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Dear Chump Lady, Still kind of stuck…

Dear Chump Lady,

Ugh 24 year marriage and she left after an affair with our daughter’s boyfriend’s dad. I actually BBQ’ed for the motherfucker on my deck. How the holy hell does this happen?

10 months post breakup and while I am better and can feel myself healing, I’m still kind of stuck. I would never ever get back with her, but the memories of what was are pretty damn painful. We had 20 or so great years, but the last few were horrendous and I’m feeling guilty for not seeing the reality and trying to fix shit.

She left me and our 17 year old daughter for her new awesome existence and we are picking up the pieces. Anyone who tries to justify cheaters has obviously never been cheated on. It’s fucking earth shattering. It’s worse than dealing with my own mother’s death 4 months later and I’m so ashamed to say that. I don’t get that shit at all. My mom dies unexpectedly at 67 and I lay awake thinking about my cheating wife. That’s so unfair to her awesome memory. I feel terrible thinking about that.


Dear Kent,

That’s a hell of a lot of loss in 10 months — the end of a 24-year marriage and the death of your mother. Please don’t feel terrible about the hierarchy of your grief. Your mother died naturally, if unexpectedly. Your ex-wife cheated. We expect the death of our parents at some point. (Although 67 is awfully young, and I can’t imagine anyone ever feels ready for it. I’m so sorry.) We don’t expect to be betrayed.

Death is natural, chumpdom is freakish. You don’t expect the guy you’re grilling pork chops for to fuck your wife. It’s a most intimate and humiliating kind of offense. It feels utterly surreal. Most of us have experience with death. We never think we’ll be chumped. Who would contemplate such a thing?

So when the unimaginable happens, it’s very normal to ask yourself what you did to bring about this terrible thing.

We had 20 or so great years, but the last few were horrendous and I’m feeling guilty for not seeing the reality and trying to fix shit.

Kent, you didn’t make your wife cheat. You didn’t make her abandon her 17-year-old daughter. Whatever shit you didn’t “fix” — okay, own that, fix it, take it into your next relationship and do better — but please know this — that shit didn’t make your wife cheat. That is completely on her. There were a lot of options on the decision tree that weren’t betrayal and abandonment. Counseling, honest conversations, divorce lawyers. Her unhappiness, whatever its causes, was HER responsibility to address. And if she sincerely thought she could not exist another day in the “misery” of her marriage, she could have respected you with an honest break up. You didn’t have to barbecue for the motherfucker.

Cheating is about lousy character and entitlement. Qualities your ex-wife possessed that you could control no more than death. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. So chumps stay awake nights stuck on the what-ifs. This thought that we could compel people to Do Better or Love Us Again keeps us chasing unicorns. The illusion of control is the genesis of the pick me dance. I CAN WIN THIS!

And the flip side — I LOST and IT’S ALL MY FAULT!

Well, Kent, who did you cheat on? Who gets up and takes care of that 17-year-old kid each day? You’re THERE and she isn’t. And that says more about your character than anything else you could write me.

So next time you’re up late and can’t sleep, tell yourself hey, you did the best you could. You didn’t deserve to be cheated on. And if you want to honor the memory of your late mother who didn’t get enough years on this earth — make the most of yours. Love your daughter, do your job, and gain that cheater-free life.

And no more grilling for cheaters. Only quality people at your table. Happy New Year, Kent.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Kent, my brother and his children were abandoned. So easy to say, so horrible to watch, so devastating to live through. What my brother came to realize is that she never was a complete person. Your wife left you which is painful beyond belief but leaving her child makes her a monster. That is what you need to get into your head and heart. You were living with a hologram. She looked real but she wasn’t and never will be.

  • First of all thank you for being at task so early, even on boxing day, you really do make a difference in people s lives with your straight shooting and eloquent writing. To Kent, she sounds devoid of loyalty after 2 decades of sharing lives she readily leaves with some guy who eats bbq at your place…it’s the epitome of disrespect. How did she hook up? Did she slip him a note with her cell number on it while no one looked? It’s gross and does show her lack of integrity. I m sorry this happened to you and wish you a better 2015.

  • Kent, I think most of us here feel stuck more often than we want to admit. I still can’t believe what I’ve been through with my husband. I still have times where I think everything could still be okay. My h is a serial adulterer ( he says he isn’t) and has a porn addiction. I don’t know what I’m trying to find to cling to here. 23 years down the drain. Even though we will be divorced soon, I wonder if things could still be different. Then I think of all he’s put me through and how he continued his lies, deceit, and neglect even though we were supposed to be reconciling. It seems like I will never have a shot at a good life and I can’t imagine things will be good for me no matter what path I take.

    • Hey Supreme Chump… Hugs to you. Your story sounds EXACTLY like mine. Serial cheater, 23 years.
      the last line you wrote is simply not true. I dont believe we should let the cheaters have any say over the next chapter of our life. I WILL not give up hope for a good future and you should neither. I think we should memorize this poem together… Especially the last two lines.

      “Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
      I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

      In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
      Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

      Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
      And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

      It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
      I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.”
      ― William Ernest Henley, Invictus

            • Let me be in the minority, here. This is the poem OW sent my X to convince him that as “captain of his soul”, it was perfectly okay to implode our long term marriage. I fucking HATE this poem and I see it everywhere these days. Imagine walking the cafe where you always get coffee, looking on the wall, seeing that poem and realizing that was where he was meeting her. Ugh… I think I’ll go take a walk with my dog.

              • Violet–that sucks. These losers aren’t content to upend our lives, they have to blow up our love of poetry & literature, too. [Mine tried to convince me to forgive him as Dolly from Anna Karenina forgave her cheater. However, I refuse to dislike Tolstoy just because f**ktard invoked him.]

                And whatever your X wrote, there is no way “captain of his soul” applies to him; one needs to have a soul for that.

              • Cheaters can pervert anything. Sorry you got triggered but a awl with your dog-splendid choice.

              • Violet, I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it. Maybe it’s because I have this stupid little glitch in my brain that, whenever I read self-help advice about pursuing your own happiness and other semi-ambiguous tenets, I can’t help but wonder, “Is this what XH thought? Is this the advice his friends are giving him now? … Well, XH, you had to do what makes you happy.” Even song lyrics… I start out thinking they’re about me, then I realize he could also think they’re about him.

                There’s probably some wisdom there, something about perspective and forgiveness and being human, but, listening to a Modest Mouse song today I heard this: “And if it takes shit to make bliss,
                well I feel pretty blissfully.”

                I hope your dog heals you as much as my dog heals me. Peace.

              • Violet! It is YOUR coffee shop so reclaim it. I want to see a yellow post it note ( or some other visual errata) next to the Captain of my Soul line that reads: btw, this does NOT include infidelity.

              • Violet, my ex justified his affair with the poem too. You and I may be in the minority here over the triggering poem, but it’s another example of all cheaters being alike.

      • I love that poem; loved the movie and the book it was based on more than that (playing the enemy). It is told while Nelson Mandela was incarcerated he would recite the poem to other prisoners. It’s very powerful

      • 20+ years with a serial cheater as well. I’m not sure things will get better, at least on the financial front. I’m totally fucked and will likely remain so. I also have no pension because I was a SAHM and trusted him to keep his word. He didn’t. I’ll figure it out somehow but yep, it sucks.

        • Same boat as you, Nord.

          I was doing okay until I was pink slipped six months ago. Losing my job was more devastating than losing my loser. I was proud of my position and role in kids’ lives. I was embarrassed to be married to him once I discovered his cheating and stealing of family funds.

          It hasn’t helped that X refuses to work so he can pay the child support he was supposed to all along. I just took a temporary full-time job and a part-time job; no benefits and I only get paid for actual days worked. I pray my health doesn’t fail me next or I’m totally screwed.

          Still, I refuse to sink.

          • DDay struck. A month later my youngest (aged 9) was diagnosed with leukaemia. I lost my job as they were not willing to give me leave to care for her. Which has been for the best as her treatment will last 2 years and no two days are the same. Hence I am still unable to work. My church turned their back when I refused to lie to hide my STBX ‘s cheating in the hope he would be fully restored.

            In the next three months I will prepare for selling our family home, but that is ok. We never know what is around the corner.
            I by march will be officially cheater free and I am excited to see what the future will bring.

            Stay strong chumps. You are no longer bound to people who would seek to use you and hurt you in the process. Do something special for yourself and start 2015 with the attitude ‘it will be a good year’ cheater free it has to be.

            • Bee-u-tee-full, Thankful, just beautiful!!
              Joy & satisfaction at living as an honest, loving, gracious human—-That is what your comment exudes!

              Glad you shared your encouraging thoughts……

              ForgeOn, Thankful…..ForgeOn, all…..

              • “Joy & satisfaction at living as an honest, loving, gracious human”

                Yes, that’s is beautiful ForgeOn.

          • Me too. 14 years SAHM. No pension, no savings, bad debt, IRS problems, 4 thru 13. I am like a freaking deer in the headlights. He is not complying with the support order. What the hell use is a court order if it isn’t enforced?? So during this Christmas season, I am contemplating my options. All include sending all 4 of my homeschool only children go to a substandard public school. I live in a city very close to the mexican border. Gang and drug problems in the schools is rampant. All the middle and high schools have armed police officers on school grounds! If he would pay what is ordered, I could still homeschool and build my business to a level of a decent living. I am livid. I had a very lucrative career and job stability. If I had stayed, I would be making 28$ an hour now. I believed him, the lying, cheating, perverted son of a bitch. Arggggg!!! And of course he is stalling the divorce. On RELIGIOUS AND MORAL GROUNDS.. What an mfpos. I will never encourage my girls to totally quit if they marry. Stay part-time or something. NEVER EVER put yourself at the mercy of any other human being. Ever.

        • Nord,

          You are a very kick ass women and I truly believe when all is said and done you are going to climb out of this financial mess and be financially better than ever. It may take some time, but your strength and determination constantly shine through and there is no way you will fail.

          I, too, am stuttering and stumbling along financially, stretching and pinching pennies to make ends meet. It seems as if these setbacks come along almost as a test of some sort – just when things look better something comes along (or doesn’t come along) and it sets us back. I’m struggling to pay bills, help my children and eat while STBX is traveling to Europe and various jaunts across the U.S. with his OW and complaining of being “broke.”

          All we can do is keep moving forward and believing that, as things usually do, life is going to turn in our favor and it will be even better than we could have imagined.

          • Thanks CP. It’s just been one set back after another for three long fucking years and I am so exhausted by the struggle. I despise my ex more each and every day for destroying my security. I didn’t make the decisions to support his career without thoroughly talking it through with him and what that meant and he went back on every single assurance he made me. May he rot in hell for doing this.

  • I too cooked and served the married OW. Kent, I want to add that there was no way you could have done otherwise. Who the fuck deceives such that another person is made to violate themselves through their own actions? Only a person who has no empathy and wants to punish and make a fool of you. These people can and do annihilate. The “innocent” gathering of extreme perfidy your ex orchestrated was sick making. I still feel it physically in my body—yuck and ugh is right.

    For me, I try to soothe my sick feeling and not blame myself. I should have never tolerated bad treatment for as long as I did. But I could not suspect such invasive horror.

    The best advice I could take myself is to go for joy, feel a bit everyday and accept who you are. Grow intuition from a quiet self loving place and keep away from the character disordered. Better to have one good person in your life than ten untrustworthy “friends” who care nothing for your welfare and humanity.

    Ten months is not that long, particularly to heal from such a massive onslaught to your senses. Give yourself a hug for coming this far. You will get to a better place.

    • “I too cooked and served the married OW.” Boy, there’s a sentence I bet more than I few of us sincerely wish we could say! 😉

      Seriously, though, your story has always horrified me simply because it involved the abuse of public not just private trust. I’m really happy to see how you’re taking your life back, and your son’s life back!

          • Oh my God. I wrote that! Yes, I boiled her and she was tasteless! Putrid in fact. Words are a reflection of the heart’s desire.

            • I’d say it would be poetic justice, but just think of the poor unsuspecting people who would wind up in the ER with food poisoning!

      • I cooked for several OW. Didn’t know about it until quite awhile after it happened but yeah, that was a kick in the teeth. And the level of disrespect that that involves is astounding. I won’t get into the details but that bit still can piss me off.

        • I did work for OM, And patronized his business. And went to his parties. All while my wife was fucking him. Yeah, the disrespect is breathtaking.

    • ROTFLMRO!!!

      Am just in from a LOOOONNNGGG day!!! Moving my things out of storage to another storage. Supporting my child thru another (suspected) cheating spouse scenario, dealing with cheaterpants on some things (he was actually civil!) and I come home to what?! To this amazing ‘Nation’ with the amazing wit, humor, snark and LOVE!

      Am truly laughing out loud! (Hope my Land Lady doesn’t hear me & call out the Marines!!) Thank you / Thank you / Thank you for this conversation!

      LOVE the sass, the wisdom, the clarity expressed here! And LOVE that I am not the only one to want ‘cook & serve the AP!’ YES!!! Tasteless, tough, stringy and barfed it all out into the ‘porcelain throne’!

      Perhaps some extra seasoning and some time under the broiler would improve the taste?! NAH!!! How ’bout some shish-ka-bob?!

      I know……I am such a sicko tonite!!! (Must be the Seagram’s talking) But ‘all ya all’ are loving it, I’m sure…….

      ForgeOn, Nation!!!!

  • Dear Kent,
    I completely understand what you are going through as I am in a similar situation. I am about 1.5 years out from D-day and was married 24 years to a serial cheater (unbeknownst to me until he left). The dog turd abandoned my then 14 year old daughter and myself – just walked out the door and moved in with OW and her 5 year old and never looked back. OW worked at the same place I did and the skank skulked around the workplace halls avoiding me until my departure for my new life. I went NC with the dog turd within a week of his departure bursting his fantasy bubble of me doing a “pick me” dance. I also took CL advice and got a lawyer within a month of his departure. Getting a lawyer really pissed him off. He initially had very limited contact with his daughter – but he was screaming from every rooftop to all who would listen about how much he LOVED his daughter but I had turned her against him. Ons now x-friend believed him (his parents). Never mind we are talking about a teenager who has a mind of her own. Within a few months after his daughter still gave him no kibbles and refused to meet the OW he quickly contacted her less and less – initially once every two weeks, by 5 months it was once a month, by 9 months essentially nothing. Since my daughter’s birthday in May the dog turd had 5 minutes of face to face interaction and has texted her one line sentences a couple of times. The ass did not even wish her a Merry Christmas or get her a Christmas present.

    The good news is that there is no question in her mind that HE SUCKS. The good news is she has lots of fantastic role models of great fathers around her to reinforce that not all men suck. The good news is she has me who is there for her 24/7 and she knows it. The good news for your beautiful daughter is that she has a father who deeply loves her and has moral character. She will always be dadday’s little girl. I hope you are as fortunate as I am in that my dog turd XH didn’t even want visitation rights to his daughter. Although a bitter pill at first to be rejected by a parent (the reality he had sucked at being a parent her whole life meant she already had a good idea he sucked at being a parent) the good news is he made things simple for her. It is very clear to see who he is and to never be confused. He is simply the jerk who walked out the door and was never heard from again. It sums his moral character up. And the OW got a real winner and did us a huge favor taking him off our hands. I pity her child.

    My daughter and I took up fencing right after he left and got a dog, started volunteering together at a thoroughbred race horse rescue. Eventually we rescued an x-racehorse. I got a job in another state because who wants to work with the ow skulking around. It was hard waiting 10 months until we could move on to our new life and leave cheater pants behind. We packed up the house together and the day after her school got out we hooked up the horse trailer to the truck and piled in our family – 2 dogs, cat, fish, and horses and drove off to our new life. We are very happy! Life is great. My daughter and I are house hunting over winter break. The divorce was final a few days ago.

    Listen to CL, her advice is awesome. When you feel lonely or like possibly reconciling , come visit Chump Nation. They are friends who know what you are going through and can offer their collective wisdom and support. Better times are ahead for you and your daughter. Continue being the great person you are to your daughter and get rid of your looser wife.

    Hugs and Merry Christmas. You really are better off and so is your daughter.

    • Wow, Mommy Chump. You are living my fantasy. My ex will not leave so we are all in for the long term mindfuck. My son shuttles between us and I have to deal with his cheater self righteousness weekly which I try to not react to. Perhaps one day he will up and go? Another form of hopium I think, but who knows?

        • He is just seven. But I am tax accounting him. I mostly fear for my son becoming an intimate part of this pathologically lying man. I do have support, but I am still wishing he would get out of our lives.

  • So sorry this happened to you, Kent. You got a double whammy.and it hurts like hell.

    Kent, be gentle with yourself. I know from personal experience that the human mind and spirit has the capacity to deal with only so much pain. When we we hit our personal limit that’s it….that is all we can deal with at that time. It is like the next painful thing sort of gets put on hold til we have the strength to deal with that.

    That is what happened to me. When the cheating ex H kidnapped and murdered my youngest son, my mother was dying of breast cancer. I had to call her and tell her that my son’s body had been found while she was waiting for an ambulance to take her to the hospice. She died a week later. At that point I was numb, going through the motions of life, and It took me years to fully mourn her death.

    Kent, stop beating yourself up. You will be able to grieve your mother’s passing when you are able. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad son, or an uncaring person. You have just hit your personal limit right now, and you need to heal a bit before that can happen.

    Being cheated on is devastating, and to me it was like a death. the death of all my hopes and dreams. The death of my illusion that there was someone here in the world who had my back. The death of the myth that he really loved me. It was a lot to take in. Same for you. Give yourself time to heal and then you will be able to do your grieving for your mom.

    In the mean time take extra special care of yourself, and your daughter. The pain you are in is considerable and to kick yourself is like kicking a little puppy. You wouldn’t abuse such a fragile little creature. Well think of yourself as emotionally fragile right now, and just be gentle with yourself. Try to rest, eat well, take time to play, give yourself little presents of things you enjoy and that can help make you feel better. You deserve it.

    I can promise things will get better, it will just take time. Sometimes all we can do is just keep on stepping, as you are doing. Know that chump nation has your back, and are sending you hugs……..

    • Tessie, you are an inspiration to me. With all you have been through, you remain such a positive person and your loving nature always shines through your comments. To know you have survived the truly unimaginable should remind everyone here that better days are ahead if we want them to be.

      • Completely agree, violet. Tessie, there really are no words that feel remotely enough to respond to the horror of your story. Anything I try to string together just lands with a clumsy THUNK on the screen. You’ve been through the unimaginable, and here you are, offering someone in pain your lovingkindness, good advice and hope. That’s what mightiness looks like. Blessings to you and your loved ones in the new year.

    • Tessie, you are the real Woman Warrior. Your posts are always so inspiring, and I learn something new from each one. Thank you for sharing your (unimaginably) hard-earned wisdom, and God bless.

    • Oh my God, Tessie. Your story takes my breath away. That you could survive after being married to pure evil is a testament to your spirit. May you have only goodness the rest of your life.

      • Thank you everyone for your kind words.I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.

        Patsy, Nope….cheater ex became his very own judge, jury and executioner when he put a bullet through his head in another state, about a week after he killed my boy. He did the world a tremendous favor in that.

        I choose to think that he took his case to a higher court, one he won’t be able to manipulate. I kind of like the mental picture of him standing before Spirit and trying to explain his actions.

    • Thank you so much for your words. So often, this site helps me see the difference between strength and hopium. You help me to breathe more deeply and keep moving toward what is kind and honest and true. You remind me that courage isn’t a commodity, it is an action that I can take with each breath–as you do.

  • Kent, So sorry for what you have gone through and are continuing to deal with. I’m still stuck and am trying to grind my gears into getting out where, deep down, I know I should be. I’m dealing with a w who has torched a 32 year marriage, and although she is polite, there is no remorse. The only reason she has a relationship with my 20 year son, is because of the strength of his character. I’m in the “may be cheaper to keep her” drill (or maybe excuse).

    And as realistic as I am about the prospects of ever going forward with her (nada from my end), it still haunts me to think “How could she?” After having her back for 30+ years and raising a great kid. But of all the truths I’ve learned since coming here, perhaps the one that always stands out is that nobody (and I really mean NOBODY!!) can even imagine what it’s like to go through this until it happens to you.

    Had thought I was starting to put her pretty much in the rear view mirror (except financially) but Christmas and her glittery new boyfriend have made me realize it hasn’t really gone away yet. Hang in, you have lots of good company here.

    • Hang in there, ChumpGuy. I think you & I are in the same place. Dunno why Christmas was such a big deal, but now that’s it’s yesterday, and I took down all the Christmas stuff, I already feel better. Today was the first morning I think I didn’t wake up thinking of some aspect of XH, but it cropped up later as I was driving, and I started thinking of our sex life and how maybe that was my fault somehow, too …

      So, CL’s words are especially timely (yet again). His unhappiness was HIS problem. I would have helped him, but it was his responsibility to at least let me know (and also, ideally, do some kind of work on that, but I imagine that’s the farthest it ever got: a thought of “I’m unhappy” (fester, fester,…) … then an explosion of infidelity and a post-mortem claim of “Well, I was unhappy!”).

      How could she, indeed.

  • Dude, I have no idea where you are in this whole process 10 months out, but it seems that you haven’t quite come to terms with part of your ex-wife’s character.

    CL outlined the basics, but this whole “I coulda fixed it” thing bothers me a bit. To me, that’s the guy who won’t see that things may have always been a little one-sided, and when they weren’t…, there was probably a reckoning around the next corner.

    You’re a chump. I get it. Maybe if you were just perfect a flawed, duplicious and deceitful person capable of walking away from a 20 year marriage and here 17 year old daugher may have loved you forever.

    If you want to work on something, I would suggest you work on that: expect less than perfection for yourself, and expect human decency from others if you are going to allow them to be in you life.,

    It’s not your job to fix things for everybody.

    Wishing you a happy Holiday, and trust me when I say…. Tuesday is going to be much,much better.

  • Very good point, Time Heals. One person who asks little for themselves and gives and gives coupled with a taker who stingily tallies everything they give is a recipe for disaster for the giver. Ooof. That sucker punch as CL so rightly describes does create a dire need for change. Give to yourself Ken.

  • Kent,

    You wrote, “She left me and our 17 year old daughter for her new awesome existence and we are picking up the pieces.”

    I don’t know if you meant this in a sarcastic tone or seriously. But I am here to point out it whatever her existence is, it is an existence without integrity. And I, personally, don’t consider such an existence “awesome.” She will forever have to live with the facts of abandoning her FAITHFUL husband of over two decades and her OWN daughter! Doesn’t sound awesome to me.

    You on the other hand, Kent, can hold you head up high knowing you did not cheat or leave your daughter in the lurk for utter selfish reasons. You are the faithful spouse.

    My heart goes out to you in all these loses. Grief is an emotional process (I’m a professional chaplain working in hospice; so, I know). It does not always makes sense. And that is okay. It’s not rational. Grief is about a process. It is a journey of the heart. As the saying goes: “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself.” Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge the reality of the feelings. It’s okay. Be kind to your heart. Write it out or doing something to get the pain expressed in a safe setting. Glad you found your way here to CL.

    Blessings and hugs,

  • Hi Kent,
    Echoing others here: it is still early days yet, so be kind to youserself.
    I was together with exH 23 years, married for 18, two kids. Divorce has been finalized for just under two years, almost 3 yrs from DDay. Just when I think I am at ‘meh’ something happens. My biggest issues where the “what-ifs” and “how could he say that?” Took a long time to realize it is all word salad, and revisionist history. I truly think I am at meh: will find out in a few hours when exH insists I meet the OWife at kid drop off.

    What sealed the deal for me this past autumn was our daughter’s attempted suicide. ExH blames me, that I must have filled daughter’s head with lies and my own revisitionist history. I almost pity him. He had multiple affairs (justifies them), he married last OW only one month after the kids had met her, then moved away overseas and started a new family less than 6 months post divorce finalization. Daughter was a Daddy’s girl, and daddy left her and had a new baby girl.

    No real thought or concern for the kids at all. It is all about him and his happiness. He even told daughter that is what he learned from the divorce– no more sacrificing his happiness and what he wanted to do, for others.
    Wow. Sorry, dude, it is not a sacrifice if you do not tell your wife what you want and need. All revisionist history.

    Anyway, your daughter is very, very lucky to have you.
    I was told it would take about 3 years by a friend (psychologist), and she is right. I am right on track.

    • “no more sacrificing”

      What a pig. It’s not a sacrifice if you really love your family. My ex-wife took many similar actions, telling me her 12 year old son (who is now 15) was “pretty much raised…and really doesn’t need much more parenting.” then told him a year later, when she was screwing a 20 year old (my daughters age), that my son was the cause of our divorce because he couldn’t keep his room clean.

      These disgusting, filthy, horrifying people are never honest with their partners, withhold our decision making for their own selfish personal power, and wallow in the emptiness of their spirit. Your twisted ex husband is no different than a million other selfish prick cheaters, and I applaud you for moving forward. The problem is that message is so so so much harder to get through to a teenager.

      The saddest of all, he’ll never truly own the devastation he caused. God bless, hope you have a great new year, and prayers for you…

      • Wow, Scott. Your wife is human garbage. I am so, so sorry. Screwing someone your daughter’s age (that’s practically statutory!) and then blaming her cheating on a messy room? Wow. I hope both your kids are in counseling, and they are super lucky to have a sane dad supporting them and leading the way through this craziness. Holy crap.

        My best wishes to you in 2015. I really hope your Tuesday of MEH is coming soon!

        • Oh it is…what I wish I could give Kent for Christmas is my knowledge. Over 2 years since Dday, over 15 months since my divorce, and my life is freaking great. Yeah, there are things I wish wouldn’t have happened in my life, and I wish the courts were a little more biased toward faithful spouses, but that’s all stuff out of my control. You get so much back when these emotional vampires are finally purged from your life. You get to rediscover who you are, you find people who are not just sympathetic, but truly want to be in your life for the RIGHT reasons, and you can find someone again, if and when you’re ready. My kids are the best people in the world.

          You can’t trade peace of mind for anything in the world. Kent’s world will settle down and one day he’ll look up and realize his ex can’t hurt him anymore, her terror is in the past, and he can cope if he’s positive, upbeat, gets help through the process, and does not, I repeat, does not, buy into the culture of excusing this bad behavior. There’s website’s out there, and they all suck, and they all say the same thing, the cheater always has an excuse. The faithful need to own why the cheater cheated, and divorce is the problem.

          That’s totally the wrong mindset, don’t get sucked into it. Cheaters cheat dude. They’re weak. Walk away from the circus, divorce, find happiness again…it can be done…

      • Scott–you’re always the voice of reason & wisdom. Major trigger to hear that your; wife blamed the demise of your marriage on your son’s messy room. My STBXH blamed the dissatisfaction that drove him to the affair on my habit of collecting too much (our downstairs almost always looks straight out of a magazine; two rooms upstairs were overly full when he chose to screw a graduate student Hearing that someone else’s cheating spouse said something similar makes me realize how stupid that claim is. Thanks.)

    • Yep! “Not my monkeys / Not my circus!” Absolutely true that they are weak / WE ARE STRONG and Mighty!

      To all….Thought–Happiness has a place—Our Creator is a ‘happy God’ (according to 1 Tim 1:11).

      However, a much more important aspect is ‘joy’. Also, the satisfaction that comes from living in a way that shows loving concern for our children, for our Creator, for others & yes, for ourselves. (‘Cause, in actuality, cheaters do not truly have concern for themselves. We honest, faithful people—we DO care for ourselves!)

      And that is a prerequisite for caring for others—-Recall the pre-flight reminders—-‘Put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help another’)

      The ‘happy’ that many cheaters refer to is actually only a momentary ‘high’. They really have no clue what real happiness is—-

      I believe the ‘happiness’ that all of you amazing people refer to here at the ‘Nation’ is actually more of the ‘joy’ and satisfaction genre….The inner peace that comes from our loyal love, our integrity, our compassion.

      Scott, I, too, love your comment! So uplifting! What you referred to as happiness….I feel it is more akin to the inner peace, joy, contentment that one has because of living a life centered on honesty and fidelity and our Creator.

      I always enjoy hearing from you! So glad you are part of this amazing Nation! Love all of the other comments, as well….

      ForgeOn, all…….

  • “But I am here to point out [that] whatever her existence is, it is an existence without integrity.” (quoted from DivorceMinister, above)

    Kent, do not underestimate the power of this statement. A person who chooses to live without integrity has to look over their shoulders every day, for the rest of their lives. That life will consist of pretension, impression management and manipulation tactics… ‘hoping’ every day that their dirt will not be uncovered (See Luke 12:2 though). Every day. For the rest of their lives.

    Those that live with integrity can sleep soundly. “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:24)

  • Dear Kent,

    I hear you beating yourself up about struggling more with your cheating wife’s betrayal than your mother’s unexpected death.

    Listen, when real tragedy strikes, that’s when we need our primary relationship the most. Not only did your wife cheat on you by fucking someone else, she also cheated you out of having the support of a loving spouse through the shock and pain of your mom’s passing.

    I lost my father unexpectedly (close to your mom’s age) one month after discovery of my stbx’s secret life. Most painful and traumatic period of my life. There is no comparison of which was most distressing, it is all irrevocably tied together now. Double-whammy.

    Of course you lie awake some nights thinking about your cheating wife. Your mother’s death is amplifying your need for comfort from the faithful spouse you thought for many years you had.

    Be kind to yourself. That’s a lot of loss.

  • Yeah Kent, the first year is awful. I feel for you. Took me 4 or 5 months to finally rid myself of the night visions. I used the Sufi mind trick, where I changed the colors of the visions, bent the visions out of shape, made their heads and faces messed up, slowly, the visions became more ridiculous, and went away. I’ve been divorced since Sept of 2013, and had my Dday on Nov 1, 2012. It’s unbelievable at the moment you’re going through all this to know how much better it eventually gets, but it does get better. While you should no longer think or worry about her, just know the odds aren’t in her favor. Less than 5% of these infidelity driven relationships last past 5 years. Most cheaters are mental horror shows. These are people with no character, willing to flush their lives down the toilet for a cheap thrill ride. Walk away. They’ll implode on themselves. Happens every time.

  • Kent, everyone here has given great advice and words of wisdom . All I can add is that when my father died in an accident at 61, I felt that the heartache from my divorce was much worse. I cried at least once a day, everyday, for nearly 2 years after D-Day. And I went for therapy twice a week for all that time. I think the fact that death is final allows us to grieve then find acceptance more easily than going through infidelity. Take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself, don’t expect too much of yourself. Allow time for you and your daughter to grieve, then heal. I imagine she is feeling a particular guilt as it was her boyfriend’s father. Your wife has shown her true self and I wouldn’t waste another second of my brain space thinking of her.

  • Kent,
    I had to reply, as your comment about this being worse than your mother’s death absolutely hit home for me, too. I was very close with my mom (I was an only child, my parents divorced as a result of my dad’s repeat cheating and she was crushed by the divorce – emotionally, financially, you name it.) My mom died in a freak car accident as she was on her way home after visiting me and XH for the weekend. I had breakfast with her that morning, and was talking to the state trooper and coroner’s office later that evening. She was 56 years old.

    And 12- 18 months later, when I was going through the shit of realizing what XH was doing with his dingbat-OW-secretary, the separation, faux-reconciliation, a few more D-Days, before finally culminating in the ultimate night of fuckupedness (XH bunny hopping in a sleeping bag & sliding down the stairs)…I admitted several times that dealing with THIS was far worse than my mother’s death. People looked at me so strangely when I said that – but for me, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my mom loved me, would do anything for me, and she always ALWAYS had my best interests at heart. I never had to second guess her intentions, I never questioned her commitment to me and how she wanted me to succeed, be happy, and live a good life. I can look back at my relationship with her, and I can have very few regrets.

    So when I looked back over my marriage with XH, I saw how his decision to cheat was such an expression of entitlement, selfishness and contempt for me. He was lying, manipulative, he blamed ME for not “needing” him because I was “too competent” and he wished I had a drinking problem or something wrong with me in order to make him feel better. His words were “I love you” and “I never want to lose you”, but his actions were the emotional equivalent of throwing me down the stairs, over and over again. I questioned everything he’d ever said to me, and every act he’d committed. His repeated acts of betrayal were unbelievably devastating.

    Long story short, things are far, FAR better for me these days – and I so wish that my mom could be here to meet my fiancé. But I know she would be happy for me. I can honestly say that she could be proud of me for NOT sticking with XH and putting up with that treatment (like she did, for far too long, with my father), for working hard to get through that shit and to get to a much better place emotionally, personally, and financially.

    Keep going forward, Kent. Honor your mom’s memory by continuing to live with honesty, integrity and respect. Be kind to yourself. Come back here whenever you need a nudge – get out of “stuck” and know you have support.

    • I can attest to what BarristerBelle said here. I held my Mom as she died of cancer and was devastated, For a while I subconsciously compartmentalized the grief so I could carry on. Then I went into a deep depression, when that happened my ex started cheating on me. He left me alone in my grief and found someone else to pay attention to him. As I emerged, I found out about his cheating and the blow was so much greater, for all the reasons BarristerBelle has stated above. I couldn’t say it any better.

      Kent, Please don’t be ashamed at the way your grief is spinning out. Our minds are amazing, our subconscious sometimes protects us in very odd ways. You will grieve your awesome mother. If she is anything like my own Mom, she would understand why you are unable to do so now. Jedi Hugs to you.

      • My XH started cheating on me within months of me unexpectedly losing my mother – she was just 64 and had a heart attack. XH abandoned me 10 months after her death to move in with whore. (of course, he maintained he wasn’t cheating – did I mention he left me a week after we scattered her ashes – so no closure for me!).

        It was such a complete mind fuck to be walking around after D-day crying and not knowing for which person I was grieving. I agree with the others that say that the death can be easier. Most loved ones don’t choose to die. Most that die wouldn’t want to inflict grief on those left behind. Intentional abandonment by a cheater is insidious.

          • And there’s the difference between chumps and their cheaters. My STBXW started cheating on me a few months after her mother’s death from cancer at 69. I did all I could to help her through the grief, but she preferred to run into a crazy fantasy affair with a con man.

            • So sorry for your losses. ANR, you’re right. I think they miss the ability to empathize. They are just (as my therapist says) crap. Some people just are. It’s a sad fact of life. 🙁

    • To all you Dear, Precious Bereaved Ones,

      Love to you….Sooooo much love to you,,,,(Tears in my eyes for your losses……)

      Please, Please read these verses: Rev 21:4&5 / John 5:28&29 / Isa 25:8 / 1 Cor 15:26

      ForgeOn, all you beloved ones……Love On……

    • BarristerBelle…perfection in what you said re: a mothers love and never questioning it and ” His words were “I love you” and “I never want to lose you”, but his actions were the emotional equivalent of throwing me down the stairs, over and over again.” EXACTLY how I felt. I know its been said many times here and throughout our lives but ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS! So so true!

  • Well, Kent,

    Sadly, when it comes to cheaters, their conceptof respect and refraining from additional mindfuckery is beyond comprehension. Obviously, they weren’t going to tell you they were an item while asking for you to cater their date–because all of Chump Nation here would have resecrched untraceable poison for you to add to the marinade…We could all give you examples of how our cheaters felt entitled to using their chumps (mine asked me for directions to his date with the OW as it was 5 minutes from where I worked).

    • Hey There, Chump In The Sand!!

      SO glad to ‘see’ you again! Your comments are always so encouraging!

      Yeah…..l am good at research! Poison?? Yea…..could do that……I’ll get right on it!

      Kent, listen to this lady….as well as all the other insightful comments expressed here. No other place like this on Earth! Hope you are gathering strength from this conversation! I sure am!

      ForgeOn, Earthlings…

    • Yay! Hi Chump In The Sand 🙂 How lovely to hear from you! I have missed you and been wondering how you are getting on. I hope life is treating you kindly and wish you all the very best for the coming New Year xxxxx

  • I am sorry for your loss of everything. People who have not experienced the death of a marriage due to deceit do not understand the trauma. The assholes get to live! A close friend lost her daughter in a car accident this year. There is no way for any parent to understand the grief of losing a child until it happens to them. The best I could do for her was to acknowledge her pain.

    I found out late last fall about my serial cheater and his double life. My SIL then died at the end of last year from cancer. I was so horrified that my cheater got to live despite being a huge huge huge asshole to me and my kids. My SIL died a truly horrible death. It is not fair. I remember telling the cheater that he should be the one who died. And needs to suffer. Forever.

    Take care of yourself.

  • Kent, so sorry for your pain. We all know how acute it is. And yes, only someone who has been cheated on can understand the severity of that pain. That’s why this website is so important and why we hope that somehow the modern day narrative that cheating should be winked at, encouraged, played down, romanticized, etc. will begin to change. It is a serious form of abuse.

    My husband and I didn’t even have a good marriage. We had no business being together as we both made one another miserable. Yet I’ve spent the last 14 months trying to deal with his cheating on me with a girl less than half my age and then abandoning me. It doesn’t make sense to me that this recovery is so long and painful.

    As awful as it sounds many of us would rather our cheaters were dead than having to deal with this betrayal.

    Time is our main ally. Recovery cannot be rushed and setbacks will take place. Keep your head down, be there for your daughter, eat, sleep, exercise, and go to individual counseling if you can. Know that all of Chump Nation knows the pain you are feeling and how brave you are.

    • ML, recovery is long and painful because we have to not only recover from being lied to, betrayed, and often emotionally abused, we have to recover ourselves from the emotional and psychological state that allowed us to chose and live with such a person. That’s hard work. I can’t say I have any feelings at all for Jackass any more. And sadly, in my recovery I’ve also lost much of the good feeling for and memories I once had of our long friendship and more recent committed relationship. That loss comes in part from understanding that he isn’t what I thought he was (a complete and honorable person), in part because I can see that even the good parts required some spackle, and in part because I was busy living “our” life instead of mine. So recovery means confronting those things in myself as well as mourning what I thought I had and lost.

  • Me too Kent. My Mom was my best friend and she died at 66. My EH walking out on me is worse because my Mom didn’t chose to leave me and loved me right up to the end. My memories of her aren’t tainted by betrayal. Sometimes now I cry for my Mom. I’m still stuck too. I still can’t trust enough that he sucks because the first twenty years seemed so good. I just told my therapist that I sometimes think maybe he really was a good guy that I drove crazy. Part of this is because he emotionally abused me with blame shifting. When he met the OW he started treating me horribly. I actually went out to dinner with the OW, her husband, and daughter. He was trying to convince me they were “just friends”. I didn’t want to go and was miserable but I didn’t listen to my gut. Now I wonder what her husband was thinking. Did their “friendship” bother him? What the hell????? Talk about surreal. Who/what are these people? Then the B sent me candy ….. I guess he told her their “friendship” was upsetting me.

    My heart goes out to you Kent. Take care. Your Mom would understand.

  • “We had 20 or so great years, but the last few were horrendous and I’m feeling guilty for not seeing the reality and trying to fix shit.”

    No Kent, just NO, at heart all chumps are fixers, so you blame yourself because hey you FIX things! I know, I’ve always been a fixer, and a worrier over that which cannot change. Not anymore;

    Woulda, shoulda, coulda….my life long mantra. Not any more. My EMDR therapist guided me through the last woulda, shoulda, coulda moments of my life and after processing that experience with her, I am cured of it. And it is simple; when we think to ourselves “woulda, shoulda, coulda”, every scenario we play out creates a better outcome. When I had to process (re-live) the day my ex pulled the gun, that was the day I learned a better mantra. I discovered that pretty much every woulda, shoulda, coulda I thought of led to a terrible place. A very dead place, or jail. I had not fucked up, I had in fact navigated a very bad situation very well. That was freeing. Now I trust myself – woulda, shoulda, coulda is so not my style anymore.

    We think, if I’d only done __________, then it would have been OK. It doesn’t really work like that. When that feeling comes on you, think of the possible negative outcomes, go down the path of what changing that one thing could have accomplished from the opposite perspective. We are hopeful creatures, so in our woulda, shoulda, coulda imaginary worlds, changing something we did in the past always creates a positive result. The truth is, most times, the outcome could have been much worse, the change would have created a negative result.

    Most Chumps are “fixers” and engage in self blame, you can stop it, I wish I’d learn this lesson 30 years ago. I hope this helps you fight the woulda, shoulda, coulda thoughts.

    Kent, I am so sorry you’ve lost your Mom and your spouse, please take good care of yourself and your daughter, it will get better. Jedi Hugs x 1000

    • The would’ve, should’ve, could’ve, is the bargaining stage of grief. I think it is no fun and the guilt and fantasies are terrible. I have heard that it is the worst stage of grief to get stuck at.
      Now, when I think, “If only….” I stop the thought in its track and try to look at what is.
      This seems to help.

      • I also have a written list of “woulda/coulda/shoulda” and don’t allow myself to rethink ones I’ve already written down. For some reason, it works. And mostly, when I look at the list (to write a new one down), I look at what’s already been written and think, Well, that’s just ridiculous. — A little self-mockery is probably good for me in this situation.

  • Kent-

    I echo everything that’s been said here. I was married 23 years when I had my dday and got divorced a month shy of our 27th anniversary after 3 torturous years of genuine,immitation Naugahyde remorse from my ex.

    With regards to your stbx and your 20 good years; I would recommend really examining her character over that time and I’m almost positive you’ll see that there were signs and red flags. It’s harder to see it when you’re in the thick of it, but once you’re out of the mess I think your vision becomes more clear.

    I think chumps are often guilty of ‘reverse revisionist history’ in that we spackle over the giant character flaws of our exes.They don’t change overnight into disordered wingnuts or get cocooned by an alien pod that turns them into a disordered wingnut; that propensity was there from the start but we didn’t know what the signs were. The only thing you probably need to fix before you think about dating again is learning to detect those red flags like entitlement and reciprocal behavior -or the lack there of etc.

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your mom. You’re still early into this mess but I have learned that Tuesday is close by if you’re good to yourself and go as no contact as possible.

    Sending hugs

  • Kent,

    I am sorry that you are experiencing trauma stemming from multiple life-altering events.

    Within an eighteen-month period, I learned that my STBX had lied and cheated on me for our entire relationship (over a decade), one of our kids was diagnosed with permanent cognitive impairment, and I unhappily abandoned pursuit of my advanced degree (on which I spent several years full-time and will likely never finish). The magnitude and permanent nature of any one of these situations makes one situation alone devastating. All together, the devastation is too great to comprehend, I think because of the enormity of even just one of these situations, I can think about and grieve only one at a time. Right now, it’s my marriage. I imagine that I will address and grieve the other situations when my brain and body will allow and my STBX gets tired of harassing me. (I find the harassment strange considering that he is the one that cheated and filed.)

    I don’t believe what people say about it taking X months to ‘get over’ someone’s death or X months for every Y months you were married to ‘get over’ adultery, divorce, etc. People and situations differ. I think that the adaptation to these events is a life-long process. Fortunately, humans are generally geared toward feeling better over time. I hope that you soon notice that you and your daughter are feeling better and you notice a continued improvement over the next several months and years. If not, you might want to investigated Extended Grief. Some psychotherapists are trained in the treatment of this condition.

  • “The illusion of control is the genesis of the pick me dance. I CAN WIN THIS!

    And the flip side — I LOST and IT’S ALL MY FAULT!”

    THIS. 1,000x THIS. CL for the win!!!

    Kent, I’m so sorry you’re going through all this, especially during the holidays. There’s something about this season that sends all our grief into hyperdrive, and every hurt and loss is magnified and felt so much more intensely. The fact that you had to barbecue your way through ‘duper’s delight’ is just the worst. Our cheaters really do seem to get a thrill out of bringing their infidelity into our private sanctuaries and standing back to watch us unknowingly humiliate ourselves. It’s the sort of sick I hope never to understand, and I’m so sorry you had to experience it, too.

    The good news is, you’re a stand-up guy, and that’s just what your daughter needs right now. I never realized until after the fact how very much my own kids were paying attention and internalizing, and as much as I wish I could dial the clock back and never have put them through it, I’m glad that I could hold my head up high throughout complete insanity and model for them how to keep on truckin’. It’s been almost 18 months now since D-Day, and every day (in the words of Sheryl Crow) “I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.”

    Like you and so many of my fellow chumps, I also had to deal with a double whammy close to D-day, in the death of someone close to me. Our story was very much in the public eye, so I won’t go into details here, but as you and the others have commented, her death was by far the less ambiguous loss. It didn’t keep me up at night gnashing my teeth and second-guessing my every choice and questioning my very reality, my narrative as I’d known it. When I tried to explain this to my non-chump friends, even the ones who have known me for many years, they looked at me like I was off my nut. And then I’d feel so tremendously guilty, like there was something wrong with my heart because I “wasn’t grieving right.” Thank God I eventually found my way here and read some stories that echoed my own. There’s not a single thing wrong with my heart, and the differential in terms of grief is AGENCY. We will all die, and nobody chooses to get cancer or get into a car accident. On the other hand, cheating is a decision, and more often than not it’s a SERIES OF DECISIONS (it took me a very long time to wrap my head around that one). I think that’s why you lay awake at night thinking about your cheating wife and not your mom. It’s no disrespect to your mom’s memory, but simply a sign that your ethical and emotional wiring isn’t faulty. I’m sure your mom knew how much you loved her (and, depending on what your beliefs are, I’m sure she still knows).

    Hang in there, and know that you’re in very good company here. This journey really does get better, and let’s all of us keep our sights trained on a joyous and cheater-free 2015. Big hugs to you and all my fellow chumps.

  • Wow I am humbled that CL published my letter and from all the supporting comments. Thanks to everyone so much. It’s been a hell of a year that’s for sure but I do have my daughter with me and we had a pretty nice Christmas with my 26 year old son and his wife. Thanks again

    • Good for you, Kent. Some day, you will look back in awe at your own strength. And things will only get better.

      Anyone who has been through the trauma of infidelity knows that your reaction is very human, and totally appropriate.

      Hold onto the little joys while you can. And grieve. It’s a slow, windy road, but it slopes upward.

      Be well,

  • Dear Kent, After 32 years of marriage to a cheater and an abuser, and 3.5 years of separation followed by a divorce. After having him say that he didn’t want custody of our daughter who was in 8th grade at the time because he traveled so much for work. Who a couple of months later, said he didn’t want to burden our daughter with having to have her life scheduled for visitation, (his public reason so he looks good an not like a lazy narcissistic POS) I am to a place where I am close to Meh… or perhaps at Meh. I still have to see him, we still (as in yesterday Xmas) included him in our Christmas because he has no family or friends really, and of course he was sparkling to his own level, which made everyone wonder why we got a divorce. Me, I spent the day, quietly observing him, that is a nice place to be… (I am rambling here) I just want you to know that as this pain dissipates and it will, you and your daughter will come to see what a disordered POS she is. My kids are sort of getting there. Sadly, I also think there is special hell reserved for mother’s who abandon their kids. Society and children are way more forgiving of men who abandon their children. So just know karma is a bitch.

  • Ken,

    I can only echo what the others have already said about your confusion over the difference in grieving your mother’s death and grieving the end of your marriage. I unexpectedly lost my mom several years ago due to age and the sudden onset of debilitating health issues. My cheater STBX left 6 months ago after getting caught in his second (known) affair of more than 30 years of marriage. I can absolutely tell you that the grieving for my mom felt very different from the grief over the betrayal by the cheater.

    I deeply grieved the loss of my mom. But it was a clean, simple and uncomplicated grief.She was a godly woman who raised several children alone after my dad died. She lived by the Good Book, and her entire life reflected this. She worked hard and she was honest. She lived authentically. She lived out her beliefs every day of her life, and she left a legacy of love, respect, and honor for everyone to see. It was so hard to lose her. I don’t know how to say this right, but in a way I welcomed the grief, because it was a worthy grief that honored her character and the legacy she left her family. I still miss my mom – every day – but the loss is overlaid with love and gratitude, and a measure of internal peace.

    My cheater? not so much. A serial cheater, liar, addict, and emotional abuser. His offspring will never see him as any kind of model to base their life upon.His legacy is one of deception, addiction, confusion, and hurt.

    I am done with the STBX, but it has been a much different process for me to move through the grief because of the different issues that complicate what should be a natural process of healing. The grief from this betrayal and abandonment is not clean, it is not holy. It doesn’t feel good. It feels unworthy and somehow *dirty*, for lack of a better word. It cries out against the injustice as much as the loss. It twists back on itself looking for relief simply because these issues are not in balance, and have not been resolved.

    I have come to think the healing begins to happen when you finally accept that the injustice did in fact, happen, and you cannot change that. You release yourself from either trying to fix things or even make sense of what happened. You acknowledge that evil exists and it touched your life. You find what works best for you in helping you to move on. For me, it was my church, my awesome friends, my family, and reclaiming joy in the things I used to love to do. I don’t have kids or I’m sure they would have been a comfort as well. You have your daughter. Love her and be a real parent to her. Not the sparkly fake parent her mom is.

    May God bless you and all the other citizens of Chump Nation in 2015!

    • “The grief from this betrayal and abandonment is not clean, it is not holy. It doesn’t feel good. It feels unworthy and somehow *dirty*, for lack of a better word. It cries out against the injustice as much as the loss. It twists back on itself looking for relief simply because these issues are not in balance, and have not been resolved.”

      Chumpanzee, this is so beautifully written, and explains so well one of the reasons why I am often so angry with myself for being sad about no longer having a weak and cowardly man in my life (the other reason is how did I not see this about him in the 20 previous years we were together).

    • Precious chumpanzee,

      This passage you wrote in honor of your beloved Mom—-So eloquent, so pure—–That she was a human who could leave such a legacy for her children & for others is a true reflection of our Creator’s works.

      She has now touched many more lives through your ‘sharing her’ with us.

      The contrast of the type of legacy left by your Mom & by the cheater—-Excellent description! You have put words to the emotional turmoil we deal with. Thank you so much!

      Your passage goes into my ‘Keepers’ file……

      ForgeOn, chumpanzee….ForgeOn, all….

  • Kent, don’t feel bad about your grief process.

    When our young son died of cancer over 20 years ago, I thought I would never feel such pain again. I was angry and confused to find that my husbands betrayal 3 years ago seemed to hurt so much more. I hated myself for being so shallow and putting losing my son second to losing my cheating husband.
    I had no control over my son’s fate, he didn’t choose to die and no-one could have saved him.
    I had no control over my husbands departure, but he CHOSE to leave and in the unkindest way, causing the most damage.
    I have pretty much got it all into perspective now, you will too, in time.
    My son was awesome too.

    My husband not so much

    • And although I didn’t BBQ for the OW (she was his best friends wife), I did try to support her through her husbands terminal illness, I comforted her at his funeral and was the first to write in his ‘memory book’.

      The level of betrayal is breath taking.

      • Wow, Verity. You really got put through the wringer, didn’t you. The betrayal really is breathtaking! I am so, so sorry for what you had to endure, but it is very reassuring to know that you’ve worked through things and have got it into perspective. I feel I’ll eventually get there, too, but some days I have my doubts. The OW in my case wore such a mask of compassion as we battled a terminal illness in our family, but I saw through it pretty much from the get-go. Sad to say more people (including my ex) were fooled by her faux altruism, but most of them eventually wised up. Those that didn’t aren’t worth my time. As for my ex, he’s faux, too. Every single thing about him. But hey, he looks honourable on social media! These days, that’s practically the same thing as actually being honourable. 🙁

        • FMT

          I’m so sorry for your loss. You will get there, it just takes a frustrating amount of time. It’s normal to question everything and have doubt. I think betrayal at times of grief show a huge deviant in character. The sad thing is, I believed my husband’s friendship with this woman was innocent, they were united in their grief, chumpy me supported that friendship!

          Social media isn’t real life, it just projects a cardboard cut-out of the parts of his life he is able to manipulate. Plastic sugar frosting. The people who know the truth don’t buy it.

  • Kent, please don’t feel guilty thinking about your wife’s cheating instead of your mom’s passing. They are both deaths, one is natural and one feels like a murder. I just lost my mom last week and I agree, the cheating felt worse because it’s just so out of order. We know someday we will lose our parents, it’s something we think about from time to time, so we get used to the idea – no matter how painful the thought. But the murder of your marriage and the “death” of the spouse you loved and trusted is just beyond excrutiating. Then you realize the spouse that you lost was the one behind the bazooka. It makes the earth shift beneath your feet and it makes you question everything.

    Be kind to yourself and your daughter, Kent. Don’t allow that selfish bitch to steal another thing from either of you.

  • Kent, grief is a complicated business. I think CL is right that the death of your mother (who is only a few years older than I) is probably a straightforward loss. You know what happened and how, and even for those of us whose relationship with our mother was fraught with dysfunction and drama (as mine was), it’s a loss that we will process over the rest of our lifetime, a little at a time, especially at holiday times or special events like weddings. Betrayal, however, rips apart our life today and destroys our understanding of the past. CL linked a few months ago to a NY time article about how cheaters screw with our sense of history and the past. So you are mourning your spouse, your marriage, your past, your home and family and your hope for the future. With your mother, you are mourning this special person as well as acknowledging the normal passing of time, the end of childhood and the original family–all things you have been unconsciously preparing for, as they are normal life passages. Not so cheating. It’s OK to feel guilty but you still have your Mom’s love to sustain you; that never ends.

  • Kent; This may sound terrible, but my Mom died about 14 months after DDay (which I was still desperately dealing with) and it was not even a blip on the screen of my life as compared to the atomic bomb of Cheating. Which coincidently, was after 23 years as many commenters on this blog.

    I wanted to mention that after reading just about every post here for about 2 years, that Chumps would not be so devastated if they were not stellar people themselves. We are Chumps because we are most likely a much higher caliber of person than most, especially integrity-wise. This is how we miss the signs, believe the lies, and go on with life not seeing the train headed right for us. Our Cheaters told us they would never do this to us, they reacted with shock & judgment when others cheated, they kept their word on other things, so we believed they were just like us. If they were just like us they could never do this to us, their kids, and mostly THEMSELVES!

    I would not do things to hurt others like lying, cheating or stealing because living with MYSELF would be HELL! THIS is the chip they are missing.

    It seems it is human nature to project who/what you are onto others in your life. You believe they are coming from where you are coming from until proven otherwise….and even then some chumpy people (like me) will give them the rope to prove it again. Unfortunately, trusting & trustworthy people are who disordered people are looking for. If anyone is going to do the screwing over, they want it to be them.

    The problem is, we gave them way too much credit from the start. We thought they were fellow big hearted Chumps, but sadly, we were mistaken.

    After witnessing the courage and strength of CL & Chump Nation, I am proud to be one who could be fooled, not one who fools. Thankfully, smarter going forward despite the lessons I wish we never had to learn.

    • REGINA!

      You nailed, it girl! TRUTH! Totally the essence of it all!

      Reminder of why we keep being who we really are, NO MATTER WHAT!

      ForgeOn, Regina…ForgeOn, Nation!

      PS: I have been so lifted up by this conversation! Call me sappy….But I am so strengthened by all of you tonite! Thanks once again to Tracy for being the ”ring leader”! It’s all her fault!

      • Thanks! It feels so great to find like minded people! Even after DDay I kept downplaying & climbing over all the Red Flags & potholes thinking I was just not normal. That my degree of total devastation meant something was really wrong with ME! I mean cheating is everywhere, isn’t it? He acted like it was really no big deal & the classic “It meant nothing.” line. I was thinking if I mean that little to you, why are you even here? Could I mean THAT little to you?

        Between scratching up my body diving over the Red Flags and being strangled by the skein of fuckedupness, which almost killed me (and I didn’t even know what it was, CL had to tell me!) I was one wreck of a human being. I would be embarrassed to even tell you how much $$ I spent on Amazon (before CL) trying to read SOMETHING that made all this OK! And guess what, I never found it.

        Thank you for validating that it isn’t ME! I am just a Chump! And that is OK. Chumps are harmless creatures not unlike Little Red Riding Hood skipping through the woods thinking a wolf in a bonnet is just a fashion savvy mammal.

        • “Chumps are harmless creatures not unlike Little Red Riding Hood skipping through the woods thinking a wolf in a bonnet is just a fashion savvy mammal.”

          I am in awe to be in the company of CN tonight.

    • Regina…….” Our Cheaters told us they would never do this to us, they reacted with shock & judgment when others cheated, they kept their word on other things, so we believed they were just like us”. EXACTLY!!! They are snake oil salesmans, true con artists! No, no good!

  • “Anyone who tries to justify cheaters has obviously never been cheated on. It’s fucking earth shattering. It’s worse than dealing with my own mother’s death”

    – Kent, someone who is backing you up here. NOTHING can ever hurt me as much as this, I didn’t know such hurt existed, no previous hurt came close to this. Infidelity is abuse. I thought we were married. I thought we were a team. I thought he had my back. I thought he was my friend. I thought that together we could overcome mountains as we had so many times in the past. I thought we were going to give our kids the love and security that neither of us had, that we were NOT going to visit on them, another generation of sins of the fathers (emotional fuckwits).
    Until I found that those were just that – thoughts. When you have been stabbed in the back by the person you trusted the most, relied on the most,loved the most – sheesh, I thought I was going to die from the pain. You simply cannot explain the trauma to anyone who has never been through it. I would never have understood, before.
    I am getting over it, but I am forever changed. I will never get over it.

  • The greatest true grief I ever felt in my life was over the death of my beloved grandad. He was a beautiful man. The patriarch of the family, quiet and calm and welcoming and loving. I remember being a really little girl and being a right pain in the arse (when she was nice, she was very, very nice but when she was bad she was horrid) going through the ‘I want, I want, I want. Why’? phase, poor mum was probably climbing the walls with frustration with me, but I was being a little shit. Grandad just said, in a voice so calmly but so full of disappointment ‘ Oh Jayne’! and honestly, I was mortified! It must easily be 47 years since that event and I still remember it, and still feel the childish upset that I’d caused my grandad to be so disappointed in me! 🙂 I smile because it’s there I see how much I loved the man and it never faded, even though I was in my late 20’s when he died.

    There have been people I’ve loved deeply who’ve died and I’ve grieved since, but the death of this wonderful man rocked my world like no other event I’ve ever experienced. For a very long time I truly believed the trauma of being cheated on was worse. Now, in retrospect, I can see it’s comparing apples and oranges. The big difference is my grandad didn’t choose to die because he deemed I was unworthy. My grandad didn’t pretend to love me or choose to trash all the years I was his devoted granddaughter for some other sparkly version of his idea of the most desirable fantasy granddaughter. I know, despite still being saddened by the loss 25+ years later that, as Chumpanzee so eloquently put it, my grief for him is holy and honourable and celebrates the wonderfulness that was him, it is a grief I can, strangely enough to say it, welcome because it is worthy.

    I hated that the dreadful pain and trauma caused by the unworthy individual that is ‘The Great I Am’ came so close to eclipsing the holy grief I held for my beloved grandad. I refuse to give him the honour now. It is a hell and a torture that few people who haven’t experienced it could really grasp, but truth is, ‘The Great I Am’ doesn’t deserve to be in the same thought as my grandad, nor any of the other people I have loved, and who have truly loved me – nanny, auntie Alice, lovely sister-in-law Tracey, my still born son Joel especially. I am still dealing with the repercussions of having loved a fraud, am still trying to get my life back in order, but one thing I’m taking back for sure is the holiness and worthiness of my true grief. Thank you chumpanzee for naming the difference 🙂

    Love to all at Chump Nation and heartfelt best wishes to everyone for 2015 x

    • Jayne; I have encountered some difficult deaths, my parents, grandparents and best friend. Nothing like your Grandfather because I wasn’t fortunate enough to have such a role model. I know this grief must be very deep, and for this I am so sorry. Would like to give my opinion on why they are so different.

      Every memory you have for your Grandfather revolves no doubt around good times, his warmth & pleasantness & how he added to you & your families life. These are wonderful thoughts that still add to your life, even today. You can probably even call up how your Grandfather would handle a situation, so his guidance still lives in you.

      Cheaters on the other hand taint & ruin your lifetime or decades of memories like a long row of dominos- toppling over on each other until you find your row that took years to build was taken down in an instant. No good feelings here. It is like a robbery-of your life. There isn’t one memory that seems pure anymore. Everything that made your relationship special is now meaningless, it has all been said & done with someone else while you were “together.” And all the endless lies, like the ones during the affair were not enough to make you feel you have NO idea who this person is and probably never did. The situation has you not trusting your instincts anymore, which is excruciating. They make future trust a challenge, sometimes forever. Trying to believe your lying Cheater is another betrayal-to yourself! Need I go on about how different these two situations are? I guess there is simple grief (big loss) and complex grief (multiple losses, with new ones thrown on the pile daily)

      The thing that is too much to bear is when they come together. For Chumps with multiple losses back to back, my heart goes out to you. For me like many of you, recovery has been a long haul.

      And I am thankful to Chump Nation because everyone else I my life thinks you stay & suck it up or leave-it is simple! They don’t realize there is no easy way out of this because it is what happens on the inside of you, not what it looks like on the outside, or what others see.

      I am also thankful to Chump Nation because at least trying to express & trying to help others is so cathartic. Thank you all.

      • Thank you Regina. You are right, the lies told by a cheater do rob you of your life – the past, the present (when going through D Day) and the future you thought you had. We do grieve the life narrative we thought we had, but was shown to be a complete falsehood. It’s a terrible shock and trauma.

        My family was very blessed to have Grandad. Mine was not the only world rocked by his sudden death. We talk of him often and it’s always with smiles and blessed tears.

        Grief for the marriage to a cheater? Well, there should never be a ‘Meh’ for the loss of the people we love. It is true, we never ‘get over’ the death of our loved ones, we just slowly learn to live with the loss. In 25 years time, I may still be able to touch the pain caused by ‘The Great I Am’ – but smile through tears at my memories of him? Not a chance!

        Happy New Year to you Regina x

    • “…as Chumpanzee so eloquently put it, my grief for him is holy and honourable and celebrates the wonderfulness that was him, it is a grief I can, strangely enough to say it, welcome because it is worthy.”

      We can only hold onto and honor the spirit of the true and loving people who have been with us in this life, and God willing we will be with again in the next. Such a beautiful way to describe this grief.

  • Kent,
    I totally feel for you. My mother passed away last December. We buried her the Saturday before Christmas. My STBX was acting kind of nervous and strange at the funeral but we were all so tired that I did not give it much thought at the time. I realize now that he was planning his getaway at that point. He sent me a vague email on Feb. 17 (my birthday) and vanished. I didn’t know for months where he was or what had actually happened. The person I trusted the most in this world and expected to be there for me after my mother’s death, had abandoned me for a woman he had been involved with for years. My mourning the loss of my mother seemed to get tangled up in my mourning the loss of the man I believed was my soul mate. I spent many hours crying for them both. But, even when I did not know what had really happened to make him leave, I knew that I did not cause this and I could not have done anything to stop it. It was all about his failings and lack of character. I am so sad that he was not the man I thought he was but I know that there was nothing I could have done to turn him into that person.

    Cherish the memories of your mother. Yesterday, my sisters and I talked about both our parents with love and laughter. We shared stories of our childhood and went to the cemetery together as a family. It was good and it was healing. I am working very hard to not let memories of my STBX’s exit tarnish the memories of my mother.

    • Kent / Live and Learn and all the others who have lost their Mom, (especially when it was all too soon)

      When you have an awesome Mom, one who has your back, one who continues to be the stable rock in your life—Yea, no wonder you have such confusion & hurt when the cheating comes so close to that loss!

      For me, I am still so privileged to have my Mom…She is 82 and still so full of life. She was able to comfort me & strengthen me thru my insanity.

      And, now I am “The Mom” to my precious, loyal son who is now going thru ( a possible) D-Day with his 2nd wife. I am the one who is doing the comforting, the guiding, the consoling, the strengthening. The special bond a good mother has with her child, whether son or daughter, is truly a gift from God. So, no wonder Kent and others are reeling from the trauma, the horror of losing that special lady so close to the horror of cheating!

      When my son went thru this with his first wife, it was during the time of false reconciliation between his Dad & I. We became kindred spirits, something l never, ever imagined we would ever have in common.

      Helping my son navigate the terror of his wife’s adultery steeled me to finally leave my cheaterpants. The strength my son got from me made the difference between life and death for him, just as the strength I got from my Mom (and Dad) kept me alive. (literally!) THAT, my friends, is why those of you who lost a good Mom during your battle with infidelity are reeling from the loss.

      That is a special bond……Celebrate it!
      An adulterous spouse has already destroyed so much! Do not let them interfere with the grieving and the special memory of that precious Mom!

      ForgeOn, all……

    • Live and Learn, “But, even when I did not know what had really happened to make him leave, I knew that I did not cause this and I could not have done anything to stop it. It was all about his failings and lack of character. I am so sad that he was not the man I thought he was but I know that there was nothing I could have done to turn him into that person”.
      I also never blamed myself, thankfully! My biggest issue was how mortifying it was that he was such a liar and the way he mistreated me emotionally for the past 2+ years. No idea how they look in the mirror.

  • I thought it was worth mentioning that Kent’s cheating XW (or STBX, if it isn’t official yet) decided to cheat with her daughter’s boyfriend’s father. She didn’t just betray her husband and abandon her daughter; she reached into her daughter’s young, fragile romance and appropriated all that wonder of first love for herself. That takes a special kind of truly disordered woman–she reminds of of a diagnosed borderline I once knew who always competed with her daughters. Cheaters who reach into their children’s lives for their APs are simply horrible people. Horrible. They aren’t content to blow up their child’s family of origin–they have to take away the boyfriend, the soccer coach and team, the best friend, etc.

    Kent, God bless you if you can hold onto 20 years of good memories. There is something terribly wrong with the woman you married. It’s no wonder you lay awake at night thinking about this cheater because you found out you spent 20 years with someone who has no conscience, no empathy, and no real love for her own daughter, let alone you.

    • Thanks for your kind words. That really messed with my head when I learned the truth and WHO she was with…my daughter was floored. I remember some stunned silence and my daughter and I just looking at each other…trying to comprehend the gigantic pile that just landed in front of us. I still get weak in my knees remembering that day. My daughter and her boyfriend ultimately broke up a couple months later..I’m sure her mothers choices didn’t help that relationship in the slightest. Just really tragic and sad and stupid…

      • Your ex wife sabotaged her own family, right down to co-opting her daughter’s relationship. A normal mother with a brain, a heart, a sense of tact and discretion would know that taking off with the boyfriend’s dad would just ruin everything for her daughter. To say nothing of what it did to her daughter’s father–you, her husband. I mean, my GOD! What a completely cruel and selfish glutton that woman is! Eh! Some people just don’t have a soul, what can I say.
        YOU ARE A GOOD MAN! You deserve a GOOD WOMAN who values YOU. Unfortunately, you settled for a woman who is so aggressively self-absorbed, that she made a mess of everything for the people in her life she should have valued the most. I say “should have,” but let’s be honest–she’s not at all capable.
        That only reflects on you in one way–and if you want to stay awake at night wondering what you did wrong, then ponder what it is about you that put up with her abuse? What red flags did you miss early on? What behavior did you find concerning, what crap did you swallow back in the day, and throughout your relationship–and why did you do it? How did that work for you? And, what will you do differently when you’re looking for that good woman to spend your next years with? That’s something we all must wonder, including myself. Like you, I was not perfect. But I can say that I was no worse, and was in many ways as good as or better than women I know whose lovely and loving husbands remain faithful. I’m betting that you can say the same for yourself. Fix yourself in ways that will make you like yourself better, for YOUR sake, but don’t ever fall into the trap of believing you did or didn’t do or should or could have done something to make a disordered woman choose to walk out of your life. Until you believe that, you’ll never stand up straight. Trust me–honorable, admirable, and loving people do not walk out on their families, chasing ghosts.
        Stop blaming yourself for other people’s actions. That’s your first lesson.

    • LAJ, so profound, as always. I’m a very flawed woman, but the idea of hurting my own daughter in that manner is inconceivable. Kent’s wife is as you say she is — a horrible person.

  • “She didn’t just betray her husband and abandon her daughter; she reached into her daughter’s young, fragile romance and appropriated all that wonder of first love for herself. That takes a special kind of truly disordered woman–she reminds of of a diagnosed borderline I once knew who always competed with her daughters. Cheaters who reach into their children’s lives for their APs are simply horrible people. Horrible. They aren’t content to blow up their child’s family of origin–they have to take away the boyfriend, the soccer coach and team, the best friend, etc.”

    Brilliant observation, LaJ.

    • Ditto, that, LAJ!!!

      Knew of a situation YEARS ago where the mother stole daughter’s boyfriend & married him.

      Both Mom & boyfriend gotta be sickos! (Yes, ‘boyfriend’ was daughter’s age! Did I say ‘BARF’!!!! yet?!?!)

      Whole family MESSED up! Gratefully, they were people I only HEARD about. NOT in my ‘circle’! (barf on them! I do not allow those kind in my ‘circle’!)

      • I just remembered something after reading this. My ex’s mother actually screwed my ex’s first husband right before they were married. That marriage only lasted 2-3 years but I had forgotten that. And now my ex Hooked up with her daughters boyfriends father…I guess it runs in the family. Mayve they are really truly disordered??

        • Nothing to say in response to that other than “kookookachoo.” Seriously, how messed up is that!!! Someday you’ll look back on all this and feel so amazingly free. There really *are* good and honourable women out there, and in time I hope you’ll find one. You deserve that and so much more. For now, I hope you’ll take Miss Sunshine’s advice and use this as an opportunity to look within. I’m going to do the same.

  • Kent, everything that has ven said Here is so clever and really encouraging.

    I love collecting inspiring poems/quotes and today I read the following quote on Pinterest.


    “We cry over
    Friends we will never have back
    People we onced loved
    Bridges that have been burnt.
    But there is a reason
    The past is in the past.
    You only have so much
    Room in your life,
    Save it
    For people that deserve it.
    Chances are,
    If someone’s in the past,
    They deserve to
    Stay there. ”


    This reminds me that as much as being a victim of infedelity is indeed the hardest thing to overcome, our cheaters are in our past for a reason.

    So Kent, continue loving and caring for your daughter because she deserves it, unlike your cheater ex.


  • Kent, my mother died 8 months after D-day. I always felt guilty obsessing over my ex’s affair and not paying attention to my mom’s declining health. We went on a holiday together (to leave the stress of the affair business behind), and she died the second night of our trip in her sleep at a relative’s home. My mom always had my back, and she repeatedly told me to forget reconciliation. I felt that I neglected her needs and just focused on my own hurt. We should have never gone an that trip as she was not well enough………..I can’t take those few days back. I know your pain and I am sorry.

  • Kent,
    What helped me get through a similar situation was a phrase “remember that it is over”. The memories would boil over and for some reason it seemed to help. A guy I know told me that one day he just had enough – and so he thought that it made sense to clear out anything that he had that reminded him of her: socks, sheets, towels, pictures on the wall down to the coffee cups. It took a couple of months but he thought that it cleared out his mind as well as got the clutter out of his house.
    Focus on your job and your daughter. Insure that she understands that you are not going anywhere and that you have her back. Be her rock.

  • It took me years to realize this, but I’m 100% convinced that a cheater who leaves has done us a significant favor. Yes it may initially hurt financially and it’s the pits emotionally, (but we bask in the glory of knowing that we won’t be laughed at by those who knew about the serial cheating of our spouses, or have to deal with the mental trauma and abuse of being with someone who is NEVER going to treat us as we deserve to be treated. Kent: your daughter is going to love and respect you no matter what, and that’s what being a parent is all about. You will be her rock to keep her strong. Also, I guarantee that your wife will try to come back when she realizes the grass is NOT greener on the other side. You’ll just have to be strong enough to smile, say “No Thank You” and move on to something much better for you and your daughter. I believe in you and so does the rest of the family here as we rise up against infidelity as we move into a brand new year. BIG Hugs to you Kent and Rock on Ms. Sunshine!

  • Kent, I too have been stuck now for the past seven months since I was told, “I found someone else. I want a divorce and I don’t want you to ruin it this time”. I also lost my mother at the same time. These are some of the things that I have since learned about myself since my latest D day. Selfless people attract selfish partners and I enabled him to cheat through my forgiveness time and time again. He never respected me or his other women. He never met my emotional needs and cheated whenever I truly needed him including while I was pregnant, purchasing a home, and holidays. It was never my fault because he is disturbed. He lacks empathy and feels entitled to do as he pleases. I never deserved the lies, blame, and sickness that ruled his life and almost destroyed mine. Coming to terms with the knowledge that this man never loved me for 36 years hurt tremendously. I learned to stop saying or thinking ‘I can’t believe he…. On my birthday that just past, I spent the day mourning the loss of the two most important people in my life, my mom and my ex. While it was the most emotional day I realized how much time I was spending on him rather than on my own needs, adult children and granddaughter. I decided to focus on the positive things I have in my life. They spent Christmas day with me and we had a wonderful day. I finally feel like I am getting closer to Tuesday. Rather than a future that would have destroyed me with a serial cheater, I am now free. I believe in that now. It is a long process and with the help of loving chumps, my family, and therapist I chose to live a life free from Narc rule. I will get stronger with time and you will also.

  • The subject of our exes not being there for us when we most needed a real partner makes me rewind through the years, looking for evidence that this was by no means a first-time offense. And, yep, I can find more evidence than I ever would have wanted to admit.

    These behaviors might come to a head around holidays, deaths and vacations, but I’ll bet that for many of us, the pattern was there. Maybe it was too subtle to notice at first. Maybe we didn’t pay attention, or know what to look for. Once you’re awake to the pattern, though, I would bet that it’s 100 times harder to disregard it when you start to see it again in someone else. The gut knows.

    If I ever start dating again, you better believe I’m going to pay a lot more attention to family dynamics, for starters. People generally don’t leave a fucked-up nest as the healthy, whole anomally. Kent, your former mother-in-law is Exhibit A. Now that your wife has revealed that same disorder, know that your daughter needs your true, rock-solid father’s love more than ever. She has at least two generations of horrific female modeling to recover from.

  • *****20+ years with a serial cheater as well. I’m not sure things will get better, at least on the financial front. I’m totally fucked and will likely remain so. I also have no pension because I was a SAHM and trusted him to keep his word. He didn’t. I’ll figure it out somehow but yep, it sucks.******

    I have been the main or sole breadwinner our whole almost 40 year marriage..

    I feel that I am fucked as well..I am living off of my pension, that my WH will be entitled to 1/2 of in a divorce..He didn’t save a dime or earn any pension..So at 60 yrs old with about $600 or $700 dollars a month to live on ( after my pension is divided ), I will have to figure out how the heck to start a new life..Without having to depend on my elderly mom or my sister / kids..

    I had a very good career, I took full retirement because I had enough years of service, I had to retire due to health..

    So life after divorce at my age is gonna take some figuring out, lol..And an unusually talented (and cheap) divorce lawyer..It is the info from the lawyers I already visited that made me realize the dire situation I’m in..

    Yeah cheating affects every one around the cheater..I don’t mean to sound bitter..But the laws in some states suck and it takes more than poetry and good thoughts to get out of these messy living situations that a spouse’s cheating causes..

    • Icomperry; That is one thing we Chumps maybe don’t talk about much is that in addition to being baffled, betrayed, belittled, befuddled, bamboozled and brainwashed, is the fact that we are SCARED beyond belief by the many situations we find ourselves in through no fault of our own (but perhaps being naïve). We thought we had things to count on & “poof” they are gone, replaced with nightmares involving questioning our future in every possible way! I believe more than anything I was SCARED TO DEATH about all these instant changes, and I still had a job and child already out of the house!! I feel your pain and your fear, I pray that you will overcome these obstacles & find both peace & security! Many on this site grew the appendages needed to go forward & overcome the odds, and I am inspired by them all….even the ones still working to get there. May we all have Victory!

    • Dear chumps, I too am a chump. I read All your comments and you all sounds so knowledgable. Can you please tell me,

      Is it normal to still think about your cheater ex after 5 months post DDay? Is it normal to miss them? To want them back? To even wish them well?

      I admit that my ex and I were only together for 4 years and some of you were with you serial cheater ex for as long as I have been alive ( my most sincere respect to you ALL, I really don’t think I would survive if I was you, 4 years of commitment is already kicking my butt. But the fact that you’re alive after 20+, 30+ years with a cheater, etc is already a testimony of your warrior heart and your immense strength, really!). I’m only 28 and my ex only cheated on me once ( as far as I know).

      Please wise, smart and sensitive chumps, help me understand that I’m not going crazy for feeling so stuck and for falling for a cheater. I really thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, and then boom, all my dreams, gone. 🙁

      I don’t know what to do.

      • Yes… To all your questions. Kinda like Stockholm Syndrome… It is natural to have good feelings for people who mistreat us.
        However, it is something to outgrow with time.
        My sister told me a Bible story that I apply to my freedom from my cheating ex. The Israelites were free from Egypt and were walking in the desert. They actually complained to their leader, Moses, “In Egypt things were better. We had cucumbers to eat.”
        If you miss your ex then you might just be missing the ‘cucumbers’ that get out of proportion in memory and are not worth a lifetime of slavery.

        • Dear Lily,

          Wow. Thank you so much for sharing such a story, piece of wisdom. It is interesting you say that because I actually watched Exodus yesterday ( a film about the story of Moses). Thus, your comment couldn’t have come at more perfect time.

          I shall not be slave to my ex, because the cucumbers “are not worth a lifetime of slavery.” Thank you , thank you. This too shall pass.

          • God bless. You are never alone. Reading here reminds me that this terrible journey through betrayal is a well-worn path to a better life.

  • Kent – I really hope this post isn’t too late to reach you. I’m post 5 years from D-Day. I had a similar experience as you. Within 6 months, I found out my ex was gay and sleeping with a woman who had been in my house and I had been to dinner with – slept with her for pot (which I didn’t know he was addicted to), found out he had online underage profiles posing as a 14 year old boy and another one posing as a 16 year old girl, my dad died and my mom had her umpteenth stroke which left her paralyzed on her right side and took her voice. I had a 3 month old and a 1 year old. I also found out a lot of his friends knew he was gay, but didn’t know that I didn’t know – they all thought it was my bag. He was actually planning a romantic rendezvous with a man in SF when he was going to take me there. He asked me to be his ‘cover’ because I made him ‘look good’. Bringing this up to his mother, she knew he was gay too, but she thought I would be the one ‘to make him straight.’ Because the economy totally sucked at that time, I had already been laid off for 1 year and there were NO jobs to be had. I tell you all of this not to put a victim card out there, but to let you know I totally understand where you are at. IT SUCKED THE BIGGEST SUCK EVER.

    I can also tell you what helped me. No contact. Boundaries. ‘Friends don’t do that to friends’ mental attitude. I don’t care how long you live with someone, know someone – with my experience, you never EVER know the person totally. Your ex had a double life going and that is bizarre behavior. The PTSD therapists I had characterized my ex as a sociopath due to the double life and also as a narcissist as my ex blamed me that I couldn’t ‘handle how great his ‘being fluid’ was and what was wrong with me, etc, etc, etc. It wasn’t until a year later I was able to put together the puzzle – his odd behaviors, his disappearances, how fucking mean he got and the belittlement towards me and my children he felt entitled to.

    Find a PTSD therapist. These therapists have experience with high conflict circumstances. Your spouse sleeping with a man who you have BBQ’d for is disgusting. This is considered high conflict. Has as to do with major betrayal and trust.

    Don’t think she’d couldn’t do anything else to hurt you? Think again. If she has already done this, there could be countless other things she could do. Probably mindless to her. That’s why you need to protect yourself. A good attorney. You fight for your money, for custody, your home, EVERYTHING!

    I found a few good online forums with people who were going through the same thing I was. A lot of ‘vets’ on the site helping out the ‘newbees’. They all said the same thing – if someone is going to cheat right under your nose, there are other things they are doing and/or other things they could do that would blow your mind and leave you scratching your head because this wasn’t the person you were married to.

    We spend a lot of time spinning – wondering what the…. How did I not know this. Who is she/he? This, I believe, keeps us stuck.

    It takes a while for the spin to slow down and then you find your land legs – and once there you can finally yell ‘FUCK YOU’ and then you start making stronger boundaries, the ‘no contact’ isn’t emotional anymore, you have no reaction towards her.

    And know when your boundaries are stronger, your no contact is in full swing and you don’t give her reactions anymore, she could possibly be more obnoxious to get your attention. If this happens, keep everything – texts, emails, etc because you can use that in court if needed.

    If she moves in her boyfriend without being engaged, depending on what state you live in, your daughter wouldn’t be able to stay the night. But don’t do this type of homework online. Get your information directly from an attorney. The attorney you need to find has to have experience with high conflict cases as they also have experience with odd personalities (narcissistic, sociopath, etc.)

    Being almost 5 years out – I’d rather have gone through everything I went through rather than be with someone who risked my life and was living a few double lives. Yes – that is another thing. A lot of people don’t realize is when their partner is sleeping around and is still having sex with you, it is risking your life these days. Your daughter could be fatherless. I would remember this when I had to respond to my ex’s email – I used this for strengthen. My babies could have been motherless if I keep the relationship going for their sake.

    My ex still has his friends. I know his friends don’t know half the bullshit I went through. I dumped all of ‘his friends’. Deleted them from all social media, my phone contacts, everything. It is so true that the friends you surround yourself with speak VOLUMES about you. It’s also ok to let go of relationships that don’t benefit you – especially the ones you had has a couple. If people asked you what happened, get a short few sentenced story. CL talked about (either on this post or another post) about dimmed witted ‘friends’ who want to be with the one who is happier. Let them. That’s their character. This is not a friend. You don’t need that person around in your life. I friend I thought I had – we went for one our walks when I confided what I had found out and what was going on. I was just about to give birth to my second child. She told me that it was all in my head and that I was going through postpartum. That was the last walk I had with her. And really the last time I spoke with her.

    My heart goes out to you. Everything will get better. But it’s a ‘time’ thing. Allow yourself time to heal. Don’t beat up on yourself. You will let it go eventually. See if there are some groups in your area. Read the comments and posts on this website. It’s going to be up and down, emotionally and mentally.

    YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. If I could, you can. xoxo

      And what a great post too. Sometimes I think Chums who just get left, or go so egregious in their behavior that there is not way to even consider trying to untangle the skein, etc. Or maybe it is just the same no matter what. Sounds like you have done a great job & can see the other side. Kudos! I lost a lot of friends too. They were the ones coming to me with their problems before DDay, and when I needed them I could tell they even thought less of me for not being able to just deal with it- just stay or go, what’s the problem? Cleaned out my friend closet too.
      Great advice! Hope Kent takes it! I never did find a good therapist, and went through 4.

      • Regina – Therapists are hard to find. I went through 4 too. After they asked what is going on and then they ask you ‘so how does that make you feel’? I would end the session nicely and ask around for another therapist recommendation. I didn’t want to pay someone who I could cry to, I wanted help with boundaries with a ‘yeah, this situation is fucked up, here are some tools’ – the only one I could find to help was a PTSD therapist. She taught me when my head starts to spin, to look at my fingers and go touch something including my own fingers. I was actually losing my senses – like seeing (all I saw was things spinning around me and I was dizzy all the time), touching (I was literally numb), taste (I had none). Your body has a way of defending itself going through heavy stress. She said it’s called Fight or Flight and explained what the brain does in these types of situations – knowing how the body reacts was huge for me. Helped me stop freaking out internally because I know understood.

        Yes – and you definitely know who your friends are. I’m now over self conscious letting anyone in by fault. I have major trust issues now and I need to work through them. It will happen 🙂

        Happy New Year to you {hugs}

        • Hey Myexisanutjob, thanks for the tips. Unfortunately, many people will list PTSD as something they are trained at, and they have no skills. I had read more books than all these therapists on cheating anyway (not that I m proud of that, it just showed I was digging for a reason to stay I think) My gut just would not let go of the story that didn’t add up. It took me awhile to realize that most never stop the downplaying, lying, etc. I just could not wrap my head around to what degree I did not know this person I trusted with everything! I had all eighteen wheels stuck in the sand I now see in retrospect.
          But I most definitely had PTSD, a hell I cant even comprehend even though I have been through it. It is like your mind is a prison, and keeps going around & around the endless loop of insanity. I already had life events I believe set me up for this. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about myself, but I have read that is a outshoot of OCD. (?) Which may make some sense to me anyway.
          That is a good idea (what your therapist suggested.) I guess bringing yourself back to the moment in any way helps. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Myexisanutjob, thanks for this post, I came and checked to see if there were new comments. Sounds like you are familiar with my situation unfortunately. Glad to see you have survived and thrived. You make some great points. I’m looking forward to reaching Meh, I know it’s coming up one of these Tuesdays for me. It’s certainly getting closer. I sold our rings today, felt pretty good about that and used some of the cash to take my daughter out for a nice dinner and dessert.

      • Good for you Kent! That seems small but is big that you got rid of the rings-very symbolic & then sharing the proceeds doing something with your daughter! Do something like this when you get dragged down about it all, sounds very cathartic. ( & good for us other Chumps to dream up our own versions!)

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