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Dear Chump Lady, Where do you find the strength?

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holly_petraeusDear Chump Lady,

In October, I discovered my husband was trolling for men online while on business trips. This isn’t new — I had a D-Day December 2010 discovering that for years he was meeting guys for “just sex. It’s equivalent to meeting a friend for a beer. I’m bisexual and need to explore this side of myself because I didn’t experiment in college”.

We did the marriage counseling route because I felt that I owed my young children married parents if at all possible. It worked enough that I could stay married to him. But no longer. I consider us separated even though he won’t discuss a timeline for moving out. It may take longer than I’d like, but I will divorce him.

The reason I’m writing is that tonight he dropped the bombshell that the reason he cheated is because he doesn’t respect me. SHOCKER!!! But then he went on to say that he doesn’t respect me because of my personality: 1) I don’t like to go out as much as he does, 2) I don’t like music playing in the kitchen while cooking 3) When we’re in a crowd I always lag behind 4) I don’t have a career path (I stay home with the kids because daycare cost more than my pay as an administrative assistant and he makes 200K). He finished the conversation by getting exasperated that I was crying. He “knew I was going to take it the wrong way and he’s so fucking sick of everything being sad and depressive around the house.”

The conversation tore through me as someone who has a history of being shamed by my parents for being introverted. It’s not like I’m anti-social or a hermit, I just don’t dance on bars or am on my way to being a CEO any time soon. But it hurts soooo bad. I know intellectually that he’s creating reasons to have a story as to why HE ended the marriage, but emotionally I am back to the little girl being told she’s not worthwhile because she’s too quiet. He knew how to cut to the most painful part of my life and use it against me.

Please, Chump Lady, slap some sense into me. We’ve recently moved across the country for his work and I don’t have any friends here. I feel so alone going through this. How do chumps find the inner strength to survive the pain and mind games?

HollyH

Dear HollyH,

You’re asking the wrong question, friend. We don’t want the strength to survive pain and mind games, we find the strength to LEAVE abuse!

When you get away, go no contact, and cut off the mindfuckery — then the healing starts. So long as you’re staying there putting up with his shit, no, it’s not going to get better. You may as well ask me, how do you treat burns with gasoline? You put down the matches, Holly. Get away from this asshole. Take your power back.

He’s got you isolated, financially dependent, and questioning your worth. So let’s attack that problem by breaking it into little pieces. I’ll respond to his mindfuckery later.

1. Isolation — Do what you’re doing right now. Reach out. Find help. Okay, you’re not in the frame of mind to make new friends as you’re in a strange place and your marriage is falling apart. (BTDT, Lancaster County, Pa.) This can be overcome. You’re welcome here at Chump Nation. You get on the forum, share your story, get support from other folks going through the same shit at the same time (you’re not alone!), and some other saints who are further ahead in their journey who can hold you up. There are other online resource too, of course.

I know when I went through it, I would not have survived had it not been for the kindness of countless strangers I met online, and the 24/7  therapy from articles I found on www.drirene.com, outofthefog.net, Romeo’s Bleeding, and elsewhere. I needed a million reality checks, and I’m sure you do too. It sounds like you’ve already tried the Save Your Marriage Single-Handedly crap, so hopefully you know to steer clear of unicorns.

So, shore up some support online. Next, find a therapist for YOU. Forget marriage counseling. Get yourself some professional help to combat those FOO issues.

2. Financial dependence. See a lawyer immediately. You’re a SAHM, he earns a huge salary, don’t pull any punches. You absolutely should go back to work, but talk to a lawyer first. Probably best to divorce him while you have no income, and enter the workforce after you’ve got your settlement. But meanwhile, bone up on your job skills. Fuck this, “I’m only an administrative assistant” shit. I know a woman who started out as a secretary and rose to run the Nigerian oil division of the World Bank. Volunteer, take online classes, start a degree. Nothing will boost your self-esteem more and get you out of isolation than a job. You don’t need this fuckwit.

And don’t let him know you’re seeing a lawyer, just DO IT. Get an attorney experienced at high-conflict divorce, because you’ve got kids and he could get ugly. You’ve got power, Holly. Don’t pull your punches. He likes to have bisexual affairs on business trips? I’m sure your lawyer would love to depose those people, and wouldn’t it be crazy if he was using company resources (phone, email, business dinners) to conceal his affairs? Wouldn’t his employer just be so interested to know that? You’ve got leverage — let a professional wield it for you if he gets uppity about settlement.

3. Questioning your worth. Holly, the reason he cheated is that he’s an asshole who likes cock. I’m sorry, your introversion has nothing to do with his bisexuality. And his bisexuality has nothing to do with him being an asshole. His “curiosity” doesn’t excuse his risking your health. And his minimizing his betrayals as nothing more significant than “grabbing a beer” is abusive.

You’re quiet? So what! He must’ve known who you are when he married you. He’s just blameshifting, it’s what cheaters do. Don’t internalize the judgment. Have you read the Stupid Shit Cheaters Say? It’s full of the excuses cheaters make on why their chumps Drove Them To It. You don’t cook with music on. Other people hear they don’t play board games, are too liberal, make pasta wrong…

Cheating is about entitlement and shitty character. That’s on HIM. Not you.

You didn’t make him cheat. I trotted out my sweater cartoon again because it was based on Holly Petraeus (another Holly chump). All that crap on how she was so frumpy, of course her husband had to cheat. Of course, the frumpiness is the Real Problem. It’s all victim-blaming bullshit.

Holly, if you don’t like who you are — work on you for you. Don’t look to change for an un-pleasable fuckwit. Take a long, hard look at codependency. Ask yourself why the hell you thought you could stay in a marriage with a guy who was open about his “need” for casual bisexual sex. That wasn’t an immediate deal breaker? Why did you think you could work with that? Intact home for your kids… yeah, at what price? Being a SAHM isn’t worth the price of your dignity, Holly. You get a say in this marriage too — and I’m glad you’ve decided it’s not acceptable to you.

You’re not a vulnerable little girl any more. You’re a grown woman. A mother. It’s time to be MIGHTY. Don’t listen to his shit. Don’t let him see you cry. Go call a lawyer today and take your life back.

Where do you find the strength? It’s there inside you. When you ACT in the knowledge that you have worth, you FEEL stronger. But the feelings don’t come without the actions. You can’t just wait around waiting for the magic moment when you feel invincible. The more steps you take in the right direction, the stronger you feel. You have to take it on faith at first. (If I call this lawyer, my world will not fall apart….) Baby step, larger step, stride… until pretty soon you’re wearing a cape, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

You can do this, Holly. We’ve got your back.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Read this STAT!

    http://www.amazon.com/Controlling-People-Recognize-Understand-Control/dp/158062569X

    Not kidding. It is amazing and will help you more than you can imagine. *** CL, this is a great resource. ***

    I’m sorry you are going through this. I’m an introvert or rather the new term seems to be Highly Sensitive Person. People exhaust me. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING AN INTROVERT or an HSP. We have our own wonderful qualities.

    You need to get away from him asap. He’s gaslighting you and what you are dealing with is abuse pure and simple.

    Hang in there and focus on the future. Do not internalize anything he says about you. He is an abuser.

    • Just bought “Why Does He Do That ?” By Lundy Bancroft “.

      A very good read about understanding abussive partners and how they operate.

      • I second this book! This gives huge insight to how abusive men really think and imo how to defuse the pain they inflict. It is a helpful tool along with chumplady to lift off the oppression so you see reality and take your life back! Good luck and ((((biggest hugs)))) !!!

          • Hi Arnold; “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans is a great book about all kinds of abuse. It describes all the things that baffle their “prey” and how they get away with it. She also says in the front that these abusers are both men & women, and only uses men as the example because more women come forward about it. (This book originally written some 20 years ago.) Also, “Private Lies” was my other favorite, by Frank Pittman-I had almost every page dog-eared. I think the disordered between the sexes have mostly similarities, not differences. They lie, steal your time, screw with your mind & carve into your soul.

        • I agree – Ms. Evans and Mr. Bancroft really have a good handle on abusive relationships and focuses on the “why” and “how” to cope with it. Just read DrIrene as Chumplady suggested and very good information, all online. OutoftheFog.net is really good as well. Great tools to help you feel like you’re not alone. haven’t read “Private Lies”, but will check that out, as well. Many of these books may also be at the library, but I was lucky enough to find mine at a yard sale of a woman who got out of an abusive relationship after 22 years. Also, just randomly looking through this site on a daily basis can be a lifesaver because it offers the opportunity to meet others who have walked in your shoes and suggestions of what to do. Continue to hang in there. We’re here for you.

  • Even if you changed ALL those things he complained about he would find more CL is right he is an emotional abuser and I’ll bet he does it to your children too.

    • Even if you changed all those things, he would find more things to blame shift you with. This has NOTHING to do about you. It’s all about him. He didn’t get the chance to experiment with bisexuality in college bullshit story? Tell him to leave and go do it. Get him out of the house and file for diverse. Change the locks on the house.

    • Another good one is here:

      http://www.amazon.ca/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153

      I’m also an introvert, but with an extrovert’s job. I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I also have a lot of fun going out. At the same time, I also find these things draining and need much more ‘down time/time alone’ than other people seem to. Coming home from a party more often than not leaves me exhausted rather than energized, even when I’ve really enjoyed myself. My sparkly narc ex is of course a complete extrovert, and once he criticized me too for being “not social enough” at an event I told him straight up I didn’t agree with and didn’t want to attend. Never again!

      Believe me, you don’t have to justify or defend who or how you are to anyone. There are plenty other people who will love and appreciate you just the way you are!

  • Holly, you’re husband knows EXACTLY what to say to keep you off balance. He loves to see you that way. I asked my husband if he could do one thing, just one thing for me, and that was to stop saying I was like my mother. You won’t be surprised to hear that my request actually made him increase how often he compared me to my mother. Asshole.

    These self entitled narcissist cheaters are highly intelligent and have great skill and practice in making us chumps feel like shit. We can’t get through to them, we’ll never understand them, we must get away from them and trust that they suck.

    Know this about them: they are cruel to us because deep down they are highly insecure.

    Other chumps will come here today and tell you not to play nice in the divorce just to get away from him and I agree. Find the best pit bull attorney you can find and tell them to help get you what’s rightfully yours and petition the court to have your STBX pay your attorney fees.

    As CL says, leverage is your friend here. Document what you know about his cheating and put it somewhere safe, like at a trusted friends, safe deposit box, or your lawyer’s office.

    Keep your cards close to your chest and pretend you’re an actress. It’s time to do what’s best for you and your kids and get the hell out of there. They don’t need to see their mother demeaned this way.

    I’m an introvert myself and my STBX also enjoyed making me feel badly about that. Now that I’ve been away from him for a year, I don’t mind that quality in me at all. It’s all about perspective.

    As CL says, “Don’t try to unravel the skein of fuckedupness” because it’s a waste of your energy. Stand tall. Join us on the forum pages. We’ll be with you all the way.

    As you move along with your life remember the lesson of what can happen when we are totally dependent on someone else — teach that lesson to your daughters or sons.

  • Jeez Holly, what a total piece of shit he is. CL is right – get lawyered up and get things underway. I often come on here and read someone’s story and feel strongly for them but I am absolutely incensed on your behalf. You sound like a lovely, considerate person and a great mum, and so as CL says, it’s time to be mighty and let me tell you, you DO have it in you. Things happen in life that mean you find reserves of strength that you had no idea were there. And there is nothing wrong with being quiet. If we were all the same, life would be very dull and I find in a group of people the loud ones who always have something to say are actually not as interesting as the quiet ones who don’t need to go around talking at people. And I know you are a long long long long way from even thinking about this, but once you have wiped this POS off the bottom of your shoe, you may very well find that there are plenty of men who would love the company of a quieter, more gentle soul. Just believe in yourself. You have been in a horribly dark place which will probably get darker for a while, but just you wait until you emerge into the light. You go girl. xx

  • Holly please don’t let him get the best of u. U have been in such an abusive relationship for so long that u don’t know what normal is anymore. That’s why he cam toy with ur emotions. He is soooo trying to rationalize being the worst husband by putting u down. Don’t believe him u sound like an intelligent and kind person. Who cares if I like to be quiet it would be so annoying if everyone out there was some flamboyant attention whore. He seems to be hiding behind a facade of normalcy as to not expose his homosexuality as to not hinder his career. Blackmail him for a great settlement. Sending my kindest regards to a virtual friend xo

    • Holly,

      When you come from a family who is demeaning to you, as you did and as I did, you have no idea what it means to be a valued person in a relationship. It is hard to know where you need to draw the line and how. It is time for you to get a team together as well. You need a lawyer and a good therapist who is able to start helping you see your value. Now we are all here glibly saying do these things, be an actress but all of these things take money. I am sure you are thinking ‘yeah right, where do I find the money to find an attorney for this so I don’t tip my hand? Where do I find a baby sitter so I can go and see a therapist. I remember being in that position and wanting to leave my husband when my kids were little but I was the center of a web and every string came back to me.

      Perhaps tell your husband you need to see a therapist so you can deal with your depression and shyness but really find someone who can help you see how mighty you are. When you do that, you will probably see him change his behavior because it really isn’t about being shy or any of that, it is about control.

      Now for money for an attorney. I would bet that you have kept his bi-sexual hookups quite the secret from your family and best friends. If you can trust your family, tell them and ask for help. Perhaps they can front the retainer.

      I dont’ know who does the bills in the house or how you can do this. I hope you do the bills then it is easier to get the cash to do this.

      Gather evidence, as much as you can find. Best if he is using company assets for his assignations, find that. To do this optimally, it is going to take a year to get together. You need to stregthen your job skills, find cash, find the right attorney, find the right therapist, get your family and friends all lined up. Then act. It is going to take a lot of strength and faith in yourself and vision for a better life for your kids.

      Sending you much love, please go to the forum and write often, we will all be waiting for you and you will have the considerable brains, wisdom and experience of the Mighty Chump Nation behind you. Much love.

      • You know what’s funny, Holly, is I was considered outgoing. I had no idea how much the ex was shutting me down all the time. It happened so gradually. Once I found out my ex was sleeping with men, it was like I took my first breathe in YEARS!!! Then all of his shit started to make sense.

  • Holly, CL is right.There is always, always an excuse, and the excuse is always designed to devalue and place blame on the chump who has been betrayed. I wasn’t young enough, thin enough or pretty enough for him anymore (after 16 years). My bad.

    Understand that the conversation was designed to coerce you into accepting behavior that you find unacceptable. You have been isolated, have become financially dependent and are now the perfect captive audience. Time to protect yourself. Consult a lawyer, check into counseling resources, take a class that interests you. Getting some input from people other than your husband will give you a better perspective on what is happening and what you want to do about it.

    Good luck to you. There are plenty of ears and shoulders here when you need them.

  • Elle is right, this marriage is a travesty and an assault to your health & well being! (As well as your kids I am sure. Never seen a disordered person not unload on all that are in their “inner circle” of people who made the mistake of caring about them.)
    This Patricia Evans Sam above recommends is a great author & I believe led the pack in the abuse realm of books. My experience was that the “Verbally Abusive Relationship” was the one that spoke most to me. It shows also that there are usually other forms of abuse taking place or are right around the corner. The mind screwing as CL said keeps you off kilter & in a weakened state of questioning yourself instead of him!! Once they have you not trusting your gut, you are putty in their hands.
    Really have compassion for you in the early stages of dealing with this. It does get better. Get help!

  • Another one who needs to read, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft.

    My prayers are with you Holly. I’ve been there too. The strength comes AFTER you see how far you’ve come… just start walking (away).

  • My dad lived that behind the scenes lifestyle for 23 yrs with my mom. Even now after 20 years of divorse from Her, he still blames her at times for the divorse. I really think it’s his issues of being gay that he took out on my mom. My mom is free of him now for 20 years. She’s married to the nicest man in the whole world now! He’s good to all of we adult kids and our children. Btw, my mom worked at daycare and had no college. He payed her alimony for years until she remarried. Please get out of that abuse. It’s going to be very hard but blessings are in store for your future.

    • Yes, I think this guy is gay. His preferred cheating partners are all men? Gay, gay, gay, and more gay.

      Next time he gets on you about being introverted, tell him to be a man and step out of the closet.

      • His problem is not being gay; plenty of gay men I know are sane, compassionate individuals.

        This guy is a narcissist and bully. They come in all flavors–heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual.

        • This.

          It is true that a lot of gay people do get married, and the marriages then fall apart. However, the gay person doesn’t need to cheat. Nope. The gay person can file for divorce honestly, pointing out that after trying hard to repress who they are, they realize that they are gay. No doubt about it. This kind of revelation will suck for the spouse, but at least it’s’ an honest declaration.

          Your cheater is just trying to fuck with your mind. Don’t let him.

          • I think the original point is that not only is he abusive in all the conventional ways that we regularly discuss here, but add to that that she is being used as a beard. That’s really abusive too. Pointing this out is not antigay. It’s another form of abuse with its own characteristics and complexities that need to be addressed for the benefit of those suffering under it. No need for instant soap boxing because an issue involving a gay person and the way they CHOSE to handle their sexuity comes up.

  • Holly, I am quiet too but that doesn’t make us less then anyone else. My stbx is loud and always the center of attention, actually, often times it’s embarrassing! Intellectually, I feel smarter, calmer and make more rational decisions then he does most times. He’s impulsive and often regrets many of his choices but never took any of my advice. Since the split, I got into therapy, bought a car, got two small tattoos, symbols of my freedom and have a new puppy. I’ve looked at new homes and have a plan for my future, after I get my share in the divorce. You can do it! Be mighty! Your husband sounds like an idiot…shouldn’t be hard to get your ducks in a row without his knowledge. Do it for yourself and when that feels too hard…do it for your kids!

    • Ditto this Holly,

      My cheater was always the center of attention; very self-confident and interesting quotes, jokes and stories. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in when at social gatherings with him.

      Still remember a dinner party with just a few guests and he introduced me as his wife. One very nice gentleman turned to me and said “Wondertful to meet you X’s wife; I daresay such a lovely woman has a name I may address her by”. It took me aback that cheater would often neglect to mention his family by name just their relationship to him (like we were some appendage).

      And I used to believe he was well liked. The majority of my family thought he was a pompous arrogant asshole. They all said they would have spoken up if they had known the extent of his alcohol use and narcissistic behaviour over the years. A few of his work colleagues (especially the more reserved less flashy types) had privately told me they felt he was a touch self-absorbed.

      Live and learn.

      Holly, you are not a wallflower. You’re just not a braying donkey performing for kibbles. And using the you are too quiet and introverted therefore I can explore my bisexual nature is a load of crap. Gay, lesbian, open marriage, transgender etc. couples will tell you lying, cheating and belittling your partner is not the basis of any loving relationship. Using the |”I have no respect for you” card is just pure garden fertilizer. Nobody deserves to be treated with contempt for simply being quiet, loyal and family oriented.

      Congratulations on taking the first steps in leaving this person. Follow the chumpy advice and find out what living a life with genuine feelings of worthiness is like!

      • And think about whar “I have no respect for you” actually says. He’s the one who married you, had kids with you, and then devalued you until HE has NO RESPECT. That’s about his capacity to respect others, not your worthiness, which is not in question.

    • Holly — I guess I’m an introvert by nature as my favorite activities are reading, long walks, crossword puzzles and cooking. I never like being the center of attention and I’m quick to do the behind the scenes work. I like myself. According to him I didn’t like doing anything, I didn’t like going to parties and staying out late and I wasn’t quick to turn on the music and have every tv on in the house! We sold our home for financial reasons and I moved on without him over a year ago. I have since bought my own apartment and my 22 & 23 year old daughters come to stay with me. I am happy! I’ve joined a book club which is Christian based so it’s more like therapy and have made so many new friends who are helping me navigate my new life. One is an old friend who says she can’t believe how much I’ve blossomed since I’ve been on my own and free to explore life my way!

      As for my STBX he’s just driven halfway across country to bring his schmoopie “home” with him! He can’t live by himself as he has to be the center of attention. He’s introducing her throughout our town and church as his “fiancee” and those that know the whole story are dumbfounded because they know we’re not divorced. It only serves to show the world that he is totally fucked up and delusional. He met this women in college 35 years ago and felt that he “has always loved her”. He’s living out his fantasy and now has his new trophy to parade around town. A small town woman from Iowa who moves to an NY city suburb into an apartment in a town where she knows no one and everyone knows everyone and their business!

      Now that I’m past the grief, I’m sitting back and watching to see what Karma has in store for these two delusional people who have ruined three lives (more if you include his family).

      Holly — all this above is to say that you will get through this. Chump Nation has your back. Find a church and volunteer, find a library and a book club, find a divorce group. You need to do this in order to flourish (and you will). In another year, you will be surprised when you look back and see all that you have negotiated without him. Go be mighty and ROAR!

      Hugs to you!

  • Holly, I want to be Captain Obvious for a moment. You took your first step by getting on the internet, finding Chump Lady and writing to her!!! You told your story and are no longer alone. I think the hardest part, in the beginning, is just telling our stories. It can be such a source of shame and embarrassment…even thought we didn’t do anything wrong. You have already shown that you have strength and that your marriage is no longer acceptable. So, stick around, you’re in the right place. There are no victims here. Just us Chumps getting out of bad marriages because we know our worth and expect more, deserve more. Betrayal will not undo us. And it won’t undo you either. Keep moving forward. Do what CL says. Hugs.

  • Part of the reason you feel you need to look outward for strength right now is that you’ve been depleted. Some people are almost emotional vampires. I’ve had disagreements/conflicts that left me depleted and drained, while the other person walks away smiling like they’ve just gotten their tank topped off. One thing that will strengthen you is to start watching for those encounters and cut off the supply of energy that they’re draining.
    Another thing that will help you is to find things that put energy back into your system: nutritional, intuitive eating; a gentle, restorative exercise routine, such as yoga; meditation, hot baths, long walks, time with pets, time with children exploring nature. Find those things that make you happy, make you feel good, and prioritize them like your life depended upon them.

    It would also be funny if you found music that you find soothing and restorative and started playing it while you cooked, especially if it was something he hated. Examples that occur to me are Gregorian chants, Sephardic new classical, Celtic music, or just some good, rousing polka music. This is a battle going on, a battle for your strength and sanity. You’re fighting it against someone who was willing to leave your children parentless for the sake of a walk on the wild side. And the battleground is definitely taking place on an energetic level as well as other areas. This is kind of a fun area to fight it out, because there’s not a damned thing he can do about it. He can’t even admit that it’s going on. It’s about taking yourself back. Dress in colors and fabrics that make you feel good. Spend time with people that renew your spirits. Find a church, if you’re inclined that direction, that will welcome you and the children and perhaps be a port in the storm when things get ugly. Renew friendships that the move has severed. Plan this like a battle campaign. You like salads for dinner, he likes steak? Serve salad. Start to take back your territory in ways that are subtle and unsettling. Stop putting fabric softener in his clothes, or use one perfumed with lavender (if he dislikes lavender). It’s going to take a bit of time to disconnect, but you may as well enjoy yourself while you’re doing it.

  • Hi Holly, welcome to the club.. U dont get a t-shirt or membership fees… What u get is solid advice from people who have lived it. I echo what everybody else says… Its has nothing to do with yr personality, the socks you wear or if u fold the toilet paper from the top or bottom… They will use anything to make you feel its something about you that made them lie and cheat. They are master manipulators and find the one thing that they know can keep u paralyzed…its the method. They planet the seed.. See what reaction it creates and when u bite… They have u on the hook. Right now my dear u are on the hook. You need to be like one of those fish that plays possom until you are at the bottom of the boat… Then u flap wildly until yr little fishy self is back in the pond. Then u are the smart fishy. Cause i know most fish who fight on the hook usually get bonked on the head… The rare one fights so hard they never make it into the boat… But usually end back on the hook… Thats me.
    U are on the hook…be the smart fish.
    He wont suspectbyou can be the smart fish… He will expect that u will be who he has always known… And thats to your advantage right now.
    You are never prepared when someone pulls the rug of yr life out from under u. But you can prepare now. Follow the advice… Educate yrself. Leave No Tracks. Clear history… Get copies… Its all in here. Do it. You will struggle with who u are…we all do ….
    U are enough. Introversion, extraversion …. Who cares. Embrace that u see the world from a different place.
    My child is an introvert… To two very extroverted parents… I learned about it… He didnt. I work very hard to see the world thru my childs eyes. It means speaking to her feelings… And adjusting my parenting to it. She is considered HSP and also has a sensory processing disorder. That with an unusual spinal cord problem makes raising her a wonderful challenge. She is who she is and all I can do is help make her resiliant to this world that seemingly values extraverts( or loud mouth schnooks, as I call them, self included)! You are enough.
    Read, read, read ….

    • Oh… And as far as the ‘ bisexual ‘ interests… Who fucking cares if he is fucking dead dogs… The bottom line is if he likes fucking dead dogs… Then he should have had the moral decency to let you know and allow you to chose. Instaed he uses that as a crutch… ‘ i like men’ who fucking cares… You are lost on the point that u did it behind my back. Want to go and fuck men… Women… Chickens… Dead dogs… Have at it. Just let me in on the rules so I can decide if I want to continue in this game. Period.
      He is a fucking self serving sack of dog fucking shit… Cut him loose.

        • After you no longer respond to all his games he will be like a cat trying to cover shit on a marble slab!
          Feverishly! Ringside seats please!!

          • That visual! I can hear the screek-screek-screek of claws on marble, and see the spinning and look of confusion.

            Bahahaha!

            • Laughing hard about that visual. Thank you so much.

              But listen very carfully to all of the above Holly. Every word is worth it’s weight in gold. Mine also cheated on me with men and kept it secret for almost a decade. I and others suspect it has been far longer. We had been together 20 years.
              But I wish to add the following.

              1. He is not the man you invision him to be. So you need to let go of any expectations. On any level.

              2. The fish analogy is great. Someone used the same example for me. He is use to throwing out a line and getting a set reaction, that reaction gives him pay off. CUT THE FUCKING LINE. and smile sweetly as you do it. They really become rattled when they don’t get the reaction they are use to. Remember he is an expert at the game he has been conditioning you for years. I suggest if you can to read a lot of the back stuff here at CL and take an honest look at yourself to try and identify some of your triggers. Because as you do they loose there effect and it fucks with their mind.

              3. His sexuality is not your issue. I agree with everything already said on this. Mine claimed a few weeks ago 12 months post d’day that he is nolonger attracted to men, but is not attracted to women either because of the way I treated him. Not my problem. The issue is not the gender (though it is a fucking insult) it is that they choose to cheat and leave us in the dark and when the truth comes out it is expected that we should be ok with it.

              Stay strong.
              The way that works best for you.

      • TheClip–you have the most fabulous analogies ever–fucking a dead dog, the fish on the hook. Profound, and amusing ,simultaneously. (My personal favorite was about them “grabbing you by the ears and inserting their mindfuck swimmy things into your head” Vivid, astute, and side-splittingly funny.)

        • Tempest,
          I appreciate the compliment… I am humbled everyday by everyones story. I absorb the enrgy and bravery it took for so many here to make the first comment or entry. I know i had deleted many a post thinking its just too … too …too personal. All I saw was rage on the page. Rage, bitterness and hatered. Things that I dont equate with myself or my life. But it was there on the page… In my words. I kneew it had to come out… I had to purge. What a relief that i could say all these things and be recieved with kindness and understanding. And encouragement! I hope I am not too crass nor off putting. I am not normally so in my ‘ regular ‘ life. I have so much pent up anger…. And pain. Tincture of time I know.
          I crawled out from the covers late / early this am and made bread. figured i had enough sulk time. Its been almost a year since I have made bread. Two loaves. Working the dough in the wee hours to yield this beautiful crusty masterpiece. My child awoke to the smell and said ‘ Its a happy smell. We are going to have a good day’ and we did.

          • Oh, what a sweet comment by your daughter! Yes, freshly baked bread is a happy smell.

            I swear, if I were Tony Soprana, your bully of a husband would be top of my hit list. And you are at the top of my list to come kidnap in the dead of night for a better life. (Pack you & your daughter’s bags and say the word.)

            • I swear i have thought of taking up with a knuckle dragging idiot …. one that I could point in the direction of Fucktard… And say …’ Sic em boy’ a la Soprano Surprise! Serving his teeth back up to him after the gorilla has knocked that fucking cheesy ass smile off his retarded face. …. It is but a dream!
              Tempest… If I ever get the chance… I wont even pack.

      • Yes to ‘theclip’. He didn’t tell you his rules. You don’t have to tell him yours. He hasn’t been civil and neither do you. There is greater power with being an introvert. You do what you do best. Go within. Be silent. Get your game plan together and be silent. You having no response will through him off and it will make him uncomfortable because he has made you predicable with the bullying and mind fuckery he has done with you. I’m 5 years out and my ex – who is gay one weak, bi the next and straight another, still fucks with me, still looking for a reaction from me so he can figure out how to control the situation and continue to belittle me to ‘prove his point’ – what ever the hell that is. It starts with charm, so i gave in in the beginning. Then he goes with anger, and I would give in because I didn’t want him to be angry then he would be the biggest douche bag ever and use the responses I gave him with the first 2 against me. After a year or so, I learned. Now I don’t even give in to his first attempt with his charm. If I have to answer his question, it’s just with a word or two. He still writes back wanting moe explanation but I never respond.

        You’ll find your way through this, but this personality disorder becomes more and more predictable with the more distance you get with this guy. And know history will always repeat itself with him. Always.

  • Holly, you state “The conversation tore through me as someone who has a history of being shamed by my parents for being introverted”. I am 63 years old and I would not say I am introverted, more like sensitive or as my father used to say “thin skinned”. I was conditioned from birth to understand and know that I was never good enough. I was the 2nd daughter followed by 2 brothers. Because I didn’t have a penis my 18 year old Mum didn’t want me so when my brother (Mr.Wonderful) was born I was 17 months old, Mum sent me to live with her sister and her husband. They could not have children and I was much loved by them. Sadly, I was returned to my parents at 2 years of age and naturally I called my aunty Mum and referred to my Mum as aunty ******. My mother told me that even at the grand old age of 2 I was weak minded and a bad seed and I was constantly belted with a broom and was asked always “why can’t you be like your sister”. Guess what, it has taken me nearly a life time to know that I am a much nicer and kinder person than my sister will ever be. This abuse went on all of my life until my Mum passed away 8 years ago. I am now very much a loner but I would not say by nature more by nurture. When people tell me how lovely, kind etc I am, I really do think that they have made a mistake and yet I do know that I am a really decent, kind hearted person who has always been a people pleaser. Now that is how I ended up marrying my ex 37 years ago but that is another story. Holly, abuse takes many shapes and forms but it grinds us down to not reach our full potential. You now need to start thinking about yourself and getting away from your husband. Don’t leave it for 37 years like I did. Also Holly, never apologise ever for the person you are. It is your husband who should be apologising to you but that is not going to happen. You will find that you have an inner strength that you don’t even know you have until you are backed right into that corner and you come out swinging. I truly wish you all the very best.

  • I am an introvert and found it helpful during my divorce. I became a silent fox; I moved swiftly and under the radar. I felt no need to confront my ex nor communicate with him; he was not entitled to my thoughts or intentions. Silence is indeed golden. Solitude is helpful to heal. He can take his Myers-Briggs and career and shove it up his ass.

    • I admire you. No BS.

      Holly, my ex was a bully like yours. It seems cheaters are. He used everything against me to blame me for his cheating and to this day he still likes to see me blamed. Honestly, at first I did accept the blame but the further I got away from that POS the better I felt and the clearer it became to me just how abusive he was. I don’t think I could have seen it had I stayed in that marriage.

      How did I get the strength? Pretty much as CL says; one step at a time. I lawyered up big. I went to mediation with my lawyer and paid him to do the talking. I got my ex the hell out of the home as soon as I could. I walked away from material shit that did not matter to me. I stayed the hell away from him. I got a job and I surrounded myself with old friends, new friends, family. I went no to little contact (we share custody of a child.) I got therapy for MYSELF. I was told straight up that I was in an abusive marriage by my therapist and together we are working on me. I’m figuring out what I want and learning to take a risk and do it.

      My cheater? He’s got himself a new victim and thank goodness. He stays clear of me. I’m grateful for that.

      Was I scared? Hell yes. I was terrified at times but I knew that there was no going back to that marriage. It was done. He’d blown it up and yes, it sucked but being with him sucked worse. There is a new life for you but you have to work for it. You have to take that leap of faith and go for it, nobody can do that for you. Once you get out, stay out and live your life the cheater will no longer have power over you. You won’t let that happen.

      He’s one fucked up individual on the planet; just one. There really are loving, good people who would be delighted to share a decent life with you. I hope you make the choice to find your new life. If I can do it, so can you.

  • Holly, now that he has you isolated – it will get worse, NOT better. What state are you in now? Where did you come from?

    This will help you on the road to healing yourself => Go underground. Document, document, DOCUMENT. Did I say document??? 🙂

    Document everything. In the 00’s, I kept a handwritten journal and hid it in my closet. It was my best friend. Start with writing a synopsis of what’s gone on in the marriage until now to set the stage. If you want to do it on the computer – do it. But I would have a thumb drive and keep it in a place where no one knows but you.

    Can you get your hands on receipts or other written evidence, like credit bills or phone bills? If you can, copy them, or scan them on to your disk. If he’s careless with anything? Like his phone? If you have a smart phone, take pictures of his texts; contacts. Get phone numbers of fuck buddies you know of or suspect, and do reverse look ups. If he is slick about hiding a trail? The next trip, see if you can find out what hotel he is staying in. If you can find out, call the hotel and confirm he’s there. Later on down the road, your attorney could subpoena the records.

    Is he on social media? Stalk it. Screenshot outright putdowns on you or outright flirting; anything suspicious. Download it onto your disk or print it out.

    Cover your online tracks. If you need to buy stuff you don’t want him to know you bought, save up a couple hundred bucks and get yourself a Visa gift card to use.

    (OMG I sound like a cheater for God’s sake!!! But you have to FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE).

    Document everything negative he says to you, calls you, or the kids. Date each one, and perhaps the surrounding circumstances (this you would need for gas-lighting incidents). Document how he begins to undermine your parenting (he will, trust me). Again, now that he’s got you isolated, the abuse will get more intense. If he becomes physical (you never know) IMMEDIATELY CALL THE POLICE.

    I would absolutely go for an initial consultation with an attorney. I had a hard time doing it – but I got my ass in gear and interviewed two. When you choose one and go to him/her, they will want you to have a lot of this documentation. They will also want up to date financials. It’s a LOT of work – but the more you do, the less they will do and the lower your bill will be. You want to go to the lawyer with all your ducks in a row.

    You MUST pick one who knows about high-conflict divorce.

    I once heard of someone who interviewed all the local high-conflict divorce attorneys in the area (there were about 6 of them). The reason she did that was because if someone even interviews and attorney, the other party can’t see them. You will want to find out if that is true in your state.

    Some states you have to be a resident of that state for at least a year before you can file. So if you just moved here, try to stay calm and utilize the time to PREPARE.

  • Holly,

    I’m not saying the betrayal and cheating weren’t painful and damaging to me because God knows they were, but what stuck with me the most were the hateful things X said to me to justify his cheating and why I “deserved” to be cheated on. And those damaging things said were/are the things that were/are the hardest to overcome, to challenge them and stop them from replaying in my head. It helped to have an outside party tell me, “No, you’re NOT controlling, he’s the one that’s controlling” – He still tries to this day to manipulate/control me through the kids – or “No, you’re NOT clingy, you’re actually quite independent and self reliant” and remind me that the rest of the petty bullshit reasons he spewed (those are the only two I remember now! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!) were stupid as hell reasons to break up a family and an over a decade-long marriage.

    So:
    1 – You don’t like to go out as much as he does. As someone else already said, he knew that before he married you. You don’t get to claim a this as a marriage-ending “problem” years later. Also, when you become a parent, it’s a hell of a lot harder to go out at ALL. Asshole.
    2- You don’t like music playing in the kitchen when cooking. WTF? That right there is a stupid as hell reason to break up a family and however-long marriage. Imagine him telling someone else that’s why he’s justified in cheating and what their reaction would be. I’m just saying, my immediate reaction would be to laugh at him, give him a weird look or ask if he’s crazy.
    3- You lag behind when in a crowd with him. See #2.
    4-You don’t have a career path. You also have young kids that someone has to take care of! And I highly doubt it’s going to be Mr. I Like to Party CEO.

    And let’s not forget “It’s like going out to have a beer!” OMFG there is no planet anywhere at all where that’s true, and “I’m bisexual and I need to experiment because I didn’t before!” I think another Chump friend of mine was told that, before her ex decided he wasn’t bisexual, he was gay, but he wanted to stay married so she could take care of the kids and him. He was going to have a steady OM, but she was to be a good little Chump in a sexless marriage and stay true to her wedding vows. Why did she not want that? How very dare she break up their family by getting a divorce!

    There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert or a SAHM. Just because you’re bisexual doesn’t mean you have to cheat. He’s saying whatever he can to justify shitty behavior to himself.

  • I was too outgoing,my 2 year old was scared of water & I left a card board box in the laundry for a day .
    That is some of the reasons why my husband who was my first boyfriend cheated on me after 25 years
    He had also had a secret child with a prostitute he met in a massage parlour .
    This Xmas it’s two years since I kicked him out . His family initially supported him& burned me . Crazy shows however they are now estranged from him ( at hookers behest) & the hooker. Exh & hooker have cut off contact with the grandchildren all because hooker must be in control of all the relationships I was right about everything . Slow contact since sept from his family – initiated by them & now amazing apology & support for me . Just calmly live your life – do your therapy . You are a good person . Find your tribe . Listen to CL . Use what applies . Watch the bill Cunningham documentary – it really puts me in my happy place . Accept yourself . Be good to others . Volunteer . Keep your mind & body busy but let yourself be sad when you need to . 1 person out of a zillion was shitty to you . Even if 100 people are shitty to you – that’s still great odds.
    Ps my son is 5 – he is a great swimmer . It was just a stage .
    I’m dating . It’s hard for me but better than where I was .
    A lot of compassion & empathy sent your way . It’s so easy to say ” it’s about them & their shitty character ” and harder to believe it but it’s really true .

  • Holly,

    I have to say I agree with everyone – divorce this abusive arsehole, you deserve so much better – the peace to be who you are without criticism and disrespect.

    I can’t contain my disgust at his feeling he can actually tell you he has no respect for you, THEN thinking he actually had the right to be exasperated because you cried! Bastard!

    Tell him this, from someone he doesn’t know – I have no problem respecting someone who doesn’t want to go out partying all the time, I have no problem respecting a stay at home mum (by the way – ‘The Great I Am’ used to sell life insurance on the basis that should a partner have to pay someone to do the work a stay at home partner did, they’d be amazed at the financial cost – think of it – housekeeper, laundry, cooking, window cleaner, gardener, child-minder, teacher etc, etc). I have no problem respecting someone who doesn’t want to play music while cooking (LOL – is that really the best he can do for criticism number 3)?

    No – the problem I have is finding anything but contempt (forget respect) for a gay man (or woman for that matter) who hasn’t got the balls to live honestly. Who allowed themselves to con another human being simply because they were too cowardly to live with integrity.

    I have gay friends who insist there is no such thing as bi-sexuality. I don’t know, but I do know that, not so long ago it was a terrible thing to be gay, people were imprisoned for it, however, even in those times there were people with character who DID NOT choose to steal someone else’s precious short time on this planet. They chose to live as bachelors and spinsters and found ways to be discreet, or managed to find partners who knew this would be a ‘marriage of convenience’ rather than become selfish monsters.

    I loathe your husband, he’s a fraud and an abuser. Get rid of him Holly! xxxxx

    • I’m bi- and I really find it offensive when gay people say stuff like no one is bi-. They are engaging in the very type of prejudice that has marginalized gay people.

      There is some evidence that sexuality is on a continuum from 100% straight to 100% gay. I’m somewhere in the middle.

      Sorry for the hijack, it is just a hot button for me.

      If the OPs husband is bi- then he should not have gotten married to a woman who expected monogamy or should have only engaged in relationships that are open or poly. There is NO EXCUSE for cheating.

      I’ve been married to and been in LTRs with men and was monogamous. I didn’t find it a struggle. When I’m single I date both men and women.

      • Sorry Sam, didn’t mean to trigger you. As I said, I don’t know. My gay friends are very ‘political’ if you understand what I mean by that.

        My point really was the crime of misleading someone else into believing we are someone we really are not. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I don’t care what anyone’s sexual orientation is, I find no offence at all – unless someone gets off on being deceitful and wasting the time of another human being – then I’m offended – massively!

        Just like you x

        • ..To be clear – ‘Just like you’ means, just like you are offended by deceitful frauds who waste the time of another human being! x

          • I understand Jayne. I didn’t think you had a problem with anyone. Thank you for clarifying though! Sexuality is not political. Anyone who makes it political has an agenda. I just wish we could all be more accepting of ourselves and others.

      • Well said! Holly’s POS Cheater played his “bi” card as an excuse, and the fact that he played it shows just how entitled he thinks he is. When you’re in a monogamous relationship, you’re not entitled to explore sexuality outside the marital bonds. If it’s too hard to do so, then you get a divorce.

  • Holly, the fact that your husband put you at a much higher risk of STDs due to having sex with men without your knowledge is criminal. That alone should give you the strength to get out of there. He was playing Russian roulette with your health and didn’t give a rat’s ass. To say that’s not cool is an understatement. Follow the advice of Chump Lady and the others here and lawyer up.

    As for introversion, I highly recommend the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. I’m an introvert, too, and it changed my life by seeing my introversion as a source of strength, not weakness. But don’t read this until the dust settles and you move on with your life. Wishing you peace and strength, which you do indeed have inside you.

      • Thanks for the TED talk link. Cain mentions in her book how hard it is for her to do public speaking because she’s an introvert. I can’t recommend her book enough to both introverts and extroverts. It helps explain the behaviour of about 99% of the population (except cheaters, of course–for that, we need Tracy 🙂 ).

        • Hi Holly & CNation! Wanted to impart a little nugget someone told me years ago, and I did not even think of it throughout this cheating nightmare, but it would have helped me. HollyH’s comment about getting yourself out of a “black hole” is what triggered it. It is an answer to the question:
          Q: How do you get yourself out of a hole?
          A: Put down your shovel & quit digging!!

          Quit digging by blaming yourself & hurting about his scathing nonsensical words & get a foothold out of that hole! Get a lifeline, a ladder, a helicopter, a therapist, a crack attorney, CL & just get OUT!

  • First, briefly, Introverts are awesome. There have been many many articles, books (“The Quiet” is great), TED talks, etc., — IOW a lot of attention at how powerful introverts are, how many (if not most) of the most successful CEOs & powerful people are introverts, so it’s actually a compliment that you’re an introvert rather than someone who derives all their strength from the opinions and worship of other people (extroverts and narcissists).

    Second, most importantly, since CL didn’t bust it out in her own reply and it appears you’re new here, here’s another of her mantras to start chanting “Trust that They Suck.”

    He sucks, Holly. — This can be a very very hard transition, to go from thinking of your husband as someone whom you chose to spend the rest of your life with, who (you thought) always had your back… he was your “Home,” your safe spot — Now he’s someone who would not only cheat and cheat and cheat some more, but then stand there and insult you for the most trivial things that aren’t even justifiable offenses (you know, something like, “You like to roast small children in the oven,” or “You torture puppies on your days off,” or you donated all our retirements savings to the Ku Klux Klan”). It’s like watching him grab a knife and plunge it into you over and over again, grinning all the while.

    It is, in sum, a nightmare. But I’m sorry to say, you’re living it. And you know what? You WILL live through it, just like the rest of us. But first you have to trust that he sucks. He is no longer the man you married, if he ever was. What you miss is the man he used to be, and that guy isn’t coming back, ever. — And though it’s impossible to believe right now, you WILL be better off without him. You just can’t see it from where you’re standing.

    Get away from the monster and keep moving forward, one breath at a time. Don’t have any friends? Try to make some. Join a meet up (meet up.com), go for coffee with strangers. Or just join a health club and walk, run, swim, bike, row, elliptical, whatever…. Be like a shark: keep moving or you’ll die. Fake it until you make it. It’s true.

    Journal, yoga, meditate, read self-help books on narcissism, getting past your breakup, … I read two novels about infidelity, one called “The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman,” mostly because it was about a British woman who was cheated on, and the Brits handle these awkward situations with such grace and panache, even if it’s fictional panache. It helped.

    … I’m sorry for your loss, Holly. Because it is a loss. And you have a long road of grieving ahead of you. But no matter who you are or what you’re like, it’s your husband’s job to be kind to you, to love you. His attack on you shows that he’s not worthy of your love and devotion. Get away from that guy. Lawyer up and start looking out for yourself.

    Oh, right, and …. Trust that They Suck.

    • Good post NWBiblio. They suck, and when they control the conversation to berate their chump and justify their sucky behavior, they suck louder.

    • NWBiblio….I just loved that book……..While the heroine was a lot nicer than I would have been I loved how she picked herself up, dusted herself off, got on with her life and grew into a fabulous life for herself…..by the end I was cheering!

  • On the Hill—- I hate saying this, but this is the truth and anyone who says different is fooling themselves…these types of people are the enemy and we must treat them as such. Infidelity is a war. Divorce is a war. There is no such thing as a “friendly” or a “I’ll play fair” cheater.

    They’re not your friend and they never play fair. If they did, they would have divorced you (or never married you in the first place) when they realized that the two of you are not compatible.

    Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”:

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

    “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

    BUT

    “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”

    Holly, trusting that he sucks is the first thing to master. Once that realization hits your bones, you can do the rest. Feeling sorry for him, being nostalgic, doing the “it’s not so bad” or “it’s for the children” thing….IT IS THAT BAD and your children will NOT thank you for staying with this abusive piece of garbage.

    The TESTING. Yeah, I remember that well. I didn’t understand it when we were dating. He would ask about everything–what if he wears a certain thing, what if he does this or that, what if he eats like a hoover, what if he doesn’t like to dance, what if he only likes orange food. My answers were always tailored to “hey…we can compromise! i might like all orange food!”

    Then came the marriage and more tests. I only like crisp, just laundered sheets on the bed every day, no wrinkles. I only like the toilet paper to roll from the top. I only like having to take you out or do anything with you once a week. It got worse from there.

    I was all compromise. And THAT is where they get you. But Holly, you don’t talk enough in social situations!!! You’d change that and then he’d say….”I don’t like talkative people in social situations.”

    See where this is going? Dance puppet! Dance! Dance pretty for me! Tell me what you’ll do to make me happy!

    This ends in misery if you keep at it—for you and your kids. Lawyer up and burn this asshole to the ground.

    BIG HUGS!

    • Yup. It is DEFINITELY a war.

      My Ex would have a coronary if I left oven mitts on the counter. He would rearrange dishes in the dishwasher just loud enough for me to hear it. His underwear had to be folded in a certain way. Potty paper on the top too!!

      And I’d get the same kind of gas-light sphinx. If he asked a question and you gave a direct one or couple word answer – he’d get pissed because I didn’t provide details (“How am I supposed to know what you’re thinking”). Then, with a similar question another time, it would be – “I want a simple, straight damned answer!”

      These people are pieces of work.

    • Sphinxmoth–First your bird analogy and now quoting from Sun Tzu; I am in awe.

      Fabulous and inspiring advice. As my attorney’s introductory material said, “You are now in an adversarial position with your spouse.” Frankly, I wanted to cross out “are now” and put in, “since year 1 of your marriage, you have been in….”

      • 🙂 Thank you, Tempest. I wasn’t always strong, believe me. I’m not always strong now, as a matter of fact.

        My husband told me that I would “never see it coming” when he decided to get back at me for “taking his money” in the divorce. His profession allowed him information and skill that I took that very seriously. In fact, in the last months prior to me kicking him out, I became very fatigued, like hitting a brick wall fatigued–bruised easily for no reason at all and my skin went bad and my hair started falling out.

        Stress? Probably. But when I went to the doctor a month or so after I threw him out–my red blood count was 8. Anything below 9, I was told, got you a one way ticket to the hospital for a transfusion. All the tests showed absolutely no reason for me to be losing RBCs. It’s called aplastic anemia—and one of the sources can be “toxins”.

        That cured me of doing any kind of dance with him, ever. Lawyers are paid for a good reason. I never spoke to him unless it was absolutely necessary and I never, ever allowed him near me privately again. Which is why I am so shocked and dismayed at times with some stories here about sleeping with the ex or allowing these people anywhere near.

        You push a pathological narcissist hard enough, long enough (and sometimes, you don’t even have to go really far)—you will get violence in return. It might not be shoving your head through a wall, but it will be something that you might not ever recover from–

        That’s the reason for the third Sun Tzu–don’t corner them to where they don’t have an out. Do your best, get the best settlement/custody agreement….and then LET THEM GO.

        I wish all the best to all of Chump Nation for a better New Year.

    • “I was all compromise. And THAT is where they get you. But Holly, you don’t talk enough in social situations!!! You’d change that and then he’d say….’I don’t like talkative people in social situations.’”

      My ex did this kind of thing some too. Once we were having a discussion about something and he ended up disagreeing with my viewpoint and when justifyiing his argument, he ended up arguing the opposite side of a point he had previously debated with me. And I called him on it, and said he couldn’t use whichever side he wanted just to prove his point and be right. And he couldn’t deny that that was what he had done.

      And this kinda thing is related to the criticisms. If we don’t leave a box in the laundry room, the new complaint will be that we did not leave that box in the laundry. There really is no logic to it, and they are justifying their actions with anything they can think of…

  • Holly – first of all, my administrative assistants have always been as important to me as my Exec Director or President. Be proud of your career…your You…whatever that may be or become.

    Second, thank you for writing about blameshifting today. I had brief contact (unavoidable) with XH over holidays and it revved up that circuit in my brain that believes the blameshifting. Why? Partially for what you said. It fits perfectly with my childhood puzzle piece of “not being good enough” (which we all have, to some degree, for different reasons…). But more insidious than that is this…

    All of my husband’s blameshifting holds a kernel of truth. This includes my normal human flaws, my unique Chumpette flaws, as well as my strengths. The XH actually told me once that when I looked at him with love or showed compassion to others, he was uncomfortable or i was “too much”. He was heavily into the affair when he said this, so I did not know it was blameshifting. All I felt was bad about being…me. The blameshifting went on for 4 years. I was doing a pick me dance for 4 years and did not know. ugh.

    I am a highly educated woman with career accomplishments. But this? Recovering from this blindsided, deep trauma is the worst challenge in my life. And I have buried both parents (my mom, 4 months after divorce). DDAy was at year 26 together, 6 months after breast cancer, a day after Christmas, my favorite season. I could go on with other horrows with discovery, it is so easy for it all to spill out since I am relatively new to CL, but I want to focus on the blameshifting that is so clearly described in today’s post.

    To recover from the blameshifing, I have to consciously make myself “wake up” to the reality that while there is a kernel of truth in what he says, it is not the whole ear of corn. And in normal marriages (which I thought we had) people talk about what the other does that hurts/bothers them (which we did) and work it out so the relationship can improve. And of course, just as important, we forgive the normal and unique flaws of our spouse. Which I did, of him, and I now see involved MUCH spackle.

    But most important as I proceed to Meh, I now override his blameshiting by saying, out loud, and with relief, “What he thinks and feels about me no longer matters.” It actually stopped being relevant to my life when he put his married penis in her married vagina, exposed me to STDs, and lied to me for (at least) 4 years….while i scratched his back….when he couldn’t sleep! ugh again.

    Recovering from chump blameshifting is almost like unbrainwashing.

    Holly, how wonderful you have been thinking about your children in this self sacrifcing way. You are obviously a good mom. But you know what? If they knew all of whats going on, and if they were (or when they are ) grown adults in committed relationships, they would say – “Mom…take better care of YOU.”

    So until then, I hope you hear the thunderous rally cry from Chump Nation today saying, “HOLLY, TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOU”

    • Chumpette speaks the truth. An entitled cheater can make ANYONE feel inadequate. It’s just what they do. Mine told me when I finished grad school and passed my licensing exam “I hate (insert your new career here).” It really doesn’t matter what your job is, it isn’t going to be a source of pride for them because they can only function in the one-up position and this requires keeping you one-down, if not in reality, then in their own minds.

    • Chumpette, that was a wonderful post. Thank you especially for this: “as I proceed to Meh, I now override his blameshiting by saying, out loud, and with relief, “What he thinks and feels about me no longer matters.”
      So true. 1.5 years from DDay here and just recently I’ve finally felt some deep Meh. This reinforces it for sure. Thank you.

      • Margaret, it is an ongoing practice for me. As a matter of fact, i had to do it tonight. I folded it into my prayer time and that was pretty wonderful.

        I love the way we mighty chumps help each other here.

    • Chumpette: we are living in parallel universes. Over Christmas, my STBX also engaged in his subtle but effective blameshifting, which also included “you always did things for other people instead of for me/family.” [then how did I end up with few friends or hobbies left by the end of the marriage?] And he picked up on other flaws with a kernel of truth, so that I left the conversation feeling ashamed.

      Then I thought–there is a HUGE difference. We all have habits that irritate the other person in a marriage sometimes. We all have periods where we didn’t devote as much time to our spouse as they might have hoped (and that includes the cheaters–in fact, perhaps MORE describes the cheaters). But that is NOT the same as actively and with malice-aforethought DELIBERATELY engaging in actions to seduce, screw, and hide-the-evidence of an affair. There is a moral difference between sins of omission and active sins that emotionally injure someone to their very core.

      And with that realization, I felt better. Would I feel even better if f**ktard himself realized it? Yes. Will he realize it? No, because that would involve admitting responsibility and recognizing that he is an emotionally cruel and disordered individual. Will he change if the does develop this knowledge? In all likelihood, no. So good riddance.

      • Tempest…agreed on all points 🙂

        Blameshifting is especially powerful when delivered at the time of discovery. It gets tangled up in our trauma. And requires lots of work and attention…like untangling necklace chains.

        It is so reassuring to read recovered chumps say they have forgotten most or all of the blameshifting. Yeah!

  • Oh…the bisexual thing…STBX shithead told me that he was bisexual soon after we were living together four months after we met. I didn´t take it seriously, I thought it was in the past, a college exploration fantasy. Then when he began asking for anal sex and I said that I wasn´t into that but if he was gentle and loving I might want to experiment. He never asked for it again and he stopped being sexual in many ways. and then after the kids were born and I was exhausted most of the time he called me a prude, took up porn, and started having affairs with women who gave him anal and looked like men. I now think he is gay but a coward who would never admit it because it would ruin his image at work, family, friends. Fast forward 20 years: I now think he will begin exploring on the side because how ever many female lovers he has he will never be satisfied. Whatever, I don´t care anymore… But what I learned is that people tell you or show you the truth of who they are almost immediately (his bad temper, stinginess, neurotic attitudes, fear of what others think, etc,etc. all came out during the first year we were dating). So just remember, people never really change unless they want to and it takes a lot of hard, thoughtful work to do so (just look how much us chumps have to work on ourselves to let go of being chumps again..).

    Best of luck, you will make it, just trust that he sucks and move on with all the wonderful advice given here.

  • Holly, To your question “Where do you find the strength?”, I say “Right HERE!” Read everything you can on this blog site and you will find the strength and courage you need. It’s where many of us found the strength we needed.
    The other place you find it is deep down inside you. You know it’s there. You wrote the letter, after all.. You know what you need to do, so DO IT, FCS!
    This asshat is keeping you topsy turvy for a reason, for many reasons, but none of them are valid. They are all selfish and putrid. You have no reason to stay. He is abusive and creepy and nasty in every foul way possible.
    Follow every piece of advice chumplady has given you to the letter. Run for your life, Holly!

  • Holly, I would just add that hiring a good lawyer asap will improve your chances of getting what you.need to build a new life. Learn from my.mistakes. I was too intimidated to hire a lawyer and the fuck tried to get sole custody of my child in mediation. With his history of drunk driving and organizational corruption, I had a strong case that was weakened by my willingness to mediate. I was weakened by his continual mindfuckery. HIRE A LAWYER to represent your best interests, safety and rights. DO NOT DEAL with that piece of shit at all. Get him to move out or move away with your kids while he is away on one of his fuckfests. Please protect yourself. Do not reveal anything to him. He will use all you tell him against you.

    • Great advice.

      Over the holidays, I talked with the older sister of a friend of mine. I didn’t know that she’d divorced her asshole of a husband 15 years ago. She had to spend money on the lawyer, and she discovered that her husband of 33 years(!!!) was trying to get her committed! She knew he cheated on at least half the marriage. She told me all about it after she’d heard that I was divorcing STBX for adultery.

      She told me she LOVES being single. She’s traveled internationally. She doesn’t make a whole lot of money. She teaches special needs preschoolers. She’s still teaching, but plans to retire in a year or so (she just turned 70 but looks no older than maybe 55). She said that she was only in the work force part-time, so she got 5 years of alimony because the lawyer argued she needed to retrain after being out of the workforce.

      She also assured me that the karma bus is real. Her ex-cheater has lost fingers and toes to diabetes. Apparently he hasn’t taken his health seriously, just has he never took his marriage vows seriously. And apparently he’s still blameshifting. It was her fault he cheated, of course, and while it’s not her fault that he’s lost body parts to diabetes, he refuses to accept his responsibility for failing to follow doctor’s orders.

  • Holly, my ex-husband wanted to divorce me because I was too “cerebral.” Like you, this cut to the heart of who I am and made me feel rejected at my very core; rejected, inadequate, inferior, unlovable, like a helpless little girl…which is how I suspect you feel too. It cuts the ground from under you and makes it doubly hard to find the strength to do what you need to do, which is divorce his sorry ass. Whatever you can do to turn this helpless little girl feeling into healthy anger, DO IT! You need to get angry, because there is a tremendous amount of energy in anger. And you have plenty to be angry about. He is abusive on multiple levels. ABUSIVE! Aside from his cruel comments about you (which shows what an asshole he is), his appalling sexual behavior is just downright creepy. Decent men do not act like this, no matter how much “experimentation” they think they’re entitled to. Your divorce lawyer will be licking his lips to get at your idiot cheating husband’s assets and it sounds like there is plenty of evidence for you to have the upper hand.

    This “exploring myself” bullshit is the sign of a selfish and extremely immature narcissist. The whole using-others-for-sex-because-I’m-entitled-to-it mentality is a kind of soul sickness. You need to get away from this creep not only for your own self-esteem, but to model sanity for your kids. Again, you likely have more leverage than you think because this guy will not want his trolling hobby out there on display for his colleagues to know about.

  • Holly, I had a woman tell me, many years ago, your exact story, minus children. She said the damage done to her self esteem began on the honeymoon. She said her husband was a master at tiny pinpricks that are so difficult to respond to. She said every time she tried to excuse herself or find out what he meant he would belittle her and tell her she was making a mountain out of a mole hill. She said the problem was if there are enough pinpricks you can still bleed to death. Then she said the weaker she got emotionally and mentally the sharper the knife,the deeper the cuts. She said she went from a mid 20s self-sufficient woman to a bowl of jelly in a year’s time. Unbeknownst to her he had married her to cover up the fact that he was gay. The tragedy is if he had been able to come out he would have had a happy life and would not have taken out his anger and frustration on an innocent woman. By the time a year had passed she said she was a shell of her former self but stumbled onto the fact that he was gay and that gave her enough ammunition to get out of the marriage. She took him to the cleaners. When I met her she had just come back from a six month overseas trip that she had taken to heal herself. Looking at her you would never know that she had been in the dungeon emotionally just a couple of years before. She had gotten back her sense of self-worth. Get angry, Holly. Get an attorney and get that man out of your life

      • My, The interesting part of this is that i went into an upscale women’s shop just to look. I certainly could not afford anything in there. They were only two people in the store. The owner and the woman telling her story. I could not help but hear what she was saying and she looked at me and started her story again, so for the next hour I listened to this tale she told. She was a stunning woman. However, even if she looked like petunia pig no one should have been treated the way she was. I never saw her again. Have wondered since if she found happiness with another man because that day she was so bitter.
        I had no idea that people could be that relentless in tearing down another person’s self-esteem. She said he never treated her well. I knew someone else in a bad marriage and she said hardest thing in the world to do is to try to explain these tiny pinpricks. She said they make you sound petty when you repeat them. And yet, they are the ones that slowly rob the spouse of any self respect. It must be so hard trying to explain living with a narcissist who is so charming on the outside and so vicious in the home.

        • I completely understand the pinprick analogy. I think it fits better than the boiling frog one.
          I can recall, upon discovering the serial cheating, a sense of relief. It was my get out if jail free card.
          I knew folks would not understand divorcing over subtle derision, constant criticism and condescension etc. but , divorce over cheating is well accepted.

  • Thank you- this advice is invaluable and the support is incredible! I think my new mantra is “I am MIGHTY!”

    There has been so much blame-shifting and gas-lighting that I question everything. But seeing all this advice in black and white is undeniable. I will divorce his lying ass. have been collecting evidence, so that is taken care of. How does one find a pit-bull attorney?

    (Sorry, don’t have much time right now- I will write more later

    • Yes, the gaslighting will really screw with your head, do NOT doubt your reality, do not let him project his shit on you or blame you for what he does.

      I didn’t have much luck finding a pit bull lawyer, I had to use a particular one for reasons. Hope someone else can give you some good interview questions. I’d think the first one would be whether the atty has alot of experience with high conflict divorce and/or foot dragging.

    • Probably the best thing to do is Google “high conflict divorce” and your county/state and see what you come up with. Also, Google “divorce counselor”, “divorce support group”, “abused women support” – all in your county, etc.

    • I know an excellent one in New York. Mine. If you are in NY ask CL to connect us via email and I will give you her contact. I also suggest that you research and ask people unconnected to your horror show of a husband. Interview them. See who will understand your situation and goals and treat you with respect. Devise a plan with whomever you choose and follow it until you are home free with your kids. Get your badass on and remember to not reveal anything you do to him. There are people on this site who have done amazingly well lining their ducks up in a row. Use them as models for how to plan and execute your and your children’s exit from this soul sucking hell. I am rooting for you. I made so many mistakes thinking I could reason fairly with my ex; they don’t play fair. Do your work and protect yourself. Here is where your introverted nature will be your strength, your best friend.

    • Can you post your state, or even general area (e.g., Central Georgia)? Some chump in your area may be able to steer you in the right direction (or go to forums & do it).

      • Martindale Hubbell is about the best, established legal rating system. You want an “AV” rated attorney; I think MH runs lawyers.com. Also, some State Bars have “board-certified” lawyers. You can also know you lawyer is well-qualified if they are in “Best Lawyers in America”and Super Lawyers.” To be a Master in the local Inns of Court is also a good indicator the lawyer is respected within his or her legal community. For the most part, good lawyers do not have to advertise and AVVO is often criticized for being more of a pay to play rating. Go to the lawyer’s website and read the lawyer’s resume. What is that attorney’s approach to high conflict divorces? Finally, does the attorney seem sympathetic to your situation, with immediate practical advice? To the extent possible, take the emotion out of it and view your divorce cold-bloodedly as a business deal gone bad. You want maximum financial support in order to provide your children with the standard of living they have experienced; that is what they deserve and that should be your attorney’s focus. And do not let yourself be bullied out of permanent or rehabilitative alimony. Think of it as your combat pay!

  • There is such a strong correlation between personality disorders and infidelity, that I think the first option upon finding out about cheating should always be getting out and away. These people are toxic as hell.
    Just think about how stupid and obnoxious someone without a personality disorder would have to be to even mouth the words used to explain that introversion plays a role in a closeted bisexual’s decision to cheat. But, with a disordered person, he or she can be perfectly intelligent and successful/well like etc ( at least by those who know him/her superficially) and yet still hold these beliefs.
    That is because the belief is sincere and a disordered person, no matter how bright, simply has such a different value system that he or she cannot see the absurdity that the rest of us see in these types of justifications/excuses.
    Holly, your husband is probably bright enough, as he makes good money. But, he possesses a fundamentally different world view that a normal person. It is like he has a blind spot because, in his value system, he occupies a higher status than the mere peasants below him. A different set of rules applies as he is so special.
    I bet he would be able to see a lesser being using a similar justification as being absurd. But, in his special circumstance, the justification is valid- because a different standard applies to him.
    Sorry, I know I have described this before, but my XW graduated pretty much at the top of our law school class. So, she was bright enough. But, when I pointed out that she was out 112 out of 189 nights until 1-2 a.m., and confronted her with the disparity in our time off ( I was taking care of our 2 kids virtually by myself, in addition to working full time) , she was , genuinely, perplexed that I found that inequitable.
    She responded ” So what? I have more friends than you and , of course am entitled to more time off.”
    See, like your H, who cannot see that he has a complete double standard (try having some lesbian relationships and blaming his extroversion. See if he accepts it), my Xw, sincerely, believed that she was entitled to more than other folks.
    Your H would no accept you stepping outside the marriage for any reason, I have no doubt. Like all NPDs he views you as a lesser human being and you need to abide by different rules.
    This is my long winded way of saying, based on first hand experience, that you cannot expect a NPD to ever change and you need to get out and away. These folks are , truly , monsters, although they have much of the outside world fooled. No one knows what it is like to live with one , except those of us who have.

    • Don’t apologize for repeating your story when it’s appropriate–we have newbies here all the time, and, even those of us who’ve been here a while might need a refresher. It makes your point easier to read.

      And your point is soooooooo fundamentally important, and sooooooo easy to forget. That is, that we shouldn’t try to make sense of the nonsense, because it’s nonsense. It’s spewed intentionally in order to manipulate. It doesn’t matter to the disordered cheater, because it’s just as good as any other weapon used against an inferior place-holder.

      This cheater isn’t giving an instruction manual on how to stay married. This cheater is tossing out garbage to justify to HIMself why he gets to keep on living it up, while wifey stays home and washes the stains out of his underwear. Then wifey takes the blame for everything, and it’s all good. xH is a sociopath and a bully. They all–cheaters–are, to some degree. They truly are monsters. Entitled monsters.

      The question isn’t WHY they do it, nor how you can make it work with them. The question is whether or not you like the behavior that you see, and if not, then how soon you can get away from it, with the best settlement possible. Because if it changes, it will only be for the worse. As CL is fond of saying, “You are of use” right now. That’s all you’re seen as–of use. Don’t try to be seen as loving and supportive and attractive and smart–all your good is wasted on these freaks. They only see you as being of use–making them look good, taking care of their chores, babysitting their children, etc.

      You’re better than that. You’ve woken up, but, as CL and others have pointed out, you won’t really fully know your own value and strength until you’ve exercised it, and that is by doing the heavy lifting of getting out and away.

      It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life.

      For the record, I’m not blonde, I’m too friendly with strangers, and I’m not adventurous because I don’t scuba dive. There’s a laundry list of accusations, actually, which he can roll into a tight little roll and shove up his ass.

  • “He knew how to cut to the most painful part of my life and use it against me.”

    Of course he knew, you told him about those things because you loved and TRUSTED him enough to be vulnerable. Manipulative people are so good at listening and remembering so they can use your vulnerabilities against you when they believe it’s justified. It never is.

    I also have no doubt that when you went the “marriage counseling route” you opened up even more and he did not. If you want to go the under cover route put up with it. Otherwise, Do not let him press those pain buttons, if he starts in, tell him to stop and if he won’t stop, leave the room, the house, whatever it takes. Enforce your boundaries. And, OMG, he hurts you so badly that you are sad and depressed, then tells you that is the reason why he hurt you? You see the irony don’t you?

    Everyone is telling you true, get away as soon as you can.

    Jedi Hugs!

    • Holly, you can see that even with pneumonia and massive sewer problems, CL can cut right to the chase.And she’s right–no one has the strength to live happily for FOUR YEARS with a husband who is cheating, whether with men or other women, and who is thus abusing his partner. Do as much reading as you can about disordered people because as we are all pointing out, that is what you are dealing with.

      1. Someone above said it might take you a year to get free. If you have done the documentation, as you say, call an attorney on MONDAY. Do not wait. Google “Super Lawyers” in your area and local for someone who is well-known in family law. And don’t feel you have to take the first lawyer you talk to. Find someone who will fight for you, not fill you with fear about the future. Why not call an attorney from the community where you last lived and felt at home, where you have support. There’s no reason why you can’t pick up the kids and move. But you need to understand the ramifications for divorce and child support. Just think about all the options–not just figuring out how to get him to move out. But BE PICKY. Ask the lawyer to talk about how he or she has handled high-conflict cases and what the outcomes are. Listen not only to the answers but how the person talks. Tap into your intuitive sense.

      2. You might end up in a smaller home or a condo or apartment for a while. But simplifying your life might be the right thing to do if you are going to think about a career for yourself. Do you want to go back to school? Become a nurse? A hair stylist? An attorney who helps people who have been chomped? Now is the time to hit your re-set button. When you go to see the attorney, at least be in the process of re-designing your life so that you know what to ask for. You should be able to get rehabilitative alimony to allow you to go back to school or re-train for a career since you have been a SAHM. Your Jackass makes a good income, so there should be plenty of support for you. But you will need to figure out some stuff about you.

      3. I’ve been in therapy for a long time, but for a while I fell for the Jackass’s ideas that I wasn’t “vulnerable” enough. How ironic, eh? He’s lying and cheating and complaining I am not “vulnerable” enough. But my therapist and I shifted into high gear into exploring areas where I needed to work on myself. That’s a life-long process, but if you have yet to start it, the simple fact that your parents were into shaming you is a good reason to get a professional to help you sort out the other bullshit you got from your family of origin. it won’t be just one thing. Chances are one of your parents was an abusive narcissist or you wouldn’t be married to one. But now you are on the road to putting all of that behind you.

      4. Let me say, at some point in life, there is nothing more pitiful than a married adult with children who is trolling the bars to get laid. So if being “introverted” is not dancing on the bar, cheating, or wanting to climb the corporate ladder, then many, many of us are introverts. And for sure, many thoughtful and worthwhile people are quiet and introspective. I would choose you for a friend over your fuckwit cheating husband any day. And when I am in a crowd, I often walk too fast. I’ve had to learn to slow down, to wait for others, to take my time.

      Start thinking about where and how you want to live. Don’t assume you have to do this or that. Dream. Call the people in your support system and tell them what’s going on. Ask for their thoughts. Don’t worry about where the kids are going to school or anything like that. Nothing is worse for your kids than watching their abusive cheating father abuse their mother. Changing schools? That’s nothing, especially if you go back to places where life is better for you, their mother. And if cheater pants wants to see his kids regularly, he can change jobs again. Part of me wonders if his move wasn’t about keeping one step away from having the closet door opened at work.

    • That is exactly what they do, Dat. Of course we do not see it coming, but when you open up to an abuser, you are providing ammunition for them down the road. They store it for future use. Makes it tough going forward, trusting anyone again.
      These fuckers are evil incarnate. Any insecurity or vulnerability will be used against you.

  • Wow, Holly, we have similar stories. My ex admitted that he had sex with hundreds of other men during our 20-year marriage. When we separated (he left me because of another woman, although he was still having sex with men) he claimed that his staggering level of gay infidelity was because he “didn’t feel enough passion” for me. He also claimed that the OW had cured him of his gay urges (and once she dumped him, he started saying his new church had cured him). He told me over and over very similar things to what your husband is telling you — that I was boring, that I wasn’t outgoing enough, that he needed a lot of excitement in his life, that he wanted someone more Christian than me, someone who would “go to business mixers” with him.

    Of course, he has been having sex with men since long before he ever met me, and although our marriage ended a few years ago, I have absolutely no doubt he is still having sex with men along with the occasional woman. Your husband is not going to change either, and his sex with other men has nothing to do with you — it is 100% ON HIM. As for the abuse of you being too “introverted,” these cheaters always come up with lame-ass, pathetic excuses to blame the chump for their cheating and other disgusting behaviors.

    PLEASE talk to an attorney ASAP and DO NOT let your husband know. You need to get working on that divorce pronto — your husband is not only mind-fucking you with emotional abuse, he is putting you at danger of HIV and other diseases. Look into therapy if you aren’t already — it can take a long time to recover from this sort of abuse, I know. If there is any way you can move back where you came from after the divorce, or to wherever your family live, look into that as well.

    Keep reading here and let us know how it is going. Sorry you have to be here, but I know your life will be better once you leave your abusive husband behind.

  • My husband took the painful parts of my life and used them against me when angry or upset. I was bullied for being overweight in elementary school pretty severely to the point where it effected my self esteem for a long time. I have never liked the boy who bullied me even to this day~so my husband would make fun of me and tell me I hold grudges because I still didn’t forgive this person. He also told me I fail at everything I try and give up. (because I had one business that was not successful) I hold a Masters Degree in education and consider myself pretty intelligent. He also compared me to my mom because he new it bothered me. Then when he is not angry he tells me I’m the best, loves me, I’m his soulmate etc etc. I stopped sharing anything with him because I knoew he would use my weaknesses when angry.

    • They don’t fight fair. And the odd disparity between what they say when they are angry and what they say when they fear losing you and how they act is a red flag. Decent honest people won’t trash you at all.

    • “My husband took the painful parts of my life and used them against me when angry or upset.” My cheater does the exact same thing. Still (he hasn’t left yet). It is extremely hurtful and I’m sorry you’ve experienced this:(

  • Assemble a team. That will be part of what will make you feel mighty, knowing that other people hear your story, have your back. A therapist to help you get through this crisis would be a good thing, especially after he’s been served, and cries, and tells you he really luvs you Best of All and what about the chilllldren (said w/a plaintive howl) and yadda. That will be a time it will help to have someone to talk to.

    Lawyer, of course, is essential.

    Someone else you want to have on your team is a good ob/gyn, someone to whom you can openly talk about his behavior, your risks, and who will give you appropriate tests and safeguards against STDs. There may come a time when that person will be subpoenaed to testify, so think clearly about what they need to know in that event. (Not saying they will, but the threat of that happening is one more thing that might make this a non-fight settled out of court.)

    CN (Chump Nation), of course.

    Sorry about this next part. This is tough to even type, and will be tougher for you to read, but nonetheless. Given his level of deceit and selfishness, is there a possibility that he has taken this to the level of molesting your children? His “sex=going out for beer” equation speaks to someone who depersonalizes sex to the point where it’s possible that sexual partners exist more or less for his pleasure. That’s the mindset of one who could molest. I’m not saying that I think it’s likely that your children are at risk, but something about this suggests that it’s a possibility. And given the situation, it may be necessary for you to evaluate their risk. Hoping the answer is, ‘Not a possibility’.

  • Ask someone who feels they got screwed in a divorce for the name of the lawyer used by the ex-spouse. My friend gave me the name of the pit bull lawyer her ex used — lawyer got HIM most of what he wanted. I too, am new to Chump Nation but already feel welcome and have picked up a ton of tips. My top 3: #1 Be Stealthy #2 Go for the Oscar! #3 you deserve better in life and you CAN get there.

    • Damn straight! You’re a quick learner–so much so, that you’re already teaching a newer newbie.

      I love this place….

  • See, all of his diatribes about introverts being shitty (and his other nonsense) are just words. His actions, however, show that hes being a deceitful shit. Those words do cut to the core, however. Just know: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. None of this is.
    You could be the complete opposite of who you are right now, and he’d still find fault in it.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. Better to be able to find meaning within, than to rely on being sparkly outward and rely on validation from others (and this is just one step away from being a flamin’ narcissist – which he is).
    Given his “I have to explore this because I didn’t when I was younger” shit – hes an immature fuckwad. Two words for him: GROW UP. All cheaters are the exact fuckin’ same – they need to grow the fuck up. They have the mentality of toddlers.
    Hope you take this prick to the cleaners. You deserve nothing less. Find someone who will fight for a better future for you. Any wishy-washy ‘playing nice’ or ‘playing fair’ nonsense, kick them to the kerb.

  • As you begin to take action, you will find you do have the strength. For years your energy has been going towards compromising with him, appeasing him, taking care of the kids while he is out screwing strangers, and all kinds of other chumpy activities. As you lay down much of that load, you will find that it isn’t so hard to do the things you need and want to do. Living in an abusive home is hard and draining– and make no mistake, you are being abused. Once you are free of that, you will have the energy you need and then some. It is not always easy, but it does get easier as each pound of stupid spouse drops Away from you.

    I hope you can reach out and make some friends. I know it is hard, and some of your efforts will fail, but I also know that the kindness of strangers who refused to remain strangers was a gift beyond price for many of us when we were at your stage.

    And the administrative assistant for my department is our most valued employee– thinking that your work in that field is insignificant is just one more way your STBX has manipulated you into devaluing yourself.

    • I was also going to recommend this book. I am reading it because I am somewhere in between extravert and introvert and I wasnted to learn about my introverted needs and also about others who are introverted. I’m only at the beginning, but I love the way the author points out the differences in leadership style between extraverts and introverts (and I definitely fall into an introverted leadership style).

  • I will also add that, given that he had no problems hiding so much about himself and his activities from you before DDay, he is likely now working behind your back to screw you over big time in the divorce. Don’t waste time. See a pit bull attorney pronto and DONT TELL HIM. You need to protect yourself and your children now.

  • Wow Holly. You didn’t play music in the kitchen while you were cooking! I hope at least you had the good decency to be barefoot and chained to the kitchen sink. Didn’t you have a nice satin ribbon in your neatly combed hair and fresh lipstick on when he arrived home from his buggering orgies?

    Run Holly run and take Chump Lady’s advice about getting your divorce settlement before getting a job. That’s what my solicitor advised and it helped me greatly. There is a better life waiting for you once you pick yourself up and leave this dirtbag.

  • Here’s what I’m discovering after divorcing my cheating NPD ex-husband, who also blamed my character flaws as the reason he cheated:

    In my new life, I am enough.

    It’s a total game changer.

    • Strad, infidelity blinds us. I think we survive though because we already know that, “In my life, I am enough.”

  • I would say AMEN to all that has been said here and add just a couple of things…..Get yourself to your Gynecologist for a bevy of STD tests ASAP!. There are a lot of nasty STDs floating around out there….some of which are not curable…..you need to know…..and if he has actually “shared” well it is just more ammunition.

    The second thing is that the cheating narc’s stock in trade put downs can only do us damage if we believe what they say about us is completely true…….repeat after me….”He is full of shit….He is full of shit…..He is full of shit…….”

    You are going to be just fine, Honey………

    • And Tessie you oughta add…. He’s a mindfuck…….. He’s a mindfuck ….He’s a mindfuck….. He’ll fuck with my mind until he drives me crazy if I do not get out …………….!!!!!!!

  • THANK YOU!
    This advice is invaluable. I’ll be taking a lot of action next week- I never thought of anger as an action emotion. I need to allow the anger to come through and power me in my battle.
    And thanks for the encouragement. I LIKE being an introvert, so to hear how all these introvert chumps are rocking their lives now gives me so much hope for the future. It’s tough when your future is now a black hole. But reading through the archives makes me realize that the future will be much better when I’m the boss of my own life and that he definitely has a personality disorder. The controlling is covered by so much sparkle, I can see why I question myself. Knowing about the sparkle lets me say in my head when he sparkles, “Bullshit. I know what you’re doing. You can’t fool me any longer”.

    BTW, you all reminded me about my former life as an administrative Assistant. I was GREAT at my job. In fact, another department at the company poached me for a higher level position. And I was always getting complimented about my work productivity, customer service skills, etc.

    • It’s SUCH a great distraction and ego boost to have a good job, and to be good at it. Trouble-shooting and solving problems, and putting a smile on others’ faces, being a lifeline to people who APPRECIATE it, and laughing with your friends at the jerks who don’t appreciate it–these are all AWESOME.

      I am so thankful I had a great job that got me through my separation and divorce and beyond.

      BTW, I’m somewhat of an extrovert/introvert combination to my xH’s introvert. It didn’t save me, either.

      As for you, how can you be married to someone who likes having sex with men if you’re not a man, anyway? I don’t get it. He’s full of shit.

    • HollyH, You ARE great, and will feel that again soon. Take care of YOU and you will feel fantastic in a while.

    • A good Admin Assistant is golden so far as I’m concerned. I tried to be one long ago and I sucked at it. It takes talent!

    • Holly, I know it seems like your life is a “black hole” now, but I hope that soon, you’ll see it as a blank slate. A chance to hit the reset button and start over to make your life however you want it to be. It won’t be easy, but just keep picturing that white light at the end of the tunnel. Sending karmic hugs.

  • Holly: to borrow from a Gary Larson cartoon, here is the takeaway message next time he starts his criticism of you, “blah blah blah, Holly, blah blah blah music blah blah children blah blah blah blah.” Doesn’t make any sense? Neither does what he says. He’s fishing for ANYthing to hurt you. Why? cause he wants the power. And he wants his rationales for being a cheating f**ker. How do you *not* give him power? Stop listening, do not allow him to hurt you (when he starts his critique, think “this says more about him than me”), and leave his sorry ass.

    Lawyer up and take the advice of your attorney and the highly intelligent folks on this page (including tons of the CL blogs/articles to be seen on the bottom of her home page).

  • Hope you’ve studied the comments on the post a couple of days ago about leaving an abuser–you need those now.

    Good luck, mamacita!

  • Honey my first recommendation is:
    This guy is a nasty, heartless, loser who is trolling for anonymous sex with men. Guess what? if thats his method he is going to end up with HIV, and your kids need a mom.
    I recommend you get the heck out of there before he kills you with a nasty disease, and sue him for as much alimony and child support as you can possibly get. That income discrepancy is sure to help you out. Then find someone who is worthy of being the father of your children.

  • Something to keep in mind–Hardcore narcissists like ours would make Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama sound like losers if doing so served these cheater narcs’ purposes. Whenever I hear my cheater talk or see something he writes now, I interpret whatever he has communicated the way I would would the utterances of someone babbling to him/herself and yelling obscenities at passerbyes at a bus stop. It’s all nonsense.

  • Holly – I hope I’m not too late for you to read this.

    I found out my ex was hooking up with men off of craig’s list, a number of hook up dating sites and was planning a rendezvous with a man he had known for 20 years – planning on meeting up with him in SF when my ex and I were going on a trip there.

    I was pregnant with my second. My first was one years old.

    You don’t know where your husband is finding these people to sleep with. If you are still sleeping with your husband – STOP. He is playing with your life and could leave your children motherless. Please don’t think I am being extreme. My gyno made me get every test under the sun for sexually transmitted diseases while I was pregnant. Great memory, huh?!?

    There is a fantastic online forum group who are made up of spouses who find out their spouses are bi or gay.
    http://www.voy.com/86426/
    This group will help you immensely with this situation. It is an international group, meaning they have support groups everyone so you can meet other people in person.

    Before I found out about my own ex, he started getting very emotionally abusive. What he is doing and saying has NOTHING to do with you. He is a bully and a coward and a piece of shit.

    You can’t listen to anything he is saying. The question for you is is this acceptable behavior to you? Is this what you want? I can tell you you deserve better.

    You can do this. It is super scary at first especially when he is blaming you for stupid shit – and trust me it’s stupid shit. I’m coming up on 5 years of finding out and moving out.

    And you won’t be able to control what he tells other people and he will tell people why two are divorcing. And it’s going to piss you off to no end. But I can tell you, at the end of the day and possibly a few years later, it’s not going to matter one bit.

    I was able to get my ex’s employer to look at the company computer he was using at office. They found my ex used the company computer, ie company time, to coordinate hook ups and look at pornography. I’m just saying… Needless to say, my ex was fired.

    I know you moved to another country. But you need to find support there or fly home with your kids, then have him served. Like CL says, please find an attorney who specializes in high conflict – they usually have lots of experience dealing with narcissistic assholes like your ex.

    Try to find a therapist who specializes in high conflict as well. I went through about 4 and then found a good therapist who specialized in PTSD. The first therapist I found was a specialist in gay/lesibian situations. He was great in helping me understand a few things. I also confided in a few gay male friends I had – they offered enormous insight as they were in the closet at one time. For me, the more education on what the hell was going on, the better.

    He is gaslighting the shit out of you. The ONLY way to avoid this is NO CONTACT. Do not tell him ANYTHING YOU ARE UP TO. Please find an attorney, let the attorney know you want to fly home with your kids for ‘break’ (let your husband know you are going home for a visit), then have him served when you are away.

    But have a plan when you go back. Please stay somewhere else. If you think he will leave them home, then have him leave the home, but have the locks changed, asap. If you parents can come back with you for a week or so, please have them or a sibling or other close family or friend come back with you for a bit. You need all the support right now.

    No contact is him not contact you about anything EXCEPT for the kids. And if he needs to contact you about the kids, he is emailing. No texting about the kids unless it is an emergency.

    Listen, Holly. This guy is complete scumbag. It doesn’t matter what he calls you and blames you of. He does this because he knows he puts you in a un-confident place. And that is exactly where he wants you so he can control you.

    Screw that. And Holly, I know it so much easier to say than to do. I was there. My friends and family thought I was this mighty woman and when this happened, there were like ‘who are you’ as they saw me unmighty. The experience stripped me of all my energy, happiness and everything inbetween.

    He communicated with you through your attorney. Don’t believe ONE thing your ex says. Don’t make any deals with him, don’t believe him, don’t listen to him. If he is on your credit cards, get him off. Close joint accounts at any department stores, etc.

    Please know you’ll get through this. It will take time. But you will get through this. If I could, you can

    Lots of endless hugs to you tonight!

    • Straight Spouse Network. Contact them and let them know where you live. They are the international group I was referring to above. They may be able to refer you to a few lawyers other spouses have used in your area – same with therapists and other resources. http://www.straightspouse.org

  • He doesn’t respect you b/c you don’t like to listen to music while you cook? What is he, 6? “You’re not my friend anymore b/c you’re wearing the color blue and I don’t like blue.” Maybe the next list of excuses will upgrade to age 6.5! There are plenty of men and women who stay home with their kids, there is nothing wrong with staying home and there’s nothing wrong with putting them in daycare. Each family decides what works for them. You went with what worked with you and that’s absolutely fine. People in general just have a really bad understanding of intro/extroversion. All it boils down to is what drains you and how you recharge. My husband is an introvert and I’m an extrovert. We are just fine. Is he going to complain that heaven forbid you have different taste buds than he does? You going out more has nothing to do with it. If you did go out more he’d be complaining b/c you’d be around him and he wouldn’t be able to cheat. He LIKES that he “goes out more” b/c it gives him access to cake. It’s not a legit complaint. His whole schpeel on that is just more BS. Well, apparently now you have his list of [shallow] deal breakers. What a catch.

    Years into your marriage is not the time to decide to rebel b/c you missed “your chance” when you were in college. My husband’s ex went along those lines (minus the bisexual part) and all it showed was how immature she was and how low she’d sunk.

    He’s not worth it, you’ve got nothing to work with. Glad you see that and glad you’re reaching out . CL is spot on. I’m with Tempest’s post above. Next time he talks think Charlie Brown, where all you hear the random other character saying is some indiscernible “waaah waaaah waaaaaah.” Lawyer up, get your ducks in a row and look into therapy for YOU. Get out as soon as you can. He lost respect for you a long time ago, if you ever had it in the first place. You and your kids deserve sooooooo much better. Your kids will benefit from seeing their mother thriving, not just surviving. It’s okay to want them to have their dad around, but with that arrangement all except your husband suffer and you make the choice out of constraint. Your kids don’t see what real love looks like. You are left alone holding up a facade of the white picket fence. I was a single mom. It’s not an easy path but it’s a path with merits as well. I chose the path where my daughter and I would be our real selves, instead of just stepping up behind the wooden frame to put our face in the hole that’s cut out where the face should be.

  • Oh my. He cheated because you don’t play music in the kitchen? Really? Can I get a coffee mug with that on it?

  • HollyH, the only way you could learn to trust yourself again is to get the hell away from the abuser. Think of it like smoking. If you smoke and you are hacking away with a cough that won’t go away, you’d give up cigarettes, right? Then you will start to heal. It’s the same with living with an abuser. You are exposing yourself to constant abuse (masked as “things that you lack”), so how in heaven’s name are you going to feel better or find the strength?

    I am not an introvert but a lot of the most wonderful and very successful people I know are introverts. As suggested by some of the other posters, please read “Quiet.” I read that to gain a better understanding of introverts since I am an extrovert. It’s a wonderful book.

    You need to start trusting yourself, your instincts and putting yourself FIRST. When in a plane, they always advice you to put on your oxygen mask first before you put it on your children. Do the same here. If you stay for their sake, you are doing them a huge disservice. They will not have a healthy, happy mother who can guide and mold them into amazing human beings. Rather, a mother that will limp along, weighed down more each day by the abuse. You deserve to be valued and not abused. As a dear friend once told me, “A random guy on the street will treat you better.”

    Be mighty, HollyH, your mightiness will surprise you. Fake it ’til you make it. This attitude works all the time.

    • Holly – I can tell you from being in your shoes and the thousands of stories of the same on the forum I regerenced you to, that these types if men pick someone they see fit to be their cover. You can’t beat yourself up for that ever. You have done nothing wrong. You got caught in a web that you didn’t know was there.

      How dare he play with your life. How dare he play with your health. How dare he talk to you that way. How dare he mess with your children’s lives! How dare he use you and move you over seas to keep using you to cover up his life. See Holly, for these types of ruthless people, life to them means nothing. People to them are disposable. They don’t care.

      Not only was my ex ruthless with his mouth/voice with me a year before I found out (my gay friends told me that a double life on the down low us like a tea kettle boiling – one day he is going to explode – the betterment is the kettle starting to boil) – I had every type of insult. One was I never wore thongs. Well, half my underwear drawer was things. I showed him while I was laughing. He looked in my drawer like he had never seen them before. Then he told me they were the wrong ones. So I asked him to buy some for me and he told me know that I had just turned h off. The thomgs I had? The majority of them were sexy little things, yet classy with rhinestones and such. Things he liked at the beginning of our relationship. Go figure. Before the second was born, I had broken if off with him but wasn’t going to move out until my child was born. I had already let him know I knew he was sleeping with men and he asked me to be his cover, officially, lol, because I made him ‘look good’. After my child was born he told me I wasn’t physically attractive to him anymore because now I was the mother of his children. When my father died a fewonghs later, he used against me. My father stopped talking to me because of this ass I was with. I even told my ex the reason why my dad stopped talking to me was because I was with him. But see, Holly, these Dow low double life types are so narcissistic – my ex still thinks he is mighty. I revived text after text from him on the day and a week after of what a horrible person I was and that’s why my dad never spoke to me. My ex never meet my dad. My ex is an awful person. I’m saying all of this because the bellitment became way worse after the split. Same thing with thousands of others on the forum I gave to you in my first post.

      You need to find s few things you can repeat in your head for a while – something to give you strength and courage and a ‘fuck you asshole’ way about you. The best revenge is no contact. If you have to contact him or respond – and it only should be about the kids, it’s in a business correspondence format. No talk about feelings of what he did. Even if he did do something, you don’t mention it. In time, he will go away more and more.

      I don’t know how long you have been living overseas, but if it hasn’t been long, the judge should understand its in the best interest to have support around you and its best if you go back home with your kids.

      Hang in there – you have a lot of support here and from the forum I sent you.

      • Sorry for the typos above, I was on a a smart phone with a little screen. I do need to tell you the majority of the time, with the hookups, come drugs and/or alcohol. This is really hard to prove in court because you aren’t there. But trust it could be a very big possibility. This May or may not include needle sharing. You know what scared the shit out of me? What if my ex hooked up with a psycho and either the psycho found out where we lived or my ex had brought this nut to our home. And this psycho showed up one day looking for my ex – that was one thought that kept me up in the middle of the night. Please get out ASAP. You don’t know what these hookups mean, who they are with. I can tell you my ex has a daughter in SF. He would go there to visit her often. This is before I knew he was sleeping with men. Everyone thought he was a great guy to visit her so often when he would get on these ‘SF or Bust’ Facebook posts. Then I found out about his boyfriend in SF. Now, when he goes to SF, I know he isn’t staying in a hotel. I could never figure out how he was affording a hotel bill every time he went. He was staying with his boyfriend. And he was seeing his daughter for maybe a few hours during one of the days he was there, and took her out to dinner one night.

        My ex did confess to me after providing all the evidence that he was been with men since the age of 10. He was been through many gay sex groups, lots of drugs, into drug rehab for cocaine, has been through lots if men – then proceeds to tell me it’s all fantasy stuff and how I have ruined his fantasy. My problem is I have a huge curiosity factor and wanted to know ‘why’ with him. I should have stopped asking questions and gotten out earlier. I learned through this that I have a ‘fix-it’ personality – fix it people are very attractive to narcissistic personalities because they can serve us shit sandwiches all day and we try to find a way fix it.

        Trust this isn’t the life with him is not the life you want to be apart of anymore. Trust he isn’t a safe person. Because you don’t know if he is seeing people in your area and if they show up on your door step, take extra precautions – yes, could be extreme, but you need to set up your child custody with worse case scenarios as well – your attorney can let you know what your area’s can and cant’s be. If you haven’t been overseas for long, it would be worth the question to see if you can divorce in the country you were married in.

  • I found this WAPO article that resonates, it’s focused on child abuse but relevant to anyone who’s been traumatized: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-doesnt-kill-you-doesnt-necessarily-make-you-stronger/2015/01/02/939f250e-8f7e-11e4-ba53-a477d66580ed_story.html

    Excerpt: “Psychologists have found that crafting stories of redemption and triumph out of negative experiences can help people become happier, healthier and more interested in helping others. We tell ourselves that we have overcome adversity, and in the telling, we begin to believe it. In the believing, we begin to make it true.”

  • Holly, I had a couple of other thoughts for you. When I was going through this, I didn’t know about gaslighting and projection… I just knew that something was dreadfully wrong with my XH (I love writing that, XH! XH! XH!) When he was raging at me for crazy reasons… I had this mantra, ‘Hate and anger are like acid, they corrode the container they are kept in, far more than the object they are poured over.’ When he was doing this I would visualize myself like a statue, and visualize all of his rage, being like syrup just flowing off of me. The other mantra I had when he either was home and not present, refusing to help, or gone, was ‘That’s ok, single mothers do x all the time.’ He just became superfluous in my life and in my kids’ life. As you go through this, try to remember those things. They will help you be mighty.

  • Holly let me add my voice to this chorus…I am continually amazed by how these narcissists all pull the SAME FLIPPING CRAP. My husband offered up both the mundane: I “talked about vacationing too much” to the cruel: he would be “forced to cheat until I lost weight and could be attractive to him again”. It’s all bull*hit. They all justify their behavior with this crap. Unfortunately it took me a long time to de-internalize it. You will get there, too. I urge you to find a good personal counselor and start working with them. You might be geographically isolated due to his new job but you can find a counselor anywhere. Start building your team. I am just like you, introverted, sensitive whatever you call it. Its well known that it TAKES people like us to be partnered with these disordered people. Our awesome traits can sometimes be our weaknesses easily preyed upon by the selfish and unreasonable. Chump Lady’s advice is perfect, as always. You can and you will get through this.

    • Hey, Chumpaholic, my STBX always left all the vacation planning up to me – logistics, etc. because he just couldn’t be bothered. Except once, when he brought up the idea of taking a 5 day vacation out west and wanted to drive out there and back (we live on the east coast). When I pointed out that I liked the idea of the destination, but that we would be spending 4 of the 5 days driving, he got all butt hurt like “you never let me plan a vacation, it’s always what you want!” waaah waaah, Major tantrum, I kid you not. This despite the last major expensive vacation had been built around his likes ( I usually go for the cheap & free, national parks, etc.) Anyway, that plus the fact that I “never partied with his family” earned me my exclusive address on Infidelity Acres. At least that’s what he told the MC the one time we went in for counseling. The counselor looked at him like “whaaa?”
      Feel free to move in next door! 🙂

      • Yep, another example of the blame shifting. Don’t they hear the crazy as it comes out of their mouths?!

        • Oh yeah, It was my fault that I “made him look at porn” too. But he strangely didn’t bring that up in the MC session. Bleh. So glad that a-hole is in my rear view mirror and getting further in the distance every day.

  • Holly- I heard all kinds of stupid reasons from my husband about why he needed to leave me. I didn’t do enough of his laundry, spent too much time with the kids and didn’t like his hobby. No one is perfect but these are just small little nothings and so are the things your husband said about you. It wouldn’t matter who he married, he would have done this because he is an abuser and has no or little conscience. My husband started off as a great husband and father for many years but deteriorated as a human being over the last few years. I think he just couldn’t hide who he really was any longer. Nothing I did caused this and that is the same for you. You are very worthy. You are worthy of friends, real love and respect and good things in your life. You will see this once you get away from him and his brainwashing.

    I am an introvert too and love it. Introverts get their strength from within themselves, extroverts get their strength from others. It will help you in the end because you will be able to be content with yourself no matter what happens. If you need friends and support, please consider finding a good church. It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not. Good, genuine Christians want to help and love you and your kids no matter what. I live 600 miles away from my family and my church has been very supportive of me and my sons through my husbands implosion. I know there are some crappy churches out there too, trust you gut instinct on them (one of the strengths of an introvert btw).

    Many hugs and prayers for you. Please keep us posted.

  • I would like to add just one more thing: Sometimes I read this website and wonder if newbies here feel like we are all just pro-divorce. (bear with me a minute)

    So I know I speak for many (if not most) of us here by saying I LOVED being married. I loved my husband and my life as his wife and the companionship we shared and the life we were building together and all the plans we were making for the future…. EVERYTHING! And I would’ve crawled over busted glass to defend and save us.

    But when i saw how easily, he tossed me over for a shiny new vagi… “girl”…. I was in shock. In a nutshell, my marriage meant everything to me, and it meant nothing to him.

    I think many of us here have come far enough away from the divorce that we truly see how bad these relationships were for us and how much better we are without them. We are not starting a Divorce Is Awesome! club. We know it hurts, on so many levels. And if there had been another way, I think we would’ve done it. In fact, many did, over & over & over again… and still ended up here.

    I think the website motto: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life — sums it up.
    We loved our marriages; they didn’t. So we finally — by one means or another — gained a better life. That’s what we’re about.

    • NWBiblio–you’re absolutely right. I’m pretty sure not a single person on this site WANTED a divorce. Many of us turned ourselves inside out to avoid divorce. But after eating so many sh*t-sandwiches that we got scurvy, we saw the light and headed for the orange grove.

      I would love to be married again, to a mentally healthy person who has more self-control than a toddler, compassion & empathy, and actual problem solving skills that do not involve opening one’s zipper to any enthusiastic recipient.

    • I’m so glad you pointed this out NW. I’m definitely not pro divorce and live by the Bible which certainly does not promote divorce. God gives us one reason to divorce and that is sexual infidelity- no questions asked. I gave my husband many opportunities to repent, change, rebuild his integrity, and be a hero to his kids, but nope he won’t even consider it, he chooses destruction instead. God knows how devastating infidelity is and how messed up adulterers are and that’s why I feel ok about divorce, but it took me time to get there and I think that is part of the process for many of us.

    • Good point NWBiblio; I guess it is our desire for others not to spend as much time as we did coming to our inevitable conclusions by trying to fight our gut that was telling us it would never be right again. I know CL kicks people’s ass with her wake up calls, and we need to be truthful. But if someone who has so many rotten things that he/she is finding out about someone he/she thought loved him or her, they are still in the SHOCK stage. And we know the love does not end so quickly, which is why (or one of the reasons) the pain is so deep, and takes so long to get over even when you move ahead more quickly. There is a lot to process here for the chumped.
      I know if CL would have been around about 4 years ago when I was searching, I would be further along. Yet I agree some people are that stage where they are extremely tender & full of shame & humiliation. Somehow I think it is harder for men to come forward because of the cultural/societal thing that prepares men less for this possibility than women. They have a harder time talking to others about it & asking for help than women (have been forced or expected in may cases to “handle” their pain themselves since childhood) Maybe our words are socking the poor guy/gal in the gut, as many of us are way down the road but sadly remember the times they are going through and are so angry FOR them!!
      Sometimes perhaps it creates more shame for someone who is still considering blaming themselves and reeling so close to DDay.
      Unfortunately, it takes longer for some than others. I hope that anyone new here reading this site for the first or first few times does not feel we are radical in our stance against reconciliation, but most of us have tried it and realized there was no foundation for trust left- or the partner wasn’t remorseful, the cheating never stopped, spouse left, etc., etc., etc. As we have all read, good people can waste decades of their lives on those who do not deserve them. That is the bottom line. We don’t want other Chumps or new Chumps to go through everything we have-we hope to help give them at least a short cut to sanity. There is no pain like this pain I have EVER experienced (I think most agree) and we want to be there for others. This is what this site is about. CL is even now in a new great marriage & happy, but she will never forget the experience and created and maintains this site for this reason.
      We just get fired up about the ABUSE that is CHEATING!!

    • Yes, I loved my husband and marriage too and thought it was a healthy, strong marriage before dday. We weren’t having any problems (and even my ex said, after dday, that he didn’t know he was unhappy until he met her), so I was also stunned. My ex left me for the OW he became infatuated with, and I couldn’t believe he would walk away from our marriage with absolutely no consideration of staying or sadness at leaving. He just disconnected instantly….and it was devastating for me and took me a long, long time to work through the grief and get over it and rebuild. I really had no choice about divorce because my ex was gone; it was awful to sign those papers when a divorce was the last thing I wanted and I was still in love with my ex, who was sitting there beside me to sign the papers. But I made it through, in large part thanks to Chump Nation. I still hope to get remarried one day to a responsible adult who understands love in the same way I do and who who is capable of loving and connecting deeply to a partner.

      • NorthernLight, I’m sure you know by now that the “instant disconnect” is a hallmark of some narcissists’ “discard” phase of relationship. They’re done. They have no empathy, so they can’t imagine how it feels to have someone just walk away without a thought for the devastation they leave behind them. They also do the leaving as they move from kibble supply to kibble supply, so they literally have no idea what it means to lose someone they actually love.

        The trauma of living with such a person, unaware of their personality disorder, is compounded by the way they leave and the subsequent confrontation with the fact that you have been in a relationship with a hologram (or a hyena). I’ve written about this before, but the Jackass’s first marriage was a true mystery to me. He had no explanation other than 1) they fought on the wedding day and slept apart on the honeymoon, and 2) at some point, she just stopped coming home and stayed at her mother’s house (they were in the mid-to-late 20s). I couldn’t figure out why someone would do that, but J told me that his sister-in-law (his X’s friend) said that J had “ruined X’s life.” So I figure that she went through the discard STARTING ON THE HONEYMOON and he chipped away at her self-esteem until she just gave up and went home. She never remarried. So I think that a serious narcissist has a repertoire of ways to tear down a partner. Glad the two of are surviving and thriving.

        • LAJ, yes, thanks to what I’ve learned here, I realize that numerous things in my situation fit with known patterns (love bombing, discard, etc.) I too was confused by why some of my ex’s previous relationships ended (well, why he left them), but after it happened to me, I clearly saw the pattern that had been there all along. It’s just that when we were dating, he explained each one and there were different reasons for each, and they mostly seemed to make sense, except for one. There was one that I never did understand. But the way he explained how the relationships ended with a reason for each caused me not to see the pattern. I listened to what he said and his reasons, instead of really looking at the undeniable actions (of suddenly leaving a girlfriend for someone else, multiple times). I figured it was stuff that happens when you are dating in your 20s and so. And then he met me and said iI was the love of his life and all and decided to marry me, so I figured I was different. He probably had many “loves of his life” before me…I did not know that though. Live and learm, I guess…

      • they then “Move the Goal Posts” is so true! You are trying to understand a rational person & they are using this rational logic against you.

  • my ex would have the same stupid excuses for doing whatever the hell he wanted. I realized I bought into his judgemental view of me and other people. This is designed to put you on the defensive.

    I had a 50th birthday party a couple of days before Dday and he said to me in that judgemental way, I notice that you have a lot of single friends (like there’s something wrong with that). I said ‘So what?’ And he repeated the statement. Again I said ‘so what?’ And he repeated it again! He didn’t have a thought in the little empty head of his, just saying stuff to put me down or on the defensive.

    I realized I was filling in the blanks and feeling like then I’m not good enough, I am lacking in social skills, etc enough negativity to make me feel like crap. The ‘so what?’ Helped me put it back on him.

    That exchange made me realize I was making myself feel inadequate. He was the trigger.

    I’d turn the music in the kitchen thing around too. Was HE there? Why didn’t HE turn on the music?? Why is it only one person’s job to lighten the mood or play music.

    My ex would sit back and act like KING, he would drop hints about what he wanted and then expect that it would magically appear without him having to do any planning or work.

    Of course, I worked my ass off trying to be the perfect mom, wife etc.

    The kicker is, with assholes like this there is never anything good enough. They set you up and they move the goal post.

    I had been living with someone who didn’t accept me for who I was because I didn’t accept who I was. With lots of growing pains and therapy I’m now happy and accepting of myself.

    I can even see the ridiculousness of their – ahem- logic.

    Normal people turn on the music when they want to and they would find a much better excuse as to why to end a marriage.

    • Beenthere, I know exactly what you mean. This feeling of never being good enough and moving the goal post. Wow. How could we have been so in love to not see that…

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