through this difficult time….

    While on the other side there is a house and kids and sports and …. everything.

    I think CL has this one pegged, there are cheaters out there who know the chump will not take news of the affair well, at all, they know this person will be resolute and there is no point in even trying…

    So they slink off and hide behind thier schmoopie and thier family and ditch all that nasty responsibility. Yuck… it is so difficult and SO not fun… This is not exciting and fun, all the things a cheater deserves…. The Chump is responsible… so let the chump do all that house cleaning and parenting, that is what they seem to like anyway because they are always doing it now right….?

    But CL is also right, the recovery is forced faster… In a way it is the “blessing affair”, it forces reality faster.

    I have a saying now. I only believe what I see. Those words from the other side are just a covering tactic all cheaters know, if lies can get action GREAT! Integrity is for Chumps, Cheaters are more evolved in thier “People management skills”

    Our eyes do not lie, and other people’s eyes do not lie. The truth does eventually come out, but by the time it does your forced fast recovery is so well underway you have a practiced “Meh” attidude anyway.

    Kinda robs you of the whole Karma thing but, I will take Meh over Karma any day for on simple reason: I CONTROL Meh!

    • Don’t worry. Karma will come. But only after you have reached meh and don’t care anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s not really Karma if we “help” it along, anyway. My revenge was my Ex and his MOW getting everything they wanted! I figured as long as they were together, even if things are going great for them, at least they deserve each other and innocent Chumps aren’t being affected by their cheating ways. In the early days, I referred to their marriage as Operation Keep J___ and L____ off the Street. It only them 6 years together (four years married) for her to ask me, “Ya want him back?” Not in a million years, lady.

  • Put me in this camp.

    Interesting how out of the stories I’ve read in this thread, all of them have had the rug taken out from under them; no one saw it coming. Same with me. He got a big promotion (which turned his ego up to 11) and we were going to move 2 hours away. But a month after he got his promotion, he wanted to move out without me because I was too independent and he hated that I cooked for him all the time because he never cared about food. I wish I was making this up.

    His narrative has been “my friends told me that you’d give me another chance, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen,” which is indicative of the points made–that he knew he fucked up so why bother trying? That and he is cold and lazy. He even admitted as such.

    My therapist, my loved ones, Chump Nation, everyone says that he did me a favor, and that is very much correct. But even though I’m repairing my life and will be better for it, the shock will ever go away.

    • “the shock will never go away”

      I don’t think that the brush with complete evil will ever go away. But damn if I’m not going to try and make it go away eventually….

      • I agree. I do wonder if the shock will ever go away but I’m damn determined to make it become like a distant HS memory

  • Thank you, Unchumped Lady! 🙂 Even though the divorce was final 5 years ago, this was a part I couldn’t get under control in my own thoughts, until this column. It feels soooo good to understand. Finally. 22 years and 3 kids took a lot of work for me to get past- I think this column gave me the key to one of the parts I was still dealing with.

  • Oh, and I forgot to add: even though he abandoned me, he still never filed, and I had to. And he is shocked I filed after a year and a half of no contact! So after all is said and done, he didn’t want a divorce. WTF?

    And now that I filed, he’s delaying it. *sigh*

    • Mine did the same thing. Told me he didn’t want to be married to me, that he never should have married me, didn’t love me, blah blah blah. So I filed for divorce, and he then claimed that he wasn’t sure he even wanted to get divorced, but my filing had caused him so much stress, he had to quit his job and become an actor. Seriously, he actually sent my attorney an email telling her that.

      • GIO, what the actual hell is wrong with these people?! Apparently my filing had him taking a leave of absence at work so he could travel to lean on his friends.

        Did these douchebags think that we would just be separated forevermore?

        • My STBX was surprised that I filed, even though a couple of weeks before after DDay #2 when I asked if he was going to end things with her, I got the classic “if we can’t fix this I want to pursue a relationship with her.” He was also upset about me removing “wife” from my various social media.

          My theory is as long as they’re still married to us, even if only on paper, they can keep OW in her “place”, as a side piece, a plaything. Once he gets divorced he’ll get pressured to make her legit

      • GIO- you should seriously write a book. I often think my experiences with crazy could make a good screenplay, but yours would be a cult classic, no doubt.

  • Just more perspective from one of us who still has to deal with the “ex who won’t leave”:

    18 months post-divorce and 2+ years after I left (after repeatedly finding evidence that he was still cheating despite his assertions that he was a changed boy)…I’m still getting thrashed regularly via email. 1. His friends abandoned him because I told them the truth about why I gave up. 2. His son hates him because I say bad things about him. 3. I caused havoc at his work because of my big mouth … on and on. Truth? 1. His friends knew he had cheated on others before me and chose to give him the benefit of the doubt when it came to his wife and son. They felt betrayed that they gave him a chance and he proved he’s still the same scumbag (and they love me). 2. Every day, our son is getting more and more wise to who his dad really is: a mind-f’ing promise-breaker who puts his wants above all others, always. That’s what my son tells me, not what I tell my son. 3. He was screwing a slut at work (they were one of many to each other) with a big mouth. Everyone at his work already knew about them before I did.

    The problem is, it still rattles me when he pulls this crap. It takes time and way too much of my soul to wade through it and come out the other side. I wonder when it will end and sometimes it feels like it never will. No matter how much I ignore, enforce boundaries, go NC…it just creeps back.

    So those of you who were left – I can’t imagine the initial and ongoing pain and shock you must go through. But, on the upside, you dodged this crap because I guarantee yours would have behaved much the same as mine. Six of one, half dozen the other I guess.

  • My ExH was really lazy. I could have found the sexting/naked pictures he exchanged with other women months earlier as he had the passwords for his email and social media sites saved on our shared computer.

    When he wanted to be with OW #2, we had this series of conversations where nothing was resolved (they just broke my heart). He would avoid me and spend all his time with her. Finally I put my big girl panties on and told him I was leaving and moving 3 hours away. I did all the work for the move (splitting up our stuff).

    I also had done most of the work for our move to a new rental house (away from OW #1) just 5 months previously. I did all the research and made the phone calls to find a marriage counselor (not that we ever went to see him). I set up everything to work out of our head office for the first week of our separation.

    I admit I can procrastinate with the best of them – but he took lazy to a whole new level. He was the one who cheated but I was the one who moved out and left him.

    Whatever – the OW is welcome to his lazy arse.

  • CL, thanks for providing such powerful insight to the situation of those of us who were just abandoned. More or less.

    Jackass was a class “walk away,” although his past modus operandi when married was to gaslight and abuse (and probably cheat) until the woman left him. But he was in the enviable position with me of having a free place to go, the fully furnished and paid for home formerly occupied by his parents, which was conveniently around the corner from his new MOW. So he gaslighted and verbally abused me and provoked until what looked before like a calm and peaceful connection was fraught with fear and anger, on my part, and (as I see it now) bizarre satisfaction on his. That went on until he found a nominal reason to move from the place we had shared to his parents’ former home instead of to my place, which we were fixing up together. Supposedly. From the grueling 12-hour moving day, in which a lot of his stuff ended up in my basement, to the beginning of the discard: 13 days. He walked away the day after my birthday and the only reason I saw him again was I went to his home. In the interim, his father had died, and his total rejection of me in that situation and subsequent bizarre behavior had left me in limbo. He swore we weren’t “breaking up,” he was “optimistic” that on the other side he would “get his life back,” etc., but first he stopped seeing me, then calling, then texting, and I kept scaling back my expectations to nothing. Which is what I got. I paid him one visit to confirm that he wasn’t suicidally depressed and got the full silent treatment, smirking, adolescent capering, with a side order of lying bullshit blameshifting. He sidestepped any discussion of whether he was breaking off the relationship with a comment about me “being in a hurry.” After D-Day, he went icy, radical no contact because I had “accused him” with no “actual proof.” He never came for his stuff. I put some in storage and sent him a key, took another load that would fit in the car and dumped it on Mommy’s porch. I’m keeping the best of what’s left.

    If someone had ever told me Jackass was lazy, I would never have believed it. He’s always been a “hard worker,” which I now see as part of his Faux Self Identity. No doubt he works hard at work, or at least appears to do so. But I have 2 acres of yard and oak trees, a frame house that is pushing 100 years old and lots of perennials. It’s a lot of work. He had done the love bombing but now I see that the planning for the future was all me. He said he wanted forever, and so I started planning forever, making it real. I refinanced, tapped retirement, picked colors, bought furniture, etc. I also worked overloads for extra money. I gave him cash for the business he said he wanted to start with me–only $4000 dollars but that was money he wouldn’t have had. But the business would have mean a lot of work, not just labor but thought and planning. The house–same thing. And I had finally come to expect an equal partner. It was all too much, too real. It will be easier to figure out how he can chisel the family house in a marginal city neighborhood away from his brothers once his mother dies than it is to work to pay a mortgage and keep up a large property in a suburb.

    It took a long time to process this, but I noted when I visited in November that the family house was in poor condition, with a huge hole in the entry/living room ceiling and major repairs undone in the kitchen. When my bff and I dropped his stuff off, we noted the porch and yard were not “taken care of.” Supposedly, he moved there to ready the house for sale. So I think the laziness is certainly an aspect in his case.

    I think the ability to walk away from possessions is just the material version of their lack of feeling and sentiment for actual people. He could walk away from me. Why not a sofa? Or a bunch of family heirlooms? His is VERY attached to his tools, so in hindsight, it was very telling that he moved them straight to Mommy’s house. They value very little, other than themselves.

  • I got the theatrics as well. They’d still be going on if I allowed it to. Attempting R meant eating the shit sandwich and carrying some of the blame for the treatment I received. Now that I look back, I see that he’s been doing it the whole time. He had me focused on myself and my flaws (I truly believe our problems before DDay were all my fault and tried to do better). This kept me from focusing on him.
    Now that he knows I’m DONE, things have changed dramatically. It’s taking him some time to really believe it, since I’ve been a chump for so long. The more I stand my ground, the less he tries to hoover me. Yesterday he asked how I was doing, because he cares about me. He said this with cold dead eyes. He also said he knows this is the most difficult time of my life. I’m trying to maintain as much NC as possible, so I stopped myself from answering. I so badly wanted to tell him that the hardest part was the last year and a half trying to R his sorry ass. The more he lets me go, the better I feel! I actually woke up happy today. 🙂

  • The “things” my SIL left were her children. Who does that? Once they have thrown their spouses and kids away like used Kleenex they have shown who they are and who they aren’t.
    LAJ, I guess keeping up the facade as a normal person just got to be too much trouble so he shrugged you off. It must be exhausting to pretend to be real.

    • I think you are absolutely right. And while there are many good things about life with me, including a supportive nature honed by years in the classroom, I am not a kibble dispenser.
      It’s shocking what your SIL did. Indeed, who leaves their kids? I will say that Jackass had regular visitation with his daughter on one of the two days he was awarded. But I could never understand why he didn’t talk to her every day. How much effort would that take? His excuse for not calling or texting? She didn’t always answer him. Poor kid didn’t realize she wasn’t dispensing those kibbles…

      • My STBX gives the same excuse – he starts very indignant, defensive, and huffy if our daughter doesn’t respond to a rare email he sends. As she tells him – she doesn’t check email and if it is important then text her. Oddly he refuses to text her although we now know he was texting his fuck buddy constantly just before he ran off. Since STBX is a flaming NPD – the feel question is how does the rare email to our daughter work into his perspective that life is only about him? He clearly emails instead of texting because he really doesn’t want to hear back from her. But why email in the first place ????

  • Chump Lady – thank you thank you for posting this and enlightening us with your take on abandonment – as I’ve wondered what you would make of it since discovering your blog and experiencing the phenonomen myself 16 months ago. My ex woke one morning and told me he didnt love me and left that same day and has not looked back once. He walked away from a happy home life with successful business , lifestyle and wonderful kids all accummulated through blood sweat and tears over the last 20 yrs. I was totally blind sighted and devastated beyond words. It has been beyond painful seeing the damage , loss , callousness and coldness exhibited to all those people and things he professed to love, his treatment of his chump wife was extremely nasty cold and devoid of all emotion, even to the point of telling one of his children he felt no guilt !!!!!!!
    Nowerdays though fragile I am getting bye and have always known it was his issue and not mine to carry , he has been true to form in your astute analysis of who, what and how these creatures operate . I so love your take on seeing it as a perverse compliment ,,, so so true . I will adhere to this whilst still having to deal with him as I have kids. Thank you , it really helps knowing I am dealing with a cowardly shell of a human being who sadly did not or could not see the treasures he had all along , though not sparkly like his latest cake provider, his intact family were and still are, truly awesome human beings who would have given him the world .

  • My situation is a bit of a hybrid, but still I’m sure it’s not unusual, these cheaters have so much in common.

    After eight years of living off my assets we were down to my last pennies. We had no idea how to pay rent the next month and the stress was horrific. He handled it by going out seven nights a week (after bumming a few dollars off me each night). And I handled it by just turning inward. I couldn’t share my humiliation of being broke with my family as I was too ashamed.

    During the last month we were together I noticed a real change in his behavior. He got unbelievably cold and distant. He wouldn’t go anywhere with me and couldn’t look me in the eye. One rare night I took him out for fast food and he could barely respond to me and at the grocery store afterwards he would not walk with me.

    Odd things were happening in that last month that made me suspect his behavior was inappropriate and I called him out on a couple things, i.e., texts from women, but he quickly wrote them off as married friends and then he began to go more underground with his actions.

    I decided to meet him and his friends one Friday for drinks and by the time I got there at 8 p.m. he was extremely anxious for me to have my fucking drink and go home. His friends couldn’t look me in the eye. I realized later that he was waiting for her, even though he told me he was waiting for his male friend (one who doesn’t like me so we avoid one another, how convenient.)

    So one night in mid-October of last year he stands in the doorway to the bedroom and says he can’t take anymore of my anxiety and either I leave or he will. I was shocked and yet not shocked. He said, “Don’t do anything stupid” as he walked out the door for the night and when he was gone I wrote my suicide note and took a huge overdose.

    I was out of it for days but apparently when you’re ODing on klonopin you can speak and communicate, but you can’t remember doing it later. I apparently told everyone that he was not to have access to me in any way, shape, or form. I doubt he even tried anyway as he knew I would do what I did.

    After two weeks I went to my parent’s house and the fear of what was happening set in and I began to beg him to take me back. He was cold as ice and took my calls and responded to my emails and texts probably only because he didn’t really want my death on his hands. But he only gave me the bare minimum.

    I began to ask him if there was someone else and he always denied it. I was pretty certain there was at least someone he had a crush on, but unsure of how far it had gone.

    I had another suicide attempt when I realized for the first time in our eight year, very dysfunctional, enabling relationship we would not be getting back together. The blow to my ego was horrendous.

    But then I decided I would never again try to end my life and knew I had to change for my own sake, not his. But still, I was mortified and I wanted him back.

    I bought him things. I fretted over him. He even had me over for sex twice and hopped out of bed as soon as he was done. He had the gall to ask me for money afterwards. In my weaker moments I asked him if there was someone else. He always denied it. I was trying to appear patient as though I were giving him the space he needed, and trying to show him I could be less anxious.

    Finally one day I left a movie and I really felt desperate to see him and talk to him — I missed him horribly. I texted him and he, for the millionth time, said he was out with his friend at the grocery store. I knew instantly that he was lying and that he was with another woman.

    I texted “You’re lying.” And turned my car towards his apartment.

    As if expecting me he ran out to the curb and told me I was harassing him. I said, “Who is in the house?” At first he said no one, and then he said it was so and so (friends of his). I said, “Their car isn’t here. Who is in the house?” He said no one. I looked at him and said, “Just say it. Tell me there’s another woman because that’s a deal breaker for me. Tell me and I’ll leave.” I waited.

    He said, “Yes. There is. Are you happy now?”

    I said, “No.” And I slowly drove off.

    To this day he will not admit that he was with her before he told me to leave and I have no doubt whatsoever that she was.

    I don’t know who she is or how old she is, but I suspect she was under 30 since all his friends are. (He’s 50 and I’m 57). I’ve done everything I can do to NOT find out. I don’t need the added pain and humiliation.

    For months and months he kept contact at the bare minimum I think because he had that very tiny shred of decency in him not to utterly abandon me. But that is what he did in effect, he just discarded me.

    I was on good behavior for a long time because I was trying to show him I’d changed. I worked on myself and it took an extremely long time but I began to see a couple meh days but underneath it all I am pretty sure I was still hoping it would work out between us.

    I did the pick me dance for a short time but I know that I’d never get over that he fucked someone else so I stopped myself. But for six months I don’t know how I even got around, I was in a black fog, feeling utterly discarded.

    He doesn’t seem to be with anyone now, but he still hasn’t suggested we get back together. Sometimes I look at that as, “I’m THAT bad.” But other times I realize that he did do me a favor. I tried to leave him many times and he always manipulated his way back into my life.

    I even suspect he might want a relationship with me because he flirts with me, but I know he knows we can’t go backwards because too much damage was done and my family despise him.

    We are still civil with one another because he has a lawsuit pending and the outcome of it he is going to split with me and then go on his merry way. Now that it’s been almost a year, I can’t really be bothered to get mad at him any more.

    And when he does get his money and go I’ll be sad and I’ll mourn him some more, but I’ll get over that and I’ll get on with my life. I’ll never fully recover from his utter rejection of me and the fact that all my resources were used up and I’m starting life at 57 unemployed, broke, and single. Also, I just still like that asshole.

    In my early days here at CL I would complain that my husband didn’t try to get me to stay and it felt horrible. I was envious of the women whose husbands were apologizing and trying to woo them back. But in the end I know it had to be this way. I wouldn’t have been able to leave him so he had to leave me.

    Very sorry this is so long. I haven’t recounted the experience for some time. It’s a good reminder that what he did to me is truly unforgivable. At the same time, due to good ol’ trauma bonding, I can’t imagine life without him. But like it or not, life without him is right around the corner and I will survive.

    • Dear Moving Liquid,

      Trauma bonding is a ‘bastard’ isn’t it? Great that you recognise it though, the key to beating it I’m sure.

      I’m so sorry to hear things got so bleak you wanted ‘out’ from it all. I recognise the feeling, a dreadful, horrible place to be. I’ve said it before, but I think it’s a human reaction to dire circumstances which we feel unable to control. The ideation, if not the action. I am so happy you did not succeed 🙂 And, if nothing else, just look at how valuable your unique insight is here – where people need to hear what you have to say, and what you say helps people more than you will ever know 🙂

      Of course you will get beyond him one day, hopefully soon. Hopefully, one day you will look at the despair your association with him engendered, and wonder what the hell you gave him so much power in your life for – him that idiotic, selfish, childish, sad excuse for a human being.

      What is it about love that unhinges us so much that we’d volunteer to end this wonderful experience that is life? For that matter, what is it about love that we would tolerate the disrespect and abuse in the name of it, even though life is ridiculously short and gone far too soon?

      Pre-hormones, we girls knew dickhead boys for being dickhead boys and would not have tolerated one second of the shite from them. Hormones make us all stoopid. (I’m guessing, our fellow male chumps are ambushed by sanity-sapping hormones themselves).

      I try to combat the trauma-bonding with thoughts of him as a stupid child, and how I would never have put up with his crap if I were 11 years old!


      Jayne xx

    • ML, you are fully capable of getting over him. Of finishing your weight loss program. Of rebuilding an awesome life. I get why you still think you “like” him, but maybe sit down and make a list of what you liked on one side of a page and a list of what you don’t like on the other. Bet you a lot of money which side is longer. I am at the point where I don’t even like what I used to like about jackass. I realize that he was not “real”; he was an actor playing the role of someone I would like.

      Moreover! I figured out this weekend that one of the thing I most admired about him, his intelligence, was not what I thought it was. I think you are still looking at the con man, not the “real” man. No one who used you that way could be likable in my eyes! Don’t forget, we are awesome and we will have awesome lives!

      • LAJ, everything you wrote above is true, and I will add that I think I’ve also confused pity with love. I feel really genuinely sorry for him! And his list of cons is super long. lol.

        I’ll keep working on all that stuff because I need to do it for myself. I’ve been afraid all my life and I’ll still be afraid, but I’ll move forward anyway. I look forward to the day I feel about him as you feel about your cheater.


        • Moving Liquid, that’s exactly what courage is: being afraid but moving forward anyways. That statement you made about moving forward even with fear tells me that you are going to be okay. 🙂

  • I’m still always amazed at how all these stories are the same!

    I thought #1 summed up my scenario until I read #2. Add #3 and you got the whole story. In hindsight, I think he left because I started to stand up to him and not take his insults, which were becoming more vocal then they ever had been. A person can only take so much. The secretary laid in wait.

    I also found it odd he never asked for anything in the house. Took his clothes, his Porsche and left. Thought I would destroy the Porsche. Um no, it’s half mine. Came back in to steal his tools. Never asked for pictures or any memories. I guess you summed that up too.

    It’s hard to comprehend the lack of feeling that someone doesn’t have. I don’t get how they even live like that. My ex was emotionless and would get mad at me when I had emotions. Must have been the Remeron, Xanax and Advil. I’m glad I don’t get it and am happy to have my emotions intact.

    I never thought about what he told others. I didn’t care and still don’t. His family never reached out to me after knowing them since I was in middle school. That about sums up who they are.

    Life is so much better now. Sometimes I feel like crawling out of my skin because I stayed so long seeing how getting my life back has been such a freedom.

    And finally, after 6 years, even my children are starting to see his sparkles fade.

    Thanks again for the great post:)

    • Damn! Fu&@$ng Porsches… My NPD damnit-not-yet-ex has TWO of them, and I speculate he didn’t take either one out of the two garage spaces his place has so that the OW ( read: new house slave installed to facilitate nursing for his upcoming two hip replacements) Hope she enjoys parking on the street this winter…

      I have to say, having lived for years with his Porsche obsession , it’s now a deal breaker for me if any date in the future drives a Penis car…

    • my STBX was also emotionless and I am emotional – cry at
      movies or books I am reading, super sentimental etc and that always made him super uncomfortable. CL said it – he is an abandoner and a super frigid fish – approaching absolute 0

    • Jenn, I am sorry. As you can see, there are a lot of people here who understand what this is like. In the early days, the book Runaway Husbands really helped be understand what had just happened to me. And then I found Chump Lady, and this place has been such a place of healing and learning to recognize red flags and bad character. Hang in there. It really will get better…

  • I got a half and half on the disappearance act. Up to the point I decided to divorce ( and also let the OW’s partner know what was going on) he kept contacting me via the drunken text. I mostly ignored as the content was manipulative nonsense ( “I am missing you, strange as that may be. Went to concert last night. Couldn’t stop thinking of you And how I wished you could have seen it with me. Not sure what that means.”) Of course he was still seeing the OW and no sensible, sober contact/action ever followed.

    And then when it was clear I was ‘done’ – nothing. Even though he knew my mother was admitted to hospital in February. He never phoned to find out how she was-she died in July. Nor enquire after my frail father whose money he had used to finance his crazy business.

    The end of Kibbles meant he was off-with new relationship, new business (financed by OW) and no thought for others at all. I remember his reason for refusing to go to the marriage counselling which he had set up!-he didn’t want to have to go over all the stuff-about his infidelities, his porn, the prostitutes. All too much like hard personal work. Why bother when you can walk away and start all over again.

    I came across when I was searching for answers. Lisa Arends’ marriage ended by text and what followed was horrendous. But like us at CL she made it through the nightmare. Worth reading.

  • Mine left on his birthday while we were at a band competition. He took his clothes and his golf clubs…he cleaned his shower (weird). He said I would never get over him cheating (translation = I would bitch about it forever). He hadn’t loved me in years??? ok. I make him miserable, she makes him happy, he DESERVES to be happy. I call him the Tin Man-he has no heart. Over a year divorced and it is still so weird how he was just done and is completely emotionless except for rage if I bring it up.

  • I feel so grand! I got it all!!! The mindfuckery for a year, an STD, AND finally he just left with zero contact! It’s been a year, I’ve been devastated for close to that, but now? Now, I have the most HATE I have ever felt in my entire 53 years of living! I’m not sure what to do with it. Suggestions?

    • Individual counseling, for a start. Lots and lots of exercise. I’m so sorry. You’re in good company. It’s almost shocking how many of us female chumps are in our 50s. You can learn how to process that understandable anger but it won’t be quick or easy. Keep talking here, we’ll listen.

      • I’m 51 – and I HATE him. Got no suggestions – other than try to laugh – if not at him – at anything else, anything at all!

        I’ll get past the hate eventually, as will you, but better than maudling, I reckon! 😀

        • I’m 49 and right now I have no problem hating his fucking guts. My therapist tells me it’s about time I got angry and that as long as I don’t get stuck in it or behave destructively because of it, it’s all good. So, I’m with ML, see a therapist. I also keep a journal and talk to friends and family. Try to redirect, when I can, to something more positive about me or for me (read a book, paint my nails, eat some ice cream, work on my “future” life board). Just hang in there and know that you are far from the only one!

            • Hi ML! My older daughters (26 and 31) got me started on Pinterest. I ended up creating boards about stuff that I just love and am grateful for – stupid stuff like Daniel Day Lewis and real-sugar coke in the bottles and rain; my favorite books, people who inspire me, things that make me laugh. And it became a way for me to find myself again. So much I had forgotten! So I started some private boards that are just for me: Things I am Proud of, What My Future Holds, What I Can Do Right Now, etc. They are ways for me to create and visualize and remember. It’s fun. I can also take stuff from my Pinterest boards and print pics or whatever to put into my journal. I don’t know, it sounds sort of silly but it has really helped me. I think I was able to tap into things that I couldn’t access any other way. My favorite is my future board and I make sure to look at it and play with it often – reminds me that I have a future and also reminds me that it’s up to me what happens in that future.

              • Lissa, I share your enthusiasm for the potential of Pinterest, which was and is a huge tool for my life re-design. I have boards about being a confident woman, vulnerability, my new life, the spiritual side (prayers, poems, etc.). When I get down, I can read pins to remind me to be grateful, to be brave, to hit the treadmill, to ground myself in prayer and mediation, etc. Now that I’m on my own, I also look for ways to do things I don’t know how to do. And I started re-thinking my clothes aesthetic anticipating the need to buy new stuff after the weight loss (size 12 and tight in the seams) to 6/8–the seamstress can’t take enough in. But I don’t have money to make mistakes on professional outfits for work so I spent a lot of time pinning things I liked until it came clear what works to make me look my best at (almost) 63, what will stay in style for the next few years, and what will make the outside match the inside, so to speak. I also have boards for work stuff and for each season’s home projects. And it is great fun picking board covers that also express who I am right now, today.

        • I’m 47, soon to be 48 with he DDay a few weeks before my bday.

          So it’s been about a year and I’m working through it all with a therapist, because I have never had a vampire suck, stomp and steal my soul before.

          I agree, be pissed off. Exercise a lot. I’ve been channeling my anger into the exit strategy and moving forward. Weirdly enough these past two weeks I have had a sense of tranquility. Not denial. Not rug sweeping but the feeling of I don’t give a fuck what the asshole does EVER AGAIN.

          • “I have never had a vampire suck, stomp and steal my soul before.”

            I actually had a side splitting laugh when I read this.

    • I get it completely, GIA, I never thought I would be capable of such hatred.
      As Jayne says. laughing at him is great, think about where is achillies heel is and focus on that.

      • I’m 53 and divorced one year. I still have moments of rage towards X, but now it’s mostly because of his epic, lying, selfishness and cheapness when it comes to his sons.

        I’m doing my best to move past my own self-disgust for being such a colossal dumbass for 18 years. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for allowing someone to completely fuck me and my kids over while I made him dinner and kept our family “picture perfect.”

        Karma is coming to call. He’s already sleeping in the spare bedroom of their loveshack and is going on 16 months unemployment while bimbo pays for everything. His mask is beginning to slip with his new and improved life. Ole Bimbo is about to find out what a scary, lazy, vapid coward he really is! I have odds for two more years, tops. She’s still best buds with her pedophile, daughter rapist ex-husband, so my prediction is that she’ll end up back married to him.

    • Just feel it for now and don’t beat yourself up too much. Try to bring your focus back to what brings you joy. Eventually the hate will burn out, at least it did for me.

  • My story is a little different because to everyone looking from the outside in, I was the one “who just left” when in reality my ex husband had planned my exit for quite sometime. He did not want to part with our very large apartment, so he paid me out and I bought my lovely little one bedroom apartment. I never took one thing except my clothes, toiletries etc and I bought all new furniture. I had given all our family photos to my daughter for safe keeping a little before everything went pear shape and as she hasn’t spoken to me for nearly 5 years, I do not have one photo of my kids. The day after I moved out, I was told that my daughter came into her father’s apartment and took my sewing machine and many of my things, of which I was having my ex send to me. He just gave them to our daughter without phoning me to see if she could have them. It was like I had died and they were dividing up my property. I might as well be dead as my kids don’t love me or speak to me but I have grown very strong in the years I have been in the wilderness. So long story short, it looks as if I walked away without looking back and everyone took his side because he is such a lovely bloke. How my ex husband managed to pull of his scam still has me puzzled but then again, I don’t think like he does because I am honest. It hasn’t paid to be honest but I can live with myself.

    • Oh Maree – I’m so sorry, it always saddens me when you talk about your children’s betrayal. I have a theory that kids are much more forgiving of their fathers than their mothers, I think it has deep psychological connections with infantile rage at the primary care-giver (i.e. you). It’s no consolation for you, I’m sure, but just something I’ve noticed over the years. Dad can be a complete arse who gives nothing but crumbs, while mum will cater to all their physical / emotional needs which they’d have actually died without, but Dad tell ’em a little joke, play a little football, and oh my God – he walks on water! It isn’t fair. It’s common in this misogynistic society we live in.

      I hope, Maree, that one day, perhaps when they become parents themselves (sadly not always) they’ll suddenly realise how much you loved them and how much they owe to you – their very lives!


      Jayne x

    • I’m so sorry for what has happened to you! The pain of it must be a gazillion times worse when you don’t have your kids beside you. You are still standing so that makes you unbelievably strong – kudos to you for refusing to just lay down and die. I sincerely hope that time brings about reconciliation with your kids.

      • Many thanks Jayne and lissa. I hate being strong but strong I must be. Having said that, I find solace in the fact that my kids loved and adored me when they were little. I was their only constant and my son said to me back when he spoke with me. “Mum, I remember all the laughter that you, me and C (sister’s name) had when we were together”. Their father wasn’t any fun and he was never around. Funny how things turn out.

  • Thanks so much for posting this one. I thought something was wrong, that I was bonding so well with the other readers, but that my ex didn’t come back for kibbles at all. My D-day happened when she stayed out late at a bar with “friends from work”, when she had told be earlier that she would be meeting a girlfriend for dinner. Turned out she stayed at this bar until after Midnight with 2 guys from work. When I talked to her about it I was a little upset and confronted her. Telling her that I felt disrespected, by her staying out late with guys when the plans had changed and she didn’t even send me a text to let me know, and that I wasn’t comfortable with my wife hanging out with a couple of guys until midnight at a bar. Her defense was “You don’t trust me”. The next three weeks I get the silent treatment. I am freaking out because I thought we had just had a fight, and now she won’t say a word to me. Finally after almost 4 weeks of silent treatment she asks if we can talk, and proceeds to tell me that she has leased and apartment and would be moving out. She said that I scared her when I confronted her about that night, and that I don’t trust her. When she moved out I noticed something strange on our phone bill. There was an extremely high number of text messages between my wife’s phone and another number. Well over a hundred on most days for a couple of months prior to the D-day. Turned out it was one of they guys from the bar. When I asked her if that is what she was running to, she said “I’m not running to anyone, I am just trying to find myself, and how could you have looked up that info on the phone bill, I would never have done that to you”. I tried pick-me dancing for a while longer but then started to realize I was better off without that. She and her schmoopsi are now openly hanging out together, the jerk even showed up with her at one of my son’s baseball games. Last week I got the final divorce papers. It took a year and a half to get clear of that blameshifting, gas lighting, fucktard, but I am now free. It’s time for me to fly!

    So she couldn’t just leave to never be heard from again, since we have 2 sons, but she fled me as quick as she could once she was found out. So this post spoke to me. Thanks for that.

    • My husband won’t admit that the OW happened before he dumped me, also. He’s said it so much now that he’s starting to believe his own lies. I wonder why it’s so hard for them to admit it?

      • I don’t know Moving Liquid. Maybe they don’t want to believe that they could do that to someone. Her mother told me that when she asked if she was involved with the guy at work, all she would reply was “I’m a good person”. It’s like she was trying very hard to convince herself that this didn’t make her bad. Narcissistic for sure. More worried about how this makes them look, than what they are doing to the people that are depending on them.

        • The Jackass: “I’m not that kind of guy.” Statement Analysis, a tool used by law enforcement, would not see such statements as denials, but rather as deceptive.

      • I got this too that nothing happened until after he moved out. He was spending hours at her place when her husband wasn’t home ‘helping’ her with assignments. It wasn’t until I found him at her place at 1 in the morning a couple of weeks after he just left that I put it all together. Her husband had moved out a few days before.

  • These stories highlight the fact that most cheaters, if not all, are personality disordered/ The financial abuse, the infidelity, the lack of empathy, the inability to bond, the need to run and start over all the time. These are all characteristics of the disordered.

    • I watched a Sam Vaknin video last week where he said these people are basically not human. They are as close to an extraterrestrial alien life form as you are ever likely to meet. That jibes with my experience.

      • Yep. I’m sure there are cheaters out there who are just assholes, not disordered, but the ones we read about here at Chump Lady mostly seem to be very disordered.

        Personally, I believe these truly wicked, disordered types are demons. I’m undecided on whether they are literally from hell, or whether biblical descriptions of demons are based on the wickedness of disordered humans. But either way, they are wicked people who will drag their victims down into their own brand of hell if given the opportunity.

        • I think cheating always reveals some degree of “entitlement.” Like all spiritual “cancers,” entitlement thinking can be a way to justify all sorts of things. One thing I have learned on this blog is to call myself out when I start thinking I am “entitled” or above the rules. I caught myself cutting into a line on Sunday, just to “grab something.” That’s not cheating but it is another way that entitlement thinking can get hold of a person and start to erode the character. It’s really the deadly sin of “pride” that put self before others, all the time.

  • Off topic but worth sharing: read some random article in a British magazine about pierce brosnan- the actor, who still, by the way, is a major dreamboat.
    So here’s a man in his late 50s, world renowned looker, talented and NOT a cheater married to a plus size woman, who he claims he’s “still madly in love with.”
    Never had his name associated with any infidelity scandal, he nursed his first wife through deadly cancer and still speaks of her as the love of his life. Seems like a dotting father on top of it. google Keely Shaye and youll see she’s not exactly a trophy wife by hollywood standards.
    Yes, they exist. The story brought tears to my eyes.

    • Monica, I have always admired Pierce because of his manliness and his ability to show his love without looking over his shoulder. Also, his 1st beautiful wife was Australian and older than him which is completely opposite to the Hollywood stereotype or the trend today for blokes to want women young enough to be their granddaughters or great granddaughters. His current wife Keeley obviously has what Pierce wants and needs but don’t forget she is a very intelligent woman also, which I know would hold his interest over a skinny, false bobbed young blonde any day. Some men do like to have conversations with their partners. In a nut shell, it appears that Pierce is a rare gem indeed. The total package. Lucky Keeley. 🙂

  • OMG–great timing on this! When I did the “I can try to forgive you dance” after I discovered his 18 month affair, he said, “OK let’s try.” Little did I know his OW continued to text, email, call, stalk the house and send letters–all to work so I wouldn’t catch on. When he moved in with OW–while I was at work and left the letter on the kitchen table, I was crushed. All I wanted at the time were answers because I gave my all to the recovery. Obviously, he didn’t. It’s hard to be dumped in this manner, but 5 months later I realize how much better off I am. I only hope someday, the OW treats him the same way they treated me!

  • Thanks, CL, and while everything you write has been helpful, this provided so much clarity about my own situation. My cheater never admitted anything and the less he said the more I went after it. Oh, he thought this was going to be some back-slapping, country-club divorce with a shrug and a Pollyanna explanation of how the marriage wasn’t working. That’s NOT what happened and I refused to allow it to go down like that. I found the initial text message this past January…”going to bed now, Love, I love you.” Lies, denials, gaslighting, so yes I pressed on. By the time I had gathered all I could, I turned into an attorney the cell phone records, text messages, a Western Union wire transfer (that confirmed her legal name and phone number that matched 18 months of phone records), FB contact, and finally matched two years of his pharmacy purchases of Viagra to his US passport trips to Jamaica – where she’s at and where he goes to golf. I hadn’t been doing surveillance on him prior to this discovery. He was divorced on the grounds of adultery this past August, no remorse from him, no explanation. And no, I had no clue about his affair…my mother had passed away three weeks after we had lost my grand daughter in a housefire so 2013 was a rough year – and he was involved with this girl for a year before we lost Lucy so no point trying to blame his behavior on these circumstances. In fact, everyone who knows him was chumped, especially me of course, as no one would ever think this 66 y/o good father and grandfather would be sexually involved for over two years with a 30 y/o Jamaican girl. Back to CL’s piece…yes, he’s incredibly entitled, always has been. Yes, he figured the jig was up and that I would never forgive him. Yes, the situation is tragic and would no doubt be hard for him or anyone to be around, talk about a buzz kill, right? Well, there’s nothing I can do about it except continue grief therapy – they wanted him o-u-t – practice gratitute, keep working, and as CL says, be thankful for my real friends, the ones who were there when I needed them. And in case you chumps think I barrelled through this divorce like an uber-strong woman, I did not. I have been in despair but have kept moving forward because it is yet another case where life gives us no other option. So much good advice from you, CL, but this post completely defined the “slash and burn” exit of my XH. By the way, there’s a projected time period for when he will live this down: never.

    • So terribly sorry about loss of your mother and granddaughter–and sorry also that your losses were met with betrayal and infidelity. Your X is the poster boy for lack of empathy and soullessness. You are “uber-strong”; that’s not about charging ahead without despair. It’s about moving forward in life while feeling the grief and despair. Blessings to you.

      • LovedAJackass, Sodone, and The Journey Sucks – Thank you for your thoughtfulness and replies. Don’t know what I would have done without CL and the Chumps. Onward we go…

      • Life gives you no other option.

        This will be added to my daily pickmeup mantra, so strong and decisive! Thank you

  • Great Post CL! It really is ‘them’ and not ‘us’.

    A recent fling (and no longer), admitted to me that ‘he just leaves in his mind’ long before he is physically ready to go.

    So there you go. There’s the explanation!

    For him, this justifies all of his terrible behavior because — ‘he was already gone in his mind’. Completely justified. Completely rationalized. Completely compartmentalized. A complete and utter re-write of shared history. And, obviously, absolutely no personal responsibility.

    After reading this blog, and the eerily similar behaviors/patterns, I do wonder about the ‘mental health’ of these cheaters. How many have undiagnosed personality disorders that we have unwittingly stumbled into? Maybe an idea for a post CL?

  • This is pretty much what mine did. One day everything was fine. The next day…..although he didn’t just disappear, The jig was up after a car accident could not be explained away……he left without a fight. Oh how that messes with your mind. You think you are their soulmate one minute and then the realization that you were nothing more than a convenience……a cover for a life of secrecy and deception. He never graveled, he never asked for forgiveness, he never even really apologized. The only thing I got was…..more questions and a feeling of WTF? The realization that the person you spent 30 years with had a completely polar opposite lifestyle going on right under your nose and you never had a clue. What does that say about me? That’s the hardest part at the end of the day……now I just sit and wonder when the next bomb is going to drop. I fear what else he has hidden. I still can’t face the divorce aspect. But for now his improprieties keep him in check from what we suspect is his way of avoiding some huge financial downfall if I should force the issue. He still has control. But somehow I think I hold Ace. Preparing for the inevitable is a fear I wish on no one.

    • GURL! get your self the most fearsome attorney you can find… Soon, he could be hiding assets and you are giving him time to do that. Dump that perv… sending you love and strength.

    • Yes, you need Genghis Khan. attorney-at-law. If another shoe drops, you want to be the one with the ability to save yourself. You don’t need to tell him; just get your duckies lined up and see G. Khan.

  • “You never meant to them what they meant to you.”

    I think that’s the crux of the matter. My ex was one that had a long-term EA and possibly PA going on with his married grad student. They traveled together all the time, spent hours in phone conversations, I’m sure a lot of other stuff I don’t know. Before her I was uncomfortable with his relationship with his boss, before her I was worried about students who wrote love poems I found in his pockets. He always gave explanations that left me feeling overly insecure and jealous, like the problem was me. I even sought counseling for my “jealousy issues.” Eventually I just stuffed everything inside.

    I attempted to talk to him many many times over the course of our marriage about relationship concerns but he just became defensive. Seemed like he had a huge impenetrable wall I couldn’t get through. Finally I decided he just didn’t have the same deep feelings I did. After discovering his journal I learned that I was right. He wrote that I was old and he was tired of me. We’d met at 16 and married at 21. He’d been with me 36 years and I’d finished the job of raising the kids. Guess he was ready for something more exciting than old, dependable me.

    He intermittently acted like he cared, though. Looking back it was a little bit less every year but I held onto those small things he did that made it seem like he loved me. I thought “he can’t talk about his feelings, but he shows me that he loves me by warming my car up in the morning before I leave for work.” He was always doing little things like that. He often said, “I love you.”

    When his grandparents died he barely batted an eyelid. I asked him once whether he missed them and he said, “no.” It took me YEARS to get over my grandmother’s death. I truly don’t think he felt emotions as deeply as I did. In fact, I think if he felt an emotion it scared him shitless and he did his best to squelch it.

    In the end my ex did exactly what I’d always been afraid he’d do. He announced he was leaving with little warning. I truly believe he expected me to “know” how he felt and meet his needs without truly talking about anything other than work, sports, and the kids.

    It wasn’t long after our children were born that he came to me and said he wished he’d married someone more like him. That hurt. I remember thinking “I wish I’d married someone who wants to be part of our family.” I admit our differences were sometimes a challenge, but I always felt they were a strength too. Our children were exposed to science AND the arts. I thought he was a very intelligent and interesting person and admired many things about him. He was a very hard worker and excelled at his career. I felt like we raised good kids together.

    Anyway, the way he left made me feel like I’d been used up and tossed out. He even said, “When I look in my future, you’re not in it” as he walked out the door. His eyes were so cold it took my breath away. He told our youngest son “this has been coming a long time.” When I heard that, I had anxiety attacks for weeks because I seriously had no idea he felt that way. Up until he decided to leave I really had no clue he was capable of abandonment. I could never have treated a person the way he treated me.

    I heard that he told his mother he worried most about what other people would think of him for leaving. I had a lot of friends in our community and he didn’t want to look bad in their eyes. He ended up moving so guess they didn’t mean much to him either.

    After I found out the truth about his affair with his married grad student, how he was “planting seeds” to break up her marriage and had moved closer to her to ingratiate himself with her parents and kids, I thanked God for removing me from such a painful situation. We’ve only seen each other a couple of times since January of 2012. We don’t communicate any more, but we did dance at my youngest son’s wedding.

    It’s so strange to have no contact with someone you spent so many years of your life with. Still hard for me to believe. I’ve not been able to look at any of our family pictures since he left. It feels like our many years together were just an illusion.

    • The whole “jealousy” thing really upsets me. It’s not pathological to be jealous if your partner is cheating. Jealousy was just an emotion telling you that something that should be exclusive to you is available to the boss, the grad students, and others. It is not only normal to feel jealousy when your partner is being courted by others, and your concerns are being dismissed, it’s a highly evolved emotion that protects you because something essential to your life is at risk. That’s not at all the same thing as “insecurity,” a circumstance in which a person is constantly suspicious without discernible reason. Let me tell you: if I ever get involved with a man again and I feel jealous, the voice I am listening to is not the guy telling me “you’re jealous.”

      • LAJ, I agree. I will not be in another relationship where I’m constantly worried about the other person’s relationships with the opposite sex. I’d rather be alone than feel that way again

    • Aww Lyn, your story so resonates with me. There were lots of the same thing going on with me. Especially, the part where you say that over the years things becoming less and less, I just didn’t see it coming. It was horrible how he plotted and planned on me finding out about his affair. The only good thing was that he decided that he “just couldn’t talk to me” after he set me up, “it confused him” if we did. I found out all sorts of things about myself that were displeasing. The one thing that gets me and I know that it shouldn’t is that he said “I wasn’t ‘girly’ enough”. Asshole, the thing he left me for can only express her ‘girlieness’ by posing in lingerie in text messages. Oh well, narcs are just weird and we can only go on after this as best we can.

  • Thank you. I appreciate you writing this. I had a great support system who helped me realize all four points early on, but still, it stings because the underlying message of abandonment is that you are not even worth the goodbye.

    I eventually came to appreciate his cruelty. He never meant for it, but I got the clean break and new life I deserve.

    I will never forget the “it’s me, not you” lines he fed me as he was walking out the door. I took him up on his offer. It is him. It had nothing to do with me.

    • I chose to believe my ex too….that it had nothing to do with me. Whether or not he meant it, he said, right after dday and right before leaving, “You deserve better.” I replied, “Yes, I do.” It wasn’t what my emotions were telling me in the moment, but I believed it deep down and chose to accept that he meant his line. Who knows if he did, but I don’t care. And the fact that he has done this to other girlfriends before me (by his account and his family’s) reminds me that that it wasn’t just me. (And now I realize that what he explained about why he left previous girlfriends should have been a red flag, but then I just listened to his explanations that seemed to make sense. I won’t make the same mistake again. Actions not words.)

      • To clarify, in that moment instead of saying, “Yes, I do,” what my emotions wanted to say was, “But I want you!” But I always knew I didn’t deserve what he had done and was doing.

  • I agree with everything you say here and it hit home for my situation. But why is she stalling the divorce proceedings then? No contact has been easy because she hasn’t been trying to contact me either. However every step of the way the divorce proceedings have been stalled in some shape or form for stupid reasons, like she forget when the conference was. She thought it was thursday when it was actually a monday. So she missed it. She had a 2 months notice for it. That is just one example.

    I felt that she walked away just as easily as she could because it was easier than trying to work on it. So everything you said in your article fit perfectly. Its just this divorce stalling has me confused.

    • Because she can. My ex did the same thing. Even though they are not literally in the picture anymore, they like holding on to the puppet string as long as they can. Keeps everyone in limbo– Spouses, affair partners, family, and so on.

      • My ex stalled for 2 1/2 years. It took 3 motions to compel and a motion for sanctions and three conferences in front of the judge and why would that be you ask? $$$$ I think chump lady is really on to something in this post – it resonates with me.

        My cheater underestimated my grit in getting a fair and equitable distribution after 36 years. I signed away my life for his dreams – our home had 3 mortgages and was underwater so he could start his own business in 2001. I signed again in 2007 for a farm a state away because it’s what he wanted. Only he was sleepin in the farm house with his married mistress, committing adultery, boozin’ it up and using my healthcare plan to pay for viagra so he could boost himself during get away’s with her to Paris, Cancun, Italy yadda yadda –

        Bottom line – I bought his line that he was “working” ALL THE TIME. “Leave me alone” was the standard refrain and when I challenged him on the texts, the time away and his moody miserableness, he left.

        But he didn’t want me to come to understand, recognize, realize that hey, if I’m a liar and a cheat to my wife, friends and family as far as infidelity goes, why should I be upfront with regard to finances???

        I have since discovered that he incorporated a company without my knowledge in 2009, had separate bank accounts and never named me as beneficiary of his life insurance. Yeah.

        So originally, he wanted to take what he determined as fair to a notary after we signed an agreement at the kitchen table. I saw a lawyer and she counseled me the way she would have her sister – go for discovery, disclosure and get what is deserved.

        And although I’m divorced, I’ve yet to see the structured buyout although I have faith that all will turn out as it should. Quite possibly your spouse has done the hokey-pokey with $$$ too or perhaps it’s just another bout of entitled laziness – because as Tracy states – it’s not about us – it’s about them and what they want. Anything decent, fair or right just doesn’t apply.

    • Fred,
      I was thinking about the same thing, I truly believe my STBX will use any
      and all stalling tactics. I don’t think it is about what they missed, or mistakes
      they made, but mainly out of spite, and someone said in a previous post
      about their laziness. It takes effort for them to follow through, and it is
      much easier for them to use stalling tactics, and do nothing.

    • I wish I had something useful to say, but all I can say is that I’m going through the same exact thing, and I’m making this as easy for him as possible, and he’s still stalling. It’s beyond frustrating. I feel like I can’t move forward until this is done and over with.

    • Fred, I think it has to do with laziness, as previously mentioned, but also to do with the fact that divorce involves thinking about things that aren’t fun and bursts a bubble on the new, exciting sparkly life they are pursuing. It also involves that they think about what they did to you and that it means that people might think they are less of a good person, if they know.

  • Yup. This is what happened to me. One day he was madly in love with me and the next day he was madly in love with Schmoopie. He even insisted we have a second wedding and renew our wedding vows!! Three months later he’s fucking The Ankle and moving on. He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours and never looked back ONCE. He told me ‘to move on, because he was, he said to ‘get some friends and go do some things’ and then told me ‘to go get a boyfriend.’ He also told me that I should wear my hair clipped up because it looked so sexy that way…better to entice a new man.
    Honest to god, I could barely believe my ears. Here was my HUSBAND telling me this shit!!

    He moved his stuff out a little at a time. I would come home from work just shattered and find more and more of his stuff gone until he had it all out. There was no pick me dance. After reading all the heartbreaking stories here sometimes I think maybe it was better how he did it. It sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I felt like the biggest, most worthless steaming pile of shit ever. Nothing says ‘Fuck You’ quite like that. He threw me out with the garbage and never looked back and never showed an ounce of remorse. I never saw him cry ONE tear.

    I thought this man was crazy about me. We didn’t fight, we got along great, had rocking sex and then poof! He was gone. I never saw it coming and I’ve never been so sucker punched in my life. Of course afterwards I found out this was his M.O. This is what he does to EVERY woman in his life….found out about lots of wives and girlfriends after that. But his new Schmoopie believes that she THE ONE. Can’t wait until he sucker punches her. He’s getting a little long in the tooth and certainly isn’t as cute as he used to be but who knows. It could happen.

    I told people that he looked like a real human being, but he wasn’t. It led me to question everything about myself and my life. I felt like it was all a big fake shit show. Afterwards I burned every single picture of our life, every goopy card he ever got me, every letter, every gift he ever gave me ….I burned every last thing so I wouldn’t have to look at the fake shit anymore.

    It shook the foundation of my life. I couldn’t believe how wrong I was about that person. It’s colored and shaped everything since then. Something inside of me just died the day he left and it’s like I’m incapable of feeling intense emotion anymore. I told him that he took a perfectly good woman and ruined her. On purpose. For the fun of it. I read the emails between him and Schmoopie and they actually made fun of me and my pain.

    BTW…they’re doing ‘fantastic’….new jobs at a very prestigious college and living in an old Victorian she bought on the ocean. Nothing bad ever happens to this guy.

    • and that’s the tragedy, isn’t it? That nothing bad happens to their lives, that they’re able to carry on as if nothing ever happened and they haven’t left a path of ruined lives and broken hearts. To me the saddest part is that so many of them are so lacking in self-awareness that they die with very little understanding of how fucked up they are. As George Carlin used to say, the tragedy of the stupid people is that they don’t know how stupid they are. Same with sociopaths.

    • When my ex fled she asked if I would take the kids away for Spring Break so she could move while they were out, and wouldn’t have to see. I was still playing pick me so I agreed. When we got back I dropped the kids off with her, and then went home to the house with her vacated from it. Each room was a new level of pain. The most hurtful thing was in one of our son’s room she took a dresser over to her new place, and it looked like she just raked everything off the top onto the floor and took it. That ended up seeming like a metaphor for this whole situation. She took what she wanted and left the crap on the floor for me to deal with. They want what they want, and don’t care how it affects those around them.

    • Strings, totally agree about not having really intense feelings anymore. I honestly don’t know if I will ever love with my whole heart again.

      • Yeah, I’m beginning to think I’ll never love again. It’s not worth the risk.

    • He threw you away. That was a very bad thing to happen to him. What material things he has–pfthhht. We are immortal souls living a mortal life, as I see it. What he is becoming is very very ugly and that ugliness is forever. Don’t let him think he ruined your life. It may take a long time for you to be able to feel. I took three years after my friend died for me to feel intense emotion again–ha ha, just in time to get chumped. Go figure. I keep reading that getting betrayed by someone who is character-disordered takes a long time to recover from, and I think of that a lot right now as I am going through the first anniversary of the utter devastation.