Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

What Would You Tell Yourself at D-Day?

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

paralysis Who wouldn’t love a do-over?

I’m sure a few of you navigated this shit perfectly right out of the starting gate, but most of us floundered in the most humiliating of ways.

If you could go back in time (and no, you don’t get to wish your whole relationship away, the time machine only allows this ONE encounter…) — what would you say to yourself on your first D-Day?

I think this exercise may accomplish two things — 1) It will show you how far you’ve come and 2) It will help those further behind on this journey than you are.

This is what I’d say to my D-Day self.

Dear Tracy,

You married an asshole. No really, face it, he’s a douche. Cut your losses immediately.

I know you think you’re doomed, but your doom is with him. Life on the other side will, yes, be challenging. Single parenthood again, the ring of hell that is 50 Bad Coffee Dates, financial insecurity. Don’t let those fears overwhelm you. Wrestle those motherfuckers to the ground and get the hell away from this man.

He’ll try and punish you for leaving him. Expect that. Surround yourself with support and the law.

Don’t be afraid to sing like a bird. This isn’t your shame to wear.

You WILL be loved again. You WILL love again. He will NOT be the last person you ever care for.

Someday soon you’ll reach meh about him. You won’t give a shit who he is or what he’s doing or with whom. He’ll be a storybook character. The villain. The obstacle over which you triumphed.

Never forget this is your story — get out there and make a happier ending to it.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

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.
    • Same here!

      Or, in my own words:
      1 – no, he was not replaced by an alien, he’s showing you who he really is
      2 – go find the Chumplady website
      3 – life’s better on the other side!

        • Ditto. “This is who he REALLY IS” was absolutely the first thing that popped into my head.

          This is why I love CN; everyone here “gets it”.

          So grateful to have found my way here.

    • I should have done that too before he deleted them all in front of me as proof that it was over with her ..yet a couple if days later he asked to have his cell phone bill separate from the family plan soo whatever though it still ends the same

  • OMG after all I have done for you you want to throw me over for a skanky biker chick you rediscovered on FB! Go ahead I am out of here now. I have put up with so much of your s–t. I will be better off without you.

  • I would get myself to a councelor sooner. She would have helped me establish bounderies, and tell me I am it going crazy !!!!

  • Dear Lina,

    Don’t just go for legal advice. File! Don’t let him file first. Get to the bank and take half the money before he takes it all. Don’t send that letter or text message. Block him immediately from email and phones and lock the porch door so that he doesn’t have access. Don’t listen to his lies and cruelties. Do your own investigation. Knowledge is power. Hire a forensic accountant.

  • Dear Kelly,

    I know it is hard to believe, but he is not the man you thought he was, he is and was a monster who never loved you, it was all a lie. Say this over and over to yourself- HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE. You must somehow believe that. It doesn’t matter why anymore.

    Don’t try to look to him for comfort, he is your destroyer not your savior. Don’t think you can be friends, you can’t. Take some sedatives, hide your phone, don’t look for “answers” (there aren’t any) and MOVE ON. Don’t scream at him, don’t cry to him, don’t give him that satisfaction, it just plays into his narrative that you are crazy and feeds his incredibly pathological ego.

    If you can, from the start, smile at him, tell him you think he is an awful person, and calmly make plans to move on with your life without him. It will be so much better, you’ll see.

    Go online right now and look at this website and read all the articles and all the comments RIGHT NOW: “Chumplady.com,” This will help you more than everything else combined, and will be your guiding star.

    On a brighter note, in 3 years you will be re-married to a wonderful man who adores you, is mature and responsible and trustworthy, and who lights up your life in a way ex never did.

    (((HUGS))) Kelly, you will get through this.

    Love,

    Your future self 3 years down the road

    P.S. Oh and by the way, don’t be so generous with the money in the property settlement agreement. You will soon be astonished to see that he will even abandon his own children. Do an exorcism or something but crush him out of your mind and soul the way you are shutting him out of your life.

    • “Go online right now and look at this website and read all the articles and all the comments RIGHT NOW: “Chumplady.com,” This will help you more than everything else combined, and will be your guiding star.”

      And this needs to be added to Tracy’s letter that I would use as my own

      • ditto.. except for the love part. It hasn’t found me yet. and Stop hiding from everyone. He cheated, lied, stole, and abandoned his kids. STOP LYING FOR HIM.

    • I am not sure saying you will be happily married again after three years is that helpful. Reading that made me feel awful as two and a half years out of this , I am still processing what happened. Everyone’s time scale is different and is dependent on many variables, how long you were married, in my case 17 years and with him for 28 years, my entire adult life, and the level of abuse you endured, which inevitably causes damage which needs to heal before you leap into another relationship. There is not a time scale on this, I know your message was positive and was intended to help but for those of us who need longer than that, it feels like something else we have failed to do. Apparently we need to get over it and move on as society dictates because that is what everyone else feels comfortable with. Doesn’t seem to matter how we feel.

      Everyone needs the time they need and this is not a race. I have been dating but I know I am not really healthy enough for that yet. I have actually hurt at least one man because of that and it has made me cautious, you should not involve others in your pain, it is not fair.

      Plus the be all and end all is not to find another relationship but to heal and get healthy and strong. That should be the message that is sent, not get on with it, find someone new to marry, replace what you had and then you’re normal again.

      • I think Kelly’s comment was a letter to herself on her own D-Day, and is specific to her own unique circumstances…after a long marriage to a man who exhibited monstrous behavior, she found love. I’m as far out and have not even looked to date, but am inspired by her story and the support she continues to share here.

        Everyone’s journey here is marked by bizarrely similar patterns imposed by the cheating behavior. We all have different paths to healing. One of my wise friends reminded me of the old blessing “if God sets you on a rocky path, may you be blessed with sturdy shoes.” I wish you sturdy shoes and that time is as healing for you as it is being for me.

        • Yes, I understand that and if I gave the impression that I was being critical, I didn’t meant it that way. Probably should have worded it better, apologies. I hope my message was clear if it was delivered in a clumsy way. No offence meant.

    • P.P.S. And another thing, he is as you read this diverting your tax return….and he has misappropriated all of the kids’ college funds, so move fast.

      • Kelly ditto on the tax return. 10,000$ diverted to a separate account I had no idea about. Then, after I backtracked his ass by calling the IRS and H and R Block, MFPOS lied to my face about it. I know, you all are finding it hard to believe he LIED! LOL Just one of a million I’m afraid.

  • I have replayed this scenario in my head a thousand times….. Unfortunately most of my plans would have resulted in prison time… Aside from castration and other forms of torture… What would I do now?
    Bank account empty. He would be reading his divorce summons from the inside of a jail cell. His shit would be in a storage locker. There would be a for sale sign on the house …. And I would be the fuck outa Dodge. The only tears I would be shedding would be from joy as I drive down the highway , radio blasting, windows open , giving this whole situation the one finger salute.

    • TheClip,

      ALL of my plans would have resulted in prison time, no doubt. Had it not been for my three daughters, my actions would have been different. I would have gladly slept in tent city. But then again, he’s not worth it. Didn’t know it or feel it at the time, of course.

      Two years out…our lives are SOOOOO much better. Seeing him face the consequences of his actions is more fulfilling and satisfying over prison time! -and I get to do this while sleeping in a comfy bed 😉

  • Dear chumped n well,

    Please listen to me – your gut. Yes he is cheating. Yes he is devaluing u and no he is not confused or having mommy issues. Please listen now before u marry him n have two kids to finally face that to him you are only the following things, at times convenient to him – 1. Cheque book; 2. Scapegoat to give his mother a target; 3. Toy to mess with and later tell himself “boy I’m glad im not a hot mess like her”. ( you are a hot mess BECAUSE of him)

    Tell him NOW that it’s cheating not confusion to chat with his ex first thing every morning n last thing each night or to say that SHE cannot know about your engagement because she might commit suicide, or tell you that we are only friends – geez lighten up, For a girl who has so many guy friends you are so uptight n suspicious or buy her stuff while telling you he doesn’t have money to buy you a ring. All this when he is YOUR fiancé n knows cheating is your deal breaker. Break it off girl n don’t let him railroad ur boundaries.

    Tell your parents to fuck off n leave you alone. Tell them it’s better to be alone than with an asshole. That has helped you avoid disasters before this guy but you are choosing to fail this time because your narcissistic mom wants her social image intact. Fuck her image n her needs. Focus on YOU chumped… Don’t give in.

    Walk away from this guy and for good measure go no contact with your parents as well. Their brow beating n devaluing you is not going to go away. Value yourself like you ask your friends to when they are in trouble.

    It can be much worse later in life… So walk away when you dont have kids n crushing debt to keep you chained. Walk away with sanity intact and profound belief that this is the right thing to do and yes I’m worth it. Don’t go through 8 years of shit storms n blame shifting and eating shit sandwiches until you question your sanity. That experience is NOT worth anything.

    Yes you will have wonderful kids BUT you can have wonderful kids without him as well. After all you only need a sperm donor and believe me when I say going to the sperm bank is a better choice than this guy. Cheaper too in the long run.

    Walk away now.

    Please chumped listen to me – your gut.

  • Dear Conniered,
    You’re in shock. You’re embarrassed and ashamed and hurting so bad. The world seems to have stopped spinning. But I assure you this is real and deep down you know this is a deal breaker for you. You did good by making him leave. You do deserve better.

    I know you just figured out who SHE is just minutes before STBXH got home from working with her all day and that is even more shocking. You called her cell. A lot. I’m not sure that was the best outlet for your anger and energy but it’s done and you have outed her.

    You and your son are going to be fine. You will. You have an amazing family that will be there for you like you never imagined. Their love and strength will surprise you and get you through these early days.

    Single parenthood is now your path. Not too tough really. You’ve been doing everything already. You are about to lighten your load as you will put your son in public school. It’s scary and heartbreaking to do, but it’s a blessing. I promise. He will flourish.

    Keep going to church. God is with you. You will find friends there. It will give you solace. He will speak to you every time you are there.

    Oh, and keep reading Chump Lady. Everyday.

  • This is a bit tough. If I had not been gaslighted after DDay #1, I would not have my wonderful children, nor one of the best jobs in the world.
    But here goes:

    Take a deep breath. Do not confront immediately although you are desperate to know. Gather evidence and then have The Talk.
    When he drags his feet going to MC, cut your losses and leave. He is not committed, and he has not been truthful. Watch the actions carefully. The occasional good deed/gesture does not outweigh the daily signs that “he is not that into you.” Marriage is teamwork. You and the kids are a great team, and will make the playoffs because you work together.

    • Yes, do not confront immediately after you discover evidence of his cheating, even though you want to stop it all ASAP. Wait, snoop and document. If you find out it’s an emotional affair on its way to becoming physical, let it progress all the way before confronting. If you stop it before the physical, then he will only say that they were just friends and sex would never have happened, and the decision to stay or leave will be needlessly complicated. When you confront him, don’t mention your evidence, just tell him you have found something out and he has one chance to tell you the truth–one single lie and he’s out the door and you’re filing for divorce. Then when the first thing that comes out of his mouth is a lie, which it will inevitably be (of course), send him packing.

  • Dear Kimmy~

    Trust that he sucks! This is who he is. He does not love you…..and even if he does in his own crazy way….this is not the kind of love you want or deserve. Tell your family and friends what you are going thru so you have a support system. Don’t waste time trying to reason with the unreasonable. He is not remorseful. He just regrets that he was caught. Most importantly, your daughters need a stable home environment without the drama and crazy and watching their father self destruct! Get out. Run fast. Don’t look back! Do not be afraid. You will be fine on your own. Love yourself!!!!!! You ROCK!!!!!

  • I would tell myself that yes, it’s going to hurt, a LOT. You are facing your deepest fear…but you will not only survive but you will grow SO much! Becoming a single mom is terrifying, but you are SO much stronger than you ever realized. You will find out just how awesome your friends are and just how much you’re loved. You’ll eventually find a balance with the ex, after learning just how much of a narcissist he is and how to deal with that, and you’ll come to a place where you can work with him to raise your daughter without having to make all of his problems your problems.

    And just when you are resigned that all guys left on the planet are either taken or giant douchebags, you’ll meet one that will sweep you off your feet…and it’s not only possible to fall in love again, but to actually fall in love in a healthy way.

    You can do this.

  • Dear lucky35,

    Although it feels incredibly difficult to even get up in the morning, you will thrive from now on. He is a sociopath. He does not care about the relationship you worked so hard to build. He does not care about your wellbeing. He never loved you. He’s incapable of love and he’s a damn good liar and actor.

    I know it will be hard moving your stuff into a storage locker, sleeping on a friend’s couch, and getting a mailbox at the post office- life will feel unsettled and uncertain for a little while. You will thrive. This is the beginning of all things better.

  • • Focus on things you can control, like your dissertation research.
    • Ignore what you can’t control, like her fucking other guys

    Alright, buddy, Let’s start with the confrontation. You handle this perfectly. She will lie. I know you are going to bring a lot of proof. Shes going to lie. She admits to the affair a few days later because she knows your’e moving out. Confront. Leave. No contact – only- after you do one thing. Out her lying ass to her mother, that person at her work (you know who im talking about) and her best friends select friends. Tell them about the affair, giving them names, general timelines, etc. Get the truth out first. She is in shock and she lies in some heinous ways. You can cut a lot of this shit off by getting the truth out first.

    Shes going to keep lying to you. You eventually find out a few things. She did fuck that guy you suspected. That thing you have? its curable. You don;t have anything else. She lies about this and tries hard to flip things to make it your fault. Oh, you can’t believe that? I swear to pie within a few days of the shock of the confrontation, she starts spinning things to make it sound like …no..you must have had the affair. Worse? I shit you not. Get it out now and get out.

    You find out through therapy that shes a cluster B histrionic personality disorder. She lies and lies. its almost like breathing to her. Her mind cannot handle a universe where people know she this terrible to you, so she will use anything she can to D.A.R.V.O (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender)
    Your pain will lead you to say things that she will copy and paste out of context to make her look like a victim. She will lie about heinous shit to make this tactic work. There is no way to be with this person

    Ignore it and move on. Its amazing that a small chunk of her friends even unfriend her over it. You have no control over her crazy.

    Invest in yourself. You do have control over your research. Bury yourself in it.

    Look, buddy, you don’t see it yet, but shes gotten you to slowly shift your energy into her. Youve put a lot of your life on hold for her and she rejects reciprocating her energy into you. Focus your energy back into yourself. This is the only way you are going to really find happiness. Its going to be hard at first. Thats fine. Work towards it a little more every day. Its gonna be fine.

    She sounds so remorseful, right? In a few days, shes going to start trying to paint you as the bad guy behind her back. Impossible? You find proof of this on what she failed to delete on facebook. Oh you think you can show evidence to her friends? Fuck it and fuck them. Your friends are way more awesome. Shes a histrionic cluster B fucktard with the shallowest of friends. Yours are solid. She got sorry she got caught. Shes been working manipulation techniques on you to control you. You can;t see it now. Get the fuck out.

    You’ll find out soon that people think you are a smart, handsom, and interesting guy. Your wife goggles will fall off and you’ll see her for a lying, manipulative, cluster B monster. You are so used to giving and giving, that when you find this girl who starts kissing you passionately, you don’t know what to do with it all. Let me help.

    • There’s women out there who won’t leave you in a dead bedroom for 7 months
    • Theres women out there who won;t make you do 100% of the cooking. In fact, you’ll be really happy to split this duty
    • Your soon to be ex is a slob. it sucks. Most other girls aren’t like this
    • Most people don’t need to control you like she did
    • There are girls out there who will actually try to be part of your family, too.
    • There are girls out there who won’t look at you with disregard after you hurt yourself on a dangerous job trying to support her unreasonable financial expectations while both of you are in grad school.
    • There are girls out there who wont fuck other guys and then lie to your face

    You basically have no where to go but up. You’ll love it. The only thing I regret is what I endured trying to believe she had any remorse. Move on and start enjoying the better life.

      • Good Luck with your dissertations…I can’t imagine having to finish my dissertation under these circumstances!…Though I was able to co-author a book during the second year after D-Day…The challenge of trying to write without being able to focus is torturous… Keep up the good work!

        • Good luck, both of you. I left a relationship in the middle of mine; he wasn’t a cheater but one of my several alcoholic partners. The dissertation was a landmark in my learning that I have to put my own life at the top of the priority list. Being chumped is a terrible life change to go through in the middle of that work, but on the other side, you are a Ph.D. or Ed.D. or Dr. of something! It will feel amazing–and you will have learned the lesson that took me another 20 years to learn–say away from narcissists. You are mighty!

          • I’m writing a master’s thesis now–an incredibly tough thing to do while raising two teens, working full time, and dealing with ex’s continuing drama (he threw the girls out because one of them had the audacity to call him out on his abusive behavior). I wish I could put myself first, but parenting under these conditions is so demanding and so stressful. I hope I manage to finish school–it would suck if I had debt and no degree. On the other hand–I would not have been able to attend grad school at all if I had not left him. He was more than happy to have a stay at home mom to slave in the house and yard while he went off to play with the ex-cheerleader high school sweetheart whom I wished he had married instead (it would have saved me time and pain).

            • The most important thing I did was tell myself every day “I will finish, no matter what happens.” You must finish. You must. If you get discouraged, post about it here and we will help rally you. To finish.

    • Chumpster…….in response to your bullet points of ‘theres’ women out there….’. That is correct. And that would be all of us here.
      Very sad for you; hope its better now.

  • Dear FierceMommy,
    Open your eyes. See that he has been Gaslighting you for 10 years. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY!! You are still the strong, independent woman you were before you got married. Find HER, bring HER back! You will cry and feel so lonely at times but your kids will be your strength and you will choose to do right by them instead of teaching them to bow down to mental abuse. Hide some money now! You may never use it and put it back but if (WHEN) he withholds money from you, you won’t feel degraded having to beg him for money. That’s what he wants. Also, very important: go NO CONTACT ASAP!!!

  • Don’t listen to his claims he needs ‘time to decide” and humiliate yourself going in to competition for your own husband. It will make him feel magnificent and you feeling worthless and degraded. When he lies on the floor crying saying your love was ‘meant to be’ his life is over without you and you’ve destroyed him by starting divorce proceedings ignore him. Before the divorce even begins he will be posting semi naked photos of her on Facebook. Introduce her without shame to all his family and friends who watched him make vows to you. All the words were meaningless. He is shallow. When he says nobody will ever love you like he did. Hope that is really true, look back on your whole marriage. Don’t stumble around in disbelief astounded he could do this. Appraise your time together without emotion. You will then see he was always the sort of man who would do this. He was always selfish and that won’t change. Stop being jealous of his new love. She’s liberated you

    • Nearlyfree, thank you so much for this synopsis. My ex always was selfish but I just didn’t see it. And I need to stop being jealous of Schmoopie.

      • Karma, It’s hard isn’t it to stop feeling jealous. I still get ‘She’s won’ moments but then I focus on all the lazy, selfish, feckless behaviour. We’re the winners!

        • Nearlyfree, I hear you. My ex’s Schmoopie is a widow with two young children. How could she expose them to such a narcissist? How could she start an affair with him while he and I were still in a supposedly committed relationship? What kind of behaviour is she modelling for her kids? It. Makes. No. Sense. All I can think of is that she’s won a real prize, hasn’t she. I certainly hope that we’re the winners in this game with no rules.

            • You mean did Schmoopie hasten her husband’s death? I don’t know. I only found out about the fact that she’s a widow with two young kids from our MC. Fucktard had told her about it (on his own) and she casually mentioned it to me when I saw her on my own, because the MC assumed I knew. Frankly, I don’t want to know anything else about the skank.

          • Jackass’s MOW? Three kids. Married. Her mother and siblings crushed by the death of eldest son in family. And she starts an affair with a man who is in a committed relationship. These people are (like narcissists) looking for validation and self-worth outside of themselves. While we’ll never know exactly how they suffer, going forward, we do know that they have (as CL would say) crappy life skills and no idea about being a healthy separate person. I sure felt jealous of MOW in the first weeks and months. Now I see how working to recover my own life has put me on a completely different level of functioning than this pair of hollow people. That’s what Karma is for them–over and over experiencing the need to fill the black hole inside and finding out over and over that (1) normal people eventually see throughout their masks, and (2) there aren’t enough kibbles in the world to fill them up.

            • LAJ, thanks for sharing that and for your articulate insights, as always. I still don’t understand how anyone can be a responsible parent and become an affair partner. I feel sorry for my ex’s Schmoopie’s kids if he’s going to be their stepdad. He hates children. He got a vasectomy before he even met me. But I guess she’s so sparkly that he’s changed his mind, eh. Well, we’ll see how long that lasts.

      • I admit that I feel jealous and envious this week as my habitually cheating STBX jets off to a tropical island with his latest partner. It’s ironic that the he told the court and everybody else that he couldn’t and shouldn’t pay child support–for the kids he supposedly loves so much and needs to protect from me, the terrible parent, but he can take new partner on vacation from his stressful life, which involves bonking his new interest ’round the clock as he is voluntarily unemployed while I work two jobs, study, and raise our kids. I guess that, to him, feeding kids more than once/week is optional but flying affair partners to exotic locales to be wined and dined is mandatory. Oddly, before jetting off, he told our kids that he didn’t want to divorce me, their mother. Interpretation: ‘I want my wife to support my disreputable lifestyle but people to think that I am virtuous so that they will respect me.’ He also told the kids that we never took this tropical vacation because we parents had different priorities. He got that right. While I worked, studied, and raised kids almost completely in his absence, he was secretly using his time and OUR money on illegal activities with other people. I need to remind myself that I deserve 10,000 times better than this cheating abuser.

        • I’ve spent all night up with a sick four year old. My ex supposedly adores his 4 kids but he dips in and out of parenthood as and when he fancies. His mother hurled abuse at me says I’d turned the kids against their lovely daddy but he’s done that not me. It’s so hard being left with all the responsibility. I feel I’m suffering the consequences of his teenage carefree lifestyle. But who would want the life founded on lies and deceit they now have. I will never understand the ow who think they are so special they can collude in a man walking away from his family

          • Nearlyfree – it IS a challenge, doing all the work alone, and there were many times I resented that when the going got tough, he just walked away and dumped it all on me. But I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. Why? Because he’s a self-centered, disordered wingnut, and I don’t want my kids modeling his behavior now or 30 years from now. If they don’t see it, they won’t.

            As for your MIL saying you “turned the kids against him,” ignore it. Cheaters alienate everyone when they put themselves first, and they’re delusional if they think you’ll continue to sing their praises when you’re up all night with a sick kid, dealing with car troubles, or telling a child he can’t have something because your budget is so tight, it squeaks. Single parenthood sucks. And why are you a single parent? Because your cheater cheated. He IS the bad guy. There’s no other way to look at it.

          • Nearlyfree, I know a woman who was left for the OW and had 4 kids. It’s 30 years later, let me tell you how it worked out. She had a very rough go in the beginning. She left a wealthy lawyer and her lifestyle in a fabulous part of a big city. She moved to a not so nice part of town and went to nursing school. She didn’t get to enjoy a lot of motherhood then. (I know this, because I’m dear friends with her daughter.)

            But slowly she got her life back. She got her degree. She got job after job. After a few years, she met a man who had no children, a teacher. They married and are still happily together. He was good to her kids, and a good grandfather.

            They have a paid-for home. They bought a second home, fully paid for, across the street from my friend. They take care of their grandkids and enjoy life. Oh, and in later life, she went on a health kick and lost 60 lbs. She looks 20 years younger.

            The cheater? He married the OW. They lived in the Fabulous House (her former home) in the Fabulous Neighborhood. He kept his Fabulous Life. They had two Fabulous Children. He then ignored his other 4 kids for his Fabulous New Family.

            Over time his narcissism caught up with him. He was forced out of his Fabulous Job for fudging his hours. Without his Fabulous Identity, he started drinking himself to death. He didn’t pay his taxes (despite being a tax lawyer). He got away with this for years, until the IRS caught up with him and put a lien on his $1.5 million house, essentially making him penniless. (What he owed, plus years of unpaid interest.) He clings to the house, fights with the IRS, gets drunk.

            His health is poor. He drools. He drives drunk. He has dementia.

            The OWifetress has threatened to leave him for years, but how to leave the facade? The lifestyle? She used to stay home, now she must work. She drinks until she passes out. She’s a barely functional alcoholic. Her children (in their 20s) live at home. Spoiled. Feckless. One has a pot problem.

            He hit her. Now they’re divorcing. (Maybe, who knows? She always takes him back.)

            Their life is one big deserved and self-created nightmare.

            The chump? She triumphed.

            But here’s the thing with mightiness. It’s slow. It’s one brave act after the other. It’s nursing that 4 year old kid through sickness. It’s suffering the loneliness and the what ifs. It’s one small investment in your future and your kids, after the next, after the next.

            Cheaters take loans on consequences, and those loans come due. But by the time karma collects, you’re long past caring.

            Keep being mighty. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you are the WINNER here. Your kids will love you and know who has their back.

            • Before my XH separated, for years while I was living with his entitled lazy ass self…I would ask him to do something with the kids… like pick them up and he would say, “No, you do it” and I would… but I developed a mantra at that time which was, ‘That’s okay ROMOB, single mother’s do this all the time.’ It was such good practice for when we finally split and he walked away with no custody and a lame excuse. As much as you trust he sucks… trust that no matter what the challenge your children are so much better off than growing up without a disordered, cheater nutter. Why, because your love is a rock, a boulder, a mountain.

            • Good point, CL:
              “But here’s the thing with mightiness. It’s slow. It’s one brave act after the other.”

              Mightiness is slow. Tortoise and the hare…

            • Thankyou! Just got through a hideous weekend of child sickness and non stop clearing up. Woke up in a deep gloom thinking life was over. Facing another week of work and school runs etc. Read this and feel more positive. Irony is he’s run off from responsibility of 4 kids with a 20 something who will want her own! She will not be the main earner like I was. I can’t understand where either of them think their relationship will go

    • “Stop being jealous of his new love. She’s liberated you.”

      Chocolates and flowers to the woman or man who liberated you from the cell of your dishonest life!

      • Calamity Jane’s letter, perfect for chump me.

        And to add: trust that the two cheaters deserve each other. Habits don’t change. Two years later, he is bankrupt, having spent a lot of money on her and lost the rest in stupid investments. She has announced her departure, since his only value to her was the money she could squeeze him for.

        Your life afterward will be a relatively brief period of hate, grief, anger, and gradual discovery of joy again. Focus on recovery and one day you’ll be able to laugh at it all. Happens to millions of us.

  • Dear Charles. Wait a bit and get your head around this. Don’t run to your wife and show her the evidence you found and expect her to be contrite! She is on a different planet than you right now. Your marriage is over and you have to face that.

    You will have to find a way to access strength and power and resolve in yourself that you didn’t know existed before. Your life is going to suck for a while, so how will you find a way to triumph in the end?

    This is my fantasy advice which of course I would never do: go beat the living shit out of the dude before your wife knows that you know. Turn his face into a bloody pulp. That way he won’t be pretty anymore.

  • Dear Karma Express,

    Do not do the pick-me dance. His reconciliation attempts are faux. When he asks, “Do you want me to leave?”, say “Yes, get your shit out of my condo in seven days.” When he starts crying when he’s trying to reconcile, and says it’s because his Schmoopie will be “so disappointed,” take that as a sign that he’s not really going to try to make your relationship work. Don’t let him stay in your place for another two months, because he’s going to break up with you by email and it will be the worst two months of limbo in your life. He’s betrayed you in the worst possible way and you cannot share a roof with that man, let alone your heart. Be strong and kick him to the curb. Rip off the bandage fast. Expose your wounds to the air. You will heal.

  • Dear Juliet,
    Your husband isn’t the man you thought he was and he’s shown you that so, remember
    1. It isn’t your fault he cheated and
    2. Empty the joint bank a/c and hire that solicitor NOW, not next week.
    3.Take anything you value from the house and leave it at Jane Doe’s for safety
    4. Don’t speak to him/apologise/explain – all communication via solicitor’s office.
    5. The other women wasn’t better than you or special, she was just available – don’t make her more important than was is.

    You deserve better than this sack of runny poop.

  • Dear DoneNow,

    Run! Run far, run fast. He’s not who you think he is. You’re confused because none of this seems possible with the man you think you know. Pay attention to that confusion, and find support. Find more than one marriage counselor out of the phone book to talk to. Tell your Mom because she’ll set you straight on what to believe and what you’re being stupid about. Tell everyone. Don’t stay because it’s easier, because you’ll pay for it later. Find your way back to what you wanted for yourself and your life. You won’t regret it.

    • DoneNow…….”He’s not who you think he is. You’re confused because none of this seems possible with the man you think you know.” Goes for me too!!!

  • So many of these replies say something like “he/she is not who you thought.” That’s the hardest part I think — because it means your life was not what you thought it was.

    • THIS !! Another hard thing to fathom Charles is that they, in my case ex husband never really loved us/me. After 37 years of marriage all I am left with are my thoughts.

      • Hi Maree. I have been thinking the same thing about my wife’s love/not love for me. I don’t know if she thought of love in the same way as me. I always thought it was weird that she would try to compare or contrast me to past boyfriends/lovers/etc. It was almost as if my wife couldn’t figure out her own feelings, or didn’t have any, or didn’t feel authentically for anything at all without some sort of framing narrative to make sense of what she was experiencing. So she was a bit of a shell without anything real inside. But Maree — if we want to move forward maybe we can remember the good things and not feel bitter. We did not cheat. We did not betray the trust of the ones we loved the most. But that might also mean we are not damaged in the way our spouses are/were. I take solace in that a little.

        I have been trying so hard over the past few months to like my own company. That’s a big first step I think.

        You don’t just have your thoughts. Your life was real. In some ways the man you loved was not who you thought he was, but that doesn’t invalidate everything YOU lived for.

        Take care ok?

        • Hey guys, yes your feelings are valid. Now knowing that a huge chipmunk of your adult life was fabricated is unbelievable. We married shitty people. People who are excellent actors and vapid soul sucking vampires.

          Yes we are left with memories and thoughts. Accept the past. I think that is part of the MEH. It is a part of your history but it is not who you are. I’m not at meh, but actively working to it.

    • Charles and Maree: Positively this is what I struggle with the most…..the, not who I thought he was and he never loved me. It’s quite unreal to me; bad nightmare I can’t seem to wake up from! It’s been a 1 year and 3 months since I left and there hasn’t been one single day that it is not constantly on my mind. It sickens me that he continues to take up my brain space and to him, I’m sure at this point I am in his very distant past. Lots of hate still……….

      • IHaveHate,

        I’ve said this before, but it might be worth repeating. Sometimes the Dr Jekyll, Mr. Hyde revelation is so shocking (for whatever reason) that you have to actually mourn the person you thought you were with. After living with my ex for 22 years, I really felt more like he had died, than just cheated (a lot). There was so much more that changed-it was like he became a completely different person. Most of that was him (personality disorder and a brain injury), and some of it was my stuff. But treating it like a death has been the best way for me to heal. The person I loved is gone. I give myself permission to feel really bad about that. But at some point I had to pick myself up a little and start to deal with what I was left with. It’s not easy, especially with children. But it’s easier not to be angry all the time if I let myself be really sad about what we (the children and I) lost, whether it was ever real or not. I don’t know if that helps.

        • Hate & Done…. Yes! Its impossible to wrap your brain around the dual personality. It is what i struggle with most. I watch now from a distance how he morphs from one to the other… The fake shit eatting grin one minute …Turn the corner and he is narrow eyed and full of venom… And just as quick reverts back. Reminds me of Chritian Bale in American Psycho… Sitting at the restaurant eating dinner after he has ripped someone in two with a chain saw. Thats my guy.
          Unfortunately his skill or talent for duplicity was encouraged and enhanced by his job. Years of uncover work… And he honed that skilled until it became a natural part of him. It felt good to him… He like the power behind it. And it slowly leaked into our lives and he gained the first power surge when he got away with the first lie.
          Its disordered and its fed …. Much like any other addiction or mental health problem. These people function well and are often praised… Stroked… For their actions. They suck the goodness out of you… Out of your story… Out of reality. Shiity thing is they are never satiated…if their intent was to do harm and be done… We would be ok. Damage done. Move on. Nope. Not for them. The high is the continued suffering they inflict then still feel the entitlement to want the ‘ normal life with you’
          Thats the fucked up part that leaves you fucking hollow. And you sit and think I will never get that part of me back.
          Yup …. Its hate. And its ok for now… Cause it gives me the power to keep him out of my life until I can recover and rebuild. I am good with the snide comments’ your bitter” ” you just cant get over it” yup….and all I think is …. So what if I am. Fuck u.

          • Done Now I just wanted to say that I totally understand what you mean when you say “it doesn’t feel like he cheated, it feels like he died”. Where is the loving father, the loving spouse that we thought we had? How is it that he was replaced with someone who lies constantly and engages in elaborate acts of deception? Certainly the OW has no prize, she must know that if he could do this to his family he can certainly do it to her as well. The possibility that he could undergo a conversion experience and become a moral and ethical person is far-fetched indeed.

            • In my case the karma bus has arrived…my xH has no job, no income, no family, no credibility. According to rumor he lives off of homewrecker. Ah the poetic justice! She gets to pay for the mess she made…and wonder if he is lying to her constantly like he did to us.

  • Dear RockStarWife,
    You always wondered why your relationship with your husband didn’t feel quite right. Now you know why–your husband was and is an antisocial (sociopathic), borderline, narcissistic cheater. He broke his vows and several laws for decades. Don’t consider reconciliation for even a moment. Prepare to flee. Gather financial and legal information and file. Don’t wait. With every minute you delay, he is harming you and the kids financially and emotionally. You are in danger, being threatened by the person who vowed to protect you. Unfortunately, you cannot completely protect the kids whether or not you stay married to their father. Disabuse yourself of the notion that your ‘husband’ is honest, kind, and calm. He is not. It’s time to be your own hero. You will stumble, but nonetheless, you will be proud of yourself.

  • Dear TimeToGo,

    Do not feel guilty about breaking up the family. He is the one that is responsible for this. You gave him more than enough chances. He will never be able to give you the secure, loving, trusting relationship you deserve. Stop wasting time and being worried about his feelings. He was not worried about your feelings. Don’t let him get off easy. He will try to take advantage of you…he will take your engagement and wedding ring and hide them and he will tell you that you should be the one to move out. Don’t let him get away with this. He is the one that did wrong Not You. Fight for what is yours. The kids will be okay, they will be happy and loved with a happy mom. Time to go.

  • Dear TodoVa,

    No, this is not your fault.
    No, he nor this defines you in any way, shape or form.
    No, this is not your shame to carry.
    NO, NO, hell to the NO does this have anything to do with his “low self-esteem”.

    Yes, he is a cheater and a liar. Repeat as necessary.
    Yes, you will survive this.
    Yes, you will survive AND thrive. {I had to say this over and over again, really}
    Most importantly, YES, you will love again. {still waiting on this one 😉 }

    You laughed, you lived, you loved. Now, WAKE THE FUCK up and hit him where it hurts!

    You were a bad ass before you met him. Don’t lose yourself any more than you already have. There is a whole NEW world waiting for you to discover; opportunities that, while being with this cheater asswipe, you will never find if you stay.

    Move it along sweetie, you have no where to go but up!!!

    if you ever feel you need a hug, support, advice, ANYTHING, go to chumplady.com. She and chump nation will save your life…literally!!!

    Much love, TodoVa

  • Dear Angelgirl,

    Hire that private investigator and find out the truth, instead of spending months trying to figure out what he was doing. Go thru the contacts on his phone and see what truth is there. Do NOT try to convince yourself that he is lying, just know that if his lips are moving, he is lying. And he is REALLY GOOD AT IT!

    Go hire and lawyer and file immediately. Thirty eight years of this shit is enough. He does not love you and or anyone else except himself. You are the just a meal ticket to him, that’s it.

  • Dear Margo,

    TRUST YOUR GUT!

    Find that strong, independent woman you know you are. You may have pushed her deep down into that hole in your heart because of all the verbal, emotional and mental abuse you have suffered, but FIND HER and get your shit together!

    You don’t deserve to be treated like a second class citizen. You don’t deserve all this gaslighting about his “friend” Fuck that! You know what’s going on. Oh and don’t do that pick me dance trying to hold the family together. There is no family. That POS doesn’t do anything to help you, the kids, or the upkeep of the house. You already are a single parent, so don’t be afraid to take that step! You can do this. Get your kids away from him so they don’t grow up to be like him. Get out now before the damage is done.

    Tell your family what’s going on. Your best friends know and are there for you, but let the family know what a scumbag he is. What he does to you and his kids. How he thinks that he’s entitled to have his cake and eat it too.

    Go to counseling, get a lawyer, get your ducks in a row. Do this now! Because ten years from now you are going to be miserable.

    Don’t engage in contact with him. Its hard with kids, but he will continue to twist you up and pull you into arguments and get you to behave just like him. DON”T let him do this. It will be extremely hard, but try your best.

    You deserve to be happy! Your sons deserve to be happy! File those divorce papers and move on to the life you know you deserve!

    YOU CAN DO THIS!

  • DM,

    It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.

    You are in no ways responsible for her choices, and you are in no ways responsible for “fixing” this. She already cheated on you emotionally (minimally), and fixing that is completely on her. You did not “drive her to it.” The sin flowed out of her heart alone. So, she alone can address it through actual repentance.

    Be strong and willing to walk away. Do not engage in conversation with her about the marriage until she has completely cut it off with the OM to your satisfaction. And do not accept any of the shame.

    If anyone starts to blame you, remind them that you did not choose adultery but she did and she chose not to repent. It is lamentable but is 100% on her.

    You will find true love again and life will be much better. Life gets better for you. You don’t have to settle for living in the madness.

    Hugs,
    DM (older)

  • Dear Chumpy,

    Your intuition that has never been wrong is screaming at you and you are not listening. It’s killing your insides. You see the writing on the wall so clearly. Your dreams showed you that it was wrong. Stubborn woman! I guess you are going to have to walk through the fire and get burned again before you learn.

    On the positive side you will find Chumplady and Chump Nation. You will finally get the answers, the wisdom, the insight. You will KNOW what animal you are dealing with and that you could have shat gold bullion and it would not have made a difference. Make peace with this and remember to love yourself. Forgive yourself Chumpy. Believe that the best is yet to come.

  • Dear Carol:

    Don’t send him a thousand or more angry emails. He ran out of your life when you told him you knew he was cheating on you (again) because he doesn’t want to listen to how you feel. You know he’s a coward chicken shit cheater who can’t take responsibility for anything he ever does that is wrong because it just doesn’t fit into his self-image as that man who would never ever hurt a living creature. So, don’t try to beat a dead horse. He’s just not capable of caring how you feel about how he betrayed you in the worst way. He’s not capable of empathy. He sucked the life out of you, took what he wanted and felt resentful when you didn’t have anything left to give him, and he went looking for kibbles elsewhere. He doesn’t care how you feel. Don’t waste your time on those emails. You will never get what you need or want, emotionally, from him. It’s impossible. He’s not a giver, even though on the surface it appears he is, with all that charm and love bombing he does in the beginning. You know what happens when he’s caught doing something wrong…you have to take the blame…it was always your fault when he screwed up…So, this time, now that you are unwilling to play the Blame Shift Game any longer…it’s going to be different. He’s not going to respond. He can’t do it any differently because he just can’t take responsibility. So, let it go. Concentrate on something that will benefit you. Let him go. He’s not worth it. He’s never going to care about you, he’s not sorry for what he did. His goal is to minimize the damage to his life. He’s going to lie to everyone who will listen. He’s going to drop everyone like a hot potato who he suspects won’t believe his lies, including the kids. He’s going to do everything he can do to keep his image intact. You can’t change this and you don’t want to try.

    • Carol, this is what I am going through right now! I am still in the midst of my chumpdom and haven’t found my way out. Only positive thing is finding all the sound advice on this site.

    • “He sucked the life out of you, took what he wanted and felt resentful when you didn’t have anything left to give him, and he went looking for kibbles elsewhere.” We were married to the same kind of animal dressed in sheep’s clothing.

    • Carol- well said!!
      This seems to be a common Cheater Type (Borderline, Cluster B?).
      That idea of ‘ I’m the guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly!’ – Boy, have I lived with that!
      They suck you in because they seem so very kind. My X would stop and move a Snail off the walkway, so no one would step on the little darling! Of course, preferably someone was watching!
      Then I think of his Shark Eyes, so devoid of feeling, the day I was begging him to stop going over to the neighbor’s house every F-ing day. So creepy.

  • Take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other. Trust that the universe has your back. Do NOT by any means
    give this POS a second chance, doing so will only prolong the pain and send his affair underground. He will continue to sleep with her, get a throw away phone and humiliate you in the worst way possible; transparency is an illusion. Just like cockroaches, they will find sneakier ways to get around their obstacles – which happens to be you. Prepare yourself for character assassination and social shunning from his family. It will be YOUR fault. He is the villain playing the victim. Let him play. Let them fall for his delusional version of events. They do not matter. Yes it will be painful, but you will overcome this by the awesome support of your family and friends. You are not alone. Solitude will bring peace and although it does not seem like it now, peace will come. Leave the drama behind. Face your fears. Make up for lost time. Just believe that with each passing day the pain is replaced with courage and strength. Go no contact; the mind fuck stops TODAY. Namaste.

  • Mine will be simple….Run, not walk to the lawyer’s office, file and don’t look back. Anyone who would bring the whore he was sleeping with on the side to babysit his children is a douche not worth staying married to.

  • My love,

    You are hurting, you feel broken, you cannot understand how it is possible, but it is. Wake the Fuck up and look into your future 5 months from now! You will be in a way better place than you have ever been in these past 4 years. You are finally free of his lies and his fake world! Your life is now yours again. Do not cry one more tear for that motherfucker! he does not deserve it. Accept where you are at in your life this very moment and don’t be scared. He robbed you of something you will never get back, YOUR TIME! So move on as quickly as possible, focus on yourself and your daughter! Life always goes on and every day is a new day! I LOVE YOU!

  • Dear Red,

    Put his sh*t on the lawn, change the locks, and file for divorce.

    He’s turned into his father. He’s not going to get rid of OW, he’s not going to “snap out of it” and “come to his senses,” and he doesn’t give a damn about you or the kids.

    Remember when he promised you that “He’d never do to you what his father did to his mother?” Yeah, well, he’s doing it. And the best way to handle it is like ripping off a bandaid: quickly and all at once. Yes, it will be excruciating, yes, you will cry a river of tears. But the sooner you get it over with, the better.

    He wants out? Kick him out. You flourished before him. You’ll do the same once he’s gone. Trust me.

    • My Ex use to say the same thing to me what a scum his father was and he would never treat me that way. I think he was worse 🙁 But his mother was a crazy woman I was the nice quiet girl he always wanted, he went with another crazy bitch. ha ha

      • Daddy issues! Yes, my cheater hated his father most of his life, said he’d never let his near his own future children. Last year, after he and I had our three kids, he left me for another. She is without her own children and represents a freedom he feels he never got to really explore in his own childhood. So at 40, he began his teenage rebellion, leaving his marriage to me in his wake. I don’t blame her for the breakup (this was his decision alone) but I think she is a tasteless individual with no ability to display moral behaviour.

        Misfits justify their misfit behaviour by reading philosophy books about liberal thinkers in ancient Greece and loudly exclaiming “fuck you” to anyone that gets in their way… such as his chump wife and three little kids. Idiot.

      • minime1224,
        I think you wrote my post for me. My husband told me for years that since he had to live through watching how awful his dad’s cheating was on his mom, he would NEVER do that to me. And I too, think that my stbx is worse than his father. His father was a scumbag cheater and didn’t pretend to be anything different. His son, on the other hand, wants people to believe he is a saint when he is really a monster. And his mother is f****d up crazy! And I believe his affair partner (from my brief experiences with her) is crazy too…just like him…they attracted each other and I know they’ll destroy each other.

        • My XBF’s father had an entire other family: 4 kids in addition to XBF’s 4 siblings. XBF and siblings went to visit the other family frequently (super sick huh?) XBF told me his ‘saintly’ mother accepted all this. I learned later that was not the case-she lived her life as a shattered, understandably bitter woman. Upon father’s death, he left his entire considerable estate to one son from the other family.

          XBF’s bro1 grew up to also have an additional family of 3 kids in additional to his marital 2.

          In speaking with bro2, I learned XBF had cheated his entire life–from puppy love all the way through two marriages and beyond.
          When I met XBF, he told me his wife had cheated on him and he divorced her. “I would never cheat on anyone, it hurt sooooo bad” he said with fake tears in his eyes. I eventually spoke to his XW she had a completely different take on who cheated on who. After a marriage of suspicions, she literally walked in on him and a woman he had just bonked in a model home where he worked–she threw him out then and there.

          I had met and emailed with XBF’s female cousin. When I expressed my anguish as to what I had endured due to her cousin’s behavior, she was strangely non-judgmental of him. She made very few comments to bolster me–the strongest was ‘that’s just wrong!’.

          One day she confessed to me that she had been in an (at the least) emotional affair with her first real boyfriend (“T”) for 23 yrs– during her entire marriage. A few months after the confession, he moved to her area and they were meeting up. She broke it off with him and immediately turned her sights on her male friend (“J” )who she played pool with every weekend, leaving their spouses at home. His wife was her best friend. Sickened at what I was suspecting was going to happen next, I let our messaging dwindle. I got a text out of the blue one morning that she was in his home (with his wife in the other room), “OMG! He just kissed me and it was GOOD!”. I was nauseated and did not reply. A few days later, she wrote that her husband discovered the text and all the emails she had sent me containing the vague details of both her dalliances. (I had NEVER been encouraging in my responding messages, actually they were designed to make her consider her deceitful actions).

          In her obvious attempt to curry sympathy for being caught, she admitted that she used ME as her scapegoat-she told her husband she had made up both “T” and “J” because I loved drama and she was merely entertaining me. Her husband didn’t buy that load of crap and her marriage became even more fractured. I extracted myself from all communication with the toxic disordered, remorseless woman.

          Talk about a tangled skein of familial fuckedupness!!!

          • Hesatthecurb–Your story does not surprise me. (It’s very sad, and must have been a terrible shock to you). But my Ex came from a family with similarly intergenerational cheating and bigamy, and cross generation cheating, and responses of “it’s just a little mistake”, and I’m not judging”. I cut them all out of everything, which is sad for my daughter since she loses 1/2 her family at a single go. At least my ex-SIL is also a chump–we’ve remained closer, closer, even, and her kids too. What a mess.

    • I love your letter Red.
      I cried for a whole damn year! And, drank and took up smoking, of all the crazy things. Now, I am back to my normally health-focused life. I forgive myself, it was temporary insanity. I guess I just had to get it out, after what he did to me.

  • June 30 2006

    Dear Chumpita,

    It is over. Don´t believe that it was only a one night kiss after some drinks, a mistake. You caught him red handed kissing a married woman a few feet away from the room where your toddler and baby were sleeping. He had parties at your home while you were exhausted from looking after the babies and working full time. You are not a party pooper. He is an asshole. Any man who would have that lack of respect for you in your own home does not love you. He only uses you to keep up his image. Don´t believe a word that he says or the stupid excuses of this woman who acted like your friend. She has been his friend for four years and you actually believe this was the only time they had a kiss? Please, wake up! But don´t be so hard on yourself. I understand why you want to believe his regretful words and accept his gift of roses. It is the first time he gives you roses! Why didn´t he give them to you before, just for loving you? No, he is scared that he will loose his cake so he is trying hard to recover your trust in him. Remember what he said when two of your girlfriends with babies were cheated on? He justified it: he said that one was frigid and the other one was angry (because of what he heard from their cheating husbands). Please understand that he said that to justify his own actions, not theirs. He probably says the same thing about you because you are so exhausted from taking care of the babies and working full time.

    Once a cheater always a cheater. If you forgive him now he will cheat on you again. You make more money than he does and your kids are small. It will be less traumatic now for the babies who will not know an alternative way of living than if this happens when they are older and can understand. If you wait longer, they will also be traumatized because he will be betraying them as well. So leave him NOW! Don´t wait another minute….plus you have free legal advice from your colleagues and friends and help from your family who have never really liked him because of how angry he is and how he treats you. Please get out NOW! Don´t believe anything he says! He is a liar and a cheater! Trust that he sucks! You will be fine ! Divorcing him now will open a new window of opportunities for a better life and wonderful people to surround you!

    I love you. You will be fine.

    Chumpita.

    (Unfortunately, CL didn´t exist at that time…and here you have me writing this letter eight years later, after two more OWs that I know of….though I did sort of tell myself some of the above, it was too painful to believe them and too scary to leave at that time)

    • Hi Chumpita,

      I can relate with you about the young children. My XH had me and my kids duped. We were all being groomed for about six months. He was organising the OW to come over for coffee/lunch/ god knows what, every Friday during the day while I was at work. My kids at the time this started were 4, 2 and five months old.

      He told me he wanted out, just before my youngest’s 1st birthday. I was in utter shock of course. I just couldn’t comprehend what my recently, loving partner was doing to me. He really dredged up some shit and completely smashed my love for him to bits(talking about ten years of feeling this way, that I could never give him what he was after, that he was not going to settle, that he was not going to be begged or pleaded with…)

      All of the rest, I had to work out for myself. And I have.

      Thankfully the letter I would have written to myself today pretty much outlines what I did do on a practical level. The heart just took a bit longer to catch up. I got finances in order pretty quickly. I got a parenting plan drawn up right after he and the OW got back from an overseas holiday in Hawaii (where he reckons he missed the kids terribly – what a twat) and I got the house on the market and moved in to mum’s with them. For my mum and his mum and for my practical head, I’m forever grateful.

      Meanwhile, I cried in the shower, hid under the doona (when the kids were with him and OW), barely ate, went to boxercise classes, wondered who would ever want to get together with me after this, questioned this apparent lie I’d been living, thought about how in hell I was going to do this all properly with my three kids- not even in school – oh my goodness, the list goes on

      Nine months after D-day I’m at the pointy end of sorting out the pooled resources and set to take on approx. 90%. For the sake of myself and my kids. I’ve done this fairly quietly and methodically and will not negotiate. After all, he gave me no voice in his move to wish to screw another person’s brains out ( who wasn’t breastfeeding, sleep – deprived or the mother to his three children).

      He now lives a Dominant lifestyle with his Submissive OW. She does as she is told and he’d be loving the fact that she won’t question him. He never liked arguing and what’s more, he used to like that I’d respectfully challenge him on topics from time to time.

      Frankly, I think he’s a €¥~+. So does his own mother. I do worry what sort of example he is now setting for my kids when they are with him. I’ll just chime in from the sidelines every so often, as I’ll refuse to play his little dom/sub games and he knows that full well. When my kids are teenagers and begin clashing with authority – which I will know he’ll just love that (not) – I guess I’ll just undermine his (which is something I never did while together) each and every fucking time.

  • Dear Daisy,

    On your first D-Day (yes I said FIRST) when he asks if you want him to leave say yes. It turns out that this wasn’t “just” a single affair. It was years of porn, sex with strippers, three affairs and more sex with strippers all of which put you at serious risk of STDs and devastated your family financially. Telling him to leave the first time will save you four years of humiliating pick-me dancing (he wants you to greet him at the door every night when he comes home from work [or strip club visits] and you DO IT, God help you) before D-Day #2. You will find you are a better parent without his constant criticism of both you and the kids. Make him leave the first time and you will come out of this that much faster and that much better. You can do it. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

    Love,
    Daisy

  • Dear Ms. Hill,

    You’ve just read an email from a business associate of your (now X) husband. Part of it says, “I miss you”. So that’s why he looks forward to those business trips to NC. And, now, suddenly he’s significantly stepped up the shitty treatment of you, and you can’t figure out why? (pulling desperately on my neck, trying to keep in from plunging into the sand).

    You know, he’s always been a problem. He never cared you (plural) were behind on your bills – that’s YOUR problem to fix, Ms. Hill. Got fired from his awesome part-time job for mouthing off? Oh well!! “That son-in-law of his is an asshole”, he says, and *this* is why he got fired. Yeah, right. Remember nothing is ever his fault??. He has to be nagged into finishing business projects so you could get SOME money in to pay bills. And why is he so against YOU getting a great job to help with income? THAT is considered abandonment? COME ON Ms. Hill. WAKE THE FUCK UP. He is now also becoming outright abusive to your young child. (I’m needing a tow winch to keep that damned head out of the sand)

    What more of a warning that this guy is an absolute FUCK UP do you need?

    Start preparing NOW. It might take a couple of years, but, you put up with his bullshit for this long, you could go on WHILE properly preparing. You don’t know it now, but, you could have handled it. It would have been tough – probably as tough as it is now – but you would be better prepared and given yourself more time to recover.

  • Oh and how could I forget one of the most important things…do not be passive about taking what is rightfully yours. Take half his pension. Who cares if doing so will drag out the divorce. I know you want out and that his threats, intimidation and harassment cause concern, but do not allow him to make you walk away with less than you deserve. And if he lays his hands in you because of it, then go through with charges, which you should of done when he choked you. So what if he takes some of your 401k; it is a one time payout and can be rebuilt. Make him pay you every single month for the rest of his life. Maybe next time he will think twice before going after skanky strange. Probably not, but at least you would be getting a monthly paycheck.

  • Dear TaraBelle,

    Stop. Breathe. Listen. Take comfort in the fact you care and love and live. Always remember that there are shitty asshole fucktard mindfuckers who want nothing more than to break your spirit and eat your soul. Why? Because they have nothing inside them of substance. They want what you have because they lack ‘everything’ you are and ‘everything’ you stand for. Re-read ‘Protecting the Gift’ by Gavin de Becker. Pull your shit kickers (with spurs) out of the closet. Grab the shovel and put that pile of shit right back where it belongs! NOT. ON. YOU.
    You are strong.
    You are brave.
    You are not alone! You will be alone if you stay with this man. This man does not have your back. He is putting you on a pedestal so he can knock you the fuck off it. He is all show and no go. Remember your roots girl.

    Don’t let him have another second, minute, hour or day of your fire. Save your love for your son and the child this man will help you bring into this world. She is your journey. Not him.

    Love,
    Your future self

    PS. He will NEVER have what it takes to take what YOU HAVE!

  • Dear Moving Liquid, this is me (you) and I am your guardian angel. Don’t panic. You’ve been wanting to get away from him for years and now he’s given you that opportunity. Those thoughts of suicide must go away now and forever.

    As impossible as it is to believe right now I swear that in one year you’ll be a different woman. In two years you’ll be completely recovered. Does that sounds like a long time? It’s not.

    Think about it, ML, you’ll be free of him and his drama. You’ll be financially independent for the first time in your life, you’ll be running your own business. You’ll be surrounded by the love of your daughter and parents who only want you to succeed and be happy.

    You’ll find a church family — you’ll find God again after a very long estrangement. You’ll feel peace for the first time in years. All you have to do is believe me and hang on.

    And go to http://www.chumplady.com and http://www.divorceminister.com for support from amazing people. You can do this, and I’ll be with you every step of the way.

    P.S. I love you.

  • Dear Eilonwy,

    You are a fair, often generous, person, but you lack confidence in regard to your relationship. He will use this flaw against you for as long as he can. So, decide now to draw your lines in the sand very deeply. Do not back down; do not negotiate; do not try to make things easier or friendlier or nicer. Every time you agree to an inch, he will take a mile and kick sand in your eyes as he bulldozes on past you. Ignore every complaint he makes about “fairness.” No one else has ever accused you of being selfish or greedy or grasping or punitive–so don’t listen to him; you already know he is untrustworthy and paying no heed to your well-being or that of the kids. I promise that you will regret every “nice” thing you do for him from here on out–because soon you will learn that what you thought was”nice” behavior was just the last few months of chumpiness as he works to manipulate the property and child custody agreements to forefront his own ego. You could give him every penny and agree that he could always have the kids as much as he wanted and could ignore them as much as he wanted and he would still claim you had “destroyed him.” Nothing you can do will change that, so for heaven’s sake stop listening to him.

    Yours,
    An older, wiser, and much happier, Eilonwy

  • Dear MJD,

    You will feel like a bomb just exploded in your heart. Your life will feel like it is crumbling around you, but it won’t. Now is your time to flex your muscles and show that you are stronger than he is, just like you always knew you were. He never had your interests in mind, and he will try to break you, but you are a fucking rock and you know it. You will defeat him and his stupid charade of anger. He will be angry with you, he will tell you that you were a “disappointment” to him, and that your issues drove him to cheat. He is an addict, he cannot be trusted.

    Picture yourself telling your little baby neice this story in 30 years, how you threw him out on his ass because you don’t play, and make that story a reality.

    Dig deep, this will be bumpy. But you will be triumphant and have a life devoid of his complete and utter crybaby bullshit. Time to shine, sister.

  • I waited to add to this because I was busy at work, but reading them has brought me to tears on account of all of your posts, so similar and so inspiring. I can relate to every single word all you chumps have written. I would just say to my self of one and a half years ago:

    Dear Muse,
    Get up off the floor and stop begging! You don’t need all the horrific details. He’s already shown you who he really is: a cheater and liar and a coward who wouldn’t even admit it when confronted that awful night.

    In the next 18 months you are going to be in pain as you try to reconcile the man you thought you lived with, with the abuser he really is and always was. Gradually the layers will peel away. You will step out of the fog and see him for who he always was all along, despite all your spackling and trust. The many times you forgave him for his raging temper and verbally abusing you in front of your children, should teach you that the only person who can establish your boundaries is YOU. You see, your forgiveness meant nothing to him because he never thought he was doing anything wrong; just like the cheating. It doesn’t matter what bad thing happened to him when he was little, something is seriously wrong with a man who fantasizes raping little girls. Something is wrong with a man who can get up in the morning and just lie to you about where he’s going for the day; who can carry on a seven year affair with his prior GF while living with you, who could have sent all those emails you found to yet another OW, many written within days, hours of your family gatherings that he was at with you and your entire family. And then the final OW, bringing her into our own home while you were at work, Muse, earning the money to pay for the house and all the food.

    Of course it’s not your fault! He’s a selfish narcissist with a victim complex. Yet you apologized over and over to try to keep him from getting angrier. When he was not angry, you thought things were great. Well, they weren’t, you just got used to savoring the crumbs.

    No crumbs for you anymore! you had the guts that very night to kick him out of the house! then to stand up to his gaslighting and hire an attorney! that fight will prove to be worth it so you can retire and live the life you always planned only now without the abusive cheater lording over you and blaming you for his misery. Thank God you never married this asshole. He will never be happy, not even all your sacrifices and trust and love could make him happy. That is OW’s problem now. I am proud of you!

    • Margaret……..I agree, the many posts on here has brought me to tears as well with their similarity in many ways to my own. I can pick a piece or more from each one here that applies to my nightmare, including yours. Thanks for your great post; we are all helping each other. Here we are, strangers, doing more for all of us, having empathy and compassion…..nothing even close to the narcissist cheaters that we knew and loved.

      • There were so many letters that had bits I could relate to. I copied many into yet another “Mighty CN” folder to look at when I’m feeling weak.

  • Dear Susan,

    It’s over. He’s broken the trust. Get him out of the house NOW. Don’t live with him for nearly a year before telling the kids. They’re going to be okay. CHANGE THE LOCKS and force him out. Tell the girlfriends and the Book Club and all those at church what a lying, adulterous bastard he really is. No more being nice to him and hoping he’ll come around. He’s delusional and let him live in his mess.

    Finish with the divorce. You got what you wanted. Now end it and sign it and celebrate your freedom.

    Move on and have the life you always wanted. Travel and write and spend time with your family and friends and don’t waste time thinking of all the plans you made for the future because in reality he probably would have made you do it HIS way anyway. The narcissist has always been Momma’s boy. There’s a reason you didn’t really like her and now you are free to tell the world. Write that book and make a ton of money and laugh all the way to the bank!

    You’re going to be fine and the girls will always be your joy. Embrace all the new things God has in store for you and keep your eyes wide open and put a smile back on your lips and in your eyes!

    Love you to pieces,
    (future) Susan

    • Susan, I love your sassy advice to yourself. Your confidence is inspiring. Just the uplift I needed today when I’m feeling sorry for myself.

  • Dump him! Dump him! Dump him! Its not your responsibility to care or feel bad, if he has a place to stay or not! Dump him, go no contact and erase him completely out of your life instead of allowing him to continue to lie, deny, his gaslighting, mooching, and stealing. Throw him out, his shit out in trash bags and never look back! No need to look for answers or the whole truth, because you will NEVER get it from this person who has been lying to you from day one! Everything has been a lie and a man who truly loves you wouldn’t have cheated, lied and mooched! He is a disgusting scum in every way, nothing more!

  • I assume there are chumps that go their whole lives putting up with the shit that their cheaters dole out time & time again? Do many Chumps go through multiple D-Days before they finally “trust they suck”? After D-Day 1, where they decide they are going to forgive, forget & reconcile, do they go on social media and post cutsie, “look at my perfect life” pictures & posts to try to convince themselves that their lives are normal & “perfect now”?? (But NOW were engaged!! & NOW we’re having babies. Look everything is perfect NOW) Is there EVER the possibility that once the Cheater gets caught (not first time offence, but first time caught!!!), that they have some kind of epiphany & straighten themselves out, never to cheat again??

    • Not in my case, and I suspect not for many others that contribute to this site. That’s why we are here.

      Narcissists only think of themselves and have no epiphanies. If they do, it’s only to benefit themselves and hurt you further.

      I had two DDays, 6 years apart. I only regret not getting rid of him the first time. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.

      • Thank you TodoVa. That’s what my friends & I keep saying too … there’s just that little niggling part in the back of my head that keeps saying “but what if?”… (sigh)

        • I think, for the most part, that “but what if…” is what keeps us stuck. Because we try to rationalize this in some way, but in all reality, there’s nothing there to rationalize. NOTHING. Its just wasted time and lots of tears…

          Change that “but what if” to “And when I’m rid of him…” This will open your eyes to the new life that awaits you.

        • Smart….for many of us we did listen to that voice… And tried to push it back… For our kids … Ours families… Andreally our own insecurities about being alone. If you can take away one message from all of these 300+ posts…. They dont change. If you feel in your heart you MUST give it your best college try…for God and country… Then be smart. Align your finances and make an exit plan. You have to go full heartedly into reconcilliation… Andif you cant… Walk sister. You have heard all the horror stories from us chumps who,chose to do the dance… And in the end it only prolonged the envitable. But if you must then proceed with these warnings and blessings. We understand.

          • Yes–if you must try reconciliation, do it from a position of economic and legal strength. Get your financial ducks in a row. Find the right divorce attorney in the even you need to file. Get a post-nup signed. And start re-building your own life–meaningful work, service, exercise, fun with friends and family. That’s your half of reconciliation–being a partner who is strong enough to be independent so as not to be an easy target for faux reconciliation. The remorse and character change part is on the cheater.

  • I wouldn’t change anything. He just walked out and I had no idea why. But I calmly stood my ground, told him his intentions to leave were not okay, refused to leave the house myself, and immediately called for legal advice. I understood there was no going back– He he left once, he would do it again, so the married was no good. When I found out about her, I collected my evidence, retained an attorney, and said nothing to him. He was not worth it.

    The only thing I would say to me is to take time to take it easy on myself. The ensuing years are going to be a bitch for the reasons you anticipate. And just take the trip you want to France.

  • Dear Kara,

    This hurts immensely right now, but really, think about it, does it surprise you?

    It shouldn’t.

    All the times he told you that porn was never a threat, how this girl was “just a friend” and that girl was “just being nice” and all the times he got mad at YOU when some creep street harassed you because he wanted that kind of attention. The time he told you if he went to Germany with his brother he’d try to take advantage the appeal of being American to get as many phone numbers as possible, “Just to say he did” or “Just to see how many.” (Also, do you really think you should be putting much stock in what his brother says about German men? The man is a douchebag, MRA, homophobe misogynist. I mean come on, the man actually said that women don’t belong in the military because they should be at home taking care of their kids, and he spent 40 minutes ranting about it. And your cheater-boy idolizes him.)

    This girl might think she’s special, but she’s not. He’s just love-bombing her right now. She’s going on and on to you about how shitty her life has been so she somehow deserves the “happiness” he’s bringing her, but what you should know, and what she refuses to get now, is that he will eventually come to do something to her that is actually worse than what he’s doing to you now. If she wants to play the “my life is more miserable than yours” game, then she has preemptively won by both taking him into her life and deciding unprotected sex with him was a great idea.

    Speaking of which, one day, when you are far away from this, and him, you will be sitting on a park bench in a harbor, preparing for the first week of rehearsal for the play in which you just got cast. You will be sitting with a guy who, though has a weirdness level equal to that of early 70’s David Bowie, will become your husband. He will look at you with his blue eyes and see the goddess of his heart. And this will be true all through your relationship. You will marry him. Yes, you will have the unconventional red wedding dress, the red roses and the red and black color scheme you dreamed of, but would never have had, with ex.

    And really this is another reason why you shouldn’t be surprised you’re experiencing the pain of a D-day. The mention of marriage, or even just telling him how you and your best friend browsed a website that had pretty gowns on it, sent him running for the hills. Seriously, this is a blessing that you didn’t marry him. How many times did you tell him that he couldn’t afford a new car because he hadn’t yet paid RENT? Remember the time you told him he couldn’t afford, nor did he need, a new car at the dealership and found yourself being bullied by two salesmen AND him to pressure you into helping him pay for the car? How could he have been trusted with a joint checking account?!

    No, Punk Dove (this is what your husband will lovingly call you) you don’t deserve that mess. He’s not marriage material, for you or for anyone who has any good sense. This isn’t an ideal relationship. This isn’t the best you can do and you need to stop telling yourself that this is the best you deserve. The only reason you think that is because of how small he’s made you feel. Someone who truly loves you will 1) NOT cheat on you and 2) Not make you feel like you deserve abuse. Mental or otherwise. Someone who really loves you will hear you say “You are the best ever and I love you more than anyone,” and they will say “I love you too, and you have made my life wonderful.” Someone who loves you will NOT say “I know,” or “That’s great,” or brush you off and say nothing at all.

    When you’re sitting on that park bench (7 months from now. Seems like a long time, but don’t worry). Cheater-boy will text you. He will beg, he will whine, he will tell you he wants to get married and he misses you and then he will waste a lot of your time and his energy sending you long-winded messages full of things he supposedly “loves” about you. Ignore them. Ignore them ALL. He doesn’t love you. He’s RUNNING. Remember when I said his OW has already preemptively won the Whose Life Is Worse game? Well he got her pregnant and he’s trying to escape. Once you reject him, he’ll try to run back to her after she’s miscarried.

    His love wasn’t genuine before, it isn’t now. SHUT. HIM. DOWN.

    Because even after she miscarries and takes him back, he won’t stop trying to get you back. He’ll cry when you tell him you have a new person you love. He’ll whine and accuse you of making it all up. And there will be much gnashing of teeth and wailing on his end. You’ll almost be able to hear him from the 9th ring of Hell.

    And one day, when the space-time continuum comes full circle and creates an impossible to figure time paradox, you’ll be sitting in your University library writing this letter to yourself. You’ll feel a little bit like you haven’t achieved enough yet (despite working on your THIRD degree, living in a major city and interning on an aldermanic campaign as their press-secretary). But don’t worry, even at your MOST bored with yourself…

    You’ll still be doing more with yourself than he ever was, or ever will. There’s a reason everyone says you belong in Slytherin. You are destined to do something great. Don’t waste your time with an underachieving muggle. Finish your homework and return to your Gryffindor husband.

    ~Me

    • P.S.

      Go watch the show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” That show, believe it or not, will help you get some sleep. It will make you laugh, it will make you forget your pain, it will make you feel lucky your life doesn’t suck as much as the character’s and, best of all, you will become a lifelong fan of Charlie Day. …That’s a good thing.

    • Bwahahaha! This letter is so Slytherin, indeed!
      We nerds of the world must unite! (Fellow Slythie here too, though it sucks when JKR uses it as shorthand for ‘Death Eater’)

    • “And one day, when the space-time continuum comes full circle and creates an impossible to figure time paradox, you’ll be sitting in your University library writing this letter to yourself.”

      Love this Kara, as well as your entire letter, so happy your space-time continuum brought you full circle to a better happier and authentic life.

  • Dear LilyBart,

    I’m so sorry. The crying and intense pain and shock you are in is totally normal, and is an indicator that you are a good human being. Do NOT let him convince you otherwise. This was not your fault, and nobody in their right mind would believe that you could have caused his cheating, lying, drinking, drug use, and irrational anger. Not your fault. No way.

    I want to tell you that this pain will subside, and things will get better — once you accept that he is not your friend and start moving on with taking care of you. Do not share your feelings with him, and don’t waste your energy trying to “convince” him of things that are obviously true (e.g., That you are a good and interesting person, that he is ruining his own life, that the OW is manipulating him.) It is a waste of your precious time. He is not the person you believed him to be. You were projecting your own decency on to him. Now grab hold of that decency and share it only with people who deserve it, like genuine friends, family, and yourself.

    I swear that this will get better with the passage of time. Reach out to friends for help. Tell the truth — you don’t have to suffer in silence. No contact with the cheater — and change his name to “WTF” on your cellphone. Hang in there. Better days lie ahead without this silly nimrod taking up your mental bandwidth.

    Love,
    LilyBart

  • Everything will be okay. This Is not your fault. Shut out the noise from people who think they know what happened in your marriage. Their opinions don’t matter. You will move on and have success. Living with him is so much worse than living without him. Turn away and never look back.

  • Dear me,

    Trust your gut. You have the information you need. You did the right thing not revealing what that information was and breaking up with him. You told him to come clean and he didn’t. Him begging you to reconsider (on Valentine’s day no less) was bullshit. It was all bullshit.

    He wanted a wifey, a mommy, a maid and a cook. Anyone could fill those positions. It was never about you, just what he could get you to do for him. Part of that was the facade of a “normal” relationship. But he never contributed to the relationship. It was all about you and what you were willing to do. You know this. Trust your gut.

    When you broke up with him you had the power. When you agreed to try to reconcile you lost that power. Big mistake. He then redoubled his gaslighting and lying and manipulating and distracting and creating diversions. I was all for show to get things back to the way they were. He went to therapy and manipulated and lied to his therapist. He did not show any effort. His words meant nothing.

    From now on, only trust actions, not words. Words are meaningless.

    You did all the right things with an open heart and with no expectations of anything in return, you just did all that for the *wrong person.*

    Don’t forget this…you are worthy of a good relationship with an open and honest person who wants you, not what you can do for them. It is better to be alone than to live like this. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

  • Flowerlady,
    You don’t know it yet but you are going to find strength you never knew you had! You know today that you need to get out of this but your fears and the shock are going to act like weights on your feet. You will develop two mantras that will help you move forward – “don’t forget” (don’t forget that he has betrayed you and the marriage and lied over and over again) and “the universe will give me what I need every day” (every day will have some blessings and gifts that will help with the forward motion). Circle your wagons – tell everyone who loves you what is going on and you will be amazed at the support you will receive!! Some days, the steps you need to take are tiny and that will be all you can manage. Other days, the steps you take will feel like jumping off a cliff. Trust yourself, your intelligence, your heart, your power and your gut. Rely on your support system and GO FOR IT!
    I’m so proud of you!
    Flowerlady

  • Dear Luzy,
    Let the shock sink in, but don’t absorb the lies coming from the Cold Slab O’Meat. The man you thought was Atticus Finch has turned out to be a simpering bitch.

    Don’t carry his shame. Don’t allow him to sleep in the bed clinging to the side as if you are some kind of conatgion. Look instead to the wedding photo of yourself when you were full of power, health and beauty. Look at the impressive things you have done to make a happy home for this man and his daughter. You’ve kept this place beautiful, cooked amazing meals from scratch, worked full time and excelled, won bonuses, tripled your income in six years. According to him, what is important instead is that an inferior, morally bankrupt woman wiggle her thumbs over a cel phone several dozen times a day to tell him he’s so special.

    You made a home for him. 24 hours a day you are dedicated to him. And you tell him in person. EVERY, DAY. But because he is incapable of reciprocity or any feeling deeper than the cheap excitement of making you a fool, he will never love you the same way. He would rather wait for the beep of a text.

    He never did love you. Don’t beg him to stay, go to counseling. He and his whore already made a major decision about your life without your involvement. Let them get the hell on with it. Their Great Romance!

    When your brother in law offers to come force his ass out of the house your parents gave you before he was even in your life, let him. Value yourself enough to know you need to rest and heal without him tromping about now openly texting and calling her like he hasn’t just destroyed another human being.

    You will make your half empty house a home again. You will give away all the damns and fucks you ever had, and begin to apply them to everyone else in your life. You will no longer be a doormat, give till it hurts, or think you have to dance like a demented grinder monkey to be loved. Loving you will be enough for now,

    This is the worst day of your life, but the crystal ball says it will only get better. Despicable people who do despicable things with get a despicable result. You did not deserve what was done to you any more than someone else deserves famine, cancer or war. It could be worse. Get up from the floor, pick up the shattered pieces of your heart. Look at the goodness that remains. Embrace the good people who remain.

    Rest and heal. You will love again.

  • This is tough because my Dday wasn’t discovering his affair but his announcement he was leaving. I didn’t find out about the affair for another 10 days or so. I would’ve told myself this on the day he announced he was leaving:

    Dear NWB,

    “When people tell you who they are, believe them.” — He has just told you who he is, and, painful as it is to hear, there’s more pain ahead. I’m sorry, but remember when you were in high school and felt that Life really sucked? Well, buckle up, sister — it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

    There is, actually, someone else. The cute little waitress he lamented over “losing” to another wine shop a couple months ago? That’s not the kind of losing he was talking about. And you have to admit, she’s a better match for him: vapid, vain, bubble-headed, willing to bail on her own marriage when she’s only 25…. That’s him, too. You thought you saw more depth to him, more commitment, but, face it, it was never there. That’s why you felt so lonely sometimes.

    So don’t beat yourself up. Don’t fight to keep him. And you know that letter you want to write to explain to him that your sex life is suboptimal is because of something you did or didn’t do? It’s not. It’s him. You’re a hellcat in the sack and you know it — but what are you supposed to do with “Two-Pump Chump” anyway? Her problem now.

    Also, don’t listen to all those people who tell you he’ll be sorry and he’ll come back and she’ll dump his ass…. A) None of things are gonna be true. He’s probably going to marry her and have babies (even though he swore up & down he never wanted kids), and B) it’s none of your business anymore. That’s right. The man you devoted your life (and lots & lots of resources) is no longer any of your business. Sad but true. And the sooner you realize it, the sooner you can move on and look to your own future. Not easy … no, it won’t be easy.

    Your instincts are good for self-protection. Use them now. And when you get really desperate because you can’t eat or sleep or think or anything? There are pills for that. Use them, just to get you over the hump. Yes, Xanax causes some memory loss, but is this something you really want to remember every bit of, anyway?

    Here’s the hardest part: People are going to take his side, including some of your close mutual friends. Dump them, right now. Their betrayal is going to hurt just as much (well, almost) as his. It’s not your fault. Our society fosters the idea that it’s OK to pursue your bliss at any cost, and marriage has no true value. That’s why this hurts you, because your commitment DID have value, to you. That’s a good thing, you’re a good person to believe that. But it’s going to cost you — he skips away but you have pain. It sucks. I’m sorry.

    So here’s the good part: You survive. You aren’t thriving yet, but you’re finding your way. You used to live alone and you can do it again.

    — Eight months past Dday self

    ps, You might want to run an ECG on your dog. She needs a pacemaker. Sorry. But the good news is, she’s gonna do great, AND you’re gonna turn that trip into a scouting trip of Oregon, which is where you want to live anyway, right? (Good thing you’re the type to save for a rainy day, eh? Cuz it’s fucking pouring!)

    • OMG-I was married to “two pump chump too!” Two if I was lucky that is. He had that ‘issue’ from the very beginning but when you’re only 21, the boys restocked the shelves right away so he could go again. Once he hit his mid thirties, the boys weren’t around to stock the shelves anymore for at least another half hour.

      Now it’s somebody else’s problem! Too bad, so sad!

    • Dear NWBiblio–Please remember, too–that (even if your ex is an asshat) those of us whose lives are completed by our animal companions think people like you–wise, self-knowing & kind vets, are the best thing ever going on. Ever. I could not have survived my ordeal without my loving Newfy girl, and I’m sure many here in ChumpNation and beyond have similar feelings for dogs, cats, birds, rats, or whoever they love and care for.

  • Dear Nicole,

    This is NOT your fault in any way, no matter what he says. I am proud of you for throwing him out right away. No more spackle- you’ve been doing that for years. Respect yourself in every way. Enough said.

    NS

  • Nicolette—wow, I could have written the exact same paragraph! A very concise summation so eerily similar to my encounter with a narcissistic, very disordered POS. As if these stories are not unfortunate enough, mine would add rampant alcoholism, multiple assaults and social embarrassment.

    • Rally…..oh my gosh, agree 100%! It has opened up so much ‘stuff’ for all of us yet has given all of us so much incredible insight! This was a GREAT post!

  • ChumpLady, this is a bit of a challenge, because while I do regret not doing anything about the first D Day, I would not have grown into the person I am without the other experiences I went through. But here goes…

    Dear Moving Forward

    Yes. Your gut is right. He is having an affair. If you stay, guess what, more are coming.

    You ARE young and you DESERVE much much better. Repeat, you DESERVE much better. Repeat, 34 is not old.

    You can’t see this now but the longer you stay the more you will loose yourself.

    He is never going to change.

    There are lots of men that think you are wonderful because you are.

    Stop listening to that drivel that says if you love someone then you stay and work on it. You haven’t trusted him in a long time. And, after this, you will never ever be able to trust him.

    This relationship is done. But this isn’t failure.

    Go and talk to someone. TALK to someone about this.

    Your gut is always right. Always listen to your gut.

  • Dear Me (or anyone actually)

    You can’t predict your future, but you can make robust and sensible plans that will assure your security, well-being, and independence. You know your circumstances today, and you know if they provide you with independent means, an ability to provide yourself a home and support yourself without reliance on anyone else. If that is NOT where your life is, that is where to start heading.

    Your well-being is not contingent on your cheater and THEIR choices.Get your life on track and viable in its own right based on YOUR efforts and choices.

    When your world implodes you have to adapt to survive and thrive. You have to seize the opportunity to become who you want to be and who you are proud to be – even if your newly shaped peg doesn’t fit into the mold of your old hole.

    Oh and stop being such a sap – you’re stronger than that and you know it. 😀

  • I would say, “Scott, don’t say another word. No amount of anything you say will alter your reality, or will lessen the hurt. Your life is going to be fantastic after you get rid of this human tumor. Make a bee line to the divorce lawyer, like you’ve done, which is great, but do not talk. Don’t engage her in any way. Don’t ever speak to her again, and guess what? In a little over two years you’ll be in great spirits. It will seem like it’s a past that you are able to watch drift away. Your kids know who the sane one is. Your friends know who the problem was. You will GAIN more respect for standing up for yourself and moving forward. You will help others who have gone through similar pain. You will excel in the things that are important. So don’t waste your breath on bad people. Walk away, say nothing, divorce, and smile…”

      • Regarding the tumor analogy: If I recall correctly in the state of New York there is a legal term–“malignant heart” which refers to a conscious disregard for another person’s welfare. Many times I told my XBF that he had a “malignant heart”…..

    • Dear Marci,
      You’ve been seeing the signs for months now, but you didn’t want it to end. You don’t want to go back to the loneliness that put you with him in the first place. Pay attention to the fact that you know already he is a financial dumbass and is envious of the savings you have in the bank. He knows he is your life insurance beneficiary. You have been playing sugar momma and that is a bad idea.

      You know he has been seeing his “friend” on the side. All his denials of an affair have just been his lies to cover the truth, which is much worse than you imagine right now. You don’t yet know that the two of them have been planning your demise so they can have the money. He is slowly poisoning you. This is why you feel awful, all the symptoms are neither age nor menopause. Get tested.

      D-day happened because his colleague outed him to you. Do not confront him, he wants you dead. Yes, he seems mild mannered, but think about his history. How do you think he got a broken jaw two years before meeting you? What are those scars on his upper body … He says from a childhood accident, yeah sure. Just change the locks and go NC.

      When you deal with the cops, tell them everything. Keep all the evidnce, don’t be so inclined to tidy up a crime scene.

      And don’t respond to the OW’s taunts. She is a crazier bitch than you know. Mad as hops that she came out of it without a job and without any of the money she thought she’d score. She will still be a crazy attention ho two years from now, going on tabloid TV to get her jollies, deameaning your Ex in public, running a tacky blog and publishing lude photos of herself for sale. The poor skank has done you a big favour by taking Ex.

      And be careful who you choose as your next partner. Stick to your standards!

  • Dear Greg,

    Stop feeling sorry for her. Yes, she’s screwed up. You aren’t going to fix it. Feel sorry for yourself for about 2 minutes, and then get angry and kick her out, file for divorce post haste.

    Don’t feel sorry for her because … the bottom line is she doesn’t feel sorry for you.

  • Dear NfV: (1) copy Tracy’s letter. Add a few things:

    (2) Don’t bother contacting the OW, she has no conscience, and honestly? She’s just a distraction, not the main point. It’ll cost you money and anxiety that you can’t spare. (She’s a “pro-ow” and went after me for ‘harassment’…needless to say, not! but since she knew the score, her best defense was a nasty offense. She was afraid her professional rep. as a medical doctor would be smirched. o’rlly?? )

    (3) Don’t pour your heart out to your friends, they’ll only think you’re crazy, reinforcing Ex’s lies about you. Be strong, join that women’s divorce support group, let them be your friends–they get it.

    (4) Move faster to find a therapist who doesn’t blame you for being abused. You’ll need the support.

    (5) The Postnup sitch worked well, move faster to the divorce itself.

    (6) Make double sure you offer daughter support. How ghastly, hurtful and humiliating to be in the middle of college and have to tell her friends that her parents are divorcing because her father is a fuckhead.

    (7) You know that scene in Good Will Hunting? “It’s Not Your Fault”! Forgive yourself for having married a manipulative lying crapweasel. You wanted to see good there, and that’s not a bad thing. Just learn better discernment.

    • Good one on the therapist thing. My IC was great, my MC was a tool. Wonder how many people have curled up in bed for weeks over the BS the MC was slinging. That’s one more thing I would tell myself. Don’t waste time with an MC. She didn’t want one BEFORE she played around, getting one AFTER she played around just drags out the inevitable.

      • Yeah, ditto on the MC thing. I brought us (the couple) to MC…and Crapweasel *started* his marriage-ending affair during those sessions. Amazing. My present IC simply can’t get over it! He lied to me, our MC, his IC, undoubtedly his OW… basically incapable of truth. And for the record, I don’t think this is a sex-linked characteristic. I’ve no doubt that there is an over-abundance of crapweasel-ettes out there just waiting to chew chumpy guys’ hearts out. ugh.

        Crapweasels are the Honey Badgers of the marriage world… anybody seen those hilarious Honey Badger Youtubes? (Honeybadger don’t give a shit…). There ya go! Honeybadger just wants…honey (cake.)

  • Dear Past Me,

    You just found out that your husband has cheated on you after 23 years of marriage. Your first instinct is to run isn’t it? Your second instinct is to throw his phone at his slumbering head-don’t do that! Please trust me and go with that first instinct! Keep repeating this line in your head whenever you have any doubts: “Your marriage is over, your marriage is over, your marriage is over” There is nothing to save here and he decided that the moment he slept with someone else. Do the following things:

    First-forward all the damning texts and emails to your own email and delete evidence of them being forwarded. Email your boss and tell him you need Monday off and make an appointment with a Lawyer. Print those emails and give them to your lawyer and while you’re at it, hire a forensic accountant. Do not tell your slimy STBX anything about what you know or what you’re doing. He will cry and pretend he’s sorry and he will be; but only about losing half of his stuff and all of your paycheck.

    Start looking for a place to live in the meantime and start setting up house. Tell your lawyer to have him served with divorce papers at work the day that you are all set to move out and make sure you’re moved out on that day.

    Only allow contact between lawyers until your divorce is final and go no contact as soon as it is. Despite his request to stay friends, ignore that and keep with no contact. He is not your friend and being friends with him will only ensure that he keeps using you.

    Also-it’s 2010 now so you don’t know this but in two years, this awesome woman is going to create a blog called the Chump Lady. Visit it often. By then you should be at “Meh”-that means you’ll be at the point where you won’t care about the big fizzy douchebag anymore; but you can tell your mighty story and help other chumps along the way. It will also serve as a reminder that acting swiftly and decisively is the only way to go.

    Listen to your instincts!

    Future me

      • No Ihavehate-I stayed for 3 stupid years after I found out. That letter is a giant wish to my younger, chumpier self to handle it better than I did. It is better now but it could’ve been better that much sooner. It’s easy to see now how I could’ve done it better but hindsight is always 20/20 right?

  • Dear ReDefiningMe,

    Do you remember when you were engaged, and you had that little voice in your head saying you shouldn’t marry this guy? In the future, always trust that voice. That was the best part of you, trying to warn yourself.

    I know you won’t regret your marriage, because without it, you wouldn’t have your precious children. And they will need you now, more then ever, because they can already sense – and their “dad” will prove to them quickly – that he was actually telling the truth when he said, “I feel NOTHING for these kids…”

    Don’t blame yourself for choosing him, or figuring this out in the beginning. You were not capable of the lies and evil he has committed so you were not able to see it in him, or even predict that a person could do such things. But he is, and he has. He never loved you. Never. You, and this marraige and family, were a joke to him from the very first day. You were vulnerable – 30 and single with a dying and suffering father – and he saw you as a target, not with the compassion that you would have shown someone in that place. He stole 10 years of your life, do not give him one more day.

    He abused you. Admit it to yourself and get help with that. Forgive yourself – it was like that lobster example – it didn’t happen right away, and by the time it did, you’d lost yourself and you didn’t feel the water boiling the life out of you. It’s not ok that he has choked you until your sight got fuzzy; or slammed your head into walls and windows, or spit on you and your baby. It’s still abuse, even though he never punched you in the face – that’s HIS definition. You are not stupid, fat, disgusting, or pathetic. You aren’t lucky he married you. And when he tells you that “every woman I know would love to trade places with you…” or “nobody can figure out why I would have married you..” – don’t buy into that. If women are stupid enought to think that, it’s their idiocy or ignorance – you are not worthless and pathetic and disgusting. He is.

    Fight hard to remember how it felt to be loved and treasured. Remember your grandparents – how much they adored and loved you. Remember your dad, and how much he believed in you. Remember B**** – how he loved you. You have a fierce army of angels in heaven, and they are with you and your children always. Listen for their voices – find peace and hope in your memories of them.

    You loved him, but you loved a shadow. He was like an actor in a really good movie. You loved what you saw and believed he could be on his best days. And he could be good and kind and wonderful. But THAT was the act. The evil, dangerous guy – that’s the real him. And the movie is over and you need to wake up and believe that. The man you wanted him to be, the “good day” guy. He never existed. And that’s not your fault. The bad stuff that happened to him as a kid; his horrible family, all his issues – also not your fault, or yours to fix.

    Trust that it’s a blessing he’s gone now – even though the kids are so little. They will be mercifully spared from memories of the worst of him. They won’t remember being spit on, or their mommy crying all the time. They won’t remember all the times he didn’t come home or call – when you had no idea where he was. Your sweet girl has only a couple scary memories – make sure she doesn’t have any more. And remember what he does when he sees a woman cry? How that makes him crazy and angry and violent? What will he do to his daughter someday when she cries and she’s NOT a little girl anymore? Be stronger for her than you’ve been for yourself and LET HIM LEAVE. Because you know someday, he will hurt her too.

    I know you are terrified. I know the life you know – the parts of it you love – are being shattered into a million pieces. Your little babies are going to get ripped out of your arms and you will have to trust strangers to raise them for 10+ hours a day. Your dream of being at home with them – after waiting so long to have them – that dream is over. That will hurt the worst of all. But God will place an army of angels in your life – to care for your children, to give you a good (then great) job, to provide for you financially since exH never will (you know that, right? $$ is his god…). You will find out that all the people he said were making fun of you – they weren’t. You have great friends and family, and your angel army will even send strangers into your path to be more of a help than you can ever imagine. You will learn that there are good people out there – it will be hard to believe at first – but don’t give up on all people, just because of him.

    God will provide for you. He will find you a job; and send countless miracles your way – groceries, clothes, tax refunds…you won’t even believe it. But you will learn through this that you are precious to God, that HE will protect you and your children, provide for you, love you, and NEVER abondon you. And it will take a while to feel happiness and peace again, but someday, you will have a “hope and a future” where you aren’t afraid all the time. You will have peace.

  • (1) Take no blame. Allow the relationship to take no blame. Blaming the marriage for my wife’s affair is the same as blaming a marriage for an abusive husband’s beatings. Heck, it’s the same as blaming my neighbor’s marriage for my uncle’s psoriasis, or for an earthquake in Indonesia. Cheating is about one spouse’s lack of boundaries and poor character. It has nothing to do with the other spouse.

    (2) The only person who can change your wife’s behavior is your wife. You can’t change it. Moreover, your in-laws, and your wife’s support network of friends, can’t change it. In fact, they’ll avoid talking about it, or assume you somehow contributed to it (see item #1).

    (3) Insist on complete remorse, because that’s the only way any reconciliation is going to work. And now ask yourself, based on your wife’s behavior so far, what are the chances of her committing to complete remorse?

    (5) Your wife has once chance. This one. Right now. Today, and every day going forward, she must do right by you. You owe nobody a second chance, let alone a third.

  • Dear ChumDumpedHIM,

    Break up with him right now! You are sooo naive and need to stop sparkling RIGHT NOW. Don’t let DDay 2 happen after 10 unhappy years living with a narc, and don’t take his NPD fuckupedness back after this first DDay!
    You WILL have a much better life without him even though he’s convinced you otherwise. Don’t waste until 15 years after DDay 2 with him; you can be as mighty right now at 21 as you will be at 47 and can live a full, free and HAPPY life without him as a ball and chain around your ankle for 27 years.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I lived 27 years with him without realizing he was a narc and yes, it was not ALL bad; I have 2 wonderful daughters and had a good standard of living but it was SO MUCH WORK, and I was so unhappy much of the time thinking (believing him) that the problem was ME and I was living with progressively-worse emotional and verbal abuse (not to mention gaslighting).
    Unfortunately the world-wide-web and Champlain were many, many years away, and I had to figure things out by myself and then take charge without support when I reached my breaking point. But I was MIGHTY once that happened and lawyered up and went NC and there was no going back. No regrets! We are well rid of him and he is no longer sparkly to anyone (except for transient hookup partners) in the years since my hard-fought-for divorce.
    We’re happy and living the live we want to live; him, not so much.

    I love reading this blog; I’m much further along than many chumps here and well into meh territory but it validates my experience and the decisions I took to read Tracy’s blog and these posts.

    Carpe Diem!

  • Dear Syringa,
    Let go! Walk away with your head held high. Don’t rage at him or call the OW. Let them have each other. It’s what they both deserve.
    You will survive this and there is an end to it. I promise. You will keep your house and get a better job. Your XH, in his guilt, will provide financial assistance for years. You will be fine financially. Quit stressing about that!!

    Don’t be jealous of the OW. Fuck her. She’s super ugly, inside AND out. She stays with a cheater and a liar because she knows how physically unattractive she is and needs a man so desperately she’ll put up with anything to keep him. Even after she finds out he’s been screwing around on her since day one. She STAYS! That must feel good. HA!

    The man you married is incapable of real love. His old man was a cheater and the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree. The guy is a pathological liar and a drunk to boot. Remember all those times you looked at his passed out bald spot? Well guess what? She GETS to look at it now. Lucky her.

    Don’t spend months on end crying and being sad. You’re shortening your life span on someone who isn’t worth it. This man who was your husband was in reality a perfect stranger, capable of causing you terrible harm.

    Yes you will be single. For YEARS. Maybe forever. But you figure out there are worse things in life. I had to laugh at CL’s 50 bad coffee dates Hell. Yes, I’ve been there. All fifty of them. gawd, there’s a lot of fuck ups in the world. Maybe some day if I meet a real man I’ll know how much to appreciate him.

    Remember that the Karma Bus will show up in there cul-de-sac some day and you won’t be anywhere near. Keep paying those life insurance premiums on X!!!

  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Words mean nothing. RUN the very FIRST time you found out he cheated. Staying never makes it better. He’ll just keep cheating and you will give some of the best years of your life away to someone who doesn’t cherish them. When you leave, it sucks. But it sucks temporarily and a lot less than living your life with someone who thinks nothing of you. You’ll get over him, I promise, and then you’ll look back, wondering what the hell was wrong with you all that time. And when you’re ready, someone who loves and cherishes you will come along, and you’ll know what life is supposed to look like.

  • If I could go back, I wouldn’t waste any time with talk. I wasted FAR too much time with self talk back then, and for several years afterwards. If I could go back to Dday, it would be all action:
    Tell him it was over.
    Call attorney and begin divorce process.
    Immediate NC as much as possible.
    Move out as soon as possible (I did do this, but it took several months.)
    Block contact with him in every way possible.
    Tell friends and family I did not want to hear anything about him ever again.

    I know there are chumps here who basically did all that. Kicked the cheater out immediately and filed for divorce. In hindsight, that is the best way to do it. Because I kept the doors open and spent endless hours thinking about him, he easily pulled me back in for bogus reconciliation with just a couple nonchalant text messages.

  • When he comes home and tells you he has been seeing someone and she is pregnant, run don’t walk. Ignore his pleas to give him another chance, this is a whole world of fucked up that will slowly unravel over the coming years.
    He only wanted you to take him back to make it all go away because it was easy.
    He will cut her out of his life and appear quite happy, you will have a lovely 18 months where he and you think he is happy.

    However his demons will return and he will end up guilt ridden and obsessed with proving he is not a bad person, he will take you on a romantic holiday, shower you with affection, then drop the bomb that he is off to try and persuade her to be a family.

    You will basically be left for a toddler, you like the OW are just a tool to be of use to him, his feelings are shallow and as with his 2 wives, you will be dropped like a stone with no warning.

    He is selfish and unbalanced, believe his actions not his words, he never loved anyone deeply, he hasn’t got it in him, you will get through this, but it will hurt like hell for a while………

    Don’t look back and try and work out what was real, he wouldn’t even be able to tell you. He lives in the moment, and feelings come and go wih him.

    Treasure your son, he will get you through, don’t waste energy wondering what he is doing, trust that whoever he is with will face the same end game, it was never about you

  • Redless, do as CL said and SING Jingle Bells

    Driving in the snow
    Hope I’m not too late
    Heading to my lawyer
    Oh, I see the gate

    Divorce is on the way
    Making spirits bright
    Even though it hurts right now
    I know that it is right

    Oh, show some class
    Serve his ass
    Help yourself today
    Toss his shit in to a pit
    And light the fire yay, Hey
    Grab some more
    wipe the floor
    Do it up real good
    Put ALL his shit in to that pit
    And then go get more wood

    Cook some marshmallows
    Drink up all his beer
    Fire’s getting low
    Oh look what we have here
    $300 Scotch?
    Well that will work just fine
    Crack that baby open
    And pour it on the pine

  • Dear Elizabeth,

    Yes. You’re right. He IS in love with Caroline. And he’s some kind of sick freak to tell you how much his mother likes her. It’s better for the kids to be away from him ASAP. End it now. Life will be so much better on the other side.

  • I would say to my sweet self “please know these things: 1. This has absolutely nothing to do with you at all! Zero, nadda, not one thing. What he has done is ALL about him and the type of person that he is. His choices are about him alone and he is a seriously fucked up piece of work not worthy of your attention.

    2. Don’t wast one second wondering or asking yourself “why” he did this because ultimately why does not matter.

    3. Trust that he sucks! That he really sucks in seriously disturbing ways, that he sucks enough to do what he has done and more and go no contact. (also this is the answer to question why).

    4. Protect your money and your and your children’s best interest and well being and do this now! Do not be your normal considerate self with this person and see clearly how he has not consider you. DO NOT consider him or his feelings or what he needs or deserves and do not worry about being fair!!!!!. Do not worry about being considerate, respectful or kind to him. Protect your self and your best interest.

    5. Do not EVER waist one more millisecond dealing with this disturbed individual ever again. Ban him and his issues from your life in every way that you possibly can.

    6. Be happy and love the person that you are because you are an AUTHENTIC and beautiful person. “

  • Solange,

    He doesn’t like you. Hire the very best attorney and forensic accountant you can find. Don’t let him make you feel guilty for standing up for yourself and getting what the law says you are owed.

    You will feel pretty again someday.

  • At the time of the last betrayal, when I realized what I would have to do, the details were not what I concentrated on. The big issue I had to deal with was how to heal the big hole that was in the very center of who I was. I wish I had had someone I could talk to, who would give me support and love and advice, but I never felt more alone in my life. I was not surprised or shocked — all those years of dealing with all the problems had taught me how messy a breakup could be. What hurt me the most was the loss of the dream. Denial, anger, and grief are powerful motivators. You see the truth, but you want the dream.

    I had to cope with the facts — there was not going to be a mate in my life who would help me carry the burdens. I was my only beast of burden. I had to take care of myself, and my children, and I couldn’t count on anyone else to do that. Sure, I would get some assistance from friends and family, but I bore sole responsibility for keeping everything going.

    Since I was a little girl I had been dreaming the dream. It started with games and stories, and it was modified over the years, but always there was the dream to sustain me. My other half, my helpmate, the one who would make plans, who I could count on. Any burden could be borne if shared. Always an other to share love and support. It was an integral part of the dream — a security of sorts — an expectation. I knew I would find my partner. After all — it was the dream!

    The loss of the dream was what took my breath away. I adapted, I survived. I am happier now. (Who wouldn’t be happier without the lies and the cheating and the financial stealing?) But the dream turned out to be like a big tumor in my center self, and the recovery involved radical surgery and ugliness and scar tissue. I would survive the dream, but it almost killed me.

    I love words (did you notice?), and I look to some wordsmiths for accurate portrayals of emotions and thoughts. Towns Van Zandt was a powerful songwriter who left an impressive body of work behind. One of his songs that expresses in a few words what I am trying to say here has this lyric:

    “Everything is not enough and nothing is too much to bear. Where you’ve been is good and gone. All you keep’s the getting there. ” (To Live is To Fly)

    • That’s beautiful, your post and the song quote. I know what you mean about losing the dream. We can still have a dream but it will be a different dream, without abuse in it.

    • This is lovely, Portia. And I know what you mean about the dream. There’s a poem somewhere about realizing that “kisses aren’t contracts,”… Well, no, but my MARRIAGE contract was a contract,… right?? I’ve read (and been told) that my history of my dad’s alcoholism is what made me cling so much to this marriage, this dream: of a shared life, of support & partnership, give & take, mutual respect and admiration… But I thought that’s what marriage was supposed to be, not something you throw out the window for a shiny new girl, with zero effort at resisting her and preserving what you promised.

      I, too, love the wordsmiths, and though i have on my fridge the printed lyrics to “Momma Sez” by Puscifer (sorry, HUGE fan of Maynard James Keenan’s voice — I’d listen to that guy read the phone book), which talks about how “Life will pound away where the sun don’t shine,” I mostly find myself singing Broken Bells’ “Perfect World:” “I was hoping for/ an easy rambling life/ til a notion came to my mind./ We look for exit signs / but we can’t be changed / into nothing, overnight. / Though we know it’s over / it keeps exploding / every morning when we rise.” … The ‘easy rambling life,’ that’s what I thought I was doing.

      • That poem helped me a lot.

        “AFTER A WHILE” Veronica A. Shoffstall

        After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul
        and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security.
        And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t always promises
        and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
        And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
        After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much
        So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
        And you learn that you really can endure, that you really are strong and you really do have worth and you learn and you learn
        with every good-bye you learn.

  • Dear ThatGirl,

    You have been married less than a year. There is nothing to save. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be moved by the crocodile tears welling up in his eyes. Pack your stuff and leave. Now. Don’t waste another precious minute. It only gets worse.

    He doesn’t love you now and he never has. He always was and will always be unfaithful and untrustworthy. He lies about everything.

    If you leave right away, you can be settled into your own place in time to host a great Superbowl party without him!

  • Dear Boston Irisher:

    Get in the lifeboat first. Save yourself. There is really something wrong with his character and you cannot fix this. You were the fixer and the rock, but not anymore. You do not mean anything to him. Understand that he used you to get somewhere you are not going. Be an example for your daughter.

    • “Understand that he used you to get somewhere you are not going. Be an example for your daughter.”

      Wow. This really, really resonated with me. That is exactly how I felt, like my life got derailed and I was some crazy runaway train headed in a direction I didn’t want to go. Thanks for putting this into words, BI.

    • Yes, me too. All the plans he was making were for him and where he wanted to go. If I wanted to toddle along behind him, that was fine, but he was only concerned with himself…

  • Christmas Eve 2013
    Dear Expat,

    Well this is one for the books, ain’t it? Though you don’t realize it yet, as you are still in shock and reeling from this devastating discovery, that box full of darkness the man you once loved gave you today was the best gift he’s ever given you. That emotional vampire of a husband of yours has been sucking you dry for years. You’ve known for years that there was an emotional chasm between you two, and any attempts you made to try to close it – more date nights, marriage counseling, romantic getaways – were always met with resistance. This year in particular, your soul has been wailing. Something wasn’t right. Something was terribly wrong. Now you know what it is and have the chance to make it right.

    Don’t bother going to the MC he arranged. Don’t beg him to go on dates, to talk to you, to read that book or article. Do what your instinct told you to do when you first found out: get your kids and get out. Don’t believe the RIC. Your marriage won’t survive this. But you will. You will finally stop avoiding Chumplady, and you will read about genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse (GINR) and realize that’s what you’re getting. You will then read how to leave a cheater, follow those steps and then surprise his ass with divorce papers. You will tell your friends and family and be amazed at the love and support they provide.

    Your fog will lift and his mask will slip and you will see the ugly, evil person that was hidden behind it all these years. You and your kids will go on vacation without him (though that won’t be the first time). You kick him out of the house. You dream and plot and plan a future with him nowhere in sight. And though you will still sometime wonder what? why? how did this happen? you will begin to accept that it has, you continue to forge ahead in your new life.

    A year out, you are surviving and though not yet thriving, you are ok, and your kids are ok. STBX? It appears that he is lying in the bed of thorns he made, with his whore right there beside him, though you care less and less about them as you begin to truly trust that he sucks.

  • Dear Verity

    It’s not a brain tumour or a breakdown, he’s not depressed or suicidal. He’s having an affair.

    And, yes…. it IS that one you thought it was.

    When he says he’ll give you the house and a large monthly allowance, get it in writing, he’s lying.

    Don’t trust him to be fair or reasonable, he can’t.

    Given time, you’ll see that his fabulous ‘new life’ isn’t that fabulous.

    And don’t give him so much credit…. he’s really not that bright.

    And, yes… in approximately 3 years time, you’ll realise that your life is perfectly complete without him.

    Oh… and don’t drink quite so much that first weekend, that fall down the stairs will hurt!

    • My exes family is still all in on the brain tumor thing. I asked her sister after I filed, is it really a brain tumor or is she just being honest for the first time. This is who she is, not the person you thought she was. And the fake suicide threats and the fake depression and the fake concern for anything other than herself, blah blah blah…seen it all. It’s in the cheaters manual.

      • Scott, mine played the “brain injury” card. Somehow he still manages to hold down his very demanding job, and managed to play me like a major chump. If the bump on the head did anything, it just weakened whatever part he was using to cover up who he really was. He became sloppy and transparent. And mean. But he was always dishonest.

        • I actually thought the EX had a brain tumor, and my friend said he’s just an asshole. He’s been cheating on you for many years. Then I filed for divorce since he still thought I would fight for him once again. After I met the OW, I had to laugh because she was so disgusting. I am now considering that he must have cataracts.

            • No, while he was cheating he was telling me how much he loved me right up to D-day. His behavior was so disturbing, I actually thought he did have a brain tumor. No worries, he is just a toxic, disturbed, serial cheating narcissistic asshole.
              Now that I finally know he is incurable there is no hope (for him).

      • Funny, they all use the same manual. My husband’s brother, also a cheater, did the fake depression and suicide scare when his wife finally filed for divorce after ten years of affairs. It made me sick that he did this, and also that she fell for it.

    • “Given time, you’ll see that his fabulous ‘new life’ isn’t that fabulous.” – this really resonated with me. Thanks.

  • It is not your fault, you are pretty, you are smart, you were a great wife to him, You are a great mom, It is not your fault, it is not your fault, you could not have tried any harder, it is not your fault!

  • My first d-day was 3/09/2014, I would tell my past self… Self the lame ass story he gave you that night after he was crying like a baby was bullshit. Do not believe any of it and don’t waste your time trying to reconcile or marriage cousleing. File for divorce right way and don’t think it twice. Document everything, pictures, conversations , videos. Do don’t believe for a second that he will be civil and be able to coparent like a normal person. Trust that he sucks and what he confessed to you is the tip of the iceberg. Stay strong and don’t let your gaurd down ever. Defend your kids with everything you have from his nasty attitude. Do not feel sorry for him because he does not feel sorry for you. Do not allow him to continue to sleep in the same bed , do not feel bad about him sleeping on the couch. Get him out the house as soon as possible sad don’t hessitate. Do not be intimidated by his threats and scare tactics, you are smarter than he thinks he is. Confide in your family, friends and neighbors no don’t be ashamed of what your going thru. You will get thru this.

  • Dearest Chumpette….it is not about you. THIS is about him and his disorders.

    That awful sensation in your gut? It was THIS. The years of thinking you were getting early Alzheimers? It was THIS.

    It will be hard, really hard, the next few hours, nights, weeks, years. But you can do hard – look at all you have already overcome in life.

    Call your mom, sister, good friends when you need support. And keep looking for your healing tribe (found CN 2 yrs after dday)

    Your amazing daughters will continue to be amazing. And yes, they will recover, and be stronger than ever,

    Trust God in all. Let prayer keep you glued together.

    Remember your preciousness.

  • Blindsided, my stbx told me he would fight me tooth and nail on his pension. I was not entitled to any of it, I was not out “on the streets” with him that is HIS pension. He would kill me first before I got any of that pension. Guess what asshole the law say’s it half mine, and it will be!

  • I can’t believe this was the topic today! I don’t have a letter to share like so many of you other wonderful (ex)chumps. I’ve been having thoughts lately that I can’t seem to turn off. Replaying DDays 1, 2, and 3 in my head but doing them the way I *should* have, post CL. I didn’t write a letter because I read letters from others on the “Talk About Marriage” forums that told me what I needed to do – I just couldn’t listen. I don’t know if it would have made a difference if I could have known and believed that a letter was from my future self. Some well-meaning folks on TAM tried to tell me to stop trying to fix things when she didn’t have any intention of changing. It was all too horrible to face for me at the time. For me, it took face-to-face support from people that knew what I was going through. Thanks fellow (ex)chumps for all the great letters. I hope they help some other newly chumped folks. For those like me, I hope you find the support you need and the courage to act on the good advice you find from real friends and chump nation.

    • Well that’s a good point, Twinsdad. Would we have listened to sensible advice, even if we were given it? I know I ignored a lot of it (but in fairness, I was also encouraged by unicorns in equal measure). But if I’m honest with myself, when I got those 2x4s — they did land. It just took me awhile to wake up and take action. I needed a LOT of reality checks. I’m sure you did too. It’s just so hard to believe someone has done you so wrong and that the relationship is dead. Because it looks and feels ALIVE.

      Really, D-Day is just a terrible time. I honestly think advising direct action and self protection is the most compassionate thing you can do for a fellow chump. Even if they ignore you… for now.

    • TwinsDad, I know exactly how you feel. My first day in therapy I could not even say my name, I had to write it! Broke, that was me. Wanting to believe in unicorns, that was me–I could seeeee them all around me–they existed. My head knew what it was but the rest of me could not/would not believe it–too surreal. Slowly, very slowly I crept forward till I could say my name; till I could say why I was there; till I could acknowledge what was going on. I’m 2 years out and I look back at me as if it was someone else, I was someone else, someone I don’t recognize. I was lucky and came across CL when it was TIME for CL. I was not ready for her earlier but She was there when I was finally ready, we are all here when you are ready; 1 day, 1week, 1month, 1 year. When you are ready, we’ll be here. To help you carry your weight, is a something I/we are glad to do. CL and Chump Nation has carried me many times, I am sorry you are here but glad to help carry when you are ready

  • Dear Crushed,

    Good job breaking up with him immediately, now STAY broken up!!! Do not let him sweet talk his way back into your life no matter how many $7 chocolate bars he brings you! Ignore his pleading letters because even as he claims to be ‘finally’ telling the truth about G, he is not mentioning the other two he is already boffing!!!

    It was not one time and it was not one person and he did not use a condom and he does not respect you.
    He does not really love you, and your instincts about the ‘missing Christmas’ are totally on target. TRUST yourself.

    He is just like his mother, and see how she treats people she ‘loves’?

    Also know that the loneliness you felt before you got with him will not return. You will enjoy and embellish your own life after focusing your loving energy on yourself.

    You will save thousands of dollars if you ditch him now.
    I recommend switching therapists too.

    Love,
    Your future not-quite-as-crushed self

  • Samlizcaro, I feel ya…if I had a dime for every well intentioned friend who said” Let me set you up. You need to get back out there” I have no desire to be ‘out there” and in no way is it a reflection of my ability to move on or get over it. I feel I have a responsibility to my child not to introduce anyone new to my child’s life. Her child hood is so short and as of the last two years so full of hostility,anger and change. I figured I would wait until I heard from her…something like…”mom you need to get out” that for me will be my sign that its ok. She may be 17-18 before she says it but thats ok. She needs stability and normalacy in her life. Not a mom who wants to relive her twenties.
    I have been involved with one man or another since I was 15yrs old. I am actually enjoy this breathing room to rediscover myself. It came with a price and pain but if I dont grasp it now when will I? There are 12 billion people on the planet…odds are I will bump into someone. Not worried.

  • I am reasonably happy with the way I handled things with both XW’s, except I should have fought for custody with my first XW.
    All in all, I managed to keep my job and have a decent life. I am changed, less trusting, and aware of the evil in people more than I was.
    I am getting closer to retirement and plan to move to another part of the country to leave all these memories behind.
    Life is good and I am happy. It worked out for the best, as remaining with one of my XW’s would have killed me , eventually. I have had a much better life on my own.
    Also, I am , pretty fearless re just about anything these days. I really cannot be hurt anymore, except if something happens to my kids. I could give a shit about wealth an other material things. I hope I die on my motorcycle or by being struck by lightning on the golf course.
    I have a halfway decent shot at qualifying for the Senior US Open, if I can control my nerves. If I do, I will contact CL and ask if I can advertise her site on my bag. It would raise an uproar. ” WTF is Chumplady?” ” Why is this old fart ( who, BTW, can really play) advertising the fact that he was cheated on? What bad taste,”

    • Congratulations! The Senior Open is a great goal! And you’ve got that nerve thing covered, as a recovered Chump.

      • No silver spoon country club deal here. I caddied from the time I was 10 through 18. Played on caddies’ day, Mondays, and snuck on the course at night, too.
        Golf has never, ever betrayed me. I can control the outcome, for the most part.
        If I get there, I will, really, advertise the site. I bet the USGA goes nuts and tries to ban me…. But, I am getting ahead of myself which is certain death in golf.

        • I hope you make it Arnold. All of chump nation would be cheering for you (very quietly so as not to distract you from your shot)

        • My dad was city golf champ or runner up many times. His counsel to me was not only don’t get ahead of yourself but….do not want it too much, focus on your body in relation to the ball, and just swing. Each time. But you probably already know all that 😉

          Arnold, thank you for inspiring us fellow chumps with the golf bag idea. I tell many people about Chump Lady but had not even thought of advertising. A bumper sticker!! Meh meh meh…

    • Damn, Arnold, you rock. I wish I felt fearless now….. anxiety and fear are what kept me with the cheater for 20 years and even after finding the strength to get away from him, I still struggle with anxiety. I love your attitude. Keeping my fingers crossed you make it to the Senior US Open!

      • We have about 30-40 players, some former tour pros playing for one spot. So, it is a longshot, to be honest.
        I tried it once, back when I first turned fifty. Played with a pro from California who got the spot. He was really good, had 6 birdies in a downpour. I was so nervous I shot 82. I am better now, at 61 then I was back then. Something to dream about, anyway.
        So, if it were happen, I will let you know. My brother would kill me , however, if I got in and did not let him carry for me. But, thanks.

  • Dear LAJ,

    1. Believe your own eyes. You knew something was terribly wrong and now you know he was cheating.
    2. While you can’t get involved in “unraveling the skein of his fuckedupedness,” do the autopsy of your experience with him so you know what you have allowed yourself to overlook and/or explain away about his behavior, past and present. (Yes, it never made sense that he went bankrupt because Wife #2 handled all the business money and he never ever looked at it–and there is more like that to confront). And you can use the internet and the skills of your therapist to figure out that his problem has a name–narcissism–and that people like him follow typical patterns of behavior. So the outcome of this relationship was inevitable.
    3. You are in this horrible pain because you have outsourced your primary work as a human–to honor yourself, your talents and protect your own precious life. Being half of a couple is not the only measure of your self work. Learn to love yourself and don’t worry if you ever get into a “couple” again. 45 years of looking for “the boy/the man” who will make your life better and bigger has not worked. Time to focus on creating your own life and choosing healthy, normal people to be a part of it.
    4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you will need it, and it’s a form of arrogance to want to help others but refuse to allow them to help you. You know you will reciprocate.
    5. Exercise. Eat right. Meditate, Pray. Do yoga. But don’t beat yourself up if you can’t sleep or you feel like your heart has be run through the shredder. You will heal. And you will be smarter, stronger, kinder, and better company for yourself.
    6. Tell him to send your money back, and not in dribs and drabs. He can ask MOW or his mommy for a loan, but don’t let him walk with your cash.
    7. Once he knows that you know about MOW, go NO CONTACT. He’s a narcissist. He won’t have remorse and he may actually feed off your suffering.
    8. You hurt because it was real, to you. Your feelings were deep and genuine. Don’t cover the pain with food, drink, TV, or other relationships. Feel it all. Don’t be in a hurry. But understand that even this painful part of your life is still your life. Do what you need to do to survive and get healthy again.
    9. Every moment is a blessing, even when you think you will die of the pain. Your feelings won’t kill you, but shoving them down or allowing them to take root and become permanent will kill you.
    10. Love yourself, your family, your friends, and all that is part of your life. Be grateful that you found out what he is. Be grateful for the blessings and resources you have. Reach out to others.

    • PS–When you get a chance to enter that fitness contest, do it. Invest the money–you’ll get it back and then some. And you will end up looking and feeling great.

      • Standing ovation, LaJ. Love your posts, and love the phrasing. We all ‘outsourced’ our primary directive, and like you said, doing the autopsy on the relationship is not the same thing as unraveling the skein. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring words. Thank you.

        • 🙂 I so appreciate the kind words. The people on this site have helped pushed my thinking not only on being chomped but on the life I was living that took me there. And I’m not done yet.

  • I would have said:

    “Stay calm. Don’t let him know that you know. Gather evidence. Investigate behind the scenes. Consult a lawyer. Tell friends and family so that they can help you with your exit strategy. Start moving money quietly through cash withdrawals into your own account. Consider hiring a PI to get leverage during the divorce proceedings. Then ambush him.”

    I reacted right away, and I gave him time to plan. I would have loved to have had him served at work and then come home to see his clothing in Hefty bags on the lawn, surrounded by pictures of him with his mistress that a PI took. I wish that I had kept my cool, and if I had to do it all over again, that’s how I would handle it.

    • Several years ago, I called an abuse hot line. They told me I should take my child and disappear (the X refused therapy). I couldn’t do it, because we lived with my elderly parent, and I have no other family. So, I figured this was my lot in life and tried to make the best of it any way I could – which was horribly dysfunctional.

      It just got to the point where I could no longer take it and threw him out.

      Honestly I think the only thing that kept me anywhere near sane was keeping a journal for a couple of years, which I started around the hotline call. Unfortunately I stopped keeping the journal about 3 years ago or so, because I felt “what’s the use”.

      I started again right after I got him the hell out of here. It absolutely makes a difference. And it makes an even BIGGER difference writing Comments that maybe, just maybe might help someone else.

      • “So, I figured this was my lot in life and tried to make the best of it any way I could – which was horribly dysfunctional.”
        EXACTLY what I told my therapist!

  • Dear Babushka,

    You married an asshole and it’s time to let him go be an asshole with other assholes. You can’t save him. You are not his kind. It’s time to find your own kind and let him be.

    Don’t be afraid…things will work out. You won’t be living in a cardboard box under the overpass. You won’t be destitute. You and the kids won’t go hungry. You can’t see it now, but your future will actually be quite nice…well, nicer than it would be if you stayed with the asshole.

    Let go and trust in yourself. It gets better.

  • Dear Fooled-
    WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!! STOP begging him to touch you, to care for you, to have sex with you. I know you are hurt and are willing to forgive his indiscretion just so that you can go back to “normal”, The truth is staring you in the face. Don’t be afraid of taking the next step, you deserve better. What kind of example do you want to set for your children? Do you want your son to think that it’s ok to treat his wife with disrespect? do you want your daughter to stay in a relationship where she is cheated on? It;s time to move on with full force. When you do have a moment of weakness remember this;

    He had an affair with his BEST FRIEND’S fiancee. After 14 years of marriage he showed you that you were worth nothing to him!!!!

  • Jobin.

    You are in shock. Get away from her, and stay away for at least a week before even attempting to talk to her or her family.

    Get help, professional help, for what your are going through.

    Demand her phone, and take it with you.

    Read it when you can.

    Do not worry about protecting her job or reputation. Just don’t.

    Call your brother, tell your kids its going to be okay.

    Above all – remember this – THEY LIE

    You can’t think straight now, but when you can – this is not your fault in any way. You can and will be great. Just get away from these poison people.

  • Dearest, beloved Moved On,

    You’ve now discovered that Big Chief Dumb Fuck has NEVER been faithful. He’s been a cheater since the day you met him, and it’s continued for all 25 years of your marriage, through two children. He’s been an unrepentant alcoholic, and he’s physically abused you. It’s time to kick his sorry ass to the curb and not look back.

    Put down the phone. Block the email. Do not respond. Change the locks. Do not drunk text. You’ll feel worse about yourself than you already do.

    Instead, look to your daughters: they love you, respect you, value you, look up to you. Their future will be the reason you learn to change the spark plugs in the lawn mower, buy your own power tools, teach yourself to change a three-way light switch. You will become mighty because you are committed to their futures.

    Breathe. You will not be homeless – after all, you were the only one in this marriage with a full time job, and you will go far because fear and urgency will propel you farther than you had thought you could go. You WILL keep the house, and thrive.

    You are not unloveable, even though you haven’t had sex or been complimented since your first pregnancy. You will first find that you love yourself, and that delightedly discover that you are one Hot Mama. I promise you, sex with the Dumb Fuck was selling yourself short; you will discover what the poets have written about sex between two lovers when you meet your new love. And yes, dear Reader, you will marry him and be blissfully content.

    Life will begin anew after 50. And the second half will far surpass your expectations. Karma has seen your sufferings, and will bless your second act.

    Just let him go, and fly high.

    • Every time I see “Big Chief Dumb Fuck” I laugh out loud. And, what you said about looking to your daughters is just how I feel, too. Congrats on your happy new ‘second act’! You are one awesome mom!

  • Ffghtr,

    Trust yourself. Everything that you suspect is correct. Trust your gut and protect yourself. She doesn’t love you and probably never has. Hard to believe…but believe it. you can not trust her. Everything that you have suspected and felt about her and her family through the years is correct. Not only is it correct, but it is much worse than you could ever have suspected. She has been hiding information about her and her family history since you first met her. You don’t deserve this, you didn’t cause this and it is not your fault.

    This is going to be a long and painful ride, but you can do it. Learn how to love yourself and someone else will come into your life. You will finally begin to figure out what makes you happy. Keep fighting.

  • You have nothing left to work with. Do NOT confront him. Pretend like you don’t know anything. Just wait until the next time he goes into a psycho rage and call the cops. Get a restraining order and get him out of your house and out of your life immediately. Do not ever let him back in.

    Get help where you can, and do not be afraid to tell people what is happening. Contact a domestic violence agency. They will help you, and will not judge you. You don’t have to be covered in bruises for it to be abuse. Tell your family and your close friends.

    Yes it will be hard on the kids, but it will be nothing compared to the abuse they will endure if you stay with him trying to fix something that is too broken to fix. You cannot fix this. You cannot change him. You cannot make him see the light. You cannot make him care. He told you himself that he doesn’t care. Believe him.

  • Dear ANC,

    Yes this is REALLY happening. You have been stabbed in the back in the worst way. Hell! This asshole is even stabbing your kids in the back.

    Kick this asshole out. Do not worry about the kids on this. Get this toxic piece of shit away from you and your children.

    Now go phone your friends…especially R. She’s an attorney. She can help you focus on some immediate tasks. In the meantime, let yourself cry. You know you will be OK.

    LOVE
    Your honest, loving, mother bear self ANC

  • Dear Brianna,

    He’s lying. Be still. Listen to your instincts. You are worthy of love and this is not love. Find a good lawyer and Get the fuck out!

    Love, your 20 year old self who would never ever put up with any of this shit and your post asshat self who is killing it as a single parent reentering the workforce after 8 years.

  • Lyn, although he just told you that this sudden divorce is all your fault and that you are the problem, don’t take his words to heart. He is under the influence of forces you don’t understand yet. A year from now you will find a document that explains everything. It will reveal the depth of involvement he has with his coworker, and you’ll start to understand that he’s sick and obsessed. His brain doesn’t work like yours and the only way you could have stopped this is to turn into a person you’re not. You have given up way too much of yourself for this man and it’s time to start loving and protecting yourself from him. You are going to have amazing support from family and friends. You’re going to become stronger than you ever thought possible, and for the first time in your life you’re going know what it feels like not to be depressed. You’re going to dance again, and you’re going to experience someone else’s tender touch. You’re going to have freedom. You are going to be ok.

  • Dear ChutesandLadders,

    Today is the day you finally admit your marriage is a nightmare. He never loved you. He can never love anyone but himself. Today is your long-overdue deal breaker.

    You’re going to be shocked to discover how much he hated you all along. Channel that hurt along with your disgust and anger into action FAST and protect yourself financially. He is stealing from you, and every day you wring your hands instead of planning your escape will be another day he steals from you. You will bleed money.

    He does not appreciate that his sons are human beings with feelings, and will manipulate them and lie to them to suit his new fantasy world. Do all you can to protect them from him because he doesn’t care how his actions have damaged them. The same way he treated you like an employee, he thinks of your children as chattel.

    Sadly, because your kids feel abandoned by someone they love, and he uses their hurt to his benefit, you’re going to be the verbal punching bag to your kids for a few years. Let them express their feelings, but remind them that it is misplace because you will never leave or stop being their parent. And you’re going to call them on their teenaged shit. DON’T allow them to suck you in their father’s black hole. They’re going to be disappointed and let down by your X often enough to figure out you’re the go-to parent. The one that’s always going to treat them (through words AND actions) like they truly matter to you.

    Refuse to take his bait. He’s going to use his command of the English vocabulary to put you down, embarrass you, humiliate you and TRY to ruin you. Realize now that no response is the most effective and infuriating response to his abuse. Don’t get sucked in to a game of words via email. He will never see your logic. Remember, HE HATES YOU.

    When he realizes you are refusing to take his bait, call the police on him when he blocks you from leaving your own home, spewing, “I’ll park behind you if I feel like it, because it’s my PROPERTY!” And,HE HATES YOU.

    It’s going to suck and be scary for a long, long time, but know that it would have sucked more and gotten even more scary had you stayed married to him.

    You have nothing left to lose, and everything to regain. You are FREE!!!!! And your job is going to introduce you to some very compassionate, sane, wonderful adults and students. HE HATES YOU. But you’re going to find more people who value and appreciate and love you.

    Know that for as awful this day is, there will be a day when you look back on it as one of the most significant and meaningful days of your life. It was the day you stopped allowing yourself to be treated as a household appliance by a seething, miserable, entitled, excuse of a man. It was the day you started becoming a kick-ass woman, even stronger than the one you were when you ignored the warnings gnawing in your gut and settled for a man of – even at his very best – bland mediocrity.

    Life will continue to unfold. But from here on out, you don’t have to hold back out of fear of upsetting a loser. Or believing you aren’t worthy of a life of genuine joy.

    You’re going to be better than okay. Promise.

    • Chutes, this is absolutely true; “Know that for as awful this day is, there will be a day when you look back on it as one of the most significant and meaningful days of your life.” It should go in the Chump Truth Hall of Fame.

  • Dear Lania,

    Its time to get out your metaphorical weapon and fight for whats right. Be the warrior that you pride yourself on being.
    You’ve just been stonewalled by the man you love more than anything, and for something that you’re not even 100% sure as to what it was in the first place.
    Trust me, this will NOT get better, and instead will get worse – he will continue to do this whenever he doesn’t agree with something you have said or even when he doesn’t like the subject of conversation, and he will blame you when he decides to come back and make you question your very being and sanity.
    You need to cull him now, kick him to the kerb and block every avenue of communication. Not in 9 months time after multiple bouts of disrespect and lies. The lies will just get more and more outrageous as time goes by. He will also disrespect you by planting little digs here and there, to further unseat you and make you question your judgement.
    Let it be testament to your personality that he wasn’t stupid enough to do this in your face and instead had to lie and manipulate behind your back.
    If you read this and are questioning what I’m saying – I suggest going to Chumplady’s website – she’s the reason why I finally kicked him to the kerb and why I realised that he wasn’t going to get better.
    Your life will get better, trust me. I’m in a completely different mindset, and life is much better and far less stressful now.

    Love,
    Future-Lania.

  • Dear Donna,

    Please don’t blame yourself for you husband’s lack of morals and character. You have done nothing wrong! While you were laying in bed picking out baby names from a book, taking care of another child, and looking forward to the birth of your second child, he was picking out his latest fuck. That far away look in his eyes and lack of conversation were due to his inability to bond not only with your children but also with you. You see his definition of love was shaped by his parents who thought he deserved the best in life. He felt entitled every day since you started dating. He lived in a fantasy world in which he was the center. So when he did talk to you and mentioned his MOW’s name numerous times, often quoting her thoughts; he was reliving his affair. I know it was difficult to believe his lies about this woman at his latest position. However, you grew suspicious when she not only showed up at the hospital, he invited her to your home. I know your child had health problems and you were ill for a month after her birth and pushed it to the back of your mind. However, when you looked in his top drawer and found the love notes regarding cheating he had to come clean with further denial. Donna, this is a disturbed individual. I know it is very difficult to find the strength worrying about your sick child, but you must divorce him immediately. Unfortunately, he is incapable of making priorities and does not respect you in the least. He has serious issues. I know this will take a lot of courage but it is better than having this person in your life. His lack of empathy and caring are red flags for both serial cheating and narcissism. If he has no consequences for his behavior he will continue to disregard you and hurt you further. Now that he knows you are dependent on him he will up the ante and further destroy you with degrading more women with his sick “love”. He will be cunning to keep you hooked and just when you think you are building a life he will throw you off balance. He will want to buy a house and when you start looking he will change his mind or complain about something. Then when you do buy a house he will take off with yet another whore after you worked three jobs to get up the down payment. He is merciless. Take my advice and plan your escape. It may take some time but it will be well worth it in the long run. You will lose every battle and there will be many. You see he loves make up sex . He is defective and will not ever change. Please don’t wait!! Get out. Don’t listen to anyone who thinks you should work it out because he will never change.

    • That wore me out to read. I hope you and your babies are doing well now, Donna. Certain parts of your story really struck a nerve with me! No, they are never, ever going to change!

  • D-day 1: I don’t think you’ve been married 2 years and he has cheated. Yep, you’re going to school and he isn’t the center of attention. That doesn’t excuse his behavior. Remember that conversation you had pre-wedding where cheating was a deal breaker. Leave him now and spare yourself 15 more years of ups and downs. Otherwise you will start to separate yourself from friends and family and miss out on a whole lot of living. He doesn’t show remorse for his actions. Remember that.

    D-day 2: Several years have passed. He’s given you lots of excuses for not coming home and you’ve grown up. You have a beautiful daughter. This is what family is about. Too bad he doesn’t see that as he has been actively pursuing an affair partner on Ashley Madison. Leave him. It will be hard, but you can do it. You may feel alone, but you’ve been alone in this marriage and carrying the load.

    D-day?: No one can say you didn’t try. You’ve tried MC 3 times and caught him in lies each time. You’re pregnant with baby two and he is ramping up a new relationship with a MOW. He asked to reconcile, blows YOU off and pursues OW. He took her on vacation and is helping her with a new house. You’ve finally filed for divorce. See it through. He may have prepared his parachute, but it may not open before he reaches the ground. Rose glasses are off, you see him for what he is and can walk away with a clear conscience. You’re older, wiser and not afraid to be on your own. Embrace 40. You’re not old, you’re starting a new life…there is a sense of peace about that. You are strong and your friends and family will support you.

    I would hope that I wouldn’t keep chasing unicorns, but I wouldn’t give up my daughter or the little guy that is coming for the world. Now, all I need to do is get through the custody and divorce process. Maybe someday I’ll meet someone else, maybe I wont. I’m ok with that. I’ve put my wants and needs on hold for someone who obviously cared more for himself….the future is bright!

  • Dear young friend,
    You have just realized that you were living a ten year lie. You have a long haul ahead. Trust in the Lord. Nothing will make sense for many years. Every one will have a chance to betray you. Some people will give you advise (most of it will be useless). Some people will step back and take shallow notes of your struggles. Some people will cry for you… That will help.
    You will get a job. You will find meaning in life. You will pray for your children every day.
    Mr. F is one of the cruelest people on earth. He will prove that soon. No matter what you do, he will win. He will cheat. He will destroy. You will lose everything many times over. It is not your fault. You cannot prevent any of this.
    You will have pain… serve your clients with all your heart. You will have anxiety… It will push you to where you need to be. Your heart will ache… Treasure that feeling… It is something unique to mortality.
    When all is said and done, you will have strength to run.
    In 2022 you will be happy. In 2055 you will have full joy, and your children will heal. What you create by being authentic will last forever. Our legacy will stand: grace, mercy, honesty, sacrifice, and that acute intellect!

    Love,
    Friend

  • Jan. 15

    Dear One Step,

    Yes, what you just read on his computer is true. The love of your life, your husband of 30 years, the father of your children, and the man you thought you would grow old with IS having a affair. The first thing you must do is breathe. I know you feel like your heart has just burst out of your chest and your head will explode, but you must focus on your new reality.

    Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever think for one minute that this was your fault. You are far from perfect, but you have been a good wife, giving lover, and faithful companion. This has nothing to do with you. It, unfortunately, is a result of some problem deep inside his hollow soul. It is a problem that you will never understand.

    Please, please, please do not try reconciliation. You will do everything imaginable to try to make him love you when he has already proven by his actions he doesn’t. Do not do the pick-me-dance. You should not have to compete with another woman for the love of your husband. It is a love that you do not want or need. You are a person worthy of respect and honor, and he has shown you neither.

    When you can finally come out of the fog, get yourself to an attorney as quickly as possible. Because even though he tells you we can come to an agreement regarding the divorce, all bets are off during this process. And WHY would you believe a word from him anyway?

    Take care of yourself and take care of your children even though they are grown. They are hurting, too, and no one really considers their devastation. Make sure your children know they are not responsible for healing you. When you speak to them about this situation, take the high road when talking to them about who you now refer to as “their father” not “dad”.

    Although you don’t feel it now, you will begin to heal. Some days will be harder than hell, but each day will get you closer to wherever your journey takes you. You are going to be ok. No matter what happens in the next part of your life, you are a honest, caring, thoughtful, honorable person who can lay your head on the pillow at night and know that you have intergrity and morals. The POS X will never be able to do the same.

    Hugs,

    Me

    PS. Great job on listening to your friend and seeking out Chump Lady. Just so sorry it was after Dday 2 before you to stood up for yourself and got rid of him.

  • It’s over. It’s over-over. Save yourself the misery of begging and pleading, of showing him what he’s going to miss. He doesn’t love you. He really never did–listen to what he is now admitting: he never loved you. And, wasn’t it obvious, really? Don’t text him, don’t berate him, don’t accuse him–he already admitted that he’s done, and that she is The One, and he is very comfortable with what he’s done. Of course he sees–he’s living it! He chose this for all of you. So let him have the life he desires, and you go peacefully about yours, and you will soon see that you’ve won. You will actually be better off than you were with him, once you sell off his “vacation” home liability. The financial hemorrhage will stop. He is going to pay you child support and money from his retirement account, then realize as he nears retirement that he has bought fool’s gold. You have a career, your parents, your friends, and best of all, the respect and admiration of your children, while his has been traded away for a woman who delights in the demise of a parental bond. She is a looter, not a winner.

    Get your paperwork in order; open a new checking account, and take out half of what’s in your joint account now to fund it. Get a storage locker and put anything of value from the house into it. Smile without letting on. Get a lawyer NOW, before he does. File for divorce. Run a credit report. Photocopy his check stubs. Download checking account activity, and find out how much debt he has–you’d be shocked what a “man” in infatuation with a destructive woman will do. Back up your laptop–and his. Go get new tires for your car, and that washing machine you’ve been wanting–he’ll leave it all behind. Start saving cash. Keep up the walking–it’s going to be your savior.

    Go ahead and tell your story (briefly!!) to anyone who asks. It’s your heartache, but not your shame.

    Don’t believe for a second that she is better than you. Realize she is a poacher, and nobody with a soul would do what she has done to a family–to children, for God’s sake! She is not admirable, not emotionally sound. Your husband has no honor. He is a coward, and she is a troll. Let them go. Stay quiet.You will see in short time.

    You are in for the ride of your life. You are going to be so much better than you were before. You will be stronger and wiser. You will know things and people you never knew before. Soon you will have earned some self-respect, and it will show.

    So many beautiful men and women have weathered the pain that you now face, and they made it out alive–and you will, too. Many of these people had to do it in the public eye, with grace. You will be ok, too.

    Show your children your strength, your sense of humor, your resilience, and most of all your love. They will know who is the dependable parent. Nobody can replace you in their hearts and in their regard.

    Seriously–you got this. Get ready for some of your happiest moments–they’re coming right up.

  • Dear Tessie,

    This wonderful seemingly stable hard working boyfriend which you have just discovered you inadvertently procreated with is a lying narcissistic sociopath. I know he looks so sparkly, but he is just really an extremely accomplished liar…and an even better actor.

    Run Honey…..RUN. Whatever you do…..DO NOT marry him, no matter how hard he begs. Not only is he evil, but his whole family is a nest of vipers. All of them are incapable if even the faintest notion of love. Protect yourself. Protect your boys….the precious child in your arms and the precious one you carry within your being. Tell the narc sociopath that it is not his child and get away from him.

    He will wind up taking almost everything you treasure from you,….. him and his family….the precious child you carry, (through homicide) your home and your beloved fur kids, (through arson), your financial security, (though dissipating all the marital assets) and your trust (through abuse) He (and they) will break your heart over and over.

    It will take a long time to heal from all this and your life will never be the same. You will, however go on to live a new life where you will learn many valuable lessons. You will discover Chumplady, and there you will find valuable advice and information which will help you understand more. Even better, you will discover an online family of fellow survivors who are plucky, intelligent, compassionate, and hilariously profane. (Not to mention just dripping with chutzpah….my kind of people!)

    I guess for the sake of balance you will find some blessings too after all this heartache. Some of the most important ones will be learning to trust yourself, having the grit to live a courageous, honorable life just being yourself, And the biggie is, Girlfriend….no more fear…. you are enough, just as you are…..you are enough…..Just a warning though Sweetie…..the price of growth will be damn high.

    • Tessie, when I am feeling down I think about a comment you made a while ago, “the burdens and blessings walk hand in hand.” Your letter is so sadly beautiful. Your burdens have been awful, and I thank you for sharing your wisdom and strength. You have more grit than I could ever imagine. God bless.

    • Tessie, thank you for each and every one of your posts, especially this one. You are a profoundly strong and beautiful spirit, and I’m proud to know you, even if it’s only online.

      • Yes, Tessie, I am sure that your generosity and kindness have helped many chumps understand how dangerous some sociopathic cheaters can be and how important it is to get away while you can. And you are a model for healing and reclaiming our lives. In the first weeks after I found Chumplady, I knew from reading your posts that I could, first, survive what is around here just a garden variety “devalue and discard and, second, learn how to become a person who would not be a jackass magnet.

    • Thank you for the kind words everyone. And I am so glad I can help in some small way. This dance is such a painful one for us chumps…..the whole …Yep, I’m cheating and it is all your fault…..shit sandwich.

      I think we get beaten down so far that we cannot see just how strong and resilient we really are. Think about it for a minute. How many of us are/were working our butts off to keep EVERYTHING going while the supremely self absorbed cheating spouse contributes little to nothing, and all the while castigating us for not giving enough to suit them. We do almost all of the heavy lifting, along with dragging their sorry asses along as well. Meanwhile we are told we would die without them there to take care of US. Sadly we mostly believe them.

      Boy, are we surprised when we finally kick their asses to the curb, and discover that……….. once we are past the mourning period….that life is so much easier! What we don’t see, for a long time is that we are actually the ones who have the brass ring. We are the ones who have the strength, smarts, guts and perseverance to go on out there and make our life fabulous. They are left in the dust scurrying around with their umbilical cord in their hands trying to find another chump to plug into. Or they plug into someone as sick or even sicker than they are.

      That is what I see in all these latest posts. Though we lose sight of it for a while, we actually are the winners in all of this crap, because we are so much more than they could ever hope to be. Regardless of what they throw at us, we will rise, and they never will. It’s all about character and Karma.

      • Very well said! And so true… We have a strength within us that we are unaware of but it’s there, and once we’ve discovered it nothing can stop us!

  • “Vix, there are some things in life that cannot be fixed. This is one of those things. No matter how much you love, no matter how many alternative approaches you play through your head, no matter how many therapy options you consider, this is broken. Any effort you direct toward fixing this will be wasted, because you do not know that he is still sleeping with the other woman while he simultaneously tells you how very important you are to him. It’s time to accept that some broken things will always remain broken.

    The next year will be harder than you imagine right now. But you cannot change this. Keep moving forward, and eventually you will come out the other end with far more love for yourself than you ever got from him.”

  • Glad,
    Forget about Dday — remember back when the therapist told your then-husband that he was a narcissist? Remember how you laughed about it, thought that just meant he was self-absorbed and obsessed with being the center of attention? Remember how that bank wouldn’t hire him because he failed the psych test? That’s when you should have run.

    • Glad, you hit the nail on the head with this one. With Jackass, I thought he was confident, highly competent, and a genius in his field, based on the tales he told of his magnificence. I thought he was misunderstood when I started to learn that he had trouble staying in a job or keeping a business afloat or getting along with other people. It was always someone else’s fault. When I started to read here and on sites about narcissism, I understood not only Jackass but my mother (shudder to think that) in a new way. Had I “got” it about narcissism years ago, when I started to work on the debris from childhood, I would have run, run, run when jackass came around. Although therapy brought me to a point where I had the emotional and psychological tools to face the past, I needed information about narcissism to break free from the patterns of narcissistic abuse. This site not only helped me recover from betrayal, but also from the codependency (for lack of a better word) that kept me stuck looking for love in all the wrong places. Your questions are spot on.

  • If he can’t choose you over her, it means he’s choosing her over you. He’s not the man you thought he was, and he never will be; he just looks exactly like him, but don’t be fooled. It’s better to be alone than to be lied to and hurt by the person who is supposed to cherish and protect you most. Keeping his secret just makes him think you approve of his behaviour – tell the world. He’s got her for support and you have no one. You always knew he was manipulative to other people, what made you exempt? The point at which you start to feel better will be the day a decision is made and you stop living in PTSD limbo – make the decision yourself now instead of trying to count how many D-days it takes to convince you he isn’t choosing you, he’s just prolonging the cake-eating. Oh, and he lies to her too, and she helps him lie to you, and he lies to himself so he’ll believe the things he’s saying, and next up on the agenda is teaching the kids to lie.

  • Dear NorthernLight,

    I know you feel like a bomb went off beside you, and your life is in a million pieces. You didn’t have any clue this was coming, and it all was a complete shock to you.

    I know it is allmost impossible to believe, based on the him that you love, but you need to believe: THIS is who he is. He does not love in the way that you love. It is not a midlife crisis or brain tumor. He is just like this. He has done this to others before you…you just didn’t realize it. That’s okay…you didn’t know the red flags to look out for then. You will learn them, thanks to chumplady.com and Chump Nation. They will be your guiding light through this journey through hell ahead of you.

    When people say ther relationship won’t last six months, don’t listen. Don’t hold out any hope. Their relationship will last longer than that (but, to no surprise to you, it will also not be the perfect relationship that he imagines it will be), but it won’t matter eventually. You will eventually stop loving him. You will feel relief when you are divorced.

    The pain that is so terribly acute right now will lessen and then eventually fade, only to resurface here and there in a muted way when you will miss the him that you thought he was.

    Now you feel like you are dead and that you will never be happy again. It is okay to feel this way. Just keep trying to eat and trying to sleep. Focus on that. And go ahead and switch to Pronamel toothpaste now because the vomitting is not good for your teeth, and your dentist will recommend that anyways the next time you go.

    Take it minute by minute, and hour by hour. Your colleagues will not mind all those times you go cry in the bathroom. Your friends will support you, and his family will too. You are better off without those people that fade into the background. Your work opportunities will even improve some.

    You will be okay. You will be happy again. You will laugh again. I don’t know yet if you will find love again, but I do know that you will once again hope for that. You will choose to believe that love is possible again for you, despite the heartbreak and innocence lost. Down the road, as you start dating, you will be discouraged with the available men and wonder if kids will even be a possibility for you. This is also okay.

    Your instincts are good. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep being kind to yourself and watching out for yourself.

    Oh- when your friend told you it would be a marathon? She was not talking about the divorce. She was talking about ALL of the healing and rebuilding. It will be fucking hard and take a long time. But you will feel supported, and you will discover strength and parts of yourself that you did not know you had. You will try new things and reconnect with past passions.

    So, go put on your leather coat, sunglasses, lipstick and kick-ass boots.This will be your armor and will help you feel better on the hard days to come. You will survive. One step at a time.

    love,
    NorthernLight

  • Dear Dear Self,
    1. He is a cold one who has been changing and lying for years incapable of intimacy.
    2. This is not your fault! It was his responsibility to communicate his feelings and needs and to not break his wedding vows.
    3. You can be a good Christian woman and not trust and comfortably draw boundaries. Don’t let his Jesus Cheater mind fuckery get to you. His sins are his own!
    4. Do not settle financially trying to “help” his career….he doesn’t like to work…he wants to spend all his time and money getting love kibbles from City Slut so fight for every penny fast and hard…think of the future….
    5. He sucks, he lies, he cheats, he is lazy, he takes advantage of your Christianity and your desire to be a good parent, he throws everyone under the bus. No reasoning will work…just be business like w regard to the children. Narcissists do not have empathy.
    6. Get a better equipped Private Investigator and record everything…get that gps on him ASAP.
    7. Know that you were the one who made the marriage seem real, you were the better real parent and you are the stronger, smarter able to connect with others deeply person.
    8. Get a better NO NONSENSE LAWYER!
    9. Be strong. Pray. Let your friends and family and children love you…you will be better than okay!

  • Wow TennisHack I better get my shit together. I need to follow these steps:

    1. Open a single checking account.
    2. Take over the bills.
    3. Hire an au-pair.
    4. Change the locks.
    5. Bag up all of her shit and put it outside.
    6. Tell her to pick up her shit or it goes out with the trash on trash day.
    7. Explain to the kids that Mommy doesn’t want to part of our family anymore.
    8. Get a great lawyer.
    9. Meh!

    • 7.5–And that it isn’t their fault that Mommy doesn’t want to be part of our family. You are very, very sorry, and understand how painful this news is, but that you will be there for them, and all of you are a family nevertheless. You will make sure that they are going to be ok. Mommy’s mind and heart are sick.

  • Dee, let him leave after that first confirmed D-day. Do not take him back no matter how much he whines at you. None of this relationship was real. He never loved you. And you will spend the next 7 years twisting yourself into something that will never, ever satisfy him. You knew in your gut that he was always cheating on you. You didn’t want to believe that because he was a “good” man. Unfortunately, he was never a man and much less good. He has always used you to make himself respectable. He will always need you and your kids to make himself feel better about that endless, black hole where his soul should be. You can’t fix him, you can’t make things better for him, and in the bitter end you will realize, too late, that it was not your “job” to do that. When he does leave you, on the very day that you confront him about his “soulmate”, the woman that he is “in love” with, he will leave you and your family in a matter of an hour and a half. Your whole life will crumble and there will be no going back. The only “gift” that he will truly give you after 22 years of marriage will be his no contact. You will hate no contact, but no contact will save your life, it will save your sanity. You will want to “fix” things, you will want to make yourself smaller, your needs smaller, but in the end NO CONTACT will save you….. After a year or so you will feel that you have not made any progress, you will sabotage yourself, but you are still hurting, but YOU ARE FREE…… You are free, you are free, you are free……. It will be scary, very, very scary, but God will help you. He will put people in your life to help you be free, to finally find who you are….. No narc mother, no narc husband…… You will be free, you will need to work on yourself but at least the toxic people will finally be gone. And the best thing is that You get to choose what You want in life.

  • Dear Danette, I know you can’t breathe, but listen to me! Hold your head up, smile and ask if he’d like help packing his things. Yes, you CAN do it. Refuse to get sucked into one more minute of the mind-fuck. He’ll be gone soon enough, then you can break down and cry. Oh, and if he refuses to leave, offer to call the husbands of the ho-worker harem – right here, right now. That will light a fire under his cowardly ass, I promise. Once he’s gone, never ever let him in again for any reason. Never, Ever. You gave that man more benefit of the doubt than Jesus – trust that he sucks. Trust yourself. One day you’ll look back and realize that the best of him was just a reflection of you. You gave him great material. The depth of your devotion is a measure of how you love. Next time, you’ll know better than to give it away for nothing, And don’t try to cover it up or sweep it under the rug, baby. You let somebody know what he did, who he is. You tell it like it is. Get yourself some sleep and then find a lawyer – and no matter how hard it’s going to be, you’ll get through it. Someday, you’ll stop waiting for him to walk through the door – you’ll shudder, instead, at the thought of it. And someday, a little later, you’ll rejoice at having escaped the inexorable undertow…

    Gather the dignity of every faithful woman around you like a fortress. You go ahead and look him in the eye – so he can see clearly what he’s about to leave behind. Then, go to the kitchen and get a garbage bag. There’s only one place fit for someone who would treat you this way – and it’s on the other side of that door.

  • I would tell myself that it was already a deal breaker I just don’t know it yet. I would tell myself to file for divorce now instead of waiting through two months of false reconciliation. For the most part, I did things right, but I didn’t know at the time that I was already done because I was still in shock and processing and coming to grips that this crap really happened to me after I was so damn good to him. I listened to others when they said not to do anything drastic….pfffft should have listened to my gut and drastically filed. C’est la vie. Sure wish I had found this website during DD.

  • Buddy,

    I know right now you are in a world of toxic confusion, hurt and disbelief. But you must know these things:

    * She does not care about you. Really. Not at all. She really does not care one bit about your needs, nor the impact of her choices on you. Really. And this might sound really sad, but right now, she is not capable of caring about your kids’ needs either.

    * She is highly manipulative and controlling – and she is very, very good at it. You have no way of knowing what is real and what is an act. Unfortunately, you simply can not trust her.

    * If you care about your children and care about your ability to provide for them and you want them to have a full, rich, loving childhood, then you must divorce your wife. I know it sounds contrary to common wisdom, but trust me – YOUR BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN WILL BE BETTER OFF.

    * If you do not quickly end this toxic situation, your health will suffer. Your immune system will weaken. Your endurance will diminish. Your stress levels will be continuously unhealthily high. I fear cancer or diabetes could be in your future. If you are not healthy, who will love and take care of your children. YOU NEED TO BE HEALTHY FOR YOUR KIDS.

    * If you want to have any fun money ever, then divorce your wife now. If you want to be able to take your kids to Disneyland someday, then divorce your wife now. If you want to get out of debt and be able to pay your bills on time, then divorce your wife now.

    * So many people in this world love you and care about you and want you to be healthy and happy. They want you back to being you. They support you. You have earned tremendous goodwill over the years with them. If any others judge you or do not support you, that is the least of your worries.

    * You know what you want your life to look like. You know how you want to create your life. There is still time. And you know that you can not create your life as long as you remain in this toxic relationship. You know she is not capable of supporting you in any way. You know to have any hope of building the life you and your children deserve, you have to remove her from your inner circle.

    * It is OK. You will be OK. Your kids will be OK. It really is better, much much better on the other side.

    * And, if you want to recreate the dream of a loving, loyal, happy family with a partner, you will be able to do that. You will know when the time and the person is right.

    * Now the hard part – there is a lot of work to do. Sorry, I can’t sugar coat it. Simply work hard each day and make progress on the tasks you know you have to do. Stay the course. Each day put forth the effort, even if it means saying “No” to your STBX or your kids. Dedicate the time to resolving this situation. Just do it.

    * Time is of the essence. Really. Now get ‘er done!

  • I have read every comment here today. You guys break my heart and give me hope in equal measures. What an amazing blog Tracy.

    Chump Nation…. I love every single one of you.

  • I would tell myself

    God is all you need to BE happy, don’t rely on another human to give you happiness

    Let yourself feel all the emotions ( the good, the bad and the ugly) because they all serve a purpose

    You will not only SURVIVE but THRIVE

    Let go and trust

    Don’t humiliate yourself by doing the pick me dance, stand tall and know your worth

    Wish them happiness as you’re better off without her

    Invest time and energy in the people who DO matter in your life

    The pain is FINITE

    Cut it clean and go No Contact

    Remember that it’s not about you receive, but about what you give. And you gave true love so don’t be ashamed or guilty for loving the wrong person. At least you know you’re capable of loving another person unconditionally. Now go and search for someone who can reciprocate your love

  • Dear NoMoreNarcs (on the occasion of her first DDay – H1),

    you think this is bad, and it is. You think this betrayal has left you hollow, and it has. In a year you will think you are on your way to recovery, but you will be wrong.

    You will get over H1, but you will not be free. Your picker is broken. You have no idea how badly.

    Your FOO has hobbled you. Granted, you did a good job of dodging the nunchucks of their expectation. But while you were focused elsewhere, you absorbed too much kool-aid. So don’t date anyone – at all, until you can read with deep understanding the following:

    1. Your Dad is a narcissist and you are totally normed on this (BTW, most of your friends are pretty bad narcissists, too.)

    2. Narcissism is waaaaaay more than a $12 word for vain. Take time to understand this. Stay away from all romance until you can recognize the signs. Treat it like crazy (narcs=crazy).

    3. Romantic love is not by nature difficult. It has it’s challenges, and it can fail, but for the most part it is a loamy rainforest for the fiddleheads of your soul. So if you are not thriving, or need to spend too much time puzzling over the crazy, read this letter again and start with number 1.

    4. Crazy beats out love – every time

    5. Crazy beats out smarts – every time

    6. You are not special, so no exceptions to 3 and 4 – and no amount of your wit, patience, or luck is gonna circumvent 3 and 4. Ever.

    7. You are doing this thing called a ‘pick me’ dance. It will never work so stop performing. Your turn is never coming.

    8. Making your needs smaller should be a red flag. Every time

    9. Stop questioning yourself over anything when a narcissist is involved and just move on

    10. Do this work now. Don’t wait. Being alone is better than what you will find. Anything is better than plighting with narcs.

    11. You are also not so special that you can’t recover from a Narc-ridden FOO.

    Love,

    Your future Narc-less Self (aka NoMoreNarcs)

  • DeeL,
    Oh my goodness!
    ““He sucked the life out of you, took what he wanted and felt resentful when you didn’t have anything left to give him, and he went looking for kibbles elsewhere.” We were married to the same kind of animal dressed in sheep’s clothing.”

    How many of us were married to the same guy?!!!

    Chumpette,
    “That awful sensation in your gut? It was THIS. The years of thinking you were getting early Alzheimers? It was THIS.”

    Knowing he was cheating was such a relief – I thought I was going potty.

    “Stop being jealous of his new love. She’s liberated you.” Thanks Calamity Jane for a different viewpoint.

    Kelly
    “I know it is hard to believe, but he is not the man you thought he was, he is and was a monster who never loved you, it was all a lie. Say this over and over to yourself- HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE. You must somehow believe that. It doesn’t matter why anymore.”

    This is the hardest pill to I had swallow. I was living a lie for 7 years. That hurts.

    Thanks fellow chumps for some great input.

  • I would tell myself to give up hope – it’s simply going to waste more of your precious time. I’d also tell myself that I’m going to be OK. Sure it’s scary, but I’ll get through it like everything else. Hope was more painful than anything you can imagine, and all for nothing. Just stop, gather yourself up, and move forward to a happier healthier life. And this way, he won’t be telling you there’s no hope on Mother’s day. What a nice guy you married there…Time to be SMARTER…

    • Something I read (maybe Pema Chodron) encouraged me to view the notion of hope differently, and to view “abandon hope” as a prayer. Hope for my marriage was not my friend, but I found optimism for my future.

  • Yes cheaterbeegone, stupid ex did fcuk another woman. Yes he lied, yes he deceived you, yes he brought items without telling you. Yes cheaterbeegone “trust that he sucks” and that he does not respect you… Crap he doesn’t even like you. Cos no person (especially your husband) should lie, cheat deceive their spouse.
    Get out straight away, you will survive emotionally and financially. Your beautiful daughters will support your decision. They will survive. A sane, proud, strong independent mum is so much better than an embarrassed, no self esteem and sad mum.
    Time is your friend, and remember.. The only thing you can control is what you think and do TODAY and the plans YOU make for the future.

  • Here’s what I would say to myself about cheating wife.
    Watch out buddy, wake up. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Don’t believe a thing she says. It will be minimizing, justifying, flat out lying, full out self-protection. Don’t expect rational thinking, true remorse or repentance. It’s all a front and facade. Don’t stop digging, don’t imply forgiveness, don’t let up on pressure until you are confident all the truth is out and your questions are answered, then keep going for more. If they offer to leave tell them yes. Even if they stay at home break routine contact. Insist 100% transparency – get everything. Separate finances quickly. Give them the full force of severe consequences of betrayal, no mercy, if you hope for them to repent. Find counseling that addresses the betrayal firstly and fully, accept nothing less. Tell key people in your life and spouses about the situation. Don’t cover for them, or let them make the narrative. Any backslide should be met with increasingly severe consequences. Insist any triggers/reminders, including friends, be immediately removed, discarded or distanced. Time to play hard ball. Give yourself a timeframe. If it isn’t turned around, bail.

  • Dear young, naive self,

    You always said cheating would be a deal breaker. It still is and will always be. Don’t bother analyzing the situation. If you understand it, it is still cheating. Even if you don’t understand it, it is STILL cheating.

    Throw him out. NOW.

    Wiser and happier Uniquelyme, nearly 25 years after the original DDay

  • Dear Pooky

    It’s so sad after 26 years that he doesn’t remember you and what was. After all he just said it Ive tried to love you for 26 years and I just don’t. Well thanks for that, he just wasted your time on this planet. Now what you do is stop feeling broken. YOU know who you are you are the same person you were when he told you who he was so do what you always do clean up the mess. Make a new life and remember you who are and don’t take shit from anyone.

  • Dear Dat,
    Your life is an adventure and it will always be so, never doubt for a minute you’ll continue to grow. Make your choices and listen to your voices, the small, the quiet, the ones that you know. Care for yourself as much as you care for the people you love, live in the moments and life will evolve. The woulda, shoulda, coulda’s lead to dark places, never let those thoughts move you again – learn this now, don’t wait for the trauma to begin. I’ll see you on the other side, I’ll be you one day, or you’ll be me, I really can’t say.
    signed,
    Dat/circa 2015

  • Dear McChumperson,

    This is going to suck. But you must keep your eyes open, you must not look away. I am so sorry for the pain to come, but you must keep looking so that you can keep that reality in sight, so illusion does not slip back into comfortable place. You can do this.

    You will feel humiliated, and numb, and empty, and angry, and impotent, and bewildered, and ‘out of control,’ let them in, let each emotion have its time and way, yet always move forward. Some days it may be millimetres, some days yards.

    Don’t be afraid or give up or berate yourself if you find you’ve slipped backwards, this will only make your steps surer when you move forward again, because you will know that part of the way. Keep looking for the horizon that will reappear after the storm. Have faith, it IS there, in fact it’s never gone anywhere, you just haven’t looked up in a while.

    It may come in flashes, the brilliant moments, the terrible ones. You can do this. You are enough. You are whole. This sucky thing is happening to you, but it does not define you. You are worthy of love and belonging.

    Your broken heart, shattered dreams, and rejection will tell you terrible things about yourself, comfort them but their fears are not substantiated, the thunder and the storm will pass, you will remain, what you don’t need will be washed away.

    It wasn’t a waste. The time and care and attention you gave, it wasn’t a waste. It was your beautiful, generous loving self at its best, under duress yet still actively loving, that speaks to the strength of your spirit and the depth of your soul.

    And here, I must tell you the truth you must not look away from, he does not consider you, you do not factor in to the decisions he makes, or the life he is living. Yes, that’s true. From this seemingly innocuous truth flows every terrible one of his actions that hurts you so deeply. I’m sorry. But knowing that, not looking away from that, can you understand now that walking away is easier, necessary and better than the denial you must cultivate in order to make any other choice?

    This will suck. Deeply. But only for a time. You can do this. You will come back to your happy, trusting, loving, laughing self. I promise.

    Xoxo,
    Future You

    • This is so beautifully written. “You are worthy of love and belonging” was what I told myself every morning during the darkest days of The Troubles.

  • Okay the world hasn’t ended. I know it feels like it has ended but it hasn’t. You have only begun a huge adventure, an adventure you never imagined that you had in front of you. I know you are sorry to leave him behind, after all you never imagined he would totally melt down like this. You did everything you could, but it was never enough. He repaid kindness and devotion with betrayal, dishonesty and deception. Once the infatuation with OW wears off the bitterness and anger will return because it is deep inside of him and has nothing to do with you. You must brace yourself as it is going to be painful to watch him spiral slowly downward before your eyes. He will self-destruct, and your wounds will heal and you will soar above higher and higher. Honestly you cannot make others peoples choices for them. The only person you can make decisions for is yourself, so make them wisely and carefully. Now that you are not tied down by his self-destructive tendencies you can dream big….so think what is the best possible thing you can do for the rest of your life? Your time left on this earth is shrinking so make the most of it. Do it. You are free.

  • I love all the posts here. Hopefully, newly-minted chumps can learn from hard lessons we had to learn. Our pain was not for naught. We are helping other chumps make better decisions than we most of us did and that in itself, is a victory. The bigger victory is leaving a cheater and gaining a life, however long it may take us to get there. And rest assured that we will all get there.

    • Reading the stories at CL became the turning point for me. Though fully engaged in therapy, journaling, support group, reading the next great book, etc., this sight has shined light into many of the dark corners of my reality by turning on one light bulb after the other. So much more is clear now.

      Thanks to everyone and CL for being both the corrective lens and the proper lighting to my blinded, and weak-sighted chump-o-vision.

  • Every letter here is amazing. Every. Single. Damn. One.

    Because we chumps are amazing. I don’t know what I would do without you.

    Thank you CL and thank you CN.

  • Dear SR,

    This will not be your only D-Day. You don’t know it yet but 20 years from now when this D-Day is so distant you have almost forgotten, another will come. Little do you know that the friends who are helping you through this now will be there again for you.

    Make sure you are asking yourself the right question now. It shouldn’t be “is he going to come back?” It should be “do I want to be with someone who could do this?” And the answer should be NO. You don’t understand now how fucked up he is and that he has a character disorder that is so ingrained he will be this way forever.

    Realize that your love is not enough. And look at that a little deeper, do you really love him or is that fear of being alone?

    You did nothing wrong. Look at how he treats you, is this the kind of relationship you want? Sure, it started out great, he wanted to go places, spend time and do things with you, sex morning and night, but realize you aren’t feeling like your relationship is developing, you aren’t feeling closer to him as time goes on. You do not feel cherished and valued. You are being used. You don’t understand reciprocity.

    Do not pity him for his childhood, do not blame his stepfather, do not blame his mother because she did not protect him, look at how he blames others, look at how he puts himself first, look at how he doesn’t try to spend more time with his son.

    You are still young, you are less than two years in to the marriage, you’ve given less than five years of your life to him. Realize there is so much time left to first find yourself and then look for someone to share your life with. You must be happy by yourself FIRST.

    Now the hard part. I’m sorry to tell you if you walk away you will lose something.

    20 years from now you will have a beautiful daughter if you stay with him. A daughter who is who she is because even though she is half him, you become a great mother and nurture her spirit, her artistic talent, her love of travel, of adventure. Who appreciates a beautiful sunset because you will point one out to her when she is 3. Know that if you stay with him, somehow, his being a selfish asshole won’t be as destructive to her as it could be, because of you.

    20 years from now your daughter will tell you you deserved a “happily ever after marriage.” And though what will happen will completely suck, you will know in your heart you would do it all again to have her and to finally find yourself in the process.

  • Dear ROMOB,

    You had a clue when he was screaming at you in the months leading up to the wedding… but you thought it was stress, it wasn’t… when he turns into a monster the day after he slips on the ring… you should have run… On DDay you should have run and not been sucked into the reconciliation industrial complex but you were. Run Forest Run!

    What you will find after 32 years, is that you have no guilt, or remose, not one shred of it. You will find that you are amazing. The girl that you went looking for is still there… and she is pretty damn fine. She will not feel her age… or mostly look at it. She will have a daughter on safari in Africa today. She will have a son happily doing a PhD in Europe and a daughter, her baby girl who is turning into one hell of a strong woman with great plans of their own.

    She will be waiting for 10 wonderful and loving friends to show up to her house to make stomp on mud to make a bread oven, for the biggest and most fun parties she can muster. The birds will be singing and the sun shining and the dogs will be snuggled up. There will be enough money in the bank and a roof over her head.

    And XH… his entitled, controling self, will be up on the frozen north, with poor poor schmoopie. He will be working on his computer and she will be waiting, cleaning the house, and enteraining herself for when you either ar hungry, or wanting sex. You have no idea baby girl what you are in for.

    What a long strange trip it has been…

  • Dear Pre-Survivor (circa 1995),

    I know you are heartbroken and confused. You let a worthless POS run off your friends and family, do his utmost to derail your career, strip you of your hard earned money and use you mercilessly to provide for his own comfort. You gave him the appearance of respectability because you are respectable yourself. You covered for his bad behavior. You thought if you just worked harder you could the marriage work.

    SNAP OUT OF IT! Don’t waste any more precious years. Don’t go back to him. Don’t try to solve the problem. You cannot dredge his soul to make him less shallow. Get a lawyer. Pack up and move on. Do it before he loses his powers of persuasion and becomes violent with you. Trust me that it won’t get better until you are away from that vile creature, and trust me that he sucks.

    Many years from now he will be a memory, like bad traffic accident. You will have scars, but the injuries will have healed, and you’ll have a deep appreciation of life. You will have reclaimed old friends and made new ones. You will have a better job, a better home, and a loving and supportive man by your side. You won’t miss the drama. It’s a long hard climb, but you’ll make it. And the view from that mountaintop is splendid.

    Love, Survivor (circa 2015)

  • I would file when he first left or soon afterwards. No pick me dancing over hot coals, no playing he loves me he loves me not, no analysing his every fart for signs he still cares, NO CONTACT.

    If I had done all that I would have saved myself the further DDays and humiliation that followed and his OW would not have had to come to my house to bust his false reconciliation with me.

    Let them take their circus elsewhere in future. I am divorcing and emotionally detaching.

  • Dear FMT,

    If you listen to the following words, you will be able to change your name to “Fool Me Once” or better yet, “Fool Me Never. Take heed!

    -You fell in love with a hologram. Sorry. He doesn’t love you, and in fact, he is probably incapable of real love. It’s not your fault.
    -When he tells you at the beginning of the relationship that he wants to “explore his sexuality,” it doesn’t mean what you think it means.
    -You should be very disturbed that one of his first “gifts” to you is a porn DVD.
    -When his former gf shows up to stay with him for a week only a month into your relationship, it’s not because she’s an old friend comforting him on the loss of his late wife. She’s another hypotenuse, and there will be many more to follow.
    -Look up the word “hypotenuse” and then run like hell.
    -Love and respect are verbs, not nouns. Without actions to instantiate them, they’re meaningless. You know that already. Don’t listen to what he says; pay attention to what he does. That’s all you need to know.
    -The first time you find evidence that he’s been trawling the Craigslist casual encounters, understand that it’s not a one-off, and he didn’t wind up there by accident. Don’t let him spin things around so that it’s your fault. Rightfully pulling back and needing space is not evidence of your “poor communication.” And for fuck’s sake, do not sob on the phone for him. He is on the other end, eating it all up. He loves the power and control.
    -Do not let him trample on your faith. You should be able to pray at your own dinner table, and when he says it doesn’t matter to him if you want to “pray to the Tooth Fairy,” that is not a joke. It is the worst kind of ugly disrespect and abuse.
    -Do not let him read any of your personal writing. Ever. He does not deserve your precious words.
    -Do not tell him any of your stories about what you experienced as a child. He does not deserve your pain, and more, he will frequently use your background to manipulate you.
    -When he tells you that he is “bringing the lion’s share into the relationship,” laugh in his face. Two months from now, he’ll lose his 6-figure job, and you’ll be paying down his mortgage.
    -When he tells you that “it’s all going into the same pot,” get it in writing or leave. You’ll realize too late that his ‘saviour complex’ involves letting all your mutual friends think you are living with him rent-free, and when you finally do leave, he’ll let you walk away with nothing.
    -Being open-minded doesn’t mean having a whole new set of sexual values forced down your throat.
    -When your family doctor tells you he is “a very sick man,” listen to her. When she tells you to take your girls and get out, listen to her. Don’t wait 6 months.
    -Don’t self-harm.
    -Do not make excuses for his behaviour based on the sicknesses in his family. Hardships do not change a person’s basic character; they reveal it. You of all people should know this.
    -Remaining on board a sinking ship does not make you a hero. It makes you a dumbass. Get off the sinking ship and swim away to safety as fast as you can.
    -What other people think doesn’t matter. Tell the truth to the ones you care about, and let everyone else believe what they want.
    -Most importantly, your daughters have been paying attention the whole time. They know you’re being treated like shit, which in turn makes them feel like shit. When you make the decision to leave, they will be proud, happy and relieved. Once you’re in your own place again, the 3 of you will eventually thrive.
    -Don’t think you can be ‘friends’ after you leave. He’s a character-disordered freak, and it has nothing to do with his family situation. Go no-contact right away!
    -Two years from now, you will be happy and healthy and whole.
    -Do not let this experience steal your joy or your ability to love and trust. You’ll find a website called Chump Lady, and on there you will meet others who have gone through similar experiences, and they will prove to you over and over that there are good and honourable people out there.
    -Most important: you are your own safe harbour. You’ve always known that. Don’t ever forget it again.
    -I love you!

    • I know the ‘assignment’ was only to start from D-day, but it was really cathartic to go back and do the whole post-mortem. Very cleansing!

      • The whole post-mortem is key for us. We’ll never go back to living that way again. I love how you have reframed things he told you early on. It’s amazing how differently we see things after DDay.

  • I would not have listened to myself after DDay 1. I was *that* chump and I had a new baby. DDay3 is when I finally realized something was very wrong. Here is what I wish I could have heard on DDay 3:

    Listen up: this isn’t working.

    It’s now the third woman you’ve found out about. This is real. You need to face the fact that this is not something that will go away. He is a cheater. He repeats. He sees you hurt and he does it again. I know you want to believe that it’s only texts that he’s hidden from you, but please, I know it isn’t. And deep down, you know that too. Please believe me. I’ve found his porn that he stashed away, the flash drive with naked pictures of all the women who have sent him images, and the many videos of *that* sexual act he always said disgusted him. He’s a liar. He believes his lies. He does not feel remorse and he isn’t sorry; not now, not ever.

    I know you are scared and ashamed and feel alone, but you need to out him to everyone you can think of. His parents. Your parents. Everyone. Here’s the good part: you will be bowled over by all of the people that are going to go out of their way to love and support you through this. Your family only wants the best for you. They love you. Let them love you. Let your friends support you. There are burdens and hardships ahead and you don’t need to bear them alone. Move back to your home state. Ask for the support you need until you can get your feet under you. Your family wants to help you. Let them help you.

    I know you want to finish your dissertation and you feel trapped by that as well. If you leave him now you may not ever finish it. That will be ok. Look, I finished it, and with the time it took me to get through it all while working full-time, I’ll never use it. But you have a chance to get established in a good job now, and then if you finish the degree in the future it will be icing on your independent cake. I got the order mixed up, I admit it freely. I should have gotten the good job first. The job I have right now is not a good job for a single parent. You can do better, and you will do better if you get started now.

    You think there isn’t any money to share but he will be ordered to pay child support. There will be some money. It won’t be much and it will be scary. Get it garnished immediately. Don’t ever take anything he says at face value, especially about money. What happens to him is not your burden. As it turns out, he has been and will continue to be a financial disaster and liability to you. You will never get ahead with him as a partner. You will resent him because you will grow to be in charge of 99.8% of your family’s needs. Meanwhile, he will never appreciate all the support you’ve given to his career.

    I know that your dream was to give your kids two parents who love and respect one another. That dream has died and you need to mourn the loss. And know this: it was never even in the cards. He has always wanted to have a secret life. He was always going to cheat on you. You dreamed of a happy partnership; he dreamed of a marriage in which his partner turned a blind eye.

    Listen to me closely now: don’t let your fears keep you stuck. From this moment on, you will never trust him again. You will feel deep sadness but in the day-to-day bustle of life, you’ll push it all down, and you will feel even worse. This will all lead to a deep, crushing loneliness. He will continue to cheat on you with more and more women until you lose count. He will give you a STD. He will lie to you in both small and spectacular ways. There is nothing redeeming in him as a spouse, maybe even in him as a human being. Leave now. It’s terrible now, that’s for sure. But you have the option to re-write so much sadness and devastation and put something different in its space. Even if the new story is struggle and loneliness, nothing can ever compare to the struggle of lying to yourself every day, and no future loneliness can ever touch despair of being alone in a marriage.

    • “But you have the option to re-write so much sadness and devastation and put something different in its space. Even if the new story is struggle and loneliness, nothing can ever compare to the struggle of lying to yourself every day, and no future loneliness can ever touch despair of being alone in a marriage.”

      Love this, Stronger.

      • Thanks, Kelly. It felt cathartic to write all that out, since I’m still trying to forgive those last bits of myself for staying for so long. I keep telling myself that I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time; if only I realized I had those tools all along!

        This post really helped me, CL. I’m grateful.

        • I know Stronger, I still fight with the anger of all the wasted years, and still can’t tell who I’m angrier at, ex or myself (…..actually it’s ex!)

  • Dear Sausalito,
    When you confront him about his affair, and he says it was just for sex, and he will break it off immediately, don’t believe him. He has no interest in saving the marriage, he just wants to keep you around as the maid, cook and nanny while he goes off on business trips and continues to screw his bar slut. When you discover he is still seeing her and he says, they are just friends, and she has been through a lot and she “needs” him, don’t believe him, he is still screwing his bar slut. Remember, he even lied to the marriage counselor and told her it was over! Don’t waste another year waiting to see if he will come to his senses, and you will feel differently about him. You won’t, so bail out now. Kick him out, get a lawyer, tell everyone, get the kids into counseling, and begin to move on. You can be strong and do it, and you will be okay! Don’t even bother trying the hopium, it is a hard habit to kick. This is not how you envisioned your life, but that’s okay, it will be even better!
    Love, Future Sausalito

  • Ok Chump, DD 1 and you’ve been married 7 months. I won’t bother telling you can’t save her because you know everything. Go ahead and beat the living shit out of OM1, it’s a double betrayal and he deserves it. You are right to suspect best friend is OM2, he will confess on his death bed 31 years later. This summer you will save a childhood friend from drowning, don’t do it,he will be OM3 before the first frost.
    You knew what you needed to do and then you went to library and got those damn RIC books and wasted 3 decades in false reconciliation. Burn your library card and move on while your young.

    • Oh dear, no. Don’t beat anyone up, don’t not save a drowning person, don’t turn into someone who is not a good person. You got fucked over big time (welcome to the club) but don’t let it change you into a person who lacks empathy or good sense.

      I can’t say what’s right for you but maybe tell your younger self to walk away when the first dday hits and let the dumb bitch be someone else’s problem. So sorry you had a serial cheater as well. It’s so harmful. Big hugs to you. 🙂

      • To be honest though, if someone is pissing on your territory you have the right to defend yourself, up to and including violence if needed.
        Pussy footing around and being decent to ingrates, especially if we had the knowledge of hindsight, would not protect us in the end.
        But, to each his own. Just my $0.02.

  • Dear Calamity –

    Good job throwing the lying, self absorbed, parasite, sack of sh*t out, but why did you ever let him in?!?!?

    • “why did I ever let him in?” is the question I ask myself too. I was lonely and wanted to be in love again. I was gas lighted and love bombed. I fell under the spell of a NARC

      • It’s because they hide behind a mask so foolproof initially that no-one can see through it. They have spent their entire wired-wrong life perfecting the ability to fuck people over and doing things that only benefit them. Sometimes its so subtle that even red flag behaviour doesn’t pop up, or things happen that are explained away with a plausible explanation (if it were a healthy person that the particular situation happened to, that is).
        Eventually though, the mask tends to shift, or fall off completely, and that’s when we see the shitty behaviour and spackle, or see the shitty behaviour and then kick the bastards out.
        We as humans are not mind readers, ergo, we can not see behind the foolproof mask, and hence its not your fault, and never should be your fault.
        This is why it hurts so much when the cheater apologist types tend to pull their ‘We’re not getting involved’ or ‘Theres two sides to every story’ bullshit – because they’re sucked into the mask-wearing nonsense and don’t see the person for who they really are. Hence, they should not be making judgements about the person in the fucking first instance.

  • Dear Lady Jane,

    Yes, this is happening. Your instincts are right. Talk to your friends and MIL. Tell your family the first time instead of waiting for five more days like this. They are there for you and love you. Don’t confront him. Don’t let him know anything. Get a lawyer, open a checking account, get your own credit card and save your money. Get your ducks in a row. Do NOT do the pick me dance. It will never work. Save yourself the heartache. He is a loser. He never loved you. If his lips are moving, he is lying. The only person he truly loves is himself. He has narcissistic personality disorder and probably a sociopath.

    Remember you are loved. You did nothing wrong. You are a good person. You truly loved him, but he is a shallow husk of a man. Nothing will ever be enough.

    Let the slut have him. She isn’t winning; she’s getting the booby prize. You are free of his controlling ways. She can deal with his moods, demands, gaslighting…and he sheds like a dog so she gets to clean the bathroom now.

    Let him leave on his own. He’ll leave everything behind and he’ll be the bad guy. No one will take his side except his slut. Son will support you 100%, as will his family. You did that the right way. You did good. You still have a long way to go, but you’ll get there. Chump Lady will save you as will so many wonderful friends, family and new people you will meet along the way.

    From me, less than six months out from final Dday.

  • I want to play too! I first looked up brain tumor too. Then, personality disorder and, was thankful I found CL right away. I was completely lost until I started reading. And, I did everything fast. Took inventory of house (and gold, which he stole and I almost had him arrested – would have cost him his job), it was amazing how a man I trusted for 36 yrs would steal from me. Believe it. They cheat, lie and thieve. Looking back, thanks to THIS website, I did it all right. I never begged, cried or danced. He was kicked to the curb immediately, changed the locks (I could because of the theft) and never looked back. I never thought I’d feel right again but I am proud of you, SheChump. I have never had so many friends as I do now. My house is a revolving door of friends, neighbors and family. Something asswipe was always controlling. Never thought I’d be this content just a year later. Fast action is the way to go. I’m so glad I didn’t try to reconcile. I knew it when he showed me no respect. I lost all my respect and a lot of long-fought love for him over those years. I don’t want another relationship. I like me and my dogs just fine. I can trust them! I wish everybody the speed which I got it done – it saved me a lot of heartbreak that I’ve read about here – RIC. Since there was no support group in my little town, this is where I found it and realized I wasn’t dealing with a brain tumor. Just bad character tumors. Say goodbye to 1/2 your IRA, deferred comp, social security, life insurance, etc. Hope the skank was worth it. Thank you for giving me the forum to write out my thoughts. It IS healing. And, now, time to tuck my house-guests into bed. .

  • I know that this sucks but you have got to put it all aside and think – so
    1. She can’t hear you now so stop talking to her. About anything.
    2. Respond to everything she says to you with “bullshit”.
    3. Hit the gym hard every day. You need to deal with the stress of this.
    4. Focus on your job, don’t get distracted by this.
    5. Pull the check book and all credit cards, even the hidden ones.
    6. Take charge of paying the bills because she stopped doing this a couple of weeks ago.
    7. Pull $200 from your savings account and use that to open a checking account in your name. Transfer your direct deposit to that account.
    8. Use up all the money in the joint-account before you spend anything from your account.
    9. Since all the credit cards are in your name you are going to have to pay them off prior to filing for divorce. Use your IRA funds for this. Sorry. Don’t forget to allow for taxes.
    10. Toss out all those socks and crap she bought you for birthday and Christmas presents and go out and buy what you want. This sounds nuts but you’ll feel better for having done it.
    11. You will never find out why.
    12. The sooner you get it straight in your head that everything that you thought you had is gone the better off you are going to be.
    13. This will get worse before it gets any better, but it will end. Stay strong.
    14. And start looking for a new job – on top of everything else your CEO is already looking to sell the company so you are going to be out of a job in less than a year.
    15. Once you are free and clear, start buying Apple stock. Sell it all in October, 2007 and buy it in January, 2009. Remember, the best revenge is to live well. And you are still going to have to put your kids through college.

    • Nord, this is exactly what my ex husband of 37 years did and he was the cheater!! I am left to ponder if he is a hologram without any emotional attachment to anyone or anything.

      • He is, Maree.
        Else he wouldn’t have pulled the heinous shit he did with you.
        Gotta be pretty fucking low to be fucking teenage Asian prostitutes, especially when the STD rate among them is so high.
        The karma bus in your case could be that he gets a nice little surprise from one of his hookers in that ‘she’ is actually a ‘he’. LOL!

        • Lania, he wouldn’t care either way!! He is in the process of selling up everything to make his move to Asia. He is a teenager who has never grown up. To be honest with you, I will be glad when he moves. Maybe then, just maybe, my kids might have a change of heart and we can then heal the hurt. I hope so.

          • Bahahaha! Thats gotta be the funniest thing ever, him lowering himself to the lowest common denominator. What, does he think he will live like a king over there? To any reasonable person he’ll just look like a hopeless balding fucktard with no brains and no morals.
            As for your kids, this may be hard to say, but they may have inherited his shitty mindset on life, in which case theres unfortunately nothing you can do about it. Its like trying to reason with a brick wall 🙁

  • This is me! I am the former you. Low confidence, heart exploded, total devastation. Angry husband (whom I have suspected of being a sex addict as well) reminding me in overt and subversive ways how selfish I am. That he was disappointed. My life IS crumbling around me and I feel like it’s just over. I am stuck, frozen in chumpdom and don’t know how/where to dig up the fucking courage to DO something. I have isolated myself. I am frozen in fear of ANY change. I just want my old secure life back. If I dig deep I know what I have to do but just can’t bring myself to do ANYTHING. I sound angry but I am not. I am just so in incredibly hurt and I am cycling rather than moving forward. I would welcome anger. There must be something wrong with me to just accept this. Anxiety attacks every time he goes out the door. Nightmares and mindfuckery. Emotional trauma etc. yes this is emotional abuse. I see that. so why can’t I mobilize myself and act? I don’t want my kids to see that this kind of abuse is acceptable! Yet still I am frozen by fear and insecurity and low self esteem and all the rest of that bag of shitty gifts this gave me.

    • Start small. You can do it. Call the attorney general’s office. In Texas they refered me to cheap legal advice. You sound like you are at rock bottom. You need to get away. Maybe break the isolation in small ways… Go to a church, go to a library, tell the vacuum salesman your story 🙂 Your children will be in a better place if you stand by your principles. I wish you the best. Your strength will come again.

    • Willow, its because he has conditioned you to accept abuse as ‘normal’ yet you know in your heart of hearts that its not, that something is terribly wrong and hence because of the first part you’re paralysed.
      This is gonna be blunt as shit, but here goes: If you don’t do something to fix this (because he sure as hell won’t, he’s the bastard who put you in this place in the first instance, and wants nothing more than for you to be his willing slave while he fucks all and sundry), your children will suffer, you will suffer more, and he will destroy everything, including your very life. You need to get angry, angry enough to unleash that warrior instinct and kick the bastard to the kerb, take what’s rightfully yours and make him a distant memory. If you keep cycling around, you will be dead within 5 years, and your children will grow up seeing this abuse is ‘normal’ and it will destroy them too. That is, if they don’t become abusers themselves.
      You took the first step, coming here. I can bet with certainty if he knew about this site he’d rage, again. And punish you for daring step out of line. Fuck him and the whores he rode in on. Fuck what he thinks, says or does, he is worthless scum. You don’t need a man or anyone to live with, you can be perfectly content being with yourself and your kids.

    • willow,

      One of the best things anyone ever said to me was “in 6 months you will look back on this moment and realize how far you have come.” So I decided that the only thing I could do is live my life in 6 month increments. I couldn’t bring myself to think of 5 years down the road, it was too overwhelming because I thought my life would be with him.

      I hate the “living day to day” mentality because I used to think it was people who are barely hanging on, but in truth, this is the best approach to getting through the trauma. Make a list of the things you want to / need to accomplish every day and just move through them.

      I went on anti-depressants, and that helped. It also killed my sex drive but sex was the last thing on my mind anyways, so it was actually a good thing.

      You can do it. Don’t think about what you will become in a year, just get your shit done to protect yourself financially and make that your goal until papers are signed. Get to a therapist or a group therapy session, it will keep you on track.

      And lastly, FUCK HIM. I bet you that the security you felt was what you made for yourself because that undermining asshole was doing nothing for you even though you didn’t realize it.

      • Yes, someone said something similar to me, right after dday, and though I couldn’t imagine my life getting better, I told my self, “If I can make it through the next six months…” And then, I did, and it was less painful than it was, and then I told myself, “If I can make it through the anniversary of dday and this year of hell.” And I did…

        In the beginning, I could not consider anything long term, and in the first few months it was just day to day, and even hour to hour. But after maybe four or so months, I decided to make some goals to make it through winter and the anniversary of dday…projects like hiring someone to repaint a couple rooms. Then I revised the list for the next six months or so, making it through the rest of the calendar year. Getting through trauma is so hard. Someone on here once said they tried to do one task each day, no matter how small, that got them closer to divorce and rebuilding a new life. I liked that idea…

  • Redefining Me, I had that same voice warning me the day we decided to get married! A feeling of pure terror came over me. I wonder if anyone else here had it?

      • I remember standing at the end of the aisle in the church, seeing him smirking at me from the front, and knowing it was all wrong. He had already cheated during our engagement, and “decided to take me back”. 23 year old chump me was grateful (!?!)

        The problem was, I had my wedding gown on, the reception was paid for, and my Dad was standing there looking so happy for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to back out.

        29 years, two wonderful kids, and years of his “mentoring” female colleagues while travelling on business…I finally got the guts to pack up and go.

        • Marci, our stories are very similar and we were so young, innocent and full of hope for the wonderful future we thought we were going to create with out exs. Now they are just shattered dreams My adult kids do not speak to me but they are the best thing that ever happened to me. I would not change being their Mum for a second but the ex on the other hand !!

          • I was standing listening to the string quartet and looking out the window at all the seated guests when my husband to be whispered in my ear, “You’ll never tie me down.” WHAT? “Just nervous, I guess.”

            BULLSHIT. I should have told myself to greet the guests and tell them to get right at the buffet and open bar. Start the party, and not marry the fool.

    • I was way too much of a chump! I always thought I could “fix” it. Until he pushed me over the edge (yes, we all have one but for some of us it’s pretty far away!} Then, I grew a backbone and decided I was done. The terror up until then was about how I would manage, alone with 2 children; his brainwashing worked until I hit that “edge”… I had nothing to lose then but myself or the marriage. At that point I finally chose to save myself. I wish that” edge” had been closer but we all have different breaking points!

    • I did not have the voice on my wedding day so much (except for one moment when she was walking towards the dance floor, and I walked up to her and she saw right through me and kept walking right past me without noticing me right in front of her – a telling, predictive moment).

      It was on our nine day honeymoon in Tahiti, after having been sexually rejected too many times, I was on the road going to the store, crying in my convertible thinking “what the fuck have I done?”

      We did have good sex on our wedding night and twice on the honeymoon (first day and next to last) but I was wanting to get it on every day, twice a day, whatever. It was our honeymoon. I wanted connection, intimacy, love, sex, passion without having to worry about anything else. Instead, the trip was about me making her happy by running errands, ordering take out and room service, reserving chase lounges near the pool before they were gone, ordering movies on the TV, etc.

      Later in our marriage she would often say “if you want sex so bad go have an affair!” I told her I wanted to have sex with her with emphasis on the “with her”. In the end she took her own advice and had the affair.

      • The honeymoon…I now understand it. We were in the middle of making love and he just got so pissed. He got out of bed, got dressed, and demanded we leave immediately. I listened to his screaming his threats of divorce during the 250 mile ride home. I never understood it. When we reconciled I asked him about it but his explanation did not equate with that amount to that amount of rage. I had just turned 20 and I was filled with shame. (He was 29) I wasn’t doing anything sexually “out there”. 35 years later by coming here and reading I know now what all the fuss was about. He felt guilty for cheating on his girlfriend with his WIFE. Pretty sure now the OW was the MOW he got with after I left. Sick thing is her husband was in our wedding.

  • Dear Patsy, it’s over. What he has done is so disrespectful, so unforgivable, you don’t have a marriage any more. You are 43, you will get over this, you have a chance at another life. Self-respect is more important. Protect yourself now.
    as opposed to the reality:
    Dear Patsy, it is really over and you have no control over another human being. You have just spent the last 6 years ‘reconciling’ with a person who has made no effort, and does not want to change. All the ‘heal from affairs/his affair was the best thing that happened to me’ are on YOUR side of the bed. The disrespect is getting worse. Now that you have caught him with OW again, listen to the voice in your head telling you you are now actively contributing to your own abuse if you stay. The need to tell people you are married is less important than self-respect. You are 50, you still have a chance at life.

  • Dear Superchump,
    Please, please, please listen to your gut and RUN. You don’t want to stick around for what happens next. It gets worse and worse. Go to a shelter. You’ll probably end up in one anyway. Make it easier and do it now.
    Staying is only going to make the abuse cycle keep going on, and you’re going to die a slow emotional death. Please, go beyond fear and do what’s right.

  • Dear Rally Squirrel 2003,

    You don’t know it yet, but this man you married is a performer. No, I mean off-stage as well. The razzle-dazzle charisma is a thin veneer covering several massive insecurities. He must have learned to lie at an early age, because you have watched him do it and were stunned at how effortlessly and skillfully he managed it. Recall that moment, about halfway through your marriage, when you heard yourself think, “Well, yeah, he lies to other people. But he would never do that to me.”

    I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Rally Squirrel. You’re just beginning to find out that he will lie to you most of all. Effortlessly. Skillfully. Instead of leaving him after this first D-day, you are going to be more determined than ever to keep everything together. You have a young child, and the prospect of breaking up your family is unbearable. And he’s going to seem genuinely sorry the first time. Denial is easier.

    You’re wrong about that. Denial is going to be much, much har